Friday, March 17, 2006

Two Reads...

I'm posting this out of order - I read this one before Heartbeats, and now it looks like I went back to reading historicals, when in actuality I'm moving on to another contemporary. And here's a really odd pairing of books *g*

Here's the blurb:

Ellen Drake has seen firsthand how dangerous scandal can be. Her family was torn apart by an unjust accusation ten years ago, and now, working as a paid companion, Ellen must keep her reputation above reproach. Catching her employer's betrothed in a sizzling tryst is bad enough; even worse that Ellen should find herself so infernally enthralled by the spectacle! Ellen intends to prevent Alex Marshall, Lord Stanton, from dallying with other women before his wedding day, but the rogue turns the tables — with an invitation to be his paramour. It's a proposition that is too outrageous, too indecent... and strangely irresistible. With a single touch, Alex opens the door to a secret world of sensual desire, a world Ellen is burning to explore...
Alex intends to be faithful once he's married, but in the meantime, London offers so many tempting bed partners. Giving the prim Miss Drake a taste of the excitement she clearly craves will be a delightful diversion, nothing more. But their secret dalliance unleashes the vengeance of someone who is plotting revenge, someone whose own erotic pursuits are twisted with madness. And the scandal that destroyed Ellen's family is about to come calling once again...

I am a huge Cheryl Holt fan. I read with excitement KarenS's interview with her. I went out as soon as I could and snatched up this book. I loved Cheryl's last release, Too Hot to Handle. I mentioned in my review for Heartbeats about formulaic novels. With Too Tempting to Touch, I felt that Cheryl Holt became too caught up in her own formula. I felt very much as though I was reading a carbon copy of Too Hot to Handle. This really disappointed me. The secret dalliance in the bedroom of the companion's bedroom at the hero's mansion. The desired engagement/marriage between the hero and the heroine's charge. The H/H's sexual exploits - doing everything up to the actual act of intercourse, and then, at her encouragement, and he just can't help himself, they finally do it, only to be caught. The forced separation after the misunderstanding. Their shared misery. His begging for forgiveness after the separation.

I thought for a moment that I was reading the same book. On the one hand, this is fabulous - I loved Too Hot to Handle, so another book just like it should be great, right? Only, instead, I found myself wondering if Ms Holt had run out of ideas. Her books have always contained similar themes, but never have they seemed to almost plagiarize one another.

As a stand alone, this book is great - a Cheryl Holt lover's dream. Read right after Too Hot to Handle, it is a disappointment. So while I recommend it, I also recommend that you read other Holt books in between, and definitely leave yourself some space between readings. I only hope that she does not have the same issues with Too Wicked to Wed, due out in September 2006. That might be too much to bear.

I loved Shannon Stacey's Twice Upon a Roadtrip - the humor, the passion, the sheer fun. I bought Forever Again the second it went on sale. Just didn't quite get around to reading it. Now I have. Well, let me say this. In her first two published books, Shannon Stacey has shown that she is a very versatile author. Twice Upon a Roadtrip was a zany, madcap adventure. Forever Again is a painful, yet surprisingly uplifting story of second chances.

When a one night backseat quickie in high school turns into an unwanted pregnancy, Gena and Travis end up in an unwanted marriage (at least for him - she's loved him from afar forever). When a bout of spotting occurs, Travis doubts the pregnancy and walks out without a backward glance.

Fast forward 15 years. Gena runs a B&B in town, and Travis and his fiancee come to stay to plan their wedding. There's a shocker for all 3 of them. And for Mia, their daughter, as well.

As they get to know one another again, but really for the first time, the attraction seems to grow and grow. One painful misstep after another puts happiness just out of reach for them. A large part of the story was about old patterns repeating, and this point was well made. Still, I found myself at one point wanting to yell "Damn it! Tell him to take a long walk off a short pier!! Tell him to get the *f* out of your life!! Tell him to either choose his fiancee and leave you alone or get rid of her and come to you!!" Sigh. The things we do in the name of love. For our children. Or convincing ourselves that it is out of love for our children.

Travis seems like such a great guy in every other aspect of his life - I was amazed at how his teenage patterns came back, just as Gena's did, and he reverted to the way he treated her in high school. Like dirt. Just as she allowed it then, she allowed it now. Drove me crazy LOL. What happened to the woman who overcame her teenage uncertainties to become a successful businesswoman and mother? And what happened to the guy who is a successful counselor, helping kids find their way in life? Put them in a room together and old feelings and hurts bubble to the surface. Stacey did a great job of bringing this all out, even if she frustrated the hell out of me in the process.

So, bottom line is, Stacey writes an excellent book. This is the prequel to Twice Upon a Roadtrip. Jill makes a brief pre-Ethan appearance as Gena's best friend. I recommend it :)


  1. I love that cover (Stacy's)
    Nice reviews!! I really appreciated the review about Cheryl's book because I was thinking of getting it, but if it's too much like her other one I'll just pass this time or get it from my library!

  2. Isn't it pretty? Shannon wrote a great story, too. About the Holt book, if you give it some time, I think you'll be ok. Read some of her backlist if there's something you haven't already read... Then, maybe in a few months, read it.

    And, wait a minute... how does everyone get all these books in their library?!?! Dang! I can't even get Suzanne Brockmann for crying out loud, much less Cheryl Holt! Fuggedaboudit!

  3. I loved this story by Shannon....loved both the hero and heroine in it and counted it as one of my favorite top 10 reads of 2005.

  4. Hi Mad! I loved it too, but didn't you just want to smack Travis around a bit? Ooh, he made me so mad! LOLOL. I guess that's the sign of a good book.. when it gets you that emotionally invested.

  5. Oh there were those moments...he wanted the best for his daughter and fiance but hello, he needed to be knocked upside the head a few times to make him remember the heroine too. *G*

  6. Hi Mad,

    I am a huge fan of Cheryl Holt and I finished Too Hot to Handle this morning. I agree with you that it the story was very close to her last book. And of course, you knew what was going to happen by page 20, but I really loved getting there. It was delicious! I wish that Rebecca and James were the main focus of the book, though. They were fantastic! I wish I could have read more of their story. They were the only smart ones in this book! I loved it though.

  7. OOps, I meant I finished Too Tempting to Touch this morning! I guess these book or even more alike that I thought!


  8. Hi Nikki - I agree that Holt makes the journey great - I love her books! I think I just read them too close together. A few months in between and I would have had a much different take on it, I think.

    BTW, I agree with you on your all time favorite hero. Nick Gentry is mine as well. *sigh* LOVE him!

  9. Lori,

    He (Nick) is the very best! It's nice to know I am not alone! Thanks


  10. Lori, Lori
    Your library doesn't even have Suzanne Brockmann!!??!! Obviously I DON'T work there. Sometimes I get mad at my fellow librarians. I think libraries should stock what the patrons want to read. Some of them have a real prejudice against "romance" books. Heck, I've seen librarians reading a romance while hiding it inside some nonfiction best seller.

  11. I really LOVE Shannon Stacey's books... she's a new author that I will be buying from for a long time to come. *crossing fingers she NEVER changes her writing style*


Have you read it? What do you think?

Related Posts with Thumbnails