Saturday, December 31, 2011

Unlocked by Courtney Milan

Lady Elaine Warren and Evan the Earl of Westfield's book

Unlocked (Novella 1.5 in the Turner's series)

By Courtney Milan

Book Blurb:
A perpetual wallflower destined for spinsterhood, Lady Elaine Warren is resigned to her position in society. So when Evan Carlton, the powerful, popular Earl of Westfeld, singles her out upon his return to England, she knows what it means. Her former tormenter is up to his old tricks, and she's his intended victim. This time, though, the earl is going to discover that wallflowers can fight back. 

Evan has come to regret his cruel, callow past. At first, he only wants to make up for past wrongs. But when Elaine throws his initial apology in his face, he finds himself wanting more. And this time, what torments him might be love... 

Unlocked is a novella of 28,000 words (about 111 pages)

For only .93 Unlocked (CAD) is an amazing deal! What a sweet little addition to the Turner series. Now granted that neither Elaine nor Evan is a Turner but the readers were introduced to Elaine in the first story Unveiled

In Unveiled Elaine was the only one of Margaret's friends who would make time with her while her legitimacy was in question. I liked her right away. 

In Unlocked you get a true feeling of the torture it is to be bullied. Elaine was bullied for so many years and Unlocked perfectly demonstrated the life cycle of bulling. You get insight as to why some young people start to bully for popularity and attention like Evan did and then you also get insight as to why bullies don't know how to stop like Evan's cousin Diane. 

Regardless, when you hear Elaine share with Evan some of the harmful things she did to herself to remedy the bulling, your heart can't help but break a little bit. Thank goodness Evan grew up and was trying to mend his ways. 

A wonderful little story about bulling and forgiveness with the extra added touch of a warming romance that bloomed from a long overdue friendship. 

Teasers: shameful awakening, rope burn, spilled wine, vision in white

Friday, December 30, 2011

Unveiled by Courtney Milan

Ash Turner and Lady (Anne) Margaret Dalrymple

Unveiled (Turner's book 1)

by Courtney Milan

Book Blurb:
He was her bitterest enemy... 

Ash Turner has waited a lifetime to seek revenge on the man who ruined his family, and at last the time for justice has arrived. At Parford Manor, he intends to take his place as the rightful heir to the dukedom, and settle an old score with the current duke once and for all. But when he arrives, he finds himself drawn to a tempting beauty who has the power to undo all his dreams of vengeance. 

And her dearest love. 

Lady Margaret knows she should despise the man who’s stolen her fortune and her father’s legacy—the man she’s been ordered to spy on in the guise of a nurse. Yet the more she learns about the new duke, the less she can resist his smoldering appeal. Soon Margaret and Ash find themselves torn between old loyalties—and the tantalizing promise of passion...

Unveiled was the first book that I had read by Courtney Milan but not my last. What a wonderful book and I can't wait to read more of the Turner series. 

Ash Turner had set out for revenge against his distant relative the Duke of Parford. When Ash was at the tender age of 14 his mother had gone fully insane and Ash had walked barefoot for days to reach the Duke's manor to request a little bit of financial assistance so he could buy medical care for his sick sister. After being cruelly rejected and after his sister died, Ash never forgot and it burned him for years. 

I don't understand the class society much in England (other than what I learn from romance books) but due to the Duke committing an act of bigamy early in his life, his unfortunate wife of 30 years, the Duchess of Parford and his 3 grown children were all considered illegitimate and prompty disgraced by the ton. It was Ash Turner who unveiled this dirty skeleton from the closet and as he was the distant relative of the Duke, he became the next in line for the dukedom. 

What a wonderfully mixed up mess this pair become. Margaret wants to hate and destroy Ash for ruining her family and station in life yet she fails miserably because Ash is so charming, "cheerfully ruthless" and was genuinely boosting her self confidence. Margaret had never felt such powerful feelings of self worth before. 

Ash was amazing. Just amazing. I love heroes that are slightly flawed and even vulnerable at times without losing their manly edge. He doesn't care about the "classes" and he falls in love with Margaret thinking she is just a lowly nurse that is tending to the ailing current Duke. He has no idea that Margaret is really Lady Anne Margaret, the Duke's only daughter. 

There were some great reading moments as Margaret battles between her loyalty to her family and her growing attraction to Ash. Courtney Milan wrote some wonderful scenes where I couldn't read fast enough with me wondering what side Margaret was going to take while secretly reporting back to her brothers. 

Other than Ash or the wicked Duke, I was undecided many times if a character was a villain or if it was okay to like them. Ash's brothers were hard to like but it truly felt like there was more of a back story there. It was writing genius because it felt like a invisible carrot dangling in front of the reader's nose. Margaret's brothers were selfish but their desperation was clearly written so their behaviour was almost forgivable. (almost, I said almost) Even Margaret herself at times had me wondering how this mess with spying was all going to turn out. I just LOVED how it was up to the reader to make their own decisions and it wasn't thrust in the reader's face. 

Unveiled was a beautifully, clever written book that had me aching for a happily ever after. I wasn't sure how we were going to get there but the journey was spectacular to read about. 

Teasers: brotherly love, magnificent creature, Chastity book reading, closet hideaway

Thursday, December 29, 2011

When You Dare by Lori Foster

Dare and Molly's book

When You Dare 

by Lori Foster

Book Blurb:
The tougher they are, the harder they fall… 

Professional mercenary Dare Macintosh lives by one hard and fast rule: business should never be personal. If a cause appeals to him and the price is right, he'll take the mission he's offered. But then the lovely Molly Alexander asks him to help her track down the men who'd had her kidnapped—and for the first time, Dare's tempted to combine work with pleasure. 

Fiercely independent, Molly vows to trust no one until she's uncovered the truth. Could the enemy be her powerful, estranged father? The ex-fiancĂ© who still holds a grudge? Or the not-so-shy fan of her bestselling novels? As the danger heats up around them, the only anchor Molly has is Dare himself. But what she feels for him just might be the most frightening thing of all…

I had been looking forward to reading this "Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor" series since last June/11. In June I went out and bought the first three books but with such a huge TBR pile, I only just got to it now. As proof of how badly I wanted to read this series, here is me with a couple of the men. 

I think I also held back a bit because Romance Suspense isn't a favourite genre of mine. I can't handle suspense and angst. I know this fact about me so I have to be a mood to have my heart pumping and my hands all sweaty. I can only take that in doses. 

After reading When You Dare, I have to admit my true disappointment with the lack of suspense. Last night as I was reading it, I was at the half way mark of my book and I said to myself, 'when is anything going to happen!?!' When You Dare was a yawner when it came to suspense because there is none. Nada, nothing, zip. So if you are looking for a romance suspense, pass on When You Dare

As for the character development, it was very easy to like Dare and Molly. Dare has a killer body, rich, smart and very good at his job. Now to be clear, I'm not quite 100% what his job was. He rescues people in peril...I think. He is for hire but I am not sure what job title that would say on his business card. 

As for Molly the one thing that really struck me odd was her name. I like the name, Molly well enough but it just didn't suit this character. Nothing against the Molly's of the world but the name just needed to have a stronger representation of the protagonist. The character, Molly was such a tower of strength and bravery that her character's name just conflicted with the personality. Molly would have been better suited as a Dana, Anne, Jean or Lisa. 

Out the gate When You Dare was powerful. The book  starts just at the conclusion of a daring rescue (you do not read about the rescue itself) where young women were kidnapped for sex slavery. You read about the abhorrent conditions the women were kept in and a shiver goes up your spine. Dare is the sole man that goes into a Tijuana lair, kills the bad guys and single handily rescues about eight women. His best friend's sister was the reason he took on the mission and he saves Molly as she was one of the chained up females. I felt the save was a bit of a reach and not realistic. I understand it is fiction but it was hard to even imagine that one man could have done all of the rescue alone plus then set the women free.

What I found frustrating over and over again was the lame reasoning for not bringing the police or FBI in on the case. I would have thought Molly and the other women would want to protect any more females from suffering the brutal kidnapping and have the slavery ring shut down. 

As Molly and Dare get to know and trust each other, the reader is then treated to chapters and chapters of Molly wanting Dare to sleep with her and Dare (being the gentleman that he is) holding off on his sexual urges because he wants Molly to heal from her cuts and bruises. Literally chapters. Molly wants to feel again, Molly wants to move on, Molly wants her hair to look nice so that maybe Dare will want her, Molly wishes she had her makeup and clothes so she will be desirable for Dare...oh boy enough already. 

I would have made When You Dare a one star except that I will admit that the actual writing was good. It was just the story line and plot holes that I serious problems with. I could list all my dissensions but it would be full of spoilers and it would just turn into a rant. Even though I have the next two books sitting on my shelf, I am not sure if I'll bother reading them. 

Teasers: great hair untangling scene, awesome doggie personalities, dysfunctional family, clean freak

Under the Same Sky by Genevieve Graham

Maggie Johnson and Andrew McDonnell

Under the Same Sky 

by Genevieve Graham 

Book Blurb:
Maggie Johnson has been gifted with “the Sight” ever since she was a child. Her dreams bring her visions of the future and of a presence she knows is not a figment of her imagination. She calls him Wolf, having watched him grow from a careless young boy into a fearsome warrior, and she trusts him with her life and her heart.

Andrew MacDonnell is fascinated by the woman who has visited him in his dreams for as long as he can remember, entranced by her beauty, knowing deep in his soul that she is as real as he. Although he doesn’t know who she is, Andrew believes that destiny will bring them together.

When tragedy and war strike their homelands, both Maggie and Andrew suffer indescribable losses. Separated across an ocean, the bond they share nevertheless grows as they sense each other’s pain, lend each other strength, and embark on a journey of the spirit to find and love one another at long last…

I was drawn to Under the Same Sky' s beautiful book cover. In fact once I received Under the Same Sky in the mail, I placed it above all the other books waiting patiently for my attention. I had thought that Under the Same Sky was going to be a about a Scottish lass, a castle and a pending romance. Well I was correct on one account; the pending romance.  The lass is actually an American woman from South Carolina and there's no castle. 

The romance between Maggie and Andrew was magically unique. I don't think I've recalled a similar story before so I really appreciated the originality. As unconventional as Maggie and Andrew's romance may have been, it was the alluring written words that drew me in. I had to double check the author's website, Genevieve Graham, to verify that Under the Same Sky was indeed her debut novel. I was utterly captivated with the story and how it was being told. Simply beautiful. The words were richly descriptive and I literally ached in my heart many times during the course of the story. 

If you follow historical books from the 1745 time period, you'd be very familiar with the abhorrent quality of life for unprotected women as well as the legendary historical Battle of Culloden in Scotland. I immediately associate the year 1745 with Culloden. Under the Same Sky takes the reader on a painstakingly thorough and emotional journey during the aftermath of two such dreadful events. 

Through their dreams, Maggie and Andrew develop a moving relationship built solely on the knowledge of each other's existence and a longing to be together. They are soul mates and they are willing to seek out and wait for each other despite an ocean separating them. Without spoken words they encourage each other and bring hope to their darkest moments. 

A truly riveting journey and I'm so glad I bumped Under the Same Sky to the top of my very tall stack of books waiting to be read. I would definitely recommend Under the Same Sky to fans of Diana Gabaldon. Being as I love Diana's Outlander series and she's one of my favourite authors, that's a big recommendation from me. 

Teaser: brotherly love, sisterly love, Cherokee settlement, the legendary magical buzzing stones of Scotland


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Guest Guilty Pleasure by Rachel Firasek - Take That Cookie and Die

Today's Guilty Pleasure post is hosted by author Rachel Firasek. I was first introduced to Rachel Firasek when I was asked to review her other book Piper's Fury. Review here. Since I've followed along with Rachel on Twitter and I am happy to have her take over my blog today. Please give a warm welcome to Rachel Firasek. 

Take That Cookie and Die 

Growing up in my neighborhood meant there weren't many extras. The 80's recession left many of us depending on each other and Mom and Dad with two too many mouths to feed. Nope, this isn't going to be sappy--promise. 

At age seven, there weren't many jobs that I could do, but we had a sweet landlord who had an orchard. My parents were too proud to let him bring us a gift when he collected rent, so he put us to work for a quarter each. Sounds like child labor, right? 

He'd give us these cool pecan tools and my five year old brother and I would spend hours collecting pecans in his orchard. (We played a lot, too.) When Mr. Landlord finished chatting with the tenants, he'd give us each a quarter and pat us on the head for a job well done. Score! Money! Time to eat!

We took our bounty and walked the three houses down to the corner store. Our cash bought us a small pack of cookies and a soda pop. I'll never forget spreading those cookies on the kitchen table, our two small cups filled to the brim with the sweet soda and a big smile on our faces. Now, because of our rather poor background. My brother was a terrible theif of food. He'd take any extra sweet, hide, and eat it where no one could find him. (Promise, we weren't really starving.) 

So, my guilty pleasure is eating the last bite. I know that sounds nuts, but I used to let him have that last little morsel or cookie/cake/chip/etc... And now that I'm an adult and make plenty to keep everyone from going without, I've developed this phobia of someone taking the last bite. It's a sign of how crazy I really am, I know. 

You'll never be able to picture the look on my sweet hubby's face when I morphed into Raetroll and nearly bit off one of his fingers when he tried to snatch the last Santa cookie on our first Christmas together. "Take that cookie and die." To this day, he warns the children to always leave me the last bite. ")

How about you? How do you feel about that last delicious bite? Can you let it go or does your family & friends fear for their fingers like mine? 

Rachel Firasek grew up in the South, and despite the gentle pace, she harassed life at full steam. Her curiosity about mythology, human nature, and the chemical imbalance we call love led her to writing. Her stories began with macabre war poems and shifted to enchanted fairy tales, before she settled on a blending of the two.

Today, you’ll find her tucked on a small parcel of land, surrounded by bleating sheep and barking dogs, with her husband and children. She entertains them all with her wacky sense of humor or animated reenactments of bad Eighties dance moves.

She’s intrigued by anything unexplained and seeks the answers to this crazy thing we call life. You can find her where the heart twists the soul and lights the shadows…

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Contest Winners!

Congratulations to my winners of the two contests I had up and running. 

For the Lisa Kleypas back list book giveaway, the winner was
Lisa Richards!!

For the Diana Gabaldon new release "The Scottish Prisoner", the winner was
Margaret Ethridge

I have contacted both winners by email and I am awaiting their response. Thank you to everyone who participated in my contests, 

Happy Holidays!

Another Look Book Reviews 2011 "Best Of" Book Recap

Since Another Look Book Reviews focusses on all kinds of romance books from the past and the present some of my winning selections are books that have been out for years. 

For 2011 I have read a whopping 180 books! That’s 15 books a month or around 3 books a week. So how do I recap all of the amazing books I read? I decided to create a lexicon of “Best Of” in 10 different categories. So without further ado, here is my Best Of list.

Disclaimer – In regards to the snippets you are about to read, any grammatical errors are mine. None of the blurbs are copy and pasted but rather me re-typing. Errors could occur even after my careful reviews.
Also the images I used were just internet images and I have no idea who they belong to. If the images are yours and you would like credit, please contact me and I shall immediately do so.

BEST FIRST KISSSheet Music by Tibby Armstrong (read April 2011, review here)

Kyra was a music journalist and David was a rock star. The combination was powerful.   I rated Sheet Music a perfect 5 hearts and I remember months later that first anticipated kiss between Kyra and David. I find musicians to be so sexy and David was smoking hot.

“First he kissed her eyelids. One and then the other. She smiled and he breathed a laugh at her amusement.

Next he moved to the tip of her nose. It’s warm softness brushed against his lips. He inhaled the sweetness of her breath, growing harder at the anticipation of her lips against his own. No, he definitely hadn’t experienced this in a long, long time.

He swept a series of kisses over the satin of her cheek and along her jaw up to her ear where he whispered, “I want to taste you.”

Ok tease over…it just gets better and better from there.

BEST M/M – I’ll Be Your Drill, Soldier! By Crystal Rose (read May 2011, review here)

If I was to give an award for worst title, “I’ll Be Your Drill, Soldier” would also receive that award.  This book was fabulous. One of my favourites of the entire year and I just found the title cheapened the content of the book. I’ll Be Your Drill, Soldier was way more than a hot M/M erotic book. In fact, there wasn’t all that many erotic scenes at all. My favourite part of the book was when Phillip and Ryan were emailing one another while away at war. I am going to shorten this tease but you’ll get the point.

“…and slide in as deeply as I can. I’m so fucking hot for you right now I could burst. September – Just wait until September. I’m going to fuck you until you walk funny. I’ll be home, Phillip. Don’t ever doubt it.

Ryan, You know I’ve always found you and Phil insanely hot but I always kinda saw Phil as the top. That was kinda hot. Tory

Dear Ryan, Your letter has been submitted and will be out “Salute to our Troops’ Penthouse addition. Brendan

Ryan, When you check your email, make sure you are replying to the right one, and don’t click “reply to all” Patrick

Ryan, Wow. Can I just say that was the best Christmas present EVER. If you wanna write Phil another one like that please do. I’ll even forward a good heading for you. Sandy

Ryan, For fuck sakes! Ryan do me a favor…don’t ever email me again. Mark

Ryan, Wow, baby I didn’t know you were such an exhibitionist. When you get home we’ll take care of that fetish. Girls? You wanna watch? Maybe sell popcorn? Phillip

Best Deflower Scene – Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas (read Dec 2011, review here)

Oh man I love Lisa Kleypas books. I love her historicals and Devil in Winter easily got a 5 heart rating from me.  Evie and Sebastian take a carriage ride to Gretna Green in Scotland to get quickly married and then the big wedding night approached. There was a bit of delay regarding  the nighttime lovemaking because they ultimately passed out from being so tired and weary from the vigorous journey from London. Oh that’s not to say, the next morning things heated up.

“Lie still. You don’t have to do anything, my love. Let me take care of you. Yes. You can touch me if you…mmm, yes…” He purred as he felt her trembling fingers touch his gleaming hair, yhe back of his neck, the hard slope of his shoulders.
He moved lower, his hair roughened legs sliding along the insides of hers, and she realised that his face was just above the triangle of her fiery red curls. Flooded with embarrassment, she automatically reached down to cover her private area with her hand.
St. Vincent’s erotic mouth lowered to her hip, and she felt him smile against her tender skin. “You shouldn’t do that,” he whispered. “When you hide something from me , I want it all the more. I’m afraid you’re filling my head with the most lascivious ideas…you’d better take your hand away, sweet, or I might do something really depraved.”

2011 Most Memorable Story – Contentment by Margaret Ethridge (read July 2011, review here)

There are lots of books that you pick up and really enjoy reading but then once you start a new book, the previous book is all but forgotten. Not so with Contentment  by Margaret Ethridge. The story focusses on Tracy Sullivan who has been married for fifteen years and she really has it all. The great kids, faithful husband, steady job, home in suburbs but due to the petty resentments built over the years from her marriage, she is ready to pack in her marriage. She blows her oblivious husband away with this news and Contentment is all about Tracy’s struggles to find the elusive contentment.

I related to Tracy so much in this story in so many aspects. I shared Contentment with some friends at work and they were sure Margaret Ethridge wrote the story after them. Contentment is an excellent story for married women.

“Whatever confidence Tracy had when she dashed out door fled the moment the whip cord thin; I’m barely-old-enough-to-order-a-drink salesclerk started pulling baby dolls, teddies and negligees from the racks.

Tracy gawked at the displays, trying to envision prying her body into one of the scraps of fabric without the benefit of a crowbar. She caught a glimpse of herself in one of the store’s many mirrors, and her heart sank. She looked exactly like what she was: an almost forty year old woman buying lingerie in a desperate attempt to salvage her failing marriage.”

2011 Best Series Conclusion – Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning (read Aug 2011, review here)

OMG! What a series. What a series. If you haven’t read the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, you must. Do you hear me? You must! The Fever series is not just an excellent series, it is EPIC. My words of praise are the highest I can possibly convey. The Fever series are NOT stand alones so start at the beginning with Darkfever and work your way forward. You may as well get them all in front of you because they all end of cliffhangers and you can’t breathe until you get the next book in your hand. The long awaited Shadowfever was released in 2011 and although Karen Marie Moning will continue the series with a spin off, the Fever series did draw to an end. Buy it. Now.

“He pulls me around and kisses me. "You're Mac," he says. "And I'm Jericho. And nothing else matters. Never will. You exist in a place that is beyond all rules for me. Do you understand that?"
I do.
Jericho Barrons just told me he loves me.”


“Once, long ago in her world, a sunny day in spring was her favorite, but now a sunny day in winter delights her more. It is the perfect metaphor for their love.
Sunshine on ice.
She warms his frost. He cools her fever.” 

2011 Best Book Tour Novel - Chosen by Denise Grover Swank (read Sept 2011, review here)
I host a few book tours and I provide reviews for authors that reach out to me on their own as they embark on their own personal book tours.  As such, I thought I’d make an award for a book that I didn’t find but rather, it found me. I decided to review Chosen when it was presented to me from the Bewitching Book Tours and I was not disappointed. In fact I loved it so much I reached out to the author myself and asked if she could send me book 2. Chosen is an action suspense romance that took me on a thrilling ride I didn’t want to get off.

“They’re here,” Jake whispered in the monotone he used when he saw things only he could see.
Emma grabbed their few toiletries off the stained Formica counter, tossed them in the suitcasw, and zipped it closed. Lifting the pee-stained mattress, she pulled out the gun she’s stuffed underneath and made sure it was loaded. “Let’s go.”

2011 Best Book to Bring On Smiles – Buried in Briny Bay by Bobbye Terry (read May 2011, review here)

Wow this was a tough category. I had Janet Evanovich, Julie Garwood, Jill Shalvis and Pamela DuMond all grouped together for this category. But I think the crazy sisters, Roxie and Trixie just had to come out on top. What a feel good book Buried in Briny Bay was as it kept me smiling from the first page till the last.

“Did it ever occur to you that you were going a little overboard?” Greg couldn’t help but smile. For some odd reason, her quirkiness appealed to him.

“Not really.” Roxie beamed. “I was having too much fun. I especially liked the look on the preacher’s face when I mentioned I had missed church because I was researching murdering somebody by asphyxiation. I proceeded to explain the proper method for placing a pillow over the person’s head. But first, I thought it only fair I drug the fool.”

Greg chuckled. “Now you’re kidding me, right?”

Trixie shook her head. “Dead serious, not to make a pun. She even talked to Alan, the guy who runs the auto repair about how to sever a brake line and make it look accidental. That’s my sister, the sick one in the family.”

2011 Best Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Book – Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh (read July 2011, review here)
Wow what a tough category. I don’t read a lot of Paranormal but I do love Urban Fantasy so I combined them into one category. However the books that I did read in 2011 that fell within this category was so hard to choose from. Karen Marie Moning, J.R. Ward, Patricia Briggs, Jeaniene Frost, Shayla Black and Larissa Ione were all competing for top spot.  With many of the above authors, I read their entire series back to back so I fell in love with all their stories. However, Nalini's Kiss of Snow came out on top. I just loved that book and I had been anticipating Hawke and Sienna coming together so badly. The Kiss of Snow was spectacular. 

“You have the power to tear me to pieces, to wound me so deep and true that I‘ll never recover. What Rissa‘s death did to the boy I was? You have the ability to do a thousand times worse to the man I‘ve become." 
“You’re in my every breath and every thought, intertwined so deep inside me that love’s not a strong enough word—you have my devotion, your name branded on my soul, my wolf yours to command. A hundred years? It’ll never be enough. I want eternity.”

“She blew out a breath between gritted teeth. “Sometimes I really want to”—a frustrated sound—“bite you!”
He froze. “I might let you.”
“I won’t do it if you’d enjoy it.” 

2011 Best Contemporary Romance Book – The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis (read Dec 2011, review here)
I could have made this category best Contemporary Series and it would still would have won. In The Sweetest Thing I was romantically swept away to a town with characters I fell in love with. Ford was the kind of hero that I have been waiting to have been written for a long time. I love a man that has humour and is oh so sexy. It is such a hard combo to pull off and Jill Shalvis did effortlessly.

“I’m maybe, possibly a little drunk,” he said, and shock reverberated through Tara. Ford wasn’t a drinker…

“So this superhero thing,” he went on. “All the skills I have, you’ve already seen. I’m guessing I do okay in the body department, because you seem to like it well enough. After all, just a few nights ago you were licking my –“

At this point, there seemed to be a scuttle with the phone, and Tara could hear Sawyer in the background saying, “Just hang up man, or I’ll do it for you and consider it a public service.”

“Back off,” came Ford’s voice, and then another tussle. “Some people have no fuckin manners,” he said, slurring slightly. “I want to know that if I could be your superhero, I totally would. But there’s no way my ass is gonna wear a pair of tights, not even for you.” He paused thoughtfully. “I could do sex slave, though. That seems like a fair trade, right?”

2011 Best Historical Romance – Ransom by Julie Garwood (read March 2011, review here)
I think 2011 was year of the historical romance novels for me. I am pretty sure out of the entire romance genre, the historicals were the ones I focussed on the most. I just love them. 2011 was also the year I discovered Julie Garwood. I am addicted to her writing style and I had almost read every historical book she wrote this year. I only have a few left. Now I just want to savour them because I know I am running out. Ransom was my favourite of the bunch if not my most favourite book of the year. 

“Every man has a weakness!” he patiently explained. “I'll find theirs, I promise you.”
“Every man?”
“Yes,” he answered emphatically.
“What is your weakness, Brodick?” she asked.


“She couldn't believe what she did then. Before she could stop herself, she leaned up on tiptoes, put her arms around his neck, and kissed him on the mouth. Her lips brushed over his for the barest of seconds, but it was still a kiss, and when she came to her senses and dared to pull away and look at him, he had the most curious expression on his face.

Brodick knew she regretted her sponatenity, but as he stared into her brilliant green eyes, he also knew, with a certainty that shook him to the core, that his life had just been irrevocably changed by this mere slip of a woman.” 

Well I hope you enjoyed my recap and my choices. It was so hard to pick them out. As always thank you for stopping by. Here's to a wonderful 2012. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ransom by Julie Garwood

Laird Brodick Buchanan and Gillian’s book

Ransom (Highland Laird's book 2)

By Julie Garwood

Book Blurb:
In the dark days after the death of Richard the Lionhearted, lives and lands would fall into upheaval at the hands of a power-hungry British ruler and his violent minions. One victim of the scourge is innocent Gillian, who is a mere child when the cruel and ambitious Baron Alford slaughters her father and tears her family apart. Alford, determined to recover a jeweled box for the despotic King John, is furious when the precious treasure slips through his fingers -- only to be lost for more than a decade. 

Now a beautiful young woman, Gilllian finds the key to resolving her past in handsome Scottish chieftains Ramsey Sinclair and Brodick Buchanan. With the cunning and courage of the daring Scotsmen, and with the friendship of a new ally, Bridgid KirkConnell, Gillian at last fights the unscrupulous Baron Alford, laying claim to her home, her family, and her father's reputation. But in the presence of the mighty warriors, Gillian and Bridgid discover that desire can be a weapon of conquest ... betrayal can slay trust in a heartbeat ... and the greatest risk of all is surrender -- to the deep emotions of unexpected love.

Ransom is the second book in the Highland Laird series. I did not read “The Secret” first as it was  proving to be a difficult book to hunt down.  I did eventually find it and I'll update a review on here later.  Regardless, I don’t think I needed to read the  The Secret about the Maitland’s before this one. 

Ransom was simply FAB-U-LOUS and it will go down as one of my most favourite historical romances that I have ever read. I would also say that Ransom is my favourite Julie Garwood book of all time. I completely enjoyed reading all about Gillan and Brodick. The story was captivating and a page turner. In fact, I devoured it so quickly that I turned right around and re-read it. I wanted to feel that magic connection all over again. There were so many enjoyable parts to the novel. One of the main deep routed themes of Ransom was protection. I loved how protective Gilllian was to the young child Alec Maitland and in turn, I adored how protected Gillian felt with Brodick. 

One of my favourite scenes of Ransom was how Gillian and Brodick got married while they were on a horseback and Gillian had no idea that the marriage was even taken place. Brodick's friend Ramsay had a perfect part in that trickery and it had left me giggling. I thought the entire peice was extremely well written and very well thought out. I can’t imagine being an author sitting down and thinking ‘okay I am going to marry them but I don’t want Gillian to know what is happening’ Somehow Julie Garwood wields her magic and creates one of the most memorable scenes I will never forget. 

I often find when I love a book as much as I adored Ransom, it is difficult to review because I want to spill with spoilers all the amazing scenes and banter that occurs between the characters. I just don't want to ruin for any potential new readers. If you love alpha Highland Lairds, warriors who strive to protect, smart, brave and witty female characters  you will adore Ransom right along with me. 

There are twists and turns in Julie Garwood's plots so I kept expecting something predictable and I was pleasantly surprised when it didn't turn out that way. 

Teasers: secret treasure, brutal beating, rocky cliff conversation "You know what?"