Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Some of February's Reads

Bound Hearts series from Lora Leigh

In February, I read three titles from Lora Leigh’s Bound Hearts series: Wicked Intent, Sacrifice and Shameless.

* All feature ultra-dominant alphas, uncompromising in their need to share their women.

* The men, and some of the women, are connected—throughout the series—by way of membership in an exclusive club. Not a sex club per say, but sex does “go on” here.

* The women all share a near-raging need for true, liberating, sexual fulfillment.

* All three conclude when the dominant alpha provides the fire-breathing sexual fulfillment and receives, in exchange, his own emotional liberation.

Sound like something you’ve read before? Well, it’s not; at least not if you’re new to Lora Leigh. There is nothing clichéd about Leigh’s characters or their needs. Her stories are well written, her characterization rich and seamless. It is easy to lose yourself in a Leigh book; easy to be drawn in by its characters, propelled by their motivations. Those motivations? Purely sensual, wildly erotic. Leigh excels at writing sex scenes that challenge most readers’ personal experience without—for a single minute—hindering visualization or flow. Leigh’s ability to create breath-hitching eroticism far exceeds that of her peers.

There are nine books in the Bound Hearts series and I plan to read every one. Eventually.

Memory In Death by JD Robb

This series from JD Robb remains off the scale. Nothing compares. I will never tire of these characters, any of them. I will never grow bored with their continued romance. And I imagine I will still be daydreaming about Roarke when I am 80 years old.

Gentleman’s Honor by Stephanie Laurens

Laurens is quite simply, a comfort read for me. Her Bastion Club and Cynster books never fail to provide the competent hero I crave—the one who handles adversity with quiet strength, without burdening or squishing the heroine. It’s my dream world.

All Night Long by Jayne Ann Krantz

Either the first JAK book I’ve read, or the first JAK book I’ve read in many years. Not sure. It was ok, but didn’t bowl me over. It felt formulaic, mechanical. Its characters were interesting, the storyline intriguing (not from the overdone vault) and the outcome satisfactory. I’d have to say that the physical presence of the H and H—their attraction to one another, their dialogue—kept me in the story. The dialogue scenes in particular were well done—and brought me as close as I was going to get to ‘knowing’ these characters. In the end however, I just couldn’t get very attached to the story. And when I set it down, I promptly forgot about it.

To The Brink by Cindy Gerard

Another in Gerard’s Bodyguard series, To The Brink features a reunion love story—probably the most believable I’ve read to date.

Blurb:

Working on highly sensitive diplomatic affairs, Darcy Prescott is a natural target for terrorist kidnappers. But when she’s mysteriously plucked off a street in Manila one sultry night, Darcy’s disappearance isn’t what it seems…


The moment Special Forces soldier Ethan Garrett laid eyes on Darcy, he knew she was the woman he would marry—and he did. But when their marriage fell apart, Ethan never really recovered. Now a highly paid bodyguard, Ethan quickly slips back into combat mode when he learns of Darcy’s disappearance and calls in old favors to assemble a rogue rescue team….

Tracking Darcy all the way to the jungles of the Philippines, Ethan knows every move he makes could mean the difference between life and death. His love for Darcy burns stronger than ever. But when he learns the true reason for her abduction, it may be too late to save her—or himself…

Everything about this book worked for me. The mystery, action, military ops, romance—everything. Gerard’s characters are fallible, her alphas human—as opposed to superhuman—and her heroines smart despite their inexperience. I plan to read the one title I’ve missed thus far in this series and then keep up with each new release.

Red Lily by Nora Roberts

Reading Nora Roberts is like schoolwork. You have to do it. I mean, how can you not read a new Nora Roberts book? Not sure, but there may even be a law about it somewhere.

At any rate, this trilogy has not been my all-time favorite from Roberts. Compared to my other romance reads (including her In Death series), this trilogy seemed benign. The first two books were also laden with gardening tutorials—detailed and technical enough to flunk the reader out of the book.

I dutifully put my name on the library’s list for Red Lily last month. When it came in, I trudged into the library like a mutinous teenager. Reading it fell on my list of chores. Seriously. Like I said, schoolwork.

I loved it. No kidding. By far the best of the three—with one of those competent heroes I mentioned earlier. Sure, we’ve known him since Blue Dahlia, but in Red Lily, we get to experience that male competence firsthand. We also get to see exactly why chattering, girly-girl Hayley is his perfect match. Roberts gives us that same taste of “quiet but powerful man who is amused, possessed by and make-me-swoon protective of his woman” we sampled in her early In Death books. That mix works well for me—without marginalizing the heroine or idealizing the hero.

If you were disappointed in the first two in this series, I encourage you to give Red Lily a chance. Roberts gives readers a can’t-miss love story and refrains from tutoring us on the science of gardening.

6 comments:

  1. Well, hell. Here I had written the series off. Damn it! Now I'm going to HAVE to read Red Lily... It better be damn good Jen, or else... um, well, nothing. LOL I love when NR delivers that kind of hero... *sigh*

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  2. You do like to save them up, don't you Jen? LOLOL!!!

    JAK doesn't really do it for me - in any of her nome de plumes (is that how you spell it? well, you know what I mean, damn it).

    I need to start reading the Cindy Gerard series. You know how I love my spec ops guys *g*.

    And, I've said it before *ducking* but I'm just not a huge NR fan. Never have been. I'm not sure why. Go figger...

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  3. I loved the latest In Death, thought it was the best in the series for quite some time.

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  4. Anne - I think you'll like Red Lily. Really!

    Lori - I am NOT saving them up. LOL!!! I'm just too damned busy and preoccupied to string the right words together on a daily basis. Gotta ask, have you read NR's In Death series?

    Rosario - Welcome back from your vacation! I loved Memory In Death too. And like so many have mentioned, I enjoyed the quiet, almost peaceful time she allowed Eve and Roarke in this one.

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  5. I followed your link from Nicole's blog - cause I have been encouraging (although some claim it's stalking) anyone who hasn't read Dreaming of You to give it a chance. Anyway - I agree with you on JD Robb. I can't see me ever getting tired of these and also To the Brink. I loved this one and for me - the best of the series so far. The other oned you mentioned I haven't read though.

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  6. I too love the JD Robb series, always trying to convince my friends that they are not Star Trek-like, even though they're set in the future. One tiny gripe, it does seem like Mavis has been pregnant FOREVER!!!

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Have you read it? What do you think?

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