Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rescue Me (by Rachel Gibson)

Rescue Me rating:  3 out of 5 stars
Release Date:  May 29, 2012
Lovett, Texas series rating:  N/A (haven't read them all)

Rescue Me is the third and most recent book published in Rachel Gibson's Lovett, Texas series.

How are the sex scenes?
A half-step above PG-13, but there are several and most of them show the before and after. 
How are the story lines?
Entertaining and believable.  Some were left unresolved at the end. 
Would you read it again?
Probably not, but I'm glad I read it the first time.
Not sure it's worth the $7.99 price tag, but is a great buy if you can pay $3 or less.


Mercedes "Sadie" Hollowell is returning home to Lovett, Texas for her cousin's wedding.  They might not know each other, but they're family and family attends each other's weddings.  Her mother having passed away when she was a child, Sadie was raised by her father - a hard, emotionally detached man who shows his only child his rare approval in the form of three back pats.

Vincent "Vince" Haven is a keep-to-himself alpha male with strong opinions. And those opinions normally end with, "...and they think I give a shit."  He's the epitome of self-reliance and preparedness due to his SEAL background and refuses to acknowledge he may suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  With nothing on the horizon, Vince heeds his aunt's request and drives to Lovett, Texas to discuss her "business proposition."

Sadie spies Vince, a gorgeous, tight lipped stranger whose truck has broken down, and offers him a ride - after threatening him with her nonexistent stun gun.  That pretty much sets the tone for their whole relationship.


Rescue Me is definitely a quick, light hearted read with no deep undertones, but Gibson gives it substance with multiple story lines for both Sadie and Vince (i.e., Sadie deals with her father, Vince has problems with his sister's ex-husband, etc.).  I do wish some story lines weren't left wide open at the end. 

The characters are likeable:  Sadie is a modern woman who dates every emotionally unavailable man in a 20 mile radius and Vince is a closed off male who's happy to just be a jerk, yet often plays the unintentional hero. 

The dialogue between Sadie and Vince is witty, though during intimate scenes their banter sometimes turns repetitive and distracts you from the novel.  It's also entertaining as hell, because Gibson leaves the physical aspects to the imagination, yet keeps the dialogue in.  I often wondered whether this was the characters' version of dirty talk or if they had head injuries.

All in all, it's an entertaining book when you feel like you've read an hour when you've actually read three.  Rescue Me does that.

Comment About It

Are fun, light, summer romances worth their book price or do you wait to buy them used?

Learn more about Rachel Gibson and her upcoming titles on her website:

Read the Lovett, Texas series (currently on Book #3, unsure if series will continue);

Daisy's Back in Town (Lovett, Texas Series #1)
Crazy on You (Lovett, Texas Series #2 - novella)
Rescue Me (Lovett, Texas Series #3)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Sleeping Night (by Barbara Samuel)

The Sleeping Night rating:  5 out of 5 stars 
Release Date:  June 2012

How are the sex scenes?
Meaningful.  A few leading up to scenes and some implied,
but nothing that would embarrass you at the next book club meeting. 
(Yes, you should definitely be discussing this book.)

How are the story lines?
Romantic and beautiful with heart wrenching realism about southern life during the 1940s.

Would you read it again?
Yes.  Great literature should always be read again.

The Sleeping Night tells the story of Angel Corey, a white daughter left alone after the sudden passing of her father, and Isiah High, a black solider returned home after fighting during World War II.  Angel and Isiah's childhood friendship mirrored their fathers', despite the racial inequalities gripping the South and small town Gideon, Texas.  Angel and Isiah were separated as teenagers, an act meant to protect them from public rebuke, and as adults Isiah joined the army, thus saving him from the racist-fueled death suffered by his father.  Isiah returns to Gideon after the war with every intention of keeping his distance from Angel, whom he had secretly corresponded with while deployed.  Unable to watch Angel's struggle for survival, Isiah offers his help and a begrudging friendship grows. 

This story is a beautiful telling of forbidden romance. 

Angel is a stubborn, resilient character, quickly gaining the reader's respect (and in my case, awe) with her strong will and work ethic.  This woman is not your damsel in distress and only relies on herself and God to change her circumstance.

Isiah is a courageous and intelligent man, accepting the things he cannot win and finding ways to help Angel despite the limitations put to him by the color of his skin.  Well read, world traveled and utterly devoted, he is a practical hero, one every girl might be lucky enough to bring home to momma.  Even with Angel's superwoman toughness, Isiah's bravery refuses to be overshadowed.  He uses it, proving his love to Angel over and over again.

The supporting characters have great personalities and back stories of their own.  When their names are mentioned, you immediately recall their life, purpose and relevance to the story.

This novel is further enhanced by Angel and Isiah's letters exchanged during the war and its accurate 1940s setting, giving a realistic view of what life was like for African Americans and people who befriended them.

The Sleeping Night is a refined, romantic tale.  I imagine if Jane Austen wrote novels today, her stories would read a lot like Barbara Samuel's. 

I would love to discuss this book with readers.  Leave a comment here, find me on Facebook or let me know when your group has added it to your list. 

Learn more about Barbara Samuel (or her other pen names Barbara O'Neal and Ruth Wind) on her websites:

The Sleeping Night is not part of a series, but you can read more Barbara Samuel novels based in Gideon, Texas:

Disclaimer: No compensation was received for this review. eARC courtesty of NetGalley.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Look of Love - The Sullivans Book 1 (by Bella Andre)

The Look of Love rating:  3 out of 5 stars
Release Date:  2011
The Sullivans series rating:  N/A (haven't read them all)

The Look of Love is the first book of Bella Andre's The Sullivan series.

How are the sex scenes?
My iPad says this book is 279 pages.  I'd say at least half that is filled with scorching hot, clever, bocce ball inspired, stranger sex.

How are the story lines?
Story line.  You only get one for your money with this book, but it's a decent one.
Would you read it again?
Yes, especially if I finish the series.  I might also print out specific pages and tape them to my bedroom mirror for reference...

Chase Sullivan is one of six ridiculously good looking, overachieving brothers who go through women like a flu victim does Kleenex.  As a world traveled photographer currently shooting a high profile fashion spread, Chase is ready to spend some quality time on the job site that just so happens to be his brother's multi-acre winery.  We all know at least one of these families.  Real life's version of the Will Smith dynasty.

Chloe Peterson is on the run and suffering from obvious trust issues while delivering serious blows to Chase's heroic deeds by questioning his every attempt to help and remaining a tight lipped, obliviously seductive mystery.

The entire story takes place at the winery and over the course of one week, excluding the Epilogue.  Chase and Chloe grow to "know" each other and ultimately decide whether their new found feelings are strong enough to develop a permanent bond of trust and love.  The supporting characters are few, but very adequate and add just enough to the novel's singular purpose - to drive Chase and Chloe's relationship forward.  Trust is a the recurring theme.  So much so that the word is written 50 times during the story and I'd guess mainly in reference to Chase's feelings, thoughts and words towards Chloe. 

The writing is some of Bella Andre's finest.  There are some repetitive words that appear within sentences of each other (i.e., take her to a motel, leave her in some dank motel, I told you to take me to a motel), but as a whole the story flowed.  The plot line is not multi-dimensional, but Marcus Sullivan's appearances are entertaining and I'm curious to read the second book and hear his story.  If the Epilogue was any indication, Marcus will be a wonderfully tortured and wounded soul in need of healing.

As whirlwind romances go, this one is pretty fantastic and we would all be lucky to find a Chase (or Chloe, for the male readers) of our own.

Learn more about Bella Andre and upcoming titles at her website:

Read The Sullivans Series (currently on Book #5)

The Look of Love (Chase & Chloe, The Sullivans - book #1)
From This Moment On (Marcus & Nicola, The Sullivans - book #2)
Can't Help Falling in Love (Gabe & Megan, The Sullivans - book #3)
I Only Have Eyes for You (Sophie & Jake, The Sullivans - book #4)
If You Were Mine (Zach & Heather, The Sullivans - book #5)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Romance Readers Stand Proud...and blog under a pseudonym

We are romance readers. 

We devour books in one sitting and ponder the intricate meanings of our favorite fictitious relationships.  We seek out tame paperback covers to read in public and hide racy ones behind magazines at the doctor's office. 

We read in ebook format hoping no one notices the words dripping and quivering accidentally highlighted on the screen. 

We are romance readers and, alas, we are a wee bit ashamed. 

But be ashamed no longer dear friends.  Display those sweaty chests and scantily clad women with pride.  Boldly browse the romance section and smile wide while purchasing enough erotica to last your family a month.

For it's us seasoned readers understand that Dean Koontz's Whispers contains more graphic sex than Laura Moore's Rosewood Trilogy and that Tina Folsom's Scanguard Vampires is more scathing than the Game of Thrones cast having a three way. 

We like love, we enjoy romance and you're darn right we expect a happy ending.

Let the others swoon over Patrick Swayze in Ghost yet condemn the same scene in print.  We know reading about sex is the same as watching it on television.  Books may be descriptive, but movies flaunt naked body parts in your face the size of a theater screen.  And there's grunting.  Maybe they'll make a movie of 50 Shades of Grey.  Huh. 

Let's ban together, fellow romance readers, and show everyone what they're missing.

...but you go first.  I feel safer behind my silhouette.

Comment about It

What are you dirty little secrets? 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Conquered by a Highlander (by Paula Quinn)

Conquered by a Highlander rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars
Release Date:  May 2012
Children of the Mist series rating:  6 stars
Though Conquered is part of a series, it reads as a stand alone story with fulfilling character appearances from previous books.

How are the sex scenes?
A couple descriptive ones, the rest are behind closed doors.

How are the story lines?
Great.  Detailed and historically accurate with character appearances from previous novels.

Would you read it again?
I plan to read this entire series again.

Conquered by a Highlander is the fourth and final novel in Paula Quinn's Children of the Mist Scottish romance series.  Preceded by three emotionally charged, historically driven novels (and the two book MacGregor series) Conquered debuted in May 2012 with high romantic expectations. 

If I do blog so myself, Mrs. Quinn was more than up to the challenge.

By 1688's standards, Camlochlin's very own Colin MacGregor is a grown man at twenty-two years and he's ready and willing to continue the fight for the Catholic king to keep the throne.  Colin infiltrates an enemy's army and befriends many foul smelling creatures - I mean, men - to collect information for the crown.

He didn't count on Lady Gillian Dearly...

The cousin to the enemy and mother of illegitimate, four-year-old Edmund.  At nineteen Lady Gillian has been cast out from her family and sent to hide behind the walls of her cousin's home.  Did you say nineteen?  Why, yes I did.  That would mean she was fifteen when she...  Why yes it does.  That young?  It is historically accurate, but feel free to call Teen Mom.

Torn between his loyalty to England and his growing desire for the bonny lass and her endearing son, Colin must make character defining choices that affect their future and the future of his clan.  Though we all know the ending - I pretty much enjoyed the journey getting there.

Pretty much?  Well, yes. 

Though Paula Quinn delivered yet again with superb writing skills, well defined characters and historically accurate facts, Colin and Gillian just didn't tug my heart strings like Tristan and Isobel did (Quinn's Seduced by a Highlander, book #2).  There wasn't enough resistance between the couple.  Yes, Gillian's evil cousin was threatening her son, but Quinn had already revealed that the cousin would never harm the child so Gillian and Colin's reason for staying apart fell flat; and

The first intimate scene burst out of left field and without the characters discussing it, or even giving the event consideration through inner dialogue.  Maybe it was too it and let me know your thoughts.  Aha - yes I did just tell you to buy this book.

Despite the two minimal complaints, Conquered is a great read and up to par with Rob and Davina's story (Quinn's Ravished by a Highlander, book #1). 

Do not consider this review a failure for Conquered, but a supreme achievement for Seduced and Quinn's Children of the Mist series as a whole.  Conquered is a good, solid love story that is heads above the competition.  (Apologies to Monica McCarty.  I do not mean you.)  The Children of the Mist series is one of the best historical romance stories I have read.  Ever.

Don't overlook Conquered.  Read the entire series and thank me later.

Learn more about Paula Quinn and upcoming titles at her website:

Read About the Characters from Beginning to End:

Laird of the Mist (MacGregor series, book #1)
A Highlander Never Surrenders (MacGregor series, book #2)
Ravished by a Highlander (Children of the Mist series, book #1)
Seduced by a Highlander (Children of the Mist series, book #2)
Tamed by a Highlander* (Children of the Mist series, book #3)
Conquered by a Highlander (Children of the Mist series, book #4)

*Quinn's link to Tamed is not working so I've linked the title to the Bonus Features section.