Tuesday, May 25

Review: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

LOL, Ames and I have tons of review to write... but somehow, we're just not getting them done ^_^; Luckily, it pays off to have some reviews in bank at Breezing Through... even if it took us a month to put it together LOL.


*Warning: Review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk***

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
published by Avon in April 2010
A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried-and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.

But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss-to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston-charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all-the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love...
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: TBA, Book #1

The Story: After 10 seasons, Callie has yet to find a husband despite being the daughter of an earl with a good dowry and relative beautiful. Thus, she believes herself firmly on the shelf and can only watch and be happy as her younger sister is about to marry a duke. However, after a discussion with her brother and witnessing her sister's midnight rendez-vous with her duke, Callie realizes that all she has to show for the past 10 years is a sterling reputation... and it's all due to her passivity. As a result, Callie decides to live a little by writing out a list of things (which defies the rule of good conduct for a lady)she'd like to do and realizing them - discreetly of course.

The first thing she sets out to accomplish is kiss Gabriel St.John, the Marquess of Ralston,
with whom she's been infatuated ever since her first season. She quickly realizes though how poorly thought out her plan is when she finds herself in Gabriel's private room. Unfortunately, it's too late to back out.

After the kiss, Gabriel finds himself intrigued by Callie... He also needs her help to bring out his newly found, feisty Italian half-sister into polite society. So he strikes a bargain with Callie: in exchange for her help, he'll assist her in her escapades.

Ames: First, I picked this up because I know Wena really liked it. And second, this theme is one I enjoy.

Nath: LOL, I also picked Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake up because of the good reviews it's been having over at Book Binge. Hmmm, but which theme are you talking about? Heroine infatuated with hero for years? Heroine wanting to change her life?

Ames: Heroine wanting to change her life. But I didn't feel like Callie really embraced the idea of wanting to change her life - at first. She really was dragging her feet on things and I was thinking and hoping that she'd be all gung ho to mix things up and change her life! But she was still hesitant, so that lessened my enjoyment somewhat.  She did get into it, but she didn't really embrace the idea the way I wanted her to.

Nath: Nod nod, I agree with you Ames. Not only did it lessen the enjoyment, it also slowed down the pace and I think this is one of the reasons I found the book was a little draggy. I felt Callie was too wishy-washy. She's already taken the hardest decision - to liven up, so why hesitate to do it? I know she had a sterling reputation that she had to uphold to help out Gabriel's sister, Juliana, and also, her sister is about to become a duchess, but like her brother said, Callie's reputation has been above reproach. She could have taken one or two hits without problem.

Perhaps it would have helped if she hadn't started by the most difficult item on her list, the kiss LOL. Out of all the things on her list, wouldn't riding astride been the easiest? Just saying :P My favorite escapade was her visit to the sport club LOL. However, I felt it was just a bit too coincidental that Callie would run into Ralston there. He seemed to always be present when she sneaked out incognito...

Ames: I love how Callie was a bit tipsy when she went to get her kiss :P And it was good to get the hardest thing out of the way.  Imagine how much harder things would have been for her if she didn't do that first?

I liked that Ralston was there for everything! It made him see her in a different light. Like when she went to the pub? He knew that she was up to something and sure enough, look who shows up! This is what worked for me. Taking Callie out of her comfort zone - the ballroom and the spinster circle - made Ralston see her differently and that's how we get the story. Plus, Callie really was a fun character to get to know.

Nath: For some reasons, I felt she was a bit different from other historical heroines (in a good way), but I can't pinpoint what it is exactly. I really liked her enthusiasm once she really got into realizing her list.

One issue that bothered me though is it didn't seem to me Callie got to know Ralston better. Gabriel got to see Callie rediscovering herself and that's how he got to know her. However, I don't feel like Callie "saw" the real Gabriel. I feel her infatuation and misconceptions got in the way. It helped when Gabriel shared with her his family history; but it just felt like she understood his persona better, but still not seeing the real him.

Ames: I think Callie did get to know him better. She's been hero worshiping him for 10 years, she didn't really know who he was. But through their interactions, we get an understanding of his personality. Also with his dynamics with his siblings. His twin brother and his newly found sister. I felt bad for all the siblings, with their horrible mom.

And of course you know me, I did a little squee when Gabriel got jealous of Nicholas! When they were dancing. :P

Nath: Yeah, the readers got to know Gabriel and he was definitively an interesting character :) But Callie? I'm not convinced...

LOL. To me, the best show of jealousy by Gabriel was when he thought that Callie's list consisted of men she wanted to kiss. Hilarious LOL. Only a man would think that way.

I have to say though, my favorite element of this book was by far the sibling interactions, on both sides :) Clearly, Gabriel doesn't know how to deal with this new sister - perhaps it's because he's the head of the family. While he and Nick always shared this connection as twins. I also loved how Benedick and the younger sister, Mariana, were there for Callie, pushing her to explore. The scene where Benedick gave a cheroot to Callie LOL. It's funny how Benny and Gabriel each think of each other as irresponsible, helping Callie complete her list. Although Mariana was 10 years younger, she wasn't spoiled or self-absorbed and there was no jealousy between the two sisters. Mariana was actually very mature and concerned towards Callie and wanted Callie to be happy. I liked that :)

Ames: Yeah, the siblings were great all the way around.

I do want to mention the spelling of Benedick's name. When I first started reading the book, I was a bit thrown off, because I'd only ever seen Benedict, with a T. But I did some research and Benedick is a character's name from one of Shakespeare's works. Which kind of fits, with Callie's real name being Calpurnia.

Nath: Oh right! I remember now, you researched his name while reading the book :D True, true, it does make sense; however, I did think it was distracting :P

Ames: I found distracting too, that's why I had to look it up.  LOL

What did you think of the subplot surrounding the bet? I didn't really care for it. I knew it would lead to a big misunderstanding at the end, so it was a predictable plot device that I didn't really care for.

Nath: The subplot surrounding the bet was okay. It was typical, but still well executed. I was happy that Callie didn't jump at the first man who court her. That although she was a spinster, she was still choosy :P It would perhaps have been more interesting if the man was truly interested in Callie...

Ames: I have to agree. If there was another man that wanted Callie for herself, and there wasn't a bet, that would have been a sweet book too.

So do you think Juliana is going to get a book? Remember the guy in the bookstore? Who ends up being a snob?

Nath: I'm pretty sure Juliana is going to get her book. Actually, I'm pretty sure they're all are (i.e. Nick, Benedick and Juliana). I could have done without the sequel baiting though between Juliana and the other duke. I mean, seriously, if he was so snob, why would he even talk to her in the bookstore?

Ames: Because he didn't know who she was!!

Nath: But from the snippet we got at the ball, he seems to be really, really snob. I don't see himself even addressing to commoners, so Juliana's parentage doesn't really factor here. Know what I mean?

Ames: I know what you mean, but she was hanging out with Callie at the bookstore. What chances are there of a commoner knowing how to read? And to be dressed up as I'm sure Juliana was? LOL I just think he took her at face value because of who she was with and the environment. But he knows that Callie has a good reputation too, so he probably just assumed Juliana was someone worth knowing. And she totally is, but to his snobby ways, because her father was a nobody, she's not. I hope Juliana gives him his comeuppance!

Nath: Nah, I'm still not buying it LOL. She could have been a *gasp*cit*gasp* or an American heiress or whatever. I guess we'll have to see, but yeah, I hope Juliana shows him LOL.

So, what is your overall verdict, Ames? I did enjoy Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, but I thought some parts of it were draggy and it made me lose interest a bit. Also, I thought the author tried putting too many plotlines in the book (the bet, the bargain between Callie and Gabriel and the list). It was too much, especially since I didn't feel that much happened. However, Ms MacLean had interesting and engaging characters, dynamics and situations :) So Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is a B- for me :)

Ames: I enjoyed it. I'm going to give Nine Rules a B+.  I thought Callie was cute and she was a different kind of heroine.  I found the bet predictable but it doesn't lessen my enjoyment.  Like you, I found it a bit slow in some places but overall, it was enjoyable and if you're in the mood for a fun historical, definitely check this book out.

Monday, May 17

May New Releases

Ames: This post is going up late but hey, Nath and I both were out of town at the beginning of the month.

Chantal: And Monroe and I forgot about this post, LOL.

Nath: Plus, most of the releases that we're looking forward to are only coming out at the end of this month... so we're not that late :P

May 1

Still the One by Robin Wells
Published by Grand Central
After Katie Charmaine's husband is killed in Iraq, all she has left is a closet full of his clothes, a few pictures, and fond memories. She not only lost her love, but her last chance to have the children she''s always wanted. Until Zack Ferguson shows up in town... with the daughter Katie gave up for adoption nearly seventeen years ago.

Zack Ferguson has never forgotten Katie, or the one magical night they spent together. Seeing her again brings up a tidal wave of emotions: regret over the way he left her, anger at the secret she kept, and desire he hasn''t felt in years. But he''s in town for Gracie. Their daughter is sixteen, angry at the world, and-worst of all-pregnant. She needs the love of her two parents now more than ever. Can these three forgive the hurts of the past and open their hearts to each other?
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: n/a

Ames: I've read a Robin Wells book before (which Nath and I reviewed here) and I really enjoyed it. I wouldn't mind checking this one out. Has a heavier subject matter than the one I read, but that's a good thing sometimes.

Nath: This one is on my radar as well :) I've enjoyed my previous read by Ms Wells, although as you said Ames, this is a heavier subject matter... Ms Wells usually write comedies, so I wonder how she'll handle this :)

May 4

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
Published by Berkley
After enduring torture and the loss of loved ones during the brief but deadly Faery War, Sookie Stackhouse is hurt and she's angry. Just about the only bright spot in her life is the love she thinks she feels for vampire Eric Northman. But he's under scrutiny by the new Vampire King because of their relationship. And as the political implications of the Shifters coming out are beginning to be felt, Sookie's connection to the Shreveport pack draws her into the debate. Worst of all, though the door to Faery has been closed, there are still some Fae on the human side-and one of them is angry at Sookie. Very, very angry...
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Southern Vampires # 10

Ames: This is a no brainer. Love this series, one of my favorite series ever and I cannot wait to find out what happens!

Chantal: Me toooooo. We shall compare notes, Ames.

Monroe: I ADORE Sookie Stackhouse and I cant wait to continue the storyline! WOOT WOOT TEAM ERIC! ;)

The Man who Loved Pride and Prejudice by Abigail Reynolds
Published by Sourcebooks
A modern love story with a Jane Austen twist...

Marine biologist Cassie Boulton has no patience when a modern-day Mr. Darcy appears in her lab on Cape Cod. Proud, aloof Calder Westing III is the scion of a famous political family, while Cassie's success is hard-won in spite of a shameful family history.

When their budding romance is brutally thwarted, both by his family and by hers, Calder tries to set things right by rewriting the two of them in the roles of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice...but will Cassie be willing to supply the happy ending?
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: n/a

Ames: I like Pride and Prejudice sequels. This one is an interesting take in that it incorporates elements from P and P in a modern day setting.

Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti
Published by Penguin
Lani and Erin are bonded for life. One thing that connects them is their fascination of fate. Lani wonders how much of our lives has already been decided and how much we can actually influence. Since the Unknown can unexpectedly change our lives forever, how much can we really control?

From the minute Lani meets Jason, she can't deny the intense connection they share. It feels like she's known him forever. She's not sure if he feels it, too. But it doesn't matter. Because Jason is Erin's boyfriend. Lani is determined to ignore her feelings for Jason, no matter how powerful they are, rather than risk hurting her best friend.

What if the boy who is your destiny is the one person you can't have?
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
Series: n/a

Ames: Saw a good review for this one somewhere and I've been on a bit of a YA kick since December. LOL

Chantal: I like that cover.

Nath: This caught my attention as well; however, I'm not a fan of love triangle ^_^; Perhaps after you read it, Ames...

Monroe: Yes this cover is great! And the storyline sounds REALLY interesting! =) I'll have to pick this one up!

May 18

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
Published by Penguin
Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong.

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri's birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimiras and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls cannot wait for their real lives beyond the Academy's iron gates to begin. But Rose's heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he's out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. Only this time, he wonat rest until Rose joins him forever.
Genre: Young Adult - Fantasy
Series: Spirit Academy #5

Chantal: I wish I could get into this series. Her writing style in the YA books throws me off too much. I don't like it.

Nath: I've never realized how much Ms Mead was popular until I went to the RT convention. I have the first book in my TBR pile... will have to try it out soon.

Monroe: I LOVE this series! I also read a similar vampire YA series (House of Night by PC & Kristen Cast) and let me tell you it gives that series a run for its money! This series is WAY more adult! The first book was good but doesn't compare to the rest of the series! CAN'T WAIT TO READ THIS STINKING BOOK!

A Proper Seduction by HelenKay Dimon
Published by Samhain (e-book)
Even before her bad marriage ended, Lauren MacDonald lost everything—her job, her friends, her self-esteem, and her sexual appetite. Now that she’s finally free, she’s struggling to regain control of a life her ex did his best to destroy.

The plan: sex with Justin Scott, her ex’s business partner. The man her husband invited into their marital bed, forcing her to realize it was time to get out. Justin was the star of the fantasies that helped her endure her marriage, so she can’t deny she wanted him—but not like that. She wants him like this—alone. In her bed. For exactly three nights.

Justin screwed up with Lauren, and in the past she’s made no secret of the fact she loathes him. So when she walks into his office flashing miles of long, lean legs, his brain cells misfire. Three nights of meaningless sex? He’s all over it. Not only does he have the chance to unleash his desire for her, it’s the opening he’s been waiting for—to convince her to give him more.

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: n/a

Ames: I read one book by this author and although I wasn't totally gaga over it, it was well written and so I'm always willing to give her another shot. :P

Chantal: I want to read this. I like the premises.

May 25

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
Published by Berkley
Kate Daniels cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to deal with-especially if they involve Atlanta's shapeshifting community. And now there's a new player in town-a foe that may be too much for even Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Kate Daniels #4

Nath: The Kate Daniels series have been upgraded to one of my favorite urban fantasy series after Magic Strikes. I definitively can't wait for this book!! Really looking forward to it, especially since it deals with Kate's origins and her relationship with Curran :) The good thing is, I won't be the only one looking forward to this book and I should have plenty of buddy reviewers, right? :P

Monroe: This is one series I've seen around but haven't picked up yet! I need to huh?!?!

Nath: LOL, pretty much, Monroe :P

Raven on the Wing by Kay Hooper (reprint)
Published by Random House
From the moment Raven Anderson literally knocks Josh Long off his feet, he's determined to keep this elusive beauty in his tight embrace. While Raven denies their electrifying attraction and fends off his advances, Josh uses the resources of his business empire to crack the mystery surrounding Raven's true identity. But Josh can't bring himself to believe what the background check confirms-that Raven is an international criminal wanted for her connections to worldwide terrorism.

Raven has discouraged Josh's help and his love, but she's going to need both. For she is playing a part in a deadly game against an adversary who never loses, who takes no prisoners, and who threatens her very life.

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Hagan #4

Nath: Another Kay Hooper reprint :) What can I say? LOL, love Kay Hooper and want her backlist :)

Blown Away by Sharon Sala
Published by Mira
Writer Cari North thought she knew all there was to know about plot twists - until she stumbled across her ex-fiancé, Lance Morgan, digging a shallow grave in the Louisiana woods. After one horrifying moment of shared recognition, Cari knew her life hinged upon whether she could outrun Lance and the hurricane - spawned tornado that was barreling down on their heels.

Just when she thinks she's lost Lance and heads for home, the storm throws in yet another twist that will change her fate-forever.

Cari's house, her family - her entire life-have been wiped out by the storm. Badly injured herself, and knowing Lance will come after her, she trades clothing and ID with the near-identical cousin who'd been visiting and flees to Baton Rouge. While the world mourns Cari North, she begins an agonizing recovery as her cousin Susan - until Susan's boss calls her bluff and finds himself drawn into her incredible tale.

Hunted by a man she once loved, sheltered by a man she hardly knows, Cari chooses to become the bait…and plots the twist of a lifetime to catch a killer.

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Stormfront #1

Nath: I really enjoy Ms Sala's writing and I'm glad she's coming out with another trilogy and this time, it's back-to-back releases!! :D Really looking forward to read this book. However, the cover...

Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas
Published by St. Martin's Press
For two years, Catherine Marks has been a paid companion to the Hathaway sisters-a pleasant position, with one caveat. Her charges'older brother, Leo Hathaway, is thoroughly exasperating. Cat can hardly believe that their constant arguing could mask a mutual attraction. But when one quarrel ends in a sudden kiss, Cat is shocked at her powerful response - and even more so when Leo proposes a dangerous liaison.

Leo must marry and produce an heir within a year to save his family home. Catherine's respectable demeanor hides a secret that would utterly destroy her. But to Leo, Cat is intriguing and infernally tempting, even to a man resolved never to love again. The danger Cat tried to outrun is about to separate them forever-unless two wary lovers can find a way to banish the shadows and give in to their desires.

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Hathaways #4

Ames: Ok, in this series, this is the book I'm least looking forward to. But it brings us one book closer to Beatrix's!

Nath: LOL, I'm with you Ames. I like Leo, but Ms Marks has left me cold so far in the series.

Monroe: I have these books but haven't read them yet but is LK so I know I will! I love her! =)

Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep
Published by Simon and Schuster
Curiosity is definitely going to get me dead one of these days. Probably real soon.

I'm Gin Blanco. You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I'm retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren't aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Violet and her grandfather protect their property from an evil coalmining tycoon, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm really retired. So is Detective Donovan Caine. The only honest cop in Ashland is having a real hard time reconciling his attraction to me with his Boy Scout mentality. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I'm a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic thrown in, but my heart isn't made of solid rock. Luckily, Gin Blanco always gets her man... dead or alive.

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Elemental Assassin #2

Nath: I loved, loved, loved Spider's Bite. Definitively looking forward to Web of Lies. I can't wait to find out how the story will unfold... especially Gin's relationship with Detective Donovan Caine :)

Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn
Published by Avon
1. Sebastian Grey is a devilishly handsome rogue with a secret.
2. Annabel Winslow's family voted her The Winslow Most Likely to Speak Her Mind and The Winslow Most Likely to Fall Asleep in Church.
3. Sebastian's uncle is the Earl of Newbury, and if he dies without siring an heir, Sebastian inherits everything.
4. Lord Newbury detests Sebastian and will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening.
5. Lord Newbury has decided that Annabel is the answer to all of his problems.
6. Annabel does not want to marry Lord Newbury, especially when she finds out he once romanced her grandmother.
7 is shocking, 8 is delicious, and 9 is downright wicked, all of which lead the way to
10. Happily. Ever. After.

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Loosely connected to What Happens in London

Ames: After reading What Happens in London I can't wait to read this one! I know Wena liked it too!

Chantal: Yay! I've been waiting for his story.

Nath: I like Julia Quinn's books... it says it all, right? :)

Monroe: Ditto for Nath's comment! ;)

Dark Oracle by Alayna Williams
Published by Simon and Schuster
Tara Sheridan has a gift... and it almost killed her.

As a criminal profiler, Tara used science and her intuitive skill at Tarot card divination to track down the dangerous and depraved, including the serial killer who left her scarred from head to toe. Since that savage attack, Tara has been a recluse. But now an ancient secret society known as Delphi's Daughters has asked for her help in locating missing scientist Lowell Magnusson. And Tara, armed with her Tarot deck, her .38, and a stack of misgivings, agrees to try.

Tara immediately senses there is far more at stake than one man's life. At his government lab in the New Mexico desert, Magnusson had developed groundbreaking technology with terrifying potential. Working alongside the brusque but charismatic agent Harry Li, Tara discovers that Magnusson's daughter, Cassie, has knowledge that makes her a target too. The more Tara sees into the future, the more there is to fear. She knows she has to protect Cassie. But there may be no way to protect herself-from the enemies circling around her, or from the long-buried powers stirring to life within...

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: n/a

Nath: Alayna Williams also write under the name of Laura Bickle. She's still a new author to me, but this book sounds really good and so, I want to try her out :) In a time where all creatures are fair game in urban fantasy, I think an oracle will be fun to read about :D

His at Night by Sherry Thomas
Published by Randomhouse
Love is hottest in the darkness before dawn.

Elissande Edgerton is a desperate woman, a virtual prisoner in the home of her tyrannical uncle. Only through marriage can she claim the freedom she craves. But how to catch the perfect man?

Lord Vere is used to baiting irresistible traps. As a secret agent for the government, he's tracked down some of the most devious criminals in London, all the while maintaining his cover as one of Society's most harmless-and idiotic-bachelors. But nothing can prepare him for the scandal of being ensnared by Elissande.

Forced into a marriage of convenience, Elissande and Vere are each about to discover that they're not the only one with a hidden agenda. With seduction their only weapon-and a dark secret from the past endangering both their lives-can they learn to trust each other even as they surrender to a passion that won't be denied?

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: n/a

Ames: Sherry is an auto-buy author for me. I really like her writing style.

Nath: I've never read Ms Thomas, although I think I have one book in my TBR pile. While this was not on my list at first, I'm willing to buy it after reading the blurb and Kristie's review. This seems more like the type of storyline I like reading, so I'm going to give it a try :D

Monroe: Pretty cover!

One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare
Published by Randomhouse
A handsome and reclusive horse breeder, Spencer Dumarque, the fourth Duke of Morland, is a member of the exclusive Stud Club, an organization so select it has only ten members-yet membership is attainable to anyone with luck. And Spencer has plenty of it, along with an obsession with a prize horse, a dark secret, and, now, a reputation as the dashing "Duke of Midnight." Each evening he selects one lady for a breathtaking midnight waltz. But none of the women catch his interest, and nobody ever bests the duke-until Lady Amelia d'Orsay tries her luck.

In a moment of desperation, the unconventional beauty claims the duke's dance and unwittingly steals his heart. When Amelia demands that Spencer forgive her scapegrace brother's debts, she never imagines that her game of wits and words will lead to breathless passion and a steamy proposal. Still, Spencer is a man of mystery, perhaps connected to the shocking murder of the Stud Club's founder. Will Amelia lose her heart in this reckless wager or win everlasting love?

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Stud Club #1

Ames: I enjoy Tessa's writing style and her book trailer (found HERE) was so charming and funny. Definitely getting this one!

Nath: After watching the book trailer, I'm really tempted as well!!

The Night She Got Lucky by Susan Donovan
Published by St. Martin's Press
Her marriage is over. Her newspaper career went belly up. And it won't be long before her two teenage sons are off to college... and then what? Sometimes it seems like the only thing Ginger Garrison can count on is her beloved Bichon Frise and the loyal women in her dog-walking group. But her luck is about to take a wild turn...

A diplomatic snafu has sidelined the globe-trotting nature photographer Lucio "Lucky" Montevez, a man known as much for his wild personal life as his wildlife images. Now stuck in the States and forced to shoot pet portraits for a living, his prospects look downright tame... until Ginger enters his world (along with her boys, her spoiled pooch, and her egomaniacal ex-husband). Lucky's always been a love-her-and-leave-her kind of guy, but something about the spirited, sensual Ginger makes him want to stick around. But will Lucky's playboy past end up costing him the only woman he's ever really loved?
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: #2

Ames: I like Susan Donovan and I like dogs. Win win. I'm so easy!

Nath: I still have to read the first book, but yeah, this is on my radar LOL.

Monroe: I did read the first one and it was so adorable! I love Susan Donovan so her books are auto buys for me! And look at these covers!! Beautiful!

Ames: I still have to read the first book too. LOL

Wednesday, May 5

Review: Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis

Our foursome review today is a new to us author. An inspirational historical by Jill Marie Landis. We have free copies to give away to our lovely readers. All you have to do is leave a comment which will enter you into the draw. Giveaway ends May 12th! Good luck and enjoy the review!

***Warning: As always, there will be spoilers.

Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis
published by Zondervan (March 1, 2010)

Laura Foster (aka Lovie Lane), wealthy widowed owner of a refined boardinghouse in Glory, Tex., is running from her tainted past and ruined childhood in a tale set in the 1870s. Laura does everything in her power to overcome the odds and create a life free of shame and abuse. Partly succeeding, she is thrown off-kilter when handsome Rev. Brand McCormick, a widower, takes a romantic interest in her. Laura knows with dead certainty that Brand would never come calling if he knew the truth of her past, so she rebuffs his attention at every turn. But the good reverend just won't be put off. Both characters have much to reveal that will test their love, faith, and loyalty to one another.
Genre: Western/American colonial romance, inspirational romance
Series: Irish Angels series, Book #1

Chantal: I'm done :)

Nath: I’m done as well :D

Ames: I’m still reading. I got a bit irked when I saw Jane Austen was spelled wrong.

Monroe: I’m done!! I didn't even realize that they misspelled Jane Austen! lol But then again I'm oblivious to so much at times! ;)

Nath: I wonder if it's the author who spelled it wrong or a typo during printing of the book or something. Actually, how does that work?

Chantal: It was not the printing. It was the author and editing.

I almost put it down when Laura asked God to forgive her. Wtf? She was forced into that life, and then SHE is begging for God to forgive her?

I want to know what happened to the other sisters.

Ames: I know what you mean, Chantal. SHE didn't set out to become a prostitute, it was forced on her. I'm about halfway through but I'll finish today. Brand's son just showed up.

Chantal: Oh! I liked him!

Monroe: Personally I think, yes, she was forced into that life but not to stay in it.. .but then again when some people go into that lifestyle at a young age their thoughts are tainted into thinking it’s ok. But she persevered so I was happy! :)

And YES I loved his son! lol

Nath: Well, it's a inspirational printing house no?

I think what she wants to be forgiven for is the fact that she remained a prostitute to amass money instead of walking away.

LOL, I liked all of Brand's kids! :D

Chantal: The forgiveness--that's still shitty. It's all she knew. It's not that easy to simply walk way from something like that, especially back then. Besides, I don't think it was that bad.

Ames: Well I would rather her do something to improve her life (which she did) than to have quit hooking as soon as she could without a back up plan. How many people back in the day would have helped out a former prostitute?

Chantal: Very true. Just walking away from if as soon as she stopped being forced to be there wouldn't have been a wise choice.

Nath: Oh, I'm agreeing with both of you. Her choice was logical and on some level, I'm pretty sure that Lovie understands it as well, but it doesn't mean she wasn't ashamed of it.

Monroe: I see both sides... whether she was forced into it or not she still wanted forgiveness for her sin...and you know I don't think she only wanted forgiveness from God but herself as well. She was ashamed of what she became. But yes she was pushed into it...

Chantal: I knew going into it that it was an Inspirational book, I just didn't think it would piss me off so much to read that asinine stuff.

Ames: OMG, why is Brand looking for Laura in whorehouse when he KNOWS she's not that kind of lady anymore. Yes, I'm still reading...LOL

Monroe: You know I really was disappointed in Brand for looking for her in those places. So what...he thinks just because he shook her world a bit she would break?!?! Ugh! I meant I wouldn't blame him for wondering but to actually go in assuming she was in those places! :o(

Ames: Totally doesn't make sense. Like yeah right buddy, she's going to run away from YOU and go back to hooking? WTF? GRR

Chantal: I know! I read that part back to myself, because really, there is no way he would actually think she went back to whoring... but he really did look there. :-(

Did you read the very back, the start of Megan/Maddie's story? I'm very interested in hearing how their lives turned out, but I don't want to read this genre again.

And did you wonder about her friends, I forget their names--the newspaper guy and healer--I kept flipping to the front to re check that this was indeed the first book in the series. We kept being reminded about how they fell in love... but I didn't read that book.

Monroe: I didn't read the back part about the sisters but I'll read the next book! I really enjoyed it! It had so many twists I loved.

I know what you mean about her friends. I was kinda wanting to know more about how they met, feel in love...etc.

Nath: I think perhaps the newspapers guy and healer love story was a previous book by Ms Landis with a different publisher.

Chantal: If it's not an Inspirational, then I want to read it.

Nath:It's published through Harlequin.

Chantal: Yeah, but it's published under their steeple hill (inspirational) line.

Anyone else going to read the next book?

Nath: I'm not sure yet if I'm going to read the next book or not. I guess it'll depend on the blurb and whether it is different from this one enough.

The thing is I enjoyed the writing of Ms Landis and the characters. Especially the kids, they were so fun :) The main storyline though between Laura and Brand, that was a bit too predictable. Jesse's appearance added some twists, but not enough. I felt the book was a bit short. There was a nice setting, but suddenly problem appears and is resolved almost immediately...

Monroe: I personally really enjoyed this book so I will be picking up the next one! =) and I loved his kids!!! Including Jesse! I hope he gets his own book!

Ames: You know what? I really wanted Brand to defend himself to the people and to the church board. Like WE knew about his youth and how he tried finding Sarah, but did he tell anyone else? I don't know, small minded people just frustrate me and I really wanted Brand to explain. That being said, I do understand why the author didn't do it.

I like the children too Nath. I like how they really wanted to get to know Jesse. When they ran away? Too cute!

Monroe: I wanted him as well but I thought :maybe he didn't because he knew they were small minded and closed off. That they only seen what was in front of then and that was their preacher having an illegitimate half native son. He knew it wouldn't do any good...maybe.

Nath: What I liked is the fact that Brand didn't deny it at all. That he immediately embraced Jesse. I thought Jesse's appearance was a nice surprise in the story.

LOL, with their bags! The scene where they locked Jesse in the barn - that was cute too :D I just like the whole acceptance that Sam and Janie had.

Chantal: I really liked his reaction to the kids. They had some hero worship going on, and you can tell he enjoyed it.

Monroe: Oh I loved the part where they ran away and then she caught them and the girl just started crying! lol It was too adorable!

You know one of my favorite things in this book was the simplicity of it all. Maybe this is piggybacking Nath saying it was predictable etc but I liked that it was in a way. I loved Brands innocent love for Laura and how he looked at her as a woman who could not only care for him but his kids. I loved that through it all Laura found her faith when she though God had given up on her and I though above all the book was very uplifting! :)

Nath: I get what you mean by simplicity, Monroe. To me, the simplicity came through her writing. It was very fluid and to the point. That I enjoyed :)

Ames: I thought this book was just ok. From a storytelling standpoint, a few things didn't make sense for me. First of all, Brand falling for Laura. I don't think we really get the WHY. I mean, he just made up his mind one day to start courting her? She'd been aloof before the events from the book took place so what exactly did he see in her? And then Laura running away. That really bothered me. It was the easy way out - for the author. And her stopping where she did with a crap job. What was the point of Laura remaining a prostitute to earn enough money to set herself up to run away when things get tough and go work in some small outpost as a waitress? I'm sorry, that's just wrong to me.

In the end, I have to give Heart of Stone a C+. It was just an ok read.

Chantal: I'd like to echo everything Ames just said. Although I give it a C.

Nath: Heart of Stone is a B- for me. I enjoyed the characters and the writing; however, the plot was simply too predictable. Also, to answer your question Ames, I don't think Brand was in love with Laura when he started courting her. It was more like she was a good candidate to be a wife and a mother to his children. Not very romantic, but very true in that time. Then, he just started appreciating her more and more...

Monroe: I have to go with Nath...very predictable but enjoyable non the less! =) I gve it a B-.