Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Midnight's Wild Passion by Anna Campbell

Sigh...what a beautiful story of a man bent on revenge falling so thoroughly in love with a passionate woman who is trying to hide her past failings all while, of course, not realizing it. Miss Antonia Smith is the fiercest companion of the ton to Miss Cassandra Demarest, protecting her from all the rakes, and for a good reason as Antonia had her own falling out with a rake that ruined her reputation and forced her to become a companion. When the notorious rake, Nicholas Challoner, Marquess of Ranelow, shows interest in Cassie, Antonia tells him to leave her alone. Oh, when these two lock eyes, you can just feel the attraction and passion they instantly have for each other. Nicholas immediately seems through Antonia attempts to disguise herself, her cap can not conceal her silvery blond hair, the tinted spectacles can't hide those ice blue eyes and the frumpy clothes can not hide the young pretty woman beneath them. As they talk, he knows that she must be from a proper family but can't understand why she is trying to hide herself.

Nicholas is set upon ruining Cassie, just as her father ruined his beloved sister twenty years ago. He did not have a great childhood but his sister was his one bright spot and when she was sent away for being ruined, he hardened his heart and decided to become a rake. But when he meets the lovely tigress Antonia, he just can't shake her from his mind. He knows he must have her and surely that will get her out of his system. When he finally gets Antonia to follow through on their mutual desires, smokin, but the desire is stronger than ever.

Anna Campbell wove a beautiful story and her writing of these two falling in love and snapping with each other was a pleasure to read. I loved watching this hard man slowly meld into a caring, loving man that loves and protects with everything inside of him. And Antonia, the poor woman had been forced to shove her passionate nature down because of a young foolish mistake and she paid for it dearly losing her family and bits of herself but Nicholas put her heart back together and breathed life back into her. I really loved this book, I can not really think of anything that I wished was different. The cover is gorgeous as well! This was my first Anna Campbell book and I am really looking forward to savoring her backlist, her writing was just beautiful to me. 5 lovely stars for this one!

Thanks to for providing me with the ebook arc.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

To Surrender To A Rogue by Cara Elliott

Lud, what another great book from Cara Elliott (sorry couldn't resist with the lud, just cracks me up reading in in her books along with la!). This book picks right up were To Sin With A Scoundrel leaves off and while not necessary to read that one first, you do get to meet our hero and heroine for the first time there and see the sparks fly! Lady Alessandra della Giamatti is not at all amused when she is told that Lord James Pierson tied her daughter to a tree to protect her. She is, of course, very upset and says some very spirited things to Jack, along with her daughter and the two of them are dismayed to find themselves both working at an excavation site in Bath. Alessandra takes her scholarship work very seriously and is not happy that some pampered lord is allowed on the site. But when Jacks true talent as an artist emerge, she has to retreat her rude comments as Jack proves to be an excellent addition to the team.

It is Jacks love of art that helps bridge the gap between him and Alessandra daughter, Isabella and I thought the relationship these two build was very sweet. Even though Isabella is a large part of this story, she does not take over it but instead blends in nicely. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the developing relationship between these two but was portrayed was wonderful. When Alessandra is confronted from a secret from her past and forced to do some actions against her will to protect Isabella, Jack demands to know what is bothering her. As Alessandra is deeply ashamed and appalled at her secret she refuses at first to tell him, but thankfully tells him in good time and it does not drag out too long!

Watching the sparks fly and sting between Alessandra and Jack was a bit of fun! She is quite tempermental and I loved how Jack referred to her distracting mouth as "the Mouth". Alessandra has no intention of ever accepting help from a man again and this frustrates Jack to no end. Oh, but when they finally succumb to their growing desires..wowza. It was great watching how these two relaxed into each but still stayed true to themselves. Overall, this was another fun, sexy read for me with a bit of a mystery and intrigue thrown in with a bit of a twist I didn't expect. I really enjoyed how they were on on excavation site but it was just in Bath, and not some far off exotic locale, nice change of pace. Looking forward to the final book in this trilogy that features another feisty heroine and hero, To Tempt a Rake! 4 good stars for this one

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Shy Duchess by Amanda McCabe

This is a spin off from The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor: Justine and the Noble Viscount \ Annalise and the Scandalous Rake \ Charlotte and the Wicked Lord, more specially Amanda McCabes story in the novella and I think it is a good idea to read it first as we our couple actually meet for the first time in that story, though it is recapped well in this story. Lady Emily Carroll is terribly shy and has earned the nickname 'Ice Princess' amongst her peers as she is beautiful but still has no husband and can not seem to talk to any one. Nicholas, Duke of Manning, has always been intrigued by the quiet, if clumsy, beauty but knows it is time to find a wife and fulfill his duties as duke. Nicholas has a sad secret that is deeply buried from his wild, loving family and he has no hopes of marrying for love, just some companionship. When circumstances force Emily and Nicholas to become engaged, the thawing of both of them begins.

This was a very enjoyable book with a swoon worthy hero and and heroine that comes into her own beautifully and proves that she is no 'ice princess'. I have enjoyed both stories that I have read by Amanda McCabe and was pleased to discover she has quite a back list under this name and also writes under the name Laurel McKee. She seems to write characters that are believable with their flaws and some steamy love stories and I am looking forward to more by this author! 4 stars

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis

Another fun, sexy, entertaining book from Jill Shalvis! This is the start of a trilogy around three foster brothers who had a rough childhood but found family together and now all run a business together. Well, our hero, Brady Miller isn't a part of it...yet but his brothers are hoping he finally settles down and helps them out. When his truck is rear ended by the delightful, sexy Lilah Young, he just knows his life is about to change. Because really....who drives around with a duck, a pig and a couple of dogs?
Lilah is co-owner of the local kennel in town and is always boarding animals and helping strays find new homes, each time giving away a tiny bit of her heart. When Brady makes it perfectly clear he is not sticking around, she is all to happy to just have a fling. And, wowza...what a fling they have! Will these two find happiness together for the long haul or do they stick with the fling set up? Their journey to the end was fun, sexy and I look forward to Bradys brothers stories! Jill Shalvis is one of my favorite contemporary authors as she writes great characters and wonderful settings. Hey, even the animals in this story expressed their feelings great! 4 stars

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bought: The Penniless Lady by Deborah Hale

This is book two in Deborah Hales 'Gentleman of Fortune' miniseries and I think you will get the best feel for this book if you read the previous book, Married: The Virgin Widow but its not necessary. Lady Artemis Dearing is saddened and lonely after the death of her brother and sister but is comforted by her darling nephew. When Lees uncle, Hadrian Northmore, suddenly appears and tells her he will get custody of the young boy, Artemis is devastated and says some harsh words to him. After a bit of time to rethink the situation, the situation being that Artemis has been told by her uncles to find a new home for the illegitimate Lee and stop caring for him, she decides that the best plan would be for her to marry Hadrian and care for the boy as Hadrian plans to return to his life overseas and leave Lee with a nanny in England.
Hadrian reluctantly agrees to this plan but is a bit suspicious of Artemis' turnaround on her views. And when it becomes know after they are married that Artemis is penniless, it really drives home the point that she should not be trusted. Still, these two thankfully overcome these small obstacles and slowly realize they have some feelings for each other. Watching these two strong willed people fall in love was very sweet. There is a scene where Hadrian stands up to his housekeeper, who is bad mouthing Artemis that was excellent. This was yet another warm, sweet, fun Harlequin and I really enjoy the writing of Deborah Hale. The premise for the next book, Wanted: Mail-Order Mistress , was introduced a bit and I am looking forward to reading it! 3 1/2 stars

The Perfect Scandal by Delilah Marvelle

This is the third and last installment in the unique scandal series from Delilah Marvelle. However, each can be read as a stand alone as the only connecting thread is a red book of how to avoid a scandal written by the hero of this book, Tristan, Marquis of Moreland. Tristan happens to catch a glimpse of his beauty of a neighbor one night as she is gazing out her window, totally inappropriately in her dressing gown that allows her bosom to be on display as she leans out to talk to him. Zoisa has had her eyes on Tristan and is thrilled he finally notices her and begs of him to call on her the next day so they may meet properly and she can propose her plan of action to him. Tristan, being a proper gentleman, refuses and sends his book instead but just can not shake the dark haired beauty from him thoughts.
A few weeks pass by when he notices a long line of men lining up outside her door and he goes over and shoves his way in to finally meet the lovely Zoisa, a countess from Poland. He is also startled to notice that she only has one leg but as it does not repulse him in the least, he has a fleeting hope that maybe she can overlook his own deep, hidden secrets. As the two finally talk face to face and Zoisa proposes her plan of marriage and her reasons for it, Tristan is a bit shocked but decides to think on it for a bit. But when circumstances unknown to him and her arise, they are forced to go ahead with the marriage quicker than they had thought.

This was yet another unique book for me to read. It had a bit too much political overhaul for me that I personally do not really enjoy but it added a bit of a new twist the storyline. Also, Tristans 'scandal' from his past that he has had to keep hidden is another topic not touched upon much in romance and though a bit odd, I thought Ms Marvelle did another good job with the topic, just as with the previous two novels. Overall, another good story. Not something I plan to reread anytime soon but if you want a lovely romance with some history and a bit of a darker undertone, this is a good book to try. I look forward to future books by Ms Marvelle, hopefully some lighter stuff as I have enjoyed her writing. 3 1/2 stars

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Lady's Wish by Katharine Ashe

This was my first little taste of Katharine Ashe and for a short story, I was very impressed. This is the love story of Lady Patricia Morgan and Captain Nickolas Acton, a war hero, who meet once upon a time nine years ago and spent a magical day together to just be separated by forces beyond their control. Nik spends the next years always looking for this young lady, whose name is does not even know, he just calls her Isolde. He seriously searches for a year but then continues on his war duties as a Captain but is always searching the women he meets for those lovely cornflower blue eyes that haunt his dreams.
As for Patricia (ugh, hate that name for some reason, lol), she is forced into a marriage by her parents and continues to dream of her dashing, green eyed Tristan. After her husband passes away from being injured in war, she is left nearly penniless and to live with her mother-in-law, a women who thinks Patricia should remarry so Patricias two young sons have a father figure. As the Dowager Lady Morgan is pushing for her to marry yet another boring man she can not stand, she receives a mysterious letter from her late husband telling her to go search for a treasure but by a certain date, or it will be lost. She decides she will go and hopes to find one night of passion, trying to erase her long lost love and her memories from her sad marriage.
I am not really going to say much more about the plot as it could give a bit away, and I don't want to as I was surprised. However, when Nik and Patricia finally reunite and overcome all the little barriers of confusion they throw up, sigh, it was very romantic (and hot!). Patricia sister and aunt accompany her on this travel and add a bit of fun humor and I loved how the seemingly spacey aunt had a true, sweet purpose.

I am know kicking myself that Swept Away By a Kiss is still sitting on my bookshelf, unread and I hope to get to it soon as Captured By a Rogue Lord will be released next month! If you have not read Swept Away.... yet and want a taste of Katharine Ashe, shell out that $1.99 and read this! It was a excellent short story of how long lost love can triumph over anything in the end. The only thing connecting it to the other two full length novels, I believe, is the prologue and epilogue. Having not read Swept... yet, I did not feel like I missed anything at all and the epilogue just left me wanting to read the next one! I am going to go out on a limb and give this one 4 1/2 stars. Usually short stories don't have enough to to make me that happy but this one really did! I look forward to rereading it again and I can not say that for short stories, usually.

I received this ebook via

The Knitting Diares by Debbie Macomber, Susan Mallery, and Christina Skye

The Twenty-First Wish by Debbie Macomber

This is a sweet follow up to a main storyline in Twenty Wishes about Anne Marie Roche and her young daughter, Ellen. This is a very typical Macomber story, clean and sweet so I am not going to say much about it. If you read this as a stand alone, you probably are not going to enjoy it as much as if you had read the previous novel because there really isn't a whole lot of back story explained, just enough to refresh your memory. Overall, though, still cute. 3 stars

Coming Unraveled by Susan Mallery

I mainly read this anthology for Susan Mallerys story, as she is a favorite of mine and she did not disappoint with this one. Robyn Mulligan returns home after her dreams of being a Broadway star fall through and she runs into the last person she expects to see in her grandmothers knitting store, a handsome, hot-tempered man by the name of T.J. Passman. T.J. has done his research on Robyn and knows she has not succeeded to the extent that Robyns grandmother and two dear friends believe and he lets her know straight off he doesn't like her for misleading these women he has come to love as they helped him through a terrible tragedy in his life. Secrets are explained quickly and Robyn and T.J. soon develop a steamy relationship that is helped along a bit by Robyns grandmother and friends, who were some great characters! Good, quick, fun read which would have been a great full length I think. 4 stars

Return to Summer Island by Christiana Skye

This was my first taste of Christina Skye and I enjoyed it. Caro McNeal returns home from her hectic life after a devastating car crash leaves her with the possibility of never knitting again. Needless to say, she is determined to prove the doctors wrong as knitting is an escape from life for her. When Lieutenant Gage Grayson stops by on his way to active duty to pick up a painting from Caros aunt, they both feel the attraction right away and spend the day together, along with Gages children, his beloved cat and dog. As Gage leaves, they exchange emails and begin their correspondences. Caro includes pictures she has drawn of Gages pets that help him out while he is deployed. This was a very sweet, love at first sight story mixed with the powerful attraction of a pets love for their owner, no matter the distance. I really enjoyed this one and it left a smile on my face and a curiosity about more books by Ms Skye. Not much heat though, so I will need to do some research into in is that normal for her or did it just not work for this story? 3 1/2 stars

Overall, not a bad anthology. I enjoyed each story and came away with a smile on my face for each one. Being that Macomber and Skyes were both tame and Mallorys was a bit steamy, they didn't really seem like three authors that fit the best together, in my opinion though. 3 1/2 stars

I received this ebook via

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Married: The Virgin Widow by Deborah Hale

Well for being a book about a theme I'm not crazy about, the big misunderstanding, I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this one. Laura Penrose was forced to marry her sweethearts ruthless cousin, Cyrus and it forced Ford Barrett away to make his fortune abroad. Laura was engaged to Ford but abruptly ended their engagement via a letter and it broke Fords heart, and as he had creditors after him, he had to flee. Ford has now returned to claim his late cousins title and with the plan to extract revenge on Laura by forcing her to marry him and finally laying claim to her.
Ah, but of course, the love that Laura and Ford once shared reflares almost instantly and they slowly start up a new relationship. Ford is very sweet to Lauras ailing mother and her two sisters and it helps break down a few barriers. Laura is holding a secret very close to her and eventually agrees to marry Ford to help her family, who is broke.

Now, there were many times I wanted to shake both of them and say "just talk to each other already" but the story moved along with bits and pieces of their battered past coming to light often enough that it helped with the flow. When all the secrets of the past are finally revealed, Ford naturally over reacts but thankfully Laura sticks to her guns and finds a happily ever after for both of them. Their is a sweet side story for one of Lauras sisters that was a cute bonus. I mainly read this one as I had picked up the next in this miniseries, Bought: The Penniless Lady and it was nice to get a quick glimpse of the next characters. Overall though, this is a good story about one of my least favorite story lines and well done with just enough steam that I look forward to more books by Deborah Hale. 3 1/2 stars

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Irresistible Earl by Gaelen Foley

When Jordan, Earl of Falconridge, bumps into his first love, Mara, Lady Pierson after twelve long, secretive years, the spark they once shared is brought back to life. Mara is attending an auction to secure a gift for her friend, Prinny, the Prince Regent while Jordan is their on his mission to find out more about the Prometheans and his undercover work for the Inferno Club. Mara is shocked to see Jordan after all these years and is not about to let him back into her life after he deserted her when she needed him the most to escape her cruel mother. Jordan and Mara meet just at the time when he was being called off to duty for his undercover work as a spy, for which he had trained his young life for, and even though he wanted to marry Mara first, he knew his duty had to come first. Mara marries swiftly afterwards to have her own home away from her nitpicking mother and finds herself in a loveless marriage with a man that dislikes her and drinks his life away. Thankfully, she is able to conceive Thomas, who is now her whole life.

As Jordan and Mara are tentatively feeling out their new relationship, brought more into focus after Jordan rescues Mara from an attack on her carriage because people think she is Prinny mistress as she spends alot of time with him (he is really just Thomas' godfather and they are just friends), Jordan is dealt a new spend more time with Mara and use her connections with Prinny to gain access to a select card game with one of the clubs prime persons of interest. Jordan wants to refuse but knows he has to accept and does so while he and Mara continue to redevelop their love for each other.

After Jordan decides he needs a bit of a break from Mara, to protect her, Mara takes matters into her own hands and finds Jordan and breaks up an important conversation he is having and he loses his cool with her. She flees and decides she is done with him again and feels her heart breaking. She agrees to hear Jordan out the next day and he confesses his past and reasons for his anger to her. Mara is naturally shocked to find out Jordan is a spy and quickly connects the dots of her and her relationship with the Prince Regent and is furious. Thankfully, this misunderstanding does not last long and the story continues on to quite a satisfactory end, and a cliffhanger epilogue for the next book!

Out of the three Inferno books out so far, this one was my favorite. The first one, My Wicked Marquess sort of set up the premise for this series and the second, My Dangerous Duke , it took me a bit to warm up to the scary duke and the virgin sacrifice plot, but this one is a wonderful story of young love triumphing in the end. While you could read this as a stand alone, there is a continuing plot throughout that may make more sense by reading the previous books. I am really looking forward to the next book featuring the wounded Drake! Some bits and pieces were revealed in this book that should make his story fascinating! My Irresistible Earl offers a great story of love, plenty of twists and turns and intrigue and it kept me wanting to ignore my kids and finish reading it! 4 solid stars for this one
I received this ebook via

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Lot Like Love by Julie James

What another fun, sexy, awesome read from Julie James! This time around we are back in Chicago and the FBI office with Mr Tall, Dark and Smoldering, Nick McCall who asks for the help of billionaire heiress, Jordan Rhodes to gain access to an exclusive wine party to plant bugs and catch a money laundering scheme. To get Jordan to accept their request, the FBI dangles the release of her twin brother Kyle, who is in jail for shutting down Twitter for two whole days. She agrees as this should be a very simple mission....until they hit the small snag of the host, Xander who has had designs on Jordan and has Nick followed to find out who he is. As Jordan and Nick are forced to continue on with their "relationship" the sparks continue to fly.

I love how Julie James portrays smart, sexy, self independent, strong women. Even though Jordan stands to gain over a billion dollars, she still owns a very successful wine business that she started on her own. I loved how Jordan and her brother have a great, if sarcastic, relationship and you can see they love they have for each other and their father. And Nick...umm...yummy! He is like many undercover agents that have been in the business a while. A bit jaded and hard and not into relationships and is up front with women about that fact. Of course, they never want to let him go and that adds a wrench later in the story for our couple that adds a bit a intrigue near the end. I really enjoyed how Jordan and Nick took a bit of time to develop a relationship before hitting the sheets. And wowza...they sure know how to light them on fire! And holy smokes...who knew a brick wall could be so sexy?

I tried to take my time reading this but all too soon I found myself at the end with a big smile on my face. There are so many funny moments throughout this book and many moments that will make you and your heart smile. I am so looking forward to Kyles book, I mean, he is a dead ringer for Josh Holloway so another yummy fest there. I see no other info when it will be out, but I am guessing March of next year as that seems to be the pattern so far but who knows, maybe we will get it earlier? Please? But really, if you have not tried out Julie James---do so! Now! You won't be disappointed. (Oh, and props to Julie James and the cover art director for nailing the dress on the cover again! I really appreciate when covers match something that happens in the book) 5 stars