Thursday, May 31, 2007

Promises Linger by Sarah McCarty

COPYRIGHT: 2004
PAGES: 349
SETTING: Historical - American West
TYPE: Straight Romance
SERIES: 1st book in the Promises series
SENSUALITY: Burning Hot (yes!)

REASON FOR READING:
KarenS reviewed Promises Prevail and loved it, but she recommended I start with the first in the series. I'm glad I did since most of the characters in the series are introduced here.

SUMMARY:
1868 Wyoming Territory

Elizabeth Coyote will do anything, anything at all, to save the ranch she loves, including marrying Asa MacIntyre, a broad shouldered, lean hipped silver eyed gunslinger with a ruthless reputation for getting the job done.

Asa dreams of a place of his own, a wife, and the respect that comes with both. Marrying Elizabeth may have started as a means to an end, but nothing in Asa's wildest dreams prepares him for the excitement of unleashing the carnal woman beneath his wife's prim and proper exterior.
THOUGHTS / OPINION:
This was my first book by Sarah McCarty and I was impressed. This book was just the ticket and pushed all my buttons (the good ones). I love westerns and well written erotic love scenes and the marriage of convenience storyline is one of my favorites. Although not perfect, it was a very enjoyable read.

Asa MacIntyre was a wonderful hero, sweet, funny, and very sexy. And very protective of Elizabeth. But Elizabeth was harder to warm up to. She was an independent strong character who knows what she wants and goes out and gets it, but on the other hand I found her rather humorless and prickly or maybe it was just that she was too serious. Asa loved to tease her, but most of the time she was clueless. Asa had a difficult childhood with a prostitute mother but he wasn't scarred by it and had a good sense of humor with a determination to live his dream of a wife and home. He wants a complete marriage but she want to maintain a cool distance. Elizabeth was raised by a brutal father and her skittishness is understandable but I still thought she was a bit annoying. Although their chemistry is hot, she takes quite a long time to admit that she loves him.

Asa and Elizabeth work together to save their ranch from foreclosure. Asa believes her old friend is trying to sabatoge the ranch but Elizabeth has a hard time believing it. The mystery around the sabatoge was just enough to keep the story moving along.

PL had a good plot, great character development, and some very erotic love scenes. The sex on horseback scene is worth the price of the book alone. Now gotta dig out Promises Keep from my TBR mountain. After that Promises Prevail.

GRADE: B+

Romantic Advances


Y'all have probably heard around the blogs about this new website that provides romance readers with an easy way to check for upcoming releases. I'm probably the last to blog about this (as usual) but I wanted to do my part in case there are reader bloggers or authors out there who haven't heard about it yet.

Sybil and Jane are the creative minds behind this venture (they're geniuses! really) and they have enlisted the help of other bloggers (me included, but my life has been crazy lately... work & home). The website is still in the beta phase so bookmark it and check back often because things are still evolving.

One important thing.... authors can submit their upcoming releases for inclusion directly but they must be from an RWA recognized publisher.

Hop on over there and take a look around.

I love the tag line... "building the TBR mountain, one book at a time"... I'm afraid this is going to be all too true.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair

COPYRIGHT: 2007
PAGES: 525
SETTING: Futuristic
TYPE: SF Romance
SENSUALITY: Warm
SERIES: No

REASON FOR READING: Janine, Rosario, KristieJ, and a bunch of other bloggers gave this one glowing reviews.

SUMMARY: [Amazon]

The universe isn’t what it used to be. With the new Alliance between the Triad and the United Coalition, Captain Tasha “Sass” Sebastian finds herself serving under her former nemesis, biocybe Admiral Branden Kel-Paten–and doing her best to hide a deadly past. But when an injured mercenary winds up in their ship’s sick bay–and in the hands of her best friend, Dr. Eden Fynn–Sass’s efforts may be wasted.

Wanted rebel Jace Serafino has information that could expose all of Sass’s secrets, tear the fragile Alliance apart–and end Sass’s career if Kel-Paten discovers them. But the biocybe has something to hide as well, something once thought impossible for his kind to possess: feelings . . . for Sass. Soon it’s clear that their prisoner could bring down everything they once believed was worth dying for–and everything they now have to live for.



THOUGHTS / OPINION:
I was completely blown away by the hero, Branden Kel-Paten, admiral of the Triad huntership on which Tasha (Sass) Sebastian serves as captain. Here we have a hero who is a biocybe, part human - part machine, who everyone thinks is completely devoid of feeling, and therefore treated callously by his crew. But inside he is seething with emotion for he has been desperately in love with Sass for years. I love the hero-in-love-with-heroine-for-years storyline and Sinclair does it very well. Tasha is hiding some major secrets as well and she is a great kickass heroine. I loved both of these characters so much I didn't want to let them go at the end of the book which doesn't happen very often. Branden's inner thoughts, fears and insecurities just broke my heart and when Tasha reads his private logs about her, I just wanted to cry.

I also loved the furzels, two furry cat-like creatures with extraordinary abilities. There was a secondary romance but I couldn't work up much interest in it because the primary one was so outstanding. Oh, and BTW, GoC was an excellent Science Fiction, with a rip roaring adventure which was very fast moving. It took me a while to get into the world building with all the strange names and acronyms but I think that lasted for only a couple chapters. Then the plot took off and it was hard to put down. The ending was a bit abrupt but still had a HEA.

MISCELLANEOUS:
I'm disappointed that there is no sequel to GoC which was originally written as Command Performance and published by NBI. Sinclair's new publisher, Bantam, wanted a standalone that wrapped up Sass and Branden's story. So the sequel, Command Decision, was never published by NBI, which folded, and Bantam decided not to publish it. Go to Sinclair's website here to get the scoop. I wonder if a write-in campaign by readers would get it published? Eh, probably not, when have publishers listened to readers?

GRADE: A-

Monday, May 21, 2007

Anne Stuart update

Happy Monday. I had a tough weekend which I may post about later.

I mentioned Anne Stuart's next book in my last post but I wanted to give a little more detail with a book blurb from Stuart's website.


Ice Storm
MIRA (November 2007) ISBN: 978-0-7783-2500-0
Behind her mask is a deadly secret...
The powerful head of the covert mercenary organization The Committee, Isobel Lambert is a sleek, sophisticated professional who comes into contact with some of the most dangerous people in the world. But beneath Isobel’s cool exterior a ghost exists, haunting her with memories of another life...a life that ended long ago.

But Isobel’s past and present are about to collide when Serafin, mercenary, assassin and the most dangerous man in the world, makes a deal with The Committee. Seventeen years ago Isabel shot him and left him for dead. Now it looks as if he’s tracked her down for revenge. But Isobel knows all too well that looks can be deceiving...and that’s what she’s counting on to keep her cover in this international masquerade of murder.



SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Did I do that right?

Sounds good! Isobel appeared in previous books and was an enigmatic character. She appears to be a bit older than the other heroines in this series. I can hardly wait. I want to pre-order but that rarely works out the way it should. I end up getting it faster by just going to the book store and haunting them till they cough it up.

In other news, Harlequin is offering an Anne Stuart Out-of-Print Gems eBook bundle which includes:
Night of the Phantom
One More Valentine
Cinderman
The Soldier and the Baby

I think I probably have all but one of these. I read TSATB and it's a keeper. The other 2 are in the TBR. The price is $15.96 which is kinda steep I think but then it is 4 books.

Her website also mentions that she has written an erotic romance in collaboration with Jennifer Crusie and Eileen Dreyer titled The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes. Can you imagine a book written by Crusie and Stuart? Crusie does light and Stuart does dark. Might be strange. Anyway, it's due out in July 2007.

All of this information is on her website. Just thought I'd share.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Upcoming books

I'm bored with my blog. Actually, it's probably best described as writer's (blogger's) block. I've been reading lots and have started some reviews but then the writer's block sets in.

I came across Kailana's blog via Marg's blog talking about The Huntress by Susan Carroll, the next book in the Faire Isle Trilogy. I guess it's not a trilogy after all - this was news to me... very welcome news. I loved that "trilogy". So anyway, I started looking for other upcoming books which led me to some book covers so here they are.

Notice the cover for Ice Storm by Anne Stuart coming out in November 2007. I'd "squeee", if I knew how!!




Reading now:
Promises Linger by Sarah McCarty, and LOVING it. It's a western (yes!), burning HOT (yes!), and well written (yes!). Excellent.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

When Gods Die by C. S. Harris

COPYRIGHT: 2006
PAGES: 336
SETTING: Historical-Regency
TYPE: Mystery
SERIES: 2nd book in the Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery series

REASON FOR READING: Two reasons: 1) loved her romances written as Candice Proctor 2) enjoyed the 1st book in the series (What Angels Fear)

SUMMARY: [from author's website]


June, 1811. On a summer's evening at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, the beautiful young wife of an aging Marquis is found dead in the arms of the PRince
Regent himself. From her back protrudes a jeweled dagger that once belonged to
Bonnie Prince Charlie. Around her neck lies an ancient bluestone and silver
necklace said to have been worn by the Druid priestesses of Wales. Legend
credited the necklace with mysterious powers--until it was lost at sea with its
last owner, the mother of Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin.

Still shadowed by rumors of his own dark past, Sebastian is lured into a dangerous
investigation of both the Marchioness's death and his own mother's uncertain
fate. He soon discovers that the idle, profligate Prince is not as innocent as
his court handlers would have the public believe. With the aid of his lover, a
celebrated actress with secrets of her own, his new servant, Tom, Sebastian
follows a twisted trail that leads from a seaside pleasure palace to the most
depraved London slums, from the murdered woman's elegant townhouse in Mayfair to a medieval tavern run by an ex-slave.

As he edges closer to the truth, Sebastian finds himself thrust into a world of hidden passions and disguised ambition. And when one murder is followed by another, he confronts an insidious conspiracy that imperils those nearest to him even as it threatens to bring down the monarchy.


THOUGHTS / OPINION:
This book is not a romance but it has a romantic sub-plot. Sebastian is an enigmatic sexy character that I was intrigued by in the previous book and that's where we meet his love interest Kat Boleyn, a famous actress. He wants to marry her but she won't accept as she is hiding a dark secret from him. In WGD the secret is revealed to the reader but Sebastian is still in the dark by the end of the book. I don't know if there will be a HEA for these two in this series but I'll keep hoping. The mystery is excellent and kept me turning the pages as fast as I possibly could. It flowed fast and smooth and I found it hard to put down.

Sebastian's heightened senses of hearing and sight made him seem almost superpowered but never fear, this was not a paranormal in any way. The sensuality level would only be considered subtle since Harris kept closing the door on the bedroom scenes and I found it frustrating as hell. I want the sex scenes! Ok, I heard that. Shut up, I know I'm a slut! Mystery readers might possibly give this one an A but as a romance reader I graded it lower since I wanted more romance and more sex scenes. But still it was a good read.

GRADE: B

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

COPYRIGHT:2007
PAGES:392
SETTING:Contemporary
TYPE:Straight Romance
SERIES:Latest installment (#7) in the Chicago Stars series.

REASON FOR READING: I have loved this series, especially the last book, Match Me If You Can.

SUMMARY:
Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard is the luckiest man in the world. But life in the glory lane has started to pale, and Dean has set off on a trip to figure out what's gone wrong. When he hits a lonely stretch of Colorado highway, he spies something that will shake up his gilded life in ways he can't imagine. A young woman . . . dressed in a beaver suit.

Blue Bailey is on a mission. As for the beaver suit she's wearing . . . Is it her fault that life keeps throwing her curve balls? Witness the expensive black sports car pulling up next to her on the highway and the Greek god stepping out of it.

They're soon heading for his summer home, where their already complicated lives and inconvenient attraction to each other will become entangled with a charismatic but aging rock star; a beautiful, fifty-two-year-old woman trying to make peace with her rock and roll past; an eleven-year-old who desperately needs a family; and a bitter old woman who hates them all.

Natural Born Charmer . . . for anyone who's ever thought about leaving their old life in the dust.


THOUGHTS / OPINION:
I'm not into slapstick or silly stupid humor. That's why when I read the opening scene I felt a momentary urge to hurl this book (OK, it was a library book, so I wouldn't actually hurl it). Blue Bailey is walking down the road in a beaver costume when Dean Robillard drives by and stops to help her. Reminded me of one of those comedy skits from the old Carol Burnett Show. Turns out this book was not as light as I first thought. It is a romantic comedy but with an underlying edge of dark.

Dean and Blue both have serious abandonment and trust issues. And for good reasons. Dean is a sports superstar as the quarterback of the Chicago Stars. His father was a huge rock star (think Bruce Springsteen or someone like him) who didn't know how to be a father and pretty much ignored him. His mother was a drugged out groupie who didn't know how to be a mother but gives him up to be raised by someone who is responsible and grows to love him. He is still seriously angry at both of his parents. His mother has gone straight and is trying to get back into his life but he wants nothing to do with her. Blue's mother was an activist who is out to save the world one cause at a time but really should not have been a mother because she sucked at it. Blue took second place in her mother's life while she was passed from foster home to foster home. Recalling those memories made some heartwrenching scenes. She eventually learned not to become attached to anyone because she would eventually lose them.

Phillips' signature of great dialog and sexy banter was in full swing here. I loved how good Dean and Blue were together and how they had to work through their issues and grow as people before their happy ending is possible. As usual her characters are very well drawn and unique. This is a story about families and forgiveness and trust as well as a great love story. However, I thought Dean should have groveled a bit more at the end when he ... well, I won't spoil it. I liked Match Me If You Can a little more than NBC but it was still very enjoyable.

GRADE: A-

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Odds and ends

Life has been getting away from me lately so I haven't been blogging lately. I've been swept up in wedding plans for Daughter and I'm happy to report she has decided on a date and place for the wedding. It's going to be July of 2008 and will be an outdoor wedding at Springhill Farms in Auburn. It's spectacularly beautiful and their pictures on their website don't do it justice.

Can you imagine an outdoor wedding in Seattle? For those of you who don't know, we get rain here and it's very unpredictable. The third week in July is historically the driest time of the year, but last year we had rain. So you can't count on dry weather. But this place she found has a contingency plan with tents that they can quickly set up in case of rain.

Daughter's future MIL is contributing quite a bit of money for the wedding and with our contribution it should be a nice, but not extravagant wedding. Now I just need to lose 20 lbs. before next July. *sigh*

Work sucks. We had a major reorganization and it's total chaos and several people have quit. It was our VP's dumbass idea and it's a disaster. I'd like to quit but I'm to lazy to look around. One of the developers pissed me off yesterday and I had to take a walk around the building before I could reply calmly to his email. I politely told him he was full of crap. And my manager backed me up.

I had a couple crowns worked on today and my gums are SORE. Don't you hate the dentist? Well, mine is a nice guy but I still hate it.

Reading now: I was in a bit of a reading slump for a while but I just started Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair. I'm only on page 25 and struggling a little with the world building. Too many strange names and places and organizations, but I'm figuring it out slowly and I'm liking it. I just looked .... 525 pages! It's going to take me a while to finish this one. What is everyone else reading?