Friday, October 31

Review: Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb

For today's review, I have the pleasure to have Kristie from Rambling on Romance, Etcetera, Etcetera as my buddy reviewer :) I'm really glad that she accepted to my partner, because I love Kristie a huge deal and she's one of the first blogger I've ever met - online and in real life :P Knowing that she's a fan of the series and already received her copy, I e-mailed her :)

So, what did we think of this book?

***Spoilers warning: I think this review is spoilers-free; however, do read at your own risks :P ***

Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb aka Nora Roberts
published by Putnam in November 2008

In the year 2060, sophisticated investigative tools can help catch a killer. But there are some questions even the most advanced technologies cannot answer.

Salvation in Death opens with a priest at a Catholic funeral mass brings the chalice to his lips—and falls over dead.

When Detective Lieutenant Eve Dallas confirms that the consecrated wine contained potassium cyanide, she’s determined to solve the murder of Father Miguel Flores, despite her discomfort with her surroundings. It’s not the bodegas and pawnshops of East Harlem that bother her, though the neighborhood is a long way from the stone mansion she shares with her billionaire husband, Roarke. It’s all that holiness flying around at St. Christobal’s that makes her uneasy.

A search of the victim’s sparsely furnished room reveals little— except for a carefully hidden religious medal with a mysterious inscription, and a couple of underlined Bible passages. The autopsy reveals more: faint scars of knife wounds, a removed tattoo—and evidence of plastic surgery, suggesting that “Father Flores” may not have been the man his parishioners had thought. Now, as Eve pieces together clues that hint at gang connections and a deeply personal act of revenge, she believes she’s making progress on the case. Until a second murder—in front of an even larger crowd of worshippers—knocks the whole investigation sideways. And Eve is left to figure out who committed these unholy acts—and why.

Genre: Romantic Suspense, futuristic
Series: In Death, book #31 (I think)

Nath: So, Kristie, what did you think of the latest installment in the series? I thought it was a good and interesting case. It was quite clever and very well thought out. I'm glad that this book focused a bit more on Roarke and Eve. I mean, yes, the author brings back the other characters, but not as much and not in so much details. So I thought that was a plus :) I'm also glad that Charles and Louise's wedding did not occur in this book.

Kristie: Actually, unlike you *g* I didn't feel it did focus much on the relationship between Eve and Roarke, although I see what you mean. We didn't see that much of the other characters did we, except for Peabody? I was a bit disappointed in that. However, I did like that Eve was pretty excepting of Roarke's past - and even used his insight as a con man himself without judging him for it.

I think the In Death books fall into two categories - the first where the mystery is the number one focus and the second where relationships takes a larger role and move the characters forward. I didn't see that happening in this one; it was more mystery focused. We didn't learn any more secrets from either Roarke or Eve's past.

Nath: Yes, you're right. The book did not focus on their relationship... although there were those dreams Eve had… I guess I meant it focused on Eve and Roarke. We just got to see them more, hear them more than usual... as opposed for them being surrounded and invaded by secondary characters' relationships, problems or cops.

I'm actually happy that we didn't get to see too many secondary characters. I know that readers like to see past them, catch up and see what they are up to. For that, Ms Robert does it like no others. She knows how much of them to include and every time, Eve and Roarke are still the main characters... However, no matter how well she does, it's fun from time to time not to have them too much. We got an update from everyone and it was enough.

Kristie:I like seeing past characters too, but I agree - it is refreshing when 'relationship' time is just spent with Eve and Roarke. We did get enough of the 'gang' to see how they all were doing though. And I'm an odd one. I was always slightly uncomfortable with Charles and Louise's relationship - not unlike Eve *g*. So it didn't bother me that although their upcoming nuptials were mentioned, they weren't this book.

I do feel like some of it is getting a bit old though - like Nadine bringing in donuts etc. What about you?

Nath: Yes, things are getting a bit old... but it's to Ms Robert's credit that we only feel it's old now after more than 30 books in the series. In which case, how can it be avoided? At least, Eve doesn't have her car destroyed in every book :P I don't know how Ms Robert could go around that though...

LOL, also, unlike you, I’m fine with Charles and Louise’s relationship. He’s given up his profession for marriage, so I think the biggest hurdle is out for them.

What did you think of the case? Like you said, this one was definitively mystery-focused. It seems to me it's been a while since Eve has been handling more than one case at the same time. I think it’s good to see her in action again.

I thought the case was very interesting. I have to say I was disappointed that Lino turned out to be such a nasty character... I was actually hoping for him to be noble, especially at the beginning. Deceiving people for a good cause you know?

Kristie: I know I'm approaching *spoiler* territory here, but I'm the opposite. I appreciated the fact that the more we got to see of Lino, the worse he got. So often the murdered victims are such nice people that I feel so bad that they met whatever end they did. I'm thinking particularly of the teacher in Innocent in Death. I felt so bad for his widow. In Salvation in Death, I felt sorrier for those who were deceived then I did for the victim.

Nath: It seems that at the beginning, he wasn’t such a bad guy. However, I don't see how Lino think he was making up for his bad action in the past... remember, he discussed with the other father how his bad actions from the past should be balanced by his good actions in the present? Well if your good actions are only done with a purpose, it defies the whole thing... I guess I was hoping Lino was redeeming himself. Those kind of characters are always interesting and attractive :P

Kristie: The more we got to know about Lino, the less I got the feeling he cared two hoots about trying to 'make good.' At first I kind of felt sorry for him but as more and more was uncovered, I didn't. He got nastier as a character.

I did like that this wasn't a 'gruesome' mystery with a high body count. While it's not going to stop me from reading this series; I love it just as much with this book as I did Naked in Death - if not more still *g* it was a nice change that good and decent people didn't meet a grizzly and tortured end.

Nath: True, true. In addition, it was interesting to see the “ethics” of this case. Perhaps ethics is not the right word, but I liked that it involved conscience. Loved the ending where Eve nailed the "real" culprit :) In addition, one thing that I liked is Ms Robert didn't go overboard with religion which was one of my initial worries when I read the blurb. I thought it was refreshing that Eve didn't push Father Lopez to get an answer... which was a bit surprising to tell the truth :P

Kristie: I was also impressed that JD Robb handled the religious aspect with, I thought, a good deal of carefulness. I'm not Catholic but I was wondering when I first started reading it, what those who are would think. But I think the author dealt with it very well and I don't think anyone will be offended. Even though she disagreed with Father Lopez, she still respected his stance. And I can't help but thinking he might be a character that we see more of - I hope so anyway, I really liked his character.

Nath: You know what, it’s very possible! I bet he’s going to marry Charles and Louise! LOL :)

I’m giving this book a B. Salvation in Death was definitively a solid and interesting case, but without the book being a wowzer.

Kristie: I agree. I thought it was good without being a Wowzer too. So while I normally give numbers, I'll convert this one to a grade and give it a B. I enjoyed the mystery angle but since the thing I enjoy most about the In Death books is the relationship building and there wasn't much, I can't give it higher. But if mystery is the hook that other readers enjoy more, they might grade it higher.

Thursday, October 9

Review: Mr. Cavendish, I presume? by Julia Quinn

Obviously, another book that has been getting a buzz is Mr. Cavendish, I presume? by Julia Quinn, also known as the other side of the coin of The Lost Duke of Wyndham. The Lost Duke of Wyndham was definitively a wonderful book and as a result, Mr. Cavendish, I presume? was one of the most anticipated book of the fall...

So here is our take of the book...

Mr. Cavendish, I presume? by Julia Quinn
published by Avon in September 2008

Amelia Willoughby has been engaged to the Duke of Wyndham for as long as she can remember. Literally. A mere six months old when the contracts were signed, she has spent the rest of her life waiting. And waiting. And waiting... for Thomas Cavendish, the oh-so-lofty duke, to finally get around to marrying her. But as she watches him from afar, she has a sneaking suspicion that he never thinks about her at all...

It's true. He doesn't. Thomas rather likes having a fiancée — all the better to keep the husband-hunters at bay — and he does intend to marry her... eventually. But just when he begins to realize that his bride might be something more than convenient, Thomas's world is rocked by the arrival of his long-lost cousin, who may or may not be the true Duke of Wyndham. And if Thomas is not the duke, then he's not engaged to Amelia. Which is the cruelest joke of all, because this arrogant and illustrious duke has made the mistake of falling in love... with his own fiancée!

Genre: historical romance
Series: The Duke of Wyndham, Book #2

The Story: LOL, most of you know of it already. If you don't know the story yet, the back blurb is quite a good synopsis... However, I would strongly suggest that readers read The Lost Duke of Wyndham before reading Mr. Cavendish, I presume?

Nath: So ladies, what did you think of Mr. Cavendish, I presume?

Chantal: It was very weird to be reading many of the same scenes from the previous book, but in a different POV. Too often I felt like I was reading The Lost Duke again. That should be okay, because I loved that book, but the repetitions just made for a boring read of Mr. Cavendish.

Ames: I didn’t find the book too repetitive. I really enjoyed reading it from Thomas and Amelia’s point of view. I would have liked to have seen more from Amelia, but I enjoyed Mr. Cavendish overall.

Nath: I think that it’s pretty divided out there, Chantal. Many think like you. Personally, I thought the book was okay. I liked the idea/concept, but I think there must have been a better way to publish the two sides of the story…

Chantal: What I would have liked to have seen happen was Mr. Cavendish start where Lost Duke ended. Perhaps with a prologue of a key scene or two from Lost Duke. All those repeated scenes from the previous book just got on my nerves.

Nath: True, those scenes were tedious at time. Ms Quinn could really have salvaged the book by adding “after” scenes … I actually expected to see more of Thomas and Amelia’s relationship after Thomas lost his dukedom, so I was disappointed when the book ended. I would also like to see how the society reacted to Thomas’ loss of a title and how different his life was. That’s the really interesting part of this kind of story.

Ames: I feel like I’m the only one who didn’t find it tedious! LOL I really didn’t. I do have to agree with Nath though, I did feel like it was missing something and I definitely would have wished to see more “after” as well.

Nath: What did you think of the characters? I liked Amelia and Thomas, they were nice. I did think that Thomas was stupid... so stupid not to have gotten to know Amelia earlier, not to have married her earlier. I'd have liked to see Thomas grovel a little bit more at the end.

Chantal: I don't have much of an opinion of the players. Amelia didn't do anything for me, and I admit to liking Thomas better in the first book. However, I much enjoyed the part where Amelia finds Thomas drunk, and they spent that time together. It was indeed nice to see Thomas let go during that part. Some other parts of it were cute. Like when she tells him that she loves him, then drops the letter, and starts back peddling what she said.

Nath: Yes, that was cute…

Ames: I enjoyed that drunken part too. I liked Amelia. I like how JQ wrote that she “woke up.” Because she did. She was just going along with what everyone had planned for her but then when things changed, so did she. And she went after what she wanted. I always admire a heroine for doing that. As for Thomas, he woke up too. He took Amelia for granted and when he thought her lost her, he was still honorable enough to do what he thought was the right thing. Although I wanted to pound him on the head as much as Amelia did, he was a character with great integrity. And that had nothing to do with the title but with himself.

Nath: You’re right, Ames. I like how both characters “woke up.” It was nice to see Amelia fed up with Thomas treatment and shake it up. I have to admit that I liked Thomas’ integrity… However, I felt like he missed the point when he forced Jack to marry Amelia because she has expected to be a duchess for her whole life. Luckily for them, they both “woke up” in time and not tragically late.

You know, thinking back, the problem with this book, aside from the repeated scenes, is that everything went too fast between Amelia and Thomas. Yes, there were new scenes where we saw them interact and get to know each other better, but it wasn’t enough. Where the timeline was perfect for Jack and Grace because they were under the same roof and had more opportunities to be together and have private conversations, it was too short for Thomas and Amelia to really connect. Especially to make up for 20 years. Perhaps if they had more opportunity to be together alone, it would have been better… Like I said previously, Thomas should have groveled a lot more to win Amelia. Even the love scene at the end felt rushed.

Ames: I agree, it did feel a bit rushed between Amelia and Thomas.

Chantal: The love scene was too rushed for me. I understand the urgency for the couple, but it didn't read through very well.

Nath: You're right, the love scene didn't read through very well... However, I smiled at Amelia's boldness LOL :) That was very cute.

What did you think of the ending? I liked it :) It was a good ending.

Chantal: Yeah, I liked the ending. It was nice to see Thomas get a title back.

Ames: I thought the ending was cute.

Chantal: The story was just... border-line okay. I did some skimming, and once I finished I went back to re read the parts I skimmed. I didn't miss much. I have never not liked a Julia Quinn book. I feel kinda sick about this. :(

Nath: Don’t feel bad Chantal. Ms Quinn took a huge risk when writing these two books and it paid off with some readers and not with others. That’s life.

Ames: It paid off with me. LOL

Chantal: You're right, the author did take a big risk. I wish it had worked for me, though. It's a C- for me. It wasn't interesting or at all appealing to know things from a different POV. The book as a whole didn't do anything for me. I won’t recommend it to anyone, and I won’t ever re read it.

Ames: I'm giving it a B. Whereas Jack's book made me cry, this one didn't.

Nath: I think I'm going to go with you Ames... a B. The book just left us wanting more and although I enjoyed the characters, it just wasn’t enough.

Monday, October 6

Review: Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas

Surprise, surprise! Yes, a buddy review. It's been a while and I'm sorry. If you're reading my own blog, you'll know that I've been busy with work :( However, I hope to be able to write more buddy reviews and on a regular basis.

So today, my buddy partner is Lori from Living in the House of Testosterone, Let's Gab and I Just Finished Reading... LOL, what a prolific blogger :P Wonder if she'll become a regular buddy partner, hmmmm... So a big thanks to Lori for responding to my add :P

*Warning: Spoilers ahead! Read at your own risk!*

Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas
published by St. Martin's Press in September 2008

Kev Merripen has longed for the beautiful, well-bred Winnifred Hathaway ever since her family rescued him from the brink of death when he was just a boy. But this handsome Gypsy is a man of mysterious origins--and he fears that the darkness of his past could crush delicate, luminous Win. So Kev refuses to submit to temptation...and before long Win is torn from him by a devastating twist of fate.

Then, Win returns to England...only to find that Kev has hardened into a man who will deny love at all costs. Meantime, an attractive, seductive suitor has set his sights on Win. It's now or never for Kev to make his move. But first, he must confront a dangerous secret about his destiny--or risk losing the only woman he has lived for...

Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Hathaway siblings, Book #2

Nath: Wow, you read SMaS in half a day! That was quick!! :) Must I take it you LOVED it?

Lori: LOVED it is strong. Yeah, I loved it, but there were some things I can say I didn't love so much.

Nath: Really? I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling this way. Personally, I thought this book was okay to good. I enjoyed the storyline and liked most of the characters. I did think Ms Kleypas perhaps overdid it with Merripen’s - hmmm, how to put it... - bad temper LOL :)

Lori: I definitely don't agree with some out there that he's the best hero she ever wrote. Certainly one of the most "angsty", though. And yes, bad temper pretty much sums it up, LOL.

Nath: I agree with you, Merripen is definitively not the best hero written by Ms Kleypas ... A man like Merripen is not my ideal man and certainly wouldn’t make me swooned. Yes, there's plenty of angst and he's all tortured in a way, but most of it, he did it himself. Also, I think most heroines would feel the same way as me… Merripen’s personality only worked in my opinion because he and Win knew each other from childhood. Personally, I prefer hero with a bit more balance and for those reason, I enjoyed Cam or even Leo a lot better than him :)

So what didn’t you like of the book?

Lori: I thought it was good - really good and I love that Merripen had that soft spot for Win. But the whole "I'm not good for you" thing needed to stop sooner. I understood it once Cam explained his motivation better, but still... enough!

Nath: Again, I’m in total agreement with you. The whole "I'm not good for you" got tiring fast. I'm disappointed that he wouldn’t fight for her... and I totally agree with Leo's speech.

"Do you understand what you are in, Merripen? A prison of your making. And even after you're out of here, you'll still be trapped. Your entire life will be a prison"

I'm glad Leo called it as he saw it, that Merripen was a coward.

Lori: Though, Ms Kleypas did pull off some really great lines between Merripen and Win. For example:

"Your heart is mine", he thought savagely. "It belongs to me."

And when Win tells him that he doesn't have it in him to love her as a woman...

"All the fires of hell could burn for a thousand years and it wouldn't equal what I feel for you in one minute of the day."

Yum. But she should have stopped there, cause the rest of that little speech kind of creeped me out.

"I love you so much there is no pleasure in it. (huh?) Nothing but torment. Because if I could dilute what I feel for you to the millionth part, it would still be enough to kill you.(WHAT?!) And even if it drives me mad, I would rather see you live in the arms of that cold soulless bastard than die in mine."

Them strong feelings, but just a tad on the creepy side.

Nath: LOL. To tell the truth, so much passion bores me ^_^; It's like, could we get on with the story, please?

Hmmm, what else didn’t I like? I have to say it's weird of me, but I found myself more entertained by everything else than Win and Merripen's relationship. I thought their relationship was too much for me. Also, I think the whole part about Win lying about being able to carry babies was superfluous, because in the end, it never really mattered and it sure didn't change anything.

Lori: Yeah, and then he was willing to throw the whole thing away after he'd already slept with her because of it. Oy, enough already! I'm finding I need my HEA, and I need it now.

Also, I like that Merripen and Cam ended up being brothers, but didn't like so much that they ended up aristocracy. I could have done without Merripen ending up as an earl. What was that about? I thought there would have been enough motivation for the Irish family to want to kill them simply because they were Rom. Making them aristocrats was too much for me.

Nath: True that. I enjoyed the whole mystery behind Cam and Merripen’s origins; however, Merripen annoyed me so much with the whole "don't call me that" whenever Cam would call him ‘phral’ and even when it turned out to be right!!! Ugh.

And you know why Ms Kleypas made them aristocrats right? So they would be accepted by the peers. I think that was unnecessary since none of the Hathaways cared. Sigh.

Okay, so far, it seems that we didn’t really enjoy the book, which is not true. Therefore, time to discuss what, in my opinion, saved SMaS. First, Win.

Lori: I thought Win was a really great heroine, though. And I usually really hate the heroines.

Nath: Strong statement from you then, to say she was a great heroine. I liked Win as well. I think the reason why she stands out from other heroines is that she's already very sure of her feelings towards Merripen. She even tries to seduce him repetitively; she wants to be his woman. She was conscious of her actions and that makes it refreshing. She had lot of guts and strength...

However, I did think she was a bit too naive and it was stupid of her to defend Dr. Harrow. Like the part where she accused Merripen of spreading rumors because he didn't want her to be with Dr Harrow. I think she should have more faith in Merripen's character. The man is traightforward... he wouldn't just lie for that.

Lori: I agree. But you have to cut her a little slack - the man did save her life, after all. And I loved that she set him on fire when push came to shove. Too funny! And Leo's reaction to it was priceless. An annual "Set the manse on fire day". Cracked me up.

Nath: Speaking of Leo, I enjoyed seeing all of the Hathaway siblings and their family dynamics – present and past (when Merripen thinks back of how the Hathaway had welcomed him into the family). However, I’d have done without the other characters (even mentioning them) from the Wallflower series. I believe that the Hathaway's series should stand on its on, but I guess it’s too late. I also think that Amelia, Cam and Leo – especially Leo, stole the show from Merripen and Win a bit.

Lori: I agree - I even forgot that they all 'kind of' knew each other. Also, I loved seeing Amelia and Cam, I didn't mind them in there. I really loved Leo. I knew in Mine Til Midnight he would be a tortured hero, and in one scene we see that he still isn't completely over Laura. Just can't wait for him to get a book. He had some of the best lines in the whole book! For example, when he accused Merripen of taking the easy way out, and leaving him to suffer if Merripen would have killed himself if Win had died of the scarlet fever? Wow, just wow.

Nath: I’m with you. I can’t wait for Leo’s book either! I hope it’s the next one! He's really an interesting character with lots of depth already. I like his whole personality. Now, I'm not sure if I like Ms Marks as his heroine, but I'm sure Ms Kleypas will find a way to work it out :)

Also, what I liked best about this book is how Ms Kleypas used humor to balance Merripen and Win’s relationship. All those funny parts kept me reading :) I LOLed quite a bit in this book which doesn't often happen in historicals... one of my favorite parts is when Merripen is outraged that Leo accused him of not writing and Leo reveals the content of the letter. Or when Beatrix tells Leo he has to go stop Merripen from killing Dr Harrow. Or when Leo tells the constable to give him 5 minutes lead before releasing Merripen. LOL, those were good :)

Lori: That made me laugh so hard - a 5 minute lead :) I love it when there is humor in a book. She needed it here to break all of Merripen's tension, for sure.

Nath: So what grade would you give it, Lori?

Lori: I don't usually grade books. I liked it, I didn't like it... I know you guys all love to grade them, though. I'd probably go with A-/B++. Cause I really did love it. Just not enough to marry it *g*.

Nath: From me, Seduce Me at Sunrise gets a B. I really enjoyed the Hathaway's dynamics and the storyline about Cam and Merripen’s origins. The reason I can’t give this book a higher grade is because Win and Merripen’s relationship did not appeal to me too much, even if I like Win as a heroine. I thought it was too angsty, too passionate and Merripen could be so stupid sometimes ^_^;

Lori: LOL on the stupid :)

Monday, September 15

Nauti Dreams by Lora Leigh

Today, our buddy review is between Ames and Chantal.
As per usual at Breezing Through, our review is not a review in the usual sense of the word, but a series of emails between friends discussing the book.

Nauti Dreams by Lora Leigh
Genre: erotic contemporary
Series: Nauti Boys Book 3

Natches Mackay separated himself from his family years ago, except for the two cousins who gave him the only family he’d known. Now he’s being dragged back into his father’s life in ways that could destroy him and the one woman who tempts him beyond reason: Government Agent Chaya Dane, who has fought to put her own past behind her. A mission in Somerset, Kentucky, brings her back into the dreams of Natches—and into the shadows cast by his father, suspected in the theft of government missiles. And it could cost Chaya more than she ever imagined.

Chantal: I gotta say, things are not looking good. I am skimming more than anything.

We've said this a bunch of times already, but it doesn't make it any less true... Same story as almost every other LL book. Just differnt names for the Hero/Heroine.
Same storyline, same internal struggles. How many times can a man DESTROY you? I love LL, but she needs to come up with some fresh material. Destroy destroy destroy has been worn out.

Ames: Yep, I agree with you 100%. There are two types of stories - the hero wants the heroine, but stays away from her to protect her. And the second type of LL story is where the hero wants the heroine, but she's afraid of the power of his afraid of his love so she tries to deny the inevitable. It's pretty frustrating. And yeah, a girl can only be destroyed so many times until there's nothing left.
I'm not surprised you're skimming. And like I said, Kentucky as a terrorist breeding ground? I don't think so.

Chantal: I don't believe the plot either. That could be the reason I am skimming so much of it. Just too unbelievable.

Very sad that LL is getting stale in her writing. All the same Hero's with the same looks, same personality, they say same the same things during sex. It's all so repetitive.

Ames: AND what bothered me is that the characters knew stuff, but absolutely REFUSED to tell anyone else. That just bothered me, not coming clean.
And why did (Rowdy or Dawg) keep saying Chay was plain? Bastard.

Chantal: I know! Ugh. There was no communication whatsoever.
You're right. Bastard. He was even asked why he thinks she in plain, but he never had an answer. It was was weird.

I'm trying my best not to skip too many parts. All this investigation stuff holds to appeal to me though.

Ames: The investigation stuff meant nothing to me. LOL I did read towards the end though, to see what happens.

Chantal: This is terrible. I have never skimmed a LL book before. I fear that I might be hit by lightening the next time I go outside.

Ames: I know! But I still love her other stuff. It's just her last couple of releases have melted together.

Chantal: Alright, well, I finished it. Sorta. I skipped pages at a time, skimmed some, then skipped some more pages, did some more skimming. I did read then entire 3 or 4 pages though.

It wasn't very good. I don't even know what to give it. D or Did not finish? Not a C. C for me are books that are just okay. This was way below just okay.

What do you think?

Ames: I gave this one a D.

Chantal: D it is.

Wednesday, September 3

Review: The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn

Wow, it's been a while since we last posted something up! We'll try to post reviews more often and it should be easier now that summer and vacations are over :)

Today, our buddy review is The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn. This book came out in the beginning of the summer and I think it's the perfect time to review it, since the sequel, Mr. Cavendish, I Presume? is coming out later in September.

The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn
published by Avon in May 2008

Jack Audley has been a highwayman. A soldier. And he has always been a rogue. What he is not, and never wanted to be, is a peer of the realm, responsible for an ancient heritage and the livelihood of hundreds. But when he is recognized as the long-lost son of the House of Wyndham, his carefree life is over. And if his birth proves to be legitimate, then he will find himself with the one title he never wanted: Duke of Wyndham.

Grace Eversleigh has spent the last five years toiling as the companion to the dowager Duchess of Wyndham. It is a thankless job, with very little break from the routine... until Jack Audley lands in her life, all rakish smiles and debonair charm. He is not a man who takes no for an answer, and when she is in his arms, she's not a woman who wants to say no. But if he is the true duke, then he is the one man she can never have...

Genre: historical romance
Series: Duke of Wyndham, book #1

The Story: Years ago, Jack Audley left his family and hometown and fought in the war. However, instead of going back home to his family once the war ended, he becomes a highwayman. Then, on a fateful night, he and his accomplices decide to rob the dowager Duchess of Wyndham's carriage... and the dowager immediately recognizes in him her favorite second son who's been dead for years. If Jack's parents were married and he was legitimate, then Jack should inherite the title of Duke of Wyndham instead of his cousin, Thomas Cavendish... which the dowager is determined to prove.

Ames: Ok, I read The Lost Duke of Wyndham on my roadtrip. I was sitting in the backseat and giggling. My dad and brother kept giving me funny looks. Then I cried. So yeah, I really enjoyed The Lost Duke of Wyndham, which is only my second ever Julia Quinn novel.

Nath: What?!? Only your second Julia Quinn? And I thought I was last to jump on this bandwagon! LOL :) So what did you like about this book?

Ames: I like the humor - Jack didn't try to appease his grandmother, so that was good. And it definitely made for some good laughs. I like how the duke stepped back and the friendship that developed between him and Jack.

Nath: I agree, the humor in this book was great and a lot of it is due to Jack. Such a nonchalent character :) I also thought The Lost Duke of Wyndham had a refreshing storyline - I know, I know, we've seen lost heir being found, but Ms Quinn was able to create a different atmosphere and circumstances. Like you, I liked how the actual Duke Thomas Cavendish didn't go bonkers at the idea of losing his title and actually stepped down.

Another thing I liked is how the characters weren't stereotyped and didn't turn out better than they really are due to some heart-breaking circumstances. For example, the dowager. Man, was she a mean old biddy, LOL, and she stayed mean till the end. Seriously, the way she acted and behaved, it was hard for readers to summon any sympathy for her and that's it, we weren't supposed to feel sympathy for her.

Ames: Jack really made this book for me. I like how he was attracted to Grace and he didn't deny it to himself. He's such a good charming guy.

Nath: I agree with you, Jack really made the book here. He was so charming. I think if he's been different, the whole book would not have been as good and it would just be a plain old: lost heir found to become noble titled storyline. I also liked the fact that there was a lot of depth to his character. There is really more to Jack than being a highwayman, soldier and/or rogue.

What did you think of Grace? Do you think that Thomas actually loved her? I'm glad that Ms Quinn didn't drag out the book by having the: I'm a duke and I can't marry you because you're not a lady storyline.

Ames: Thomas didn't love Grace. He was her friend though. And Amelia, I think Amelia is going to surprise him. Grace was a good character too. I liked her.

I can't wait for the next book though.

Nath: I'm looking forward to it too. I'm interested in Mr. Cavendish, I Presume? because we've all read about Mr. Nobody becoming a noble, but it's rare to read the opposite story, a noble becoming Mr. Nobody :) I agree with you that Amelia is probably going to surprise Thomas. I just can't wait :)

So your grade? This was definitively a B+ for me!

Ames: I'm giving it an A. It freaking made me cry! (For those of you wondering, it was the scene when he finally came home and his aunt was giving him the news. It was very touching.)

Tuesday, August 5

Review: Through the Veil by Shiloh Walker

Through the Veil by Shiloh Walker

Ames was supposed to review this with us, so if you can all harass her to hurry up and finish it, so that she can comment, then I can cut back on my harassing time. I'm sure she will appreciate being bugged by someone other than me for a change :)

Found wandering in a field as a child, Lee Ross was given a name by the state and placed in a foster home—without anyone realizing she wasn't entirely human. All her life, she's tried to dismiss the odd dreams that have plagued her, dreams of monsters creeping through the night and a man fighting demons by her side. But the bruises she wakes up with are all too real to ignore...

Then the man from her dreams appears—in the flesh. His name is Kalen, and he insists that her destiny lies in his world, the world of her dreams. To save their people, he must convince Lee to give up everything she knows, follow her heart, and cross over into the Under Realm—even though once she does, she'll never be able to return...

Genre: paranormal romance
Series: ?

Chantal: I was excited to start Through the Veil. Every review that I read for it was really good, and the book got a lot of exposure in blog land. Once again though, that doesn't always mean the book is going to be a good read to me...

I made it to chapter six, how about you ?

Nath: I don't think I even made it to chapter six ^_^; See, I've read 2 books by this author. The first one was a the first in her Hunter series which was okay, but didn't wow me enough to read the rest. The other book was an e-book called Beautiful Girl which I enjoyed. So when Through the Veil started getting a good buzz in blogland, I thought I'd give Ms Walker another chance, given this was also a new series.

Chantal: I have the first Hunter book, but I have not read it. The way things are going I don't think I will any time soon. I've read, or tried to read, a few from this author. There was a story in an anthology that I read, and liked very much. Then I read one of her Ellora's Cave releases, and it was a DNF. I read it again when I had my re read month last year, and my review was mostly negative.

We were supposed to buddy review Beautiful Girl,, but it ended up being a DNF for Ames and I. I was waiting and waiting for Through the Veil to get good, but after reading that much of it, it didn't happen. *shrug* My TBR is way too big for me to waste my time on boring books. The concept for Through the Veil is exciting, and unlike any other paranormal on the market. At least not like any that I have read. It just didn't do anything for me. There was no wow factor. Nothing that kept me wanting to turn to the next page.

Nath: I agree. The concept and world building was good. I think the part I enjoyed the most was the glossary!! Reading about the world was quite interesting. However, it didn't come together for me which I suspect have to do with the characters and the writing. First, I didn't click with the heroine. I actually thought she was annoying, for all her denial. However, I was willing to continue despite her, because the hero was hot... but the story just got confusing ^_^; So I skimmed the ending a bit, then put down the book and frankly, hadn't had the urge yet to pick it up again.

Chantal: Yeah, the glossary was cool. There were times when I went back to read it just for the fun of it. I also liked the back cover blurb. It's one of those cases where the summery is so much better than the story.

I agree about the Hero, he was indeed a hottie. His POV was much more interesting to me than Lee's was. The thing about Lee is that it was hard to figure out the type of person she was. One second she came off sounding weak and naive, the next she was proud and strong willed. I wanted to know more about her, learn how she ended up on our world in the first place. Through the Veil was too slow paced. If we had some sort of background story on her a lot earlier than chapter six, then I probably would have been more into it. I wanted to know more about her, but I wasn't up to reading something that didn't interest me in order to find out.

Nath: I think you nailed it Chantal when you say that Lee was hard to figure. I personally didn't have the patience to see her 'Earth' dimension personality and 'other' dimension personality come together and become the strong, kick-ass heroine I was expecting.

It's unfortunate, because I really wanted to enjoy this book and I had high hopes after reading the glossary; how cool it was going to be. It just never happened :(

Chantal: I was also expecting a kick ass heroine. I just got sick of waiting for it too happen.

I do wish I had purchased this in e-book rather than print. First, I would not have as much buyers remorse about it being a DNF. Second, I'd have gone through it and changed all the 'magick' to 'magic'.That's ones of the things I like so much about e-books. It's easier to fix little things that annoy readers. 'Magick' has always been way up there when it comes to setting off my cringe factor.

Final Grade: DNF

Monday, July 21

Lessons From a Courtesan by Jenna Petersen

Chantal: This is a new to me author. I read a great review for it at Book Binge, which is what prompted me to buy it. I was excited to hear from Ames that she had this in her TBR. It has been so long since the two of us have done a buddy review.
Keep in mind that this is not a review in the traditional sense. It's a discussion between friends.

Ames: And as such, it has spoilers.

Blackmailed into a marriage five years ago, and forced by their overbearing families to consummate that union so it could never be legally questioned, Victoria and Justin Talbot have been more than happy to live apart ever since, although neither one has quite forgotten the one night they shared.

But now Victoria has been forced to come to London in the disguise of London’s most talented and sought after courtesan. Invading Justin’s world, she is on a desperate search to find a missing friend and stay clear of her very angry, suddenly possessive husband. Only this time, one taste is not going to be enough for Justin. He is determined not only to uncover Victoria’s secrets, but to claim her, body and soul.

Chantal: What did you think of it? I loved it. It was the first Avon book I bought since I went off my protest. Okay, not really a protest, but I did stop buying anything from that publisher. Until now, that is.

Ames: I didn't like it. LOL

Chantal: *Gasp* Really? Tell me why you didn't like it.

Ames: It just didn't impress me. It was a "meh" read for me, not bad, just not my cuppa.

Ok, fair enough :-) Did you like the love scenes? I thought they bordered on erotica. Very hot. The carriage scene was my favourite. I always like lovin' in a carriage with historicals.

I didn't like the love scenes. I thought the prose bordered on purple. I just couldn't understand the bond between them. I mean, they're hot in the sack, but they do not trust each other at all, so where the heck did the love come from?

Chantal: And here I thought all that mushiness was romantic, lol. I can see how he fell for her. She was very strong willed in wanting to help her friend, and once each of their secrets was out in the open, the trust was there. But you're right, it did take a while for both of them to fully trust the other. Although, I think that if you don't trust someone, you can still love them. It's like those women (and men) who hire decoys to see if their husband/wife will cheat. If you have to go as far as to hire someone to test your mate, then you clearly don't trust him/her, but that doesn't mean you love them any less.

For me,
Lessons From a Courtesan was really good. It was nice to have a page turner in my hand. Sucky that you didn't love it though. Do you think you'll want to read more from this author?

Ames: You know, I think my problem stems from the fact that I read this author just after completing two Georgette Heyer novels. So of course there's going to be a comparison. Due to that fact, I think I will read something else by this author.
I don't think Victoria was strong willed. I mean, she did what she had to do because she was basically alone. Justin comes into the picture and she let's him kind of take over the investigation.
One thing I want to know - how the hell is Victoria going to be able to show her face in London again? I don't think changing hair colour is enough to disguise her looks. So when she is unveiled as Justin's wife - the men at least are going to know she was Ria because if she was the most hottest thing around, they're going to remember what she looks like.

Chantal: Gosh, I don't know. Thats a great question.

She did hand it all over to Justin, but I don't think she would have done it as easily if she had not have gotten the creepy vibes from whats-his-name. At that point she started to get scared, and I think was happy to hand it over to someone else. Someone with a lot more power than she had, who was able to conduct a real investigation.

Ames: Yeah, that wasn't working for me. LOL I just got annoyed too with the way these two were acting. Saying things to constantly hurt each other. And Victoria melting everytime Justin touched her? Nah, it just didn't work.

Chantal: This is the first time we have ever not had the same opinion here on Breezing Through. It's kinda refreshing in a weird sorta way. LOL

Ames: LOL Yeah it is. We should read a Colleen Gleason book next to keep it up. hehe

Chantal: *snort* If you want to pay me, then I'll attempt to read another CG book. So not my cuppa, LOL.

Tuesday, July 15

Looking forward to this summer...

Ames: Since I'm not supposed to be buying books this summer, I've been doing a lot of wishing and anticipating - because there are some books I'm definitely going to buy. LOL So I asked Nath to do this post with me. Here are the books Nath and I are looking forward to summer...

And Nath asked me to join, so I am too :-P

Ames: Well I wanted you to do this post too Chantal. LOL

Chantal: LOL ;)

Nath: LOL, ladies, let's just get to the books :P I don't know, but I seem to be looking forward to too many books :P So here goes...


Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

Nath: Can't wait for this one and it's coming out soon!!! :) I've just wolfed (LOL) down the Mercy Thompson series and I need more of that world. It's really interesting and I like that Ms Briggs is going to explore the storyline of different characters, especially Charles. So mysterious... It's going to be interesting to see what happens in this book, especially to Anne.

Ames: I'm super excited for this one! And it's coming out this month! Woot. LOL

Chantal: I love a wolf plot, thats for sure. I've finally started the Mercy series :) (ames says YAY to this news)

Lyon by Elizabeth Amber

This will be the third book in the erotic series about the brothers who each have 2 penises. I've not even read the second book, although I do have it. I plan to read Lyon. The first book was flawed on many levels. My review was full of complaints, but come on, I'm not the only one who sometimes likes to read the weird stuff, no matter how bad it is. lol

Ames: Ok ok, I have the second one too (still unread), but I don't know if I'm looking forward to Lyon. LOL

Delicious by Sherry Thomas

Ames: I really enjoyed Private Arrangements and Delicious just sounds hot. Can't wait for this sophomore effort from Ms. Thomas.


Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Nath: Seriously, who among Dark-Hunter series readers isn't waiting for this book? Although I haven't really read the last few books of the series, I'm still intrigued and looking forward to Ash's book. I think this is quite a gutsy move on Ms Kenyon's part, not to wait till the end of the series for the big main character to have his book. I hope with this one, Ms Kenyon will answer some questions and end some of her storylines... especially the conflict between Ash and Nick. Either way, it'll definitively be interesting to see what direction the series takes after this book as well.

Ames: Like you Nath, I haven't read the latest books Ms. Kenyon has put out. I think I'm 5 or 6 books behind. But Ash is the one character that draws me back to this series, so for sure I'm going to check this out. I don't know if I'm going to buy it, but I have it reserved at my library. LOL

Chantal: Oh, Oh, Oh, me too! This is odd for me, but the Dark Hunter series is the only one where I can read the books all mixed up. Every other time I have to read in perfect order. Not with the Dark Hunters though. Ash is an uber yummy character. I can't wait to read his story.

If there be Dragons
by Kay Hooper

Nath: What can I say? I'm a fan of Ms Hooper and this is a re-print of one of her earlier works.

Cutting Loose by Susan Andersen

Nath: I've always enjoyed Ms Andersen's books. Of course, some more than others... but to me, Ms Andersen is a sure winner :) The storyline sounds good as well, so that's a plus. Also, this will give me my much needed contemporary fix :) I just hope there are no stalker in the plot! LOL :)

Ames: I enjoy Susan Andersen too, so for sure I'm looking forward to this one. :P

Sweet Spot
by Susan Mallery

Nath:I didn't enjoy the first in the series, Sweet Talk, however I'm still looking forward for this book... all because of the hero!! :) What can I say? I can be such a glutton for punishment sometimes LOL :)

Ames: I read one of Susan's books last summer and I've been buying them like crazy, but not reading them. So I don't know if I'm going to pick this one up - I guess I'll wait for what others think.

Chantal: Not I. I have been disappointed the last several Susan Mallery books I have read. :(

Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins

Nath: I've discovered Ms Higgins books not too long ago and enjoyed them ;) This one has also a favorite plotline of mine: the tomboy turning into a woman to catch her long-time crush :) I just home it'll be more romance-y and less chick-lit-y.

Grace Valley trilogy
by Robyn Carr

Nath: Ms Carr was a revelation to me last year. After reading Virgin River, I had to have more of her books and was lucky enough to find book 1 (Deep in the Valley) and 2 (Just Over the Mountain) of her Grace Valley trilogy. However, book 3 (Down by the River) has always eluded me. Lucky for me, with the recent success of VR, the Grace Valley trilogy is being re-print and released all at the same time :) Youppi!!! Of course, I'll be buying the whole trilogy, since they have new covers ;)

Chantal: Well gee, I had no idea that there were Grace Valley books. Right on. I'll look for them for sure.

Devil's Cub
by Georgette Heyer

Ames: I've been on a real GH kick lately and Jennie reviewed this last year and I've been anxious to read it ever since.


Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh

Nath: Seriously, who has read the Psy/Changelings series and is not anxiously waiting for Dorian's story?!? Surely not me. Ms Singh has been a constant winner for me with this series, so I'm definitively looking forward to this one :)

Chantal: Yes! And after Dorian I want Hawk's story. The thing I love about her heroes (Except Judd because he sucked) is how much I can see myself being with them in real life-if the world the author created was real of course. It's real enough in my dreams, hubba hubba!

Ames: Yeah, I haven't caught up on the series, but I know I'm still going to buy this book.

Just Breathe
by Susan Wiggs

Nath: I've enjoyed Ms Wiggs books and so, waiting for this one.

Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn

Nath: The sequel to The Lost Duke of Wyndham which I really enjoyed. I thought with this one, Ms Quinn was back in the game... and I'm really looking forward for Mr. Cavendish, I presume. Seriously, we've seen so many books where a man gets a titled unexpectedly... but how many books have we read where the hero - the good guy - loses his title?

Chantal: Cavendish... as in the brand of fries? Seriously, I love Julia Quinn. She is an auto buy for me, so I will be reading this book. She is one of the few authors who's books I buy and read without even flipping it over to see what the story is about.

Ames: Again, I bought the LDoW but haven't read it - that still isn't going to stop me from buying this one either. It's funny how an author is an auto-buy even if I haven't read lots by them. Am I the only one that does this?

Mercury's War by Lora Leigh

Ames: *sigh* I cannot ever get enough of Ms. Leigh's writing. I don't need to explain why I want this book. After reading Dawn's Awakening, it's a must.

Chantal: This is also on my list. Even though a lot of these books are just the same story over and over again, I'm addicted to Lora Leigh sex.

So here is our list :) What about yours? Any new releases that we missed?

Monday, June 23

Read Green and Give Back

During the last week of each month Resplendence Publishing will offer a special coupon code good for 15% off any e-book purchase during the entire week. For each purchase, a portion of the proceeds will be going toward the chosen charity of the month.

Starting June 23 (thats today!) -June 30 the charity of the month is the Arbor Day Foundation.

Please visit Resplendence Publishing here to get your discount code, and also to learn about the Arbor Day Foundation.

Tuesday, May 27

The Prize by Julie Garwood

I cut my romance teeth on Julie Garwood. So imagine my surprise when Chantal told me she was reading the Prize and that it was her first Julie Garwood! I was flabbergasted. LOL So I quickly decided to read the Prize as well (as it has been a while) and yeah, I feel a JG backlist reread coming on! :P

In the resplendence of William the Conqueror's London court, the lovely Saxon captive, Nicholaa was forced to choose a husband from the assembled Norman nobles. She chose Royce, a baron warrior whose fierce demeanor could not conceal his chivalrous and tender heart. Resourceful, rebellious and utterly naive, Nicholaa vowed to bend Royce to her will, despite the whirlwind of feelings he aroused in her. Ferocious in battle, seasoned in passion, Royce was surprised by the depth of his emotion whenever he caressed his charming bride.

In a climate of utmost treachery, where Saxons still intrigued against their Norman invaders, Royce and Nicholaa revelled in their precious new love...a fervent bond soon to be disrupted by the call of blood, kin and country!

Ames: Let me ask you something, Chantal - how is it that you've never read Julie Garwood before and why did you decide to start reading her now?

Chantal: I'm not sure why I have not read her before. She was always on my to do list, as I have her books in my TBR. I just never picked them up, is all.
I finally decided to read one of them after I looked around to see who was most popular for that genre. Garwood is loved by many of the bloggers I like and trust, so thats why I decided to go ahead and read one by her :-)

Ames: Good stuff! Garwood's For the Roses was my introduction to the romance genre way back in 8th grade. LOL So her historicals will always have a place on my bookshelf. :P

Now Royce and Nicholaa. Aren't they just awesome? I really like Nicholaa. First of all, she defended her keep by her self and then she knocks Royce off his horse. hehe I also like how the whole time Royce is taking her to London, she keeps fighting him. She doesn't just let him walk all over her. And there's one funny part in particular, when they finally get to London, when she tries to trip Royce. I really liked how she never gave up.

Chantal: Oh yes, I know! And when he is giving her one of his lectures, and she is thinking about what needs to be done around the keep. LOL. I love it. I could picture it so well in my mind. I could see her sitting there cleaning her nails while Royce walks back and forth with his hands behind his back saying "blah blah blah...." Mind you, she was not cleaning her nails in teh story. Thats was just the spin I put on it in my mind :)

Royce is so romantic. Making her a new black queen for the chess board was so sweet of him.

For me, the best thing about Royce was how patient he was when it came to them consummating the marriage. He didn't pressure her into having sex right away. He waited till he was sure she was ready.

Ames: But oh man, when he tells her "Your hands will be healed in two days." I was like, oh yeah baby, light my fire!! LOL

I love when Nicholaa daydreams when she's getting lectured. Nicholaa and Royce just fit so well. I like how Royce doesn't enjoy the fact that Nicholaa is listening to him. haha And he's too sweet for making another chess piece.

Chantal: Nicholaa sure is a hand full. Royce needs someone like her to keep him on his toes though.

My favourite parts is when that guy threw the original chess piece into the fire and when Royce saw his wife's face, he threw whatshisname right threw the wall! Nicholaa's reactions was awesome...

"We have a lovely breeze now, husband. Thank you."

He nodded, passed her, then suddenly stopped. He turned around. "What did you just say?"

"I thanked you for the window."
How can you not love a man who would throw someone through a wall for you :)

Ames: I know!! And remember when Nicholaa was shot with the arrow? Aawww - just his reaction to that too. I love protective guys like Royce.

So, are you going to read another classic Julie Garwood and which one is it going to be? LOL

Chantal: I sure am! This one was awesome. An A.

Which book should I read? They are all supposed to be really good, right?

Ames: Ok Breezing Through readers - leave a comment and tell us which Julie Garwood Chantal should read next and why. For myself, I can't decide because I love most of them. *sigh* Decisions, decisions. LOL

Friday, May 23

***Pimp NightKeepers Contest***

To celebrate Jessica Andersen's interview today, we're going to giveaway two copies of her upcoming paranormal release, Nightkeepers.

Entering is simple. All you have to do is post about Nightkeepers and this contest on your website, encouraging your readers to do the same. Then come back and leave the link to your post in the comments section here.

The contest will end Friday, May 29th at 12:00 p.m. PST. So be sure to enter before then. The winners will be announced Saturday, May 30th and your prize will be shipped out on Wednesday, June 3rd.

Coming June 3, 2008

As a Miami narcotics detective, Leah Daniels never knows how her day will turn out. But she certainly never expected to be strapped to a stone altar, the human sacrifice in an ancient Mayan ritual meant to coax up a demon from the underworld. Or that she’d be saved by a handsome warrior-priest king who claims to recognize her from his visions...

Jaguar Strike wishes he hadn’t made the mistake of reuniting his fellow warrior priests, or broken the law by saving their chosen human sacrifice. Now, he has no choice but to join forces with Leah and invoke dangerous magic in a death-defying race against the end of time.
Don't delay, enter now for your chance to win!!

See Holly's review of Nightkeepers here, our interview with Jessica Andersen here, and her website here.

Thursday, May 22

Taking the Heat by Kathryn Shay

Nath and I both read Taking the Heat by Kathryn Shay recently. What follows is an email discussion we had about the book. There are SPOILERS, you've been warned :P

Taking the Heat by Kathryn Shay
published by Berkley in May 2008

Working as the cook at his family's pub, Liam O'Neil has nothing but respect for his firefighter regulars. But when firefighter Sophie Tyler takes a part-time job at the pub, Liam must be cautious. A widower with two young sons, he can't put his heart on the line for someone who walks into burning buildings. But how can he ignore the fire burning within?

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: O'Neil siblings, book #3

Nath: After reading Casee's review of this book over at Book Binge, I had to have it. Then, I realized that I've previously read this author and have felt 'meh' about her writing. If it wasn't for this buddy review, I think that it would have sit in my TBR pile for way longer. As it is, I'm kind of glad I read it...

My main issue with Taking the Heat is that I didn't feel anything for this book. I didn't connect with the characters and I wasn't engrossed with the storyline. Part of the reason I think is that the writing lacks a bit of passion. It felt quite clinical to me. I realized that the author tried to make the storyline as realistic as possible with real firefighters issues, but I thought it depressing... Let see, Ms Shay focused on all the negative points in my opinion: female firefighters having difficulty making it in a male world, the dangers, firefighters not being present for their family enough, how the families have difficulty to cope, etc. I know those are disadvantages of the profession, but still. She could have focused on one or two perhaps? Not throw one after the other at the readers.

Ames: I agree. There was just so much angst for all the characters! From Mikey with his abandonment issues to all the couples having a rough time. This book was...I don't want to say too real, but it was too much of one thing and not enough of the other. Because again I agree with you, there wasn't any passion. Even when Liam takes Sophie up against the wall at the Halloween party, I was like, "meh." There was no heat for me. And it did seem very clinical. Like everyone was rationally talking about their feelings and going to the shrink. There were no heated arguments between Liam and Sophie. Where's the passion???? I swear, the brothers had more heated conversation and arguments than the couples did.

Nath: I think the author was too busy focusing on the "realism" that she completely missed the romance. It was too much angst and how to make this relationship work and showing the every day life... I think she should have added a bit more scenes of Liam and Sophie enjoying their time together, being together. I mean, there were some scenes, but not enough to balance the whole book.

The sex scenes almost felt like an after-thought. The heat level in this book was very dim. The first scene also seems to come from no where. I had the feeling the author added them because this was a romance :(

Also, like you brought up, I found it strange that they were all talking about their feelings so rationally. I've never seen couples and men so eager to talk it out ^_^;

Like I mentioned above, I didn't connect with the story nor Sophie and Liam. I don't like or dislike them. They're just people who I don't care about. I do have one complaint however concerning Liam about how he became irrational after he told Sophie he loved her. I mean, he wasn't planning to date her because she was a firefighter and that was an issue because of his son, not him. Then, once they started dating, they decided to work it out. She went with him to his shrink, which by the way I found cute and screams "commitment" to me. He was fine, going to the museum, getting to know more about her job, watching movies, etc. I mean, if you go to these lengths, then her schedule shouldn't be a big surprise and it's a small thing compared to the dangers that you accepted. I know that usually, things in a relationship changes when someone declares his/her love. In this case, once he told her "I love you," he immediately reminded her that she now has a family. Um, pressure!?!?! Then, he started being angry because she wouldn't be there for Thanksgiving. Then, he was pissed because she had to take a call from her brother... It just didn't make sense to me. It seems like Liam was suddenly another person... and I know, he was in luuuurv, but still, you don't do such a 180 degrees.

Ames: Yeah that kind of bothered me too. And remember, there was that discussion he had with his brother - when he said his wife had done nothing dangerous in her life but she still got taken away. So he was going to take a chance on Sophie. And then he did the switcheroo.

Nath: The switch didn't make much sense to me. It could have been avoided if they've taken their relationshp more slowly I think. I just felt strange... Like you said, he was going to take a chance on Sophie... so why the change of heart? I would have understood if from the beginning, he didn't put efforts in understanding her career, but it's not the case. Ah well... I guess the book needed more drama.

At the same time, I'm not saying that Sophie didn't have her faults. I mean, she should have worked with him when she started realizing she was having some problems instead of pushing him away... At the same time, she took great lengths to try to explain things to Mike, how they should cope with the dangers associated to her job and be present for them. I'm not surprised when Liam gave her the ultimatum and she refused to stop being a firefighter.

Ames: I'm glad she didn't give up her dream to make her man happy. Seriously, if she had stopped being a firefighter, I would have thrown this book against the wall. LOL And in that respect, I did like this book because Sophie still got to be who she was.

Nath: True, I'm glad that she didn't give in either. It's simple to me: Liam met Sophie, the firefighter and fell in love with Sophie, the firefighter. If he takes it away from her, than she's not the Sophie he fell in love with anymore. I was a bit annoyed that she compromised at the end, but I guess it does make sense if she wants to have a baby soon. Still, it only delays the inevitable in my opinion... or it's something they should have tried to work out better before he gave her an ultimatum. Have the whole family be more accustomed to her job and get to know each other even better.

Also, where did Mike's abandonment problems come from? From the fact that his mother died? I don't resent the kid of his problem; however, I'm just wondering where the source comes from. I don't think that was ever explain properly.

Ames: I thought Mike's problem was explained well enough. I understood it. But I liked Mike. He seemed cute. But his dad gave him so much power. I don't know, this didn't feel like a true romance to me because of all the issues going on and all the kids' issues.

Nath: Exactly. Well actually, I thought everyone had too many issues. If there was only Mike's problem, then perhaps it wouldn't have been so bad and it could still have the feel of a romance.

Hmmm, what else? Personally, I didn't enjoy the fact that both Aidan and Liam had the same problem, i.e. couldn't cope with the career of the woman they love. I mean, it's a bit redundant no? Also, I thought the part about Nathan disappearing wasn't necessary. It did serve the plot - getting Liam to see and take care of Sophie again, but I think the author could have chosen another route... because didn't Sophie go through enough yet? Being injured, being abandonned by the man she loves because of her career, finding out that the man she considered a brother was causing arson and targeting her team... and on top of that, having her adored brother MIA? How much can a strong woman take?

Ames: LOL Yeah, I thought that part had a "filler" feel to it.

Nath: My favorite parts throughout the book was the brothers interaction, rubbing and teasing each other. The father and sons relationship between Liam and his sons was nice too. It's rare to see a father so devoted to his children.

Ames: I don't think it's rare.

I just don't like this author's style of writing. That's where the big bone of contention is for me. I won't be reading her again. I'm giving it a C.

Nath: I don't think I will either :( This is the second book I'm reading and well, I just can't feel the romance :( I was thinking of B- or C+, but after discussing the book with you... a C feels right.