Saturday, May 31, 2014

Worth the wait! Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh

What a great book! Vasic is an Arrow tasked by Kaleb Krychek with finding a group of E-Psy (Empaths) in hopes that they may be the key to the infection that is coursing through the NetMind. Vasic is paired with Ivy Jane, a young woman who was damaged by a badly botched reconditioning at the age of 16. The hope is that the E-Psy can do something to combat the infection which is making the Psy go into mass killing frenzies. The episodes are happening faster and deadlier as each day passes.
Vasic, who has been the typical unfeeling automaton in previous books, begins to discover feelings he thought were gone when he is paired with Ivy. She is initially leery of Vasic but gradually discovers that she is falling in love with him. The work that the two are part of is a heavy burden and there is an added roadblock concerning a medical procedure that Vasic underwent prior to their meeting and which may cause serious problems in the near future.
The best part of this book was seeing such an emotionally damaged man learn to love another person, to forgive himself for past actions and to watch his slow change into a caring person. Once Vasic opens his heart to Ivy, he discovers multiple instances of emotional bonds he has created with others without even realizing it. Ivy feels so much for Vasic, love for him and sadness for his pain and she helps him realize that he is more than what he did in the past and that he is worthy of happiness.

The nature of the story is such that there is contact with many of the favorite characters but also the introduction of some new people. There are twists and turns with people who have been small parts of previous books but essential in this one. The suspense level is high on several levels which balances the emotional scenes between Vasic and Ivy. I got a big kick out of his inability to control his TK ability when being passionate with Ivy and having to go to Judd for advice. Let me just say that the love scenes are steamy both literally and figuratively! 

I'm hoping that Aden will have a book in the near future. He has been a big part of this wonderful series and deserves his happy ending too.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cute read- Cooking Up Love by Amylynn Bright

A very cute love story centered around cooking obviously!  Holly Darcy is a food critic and would be romance author who can't cook and Mark Bennett is a chef who won't cook because one of Holly's reviews was the nail in the coffin for his first restaurant. They meet when Holly takes Mark's cooking class. The food isn't the only thing that is heating up- Holly and Mark generate some heat on their own. Of course, neither one knows who the other is until they already are deep into a relationship.

I enjoyed this book because it had a good plot, a nice touch of humor and enough spiciness to keep my interest. I also liked how the author resolved the major conflict between the two without making Holly totally the bad guy. Too often, these books go for the easy ending and don't recognize the faults on both sides. The ending was a perfect fit for the book and the characters.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Unmasking Juliet by Teri Wilson. The second good book in a series of reinvented classics

A cute book loosely based on the famous star crossed couple and their feuding families. Juliet Arabella works in her family's chocolate shop which is across the street from their rivals the Mezzanottes. When she is asked to go to the Mezzanotte's masked ball, she can't resist. After turning down an unwelcome proposal from one of the Arabella merchandisers, she heads outside to get some fresh air. When she meets a masked stranger, they begin a conversation and get pretty darn close. Of course, he is revealed to be Leo, one of the Mezzanotte family and it starts a big brouhaha. 

Leo and Juliet find themselves doing a complicated dance of attraction and denial because of the families antipathy but they can't fight the attraction. Chocolate competitions become the battle ground for both the families and the relationship. 

It is finally explained how the feud started with the families and as revealed later, why the betrayal was necessary. Issues that surfaced then are still affecting the families now and are finally revealed to Juliet and Leo. It was nice not to have it be the old stolen fiancee plot! The forbidden aspect of the romance makes it all the more fun to read and Juliet and Leo have great chemistry. A plot twist makes things really interesting at the end and leads to an emotional revelation for Juliet. 

This is the second book of Ms.Wilson's to revisit a famous literary character. Her first book in this series was Unleashing Mr. Darcy which was a particular favorite of mine. I will be happily waiting to read the next book she writes.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Another great trip to Eternity Springs- Dreamweaver Trail by Emily March

I am so glad to finally see Gabi Romano get her happy ever after. Gabi has had a rough time after joining the Destiny Springs PD and having to shoot and kill someone in the line of duty. When the story opens, she has been drifting, helping her mom at the Inn, house sitting, basically trying to find her niche. When she takes a job house sitting on a tropical island, she meets the one man who understands her life all too well. Flynn Brogan has lived a nightmare, having been falsely accused of his wife's murder, losing his friends and family, and being hounded by paparazzi. Gabi doesn't know about this facet of his life as he keeps it from her.

A horrible attack and resulting deaths, along with the truth of Flynn's history causes Gabi to flee the island and return home. Flynn's very existence is threatened when his tortures go from mental to physical and his life is totally changed. He ends up in Destiny Springs looking for some of it's vaunted healing nature and maybe, deep in his heart, a chance to find a way back to Gabi.

I enjoyed this book because Gabi and Flynn are such interesting characters, both scarred by love and searching for a new beginning. Just when they find some peace with each other, life intervenes and they are torn apart. I appreciated that they both had to trust their feelings and really want to make the relationship work the second time around. Flynn is always hiding who he is and doesn't get what he wants until he can open up to Gabi. Gabi needs to trust in her feelings and go for the prize wholeheartedly. 

As in all series, it is fun to see what is going on with the other characters and meeting new ones. There is an excerpt from the next book in the series and it looks like another winner in what has been an excellent series to read. When I got ready to read Dreamweaver Trail, I went back and re-read the entire series and enjoyed it just as much as the first time.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

First book in a new series- The Marriage Pact by Linda Lael Miller

Linda Lael Miller's first book in a new Brides of Bliss County series and it's a good start. Three friends have started a marriage pact to support each other while they try to make their dreams come true. Hadleigh once thought she had Mr.Right until her late brother's friend Tripp kidnapped her at the altar and ruined her wedding. Then Tripp dropped the news on her that he was married and left her to deal with the aftermath. 
Years later, the women have started the pact and learn that Tripp is back in town sans wife. Hadleigh has to reexamine her feelings about Tripp- does she or doesn't she still love him. Her friends think she needs to resolve her situation once and for all but Hadleigh isn't sure she could stand another rejection. Tripp has finally realized he has feelings for Hadleigh but isn't sure how to win her over.

It takes a while for the romance to get going in this book, but when it finally does it's pretty explosive. Hadleigh and Tripp waste a lot of time circling around each other so when they do get together it seems like you want to say Finally !!! 

The pact premise is a good one to set up future books in the series and there seems to be hints about at least one of the women and a certain town sheriff. Lael Miller is one of my favorite authors and this is a nice addition to her list. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

How I started reading Romance novels...

My relationship with romance novels began as a little girl when I would go visit my grandmother in New Hampshire. I was a light sleeper and I shared the bed with her when we went to visit, so I got up and went into the living room if I couldn't sleep.  She had a set of books covered in red leather that were romance themed books. I think they might have been Faith Baldwin, but I'm not sure.  I remember that one had a character named Mimi who was nasty to the heroine and had short black hair.  Mimi got bitten by karma in the end and the heroine got her man.  I loved that book and read it many times. I would love to be able to find those books again.

A few years later, my mother introduced  me to Georgette Heyer. Ms. Heyer to this day remains one of my favorite authors who I have read again and again with total enjoyment. About 8 years ago I went on a campaign to get as many of her books as I possibly could on audio so I could listen to them in the car. Unfortunately, most were only available on cassette so I had to get a portable player to listen. I scoured the libraries in CT and MA as well as getting involved in bidding wars on eBay, but I got almost every book. Now, most of them are available to download so it's easier to find them. A true Heyer addict, I now have my mother's older books, newer versions, the audio books, and after a big sale on Barnes & Noble, pretty much her whole catalog as e books.

On an interesting note, I always pronounced her name as "higher" and it wasn't until I started to listen to the audio books that I discovered that her last name is actually pronounced "hayer".

To me, the sign of a good author is that much like Ms. Heyers books, I can read a book over and over and enjoy it just as much every time. So, I think in between reviews I am going to post my thoughts on my favorite authors and why I love them so.