Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays (2/28)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"You know, you look real shitty, Hoss."

"Thank you very much..." Mace moved his jaw around. At least it wasn't broken.

"So shitty that you look like you need someone to take care of you."

Mace blinked in confusion. "Why? I'll be fine by tomorrow."

"Someone to take care of you, Mace. Tend your wounds. Comfort you in their very large, sweet bosom."

Mace shook his head. "No. Now way, Smitty."

"Would you just trust me."

"That's a shitty thing to do. It's almost cat-like in its evilness."

"See your problem is you underestimate dogs. There's a reason why many of use are let up on the couch, while they keep y'all in a zoo."

--Pg 64-65, A Pride Christmas in Brooklyn by Shelly Laurenston

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mini Me: Into the Dreaming by Karen Marie Moning

Aspiring romance novelist Jane Sillee was completely in love with her fantasy man - the hot and strapping dark-haired Highlander who'd been coming to her in her dreams for years and inspired her sensual flights of literary fancy.

But it was more than her imagination that conjured up the brilliantly woven tapestry sporting the spitting image of her magnificently arrogant warrior. It was more than a dream that transported her to medieval Scotland to break an evil spell. And it was more than she could handle when she found herself wrapped in the muscular arms of Aedan MacKinnon, who had his own fantasies to fulfill...

I'm not sure if you can still pick this up anywhere for $2.99 but it's such a fun quick read! A mass market-esque paperback at 102 pages the story of Jane and Aedan is a wonderful fairytale. There's intrigue in that Aedan is trying to find himself after 500 years at the hands of the Unseelie King, but for the most part this is a character driven story. Jane works tirelessly to return Aedan's memories not only of his life but of their time spent together - while dreaming. She's determined that she's not going to lose him after finally finding out he's real and I loved the way she convinced the entire village to help her.  Yeah it's a bit over the top that she magically fits in perfectly in the past and is a romance author (of Highlander romances in fact) but you know what? I didn't care and I don't think you will either because the whole story is short and sweet and just makes you happy.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Buckhorn Brothers by Lori Foster

Sawyer Hudson, the only doctor in Buckhorn County, took it upon himself to rescue the beautiful but enigmatic woman who came literally crashing into his life. Though he knew he should keep things platonic and professional, around her his body had other ideas. And his heart was no more cooperative.

Honey Malone was on the run, fleeing a dangerous predator, when she lost control of her car, drove into a lake--and found herself up to her neck in breathtaking men. After the brothers nursed her through her injuries, she tried to leave, but she hadn't bargained on their stubborn protectiveness. Or the passionate bond that tied her to Sawyer.

Jordan Sommerville was a healer of helpless animals, rescuer of strays, a man who could seduce a woman with his voice alone. Yet he didn't use that power often. His brothers kidded that he was holding out for a paragon of virtue and not many in Buckhorn qualified. But then he met Georgia, and broke all his own rules.

Georgia Barnes supported herself and her kids as a dancer--an exotic dancer. If Jordan Sommerville didn't like it, he could take a hike. So what if he was the most caring, gentle, desirable man she'd ever known--he was still a man like all the rest. Surely he couldn't be as perfect as he looked--or could he?

You know what I kind of felt like reading these books again? Old.  Yeah I said it, old. I don't what's up with me lately but apparently it's my time to notice that the heroines of all my 'oldies but goodies' are younger than I am. Boooooo city let me tell you.

Luckily, despite all that doom and gloom, the Buckhorn brothers are still a fun bunch of books to read. Over the top sweet, respectful, and incredibly sexy Alpha males take the lead in all of the stories and even I can't help but swoon a bit. Even when I roll my eyes and think 'I would  punch him if he treated me like that'. I bought these when they were originally released with the goofy Harlequin Temptation covers (man cuddling a dog? Without a shirt? Hottest thing ever.) and these are some of the books I turn to when I need an uncomplicated happy ending. I like reading about families trying to make it through and find happiness, especially in small towns. You get better supporting characters I think, though to be truthful these books focus so much on the main four brothers that you get less of that than usual.

Still I recommend them and have no regrets about the space they take up on my shelves (which I'm kind of embarrassed to admit is double because I thought I'd lost them and bought the anthologies used...and then found my originals. Sigh.).

Overall Feeling - B

Series - 1) Sawyer 2) Morgan 3) Gabe 4) Jordan 5) Casey

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mini Me: Montana Sky by Nora Roberts

When Jack Mercy died, he left behind a ranch worth nearly twenty million dollars. Now his three daughters—each born of a different marriage, and each unknown by the others—are gathered to hear the reading of the will. But the women are shocked to learn that before any of them can inherit, they must live together on the ranch for one year. They are sisters—and strangers. Now they face a challenge: to put their bitterness aside and live like family. To protect each other from danger—and unite against an enemy who threatens to destroy them all?

Usually, no matter who's doing it, I'm only about 70% positive  that 3-in-1 romances like this work. Somehow one of the couples always ends up being a little less fleshed out, a little less real, and as much as I love Nora Roberts, Montana Sky doesn't completely escape that.Willa Mercy is clearly the stand out; as much as we read about Tess and Lily their romances are more in the 'over and done' category. There might be a bit of conflict here and there, but really we meet them, meet their partners, everybody's happy! Hooray!

The best thing about this book is the murder mystery. Just gruesome enough, Roberts also put a bit (read A LOT) of unexpectedness when it comes to the killer. You just don't get that til the end. And I can't say anymore if I want to keep it that way for everybody else. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

YES! It's finally time for Éibhears's book!!

(from Shelly Laurenston's newsletter)

Back Cover Copy:

Some things never go away, like vile enemies, bad ale, and annoying kin. Honestly, though, I thought I was finished with the one dragon I’d have done anything for: Éibhear the Blue, a big, gorgeous, blue-haired beast who thinks the world belongs to him. The world and, apparently, me.

If Éibhear wants to play the caring hero and travel into the most forsaken of Gods forsaken lands to protect the one woman who doesn’t need it -- namely me -- I’ll let him. Because while I’m trying to fulfill a ridiculous quest for a pushy god, I’m going to draw this overconfident warlord much too close, rekindle his fires, and enjoy every minute of his delicious defeat...

EXCERPT: (Unedited/Unproofed)

From Zebra
Available September 2012!

As human, in their Ice Land fur capes that hid their faces and chainmail leggings and shirts, the four Mì-runach stood on the ridge overlooking the valley caught between a half-ring of mountains and a vast forest where a battle raged on.

“I didn’t know we’d have to fight our way in,” Aidan complained. “I was hoping we’d swoop in and swoop out.”

“That won’t be happening today.”

A battle cry sounded from beside them and Uther turned, gutting the male running at them with his blade and tossing the body back several feet.

Éibhear sighed. “That was one of Annwyl’s men.”

“Oh.” Uther shrugged. “Sorry.”

“Annwyl’s troops are in red and silver. The enemies are ogres, which means their skin is in varying shades of green and they’re not human. So it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.”

“Why are they fighting ogres?” Caswyn asked.

“Annwyl had to fight ogres once in a pit fight. Now she hates ogres.”

“Interesting woman your human queen.”

Éibhear walked a bit until he found a path leading down the ridge and right into the battle. As they walked, not really engaging in the battle unless threatened, Aidan asked, “So which one is the infamous Izzy?”

“Can’t you tell?”

“I can tell.” Caswyn stopped, pointed at a warrior woman riding on a black steed, her sword flashing as she gave orders to the men surrounding her.

Aidan laughed. “Not even close.”

“Why not? She looks like a proper soldier, leading a queen’s army into battle.”

“That’s the problem. Éibhear’s never been interested in anyone doing the ‘proper’ thing.”

“Then who?”

Aidan looked over the battle, finally smiling and pointing. “Her.”

They all looked where he pointed but all Éibhear could see were a group of ogres beating on something with their clubs. Then there was a scream and a shield came up from the center of those ogres, pushing them back. And from the midst of all that green flesh, she stood. Tall and proud. No longer the young girl he’d met so many years ago, nor the young soldier he’d walked away from.

Now she was something different. Scarred, bruised, and covered in blood, she shoved her long shield forward, knocking a few more ogres out of her way. From her left, another ogre swung at her. Izzy raised her arm, caught the club in her hand. Snarling, she yanked the weapon from the ogre and turned on him, kicking him in the gut. The shield was yanked from her, but that just freed her to grip the club in both hands. She swung it, knocking an ogre to the ground, then she brought the club up and over, bringing the spiked head of the weapon down onto the ogre’s face.

Screaming, she ripped the club off the skull and took out another. That’s when Caswyn looked at Éibhear. “Yeah. Aidan’s right. That’s gotta be her.”


Iseabail, Daughter of Talaith and Briec, human princess by mating of the House of Gwalchmai fab Gwyar, and General of the Eighth, Fourteenth, and Twenty-sixth legions of Annwyl the Bloody, Queen of Garbhán Isle and Dark Plains, ducked the flint axe swinging for her head and brought the club she held up between the legs of the ogre trying to kill her.

He squealed and dropped to his knees. Izzy tore the spiked club up and out of the ogre’s body, then brought it back down on his head, now that he was closer to her height.

It had been a bloody, ugly war for the last two months, but Izzy believed an end was near because she hoped to finally get her chance at the ogre leader. Once he was dead, the rest of his army would fall.

So she took down another ogre, ducked a flint axe aimed at her head, and crushed a knee cap with a well-placed kick, all in the hopes of finding that damn ogre leader.


Izzy heard her dragon cousin’s screamed warning and was able to move her body out of the way in time to avoid the ogre attacking from behind, but the blade of his flint axe cut across her arm. The wound began to bleed almost immediately and she knew she’d have to get it sewn up. But she refused to worry about that now. Not with the ogre leader in her sights at last. She could see him about thirty feet away. So very close.

Izzy spun, swung the club, and slammed it into the neck of the bastard behind her as he tried to run away. He went down face first and Izzy pulled out her sword and rammed it into the back of the beast’s head.


She heard her name called again, this time by a much different voice than her cousin Branwen, but she had to ignore it as she was being attacked again. Gods, the ogres just keep coming.

She blocked the flint mace aimed for her face by using the club she still held in her left hand and cut the thick arteries inside the ogre’s thighs with her sword. She spun and slashed her sword again, cutting a throat, spun again and swung, but her blade was stopped by an obscenely large battle axe. She knew the weapon was not an ogre’s. They only used flint weapons and although deadly were often crudely made. This was a well-made weapon forged by a true blacksmith.

So Izzy struck at the knees with the club she still held. The heavy flint made contact and there was an angry snarl from beneath the heavy fur cape that covered the face and body of the axe wielder.

“Izzy! Stop!”

She ignored the command and swung the blade again. A big gloved hand reached out and shoved her back.

“Gods-dammit, Izzy! It’s me!” He yanked the hood of his cape back, revealing his handsome face and dark blue hair. Some of it in braids with leather strips, feathers, and small animal bones tied throughout. “It’s Éibhear.”

“Yeah,” Izzy answered honestly. “I know.”

Then she pulled back her arm and threw the sword she held directly at his head.


Éibhear knew that because of his size, it was believed he was quite slow. Lumbering was a word he’d often heard used from those seeing him doing nothing more than standing. Yet at that moment when he saw the short sword coming right at him, thrown by a woman who clearly knew what she was doing, Éibhear would say he’d never been so grateful that everyone was wrong. He was fast. Very fast. And it was that speed, being able to drop to the ground in seconds, that really saved his life.

Once he hit the ground, he looked up and saw that Izzy was running right at him. He wasn’t sure if she was coming to finish him off or just kick the shit from him, but the thought of batting her away or blasting her with his flame -- stupidly -- never entered his head.

He would never know why.

When Izzy reached him, she snatched his short sword from his belt and leaped up, one foot landing on his shoulder. She used that foot to launch herself, lifting her body, and spinning in the air. Éibhear turned over and watched as Izzy raised the sword that most human males couldn’t lift and shove it into the nine-foot ogre that had stood behind Éibhear. He’d been so focused on Izzy, he hadn’t even been aware of the big bastard wearing a human skull on a chain around his neck.

But even with the sword buried in the top of his head, the ogre wasn’t dead yet. He was snarling and snapping at Izzy as she hung there, and that’s when she spoke to the green bastard. Éibhear had no idea what she said, but he was positive the ogre did. And the words were so guttural, so vile-sounding that he knew she was speaking the ancient language of the ogres.

When Izzy finished, she released her hold on the sword and dropped to the ground. With one good kick to the ogre’s stomach, she knocked him on his back and walked around until she was able to look him in the eye. Gripping in both hands the club she still held, she raised it above her head and brought it down once, smashing the ogre’s face in.

It was then that Éibhear realized this must be the ogre leader because all the surviving ogres stopped fighting and began to turn and run back toward the mountains in the distance, probably to choose another leader and regroup. Izzy seemed to know that as she yanked Éibhear’s blade from the dead leader’s head.

“All of you!” Izzy called out while walking back toward Éibhear. “Don’t let them reach the caves. Kill them all! Now move!”

Izzy stopped by Éibhear’s side, looked him over. “Why are you here?” she asked.

“To bring you home.”

“Can’t.” She dropped the blade on his stomach, Éibhear barely catching it before the blade possibly cut something vital. “Not done.”

She turned away from him, dismissing him without a backward glance. “Lieutenant Alistair.” A full-human male rode up to her.


“Rally the men. Pull several to get the wounded to healers. We’ll deal with the dead later. I want those ogres meeting their green-skinned ancestors before the moon’s high in the sky. Do you understand?”

“Aye, General.”


He rode off and another female rode to Izzy’s side.

“Fionn. How are we looking?”

“Good, Iz. But there’s still some fight left in the South Valley.”

“Take a contingent and strike them down.”

“Your arm, General,” the woman Fionn pushed.

“Yeah, yeah. I know, Colonel. I’ll deal with it.” She laughed, waved the woman away.

Then, without even looking at him again, Izzy walked off, leaving him lying there.

“I don’t know why you look so shocked,” a voice said from beside him and he looked up into the face of his cousin Branwen. “What did you expect from her? To drop to her knees and suck your cock right here?”

Well… it had crossed his mind.

Copyright © Shelly Laurenston 2012

The Stanislaski Series by Nora Roberts

Taming Natasha
The first time single-father Spence Kimball set eyes on Natasha Stanislaski, he was floored by her exotic beauty. But the former ballet dancer turned toy shop owner had a fiery temperament that kept men safely at bay.

Sensing a hidden wound, Spence and his little girl joined forces to find a way into her closely guarded heart. For Spence realized he’d do anything to tame Natasha’s fears…and show her how to love. 

Luring a Lady
Nothing in Sydney Hayward’s background of wealth and privilege prepared her to take the helm of her family’s corporation, and her new responsibilities left no room for complications.

Mikhail Stanislaski was definitely a complication. Earthy and entirely masculine, Mikhail came from a world utterly different from her own. But the way she felt when he put his strong, work-hardened hands on her was wreaking havoc with Sydney’s resolve. 

Ever heard in a review that a relationship (or a family) is lacking passion? Yeah the Stanislaskis are not that family. 

These old-school Nora Roberts books are filled with the huge personalities and slightly dramatic story lines that made me love her. Starting with the original 4 siblings and then revisiting the world through a couple of their children, these books are just fantastic. I guess I can't say whether they're 'authentically Ukranian' or not, but for my slightly ignorant self, the Stanislaskis were just stereotypical enough to invoke the vibe of the people they were representing without becoming caricatures.

And the relationships are just as full of emotion. Each pair that comes together has obstacles (personally and professional) to overcome before they can reach their HEA and it's so much fun to read about. Every one of them seems so real from the first page that you can't imagine things turning out any other way - and I don't say that as a criticism. These are stories and characters I return to regularly and I'm never bored when I read them. 

Highly recommended and I'm so glad I have all of them on my shelves.

Overall Feeling - A+

Series - 1) Taming Natasha 2) Luring a Lady 3) Falling for Rachel 4) Convincing Alex 5) Waiting for Nick 6) Considering Kate

Monday, February 6, 2012

January in Review

Oh January. You were a month of busy busy busy and I cannot say that I'm sad to see you go.  In general I think I will like life much more in March when I'm a project I'm working on is finally finished. Sigh. I liked the books I read this month (for the most part) though I had to pull some comfort reads out to get me through the most stressful moments. The only kind of productive thing I managed to get finished was a few shelf things from Target! I bought two and ended up stacking them, so I need one more to complete the 'look' I'm going for. Now if only someone wanted to finish all that organizing and decorating stuff that my still not finished apartment needs....

Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
Never Enough by Lauren Dane
Land of the Blindfolded (1-9) by Sakura Tsukuba (B)
Making Chase by Lauren Dane
Beast Behaving Badly by Shelly Laurenston
Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts
The Bride Wore Black Leather by Simon R. Green (A)
Lothaire by Kresley Cole (Mini Me)
Moonlight in the Morning by Jude Deveraux (B+)
Just a Taste by Deirdre Martin (C+)
Fair Play by Deirdre Martin (DNF)
Instant Attraction by Jill Shalvis (B+)
Strong and Sexy by Jill Shalvis (Mini Me)
The Stanislaski Sisters by Nora Roberts

Here's to February (and the old school Nora Roberts that have been getting me through)! 

Just a Taste by Deirdre Martin

For delizioso pasta, go to Dante's. For a sumptuous Cordon Bleu, go to Vivi's. To really heat things up… get them together.

Since his wife's untimely death, Anthony Dante has thrown himself into his cooking, making his restaurant, Dante's, a Brooklyn institution. So far, his biggest problem has been keeping his retired hockey star brother out of the kitchen. But now, a mademoiselle is invading his turf. And you know what they say: too many chefs spoil the neighborhood…

Stunning Vivi Robitaille can't wait to showcase her tastebud-tingling recipes in her brand new bistro, Vivi's. Her only problem is an arrogant Italian chef across the street who actually thinks he's competition. The table is set for a culinary war - until things start getting spicy outside of the kitchen

I didn't know where I was going to fall on the Deirdre Martin bandwagon, but Just a Taste has added at least one check mark in the plus column. The first Martin I tried was a rare DNF for me, but I just could not warm up to Theresa and Michael. Ack, bleck, no way no how - she was unlikable and he was such a stereotype that every page had something that irked me. 

There was still a bit of the stereotypical character stuff going on between Ant and Vivi but at least the two of them seemed to be real people whose motivations I could understand. As a widower Ant doesn't want to have anything to do with Vivi - he just wants to run his family's restaurant and get his nephew out of having to play a sport he hates. When Vivi walks in with her dreams and aspirations of running of a French bistro across the street, he's not exactly jumping for joy. Things unfold kind of as you'd expect with their initial sparks turning into love but all in all it's a fun read and I recommend it (especially if you do what I did and check it out from the library). 

Overall Feeling - C+

Series - ...7) Just a Taste 8) Power Play 9) Double the Heat 10) Icebreaker 11) Breakaway

Friday, February 3, 2012

Moonlight in the Morning by Jude Deveraux

In an all-new trilogy set in blissful Edilean, Virginia, Jude Deveraux weaves together the tales of three young women, best friends since college, and the lives, loves, and dreams that await them.

Sparks are flying between Jecca Layton and Dr. Tristan Aldredge. At the urging of her dear friend Kim, Jecca put the ruthless New York City art world on hold to spend the summer pursuing her passion for painting while enjoying Edilean’s tightly knit artistic community. For years, Kim’s cousin Tris—the town’s handsome and dedicated doctor—felt a deep connection to Kim’s college “sister” Jecca, though they had met only once before; now, Jecca is swept off her feet by this strong, sensitive man in a summer of sensual delights. But when long shadows announce Jecca’s return to “real life” and the big city, the lovers must decide: Can they survive the distance? And who will sacrifice the life they’ve created for themselves to be together?

I picked this up on whim from Target the other day, mostly because of the review on Dear Arthur. I've liked Deveraux as an author for a while but distinctly remember at some point not wanting to read any more historicals with really damaged heroines. It just got to be a bit much you know? Luckily Moonlight in the Morning could not be more different and I can't wait for more books to come out featuring these characters.

Jecca and Tris are both people with lives that for the most part they enjoy. Neither think they have perfection but the fact the fact that their families aren't totally the bane of their existence and their jobs don't totally diminish them as human beings helps keep things even keeled between the two of them. The slow build up of their feelings is so sweet and I loved the Cupid and Psyche references - it reminds me of another historical I own :). I do have to agree a little that the whys and hows life works out to give these two their HEA might be a bit much but really, was I surprised? No. This isn't a romance or suspense - it's a contemporary romance and after some realistic struggle readers just get to relish the fact that all will be well between them. And that's just the way I like it.

Overall Feeling - B+

Series - 1) Moonlight in the Morning

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mini Me: Lothaire by Kresley Cole


Driven by his insatiable need for revenge, Lothaire, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire, plots to seize the Horde’s crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness—until he finds Elizabeth Peirce, the key to his victory. He captures the unique young mortal, intending to offer up her very soul in exchange for power, yet Elizabeth soothes his tormented mind and awakens within him emotions Lothaire believed he could no longer experience.


Growing up in desperate poverty, Ellie Peirce yearned for a better life, never imagining she’d be convicted of murder—or that an evil immortal would abduct her from death row. But Lothaire is no savior, as he himself plans to sacrifice Ellie in one month’s time. And yet the vampire seems to ache for her touch, showering her with wealth and sexual pleasure. In a bid to save her soul, Ellie surrenders her body to the wicked vampire, while vowing to protect her heart.


Elizabeth tempts Lothaire beyond reason, as only his fated mate could. As the month draws to a close, he must choose between a millennia-old blood vendetta and his irresistible prisoner. Will Lothaire succumb to the miseries of his past . . . or risk everything for a future with her?

Let me just put it out there - not so much a fan of Lothaire. I hadn't been reading been reading reviews but by the buzz on the tweet-o-sphere I thought this book was going to knock it out of the park but I was really unimpressed. I know that Lothaire is damaged and all, but he was SUCH A JERK. Like over and above whatever you might see a Diana Palmer hero might do and I have to admit it turned me off. Ellie made no sense to me in being attracted to him and their sex scenes for the most part creeped me out. I'm usually not one to have qualms with the forced seduction type of stuff but them...somehow....it just didn't even seem reciprocal and I ended up looking at the book from the sides of my eyes trying to figure out how Cole was going to try and make everything ok.

It wasn't a complete loss, the Valkyrie scenes at the end were funny and I definitely wish we'd seen more of them throughout the book to lighten things up. I'm glad I read it as part of the series but it was not my favorite and I'd have to say that if you don't need to buy it, don't.

YouTube is making me so happy today :)

Happy Hump Day everyone! How about some non-booky goodness to inspire joy and laughter?

1) I wish this was 2ne1 (can't lie) but I still love that a popular Korean group performed on David Letterman (even if it was in English).

2) Bueller...Bueller...Bueller...