Review: Never a Gentleman by Eileen Dreyer

Format: E-bookneveragentleman
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Drake’s Rakes, #2
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Richard William Price Manners Hilliard
Heroine: Grace Georgianna Fairchild
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 1, 2011
Started On: December 2, 2013
Finished On: December 3, 2013

Everyone who knows my reading tastes know that I am someone who loves an angst ridden romance. Never a Gentleman, book 2 in the Drake’s Rakes series landed in my TBR pile because I kept getting recommendations of the fact that this is a  book that offers a healthy dose of just that. Since I was already on a historical romance reading binge the last couple of reads, I decided to finally take the plunge and see what the fuss was all about.

Having never read an Eileen Dreyer before I didn’t know what to expect when I first delved into the story. Eileen tends to set an adequate pace for the story though I found the flow a bit tedious at times, perhaps because I have been spoilt rotten by the likes of authors such as Sherry Thomas and Courtney Milan whose beautiful prose alone makes me want to sink myself into the story and never come up for air.

My first disadvantage I believe was the fact that I didn’t read the first book in the series. I think I did miss out on the beginning of the “relationship” that blossoms between Diccan and Grace, a pair that is as different from each other as night and day. While Diccan is heralded for his uber good looks, his suave charm and the beautiful women he beds with, Diccan is a man whose diplomatic career looks to be promising as long as he carries out his duties perfectly in order to save the country and the Queen. Meanwhile, Grace is the spinster daughter of an army general, who dies a while back, leaving her alone to pursue her dreams for the first time in her life. Grace is plain looking, doesn’t seem to have anything striking about her features that would make people notice her except for the fact that she limps when she walks, which Grace would rather people never notice.

When Grace and Diccan are “forced” into entering a marriage of convenience, Diccan in the “noble” reason of saving Grace’s virtue while Grace does so to save Diccan’s reputation which is a necessity for his career; only Grace enters the marriage with hope unfurling in her heart that if she tries hard enough, she would able to win the affections of her husband.

Diccan who never thought he would feel anything for his plain and mousy looking wife is first appalled and then taken aback when he finds himself enamored by the woman he has married, the spell that she weaves on him one that is seemingly hard for him to turn away from. But then alas, duty calls, for which philandering seems to be a requirement, infidelity that would in return save England, his duty being to the country which would always come first.

I tried so hard to find any redemptive qualities to Diccan and came up short except for the time that Diccan refused to leave Grace’s side when she falls violently ill towards the latter part of the story. Even then, I couldn’t find it in me to like him much and neither did I like Grace for putting up with a lot of things that went on in her marriage. True to Grace’s character, her patience is the noblest of its kind, the lengths to which Grace goes in order to fit into the life that Diccan leads, even accepting his dalliances by demanding that he give her the same kind of pleasure that she actually witnesses being bestowed upon Diccan’s mistress.

Believe me, I am someone who loves dark heroes and by dark I mean the type that most readers tend to shy away from because they don’t fit into the feminist agenda that most readers of romance have these days. If I am being blunt, I found Grace to be a doormat heroine throughout most of the story, hiding her true passion and the fire inside of her for a man who pretty much neglects her as soon as she starts to mean something to him; all of course in the name of saving the country.

I found Diccan to be a tiresome hero at best. I just didn’t find him to be an alpha hero; I tend to call a hero alpha when he is decisive and able to take things in stride and do what is needed without petty excuses to make himself feel better. And while I can take cheating in a romance as long as there is even a dim light at the end of the tunnel which paves the way for redemption on the hero’s part, I am all for it. But the excuses that seemed to focus around Diccan being the savior of the country making him the kind of neglectful hero he was made him a complete turn off for me in most of the ways.

While certain readers seem to have fallen in love with the story, I would say that this could have definitely done much, much better! Dark heroes I am all for it, alpha asshole heroes; I can definitely live with them, but the kind of excuse of a hero Diccan turned out to be? I just don’t think I would ever be able to love someone like him.

If you are planning on reading Never a Gentleman, I would caution you to read book 1 first. Perhaps then Grace and Diccan’s character might make the impression that the author was going for on you.

Recommended for fans of the author.

Favorite Quotes

Not a kind word. Not a caress. His eyes were closed and his hands were fisted in her hair. She swore he was growling, and the sound reverberated in her chest. She felt impaled, split, the pressure of him inside her unbearable. Yet her body tightened, seeking him, reveling in his loss of control. She lifted up, arching to fit him inside of her. She closed her eyes, all her focus on the unbearable fullness, the sliding, searing pleasure of him as he pumped into her, the abrasion of cloth and buttons and stays as he took her on the hard wood floor.

He never asked. She never begged. He simply shifted and she spread her legs to welcome him home. He kissed her again, long and deep and wicked, and then he drove into her, and she forgot everything else. She forgot needing or belonging or having. She forgot pride and self-respect and a lonely woman’s despair. For these moments he was hers, and she let him be.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | ARe


Review: Guilty as Sin by Jami Alden

Format: E-bookguiltyassin
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Tommy Ibarra
Heroine: Kate Beckett
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: July 30, 2013
Started On: August 1, 2013
Finished On: August 3, 2013

Jami Alden is one of my go-to authors for novels of the romantic suspense variety. She has a style of writing similar to that of authors like Cynthia Eden that makes a book hard to put down. Thus when I came across the publication date of Guilty as Sin which happened to be the 30th of last month, I didn’t hesitate to mark my calender and purchase myself a copy the very day it was released.

33 year old Tommy Ibarra is ex-military, specialized in the weapon of information retrieval amongst other things. 30 year old Kate Beckett is the daughter of a US Senator, working with families of child kidnappings, a calling she had paid heed to after the fateful night 14 years back when her younger brother Michael had been kidnapped and brutally killed. The guilt that Kate has harbored since then proves to be one of the reasons that the budding romance between Tommy, the son of a rancher and Kate had not accounted to much.

When a fresh kidnapping brings an altogether more poised, collected and a professional Kate to Tommy’s hometown once again, the feelings that he had pushed aside into a deep and dark corner of his heart clamors to be let out from its prison and embrace the only woman that Tommy had ever truly loved. However, with the dark shadows that linger between them, reconciliation of the feelings that are very much alive between them is easier said than done, especially when things aren’t what they seem to be and the case puts Kate’s life in danger in more ways than one.

Guilty as Sin is sort of a spin off from the trilogy that featured the books, Beg for Mercy, Hide from Evil and Run from Fear. I remember Tommy making an appearance in one of the books, don’t know which for certain. Tommy is a brooding hunk of a hero with an army tattoo to complete the package. His past run-in with Kate, an altogether younger, softer and a much less cynical version of him had been burnt badly and Tommy is of the mind that nothing would make him take that step towards Kate and claim her as his, no matter how much his body might want him to.

Kate knows she has a lot to apologize for where Tommy is concerned. And though being in close quarters with Tommy is the last thing she wants, Kate finds she has little choice where the matter is concerned, and if truth be told, Kate is as much enamored by the brooding and a much cynical version of the boy she had fallen head over heels in lust and love with all those years ago. But the ugly sword of guilt that she harbors inside of her heart rears its ugly head, especially when the new case brings too close to comfort the memories of a night that has tainted her life so much.

The villain though is twisted as they come is easy to figure out even from the very beginning of the story. Even though that’s the case, the outcome of the story is not affected because Jami certainly knows how to keep the pages turning and the momentum going. I loved Tommy and Kate and felt for both of them, especially Kate who struggles with a lot of dark memories. It is a wonder that she can stand as she does and work so closely with families who are going through something that she herself had gone through with much more terrible an outcome.

The heat between Tommy and Kate is classic Jami Alden, and I say classic because Jami is an author who definitely knows how to turn the heat up.

Recommended for fans of Jami Alden and fans of romantic suspense with heat and twisted villains.

Final Verdict: A villain who’s beyond twisted, a love that defies the most terrible a tragedy & heat of the scorching variety. Jami Alden’s signature shines through & through!

Favorite Quotes

Her memories of Tommy’s kiss, his touch, didn’t come close to what she was feeling now. It was like being thrust into a vortex full of heat and light, where nothing mattered but the taste of him, the soft rasp of his tongue against hers as he tasted every corner of her mouth. She opened her mouth wider, pressed her lips harder, sucked his tongue into her mouth like she was starving for the taste of him.

Then he was there, as deep as he could go, deeper than any other man had ever been.
Tommy Ibarra is inside of me.
That was all it took to send her careening over the edge. Her orgasm hit her with sudden, stunning force. He didn’t even have to move—just the feel of him, buried deep, so big and hard her body could barely contain him, was enough to make her shudder and clench around him as waves of pleasure like nothing she’d ever known poured through her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N


ARC Review: Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis

Format: E-bookheadoverheels
Read with: iBooks for iPhone
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Lucky Harbor, Book 3
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Sawyer Thompson
Heroine: Chloe Traeger
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 22, 2011
Started On: November20, 2011
Finished On: November 22, 2011

Jill Shalvis has done it yet again. With a cast of heartwarming and sometimes quirky characters, she has done a splendid job in bringing to life the story of my two favorite protagonists from the Lucky Harbor series. Jax Cullen and his toolbelt (yep, still talking about that one every chance I get), just might have to move over and make room for the big, brawny and hotter-than-sin-in-uniform, bad-boy turned Sheriff of Lucky Harbor Sawyer Thompson.

If the reaction of fellow readers of the Lucky Harbor series is anything to go by, the story of Chloe Traeger aka the wild one and the youngest of the siblings and the stoic Sawyer is the one story that has been anticipated by fans ever since the publication of the first book in the series. There is nothing like the sparks that fly between two direct opposites, who somehow eventually find that amongst the differences lie similarities between them which bind them together, especially with the hotter than fire sexual tension that ALWAYS seems a constant whenever they are together.

Sawyer is a man with a tainted past; a fact for which he has been trying to atone for, for a long time. Curbing the wild side which had gotten him into more trouble than he would rather remember, it is no wonder that Chloe with her free spirited nature clash more than once, with enough sparks flying between the two of them to singe a passerby. Sawyer might not like to admit the fact that when it comes to Chloe, his legendary cool is a distant memory, and for Chloe whose gypsy-style upbringing makes it hard for her to curb the wild streak which forever seems to land her in trouble with the sexy Sheriff, saying no is not even an option.

With her sisters Tara and Maddie, for the very first time ever, Chloe feels the stirrings of belonging and makes her long for the stability that comes with being rooted to one place. But her wild adventures makes her have to work hard to turn the image around, to win the trust of her sisters and in the process falls hard and fast for Sawyer who just makes her panties melt with one well placed scorching glance.

I loved every single thing about the 3rd book in the Lucky Harbor series. It was so much fun to see how Tara and Maddie are faring, especially Maddie who always seems to be caught in one clandestine position or the other with her fiance Jax. The most heartwarming factor of these novels of course is the relationship that seems to develop and foster right in front of your eyes when it comes to the three sisters who would never have come together if it wasn’t for their mother’s will.

Next comes my absolute favorite part of the novel to talk about. And you get 3 lucky guesses, which I am betting with everything I have that it wouldn’t be hard for anyone to guess. The uber sexy Sawyer of course who just manages to melt me on the spot with his gruff and tough nature beneath which lies a heart of gold that just made me fall head over heels in love with him right from the very beginning. And Jill has certainly achieved her goal of giving Gena the big, tough and stoic hero whom she asked for; because I for one loved every big, tough and stoic inch of him to pieces. I am telling you, there were moments in the novel that I thought if Sawyer were to get any more sexier, spontaneous human combustion wouldn’t remain a myth much longer!

Chloe is not one to be missed out on either. She is the type of hero who would just melt your heart because she is this endearing mix of wildness together with a deep yearning in her heart to belong, to be needed and to feel. With Sawyer she finds that she feels much, much more than she has ever felt with anyone, that explosive orgasm in the shower one of the best parts of the novel. How Sawyer and Chloe take care of each other with those little things that mean so darn much; needless to say Jill completely won me over with their story.

Heartwarming, toe-curlingly sexy, endearing and a whole lot of fun in between, Head Over Heels is a must read for any fan of contemporary romances and of course for the fans of Lucky Harbor series.

Favorite Quotes

“If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.”  – Chloe Traeger

He was in uniform, gun at his hip, expression dialed to Dirty Harry, and just looking at him had something pinging low in Chloe’s belly.

She didn’t understand it, but everything about him reminded her that she was a woman.

“If things don’t seem right, try going left.” – Chloe Traeger

“Why was man created before woman? Because you always need a rough draft before the final copy.” – Chloe Traeger

Heat skittered through her belly, then directly south. “Sawyer.”
In answer, he brought his head up and kissed her. Deep, hungry, tasting her in a purposely slow, thorough manner before pulling back to once again look into her eyes.
Oh, God. “Sawyer, what are we doing?” she whispered.
He shook his head. “No f#cking clue.”

She nodded, her gaze locked on his mouth. He could tell she wanted it on hers, and for once, they were perfectly in sync. Having no idea what he was doing, he kissed her again, another no-holds-barred, tongues tangling, rock-his-fucking-world kiss that left him staggered and her apparently unable to speak as they tore apart for air and waited for the world to right itself.
Didn’t happen.

“Just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, someone’ll throw you a shovel.” – Chloe Traeger

“I’ve always wanted to be somebody. I should have been more specific.” – Chloe Traeger

“I don’t want to scare the guests with a big old guard dog,” Tara protested.
“Safety is far more important than worrying about what anyone else thinks,” Sawyer told her.
“You’re right, of course.” Tara looked at her sisters. “We’ll think about both an alarm and a dog.”
“We can borrow Izzy from Jax,” Maddie said.
“Sure,” Tara said. “And she can lick the next bad guy to death.”

Odd how one man could evoke so many emotions within her. Lust? Oh yeah, much of the time. The urge to smack him upside the back of his head? Yep, that was often there, too. Affection? She’d have said no. He didn’t need her affection, everyone admired and loved Sawyer, who was just about the most composed, self-assured, capable man she’d ever met.
But there was something suspiciously close to affection filling her now, which had her shaking her head at herself.

“The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the ability to reach it.” – Chloe Traeger

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble


ARC Review: Lady of Seduction by Laurel McKee

Format: E-bookladyofseduction
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Daughters of Erin, Book 3
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Sir Grant Dunmore
Heroine: Caroline Blacknall
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 1, 2011
Started On: May 18, 2011
Finished On: May 19, 2011

My first Laurel McKee turned out to be the 3rd book in her Daughters of Erin trilogy which tells the story of the youngest daughter Caroline Blacknell who finds her happily ever after with Grant Dunmore with whom she has a shared past prior to the start of this book.

Set in Ireland in the 1800’s, Lady of Seduction begins in the midst of the journey that Caroline makes to reach the forbidding island of Muirin Inish to seek out Grant because she wants to get her hands on a book that is in his possession, or so she tells herself. Caroline is a widow, whose husband had died just about a year back and Caroline has just begun to find her own purpose in the world. Always happier when she is buried deep under a ton of books, Caroline is the only one out of the 3 sisters who doesn’t thrive on adventure, until she seeks out Grant Dunmore, the man who has haunted her dreams ever since their encounter 4 years back.

Once a sophisticated, aristocratic gentleman that all ladies in Dublin had swooned over, Grant had left the high society to live out the rest of his life in seclusion in the cold, damp and crumbling castle that stands on the remote island of Muirin Inish after his role in the incident that had occurred before his move to the island. The Grant that Caroline encounters on the island couldn’t be anymore different from what he is in her memories, but the wild, long-haired and tattooed version of Grant still tempts Caroline beyond anyone or anything she has ever encountered in 20 years of her life.

With Caroline stranded on the island with no means of sending her back to where she came from, Grant is no match to saying no to the heady attraction that had always been there between them, that burns out of control when they are forced to spend time together. But the secrets that Grant hides in the name of righting all that he has done wrong in the past puts both of them in perilous danger. Once their journey towards Dublin is over, Grant intends to do the honorable thing and leave Caroline to find ultimate happiness with a man more deserving of a woman like her.

There are a couple of things that I loved about this story. First the setting since I have never read a historical romance in an Irish setting, so this was a first for me. Though the historical accuracy part always flies over the top of my head, the afterword included in the story tells that the author has done a lot of research into the said time period. I liked Grant who has changed his ways from the reckless young man who let his thirst for vengeance and revenge control his emotions and heart for so long to find his solace in warm embrace of Caroline who manages to see into the depth of his dark soul and still love him for who he is. Caroline is one of my favorite types of heroines, the bookish type who doesn’t care much about the righteous rules of the society which ALWAYS makes a historical romance interesting. I loved the passion between Grant and Caroline that unfolds in many a imaginatively done scenes that always had me sighing after it was over. And as always, I loved the epilogue in the story which shows the lives of Grant and Caroline one year after the end of their story.

Though I liked many aspects of the story, I still found myself at times wanting to know the details of how Caroline and Grant’s pasts entwines, skimmed over in this novel. I believe that readers who are interested in trying out the 3rd book needs to read the series in order so not to miss any vital aspects of their past which I think may have happened to me to make the enjoyable factor a little less for me with this one.

I would recommend this for fans of historical romances who would love to try out stories in new settings, who loves a brooding and scarred hero who finds happiness in the arms of a less than perfect heroine who makes you smile in all the ways that counts.

Favorite Quotes

“Am I a troublesome prisoner, then?” (Caroline asks)
“Most assuredly you are.” He kissed the soft, sensitive spot just below her ear and touched her there with the tip of his tongue.
Caroline gasped at the rush of lightening hot sensation. Her fists closed convulsively on his shirt, and her eyes closed. His lips slid slowly along her neck, open and warm. He bit lightly at the curve of her shoulder, and her knees collapsed under her.

His gaze met hers, and in that instant, Caroline felt something deep and profound shift between them. They saw each other, they understood, and every breath and every heartbeat was like one. She loved him, as she could never love anyone else. And that realization shook her deeply.

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


Review: The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis

Format: E-bookthesweetestthing
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Lucky Harbor Series, Book 2
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Ford Walker
Heroine: Tara Daniels
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 28, 2011
Started On: April 1, 2011
Finished On: April 2, 2011

I have been waiting eagerly for the release of the 2nd installment of The Lucky Harbor series, book 1 of which I enjoyed immensely. The Lucky Harbor series centers around 3 sisters, the death of whose mother Phoebe Traeger brings them together. The 3 sisters Maddie known as the Mouse, Tara as the Steel Magnolia and Chloe as the Wild One definitely make the stories come alive with the unique characteristics that each of them lend to the story.

Book 2 is the story of how the Steel Magnolia aka Tara Daniels gets a second chance with her first love Ford Walker whom she left behind 17 years back in Lucky Harbor. It had been when both of them were 17 years old that Tara had been sent to Lucky Harbor to spend summer with her mother, a relationship on tenuous grounds at best. Both Ford and Tara who come from broken families find something in each other that they are irresistibly drawn towards, making Tara give her heart, body and soul to the deliciously sinful and sexy as hell Ford. Their affair ends tragically when Tara finds out that she is not at all ready to deal with the consequences of a grown up relationship and sacrifices a big chunk of her heart by leaving Ford and giving up a vital piece of her to go back to life as she knew it.

17 years later, Tara comes back because of Phoebe’s will and stays far longer than she ever expected to when she finds herself making up one excuse after another to stay back. Ford, now a world class sailing expert who co-owns The Love Shack, the local bar with his best friend Jax seems to be as alluring as ever, a more lethal combination of charm that he so effortlessly wields together with his good looks that has women all over town fawning over him. Ford might be laid back and take the easy way out in life but that doesn’t mean that he is not affected when the woman who has haunted his dreams for far longer than he cares to count comes back to Lucky Harbor and starts stirring up feelings that Ford has long since thought dormant in him.

The one thing that has rankled Tara who is as uptight and anal retentive as they come is the fact that Ford had never deemed her important enough to stop her from walking away or to come after her when she had left him all those years ago. But even Tara’s backbone of steel is not enough to make her say no to the way Ford plays havoc with all her emotions – all in a deliciously good way. Things get interesting when Tara’s ex-husband comes back, looking for a second chance and to win back Tara’s affections making Ford seethe with the utter feelings of possessiveness that storms through him.

The Sweetest Thing, though it did not wow me as much as Simply Irresistible did, I still loved it to pieces. Ford Walker is the type of hero I can happily dream about for eons with his wickedly sinful nature that comes out to play and ruffle the feathers of the tightly buttoned up Tara. Ford is exactly what Tara needs in her life to loosen up, to find herself once again and take a second chance on falling in love and being loved. The wickedly sensual positions these two constantly find themselves in adds to the magic that Ms. Shalvis weaves with her stories in the Lucky Harbor series making this a well rounded addition to the series.

Jill Shalvis has a remarkable talent for writing stories that one minute has me laughing until my sides hurt and the next making me feel as if someone has sucker punched me quite well. The constant roller coaster of emotions that I have come to identify and revel in when it comes to this series was present in this story as well making it an utter delight to sink into the characters that make up the Lucky Harbor series. Ms. Shalvis has a way of making my toes curl completely inward and hum in delight a time or two with the very well done love scenes in the book.

Now I am completely focused on reading the 3rd book in the series, Head Over Heels which is to come out in December 2011. I think Chloe and Sawyer may yet come to be my favorite couple in the series with their totally opposite natures which is going to make for a very explosive addition to the series – hopefully!

I finish off my review with a glimpse into the sizzling hot attraction between Ford and Tara that just makes the pages come alive every single time!

And then she realized something else. She wasn’t breathing.
He wasn’t either.
Of their own accord, her hands slid up his chest, wrapped around his neck, and then … oh God, and then.
Ford said her name on a rough exhale. Holding her against the hard planes of his body, his eyes filled with a quiet intensity, he lowered his head.
“Stop me if you’re going to,” he said in quiet demand, all humor gone.
Tara sucked in some air, but didn’t stop him. Not when his lips came down on hers, and not when he kissed her until she couldn’t remember her own name.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard


Review: Pursuit by Elizabeth Jennings

Format: E-book
Opens with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Matthew Sanders
Heroine: Charlotte Court
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 2008
Started On: February 17, 2011
Finished On: February 18, 2011

Elizabeth Jennings is a pseudonym used by the very talented author Lisa Marie Rice who is one of my utmost favorites. I love her style of writing and definitely her heroes who are larger than life, who are besotted to the point of obsession with the heroines, who swoop in to save the day. But mind you, her heroines aren’t dimwits either. Though they won’t win any contests in the feminist department, what they are is feminine to the core with backbones of steel that guides them through the very rough and turbulent times the story takes them through. And I do love me a good Lisa Marie Rice novel anytime! So it was a delightful surprise to find out that Lisa Marie Rice has a couple of romantic suspense books published under the name of Elizabeth Jennings and this one has been sitting in my TBR pile for quite sometime until yesterday when I finally took the plunge to find out what LMR’s books are like under the pseudonym Elizabeth Jennings.

34 year old Lieutenant Commander Matthew Sanders (Matt) is an ex-navy SEAL who has served in the worst hell holes of the world to protect his country. A man who has led groups of special ops soldiers through the worst and stickiest of situations, Matt’s life in special ops is brought to a grounding halt when he is injured whilst on duty in Afghanistan. Matt takes his broken body up to Baja Sur Mexico to heal from injuries that had nearly taken his life and meets his guardian angel, the woman who changes everything in his life for good.

Heiress Charlotte Court is the uber beautiful and artist daughter of Phillip Court of the Court Industries. Charlotte had been away in art school in Italy when her father who is as down-to-earth and impractical as they come had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Leaving her carefree world behind to take care of her father, Charlotte is pursued by the ambitious and cunning CEO of Court Industries Robert Haine who believes that the vast wealth is wasted on the Courts who really do not appreciate money and the finer things in life that it brings along. Haine’s plan is a dangerous one, to seduce Charlotte into his life, marry her and in turn inherit the billions to her name once her father is dead and gone. But Charlotte who is just more than a pretty face ignores his attempts and finally drives Haine to take matters into his own hands to claim the ownership of  the Court Industries once and for all.

On the fateful night when Charlotte’s world is turned upside down, in a span of a few minutes, she witnesses the murder of her father and takes a bullet to her shoulder before survival instincts kick in and Charlotte runs for her life. With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, with the police on an all out manhunt for Charlotte in association with the murder of the most precious person in her life, Charlotte has no choice but to run – and run is what she does from upstate New York to the beaches of Mexico.

It is on her 3rd day in Mexico that she eyes Matt, struggling to put one foot in front of the other just by sheer force of will and this is how a fragile bond between two broken people are formed; two people who have already been to hell and back, forced to endure what would have brought down a normal person.

From the moment Matt eyes his beautiful and broken Guardian Angel, he is smitten to the extent that everything else that surrounds him ceases to exist. And when Matt gets his chance to get up close and personal with his Angel, the protective instincts that kick in full throttle takes him by surprise and Matt wouldn’t have it any other way. With Charlotte refusing to divulge why and who it is that she is running from, Matt does the next best thing – toughen his Angel up so that she would be able to protect herself if the need arises, though he has no intention of leaving her side even for a minute.

But Haine has a more cunning plan in effect as he deploys one of the most lethal weapons that the US government has trained to-date, to hunt and kill the lone woman who stands in his way of inheriting a company which he turned around from the brink of bankruptcy, a legacy worth billions of dollars which he figures rightfully belongs to him.

Similar to books by Lisa Marie Rice, what captured me the most even with this story is how she brings to life every single scene/moment in the story. From the larger than life hero Matt to the beautiful and fragile heroine Charlotte to the sizzling attraction between them, I couldn’t have asked for a more eloquent characterization nor description. And Matt proved to be just the kind of hero that anyone who is on the run for their life would want by their side. His strength which he tones down in spades for the woman he loves; and his firm stand on using whatever means by his side to protect her at all costs is something to be savored in any hero. And Charlotte’s art; I felt like I was in the room with her whilst she was lost in creating beautiful artifacts which would stand the tests of time, the detailed descriptions which I believe has got something to do with the fact that the author herself spent so much time in Italy amongst such talented people who were trying to make a name for themselves in the competitive world of artists.

Though the underlying story is quite the same where the heroine is beautiful, hero is besotted right from the  very beginning and in the end love triumphs all, I still loved this story which grabbed me right from the very start. There are subtle differences however to the stories that are authored under Lisa Marie Rice to this one. Books under LMR tends to be more about the intense connection between the hero and heroine such that the air practically vibrates with electricity whenever they both come into contact. However in this story even though the romance aspect is not placed on a back burner, the suspense aspect of the story is given as much attention and time in the story making it balanced in terms of romance and suspense.

Recommended for fans of Lisa Marie Rice who haven’t tried out books authored under Elizabeth Jennings, and those who love  their romantic suspense with a larger than life hero who would lay down his life to protect the woman he loves.

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Review: Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis

Format: E-bookSimplyirresistible
Read  with: Amazon Kindle

Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: A Lucky Harbor Novel, Book 1
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Jackson Cullen III (Jax Cullen)
Heroine: Madeline Annie Traeger (Maddie Moore)
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication:  October 1, 2010
Started On: January 26, 2011
Finished On: January 29, 2011

Ever since I read Shadow Hawk and didn’t like it as much as I expected to, I have been a little wary of picking up anything by Jill Shalvis and that’s the main reason why I have hesitated in getting a copy of her latest novel Simply Irresistible, the 1st book in the Lucky Harbor series. Now, I am so very glad that I let reviews from my friends on Goodreads who all loved this book to pieces convince me to give this title a go because I am slapping myself for being stupid enough to let such a yummylicious read go by for so long without an attempt to read it.

Simply Irresistible is a book that lives up to its title, yes, its simply irresistible and I found myself so engrossed in the world of Lucky Harbor, the small town life, the larger than life heroes, Jax Cullen who makes my knees go wobbly each and every time and the sisters who make this novel come vibrantly alive that I forgot to mark this book for quotes as I read along, something which I always do when I am reading a novel so that my review would be a complete one. That just goes to show how marvelous a tale Ms. Shalvis has spun with her new series and I can’t wait until the next one comes out in April of this year.

Jax Cullen is a hero who presents himself as a mass of contradictions and I so love myself a hero like him. At first he comes across as the bad boy hero who rides into the story on his bad-ass motorbike; but layer by layer his character unfolds to reveal the complex man he is behind the facade. Jax had grown up with his father when his parents marriage had failed and his father being a cutthroat lawyer by profession, their relationship had had no room for emotions. A grown up Jax had followed his father’s footsteps and had become a very expensive defense attorney for a huge law firm in Seattle, where winning cases at all costs had been the bottom line. His work there had earned him the name of Jackson Cullen III and it had taken Jax’s last case which had gone horribly wrong for him to quit his job and return to Lucky Harbor, the last place he remembers being happy. Now 5 years out of a profession that had sucked the very soul out of him, Jax is laid back, goes through life at his own pace and works doing what he loves; building and restoration. The mayor of Lucky Harbor for the second term Jax is not looking for a relationship after his fiance had walked out on him when he had walked out on his job; that is until beautiful and klutzy Maddie nearly runs him over in her car.

29 year old Maddie is broke and homeless when her late mother’s will brings her to Lucky Harbor. Maddie had been raised by her father who had been a movie-set designer ever since he had taken custody of her since Maddie had turned 5 years old. Having never had much contact with her flighty mother, Maddie is as surprised as her father and two half sisters Tara and Chloe to learn about her mother’s will which had bequeathed them Lucky Harbor Inn, in the hopes of bringing 3 of her children together even if she may not be around to see it. Maddie had earned the nickname of the Mouse from her mother and is a survivor of a physically and emotionally abusive relationship from her ex-boyfriend Alex, an angry, uptight and aggressive LA attorney who didn’t know how to control his temper. It had been Maddie’s retaliation towards Alex that had cost her her job and makes her swear off of men altogether until she runs into the very sexy and delectable Jax Cullen who makes her tingle in all the right places with his searing velvety gaze alone.

When their mother’s will brings them together, it is only Maddie who at first wants to make a go of things and work towards making the derelict Lucky Harbor Inn habitable once again. And that is how Jax Cullen and his tool belt comes into the scene, seducing Maddie of every good intention she has about swearing off of men until now. As Jax brings down the walls that surround Maddie’s heart, so develops a heartwarming relationship between 3 sisters who had not seen each other for the past 5 years. Amidst the small town life of Lucky Harbor, sexual awareness of the eyebrow singeing variety turns into a love so worth taking a chance on that I as a reader absolutely couldn’t have asked for more.

I liked:

  1. Jax Cullen. Every single time he walks in with his tool belt around him – needless to say I am a puddle of goo every time that happens and wouldn’t have it any other way. He has this way of seducing Maddie out of her noble intentions that left me breathless and wanting more of  where that came from. I loved him for his quiet intensity, his kindness, and the smoldering sensuality that leaps into the picture every time he walks in *fans self*. Jax can certainly master my ahem! baser emotions any day he chooses! ^_^
  2. Maddie. She is klutzy,  less than perfect and so down on herself when she comes to Lucky Harbor. But she has an inner strength that can definitely make her the Steel Magnolia, the title her mother has given to Tara the eldest of her 3 girls. Maddie’s determination to heal from the brutality of her relationship with Alex and how she is so irresistibly drawn towards Jax and his quiet determination and strength made me root for her big time!
  3. Loved the dialogues, each and every one of them whether it be between Jax and Maddie, or between Maddie, Tara and Chloe or Jax and his buddies. Several laugh-out moments in the conversations that makes this an excellent book to cure you from all your woes.
  4. Jax and his tool belt. There! Now I have said it. Can’t help but remember a guy on a show on Discovery Travel & Living who had a tool belt around him whilst he went about giving makeovers to people’s homes. Even then, my sole focus was on the tool belt. I guess that explains a bit on my fascination with the tool belt. ^_~
  5. I absolutely loved the relationship that develops between Maddie, Tara and Chloe. They are all so very different from one another but the affection and love they have towards each other is evident right from the very beginning. Though it is Tara’s story that will be coming out in April, I can’t help but want to read Chloe and Sawyer’s story. I have a mind that it’s going to be pretty darn explosive!! ^_^
  6. Loved the quotes from Phoebe Traeger at the beginning of each chapter. They were seriously thought provoking and at the same time gave me something to laugh out loud as I delved into each chapter.
  7. Jax’s lethal brand of seduction. I seriously, seriously could get used to it! *winks*

I disliked: None.

Favorite Quotes

Two, and even more unsettling, he smelled good – sexy and alluring. Closing her eyes, she felt her body tingle, brought to a hyper-awareness that felt almost foreign as something zinged through her.
Desire. Bone-melting desire.
When she opened her eyes again, he was even closer. His eyes weren’t the solid warm caramel she’d thought but had flecks of gold dancing in them, as well. She could have drowned in all that deliciousness.
Not a  bad way to go, she figured – death by lust.

Chloe stood there, a small smile on her lips as she peered past Maddie at the Jeep. “Who’s that?”
Maddie watched the brake lights of the Jeep as it vanished into the night. “Jax Cullen. And that’s all I know,” she said before Chloe could ask anything else.
Well, except that he had a voice that went down like smooth whiskey, a way of looking at her that tended to get her to say more than she should, and oh, yea, he kissed like heaven on earth.

With a sigh, she picked up her knitting instead of inhaling any more food and continued from where she’d left off last night. “In, wrap around,” she said to herself. “Pull out.”
“You know,” Chloe said licking some batter off her thumb. “The way you knit always sounds a little dirty. I bet if you knitted in earshot of a guy, you’d get laid for sure.”

The back door opened, and all three of them swiveled to look as Jax filled the doorway. He looked like sin on a stick in faded Levi’s, a long-sleeved graphic Henley, and – there went her pulse – that damn tool belt slung slow on his hips.

“Don’t take life too seriously. After all, none of us are getting out alive anyway.” – Phoebe Traeger

“Experience is something you get… after you need it.” – Phoebe Traeger

Recommended for anyone who loves a good contemporary romance that can play with all your emotions in a good way and leave you with a huge smile at the end should read this novel. A great beginning to a series which I am sure can only get better. A story that petted, stroked and fed each and every craving I have as a romance reader; I can’t recommend this novel highly enough!

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Review: Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire

Format: E-bookedgeofsight
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Guardian Angelinos, Book 1
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Zaccaria Angelino (Zach)
Heroine: Samantha Fairchild (Sam)
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 1, 2010
Started On: November 1, 2010
Finished On: November 5, 2010

I can’t exactly pinpoint the reason why, but I struggled to get through my second book by Roxanne St. Claire. Having read the 1st book in the Bullet Catchers series Kill Me Twice sometime in November last year, I haven’t tried much to read through any other stories by Ms. St. Claire until I found out about the release of Edge of Sight on Twitter. As I read through the book blurbs and various raving reviews that were posted long before the release date I found myself thinking that this would be a book worth a shot. But somehow whatever that I expected from the story never seemed to materialize though in the end it wasn’t a bad story. So onto my review!

The Hero: When I first encountered Zaccaria Angelino (Zach) in the story, I found myself saying “Well, hello there Zaccaria”. Zach an ex-army ranger who enlisted soon after the 2001 attacks on US soil comes back home injured and half the man he had been before. Losing one eye and with a hideous scar running down his cheek, Zach has a tormented soul that I guess many readers would sympathize with. Zach and his twin sister Vivi Angelino are orphaned at a very tender age and had been moved to America to live with their American cousins. Zach had never tried to fit in, always angry at the fates for taking his beloved mother away who had doted on him in a way that only mothers can. The only place he had felt at home apart from when he had been serving the army had been in Sammi’s arms, the woman who Zach hurts so deeply whom he had left behind in the cold with no contact whatsoever for the past 3 years.

The Heroine: Samantha Fairchild (Sam) or Sammi as Zach calls her is 30 years old and on her way to Harvard Law School to attain her degree. Sam had just been 16 years old when she had witnessed some guy kill a clerk and it had been her testimony that had put the wrong man in jail until the actual killer had been caught in some unrelated crime and confessed. Sam had been a pretty much carefree career woman when her conscience had taken a deep hit by the error of her testimony which had deeply dented her self-confidence. Sam had dropped everything she was doing and had worked hard with a pro bono attorney to undo what she had caused and in turn opened up a case of negligence at the police department which had lost 2 cops their jobs. Sam’s deep friendship with Vivi Angelino takes a hit when her hot and heavy affair with Vivi’s twin brother ends up with Zach walking away from her and never looking back.

Storyline: Sam witnesses a murder in the wine cellar of the restaurant which she works at, ending up once again as the only one who saw a killer who so ruthlessly murders a man Sam has come to know as more than just a passing acquaintance. The one thing that does put her in the spotlight is the camera which captures her shock and horror as she witnessed the killing, the fact which puts a bunch of ruthless killers after her, all wanting to end her life. Not knowing where or whom to turn to as the police doesn’t really count her being a witness a highlight in their case, Sam contacts the only person who would be able to help her and runs smack-dab into Zach, the one person she has tried to forget unsuccessfully for the past 3 years of her life, who appears to be unaffected by the terror in her eyes, but inevitably ends up being her bodyguard albeit a bit reluctantly at first.

The First Encounter: Reading about Zach and Sam’s first encounter with one another brought a smile to my face. Sam had at that time being sharing an apartment with Vivi and Vivi had thrown a party to welcome her big bad ass army ranger brother. From the first moment, sparks had flown between the two and the heated kiss they share in the bathroom which ultimately leads to the hottest sex of both their lives for 3 short weeks through which the affair lasted was one of the best parts about the story.

Time period: This story has a contemporary setting and takes place in Boston, New York.

Awareness between the hero and heroine: Even when Zach tries to ignore his body’s wants and desires and though Sam knows better than to put herself in a position vulnerable enough to let Zach break her heart the second time around, the attraction and awareness between them is always a constant that refuses to just leave them no matter how much they both try to ignore the feelings and unresolved issues between them.

The turning point: When Sam runs into Zach whilst looking for Vivi at her apartment with sheer terror lurking in the depth of her indigo eyes, Zach tries to ignore the protective instincts that come into play. Furthermore, when Vivi comes up with her harebrained scheme of starting up a security firm of their own named The Guardian Angelinos, with Sam as their first customer and Zach acting as her bodyguard, Zach is reluctant to take the job as he doesn’t trust his abilities to keep anyone safe, much less the woman who is the center of his universe. But then the heart always wants what it wants, regardless of what you might try telling yourself otherwise, and the constant proximity between Zach and Sam proves to be Zach’s undoing in front of the woman he loves.

Ending: I have got to say that Ms. Claire took me totally unawares with her villain in the end. Before the end is through, the story unfolds revealing just how Sam had been manipulated to become an “unreliable” witness to a murder for a bunch of people who are ruthless enough to kill anyone who stands in their way of attaining what they want.

Likes: There were a few things that I liked about this book as the story unfolded. I liked Sam, which is sort of a first for me since I always come out saying I loved the hero in the story. I loved Sam because of her unwavering courage, how much she tries to put to right what she had wronged and her wonderful loving personality. I liked Vivi (oh boy, something surely has to be wrong since I am talking about all the female leads in the story). Her personality is quite the polar opposite to what I envisioned an investigative journalist like her would be. Vivi has a strong personality which draws a reader in and gets her own story in the 3rd book of the series, Face of Danger which is to come out on May 2011 which I am slightly interested in reading. I just had an inkling that she would be paired off with the FBI agent that was introduced into the story towards the end and I bet if Ms. Claire gets it right, Vivi’s story could be quite entertaining and explosive.

Dislikes: Umm.. let’s see, I guess the reason I didn’t take to this story as much as I hoped I would was because of the way Zach treats Sam at the beginning of the story. I can understand refusing to come out and say how you feel about the woman who scares the bejesus out of your most guarded emotions but walking out on her, never contacting her for 3 whole years and telling himself to keep away and only when he is damn ready to take her in his arms does Zach do it. I can understand a tortured hero but I also want the hero to be unable to keep his hands off the heroine in question regardless of all the crappy advice he might give himself or regardless of how honorable his intentions maybe. I guess what turned me off was the fact that the first detailed encounter between Zach and Sam in the story was sort of a solo act on Sam’s part which just didn’t sit that well with me. And for a man who left her hanging 3 years back without a word, Zach sure does expect a lot from Sam when he asks her to stop doubting him and second guessing him. Duh! As if Zach has given Sam any reason to really instill any sort of trust in him. All in all, I failed to connect with the version of tortured bad boy hero in this story which was what surprised me most in the end. One  more thing that disappointed me was the hints throughout the books to the hot and heavy affair that had taken place 3 years back, which never materialized for me from the 2 or 3 encounters between Sam and Zach in the book. Sigh!! I just don’t like disliking so many things about a book -_-‘.

Recommended for: Those who love books by Roxanne St. Claire.

Favorite Quotes

“Let me go, Zach.” She jerked again, more angry than scared now.
“Not yet.” He buried his cheek deeper into her hair, almost groaning at the mix of pleasure and comfort and soothing, sweet softness. …
Without making a sound he put his lips against her hair and kissed it so softly she could never have felt it. Just once, to remember. Then never again.

He counted the beats, listened to her breath, and waited until her body relaxed into sleep. When he was sure, he unlatched their hands and reached up to slide off his protective patch.
Finally, the moment of pure heaven. He laid his face against her hair and let the softness soothe his burning scar, the ecstasy of it almost making him want to cry out. It felt so good. So, so sweet and comforting and good.

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