Monday, January 31, 2011

January Reflections

January was a pretty good start to 2011! I read several good books:

1. Deadlock by Moira Rogers (5 stars)
2. How Sweet it is By Sophie Gunn (3 stars)
3. Sins of a highland Devil by Sue-Ellen Welfonder (4 stars)
4. Icebreaker by Deirdre Martin (4 stars)
5. Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher (4.5 stars)
6. Highland Master by Amanda Scott (3 stars)
7. The Werewolf Upstairs by (4 stars)
8. Offside Pass by Stepheni Hecht (3 stars - review in February)
9. Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning (5 stars)
10. Across the Universe by Beth Revis (2 stars)
11. How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling (4 stars)
12. Black Wade by Franze and Andaerle (4 stars - review in February)
13. Turn It Up by Vivian Arend (4 stars - review in February)
14. The Assignment by Evangeline Anderson (4 1/2 stars - review in February)

I also did an interview with Robin Kaye (still time to enter the giveaway here, ends Feb. 4), and went to the Shadowfever release signing and Q and A with Karen Marie Moning (post here)!

I'm looking forward to February - I'm planning something I think will be fun - come back tomorrow to see what it is (as if you can't tell by looking at my sidebar, lol. The pic at the top of this post is a hint of sorts.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling

How to Marry a Duke
~Vicky Dreiling

Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Forever; Original edition (January 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446565377
ISBN-13: 978-0446565370

From the author's website:
Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne, is a man with a mission: find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live. No love is necessary—nor desired. But how to choose amid a dizzying array of wealthy-yet-witless candidates? Hire London’s infamously prim and proper matchmaker. Then pretend she’s not the most captivating woman he’s ever met . . .

Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she’s determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife—she’ll bring him true love. Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke’s affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan’s desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker’s number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.
Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne, is England's most eligible bachelor. He's tired of picking up dropped fans and bumping into young ladies pushed into his path by their mothers. He runs into Tessa at a ball and learns that she's a matchmaker. At first he scoffs, then thinks maybe that's what he needs - he knows he needs to marry soon to carry on his Dukedom but doesn't want a silly, featherheaded girl for a bride.

Tessa Mansifield is firmly on the spinster shelf at age 26. She's resigned to her fate and enjoys making advantageous matches for women of less fortune. She is independently wealthy and enjoys the freedom of managing her own livlihood. When Tristan approaches her about finding him a wife, she hesitates - he's made it clear he's not looking for a love match - but eventually agrees.

Of course there's conflict in the form of a long-lost suitor of Tessa's with less than chivalrous intentions, as well as Tessa and Tristian's growing affection for each other.

Tessa and Tristian were so cute together! They ended up with a Bachelor 1800's-type scenario - 24 young ladies all vying for the Duke's hand. As they would meet for an outing (tea, opera, house party), he would decide who would be invited to the next gathering, until he had it narrowed down to two young ladies. There were several laugh-out-loud moments, and a few tender ones as well.

In addition to Tristian and Tessa, I enjoyed reading the side characters - Tristian's mother at first came off as mean but I warmed to her quite nicely and grew to like her very much, Tristian's best friend Hawk was rougish and fun, and two of the young contestants were very sweet.

This book was a pleasant surprise. I’m not a fan of the cover (I think it’s the model – he has a strange look about him), so I wasn’t sure what to expect and happily fell right into the story. I didn’t like the abrubt ending, however, I wish it could have been drawn out a bit more.

How to Marry a Duke is Ms. Dreiling's first novel and I will definitely be back for more! I read the excerpt of the next book, How to Seduce a Scoundrel, and am looking forward to that story in July (to avoid spoilers I can't say who the hero/heroine are, but it's going to be good!).

My Rating:

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Does the world really need another Shadowfever review? Why yes, yes it does.

~Karen Marie Moning

Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press (January 18, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385341679
ISBN-13: 978-0385341677

From the author's website:
"Evil is a completely different creature, Mac.
Evil is bad that believes it's good."

MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.

Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister's murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals that have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief, while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh--a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King that contains the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac, and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.

Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman that haunts her dreams? More importantly, who is Mac and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?

From the luxury of the Lord Master's penthouse, to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover, to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac's journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and make a choice that will either save the world...or destroy it.
Oh what a ride this has been!!! After the agony of that cliffhanger ending in DreamFever, I just knew Shadowfever had to be amazing. No author would leave her fans hanging like that unless she knew the finale was going to be magnificent. And it was. The final installment of Mac's story was everything I wanted it to be. Mac's long and winding trail to find the Sinsar Dubh was a twisting, turning, sometimes upside down and inside out journey. So many times in the previous books, Mac would pepper Barrons with questions, and he would tell her that when she didn't need to ask anymore he would like to know her then. Mac finally became that woman, and I liked her a lot.

And Barrons, oh Barrons...we get to see Barrons like we've never seen him before, and I loved it. We learn some of his secrets (and they're doozies!), and we finally get to see what's under the garage!!! Barrons has been "my guy" from the beginning and that did not change at all in Shadowfever.

My favorite highlander (and lie-detector), Christian MacKeltar, is one of the few unfinished story lines in the book. All I can say is "WTF? I did NOT see that coming." (Luckily, KMM said in her Q&A that we will be seeing Christian in future books).

I'll admit I was never "Team V'lane" and Shadowfever did not change my mind.

And Dani - You know, Dani has been one of my least favorite characters throughout the series. She really shone in Shadowfever though - she had some of the funniest lines in the book. Her story isn't finished either and I never thought I'd say this but I'm actually looking forward to the telling of it.

Everyone else:
I loved Barron's "Band of Merry Men". They were so testosterone-filled and angry. They were mad, bad men and I couldn't help but like them. I'd love to hear their story. I laughed out loud at the scene where Mac's mother talked about how she cooked for them and what they liked to eat. And when Lor propositioned Mac - wow, The MacKeltars are back, and there's a cameo by Adam from Ms. Moning's Highlander series, which was nice. Fiona was a bitch to the very end. As far as Dreamy-Eyed Guy - I had a theory about DEG, and I was wrong. He surprised me.

There are just enough loose ends that I'm looking forward to whatever spin-off Ms. Moning decides to write, but not so many that I'm left feeling unfulfilled.

All told, I love Mac's growth through the series and this book in particular. She questioned herself constantly. She analyzed and made lists. She got scared. She got mad. She was epic. Ms. Moning said from the beginning that Mac's story would ultimately be a happy one, that things would be dark before they got light, and she was right.

A tip of the hat to you, Ms. Moning. Bravo!

My Rating:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: The Werewolf Upstairs by Ashlyn Chase

The Werewolf Upstairs
~ Ashlyn Chase

Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: February 1, 2011
ISBN-10: 140223662X
ISBN-13: 978-1402236624

From Goodreads:
Desperate for change, public defender Roz Wells decides moving into a new apartment is just what she needs to shake things up. But she'll get more than she bargained for when she starts dating the drop dead gorgeous boy next door, who just happens to be a shape-shifter...and quite possibly a criminal. Security salesman Konrad Wolfensen has made a living staging break-ins to spook people into buying his security system, but when he's accused of a much more serious crime, he'll have to enlist the help of his sexy new neighbor/girlfriend to keep his cute, slightly wild rear end out of jail.
I love these covers! I'm not normally a fan of cartoony covers, but these are adorable. I hope they stick with them throughout the series.

Now, on to the story: Roz Wells (say it out loud - you'll get it) is an attorney who's not happy with her chosen profession. She's a public defender but wants to do something different. She's moved into her best friend's recently-vacated apartment, and the first person she meets is uber-hunky Konrad Wolfensen.

Konrad works for a security company in a less-than-typical capacity. After he's arrested for breaking and entering, he decides he wants to do something else with his life.

Together they decide to figure out what they want to do instead of their chosen careers. The mishaps they experience are unbelievable! As they're working their way through career choices, they decide to help another resident of the apartment building. Konrad is falsley accused of a crime and Roz must delve into a past Konrad has tried to forget.

Roz and Konrad are adorable. Konrad is a little boneheaded at times but he's got a good heart :) I really enjoyed reading their adventures - they did stuff I'd actually enjoy doing with my own husband! Ms. Chase writes a great combination of Contemporary and Paranormal romance - upbeat and fun with just the right amount of weird. I am loving getting to know the quirky residents of this apartment building and I can't wait to see who's story is next!

My Rating:

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Robin Kaye

I recently read Yours for the Taking by Robin Kaye, the fourth book in her Domestic Gods series. (My review here) This is a series I really enjoy and I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to interview her:

Book Addict: I love the “marriage of convenience” storyline but usually I see it in a historical novel. Was it difficult to work that into a contemporary setting?

Robin Kaye: The “marriage of convenience" storyline happened by accident. I was writing Too Hot to Handle and my heroine, Annabelle had just broken up with Mike, the hero. She was in her office, talking to her best friend/boss, Ben, still holding a tissue box and wiping her tears when Ben surprised the hell out of me and proposed to her. I was shocked. I had no idea that he needed to get married in with a year. It worked really well with the plot of Too Hot to Handle and when something unexpected like this happens I’ve learned to just go with it. I think my subconscious works a few books ahead and doesn’t bother cluttering my conscious mind with unnecessary information. I wrote Breakfast in Bed next, and when my editor called and asked for Ben’s book, the “marriage of convenience” storyline was a given. Since the reason for it had already been set up in Too Hot to Handle, I found it pretty easy to put a modern twist on it. Ben needed to marry to keep his grandfather from selling the ranch where Ben had lived with his parents before their death. When Ben proposed the idea of a marriage as a business deal to Gina, she had her own reasons for accepting it. It would give her some much-needed cash to right a wrong she’d felt guilty about for most of her life.

Book Addict: After reading the last book in the series, Breakfast in Bed, I didn’t think I was going to like Gina, but once I started reading I was really rooting for her happiness. Do you know your character’s stories before you’ve written their book?

Robin Kaye: Yes, I do, but that doesn’t mean the reader does. When I “met” Gina in Romeo, Romeo, I knew she had one hell of a backstory. She fascinated me and it wasn’t long before I learned her life story. Still, she was a secondary character, so as a writer, I struggled to keep Gina and the rest of the secondary characters in their place until they earned their own books. Both Gina and Ben tried repeatedly to take over the books they were in. I was thrilled to finally write theirs.

Book Addict: Yours for The Taking is set in the city and the country. Have you lived in both places? Which do you prefer?

Robin Kaye: Yes, I was born in Brooklyn and lived in and around New York for years. When I was about 7 years old, my dad bought a farm with his two best friends in Nampa, Idaho (right outside of Boise). We’d visit my dad’s friends and ski in Boise. A year or so later, they bought a condo in Sun Valley. I grew up visiting Idaho and when I was about 8, I remember sitting on a chairlift with my dad on Bogus Basin (the ski mountain right outside of Boise) and telling him that when I grew up, I was going to live in Boise. He said “What the heck are you going to do in Boise, you’re from Brooklyn?” When my husband and I married, we honeymooned in Sun Valley. As we drove back to Boise to fly home, I said “Let’s move to Boise.” He liked the idea, we moved eight months later and lived in Boise for ten years. I can’t wait to go back. As for which I prefer, I guess I’d have to say Boise. I love the weather, the mountains, and the fact that there’s so much to do there. My family and I adored living in Boise. Still, if I could afford to, I’d live between Brooklyn and Boise.

Book Addict: I’ve heard some authors talk about their characters controlling the storyline. When writing, do you control your characters or do they tell you what they want to do?

Robin Kaye: I like to think I control the characters. I tell myself that my subconscious works a few books ahead and when it seems as if the characters do something I’m not expecting, I chalk it up to my subconscious mind just not clueing my conscious mind in on the details. It’s taken me a while to formulate my “excuse” but it works for me. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Book Addict: I see on your author profile you’re from Brooklyn, and your books contain a lot of “Italian family”-type settings. Do you draw on your own experiences to use in your books?

Robin Kaye: I’m from a very Italian family so I guess I do. Though, to be truthful, my family is way over-the-top—if I used them in my books, no one would believe it. I’ve taken what I know of my family and friends and toned them down to come up with more believable characters. I’ve always been a people watcher and I think that helps as a writer. It’s easy for me to come up with fictional characters. They come alive in my imagination with their quirks and their own voices. That’s what makes writing so fun. For me it’s like making new imaginary friends.

Book Addict: How many books are you planning for the series? Do you have any new projects coming up?

Robin Kaye: Yours for the Taking is the last book in the Domestic Gods series, but I’m writing a connected series called Domestic Gods Gone Wild. This series features Ben’s cousins who all make an appearance in Yours for the Taking. The first book On the Wild Side is Hunter Kincaid’s book and is currently in revisions. I have two more under contract—Trapper and Fisher’s books. There’s a possibility of a fourth, we’ll see if people want to read Karma Kincaid’s story. I know I want to write it!

Book Addict: I read your “Top 10 Reasons Why Women Love Domestic Gods” (here) and cheered for each one. Is your husband the model for this list? :-)

Robin Kaye: My husband is a Domestic God but he’s not the world’s most romantic man. In my Top Ten List, I’ve added a few romantic details my DH has a habit of leaving out. But then I do write fiction.

Book Addict: Robin, thank you so much for stopping by and congratulations on the release of Yours for the Taking!

The Giveaway: Thanks to Sourcebooks, I have two (2) copies of Yours for the Taking to give away! (US and Canada addresses only please) To enter, leave a comment below; giveaway ends Friday, February 4.


He might be too good to be true…
Ben Walsh shouldn’t be single. Handsome and wealthy, Ben is equally at home in Idaho where he grew up and in Manhattan where he’s now an art dealer. Suave and successful with impeccable taste, he normally has women beating down his door. But the one woman he wants can’t be convinced that he’s for real…

She isn’t sure if she has time for fairy tales…
Gina Reyez has fought for every bit of her success, and it’s about time for things to start going her way. So when Ben makes a proposal that will allow her to take care of her family the way she wants to, she agrees. Besides, a guy this perfect would never be interested in her...right? By the time Gina figures out that she’s read Ben all wrong, the arrangements are made, the papers are signed…but what exactly are they getting themselves into?

Robin Kaye is a professional writer and winner of the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award for her first novel, Romeo, Romeo. Her romantic comedies feature sexy, nurturing heroes and feisty, independent heroines. She lives with her husband and three children in Mt. Airy, Maryland, where she is working on a brand new series for release 2011 and 2012. For more information, please visit

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Testing Parajunkee's BB101

Trying something else now...

Since it's a test, here's a pic of me and hubs in 1991 (we were so young!!!):

Here is where I would put the blurb and (hopefully) cover. Wow, I can even type in "compose mode"!!!

look - I can do italics ;)

Rachel if you see this, I'm about to ask you about the pic b/c I can't get the pic to stay in the line, or if I do, I can't type words next to it!!!

Going to post b/c I don't know how else to see how the colors look on the blog.

I'm giving myself 5 stars for effort :)

Parajunkee's Book Blogging 101 tutorial found here.

One more test. Pretend this is a book blurb.

Quickie Giveaway winners!

Congratulations to:

who won the Paranormal Pack, and

who won the Not-Paranormal Pack!!

I've e-mailed the winners, please contact me at
bookaddictpatti at cox dot net
with your mailing address.

Many thanks to everyone who entered!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Recap of Karen Marie Moning's Shadowfever Q and A

*I was only up to Chapter 10 by the time we went to the Q&A session, so there were a few spoiler questions I didn’t hear (we were instructed to plug our ears if we hadn’t finished Shadowfever yet). I did get some answers but I don’t know what they mean. So, if you see *spoiler*, you can highlight the text, but honestly I don’t know what her answers mean yet, since as I’m typing this I’m still only halfway through the book!

Let me begin by saying Ms. Moning was an exceptionally gracious hostess. While we were standing in line Monday night for the signing, someone said she was taking a break once every hour – we thought it was to rest her hand, but apparently she caught a stomach virus on the flight to New Orleans and was very sick. Even so, she stayed to make sure everyone got their book signed, which is incredible. When Rachel and I left the signing it was almost 8:00 pm – she’d already been signing for four hours!!! The line:

Rachel and I had signed up to attend the 2nd Q&A session on Tuesday at noon. Karen showed up wearing black leather pants and a pretty gold sweater. I have to stop here and tell you - she’s gorgeous! Absolutely stunning – her covers do not do her justice. Her hair is cut in a short straight wedge, not the long curls on her covers. And her voice has an almost musical quality to it; she’s very soft-spoken. Her voice reminds me of her descriptions of the Fae’s lyrical voices in her books; even though we were in the 2nd row I was glad she had a microphone.

So, on to the questions:

How did the Fever series come about? She said the whole story – all 5 books – came to her in a dream one night. She knew it would be 5 books, knew the titles, and how it would all end. As she wrote each book, she would have to go back and check herself to make sure she wasn’t giving away things that the reader didn’t know yet. (Someone asked what she’d eaten the night before, and someone else asked if she’d had any “blooper” dreams about Barrons – to which she laughed and looked over at her husband, lol. She said, no, no blooper dreams – Barrons is too scary.)

After one audience member asked about writing the male POV, Phil Gigante (Barrons’ voice on the audiobooks) asked about *spoiler* Barron’s 5 days standing watch after his son died and Barrons' POV. She said she didn’t want to show his pain, that’s not the type of man he is – he wouldn’t show it; he did his five days and moved on.

Apparently she wrote a scene that’s not in Shadowfever *spoiler* where Mac meets Tullie, and that scene will be in the next book (more about her next series below).

Also *spoiler* the Isla and Peter scene is for the reader to choose. I think the questioner asked about the outcome of the scene, or whether Peter was good or bad? (I’m not sure, I didn’t hear the question.)

Something Ms. Moning mentions repeatedly throughout the session: *spoiler* There are no clear-cut heroes or villains in the series, it’s left to the reader to decide.

When asked about Mac’s wardrobe for the future (Mac 1.0 was pink, Mac 4.0 black), she said *spoiler* It’s confused and conflicted. The author said she dressed as Mac would have dressed at Monday night’s signing: Black leather pants, a goldish- St. John top, and pink panties, lol)

I asked about the relationship between her Highlander series and her Fever series: (Squee!!! I spoke with Karen Marie Moning!!! *faints*). She says that she doesn’t feel like she did justice to the Fae until around Immortal Highlander. She wanted to do more, and after her dream she knew she had the perfect format for her characters. When I asked which series she recommended reading first, she asked her audience to answer that question and it was a resounding “HIGHLANDERS!!” Into the Dreaming is not related in any way as it was for a different publisher.

Does she see herself in Mac? Yes, bits. Her husband laughed – apparently Karen loves fast cars. Her husband said she’s the best combination of Barrons and Mac (how sweet is that?!?)

What’s planned for the future? She says there’s still a lot more to explore and she’ll be here for a long time. She is planning on taking some time off, but the next series will probably be a three-book story arc. She is a firm believer in a story with a definite ending, not a never-ending series.
- We will see more of Barrons and The Nine in future books, as well as Danny, Christian, and Rhyodan. Also Mac, she added.
- She wants to do Dani’s story, but can’t decide if she’ll do Dani at this age and grow up with her (which is what she wants to do) or do Dani after she’s grown up a bit (which would be better for sales). This makes me wonder if she’s thinking about doing a YA series featuring Dani?
- She also feels like she has one more Highlander story in her – there’s another Keltar story that wants to be told.
- She mentioned her graphic novel coming out in 2012 – she’s seen some of the work and says it’s very sexy and she loves it; Al Rio is the artist.
- She said she was relieved that the movie options for the series expired and that there have been some TV inquiries (Sci-Fi Channel); she’s interested in that possibility.

A few people asked for advice on writing:
- First and foremost, get your butt in the chair and keep it there.
- Be true to your vision and don’t trend hop.
- She likes to write at 4:30 am at her home; she and her husband both do their best work there.

We were also treated to Phil Gigante reading Shadowfever’s Chapter 8. It was mesmerizing!!! I haven’t heard his voice on the audiobooks but now I want them very badly – when I closed my eyes to listen, his voice washed over me and he was Barrons!!!

When someone asked about how well her husband's CD, Shadowsong, fit with the book, she explained it like this: When she was done writing for the day, she’d go over it with her husband and they’d talk about it. He’d have all this Fever stuff running around in his head as he’d go to the studio to create music, which is why it goes so well with the book.

Finally, when asked about how she felt about finishing the series, Karen said she was thrilled that now everyone else knew the ending she’d been holding on to for five (six?) years. Then she got teary-eyed and said the best part has been all the friendships she’s watched being forged over her books and how special that was for her.

Waiting on Wednesday: How to Flirt with A Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I think anyone who reads this blog knows I'm a HUGE Molly Harper fangirl. I love her Nice Girls Don't series, and her recent contemporary, And One Last Thing... (my review here) made my favorites of 2010 list. I am super excited about her latest series, I assume she's calling it the Naked Werewolf series:

Even in Grundy, Alaska, it's unusual to find a naked guy with a beartrap clamped to his ankle on your front porch.

But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham-who has been openly critical of Mo's ability to adapt to life in Alaska-has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble. For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it's love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he's worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen. Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. But if he's not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do, anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated.

Ms. Harper recently posted that The National Post listed her book as one of their least anticipated reads of 2010 - to that I say: Boo you you National Post!!! Their quote: "Who wants to bet this becomes the next True Blood?" is insulting to every fan of the Paranormal Romance genre, as I read it. To Ms. Harper - I for one am waiting impatiently for your book!!!

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Pocket
Publish Date: February 22, 2011
ISBN-10: 1439195862
ISBN-13: 978-1439195864

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review: Highland Master by Amanda Scott

Highland Master
~Amanda Scott

Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Forever
Publish Date: January 25, 2011
ISBN-10: 0446574317
ISBN-13: 978-0446574310

From Goodreads:
When eighteen-year-old Lady Catriona Mackintosh discovers a wounded man in the forest near her Highland home, little does she know that he has sworn a sacred oath to kill her father and other members of the powerful Highland confederation known as Clan Chattan. Nor does she realize that she has met her soul mate. Independent, competent, intelligent, fiercely proud of her heritage, determined always to live near her own family, and known to her family as the "wee wildcat" because of her quick temper, Catriona is the daughter of a Highland chieftain and granddaughter of the even more powerful Chief (or Captain) of Clan Chattan. But her life changes forever when she persuades Sir Finlagh Cameron to return with her to her home to recover from his wounds.

Sir Finlagh "Fin" Cameron is on a mission for the heir to Scotland's throne, who has sent him to the Highlands to persuade the Chief of Clan Chattan to arrange a secret meeting for him with two other great lords (the Lord of the Isles and the Lord of the North). Until Fin meets Catriona, however, he has no idea that her father was the Clan Chattan war leader who led them in the battle that wiped out many of Clan Cameron's best warriors, including Fin's own father. The sole survivor of that battle, Fin accepted a bequest of vengeance from his dying father, providing him with a dilemma to face as he begins to fall in love with Catriona. He is not the only one enticed by her charms, either. There are two other contenders, one of whom is his own master, the heir to Scotland's throne. With royal mischief afoot, if Catriona and Fin are ever to find happiness, they must first avoid disaster that could change Scotland's history, and find ways to be open and honest with each other.

Although I've seen her name on the shelves at my local bookstore, this was actually my first Amanda Scott read. I've been in a highlander state of mind and with a title like "Highland Master" I couldn't resist ;) In the afterward, Ms. Scott tells us the book was based on an actual Scottish legend!

Catriona Mackintosh is a young highland lady, smart and spunky and full of life. She's wandering through the forest one morning and comes across an injured stranger. She comes to his aid and brings him to her home to recover more fully. As it turns out, he is traveling to see her grandfather, The Mackintosh, who happens to be visiting her family's home.

Sir Finlagh Cameron, Fin of the Battles, is a man of honor. As the sole survivor of a bloody Clan battle, he made a vow to his dying father for vengence. He's been sent by the future King of Scotland on an errand, and it just so happens the man he seeks vengence upon is the son of The Mackintosh and Catriona's father.

Highland Master was an agreeable read - I'm going to be honest and say I didn't get all the political maneuverings that were going on in the book, some of it I ended up skimming over. The character-driven part of the story, however, was riveting! Catriona's free spirit and Fin's more conservative one were at odds with each other despite their attraction; oh, Fin spent so much time with his jaw clenched! He was a bit bossy for my taste, but for that time period I suppose that wasn't unusual. Highland Master also had a mysterious friendship between supposed enemies, a scorned suitor, a Duke who spent most of his time being led around by his penis, and a threat to the castle; all of which combined to make a pleasurable read. I will certainly be checking out Ms. Scott's backlist.

My Rating:

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Review: Icebreaker by Deirdre Martin (Yay for hockey!)

~Deirdre Martin

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: February 1, 2011
ISBN-10: 0425239799
ISBN-13: 978-0425239797

From the author's website:
Good thing high-powered attorney Sinead O'Brien has a rule about never dating clients. Because Adam Perry, the newest star of the New York Blades—and her newest client—has her headed for the penalty box. If only she could prove he's just another jock...

Adam's been charged with assault after a borderline hit on another star player, but off the ice he's a private, no-nonsense guy who knows the Blades are his last shot at Stanley Cup glory. Assembling her case, Sinead tries not to get distracted by Adam's dazzling good looks or strong work ethic, but she quickly discovers that there's a wounded man under that jersey, and she's starting to fall for him—hard.

Now Adam's having trouble focusing on the goal with Sinead in his sights. And Sinead is tempted to break her "no dating clients" rule. Can they play on their new found feelings without penalties?

I think my love of hockey romance is well documented here. And here. And here. And I love the New York Blades!

Icebreaker is the story between Sinead O'Brien, a workaholic attorney, and Adam Perry, the new captain of the NY Blades. Adam is being sued for assault after he knocked out another player on the ice and his "hockey people" have asked Sinead to defend him. Sinead doesn't know anything about hockey but agrees to take the case.

Part of Sinead's research is to get to know everything there is to know about Adam. He's a very close person; he doesn't have much to say and is very succinct when he does. Sinead is frustrated by his lack of forthcoming information. She runs into him at her parents bar and they have an interesting conversation - she learns more about him here than she has in the office, so she decides to try meeting in a less "businesslike" atmosphere to see if he'll open up a bit more. Adam wants to know more about Sinead, so he won't give without her telling him something about herself too.

They begin dating, but even though the male members of the firm often "entertain" their female clients, Sinead is called to carpet about her relationship with Adam, but Adam doesn't understand why it's such a big deal for Sinead, and Sinead is upset that Adam doesn't understand how difficult it is for her.

I really enjoyed this latest installment of Ms. Martin's NY Blades series. Sinead is a woman working in a predominantly man's world (law), and she's worked hard to get where she is. She was married, but eventually disagreement about raising kids ended the marriage - raising children, not having children. Although she really wants children, Sinead knows her career will falter and die if she takes time off to raise a family. She's very driven and is constantly thinking ahead about the repercussions of her actions at all times. Adam is focused on his career too - he knows he only has a year or two left on the ice and he wants to win the Stanley Cup. The lawsuit is hoey and he knows it, but it could end his career and change the way hockey is played if it succeeds.

I love the way Adam's history is slowly revealed to Sinead. There are some surprises in his background that she (we) did not expect. Reading them getting to know each other in tiny increments, Sindad debating with herself and her co-worker Oliver about her attraction to Adam, and Adam's interest in Sinead growing each time they meet set a nice pace. Sinead and Adam's romance slowly boiled into an inferno - once they let it ignite, their chemistry was hot.

If you're a fan of the series, you'll be happy to know we see a lot of familiar faces in Icebreaker: Ty Gallagher, Michael Dante, Quinn O'Brien, Sinead's parents and the Wild Hart Bar, Anthony and Vivi Dante and Dante's Restaurant, and a few of the players. We see a lot of Anthony Dante, the hero from Just A Taste, and I still like him - he was integral in helping Adam see that Sinead was not making up worst-case scenarios but that her workplace issues were real. We're also introduced to Sinead's best friend, co-worker, and resident horn-dog, Oliver - he steals the show! I love him - he's the kind of wingman every girl should have.

I identified with Icebreaker in that Sinead had real-life career issues that Adam, as a man, didn't understand. I find this to be true in Real Life too. Because they were both so private, sometimes they didn't communicate well and it took a friend (Anthony in Adam's case and Oliver in Sinead's case) to see the other side of the story.

I'll say this about the ending: At first I was disappointed, it didn't work for me, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. Then, I realized that was my problem - it didn't work for ME - but it worked just fine for Sinead and Adam. Once I sat back and thought about it, I realized it was actually a very happy ending ;)

I thoroughly enjoyed Icebreaker, Ms. Martin, and will keep reading your NY Blades stories as long as you keep writing them!

My Rating:

This book was provided to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Yours for the Taking by Robin Kaye

Yours for the Taking
~Robin Kaye

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: January 1, 2011
ISBN-10: 1402240104
ISBN-13: 978-1402240102

From the author's website:
Gina is convinced that he is either gay... or her perfect match He might be too good to be true...

Ben Walsh should be single. Handsome and wealthy, Ben is equally at home in Idaho where he grew up and in Manhattan where he's now an art dealer. Suave and successful with impeccable taste, he normally has women beating down his door. But the one woman he wants can't be convinced that he's for real...
And she doesn't have the luxury of believing in fairy tales...

Gina Reyez has fought for every bit of her success, and it's about time for things to start going her way. So when Ben makes a proposal that will allow her to take care of her family the way she wants to, she agrees. Besides, a guy this perfect would never be interested in her...right?
By the time Gina figures out that she's read Ben all wrong, their lives have become intertwined, and seriously complicated...

This is the 4th book in Robin Kaye's Domestic Gods Series, but can certainly be read as a stand-alone.

Gina Reyez had a rough childhood - a prostitute mother and drug-addicted father. She knows what it's like to live on the streets and has learned the hard way not to depend on anyone but herself. She lives with her younger sister, Tina, and Tina's husband Sam.

Ben Walsh is a successful businessman; he lost his parents in an accident when he was young and his grandfather is threatening to sell his parent's land if he doesn't marry soon.

Ben wants that land more than anything, and offers Gina a business deal - marry him and he'll pay her a monthly allowance, buy her a house, and settle more money on her when they divorce - after he gets the land from his grandfather. Gina realizes that with the money she'll make from Ben, she can buy herself a house free and clear that the bank will not be able to take away. She'll also be able to buy a house for her sister, and search for her brother, who she hasn't seen since he was a baby. Since she believes Ben is gay, she agrees to do it.

My thoughts: I've enjoyed Ms. Kaye's other Domestic Gods books, and Yours for the Taking was as sexy and entertaining as her previous books. It had a different feel to it, but still I liked it. Gina is a city girl - never been in a plane, doesn't know how to drive, doesn't trust anyone. Ben is more laid back - he loves being outdoors and commutes between Idaho and New York. It was fun to read these two butting heads, and Gina as a fish out of water in the Idaho wilderness was probably exactly how I'd behave :) The romance was sweet and the passion was hot!

My Rating:

Come back on Monday, January 24
for an interview and giveaway with Robin Kaye!

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Quickie Giveaway!!

As I've mentioned numerous times lately, things have been pretty busy in Real Life, between the Christmas and the J-to the-O-to the-B and my reading has suffered a bit (a lot!) for it. I've got a few books I didn't get to review, so now I'm passing them on to you!

Group 1: Paranormal
Tempted by Fate by Kate Perry

Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire

Group 2: uhhh...NOT Paranormal, lol

Duchess of Sin

Dating Mr. December by Phillipa Ashley
(Actually, I did review this one - here)

Just leave a comment telling me which group you want (it's okay to enter for both). Please leave me a way to contact you! Following my blog not a requirement but it is always appreciated. My apologies to international readers but I'm limiting this one to US and Canada addresses only.

Ends Sunday, January 16.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Review: How Sweet It Is by Sophie Gunn

How Sweet It Is
~Sophie Gunn

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: January 3, 2011
ISBN-10: 0446561991
ISBN-13: 978-0446561990

From Goodreads:
Single mom Lizzie Bea Carpenter learned long ago that no white knight was coming to save her. A hardworking waitress at the local diner, she's raising her daughter to be like the independent women in her "Enemy Club"—high school rivals turned best friends, promising to always tell each other the whole truth and nothing but!

Yet part of Lizzie wishes she did have a man's help, just for small stuff, like fixing up the house. Her fairy godmother must have been listening, because Dante "Tay" Giovanni soon appears. He's sexy, kind, and offering assistance—no strings attached.

Slowly, steadily, Lizzie's heart opens. But the grip of the past is fierce, and nothing in life is ever really free. Tay has his own tragedies to overcome, but if he can, he'll fix more than Lizzie's home. He'll show her just how sweet it is to be loved by him.

Lizzie Carpenter’s just gotten a letter from Ethan, the father of her 14-year-old daughter – the man she hasn’t heard from in 15 years. He’s decided it’s time for him to meet his daughter, and he wants to come on Christmas Day. Lizzie doesn’t know what to do; on one hand, Paige should meet her father. On the other hand, does he deserve to meet Paige after so much time has passed? So she takes the letter to work with her and discusses the situation with her “Enemy Club” – Lizzie and three other women who hated each other in high school and are now…friends who tell each other the truth – always.

Paige is delighted that her father is coming. The letter is postmarked from Geneva, so she’s sure he’ll take her back with him so she can work on her snowboarding there. She wants to be a professional snowboarder, and is dreaming that he’s come to take her away from the small town of Galton. Lizzie is stuck trying to be supportive of the fact that he’s coming, while trying not to get Paige’s expectations up. Paige accuses her of trying to keep Ethan from being interested in Paige by living in a shabby house. Lizzie knows she’s let things go, but doesn’t know how to fix it all.

Tay Giovanni is in the diner when he overhears Lizzie’s wish for a man to help fix up the house. Tay is passing through town on his own mission: A year ago, he accidentally hit and killed a woman in an automobile accident. Although it was declared an accident and he was not punished, he can’t get over it. He sold his possessions and tries to do good works. His final act of kindness is to give all his money to the woman’s daughter, Candy, who is going to college in Galton. Things don’t end up like he anticipated, and he ends up spending some time in town, where he decides to fix Lizzie’s fence.

From there, all sorts of things happen all at once: We meet Lizzie’s sister Annie and her husband Tommy, who have their own set of problems, Lizzie and Tay begin a romance, there’s a secret inside The Enemy Club, and Paige takes matters into her own hands.

How Sweet It Is is a bittersweet, multilayered Contemporary Romance. I liked Lizzie and understood her reluctance to accept Tay’s help in an effort to teach her daughter not to depend on men, but it was still a bit frustrating to read over and over her refusal of help. The interaction between Lizzie and Paige was soooo true-to-life. As the mother of a teenager, I can attest to that, lol. Tay was definitely an anti-hero, and his self-flagellation made me crazy! And while the romance was sweet, it felt a bit rushed – the sex scenes were each about two paragraphs long. I also thought the ending was a bit of a stretch with the mystery being solved in an unbelievable way.

How Sweet It Is is the first book in the Enemy Club series.

My Rating:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Review: Sins of a Highland Devil by Sue-Ellen Wellfonder

Sins of a Highland Devil
~Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: January 3, 2011
ISBN-10: 0446561789
ISBN-13: 978-0446561785

From the author's website:
The king has ordered three clans to battle to the death: the one left standing will reign over the Glen of Many Legends. James Cameron, known throughout the Highlands as “The Devil,” leads his men with ruthless determination. He knows no weakness — until a headstrong, flame-haired beauty from a rival clan tempts him to abandon his ironclad loyalties.

Catriona MacDonald’s past encounters with James have proved that ladies who play with fire can get scorched. But her brush with this devil leaves her burning to feel his touch once more, even though the fierce warrior is her sworn enemy. Now “The Devil” must fight for his family, his honor, and his very life… even as he surrenders to his desire to possess Catriona at any cost.

I have been in sort of a "historical slump", a slump I thought included highlanders. Oh, boy, was I wrong!

As the book opens, the last owner of the Glen has died, leaving descendants in each of the three Clans that live in the Glen. The King has ordered the three Clans to each put up 30 men, who will fight to the last one standing. The victorious clan will own the Glen. Alasdair MacDonald has just received the messenger bearing the news and he is not happy. Catriona, his sister, can't believe her ears - men will needlessly die. They know, however, to defy the King is impossible.

James Cameron, The Cameron, is upset that he must fight for what he believes is his. He doesn't want his men's blood spilled in a fight that will be nothing more than entertainment for the Lowlanders, but he knows he cannot go against the Kings wishes. One morning he goes out to seek counsel from his Seers, and he comes across Catriona wandering through his woods. He's attracted to her, but his honor requires that he sees her home to her brother safely. While he is at the MacDonald holding, James discusses some strange incidents with Alasdair. They are in agreement that they do not wish to fight but agree there is no other way.

James and Catriona are both captivated by the other, but they know they cannot be together as their clans have been enemies for centuries. They keep running into each other (sometimes on purpose, lol) and lust blooms. Love blooms too although neither will admit it...

Sins of a Highland Devil was absolutely enchanting; the characters were delightful to read and I was interested in each of their stories, not just the hero/heroine. Catriona was a willful, fiery-haired heroine, in love with James Cameron but too proud to show it. James Cameron was an honorable clan chief, his want to do the right thing warring against his want to ravish Catriona. We also meet Catriona's brother, Alasdair, who is a very strong secondary character - honorable but with a sense of humor - as well as James' sister, Isobel, and the third Clan chief, Kendrew Mackintosh and his sister, Marjory. James has a second-in-command, Colin, whom I hope we see again somewhere in the next two books :)

Sins of a Highland Devil had a bit of magic to it, with Seers and ghosts and a surprising secondary love story. As I read, it felt like I was there, in the Highlands, listening to this wonderful love story, complete with battles and dragons and legends and lore. This is the first of Ms. Wellfonder's Highland Warriors Trilogy, and I cannot wait to read the next two books!

My Rating:

I received this book from the publisher free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Question for my readers...

Mardi Gras is March 8 this year, and I'm planning on attending many, many parades (barring any sick kids, lol). I was wondering if anyone would be interested in a Mardi Gras loot giveaway? You know, stuff we catch off the floats:

Stuffed dolls, frisbees, cups, beads, soft spears...that sort of thing. I could probably throw in beignet mix and coffee with chicory, or pralines...

I actually thought about doing a giveaway last year, but since it's not book-related I didn't know if this was something anyone outside of New Orleans would be interested in.

So, what do you think?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review: Deadlock by Moira Rogers

~Moira Rogers

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 972 KB
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Publish Date: January 4, 2011

From the author's website:
Abandoned by her wolf shifter father and raised by her human psychic mother, Carmen Mendoza can't deny she's different. She craves things most women shy away from--and she has a trail of shapeshifting ex-boyfriends to prove it.

Working at a clinic for supernatural creatures, she's escaped the notice of her father's legacy-obsessed family. Until they need a pawn in their bid for power. Snared by a vicious spell designed to wake her inner wolf, Carmen's only hope is to trust the one man strong enough to soothe her darkest instincts.

Alec Jacobson was once the heir apparent to the wolves' ruling elite, until he walked away to marry the woman he loved. She paid with her life. He lives as a rebel, a black-sheep alpha who protects the supernatural residents of New Orleans from the wolves' barbaric class system. Too bad he can't protect himself from his need for Carmen.

Yet staking his claim on his enemy's niece will turn his city into a battleground. Unless he can find a way to stop breaking the rules--and start making them.

Warning: This book contains a renegade alpha wolf, a smart empathic doctor, very dirty sex with psychic safe-words, the occasional dominance game in and out of the bedroom, and a group of supernatural citizens ready to take on the corrupt leaders of their world.

If this book is any indication of the rest of my reads in 2011, I am going to be a happy, happy girl this year - Deadlock kicked ass!!

I have been a fan of Moira Rogers' Southern Arcana series since the first book, Crux. Deadlock, book 3 in the series, is my favorite so far:

Alec Jacobson is about as Alpha as they come - he's the unofficial leader of the New Orleans area "pack", and a lot of people rely on him to keep things running without interference from the official pack hierarchy up in New York. In previous books he's been a bit gruff, tough, and bad-ass, but you know he's got a heart of gold. In Deadlock we see some of Alec's past... we learn he was married to a human, and she died because of it. He hasn't really gotten over it, and pushes himself to protect the supernaturals in New Orleans so that they can live and love like he didn't get to do.

Carmen Mendoza is a doctor who is new to New Orleans - she's come to work in the supernatural hospital. She's half-werewolf and an empath. She's also got a very power-hungry father and uncle, and they're disappointed that they haven't been able to marry her off to another powerful werewolf family. When she refuses to meet their latest potential suitor, they decide to take matters into their own hands using powerful, dangerous magic.

Alec's protective instincts go into overdrive to save Carmen, and when she's near him she feels safe. The heat between them is scorching hot; I love that a 44-year-old man and a 30-something woman get to have this amazing, sexy, primal romance.

I also felt like this book did a great job of focusing on the rest of the supernatural community, both in and outside of New Orleans. Political issues that we've been watching in the first two books come to a head and I am love-, love-, loving where that storyline is going.

I can't do a proper review without mentioning Andrew and Kat. OMG I need their story NOW!!! Their pain and desire leaped off the page. I want these two to get an HEA so badly!

The combination of the love story, the political machinations, and Andrew and Kat's yearning storyline made for a fabulous read! When I wasn't reading Deadlock I was wondering about the characters; I love it when a book grabs me like that.

I know this review has been all over the place; I feel like I'm pointing in every direction and saying "how cool is this", and "look at that", and "check this out", "and this too!", but there were so many good things going on!

I'll leave you with this little fun thing: One of the locations in Deadlock is Algiers Point, a small neighborhood on the Westbank of New Orleans. I've lived in Algiers for over 20 years, and for many of those years lived 2 blocks away from Lavergne Street, which is specifically mentioned in the book. In addition, Alec mentions that "they've got someone in the 4th", which is where one of my brothers works. You know as soon as I read that I wanted to call him and ask him which of his co-workers he thought was a werewolf! So those things took an already great read and made it a bit more fun for me ;)

I do recommend reading Crux and Crossroads, the first two books in the series, before reading Deadlock. It can be read as a stand-alone, but will be much more enjoyable if you know all the background players and their history.

My Rating:

This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.