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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sanctuary's Finest's Favorite Reads of 2006.


As we count down the number of days that will take us into the new year of 2007, the number of books that booklovers have read throughout the year add up to be many. So the million dollar question of the week is, Of all the books you've read this year, which one is your favorite?

Here at Sanctuary's Finest, where it's book talk all day, everyday...we decided that it would be cool to highlight each of our Top 5 favorite books of 2006.

Dylan's up first....

As I look back on my book log, it really surprises me that it's only been a year since I've read some of the books on there. I mean, it's only been 11 months since I read SK's Unleash the Night? That feels like forever ago and then The Solomon Sisters Wise Up? Surely it's been longer than 10 months since I've read that book, it feels like 2 years.

But I digress, it took me a lot longer than I thought to actually peg down my top 5 favorite reads of the year because there were just too many books that I absolutely adored this year. Now I have to add that for the list that I put together, I didn't count any of the rereads that I did this year, the books on this list are books that I've read for the first time and after careful thinking and juggling books around in my head, here dear readers are Dylan's Top 5 Favorite Reads of 2006.

5.) Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward. This book was one of those books that had me captivated from the very beginning and I had some serious fangirl tendencies after reading this book and even though there was a bunch of drama with this author and her real fan girls, this still remains one of my favorite reads of the year. Rhage was the bomb and Mary, well she was just okay...but the story was fantastic, the characters were fabulous and I just loved me some Rhage.

4.) Dark Lover by J.R. Ward. This is another book that I absolutely loved. I fell in love with these Brothers in this book and was thoroughly thrilled to have read this book. Wrath and Beth's story was so friggin' great and I grin myself silly just thinking of when I read this book for the first time. Right after I read Rhage's book, I thought that I liked Lover Eternal better than Dark Lover but I don't...I love Wrath's book better.

3.) Valley of Silence by Nora Roberts. Man, I loved the ending to this series. It was a fabulous series for me to have read and I just loved Cian's book. This book had me all wrapped up in the world that NR created for these 6 characters and Cian is one of my most favorite heroes that I met in 2006. Loved this book!

There's a two way tie for my top slot but both books are written by Lisa Kleypas.

1.) Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas. Man was this book a winner for me. Derek Craven was friggin' awesome and I really loved his character, his insecurities and most of all, I loved the way he loved Sara, this is definitely one of my most favorite reads of the year.

and...

1.) Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas. This is the only book that was strong enough to have me pissed to high heaven, cry like a baby and laugh like a loon, all by just reading this book. It's the only book that I remember making me cry so much that I couldn't breathe, so yeah...this is most definitely my favorite read of 2006.

Some honorary mentions though go out to: I'm In No Mood for Love by Rachel Gibson, Dance of the Gods by Nora Roberts, The Seduction of His Wife by Janet Chapman, Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas and Charlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie.

Daphne's up next....

This was a tough top five for me, but here they are:
5) Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I was very skeptical when I picked this one up. How could I not be, Vane was a wolf! As it turned out, I absolutely adored him and just loved seeing all the characters from the previous books come together. I think I might have read this twice in 2006.

4) Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward. Now I know some of you are thinking, why this book? Well, it wasn't the best book ever and I did have issues with several aspects of the book, but gosh darnit, this one really makes for good conversation.

3) The Seduction of His Wife by Janet Chapman. I read this one while on vacation in Australia, and I literally could not put it down. In the hotel, on the tour bus, I was hooked. Alex Knight and Sarah had great chemistry, and the character setup was great for future books in the series.

2) The Prize by Julie Garwood. I know this is an old one, but I never read it until this year, and it was awesome. I thought Nicholaa was a great heroine-- smart, brave, and not a brat. Royce is pretty much my favorite JG hero to date. And of course it's got the classic JG humor we all know and love in her historicals.

1) Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward. I cannot recall how many times I've reread this book. There is something about Rhage that is oh so sexy. Mary wasn't my favorite heroine, but I'm letting that slide, because Rhage was all the entertainment I needed.

Now it's Grace's turn...

5) P.S I Love You by Cecila Ahern. This book makes the list because it was a hard read for me. But at the same time, I could not put it down. It wasn't a Happily Ever After story that I typically devour, but it did have some impact on me. It broke my heart and made me cry, but it also made me laugh and feel appreciative of the things in my life. It's not a book I will forget.


4) The Seduction of His Wife by Janet Chapman. This was such a feel good book. I think I spent most of my time either grinning like a fool or feeling pretty content. I loved how the Knight family were so involved in the story and how they embraced Sarah into their lives, and cheered Alex and Sarah on. I did too, and managed to ditch my studies in favour of reading about their Happily Ever After.

3) After the Night by Linda Howard. Daphne bought this book for me while she visiting and I'm ever so thankful because this book had all the good stuff and more. Daph convinced me to look past Gray's long hair, and boy oh boy, after reading a few chapters..I was a straight goner for him. He was one sexy son of a gun. I remember I couldn't stop snickering and laughing over the banter between Faith and Gray, and the chemistry? Whoa..it just oozed off the pages.

2) Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning. Cian MacKeltar. Even his name just exudes this hotness that makes me blush. No joke. If this book was poorly written, it would probably make my 2006 list anyway just because of Cian..but it wasn't poorly written and I LOVED reading this book! Having Cian as the hero is merely icing on the cake. ;o)

1) Welcome To Temptation by Jennifer Crusie. I remember reading this one clearly. I decided to take it to work with me to read during my break. Big mistake. I could not tear myself away from it and I spent the rest of the day trying to sneak in some reading while trying not to laugh as loudly as I wanted to. Definitely one of my favourites of 2006.

Isabel's Turn

1) Something Wonderful. Before reading this book, I hated Judith Mcnaught. Why? A Kingdom of Dreams. It sucked. I was afraid to read this one. But Something Wonderful redeemed JM in my eyes. I loved this book.

2)Whirlwind Wedding. I really love how Austin and Elizabeth met: Her falling from a bush to save a kitten. Her just sprawled there. I thought it was cute. I also love the scene when she falls from the horse (she was riding side saddle and was slipping off the horse. She in the mud and slid down the incline) and lands in front of Austin. She throws a dirt clod at him just to make a point and the mud hits him. I would totally do this. Accidentally hit a guy with mud.

3) The Boy Next Door. I didn't think a book written like a bunch of emails would work. But Meg Cabot pulled it off. I started reading it and could not put it down. I felt like I was really reading their personal emails.

4) As Always Jack. A wartime Love Story- I love, LOVE this book you guys. It's just tender and sweet. I can't say enough good things about it. It's a fast read. Once you get into the letters, you'll find yourself wanting to know more. The only thing I would change: that Beebe would've saved the letters she wrote to Jack.

5) The Duke and I. Another reread. I love this book. The fact Simon is so strong but so vulnerable when it comes to his stammer. How he tried to hide it from Daphne. "B-But what-"His face-his strong, handsome face, which was always so firm, always so in control- crumpled. "What if... if we have a child, a-a-and it comes out like me?" Don't you just want to hug him?

Jazz's turn...

Only 5? OMG this is to hard. lol. Okay okay here they are...

5) To Sir Phillip With Love by Julia Quinn~ Funny cause as far as I can tell this book doesn't get that much love from everyone. But I this was one of my favorites of the entire series. I loved the children and how they played in and I though the back story with the hero and heroine was awsome.

4) Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas~ I absolutely fell in love with this book. I found absolutely no faults with either the hero or heroine. No secrets between them, just a true love story of two people finding each other and falling in love.

3) The Seduction of His Wife by Janet Chapman~ I love this author more and more with each book I read. And there isn't any one particular thing that I can say this book had so much of that made me love it. It was just such a well rounded book. Great characters.

2) Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward~ I know there has been so much drama surrounding this book. But for me personally? I wasn't let down, I absolutely loved Z and Bella and thought I was given all I hoped for in this book.

1) His Every Kiss by Laura Lee Guhrke~ Love love loved this book! It had my crying and laughing, I couldn't put it down. One of my all time favorite historicals. LLG didn't hold back with character flaws at all in this book and I think it added so much to it.

If I could have a sixth it'd be Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn. LOVED IT!!!

Honorable mentions go to: I'm In No Mood For Love by Rachel Gibson, Carnal Gift by Pamela Clare, Stealing Heaven by Madaline Hunter, Take Me by Lucy Monroe, My Pleasure by Connie Brockway, My Surrender by Connie Brockway, and Dark Desire by Eve Silver.

Holly's Reads...

This is especially hard for me, because though I've read hundreds of books this year (yes, I literally read HUNDREDS of books) I only reviewed SOME of them. So when I was going through my log, I kept seeing these titles and thinking, "OMG! I LOVED THAT BOOK". But for you, Dear Readers, I'll try.

5) Survivor in Death by J.D. Robb(review to come). I love this entire series. Nora Roberts really captures me as JDR. But I picked this particular book because I loved seeing Eve and Roarke fumble their way through dealing with a child. And because seeing how much Eve had grown really touched me. Fabulous read.

4) A Rose at Midnight by Anne Stuart(review to come). It's not very often that I read a book and it's so well written, and the characters are so believable, that it puts me in a melancholy mood. But that's what this one did. I was so angry and twisted up inside, and yes so in love and wrapped up in the story, that it definitely makes my top 5 of the year. A shout out to Mailyn for pimping it.

3) Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. I started reading Kleypas years ago, but hadn't been very impressed with her more recent works. DIW reminded me why I love her writing so much. I wasn't sure she could make me love Sebastion after the way he acted in Autumn, but she did, and Evie was an amazing heroine. I loved it. I've re-read it so many times my copy is about to fall apart.

2) Twilight by Stephanie Meyer(review to come). Her first person take on a vampire-in-love story was wonderfully written and had me drawn in immediately. Edward Cullen has got to be one of the freshest vamps I've ever read about, and watching Bella fall in love with him was great.

1) Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. Another first person account, I was totally wrapped up in PS. I loved watching Yelena grow, and seeing her job as a food taster was just fabulous. Magic Study, the second book in this trilogy, was good, but not as good as PS, so I'm just going to give in an honorable mention.

Honorable Mentions for me include: Thicker Than Water by Maggie Shayne, Summer Breeze by Catherine Anderson, Take Me by Lucy Monroe, Depth Perception by Linda Castillo, Take A Chance on Me by Susan Donovan and Nothing to Fear by Karen Rose(review to come)

So there you have it. SF's top picks of 2006! Now dear readers what are yours??? We're dying to know....

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Happy Holidays from SF! Want Free Books??

This holiday season at SF, what's ours is yours. Please join us in celebrating the holidays by participating in our End of the Year GIVEAWAY!! (Ok, really? We totally stole borrowed the idea from Twisted Kingdom, but meh, whatever..LOL)

The rules are simple and easy.

Just copy/paste this post and/or put a link to it on your own blog, and then let us know you did so, either by emailing us, or leaving a comment here.

On January 1st, 2007, we'll draw two names and each lucky winner will have his/her choice of any THREE books from our Library Thing account. That's right, we're offering three books each, to two lucky people.








Merry Christmas, Buon Natale, Feliz Navidad,
Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa (and anything else we missed) and Happy New Year!!




***This is a sticky. Please scroll down for our regularly scheduled programming.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What's Your Favorite Setting For a Romance ?


First of all, we here at Sanctuary's Finest would like to send a big thank you to all of you who have participated in our mini poll which is located on the right sidebar under our quote of the week.

A mini poll is a great and easy way to find out what our readers like, what they're reading and who their favorite characters are...it's fantastically wonderful! =) So we decided to have a bi weekly mini poll to get to know our readers better and well, just because we're nosy and we just wanna know...alright? And yeah, I know that our mini poll has been up all month long, but well, I just finally got around to doing this post so just deal with it, alright? Sorry about that...I'll get better with this, I swear.

A few weeks ago, we put up the poll and here are the results:

What is Your Favorite Setting for a Romance?
  • 55% for The Highlands
  • 21% for The London Ton
  • 9% for Modern Day Contemporaries
  • 12% for Modern Day Paranormals
  • 3% for Westerns
According to our little poll, the fan favorite is The Highlands setting...so I thought I'd expound a little more on this particular subject and ask a few more questions to add to the little Highland Setting Poll...
  • Why do you guys like the highland setting so much? Does the coldness of the climate appeal to you or is it the sexy Highland Lairds that do it for you? Why do you like The Highlands better than say, England or America or even Ireland, what is it about Scotland that wraps you right up into the story?
  • Who's your favorite Highlander Hero?
  • Which author, in your opinion writes the best Highland stories?
  • Which book is your favorite Highland story?
  • Is there anything about the Highlands that you don't like? What?
Come tell ladies, inquiring minds want to know...

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas

Zachary Bronson has built an empire of wealth and power—now he needed a wife to help secure his position in society...and warm his bed in private. But not just any woman will do for a man whom all of London knows is not a gentleman. Then he unexpectedly swept Lady Holly Taylor into his arms for an unasked for—but very alluring—kiss, and suddenly he knew he had found a woman whose fierce passions matched his own.
Lady Holly Taylor was beautiful, generous, and, as a widow, destined to spend her life playing by society's rules, even when they went against her bolder instincts. But Zachary's kiss had aroused her, and though the shocking offer he made didn't include marriage, she was compelled to risk everything and follow him to the place where dreams begin.


A reread. I loved it. I forgot how much I love Zack! Here we have man who had to fight for everything he's got. The only thing he wants more than anything, is Holly. Holly was married to George who was perfect gentleman in every way. After 3 years, she still wears the half mourning clothes. She still loves her late husband, but it unsure of what she's supposed to do in life with him.

Zack offers Holly a position in his household to teach him, his mother and sister manners. Since he has become extremely wealthy, he wants to show the ton he's somewhat of a gentleman. While teaching Zack to become a gentleman, Holly starts feeling things she never felt before. But feels guilty for betraying George's memory.

My favorite quote is from Zack:

"I've had to fight for everything I've ever gotten. But I won't fight for you. You'll come to me because you want me. I'll be damned if I'll bully or beg you to have me."

Holly, leaves the house and returns to George's family. It's then she realizes she loves Zack.

Love this book. Love it. Grade: A

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Loving Julia by Karen Robards

I know this is a really old book, but this is the first time I've read it. KR was the first author that hooked me to the romance genre, and I've read most of her historicals. So it's about time I read Loving Julia, since it's one of her more popular works. The blurb is as follows:

London street urchin Jewel Combs had no future but one of whoredom and shame. Then a dying gentleman looked at her topaz eyes and still untouched innocence --and wed her to torment his aristocratic family with a final, scandalous joke after his death.

But Sebastian, Earl of Moorland, found nothing humorous in the cheeky young widow's claims on his cousin's inheritance...or in the smoldering sensuality of this rough Jewel. Appraising her with his ice blue eyes, he wondered if it might be amusing to polish her into a lady, call her Julia Stratham...and seduce her. Jewel had kept her virginity amid England's roughest men, yet when this devastatingly handsome lord lowered his mouth to her burning flesh, an irresistible fire consumed her...and even if he called her wanton, she vowed to be the lady he loved tonight...and forever.

This book was very promising but fell short of my expectations. The story is your classic "My Fair Lady" setup, the rags-to-riches heroine falls in love with her tutor. Going into it I knew the story wouldn't be special, but I was still expecting an awesome love story. Here are the main issues I had with Loving Julia:

1) Age difference - Jewel was around 16 years old while Sebastian was 31. I know for a historical heroines are generally younger, and I don't mean to offend anyone, but I just think this age gap is too big when the girl is that young. 15 years would've been okay with me had she been at least 18, but 16 just seems way too young. She's barely a woman!

2) Cockney accent - For the first few chapters, Jewel speaks with a broken accent that makes the flow of reading difficult. To illustrate: " 'old your 'orses a minute, 'ere. Suppose I don' wan' ter be turned into a bleedin' lady? I don' 'ave to do wot ya tell me, ya know. I can jes' take wot's comin' ter me and leave." Yah, it's one thing to hear Audrey Hepburn speak like that, but reading it is just a pain.

3) Sebastian's daughter Chloe - Sebastian has a 6 year old daughter whose mother was killed when she was about 2. Rumor has it that Sebastian pushed her off a ledge, so Chloe is afraid of her father and refuses to speak to anyone. This relationship disappointed me, because KR is usually great with family relationships. I was also expecting Julia to get closer to Chloe and in the end both she and Chloe would win Sebastian's affections; but Julia never had any interaction with her until the end when Chloe saved Julia's life! I couldn't believe how poorly the Chloe dilemma was resolved, one minute she's not talking to anyone, the next minute she's saving Julia's life and Sebastian is hugging her and saying he loves her.

4) Sebastian's mother - Again, the relationship idea. Sebastian did not get along with his mother, who in turn despised both Sebastian and Julia. At the very end Sebastian made amends with his mother, but nothing was resolved between her and Julia.

5) Sebastian's cold attitude - It was hard to understand how Sebastian felt about Julia, when he went from proposing she be his mistress to all of a sudden "falling in love" with her. He only wanted to teach her manners for his amusement and once she transformed into a lady, his amusement turned to lust and nothing more. I was not feeling it at all with him.

Those are my main gripes with the story. I'd give this one a 2 out of 5. Hopefully the next KR historical I read will be better.





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Is 'I Love You' Enough?

http://www.awesomebackgrounds.com/templates/i-love-you-letter-01.JPGPersonally, I'm a fan of the big, grand gesture. Yes, 'I Love You' is nice, but if it's just an I love You, with no big gesture to accompany it, I don't want it. The words just aren't enough sometimes.

Let me start at the beginning.

I was reading an older category-type* Nora Roberts last night (I think the story was originally published in '83) and the hero accused the heroine of being a whore. Literally.

The story goes like this:

She shows up in Hawaii to reconnect with her estranged father, whom she hasn't seen since she was 7, some 17-or-so years before. Quite by accident, she meets his young, handsome, extremely rich business partner, who is immediately suspicious of her. You see, her mother - who died a few months before this - was a selfish witch who took the money the father sent and kept it for herself, while she left her daughter in falling down boarding school. When the mother died, the daughter (I think her name was Laine) had to sell everything she had to pay back her mothers debt. That's when she found the Hawaii address and decided to use the last of her savings to see her father.

She truly was the innocent who'd been raised by nuns, but the young, handsome, virile business partner figured she was a gold-digger looking to fleece her unsuspecting father out of more money. He basically attaches himself to her so he can keep an eye on her, and after a day, in which he treats her like crap, she falls in love with him.

I'm already irritated at this point. He's insulted her, degraded her and basically treated her like a leper for ONE DAY and yet, she falls in love with him. This is the reason I hate this '80's novels.

But that's beside the point. Well, the point of this particular post, anyway. I'm sure I'll have another rant post about the above mentioned later.

So, he seems to be starting to care for her over the next week or so, but then some jealous Island Hooker (That's a technical term, you know) overhears Laine asking the housekeepers cousin to come and look at a locket she owns, because she needs the money to get home. The IH then runs and tells the hero and the next day, he walks in at the tail end of Laine's sale of her locket and thinks she's performed some unnamed sexual act for money.

You know, the virgin who was raised by nuns?

Well, Laine takes off back to Paris, totally depressed, and a few weeks later our darling hero tracks her down. He says, "I'm sorry I said those things. I love you" and she falls right into his arms. "I'll only come back with you if you marry me before we leave Paris"

Huh.

Yeah, see, I don't get it either. I guess Love just isn't enough for me. What about the groveling? What about the BIG.GRAND.GESTURE.? Yes, I realize this was written many moons ago, but I'm only picking on the lovely Miss Roberts because I read that particular book last night. If I thought about it, I'm sure I could come up with 50 more examples of this, in novels published within the last decade or so.

So tell me, is 'I Love You' enough, or do you need more? If what he's done is truly terrible, does him admitting his love make up for it? I don't think so. I guess I equate that to real life. Say my current boyfriend (love you MM) accused me of handing out sexual favors for money (you know, prostituting myself) a week after I met him (and he was serious, mind you), I would have booted him out the door so fast he'd have left skid marks for miles. And if, a week later, he showed up at my door confessing his undying love, I'd have kicked him again. Harder.

What about you?

*the story was Island of Flowers in the antho Going Home

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hot Item by Carly Phillips



Seen on the sidelines . . .

What star quarterback has been spotted with a new flavor of arm candy? It's notorious bad boy Riley Nash, but his newest flame is the last person this reporter could imagine—none other than Sophie Jordan, beautiful, buttoned-down co-owner of The Hot Zone, the industry's top sports management agency.

What's behind this unlikely team? Some say it has to do with the sudden disappearance of super agent Spencer Atkins. Could there be a connection between the red-hot quarterback and the missing dealmaker? Or has the famous groupie magnet simply met his perfect match in cool, collected Sophie? Watch this space, because the resulting news is bound to be one Hot Item.


Sophie Jordon along with her two sisters, one older one younger, was raised by her Uncle Yank from a very young age. Both parents being killed in a plane accident the girls learned early what unexpected heartache life brings. Each relying on their own different ways to cope.

Sophie's comfort comes from being able to control things. Her life, those in it. And if she cannot control it she needs to fully understand it. So when her Uncles best friend, and co-owner of the Athlete's Only and The Hot Zone Spencer Atkins goes MIA Sophia gets a little nervous. Ever since she became a partner at The Hot Zone Spence has always been in his office ready for business at 9am sharp, never late, no exceptions. But the day after all the papers picked up on the gossip about him being gay (the true gossip) Spencer changes his way and becomes a no show.

Sophie soon finds herself with an unexpected companion in her quest to find Spence. None other than the only athlete to ever make her hot, Riley Nash, professional football star. And the bigger shock? Spense is Riley's biological father. All his life Riley has known who his father was but never had contact with him, although he did everything in his power to be noticed. Blessed with a natural talent and love for football he was sure his father the Sports Agent would recognize him and accept him, but that doesn't happen. So Riley decided long ago he needed nobody especially not his father, but Sophie makes his heart flip and stomach flop. How can he a firm believer in doing what he wants when he wants, no rules at all fit with a control obsessed woman?

So with his own issues on being rejected and Sophie's issues with needing to control everything it should be painfully obvious that they don't work. Except for that the burning heat between them, and how they seem to understand each other so well without any words makes a mockery of all their intentions to tell themselves and each other it won't work.

So go pick up the book and see how these two overcome their childhood issues, interfering Uncles, gay fathers, and bratty teenage daughter.

Funny, interesting, and sexy, a must read in my book.

Grade: B

Hot Stuff
Hot Number
Hot Item

Dylan's Turn:


Hero: Riley Nash
Heroine: Sophie Nash
Category: Contemporary
Page Count: 378 pages
Grade: B-

Okay, so this was the last installment to the Hot Zone Trilogy (is that what this is called?) Well anyway, this book was a quick read for me, a quick and very enjoyable read.

Sophie is the last Jordan sister who needs her happy ending and she finally gets hers not too long after Micki got hers. She has an insane crush on Footballer Riley Nash of the New York Giants and even though she hates athletes, Riley has gotten under her skin and she's so hot damn attracted to him that it bugs the heck out of her.

They take a trip to Florida to find his biological father and her partner who has gone missing, Spencer Atkins.

Their journey to finding love with each other was a pleasant story to read. I loved watching Sophie's personality shine through in her book. The whole controlling thing didn't bother me as much as I thought it would and I enjoyed reading about her falling in love with Riley and more importantly (for me atleast) to see Riley falling in love with Sophie.

I loved when Riley realized that he was indeed in love with Sophie. I thought it was so sweet. He was a fantastic hero, one who was kind, caring and outrageously gorgeous. He's an athlete too and I've got such a soft spot for athletes. I loves his relationship with Lizzie and I loved how he learned from his mistakes and he wasn't a butt head and stubborn (like Yank) when he was wrong.

Sophie was a fabulous heroine and I enjoyed her very much. She wasn't this pushover heroine that got on my nerves, she was what she was and I loved how Riley accepted her for it. He loved her despite all of her retarded little quirks like her incessant need to control everyone's lives.

It was sweet.

This book was sweet, fun and cute. I totally recommend it. This is my second favorite in the series, Hot Number being my most favorite!

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hot Number by Carly Phillips

The Hot Zone:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Micki Jordan, co-ownder of The Hot Zone Sports Agency

Micki Jordan, publicist to the brightest stars in the sports world, is pleased to announce the end of her tomboy ways, effective immediately. While she will still be able to discuss the finer points of the two-man defense, Micki has transformed herself into one hot number, and she will no longer be known as "just one of the guys."
To that end, Micki is now holding tryouts for the position of new man in her life. Current leading contender Damian Fuller is a professional ballplayer and a major-league playboy. Those who would like to go head-to-head with the wildest player in the league for a chance at winning Micki's heart should apply in person . . .

Let the games begin.


Now at first glance, this book seems to be like every other predictable contemp romance with a sports focus - with the hero fighting the premature end of his sporting career and the heroine battling her own insecurities as well as trying to to succeed where every other woman had failed: to break through the hero's defenses and prove that all their tomorrows should be spent together.

Yes, this book definitely had all those qualities but it was far from a disappointment. In fact, the first time I read this book I was completely hooked. I chanced upon Hot Number a little over six months ago while I was shopping for snacks with Dylan at Wal-Mart. So as the two of us browsed the aisles talking and what not, I continued to flick through the cute book to see if there was anything of interest. And yes, I was definitely interested. I think I devoured the Prologue, the first chapter and half of the second before I realised that I was practically reading non-stop in the store. I knew then, that if I couldn't stop reading at the store, there was no way I could leave it behind. And thankfully I didn't.

The fact that I was on vacation at the time visiting some long distance friends and still couldn't bare to put the book down, should be confirmation enough that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Micki Jordan was a spunky heroine and even though she was sporting some insecurities she was still able to be the confident assertive heroine we all love. Damian Fuller, the hottest player on and off the field was definitely a treat. What I loved most about him was his sense of honor, especially towards Micki. And it's no wonder Micki fell for this particular ball player.

I haven't been all too impressed by Carly Phillips other books so I was quite surprised that Hot Number had fast become one of my romantic sports favourites - alongside The Chicago Star series by SEP.

Hot Number is apart of a three book series, centering on the Jordan sisters, beginning with Hot Stuff. Hot Item is scheduled to be released in June 2006 and you can bet that I'll be anxiously awaiting for my copy.

If you're looking for a light romantic read, I'd definitely recommend Hot Number.

Dylan's Review:

Hero:
Damien Fuller
Heroine: Micki Jordan
Category: Contemporary
Grade: B+


Grace did a spectacular review on this book and I just wanted to add a little bit to it since I just finished reading this book myself.

This book was definitely on my TBR list and has been since that memorable day that I stood in Wal Mart trying unsucessfully to have any kind of conversation with Grace, whom was visiting from her far away homeland of Australia. I have Carly Phillips to blame for stealing precious time away from Grace's first trip to the states to visit myself and our friends. She was so engrossed in this book and after finishing the book myself last night, I completely understand why she was so wrapped up in it.

Now, I should add that the reason I'm just barely getting around to reading this series is because I have been very wary of trying anything new by Carly Phillips (and by new, I mean new to me) because I haven't been "wowed" by Carly Phillips yet. I mean, I've only read one of her other books and that was the first book in The Chandler Brother's series, Roman's story. I think it was called The Bachelor and though I liked it well enough, it didn't have enough of a pull for me to think "Wow that was a great book" but I thought it would get better as the series progressed but then I never finished Rick's book. It was the first book that I never finished and to this day, almost 3 years later, I STILL haven't finished that book. So I never got around to reading Chase's book which I hear is the best book and a favorite among CP fans.

But I can finally say that Carly Phillips has wowed me.

The storyline behind this book isn't a new storyline, it wasn't fresh, it wasn't something that I haven't read before but none of that mattered to me while reading this book. Carly Phillips did a wonderful job writing this book.

I absolutely LOVE this kind of storyline and Carly Phillips delivered a great rendition to the ol' Aging Athlete denying the end of his career and tomboy unsure of her worth as a woman. Damien Fuller was a memorable hero and Micki was a fantastic heroine! The storyline didn't drag at all and it was just fun, light and very fulfilling. A truly great read!

Ya'll should definitely pick this book and give it a whirl, I'm so glad I did!

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Check it out!

Anne Rainey got her cover for her first book Haley's Cabin! What do you all think?
You know how much of a cover snob I am and I don't think it's bad. That's saying a lot. haha. The girl is actually pretty and doesn't have a stupid damsel in distress look on her face, and the guys body? Can you say YUMMY! Granted I think his areolas are oddly big and pointed, lol, but his tummy, arm, and chest? Yeah, I'll take some of that.

In general Anne Rainey news things are happening. In January you can look forward to our interview with Anne. Be sure to be here for that while I get all her dirty secrets about her erotic writing, being married and raising her family. And anything else we can think up.

Then in February Haley's Cabin will be on sale! And I personally will be the first one to buy it. And you won't hear me shut up about it till all of you read it too.

So be prepared the time is getting closer.....

And in the mean time keep up to date on her and all her other works in progress on her blog and website.

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Hot Stuff by Carly Phillips


Hero: Brandon Vaughn
Heroine: Annabelle Jordan
Page Count: 377 pages
Grade: C

New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips introduces a sizzling new trilogy — The Hot Zone — the three Jordan sisters are all grown up, and the sports world will never be the same!

Annabelle Jordan and her two sisters were orphans in frilly dresses when they went to live with their sports-lawyer uncle in his world of locker rooms, bookies and gambling.

Now the girls are publicists in their uncle's firm, the Hot Zone. Despite her upbringing Annabelle is allwoman. She's naturally drawn torealmen — like her latest client, ex-football legend and businessman Brandon Vaughn.

The chemistry is potent, undeniable,irresistible. But Annabelle soon realizes that Brandon is much more than just another jock. And that she'd better hold on tight if she doesn't want to lose her heart.


Hmmm.

This book was your average romance novel with a really hot hero, a great heroine and witty secondary characters. The storyline was a real basic storyline and though I enjoyed it for what it was, this wasn't the best romance novel ever.

It was cute and it made me sigh and I'm not mad that I read it but it was very predictable and I knew who the villain of this book was right from the very beginning.

Brandon Vaughn is one of those hot hero's that has you drooling from page 1 to page 377, he's one of those hero's that you want to take the challenge on of showing him just how worthy he is for love because of course he doesn't think he is. I enjoyed getting to know him and I enjoyed seeing him get his happy ending in ALL things, not just with Annabelle. I was very happy with the way his story ended. It was good stuff.

Annabelle Jordan is the oldest Jordan sister and she has had issues with her parents death that has stayed with her into adulthood and though she was a good heroine, she wasn't by any stretch my favorite. I just couldn't really relate to her or her problems so because I didn't understand her or why her issues were still issues when she's a grown ass woman, I just didn't really feel much about her.

I enjoyed the secondary characters very much. Nick and Mara? Love them. Yank and Lola? LOVE THEM. Sophie and Mick? I love them too! I loved the relationship between the three Jordan sisters and thought that it was just great to see sisters so bonded together if that makes any sense. LOL.

Would I recommend this book? Sure, only if you're looking to read something very fluffy, funny and light. This was an enjoyable read but it wasn't as engrossing as other books that I've read.

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Beyond Seduction by Emma Holly

To avoid marriage, Merry Vance has concocted a sinfully scandalous scheme: to pose for Nicolas Craven, London's most sought-after artist. No man in his right mind would marry a woman who posed nude for this notorious rogue.

But Nicolas has his own plans for the fiesty young woman. And Merry has no idea how hot it can get in an artist's studio.


I think I might have enjoyed reading this had I not read Because You're Mine first. Basically, same plot.

Merry doesn't want to marry the guy her mom has picked out. Lavina (Merry's mom) wants Merry to accept Ernest's proposal. Why? Because she once had an affair with his father. Ernest's father is blacking mailing Lavina. Merry decided to pose nude for Nick Craven.

She gives him a fake name and lives with him in his house. In between sketches and painting, he shows her passion she's never experienced.

Of course, Merry's true identity is revealed. We learn Nick isn't a common painter, but a marquis yet to claim his title.

Really similar to Because You're Mine in my opinion. The scenes are hot and steamy. I like Merry and I feel sorry for her. Her mother has run off other suitors and spread rumors about Merry in hopes of driving Merry to Ernest. When at the end, Merry's father always knew about the affair.

Decent read but I like Beyond Innocence more. Yes, I know my review sucked for that book. I had just returned from Vegas so my brain was still mush.

Grade: C.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Holiday Giveaway!!!

Who doesn't love free books, right? Well, the wonderful ladies of Twisted Kingdom are offering some in their Holiday Giveaway. Just follow the link to see the rules.

http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/7668/tkhgod9.jpg

Happy Holidays!

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Monday, December 11, 2006

We Moved!!

For the last few months we've been wanting to switch to a Beta account, but were unable to do so. I still don't know what the problem was, but we got tired of getting server errors and finally just transfered the blog ourselves.

So, as you go back through old posts, you'll notice there are no comments. Since we just copied, pasted and republished our posts, we were unable to transfer the comments. Because Dylan is the coolest, we were able to keep our same web address, though. So if you link to us, you don't have to worry about changing anything on your sidebar or Blogrolling account.

Just wanted to give everyone a heads up. :)

Hugs,
SF
(Holly, Dylan, Jazz, Grace, Isabel and Daphne)

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Matter of Temptation by Lorraine Heath

The handsome duke whom Victoria married is more deliciously exciting than the cold-hearted rogue she was engaged to…
How could he possibly be the same man?
Because boys and girls, he's NOT! *gasp* I do not like this story line people.
We have twins, Robert and John. Robert was born December 31, John January 1. Robert, being the oldest my minutes, is heir to the dukedom.
On ther 18th birthday, they go out drinking. Robert wakes up in Pentonville Prison. He receives a letter informing his parent are dead. The note is from... why it's from Robert! So that means, John had this planned all along.
Robert escapes sends John to prison. Only to find out the next day is Robert/John's wedding day. Torrie, figures something is different about the man she married, she can't figure out what.
Of course, John comes back and insists he is Robert. Torrie is mad at the real Robert saying he lied. Well, what the hell did J0hn do? Come on now. Then she's all hurt that Robert didn't confide in her and blah, blah, blah. The end: Robert send John away to a asylum. Torrie plans on divorcing Robert cause Robert techincally didn't propose to her. But after having a orgasmic night with Robert, she changes her mind.
I don't like this plot line. It's annoying and frustrating. So meh. In fact, I just read the first couple of chapters, then I skimmed the rest of it.
Grade: D

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Friday, December 8, 2006

The Lyons Lady by Julie Garwood

Hero: Lyon, Marquis of Lyonwood
Heroine: Christina Bennett
Category: Historical Romance
Grade: C

Christina Bennett had taken London society by storm. The ravishing beauty guarded the secret of her mysterious past until the night Lyon, Marquis of Lyonwood, stole a searching, sensuous kiss. An arrogant nobleman with a pirate's passions, he tasted the wild fire smoldering beneath Christina's cool charm and swore to posess her...

But the fiesty and defiant Christina would not be so easily conquered. Mistress of her heart and of her fortune, she resisted Lyon's sensuous caresses. She dared not surrender to his love...for then, she must also forsake her precious secret...and her promised destiny!


This book was just okay for me.

I thought it was funny in parts and I really dug Christina's quirky personality. I loved how the story begins with Christina as the only white child in the whole Indian community. I loved how loyal Christina's Mom and her brother were in keeping her and giving her the family that she needed when she lost her real family. I also loved seeing Christina's father slowly coming to love the little white girl and then when she's shipped to England and she meets Lyon and he's trying to keep her from eating the shrubs and all that, I think it's cute.

I think I really liked Christina more than I did Lyon though, because Christina was one tough ass heroine. The way she cornered Sybil in the library with Lyon ready to defend her, oh gosh, I was rollin'...Julie Garwood does a good job of finding the humor that goes with a romance to make it enjoyable as well as endearing.

I don't know what it was about Lyon that just didn't grab me the way that the other JG heroes have. He was fine, really he was...he was strong, hot and great in the sack and yet, I couldn't like him the same way I love, Connor, Alec, Gabriel, Royce and all of those others, but he was just okay to me.

Meh, sorry...

This book was really good, but it's not my favorite Julie Garwood, as good as it is, it just wasn't enough to sneak into my Top 5, or my Top 10...oh well, it's still a good read though.

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Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Hero of the Week: Sam Starrett


Sam F**king Starrett


Crack!

The sound came from outside, from the port side of the plane, and Stan went to one of the windows to look out. "Ah Christ!"

Teri looked, too. The port wing had broken clear off. She could see Lieutenant Starrett on the ground, his face grim as he surveyed the damaage.

He looked up, directly at Stan. "Will you please f***ing go and f***ing get me a real f***ing World Airlines 747, Senior Chief? Right f***ing now?"

Stan looked at Teri. "Looks like I'm going to need a ride to the ariport."

"Don't you mean the f***king airport?" she asked, biting the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling.


*grin*

I love it! Sam and his cursing makes him a stud in my eyes! haha.

When we first meet Sam Starrett, he's one of those big time jerks that you just want to slap upside his head. He says rude and sexist things to get a rise out of Alyssa Locke, but the man has a heart of gold. He may be a goofball and a dork, but he gets the job done. Nothing is more important to him than his job. He's a big, bad Navy SEAL and it actually means something to him. We don't know why it means so much to him until we read his book, but when we first meet him and are getting to know him, we know that he means business when he's going over special training ops, shooting the bad guys and keeping us all toasty warm and safe here in the States.

What I liked most about Sam Starrett is the growth we see in his character in the six books that we saw him in. When we first meet him, he's this sexist womanizer who thinks that all women should be at home, keeping his house clean and making his dinner.

And then he fell like a rock for Dylan Alyssa Locke.

And Alyssa Locke isn't the kind of woman who'd stay home and make anyone's dinner or do their laundry, she's a tough as nails woman trying to make it in the Navy. And though Sam tried not to, he fell for her anyway.

Now, Sam isn't a very popular hero among people, but that's okay because I love him more than enough for 20 women. I can go on and on about why I love this man, but what I loved most about him was...

..Sam was real.

There have been plenty of times that I'll read a book and the Hero would be this perfect cookie cutter hero who does NO wrong and is just PERFECT....well Sam isn't like that and I loved that about him. We saw the way he reacted to things that happened to him, he made mistakes, he learned from his mistakes and he was a big time dick sometimes, but he was also very sweet. And all because...

...he was REAL.

He reacted the way a man would react and I just love that. He kept it real and did what he thought was right. When it turned out that he didn't do the right thing, he did what any normal guy would do, he stewed for a bit but then he woke up and he took action.

Among his other things, the man is good in bed. And I'm talking real good in bed.

...Oh, he liked the sound of that. He liked the way she was looking at the syrup, looking at him. His body was responding enthusiastically, even though it was still just a little too soon. But give him fifteen more minutes with Alyssa Locke and a bottle of chocolate syrup...Oh, baby, he'd be ready for anything.

She opened the top, squeezed some of the syrup onto one finger.

He took her hand, looked directly into her sea green eyes, and slowly licked her finger clean.

Alyssa shivered.

And Sam knew that no matter how much he'd loved chocolate in the past, from now on, it was going to hold an even more special place in his heart.


You see what I'm talking about? I cannot eat M&M's without thinking about Sam Starrett and every damn time that I drizzle chocolate syrup on my ice cream, you can bet the farm that that scene above pops right into my mind. And when I think of that scene, the following scene sticks out in my mind and I get a little faint hearted because gosh, Sam is the bomb!

"No comment, huh? You know, to this day, I can't eat chocolate without thinking about you, Lys." He shifted in the darkness, and she knew he was looking at her. "I can't taste it without tasting you."

I'm telling you, there's so much to love about this man but just so you guys can see for yourself some of my favorite Samisms..

"I love you," he whispered. "I want as much from you as you're willing to give. So if you have any desire at all to turn this thing-I don't know, what do you call it, this get trached and go slumming thing with me every six months?- into something more regular, I'm right here. I'm ready."

*sigh* Do you remember in Over the Edge when he told her how he felt about her? *sigh* I frickin' love this guy!

"That's...that's great." Sam nodded. "I'm really happy for you, Lys. I'm..." He put down his coffee, ran one hand down his face as he made a sound that might've been laughter. "I'm so fu@#$&* jealous I can hardly breathe."

Remember in Out of Control, how bad he wanted to be with her and how jealous he was of her relationship with Max Beghat? Poor Sam.

It's my body," she said quietly. "Shouldn't the choice be mine?"
"Yes. It should," he told her. "And it is. I'm not saying it's not. But it's also our baby, and ....I know you think I'm a jerk, but I really do want to have a family with you. I know it's way too early for me to tell you that, but it's true and I think you need to know it before you go taking some pill, just in case you were maybe thinking that it was something I didn't want. I just think it's fair-and important-for you to know how I feel."

Alyssa was quiet for a long time.

So Sam kept going. He'd completely jumped the gun anyway. Might as well go big. "I am going to marry you, Alyssa. And if not now, then someday we will have a baby together. I'm determined. You might want to start bracing yourself for the inevitability of that."


Remember when he finally just went for the whole enchilada and let her know what his intentions were, he'd been through Hell and back and so what the hell, this time around he was going for what HE wanted....YAY!

It was only then, as they were hustling the injured boy down the trail, that Roger dropped to his knees and threw up in the dirt.

Remember THAT? Awwww, I love it! haha...makes him real and solid because that's such a human thing to do and I don't think it's dumb or stupid, Holly...I think it's cute!

There are so many reasons why I chose Sam Starrett for this week's Hero of the Week and this post is just a tiny bit of that...Sam Starrett ROCKS MY SOCKS!

And some pictures of this sexy man...





Until next week...

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Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The Daystar by Rene Lyons

Hero: Constantine Draegon
Heroine: Lexine Parker
Category: Paranormal
Page Count: 247 pages
Grade: B-
Buy It: Here.

Can she heal lifetimes of pain and make him believe salvation is possible?

Always feeling different from the world around her, a power grows within Lexine Parker. In the light is where she belongs—even as she finds herself thrust into the nocturnal realm of the Templar vampires.

Scarred by a brutal past, Constantine is a creature consumed with rage. He knows only darkness and sin. Believing he fights a losing battle of redemption, heaven is something he doesn’t dare hope for—until Lexine makes him believe salvation is possible.

Locked away in an ancient castle, they come together in body and spirit, searching for love to chase away the darkness. With Constantine’s soul at stake and Lex’s life on the line, the nights tick down to a cataclysmic event that could tear them apart forever.


This book was a book that I've been waiting a LONG time to read and I'm glad that I did because I enjoyed the story as a whole, but there was a bunch of little things that bothered me, but none of those things had anything to do with the story, just little stupid things that I couldn't stomach and hope to high heaven I never see again. Like, Raphael calling Lex, boo and Constantine's constant nickname for Lex being, elf. I didn't like them but I didn't hold those little things against the story as a whole. Then there was the fact that I couldn't get used to Allie being a vampire so whenever she would bare her fangs, I tried to stifle my giggles. It was just so weird for me to read about Allie being a vampire, weird and dumb, but there you go. There were other things I didn't care for, like Goth guys, I'm not into that whole Gothic guys, they don't attract me but Rene did a good job of making me see Con for what he was and still being able to respect him even though I wasn't swooning with delight over him, the way I was whenever my main squeeze, Raphael was mentioned in the story.

So, in this story we read about Constantine Draegon and Lexine Parker's romance story. Constantine is a Templar Knight and Lexine is Allie Parker's sister. The whole story revolves around the Daystar. Now, in Midnight Sun we read about how the Templars as well as all the Evil vampires and their bad armies are looking for the Daystar because whoever has the Daystar has the power to rule the world. Very cool things, I think and it was good to see Lex come into her own with her link to the Daystar.

What I liked about the story is that the story for me didn't drag, it was good enough to keep me interested in what was going to come next and I really liked the ending. I liked that everything didn't just always go good for Lex and Constantine, I liked that they had to work for their happy ending and work they did. I loved how the ending scene went down and I just loved how completely in love with Lex Constantine was. He may not have said the words, but they were there in his actions and in the way he loved Lex. He was not going to give her up without a fight and that's exactly what he did. He fought for her.

I loved that.

There was a lot going on right up into the last chapters of the story and that is what I loved, they overcame overwhelming odds to be together and Con's love for Lex was strong enough to get them through it and man that makes my romantic heart melt a little. It's just so effing romantic and you know I love me some good romance.

Rene definitely delivers with this one.

Con's book was everything I hoped it would be and a little bit of what I hoped it wouldn't be and besides those little things that left a bitter taste in my mouth, the book was still really good and I would recommend this book to all those who want to continue the Templars series and read more about good vampires.

That goes for you 5 who knows who you are...=) Read this and let me know how you liked it. I liked it a lot.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

"No matter what happens, rest assured that I've already seen Heaven. I see it every time I look at you."

-Constantine

"Forever, elf, I want you forever."

-Constantine

Who knew Constantine could be so sweet? But he was, beneath that icy personality and cold attitude that he shows the world, Constantine Draegon was NOT the monster he wanted everyone to believe him to be. He just was what he was. He didn't apologize for being the complete bastard that he was to everyone, he made his bastardness (is that a word?) apart of him and people either accepted it or they didn't. I think Rene did a wonderful job of portraying Constantine Draegon and having him stay true to his character, there wasn't one part of the book where I thought, OH YEAH RIGHT CONSTANTINE WOULDN'T SAY THAT OR DO THAT, it was all on point. So good on ya for that one, Rene. I loved it!

Lex accepted him. I liked that about her, what I didn't like about her was that she cried all the time. I'd probably be the same way but gosh, all of her crying and her being scared of everything just wasn't working in her favor to be a really good heroine to me. She wasn't the woman that her sister was and though I don't hate Lex, she's not my favorite heroine. She was just there and Constantine happened to love her.

That's it.

Constantine, mean and fierce Constantine. I wanted to love him and I did but I wasn't IN love with his character like I was with Sebastian and like I was with Raphael and Raph isn't even a main character in the stories yet....I was more drawn to Seb and Raph in these stories but that didn't take away from my enjoyment of Constantine. He was a fabulous hero, very masculine and very strong, but my heart lays elsewhere and that's that.

Great job, Rene...you did good with this one, I look forward to reading more of the Templars in Lucian's book...where the bloody hell is Lucian woman? I want to read his book like..NOW!

I can't wait for more Templar action, that's for sure.

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Monday, December 4, 2006

Midnight Sun by Rene Lyons

Where the damned come to play. When things go bump in the night, Allison Parker bumps back. As the resident ghost hunter in a quiet, rural town, she's thrust into the nocturnal world of the Templars. Embracing the night, she finds a place where she belongs. Damned by God, Sebastian of Rydon knows only blood and death. After eight hundred years of merely existing, he learns what is to live when Allie comes bursting into his life. Her spirit guides him out of the dark. Caught in a web of hate and revenge, they search for love as their world is torn apart.

It's taken me forever to read this. I had the book in e book format. But I couldn't make myself read it while on the computer. I kept forgetting to pring pages out at work. Finally I gave up and figured I'd wait for paperback.
E books suck.

Anyway~~~~

I don't know what to say really. I would just be repeating Holly, Dylan and Jazz.

I did enjoy the story. I would to love to read more about the templars and their history. I was shocked about Stephen and Lucian. This should be interesting. I can't wait for this story line to unfold.

I liked Allie and Sebastian as a couple. Although them hooking up seemed sudden. That kind of irked me. Like Holly said in her review, the beginning was a little confusing with the POV jumping around.

I like that Allie was a strong woman, but she was still vulnerable. She didn't play games with Sebastian. She let him know how she felt. Even though he felt he didn't deserve her, he held onto her tightly. He didn't try and push her away.

I'm looking forward to the rest of series.

Grade: B

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