Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts

The Last Boyfriend

ORDER A COPY: The Last Boyfriend: Book Two of the Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Publishing Date: May 1, 2012
Paperback: 319 pages

Rating: 5 stars

Owen is the organizer of the Montgomery clan, running the family’s construction business with an iron fist – and an even less flexible spreadsheet. And though his brothers bust on his compulsive list-making, the Inn BoonsBoro is about to open right on schedule. The only thing Owen didn’t plan for was Avery McTavish

Avery’s popular pizza place is right across the street from the inn, giving her a first-hand look at its amazing renovation – and a newfound appreciation for Owen. Since he was her first boyfriend when they were kids, Owen has never been far from Avery’s thoughts. But the attraction she’s feeling for him now is far from innocent.

As Avery and Owen cautiously take their relationship to another level, the opening of the inn gives the whole town of Boonsboro a reason to celebrate. But Owen’s hard work has only begun. Getting Avery to let down her guard is going to take longer than he expected – and so will getting her to realize that her first boyfriend is going to be her last.

Once again Nora Roberts delivers the goods in Book 2 of The Inn Boonsboro trilogy; The Last Boyfriend. After 200 books, there is no question that she certainly knows how to write characters; and the stories that I have enjoyed most from her involve the long time friends who thoughts regarding each other change drastically, usually due to a spontaneous, world-rocking kiss, and suddenly they begin to see each other in a new romantic light. I’m just a sucker for those!

In her Bride Quartet series, Savor the Moment was my favorite out of the four. In that book, everyone’s unofficial big brother Delaney Brown starts to rethink his feelings for his sister’s best friend, Laurel McBane, after she lands one of those world-rocking kisses on him after she tires of him treating her like a little sister.

Her latest story takes place under the backdrop of the beautiful, Bed & Breakfast, the Inn Boonsboro. The Montgomery Brothers have brought the 200 year old Inn back to life; Beckett is the architect, Ryder is the builder and Owen, the organized, level-headed manager of the family business. Bringing the Inn back to life is a boost for the town as well as all the local businesses on Main Street.

The pizzeria across the street from the Inn is owned and run by long-time family friend, Avery McTavish. Avery and Owen’s fathers were childhood friends and they all be grew up together, and after Avery’s mother abandoned her and her father, that family connection enjoyed by the Montgomery’s was something Avery envied and dreamed of.

Even more, the quirky and vibrant Avery has always had a soft spot for quiet and over-thinking Owen. She still remembers the day that Owen proposed to her. Of course she was only six and he was a mature eight. She still has the plastic engagement ring he gave her tucked away.

Owen always feels the need to watch over Avery. He believes that she works too hard trying to prove her worth, but only to herself. There is no one in Town that doesn’t love Avery and admire the business that she grew all on her own.

Then comes that fateful moment while touring the newly completed Inn, and Avery is knocked into Owens arms and that world-rocking kiss takes place and knocks their years-long friendship into something so much more.

No one can present this type of friends-to-lovers romance like Nora Roberts. This kind of romantic love story doesn’t need clichéd storylines of the old girlfriend lurking to cause trouble, or the creepy boss trying to force the heroine into a relationship. It is wonderfully sweet in the simple storytelling of two wonderful people who didn’t realize just how much they meant to each other until they took that one scary step of turning their long-time friendship to that of lovers.

Received ARC from Penguin/Berkley. Thank you.

Favorite Scene:

“Okay.” He sipped the whiskey. “Strange day,” he said with a sigh. “You’re not pissed at me anymore.”

I wasn’t pissed at you. Very much. And now I’ve figured out you’ve got an issue with sex.”

“What?” A close relative of Avery’s shock-and-horror look passed over his face. “I do not. Why?”

“See.” She lifted a finger off her glass to point at him. “I even say the word and you’re all flustered. Issues.”

“I don’t have any issues with sex. I believe in sex. I like sex. I like lots of sex.”

“Strange. You kiss me and go into immediate brain freeze. You see our parents kissing and hit the panic button.”

“No. Yes. Maybe. Damn it, that has nothing to do with issues. Any normal person would have a—”

“Momentary moment.”

Smart-ass, he thought. She’d always been one. “A reaction to seeing his mother laying a hot one on a longtime family friend. And you and me? You know that wasn’t expected.”

“Actually, it doesn’t seem that unexpected to me. But then, I don’t have sexual issues.”

“I don’t have sexual issues.”

“Hmm.” She sipped, strolled over to the window. “Oh, it’s snowing now. Pretty. God! I have not finished my Christmas shopping. You’d better go before is starts to stick.”

“Just wait a minute.”

She glanced back. For what?”

“Damn it, Avery, you can’t just say something like that then say go home.”

“Just voicing an opinion,” When he stepped around the counter, she took the glass from his hand. “You shouldn’t have any more. I know you handle it well, but still. Whiskey, driving and snow, not a good mix.”

He repeated, with all the patience and potency he could muster, “I don’t have sexual issues.”

“Are we still on that? All right, my mistake. You’re sexual issue-free.”

“Don’t placate me.”

“Jesus, Owen, what do you want from me? “ Her eyes fired like lasers when he gripped her elbows, hauled her to her toes. “Watch it,” she warned.

“Now we’re expecting it,” he told her, and gave her a quick yank.

She knew where his buttons were and how to push them—and could admit she’d done so. She didn’t mind irritating him into kissing her. She wanted an encore, one way or the other, to see how both of them reacted.

“Okay.” Deliberately she linked her hands behind his head. “Now we’re expecting it.” She moved in first, before he could overthink and pull back.

Edge of Light by Cynthia Justlin

Edge of Light

ORDER A COPY: Edge of Light

Publisher: Carina Press
Publishing Date: May 14, 2012
Paperback: 348 pages

Rating: 4 stars

Taken prisoner by a ruthless group of anarchists deep in the Cambodian jungle, anthropologist Jocelyn Hewitt is isolated in a dark prison cell. Without chance of rescue. Or hope. Until the man in the next cell reaches out to let her know she’s not as alone as she thinks.

CIA agent Oliver Shaw has been held prisoner for over two years. Forced to witness the brutal torture and slow murder of his entire team, his spirit is not just broken, it’s crushed. He no longer believes in hope. Until he hears Jocelyn through the wall, and suddenly feels like a glimpse of light is trying to reach in…

Jocelyn’s heart aches for the tortured man whose presence and voice give her the courage to risk their escape. But first she’ll have to remind Oliver who he once was, what he once loved, and bring him back to life. Only then will they have a chance for freedom—and the kind of love neither ever thought possible.

CIA Oliver Shaw has had the life beaten out of him after two years in a Cambodian prison. He has had to watch all of the members of his team be tortured and killed. He has given up on living and survives in this hell out of habit. When they put a new prisoner in the cell next to him after almost a year, he doesn’t know if he has it in him to comfort her when he knows there is no hope of ever leaving their cells.

Josie doesn’t work for the government, she is simply an anthropologist. She is looking for the remains of her father whose plane crashed in the jungle when she was just a child. When her friends are killed and she is thrown into a tiny cell and beaten severely, she can’t image why she was singled out until she is shown her father’s journal. They want her to decipher her father’s secrets but she hasn’t seen her father since she was eight. How would she know what her father was hiding?

Josie knows if she doesn’t try to escape she is dead and there is no way she will leave without Oliver. She just needs him to see past his years of torture and fears that he is worthy of saving and the only way they can survive the jungle is together.

Wow! Sometimes you pick up a book from a new author and you don’t know what to expect and you a pleasantly surprised how intriguing the story truly is.

This book was pretty dark since the beatings were to the point of brutal and the deaths sustained by Oliver’s co-workers were pretty gruesome, and even the antagonist’s stealing of children and using them to death in his sapphire mines was awful.

My pet peeve of breaking up the story with too many points of view was challenged in this story. We did spend time jumping from hero and heroine, and also the antagonist, his two cohorts, and one of his servants, but in this case it was important so that we understood from the beginning that there was dissention among the ranks which leads to certain members turning on the boss and helping our hero and heroine escape their imprisonment.

This was a really good story and a fast read with well written characters that you truly felt for their suffering.

Received ARC from courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.

Favorite Scene:

“I’m afraid for you.” She said. “I…I don’t think I could bear to lose you.”

His heart beat wildly against his ribs for an unguarded moment. A band clamped around him, squeezing him, constricting his lungs and his throat. Invisible walls close in on him like impenetrable prison bars.

Jocelyn stared at him, waiting for a response. He wanted to give her one—the right one—but he couldn’t find the words.

She dropped her hands and straightened. “It’s not a crime to care about someone, you know.”

Her whisper was full of pain, one he couldn’t ease. To do so would admit he cared. Confessing something so raw and real would lock him in a place with far greater potential to hurt him. More than every beating and every punishment he’d endured over the last two years.

He swallowed every desire, every craving for her that didn’t want to be denied, and found his voice. “Not a crime. Just another form of prison.”

Her eyes widened. “You don’t believe that.”

He wished he didn’t. If he stayed with her long enough would she have the power to change his mind? Afraid that she would, he turned to leave. Before he’d taken more than a few steps, Jocelyn’s voice halted him.

“It’s a lonely world out there. Haven’t you ever wanted to share it with someone?”

More than his next breath. But wanted and deserving were two very different things.

“What I want,” he said, turning to catch her bleak stare and her slightly downturned mouth, “is for you to say here while I go for a radio.”

“Why?” She crossed her arms in front of her “Why does it matter so much?”

“It just does.” He wouldn’t examine the urgency any further than that.

He should’ve ended it right there, but he couldn’t seem to walk away from her even when he wanted to. In fact, his feet moved closer of their own accord. He fingered a lock of her brown hair, pushing it behind her ear, then took a moment to memorize the way her eyes darkened as she looked up at him. He lightly touched a knuckle to the elegant curve of her jaw, moving up to sweep a thumb across her cheekbone so he wouldn’t forget the way her skin felt.

He nudged her chin up and took her lips in another kiss, losing his breath and somehow finding his hope.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can.” His voice shook, unsettling him. “Please, stay here.”

He spun on his heel and left the hut.

Jocelyn pressed her back against the wall and squeezed her eyes shut so she wouldn’t be able to watch Oliver leave. Rejection stung, and she let it, hoping to burn some sense into her.

Oliver was right. She wasn’t fit to travel. Her feet were starting to throb again and chills coursed through her body. She would slow him down, possibly endanger his life, yet even knowing all that, she still wanted to fling herself after him and insist he not leave her behind.

What if he didn’t make it back?

She had never expected to find someone like him on the other side of a cell, someone so broken and scarred he shouldn’t have an ounce of gentleness left in hm. But it was there, buried beneath the cracked surface. He was a man with goodness and strength, a man who had forgotten how to believe in himself. And she was so afraid he’d rather get captured or killed than take a chance with her because he didn’t believe he deserved more.

The Conch Republic by Eric Campbell

The Conch Republic

ORDER A COPY: The Conch Republic

Publisher: self published
Publishing Date: October 5, 2010
eBook: 262 pages

Rating: 4 stars

The Conch Republic was an entry in the Amazon Breakout Novel Awards contest of 2008. As an ABNA semi-finalist that year, The Conch Republic was reviewed by Publishers Weekly.

Curt Randall has always lived his life responsibly. From the time he was little, he lived his life by one credo, one maxim that served as the guiding principle for his every move.
“You have to do what you have to do.”
He secretly longed to be irresponsible, beholden to nobody. When Curt’s rich uncle died and bequeathed $5,000,000 to his favorite nephew, Curt seized his opportunity. He quit his job and bought a house in Key West, where early-retirement, libations, and sunsets awaited.
All was going according to plan until Curt met her. She is a New Age disciple who goes by the astral name, Rain. Rain dropped into Curt’s life and turned it upside down. At first, Rain complimented the lifestyle Curt was chasing, but their story does not have a happy ending. After Rain evaporated from Curt’s life, he found himself questioning why he had moved to Key West to begin with. Was irresponsibility what he really craved? Curt had also befriended Beth Sanders, a single mother who traveled a hard road in life before she ended up in Key West. When tragedy struck her family, Curt stepped up to help her and finally found what he was looking for. The Conch Republic is a story about a man who went to Key West searching for nothing, only to find everything.

We have all wished to win the lottery or inherit a fortune from some distant rich relative in the hopes that we will then be able to kick back with no more responsibilities and do nothing but just enjoy the sunsets. This story grabs that idea and shows us that early retirement and that life of pure leisure isn’t necessary the dream we all think it will be.

In The Conch Republic, Eric Campbell has almost a Stephen King type narration to the story and I had to keep reminding myself that this was Key West, not Durma Key, and there would be no monster hiding under the pier.

We follow Curt Randall from his boring life and job in New Jersey before his inheritance of $5 million dollars from his uncle, on his road trip down to Key West, Florida, where he will take up residence at the southern most point of the United States, where Curt plans to retire young and do nothing. Although I don’t remember any mention of age, I got the impression that Curt was only in his early to mid-thirties.

Upon his arrival at his new home in Key West, he takes a stroll about town and stops at a bar called No Cares Atoll owned by Jimmy Barffert. No Cares Atoll becomes almost its own character in the story as we spend a lot of time there with Curt and Jimmy.

Curt meets Rain shortly after arriving and her new age lifestyle works well with his new determination to do nothing, but eventually Curt meets Jimmy’s niece Beth, and her son, who has just left an abusive marriage, and he finds more in the hard working, single mother and her determination to give her son a good life then in the new-age Rain.

The story and the characters were well written, and the story was quite entertaining. It lacked a little excitement or maybe that simply was the basis of the story itself, that a life of doing nothing, brings you no stress, but ultimately brings you no excitement either, and the lesson we learn along with Curt is that the greatest goal is life is not to remove yourself from it, but to find something that is worth working for.

Received copy from the author. Thank you.

Favorite Scene:

“…The Conch Republic. What is that a reference to?”

“The Conch Republic. Now there is a story that defines the Spirit of the Keys.”

“The Spirit of the Keys.”

“Yep. The spirit I refer to is one of independence coupled with irreverence. Let’s face it. When you live at the end of the line, you—that is the community—learns a little self-reliance and a little humor.”

“I’m afraid I don’t understand, Jimmy.”

“Back in April, 1982, the U.S. Border Patrol set up a border checkpoint at the Last Chance Saloon in Florida City. They were looking for illegal aliens that might be hiding in cars coming out of the Keys. As you might imagine, the traffic jams were horrendous, and not just for folks leaving, but for folks coming in. Tourists, grocery trucks, you name it. Commerce was brought to a virtual standstill. Finally, Mayor Dennis Wardlow and company flew to Miami to seek redress through the courts. They did not succeed, and so they decided to secede.”

“Secede? As in leave the country?”

“Exactly! The motto I remember went something like this: We secede where others have failed.. As I said—independence coupled with irreverence. That is how the idea of The Conch Republic flag was raised, and then our fair republic declared war on the United States. The Republic promptly surrendered and demanded foreign aid, which we are still waiting for. The roadblock quickly disappeared after the media broadcasted these shenanigans. However, we still celebrate our independence each April. Long live The Conch Republic.”

Too Tempting to Resist by Cara Elliott

Too Tempting to Resist

ORDER A COPY: Too Tempting to Resist (Lords of Midnight)

Publisher: Forever
Publishing Date: April 24, 2012
Paperback: 368 pages

Rating: 5 stars

In the Wolf’s Lair . . .Determined to stop her wayward brother from squandering their dwindling fortune, Lady Eliza Brentford decides to follow him to his favorite den of depravity. There, among the candlelight and raucous revelry, she encounters her brother’s role model in debauchery, the notorious Marquess of Haddan, Gryffin Dwight. Staring into his smoldering green eyes, Eliza can’t help but find the rakehell nobleman seductively charming-and sinfully attractive.

In a Lover’s Paradise . . .When Gryffin appears on Eliza’s estate as a guest of her brother, a stolen kiss among the garden’s blooms leads to a night of unbridled passion. Suddenly the lovely widow feels herself opening up, like the petals of a rose. Could this master of seduction possibly feel true emotion for Eliza? Or is he leading her down the garden path to an Eden of delights no woman can resist-and a fall no woman can escape?

Gryffin Owain Dwight, the Marquees of Haddan, also known through certain circles as one of the notorious Hellhounds. Gryff has worked hard over the years to earn his reputation of gambling and debauchery. He would rather not let those of his acquaintance know that he is publishing a book on the language of flowers. He has kept his interest in botany and landscaping private. All he needs now is to find a talented illustrator for his book so that they can begin printing his novel of essays.

Lady Eliza Brentford is trying her best to keep her brother from gambling away the family fortune. She has survived one unfortunate marriage for the good the family, and she refuses to be sold to another future husband to refill her brother’s pockets. She has a plan to escape from her brother’s household and buy herself a little cottage in the Lake County. She just needs a little more time. As her brother refuses to stop his outrageous lifestyle, Eliza realizes she must use her painting talents to earn the monies necessary to make her dreams a reality.

A chance encounter with Gryff during a house party begins an affair which brings Eliza more joy and pleasure than she has known before. She wants to let go of convention and enjoy her Hellhound before she needs to face reality and leave before her brother starts making plans which will destroy her future.

Once again Cara Elliott creates a remarkable heroine who defies the standard convention of her time. Eliza is passionate and talented and self-assured enough to try and take control of her own future. It is quite enjoyable to watch Gryff seduce the young widow and in turn be seduced by her passions for life.

The antagonist in this story is Lord Brighton who is so creepy and sleazy that I want to take a shower after spending time with him in the story, and you just want to punch out Eliza’s brother for trying to force his sister to marry this vile man just to save his own hide.

This was another great novel from Cara Elliott and I am so enjoying her presentation of historical heroines who are above and beyond the usual boring ladies. Where Pride and Prejudice gave us Lizzy Bennet who was lively and defiant for her time, Cara Elliott takes her heroines just a little bit further. Lizzy Bennet wanted to marry someone who would take her for her small dowry. Cara Elliott’s heroines take control of their own future and defy convention of the time to try to earn their own income to take care of themselves.

I am looking forward to meeting the woman who will take down the last Hellhound, Cameron, in the last book of the trilogy.

Received ARC from, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.

Check out my interview with Cara Elliott for more on her novels.

Favorite Scene:

Oh.” Her eyes fell on a handsome gold frame lying face upon the sideboard. “Oh, my goodness, that looks to be a watercolor by Redouté.”

Gryff backed up a step, allowing her to brush past him.

She smiled as she touched the gilded wood, and he felt the breath catch in his throat.

It was as if the sun had scudded out from behind a scrim of clouds.

Her eyes warmed with a luminous light, and as her lashes lowered, he saw they were not mouse brown, but tipped with gold highlights. A glow seemed to suffuse her skin as well, brightening its lightly bronzed hue and accentuating the sculpted cheekbones that slanted slightly upward. On seeing a faint dappling of freckles on her nose, Gryff decided that she must spend a good deal of time outdoors.

It was a memorable face—not precisely pretty, but striking. Unique. Unlike to many of the London beauties, who all looked as though they had been cut from the same piece of pasteboard.

“D-do you think Miss Hawkins would mind if I shifted the glass just a touch? I should dearly like to see the texture of the paper he uses, and the detail of his brushwork.”

“Go right ahead.” A lady who recognized Redouté’s work? “I am quite sure Sara won’t have any objections.”

Eliza began fumbling with the fastening of her gloves.

“Here, allow me.” Gryff took one of her hands and carefully worked the tiny buttons free. Turning back the hem, he peeled the soft kidskin from her fingers. They were slim and graceful, yet he sensed a certain strength to them.

“Now the other one,” he demanded, taking hold of it before she could demure. “These feminine items of dress can be cursedly complicated to remove. But as you see, I have some expertise in the matter.”

A deep blush colored her cheeks, turning her skin nearly as red as the painted rose.

This time, after folding back the leather, he stopped. Trouble–trouble in the form of a small peek of smooth bare flesh—was string him in the face. He inhaled, savoring the sweet, subtle scent of lavender and honeysuckle. The perfume tickled his nostrils, drawing him down, down, down…

“S-sir!” She pulled her wrist away from his lips, but not before he had tasted the beguiling softness of her skin.

The Next Always by Nora Roberts

The Next Always (Inn BoonsBoro, #1)

ORDER A COPY: The Next Always: Book One of the Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy

Publisher: Berkeley
Publishing Date: November 1, 2011
Paperback: 352 Pages

Rating: 4 stars

“America’s favorite writer” (The New Yorker) begins an all-new trilogy-inspired by the inn she owns and the town she loves.
The historic hotel in BoonsBoro, Maryland, has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect of the family, Beckett’s social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen.

Beckett Montgomery and his family are bringing the Inn Boonsboro back to life. The former Inn building has been standing on the corner of Main Street for almost 200 years and has fallen into disrepair. When it re-opens in January, it will be an incredible Bed and Breakfast with the rooms named after the famous lovers in novels and furnished with those couples in mind.

The project is coming along wonderfully and the Town is excited to see the progress being made at the Inn; that includes the owner of the local bookshop across the way.

Clare Brewster has come home to Boonsboro after her husband’s death to raise her three boys closer to family. She used her husband’s death benefits to open the bookstore and give her boys a good life in a quiet Town.

Beckett has been in love with Clare since high school, but she only had eyes for Clint and when she married Clint and moved away, dreams of Clare faded into the past. Now working across the street, he gets to see her more often and those feelings he had for her in High School start to grow again into thoughts of a family of his own; including three wonderful boys.

While the Montgomerys work hard to get the Inn ready for guests, Beckett is hoping to grow his relationship with Clare into something just as spectacular.

This was a wonderful and well written story. I loved watching Beckett spending “men time” with Clare’s boys, and I enjoyed reading the blossoming feeling between these two characters. The additional characters of Beckett’s brothers Owen and Ryder, who will be featured in the remaining trilogy stories, as well as Clare’s friends, Avery and Hope and Clare’s boys, just made for a fabulous story.

Sadly, if the story was 100 percent fictional, I would have enjoyed the discussion of the creation of the Inn more. But knowing that Nora Roberts just opened “The Inn Boonsboro” which is across the street from the Turn the Page Bookstore where Nora repeatedly has book signings, just kept slapping me in the face with the fact that I was reading a 250 page brochure promoting her new venture. It makes her a clever business woman and us, just suckers. :(

It is a great story with her usual well-written characters, and if you can forget you paid $9.99 for a promotion advertisement of her Inn, then you will really enjoy the story. And YES, I want to check out the Eve and Rourke room, but not at $350 a night.

Favorite Scene:

She shoved the book and her notes in her purse, grabbed her hair-brush. And heard the doorbell.

Not only on time, but ten minutes early. She glanced at herself in the bedroom mirror. She could’ve used that ten minutes.

She rushed downstairs in time to hear Murphy ask, “Are you going to lock us in our room?”

“Are you guys planning to rob the bank?”


“Then I won’t need to lock you up.” Beckett looked over, up. And smiled, “Spaghetti and meatballs, as ordered.”

“Thanks. You’re a lifesaver.” She took the bag, then felt a little clutch in her belly as she noted all three boys watched Beckett like they would a strange animal in the zoo.

“Let’s take this back so I can show you where everything is. They’ve finished their homework,” she began as they went back to the kitchen. “They should eat by around six.” She got out plates as she spoke. “Don’t worry about the bath, I’ll get them in the shower in the morning. Their pj’s are laid out, they like to get in them at least an hour before bedtime.”

“Men of leisure.”

“Exactly. I’ll be home before bedtime, that’s eight fifteen or so.”

“Got it. Clare, relax. Those child endangerment charges were dismissed.”

“Very funny. I’m actually more worried about you. They know the rules, but that doesn’t mean they won’t pull something. You’ve got my numbers. I can be home in five minutes if—”

“We’ll be fine. I won’t listen if they tell me to run with scissors.”

“Okay.” She let out a breath. “I’d better go.”

He walked back in with her, and once again the boys turned as one, stared. “I’ll be home by bedtime. Be good, and no snacks before dinner. Good luck.” She told Beckett.

He closed the door behind her, waited a beat. “All right, men, what’s the plan?”

As oldest, Harry took point. “We want cookies.”

“Gotta say no to that one. Just got a direct order.”

“Told ya,” Liam muttered.

“We want to play PlayStation. Pop and Nan gave us PlayStation 3 for Christmas.”

“What games have you got?”

Harry eyed him speculatively. “Do you know how to play?”

“Please. You’re looking at the reigning town champ.”


Beckett just smiled, flexed his fingers. “Bring it on.”

No Strings Attached Blog Hop

This giveaway is closed. Our winner was Amanda J. Congratulations.

We are participating in the I am a reader, not a Writer No Strings Attached Blog Hop.

All you need to do to be entered is leave your name and a contact e-mail so that we can contact the winner. No need to sign up for our blog (unless you would like to). This giveaway runs from 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday April 17th, until Midnight on Sunday, April 22nd.

We will be giving away an eBook copy of any book of your choice (up to $10 value). You will simply need to have an Amazon or B&N account so we can send same to you.

Go to the host site I am a reader, not a writer for more blogs participating in this No Strings Attached Blog Hop and see what goodies they are offering in this giveaway.

Laurie London Interview

We are talking today with author Laurie London about her Sweetblood (vampire) series.

Laurie London Interview.

Check it out and leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of her latest book Tempted by Blood.

Fun Friday (4/13/12)

Hi, Everyone!! Happy Friday!!

Have you ever anticipated the release a book (or movie or the next season of a TV series) that you were so excited about and when you finally got your hands on it, you were disappointed by how the characters acted or how the storyline deviated from how you anticipated?

My Lord Vampire by Alexandra Ivy

My Lord Vampire (Immortal Rogues, #1)

ORDER A COPY: My Lord Vampire (Immortal Rogues)

Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: February 28, 2012
Paperback: 278 pages

Rating: 4 stars

In the first of a mesmerizing trilogy, Alexandra Ivy, author of the Guardians of Eternity series, introduces the Immortal Rogues—three vampires duty-bound to protect their own kind even as they fall prey to mortal desires. . .

Centuries have passed since Gideon Ravel dwelled among humans. Now he must infiltrate the cream of London society to earn the trust of one woman. Simone, Lady Gilbert, possesses an amulet of unimaginable power, and no concept of the threat that surrounds her. The ton’s gossip prepared him for her beauty and wit. But he is blindsided by her barely disguised sensuality and his growing need to possess her. . .

None of the idle aristocrats who vie for Simone’s attentions know about her past. To them, she is the sophisticated, worldly widow known as the “Wicked Temptress.” The truth would ruin her, and she has never been tempted to reveal it until now. Yet beneath Gideon’s bold, black-eyed stare is a hunger that demands satisfaction and complete surrender. . .and a secret far more dangerous than her own.

Gideon Ravel is a vampire who lives behind the Veil;  hidden and separated from the world of mortals and dedicating himself to knowledge and peace.  He has been sent out into the mortal realm to find and stop a dangerous traitor who is attempting to destroy the Veil and enslave both the vampires and the humans for his own evil purposes.

One of the three medallions that created the Veil have been given to Lady Simone Gilbert by kindly gypsy woman for safe keeping, and Gideon must protect her and the medallion from falling into the wrong hands.

There is nothing more coveted by the London Ton than an invitation to the salon of the “Wicked Temptress,” Lady Simone Gilbert.  What the members of London’s society don’t know is that Lady Gilbert is hiding a dark secret that would destroy her reputation in society.

Gideon is drawn immediately to Lady Gilbert and not just for his need to protect her; but there is no way to woo the beautiful Simone, when they are both hiding such secrets that trust between them is impossible. 

This is a re-released book which was originally released in 2003 under her alter ego, Debbie Raleigh.   Now I am a huge fan of Alexandra’s Guardians of Eternity series and as far as I am concerned, she can’t write them fast enough.  Saying that it pains me terribly to say that this book was just okay.  There is nothing too terribly vampiric?…vampiry?…about this story.  He could simply have been a Lord and protecting her from an evil man willing to kill to get the powerful or simply valuable amulet.  There was no real need for vampires since he didn’t bite or do anything too vampirish. 

Now please don’t interpret my “okay” to mean bad, and it wasn’t the PG rating that affected my review.  I can enjoy a well written young adult book as much as some of the erotica that’s out there.  Heck there is usually more actual story in a young adult book than in the erotica.  It wasn’t a bad story and I read it in about a day.  It just didn’t give me the buzz of excitement that I usually get from the characters in her Guardians of Eternity series. 

It’s an easy read and decent story, and if you a fan of Alexandra Ivy (like I am)  you will enjoy her writing, but it isn’t a “drop what you’re reading and get this today” book.  (God it hurts me to say that.) 

Received an ARC from Kensington Books.

Favorite Scene:


Simone raised her brows in bewilderment.  “It is a portrait.”

“Look closer.” Mary commanded.

Biting back an impatient sigh, Simone lifted the candelabra and studied the dark picture.  It took only a moment as the soft light revealed the finely hued countenance of the gentleman for her heart to skid to a halt.

“Good heavens,” she whispered.  “It is Mr. Ravel.”

“That is what I though, until I noted the small plaque.”  Mary retorted.

Lowering her gaze Simone read the words engraved into the plaque.  “Lord Ravel. PenwhickCastle.  1520 A.D.”

“I assure you that it gave me quite a start when I first noticed it.”

Simone’s disbelieving gaze returned to the portrait, noting the heavy velvet and lace that the gentleman wore.  Certainly there was no gentleman today who would choose such garments.

“It is impossible.”

“It does look remarkable like him, even that gold ring he wears.”

Simone gave a shake of her head, her breath oddly elusive as she searched for some hint that this was not Gideon.

“It looks precisely like him,” she muttered.

“I suppose it must be a relative of Mr. Ravel’s,” Mary continued to chatter, unaware of the tension gripping Simone.

“Yes,” she agreed, although deep within her she could not make herself accept that it was mere coincidence.  She had always looked much like her sister, both of them with the same golden hair and slender frames.  They both even had a similar birthmark upon their hip.  But this…this was not merely resemblance. Every feature, from the glossy dark hair to the arrogant tilt of his chin was precisely the same.

“He looks quite dashing with that ruff and lace.  Do you suppose he was as sinfully charming as the current Mr. Ravel?”

Simone shivered, “No doubt.”

Under Suspicion by Hannah Jayne

Under Suspicion (Underworld Detection Agency, #3)

We are going to be giving away winner’s choice of a copy of Book #1-Under Wraps or Book #2-Under Attack. Giveaway ends Friday, April 20th. U.S. or Canada residents only!

Thank you to Kensington Books for the giveaway!

ORDER A COPY: Under Suspicion (The Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles)

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Company
Publishing Date: May 1, 2012
Paperback: 333 pages

Rating: 5 stars

She’s the new head of the Underworld Detection Agency’s strangest division. What a nightmare…

Being a human immune to magic helped Sophie Lawson get promoted. It’s also made her a major, very reluctant player in a game that stretches beyond even the Underworld. Having handsome buttoned-down Englishman Will as her new guardian is one tempting blessing, especially since sexy fallen angel Alex is mysteriously MIA lately. But as a frightening number of demons start disappearing around the city, Sophie suspects that an Armageddon-level prophecy is about to become everyone’s nightmare. And her investigation is testing her bravery — and Will’s unexpected vulnerability — in ways neither could predict. Now Sophie and Will are fast running out of time as an unstoppable evil prepares to lay waste to demons and humans alike…

Sophie Lawson is the only human working at the Underworld Detection Agency. The Underworld Detection Agency monitors, regulates and assists demons in the San Francisco area, sort of like the Social Security Office for demons. Sophie’s mother and grandmother were Seers, so Sophie is the only human or “breather” on staff since she is immune to magics and glamours.

In this chapter of the Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles, Sophie has noticed that several of her clients have not arrived for their monthly appointments, including hot-headed dragon Mrs. Henderson. Since Mr. Dixon, new vampire head of UDA, doesn’t share Sophie’s concerns, she takes it upon herself to check on Mrs. Henderson only to find her home trashed and dragon’s blood smeared everywhere. When even Sophie’s on again/off again love, fallen angel and FBI agent, Alex Grace doesn’t believe her, Sophie decides to tackle what she believes is a supernatural killer on her own.

With the help of her best friend, roommate and vampire, Nina LaShay, Nina’s brooding nephew Vlad and Sophie’s sexy Guardian, Will Sherman, Sophie tries to locate the killer; if only she could get everyone focused on the problem at hand.

Currently, Nina is falling in love with Harley Cavanaugh, author of the new book Vampires, Werewolves and Other Things that Don’t Exist, and Sophie can’t convince her that she can’t get to happily ever after with a man who doesn’t believe she even exists.

Vlad is still busy fighting for the Vampire Empowerment Movement (VERM) so that all vampires are in charge and are free to dress like Count Chocula; and breaking VERM rules by dating a breather himself.

And with things off again with Alex and his being on a stakeout across the country, things are starting to heat up between Guardian Will and Sophie in his absence. (“Guardian—and not in that “until your eighteen” sort of way, but in an “until the balance of power has been restored between the good and the fallen, I will protect you” kind of way”).

While Sophie stumbles through another investigation in her I Love Lucy way, you will again be laughing and chuckling at the snarky comments and zippy one-liners. Once again, Hannah creates a world and characters that are so charming and delightful.

This story was fun as well as entertaining and just thoroughly enjoyable. I continue to look forward to where she will take us next. I am also looking forward to seeing how this will play out with the Sophie/Will/Alex triangle. Sophie has been “ready to lay down my soul” in love with Alex from the beginning, and although he is noticeably attracted to her, he is standoffish in his “I’m trying to get back to heaven” way. Will he change his mind now that the competition for Sophie’s affection has heated up? Oooo, I can’t wait to see.

My only comment would have been that the end of this story leaves us with Sophie opening the door to a mystery man that leaves her gaping. In this case, I would have left it there since I would have been panting to read the next book to see who was at the door. The publishers have added a few pages from the next book to draw you in, and you find out who was at the door. Kind of ruins the mystery, but I for one will be looking for the next book coming out in the Fall.

Received an ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you.

Just leave a comment to be entered for winner’s choice of a copy of Book #1-Under Wraps or Book #2-Under Attack. U.S. or Canada residents only!

Thank you to Kensington Books for the giveaway!

Favorite Scene:

“Hey, come on. We don’t have much time.”

Will’s eyes were focused over my head; his lips pressed together. I watched his Adam’s apple bob as he swallowed slowly.

“What?” I looked over my shoulder at the two carved cement lion/dragon statues that guarded the mouth of Chinatown. “Those? They’re not real. Promise. They don’t come to life during a full moon or a Keeping Up with the Kardashians Marathon or anything.”

“It’s not that,” Will said, starting to shuffle with the tourist crowd. “It’s”—and here he wagged his head from side to side, hazel eyes scanning, scrutinizing—“Mogwai.”

I stopped dead and crossed my arms, feeling one eyebrow creep up, “Mogwai?”

We had crossed through the Chinatown gates and were flanked by a couple with thick Midwestern accents, who were pausing to photograph everything, and a guy power walking while listening to his iPod loud enough to hear every one of Steven Tyler’s wailing screams.

“Yeah,” Will said, voice lowered, “Mogwai.”

“Look, Will, I know every single demon in the Underworld. And a majority of the upper world, too—wait? A Mogwai?”

Will nodded nervously, as if saying the word would bring one about.

“That’s a Gremlin, Will.”

“If you feed it after midnight, it is. And whose midnight, you know? They’re Chinese, right? Is it when it’s midnight in China or here? And, well, I’m British. Does my Mogwai become British—”

“It’s a freaking Spielberg movie, Will!”

Will stopped, putting his hands on his hips. “And you don’t think it was based on something real?”

I could feel my left eye begin to twitch. “Fine.” I put out my hand, wiggling the tips of my fingers. “Give me your wallet.”

“No. Why?”

“Give it to me.”

Will reluctantly fished his wallet from his back pocket and handed it to me. I pulled out his credit cards and all of the cash—seventeen dollars, all in ones—from it; and handed it back.


I shoved his money into my pocket, clapped a hand on his shoulder. “See? Now I’ve got all of your money. There is absolutely no chance of you buying a Mogwai, unless you’ve got some magic beans in your pants. Now let’s get going.”


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