Review: Yule Be Mine by Jennifer LaBrecque

Format: E-bookyule
Read with: Adobe Reader & Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Forbidden Fantasies, #11
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Sam Kendrick
Heroine: Giselle Simone Randolph
Sensuality: 2.9
Date of Publication: November 22, 2008
Started On: September 22, 2010
Finished On: September 22, 2010

My first book by Jennifer LaBrecque started out pretty good and somehow lost its luster towards the end. The setting of the story is certainly a unique one, quite appropriate in fact for a series entitled as Forbidden Fantasies.

Giselle Randolph meets her younger sister Helene’s husband Sam Kendrick on the Christmas Eve after they both eloped and got married in Las Vegas which was preceded by a courtship of 6 whirlwind weeks upon meeting one another at a resort in the Caymans. In the Randolph family, Helene has always been the beautiful one, the one to whom the male species seemed to be endlessly drawn to whilst Giselle took after her father’s side of the family and had always been the responsible and the studious one.

Sam, a professional photographer now, had grown up as a bastard child with a single mother in public housing and had always had a need a to prove himself by always having the best. When he had encountered beautiful Helene at the resort whilst shooting for a brochure as a favor for a friend, Helene whose beauty had drawn everyone’s eyes around her had made her seem like the ideal wife material for Sam, that is until he walks into a kitchen filled with homely Christmas smells and encounters Giselle with her long brown hair and freckled nose with a bit of flour on her face looking like the hottest mess that Sam had ever encountered.

Giselle cannot believe herself when she responds on such a base level to her younger sister’s husband. The flare of attraction that leaps between the two is undeniable from the start and though both try to ignore the fact somehow Sam cannot help thinking that he ended up marrying the wrong sister just two days after his honeymoon.

The story takes off again, two years later, nearly a week before Christmas Eve with Giselle working for the Life Trendz Magazine and busily preparing for her assignment in Sedona where a new age guru was claiming that on the third day after the winter solstice there was an incredible spike at the energy vortexes in Sedona which helped people fall in love. Giselle had one ulterior motive apart from getting a good story for the magazine; to once and for all get over Sam Kendrick by finding someone else to share her life with the help of the energy vortexes, if that is what it took.

Everyone else thought that Giselle wanted to get over her recent divorce from Barry Treadway, who had been Giselle’s escape route from the intense and forbidden attraction that had played havoc with her hormones and feelings for her sister’s husband. But Sam and Helene’s marriage had lasted only 8 months before Sam had strayed and Helene was now happily married to Danny, a college buddy of Sam’s. The Randolphs were pretty much in line with the opinion that Sam was scum for the way he had treated Helene, though Giselle’s treacherous heart still longed for him.

When Giselle lets Dareen, her friend and photographer at the magazine know about her feelings for Sam during a moment of drunken oblivion, Darren contrives to bring these two together and backs out of the assignment to Sedona which Giselle and himself were to go together. Instead the object of every erotic fantasy Giselle has had for the past two years is to accompany her on the trip, a trip which she had started out with the very intention of forgetting the man who was to be her companion.

Sam wants a chance to test whether the connection that he was sure that they both had felt two years ago was worth something looking into. The flare of reluctant desire in Giselle’s eyes proves to him that she is not as immune to Sam as she would like to be, though the shady truth about how his marriage to Helene ended keeps Giselle at a distance that Sam would like to eradicate once and for all.

With a little magic in a place filled with all the right kinds of energy, Sam and Giselle finally give into the red hot desire that they had felt for one another right from the start. An amulet which tunes Sam into Giselle’s every erotic fantasy certainly helps him along in his intention to be Giselle’s love slave for the trip. And suddenly both Sam and Giselle know that they both want more than just three days together, but rather a lifetime of happiness with one another, but Giselle has to overcome her insecurities and fears about her relationship with Helene’s ex-husband before that is possible.

As I said earlier, this book did start out with a bang and in the end, the heat and steam just wasn’t enough for me. I expected more fireworks from two people who have had a longing and desire for one another for such a long time, and forbidden desires at that. With a little more heat between the two, this could have been a great read. So in the end, it was a disappointed me who finished the story, but all in all not a bad read.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo



Review: Forbidden Fruit by Charlotte Lamb

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents, #1584
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Giles Kent
Heroine: Leonie
Sensuality: 2.8
Date of Publication: August 1, 1993
Started On: August 27, 2010
Finished On: August 27, 2010

My first novel by Charlotte Lamb certainly had me reading this short novel in one sitting. Though I can’t say I fully enjoyed every minute of the battle of wills between Giles and Leonie, I did enjoy Ms. Lamb’s writing style and might pick up a novel or two of hers  to read in the future.

Leonie is engaged to marry Malcolm Kent, younger brother of the impressive and forbidding Giles Kent. Leonie had grown up with her grandmother after her father had died and her mother hadn’t wanted the responsibility of rearing up a child on her own. When Leonie meets Malcolm’s family for the first time comprising of Malcolm’s mother and Giles and a sister she meets later on, Leonie knows that she is not what  they would have chosen as a bride for Malcolm. That doesn’t deter her from being convinced that Malcolm and she are meant to be together. And she more than senses the turbulent emotions that come to surface whenever Malcolm’s stern brother is around with a mocking smile to grace his lips and she knows that Giles hates her and wishes that he could break her and Malcolm apart.

Tragedy strikes when days before the wedding Malcolm who is on a business trip to Switzerland meets a skiing accident which effectively ends his life. Giles comes as the bearer of the bad news and its a testament to just how devastated that Leonie is by the news that she sheds the wedding dress that her friend Angela was fitting on her just moments ago, not giving a thought to who was with her. Needless to say, Leonie completely breaks down and she is surprised at the empathy and kindness that Giles shows her during those few moments.

Things take a turn when two months later, Leonie finds that she is pregnant with Malcolm’s child. Though her friend Angela urges her to contact the Kents since they do have a responsibility towards Malcolm’s child, Leonie is determined that she wouldn’t touch a penny from the Kents since they never wanted her for Malcolm in the first place. However, Leonie’s mother takes matters into her own hands and contacts Giles who turns up at her doorstep and later forces her into marriage with him.

I found the contact between Giles and Leonie a bit too scarce in the novel. The first half of the novel goes by with just sporadic  meetings between the two. It is only when Giles forces Leonie to marry him under the pretense that he would fight for the custody rights of the child that confrontations between the two really start to take place. Even when Leonie realizes that she has fallen in love with Giles, she doesn’t act as someone who has fallen in love, but rather fights to the bitter end thinking Giles to be ruthless enough to use her and discard her when he has no more use for her.

I don’t know why, but there was a certain element missing in the novel which just didn’t make the cut to make the book a favorite read. Whilst reading this book, I found myself remembering a favorite Harlequin of the same theme, Bride in Blue by Miranda Lee. Now that was a good book! Maybe I should hunt it down and read it once again!

Anyhow, till my next review comes up!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble



Review: Wildfire Encounter by Helen Bianchin

Format: E-bookFront
Read with: Microsoft Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents, #527
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Rafael Savalje
Heroine: Sara Adams
Sensuality: 2.9
Date of Publication: September 1982
Started On: August 24, 2010
Finished On: August 25, 2010

This was a book I saved onto my Kindle long before I read my first Helen Bianchin novel. Ms. Bianchin started writing in the 1970’s, way long before I was even born. But even back then, her stories pack a punch with her larger than life heroes and willful to the point of being irritating heroines.

Blair Adams, Sara’s father, borrows money from richer than sin Rafael Savalje, makes a couple of bad investments and ends up debt ridden up to his neck. Next thing Sara knows, her father has committed suicide, leaving her and her mother at the mercy of the hateful Rafael for whom Sara feels  nothing but contempt, loathing and hatred blaming him unjustly for her father’s suicide.

With no way out of their debt-ridden situation, Sara has no choice but to agree to marrying Rafael. Rafael proposes marriage stating that he wanted a motherly influence for his young daughter Ana whose mother had died shortly after prematurely delivering Ana. Ana was already pretty taken with Sara who was a  teacher who actually cared about her students.

Within less than a week, Sara finds herself wedded to the man she despises more than anything on this Earth. Sara who is a pretty willful character, finds herself always at odds with the virile enigmatic man that she married. I found myself often irritated with Sara because no matter how well Rafael tried to treat Sara, she always ended up verbally or physically attacking Rafael which in the end left a bad taste in my mouth.

Though Sara finally does admit to herself that she loves Rafael and that she cannot live without him, I didn’t feel that Sara was really worthy of the kindness and love that Rafael continued to shower on her although Rafael tended to face life with cynicism that was apparent in his drawl and his mannerisms. I felt like shouting out at Sara “Are you fricking dumb or something?”. Anyhow, I made it through the novel, a novel filled with Sara’s childish tantrums and Rafael’s childlike treatment of his bride, which I say is what she deserves! Ugh!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble



Review: A Few Good Men by Cat Johnson

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Task Force Zeta, Book 4
Publisher: Linden Bay Romance
Hero: Staff Sergeant John Blake
Heroine: Maureen Mullen, aka Summer Winters
Sensuality: 2.5
Date of Publication: July 5, 2007
Started On: April 12, 2010
Finished On: April 13, 2010

I picked up this story to read thinking it would be a great story. I have to agree with some of the reviews I read on Amazon regarding the book now. The story seemed too slow in building up and the chemistry and fireworks that you expect from a novel of this genre just wasn’t there in this book for me. The short stories that Tori Carrington published under the same name generated more enthusiasm and heat between the characters than this novel did.

Upon reading the synopsis, this book would seem to give the reader a good read. The story of an erotic romance writer Maureen Mullen who writes under the pen name Summer Winters on a quest to find the few good men who are straight, with whom she could possibly fall in love with. Maureen is someone who supports the troops in Iraq and helps out in anyway that she can.

One of her email buddies on the base is Jazzy, one of the members on Sergeant John Blake’s team. Though John at first scoffs at the idea of pen pals and companionship one can find even corresponding via an email, Jazzy’s unfortunate injury whilst on duty lands him with the task of informing Maureen of Jazzy’s situation.

Right about this time, Maureen is convinced by her gay friend Peter (of course there should be a gay friend without which a story would not be complete) to go on a couple of dates to find Mr. Right for the both of them to make Maureen get over her infatuation with men in the military garb.

Corresponding with Maureen turns out into something much more than  John ever expected. And it surprises him to know that Maureen also feels the same way about him. Things move slowly for the couple whilst Maureen goes on her serial dating spree for the sake of keeping her blog alive which had become an overnight sensation in New York, an opportunity that as a budding writer Maureen couldn’t give up.

Finally right about at the end of the novel, these two get to be together after weeks of correspondence via emails & instant messaging. I felt that the only good thing about the novel since the romance was kinda crappy, was the depth of detail into the lives of those men who put their neck on the line to keep the world a safer place. Kudos to them!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble



Review: Night Angel by Renee Reeves

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Black Velvet Seductions Sensuous Journeys
Hero: Nick Evanoff
Heroine: Morgan
Date of Publication: February 22, 2009
Started On: January 9, 2010
Finished On: January 10, 2010

This book kept popping up as a deeply loved romance by a lot of readers in many a discussion forums on Amazon. I managed to grab a copy of this and I have to say that based on the nature of the theme of this romance as well this book being the first of the author, this was an okay read for me.

Nick Evanoff, an ex-convict who served time for murder, is a horse trainer who treats abused horses and redefines the word ‘patience’ throughout this novel. Morgan, a woman who has been beaten and scarred emotionally and physically by her now dead husband, settles down in the neighboring cottage on Nick’s land.

Nick catches the first glimpse of this lone and battered woman sitting near a lake on his property and feels an undeniable pull towards Morgan. However when Nick gets to meet Morgan and realizes what she has gone through, although they both cannot deny the effect they have on one another, Nick deems himself unworthy of someone like Morgan and though Nick slowly and excruciatingly wins over the trust and love of Morgan, the crust of their problems in the end lies within the fact that Nick cannot make himself tell Morgan why he was labelled as an ex-convict in the first place.

Although many readers seemed to have found a ‘calling’ within themselves answered in this book, I found it at times excruciating to read just how much patience Nick had to put into woo Morgan. But then again the amount of abuse that was heaped upon Morgan, described in vivid details at times makes it all understandable at some point. But then again, I am not someone who is patient even when the need arises for me to be and maybe that’s why I didn’t feel that sense of having read a gut wrenching & heart warming story when I finished this novel. And maybe, just maybe it had something to do with the fact that Nick continues to be the one who gives and gives in this story and Morgan when at the last moment at first judges Nick when she knows firsthand that Nick deserves the benefit of the doubt, I think that made me a bit peeved with Morgan that made this novel earn not such a good place on my keeper shelf.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&NobleAbeBooks



Review: Kill Me Twice by Roxanne St. Claire

Format: E-bookn167206
Read with: Stanza
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: The Bullet Catchers, Book 1
Publisher: Pocket Books

Hero: Alex Romero
Heroine: Jasmine Adams
Date of Publication: September 7, 2005
Started On: November 12, 2009
Finished On: November 16, 2009

I found about Roxanne St. Claire whilst browsing through books on I was surprised to see that her Bullet Catchers series has been quite well received by readers, in fact all her books in this series has got a reader rating of at least 4 or 4.5 stars. So I decided to check out this series that has got such a good reaction from readers of romantic suspense and I would have to say that Roxanne St. Claire does spin a good tale.

This introductory book in the series stars Alex Romero as the bullet catcher with side characters Max who is the lead in the next book of this series and Dan. With Lucy Sharpe as  the owner of this elite team of body guards who serve ultra-rich clients, Alex is handed an assignment which he considers to be in league with baby sitting when he has to protect Jessica Adams, a famous news reporter in Miami who reportedly has a stalker after her.

Alex turns up at Jessica’s place and is surprised to find himself with Jasmine, Jessica’s identical twin sister, from whom Jessica has asked to cover for her whilst Jessica pursues a hot lead in a story which will propel her career to the national fronts. Jasmine or rather Jazz, being fiercely independent resents the presence of Alex at first, but quickly comes to realize that Jessica may in fact be in danger and with everyone of Jessica’s acquaintances acting weirder by the moment.

The story is good, the romance between Alex and Jazz sizzles and the twists in the novel surprised me at the end and although I finished this book in 4 days time due to lack of available time to read it, this is the kinda book you can read in one sitting.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble