Saturday, January 29, 2011

January Reviews

The Ranger (Highland Guard, Book 3) by Monica McCarty

Embedded deep behind enemy lines, Arthur “Ranger” Campbell is Bruce’s secret weapon as he wages his final assault on the enemies who stand against him. Recruited to join the Bruce’s secret elite fighting force for his prized scouting skills, Arthur’s razor sharp senses and ability to blend into the shadows make him the perfect spy. But when this shadow warrior must infiltrate the clan of the chieftain who murdered his father, his heart is locked on revenge. Inside he faces unexpected resistance from the sweetest of obstacles—a honey-haired siren who is his enemy’s daughter. But the vivacious, enchanting Anna MacDougall is a woman whose skill at uncovering deception rivals his own.

Intrigued by this ruggedly handsome newcomer to her father’s forces, Anna accepts the challenge his determined indifference to her arouses. Though anxious for the war to end and yearning for a quiet life with a good man to love, Anna is drawn to this mysterious knight whose eyes devour her but whose words push her away. But as danger, treachery, and the threat of looming war draw them closer into each other’s passions and secrets, a warrior made of steel must make a choice from the heart: love or revenge.

(Information courtesy of

This truly has to be one of the best historical romance series ever. McCarty starts the story off with excitement and doesn't let up the entire book. The one is just as great as the first two. This could be read as a stand alone, but I wouldn't recommend it. We were introduced to Arthur in the first book, and I couldn't wait to get to his story; he just fascinated me. You'd miss a lot of the Guard's history if you skip any of the books. Arthur and Anna are just wonderful together, and I was on pins and needles about Anna finding out about Arthur's background. The romance was wonderfully hot. Just beware of the rats - mwaaaahahahahaha.

My Rating: *****

Sweet Release (Blakewell/Kenleigh Family Trilogy, Book 1) by Pamela Clare

When a woman buys a dying convict to save his life, she little suspects he is truly an English aristocrat who will soon steal her heart.

(Information courtesy of

Not a lot of time was spent working on that description, was there? I didn't realize this was part of a trilogy - I found out after I read the 3rd book first! But it really doesn't matter, as both of those I read can truly stand alone. This was Clare's first novel, and it was a doozy! I found the story to be compelling and heartwrenching. A number of tears were shed by me - that's a sign of a good book to me! The romance was at times sweet, and then sizzling. They were great leads; but the secondary characters helped bring the book to life. You don't see many romances that deal with slavery in a serious manner; it was deftly handled here. Great story all around.

My Rating: *****

A Little Bit Sinful by Adrienne Basso

Eleanor Collins knows that her beautiful younger sister will have wealthy, powerful men falling at her feet in her first London season. But Eleanor is surprised to discover that one man's attentions are utterly focused on her. As delicious as Sebastian Dodd, Viscount Benton, finds the eldest Collins daughter, his true motive is darker than mere seduction. Until he has avenged his mother's death, he will be unable to think of anything else. Or so he believes, until he takes his first taste of Eleanor's inviting lips, and finds his mind - and his body - utterly consumed.

(Information courtesy of

This was a fast, fun and delightful read. The chemistry between Eleanor and Sebastian was very steamy, and I liked that our heroine was more of a real woman than often occurs in some romance novels. I wanted to kick Sebastian's ass a time or two (well, he deserved it!), but he redeemed himself. Very enjoyable.

My Rating: ****

Immortal Champion (Immortal Brotherhood, Book 3) by Lisa Hendrix

Part of a Viking crew of warriors cursed by an evil sorceress, Gunnar the Red must toil through eternity as half-man, half-beast, living out his days as a great bull, while his nights are spent in human form. And though he keeps mostly to the wilds, his heart yearns for the simple comforts of man--and the chance to redeem a tragic past. Only the magic of true love can release him. Though she is betrothed to another, could Lady Eleanor de Neville be his salvation?

(Information courtesy of

Ahhhhh, Gunnar! Gunnar will make you melt. Now here's a REAL man. (Well, a man AND a bull, but let's not be particular.) But about the book.... I absolutely love paranormal historical romances, and this is definitely one of THE best series there is. The mythology is fascinating, and Hendrix has given us a great variety of heroes and heroines so far. Gunnar and Lady Eleanor have got to be one of my favorite romance couples ever. They so belong together, but it seems destiny conspires to keep them apart. You know there will be a HEA, but oh, what they have to go through to get it! If you haven't picked up this series, I suggest you do, and start from the beginning - you won't won't to miss a word.

My Rating: *****

Laird of the Mist (MacGregors, Book 1) by Paula Quinn


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.


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.

(Information courtesy of

I just can't say enough about how much I enjoy Paula Quinn's books. I wish I had some idea as to where the others by her are in my TBR pile, because I want to devour them. I read the second book in this series first (didn't know it was part of a series), but it really didn't make a difference. Kate is one hell of a heroine. She is a lady, but damn, she can kick some ass with a sword! And Callum? ****SIGH**** If he's The Devil, well, most ladies would want to go to hell. Quinn really makes you feel the emotions of her characters. She never disappoints.

My Rating: *****

A Taste of Desire by Beverley Kendall

She Challenged His Pride

Lady Amelia Bertram may have a reputation as the most brazen beauty of the ton, but she shocks even herself when she accidentally--and loudly--derides one of society's most eligible bachelors in the middle of a crowded ballroom. The timing of her faux pas couldn't be worse, for her father is seeking someone to take her off his hands that very night. . .

He Challenged Her Willpower

But when Thomas Armstrong overhears the so-called "Lady" Amelia slandering his sexual prowess in public, he cannot help but accept the dare implicit in her words. To her father's great delight, he offers to take her to his secluded country estate--properly chaperoned, of course--to teach the girl a lesson in ladylike behavior. . .

(Information Courtesy of

Oh, what a delightful romance! It started off a bit frivolous and shallow (I'm talking about you, Lady Amelia!), but that just added to the depth of the character and the story. Neither Amelia nor Thomas were the most likable of characters at the beginning, but I must say they both redeemed themselves and won my heart. What started out as a hate/hate relationship turned into such a deep emotional connection that I hated to see the book end. Will definitely read more from this author.

My Rating: ****

Kiss at Your Own Risk (Soulfire, Book 1) by Stephanie Rowe

Trinity Harpswell is a cursed Black Widow-death and mayhem are all part of the job description. If she can manage to go just one more week without accidentally killing someone, she'll break this killer curse and put her Black Widow days behind her. When sexy Blaine Underhill III shows up at her door and asks for her help rescuing his friend from the clutches of Death's evil grandma, Trinity gets pulled into a daring high stakes adventure. As Blaine and Trinity join forces to take down a series of underworld assassins, they may just learn that love is the deadliest game of all.

(Information courtesy of

The description on the back of this book and the cover picture (YUM!) made me think this book was right up my alley. But alas, it just wasn't me. Though it was fast paced and entertaining enough, the humor was way too forced for my liking. I like some subtle humor or sarcasm in my books, but this was just so in your face and outrageous that it leached the funny out of the story for me.

My Rating: ***

Wild Heart by Lori Brighton


Leo Roberts is next in line for an earldom and the power and fortune that come with it, but he is uncultured, unrefined--and completely untamed...until governess Ella Finch arrives upon the scene. Can so young and inexperienced a woman tutor him in the manners and mores of his class? Leo's mysterious past has rendered him an outsider, too wild for polite society. But he finds her innocence most intriguing...


What manner of man he may be, Ella does not know. Yet he fascinates her and she must know more. Capturing Leo's reckless heart is about to free her in ways she never dreamed of...and his sensual touch releases the deepest yearnings of her body and soul...

(Information courtesy of

This is Lori Brighton's debut novel, and what an awesome start it was! I adored this book and the characters. It was historical romance with a wee bit of paranormal thrown in to sweeten the pot. There wasn't a dull moment, with great action and mystery. And some steamy lovin' between two wonderful leads. I can't wait for Brighton's next book!

My Rating: ****

Jared (The Shadow Wranglers, Book 2) by Sarah McCarty

Meet Jared-a cowboy with bite-in the latest paranormal romance from the national bestselling author. Jared Johnson has always been a force to be reckoned with, first as an outlaw and now as a vampire. Caught in a war between immortals, he doesn't have time to waste, but when a female vampire is attacked, he can't just walk away. He expects a quick good­bye, but what he gets is a vulnerable woman who intrigues and seduces while giving away nothing of the secrets holding her hostage. Raisa may not have extreme physical strength, but she's been able to survive as a vampire longer than most by keeping to herself. But that's about to change. Forced to accept Jared's protection, Raisa finds it increasingly hard to resist his forbidden allure while keeping the secret that could destroy them both.

(Information courtesy of

I didn't think I'd ever get done with this book. No, it wasn't long and boring - I just couldn't keep my eyes off the front cover. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiice body there, Jared! As for the story, I thought it was fantastic. I enjoyed the first book in the series (Caleb), but this one was much better. I think it was the difference in the heroines. I totally loved Raisa. Though she was physically weak (great story behind that), she was such a strong individual. And Jared was one alpha hunk of vamp cowboy. He wasn't likable in the first book, but apparently we just needed to get to know him. There were some great revelations in this story, plus very interesting secondary characters. I hope McCarty's got lots more stories for us.

My Rating: *****

A Pirate's Possession by Michelle Beattie

Disguised as a man, Claire Gentry is searching for the treasure her long-lost father never found. But her façade doesn't fool pirate Nate Carter-the man who stole her heart, and the man who can help her find the treasure. But they may realize that what they've really been searching for isn't riches, but each other.

(Information courtesy of

I was really looking forward to reading this book. A friend on Nocturne Romance Reads recommended it. Besides, what's not to like about a hunky pirate? But for me, the book was just "meh". I had trouble getting into it and it took me quite a while to get done. I think a lot had to do with the fact that there are two books before this one, and much reference was made to the previous books. I thought Nate was great, but Claire just annoyed the hell out of me. Yes, she was spirited, self-sufficient and had a hard past, but I just wanted to slap her for her attitude toward Nate.

My Rating: ***

Ashes of Midnight (Midnight Breed, Book 6) by Lara Adrian

A woman driven by blood. A man thirsting for vengeance...
A place where darkness and desire meet...

As night falls, Claire Roth flees, driven from her home by a fiery threat that seems to come from hell itself. Then, from out of the flames and ash, a vampire warrior emerges. He is Andreas Reichen, her onetime lover, now a stranger consumed by vengeance. Caught in the cross fire, Claire cannot escape his savage fury—or the hunger that plunges her into his world of eternal darkness and unending pleasure.

Nothing will stop Andreas from destroying the vampire responsible for slaughtering his Breed brethren...even if he must use his former lover as a pawn in his deadly mission. Blood-bonded to his treacherous adversary, Claire can lead Andreas to the enemy he seeks, but it is a journey fraught with danger—and deep, unbidden desires. For Claire is the one woman Andreas should not crave, and the only one he’s ever loved. A dangerous seduction begins—one that blurs the lines between predator and prey, and stokes the flames of a white-hot passion that may consume all in its path...

(Information courtesy of

This is one of my favorite series, and this has been one of my favorite books. And I hope there are many more to come. Andreas is quite a tortured alpha male, much different than he was in the other books. (Big events at the end of the last book changed everything for him.) He meets up again with Claire, the former love of his life, and sparks fly. (***giggles*** Read the book and you'll think that's cute!) There is non-stop action in this story, and the suspense never lets up. Your heart will break for Claire and Andreas and the hell they have to go through to get a HEA. Great chapter in a great series.

My Rating: **** 1/2

How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling

Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne is a man with a mission: find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live. Love is not necessary--nor desired. But how to choose among a dizzying array of wealthy-yet-witless candidates? Hire London's infamously prim and proper matchmaker. Then pretend she's not the most captivating woman he's ever met...

Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she's determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife--she'll bring him true love. Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke's affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan's desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker's number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.

(Information courtesy of

This is Dreiling's debut novel, and I hope for many books to come from her. I think this was a phenomenal debut. I like trying out new authors, so even though the description sounded like a fluffy light read (The Bachelor, historical romance style!), I decided to give it a try. And I was quite pleasantly surprised! Though the book starts out light and witty (quite clever dialogue betweent he leads), it soon turns into an emotional story with intrigue. You cannot read this book and not fall totally in love with Tristan. Definitely swoon-worthy. Sexy, smart, witty and protective - he's got it all. Though the story gets deeper, there is still a sense of humor throughout. (I bet you can't read the "sheep" discussion without grinning like a fool!)

My Rating: *****

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