Saturday, June 30, 2012

Book Update: "Twice the Temptation" Cover is Revealed (by Beverley Kendall)

Beverley Kendall is writing her new book, Twice the Temptation, and today the cover was revealed!

Twice the Temptation is book one of Kendall's "The Temptresses Trilogy" and is expected to release in the beginning of 2013. 

There is currently no information on Kendall's website yet, but she gives updates often on her Facebook page and you can read blurbs, excerpts and The Temptresses Trilogy information here.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Your E-Book is Reading You

The Wall Street Journal published an excellent article today informing us that the e-reader Terms & Conditions we've agreed to - yet never read - gives Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple the right to track and disclose what books we buy, read, how fast we read them, the sections we highlight, the notes we make, and at what page we decide to stop reading.

In general, this is great.  Let the publishers have anonymous information about what we readers like.  Oh wait.  It's not anonymous.  California had to pass the Reader Privacy Act to require that law enforcement obtain a court order before demanding digital booksellers turn over the information.  (This means the bookseller could hand it over voluntarily unless there's an agreement with the reader to do otherwise.  Anyone know if such an agreement exists?  I sure don't.)  I'm not so sure I care if the police want to track if my neighbor is downloading "How to Keep My Meth Lab Hidden", but I certainly take issue if that in-the-closet gay guy will no longer download his male/male romance novels because he's scared Amazon will out him.  Or if a certain heterosexual male wants to read his military romances in private, yet now realizes some psycho daisy at Apple might publicize his name.  (i.e., The Romance Man

I'm aware everything online is tracked anyway.  I love Google (it hosts this blog) and Google tracks everything.  I'm surprised Google People haven't knocked on my door and offered up twelve hot, sexy men wearing 1700s garb and holding baby diapers because they know I have an interest in it.  But Google lets me opt out (sort of).  Does Amazon?  Not according to Cindy Cohn.

The most important question:  Other than publishers, who else gets this information and what do you do with it?  Of course there's no answer to that.

Is this too much?  More importantly, will this make us stop reading the e-books we want?  What will this do to romance book sales especially the electronic-only books??

Personally?  I'll keep reading.  It's just romance novels.

Please share your thoughts!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Temptation & Twilight (by Charlotte Featherstone)

Temptation & Twilight rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Release Dates:
(Kindle edition) July 1, 2012
(Paperback edition) June 19, 2012
The Brethren Guardians series rating:  N/A (haven't read them all)

Temptation & Twilight is the third and final book of the Brethren Guardians series and can be read as a stand alone novel.

How are the sex scenes?
88% of this book has no sex, but there are many crude references to it.  The 12% is moderately descriptive.

How are the story lines?
Wonderful.  Orpheus is about trying to murder the Brethren Guardians, Ian is seducing a married woman to obtain secrets for the Brethren and Elizabeth is being courted by another gentleman while Ian is trying to convince her to court him.

Would you read it again?
I plan to buy the series and read the first two, maybe not the last one again, though.


Ian Sinclair, Marquis of Alynwick and laird to the clan Sinclair (also a fellow Brethren Guardian), believes he is going to hell.  Elizabeth York, elder sister to the Duke of Sussex, agrees but for a far more specific reason.

Caught in bed with a married woman, Ian is forced to duel her husband for sake of the Brethren.  His dying-yet-not-mortally-wounded wish is to be taken to Elizabeth, or "Beth", as he calls her.  If it takes the rest of his life, Ian will gain her love.  If it takes Elizabeth's last ounce of strength, she will resist him.


Temptation & Twilight by Charlotte Featherstone is a historical romance set in London and I enjoyed the story immensely. 

Ian Sinclair is the typical historical hero - a devilishly handsome scoundrel, seducer of innocents and partial drunk who truly believes his soul is destined for the deepest pits of hell.  The product of a dysfunctional family, his emotions are non-existent allowing him to feel no remorse or guilt for most sins he's committed. 

Elizabeth Sinclair is the most unheard of, extraordinary heroine -  considered the ton's angel, yet still unwed at twenty-nine and completely blind with a curvaceous figure.  Let me repeat:  completely blind with a curvaceous figure.  And she's the heroine.

Temptation focuses on Ian's winding and bumpy road to redemption.  He decides he has greatly wronged Elizabeth (and he did) twelve long years ago and vows to win her love and forgiveness.  Elizabeth will have none of it, for she refuses to trust a man capable of what he did to her.  She sticks to her decision too, avoiding Ian when she can and dismissing him when she can't.  Ian is persistent, chasing her throughout most the novel and warding off her suitor for the rest of it.  Elizabeth makes Ian work for her love but this doesn't come off as vengeful, because she's truly trying to not like him.  She doesn't want to want him and everything she does reflects that beautifully.  It's great to see a heroine who doesn't fall for a hero because he's pretty.  This especially can't happen to Elizabeth because she can't see him.

Featherstone writes Elizabeth Sinclair as a intelligent, highly capable blind woman.  Elizabeth has constant inner-dialogue about living blind, but since she doesn't let her handicap unnecessarily hinder her we, the readers, forget to feel pity.  Temptation shows Elizabeth's daily life:  living in a home where the furniture never moves, standing in front of a mirror wondering if she's pretty, knowing a person's motions by the sounds they make, etc. and, though I am not blind myself, it seems an excellent representation of a true blind person's life.  And darn hard to write.

Ian and Elizabeth's "show down" was deeply satisfying, answering long-standing questions and revealing the extent of hurt Ian inflicted on Elizabeth.  Props to Sinclair, because Elizabeth still resents Ian - as any normal woman would after what he put her through.  (Don't worry, this is a romance novel so you can guess the ending.)

Wrapping the story up in a spectacularly impressive bow is Orpheus's big reveal and a character surprise you probably couldn't guess if someone paid you. 

Temptation is a great story, incredibly written and entertaining with an unsuspecting heroine and, finally, a deserving rake-redeemed hero.

Comment About It

How long should a hero/heroine hold a grudge for a past wrong?  Can any amount of time be too long?

Learn more about Charlotte Featherstone and her upcoming titles on her webpage and Facebook.

Read the Brethren Guardians series:

Seduction & Scandal (released June 21, 2011 in paperback / July 1, 2011 for kindle);
Pride & Passion (released November 15, 2011 in paperback / December 1, 2011 for kindle); and
Temptation & Twilight (released June 19, 2012 in paperback / July 1, 2012 for kindle).

Published by HQN, an imprint of Harlequin
Disclaimer:  No compensation was received for this review.  eARC courtesy of NetGalley.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Innerworkings of a Universally Unread Anonymous Blog

I once heard an author's greatest fear was the blinking cursor on a blank page...
I'm no author, but I tend to agree.

Wonderful words were going to be written tonight, but alas, the empty computer screen is only urging me to type a bunch of crap and not one eloquent tidbit of wisdom.

I really wish I could help aspiring author Cora Lee with her playlist to finish her book.  She needs songs about two people hiding their true selves from the world, but showing them to each other.  Like Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors".  I suggested LeAnne Rimes's "Looking Through Your Eyes" and Relient K's "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been"

I know.  It's been that kind of night. 

In other news, I feel like a complete donkey for having written the world's worst review for one of the best books written this year ("About Last Night" by Ruthie Knox).  It received a 5/5 star rating, but my part was awful.  Don't look for it, it's been nixed and will be reposted soon(ish) to hopefully do it justice.  I want to write Ruthie an apology email, but that would probably strike her as odd since she likely isn't aware a crappy review of her stellar novel exists (existed?).  Just in case - sorry, Ruthie!

I was so excited - and still am - about starting this blog that I immediately dashed to NetGalley and requested all kinds of novels thinking surely I wouldn't get many.  I didn't.  So I created a Goodreads, Amazon and Facebook account then started interacting with authors to show some movement and dedication.  Then I got a few ARCs from a few fabulous authors and went back to Netgalley.  Behold - some publishers started turning over the goods.  Hooray!  So I kept requesting, suffering from what I now like to call "click-it-itis".  I found the request button and clicked it and clicked it and clicked it until my wrist probably developed some form of something ending in "itis".  And then...

Hold the phone, where did the boat load of novels with a boat load of deadlines come from??  As usual, I have over-commited, but not too much - just a little.  I think.

This overcommitment came to my attention a week or so back, so I'm sifting my way through the piles and hoping one publisher lets me keep reading while hoping another one never darkens my metaphorical email door again.

Of course, while over-committing I may as well join a book club with 3-5 awesomely rad ladies I met through Marie Sullivan Force's Book Talk Group and I should go ahead and raise my hand to receive ...

My entire web browser just shut down before my eyes.  No joke.  You read about murderous glares in historical fiction and my computer can attest that they are in fact real.

So I'm taking the hint and signing off for the night. 

To sum this all up:  I am insanely in love with my blog that receives several independent hits, yet I am fairly sure no one actually reads it; and we should really, really help Cora find songs for her writing playlist. 

Night all!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Virgin Huntress (by Victoria Vane)

The Virgin Huntress rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Release Date: June 29, 2012
The Devil DeVere series rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Virgin Huntress is novella #2 in this novella series and is best enjoyed when read in order, but can be read as a stand alone novel.
Novella #1, A Wild Night's Bride, will be sold for .99 cents from June 22 - June 29

How are the sex scenes?
Sweet, surprising and sexy. This is a novella so there aren't many, but they are well written and have comedic flare.

How are the story lines?
You'd think a novella would give you one single-minded plot, but that is not so with this series. The Virgin Huntress follows the hero and heroine on a *truly* one-of-a-kind adventure while introducing the story for the next novella.

Would you read it again?
Yes, I think so.


Lady Vesta Chambers flees her father's estate, and his new bride Phoebe, with her godmother Diana and escapes to London for her coming-out season.

Viscount Ludovic "The Devil" DeVere, and his brother Captain Hewett DeVere are both bound by friendship and duty to keep watch over Lady Vesta during her stay.

It's love at first sight when Lady Vesta spies Captain Hewett, yet even though he's in need of an heir his eyes are drawn to the much older Diana. Lady Vesta refuses to relinquish her "claim", devising schemes and plots to win his heart.


The Virgin Huntress by Victoria Vane is a historical romance novel set in 1783 London.
Sir Edward Chambers and Phoebe Scott (A Wild Night's Bride's hero and heroine) just returned home to Yorkshire and Sir Edward's daughter, Lady Vesta, throws a hissy fit all the way to London because she is no longer the sole receiver of her father's affections.

Lady Vesta is the most irritating, spoiled, closed-minded, sheltered and selfish brat most readers will ever encounter. I loathe her...and thank Vane with every hateful thought. Lady Vesta acts like any other 18-year-old girl would act when her father brings home his 22-year-old wife. Vesta is charming (when she wishes it) and she makes an utter fool of herself over a man that's far beyond her reach.
Bravo, Vane, bravo. Practically every female in the world has done this and can either 1) relate to Vesta because they remember exactly how this feels, or 2) snub their noses at her because they have buried those embarrassments so deep they don't even remember the years 15-25.

The story is a detailed one with great secondary characters, two of whom will be the feature couple of The Devil You Know (#3) and The Devil's Match (#4). Again, this is a novella and many fall victim to a predicable plot with "I love yous" being tossed out by page 30 and babies coming by the next morning. Not I, said Victoria Vane. I did not read this book's blurb (on purpose) and when the story started I was uncertain whom the hero would be. Not because it wasn't clear, but because Vane wrote it that way.  I enjoyed that.

When Vesta goes ape shit throwing herself at Captain Hewett, he, of course, behaves the perfect gentleman. Vane is genius. True to the time period, any man who acts less - even in the face of bipolarism - is considered an unhonorable rake.

I want to praise so many things Vain did with this book, but I refuse to give even an inkling of a spoiler. Yet I will say this: When Lady Vesta falls in love every character in this book tells her it is way too soon. Even when demonstrating her "love", Vane writes it more as jealously and competitiveness than affection.

 *Hell yes.* That is a reaction I can believe in. Praise the writing gods for having these adults call Vesta on her bullshit.

The only time The Virgin Huntress reads like a novella is when it ends about 50,000 words too soon. But hats off to Vane again, because there's an epilogue. 

The Virgin Huntress is witty, entertaining and such an original piece of work that everyone should give it a go. If for no other reason than to meet the ever endearing, psychotic Vesta.

Comment About It

Who's the most outrageous character you've ever read? Please share!

Learn more about Victoria Vane and her upcoming titles on her webpage, Facebook and romance review site Romantic Historical Lovers.

Read The Devil DeVere series:
A Wild Night's Bride (released April 27, 2012);
The Virgin Huntress (released June 29, 2012);
The Devil You Know (released July 27, 2012); and
The Devil's Match (released August 24, 2012).

Published by: Breathless Press
Disclaimer: No compensation was received for this review. eARC courtesy of Victoria Vane.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

At Last (by Jill Shalvis)

At Last rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Release Date:  June 26, 2012
Lucky Harbor series rating: N/A (haven't read them all)

At Last is book 5 in this series and can be read in order or as a stand alone novel.

How are the sex scenes?
Perfectly timed (the characters hopping into bed together always seemed like the next step to me) and semi-descriptive (you read about the main parts, but Shalvis isn't writing six page erotic love scenes).

How are the story lines?
Interesting and believable.  At Last is a plot-driven novel (except for one terrified, stubborn, teenage secondary character who drives much of the plot all on her own).

Would you read it again?
Yes, it's my favorite book of this series.


Amy Michaels is a waitress at Lucky Harbor's Eat Me diner and an all around tough girl who is following her grandmother's journal through the mountains to rediscover what her grandmother had found long ago: hope, peace and heart.

Matt Bowers is Lucky Harbor's forest ranger who goes beyond the call of duty, watching over Amy when she gets lost in the woods. 

Having circled each other for months, their impromptu camping trip forces Amy and Matt to confront their attraction.  Neither wanting relationships and both having commitment issues, they struggle to not want - and need - the other while fighting to overcome their pasts and earning their right to be loved.


At Last by Jill Shalvis is a contemporary romance novel set in fictional Lucky Harbor, Washington. 
I've read Lucky in Love, At Last and Forever and a Day of this series and At Last is my favorite.
The Chocoholics are still in action with Mallory (Lucky in Love's heroine) living happily ever after with Ty and Grace (Forever and a Day's heroine) still piecing together jobs to pay her rent.  Instead of meeting over chocolate cake they've upgraded to The Chocoholics' Brownies-to-Die-For and, of course, the recipe is included with the book. 

And they rock.  I know, because I baked them.  (See my proof.)

Amy is the perfect heroine.  She has a sad and dark past that's led her to Lucky Harbor in search of a fresh start.  She's tough and resilient with a large heaping of pride and is possibly one of the most stubborn, independent female characters I have ever read. 

Matt is the classic alpha male hero who pursues Amy enough to show he's determined to go after her but not enough to be a pushover.  When Amy messes up he doesn't always automatically forgive her without question.  I like that.  That's realistic.

Much of the story takes place in the forest/mountains and the novel benefits from it.  The secluded location intensifies the characters' interactions, letting their "relationship" take strides in just a few hours.  (In a city scene there are cars and people passing by.  The forest is private, sheltering the intimacy of each moment.)  A camping trip has never been so steamy.

I'd also like to point out something that somehow escaped me in Shalvis's previous novel (Lucky in Love) - holy $**! this girl can write.

I laughed out loud before finishing the first page.  Shalvis has mastered the art of clever wording, writing so many great one liners and plays on words that I began this review mid-book just so I didn't forget to mention them. Case in point:
"...backed up a step, and then another, until she bumped into a brick wall and nearly screamed.  "Just a brown bear," said the brick wall that was Matt."
"I don't suppose you know which way?" she asked [Mr. Squirrel].  His nose twitched, then he turned tail and vanished in the thick woods.  Well, that's what she got for asking a guy for directions."

At Last is a witty, sexy novel that reads smooth and easy while still reminding me of a young adult romance novel.  Again, with sex. 

Comment About It

What's your favorite Shalvis book so far?  Is it from the Lucky Harbor series or another? Please share you thoughts!

Learn more about Jill Shalvis and her upcoming titles on her webpage and Facebook.
Shalvis writes about her inspiration for the Lucky Harbor series hereLet us all pray for a sexy construction crew.
Read the Lucky Harbor series.
(Read Lucky in Love's review.)

Published by: Forever, an imprint of Hachette Book Group
Disclaimer: No compensation was received for this review. eARC courtesy of NetGalley.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lucky in Love (by Jill Shalvis)

Lucky in Love rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars
Release Date:  May 22, 2012
Lucky Harbor series rating:  N/A (haven't read them all)

Published by:  Forever, an imprint of Hachette Book Group

Lucky in Love is book 4 in this series and can be read in order or as a stand alone novel.

How are the sex scenes?
Yummy and borderline descriptive.  Shalvis sometimes gives details, other times lets it happen behind closed doors and often times gives the reader a cursory glance.  Her characters also make quite a bit of noise...

How are the story lines?
Humorous.  I particularly loved Lucky Harbor's Facebook page  (it's a character in itself) and the tension between Amy Michaels and Matt Bowers.

Would you read it again?
I think so.  I also plan to invest in the previous novels to read the entire series.  Heck I already have "At Last" waiting to be reviewed.


Mallory Quinn is a life long resident of Lucky Harbor and all around good girl who enjoys helping those in need  - whether they want it or not.  Feeling smothered by her family's and town's expectations, she gets encouragement from her chocoholic group to seek out Mr. Wrong.

Enter Ty Garrison.  An ex-Navy Seal medic potentially suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and living in Lucky Harbor just until he gets medical clearance is exactly the wrong type of man Mallory doesn't need.

Encountering each other in a snow storm, Mallory is taken back by Ty's good looks.  She would probably have enjoyed his conversation if he was not rendered unconscious by that large tree branch and she probably wouldn't have asked him out if her chocoholics group had not encouraged it.  So she really shouldn't be angry with him for standing her up.  But she is.

Mallory and Ty try to maintain a private...relationship, but people get in the way, emotions get involved and someone always gets hurt.


Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis is a contemporary romance novel set in fictional Lucky Harbor, Washington.  Where the first three books star sisters Maddie, Tara and Chloe, Lucky introduces us to Mallory (Lucky's heroine), her waitress friend Amy Michaels (heroine for book #5, At Last) and their newly acquired friend Grace Brooks (heroine for book #6, Forever and a Day).

Mallory and Amy's friendship with Grace occurs suddenly, but Shalvis did write them bonding in a crisis so the believability should be there for most, even if I don't buy it.

The trio forms a group called Chocoholics and agrees to meet on a regular basis to discuss jobs, men and the lack of each other's love lives - over a slice of chocolate cake. 

Continuing with the Chocoholics theme, each chapter is headlined with a chocolate quote and the book ends with "The Chocoholics' Wickedly Awesome Chocolate Cake" recipe complete with frosting instructions.  This is an adorably quaint touch and by the end of the novel I was starving.  Never mind it was 3am when I finished it.

Believability is important in any novel and Lucky has it, even if some character actions/reactions are a bit outrageous:
  • Lucky Harbor is a small town with bored, nosy neighbors (believable)...who snap pictures of the young kids to post to the city's Facebook page (outrageous)
  • Mallory is injured in a small diner when the sprinklers are set off (believable)...and she obtains a bleeding cheek cut, a swollen wrist and bruised shin while trying to calm panicky seniors fleeing the building that no one can see in because of the sprinklers and struggle with Ty to let her back inside to help people who were hurt instead of waiting for them to be brought outside where she can actually treat them (outrageous)
  • The diner fire, started by birthday candles, was put out by a glass of water and one loan trick candle, "...shot straight up and into the a bottle rocket."  (Outrageous).

However with outrageous situations comes humorous writing that helps Lucky read like a young adult novel - with sex.  (i.e., When characters live in a town that tracks sightings of the "Mysterious Hot Guy" you really aren't surprised when your mother disapproves of you sleeping with him one day and offers to make him meatloaf the next.)

All in all, Lucky in Love is an enjoyable, outrageous, light and fluffy romance and I look forward to reading the series. 

Comment About It

What's your favorite summer read? Do you prefer stand alone novels or a series?

Learn more about Jill Shalvis and her upcoming titles on her webpage.
I had never heard of Jill Shalvis until I saw her Facebook ad and honestly, how could you guys keep her from me? She writes about her inspiration for the Lucky Harbor series here and, frankly, if I had those men outside my window I'd be inspired, too. Which reminds me, I've been meaning to landscape the yard...

Read the Lucky Harbor series. 
(Normally I would give you titles, but Shalvis's website lays them out perfectly.)

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

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Series Update: The Temptresses Trilogy's "Twice the Temptation" (by Beverley Kendall)

Twice the Temptation
book one of "The Temptresses Trilogy"

Temptation is as old as Adam and Eve.  Unfortunately, succumbing to is as natural as breathing to the gentlemen in the haut ton.  But the secret society of the TEMPT club (Test Eligible Males’ Proof of Trustworthiness) will save prospective brides bent on fidelity, by discerning the faithful from the philanderers.  And the founders and sole members of the club—Catherine Rutherford, Olivia Wakefield and Meghan Townsend—are ready and willing to apply themselves fully to that task.  What they hadn’t counted on was emotional entanglements…    - The Temptresses Trilogy by Beverley Kendall

If historical romance is your genre chances are you have already heard of Beverley Kendall's Elusive Lords Series.  The fourth and final book An Heir of Deception was released April 2012 and readers everywhere mourned the end to an epic tale.   

Well mourn no longer.  Ms. Kendall is already penning a continuation.  Her new trilogy, The Temptresses, picks up where the Elusive Lords Series leaves off.  The first book is titled Twice the Temptation and features Catherine "Katie" Rutherford (the twin sister to Charlotte, heroine of An Heir of Deception) and Lucas Beaumont (dear friend of Charlotte, appearing in An Heir of Deception).

Kendall provided an excerpt from Twice the Temptation to her Facebook followers today.  Swoon over it here.

Twice the Temptation has no release date yet, but Kendall hopes to publish it by the beginning of 2013.  We hope so, too, Bev.

After Twice the Temptation

The second book features Lord Granville (from Sinful Surrender) as the hero.
The third book features Lord Granville's sister - also Catherine's friend - as the heroine.

More About the Author

Beverley Kendall is recently turned full time writer who now publishes her own novels.  Along with The Temptresses Trilogy, she's also writing a contemporary romance series titled Creme de la Creme.  Creme's first novel is "Second and Long" (yes about football) and approximately 50,000 words long.  You can read about her other accomplishments and upcoming events on her website

Kendall loves her work and loves to talk to you about it.  This article, for instance, was written after a Q&A session with Kendall on her Facebook page.  That's right.  Kendall gave us the name of her trilogy, a blurb, an explanation of heroes and heroines, an excerpt and permission to write what you're reading right now - all on her freaking wall.  She's a talented, talented lady and by far one of the most approachable romance writers I've encountered.

For more information visit her website, The Season book review site (ran by Kendall) and her Facebook.  Or, you know, just ask her yourself.  I'm sure she'll be happy to respond.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

About Last Night (by Ruthie Knox)

About Last Night rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: June 11, 2012

Dear Reader, 
I still am unhappy with this review.  It's been rewritten twice and has yet to achieve the greatness About Last Night deserves.  If anything, let this serve as a referral itself.  About Last Night is a truly exceptional novel and I have yet to find the appropriate words to do it justice.
- Sallie

How are the sex scenes?
Steamy and delicious with a heavy dose of realism. 
(i.e., they have conversation or compare each other to previous lovers, etc.)
Some scenes are descriptive, others are behind closed doors.

How are the story lines?
The story revolves around the hero and heroine, giving them detailed back stories and future goals and a path that may or may not lead them there as a couple.

Would you read it again?
Yes.  Probably once I'm finished with this review.


Mary Catherine "Cath" Talarico has been operating as "Good Catherine" for the past two years.  Good Catherine works a steady job, avoids bad situations - and men - and has reminders of her mistakes tattooed on her skin. 

Neville "Nev" Chamberlain is a successful banker in the Chamberlain family business.  To Catherine, he fits the stereotype:  fancy job, custom suits and politically correct women who look as if they stepped from a Lacoste catalogue. 

Nev has other ideas.

Catherine was surprised when she awoke in the bed of the mysterious stranger she's been noticing for months and even more surprised when Neville pursues a relationship.  Catherine wants the furthest thing from it, refusing to take a chance on life, love and a future with him. 


Ruthie Knox is a rockstar and I am her groupie.

About Last Night is a contemporary romance novel set in London, England. 

Neville is a real-life, believable love interest.  He's handsome with a great job and a smothering, controlling family.  He is clever, mild-mannered and confident enough to allow Catherine her space.  He patiently waits weeks on end for Catherine to divulge the smallest details about herself, knowing she's never told him the entire truth.  This patience and his pursuit of Catherine is unmatched, showing exactly how much he wants their relationship to grow. 

Catherine is a realistic, fault-filled, modern heroine.  She is tough, resilient and extremely cautious with something to prove.  Catherine has screwed up.  Many, many times.  As a result she suffers with commitment issues and flees at the first sign of affection.  Despite life-changing setbacks, she desperately tries to be "Good Catherine", running from past mistakes - and Neville.  She's terribly misguided in her decisions, alienating herself from any lasting relationship.  Throughout the novel, Catherine grows and watching her overcome personal tragedies is inspirational. 

Knox wrote both Neville and Catherine as quick-witted characters, thus creating hilarious dialogue between them and almost everyone else in the novel. 
"So, what, you want me to start calling you Neville?"
"Please don't."
"But you like it when I call you Mary Catherine."
"I don't"
She did.  She loved it.  "Every time I call you Mary Catherine, your mouth turns up at the corners just the tiniest bit, and you get this dreamy look in your eyes.  Come to think of it, it's the same look you get when I-"
"Knock it off, or I'll make you run up the hill three times." 

About Last Night is a refreshing read, departing from the classic storyline where the heroine falls madly for the hero and breathlessly waits to be loved.  Knox's heroine refuses to call the hero by his name.  Safe to assume she will not be following him around like a love-blinded, virginal maiden.

About Last Night is a witty, sex-with-a-stranger-turned-lover story driven by entertaining and realistic characters.

Comment About It

Have you ever been inspired when you least expected it?  What person or event spoke to you?

Learn more about Ruthie Knox and her upcoming titles on her webpage.

Read Knox's other contemporary romance title:  Ride With Me

Disclaimer: No compensation was received for this review.  Book purchased by Musing Sallie.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Season for Love (by Marie Force)

Season for Love rating:  5 out of 5 stars
Release Date:  June 5, 2012
The McCarthys of Gansett Island series rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Season for Love is book 6 in this series.  Though books 1 - 4 can be read as stand alone novels, Season for Love really should be read in order since it follows so many different characters.

How are the sex scenes?
Numerous, creative, varied and uncensored.
Everybody's doing it.  This book has more sex than any other in Force's Gansett Island series. 
That's a lot.

How are the story lines?
All 9 of them are great. 
I counted 8 romance stories and a few non-romance ones.

Would you read it again?
More than the two times I have already?  Yes.


Season for Love by Marie Sullivan Force is a contemporary romance novel based in fictional Gansett Island, Rhode Island.  It's book 6 in Force's McCarthys of Gansett Island series and is featured as a Sallie's Series Recommendations here.  In Season for Love Owen Lawry, a traveling musician who lives in his van, and Laura McCarthy, a pregnant, soon-to-be divorced newlywed, finally explore the crackle, sizzle and pop that has sparked between them since book 4, Falling for Love

Season opens with Owen watching the Gansett Island ferry leave for the mainland - without him on it.  He's decided to pass on his autumn gig and stay on Gansett to help Laura with the renovation of the Sand & Surf Hotel.  Despite his no-strings lifestyle, he's determined to give them a try and Laura decides to give him the chance.  There are a few struggles and revelations, but in the end they have to choose whether "they" are worth fighting for.

Season also checks in with Gansett's previous couples and introduces new characters:
  1. Blaine and Tiffany are hot as ever and set up beautifully for their book Longing for Love, the next in this series;
  2. Mac and Maddie are enjoying new baby Hailey and waiting for the infamous "6 weeks" to end;
  3. Janey and Joe are living happily ever after and have to deal with a surprise of their own;
  4. Luke and Sydney are inching slowly towards Sydney's recovery and the next steps in their relationship;
  5. Grant and Stephanie continue to argue about the screenplay and have relationship troubles;
  6. Evan and Grace are going strong while Evan suffers through his career set back;
  7. Seamus is running the Gansett Island ferry business and charming the lasses; and
  8. We catch up with Dan Torrington, meet Jenny Wilks and more.


Having read the entire Gansett Island series, I am thrilled to see Owen and Laura resolve their purgatory relationship status.  Season doesn't add an entire book's length to their story, but it does explain Owen's nomadic lifestyle and address Laura and her low-life, scumbag, idiotic, moron of a husband's marriage.  (For those who haven't read the previous books do so now and experience full shock value when learning why Laura and he-who-should-be-an-eunuch need a divorce.)  Though their book is shared with other couples, I feel like we get a complete glimpse of their relationship's turning point.  The Epilogue was especially satisfying.

As always, Force's writing is wonderfully entertaining.  Her Season plots have you making a mad dash to your computer to post, "Did you read that??" on her Facebook page.   I appreciate how the characters always stay in character.  The Mac you knew from the first book is the same Mac you know now with slight variations due to his life experiences.  Force hasn't taken the easy way out and written cheesy dialogue just to move the story along.  (Well, there's Seamus, but his lines are so in character.)  I very much appreciate the way Force introduced Laura and Owen a few books before they were featured.  When telling this many stories in one novel it's vital the readers still feel connected to the characters.  This happens in Season because we met the hero and heroine so far in advance.

This book is h-o-t.  If people aren't having sex they're talking about it, thinking about it or running like hell to avoid it.  Season is definitely not for those who think romance should happen behind closed doors. 

Season  for Love is great novel and allows readers to follow all their favorite characters. 

Marie Sullivan Force hits a home run with Season for Love and her entire Gansett Island series. 

Comment About It

Do you like a series that only mentions characters from previous novels or a series that continues their story?  Or does it matter as long as the stories are good?

Learn more about Marie Sullivan Force and her upcoming titles on her webpage:

Click her Facebook link to like her page and have access to all the Gansett Island books reader groups.  If you haven't met Marie's Facebook fans you are missing out.

Read the McCarthys of Gansett Island series:

Maid for Love;
Fool for Love;
Ready for Love;
Falling for Love;
Hoping for Love;
Season for Love; and
Longing for Love (Coming Soon!  Marie expects to release it late Summer/early Fall of 2012.  When she has more information I will post it on Ravishing Romances).

Disclaimer: No compensation was received for this review.  Book purchased by Musing Sallie.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Pirate's Lady (by Julia Knight)

The Pirate's Lady rating:  3 out of 5 stars
Release Date:  June 18, 2012

Sequel to Ten Ruby Trick (not reviewed)

How are the sex scenes?
There are a few scenes referred to, but none are described.

How are the story lines?
Clever, ever changing and written to purposefully keep you guessing.  This book is definitely an extension of the first one and you should read The Pirate's Lady after reading Ten Ruby Trick.

Would you read it again?
No, but I would read Ten Ruby Trick to appreciate this novel better.


The Pirate's Lady by Julia Knight is a fantasy romance novel that follows privateer Van Gast across the seas as he chases his one true love, Joshing Josie.  Both being pirates, or rather racketeers, there is enough conning, lying, misleading and manipulation to keep any readers' interest.  While Van Gast and Josie are busy doing all that, the supporting characters are banning with or against each other with a viciousness that makes the bullet ant initiation for the Brazillian Satere-Mawe tribe look tame.

I hate to dwindle the plot to so little, because it's much more, but anything additional might spoil the story.  So: Van Gast chases Josie, finds Josie, loses Jose, repeats steps 1, 2 & 3, and struggles through many hardships.  With a lot more magic and drama in between.


To enjoy this book you should read Ten Ruby Trick first.

Julia Knight's writing is up to par and her phrasing is very refreshing.  I enjoyed how things "made Rillen itch in his head" and wrinkled my nose at Urgaut's "toady little smile". 

I particularly loved this line, "Holden would have a whole litter of kittens, but it might be worth it just for that."  I thought this meant that Van Gast would have to literally steal Holden - who clearly has a significant mental illness - a box of kittens. It wasn't until chapter two that I realized "have a whole litter of kittens" is the equivalent to America's "shit a load a bricks". 

For those who read Ten Ruby Trick, you'll be pleased with returning characters.  Tragic, serious Holden is here, with his timid wife Ilsa.  There's Guld and Skrymir.  Rillen, his very obese father Urgaut and the Remorian mages also make themselves a significant nuisance.  The un-bonded Remorians are crewing Van Gast's ship and most of the story takes place in Estovan, which lends the tale all its people, merchants and eerie settings.

Just to be clear, these characters really should be on the pirate-world version of the Jerry Springer Show.  There's women having sex with men to save another man's life.  One guy's trying to fix his broken marriage after having an affair and while lusting for someone else.  (Not the best way to go about it, but at least his heart's in the right place if not his d...anyway.)  One chic tries to knife another for potentially harming the very same guy she just turned over to the authorities.  A man loves one woman, then decides - no! - I want her s-i-s-t-e-r.  Oh yes, this is one highly dysfunctional, potentially incestuous family.  And it's awesome. 

Though enjoyable, the story is complicated.  I wouldn't recommend you read this casually if you want to follow the "twist" of it all.  Sometimes I felt Van Gast's schemes were too involved and distracted me from the story. 

Knight also did this excellent thing of pointing to a mysterious person as the root of all problems, and wrote the characters' movements so that we never knew who that person was until the very end.  This was great, but while making sure no characters revealed who the "it person" was, some details were lost in translation.  At one point I wasn't sure about the time of day or if the story was switching from the afternoon before to the evening after.

I liked this book.  It spent a lot of time looking back to Ten Ruby Trick and referring to events that happened there.  I wish somewhere in the begining pages or either on Knight's website it was mentioned that this was a sequel.  Because then I would have read it and, I suspicion, enjoyed The Pirate's Lady even more.

Regardless, Julia Knight deliveres a well thought-out, intricate novel with characters who made me love or hate them.  The Pirate's Lady made me care about the story and that alone marks a good book.

Comment About It

Do you enjoy reading books with intricate plot lines like The Pirate's Lady or do you prefer your stories straight forward? 

Read the book and disagree?  Great!  Tell me why! 

Learn more about Julia Knight and her upcoming titles on her website:

Read Ten Ruby Trick, the book preceding The Pirate's Lady

I'm unsure if there are more to come.  Contact Julia Knight and find out!

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

Monday, June 4, 2012

Best Reads of May 2012

Diamonds and books are a girl's best friends, but we still choose our favorites.

The three following novels are the best reads I found this May.  Selected for different reasons, they are wonderful novels delivered by even more wonderful authors.

The Sleeping Night by Barbara Samuel-O'Neal  (Emotional women's fiction/romance read)

Scheduled for release on June 21.  The Sleeping Night is well worth the $9.56 price tag.  "Emotional" is my description, but it's better defined as "the opposite of light and fluffy".  As my review mentions, the crisp Jane Austen style writing and 1940s racial tension is exactly what it took to tug my heart strings.  I thought about this book days after it was finished.

Conquered by a Highlander by Paula Quinn  (Historically based romance read)

Released on May 22, my review explains why Conquered is just one of many great, great titles from Quinn.  This author has yet to pen a story I do not like and I hero-worship her.  It would be embarrassing if she wasn't so darn talented.


Believe It or Not by Tawna Fenske  (Hilarious, contemporary romance read)

Released in March 2012.  Okay, I was a little late to the male strip club on this one, but it is exceptional.  I laughed - out loud and on multiple occasions.  This book should be read - preferably with a box of dark chocolates, a bottle of wine and a Van Halen album in the background.  It was not reviewed on this site, but if it was it would have received a glowing 6 stars.  I still think about this novel.  Click here to read an excerpt. 


Blog About It

Want to weigh in?  Let me know your thoughts on these novels and sing the praises of the novels I missed.  If a story moves you, chances are it will move someone else, too.