Friday, October 30

Review: Hot on Her Heels by Susan Mallery

Review time!! It’s strange how sometimes, there’s no buddy reviews lined up and then suddenly, I’m working on three at the same time ^_^; Seriously, how does that happen? LOL :)

This buddy review was very easy to write and took no time at all thanks to my buddy reviewer. It’s my pleasure to welcome Mary G. She’s a lurker and fellow Canadian whom I met earlier this summer when I went to visit Kristie and Cindy. I’ve been trying to convince her to start her own blog... Maybe if we had a lot of comments on this post, she’d be swayed? What do you think, fellows? :)

Hot on Her Heels by Susan Mallery
published by HQN Books in October 2009

Dana Birch vowed never to put herself at the mercy of a powerful man. She became a deputy so that she could take care of herself, and protect those she loved. Especially her best friends, the Titan sisters.

Twenty years ago, Garth Duncan swore revenge on Jed Titan for abandoning Garth and his mother. Now he’s back to fulfill that promise, even if Jed s daughters get caught in the crosshairs. All that stands between him and his goal is Dana, her gun, and a growing passion that can t be denied...

Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Lone Star Sisters, Book #4

The Story: Garth Duncan is the bastard son of Jed Titan, a very powerful man. Twenty years ago, Garth went to Jed and beg for money in order for his mother who had a brain tumor to have surgery. Thinking this was all a ploy to get more money, Jed kicked Garth out of the house. Ultimately, Garth’s mother, Kathy, did have surgery, but there were some irreversible damages and although she was still alive, Garth lost his mother… and he swore revenge on Jed.

Twenty years later, Garth is ready to ruin Jed. First though, he targeted his three half-sisters, thinking that they had a close relationship with their father. However, he quickly realizes his mistake: Jed Titan cares for no one except himself. After the sisters discover that their father was behind the explosion that almost cost Izzy her life, they decide to make Garth their family and band with him to bring down their father. As the honorary sister, Dana is charged to keep an eye on Garth and make sure that he is not a villain.

Nath: So Mary, what did you think of Hot on Her Heels? I know you were worried because you did not like Garth in the three previous books. Did you change your mind?

Mary: I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

Nath: Phew, I’m glad you did! Me, I really enjoyed this book, mainly for Dana and Garth. I just loved their personalities. I’ve been in the mood for a crabby heroine and Dana was just what I needed.

Mary: I totally agree. I was so prepared to hate Garth and I thought there was no way to redeem him. I loved how SM handled this. There were so many touching parts for these two broken souls and I loved that together they made something so good. I love strong female characters so I loved Dana but I thought both characters had vulnerabilities that strike your heart.

Nath: You know, one of the things I like most in Hot on Her Heels is the fact that Ms Mallery didn't make Garth turn all nice, didn't change his character. He's still ruthless, still very hard on the edge. She doesn't really "redeem" his character. He attacked the sisters because he thought they were close to Jed. If he had known earlier that Jed didn't care about them, I don't think he would have targeted them.

Mary: Maybe redeem is too strong a word. I just know I went from hating him to understanding where he came from. I like that he was strong enough for a strong character like Dana. The best for me besides his chemistry with Dana, was his devotion to his mother Kathy.

Nath: You’re right, Ms Mallery did a good job, explaining Garth's situation and his motives for seeking revenge. Overall, I think he was justified and the whole revenge plot didn't feel forced.

Oh and I loved Dana and Garth chemistry! I actually loved Dana’s character. She’s very strong and crabby – but not in an angry way like Nicole in the Bakery Sisters series (phew!). I guess she’s just cynical :) I enjoyed the interactions between Dana and Garth immensely; they were just hilarious and unapologetic. They didn’t try to change themselves to please each other.

Mary: I like their snappy dialogue & how they continually tried topping each other & wanting the last word.

Nath: Oh definitively. They pushed one another hard and it made for an enjoyable read :D

I’d like to come back to something you mentioned earlier… Garth’s devotion for his mother. I'm not sure I would call it devotion. I feel like Garth considers Kathy as his responsibility. He drops by, visits her, but never very long. I mean, I understand why. Kathy is not the same person anymore, she's been taken away from him - and it hurts to see her like that, because it's not her. At the same time, Garth had his young adult life taken away from him, shouldering such important responsibilities... I'm just not sure how to describe Garth's attitude towards Kathy... but I'm just not sure it's devotion.

Mary: It was such a bittersweet moment when Garth brought Kathy to Glory's Gate and she hated it. He had to re-evaluate what it meant to achieve this goal.

Nath: Indeed, very bittersweet. I think this scene shows how human Garth is… that under all the ruthlessness, he’s simply a man, a son who hopes.

While I enjoyed Hot on Her Heels, I did have few issues with it. First, Dana's past about her father was a bit superfluous. Yes, it explains why she goes out with unassuming guys... but the part where she's all withdrawn after witnessing Garth's violence towards Jed? Didn't like that scene.

Mary: I think SM was trying to portray how her past affected her and Dana seemed more disappointed in Garth than anything else. Also, up till then none of Garth's action included violence. Dana thought he was "above" that.

Nath: Hmmm, perhaps. I just didn't like that scene. Probably my least favorite scene in the book… and I think it was perhaps a bit out of character for Garth. Ah well. My other issue was Jed Titan.
Simply put, I thought Jed was too much of a villain. I mean, I wouldn't have minded if he was a jerk or asshole, but traitor and all? That was a bit too much in my opinion. I knew from the first few pages of the book that Jed was the villain who caused the explosion. It was just too obvious, if Garth wasn't responsible.

Mary: I think you're right. His evil was a bit over the top. Now that I think back, it took the rest of the characters in the book to take him down. I did like him getting his comeuppance though. When he finally realized the damage that Kathy had suffered needlessly, I was even more disgusted with him. He went from being a bully to a pathetic person for me.

Nath: See, the thing is I don't understand the motivation for Jed's action. More money? I don't even get why he had his daughters fighting for the inheritance. Having Jed be a jerk was enough. Making him more evil than necessary was just a waste. I think that it was well explained why Jed threw Garth out when Garth asked for money for Kathy's surgery... and the ending was very fitting. Definitively pathetic man. The saddest part is that Kathy is really the one that got away from Jed, couldn't forget her. So yeah, the rest – him selling weapons to terrorists, fraud, etc. was totally superfluous...

Mary: Well said Nath.

Nath: So what was your favorite scene, Mary? LOL, I really liked when the sisters were ganging up on Garth... The fun they took from it and how uncomfortable Garth was. That scene where he realizes that he's in love with Dana? Priceless LOL :)

Mary: It was the same for me - I love the push/pull he felt with his sisters. It was such a moment for Garth to be the last to realize how he felt about Dana.

Nath: Especially when Garth asks them what he should do to win Dana back and they just ignore him, LOL :) That’s another thing I enjoyed in this book, the sisters camaraderie. Their relationship was much better in Hot on her Heels than in the rest of the series. I guess that now that they had a common enemy and their differences were settled, they could be sisters again :)

Mary: Izzy being the gutsy sister, was the perfect choice to "love" Garth into this family whether he liked it or not. Skye and Lexi balanced this with their more careful approach to trusting him. Izzy's hubby Nick, as Garth's former best friend, was a great tie-in to the other books.

Nath: Izzy has always been my favorite of the three sisters. I thought in her book, she wasn't herself... This, drawing Garth into the family, that's definitively her :D I thought it was also realistic that Skye and Lexi were more careful. Hmmm, Nick and Garth's friendship... I'd have liked a bit more closure.

Mary: That did seem to be left a bit unfinished considering their past.

Nath: I agree. Considering that Garth does not have many persons he cares for, I would have assumed it'd be important to get a bit more closure. I mean, Garth apologized once again in this book, but Nick's response. Grr, made me mad :(

So overall, what grade would you give Hot on Her Heels? I’ve been wavering between B and B+. I think it deserves B+. Very enjoyable, but not a wowzer.

Mary: Yes B+. I always think if I love it, it deserves an A but I have to leave room for the gut clenching, take your breath away ones.:D This one had its moments though. With some exceptions, movie sequels tend not to be as good as the series goes along, but I find with books I've read lately, as in this series, the last book is the absolute best one.

Nath: It's the build up, Mary :D For me, among Ms Mallery’s seven latest releases, Hot on Her Heels is the absolute best LOL :) Finally a winner. I’ll just be content with this LOL.

Tuesday, October 20

Review: Would Be Witch by Kimberly Frost

In the small town of Duvall, Texas, the only thing more troublesome than gossip—is magic.

The family magic seems to have skipped Tammy Jo Trask. All she gets in the way of the supernatural are a few untimely visits from the long dead, smart-mouthed family ghost, Edie. But when her locket, an heirloom that happens to hold Edie’s soul, is stolen in the midst of a town-wide crime spree, it’s time for Tammy to find her inner witch.

After a few experiences in dysfunctional magic, Tammy turns to the only one who can help; the very rich and highly magical, Bryn Lyons. He might have all the answers—and a 007-savoir faire to boot—but the locket isn’t the only legacy passed down in Tammy’s family. She also inherited a warning…to stay away from anyone named Lyons.

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Southern Witch Series Book 1

So what’s up?!?! How’s the book going?

Chantal: It’s good. I read half last night.

Monroe: Ya I liked it. It wasn't WONDERFUL but I really enjoyed it! I think there is a second one too! I love Tammy Jo and Merc! Lol

Chantal: I liked the book; I want to read the next one. I didn't love it though. Do you have a favorite of the two men?

Monroe: Ya I agree with you. It was a cute and fun quick read and I REALLY do want to read the next one, but not the strongest book I’ve come across.

Man that's a hard question...ok...

Bryn: I love this guy, he’s charming, sexy and you know deep down he really does care for Tammy Jo BUT he’s also sneaky and you're not quite sure if you can trust him.

Kyle: What a bonehead! Lol to me he’s like your typical male. Oblivious to so many things! But overall he truly loves Tammy Jo and even though they are divorced he watches out for her and you know that will never stop!

Who's your fav? I couldn't believe Bryn and Tammy have sex! OMG! Lol

Chantal: I agree with what you said about both guys. And wow at the sex. That was a shocker. I'm not sure who I like better. I think that Bryn is smarter, and Kyle is for sure a bit of a dunce. I don't know why he doesn't believe her about the magic, there was proof when a corpse came back to life and attacked people. If my husband told me something like that (about magic, witches, etc) I would believe him. I may need some convincing at first, but I would not write him off and get into fights about it. Yeah, for that reason I think I like Bryn better.

I wouldn't say that the story is great. There are some holes and eye rolling moments, but it was cute.

Monroe: Ya it pissed me off he didn't believe her. BUT I think he does now after ALL THE EVENTS and he seen what's her name that lives in the necklace b/c he asked what she looked like. So ya I think he might be more open in the next book.

I truly can't pick one over the other! Lol they both appeal to me...its hometown hottie redneck against charming rich stud! ;o)

And I too found parts in the book where I rolled my eyes or even thought it was easy to set down but I felt like by the end it ended up being a pretty good page turner!

So what did you think about Merc her cat??? He’s so adorable! Lol AND I loved that he came from Bryn! I wonder if they will bring in her family for the second one.

Chantal: I didn't like Merc at first. I hate cats. I can't say that I came to like him, but I don't hate the thought of reading any more cat scenes anymore. Although, it would make me happy if he vanished from the story all together.

LOL you sealed the deal in me liking Bryn more than Kyle. Redneck is so not my thing. Now I'll picture him with missing teeth, wearing overalls and living in a dump with a fridge full of beer. Icky!

Did you laugh when Jenny got the hiccups at the end? Remember she tried to give Jenny hiccups at the start of the story but it didn't work? Hehe, can't wait to see what else she does to Jenny in the next book.

Monroe: LMAO! I don't like rednecks either...wrong choice of words I mean more of country boy/I'll change your oil in your car without a shirt on/and drink beer while I grill outside kinda guy! Lol

I LOVED Merc! I have a cat! Lol I thought it was cute how she would talk to him and I swear he totally understood her! :o)

OMG I HATED Jenny! Lol I loved it when she got the hiccups! OH did you FLIP when she pawned her wedding ring? I flipped out and then she never got it back! She BETTER get it back by the next book.

Chantal: Ok, that's better! lol

I think that she will get all the jewelry back in the next book. Now that her witch powers are working she can curse Jenny some more.

By the way, did we ever get an explanation as to why her powers did not work before?

Monroe: Hmmm...No we didn't. Well the only thing I can think of is that Bryn had mentioned that maybe she just didn't have the proper people working with her. Like when he was trying to get her apprentice him. Like maybe working with him helped her tap into her powers?!?!

Maybe I was dumb about it but I really didn't expect his father to have been behind everything did you?

Chantal: That's what I mean about holes in the story. No real reason for her not being able to use her powers. It's not like she didn't have help. Her mom and aunt are seasoned witches.

No, I didn't expect the dad, but it was one of those “eye rolling” moments. Why didn't Bryn feel the magic his father was doing? And what was with the spell "bouncing back" when Bryn tried to find his watch? What did that mean? The spell worked but it kept him drawn to his own home because that's where the watch was? Or the spell didn't work? Grrrr.

Back to Kyle for a minute. He really believed that a gang was after her? How many clues does that man need for him to see what is right in front of his face? He sure is dumb.

Monroe: Well every dumb man needs a smart woman! Lol Ya and think he’s supposed to be a cop! Lol He must not get many raises! Girl you are SO making me pull for Bryn EVEN MORE! Lol

You can tell that the story should’ve been more thought out and maybe it’s fixed in the second book. I do believe this was KF's first book so maybe it will all come together!

And you know I thought that Kyle turning into a Were would've made for an interesting twist don't you?!?!

Chantal: YES! I wish he had been turned. You can't deny there is magic if you are able to turn furry.

I'd have liked to learn more about "the list" You know, the families that she is not supposed to go near. Since she went and had sex with someone on the list, what is the punishment? And WHY can't she be around them? I suppose it will all be answered in future books, but I HATE THAT!!! I don't like being forced to buy a sequel in order to get my questions answered. The more I think of that the madder I am getting. It's sneaky! I'm getting more pissed by the second.

Monroe: Lol ya I wish we would've AT LEAST learned more about it. Maybe not the full explanation but SOMETHING so it would want to make us want to dig more into the whys of the family. I’m not asking them to close door on subjects at least just give us a peek in! They mentioned stuff and never came back to it.

I’ll read the next one. I really like Tammy Jo and am curious and I HOPE that all the kinks are worked out by then. Let’s just say it was her "first book fluke" lol :op

Chantal: I'm going with a C+. I'll hold off on getting the next book until I see what you have to say about it.

Monroe: I think I’ll rate it about a B-...I’ll read the next one and let you know! :o)

Wednesday, October 14

Review: Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare

Nath is back from her trip to LA and what better way to celebrate than with a buddy review? LOL

Ever the bold adventuress, Lucy Waltham has decided to go hunting for a husband. But first she needs some target practice. So she turns to her brother's best friend, Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall, to hone her seductive wiles on him before setting her sights on another man. But her practice kisses spark a smoldering passion-one that could send all her plans up in smoke.

Jeremy has an influential title, a vast fortune, and a painful past full of long-buried secrets. He keeps a safe distance from his own emotions, but to distract Lucy from her reckless scheming, he must give his passions free rein. Their sensual battle of wills is as maddening as it is delicious, but the longer he succeeds in managing the headstrong temptress, the closer Jeremy comes to losing control. When scandal breaks, can he bring himself to abandon Lucy to her ruin? Or will he risk his heart and claim her for his own?

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: First in Tessa Dare's trilogy

Nath: So what did you think of Goddess of Hunt? I'll probably be in the minority, but I thought it was okay only... thing is Lucy annoyed me sooo much!! I don't know, there was just something about her that rubbed me the wrong way.

I was expecting to totally love it, because I thought it'd be my kind of story... but I was annoyed from the beginning. Ugh.

Ames: I enjoyed Goddess of the Hunt. I have to agree with you, Lucy annoyed me at the beginning. Like she was so stubborn and she kept embarrassing herself and I absolutely hate when characters do that. But she grew on me eventually the annoyance with her was only at the beginning.

Nath: Oh I hated it too, the embarrassing herself part ^_^; I also think that you shouldn't change yourself to please someone else.

Ames: But then - you know when Jeremy was telling Henry that he'd "undo it if he could" and Lucy totally thought he meant their being together? And so she was acting all hurt and Jeremy was acting like he had a stick up his butt (for good reason, he wanted to keep Lucy safe when all the people he loved in his life DIED) and I just wanted to shake both these characters and tell them to TALK TO EACH OTHER.

Yes, I felt strongly about that. LOL But I still enjoyed the book. Like you though, with all the blogger buzz I was expecting to be wowed and I wasn't, but I still had a good time.

Nath: Me too, I really wanted to shake Jeremy and Lucy in the second half of the book. It was like come on. Just sit down and talk it out, please!! Let's move the story along. It seems to me Ms Dare was done with her story too early and needed another conflict to extend the plot ^_^;

I thought the plot had potential - that the idea wasn't bad... You know, her wanting to practice on someone (which by the way, could have gone on longer, in my opinion). What bothered me is that she was going to seduce a man away from another woman. That was just wrong. It's one thing to seduce the man you've always loved so he can finally notice you, but it's another when he's in love with someone else and Toby definitively had feelings for Sophia... Perhaps this is a double-standard and I wouldn't have minded so much if it was the hero seducing the heroine... anyway.

What did you think of Toby and Sophia? Sophia wasn't what I expected and I thought the two girls were great friends from the beginning... and Toby, OMG, selfish!! He should have had a talk with Lucy!!

Ames: I didn't mind that at heart, Lucy would be trying to steal a man from another woman. Because I knew Lucy was going to end up with Jeremy so whatever could bring those two stubborn souls together was fine by me. Also, Lucy did love Toby. She's loved him since she was a young girl. Kind of backwards thinking, but we also know what Sophia ends up doing and frankly, knowing the 3rd book is about Toby? I'm not interested in reading that right now, because Toby was an ASS.

But yeah, it kind of is a double standard - we root for the hero to steal the heroine away from another man - I wonder if anyone else disliked Lucy a bit for turning on a sister? LOL

Nath: True, true, we all know she's going to end up with Jeremy, but still. I didn't like the idea and it's not just that she was going to steal him from another man, but that she was going to trap him into marriage.

I agree with you, at the moment, I'm not interested in Toby. He gave a good explanation, but it was still really selfish of him. As for Sophia, I felt we didn't really get to know her in this book. I also don't feel any great friendship between Sophia and Lucy. Poor girl, she must be very lonely if she considers Lucy her best friend ^_^;

Then, most of the time, when the hero steals the heroine away from another man, she usually is not in love with the other man. Most of the time... I'd be curious to see what is the general opinion on this.

Ames: Uh...who is Lucy supposed to be trapping into marriage? She was setting out to seduce her man, not trap him.

Nath: Well, seducing him is the same as trapping him into marriage in this case. She'll be compromised and she'll have to marry him. It's not like she wanted simply a fling...

Ames: I never saw Lucy's actions in such a negative way - she wanted Toby to see her in a different light and then fall madly in love with her. She didn't want to trap him - at least that was my understanding of her motives. Because Lucy is honorable.

Nath: From the beginning, that first scene where she kisses Jeremy for practice and then, he tells her that indeed, Toby is planning to propose to Sophia, she was like: Then, I have to act now and she was going to seduce him. Sorry, but that to me equals trapping him into marriage... Personally, I didn't think she was that honorable. I mean, she baited Sophia into writing that letter to Gervais and was going to then show it to Toby!

She thought about showing Sophia's letter to Toby, but she didn't do it! That's what an honorable person does...they have the temptation and then resist it.

Nath: True, she didn't do it... which saves her character in my esteem, but doesn't make her honorable in my eyes.

Ames: So what did you enjoy about the book?

Friends to lovers is one of my favorite themes and I'm glad with the way the story turned out. Jeremy was stuck in the past, the guilt of living while his brother (the heir) passed away and Lucy never really let him stay stuck in his depression. She livened up his life and that's what I liked about her in the end. She opened up Jeremy's eyes to what really went down and he somewhat tamed her wild ways.

Also, I liked that she didn't deny the fact that she found Jeremy attractive and didn't love Toby anymore for too long - she made up her mind and went after what she wanted. I like that in a heroine.

Nath: Oh, I do like how the story turns out - I much prefer Lucy to end up with Jeremy. Although I don't know, the two of them falling in love with each other? I personally didn't feel it. I do think that Jeremy kind of liked Lucy even when she was a young girl, that's why he's been staying away from her... but LOVE? I didn't totally buy it from both side. I really wonder what Jeremy loved about Lucy, besides the fact that she's become a woman... I don't really agree with you about her livening up his life and him, taming her wild ways. I agree that she did open up his eyes...

Well the thing is, she never loved Toby. Infatuated when she was younger, for sure... but really, what she was afraid was the changes in her life.

Ames: Ok, I felt the love for Jeremy and Lucy. All the important people in his life have died and here comes someone else he has to watch out for - someone else who might leave him and die. Only, Lucy is one hell of a strong woman and as she points out to Jeremy, she doesn't need him to take care of her because she's been doing fine on her own (her brother really pissed me off LOL). So Jeremy learns to lighten up a bit and to be a partner not a protector for Lucy.

And I thought we got to see enough of Sophia to intrigue me for the next book. She has some hidden depths. She is very inventive and tells fantastical stories and I don't think she considers Lucy her best friend, but maybe someone she can call a friend and one day that friendship will blossom. Because Lucy and Sophia have learnt a lot from each other. Sophia did something very daring at the end of the GoH and I don't think she would have done that if she hadn't befriended Lucy and had some of her daring and bravado rub off on her.

Nath: She definitively has hidden depths. Actually, her character was the one that surprised me. I didn't expect someone like her.

Lucy's brother was kind of weird. I mean, talk about an inconsistent character. I thought his nonchalant attitude towards Lucy was very annoying. Most of the time, he didn't care about her... I'm sure he loved her, but he didn't go out of his way to be a good brother or guardian. I felt it awkward when he said that Lucy didn't need to marry Jeremy and she would be a bad wife for him ^_^;

Ames: Lucy's brother was a jerk!

Nath: Totally agree with you and I'm glad we're not getting his story!!

And to answer your earlier question, I liked Jeremy's character, although I didn't totally buy his love for Lucy at first. Or perhaps, it was more lust and then love.

I liked the friendship between the guys, that tradition they have.

The writing and voice was good too... Just the plot I wasn't so fond of.

Ames: I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a cute story and you know how fond I am of friends to lovers. And tomboy to lady. I did expect more from the story all in all, but I did enjoy it.

Here are some passages I marked off. I love Tessa Dare's writing style and the imagery she creates.

I like this scene that takes place during a game of adult hide and seek.
His hands roved over her back as he ravished her mouth. Tiny ridges teased his fingertips. Laces.

The very thought was wicked and depraved.

Good thing he was not thinking.

He tore his lips from hers, slowly kissing his way down her throat as his hands wandered down the length of her back. His fingers lingered over each taunting eyelet of her dress, and his lips savored every delicious inch of her neck. She threw her head back and wove her hands into his hair. His fingers found the knot of lacing at the base of her spine and teased it apart while he teased the hollow of her throat with his tongue. He wrapped the end of the lace around his finger and slowly pulled as he ran his tongue up the length of her neck.

She sighed with pleasure, and the dress sighed loose from her body, and Jeremy thought he would be completely undone.
This takes place after they've slept together for the first time. I can totally relate.
She’d been branded. She was his. Wasn’t that what she truly feared the world would read on her face? Hadn’t his lips written it over her body and his touch burned it into her skin? Even now, she felt his mark, raw and itching under the fabric of her dress. Scored over and over across her flesh.

And this one made me smile, thanking her feet.
I love Jeremy.

Her whole body flushed with a giddy awareness. Lucy wondered which part of her had known it first. Her hand, when he’d kissed it that night in the garden? Her arms, when she’d pulled him into the wardrobe? Her lips, perhaps, when he’d kissed her under the pear tree? Or maybe even her feet, when they’d steered her to his door that night and not Toby’s?

She bent her head and grinned, flexing her toes inside her slippers. Clever, clever feet.
So final grade?

Nath: Hmmm, B-.

Ames: I’m giving it a B+.

Friday, October 9

Buddy Review: Heart Mate by Robin D. Owens

Holly, of Book Binge fame, and I have teamed up to bring you a buddy review of Robin D. Owens' Heart Mate.
All his life, Rand T’Ash has looked forward to meeting his HeartMate, with whom he could begin a family. Once a street tough, now a respected nobleman and artisan, he has crafted the perfect HeartGift, which, in the custom of the psychically gifted population of the planet Celta, is the way a man finds—and attracts—his wife…

Danith Mallow is irresistibly drawn to the magnificent necklace on display in T’Ash’s shop, but she is wary of its creator, despite an overpowering attraction. In a world where everyone is defined by their psychic ability, Danith has little, placing her at the opposite end of the social spectrum from T’Ash. But T’Ash refuses to accept her rejection and sees it as a challenge instead. They are HeartMates, but can T’Ash persuade his beloved to accept her destiny by his side?
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Celta Series #1

Holly: What did you think of the book overall?

ames: I liked it, but it really came together only at the end.

Holly: I agree. I was getting frustrated with it until the end. Then I was all warm and fuzzy.

ames: Yeah.

But I was thinking about it some more - it makes more sense that Danith would put up some resistance to a fated mating. I mean, how often do we complain about heroines who blindly accept the idea that they're fated to be with someone and get on with the nooky? This was more realistic...but still somewhat annoying. LOL

Holly: I think I was better able to accept her reaction because I'd read some of the later books first. The reasons some have for resisting don't make much sense. Danith's reasons did. Especially considering how pushy Ash was with her. He didn't give her time to adjust to all the changes in her life, nor did he offer much of himself. He just kept pushing gifts on her.

ames: I thought Ash was kind of cute in a clumsy way - like he couldn't talk in the proper way and he didn't know how to voice his thoughts really so he just thought by being forceful and offering her his gifts, that Danith would get it. But she wanted more from him. But his clumsy efforts at wooing were cute.

And I can't read a series out of order so I'm glad I started with this one.

Also, Mitchella pissed me off. All the Clovers did.

Holly: Omg, Mitchella pissed me off too. I understood that Danith was her friend, but srsly? No.

I agree about Ash being cute. I was rooting for him, but his bumbling made me laugh.

ames: Definitely Ash's efforts at wooing were cute and funny, and that's what made him endearing. He made such efforts to impress his lady.

One thing that annoyed me with Danith and Ash - she wanted Ash to open up to her emotionally but she never told him that. Like she wanted him to figure it out on his own and he knew that's what she wanted but he couldn't bring himself to tell her about his past and he never told her he couldn't tell her.

Seriously, communication is key in relations between men and women. I get frustrated when it doesn't occur. UGH

Also, I found the whole concept of Flair interesting. Basically it's magic, but there was also some technological things going on. And the bed sponge sounds very comfortable. LOL

Holly: I agree about the lack of communication. That was probably my main source of frustration with this book. I understood why both characters acted the way they did, but it went on way too long. Especially since they both knew what the other wanted and were just too stubborn to give it up.

I think the entire world Owens created was interesting. The Flair, the Fams, the residences. I'd call her world-building flawless. There wasn't one thing I found to complain about in that respect.

ames: Me neither. The worldbuilding was truly excellent. And we didn't get bogged down in it. Sometimes the first book in a series can get dragged down by all the worldbuilding and that didn't happen here.

So what would you grade Heart Mate?

Holly: I would probably grade it somewhere around a 4 out of 5. It had some flaws, but overall I enjoyed the story.


ames: I'm giving it a B+ (4.25)

Also, I want to share my favorite Zanth passage. This cat cracked me up:
(Zanth speaks telepathically to T'Ash, so his stuff is italicized)
Dessert. I deserve dessert.
"What do you want?"
Mousse. Cocoa mousse. Cook made lots. Too much for just you.
T'Ash frowned. There was no such thing as too much cocoa. He stockpiled it like jewels. It was a luxury that both he and Zanth shared.
Know something.
Zanth's sly tone alerted T'Ash. He raised his brows.
Want big portion of mousse. Bigger than My head.
"You shouldn't ever eat things bigger than your head."

Zanth is too funny!

Also, this buddy review is cross-posted at Book Binge.

Tuesday, October 6

October Releases

A new month, more releases coming out :) Overall, not a bad month of releases, especially with some favorite authors. Here is what we, at Breezing Through, are looking forward to...

October 6

Demon Forged by Meljean Brook
Four centuries ago, Irena and Alejandro would have succumbed to the need smoldering between them — if a demon and a monstrous bargain hadn’t shattered the possibility of love. Torn apart by shame, Irena avoided Alejandro for centuries — until a vampire’s call for help throws her into his arms again.

Alejandro can control fire, but he’s never been able to control — or quench — the flames between him and Irena. And he knows Irena, hardened by her hatred for demonkind, will never accept that he now works at a demon’s behest. But even as he fights for a second chance, a shocking betrayal and a deadly prophecy shake the foundations of the Guardian universe, and all Hell threatens to break loose…
Genre: paranormal romance
Series: The Guardians, book #10

Nath: Finally, a new Guardian series!! I love Meljean Brook's books. They are complex and compelling... and this one is actually very special to me :) Plus, the cover is gorgeous!

Sweet Seduction by Maya Banks
He was the stuff erotic dreams are made of

Salon owner Julie Stanford wanted Nathan Tucker ever since she gave him his first massage. Getting paid to feel every inch of his body, stripped, oiled, and spread out in front of her? Stuff dreams are made of. But the sexy lug was oblivious to the signals she was sending—until she finished off his final rub-down with something extra. In fact, the best extra he ever had. Unfortunately, he came around too late. Now Julie’s moving on…

She was everything he’d dreamed of

The woman was driving him crazy. She lit fire to his insides then ran like a scalded cat. And now she’s going to someone else to have all her fantasies fulfilled? Over his dead body… He’s more than willing to give her what she wants, and as soon as he pins the little minx down, he’d show her his own brand of sweet seduction.
Genre: erotica romance
Series: Sweet series, book #3

Chantal: This is the only book I am really looking forward. Maya Banks is one of my auto buy authors.

Ames: I'm looking forward to this one too. And Maya is an autobuy author for me.

Monroe: I second that for Sweet Seduction! That cover is SUPER HAWT! ;op

A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris

Every Sookie Stackhouse short story ever written-in one special volume! Stories include "Fairy Dust," "One Word Answer," "Dracula Night," "Lucky," and "Giftwrap."

Genre: urban fantasy
Series: Sookie Stackhouse

Monroe: I've never read any Sookie short stories so I'm really looking forward to adding this to my collection!

Nath: Although I don't read Charlaine Harris, I find it cool that they make a special volume with all the novellas of a series. They started doing it for the In Death series. I hope they do it for other series as well... like the Women of the Otherworld and Dresden Files...

Indiscreet by Carolyn Jewel
Marrying for love can be a challenge...

Edward, Marquess of Foye, would have been happy to continue his life as an unmarried gentleman rake. His brother's death changed everything. As the last of his line, Edward must now marry. Heart already broken by a capricious young girl, he vows to find an older woman-seasoned, mature... and no threat to his feelings.

Falling in love can be dangerous...

Sabine Godard was educated by an Oxford don beyond what was proper. Her studies became her salvation after her past left her unwilling to accept the touch of any man. Though she never intended to fall in love, when she and Edward meet, passion defies logic. Together they explore temptation and sensuality, healing old wounds... until events require them to risk everything for their love.
Genre: historical romance
Series: ?

Ames: I read Scandal and really enjoyed it. I know Rosie liked this one and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Nath: I'm undecided about this one... On one hand, I think I should wait till I read Scandal and see if I like Ms Jewel's historicals. On the other hand, this story sounds like it would suit me better...

By the way, why is he touching her belly like that? It gives me the impression that she's pregnant ^_^;

Monroe: I love when people get preggers in books! ALWAYS the best HEA so maybe I'll pick this one up in hopes of that! lol

No Greater Pleasure by Megan Hart
It was at the request of Lord Gabriel Delessan that a handmaiden of the Order of Solace be delivered to his manor house. For young and ingenuous Tranquilla Caden, it would be her new position of service--devoted as she was to fulfilling every demand of her new master, to stimulating his mind, stirring his soul, and arousing his body. Yet something happens that Quilla never counted on: she was falling hopelessly, dangerously in love with the enigmatic--and very married--man she was required only to service.
Genre: erotica romance
Series: Order of Solace, book #2

Ames: Megan's an auto-buy author.

Chantal: I forgot about the Megan Hart. I lurve her.

Monroe: Love Megan Hart, LOVE the cover!

Touch Me by Jacquie D'Alessandro
Pleasing a man is something former mistress Genevieve Ralston does very well. But after her lover callously dumps her, she's definitely off men... until she meets Simon! He's brooding. Sexy. And she can't keep her hands off him...

But Simon Cooperstone, Viscount Kilburn, is a spy. His mission: retrieve a mysterious letter in Genevieve's possession. Intent on seducing her secrets from her, he forgets to guard one thing: his heart.

Each stroke of Genevieve's talented fingers unleashes his deepest desires. Too late, he realizes that while he may be a master of the art of seduction, he's no match for a sensual mistress...
Genre: Harlequin Historical
Series: ?

Ames: I like Jacquie D'Alessandro and the story sounds interesting. I also like the heroine to not be the innocent virgin all the time.

October 9

Mischief in Mudbug by Jana DeLeon
Everyone in Mudbug, Louisiana, knows that when Helena Henry shows up, no good will come of it. Especially now that Helena is dead. And more meddlesome than ever.

Sabine LeVeche needs to locate a blood relative fast—her life depends on it. Her only ally is the smart-mouthed ghost of Helena Henry. Until Beau Villeneuve agrees to take the case. The super-sexy PI is a master at finding missing persons—and all the spots that make Sabine weak in the knees. But as they start to uncover the truth about the past, it becomes clear that someone out there wants to bury Sabine along with all her parents’ secrets. And she realizes what they say is true: family really can be the death of you.
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Mudbug trilogy, book #2

Nath: I still need to read Trouble in Mudbug; however, I like Ms DeLeon's style and her books are funny. So will bet this one too :D

Monroe: I've never read the prior book but it looks like something that is light and cute! :o)

October 13

Deep Kiss of Winter by Gena Showalter & Kresley Cole

Kresley Cole delivers a breathtaking tale of a brutal vampire soldier about to know love for the first time...and a Valkyrie aching to be touched.

Murdoch Wroth will stop at nothing to claim Daniela the Ice Maiden -- the delicate Valkyrie who makes his heart beat for the first time in three hundred years. Yet the exquisite Danii is part ice fey, and her freezing skin can't be touched by anyone but her own kind without inflicting pain beyond measure. Soon desperate for closeness, in an agony of frustration, Murdoch and Danii will do anything to have each other. Together, can they find the key that will finally allow them to slake the overwhelming desire burning between them?

Gena Showalter puts a daring spin on a tale of huntress and hunted...and concocts a sensual chemistry that is positively explosive.

Aleaha Love can be anyone -- literally. With only skin-to-skin contact, she can change her appearance, assume any identity. Her newest identity switch has made her an AIR (alien investigation and removal) agent and sends her on a mission to capture a group of otherworldly warriors. Only she becomes the captured. Breean, a golden-skinned commander known for his iron will who is at once dangerous and soul-shatteringly seductive, threatens her new life. Because for the first time, Aleaha only wants to be herself...
Genre: paranormal romance
Series: Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark, book #8

Nath: Finally, Murdoch's story!!! I've been waiting forever! I'm very curious about his story... Too bad though this is part of an anthology instead of a full-length novel. Plus, it's in hardcover... but I'm still getting it :D

Monroe: I've only read one other book by KC but it was good and I know Id want to pick up this author again!

October 27

Tempted by P.C. & Kristin Cast
So - you'd think after banishing an immortal being and a fallen High Priestess, saving Stark's life, biting Heath, getting a headache from Erik, and almost dying, Zoey Redbird would catch a break. Sadly, a break is not in the House of Night school forecast for the High Priestess in training and her gang. Juggling three guys is anything but a stress reliever, especially when one of them is a sexy Warrior who is so into protecting Zoey that he can sense her emotions. Speaking of stress, the dark force lurking in the tunnels under the Tulsa Depot is spreading, and Zoey is beginning to believe Stevie Rae could be responsible for a lot more than a group of misfit red fledglings. Aphrodite's visions warn Zoey to stay away from Kalona and his dark allure, but they also show that it is Zoey who has the power to stop the evil immortal. Soon it becomes obvious that Zoey has no choice: if she doesn't go to Kalona he will exact a fiery vengeance on those closest to her. Will Zoey have the courage to chance losing her life, her heart, and her soul? Find out in the next spectacular installment in the House of Night Series, Tempted.
Genre: YA, paranormal
Series: House of Night, book #6

Monroe: It's the 6th book in the House of Night Series!

Nath: Already 6th book in the House of Night series? LOL, I have the first book somewhere, that I'm supposed to read.

Monroe: You need to Nath! I really liked them and they only get better as they go! They are YA BUT I wouldn't let my kid read them!

Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
Since she was a little girl, Emma Grant has always loved romance. So it's really no surprise that she has found her calling as a wedding florist. She gets to play with flowers every day and work with her three best friends in the process. She couldn't ask for a better job.

And on the surface, Emma's love life seems to be thriving. Slim and sultry, she brings color into every room she enters, just like the arrangements she creates. Though men swarm around her, she still hasn't found Mr. Right. And the last place she's looking is right under her nose.

But that's just where Jack Cooke is. He's been best friends with Parker's brother for years, which makes him practically family. But the architect has begun to admit to himself that his feelings for Emma have developed into much more than friendship. And when Emma returns his passion - kiss for blistering kiss - things start to get complicated at Vows.

Jack has never been big on commitment. Emma yearns for a lifelong love affair. And if the two are to find common ground, they must trust in their history - and in their hearts.
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Bride Quartet, book #2

Ames: This is the 2nd in the Bride Quartet and I really liked the first one.

Monroe: OMG forgot about Bed of Roses...I adored the first book in the series!

Nath: Definitively getting this book. It's just been so long since Ms Roberts wrote straight contemp and like you said, Vision in White was great :D By the way, found a synopsis for the third book, Savour the Moment... and ha, knew it, Laurel is paired with Parker's brother :D

Time After Time by Kay Hooper
They first met in a darkened loft, in the middle of a blackout, but the power of attraction supplied all the juice that Alex Bennet and Noah Thorne required. Noah was Alex's match in every way, while the onetime lion tamer turned world-class interior designer possessed just the air of wildness that Noah preferred in a woman. Inexorably, they found themselves drawn together. So why was each haunted by dreams of the other that seemed to hint at secret lives in bygone times and places-and a relationship fated to end in separation? For Alex, the solution may lie in a Gypsy fortune-teller's prophecy. To repeat the past is the one thing neither of them wants-but how do you overcome the pull of a destiny that is stronger than time itself?
Genre: contemporary
Series: -

Nath: You all know my love for Ms Hooper... so there's not doubt I'll get this one :D Again, this is a re-print; Time After Time was originally released in 1986. Let see if it aged well.

A Christmas Scandal by Jane Goodger
Dashing, debonair, and completely irresistible, Edward Hollings has all of Newport buzzing--and to Maggie Pierce's surprise, she alone has caught his eye. But when the handsome earl returns to England without proposing, a devastated Maggie knows she must forget him. Life only gets worse for Maggie, as all her dreams of happiness and love come crashing down around her. When Maggie receives an invitation to go to England for the Christmas birth of her dear friend's baby, she accepts--vowing to keep her devastating lies and shameful secrets from the one man she has ever loved.

Edward vowed he'd never marry, but he came dangerously close with Maggie. She's beautiful, witty, indescribably desirable--and Edward can't forget her. When Maggie visits mutual friends for Christmas, Edward can't stay away. In fact, he finds himself more attracted to her than ever--a desire fueled even more by Maggie's repeated snubs. With the love he never thought he'd find slipping away, Edward is determined to make Maggie his own, no matter what the cost...
Genre: historical romance
Series: Christmas, book #2

Nath: I really enjoy Ms Goodger's books, so this one goes on the TBB list :D I'm very curious to see how Maggie and Edward's story will unfold :D


Funny how the interesting books all seem to come out at the beginning or end of the month. Not much in between... Maybe it's to give us time to read? Nah... I don't think so, LOL :)

Sunday, October 4

Review: When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn

I'm always looking for new authors, and when my friend Nicole recommended When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn I knew I just had to try her out! Nicole and I have very similar taste in books and I have to say I owe her b/c this book was SUPERB and any historical lover will NOT be disappointed! When He Was Wicked is the 6th book in the Bridgerton Series and takes place at the same time as both Romancing Mr. Bridgerton and To Sir Phillip, With Love.

In every life there is a turning point.
A moment so tremendous, so sharp and breathtaking, that one knows one's life will never be the same. For Michael Stirling, London's most infamous rake, that moment came the first time he laid eyes on Francesca Bridgerton. After a lifetime of chasing women, of smiling slyly as they chased him, of allowing himself to be caught but never permitting his heart to become engaged, he took one look at Francesca Bridgerton and fell so fast and hard into love it was a wonder he managed to remain standing. Unfortunately for Michael, however, Francesca's surname was to remain Bridgerton for only a mere thirty-six hours longer — the occasion of their meeting was, lamentably, a supper celebrating her imminent wedding to his cousin. But that was then . . . Now Michael is the earl and Francesca is free, but still she thinks of him as nothing other than her dear friend and confidant. Michael dares not speak to her of his love . . . until one dangerous night, when she steps innocently into his arms, and passion proves stronger than even the most wicked of secrets...

***Warning: This review contains SPOILERS!***

Monroe: So Nicole you recommended this book to me and it was my first time reading Julia Quinn...I was SO HAPPY I listened to you! :o) So what made you pick up this book?

Nicole: First off, I’m so glad you liked this book! It is one of my all time fav’s. Back in March (I think) I bought an assortment of books off eBay. This book was included. I hadn’t read any other books from the Bridgerton series. In fact I’d never even read a Julia Quinn book. I read it and fell in love with Michael and Francesca! Lol I’ve read it about 3 times since I think!! There is so much feeling in this book, I think that is what draws me too it.

Monroe: I really have to agree with you there! Ok so lets just jump right in!

This isnt your typical historical romance by far! Did you predict John dieing in the beginning? I KNEW he was when he complained of a headache! lol It was super sad when Frannie was telling Michael to wake him :*(

Nicole: I knew something was going to have to happen, because it was a romance novel and it opened with Michael so…..somehow he had to end up with her. It came quickly though, but yea…when he had a headache I saw the foreshadowing. It was heart wrenching when she discovered him. I agree, this wasn’t your typical romance and that is one of the things I love about it. She was in love with her husband. I do think she had somewhat of an odd infatuation with Michael, but I think had her husband lived she would have been very happy with him. I loved the deep emotion going on with Michael and his desire for her but his guilt. He was just such a good, good man! I also loved that John was so comfortable to let Michael and Frannie be close. He was so trusting of both of them, and I know John knew that Frannie loved Michael (not like that at the time). It was all so complex. I was so mad at him for leaving!!!! But, it made the story what it was…don’t you think?

Monroe: I really do! I loved that Michael loved Frannie BUT he kept everything aside b/c he loved John so much. And ya Frannie and Michaels relationship prior to Johns death was...somewhat odd. With her asking about his "Wicked" times but I think it was almost an innocent flirtation. Some gals are just like that...FLIRTS! lol Then after John died and Michael and Frannie had their fall out...when that damn book said 4 years later I about dropped outta my seat! lol 4 YEARS! JEEZ! But I love how you got connected by the notes at the beginning of each chapter. It filled in some gaps and feeling that you wondered about. But when they got back together...*sigh their love was just so different than hers and Johns...not better, not worse, just different!

So we gotta talk about the kiss that shook the world! lol Esp since it took over 200 pages to get to! BUT I have to give props to JQ b/c it didnt faze me one bit. And normally Im lookin for some lovin but I enjoyed the ride! The kiss just made it even sweeter!

Nicole: Yea, I felt the same way when it said 4 years later!!!!!!!! The letters at the beginning I absolutely loved. It made me sad that he tried to correspond with her but she didn’t respond, however that made their reunion that much sweeter and uncomfortable! (which makes for great reading!!) I agree, I was dying for them to have contact but she definitely did it right. I wouldn’t have loved their “love” as much had Frannie fallen for him too quickly. It was so interesting that it seemed soooo obvious that they should be together. He needed to marry…she wanted to marry and have children. I was so excited when they finally kissed! But, my favorite love scene by far was in the cottage!!! Whew! I love that she turned it around on him. Can you imagine what he was thinking…it was his ultimate dream come true! Usually it’s the guys that are hot in romance novels…but she made that scene sizzle!!

It broke my heart that he had malaria, but I loved that he allowed her to care for him and see him at his worst. At first I thought..”oh no you don’t Julia Quinn…you make this guy die and we are over!!!”

Monroe: YES omg the cottage scene...*sigh I about had an asthma attack! She was telling him to do things "her way" etc! BUT if you notice how the table turned when he finally got to touch her...oh but she didnt mind him being in control after that! Man this man knew when to slow it down and when to speed things up! WOOWEE!

When he made the proposition to her about getting married I was SO EXCITED! lol The thing is was that you know she was floored but in a way it HAD to make somewhat sense to her! They were both looking and he made a good point about saying she wouldnt know if she got with someone who would treat her badly. And when he said "I would give you children, or at least try" my heart squeezed for them! B/c you know he wanted that!

And omg when the cat is let out of the bag about his feeling the entire time he knew her didnt your jaw just drop! That fight they had broke my heart! But when she finally says yes and he says something about he would tie her to the bed until she is swollen with a babe (or whatever) and she said yes...omg!!! :*) OH and he asks why say yes and she said she wasnt sure but she just knew yes! OMG! EPP! See she knew it was right...she didnt know WHY it was right she just knew! Sometimes life is full of uncertainties, but we just feel its right! Yay!

Nicole: Michael could do no wrong for me in this book. I was so glad that he followed her out to the house when she left. He HAD too. (And you know she had to want him too also!!) The clincher for me was him finding her at the grave. Uh, my heart just swelled. I was SO GLAD that he got to hear her say the things she did. It could not have been more perfect……*tears*. Lol And of course the letter from Johns mother was amazing. I could just go on and on about how much I love this book…and… you I have!!

I just love that she (and Michael) could love John honestly and genuinely and then be given a second chance at love. And how amazing to have found that you have another man to love you, that has loved you all along…and…loved you enough to have done the right thing so selflessly. Ok, send the damn book back…I’m ready to read it again!!

It also doesn’t hurt that I love that inside flap cover art!! Whew! Hottie!

Monroe: WELL PUT! I love that they both without a doubt love John. And their love didn't get compared to John and Frannies. She even said herself that it was just a different kind of love. It was sweet that Michael got the love of his life and Frannie got a second chance at love. Finding two loves in one lifetime is a rare thing.

And the end of that book was superb! Her realizing her love for Michael was so strong and how she wanted to tell John! :*) omg! And her talking to his grave and Michael approaching...took my breath away! I loved how powerful all of that was. It wasn't quite a goodbye to John b/c no matter what he would always be in their lives. But it was an understanding between her and John...she understood that John would want this and she wanted to thank him and let him know she was moving forward. Oh dear im gonna cry!

I loved this book to pieces and am SO glad that you sent this book to me! Thanks for sharing! :o)

I give this book an A+. How could you not? It kept me on the edge of my seat and my little heart pitter pattering! How's about you Nic? Any last thoughts?

Nicole: Well it goes without saying that I give this book an A++. I'm so glad you enjoyed it also. I love historical romance, even the ones that follow the overused mold of "boy meets girl- lust - drama - misunderstanding - a big ton ball - marriage". However, I loved that this was different. It was emotional, tragic, and heartfelt. It will always be a favorite! (Don't forget the 2nd's available on Julia Quinn's site and it is totally the icing on the cake!!)

When He Was Wicked is the sixth book in the Bridgerton series. The rest are as follows:
#1: The Duke and I
#2: The Viscount Who Loved Me
#3: An Offer from a Gentleman
#4: Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
#5: To Sir Phillip, With Love
#7: It's In His Kiss
#8: On the Way to the Wedding

Again, I just want to thanks to Nicole for stopping by at Breezing Through and helping me find a wonderful book! I enjoyed doing this review with you and hope to share many more reviews with you later on! :o) HAPPY READING!