Friday, November 30, 2012

Primal (Includes: Breeds, #23; Nightshade, #1.5)Primal by Lora Leigh
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The first two stories were OK, but I skipped the rest. Just a little too UF for my taste. I know I'm probably in the minority, but LL's Breeds series just doesn't do it for me, either.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Season for Surrender (Seasons, #2)Season for Surrender by Theresa Romain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Alex's transformation is exquisite. This was really good. 4 1/2 stars.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

More Than a Stranger (Sealed With a Kiss, #1)More Than a Stranger by Erin Knightley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reviewed for TwoLips Reviews, LLC
4 1/2 Kisses, 0 Peppers M/F sweet romance)

At the age of eleven, Lady Evelyn Moore begins corresponding with her older brother's school friend, Benedict Hastings. Initially her letters are fired by jealousy that her beloved brother has made a friend, and she feels forgotten and replaced. Then he writes back and she starts to really enjoy his biting wit. Despite the fact that they've never met in person, over the next five years they develop a close friendship. Then it comes time for him to graduate and move on with his life, and he knows he has to break off his friendship with his dear friend Evie. He doesn't want to, but he knows it's for the best. He needs to make a clean start.

They meet years later, but Benedict doesn't want her to know who he is because she has every reason to hate him for ending their friendship like he did so he gives a false name. Unfortunately, his life is in a big tangle and he isn't in any position to be in a relationship. So he tries to fight the feelings that quickly resurface for his old friend, the only person who ever wrote to him when he was in school.

Evie has been trying to convince her parents to excuse her from husband hunting. She would rather live quietly in the country and run her family’s stables than deal with the dull and haughty members of the ton. Then Benedict comes along and makes her feel things she would rather avoid. She learned years ago not to trust love, but she is undeniably drawn to this man she thinks she has only known for days.

The prologue for More Than a Stranger immediately grabbed my interest and made it difficult to put down. I know this was going to be a remarkable book. I was especially captivated and amused by the quoted letters that they sent back and forth to each other. I'll admit I like my books to have more explicit heat than this, but really, the quality of the story made up for it. The emotional link between Evie and Benedict absolutely shines. Fans of exceptionally well-written historical romance won't want to miss this exciting debut from Erin Knightly.

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A Lady Never Lies (Affairs by Moonlight, #1)A Lady Never Lies by Juliana Gray
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Reviewed for TwoLips Reviews, LLC
2 1/2 Kisses, 1 Pepper (M/F oral sex)

This is the story of Lady Alexandra Morley and Phineas Burke. My first impression of Lady Morley is that she's a selfish opportunist, and her dishonesty makes her an unlikable character. Finn talks his friends to temporarily moving to Italy with him so he can work on his "horseless carriage" project. Somehow both parties manage to lease the same Italian "castle," so they're going to be spending a lot of time in close proximity. It turns out Lady Morley is having serious financial problems, and her money has been invested in Finn's competition. She thinks she might get some useful information from Finn. Unfortunately, as they spend more time together and start to think they're falling in love, she fails to come clean about her initial scheme, despite having several perfect opportunities to do so.

What I liked about A Lady Never Lies: the book is set in the 1890’s, and the information about the development of the modern automobile is really interesting. A good part of the book is also set in Italy, which is a nice change of pace. I really like extra tall and intelligent heroes like Finn, and the secondary characters were fun to read and added life to the story. Also, there's an interesting twist at the end of the book.

What I didn’t like so much: the dishonest heroine who maintained her deception far too long. It made it almost impossible for me to like her and want her to find happiness. I also had a hard time feeling any real connection between the hero and heroine. Parts of the book seemed to drag (especially near the beginning) and I felt myself wanting to skim big chunks of the book.

This debut by author Juliana Gray will appeal to historical romance readers who are looking for something a little different, enthusiasts of the history of the automobile, and who like to see two people from different classes find happiness.

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Charmed by His Love (Spellbound Falls, #2)Charmed by His Love by Janet Chapman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewed for TwoLips Reviews, LLC
4 Kisses, 1 Pepper (M/F oral sex)

Peg Thompson is a young widowed mother of four children who are all under the age of nine. The women in her family have lived under a dark curse for five generations: they're black widows. Because of this supposed curse, Peg has no intention of ever marrying again. Duncan MacKeage is no stranger to magic. Not only is he privy to the fact that Mac Oceanus's magic was responsible for the freak earthquake that turned 'Bottomless' into an inland sea, but he is also the son of one of the original five highland warriors who were magically brought here from the twelfth century. A curse, though? He’s charmed, just like the rest of his rough and tumble family; curses don’t worry him at all.

Peg and Duncan strike a bargain for him to buy the gravel from her that he needs to build roads for the new resort. With the income Peg will be able to finish building the house that her late husband wasn't able to finish before he died. Peg doesn’t want to fall for Duncan, not only for his own safety but because she doesn't want to go through the pain of losing someone again. She doesn’t want to put her children thorough that, either.

I accidentally read the third book before this one, and while Charmed By His Love did help explain a lot more of the magical elements of the series, it didn't affect my enjoyment of either book. Nevertheless, if you’re like me you’ll probably want to read them in the proper order. Janet Chapman does a great job of intertwining light contemporary romance with grand paranormal elements. There's a good dose of drama and action and a pleasant focus on the value of family. I’m looking forward to the next book in this heartwarming series.

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Courting Carolina (Spellbound Falls, #3)Courting Carolina by Janet Chapman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewed for TwoLips Reviews, LLC

4 Kisses, 1 Pepper (M/F oral sex)




Alec MacKeage rescues a woman who is being attacked in the woods by two men. This mystery woman (who tells him her name is Jane Smith, which is an obvious lie) asks him to let her stay with him for a week, and he agrees even though it's clear the situation will cause him nothing but trouble. She was kidnapped, but she doesn't want her father notified of her rescue because she's been hiding from him for two years. She can't stay hidden forever, especially considering who her father is.

Titus Oceanus needs his daughter to get married very soon, and has no choice but to force her to choose from his hand-picked suitors. Alec doesn't believe he's good enough for her, even though it's obvious they care for each other and would be very well suited.

Alec seems to know Mac Oceanus (Titus’s son) is a wizard, but he doesn't know his mystery woman's connection to him. Then he suddenly does know who she is. I'm not sure how he figured it out, but it might be partly explained because of who he is, or rather who his relatives are. Alec's uncle Duncan MacKeage, from the second book in the series, is a first-generation descendant from a line of time-traveling highlanders. The time travelers are from a different series, which readers may want to explore because of the connection to this series. Plus time travel romances are just completely awesome, so there's that, too. Back to the point though, Alec's background explains his ability to accept "Jane's" paranormal quirks so easily.

Courting Carolina is another very well-written book in this series. It moves along at a good pace and keeps you interested from the very first page. As in the previous books, more information is revealed as the story progresses, but the paranormal aspects are introduced early. I accidentally read this and the second book in the series out of order, and it all made sense but it would have been much better if I had read them in the proper order.

As a side note, I love that Janet Chapman included some poems written by her ninety-eight-year-old aunt. What a sweet thing to do, helping her see her work published.



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Friday, November 9, 2012

InsatiableInsatiable by Morgan Hawke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hmmm... This one's hard to review. I didn't love it but I did like it a lot. It was VERY hot M/M/F, and a quick read that didn't tax my brain too much. The issue of force vs. consent at the beginning of the book was a little iffy and I can see how it would be a problem for some readers, but it was written just well enough that it made me OK with it. I loved the emotions between Aramis and Rafael. I thought their interaction with Elaine was sort of "cute", for lack of a better word. They treat her like their child (which she was, in vampire terms) as well as a lover, which could easily be interpreted as somewhat incestuous, but somehow it squeezed by without tripping my "ick" meter. I can't exactly call this a "fluffy" read, but it didn't have a lot of depth, either. And it wasn't "dark", but it had "dark-ish" potential, if that makes any sense. I agree with another reviewer who said it ended abruptly and felt like there should have been more. One final thought... Uh, hello, art department at Kensington...? Could you possibly make the guy on the cover look any less like either of the heroes in the book? This cover is horrible!

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