Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis

Mallory Quinn and Ty Garrison's book

Lucky in Love

Jill Shalvis

Book Blurb:
Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As a nurse and devoted daughter, she takes care of everyone but herself. And as the local good girl, she's expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she'd like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he's only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he's gone...

For the first time in his life, Ty can't bear to leave. Helping this sexy seductress-in-training walk on the wild side is making him desire things he shouldn't -- including leaving the military for good. As their just-for-fun fling becomes something more, Mallory and Ty wonder if they could really be this lucky in love. After all...anything can happen in a town called Lucky Harbor.


I totally fell in love with the first three books of the Lucky Harbor series. In fact, I rated them the "Best Series" on my 2011 Best Of recap. I wasn't nervous about the next books in the series coming out per say; it's just that I absolutely loved Simply Irresistible, The Sweetest Thing and Head Over Heels so much that I was wondering just how on Earth Jill Shalvis could match the love I felt for those books. Well she did. Lucky in Love is a witty, smart and a spectacularly enjoyable read. 

Mallory is adorable. She is someone you'd want as a best friend. Just being around her makes you want to be a better person. She sees the best in everyone and looks for humour to loosen tense moments. Her career as a nurse is extremely fitting to her character. 

Ty is lickable & delicious and with just enough of a sad past to make him fall into the tortured hero bucket. He is not lolling around in a world of self pity though. Ty is trying to heal himself and he is just going about it wrong. He is trying to do it alone. Grief combined with a prescription drug addiction while still trying to fight off the pain of a healing traumatic leg injury needs support & love of friends and loved ones to help guide past the darkness. 

Ty is drawn to Mallory and Mallory is drawn to Ty like a magnet to metal. Someone needs fixing, and Mallory is the fixer. I saw this picture below that Jill Shalvis posted on her Facebook page and it captures Mallory and Ty so vividly that feelings it gave me provided the incentive to buy the book sooner rather than later. Is it not beautifully telling? 

I swear, this IS Mallory and Ty. Right down to Mallory's messy pulled up hair. 

Ty is not really a resident in Lucky Harbor. He is like a passing ship in the night. Yet for a man who is not a permanent resident, on Mallory's behalf, he sure trips himself up as he gets involved into the community. The Lucky Harbor Facebook page hasn't seen as much action since the first three couples in the series. Speaking of which, you absolutely do not have to read the first three books of this series to be caught up. Lucky in Love could very easily be a stand alone (but you'd be missing out on some wonderful books)

I loved these little bits:
"So I guess that the next time I make a date with a concussed guy, I should pin a note to his collar so he doesn't forget."


"Mallory, those shoes aren't meant for working on a car."
"What are they meant for?"
"Messing with a man's head."

The heat in Lucky in Love is mild and that completely suits the book's style. The build up for Ty and Mallory to realize that they have fallen in love is the center stage. I reach for this Lucky Harbor series as comfort reads. I will re-read these treasures for years.

Teasers:  good girl gone bad, chocolate cake basically cures everything, attic storage area sex agreement, bad girl shoes

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Pleasure of Your Kiss by Teresa Medeiros

Ashton Burke and Clarinda Cardew's book

The Pleasure of Your Kiss

By Teresa Medeiros

Book Blurb:
Ashton Burke is a legendary adventurer who has spent the past ten years roaming the globe to forget the girl he left behind. His devil-may-care life is interrupted when he's hired to rescue his brother's kidnapped fiancée from a sultan's harem. Too late, he discovers she is none other than Clarinda Cardew, the very same girl who made off with his jaded heart a decade ago.

The last thing Clarinda wants is to be trapped in a palace of sensual delights with the man whose irresistible kisses still haunt her sleepless nights. Although he vows he is only doing his job, Clarinda quickly realizes that allowing Ashton to rescue her may put her yearning heart in even greater peril. In a journey that takes them from the delicious intrigues of a sultan's court to the glittering ballrooms of London, Ashton and Clarinda resume the steps of their dangerous dance only to discover the most seductive pleasure of all may be love itself.

My feelings are all over the place with The Pleasure of Your Kiss. There were times in the story I thought it was spectacular and then there were other times I was skimming the pages to get past them.

As always with Teresa Medeiros, the writing is top notch. I am a big fan of her style. I also really loved that The Pleasure of Your Kiss was a historical romance where the setting is primarily centered in a far off distant land full of camels, silks and Sultans. What a pleasure to read something different. I got all caught up with the scents of oils, the silk textures of the lounging pillows and the fresh breeze wafting up from the ocean. Simply excellent. 

Ash and Clarinda have a past relationship that dated back to when they were just children. I adore these types of stories with rich backgrounds. I can really get into couples with histories. Although Ash and Clarinda seemed to have been destined to be together and totally in love, I am not all that sure I bought into the reasons behind Ash's decision to leave her and England behind. Regardless, their young love impressed so deeply on Ash that every woman he met along his adventures, he always compared back to Clarinda. Clarinda however was extremely bitter. 

Ten years float by and Clarinda along with her socially inept best friend, Poppy find themselves kidnapped and held hostage at the mercy of the Sultan, Farouk. I really liked Farouk. Teresa Medeiros did a wonderful job setting up this character. I think he was my favourite character in the whole story. Which I think is one of my problems. Shouldn't my favourites be either Clarinda or Ash?  I wanted to read more about Farouk and his friendship with Poppy. These secondary character relationships just caught my interest more.   

Clarinda quickly bored me with her attitude. Yes I understand her young heart was broken in peices by Ash but I wished she was funny or sarcastic or something other than what was given. She did a lot of thinking to herself and hiding. I don't think she should have rolled over and simply forgiven him and I know that she was in a precarious situation being stuck at the palace with Farouk. This part is where the skimming happened. I just wanted to move forward and get over her bitterness and see what was going to happen. 

Teasers: mistaken identity massage, cucumber practice, hammam pool surprise, opium aphrodisiac elixir

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Captivated by Lauren Dane

Vincenz & Julian and Hannah's book

Captivated (Phantom's Corp 3)
(but book 5 in the Federation Chronicles series)

By Lauren Dane

Book Blurb:
Vincenz Fardelle, exiled son of the Supreme Leader of the Imperialist Universe, has spent much of the last ten years working to stop the threat his father poses. But he’s not alone in his quest. Julian Marsters has lost his best friend and countless others in the war and has made vengeance his only goal.  In each other, Julian and Vincenz find not only like minds, but kindred spirits.However unexpected their relationship, everything changes for Vincenz and Julian when Hannah Black comes into their lives. Having been captured and held in near total isolation by imperialist troops, their immediate response is to protect her.Emotionally shattered but resilient, Hannah rebuilds herself.  Because of the warm safety she finds in the arms of Julian—and Vincenz—she becomes someone harder, stronger and bent on preventing the Imperialists from harming anyone else.For the two men, wrestling with their passionate feelings for Hannah is only the beginning. War is about to send all three into harm’s way and an equally dangerous secret could tear them apart. 

Hopefully I can clear this book series order up if you are a wee bit confused. Lauren Dane has a fabulous series called the "Federation Chronicles". Captivated would be the 5th book. But within this Federation Chronicle series she has a spin off called "Phantom Corps" series. Captivated would be the 3rd book in that series. Okay? Good. Here are my thoughts. 

I adore the Federation Chronicle series. I've followed ever since the first book, "Undercover" (which is super fantastic BTW!!) I had been so looking forward to Captivated because the intended story line captivated me in the previous book, "Mesmerized". I couldn't wait to read about Vincenz and Julian and the mysterious woman Vincenz saved at the end of that book. 

Vincenz is the only living son of a madman dictator. I felt all the burden and pressure on poor Vincenz's shoulders. It weighed heavily on him that his father was the cause of so many lost lives. Vincenz escaped his clutches a few years ago and has been fighting against his father's armies ever since. His guilt is evident regarding all the atrocities and the war is a very personal thing for him. I loved how Lauren Dane wrote in right amount of guilt and didn't let it overtake his character. Vincenz was not a mopey, guilt ridden man but rather a man with a mission to do the right thing.  

Julian had a sad upbringing but he doesn't dwell on it. He embraces the second chance he was given within the Phantom Corps and he loves Vincenz fiercely. Both of these men compliment each other without being too alpha. I felt them both as equals in every sense of the way. What amazing chemistry. Those sparks were equally complimented with sexy and tastfully orchestrated M/M scenes. 

When Vincenz rescues Hannah, she is barely emotionally coherent. Being severely abused by her enemies and left in complete isolation, she needs to learn re-learn how to communicate her thoughts and emotions. What I really liked was that Lauren Dane didn't write that Hannah was to be healed overnight. She created a great medical mechanism which helped the story along in a believable sense. I know that the story is sci-fi but I still need believable situations within that story and I appreciated that thought and creativity that went into Hannah's healing.  

Favourite line of Captivated, "Would you like to go an adventure, Hannah Black?" Whew, talk about a double entendre!

Captivated is an erotic romance but that doesn't mean every other page is sex. There were a few well written scenes and they included a variety of M/M & M/M/F as well as M/F. It was really great to read about the M/F being included because it showcased how much they were falling in love with each other and not just a menage triad team. Love shone through completely. 

Since I have been following these books since the beginning and there had been some amazing adventures I was a bit disappointed with how quickly and abruptly the story ended. Five books in and I felt like "BAM!" it was over. It was way way to easy. I was hoping for more of an intense palm sweating ending. I am not going to release spoilers so I can't go into to much detail but after an amazing sci-fi adventure, the ending lacked creativeness. 

Teasers: Long leather gloves with buckles, cave pool, Julian's T-shirts, even Triads have arguments with each other

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Winner of the Sinful Sirens Blog Hop

Congratulations to Mel Bourn who is our winner during the Sinful Sirens Blog Hop. Mel has been contacted & confirmed and now has her $15 Amazon Gift Card to enjoy as she likes. 

As always, thank you to everyone who stopped by. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James

Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey's story

Fifty Shades Trilogy

By E.L. James

Book Blurbs:
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY: When college student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating.  The unworldly Ana realizes she wants this man, and Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian’s secrets and explores her own desires.
FIFTY SHADES DARKER: Daunted by Christian’s dark secrets and singular tastes, Ana has broken off their relationship to start a new career. But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and while Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Ana is forced to make the most important decision of her life.
FIFTY SHADES FREED: Now, Ana and Christian have it all—love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. Just when it seems that their strength together will eclipse any obstacle, misfortune, malice, and fate conspire to turn Ana’s deepest fears into reality.

I have had the book, Fifty Shades of Grey on my own "To Be Read" shelf on Goodreads since August 2011. Having said that, I will officially admit that the main reason I've read the books now is because a lot of my non book reading friends approach me asking if I have read "those sexy 50 Shades books" yet. They want to know my opinion and when I tell them that I haven't read the books, they seem disappointed I can't share the juicy details. Wow these books have received so much attention! Even Ellen got involved. I am not such a "band wagon" reader. The only other time that I'd read a book because of an intense book buzz it was, The Help. I just like to read what I want, when I want. My blog reviews a lot of books that have been released for many years so I am definitely not a peer pressure or an ARC hungry blogger. 

Currently on Goodreads, Fifty Shades of Grey has 54,864 ratings and 10,861 reviews so what more could I possible tell you about the Grey books that you haven't already read or heard? 
So I'm going to just share things that I flat out liked, my experience and perhaps things you quickly want to know about the books. I am not going to rehash the synopsis. If you want that sort of review for these books, check out all the great feedback on Goodreads. 

My Rating
Right out the gate let me tell you I am rating a perfect 5 hearts all around. I loved them all. I couldn't put them down. I spent my entire long weekend lounging around reading them whenever I could. (football games, patio, red lights, drive thru at Tim Horton's) The first book, Fifty Shades of Grey ends on a cliffhanger so I was very happy to have book 2, Fifty Shades Darker readily available.  These are NOT stand alone books and NEED to be read in order. Save yourself the grief and just purchase the trilogy together. 

The "Naughty"
There was such a buzz about The Fifty Shades books being BDSM novels and that they were just so "naughty". These comments are to hard to judge because everyone's level of "dirty" is different. I personally did not find any of the Grey books heavy in the BDSM elements at all. There are a few scenes but they are what I would consider to be light BDSM elements compared to what I have read out in there in the erotic world of BDSM book choices. Now if you are not inclined to have read many (or any) erotic books, I could see where the popular Saturday Night Live Parody skit could have that reaction for you. It didn't for me.  (the SNL skit below is hilarious and if you can't view it, try to Youtube it because it is worth the giggle)

The "Naughty" continued
Where there may not be a lot of BDSM elements, there is quite a bit of sex. So yes, the book is erotic. Sex is a big part of Ana and Christian's relationship. They solve lots of their complicated issues through sex. There is kinky fuckery (as Ana & Christian call it) and even more vanilla. Regardless, it is all hot and I found it all very well written. 

The Book Titles & Art
There is such a smart play on the title "Fifty Shades of Grey". Christian's last name is Grey and the entire erotic format of the story is caught between the black and white. His eyes are gray and the book holds a lot of moody elements which leave you feeling very gray. There are probably a few more double entrendres if I analysed more. 
I love the art of the covers. Each book's cover art is relevant to the story and I am a fan of that distinction. 

The Characters & Twilight Fan Fic
Before I read the series, I did hear that Ian Somerhalder would love to play Christian. Here is that video:
So for me that is who I pictured as Christian Grey in the stories. I actually think he is quite perfect. 
I know that The Fifty Shades of Grey series is based off a Twilight fan fic but honestly, I did not imagine those characters at all while reading the Fifty Books. I did not think of the Twilight series at all. I never got any impressions what so ever about Edward and Bella here. I am noting that in my review because that is something that held me back from reading the books since August 2011. 

Well if you like tortured heroes, Christian Grey is going to become one of your favourites. The man is "fifty shades of fucked up." (another hail to the titles) Ana is like an angel delivered to redeem him. What what a ride she endures for being her first real boyfriend. Ana pushes to Christian's pull. 

One thing I LOVED about this series was Ana and Christian's parents. No they were not perfect but what a refreshing joy it was to read about a loving mom and a loving dad (on both sides). The exclusion to this statement is of course Christian's birth mother but I don't want to discuss that because this review will become thousands of words long. 

For those that have read the book, I have to mention that Ana's "Inner Goddess" is a character all on her own and quite probably one of my favourite parts of the books. My inner goddess was loving all of the references. 

Wrap UP
The Fifty Shades Trilogy was such an enjoyable read. I have heard a lot of people claim that is it full of grammar errors but I found nothing distracting at all. I loved the story. I loved the healing process. I loved that there were many climatic moments *rolls eye* (not meant as a double entendre but totally is) I was actively turning the pages and I would love to sit down and do a re-read right now because I know how it all ends. I'd love to go back and see what sorts of things I missed first time around. When a book does that to me, I have to give it a 5 hearts. 

Well am I the last person who hadn't the 50 Shades books yet? 

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

Hugo Marshall and Serena Barton's book

The Governess Affair

By Courtney Milan

Book Blurb:
She will not give up…

Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it’s not the duke she fears. It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance. But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.

He cannot give in…

Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…

From Courtney Milan's website:
The Governess Affair is a prequel novella to The Brothers Sinister series. It takes place about twenty-five years before the full-length books in the series, and explains the rather complicated relationship between Robert Blaisdell (the hero of The Duchess War) and Oliver Marshall (the hero of The Heiress Effect).

I basically had to copy these beautiful covers from Courtney Milan's website because, well they are beautiful. Such pieces of art. Wouldn't they be awesome side by side on a wall decorating your house? I just love them!

The Governess Affair is a novella so the length is short but what a great value and quality for your .99 Amazon deal! I was first introduced to the historical romance writing of author Courtney Milan by reading her Turner Series. I devoured those books and they made Ms Milan an autobuy author for me. I cannot wait to dive into the rest of Brothers Sinister series. 

The Governess Affair could almost be a play. There are few settings to distract your attention away from the power of the characters. Both Hugo and Serena command such a large page presence that your attention is not diverted away from their conversations, an iron bench and narrow row house. 

Serena is as stubborn as she is sharp. Hugo is a powerful man in his own right and he has meet his match with Serena. They are simply electric together. Hugo is an alpha man without being an "in your face caveman". He is the type of man that can issue an order as a whisper and people (including the Duke he works for) will jump to do his bidding. He rightfully earned the nickname, the of "Wolf of Clermont".  He has a task to get rid of the Duke's latest problem, Serena, and the methods Hugo decides to embark on was both entertaining and genius. I loved it. 

If The Governess Affair is any indication of what is to come from this new Brothers Sinister series, I say bring it on! 

Teasers: witty missives, tea in the rain, hair pin game, letters of delight

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sinful Sirens Blog Hop

Welcome to the Another Look Book Reviews blog stop for the Sinful Sirens Giveaway Hop. Thanks to Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews and Under the Covers Book Blog

Who doesn't love a sinful siren? 
Enjoy your blog hopping and thanks for taking a peak around my blog. I just adore new visitors. Don't forget to check the linky at the end to continue on with your hopping. 

Prize is a $15 Amazon Gift Card for US or CAD resident OR Book Depository for International. (if they deliver to your area)  I'd love to purchase you a book of your choice up to $15.  


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winners of the Mature Romance Week Prizes

Well I've received confirmation back from all the winners so I am happy to announce that:

Suzanne Pinter is the winner of Margaret Ethridge's new release "Spring Chickens"

Maria Smith is the winner of Sandy James' "Turning Thirty-Twelve"

Beckey White was the winner of the Jennifer Ashley backlist and she decided on "The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie"

The winner of the "$50 Amazon Gift Card"  - Blog Anniversary Prize was Tiffany

Thank you to everyone who participated, commented and visited my blog. It was a fabulous week!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day - Why I'm an Idiot

Happy Mother's Day
Why I'm an Idiot

Let me explain
I have 2 teen sons and a 12 yr old son. Hubby works shift work so for two weeks at a time, I'm pretty much a single mom who also works full time. I admit more times than not, I feel as though I am nothing more than a bank machine, taxi driver and a laundress to my boys. 

Every single day I must drive one son home from school rugby practice because the school bus has long departed by the time practice is over. Three nights a weeks I must shuffle two sons back and forth from football practices which takes place at two different stadiums at opposite ends of town. I volunteer occasionally for the high school athletics and football clubs. 

On weekends, how many mom's get the, "Can you drive me to..." speech? Oh yeah me too. With all the running around I need to do during the week, I just want to crash at home on the weekend. Soon those football practices will accompany out of town games and those possible weekend rest times will be a thing of history until August. (or until the fall football season starts)

All week I was looking forward to yesterday. I had plans to sleep in, get up whenever I felt like it and then go to my favourite Thrift Shop to browse for hours (alone) on all the book deals. (Big Sale)
That didn't happen. 

My plans got thwarted by the begging of my 12 yr old to drive him to meet his friends at the mall. I wanted to go to my second hand store but now I needed to wait on the agreed upon friend meet up time. That means less time for book browsing so I was a grumpy mama. 

45 mins! 45 mins I literally stood outside of Walmart with my son at the mall waiting for his friend to show up. See the thing with 12 year olds is that they make plans and THEN they consult a parent. Apparently that second part didn't happen because the friend was not allowed to go to the mall. At this point, I had been standing inhaling the fumes of idling cars too long and I ranted on Twitter begging for a Mother's Day where I could just be alone. I was completely whiny. 

Finally we leave and my alone time is shot to hell because my 12 yr old now needs to come with me to that second hand store. He's miserable, hates shopping and is very sorry about the misunderstanding with his friend (good thing I didn't just leave him there!) I'm miserable because that store is going to close in about an hour. 

Fast forward to store. I rushed through what was left of the sale and I've got some potential book buys. I am starting to read all the book blurbs when my 12 yr old comes up to me and announces that he is going to buy me something from this second hand store. He holds up a gold rimmed decorative souvenir plate of Scotland. I drop the books because my heart burst with love and I hugged him. My entire family knows about my dream of visiting Scotland. That he thought about me when he saw this plate sitting on the shelves warmed me down to my toes.  

The plate was $6 which was more than his allowance but he had his money saved up because of his mall trip plans. I made him put the plate back. For one reason the plate cost too much and second, it was an item that I really couldn't use for anything. It was thought is that mattered here. 

Today Mother's Day morning I woke up to breakfast in bed. Guess what my eggs and bacon was placed upon? Yep, that gold rimmed cheesy plate of Scotland. 

Apparently my son purchased the plate when I was concentrating on the book blurbs and sneaked it out to the truck. Yesterday night he waited for me to be busy, washed the plate and plotted with his dad and his brothers to deliver me breakfast in bed. I may have had tears in my eyes this morning. 

This brings to back to why I'm an idiot. Yesterday I ranted and raved about just wanting to be alone for a little while. I did this diatribe verbally as well as on Twitter. Truth is, I love spending time with my boys, I am a fanatic lover of their football and rugby and I don't really mind that part of the driving. We both take each other for granted. I guess Mother's Day is a great time for reflection after all. 

I'm going to proudly display that silly Scotland plate and every single time I look at it, I'm going to remember how lucky I am that I raised some very thoughtful sons. A mother could only be so lucky to have boys like mine. My rant yesterday was dumb. I was an idiot. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spring Chickens by Margaret Ethridge

Bram and Lynne's book

Spring Chickens

By Margaret Ethridge

Book Blurb:
You don't have to be a spring chicken to fall in love.

The residents of Heartsfield, Arkansas think Lynne Prescott has it all. The wealthy suburban divorcee captures everyone's attention when she blows into town to dispose of the family farm. But her nosy new neighbors don't know she ran away from home.

Bram Hatchett's interest in buying the land adjoining his farm is yesterday's news, but the handsome widower's inability to contain his attraction to the land's beautiful owner quickly becomes fodder for the local gossip mill.

A rickety old porch and a disturbing decrease in the poultry population bring them together—but with wagging tongues and grown children against them, Lynne's inclination toward flight comes smack against Bram's aversion to fight. Can they whittle away the secrets of the past in order to scratch out a future together?

I just finished reading the dark Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh so I really need a light & refreshing sweet book to read and let me tell you, Spring Chickens hit that mark. I adored it. 

I'm a sucker for a southern man with their drawl and gentlemanly manners. Oh boy, Bram had it all. He loves and respects his mama, dotes on his daughter and he can flirt without being obnoxious. I think I kinda fell in love with him. Bram is just such a man! Here is a typical man line from Bram and why my cheeks hurt from smiling, 

"Did you get lonely?" she asked, a teasing smile flirting with the corners of her lips.
"I wanted to get a look at your garage."

Bram and Lynne are a mature couple (age 50 yrs) and Margaret Ethridge has created her characters no less sexier or flawed than any twenty something couple. Bram with his Paul Newman good looks and Lynne with her mile high legs were instantly attracted to each other. (Ok so maybe Bram noticed Lynne's sports car first) (told ya he is such a man)

Lynne the city girl, reeling from a painful divorce, inherited her aunt's farm in Arkansas and uses the opportunity to run away from Chicago and her pain. She begins to use this time away to reflect on her life, her family and what she really wants to do to move forward. Finding Bram is a real boost to her self esteem as she slowly starts to see her true worth. 

Bram is stuck. As a widower to the only woman he ever loved, he really seems to take life one day at a time. Bram has a wonderful family. You immediately fall in love with his dad and develop a comfy home feeling of warmth and love with his mom. I'd love to pull up a chair sit around their dinner table anytime. 

Bram and Lynne quickly develop a friendly camaraderie as he welcomes her to Heartsfield by repairing her porch rotting floor boards. Over the death of a baby chick, dinner and peach cobbler, their attraction clearly becomes mutual as they start to fall head over heels with each other. This attraction is not what some other people of the town want and a devious and envious makeup representative in her big pink car set out to put a wedge in their burgeoning relationship. I giggled as what she would do to keep them apart.

The town folk of Heartsfield seem to be a character all their own. With the gossip vine in full force Lynne gives them something new to talk about. It's not every day they see a woman who's purse cost more than a tractor tire. 

Spring Chickens is just the perfect read to smile, sit back and enjoy a great story. If you love the south, a manly man and great banter between a couple, Spring Chickens is a great escape. 

Teasers: avian black widow, sexy daddy, healing power of a new relationship, bunny love

Friday, May 11, 2012

Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh

Dmitri and Honor's book

Archangel's Blade (Guild Hunter book 4)

by Nalini Singh

Book Blurb:
The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past...but Dmitri's need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.

Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel's right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality...the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.

As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting...and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more...

This review is written with the assumption that you are all caught up in the series. Archangel's Blade could be a stand alone read but I would not recommend it. 

Talk about two tortured characters! Most times when I read a story and there is a heavy back story, it is usually one character battling personal demons and the other character is trying to help with the healing process. Not the case with Archangel's Blade. Both of the protagonists, Dmitri and Honor are fractured and reeling from deep wounds.  Quite honestly, I wasn't sure how they were going to heal each other. There are some wicked scenarios in Archangel's Blade that are pretty gruesome. I'm glad I'm done with the series for now. I need a break. 

Archangel's Blade was very well written and the intense story line kept my eyes glued to the pages. It was a page turner for sure. 

The only information that the readers know about Dmitri going into Archangel's Blade is the few tidbits that have been shared in the previous books. Dmitri is a vampire now and you just know that there is a wicked back story.  To bring the readers up to date on his previous life, there are a series of flashbacks that Dmitri experiences. I'm not a fan of flashbacks (in any story). The reader is fed bits and pieces and you need to use these snippets to puzzle together his mortal conclusion. It takes the entire book to do so. Heartbreaking best describes Dmitri's previous life as a human. That is all I can say about that. 

Even though Honor is a Hunter from the Guild Hunter organization, she is a new character that was not introduced in any of the previous books. Right away you understand that she has suffered a recent personal atrocity and she is still in the clutches of healing. She is a strong woman and it is easy to admire how hard she is trying to heal herself. 

As Dmitri and Honor team up there are two mysteries woven into Archangel's Blade. One is about a mysterious decapitated head with an unknown but distinctive tattoo and the other is trying to solve who and why Honor was brutalized. Both of those stories run parallel to each other. Additionally mixed in to the book are Dmitri's flashbacks coupled with strange dreams that Honor is experiencing. There is an awful lot going on in Archangel's Blade. 

Although Elena and Raphael (from the first 3 books) are present as secondary characters in Archangel's Blade, I really missed them. I do love them. I'm pretty sure that if this book 4 was another story about Elena and Raphael, I would have been just as happy to continue reading about them. 

You would not think that Dmitri and Honor would have been such a great pair together. With his dark side and her trying heal from the dark forced upon her, they seemed to be a mismatched pair on paper. However, it worked. I enjoyed them testing each other's limits and I enjoyed reading about Honor earning her life back. Dmitri didn't turn out to be a crutch as I expected but rather Honor was just brave enough to do it on her own. The ending is where I decided to downgrade Archangel's Blade from a 5 down to a 4. This explanation is going to be bit hard without spoilers but lets just say, I didn't like the ultimate "fix" for Honor. This whole story I was routing for her and I was disappointed. The finale with the accumulation of his flashbacks and her dreams certainly left me scratching my head and feeling a bit let down. That is not what I personally wanted for Honor. I am pretty sure fans of the Guild Hunter series will strongly go against me on my disappointment but it was how I felt at the end. 

Teasers: great use of honey, Holly turned to Sorrow, a mother's love gone really really bad, wild flower memorial