Thursday, August 23

Review: The Proposal by Mary Balogh

Nath and I are back! With a review!  It's been over a month since the last buddy review was posted, but never fear, we've got some more coming down the line.  :P

Today, we're discussing The Proposal by Mary Balogh.  We're both Balogh fans and we know many of you are as well.  Let us know how our thoughts compared to yours on The Proposal.

The Proposal by Mary Balogh
published by Random House Publisher in May 2012
Gwendoline, Lady Muir, has seen her share of tragedy, especially since a freak accident took her husband much too soon. Content in a quiet life with friends and family, the young widow has no desire to marry again. But when Hugo, Lord Trentham, scoops her up in his arms after a fall, she feels a sensation that both shocks and emboldens her.

Hugo never intends to kiss Lady Muir, and frankly, he judges her to be a spoiled, frivolous—if beautiful—aristocrat. He is a gentleman in name only: a soldier whose bravery earned him a title; a merchant’s son who inherited his wealth. He is happiest when working the land, but duty and title now demand that he finds a wife. He doesn’t wish to court Lady Muir, nor have any role in the society games her kind thrives upon. Yet Hugo has never craved a woman more; Gwen’s guileless manner, infectious laugh, and lovely face have ruined him for any other woman. He wants her, but will she have him?

The hard, dour ex-military officer who so gently carried Gwen to safety is a man who needs a lesson in winning a woman’s heart. Despite her cautious nature, Gwen cannot ignore the attraction. As their two vastly different worlds come together, both will be challenged in unforeseen ways. But through courtship and seduction, Gwen soon finds that with each kiss, and with every caress, she cannot resist Hugo’s devotion, his desire, his love, and the promise of forever.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Survivor's Club, Book #1

The Story: Hoping to offer comfort, Gwendoline is visiting a friend in Cornwall who recently lost her husband. However, the visit has been horrible so far and wanting to escape for a little while, Gwendoline goes for a walk on the beach. Unfortunately for her, she sprained her ankle from her bad leg quite badly. Luckily, Hugo Emes, Lord Trentham and the newest member of the ton thanks to his heroic leadership during the war, is present and brings her back to the Duke of Stanbrook's country estate. Forced to stay at the estate to recover, Gwendoline makes the acquaintance of a group of survivors of the Napoleonic Wars who have named themselves The Survivor's Club.

A member of the club, Hugo is staying at the Duke's estate for their annual meet. He doesn't really know what to think of Gwendoline as she's a lady of the ton and he doesn't think highly of the aristocracy - despite his new title as his family roots stem from trade. One thing he is sure of though is that he's attracted to her and so is she.

After they both succumb to temptation, Hugo proposes to Gwendoline out of duty. However, Gwendoline wants to be courted. She decides to take Hugo's half-sister under her wing and launch her into Society, giving Hugo the opportunity and time to woo her. Coming from two different worlds, will they be able to compromise and be happy?

Nath: So Ames, what did you think of The Proposal? I went into this book with no expectations - luckily ^_^; It’s not that The Proposal was a bad book, but it just didn’t grab me. Everyone loves a book that focuses on the characters - and Hugh and Gwen were likable characters; however, that means you need to have a really good conflict for development and growth... and I don’t think it was the case here. Actually, I feel that The Proposal’s main purpose was really to introduce the Survivor’s Club and pave the way for future books ^_^;

Ames: I went into this one with no expectations either. And I agree, it’s not a bad book, but I felt like it was lacking passion. There was chemistry between the characters, but that didn’t result in any passion. It was a slow book that unfolded in a slow, meandering way. Nothing wrong with that, but that kind of story just doesn’t grab me.

I agree that it was also setting up the other characters. But that again is not a bad thing. They were interesting characters.

Nath: True, they are interesting characters and I’m looking forward to some of the stories, but I think my problem is that it was just a bit too obvious ^_^;

As for the lack of passion, I have to agree with you. It’s interesting how characters can have chemistry, but lack passion. I think one of the reasons for it is because both Hugh and Gwen knew they were all wrong for each other - their way of lives and also their status, and yet, they still had sex together... but the sex was meant to be meaningless. It felt like they didn’t even like each other... but were just feeling “lusty.”

Ames: Also, I hate to say this, but I think their age had something to do with it. Age and personality. These were two level-headed characters who realized despite everything they were attracted to each other and so had sex. Hugh was a recent member of the ton - his exploits as a soldier garnered him a title. So he has his attitudes towards aristocrats and even after he gets to know Gwen, he still stubbornly holds on to those ideas. And that bothered me. I wish these two had communicated more. Gwen somehow magically expected Hugh to know what she wanted and these two really needed to get to know each other.

And thinking about it some more, Gwen got on my nerves. She was too passive for my tastes.

Nath: I think you’re onto something, Ames, about Hugh and Gwen being level-headed. It’s refreshing to have more mature characters, but in this case, Hugh and Gwen let logic dictates the course of their relationship instead of their feelings, their heart. Always doubting, always thinking they knew what the other was thinking - that’s why passion was missing.

Something that surprised me as well is how Ms Balogh introduced some issues and conflicts, but did not develop nor resolve them. For example, Gwen’s husband death and the role Grayson had in it, the way Grayson tried to smear Hugh’s reputation and Hugh’s stepmother. Any of these conflicts, if developed, would have made the book more interesting and could have showcased different sides of Hugh and Gwen’s personalities... but Ms Balogh didn’t. In which case, I wonder why introduce these issues/conflicts at all?

Ames: I know what you mean! And I also feel like Hugh wasn’t the most understanding character about Gwen and her relationship with her husband. I think these two had their biases and they were firmly entrenched and I did not like that about them. Hugh felt judgemental. I just wish that Hugh and Gwen told each other what they were thinking.

Nath: I hear you about the biases! It really bothered me as well, especially since the book wasn’t about overcoming those biases. I felt that with all the prejudices and biases they both felt towards each other and their classes, Hugh and Gwen shouldn’t have gotten together. And when they overcame that biases, instead of feeling “yay, what an accomplishment!” it was more “meh, just get on with it” ^_^;

LOL Ames, I think this is probably our shortest buddy review ever! But really, I’m having difficulty finding things to discuss about this book ^_^; And I definitively think it says something about The Proposal. I originally gave it a C, but now, a C- seems more appropriate.

Ames: I originally gave this a B- but I think I need to lower it to a C. It was just ok. I hate that I didn’t enjoy it more because I really love Balogh’s writing - but sometimes you just strike out.

Nath: Sometimes, it happens... and it proves that authors are humans too :)

Wednesday, August 1

New Releases - August 2012

Woohoo, the summer continues with another great month of new releases! It's not as plentiful as July - and good thing for our wallets LOL; however, there are some books that we've really been looking forward to and many favorite authors :) And even though I'm not done catching up on my July new releases, I know I'll be picking up some of the following books ASAP...

So, are you ready? 3... 2... 1... Go!

August 7

Within Reach by Sarah Mayberry
published by Harlequin (SuperRomance)
Being a single dad was never on Michael Young's agenda. Yet with the sudden loss of his wife, that's exactly the role he has. On his best days, he thinks he can handle it. On his worst...… Luckily, family friend Angie Bartlett has his back, easily stepping in to help out.

Lately, though, something has changed.

Michael is noticing exactly how gorgeous Angie is, and how single she is. She's constantly in his thoughts and he feels an attraction he never expected. Does he dare disrupt the very good thing they have going? If they have a fling that goes nowhere, he stands to lose everything —including her. But if they make it work, he stands to gain everything!
Genre: Category romance, contemporary
Series: None

Nath: My love of Ms Mayberry has been renewed by Her Best Worst Mistake. So I'll be picking up all of her new releases in the near future LOL.

Ames: I like this kind of plot - seeing a friend in a whole new light.  I love Sarah's writing so I'm sure it'll be a good solid read.

Sweet Deception by Heather Snow
published by New American Library
In the dark, the greatest lover can become the most dangerous conspirator...

Lord Frederick Aveline, otherwise known as Derick, has successfully kept up appearances as an English nobleman. What no one knows is that he's a full-blooded Frenchman—a double agent for the British against the French. But there is something else no one knows about Derick. Deciding to leave behind his days of espionage, he's arrived home in Derbyshire to finish one final order of business: to find and expose a dangerous traitor in their midst.

But Aveline Castle holds its own share of secrets—including murder—and an unexpected lure in the brilliant and fiesty Emma Wallingford. Emma's loyalty lies with acting as the town's magistrate, and she doesn't welcome an unanticipated, though appealing, intrusion like Derick's. As the two of them are drawn closer, the sordid past of Derick's family comes to light, as does the true nature of his arrival.

But when deception, however sweet, is the name of the game, no one can be trusted. And every love—and every life—is at risk.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Veiled Seduction series, Book #2

Nath: I'm not a huge fan of double agents and spies in historical romance... and while I didn't love Ms Snow's debut novel, Sweet Enemy, I did enjoy her writing though and the excerpt for Sweet Deception that I read... So I might just be picking up this one.

Ames: I'm the same way, Nath.  I could live without spies but am willing to give the author another try.  I enjoyed her debut enough to take a chance.

A Witch Before Dying by Heather Blake
published by New American Library
When Darcy is hired by Elodie Keaton to clean up her missing mother’s disorderly home, the Wishcrafter is certainly up for the task. After all, the motto of her Aunt Ve’s personal concierge service As You Wish is “No Job Impossible.” But beneath the piles of old newspapers and knickknacks, Darcy discovers something much more disturbing: Patrice Keaton’s body.

Darcy’s determined to give Elodie peace of mind by investigating her mother’s disappearance and death. Patrice was last seen over a year ago after a fight with her Charmcrafter boyfriend. Was her murder a crime of passion? Or were Patrice’s troubles caused by the Anicula, a wish-granting amulet? Now Darcy has to find not only a killer but also the Anicula— before the power of ultimate wish fulfillment falls into the wrong hands...
Genre: Cosy mystery
Series: A Wishcraft Mystery series, Book #2

Nath: I really love Ms Blake's style and writing. It's fun, fluffy and original in my opinion. I quite enjoyed It Takes a Witch and so will be picking up this one for sure :)

Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas
published by St. Martin's Press
Dream Lake takes readers once again to the exquisite setting of Friday Harbor, and tells the story of Zoe Hoffman, an innkeeper who has all but given up on love. She’s a gentle, romantic soul, but has been so hurt in the past that she dare not trust her heart with anyone. Especially not Alex Nolan. Alex is the most haunted of all the Nolan brothers. He drinks to keep his demons at bay and not only has he given up on love, he has never, ever believed in it. Zoe and Alex are oil and water, fire and ice, sunshine and shadow. But sometimes, it takes only a glimmer of light to chase away the dark. Dream Lake is classic Lisa Kleypas: romantic, powerful, emotional, and magical.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Friday Harbor series, Book #3

Nath: Hmmmm, I'm not convinced about the magic turn this series has taken on. Although I know the writing will be excellent - it's Lisa Kleypas right? :) I'm most probably going to wait to see what the reviews have to say, but I think somehow this book will find its way to my TBR pile :)

Ames: I usually don't care for magic in my books, but Lisa makes it work.  I am definitely getting this one.  :P  How could you resist Holly??

Cherished by Lauren Dane & Maya Banks
published by Berkley
Exiled by Maya Banks

Enticed to the island paradise where an enigmatic prince is living in exile, beautiful, virginal Talia is introduced to a world of forbidden pleasure where the prince's every whim is fulfilled and her fantasies are rendered in exquisite detail. But when the prince is summoned back to fulfill his duty to his struggling country, reality is thrust upon Talia all too soon. She returns home, heartbroken, convinced she was a passing fancy for an idle ruler and his most trusted men. Until the day they arrive on her doorstep, determined to have her back where she belongs.

Sway by Lauren Dane

Levi Warner is an established, older man—wealthy, powerful, and above all, respectable. Then Levi meets Daisy, an uninhibited 24-year-old dance instructor and artist, not exactly the kind of woman Levi is accustomed to. But the young, free spirit, brings out something in him he only experienced in fantasies. When their scorching affair turns into something unexpectedly deeper, Levi finds himself torn between preserving his reputation, and exploring a wilder and much more satisfying kind of life.
Genre: Erotica romance (BDSM), contemporary
Series: Sway is Book #1 in the Delicious series

Ames: I am a big fan of both these authors but I have to say, based on the blurbs, Lauren's contribution sounds more appealing.  I love that cover too!

Wild Texas Rose by Jodi Thomas
published by Berkley
Twenty-five-year-old Rose McMurray may be beautiful, smart, and capable of running her family's ranch at Whispering Mountain, but she's backed away from marriage three times without giving anyone reasons. Everyone thinks she is a coward, afraid of any adventure, including falling in love. She's never done a single wild or reckless thing in her life... until now.

Duncan McMurray, like Rose, was adopted into the family. As a Texas Ranger, he swears he'll never settle down and marry. He's been Rose's guardian angel since they were kids but for the first time in their lives he's the one who has caused her to be in danger. Somehow, he has to protect her from an outlaw gang determined to kill her without letting Rose know of the danger she's in. He's convinced that her heart can''t take the stress if she knows... the only question is can his heart take the nearness of her.

When opposites collide the adventure begins...
Genre: Historical romance, western
Series: Whispering Mountain series, Book #6

Nath: It's Duck's book!!! Woohooo! LOL, I actually added this book to this list of new releases simply because it was by Ms Thomas and I love her writing although I prefer her contemporary to her western, simply because that's my preferences. But now, reading that it's Duck's book, I'll definitively be picking it up! LOL.

Precinct 13 by Tate Hallaway
published by Berkley
Recent college grad Alex Conner is thrilled to have landed a job as the Hughes County coroner/medical examiner in Pierre, South Dakota. But when her first day on the job ends with a missing corpse, Alex starts to wonder if she would have been better off collecting unemployment...

When the cops made some cryptic comments about being careful with the body they brought in, Alex just thought the boys in blue were messing with her. That is, until something freaky happens that no amount of med school could have prepared her for. By the time Alex gets herself together, the body has disappeared and the other residents of the morgue start talking her ear off.

After working up the courage to report the missing body, Alex is transferred to the mysterious Precinct 13 where she discovers that her new co-workers—including a cute technomage named Jack—are paranormals just like her. Now, Alex is being encouraged to use her ability to speak to the dead to solve crimes. And despite being in the middle of nowhere, Hughes County sure does have a lot of paranormal activity...
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: ?, Book #1

Nath: For some reasons, Ms Hallaway is an author I want to read and I don't really know why ^_^; So when I was looking for the new releases, her name and the cover caught my eye. I'm not sure whether I'll pick it up, but I really wanted to put it on my radar. Guess once again, it will depend on reviews :)

A Woman Made for Pleasure by Michele Sinclair
published by Kensington
Known as the Daring Three, a trio of exquisite young women are taking London by storm. But if Lady Millie Aldon has her way, no man will win her hand in marriage—not even the one she loves...

A Passion for Adventure

Drawn to a life of excitement and risk, Lady Mille Aldon made a pact to forsake marriage. But her plans are thrown into chaos when Chase Wentworth returns to town. The lanky lad she remembers from childhood is now the Marquess of Chaselton, possessing an air of mystery Millie can't resist. As Chase moves through London's elite circles, his stealth manner has Millie convinced he harbors a secret—one she is determined to reveal...
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Daring Three series, Book #1

Nath: Isn't this a gorgeous cover? That's what caught my attention, I mean it's really pretty! I've read Ms Sinclair before, but it was her medieval/high-land historical romance. Not my favorite genre, but I remember enjoying her writing. So I'll definitively give this one a try.

August 14

Life Drawing for Beginners by Roisin Meaney
published by Grand Central Publishing
When Audrey Matthews offers an evening class in life drawing, all she's looking for is a little extra pocket money and something to fill her Tuesday nights. So she hires a model and recruits six students - each of whom have their own reason for being there. For Zarek, a Polish immigrant, the class is a welcome distraction and a place to escape his dull cafe job and his noisy roomate. Then there's the handsome, mysterious James who has moved to the small town of Carrickbawn looking for a new start for himself and his daughter. He's vowed to keep to himself, but then his interest in Jackie, the class model and single mom, takes a more personal turn. While Audrey has just fallen in love -- with the adorable puppy in the window of the local pet shop. Will she be put off by the store's brusque owner or does she find out that his bark is worse than his bite? As the weeks pass, it becomes clear to the members of the drawing class that their fellow students aren't exactly who they seem. And by the end of the first term, none of their lives, least of all Audrey's, will be left untouched, as they learn that everything can change in a single brushstroke.
Genre: Fiction
Series: None

Nath: I'm not sure about this one. The cover caught my eyes and I realize that this is the same author that wrote Semi-Sweet which is a book I've won from Tracy. I have yet to read it though so I'm not sure about her writing style. I guess it'll read Semi-Sweet first and then we'll see :)

August 21

Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
published by Harpercollins Publisher (HarperTeen)
After the grand explosion of her relationship, seventeen-year-old Max Scott developed what every girl in the history of the world has been waiting for: a way to get over being dumped. Now Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. But when her ex unexpectedly shows up in her neighborhood, Max’s carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients’ hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over him once and for all.
Genre: YA, contemporary
Series: None

Ames: This one sounds interesting.  I haven't read either of these authors before but I'm willing to take a chance.

Widow's Web by Jennifer Estep
published by Simon & Schuster
My name is Gin, and I kill people. It’s something I've been doing for years as the assassin called Spider, but now, it’s turned into a necessity on my part just to survive all the lowlifes in Ashland who are gunning for me. The underworld is still in turmoil, and I seem to be on everyone’s hit list these days.

To add to Gin’s problems, her lover Owen’s ex is in town. Salina is back in Ashland to reclaim an old family legacy—and she thinks that Owen is hers for the taking. Also in the mix is Phillip Kincaid, a casino owner and all-around shady character who has a mysterious connection to both Owen and Salina.

Salina might seem like a sweet Southern belle, but there’s more to her than meets the eye. Her water elemental magic makes her a dangerous enemy—and someone who can go toe-to-toe with Gin’s Ice and Stone power. But Gin is determined to get to the bottom of Salina’s deadly scheme, even though it just might cost her everything... including Owen.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Elemental Assassin series, Book #7

Nath: Yay, a new Elemental Assassin book!! I've really become a fan of Ms Estep over the past couple of years and I really enjoy this series! I'm really excited about this one because I think we'll find out more about Owen's past and also, Phillip. He's one of the upcoming mobster and now that Mab is out of the way... Could be Phillip's world to take :) Although I have to say, I think the blurb gives a bit too much away ^_^;

August 28

A Study in Seduction by Nina Rowan
published by Grand Central Publishing
A Heart Divided

Blessed with an uncanny gift for mathematics, the lovely Lydia Kellaway can solve the most complex puzzles. The one thing she can’t figure out? How to manage the most infuriating man she’s ever encountered.

A Passion Multiplied

Alexander Hall, Viscount Northwood, has purchased a one-of-a-kind locket from a pawnshop, unaware of the priceless sentiment it holds for Lydia. The gentlemanly thing to do would be to simply return it. But Lydia sparks a desire that has Alexander curious to see just how bold this brilliant beauty will be...

A Love Unequaled

What begins as a playful wager quickly escalates into a contest of the minds, a clash of the wills—and a battle of the sexes—as their fiery attraction grows. Even a genius like Lydia can’t account for the feelings Alexander arouses with his smile, or the fire he ignites with his touch. But when a dark family secret is suddenly thrown into the equation, it just might divide them forever.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Daring Hearts series, Book #1

Ames: I am intrigued by the description of the heroine:  Blessed with an uncanny gift for mathematics, the lovely Lydia Kellaway can solve the most complex puzzles.  

Every Day by David Levithan
published by Random House Publishing (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.
Genre: YA, fantasy/paranormal
Series: None

Nath: Interesting premise. Hmmm, I really wonder how this will work out! Ames, you'll have to let me know!

Ames: You know I will!

Blades of Winter by G.T. Almasi
published by Random House Publishing
Nineteen-year-old Alix Nico, a self-described "million-dollar murder machine," is a rising star in ExOps, a covert-action agency that aggressively shields the United States from its three great enemies: the Soviet Union, Greater Germany, and the Nationalist Republic of China. Rather than risk another all-out war, the four superpowers have poured their resources into creating superspies known as Levels.

Alix is one of the hottest young American Levels. That's no surprise: Her dad was America's top Level before he was captured and killed eight years ago. But when an impulsive decision explodes--literally--in her face, Alix uncovers a conspiracy that pushes her to her limits and could upset the global balance of power forever.
Genre: Sci-Fi, suspense
Series: Shadowstorm series, Book #1

Nath: I was looking for a new urban fantasy series and stumbled across this cover which looks great! It's sci-fi, but it sounds good! I think I'll be giving it a try.

The Way to a Duke's Heart by Caroline Linden
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon)
Charles de Lacey, Lord Gresham, is running out of time, running from his responsibilities, and running from love.

Destined to be a duke, Charles de Lacey has led a life of decadent pleasure, free of any care for propriety or responsibility. It comes as a terrible shock to learn that he might be stripped of everything, thanks to his father's scandalous past. He has no choice but to find the blackmailer who would ruin him—and his only link to the villain is a woman who may be part of the plot…

To save his fortune and title, he vows he'll stop at nothing—in fact, he's all too eager to unravel the beautiful, tart-tongued Tessa Neville. She intrigues him and tempts him like no other lady ever has. With only his heart to guide him, and keenly aware that his entire future is at stake, Charles must decide: is she the woman of his dreams, or an enemy in disguise?
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Truth about the Duke series, Book #3

Nath: Another very pretty cover! I like the blue colors and the model is really pretty :) I have the first book of this series in my TBR pile, but not read yet. I know Ames have enjoyed this series, so I might give in eventually :)

Ames: I read the first book and really enjoyed it.  And I do enjoy Caroline's writing.  She's an autobuy author for me.  :P

The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon)
How can she dare to imagine he loves her... when all London calls her The Ugly Duchess?

Theodora Saxby is the last woman anyone expects the gorgeous James Ryburn, heir to the Duchy of Ashbrook, to marry. But after a romantic proposal before the prince himself, even practical Theo finds herself convinced of her soon-to-be duke's passion.

Still, the tabloids give the marriage six months.

Theo would have given it a lifetime... until she discovers that James desired not her heart, and certainly not her countenance, but her dowry.

Society was shocked by their wedding... and is scandalized by their separation.

Now James faces the battle of his life, convincing Theo that he loves the duckling who blossomed into the swan. And Theo will quickly find that, for a man with the soul of a pirate, All's Fair in Love--and War.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Fairy Tales series, Book #4

Nath: The Ugly Duchess has one of Ms James' favorite theme, estranged spouses. She quite excels at this theme and I don't see why The Ugly Duchess would be an exception :)

Ames: I love James' writing and this theme in particular is one of my favorites.  Can't wait to read this one!

A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon)
A temporary engagement, a lifetime in the making...

After years of fending for herself, Kate Taylor found friendship and acceptance in Spindle Cove--but she never stopped yearning for love. The very last place she'd look for it is in the arms of Corporal Thorne. The militia commander is as stone cold as he is brutally handsome. But when mysterious strangers come searching for Kate, Thorne steps forward as her fiancé. He claims to have only Kate's safety in mind. So why is there smoldering passion in his kiss?

Long ago, Samuel Thorne devoted his life to guarding Kate's happiness. He wants what's best for her, and he knows it's not marriage to a man like him. To outlast their temporary engagement, he must keep his hands off her tempting body and lock her warm smiles out of his withered heart. It's the toughest battle of this hardened warrior's life... and the first he seems destined to lose.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Spindle Cove series, Book #3

Ames: I've been enjoying the Spindle Cove series and I do like Tessa's writing.

Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl
published by Harlequin (HQN Books)
Can a city girl make it in the wild, wild West? For makeup artist Grace Barrett, Hollywood is less the land of golden opportunity and more the land of difficult divas, cheating boyfriends and unemployment. So when her great-aunt offers her a free place to stay in Jackson Hole, Grace thinks she'll spend a little time in the sticks to figure out her life, and then move somewhere exciting to live out her dreams. But it turns out that there are a few more thrills in this small town than Grace was expecting...

Cole Rawlins is a rugged Wyoming cowboy born and bred. Yet he can't help but be drawn to the fascinating big-city girl who moves in across from him. As they discover a sizzling attraction, it's Grace who finds herself surprised. Cole's the only man who's ever dared to get close enough to see through her tough facade. And his mysterious past only makes him sexier.

They'll need more than scorching-hot passion to make this opposites-attract affair work. But if they can learn to trust one another enough to reveal their secrets, they just might have a chance at forever.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: ?

Nath: I have not read Ms Dahl's last couple of releases, so it might take a while to get to this one, but I think I will... eventually :) I like the opposite-attracts theme and the idea of a cowboy and a city girl :)

Ames: I like cowboys and I like Victoria's writing.  I'm definitely getting this one.  I like the purple on the cover too!

Return to Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs
published by Harlequin (Mira)
Sonnet Romano’s life is almost perfect. She has the ideal career, the ideal boyfriend, and has just been offered a prestigious fellowship. There’s nothing more a woman wants – except maybe a baby…sister? When Sonnet finds out her mother is unexpectedly expecting, and that the pregnancy is high-risk, she puts everything on hold – the job, the fellowship, the boyfriend – and heads home to Avalon. Once her mom is out of danger, Sonnet intends to pick up her life where she left off. But when her mother receives a devastating diagnosis, Sonnet must decide what really matters in life, even of that means staying in Avalon and taking a job that forces her to work alongside her biggest, and maybe her sweetest, mistake – award-winning filmmaker Zach Alger. So Sonnet embarks on a summer of laughter and tears, of old dreams and new possibilities, and of finding the home of her heart.
Genre: Contemporary romance/Women's Fiction
Series: Lakeshore Chronicles series, Book #9

Nath: I came across this book when I was looking for the new releases and this one was a surprise. I didn't think Ms Wiggs was continuing the Lakeshore Chronicles series. I haven't been interested in her last couple of releases, but this one featuring Sonnet and Zach... Seriously, I think this couple has as much potential as Daisy and Julian and actually, this book might turn out much better. It's definitively on my radar... I know I don't want to pick it up as a hardcover, so by the time it comes out in paperback, I'll have a good idea whether it's worth to pick up or not :)

Fool for Love by Beth Ciotta
published by St. Martin's Press
Call her a fool, but chef-in-training Chloe Madison wants to have her cake and eat it too. So when her boyfriend dumps her for some French tart, she decides to start over from scratch-with a new life and job in Sugar Creek, Vermont. What could be sweeter than cooking for an eccentric lady who's crazy for desserts? What could be more tempting than joining a club called the Cupcake Lovers? Just one thing: local business-hunk Devlin Monroe...

Although he's the grandson of Chloe's fun-loving boss, Devlin Monroe is all work and no play. Micro-managing the family business, he doesn't have time to indulge in life's sweetest pleasures-until he meets Chloe. How can he resist such a vibrant, beautiful woman who brings so much passion to the table? But when old grudges and secrets threaten to destroy the Cupcake Lovers, Devlin must decide if his feelings for Chloe are a recipe for disaster-or a sinfully delicious ever-after...
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Cupcake Lovers series, Book #1

Nath: I really love the cover of this book! Isn't it pretty? Don't you want to sit at that table? I really enjoy chef characters and this story sounds like one I would enjoy a lot :) So I'm most probably going to get it :)

A Dangerous Liaison with Detective Lewis by Jillian Stone
published by Kensington
Special Inspector Rafael Lewis hasn’t seen the woman he jilted on the night of their engagement ball in five years. Fanny Greyville-Nugent has spent five years working side-by-side with her recently deceased father, a captain of industry in the steam revolution. When Detective Lewis and the Scotland Yard suspect that the late Mr. Greyville-Nugent was targeted for murder by an anarchist group determined to stop the proliferation of machines in the workforce, Lewis must guard his former fiancĂ©e with his life—much to her chagrin.

As Rafe and Fanny set out across the countryside from Edinburgh to London, danger lurks around every corner, but the biggest danger might turn out to be the embers of their previously smothered attraction smoldering to life.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series, Book #2

Nath: Wow, Ms Stone has been a very prolific author. She has a lot of books coming out. I have yet to read any of them, but I want to! So this book is on my radar until I read something by her :)


What do you think? Did we forget any?