ARC Review: Chasing Chris Campbell by Genevieve Gannon

Format: E-bookchasingchriscampbell
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher Australia
Hero: Harry Jay Potter
Heroine: Violet Mason
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 1, 2015
Started On: November 15, 2015
Finished On: November 18, 2015

Chasing Chris Campbell by Genevieve Gannon is a novel that completely surprised me and delivered such entertainment that it will be hard to forget the magic that Genevieve Gannon wove with this number. Genevieve is a completely new to me author whom I stumbled across only because of Netgalley. Chasing Chris Campbell is an apt title for this novel because the heroine Violet Mason chases the man of her dreams (or so she thinks), all over Asia and then some, until she realizes her worth and comes to accept the fact that the only one responsible for charting the course of her happiness is herself.

Violet is in a relationship with a man whose idea of a future together is to be frugal and save until there is no spontaneity in their shared lives. When Chris once again walks back into her life, Chris being the one that got away, Violet is determined that she would follow him, even if it means leaving everything that is dear and familiar to her behind. From the busy streets of Hong Kong to Goa of India and then to Nepal, Violet goes on an epic journey of a lifetime where she discovers the beauty of shared experiences as well as the life lessons that come associated with leaving behind one’s comfort zone.

Violet being a germophobe and a vegetarian makes things doubly difficult for her in certain aspects but it does bring out the sort of ambition in her that otherwise might not have materialized. I had such a good time reading and enjoying the antics of Violet’s life and her attempts to make Chris notice her. And just like anyone who is smitten with the person who is wrong for them in all the ways, Violet too doesn’t realize the worth of the man she meets along the way. But it all does work out well in the end.

The best part of the novel for me was the journey itself. Violet learning the ropes of letting go, of letting things work out for themselves and of her wising up enough to know what she wants and needs. This book had a little bit of everything going for it. A bad breakup, unrequited love, the one you meet in the midst of it with whom the timing was off but turns out to be the best thing that could have happened to you, which all made for wholesome reading.

I absolutely loved the author’s voice. It was refreshing, insightful and a bit quirky with big doses of humor of the kind that makes you laugh and snort your way through the story. Chasing Chris Campbell even suffices as a travelogue because it brought so many aspects of traveling alive. The descriptions through Violet’s eyes, tinged with the humor of the sort that is hard to pull off was just the icing on the cake for me. Not overly descriptive but somehow just the right touch to give the reader that sense of what it was like. Having being to India, I could just vividly recall back everything about it that makes it so alluring. The good and the bad. And sharing Violet’s journey with her as the reader who was cheering for her on the sidelines, I very much wanted to pack my bags and leave to India for a sojourn too.

One of the bits about the journey to India that just had me hooting with laughter because I have been there myself was this.

Despite my claim that I wasn’t afraid of flying, Air India seemed qualified to instil that fear in anyone. The engine whirred and the seats started to shake as we began our shunting journey down the runway. As we sped up, the engine noise grew louder and louder. I wasn’t sure if we were going to lift-off or explode. I felt like cheering when we left the ground and things seemed to smooth-out.

It is books like this that makes me want to travel, to explore and to store up the experiences in my heart so that I can revisit them later. But it is books like this that allows people like us who can only afford to dream about traveling to visit places. That alone in my opinion makes the book worth a read!

Recommended.

Final Verdict: Refreshing & insightful with just the right touch of humor. Loved!

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

greatread

Review: Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale

Format: E-bookflowersfromthestorm
Read with: Scribd for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harper Collins
Hero: Christian Richard Nicholas Francis Langland
Heroine: Archimedea Timms
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 27, 2003
Started On: September 10, 2015
Finished On: September 14, 2015

Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale is a book I attempted to read in my quest to go through the books in one of the AAR Top 100 Romances lists I found way back, the year of the list which I have forgotten. While I went in expecting a novel that would of course sweep me off my feet, I didn’t bargain on a read that would send my emotions in all directions, making me wonder whether I should have at times thrown the book at the wall or hugged it close to my heart. Because I think that pretty much sums up my emotions when I was lost in the story that Flowers from the Storm delivered.

For those newbies like myself to the novel, Flowers from the Storm stars the rakish hero Christian Richard Nicholas Francis Langland, His Grace the Duke of Jervaulx, Earl of Langland and Viscount Glade. By rakish, I mean that Christian is the type of man who has no qualms about sleeping with a married woman, impregnating her, nor much care for what the society thinks of him. His one and only passion apart from being as notorious as they come with the ladies, lies in the field of Mathematics, an interest that he keeps close to his heart.

Archimedea Timms (Maddy) is a of the Quaker faith, something which I came to know of only when I encountered Maddy’s character and her “odd” ways in the novel. Conservative to the bone in the way she was brought up, Maddy’s faith dictates all the ways of her life. Companion to her father John Timms who himself is a Mathematics enthusiast, it is through this shared connection between Maddy’s father and Christian that Maddy crosses paths with Christian. However their “acquaintanceship” is a short lived one because an event of significant impact that occurs in Christian’s life sends him away, leaving everyone to think he had died, until Maddy encounters him months later, at the asylum that is run by her cousin Dr. Edward.

When Maddy’s paths crosses that with Christian’s, Maddy finds herself unable to walk away from the man that is chained to his current existence in more ways than one. Maddy answers to her God’s calling so to speak, when determinedly pursuing Christian’s path to recovery, hindered altogether too much by Christian’s wayward emotions together with that of the leave that Maddy’s senses take, every time she is in close quarters with Christian.

One thing leads to another & before she knows it, Maddy finds herself married to Christian, going against every major tenet of her belief system, against everything she has known and holds dear to her heart. Her existence with Christian is one fraught with desires of the kind that Maddy has been sheltered from all her life. The extravagance of Christian’s life, not to mention the treacherous game she has to play with Christian’s family that would rather see his determined spirit locked up is one that eats away at Maddy’s soul, day in and day out. Until it all comes to its explosive conclusion which left a thousand different feelings coursing right through me.

There were times that I wanted to shake Maddy, times that she made me grit my teeth and trudge on. All because her belief system, the very core of her existence which had been her life up till Christian entered into it was one that prevented her from going all in when it comes to him. I wanted Maddy to throw away everything she had known, abandon ship and jump right on board with Christian. But then again, I knew deep in my heart that that wouldn’t have delivered half the emotion and realism that Maddy’s character lent to the story. Once all was said and done, I was grateful for Laura Kinsale for penning Maddy, for giving readers a character that threw my emotions all over the place. Because that is in essence what great storytelling does to a reader.

Christian was of course, easy to fall in love with. Easy to relate to. And oh how my heart wept for what happened to him. But his sheer determination to do right by his wife is one that had me stand up and cheer him on. In a journey that was fraught with danger of the kind that actually had my skin crawling. Not because bad guys were out and about with their pistols blazing. But because the danger was too close to home in the case of Christian. And I for one hyperventilated at the thought of him going back into a life of captivity, the fire inside of him extinguished day by day until even the embers of his soul are too tired to put up a fight. There were so many times that I wanted to Google and find out what had happened to him, what had rendered him to become so. A thousand times I waited for a miracle to happen, for him to just get all better. But then Laura Kinsale proved me wrong and delivered something better. And that is the sense of realism that I am talking about when it comes to Flowers from the Storm.

Flowers from the Storm is for readers who want to go beyond your usual variety of romances where the rake reforms overnight and the heroine just goes along with it like it was meant to be. There is so much more happening in the story, all of it intricately woven to give readers something that they would carry with them for the rest of their lives. Kudos Laura Kinsale. For you certainly deserve it after delivering a read this explosive to the mind, heart and soul.

Utmostly recommended!

Final Verdict: Flowers from the Storm is a novel that changes you. Dare you to find out for yourself!

Favorite Quotes

His mouth hovered near hers. Even if she had tried to step back, she couldn’t have, without kittens toppling in all directions. She felt herself entrapped by it, frozen into place by him.
He brushed his mouth against hers, so lightly and briefly that it was a mere breath, a warmth, a touch and then gone before her lips parted to object. He was smiling at them, at her, holding kittens at her ears, caressing the protesting animals along her cheeks. She sucked in a quick breath as pins burrowed into her forehead and the kitten on top tried to scamper down her nose.

The whistle slipped from his fingers. She felt it bounce against her breasts as his mouth came to hers. He touched her as the silver had touched her, just a light graze, but warm.
He took modesty and virtue and salvation away from her so easily. She gave it up so easily.
She stood washed in the sensation of his featherlight contact against her lips, his breath mingling with hers. It seemed as if God’s light within her must be shining bright, filling her with wonder. This man, his eyes closed, dark lashes so frivolously long as they rested against his skin: even his eyelashes were unholy in their opulence.

She felt her own will leap up to meet his. Her mouth opened; he answered instantly with a deep and ardent union. His hands drew downward, closing as he leaned into her, bracing his forearms on the door.
He enveloped her. The feel of his kiss was strange and painful and electric. Her hands opened helplessly, trying to find something to touch that wasn’t him, but everything was him: all the solid reality within reach.
He opened his palms and smoothed her hair—sweetly, over and over like a parent would touch a child—at the same time that he kissed her, pressing hard against her, a forceful intercourse of their mouths and bodies.

The duke looked up at Maddy. He swept his hand over the formula her father had completed, where the value for the earth’s distance from the sun was multiplied by numbers half a million times greater than itself to reach the realms of their new geometry.
“Stars,” he said, his face alight with passion. “In… finity.”
And he smiled at her as if he owned it: distance and space and stars and infinity… as if he owned her, too.

A scarlet petal floated downward, avoided the brim of her bonnet and caught on her shoulder.
The scrap of crimson lay there, close to the pale curve of her throat, between the stark collar and the tight upward sweep of her hair. Christian reached out and caught the petal between his fingers. She held stiff, breathing like a frightened doe. He let the moment spin out, his hand suspended near her cheek, not quite touching—not quite, not quite—a whisper away, a restraint as intimate as a kiss.
Color flooded her cheeks. Expectation. Her eyes, those eyes that turned hazel to gold under wanton lashes; her eyes held terror and wonder.
He stepped back and set her free.

Her braid lay over her shoulder and their hands. He toyed with the tip of it. He held it in one fist and ran his thumb against it. The single strand of hair, the tiny thread that she’d looped tight to hold it—the strand broke, and the plait came free.
He made a sound, low and hot. And then he released her—before she could find herself in his embrace, before she could say what it felt like—only that he was solid and tall and heated and catastrophic, only that she felt bare and hollow when he let her go.

She lifted her chin and kissed him back.
He had been her teacher: she knew how to taste his mouth, search the corners while he grew still, his lips parting a little. His body seemed to respond with a slow tautness, a tightening over her; his hands pressed into her skin. Yet he lay motionless, suspended, his mouth acquiescent to hers, as if his whole concentration was on what it felt like. His lips opened more with each contact, allowing her to seek further—inviting it.
She touched him with her tongue. He was foreign and familiar, so close and yet so strange to her. A nobleman, with fairies and Welshmen and kings in his history, lord of this hall and castle, but most alien and potent of all: a man.

He locked his hands with hers and spread them out on the cold stone. His signet ring drove into her finger, caught between his hand and hers, painful pressure down to the bone, but she wanted it. She wanted it there, as she wanted him. Everything inside her arched upward to meet his kiss. It seemed that she had been bound up, held tight by threads that he had broken with a touch.
She heard herself, like a whimpering child, moaning with the terrible pleasure of it. She moved; she could not help it, taking the rhythm that he gave her with his tongue, arching to find more.

“Maddy,” he said, between hard breaths, “make you…glad. I swear.”
She smoothed her hand down his shoulder and his back. She could feel his heart beating. He shuddered again and pushed himself closer to her.
“I’ll make you glad,” he repeated.
She bit her lip, resting her head against his.
He turned his face deeper into her. “Black Guard won’t get you,” he said, muffled.
Stop. Oh, stop, say stop, but it’s too late.
Too late. Because God forgive me, I love thee more than my own life.

He lifted his head from the carpet to suckle her. She moved with awkward exquisite jerks, writhing, until he cupped his hands at her buttocks and taught her the rhythm, her hair sliding between his palms and her skin. With a lovely suddenness, she came— with little female cries, like an unquiet dreamer: he brought his arms up around her and held her close for an instant—then with one deep thrust, holding her hips down to take it, he let go of the lust he’d kept dammed inside him.
When it was finished he held her hard against his chest and never closed his eyes— to make it real, and banish nightmares in the firelight.

She sat looking down at her lap desk. She fiddled with the corner of the paper, rolling it up, and then unrolling it. “Christian,” she said, watching her fingers. “Wouldst thou please come tonight?”
For a moment he didn’t do anything. Then he steepled his hands and lifted his head from the back of the chair, resting his chin on the tips of his fingers, gazing at her.
“Why wait?” He smiled. “I’m here…now.”

She gave him a push. The book slid down; he held it out behind him and let it fall with a flutter and thump as he leaned forward to kiss her mouth. He caught her body in his hands, his thumbs passing provocatively over her breasts, caressing the tips, back and forth. The feel of it drew a liquid arching, a breath and a pressing flex of all her muscles toward him.
“Want me?” he whispered, licentious, the Devil at her ear in full daylight: a man’s firm elegant hands on her body, blue eyes and long dusky beautiful eyelashes.

He pulled her petticoat and dress higher, cupping her hips and her buttocks with his bare hands. He made a rough, ardent sound near her ear. He bit her, hurt her, kneading her body in his palms, but it was sweet pain and sinful ecstasy. She felt him release his own buttons; his hard male part pushed and pressed, and she began to pant in desperate guilty excitement.
Like stone melting, her body slackened, her legs allowed him between. The sound of his breath was caustic, an animal engine, brushing heat across her nakedness. He pressed her hips, a rash hard grip of his fingers, making her close her legs on his shaft.

“Want me?” His voice was grinding, insistent, taut with extremity. “Maddy… inside you.”
She bit her lip, her face turned aside to the wall. “I want thee,” she said, on a sob. “I want thee.”
And he showed her how, then. How to bend and submit for him, in bondage to him, in daylight, sinking together on their knees to the floor, with him deep inside her, over her and around her, his hands holding her breasts, his mouth against the nape of her neck—lost in him and in his coupling with her. She cried out with violent joy at the height, her voice mingling with his masculine groan: the two of them no more, and no less, than every wild creature that God had made of clay to walk the earth.

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

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Review: Jackson Rule by Dinah McCall

Format: E-bookjacksonrule
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harper Collins
Hero: Andrew Jackson Rule
Heroine: Rebecca Ruth Hill
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 13, 2009
Started On: April 1, 2013
Finished On: April 6, 2013

I’ve been meaning to read Jackson Rule by Dinah McCall for quite a while now; perhaps its being more than a year or so since it landed in my ever growing pile of books that I want to read and never find the time for. Finally, the urge to read a book that would captivate me, and also the fact that something kept nagging me to pick this up for my next read had me finally brushing away the e-dust and turning one page after the other until I was fully immersed in a book that contains a mix of some of my favorite tropes all in one.

Jackson Rule walks out of prison 15 years since he was convicted and sentenced for a crime deemed unforgivable by society at large. Now 31 years old and looking for a way to find a place for himself in the society, it is by a quirky sequence of events that Jackson finds himself at the doorstep of the shop owned by none other than Rebecca Ruth Hill in his attempt to find a job.

Rebecca hires Jackson against her better judgement and amidst the misgivings of her closest friend as well as her preacher father. But Rebecca who is willing to give Jackson the chance that no one is willing to offer somehow reaches into the tightly ensconced heart of Jackson, a heart that Jackson didn’t even know was up for grabs.

As the days go by, Rebecca finds in Jackson more and more reasons for her to abandon all caution aside and finally surrender to the wild desire that courses through her and is mirrored in Jackson’s eyes. But the past would have to be laid to rest if Jackson ever were to find happiness of the kind that he is more than deserving.

I loved Jackson Rule though there were bits that felt too drawn out at certain intervals. But overall I would say the story that unfolds is one that captivates and touches the heart at its very core. Jackson’s character reaches out to you, not because he is wickedly handsome, rides a Harley and has a body that would make a woman self-combust from all the heat that he generates just by walking into a room. Though that bit certainly helps things along, its got more to do with the fact that Jackson is a man who believes himself unworthy of a woman like Rebecca because of a childhood that had been more nightmarish than anything else.

If I were to talk about the reasons why Jackson is a character that invaded my heart right from the start, I’d most probably end up giving away spoilers which would ruin the story for someone who would love to read the book. All in all let me just say that both Rebecca and Jackson makes for two beautiful characters, who finds each other against all odds and finds in the other a love worth fighting every single obstacle that stands in their way from attaining ultimate happiness.

Recommended.

Favorite Quotes

As she took a step closer, her breasts brushed against his chest in a taunt he could not ignore.
“Be careful, lady.” His voice was harsh as his hands raked through her wet, tangled hair, bringing her face closer to his own.
“Of what?” She slid her arms around his waist, moving her body into perfect alignment with his.
Instinctively he braced himself and pulled her close, rocking gently against her in an age-old rhythm.
“Of this.” He cupped her hips with his hands and lifted her off of her feet. “Of that.” His groin had swelled in one huge ache and was pressing into her flesh. “Of me.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber SEAL: GREAT READ!

Review: Nightfire by Lisa Marie Rice

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Erotic Romantic Suspense
Series: Protectors, Book 3
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Hero: Michael Patrick Keillor
Heroine: Chloe Mason
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: February 7, 2012
Started On: February 11, 2012
Finished On: February 15, 2012

It seems like I have been waiting forever for the release of the 3rd book in the Protector series. If you like myself have read the 2nd book Hotter than Wildfire, you would know why. Hotter than Wildfire ended on a cliffhanger, leaving the reader in a serious state of anticipation for this book to come out. And though Nightfire didn’t live up to all my expectations, it still managed to deliver the sort of sensually charged read that only Lisa Marie Rice can deliver.

35 year old Michael Patrick Keillor (Mike) is one of the 3 partners of the RBK Security Inc., one of the most successful security companies in the country. While his two brothers and best friends Harry and Sam had found their happily ever afters with wonderful women, Mike remains single, wandering as the restless soul that hides a wealth of pain deep inside of him. His home while stark, antiseptic and empty are a contrast to Mike’s emotions remain chaotic though he manages to hide it well.

28 year old Chloe Mason makes her way towards the building that houses RBK Security not for the usual reasons women seek them out. She comes to find out whether Harry could be her long-lost brother, hopeful and a bit apprehensive at the same time. Chloe is beyond ecstatic when Harry welcomes her with open arms, his fragile younger sister who had suffered and gone through so much in her life already. 

The attraction between Mike and Chloe is an immediate and an all encompassing one that flares to life right from the very minute the two of them lay eyes on each other. Chloe though fragile and delicate with zero experience when it comes to the opposite sex knows instinctively that Mike would never hurt her. However, after one very explosive kiss that burns hotter and brighter than any usual kiss, Mike’s less than stellar activities the previous night proves to be the reason why Mike takes a step back, though he doesn’t completely step away from Chloe’s life.

Story continues six months later, at the point where Mike is ready to bring and end to a promise that has kept him from completely claiming Chloe as he would have liked to do from day one of their “relationship”. And when Chloe’s life is suddenly under threat from ex-Russian military personnel, nothing and absolutely no force on this Earth is going to prevent Mike from claiming Chloe as his, and protecting her from any sort of harm that may come to her.

Nightfire combines all the elements that makes a Lisa Marie Rice book so memorable. Mike is alpha hero personified and Chloe is the delicate, beautiful and serene heroine who just makes you think of flowers and sunshine right from the very minute that you meet her. And the fireworks that bursts forth right from the very start is trademark Lisa Marie Rice, the heat and the off the charts sensuality always a reason to keep coming back for more of her stories.

There is none who can make a reader sweat right along with the hero and heroine as they dance around the heat that is between them, succumbing to the deep pull that is a constant throughout the story. Every single sliver of desire between Mike and Chloe was one I felt to my very bones, the reason why I loved this story so much. There were certain aspects of the story I didn’t like overly much, like the constant re-telling of emotions that seems to grip both Chloe and Mike until towards the latter part of the story. Yes, Mike has a story to tell, an immensely sad one at that too, but I wanted more action on the suspense side as well as the relationship that was fostering between Mike and Chloe to be the center of the story.

Even with all those little things that didn’t work for me, I still enjoyed the story of how Chloe and Mike find that special something with each other, the epilogue at the end that put a smile on my face the reason why I would rate this as a great read, recommended for any fan of Lisa Marie Rice.

Favorite Quotes

Her hand lifted without any volition on her part, as if it were the hand itself that wanted to be held by his. He gently grasped it in both hands, instead of the impersonal handshake she’d been expecting. His hands were as hot as a furnace. Slowly, watching her every second, he brought her hand to his mouth and—oh my God—kissed it.
Something inside her, something she’d never even suspected existed, pinged to life. Heat, excitement . . . desire. 

She whimpered, the sound lost in Mike’s mouth. She was entirely his, completely without willpower or volition. His mouth ate at hers, his shoulders curved in to her like some powerful wall of flesh. He moved his hips against her in short, stabbing movements, hands lifting her hips against his.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BoB

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!

Review: Billy Bob Walker Got Married by Lisa G. Brown

Format: Paperback
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: HarperPrism
Hero: William Robert Walker
Heroine: Shiloh Pennington
Sensuality: 2.9
Date of Publication: April 28, 1993
Started On: January 4, 2011
Finished On: January 14, 2011

My first Lisa G. Brown was picked up because of the various recommendations of the title on the Amazon romance discussion forum. This title kept cropping up on various threads on the forum which led me to obtain a copy of this title, which I had a real hard time getting shipped to Maldives since its out-of-print now. It might be because I had such high expectations because of the rave reviews this story has received that I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I thought that I would. However that doesn’t mean that this is a bad read by any means but rather it didn’t live up to all my high expectations which I believe tends to happen to us readers now and again.

27 year old William Robert Walker aka Billy Bob Walker comes from the wrong side of the town of Sweetwater. The illegitimate son of the honorable Judge Robert Sewell who has ignored his very existence by forgetting his affair with the innocent country girl Ellen Walker, Billy’s mother, Billy has a chip a mile wild on his shoulders that lands him in spots of trouble now and then. With a reputation for being wild, no one really sees the ambitious heart that beats within Billy and his aspirations to become someone who would one day show his good for nothing father that the son he had ignored for all his life in favor of his legitimate son Michael could make something out of himself. 6 ft 3 inches tall, long-limbed and lanky with broad square shoulders, Billy sets many a heart aflutter with his easy charm and masculinity. Billy’s passion lies in becoming a veterinarian but life and its ultimate choices had inevitably ended him a little further away from attaining his dream.

22 year old Shiloh Pennington is the cossetted and protected daughter of Sam Pennington, the banker of the town of Sweetwater. A man who had risen from a low wage job at a tiny mill to become what he is today, Sam wants nothing but the best for his only daughter whom he had raised single-handedly ever since Shiloh’s mother Caroline had walked out on them when Shiloh had just been 5 years old. A woman known for her beauty and loose morales when it comes to men, Sam had always kept a tight leash on Shiloh wanting to protect her from every evil in the world and tries his damnedest to shape Shiloh to follow his dreams and ambitions for her rather than her own. Shiloh is a woman trapped in a world created for her by her father and she tries her hardest to please Sam in every way possible until she breaks off her engagement to Michael Sewell, an act that infuriates Sam to no end.

The overly protected Shiloh who had always stayed away from men had her world turned upside down the summer she had turned 18, when she had run into Billy Bob Walker when he had been sent by his grandfather to landscape Pennington’s yard. Their affair had started out innocently enough and had been brought to a cruel halt by Sam who had presumed to know that Billy Bob Walker wasn’t what his Shiloh deserved or needed in life. Now 4 years later, these two cross paths again when Billy who is in jail serving time for riling up his father in court finds himself in the company of Shiloh who is brought in for totaling her car by speeding, trying in reality to get away from the stifling presence of the Sewells who her father tries to force her to accept. And when Shiloh sees her way out of getting married to Michael and getting back at Sam for trying to force her affections on a man who frightens her to no end by proposing marriage to Billy in exchange for his freedom from jail, a shaky relationship of sorts develops between two people who are wary of trusting the other as past hurts and Shiloh’s father tries his best to drive these two apart.

I liked:

1- The premise of this story. I found myself intrigued with the concept of the heroine offering money to the hero to marry her just for convenience’s sake. And with such vast differences in their upbringings there was bound to be a lot of problems which Ms. Brown tackled with throughout the story.

2- The vivid descriptions of the small town life that brought this book to life and gave it an added lustre. It is always heartening to see a story bring to life what goes on in small towns such as the one in this story.

3- As I read through this story, I was at first really frustrated with Shiloh’s character as she kept swaying back and forth between her feelings for Billy, which always pisses me off when it comes to heroines. But in the end, Shiloh proves that she loves Billy for who he is and does some growing up of her own and stands up for herself in front of her controlling father which earned her my approval in the end.

I disliked:

1- The way Shiloh couldn’t make up her mind till around more than half way through the book. It kept my head spinning in circles whilst Shiloh tried to divide her loyalties between the father who had raised her with love although Sam controls her life and she lets it happen; and her husband whom she has a hard time accepting at first.

2- Billy’s doggone pride that kept interfering with what was taking place between Shiloh and himself. As feelings continued to intensify between the two, Billy has a hard time accepting the fact that Shiloh’s upbringing had provided her with the best of things in life which Billy is unable to provide her with. Sam’s interference certainly didn’t help matters but I wished at times I could slap Billy on the face to make him sit up and see what he was doing to their relationship with his beloved pride to keep him company by his side.

Favorite Quotes

He was paying no attention to the salesman either, except for thinking once or twice that if the man ran his hand much farther up Shiloh’s leg while he was taking off her sandals, Billy was going to break his fingers.
“Here,” he said brusquely, his voice thick with emotion, “you go get  the shoes. I’ll do this.”
He dropped to his haunches in front of Shiloh, shouldering the ambitious salesman out of the way. The man gaped indignantly, his eyes behind his wire-rimmed glasses angry.

“But this is my job!”
Billy never answered, just sliding the last sandal off Shiloh’s foot, looking up at her as she sat perched on the stool above him. The salesman opened his mouth to speak again, then eyed the long, square width of Billy’s shoulders and their determined set before he shut his mouth and headed off to get the shoes, without another word.
Billy pulled her feet up between his spread thighs, his hard palms wrapping the tops of her feet, his fingers reaching underneath to caress her soles.
“I like the clothes,” he whispered huskily, belatedly.
The light in his blue eyes nearly burned her alive, so she looked away from the hard angles of his upturned face to the sturdy brown throat to the width of his shoulders, the muscles between the blue shirt.
Passion – that was what she felt flowing from him.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books

[xrr rating=3.75/5]

Caliber Seal: GOOD READ!

Review: Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas

Format: Paperback
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Bow Street Runners, Book 3
Publisher: HarperCollins
Hero: Nick Gentry / Lord John Sydney
Heroine: Charlotte Howard (Lottie)
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 1, 2003
Started On: October 14, 2010
Finished On: October 16, 2010

I remember starting on this book a long time back, when I first discovered Lisa Kleypas’s talent for weaving a great historical romance. However at that time for some reason or the other I left this book half way through the second chapter or so and forgot about it. After my sister read this book and seemed to be quite taken with Nick Gentry at the point of being unable to stop talking about the guy *winks*, I decided to see what all the fuss is about and finally read the third book in the Bow Street Runners series, not that I have read the other two books in the series before.

Nick Gentry who is reputed to be the most skillful lover in all of England acquires the knowledge that goes along with his inherent skill from Mrs. Gemma Bradshaw, the owner of the most well trained house of prostitutes in London. Nick who has always been sensual by nature had refused to seek out just any woman to satisfy his hungers until holding back becomes too much for him and he finally seeks out Mrs. Bradshaw’s brothel after he turns 24 of age. Nick who is disreputable at best is described as a man who is popular with the public, feared in the underworld and detested by the Bow Street Runners who continuously try to hunt him down until Sir Ross Cannon who has now retired from the Bow Street Runners finally catches up with him and convinces Nick to work for them.

Charlotte Howard (Lottie) is a woman who is on the run. Having being betrothed to Lord Radnor since childhood by her parents who had practically made a deal with the devil himself to keep themselves ensconced in the lap of luxury, Charlotte had found every aspect of her life being controlled by Radnor himself. Knowing that marriage to the controlling mad man that Charlotte’s parents refused to see that he was would be a fate worse than death itself, Charlotte flees from home and seeks employment at Lord Westcliff’s residence as a companion to his mother.

Lord Radnor who is besides himself for the fact that Charlotte dared run away from him hires Nick to bring back his bride to be whether she is willing to come back or not. When Nick encounters the woman whom he had been hunting after for the past 2 months, Nick is surprised to find himself enchanted with the woman who for the first time in his life seems to be calling to something deep inside of himself that Nick refuses to recognize.

When Lord Westcliffe finds out that Nick is not who he is pretending to be, all hell breaks loose when Charlotte finds out that  the man whose warm sensual kisses had drugged her to no end was actually the man who her detested groom to be had hired to hunt her down. With Nick determined to make Charlotte his regardless of the consequences, these two make a deal to get married, Charlotte refusing to let love enter the equation knowing that being that vulnerable to any man was not for her and Nick who only thinks that he wants the sensual delights that Charlotte’s body promises and nothing more.

These two are certainly in for a delightful surprise when each of them finds more than they have bargained for in the other. Charlotte for the first time in her life begins to feel safe in the heady warmth of Nick’s arms, whose lightest touch sets her senses afire. Nick who refuses to be bewitched by any woman finds himself relentlessly in need of his wife’s gentle touch and the warmth and understanding that she so effortlessly wields that creates havoc on his heart and emotions which he keeps under tight rein.

Before the story is through, Nick who has always continued to run from his viscountcy finds himself forced to face his future as a viscount with Charlotte by his side whose unwavering faith in him leaves him completely astounded at times. Before these two can finally achieve their happily ever after, Lord Radnor and his evil plans as well as Nick’s restlessness with the inactivity brought about by claiming his title threatens to tear them apart, a lesson well learnt by Nick who is brought to his knees at the thought of losing his Lottie forever.

Basically this was an enjoyable read though I always find myself a tiny bit irritated at the fact that the hero who is described as so tortured by his past becomes a wuss at the first scent of the heroine. I think I am one of those readers who likes a bit of angst in my romances, someone who doesn’t like the path to true love be a walk through the park – if you know what I mean. Out of all the Kleypas books that I have read, my favorite still would have to be Suddenly You though there are still a couple of more titles that I have yet to read from her. I think Lady Sophia’s Lover which I have somewhere on my bookshelves would pretty soon end up in my TBR pile as my interest has been very much piqued by glimpses of Nick’s sister Sophia and her husband Sir Ross Cannon who apparently sentenced Nick to 10 years in a prison hulk when he was 14 years old.

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

[xrr rating=3.75/5]

Caliber Seal: GOOD READ!

Review: Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Night Huntress World. Book 2
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Hero: Mencheres / Menkaure
Heroine: Kira Graceling
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 1, 2010
Started On: August 16, 2010
Finished On: August 17, 2010

Jeaniene Frost has penned another winner with the second book in the Night Huntress World Books series. Before starting out on reading this book, I did skim through reviews written to get a feel on what to expect in this book. But I should have known even then that when it comes to Jeaniene Frost and her tales, you never know what to expect and each page just keeps you riveted with the surprises that come along your way. Needless to say I completely fell in love with Mencheres, I mean who wouldn’t? So here is my take on this wonderful story, which had me glued to every single word, right from the very beginning.

Mencheres whose the grandsire of Bones from the Night Huntress series, is a very old vampire. So old in fact he was born in 2553 B.C. and was a pharaoh when he became a vampire. Mencheres is one of the most powerful or should I say the most powerful vampire we have yet come across in the Night Huntress series. His power is such that he can move a lot of things simultaneously, fly at speeds that amazed me and could foresee the future before he assisted Bones in killing his wife Patra.

Marriage to Patra and the knowledge that he shared with her about the ways of the dark magic has continued to be one of the biggest regrets of his life. Patra’s thirst for power and worldly riches had ultimately ended in her demise, and Mencheres had been shouldering the blame for all the havoc and disaster that she brought about, nearly destroying everything and everyone that Mencheres had held dear to him.

Radje or Radjedef is an uncle of Mencheres, and a Law Guardian of the vampire race. Being a Law Guardian meant that he was a member of the vampire ruling council, and being the power hungry and corrupt vampire he was, Radje had been after Mencheres for eons, claiming that the power Mencheres’s sire had shared with him upon turning him into a vampire, rightfully belonged to Radje.

With the cease of his visions, Mencheres feels adrift, and knowing that the centuries old feud between him and Radje would just eventually hurt those who belonged to him, and the fact that he kept seeing total darkness whenever he tried to look into the future made Mencheres come to the decision that death was all that awaited him now. Mencheres knows that as the co-ruler of his line, Bones would be able to handle whatever that could come their way, and Mencheres was determined that a personal feud between him and Radje wouldn’t harm those that belonged to him. So it is with this in mind that Mencheres decides not to wait for the sure death and eternal darkness that awaits him, but rather commit the vampire form of suicide and embrace death before its too late.

Kira works as a private investigator and has two half siblings Tina who was terminally ill of whom she was really protective of and Rick, who was a drug addict, always trying to leech off money from Kira on the pretext of turning over a new leaf and getting his act together. Kira is well versed in the art of self defense, having trained to become a cop. Kira’s ex-husband had definitely left his mark on Kira with the physical and emotional abuse that he had heaped on Kira during their marriage. Kira’s salvation had come in the form of an old cop friend of her ex-husband, Mack Davis whose motto in life had been to save one life, an advice that always runs through Kira’s mind.

So when during her walk home from work Kira hears a man in agony, she can’t turn her back on whoever it was that was in so much pain. Mencheres had walked in on the ghouls who were effectively butchering him up in order to put his plan of getting killed/committing suicide into action, when a beautiful human woman walks in, commanding his torturers to give it up. To say the least, someone who had presumed to have seen everything life has to offer is more than surprised when a woman who doesn’t even know him, walks into the danger that surrounded him willing to give up her life. And when the ghouls attack the woman, Mencheres knows that he has to save the woman and stall his plans for now.

Knowing that the one thing that all Law Guardians held in contempt was flaunting the fact that vampires existed to the human race, Mencheres knows that all he has to do is erase Kira’s memory and send her on her way. But her fatal injuries end in Mencheres feeding her his blood, and right from the get go, Mencheres is unable to read Kira’s mind or effectively manipulate her with his green-eyed gaze. Thus Kira becomes a captive, a captive that Mencheres treats well, earning Kira’s respect amidst the other feelings that Mencheres’s deep black eyes and his perfect bronze body evokes in her.

Mencheres yearns for the beautiful courageous woman Kira is. Emotions that he had controlled ruthlessly and tamped down on for more than 900 years suddenly burst into the surface, urging him to let go and succumb to the feelings that Kira roused in him. Mencheres, a vampire who has always been coveted by others for what he could provide for them, whether it be from his wealth or his undeniable powers as a vampire, has never been really wanted for the man he is. And it is this cynical viewpoint that prevents Mencheres from laying a hand on Kira no matter how much he comes to desire her within the week that she resides at his home.

But the time comes for Mencheres to let Kira go, when he knows that he would never be able to manipulate Kira’s mind like he can for most of the human race, and when Kira’s sister Tina is hospitalized, Mencheres knows that the time has come to let her go. Kira thinks that Mencheres would help save her sister’s life only in exchange for her captivity to him for life, and she is more than surprised and a little lost when Mencheres releases her and sets her free. Though she is freed, Kira’s undeniable feelings for Mencheres makes her seek him out and it is then that Radje puts his evil plan into effect to draw out Mencheres to finally get the power that he wants.

In the end, Radje’s harsh sentence ends Kira’s life as she knows it and Mencheres changes her into a vampire, refusing to let the one woman who stirred his senses after centuries die away. Someone reviewed that there wasn’t enough heat between Mencheres and Kira and it was all about control with Mencheres. Maybe that particular reviewer and I didn’t read the same book, cos I definitely felt the heat and seductive lure of the power Mencheres yields so effectively to make Kira his. And I wouldn’t say when you have ceiling banging encounters with the woman you love, you are in control. Definitely not!

With Kira in his life, Mencheres suddenly yearns to live and doesn’t want his vision of eternal darkness to come true. And Mencheres knows that he has to pull all the stops and use every bit of knowledge and power he has to beat Radje at his game and save Kira from his clutches before its too late for either of them.

Mencheres definitely made me sigh all over and Kira is definitely the woman for him. I absolutely fell in love with Mencheres’s sleek good looks, the way he tamps down his power and cares for those around him and who belong to him. Its not that Mencheres is a vampire who hasn’t made mistakes or is one without flaws. But the fact that with absolute power in his hands, Mencheres still manages to be the man he is definitely makes him a vampire to sigh over!

Needless to say, the longest review I have ever written so far is due to the fact that I loved this story so much and wanted to capture its essence in my review. This book is definitely very highly recommended for Frost fans as well as those who have never read anything from Frost before. Try it out. It might just be your cup of tea! And for fans of the Night Huntress series, its always a treat to see our favorite couple Cat and Bones from another hero or heroines’ viewpoint. Always good to revisit them.

My only peeve with the book was its cover art. Definitely doesn’t match the Mencheres that I envision in my mind.

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

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!