Monday, October 22, 2012

Seduced by a Pirate (Fairy Tales #4.5) by Eloisa James

Charming, witty, romantic, sexy… I loved this novella! What it lacks in page count it more than makes up for in story, and this is how novellas should be done!
Blurb....In Eloisa James's companion story to The Ugly Duchess, Sir Griffin Barry, captain of the infamous pirate ship The Poppy, is back in England to claim the wife he hasn't seen since their wedding day . . . but this is one treasure that will not be so easy to capture.
I’ll say it again, just in case I wasn’t clear: I. Loved. This. Story! I loved Griffin, Pheobe, Shark, Griffin’s dad the Viscount Moncrieff, Lyddie, Nanny McGillycuddy, Alastair, Margaret, and especially the adorably fierce, wee pirate in training, Colin. I hadn’t realized just how much I wanted to read Griffin's story until I had read Griffin's story and loved every word!

I smiled, giggled, and sighed my way through Seduced by a Pirate, and while I wish it had been longer, it didn’t need to be longer to be a delightful story, one I’ll read again and again!

Bravo, Ms. James’! Well done!

My thanks to HarperCollins/Avon Publishing for providing me a copy of this novella for review. It was such a pleasure!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James

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; it's scandalized by their separation.

Now James faces the battle of his lifetime, convincing Theo that he loved 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—or War.


The Ugly Duchess is yet another wonderful story in Eloisa James’ Fairy Tales series. In all that it is charming, romantic, funny and sweetly sexy, it’s also heartwarming, poignant and a truly beautiful love story. 

There’s something so special about Ms. James’ retelling of these classic stories. We read the originals as children and learned valuable lessons, and now, as adults, we can read them and learn those lessons again while being entertained and seduced by the magic and power of love.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much I adored James who had loved Theo, his Daisy, since childhood. Best friends, companions, confidantes… these are the things enduring relationships are built on, and James and Daisy had that, and more, from the start.

Of course this tale is about recognizing where real beauty is found, and in this scene, one of my favorites of the story, that lesson was beautifully delivered -
“If you ever utter a word about my wife that is less than complimentary, I will not slam you against the wall again. I will instead send you through a window. And not on the ground floor, either.”

James didn’t wait for an answer; who expects garbage to answer back? Instead, he held out his arm to his wife.

When they turned, they saw that the gallery was now crammed with people.

“My duchess,” James stated, his eyes sweeping the crowd with the air of a man who has ruled the waves. “She is not a swan, because that would imply she had once been an ugly duckling.”

He glanced down at Theo. Her eyes were painted with an exotic tilt at the corners. Her cheekbones were regal and her bottom lip was colored a perfect red that made it more kissable than it already was. Small but lush breasts, skin the color of clear moonlight, rose above a waist the size of a man’s hand.

But none of that mattered compared to the innate kindness in her eyes, the joyful turn of her lip, the wild intelligence with which she greeted every day.

That was beautiful.
And so is this story. I laughed, sighed and even got weepy a few times. And now, as I sit here thinking back on this charming tale, I can't help but smile for all the Daisies and their James' throughout history who understood that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, and as Confucius so insightfully told us, "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."

And how sad are their lives for all that they miss.

My sincerest 'thank you' to HarperCollins/Avon Publishing for sending me a review copy of this wonderful story. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Heart of Danger by Lisa Marie Rice

They are Ghosts. They do not exist. Their birth certificates have been destroyed, all traces of their civilian and military pasts wiped out. They have no official military rank and wear no uniforms or insignia, save a tiny steel pin of a striking hawk forged from the rifle that killed Osama Bin Laden.

Ghost Ops. A small team of super elite soldiers so secret only two men know of their existence-General Clancy Flynn and their commanding officer, Colonel Lucius Ward. On a mission to destroy a US-based lab working on weaponized bubonic plague, the team is betrayed by their commanding officer. The Team is massacred and only three men survive to be court martialed: the Team Leader, Tom 'Mac' McEnroe, tech genius John Ryan, and lethal Nick Ross. They disappear en route to prison and are never heard of again.

Mac and his men hole up in a high tech lair, completely off the grid. But when a beautiful woman somehow finds him, he doesn't know whether to kiss her, or kill her.

Dr. Catherine Young is on a mission, propelled by forces beyond her control to find a man who has disappeared off the face of the earth. She is bearing a deadly message from a dying man. Catherine has a gift that allows her to see into the heart of others. But looking into Mac McEnroe's heart is like looking into the heart of danger itself.


Heart of Danger is a fast paced, action packed, very sexy story told in true Lisa Marie Rice fashion. This book just oozes with sexual tension and burn up the bed sheets lovin’, but it’s also filled with emotion. Heartbreaking, disturbing, violent… sweet, tender, romantic, Ms. Rice took me on a roller coaster ride of feelings and kept me reading ‘til the wee hours of the morning, unable to stop until the very end.

I couldn't help but become totally caught up in the Ghost Ops world and the people who live there, but I have to be honest, this isn't a terribly unique plot. Fans of romantic suspense will probably be able to name more than a couple of similar plots they've read by other authors, but the way Ms. Rice tells it gives a fresh voice to the story line. It’s a very compelling world… exciting, intense, mysterious…and it takes place in the not too distant future. Technology is advanced beyond what we know today, but not to the point of being science fictionish.

Tom ‘Mac’ McEnroe is one of those heroes who’s been through hell and lived to tell about it. His scars run deep, both physical and mental, but he’s a leader who will not let his men down. Being betrayed by his commanding officer, a man he’d come to respect, trust and love, destroyed something deep inside Mac the way nothing else could. But it also made him stronger, more determined to protect those around him, and for me, this made him the perfect hero.

Catherine Young is pretty much a loner. Her gift – or curse, depending on how she looks at it – of being able to get inside people’s heads and read their emotions, has caused her to be alienated from friends and family who think she’s more than a little weird. But weird is the last thing Catherine is. She’s incredibly intelligent, compassionate, and intuitive. She’s brave, honest and has strength of character that, along with her uniqueness makes her an amazing heroine.

Apart, Mac and Catherine are awesome, but together, they are perfect!

The bottom line: With Heart of Danger, Lisa Marie Rice has given us an exciting start to what I believe will be an awesome series. The book isn’t without flaws – more internal dialog than I usually like in my stories and some repetitive mental hashing and rehashing of thoughts and emotions – but overall, it’s a very enjoyable read. I loved the Haven community, the secondary characters and their stories, and am very much looking forward to reading more about them and their stories in the Ghost Ops series!

3.5/5 stars

My thanks to Edelweiss and HarperCollins/Avon Red Publishing for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review. The pleasure was mine!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos.
Okay, well, that blurb isn’t the best and while it gives the readers somewhat of an idea of what to expect, the book is actually much, much better than it suggests.
A Discovery of Witches is the first book in the All Souls Trilogy, and Deborah Harkness's debut novel. It’s a unique story that subtly brings together and addresses many of today’s cultural and societal issues, as they pertain to the All Souls Trilogy world, without beating the reader about the head with messages of political correctness. In fact, the story is so fun, so well written and meaningful that by the time I was through I was left wishing I had the next book right here in my hot little hands!
I’m going to give you a heads up here… this story is slow to start, but it’s only due to the very necessary amount of world building and backstory that we readers need in order to understand the complex society these beings exist in. My point is, Do. Not. Give. Up! At about the twenty some percent mark it really picks up and once it does, it doesn’t let go. The romance is slow to build, too, but it's there and it’s sweet. The sexuality is mild with most scenes taking place behind closed doors, but I loved the sexual tension and passion between Diana and Matthew.

In my opinion, the true excitement of this story lies in the quest to unravel the mystery of vampire, witch and daemon origins and, depending on who existed first, deciding which species is most entitled to the fullness and truth of that knowledge.

The bottom line: Loved it. What an incredible, exciting, thought provoking, fun debut novel! Deborah Harkness is well on her way to making quite a name for herself in the PNR/UF genres and I am so looking forward to watching it happen, each story and every step of the way!

Many thanks to my Goodreads friend, Nomad, for suggesting this book as a buddy read. I'm afraid I would have put it off indefinitely had it not been for her suggestion. Also, for those who took part in the DHASG buddy read - Pat, Tammy, Heather, Teresa, Megan and Cindi - I enjoyed discussing this book and sharing thoughts with you all!          

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

All He Ever Needed by Shannon Stacey

Born to Roam...He won’t stay put for a woman, and she won’t chase after any man…

Mitch Kowalski lives out of a suitcase—and he likes it that way. Traveling for work has the added bonus of scaring off women who would otherwise try to tie him down. But when he’s called home to help with the family lodge, he’s intrigued by the new girl in town and her insistence that she doesn’t need a man. If there’s one thing Mitch can’t resist, it’s a challenge.

Looking for Home...

After a nomadic childhood, Paige Sullivan is finally putting down roots. Determined to stand on her own two feet, she lives by the motto “Men are a luxury, not a necessity.” But when Mr. Tall, Dark and Hot pulls up a stool in her diner and offers her six weeks of naughty fun with a built-in expiration date, she’s tempted to indulge.

They’re the perfect match for a no-strings fling. Until they realize their sexy affair has become anything but casual…

I'll just start by saying that I am totally in love with this series! Funny, sweet, sexy, romantic… the Kowalski Family books have everything I look for in my contemporary romance reads and with All He Ever Needed I got all I ever needed, and more. It’s heartwarming, touching, poignant, hopeful... a truly charming, feel good story.

I can't begin to tell you how much I love these books! Shannon Stacey, time and time again, weaves tales of everyday people with their everyday lives... people just like you and me... and manages to make their stories so fun, so heartwarming and passionate that I can't stop reading! Seriously, from the first page to the last, I just can't put the books down, and such is the case with this book, too.

Mitch and Paige are such fantastic people, each on their own, but when they get together, they are amazing! I fell hard and fast for them both as I giggled and scoffed my way through their efforts to convince themselves, and each other, that they'd be nothing more than bed buddies. And yet, despite their 'sex only' motto, their relationship never felt cheap or shallow to me because Ms. Stacey gives us such insight to them, showing us their hearts and souls and proving that when you find that special someone and let them in, show them your hopes and dreams, anything is possible!

I adore the close-knit Kowalski family and how they are always there for each other, even when things are difficult... heck, especially when things are difficult. Their love, support, devotion... they've got the kind of family I love to see!

Before I close, I want to share one of my favorite scenes from the book. It's a cute, sexy little banter between Mitch, who was still trying to get in Paige's pants, and Paige, who was still trying to convince Mitch - and herself - that she doesn't want him there:
“Men are a luxury, not a necessity.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked, scowling as if the concept was totally foreign to him. Which it probably was.

She moved away from the island and straightened the salt and pepper shakers just to give her hands something to do. “It means I don’t need a man in my life. And I have that written on a sticky note taped to my fridge so I don’t forget it.”

“But you want a man, right?”

She pretended to think about it for a few seconds.“Not especially.”

“Who opens jars for you?”

“I have a little gadget that does that.”

“But…” He grinned. “What about sex?”

“I have a little gadget that does that, too.”

He looked stunned for a few seconds, and then a naughty gleam lit up his blue eyes, and she wondered how the hell she’d gotten herself into this conversation. She was supposed to be letting him know she wasn’t interested — even if it wasn’t precisely true — and somehow she’d ended up talking to him about sex toys?

“I’ve been told,” he said, “that little gadgets aren’t a good substitute for the real thing.”

They weren’t, actually, but she wasn’t about to tell him that.“Maybe whoever told you that wasn’t using the right gadgets.”
The bottom line: If you haven't yet read Shannon Stacey's stories, drop whatever you're doing right now... yes, that means stop reading my review... and pick up book 1 in the series, Exclusively Yours. The beauty of Shannon Stacey's stories is that they are always light, feel good, solid romances with people you can't help but care about and happily ever afters you can't help but cheer for! So what are you waiting for? Stop thinking about it and just do it! If you love you contemporary romance as much as I do, you won't be disappointed!

My thanks to and Carina Press for providing me with an ecopy of this book for review. As always, it was a pleasure!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Lady Risks All by Stephanie Laurens

The Lady Risks All is an exciting mystery, one filled with enough twists and turns to keep me wondering who the villain is right ‘til the very end. It's also a lovely, historical romance, that was sweet, passionate, and very sensual.
Neville Roscoe, notorious and enigmatic, lives resolutely outside society, bound only by his own code of honor - until challenged by his desire for the one woman he cannot have.

Miranda Clifford is a lady imprisoned by rigid respectability - until tempted by a passion beyond her power to deny.

Flung together in peril, through danger and intrigue, they discover a love impossible to ignore ... or keep.
This story is my first taste of Stephanie Laurens’ writing and, despite some minor flaws, I was quite pleased! Her way of telling a story is sweet and flowing… full of emotion and, as I said, sensuality. The characters, Miranda and Neville, are such complex people that I couldn’t help but fall hard for them both and hope to see them attain the happily ever after they so rightfully deserved. In this colorful world Ms. Laurens has created we are given a glimpse of both the shady and the sophisticated side of life in historical England, a world I look forward to visiting again, one day soon.

My thanks to HarperCollins/Avon Publishing for providing me with an ecopy of this book for review.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Double Time by Olivia Cunning

Double Time is the third book – sort of – in the Sinners on Tour series and one burn up the pages, set your panties on fire, hotter than hell story. Sweet baby geebus, I don’t know when the last time was that I actually hid my ereader for fear my husband, daughter, son or anyone other than myself might find it and get an eyeful of smutalicious goodness – this time delivered in the person of Trey Mills!
Trey Mills, the notoriously sexy Sinners rhythm guitarist, gives up his bisexual lifestyle and is swept into a hot, heady romance with Reagan Elliot, a female rock star sensation. But when Trey encounters Reagan's sexy bisexual roommate, Ethan Conner, he can no longer deny who he is or what he wants. Reagan heartily agrees to a solution that opens up a hot new world of sexual experience--and love--with the two men she wants the most.
Whew! Okay… well, ***fanning my hormonal self*** yes, as I was saying, this is one smokin’ hot book, but it’s sooooooo much more than that! Trey is such a sweetheart, but he’s also a sexy, badboy guitarist who knows how to strum a woman’s body every bit as perfectly as he strums his guitar. Oh, did I said a woman’s body? Let me make this clear: he's just as adept at making a man’s body sing, too. But truthfully, as sexy as this story is, it’s also a great relationship story about accepting who you are, who you aren’t, who you want to be and living life to its fullest!

As I said, this is “sort of” the third book in the series, but it was meant to be fifth. I do not know the reasons the publisher chose to publish it out of order, but they did. Fortunately it’s only slightly annoying that we get glimpses of Jace’s and Eric’s relationships, without having had the pleasure of first seeing them unfold. As far as this story goes, I don’t feel that being read out of order really detracted from my overall enjoyment of Double Time. I am soooo looking forward to reading more of those hot, sexy, talented, Sinners on Tour!

4.5/5 very hot stars!!!

My thanks to and Sourcebooks Casablanca for providing me with a copy of this eARC in exchange for an honest review.