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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Donna Grant - Highland Mist

!!! REQUESTED READ FOR REALMS ON OUR BOOKSHELVES !!!

Genre: Historical
Book 1 in the Druids Glen series
ISBN: 1-58608-832-7
Releasedate: July 2006
Format owned: eBook
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

Synopsis
Laird Connall MacInness was born to a clan that for centuries has been charged with the guarding of the sacred Druids. 'Tis a duty he has always met with a willing heart, until the day his sister, a Druid priestess, goes missing, and the very Druids he has protected refuse to help him find the last remaining member of his family. Then a 300 year old prophecy places a Druid priestess in his hands for safekeeping. 'Tis the chance at revenge that he's been waiting for, but is he willing to pay the cost his revenge will demand--the loss of his mate and the future of Scotland?

A willing lass…
Glenna MacNeil wants only to be free, to find the purpose of her life. When she is told to look for the dark laird that would free her, she eagerly goes with the powerful laird who fights her clan, not realizing she has set in motion events that will change the course of history.

REVIEW
The first novel in a new series, a new author for me and normally that means getting used to a new style in writing, new storylines to get used to but funnily enough this time around I just eased into the story straight away!

It’s a story easy to read, you pick up on moods, emotions, scenes straight away. I’ve seen the movie Mists of Avalon a few times and I had a particular feeling with that movie and whilst reading this lovely novel by Donna Grant she made me have that same feeling ~ eventhough ofcourse the storylines are very different.

Connall and Glenna are great characters. It’s nice to see how Glenna grows from a timid; scared lady to a strong powerful Druid in control. Connall I don’t see as a real me Tarzan you Jane Highlander. You can really sense his longing for a family where love leads the way. A bit thickheaded needless to say, but nonetheless loveable!

What I love most about Donna’s writing is when in scenes words were spoken by the characters, they actually had the “aye’s; nay’s ; and most important “ye’s”. I always “hear” different voices with the characters as I read a story and when a Highlander-novel is written in such a way the Scottish burrs actually come automatically. The Scottish language used by Donna is adding such a great Highlander feeling that it makes your heart flutter by just reading the sentences.

The storylines themselves were typically Druid/Highland making it for me a good novel in between my paranormal/fantasy books which are more heavyset. This series is definitely a keeper on my shelves to balance the heavy dramatic action filled novels with the lighter set A-list authors like Donna Grant.

It’s a good solid start in a new series and promises a lot for the books still to come!

3,5 stars

Christine Feehan - Twilight Before Christmas

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Book 2 in the Drake Sister series
ISBN: 0-743-47628-X
Releasedate: December 2003
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format owned: MMPB
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

Synopsis

Bestselling novelist Kate Drake is one of seven sisters gifted with amazing powers of witchcraft. Returning home in time for her northern California town's annual Christmas pageant, Kate catches the spirit of the season and decides to open a bookstore in a charming but run-down historic mill. Decorated former U.S. Army Ranger Matt Granite, now a local contractor, doesn't mind working in the undeniably eerie house -- not if it means getting closer to Kate. There's something about the quiet, sensual woman that powerfully attracts him.

When an earthquake cracks the mill's foundation and reveals a burial crypt, Kate senses that a centuries-old evil has been unleashed--and that it's coming after her. Though Matt vows to guard her from dusk till dawn, Kate knows she will have to summon all of her and her sisters' powers to battle the darkness threatening to destroy both Christmas and the gift of soul-searing passion her hometown hero wants her to keep forever...
REVIEW

When Matt and Kate meet again in a near accident they set things in motion. With danger luring around every corner and seem to aim to destroy everything that comes in its way they soon discover there might be more between them than the eye can see.

After hearing so much about Christine Feehan – say it due to her Carpathian-series – I decided to start reading some of her work and I was fairly surprised by this novel in her Drake Sisters series. Although I haven’t read the first one, the anthology Magic in the Wind – I don’t feel I missed an important part of the series. I do want to read Sarah and Damon’s story, but for now I’m contend with reading the next few novels!

There is something special in the way Christine was able to describe and write about the sisterly bond between the Drake Sisters. I think this is due to her being part of a big family as well. Being close to my own siblings this was a part that instantly got me hooked onto the story and felt such a homey-contendness with it. It made me snuggle up on the sofa and cuddle up with my cats while reading on.

This was a novella – and with that the story was in my opinion cut a bit short. I feel that more could have been putt into the story to make it a bit more flowing. At some point I found it a bit rushed through all they had to go through. This is a series about witches and with that it automatically falls into the paranormal genre. However what touched me more was the contemporary romance that was developed in the line of events. Having said that, the Drake Sisters charmed their way into my heart.

It’s like your reading along with a special part of life, like you’re allowed a glance in what they experience along the way.

This is one of those series you can just read the next novel striaght after the previous one without it getting boring or too much if you know what I mean. So I’m straight away diving into Oceans of Fire – Abigail’s story. I can’t wait to read about her and the Dolphins!

3,5 stars
Saturday, December 27, 2008

Helen Scott Taylor – The Magic Knot

!! ARC FOR REALMS ON OUR BOOKSHELVES !!


Genre: Paranormal
Book 1 in The Magic Knot Fairies series
ISBN: 0-505-52796-0
Releasedate: January 27, 2009
Publisher: Dorchester Publishing
Format owned: MPB
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

Synopsis
When Rose discovers she is the Cornish pisky queen and her father is a dark druid who has imprisoned her people in portraits, the race is on to discover the fairy lore needed to release her people before her father destroys the piskies forever.

She seeks help from the sinfully sexy Irish fairy twins, the O’Connor brothers. Niall’s faint air of menace flutters dark thrills of anticipation through her, but does he want to kiss her or kill her when she accidentally touches his Magic Knot and forges a mystical lovers’ bond with him? And can she resist the seductive glamour of his mischievous brother Michael?

With the survival of the Cornish piskies in her hands, Rose must escape from a vampiric, winged fairy, outwit The Queen of Nightmares and surrender her mind, body and spirit to Niall to release her hidden inner fairy. The Tarot cards warn he will stab her in the back, but when she’s in his arms, the last thing on her mind is death.
REVIEW
When you start a job checking someone’s accounts you don’t expect being thrown in a world where leprechaun’s and fae exist but that is exactly where Rose is headed when she sets foot in an Inn in Cornwall, owned by the flirtatious Michael O’Connor and watched over by his twin Naill O’Connor.

After doing her job she was determined to go search for her father. However, events throw her into a world she never before knew existed, and into the arms of the Irish man with a brogue in his speech and a stubborn attitude that is hard to pierce!

The blurb to this novel got me hooked straight away. Knowing myself, and my love for Ireland, I just knew from the start this book would intrigue me, captivate me and lure me into the magical world of Irish lore. My feelings were correct. I picked up this book, started to read and didn’t stop till I read the last page, closing it with a sigh of pure ecstatic, heart-warming bliss.

With this debut-novel Helen Scott Taylor knows how to enthral you and keep your mind focussed on the two absolutely gorgeous Irish twins. Often with twins you see they complete the perfect package and Michael and Naill do precisely that.

Michael is the flirtatious one, the light hearted one, the one to make you grin shyly and blush heavily each time he speaks to you – every time he comes to pas in a scene, your heart starts fluttering with desire and want for a man like him in your life, uncomplicated and making you feel special in your own uniqueness.

Naill on the other hand is the more serious one, the one with the responsibility complex and control factor. Dark, brooding and dangerous he is the one whom you have to dig deep into to reach (extremely stubborn as well). He’s the one you have to work for but once you have him, he won’t let go.

Rosewyn “Rose” is this sweet girl, who has gone through quite a lot in her life, had to work herself up to where she is now – only to find out that what she thought was her life – is in fact not her true self. A bit insecure about her own strength, but in the end taking a stand in her new “me” and accepting what she knows in her heart to be true.

The secondary characters in this novel are there for world building and explaining the plotlines. Quite a few come to pass but it does not take from the story. Their background is briefly mentioned and explored, but the storylines concerning them leave enough open to make this world into a series and have a completion enough for those readers who seek an ending to each novel in a series.I’m intrigued by a few and would love to see their lives unfold in a full-length as well. Therefore I am so pleased with the knowledge that a follow up to this one is currently being written with Michael in the lead!

There is a lot of sensuality in this novel, the heat between the characters sparkle off the pages. It is not the main focus in this novel, but in all fairness I did not miss that at all. The storyline is about Rose, finding out who she is, what the magic knot stands for and the truth about her tarot-cards are such a strong plotline that it is indeed what should get the main focus. There are in fact scenes that are really steamy and make me long for more of those in the coming novels especially concerning two specific characters, which I’ll leave unnamed to not spoil the good stuff! Because The Magic Knot is such an easy read to get into, you get hooked on the story fast and it stays with you for the remainder of time.

Helen Scott Taylor is able to make her characters come of the pages and become alive in your mind. She’s able to make them touch your emotions. You instantly like the ones with good intentions and absolutely dislike the one’s you know who are there to spoil the fun! It reads like a spiced up fairytale. A stunning debut for an author who instantly became a permanent addition to my bookshelves!

4,5 Stars
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Elizabeth Lowell – Forbidden

Genre: Historical
Book 2 in the Medieval trilogy
ISBN: 0-7278-5948-X
Releasedate: 1993
Publisher: Avon
Format owned: HC
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

SYNOPSIS
A magical tale of romance and lionhearted chivalry in medieval Britain from this best-selling author Amber dreads the consequences of touching this unknown warrior, who has been brought to her cottage during the night. For he fits far too closely the words of a prophesy made at her birth - a prophesy of remarkable love... and the death that must inevitably follow.But the urge to touch him is too strong - and to touch him endlessly with unquenchable passion. When the warrior's memory returns, he realizes that Amber is his enemy. But how can he forsake the woman who has healed his body and his heart? Now he must defy to the death the dread forces that have proclaimed their love forbidden.
REVIEW
A very much superb sequel to the first book in this trilogy “Untamed”. I started reading this book and just couldn’t putt it down till I finished it! It got to me in so many ways that I don’t even know where to begin. This story is about Duncan – the man with no past – and Amber – the Untouchable – and the forbidden touch they both ferociously longed for but couldn’t have. A story about honor – oaths – magic and prophecy; all hidden within this perfect 300 pages long story. Raw emotions and strong love flow from every page with a surprising end that with no doubt will be followed up in the third book of this trilogy.

Although Elizabeth Lowell writes great fulfilling stories I did however miss the part of how Duncan ended up within the Stone Ring without any memory whatsoever of his past. So in that way she leaves me pondering a bit (maybe that is what she wanted, because let’s face it a book is a great book when you keep talking about it!), but my romantic heart was so pleased with this book!It merely held all one would seek in a Historical Romance! The images / scenes created by Elizabeth are well putt to paper, it’s like you’re almost there way back in the past living those moments yourself – all consuming!Again I’ve read this book in its Dutch translation and I do feel that part of the “magic” of this story was lost in the process. But some things are worth looking past when you read a great story like this.

I’m so hooked I’m straight away diving into ‘Enchanted’ to see what Simon – the Loyal is up to.

QUOTE:
‘Breath of my breath; heart of my heart; souls of my soul; touch me.’

Purrrrrrrrrrr – quote’s like the above make me purr like a little kitten who’s being stroked tenderly!

4,5 Stars
Friday, August 1, 2008

Elizabeth Amber - Lyon

!! ARC FOR REALMS ON OUR BOOKSHELVES !!
Genre: Erotica
Book 3 in the Lords of Satyr series
ISBN: 0-7582-2041-3
Releasedate: August 1, 2008
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Format owned: TPB
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

Synopsis

The last in a fabled line of otherworldly aristocracy, the Lords of Satyr are born to wealth, power, and a talent for sensual delight that mere mortals only dream of. Commanded to marry, these passionate men will travel to Rome, Venice, and Paris--and along the way will explore desires both shamelessly wicked and blissfully divine...

HE IS ON THE PROWL ...

The youngest of the Satyr brothers, Lyon enjoys working in the family's Tuscan vineyards,caring for his menagerie of animals and bedding beautiful women. But he knows he must fulfill his destiny of taking the last daughter of King Feydon as his bride. And so he travels to Paris to wed the infamous Juliette Rabelais ...

FOR HIS MOST LUSCIOUS PRIZE ...

A celebrated courtesan noted for both her culinary--and carnal talents, Juliette is a voluptuous beauty with a body meant to tease. And with a full moon only days away, Lyon is quickly aroused. But after a night of intimacy, Lyon wonders if Juliette is truly a mistress of sensual pleasure or whether his sexual mastery will be her undoing ...
REVIEW

Lyon, the third Satyr-brother has traveled down to Paris in search for his bride, but once there, things go slightly different as expected. Will he find the daughter of King Feydon in time to save him?

Elizabeth Amber’s first two novels made a promise and rose up expectations, which she surely lived up to yet again. I had a certain vision on how Lyon’s character was and even though I expected him more playful and roguish, the Lyon I came to know was still amazingly sensual and I truly loved his dominant side between the sheets!

The Satyr brothers each have their own uniqueness and specialness, which I just can’t get enough of. I was actually a bit disappointed when I finished reading this novel because I wasn’t ready yet to say goodbye to Lyon and Juliette and the world that was created around them. So I re-read it again to keep holding onto the feeling.

Lyon started out as my favorite brother and in the end he still is. I actually doubted a bit because Raine got to me as well in his story but Lyon has a side to him that appeals to my inner female-he stirs just that little bit more in me. There’s a scene in the beginning that set me on fire and the part with the shimmerskins are thrilling and electrifyingly charged with such a high eroticism that it made me fall for him even more! That was topped off with the kitchen scene and my longing heart was complete! Top-notch erotica in my opinion!

Plot wise Elizabeth once more wrote an intriguing story. Despite the fact the basic Satyr-legend is the same, all three stories differ and bring out the best in every main character. She puts a heroine next to the hero that completes him and makes him standout without losing herself.

Juliette is a woman who, with the help of Lyon, unfolds into a strong and willful person, exploring sides to herself no one has ever seen and she again has to accept as her own. Even though she opens up a lot in the end still hasn’t overcome the experiences from the past, but is working towards it. She’s still coming to terms with her inner demons, but nonetheless trusts Lyon and lets him in. The way this story was put to paper only makes me sigh blissfully and in full satisfaction.

There has been a built up in erotically differences in the characters of this series, Nick, Raine and Lyon all have their own preferences and because these are all so well written out within a quality story, for me this series - these novels - are a thrill to have on my bookshelves and an addition to my books in the erotica-genre.

Having said that, Ms. Amber does know how to extend the boundaries and knows to what end the imagination of her readers can be stretched pushing it to the limits but writing it so that it’s still acceptable. Yet again I came across some things that I beforehand didn’t know I would accept. The fine line between the characters and their ways of carnal pleasure are such a perfect balance I just eased into it and was able to enjoy it all the more.

There, however, was one plotline in this novel that made me frown a bit. When you read this novel you’ll probably know which one I’m talking about… It does fit in with the character completely, so it is acceptable and adds to the story, but it does reach towards a limit in sexual immorality with me and I’m glad it was only mentioned in the last few pages. I thought about it for quite a bit, but I can see Elizabeth’s point of view in why she unfolded it like this, it explains the actions of this particular character, whom I will not name as not to spoil a plotline, but with only briefly mentioning it and not focusing on it majorly, she kept the story pleasurable and still at a marvelous high in the end.

There is an amazing talent and an excellence in Elizabeth Amber’s writing, she knows how to built up a story - as a novel as well as storylines within a series - so I’m blissfully happy knowing another novel in the Lords of Satyr series will be released. I can’t wait till Dominic will be released! I’d say it’s safe to say I again was swept of my feet; the Satyr-world got a permanent place in my reader’s heart.

My end conclusion…. Lyon was amazingly hot and wickedly erotic – my inner female still tingles from having spent time with him!

4,5 stars
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

JR Ward - Lover Enshrined

Genre: Paranormal
Book 6 in the Blackdagger Brotherhood
ISBN: 0-451-22272-5
Releasedate: June 2008
Publisher: Signet
Format owned: HC Rhapsody & MPB
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

Synopsis
Phury vowed celibacy, but when he first saw her one word came to mind : MINE!!!

Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood's bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.

As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body but his heart for herself- she sees the emotionally scarred male behind all his noble responsibility. But while the war with the Lessening Society grows more grim, and tragedy looms over the Brotherhood's mansion, Phury must decide between duty and love.
REVIEW
Phury, the celibate one, had no intention of taking a shellan and sharing his life, but certain previous made decisions and events had him come across Cormia, one of his bethroted as a Primale.

She stirs his long dormant feelings right into action, but what about all the others he’s suppose to ‘take’ ?

The change in approach that we came across in the previous 2 novels has been continued, so this new way of storytelling within this series has been set in stone. No longer is the main story-line about the Hero & Heroine but the whole world is starting to become important. This is something you either love or hate, as it takes numerous pages away from the romance storyline.

I have to admit it was a development I had to get used to, but JR Ward pulls it off. In the first few novels of this series she already writes towards the next story, so it already was different from what I was used to, but it still had a closure romance wise. This novel didn’t have that for me.

Phury and Cormia belong together and are equal to eachother. Phury is one of the brothers that didn’t really touch me and now – after reading this novel – still doesn’t do so. His celibacy plotline isn’t as well written out and for me still is not clear enough as to how and why he decided to become celibate. His drug(ab)use is sublimely worked out in all it’s aspects and one ‘personal-problem’ came to light and was over the top for me, as we should have read about it or at least hints towards it in previous novels to make it work properly in this particular one.

Cormia is a sweet darling. Such a doll and adoring. She is a great addition to the mixture of characters in the BDB-world.

The subplotlines with the lessers; and ofcourse Qhuinn-Blay-John; take a new twist making me crave for the next novel, as well as all the other storylines.

Rhev’s story is next, I particularly don’t look forward to his Happily Ever After, because he totally rubs me the wrong way but I indulge myself in the fact the romance is subdued by the other plotlines, so not a lot of pages will be spend to this.

Emotionally the plotline really got to me and stirred my inner core so despite the fact the main Hero & Heroine didn’t really do it for me overall I still was left in awe and was amazed by Ms. Ward one’s more. Eventhough I hoped the Primale plotline would have kept continueing on because I thought it was brilliant and despite the things that didn’t work out as I half expected them to, it is JR Ward’s writing that is of such high quality that I cannot come round to giving her less that the stars I gave her.

Is this a series I will continue reading? I don’t know, Rhev’s story will have to pinpoint that out to me. I don’t know if Urban Fantasy is what I like reading, let’s face it, that is the road JR Ward is going towards with this series, but I do know that I want to know what will happen with certain plotlines. I have a yearning to see how things will continue with John, Blay and Qhuinn but also the long lost brother Thor. How will things end up there?

A coin has two sides and for me the coin is standing upwards on the edge and can still fall on either side. Which way it falls time will tell....

4,5 Stars
Thursday, June 5, 2008

Karen Marie Moning - Spell Of The Highlander

Genre: Paranormal
Book 7 in the Highlander series
ISBN: 0-8131-2233-3
Releasedate: August 2005
Publisher: Dell Publishing
Format owned: HC Delacorte & MPB
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

Synopsis
Jessi St. James has got to get a life. Too many hours studying artifacts has given the hardworking archaeology student a bad case of sex on the brain. So she figures she must be dreaming when she spies a gorgeous half-naked man staring out at her from inside the silvery glass of an ancient mirror. But when a splitt-second decision saves her from a terrifying attempt on her life, Jessi seddenlyfinds herself confronting six and a half feet of smoldering insatiable alpha male.

Heir to the arcane magic of his Druid ancestors, eleven centuries ago Cian MacKeltar was trapped inside the Dark Glass, one of four conveted Unseelie Hallows, objects of unspeakable power. When the Dark Glass is stolen, an ancient enemy will stop at nothing to reclaimit, destroying everything in his path - including the one woman who may just hold the key to breaking the ninth-century Highlander's dark spell. For Jessi, the muscle-bound sex-god in the mirror is not only tantalizingly real, he's offering his protection - from exactly what, Jessi doesn't know. And all he wants in exchange is the exquisite pleasure of sharing her bed.

Yet even as Cian's insatiable hunger begins to work its dark magic on Jessi, his ancient enemy is about to obtain the final and most dangerous of the Unseelie Hallows - and the ninth-century Highlander must stop him from getting it. Nothing less than the very fabric of the universe and two passionately entwined lives are at stake - as Cian and Jessi fight to claim the kind of love that comes along but once in an ice age...
REVIEW
Yet another quality story by miss Moning that is worth reading every page. I knew when I had read Drustan's story it would be very difficult to top and "Spell" didn't have the same impact on me either, but that was to be expected.

What I truly loved about Jessi & Cians story was that I broke down in laughter loads of times. Cian a 9th century barbaric Tarzan-to-the-core Alpha Scotsmen and Jessi a 21st century stand-on-her-own self-reliable young woman. Cian used to ordering around and people following his rules and demands, Jessi used to following her own rules and creating her own destiny. Brought together in this story brings about hillarious situations.

Jessi, a fact-searching archeology student, deprived from sleep and not believing for a minute she had just summoned a 6ft-something Alpha Male in all but a kilt around his waist, thinking she was dreaming and wanting to make the most of this dream licking her way up his back!

I absolutely adore Karens way of writing. It's pure quality, language as well as scenes and details. This story however, I felt something was missing. I cannot point it out exactly. Maybe it was the fact I didn't have the time to read it in a day or 2 but normally that doesn't affect me a lot.

The best part for me (apart from Drustans cameo ~dreamy glance~) were the last 50 pages and the last 4 in particular where Aoibheal puts things together. Realizing that things were put into place like this because of a higher reason....

Quote - Cian trying to use voice on Jessi:
“Cease speaking, wench. You will bring that sweet ass over here and kiss me now.”
Jessi gaped, mouth open, midword. Snapped her mouth closed. Opened it again. Her head suddenly itched just beneath the skin, above her metal plate. She rubbed at her scalp. “As if.”
“Remove that woollen, woman, and show me your breasts.’
Choking on an inhalation, she sputtered for several seconds “Oh, I so don’t think that’s going to ha-.”
“Cease speaking,” he roared “You will not speak again unless I tell you to.”
In a sweet voice she said “You can go fuck yourself, you great big domineering Neanderthal!"

Though not the ultimate : Raisin' my bloodpressure kind of story, nonetheless a great story in this Highlander serie and very impatient to see what's coming next to the Keltar-Druids. I just absolutely loved Aoibheal's ending plott especially the silent understanding between herself and Cian!!! I mean what's up with that??? A perfect way to end a book in a series in my opinion. I'm a hooked BAA-Moning fan!

4 Stars
Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Elizabeth Lowell – Untamed

Genre: Historical
Book 1 in the Medieval trilogy
ISBN: 0-7278-6356-8
Releasedate: 1993
Publisher: Avon
Format owned: HC
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

SYNOPSIS
A hero of the crusades , Dominic le Sabre has return to scotland in glory and in triumph to claim his reward: the beautiful Saxon bride awarded to him be the conqueror king. But Lady Margaret of the Blackthorne cannot yield to the bold Norman invader. The beloved daughter of a sacred tribe of the celtic mystics, she fears an ancient curse that could bring further turmoil to her battle-scarred land...and sorrow to her marraige bed. With a word, the lady could turn her wedding into war. But there awaits in the noble knights embrace a promise of passion unbound--and a love that neither violence nor treachery can tear asunder, a love both invincible and...
REVIEW
Despite the fact that I’ve read this book in it’s Dutch translation so I can’t really judge on Elizabeth Lowells own style in writing, but keeping in mind that most Dutch translations aren’t that good, I just know that she knows how to putt a story to paper!I’m quite new to the historical romance novels and eventhough I’ve read a few HR paperbacks I know that those were just B-novels. This book does it’s HC-cover justice because the story held me in it’s grib from beginning to end.

The fury within Dominic le Sabre was stunning. The mistrust he held towards the loyalty of his wife, heartshattering and his misjudgement about her being a Glendruid-witch nearly brought me to tears for Margareth who only wanted to be truly loved for who she was, be free and not be condemned by what her ancesters did wrong a thousands years before. I was all in tears towards the end end when the people of Castle Blackthorne show just how much they love and cherish her and my heart sighed in relief when after 300 pages Dominic finally finds his true feelings and says those 3 words a wife longs to hear!

For me this book opened up a new world in reading. Eventhough I have a weakness for the paranormal genre I’m getting the feeling these historical romances are following up close!What I find I love so much about the Historical/Medieval time is the loyalty amongst the people. There’s a huge contrast between war and peace. When it’s war the time’s are cruel for everyone, and the pain off loss is huge but when there’s peace you can really feel at peace and have nothing to worry about.

To me Elizabeth Lowell knows this and can create this balanced in a novel. With this novel she captured my attention and have me already sitting here with my eyes noticing the second novel in this trilogy ‘Forbidden’.

3,5 Stars
Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Paula Quinn - Laird Of The Mist

Genre: Historical
Book 1 in the Mist Trilogy
ISBN: 0-446-61912-4
Releasedate: December 1, 2007
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.
Format owned: MPB
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

Synopsis
PROTECTING HER WAS HIS PASSION
High-born though she is, Kate Campbell isn't afraid to draw her sword. When raiders strike, she rushes into the fray...and is lucky when a mysterious Highlander shields her from a deadly blow. Swept onto his stallion, she soon discovers that her rescuer is her clan's most hated enemy: Callum MacGregor, the man they call The Devil. Yet she cannot ignore his achingly tender touch or the way his fiery gaze leaves her breathless.

POSSESSING HER WOULD BE HIS PLEASURE
Callum MacGregor has taken many Campbell lives, but he's never saved one--until now. Mesmerized by this spirited lass, he wants her by his side, even if it means holding her for ransom. As his fingers graze her sumptuous curves and tangle in her unruly tresses, Callum realizes Kate Campbell is his most dangerous foe of all. For he can't make love to her without betraying his kinsmen and his honor...and surrendering his heart forever.
REVIEW
A new star has risen and her name is Paula Quinn. Ok I know this is not her debut novel but it is the first novel I read off her hand and she makes me hungry for more! Her ability to put her vision to words in a story so compelling that it shook my world and broadened my longing for stories like hers, is rare on my shelves! From the first page I was captured and pulled into the feud between the Campbells and MacGregors in the Scottish Highlands. To see how she puts two characters from these clans together without losing their dignity, bringing a small step into solving this century long hatred between two clans is stunning.

Paula has a talent for writing her stories in the setting it takes place. The use of the Scottish bur and words add so much to the story making it top quality historical romance and puts her right next to Historical icons such as Elizabeth Lowell. She knows how to describe a setting and varies from humor and laughter to sorrow and pain with a romance strangled within, so radiant and passionate, it touches your heart instantly and you can’t do all but love Kate and Callum and the secondary characters whom are involved in this story that is told.

Kate is a loving, caring, strong woman who stands for what she believes is to be true but knows when to adjust her believes when she finds them based on untrue facts. She has an extraordinary mind and willpower within to set right what’s been done wrong. Callum is a man who has a lot to give and wants nothing more than to honor the family he’s born in and carry his name with pride and joy. Circumstances in the past made him the cold hard devil everybody sees him for and will do everything that is needed to protect what he finds is his or belongs to him and his clan. This makes him unapproachable and closed off for love and companionship in his life…. Until he meets Kate… She does things that make him look at things a little more different than he was used to, but her being a “bloody” Campbell doesn’t make things easy for his MacGregor-heart.

The passion between them both sizzles off the pages and the love-making seems are steamy and without overtaking the Historical Romance only add to this heart-warming love-story.

The way Paula sets stone to their love story within this ongoing war between Scottish clans is what stands out in this genre. I have not come across a story like hers in a long time and knowing I still have a trilogy of her to read makes me sigh in relief for stories like this is what makes reading even a bigger pleasure and joy. This is one of those books that opens up those people who aren’t into reading Historical Romance and make them hooked instantly to this genre. It has everything a Historical Romance Reader longs for and wants to see back.

It reads with such ease that it’s hard to put down and the words seems to glide through your mind and soul, touching every core of your being and claims it’s way into your heart. Callum had to grow on me a bit and had to make me open up to him throughout the story, but I grew with him in the way he opened up to Kate, where Graham touched me straight away, so I’m in a glorious mood when I learned his story is next in line! But also the young warrior Jamie has his own uniqueness and Angus – god love him – with his Gillis is such a pleasure to see coming by every time. Paula used the “bruteness” and "brawling" of the true highlanders and implemented it in the story, making it all the more fun to read.

Everything within this story fits, every chapter you read is built up towards the climaxing ending and makes you long to read the following pages. The more you read the more you want to read about his couple and MacGregor clan and their journey towards meeting in the middle where they can take their hands and walk the same line. I’m still drifting on a high and know that whichever novel comes next for me to read of Paula’s hand will be perfection once more as she is talented to no end! Throughout this story her love for Scotland shows, she’s able to channel that love into the pages of her story and I think that is what makes it stand out!

Overall I think A-MA-ZING is all I can say to describe what my overall feel of this novel is and this is an author who will be read and re-read many a time in the years ahead!

5 Stars
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Janmarie Anello - A Dangerous Man (ARC ROOB)


Genre: Regency
A Stand-ALone Novel
ISBN: 9781420100013
Releasedate: May 6, 2008
Publisher: Kensington Books
Format owned: MPB
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

Synopsis
A SCANDAL?

Spirited and sensual, heiress Leah Jamison knew she would marry one day, but she had thought it would be for love, not because of her father's trickery. Yet her anger soon melts itno arousal when she experiences the expert caresses and bold kiss of the man who will become her husband. Richard Wexton is a duke, accustomed to command. Instead of resisting him, all she can do is ask for more…

OR A WEDDING?
Richard Wexton, the Duke of St. Austin, is a man of honor and he is furious at the idea of being blackmailed into marriage! Alas, he has no choice but to consent to the outrageous scheme. Then he sees Leah for the first time: His bride-to-be is a beauty beyond compare. He cannot ignore his feelings of ardent desire--and passionate love...

REVIEW
Desperate to protect an innocent little girl from telltales and the gossiping tongue of the TON, Richard feels compelled to go in accordance with the proposition Leah’s father handed out in his scheming state of mind. Spirited as she is and believing to be true that love is what makes a marriage work – not this arrangement that was made behind her back – makes Leah not go along quietly.


But once she sets eyes on the dangerously handsome Duke of St. Austin, she comes to know that love might not just be all that holds a marriage together. She gets familiar with the feeling - the urge - that comes with feeling passion for a man she does not even know. Nonetheless, she does know she cannot get him out of her mind and is determined to make him open up to her!

This is an author to watch out for; Janmarie Anello knows how to write a heart-filling romance story set between a hero and heroine. You just know straight away, though they don’t know each other at the start, they belong to each other.

The cover of this novel does not instantly give you the regency vibe and I would understand a sort of reluctance to see it as such but trust me when I say this is a quality regency novel! A well thought out and good structured story that has all one desires from the regency genre. The jealousy within the “Ton” is so very well written, up to the fact where one looks in the other persons eyes and walks away without saying a word – the silent treatment – it makes you feel pity for the person undergoing it! Janmarie is telling a tale which is swiping you off your feet and making you long for more! The world of Duke’s and Duchess, and the longing of two separate people coming together and growing towards each other is making the story sparkle off the pages.

The way twists and plots are entwined within this passionate love tale got to me and made me want to keep reading on and on. She truly gripped me with this story and I thought it was a nice surprise as, honestly said, I didn’t expect it when I first started reading! What I found refreshingly new to my shelves, was the fact that they tried to make the best out of the situation at hand. With bantering about, no hate and fighting over the marriage they were both forced into. But accepting what simply was and even though Richard was reluctant against emotional ties it was great to see he opened up to Leah’s strong passionate charitable character. As well as the fact that this story was spread out over months and not just a few weeks in time, making it more realistic as you are able to indulge yourself into their world and get the feeling you get to know the characters through time.

Their connection grabbed me on a deeper level, their love for each other grows throughout the story, making their passion and love-scenes all the more intense to read. It gave me as a reader the feeling that the characters made their way into my heart.

The secondary story lines, which are implemented in this story through the jealousy of Richard’s previous bed partners, are adding to the story and making this novel a real page-turner! I absolutely adored Richards brother, Geoffrey, who is a rogue first hand and I am hoping and silently praying for him to have his own story in time. Because with the way Janmarie Anello writes her stories I just know I would re-read her novels from time-to-time, as this story has touched my romantic filled heart!

4 Stars
Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sara Bennett – Lessons In Seduction

Genre: Regency
Book 1 in the Greentree Sisters Trilogy
ISBN: 0-06-058438-6
Releasedate: 2005
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers Inc
Format owned: MPB
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

Synopsis
What is prim and proper Miss Vivianna Greentree to do when her precious haven for orphans is threatened? She has no choice but to turn to the owner of the property, Sir Oliver Montegomery -- yet the heartless scoundrel refuses to be swayed by reason. So Vivianna must resort to other means of persuasion ...

Under the tutelage of Madame Aphrodite, London's most notorious courtesan, Vivianna is determined to learn the sensuous secrets that will render a man weak with desire, to melt Oliver's stony heart with a kiss, a caress and a promise. But as her encounters with Oliver become more intense, Vivianna unexpectedly discovers a fiery passion that leaves her breathless. And soon it becomes unclear exactly who is seducing whom...
REVIEW
What a lovely romantic story altogether. On the cover Stephanie Laurens is quoted : 'Exciting, enthralling and satisfying.' I couldn't quite get the words together in my head myself to describe this story and it is exactly just as she said.

I thoroughly enjoyed the spitfire passionate goody-two-shoes lady Vivianna Greentree. And as soon as Lord Oliver Montegomery entered the story I knew I'd like him... a lot! I'm always weak in the knees for a rake with emotional issues....

Sara has written this story in a way that makes you have a great passtime while reading it. The story itself was good, great intro-middle-ending balance although the epilogue, I thought, was a bit over the top and for me didn't add something extra, which was a bit disappointing.

With every "regency-like" story, while reading I'm able to sort of predict what comes next and this book didn't surprise me in that way. Everything that was unfold in the ending I saw coming - apart from the Queen Victoria/Prince Albert thing.

I am however looking forward to reading Marietta and Franscesca's stories and see what Sara has got in store for them and Madame Aphrodite!

A solid 3,5 stars all over for me, nothing more, nothing less.

3,5 Stars

Jade Lee - Dragonborn (ARC for ROOB)


Genre: Fantasy
A Stand-Alone Novel
ISBN: 9780505527547
Releasedate: March 1, 2008
Publisher: Dorchester Publishing
Format owned: e-Book
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

Synopsis
ONE PROTECTOR

When dragon power flows through your veins, when dragon thoughts burn in your mind, you can accomplish anything. Natiya knows, for she carries one of the last eggs in the land disguised as a jewel in her navel. Day by day the Unhatched grows, and when at last it births they will be joined in a sacred and eternal bond. Gone will be the barmaid forced to dance for pennies; born will be Dag Natiya, revered Queen. Take her body or her soul, nothing will stop them.

ONE SLAYER
When dragon power flows through your veins, when dragon emotions trample your soul, you become a monster. So knows Kiril, for one destroyed his cousin. No matter how kind or joyful, all beings must succumb to the power of the wyrm. That is why Kiril vowed to destroy dragonkind—and he has almost succeeded. Only one egg remains. But there is an obstacle he did not foresee: love.

REVIEW
When the dragonhunter meets the tavern-dancer he knows there’s more to their connection than lust. Even though she’s reluctant to go with him, there’s no choice left for her once she was captured and imprisoned. In doing this, the secret she is carrying is jeopardized. Will their connection stand strong through the threat that linger’s on their trail….


It all starts with a smashing prologue making me hunger for more. In those first few pages the base of the story is set, instantly making me have a love-hate relationship with Kiril. Love because of his fiery temperament, determination and loyalty to his cause no matter how difficult it was to him. And hate because.... well Dragon-slaying isn't on top of the list I want my heroes to do as a profession. But in the first pages you actually feel him struggling with it. So needless to say I was intrigued and eager to read on and see what Jade Lee had in store with his character.

Natiya, a girl who's forced to work in a bar and dance for some cash, is the last person, who carries a dragon-egg, awaiting its hatching and becoming one with its mind, body and soul. Not just any egg, but the Queen-egg and nothing will come between her knowledge that Dragons are good; nothing will make her doubt this. Equally passionate about her destiny, as Kiril is of his, and even more determined to make it through. She will not be brought down from her cause by anyone.

When these two characters meet in this story you just feel there's this underlying connection between them. There is doubt about what they feel, lust in their doings and both heading the same way for different purposes. Jade Lee has a strong writing skill. Even though most of this novel is written like it’s one big scene between Kiril and Natiya; she is able to put together an underlying story, making it an intense, emotional and wonderful read. Usually, when you are in the middle of reading such a story, you read it as quickly as possible to hold on to the feeling for the characters because of the build up. Jade Lee was able to write every scene so that you can put it away for a day, start reading again and get straight back into feeling the same intense emotions. So throughout the whole story you are able to hold on to the feeling you had when you put it down for awhile.

The build up of the story and the dragon world is not a new thing within the fantasy/sci-fi/paranormal genre. Despite the fact the focus of this story was not mainly on the world, but more a balance of the world entwined within an epic love story. The world surrounding the two of them on their journey just added more to their love story and brought along the tragedy and some thrill to their connection.

Because the focus was more on the emotions both characters were going through, your imagination was completely able to create the world around them. Sometimes you just long to read this type of story and sometimes you don’t, but this time it fell right in place for me. So I had an absolutely superb time reading this novel, making this world visual for me and sighed when the story ended.

If as an author you are able to write a great story mainly about two terrific characters, to me you are a fantastic writer! In my opinion, this is great fantasy romance novel and it actually made me put Jade Lee’s other novels in my priority list of buying.

Jade Lee writes in her own unique way bringing something new to my bookshelves!

4 Stars
Saturday, March 1, 2008

Elizabeth Amber - Raine

!! ARC REVIEW FOR REALMS ON OUR BOOKSHELVES !!
Genre: Erotica
Book 2 in the Lords of Satyr series
ISBN: 0-7582-2040-5
Releasedate: March 2008
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Format owned: TPB
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

Synopsis
As A Lover, His Skills Are Legendary...

The middle brother, Raine, is both sensual and stoic. Scarred by once taking a wife who could not accept his carnal needs, he wants no part in another marriage. But duty commands that he fulfill his promise to wed King Feydon's second daughter, Jordan...

But In Matters Of The Heart, He Has Much To Learn...
The loyal satyr begins a search that leads him from Tuscany to romantic Venice, where his beautiful bride awaits, unaware of what passionate delights fate has planned for her. Raine is careful not to reveal his powerful satyr sexuality, for fear of driving yet another woman away. But unbeknownst to him, Jordan is no ordinary woman and was born with an insatiable appetite for love. And as Raine's heart begins to melt for her, how long will he be able to hide his true nature when Jordan seems to want him so fiercely?
REVIEW

When Raine was ordered to take an offspring of Fae-king Feydon as his wife, he was reluctant in getting married again. But once he spotted Jordan, his body betrayed him tremendously… Will his heart follow?

As the middle of the Satyr brothers he is the second one to locate the Fae-daughter, whom he is ordered to take as his wife. His past experience with his first wife made him realize he never wants to marry again. That, combined with his past, makes him a tortured hero – as so longingly beloved amongst readers.

The beginning of this story is a bit difficult to get into, but once you read on, you see it is not due to the way it is written. It emphasizes Raine’s character formidably. He is regal, distance, aristocratic, annoyingly organized and reluctant to share his inner self, due to the hurt that is done to him in the past.

Jordan is a totally different character altogether. Split into two beings, because her mother needed a son, but is very much feminine inside. She’s a heroine to my heart. Strong-minded, funny, stubborn and set to make Raine laugh and enjoy life a bit more. She’s got the capability to make Raine walk a step out of pace from his organized life, bringing organized chaos into it.

I am amazed by Elizabeth Amber’s ability to bring three brothers to life, whom are very different from each other but work superbly well together. She is able to write their stories so, that you really feel their character throughout the whole length of their journey. Once one of the others are mentioned in the scenes, you straight away feel what their character is like, bringing such a change in scenery.

In this novel, the emphasis is not on the plotlines, even though things were surprising in the end. It was focused on getting to know Raine and Jordan, seeing them bloom to life and growing towards each other. That combined, ofcourse, with amazing passionate love making, which require a bit of an open mind. It made me realize I am more open minded than I thought I was. When introduced in the way Elizabeth Amber did, working really well within the story, it adds to it a lot. It fits within this story because it’s part of who Jordan really is and adds to the reading experience of getting to know her inner turmoil and creating her “new” identity for herself.

Despite the fact Nick and Raine really caught my attention and affection; my body, mind and soul belong to Lyon. He and his way of life make butterflies flutter in my belly. Nicholas’ and Raine’s stories are the base and the mix to the cake, but Lyon is the chocolate glazing and cherry to finish it off.

Needing to wait for the next story in line is a pleasant torture I’m willing to undergo – but having to say eagerly waiting what Lyon will bring to the mix! The Lords of Satyr is a trilogy that should not be missed on your bookshelves!

4 stars
Thursday, January 31, 2008

CL Wilson - Lady of Light and Shadows

Genre: Fantasy Romance
Book 2 in the Tairen Soul series
ISBN: 0-8439-5977-0
Releasedate: October 30, 2007
Publisher: Dorchester Publishing
Format owned: MMPB / HC Rhapsody
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

Synopsis
Since her earliest memories, Ellysetta Baristani has feared magic, even as she has been inexorably drawn to all things Fey, especially the poetry and legends of Rain Tairen Soul. Now claimed as Rain’s truemate and no longer able to deny her own magic, Ellysetta is swept into the very center of a struggle filled with the magic and darkness she has always feared. The High Mage of Eld wants to capture her. The most murderous dahl’reisen who ever lived wants her dead. And her enemies will corrupt even the people she loves most in their quest to claim her magic for themselves.
REVIEW
The courtship of Rain and Ellysetta take further progression, they grow towards each other and long to be with each other more with each passing hour. Unfortunately the High Mage of the Eld has other plans, what will happen when the truth comes to life? Will they be able to overcome the threat that seemingly is out to doom the rest of the world?

I have a profound respect for people who are able to write a 5-star novel, but to do so on their debut and have a follow up novel with again a 5-star quality is admirable and herewith I speak out loud my admiring respect for the writing abilities and qualities of CL Wilson. Not only was she able to baffle and amaze me with her smashing start of the Tairen Soul series – Lord of the Fading Lands – but even more so, she was able to captivate me and leave me in awe with the follow up in this series – Lady of Light and Shadow.

Where the first part was filled with an innocent blooming love between Rain and Elly, this book was overflowing with passion and strength. Plot wise it was so solid and enormously well written that I’m left with a ferocious hungering need for reading on. I’m very VERY happy I’m able to dive straight into King of Sword and Sky. Not often am I impatient in waiting for a book to be released but I know this series has me fully addicted. It’s all I wanted and so much more!

Ms Wilson is able to write a compelling story, create characters that make you cry in joy, immense pain and in longing desire. There was a built up plot wise that left me with a wholesome feeling throughout the entire novel. It touched me on every level to see the fey-warriors grow. To experience Rain in his courtship for Ellysetta whilst being more in doubt about certain events. Seeing Elly grow from this woodcarvers daughter to a woman who is on her way to become the truemate of the only living Tairen Soul and Queen of the Fading Lands, left me in awe.

In this story The Dark Lord surfaces and events surrounding this plotline happen that give a totally new light to where things might lead. An amazing weave is threaded in between the storylines that makes me, as a reader, purr in ecstasy.

The courtship between Elly and Rain is getting more passionate and stronger, the darkness that was hinted towards in Lord of the Fading Lands is getting more dark and mysterious. When reading this novel you really feel the light and shadows vibrating off the pages, every page you turn consumes you and brings you further and deeper in touch with the characters and plotlines.

It all relates, it all works, it’s stunningly perfect! CL Wilson is a master-weaver of the written word and I admire her for keeping the warriors at bay. It’s books like in this series that makes me realize why it is I love reading so much, it’s for books like these where I feel the want and need to speak out as a reviewer. It’s books like these I NEED in hardcover because they are top-notch Keepers on my Shelves!!!!

5 stars

Blog Assistant

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With spring in the air, my blog assistant decided to dress a bit more appropriate...

State Of Mind

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Torn between the good stuff and the yummy stuff....

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Natascha
Winschoten, Groningen, Netherlands

With everything new, I ofcourse, had to get used to the idea of making, owning and maintaining a blog but I have to say, now that I’ve got the hang of it, it’s quite fun to do. Let me introduce myself, I’m Natascha, in my early 30’s and from a little place called Winschoten in the Netherlands, I’ll be your host on this blog.

As an avid reader you’ll find that most of my blogs will maintain reviews, books, topics about books, writing and such, but as I am a diverse person myself, it will include many other topics on things that I find interesting in life. So welcome to my world, and happy blogging!
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