ARC Review: Lake of Dreams by Linda Howard

Format: E-booklakeofdreams.png
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Pocket Star
Hero: Richard Chance
Heroine: Theadora Marlow
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 02, 2016
Started On: March 22, 2016
Finished On: March 22, 2016

I have been undergoing a vicious dry spell in my reading the last couple of months. Every single book that I have picked up to read (some even from my favorite authors) have proved to be lackluster in some way and I eventually put them on hold. There were times I kept wondering whether romance genre altogether had lost its appeal to me. Maybe I had come to my saturation point where my beloved genre was concerned – all very alarming conclusions of course for someone who seldom goes on to read other genres.

Then I picked up Lake of Dreams by Linda Howard, up for grabs on Netgalley. Linda Howard has been a legendary writer back in the day. Her recent novels have lacked the punch that is the usual accompaniment of her novels. I actually believed this to be a full length novel and one that has not been previously published – I was wrong on both accounts. But the story that Lake of Dreams delivered is the reason why Linda Howard rose to stardom in the first place.

Theadora Marlow, a house painter who seems to lead a reasonably normal life is being plagued with dreams of the erotic variety. The man who visits her in the dreams takes her, possesses her in ways that she would never have thought possible, and yet at the end, always leaves her aching and crying for more when she eventually wakes up. Thea becomes affected to the point where she cannot concentrate on much, going to sleep itself becoming one of the hardest chores of her life.

To get away from it all, Thea makes her way to her family’s summer vacation cabin, hoping to let loose and relax without anyone intruding on her. However, as soon as she turns up, Richard Chance comes calling, the embodiment of the very man who has been visiting her dreams, some of it ending with a less than favorable impression of the man, leaving her bewildered and scared at the same time.

The short story that unfolded proved to be the balm that my frayed soul required, the water to my parched throat, the book that answered every single of my needs when it comes to reading romances. This was the Linda Howard that I remember, that I want to remember and keep in my memories and recall them from time to time. Earthy heroes, feisty heroines and a love so affecting that one can never be removed from it, if at all. 

I could not help but sigh as I turned the last page – because that is what a good book does to a soul that is starved for one.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: The beauty that is a well written romance is enough to tide one over a lifetime. 

Favorite Quotes

He took her that way, pulled to the edge of the bed and with only her lower body bared, and the mosquito netting between them. He took her with anger, and with tenderness. He took her with a passion that seared her, with a completeness that marked her forever as his. And, in the end, she did cry out. That triumph was his, after all. But her cries weren’t of pain, but of pleasure and fulfillment, and a glory she hadn’t known existed.

Before she could ask why, now that she was perfectly comfortable in his arms, he withdrew his arm from beneath her legs and let her lower body slide downward. Though he took care not to let her nightgown get caught between them, the friction of her body moving over his could scarcely have been more enticing. She caught her breath, her breasts and thighs tingling with heat even as she sought his boot tops with her feet and let her weight come to rest on them. Nor was he unaffected; there was no mistaking the firm swelling in his groin.

The taste of him was like coming home, their mouths fitting together without any awkwardness or uncertainty. A growl of hunger rumbled in his throat, and his entire body tensed as he took her mouth with his tongue. With the ease of long familiarity he thrust his hand under her T-shirt and closed it over her breast, working his fingers beneath the lace of the bra cup so his hand was on her bare skin, her nipple beading against his palm. Thea shuddered under his touch, a paroxysm of mingled desire and relief, as if she had been holding herself tightly against the pain of his absence and could only now relax.

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

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ARC Review: The Stranger by Kyra Davis

Format: E-bookthestrangerjustonenight
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Series: Just One Night, #1
Publisher: Pocket Star
Hero: Robert Dade
Heroine: Kasie Fitzgerald
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: January 21, 2013
Started On: January 18, 2013
Finished On: January 22, 2013

The Stranger by Kyra Davis is part 1 of a trilogy entitled Just One Night. Having never read anything prior to this by the author, I didn’t know what to expect from this book apart from the fact that it had received a mixed set of reviews even before its release date. I’m someone who always welcomes it when an author pushes beyond the normal “comfort zone” that is the haven of most romance writers. At this day and age when critics surround you from left and right and you have to cater to the whims of the general populace of romance readers, readers like myself who crave for something a bit different gets sidelined quite easily. So for me, The Stranger fit in quite nicely, a book that provoked me & perhaps made me empathize with the heroine, something that must have been really hard to do for majority of the readers of this book.

Kasie Fitzgerald is the good girl, the one who has always performed as expected and done everything according to the plans laid out in front of her. A Harvard graduate working at one of the most prestigious global consulting firms in the country, Kasie has almost everything going for her, a complete package when you take in her steady boyfriend of six years David Beasley. 

Kasie’s one night of indiscretion comes when she makes a visit to Vegas with her friend Simone in tow, Simone who seems to understand Kasie way better than she gives her credit for. And it is in Vegas that Kasie finds out that even the most innocent of caresses from the right person can shake you to your very core and turn your entire world upside down. It is in Vegas that Kasie finds the headiness of true passion, just how alive she feels when this stranger takes her in his arms to show her a world filled with sensuous pleasure that she has never thought to be possible.

Kasie leaves with the memories of her night of indiscretion knowing that she would never become that person ever again. She doesn’t realize how wrong she could be until the CEO of the new company that contracts her firm turns out to be none other than the mystery man from Vegas and it turns out neither Kasie nor the man himself is ready to let go after all.

I can understand why most romance readers would shy away from touching this book. The Stranger is a book that contains many aspects of cheating, not just one time, but time and yet again, and that too on the heroine’s part. But once you get to see Kasie’s character, step into her shoes and try to unravel her past which remains shrouded in a bit of mystery, one begins to realize that Kasie is not as clear cut as her character initially appears to be.

In my opinion, David, the man she has been with for so long has no inkling at all of what Kasie is all about. David puts her on this pedestal upon which Kasie sits, perfect in poise, never wavering in what he believes her to be. And Kasie has lived up to that image the entire period of their relationship until the night in Vegas, a night of undeniable passion that stirs up a side of Kasie that she never even thought existed inside of her.

How could it be possible that a man that she had shared just a few decadent hours of pleasure with could see through to every facet of her and understand her better than anyone else? How could it be possible that she craves for him like nothing else; that no amount of self criticism on her part gets her to do what’s right when the moment of reckoning comes and once again passion and red hot desire comes knocking at her door?

Kasie is a woman whose torn between doing what’s right and what her heart and body wants her to do, what they yearn for her to experience. And though I’d never encourage anyone to cheat on the person they are with, I can “understand” the reasons one might be tempted to do so. There are instances when things aren’t so clear cut as people who sit on the sidelines judging the entire time might think them to be. This is one reason why I refuse to judge people and their behavior, unless of course the person is a habitual liar and cheater, which then becomes an entirely different case altogether. 

What won’t work for many a romance reader turned out to be something I savored reading as Kyra doesn’t make any apologies or offers any unnecessary explanations to make Kasie appear angelic or to make it appear that what Kasie is doing cannot be considered as cheating. What made the book special for me is the fact that Kyra leaves the reader with enough bits and pieces of the puzzle to string them together to form a hazy picture of what Kasie is all about, what Kasie is capable of being and what’s holding her back. It delves into the psychology of a woman who has restrained herself from ever doing something that could be considered as abnormal behavior on her part, a woman who has always tried to do what’s ‘right’ according to the people who ‘control’ her life. 

Its at a pivotal point in the story that book 1 ends, and left me definitely wanting to find out more. For those who cannot look beyond the aspect of cheating that is certainly a huge part of this story, The Stranger is definitely not the novel for you. But for those like myself who love to read novels that explores areas beyond the normal comfort zones of romance novels, this one’s for you. I loved the fact that The Stranger invoked in me emotions that few books have the capability of doing and that it made me step up and THINK while reading for a change.

To sum up; gritty, honest & real. This is a trilogy worth a shot, if book 1 is anything to judge this series by.

Favorite Quotes

“Kasie,” he whispers. My name is the final caress I need. My free hand grabs the armrest of my chair and my hips push forward as I follow this dangerous path to its only possible conclusion. I hear him moan again. I know I’m not alone. I know what I’m doing, to him, to myself.
My body shakes as the orgasm comes with a convulsing and heartwrenching power. It’s the final chord of an erotic rhapsody that leaves me with the mingled emotions of satisfaction and endless longing.

“This is the last time,” I say one more time as I lean back against his desk and open my legs. “So let’s make it good.”
And in less than a second he’s on me. His mouth is crushed against mine as he pulls my hair, his hand reaches up my skirt, and I feel him roughly pull my panties aside before his fingers plunge inside of me. This time I don’t resist. His mouth tastes both bitter and sweet. His fingers start to move faster and I gently bite his lip and struggle to hold back my moans.

We choose our religion, our politics, our philosophies, and we see the world in a way that fits within those chosen confines. And if certain glaring facts don’t fit neatly into our belief systems, we just ignore them or see them differently. We make them fit even if it means we have to squeeze them into completely unnatural shapes.

“I don’t often invite people over,” he says. “I don’t entertain. But ever since Vegas, I’ve wanted to bring you here.”
“Why?” I ask. “You’be had me in your hotel room, your office, on the screen of your computer … why do you need me here?”
“Because,” he says, then pauses as he searches for an answer. “I’be been inside your walls,” he says slowly, “and this is the only way I can think of to bring you more fully inside of mine.”

And as he laughs I lower myself unto him.
And then the laughing stops … but not the smiles. As I ride him slowly then faster, his hands on my waist, my head thrown back, his eyes on my body, the smiles stay until the passion is so strong that our mouths stop working that way.
But the smile inside me never falters.
And I know without a doubt that his inner smile matches mine.

He kisses me on the forehead and I feel the completeness of his affection. As I watch him leave, I feel something else, too, something that springs from deep within me. I want it to be love.
But it feels a lot like obligation.
I was in Dave’s debt before, what with the job and his frequent kindnesses  But now that I’ve betrayed him, I owe him so much more, more than gifts or favors. I owe him happiness.

As he lowers me onto the bed, I forget. Dave, my work, my ideals …
… and I remember … the kisses, the taste of him, the feeling of him inside me.
I exhale as my shirt falls to the floor; my bra isn’t far behind. I gather the blankets beneath me into my fist as he grazes his teeth over one nipple, then the next.
Some feelings are almost too strong. They can’t be harnessed. Some desires can do nothing short of overwhelm.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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Review: Raising Atlantis by Thomas Greanias

Format: E-bookraisingatlantis.jpg
Read with: Adobe Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Conrad Yeats Adventure, Book 1
Publisher: Pocket Star
Hero: Dr. Conrad Yeats
Heroine: Serena
Published On: July 26, 2005
Started On: August 1, 2009
Finished On: August 6, 2009

This science fiction novel is breathtaking. Mingled together with actual factual details this novel takes the reader on a wild ride that they aren’t likely to forget. The hero Dr. Conrad Yates and the heroine ex-nun Serena have prior history between them that makes things a bit more interesting.

The concept that Atlantis the lost city lies beneath the multitudes of ice in Antarctica makes for a frightening as well as exciting one. The discovery of this lost city and how the tables are turned once a selfish action by Dr. Yates renders all the ice in Atlantis to melt and the sea levels to rise. Our beloved Maldives is mentioned in this novel and once the ice starts to melt, the capital Male’ is conceived to be half under water. The magnitude of what happens is frightening but the exhilarating journey that takes place in order to right what has been done wrong is worth the read.

The description of the lost city makes me yearn from a kick ass movie that could depict everything that the author has very well described.

Can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in line The Atlantis Prophecy.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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