Friday, February 23, 2007

White Lies, Jayne Ann Krentz and Second Sight, Amanda Quick

These titles are part of a series (Arcane Society) being penned under two of the author’s pseudonyms and crossing between her historical and contemporary efforts. I read White Lies, a contemporary, first and loved it. Then backtracked to Second Sight, a historical, first in the series. Enjoyed that one as well.

White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz

Petite, thirtysomething Clare Lancaster is a Level Ten para-sensitive—and a "human lie detector." Over the years, she's come to accept that someone with her extraordinary talents is likely to have trouble in the relationship department. And she's even resigned herself to the fact that everyone, to one degree or another, hides behind a facade. . . .

And now it seems that meeting the half sister and family whom she never knew until seven months ago was a mistake. Her father summons her from California to play a role in his business empire, and Clare doesn't intend on making the same mistake twice. But after meeting Jake Salter, Archer Lancaster's "financial consultant," Clare is convinced that things aren't what they seem. Salter's careful conversation seems to walk a delicate line between truth and deception, revealing and resisting. Something sparks and sizzles between them—something more than the usual electricity between a man and a woman.

Caught in a dizzying storm of secrets, lies, and half-truths, Jake and Clare will plunge into an investigation that demands every bit of their special gifts—together they must overcome their mutual distrust in order to unravel a web of conspiracy and murder.

Krentz/Quick writes with an economy that borders on dry. Difficult to put my finger on but I think it is because she expends little in the way of description. You’ll not find rich, eloquent passages on setting or deep introspection on character emotion here. But what she does provide is more than enough to draw the reader in and propel her forward. Both could qualify as well paced, no-nonsense reads.

In White Lies, the romance sizzled. The hero was perfectly alpha and the heroine comfortable in her own skin. Both belong to an organization comprised of folks with special powers—the paranormal element to this series—and both are enmeshed in a murder mystery that I’d call intelligent, not contrived. Overall, Krentz gave us the perfect balance between romance and mystery. A sizzling romance.

Second Sight by Amanda Quick

Financially straitened and on the path to spinsterhood, Venetia Milton thought her stay at the remote, ramshackle Arcane House would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to engineer her own ravishment. She was there to photograph the artifacts collected by a highly secretive organization, founded two centuries earlier by an alchemist. And the alchemist's descendant - her employer, Gabriel Jones - had the eyes of a sorcerer…

But despite her intent to seduce the man and move on, she is shattered to return home and, just a week later, read of his violent demise in the press. She uses the sizable fee Mr. Jones paid and establishes a new life, opening a gallery in London. Of course, posing as a respectable widow makes it easier to do business, so - in a private tribute to her lost, only lover - she takes on the identity of “Mrs. Jones.” But her romantic whim will cause unexpected trouble.

For one thing, Mr. Jones is about to stride, living and breathing, back into her life. And the two share more than a memory of passion - indeed, they are bonded by a highly unusual sort of vision, one that goes far beyond Venetia's abilities as a photographer. They also have in common a terrible threat - for someone has stolen a centuries-old notebook from Arcane House, containing a formula believed to enhance psychic powers of the kind Gabriel and Venetia possess. And the thief wants to know more - even if he must kill the keeper of the Arcane Society's treasures, or photographer who catalogued them, to obtain such knowledge.

In Second Sight, the romance was there, but felt muted next to the mystery. The heroine is an independent photographer—a challenge in historical England—supporting two siblings and an elderly aunt. Add the threats to her life and you have a woman this side of preoccupied. Too preoccupied to fall in lust and love as easily as the hero and reader might wish. The romance was there, but where Krentz let it flow through and within the mystery in White Lies, Quick limited it to an undercurrent in Second Sight, secondary to the resolution of the mystery.

So overall, I liked Second Sight, but thought the romance less satisfying. I also found the sparseness or economy that I liked so well in White Lies less effective in the historical. It may simply be that I require more descriptive narrative in a historical. Without it, I felt as though I was watching the story unfold from a bleacher seat instead of front row over the dugout. Still a good story, just not the vantage point I prefer.

I'll be watching for subsequent installments of this series.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Bridal Season by Connie Brockway

My first Brockway title but definitely not my last. I had Bridal Favors on my TBR list (based on a blurb I saw somewhere I think). It was entirely by accident that I picked up The Bridal Season at my local UBS. Close one. Had I not stumbled on this one, I would have read the series out of order and planets would have realigned.

With the dazzling storytelling that has become her trademark, the author of the acclaimed McClairen’s Isle trilogy sweeps you back to Victorian England ... to a glittering world of titled society and scandalous secrets ... in the enchanting story of a woman who lives by her wits — and who commits the most startling indiscretion of all: She falls in love....

Letty Potts has gotten into a few fixes in her twenty-five years, but this is her worst predicament yet. A petty schemer by necessity, the struggling music hall performer has decided to go straight.

But after narrowly escaping the wrath of her partner in crime, she finds herself at Paddington Station with nothing but the gown she’s wearing ... and another woman’s train ticket clutched in her hand.

Now masquerading as the redoubtable “Lady Agatha,” of Whyte Wedding Celebrations, Letty arrives in the backwater burg of Little Bidewell, where she is to arrange the nuptials of a young society bride.

Amid the dizzying whirl of pre-wedding festivities, nobody suspects Letty’s secret ... except the sensual and aristocratic Sir Elliot March.

A war hero who has forsworn love, Elliot senses something decidedly amiss about this outspoken young woman. Yet she awakens a passionate yearning he’d thought was lost to him forever.

Soon a desperate masquerade embroils them both in a web of scandal and danger as Letty’s past catches up with her — threatening their lives ... and a love without peer.

I loved this book. Letty was a refreshing departure from the well-born ladies found in most historical romance. In both thought and dialogue, Brockway allows Letty’s color to bleed through the constant charade. She is absolutely hilarious, always keeping the genteel around her off kilter. It helps that her charade occurs amidst the more backward, podunk variety of England’s gentry. To these people, her slip-ups appear nothing more than eccentricity. Their collective naiveté is almost as entertaining as her smart mouth.

There are exceptions of course. The older folks play the dumb like a fox roles and their feigned ignorance is both sweet and funny. Then there is Elliot, the local magistrate. He is immediately suspicious. When his cursory investigation of her yields nothing, he relaxes enough to fall hopelessly in love with her. As love is blind, I had little problem with the fact that Brockway does not clue him in until Letty herself confesses her sins. And on that, I can’t say enough about how much I loved the way Brockway concluded this story. Letty’s confession and subsequent trial. So well done. And her refusal of Elliot’s proposal. Fitting. The end of the book? So worth it.

The pace of The Bridal Season is much more relaxed than the blurb suggests. Brockway devotes much of the story to its characters and romance. The element of danger presents itself very near the end and serves to bring about the HEA, instead of prolonging it beyond toleration. This is what won me over completely.

And again, the ending is fabulous. So, so worth it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Slave To Sensation by Nalini Singh

I predict that Slave To Sensation will fall within my Top Ten Reads for 2007. Fabulous book.

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”— the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

Like Marjorie Liu’s books, Slave To Sensation is another that transcends my aversions to complex world building and characters with animal DNA. Singh deftly solicited my care for the heroine, Sascha, within a few paragraphs. Then she engaged my heart with the promise of a great romance in Sascha’s first meeting with Lucas, the hero. All before page ten. Under the tingle of anticipation, the subsequent introduction of Singh’s Psy and Changling worlds felt seamless, unobtrusive. Serving only to layer her characters and bring readers to the edge of their seat.

Singh’s focus on her characters kept me well immersed in the story. Sascha’s struggle to survive was heart wrenching. And I desperately wanted a happy ending for her. A dozen scenarios played in my head, but Singh managed to keep me guessing to the last few pages. I remained uncertain about Sascha’s mother and other Psy. I wondered if Sascha was truly Psy at all. I anticipated some revelation about Lucas’ own genetic makeup. In short, I was utterly engrossed in the mystery and hopeful for a positive twist around every corner. To that end, the suspense in this book was phenomenal. The danger ever-present and the unknown filled with both horror and hope.

Lucas was an exotic hero. A Changeling, the panther in him provided for a sleek and powerful masculinity, an extraordinary alpha commanding both fear and trust. Singh’s insistence on presenting the man and beast as one in mind and spirit worked beautifully. I could never separate the two and loved the cat as much as the man. Just as man and beast ride the same edge of the knife, so do his strength and vulnerabilities. As a result, I was equally desperate for his happy ending, searching for hope every time I turned a page.

The plane on which Singh brings Sascha and Lucas together provided for an unexpected and poignant intimacy—one Singh easily established despite all logical constraints. Again, another construct indigenous to paranormals that I typically reject. Here, it made all the sense in their world and I was nothing short of captivated.

Slave To Sensation’s supporting characters—specifically those in the Changeling packs—also charmed. In addition to their respective roles in the conflict, each contributes to the character development of Lucas and, to some extent, Sascha. They all serve to heighten the predatory tension Singh uses to both frighten and arouse. None more so than Hawke, alpha leader of the wolf pack. With Hawke, Singh sequel baits just enough to trigger the series lovers’ saliva glands.

All in all, another one of those widely recommended reads I now regret having put off. And another outside my traditional comfort zone that I will push on my other, non-paranormal reading friends. Ahem. Lori, darling?

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

SEP never disappoints. I loved Natural Born Charmer. Its leads, Dean and Blue, and its zany, supporting cast captured my full attention. If allowed, I would have read this book in one sitting. As it was, I read it within 24 hours of picking it up from my local library. And now I’m struggling to give over my attention to any other book. Love and hate when that happens.

Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard is the luckiest man in the world: a bona-fide sports superstar and the pride of the NFL with a profitable side career as a buff billboard model for End Zone underwear. But life in the glory lane has started to pale, and Dean has set off on a cross-country trip to figure out what's gone wrong. When he hits a lonely stretch of Colorado highway, he spies something that will shake up his gilded life in ways he can't imagine. A young woman . . . dressed in a beaver suit.

Blue Bailey is on a mission to murder her ex. Or at least inflict serious damage. As for the beaver suit she's wearing . . . Is it her fault that life keeps throwing her curveballs? Witness the expensive black sports car pulling up next to her on the highway and the Greek god stepping out of it.

Blue's career as a portrait painter is the perfect job for someone who refuses to stay in one place for very long. She needs a ride, and America's most famous football player has an imposing set of wheels. Now, all she has to do is keep him entertained, off guard, and fully clothed before he figures out exactly how desperate she is.

But Dean isn't the brainless jock she imagines, and Blue -- despite her petite stature -- is just about the toughest woman Dean has ever met. They're soon heading for his summer home where their already complicated lives and inconvenient attraction to each other will become entangled with a charismatic but aging rock star; a beautiful fifty-two-year-old woman trying to make peace with her rock and roll past; an eleven-year-old who desperately needs a family; and a bitter old woman who hates them all.

As the summer progresses, the wandering portrait artist and the charming football star play a high-stakes game, fighting themselves and each other for a chance to have it all.

Dean and Blue fit the SEP mold:

  • Gorgeous, leading sports star meets adorably dysfunctional sprite.
  • What she lacks in appearance—at least until she cleans up—she makes up for in spirit.
  • Where he is expected to pass by on his way to the at-the-ready stereotype—big boobs and platinum hair—he slows for the entertaining distraction.
  • He spends an inordinate amount of time taking stock of her haphazard appearance—clothes, lack of makeup, scraggly ponytail.
  • She finds him devastatingly handsome, but doesn’t let on, refusing to feed his ego.
  • He realizes early on that he needs her as a buffer between him and the hounds at his heels (in this case, an estranged family).
  • She falls hopelessly in love with him but, knowing it would never work, plans to leave him anyway.
  • He falls hopelessly in love with her, but doesn’t realize it or see it for more than a short-term relationship.

    That’s where the similarity between this and the remaining stories in her Chicago Stars series ends.

    In NBC, Phillips lays bare Blue’s vulnerabilities almost immediately. You ache for this woman, but understand her need to deal alone. Her self-preservation skills are traced very realistically back to childhood heartbreak and SEP clues readers in efficiently but poignantly. IOW, no background info dump used to neatly explain character behavior. Nothing contrived to make her particularly appealing to Dean. We see and feel through Blue from beginning to end.

    Dean is equally appealing, in a “what you see is what you get” kind of way. Phillips establishes Dean as a decent guy with her trademark wry sense of humor. On the surface, he appears very much like previous SEP Chicago Stars heroes. His intentions toward Blue are not exactly honorable, his goal to bed her not all that mature. Unlike his predecessors however, he derives only a fraction of the enjoyment in his pursuit of Blue. He simply doesn’t have as much time for it. Instead, he spends the bulk of his time wrestling his own emotional baggage. Watching him alternately avoid and deal with his bizarre family was entertaining and touching.

  • His bizarre family, the bulk of his emotional baggage, comprises a wonderful supporting cast of characters. SEP easily fleshes out each character without miring the reader down in tangents. The developing relationships between each family member, Dean and Blue lend color and depth to the story. And SEP layers and blends, mixes and matches until every character is essential in the telling of the story. These relationships also provide one of the greatest sources of humor—Blue’s reaction to Dean’s rock star Dad. It is nothing short of hilarious. Throw in a cantankerous old broad down the road and you have a melting pot at high boil, spewing venom laced one-liners at perfectly timed intervals. This is SEP at her best.

    I also found NBC to be more sexually charged than previous SEP titles. She takes their physical relationship a bit beyond the traditional, highly anticipated consummation of their attraction. Through the power of suggestion, SEP actually sways toward the erotic, with allusions to kink, spanking and even anal stimulation. Far sexier than the explicitness of true erotic titles.

    Overall, the perfect romantic read. I fell in love. Then felt bereft when it was all over. If I could experience this with more of my romance reads, I’d be a happy woman.

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    Challenging Carter by Kate Davies

    When the stakes are high, she’s ready to shed more than her inhibitions—but will the man of her dreams rise to the challenge?

    Dani’s been in love with Carter forever. But she’s nothing like the women he dates—glamorous, exciting, spotlight-ready. Instead, she’s stuck in the “best friend” role and can’t seem to find a way out of it. Until a scheduling mix-up finds her enrolled in a strip aerobics class. Now this buttoned-down wallflower is finding her wicked side—and liking it!

    What in the world happened to Carter’s best bud? She’s gone from sweet to sexy in ten seconds flat—and Carter’s lucky enough to be around for the ride of a lifetime. But he knows from past experience that relationships don’t last. He’s got to get things back on track before the most important friendship in his life is damaged forever.

    Problem is, Dani has no intention of going back to being “just friends”. It’s about time someone challenged Carter’s assumptions about love and friendship—and Dani’s just the woman to do it!

    Like the other two books that precede this new release from Ms. Davies it is filled with a fun yet emotional story that is sweet and to the point. The premise of a woman in love with her friend may not be one that is unfamiliar to readers of romance but Ms. Davies manged to put a whole new spin on it.

    Carter is a ladies man that's for sure, his relationships never last, well at least his romantic ones don't. The only lasting relationship he has is with Dani , his friend and his companies Financial Advisor. They banter back and forth like and old married couple right out of the gate, the story opens with them debating his spendthrift habits and his ideas about getting the office staff in shape with a wellness challenge.

    From the beginning Dani is ready to bow out of the challenge, but Carter is not about to let her. From there it's a quick, fun filled ride for Carter and Dani. One that leads them from friends to lovers.

    All in all I enjoyed this story, as with all of Kate's stories I wish it had been longer, but other than that it was well worth the wait. Also was quite happy to see Caroline from Strip Tease make a brief appearance in this latest release.

    I can't wait to see what Ms. Davies comes up with next.

    Monday, February 12, 2007

    Kiss Me While I Sleep by Linda Howard

    Kiss Me While I SleepEfficient and unapologetic, Lily Mansfield is a hired assassin working as a contract agent for the CIA. Her targets are the powerful and corrupt, those who can't be touched by the law. Now Lily is playing a deadly, unauthorized game, seeking her own vengeance, compromising her superiors and endangering her life. Fellow CIA agent Lucas Swain's orders: either bring her in or bring her down. Yet he too is drawn into the game with Lily Mansfield, dancing on a tightrope, trying to avoid a major international incident while battling a tenacious foe dogging their every step. Vigilantly watching her back, Lily doesn't see the lethal peril directly in her path...or that loyalty has a price.

    Dare I admit, this is my 1st by her. The story was very good, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a terrific twist to have the heroine be an assassin. The story was well thought out, and took enough twists and turns to keep me interested, but wasn't so convoluted that I gave up in frustration. Howard built a tremendous amount of character into Lily. And, even though the surface of Lucas was kept light and fluffy, she let us see inside to know who he was underneath, so that I grew to care about him. Wonderfully written book. But the interaction and dialogue between the H&H is where this book shined.

    Lucas is totally into fast cars. At one point, Lily makes him rent a Fiat, prompting this exchange:
    "You're such a car snob. A lot of people rent cars with good gas mileage. It's a smart thing to do."
    "Unless they have to make a quick getaway...I think I've been emasculated. I probably won't be able to get a hard-on while I'm driving this."
    "Don't worry," she soothed. "If you can't, I'll let you get whatever kind of car you want tomorrow."
    Like magic, his expression lightened and he started to grin, only to have the grin morph into a grimace of acute pain as he realized the choice she'd just given him. "Ah, shit," he groaned. "That's diabolical. You're going to hell for thinking something that evil."

    And here, after a co-conspirator kisses Lily's hand...
    "Frenchmen kiss hands. They don't mean anything by it."
    "Bullshit. He's a man, isn'y he? He meant smething by it."
    "You'd know that from experience?"
    "Oh, yeah. Damn Frenchmen kiss everything they can. There's no telling where his lips have been."
    "Does that mean I should boil my hand to get rid of the germs?"
    "No, but if he kisses you again, I'll boil his lips."

    And I loved it when they started to make love in a little sports car and Lily got a cramp in her leg. Hello? Been there, done that.

    And near the end, when it looks as though Lucas has killed Lily, the emotion portrayed in his actions and words is so heartfelt. Even though I knew he wouldn't really kill her, she wrote it so well that it really seemed like he did! I thought he was faking her death to steal her away somewhere just the two of them, but then they'd have to be on the run the rest of their lives, and that would suck for him because of his kids. The end wrapped it up much better than the ending I foresaw in my head. That's why Linda Howard gets the big bucks.

    I don't know how I've made it so long without reading a Linda Howard, but rest assured this will not be my last. I'm open to any and all suggestions.

    Thursday, February 08, 2007

    Susan Mallery's Million Dollar Catch Series

    Series Overview: Julie, Willow, and Marina Nelson are recently reunited with their grandmother who, by marriage, is aunt to Todd Aston the Third and Ryan Bennett. Their grandmother offers the sisters $1 million if one of them were to marry Todd. They do rock-paper-scissors and Julie loses.

    The Substitute Millionaire:
    Successful businessman Ryan Bennett had agreed to masquerade as his wealthy cousin for a blind date.

    But from the moment Ryan saw Julie Nelson to the moment he
    should have said good-night, he was captivated and couldn't resist an invitation to share her bed. In the hazy afterglow of their heated lovemaking, Ryan confessed his true identity, claiming the passion between them was real despite his deception, but Julie wasn't buying it. Obviously she considered him the enemy.

    Except now she was having the enemy's baby...

    I had serious issues with how this book started… not with the deceit because it wasn't that huge of a deal, not with the fact that Julie and Ryan sleep together on the first date after mere hours of knowing one another. What my major problem was that virtual strangers sleep together and don't use protection/condoms. A MAJOR TSTL MOMENT. I realize that Ms. Mallery wanted a pregnancy, but a better way to go about that would be to have the condom break or fail plain and simple because the effectiveness of condoms is about 85% when used as a sole method of contraception. Those two instances to me would have been more believable than just sleeping with a stranger without using a condom. Do people really still do that? Even with AIDS and HIV and everything else that is going around out there? Eeek. Thank God I'm married if that's the case.

    Anyway… the story itself was just good. Not great like I'd normally expect from a Mallery book and I was left satisfied, just not overly excited like I normally am which was slightly disappointing.

    Overall Grade: B.

    The Unexpected Millionaire

    Millionaire Kane Dennison's first mistake had been carrying an injured Willow Nelson inside his home, which, as a rule, was off-limits. Of course, she'd needed his help, but his one kind gesture had her believing he was a nice man. He wasn't.

    His second mistake had been surrendering to passion after warning Willow to run away. Because a woman like her deserved better than a one-night stand. She believed in soul mates. He trusted no one—needed no one. And not even Willow was going to change him!

    Kane is Todd and Ryan's head of security and he meets Willow when she shows up at Todd's house to give him a piece of her mind.

    This book was awesome! Willow was sassy, a whirlwind of energy, and I loved how she just plowed into Kane's life and made a place for herself. And in spite of Kane's belief that he liked being a loner, he didn't protest too loudly when Willow became a permanent presence in his life. They were opposites yet perfect for one another. This book left me smiling and feeling happy just as a Susan Mallery book usually does.

    Overall Grade: A.

    The Ultimate Millionaire

    Todd Aston III's reputation as a playboy preceded him; he wore power as seamlessly as he wore his custom-cut suits. But Marina Nelson had promised her sister—who was marrying Todd's cousin—that she'd help him plan the perfect wedding. And somehow, between tasting cakes and modeling wedding dresses, Marina discovered that she wanted Todd—and that Todd wanted her.

    Which made her grandmother's offer of a million dollars to whichever Nelson sister married him a big problem…

    She was powerless to prevent the inevitable. Yet the harder she fell for Todd, the more she realized that he didn't trust marriage-minded women.

    Todd has issues trusting others because he thinks all women see when they look at him is the fact that he's got a lot of money. Marina had trouble trusting herself, fearing that she will give herself to the wrong man and fall in love with him when he is unable to love her back. Being throw together to plan Julie(Marina's sister) and Ryan's(Todd's cousin) wedding is where they become great friends, and eventually they are unable to deny their attraction and become lovers. Then, of course, the trust issues come into play when Marina is two days late getting her period and Todd thinks she's like all the other gold-digging women he's known in the past. Then, he realizes he was wrong, apologizes, and they get engaged.

    This book was bland. It left me just feeling "eh"… nothing special. Typical clichéd story of a rich man afraid of only being liked for his money. It was another disappointing read for me as I expect much more from Susan Mallery.

    My overall grade: C.

    While this series wasn't Ms. Mallery's best, it's a whole lot better than some of the other books I've seen out there lately... and I'll be one of the first in line for her next release. : ) And hopefully they will have better line edits/editing because the typos and major errors(wrong name) were annoying.

    Sunday, February 04, 2007

    Typical Business Trip... 9 books read... the first 4 now

    So, here's another post summarizing a bunch of books. This time, it's because I was on a business trip in Chicago, and it was about 5 degrees outside. Really frickin' cold for my poor little SoCal bones! What else is there to do but sit in your hotel room and read? I read 9 books on my trip, but I'll only put up the first 4 now, and then the second 4 later in the week, otherwise this will be soooo long! The last one, Kiss Me While I Sleep will get its very own post, so stay tuned for that.

    The Stranger I MarriedThe Stranger I Married - Sylvia Day
    Oh my god, I love this cover. He totally makes me drool. He could do me anytime. Oh yeah, and I really liked the book, too. I loved the interaction between the H&H. Loved the storyline and the characters. I could have done without the excessive use of the "c" word. (Ok, now y'all know which book prompted that post - but don't let it stop you from reading the book! It's terrific.) Sylvia Day told me that she read a book (whose title & author shall remain nameless - I don't want to get anyone in hot water) about a married Hero & Heroine who lived separately, and the hero went off and had his affairs while the heroine kind of languished about. And she thought, "That's not fair! I could write that way better for that poor heroine!" So she did. The H&H are married and each go about their own "business" until the hero decides to come back and be a husband to his wife. Great idea for a book! And it works. I really liked it! (Minus the whole "c" controversy. *g*). I think her writing gets better with each book. The characters are both deeper here than in Ask For It (and I enjoyed that more than a lot of others did). The book has a more mature feel to it. If only I could convince her not to have a husband call his wife's hoo-hah a you-know-what. *snort*

    Forget Me NotForget Me Not - Marliss Melton
    Melton claims on her web site to idolize Suzanne Brockmann (who doesn't?), and reading her book, you can see that. She still has a way to go, but this SEAL story has all the elements... arcing storyline, secondary love story building, action (although not quite as much here simply because of the nature of the plot, I imagine). This one is about a SEAL who was taken and held because he was betrayed by a teammate. The ultimate betrayal. His wife believes him dead. He comes back and they have to try to repair their piss-poor marriage. Turns out he was holding out on her because he thought if he gave in to his love for her, he'd lose his edge as a SEAL. Of course, she just thought he didn't love her. Add in a teenage daughter, selective amnesia, and a nervous teammate (afraid that he will get his memory back) and it has all the makings of high drama. Little inconsistencies bothered me, though. I will definitely read more Melton books, however, as I imagine she will get better with each book.

    Summer Lovin'Summer Lovin' - Carly Phillips
    Typical Phillips read. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't run anyone over in the store to get it. It's the second book in the Costas series. This one's about Zoe, Arianna's sister. Good no-brainer, fluffy, fun read. Holds true to its name. A real summer read. Take it to the beach. Read it at the pool. But it delivers in true Phillips fashion. Like a Snickers bar. It satisfies.

    A Little Bit WickedA Little Bit Wicked - Victoria Alexander
    This is the first in a new series. Don't know if this series has a real title, but I've seen it referred to as "Last Man Standing" and the "Gentleman's Wager" series. I immediately thought of Stephanie Laurens' Bastion Club series when I read the premise. 4 aristocrats wager on who will be the last of them to hold off marriage. The bet is 1 shilling and a bottle of whiskey. This first one is pretty good. The H&H immediately embark on an affair, and he is the one who determines that he is in love first. She, having had a bad ending to her first marriage (as did he), is determined never to get married again. I liked Gideon a lot. He is fun, witty, self-depracating, and an all around good guy. The interesting twist is that he isn't the one running from the whole love thing, although on the surface, he would appear to have more reason to do so. I could have done without Judith's S-I-L, but she did hold the key to opening Judith's heart to Gideon, so I suppose she had to stick around. The ending left me a tad dissatisfied, which is a shame, because I enjoyed the rest of the book.
    Related Posts with Thumbnails