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Lisa [userpic]
Two Recent Reads
by Lisa (troutqueen)
at June 29th, 2008 (10:57 pm)

THE LOST DUKE OF WYNDHAM
Julia Quinn
C+

I’d say this was more a B- only the ending was so anticlimactic and assumed, I was very disappointed. I really enjoyed the dialogue between the h/h, and the hero was indeed charming as everyone described him. But I also felt there was little character development, and the romance lacked spark. I did really like both the h/h, though. I just wish I felt that they grew more. The book was a quick, light read with nothing unexpected or surprising. A nice little package and a decent beach read.

WICKED DEEDS ON A WINTER’S NIGHT
Kresley Cole
C+

This is the third, I believe, in Cole’s IMMORTALS AFTER DARK series. I skipped it when it first came out, and read DARK NEEDS AT NIGHT’S EDGE before. The first half of the book flew by quickly for me, while the second slowed with THE BIG MISUNDERSTANDING that kept happening. Over and over and over. Brought on by the characters’ inability to trust each other. I find it interesting that Cole is able to really intensify an issue like lack of trust and play it out (a little too much sometimes, IMO), but then things like a character being abandoned, assaulted and tortured for 3 weeks gets brushed aside with a few tears. I don’t care if you are immortal. That isn’t very light material. The ending of the book was a bit over-the-top and silly and lacked the drama I think Cole was going for.

laura_stamps8 [userpic]
"Pack Challenge" by Shelley Laurenston
by laura_stamps8 (laura_stamps8)
at June 27th, 2008 (08:52 am)

Title: Pack Challenge
Author: Shelley Laurenston
Genre: Romantic Erotica
Grade Rating: A
Part of Series: Yes
 
What a fun novel! This is my first by Laurenston. Many of my friends have raved about her novels (and this series in particular), and now I can see why. It is a delight.
 
Sara’s life has never been easy. Her mother died when she was an infant. When she was fourteen and out hiking with her father they were attacked by mountain lions. Her father died, and she was scarred for life on her face and leg. Then her super-cranky grandmother adopted her and moved her from northern California to a small town in Texas. 
 
Six months ago her grandmother died, one of the major highpoints in Sara’s life (yeah, grandma was nuts in a very mean way). Now in her twenties and working at a friend’s motorcycle shop, Sara thinks she is dying as well, because the pain from her old leg injury has been increasing rapidly.
 
Then Zach shows up at the shop with his motorcycle gang. Zach is a totally yummy, shapeshifting wolf, and he is next in line to be Alpha of his pack, which also happens to be the pack Sara’s parents belonged to. No coincidence there. Zach comes to this tiny Texas town for three reasons. First, to protect Sara from the pride of shapeshifting mountain lions who killed her parents and can finally finish the job now that her psycho grandmother is out of the way. Second, to inform Sara of her heritage and take her back with the pack to her real home. That’s right. Sara has no idea she is a shapeshifting wolf. She just thinks she’s weird and verrry aggressive (grin). 
 
Third, to discover Sara is an Alpha herself and his perfect mate (yup, he doesn’t know about this one yet, and he is realllly aggravated when he finds out). Why? Because Sara is like Sookie in a bad mood (from the Charlaine Harris Southern Vampire series). And she’s not leaving Texas, especially not with a man who believes in shapeshifting wolves.
 
This is a hysterically funny, incredibly hot, PNR erotica novel. Laurenston is an excellent writer. The dialogue is snappy and realistic for the characters. The plot is smooth and moves at a good pace (not too fast, not too slow). The plot is also simple, and the secondary characters are well defined, yet not too numerous to be confusing. Yeah, I like this series, even though (as everyone knows) I’m not a fan of Were novels. But I intend to read all of these. This is definitely another winner for Samhain Publishing!     

xoxo
Laura Stamps
Author of Paranormal Romance and Erotica Novels
http://www.LauraStamps.blogspot.com (to read excerpts from my novel series)
 

laura_stamps8 [userpic]
"Demon's Fire" by Emma Holly
by laura_stamps8 (laura_stamps8)
at June 26th, 2008 (08:23 am)

Title: Demon’s Fire
Author: Emma Holly
Genre: Romantic Erotica
Grade Rating: A+
Part of Series: Yes    
 
WOW! WOW! WOW! This is an awesome romantica novel that continues the story Holly began in Prince of Ice and The Demon’s Daughter. The last time we heard from Charles he was fifteen and about to become the cook for Herrington’s architectural digs. Now he is twenty-four and Beth, Adrian’s youngest sister (also twenty-four and not married yet), has come along on this dig. Charles has been in love with Beth for 10 years but has never told her. He didn’t think he was worthy of her, because of his past and his unusual sexual fantasies. But now the demon Prince Pahndir has returned. When the Prince meets Beth and Charles in the marketplace their lives become entwined in unexpected, romantic, and very erotic ways. 
 
There is some ménage and BD/SM in this one, but like all of Holly’s novels this is an important part of the plot, and I didn’t find it offensive at all. Holly is a master at creating characters you care deeply about and romantic love stories so sweet they sink into your heart and stay there. This is definitely one of those novels. I am totally in love with the Prince…what a yummy guy! And Charles, too. In fact I can say without a doubt this is my fav novel of all time. Yup, no kidding!

xoxo
Laura Stamps
Author of Paranormal Romance and Erotica Novels
http://www.LauraStamps.blogspot.com (to read excerpts from my novel series)

Lisa [userpic]
Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas
by Lisa (troutqueen)
at June 11th, 2008 (09:52 pm)

I picked up Lisa Kleypas' SUGAR DADDY on a lark at the UBS on Saturday. I
finished it last night at 11:45 p.m. I would hazard to say that this is
not her best offering, but that it was a good contemporary debut for her.
It actually took me by surprise.

Told in the first person POV by Liberty Jones, our intrepid heroine, SUGAR
DADDY read like the glam novels of the 1980s/early 90s. You know the type
- down on her luck heroine starts off poor and supporting her younger
sister, and by the end of the novel, she has everything she's ever wanted.
The first half of the book is told by a teenage Liberty as she comes of
age in a trailer park outside Houston, TX, nursing her love for Hardy
Cates. The second half of the book is a grown up Liberty struggling to
provide for her sister after their mother's death, and becoming part of a
family headed by Churchill Travis, a billionaire financier who takes
Liberty and her sister, Carriington, under his wing.

There was a lot of telling, rather than showing in this book. Something I
find very frequently with first person POV books. All the same, I
sympathized with the heroine and found her POV riveting, from her
observations of the inhabitants of the trailer park, to her description of
her sister's infanthood and her mother's post-partum depression (or what I
assume was PPD). Kleypas' heroine actually captured a lot of the realities
of raising an infant that few books really get.

I found myself more captivated by the heroine's life rather than by the
romance, which felt like an afterthought. The heroes in general were a bit
too goody-goody near-perfect, up until the end, in which Hardy's actions
felt somewhat unbelieveable and out of character for me. And the family
secrets denouement was very brief and very easily resolved.

All the same, I'll be looking for the sequel, BLUE-EYED DEVIL, when it's
in paperback.

Lisa [userpic]
Anne Mallory: Three Nights of Sin
by Lisa (troutqueen)
at June 2nd, 2008 (04:26 pm)

This was a new-to-me author. Every so often I try someone new :)

Marietta’s brother has been arrested for a murder he didn’t commit. She’s given a referral to Gabriel Noble, who’s sort of a troubleshooter and takes jobs for either 10,000 pounds, or 3 favors. Not having the money, Marietta promises the 3 favors, in exchange for his help in exonerating her brother. He forces her to help him as he investigates the murders, leading her into situations where she must dress like a shopgirl or a tavern wench to fit in.

I’m ambivalent over this book. It wasn’t awful, but it just didn’t feel put together well. I didn’t connect with the romance, and felt the author spent too much time trying to make Gabriel feel like this dark, mysterious man of mystery (one of my favorite types of heroes). But there was too much hinting from secondary characters that he wasn’t this stern, scary guy. I liked Marietta pretty well, however. She had spine, but knew when a situation was too dangerous for her to turn into a TSTL heroine. But I didn’t feel the romance very strongly. The lust, yes. And while the back blurb claims that she’s promised 3 nights of sin with Gabriel, that wasn’t quite the case. There was the threat of her having to give him 3 nights, but he never cashed in. Lots of steamy love scenes seem to be this book’s strong point.

The ending confounded me. I found it thoroughly unbelievable and just wrong in general. I’m intrigued enough, however, that I think I’ll look for a couple more of this author’s books used to see if any of them are more appealing to me.

Overall grade: C-

Lisa [userpic]
Demon Angel by Meljean Brook
by Lisa (troutqueen)
at March 21st, 2008 (04:11 pm)

Paranormal Romance
Grade: B+

*Warning: This book contains a scene with sex in non-human form. For those
who are icked out by that.


I think very likely I would give this a solid A, except for the fact that
the ending was dragged out by about 50 pages more than it should have
been.

However, I would still recommend this to those who enjoy paranormal romance.

Synopsis behind the cut. No serious spoilersCollapse )

As I mentioned before, I like that Meljean Brook seems more in tune with a
younger audience. Or at least, with a geeky demographic of readers. I'm
just now 30, and while I enjoy other authors, many of my favorites write
for an older audience, so I don't always connect with them.

Brook's universe is an interesting one - it reminds me somewhat of the
movie Constantine (yeah - that one with Keanu Reeves), though with
just a touch less religious overtones. In Brooks world, you have the usual
fall from Heaven, Hell below, and Lucifer's minions - demons, as well as
hybrids created by Lucifer from creatures he called out of Chaos. There
are the Guardians above, who protect humans from these demons. Both
Guardians and demons are bound by rules - they cannot interefere in a
human's free will to choose, or outright kill a human.

Lillith should be a creature of complete evil; however, the method of her
creation has her at odds with herself. While she serves Lucifer, it often
seems that she targets humans who deserve to go to hell - murderers,
rapists, and abusers. I suppose Brooks has to find a way to soften her
character, to avoid alienating the reader from the character. All the
same, her moral ambiguity (willingness to lie and steal and arrange
matters to her advantage) makes her quite an interesting character. She's
tough, yet has her own vulnerabilities that the reader can relate to.

Then there's Hugh, who is as stalwart and honorable as the knights of our
romances. Yet he carries an enormous amount of guilt from actions he took
as a Guardian and for actions he took against Lillith, whom he believes
dead.

The romance between Lillith and Hugh is quite poignant and angsty, as you
have two individuals who have spent a millenia fighting - both for souls
and against their own attraction - who are caught up in political
mechanisms beyond their control. Watching them overcome their differences
with each other, as well as overcome the situation they find themselves in
is fascinating.

My only problem with the book was the amount of dialogue. Some of it which
didn't add much to the overall plot or character development. Particularly
in the end. There was so much dialogue going on between characters, which
didn't provide much to the climax and denouement of the plot, I got lost
and confused as to what was going on and who was speaking. I found myself
quite frustrated in the last 100 pages as the plot slowed and the
characters spent way too much time in dialogue about their angst, or their
situation, or explaining things. I'll likely go back and try to reread the
end, because I have no idea why they did what they did, and what it was
supposed to do.

But at the same time, I found myself buying the other two full-length
novels in this series, and will likely look for the anthologies containing
the short stories.

baroque_tragedy [userpic]
An Affair Before Christmas - Eloisa James
by baroque_tragedy (baroque_tragedy)
at February 18th, 2008 (04:49 pm)

Title - An Affair Before Christmas, Eloisa James
Release date - November, 2007
It's about what? - One spectacular Christmas, Lady Perdita Selby, known to her friends and family as Poppy, met the man she thought she would love forever. The devilishly attractive Duke of Fletcher was the perfect match for the innocent, breathtakingly beautiful young Englishwoman, and theirs was the most romantic wedding she had ever seen. Four years later, Poppy and the duke have become the toast of the ton . . . but behind closed doors the spark of their love affair has burned out.

Unwilling to lose the woman he still lusts after, the duke is determined to win back his beguiling bride's delectable affections . . . and surpass the heady days of first love with a truly sinful seduction.

Notes - It's a little overdue, but I finally got around to reading James's latest offering.

( Full Review @ My Journal )

Highland Champion - Hannah Howell
by Kelsey Lynne (kelsey_lynne1)
at February 4th, 2008 (10:07 pm)

I was harsh on Hannah Howell after reading Highland Wedding.  However, she redeemed herself with Highland Campion.  I'm using a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best. Please click the lj cut below for review.

Story line: 5

Character development: 4.5

Love scenes - 4.5

I'll attempt to give this review without using any spoilers as I knew some of you are planning on reading this book. 

"Liam Cameron is certain he's died and gone to heaven when he opens his eyes to the angel before him.  But the pain that wracks his body proves he is still earth-bound.  Keira Murrary McKail saved Liam's life - and he has some enticing ways he would like to thank her.  Soon, lust gives way to a feeling much more profound for a woman whose battles he wants to fight...through he fears the most difficult one will be for her heart..." "Keira quickly learns that Liam has danger chasing him.  As her healing kindness frees him to tell his tale, she confides the trouble that plaques her: she is a laird's widow now responsible for saving a small village pillaged by cruel invaders.  But even as Liam makes the crusade to reclaim her lands his own, he will face a far greater challenge to win her trust - and her love - for all time..."


If you're into Highland romances - I'd put this one on the "buy list"  I'll read it again for sure.

x-posted to personal journal, romancenovels, & romance reviews

Taniwha [userpic]
by Taniwha (taniwhanui)
at January 25th, 2008 (02:18 pm)
current mood: accomplished

Hi! Do you keep a Reading or Book Live Journal? Would you like to meet other people who do, in order to make new LJ Friends, and discuss literature, or share common interests? Check out addmy_readinglj in order to do so! (:

Review of Highland Wedding by Hannah Howell
by Kelsey Lynne (kelsey_lynne1)
at January 24th, 2008 (10:31 am)

 Okay, so I'm using a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best. Please click the lj cut below for review.

Story line: 4

Character development: 3.5

Love scenes - 2

I'll attempt to give this review without using any spoilers as I knew some of you are planning on reading this book.

This is my first Hannah Howell read, so I'm giving her another chance. I'm starting Highland Wolf today. Also, in all fairness, I did just recently finish Highland Unchained by Monica McCarty, who, in my opinion, has the best highland love scenes ever. So, perhaps my expectations were too high.

So, I WOULD recommend Highland Wedding. It was a good read and I got some laughs out of it. However, I would suggest checking it out from the library as opposed to buying it. It's not one of those that I will reread over and over.

X-posted to personal journal, romancenovels, & romancereviews