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Monday, December 30, 2013

Douglas by Grace Burrowes

I loved that both of these characters are so guarded as it makes for such an emotional read. While both Gwen and Douglas are reserved in no way did I find them off-putting in fact I was more intrigued by their natures than if they were easily readable. Little Rose stole my heart from the moment she took Douglas’s hand and he had already garnered it when he rescued the young damsel in distress. I usually prefer one of the leading couple to be more flamboyant or exuberant yet these two are perfect for each other and their personalities seem so well matched that I cannot see either of them being with anyone else. I enjoyed catching up with characters I’d met in earlier works and as always I look forward to reading the stories of those I’ve not yet had the pleasure. Grace Burrowes is quickly becoming one of my favorite Regency authors! Her style is distinctive and the wit and humor she writes with has definitely seated her on my must-read list.

Miss Molly Robbins Designs a Seduction by Jayne Fresina

Carver Danforth is quite the charmer and I can't believe how fast I fell under his spell! It took me a longer time to warm up to Molly, in fact at the beginning of the book I was ready to stop reading because I just couldn't find it in myself to like her. I choose to read historical romances for the innocence of the time and the heroines tend to be softer, a little more naive than modern heroines yet with a flash of gumption that makes them so very interesting but Molly was a bit more progressive than I'm used to. However I have to say I'm so very happy I didn't give up on the story because if I had I would have missed a fabulous adventure. I soon warmed to Molly and her more modern ways and enjoyed watching how her reactions often prodded Carver. This is the first story I've read by this author and I'm looking forward to seeing what else she has to offer as I enjoyed her storytelling skills.

Castle Hill by Samantha Young

The blurb for this story caught my attention so I just had to read this novella even though I had never read any other Joss and Braden stories prior to this. I'm so happy that I went with my instincts because I believe I just discovered a fabulous new author to me and a list of stories to read. Braden is a fantastic hero I wish I could find someone just like him for myself. I really felt a connection with Joss and loved how serious this short story was. The supporting cast is great and I cannot wait to read the preceding stories so that I can learn more about them. I loved Joss's best friend and the fact that she is also Braden's sister makes her that more interesting but her personality is definitely a winner and I'm so glad I got to meet her. If you are looking for an entertaining and emotional read than this is one to pick up.

A Lady Most Lovely by Jennifer Delamere

Tom Poole is a refreshing hero who believes in working for his money but his newfound riches lead him to spend time in a society that doesn’t necessarily hold the same beliefs. Tom instantly becomes enamored of the toast of the town, the lovely Margaret Vaughn. Maggie is a socialite heiress engaged to a wealthy gentleman when Tom first becomes acquainted with her and I must say I had a difficult time understanding why he so easily fell for her beyond her physical attributes. I felt she got what she deserved when the farce with her fiancĂ© was revealed. The supporting characters were engaging and even though I did not read the first book it did not hinder my ability to follow the storyline. If a sweet historical romance with strong Christian nuances is your cup of tea I think this will be an enjoyable read.

Never Desire a Duke by Lily Dalton

Stranded with a Duke in a cosy mansion, I can’t think of a more spectacular way to spend a few cold winter nights. I loved experiencing the ups and downs with this couple. The heartbreak seemed insurmountable and the joy so genuine that I felt as if I was on a roller coaster ride of the greatest emotions. A sweet, sentimental romance with a scorching sensuality Vane and Sophia’s story kept me reading until the wee hours of the morning and not regretting my lack of sleep at all. The supporting characters added a dimension of entertainment and realism to the story that was refreshing and natural. This was a heartwarming adventure that had me smiling long after I finished reading the last word. This was my first Lily Dalton novel but I can bet it won’t be the last, especially if she gives Vane’s younger brother his own story plus I cannot wait to read about what Sophia’s sisters get up to.

Andrew by Grace Burrowes

Andrew is another amazing hero from Grace Burrowes. I don’t know how she does it but she always seems to create the most interesting leading men. While each and every one draws me in they have some similarities but they also have a wealth of differences. And she always finds their perfect match. Astrid is definitely the woman for Andrew even though he needs more convincing. While reading this story I was once again swept up in the lives of these entertaining characters and the setting in which it was taking place. My favorite part of reading is being taken on a journey and becoming so involved in the story that I get caught up and forget that I’m actually reading and this author has the skill to do this to me over and over again. I’m so grateful for her vivid imagination and her prolific skills.

The MacGregor's Lady by Grace Burrowes

I often dream of Scottish heroes and Asher MacGregor is a fantastic example of a fantasy come to life. From the moment he stepped up and offered his arm he won me over. I’d like to think he won the heroine over just as easily but she seems a little more stubborn than me. To be completely honest I’m not always a fan of American heiresses in my British historical but the lure of a Highlander outweighed my doubts and I’m glad I chose to read this one. I loved her personality and witnessing their interactions was pure pleasure. Hannah's aunt annoyed me to no end which is probably what she was meant to do and Asher’s uncle was equally entertaining for me. This author always wins me over with her wonderful characterizations and this story is no different. This story has just the right amount of adventure, passion and lovely description to whisk me away from the every day mundane and after all isn’t that what a good romance should do?

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

This book was a beautiful, emotional journey that thoroughly entertains. To be completely honest I would have given this a five star review except as a bigger lady I was slightly offended by Anna's description of her obese boss, but all in all I found this to be a lovely read with a nice mixture of romance and self-discovery. It was like getting two stories in one with all the flashback scenes and the vivid descriptions brought every scene to life. I loved the variety of characters and the more decadent they were the more I enjoyed them much like the chocolate that was described. I have a confession though even after reading about all the delicious chocolate creations I still prefer the milk chocolate from the UK but I'm looking forward to reading more from this author to see if all her stories have such fantastic detail.

How to Master Your Marquis by Juliana Gray

I am a complete sucker for happily-ever-afters which is why I love romances of all genres. While I adore Regencies, which I thought this was going to be, I am fast becoming a fan of Victorian romance as well. James Lambert, the Marquess of Hatherfield is one fabulous leading man who capture my heart straight away. He was just the perfect, honorable gentleman and who can resist a hottie hero and comedy in a love story? I definitely cannot. Stephanie is not your usual heroine and I loved witnessing her transformation as it gave me insight and giggles. I enjoyed the emotions in this story and all the characters including the well-developed villains. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author as I found this to be a wonderful escapade.

The Smuggler Wore Silk by Alyssa Alexander

I love a tortured hero with a mysterious path and wounded soul and superb spy Julian makes a perfect leading man. Grace is an intrepid, entertaining lady and a fabulous heroine. she is more than a perfect match for Julian, dare I say she is his savior. I love that she is not only brave but intelligent. The suspense and action were fabulously paced and the descriptions fantastic. This wounded man and the lovely smuggler are definitely a pair with a story worth reading. If you are looking for a romantic, suspenseful historical story with a great action-filled plot this is the one for you. As a debut novel I cannot wait to see what the follow up story is because this one was a definite winner. 

Magic Man by Patricia Rice

The subtle magic of this story is truly beautiful and Aidan is such a fabulously complex hero who intrigued me from the very first word. I'm a sucker for so many aspects of this novel, I adore Scottish heroes, give them a historical setting and I'm practically drooling add a paranormal aspect and I'm definitely a goner so there was no doubt that I'd enjoy this story. And I so did! Aidan feels as if he needs to keep himself isolated and this about broke my heart so I was so happy that Mora came into his life. She herself was living a life that was basically a facade as well so I couldn't wait for the two of them to peel the layers away and be able to reveal their true selves. This is the first in the Magic series that I've read and I know it will not be the last as all these characters completely caught my attention and I just have to read their stories. I believe I have just discovered another author for my must-read list.


A Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer

Holidays on this Massachusetts Island are nothing short of magical, and the season’s wonderful traditions are much loved by Nicole Somerset, new to Nantucket and recently married to a handsome former attorney. Their home is already full of enticing scents of pine, baking spices, and homemade pie.

But the warm, festive mood is soon tempered by Nicole’s chilly stepdaughter, Kennedy, who arrives without a hint of holiday spirit. Determined to keep her stepmother at arm’s length—or, better yet, out of the picture altogether—Kennedy schemes to sabotage Nicole’s holiday preparations. Nicole, however, is not about to let anyone or anything tarnish her first Christmas with her new husband.

Nancy Thayer’s wonderful tale reminds us that this is the season of miracles. Before the gifts are unwrapped, surprise visitors appear, and holiday joy comes to all, both naughty and nice.

Nantucket Christmas holidays are a site to see. Off season for tourists but not for the full time residents. Nicole is ready to celebrate the season and welcome her step daughter, Kennedy. All is not smooth sailing and there are a few surprises along the way.

I thought the heartwarming family life way in which this is written is charming. Lots of lessons of bringing a family together no matter what the situation. Beautiful descriptions of the island decorated up and the traditions that have carried on for years.

I liked the descriptions of walking around town and seeing all the little shops decorated for the holidays. Also the bond of the townspeople and how they help one another and survive tough times.

Take Over at Midnight by M.L. Buchhman

Chief Warrant Officer Lola LaRue, determined to succeed as a helicopter pilot, joins a Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) base in Bati, Pakistan, where she meets several fan-favorite characters who paired off in previous books. Just as she’s wondering whether all the men on base are already taken, she encounters Sgt. Tim Maloney. The desert heat has nothing on this duo, and soon Lola is fighting against her own lust and Tim’s intense romantic attentions. As only the second woman to qualify as a SOAR pilot, Lola wants to focus all her attention on proving herself worthy of flying alongside the legendary Beale, but she can’t keep her hands off Tim. Dangerous top-secret missions and sizzling love scenes lead to a satisfying conclusion that hints at a possible civilian-side spin-off series to come.
I really liked how Lola was developed as a character. She had herself a really harsh beginning and it's not every day you see a character raised pretty much by a brothel house's cook without being encouraged toward the lifestyle herself. I also really admired that Lola considered it, but then the author allowed the natural time line to influence what happens (9/11, specifically) and what she decides to do with her life. And, as an aside, her father utterly deserves whatever torture he's put through in this life and the next. She also has a lovely little problem with Kee Stevenson from the last book I read in the series, and I liked seeing little Dalya again. The little girl's certainly growing up and proving herself smart as can be.
Tim - he's a hoot. He's got a fabulous family and really deserves his "crazy" moniker. He's not afraid to go after a woman, be the first one to own up to feelings, and to not utterly give up on one when she shoots him down. Oh, can't blame him for being hurt, and he was, buuuuut they also found their way to work through things.
I love the military aspect to this book. AMAZING! I love the amount of detail in these books and am amazed by the fact that all those details never get to be too much. I am not a detail or mechanical gal, but the military facts in these books are written to simple perfection. TONS about the mission and the mechanics of the helicopters, but it's interwoven into the story so incredibly well. The suspense part of this book was particularly well done. I really loved every single bit of it. Just a fabulous book!!

Love Your Entity by Cat Devon

Sierra Brennan can inherit her great-uncle’s historic Chicago townhouse under one condition: She must live there for thirty consecutive days. What could possibly go wrong? As a writer and a ghost whisperer, Sierra has a vast imagination and a brave spirit. But not even she is prepared for the gorgeous—and naked—vampire who greets her at the door.

Ronan McCoy has spent the past century waiting to come home…to this house. The presence of the beautiful, brazen Sierra is one complication he doesn’t expect. The other is Hal, a dangerous ghost and original member of Al Capone’s gang who’s dead-set on revenge. What is a formerly indentured vampire supposed to do to get a moment’s peace? All he knows for sure is that he must protect Sierra from Hal. But once he has her in his arms, can he ever let her go? Life—and love—is becoming stranger than fiction for Sierra…and more delicious than she and Ronan could have ever imagined... in Love Your Entity. 

Ronan is waiting to come home after being enslaved for almost 100 years.  He has a lot to do and a very short time to do it in.  Sierra is trouble and he has to put up with her so he can do what he has to do.  Sierra is trying to inherit a late uncle’s house, and hopes she can stay long enough to do that.

I liked the creative way the author entangled all the different people in this book. You were guessing about who was who and what they really were.  Ronan was set out to do good and hopefully to save everyone there from the cursed evil that lingered. He wants to save his sisters soul and has a very short time to do it in.

Somewhere to Dream by Genevieve Graham

The Cherokee call her Shadow Girl. A white woman adopted by Indians, Adelaide is haunted by the dark dreams she hides—of her murdered family, of the men she fears, and most of all, of the ones that foretell the future. After her visions cause her to make a terrible mistake, she renounces her power and buries her dreams deep in her soul.
Until Jesse Black is captured by the tribe. His life is spared because the Cherokee believe his warrior spirit belongs to their fallen brother. Though he hates all Indians, Adelaide illuminates their way of life for him, just as he shines light into her shadowed heart. But when her dreams return, Jesse must help her face them…or die trying…

This was a very good book. I really liked the way that it was written. There were many details and it kept you wondering where it would go next and if what was going to happen was real or a dream.  The most exciting parts of the book for me where the dreams of Adelaide, until she said that they were dreams it all seemed real to me. I also loved the fact that she can heal and that they call her the Shadow girl. This is a book that can be read over and over again.

The Cold Nowhere by Brian Freeman

Lieutenant Stride goes home to his cottage on the shore of Lake Superior, where he is confronted with a crime he cannot ignore. He discovers a young woman, Cat Mateo, hiding in his bedroom, scared and dripping wet from a desperate plunge into the icy lake.
 The girl isn’t a stranger to Stride; she is the daughter of a woman he tried and failed to protect from a violent husband years ago.  When Cat asks Stride for protection from a mysterious person she claims is trying to kill her, Stride is driven by guilt and duty to help her.
 Stride’s police partner Maggie Bei doubts the homeless orphan, who has been supporting herself as a prostitute and living rough on the streets of Duluth. She marvels at how easily the hard-bitten young girl, who sleeps with a knife under her pillow, has won Stride’s trust.
As Stride investigates Cat’s case off the record, Maggie’s suspicions solidify and a single question haunts the void between them: should Stride be afraid for—or of—this damaged girl?
THE COLD NOWHERE is the sixth novel in the Jonathan Stride detective series which is primarily based in Duluth Minnesota - a town that Brian effectively uses the elements of cold, wind, and the roar of Lake Superior. I definitely recommend reading the series in order of publication which starts with the book IMMORAL.
Every Brian Freeman book has a "killer" prologue and this one screams chapter one as soon as you finish it. The book effectively builds multiple sub-plots at a good pace and mixes in razor-sharp psychological suspense, mystery, action, and twists. The Cold Nowhere made me eager to solve the mystery. I definitely developed an appreciation of how well all the pieces came together by the end of the book. The strong plot and characterization, as well as past works in the Stride mythos, will keep readers anticipating --- and returning to --- future works for some time to come.