Operation Auction - Wow, Just Wow

I just have to say that I am so impressed and thoroughly moved by Operation Auction. I'm sure everyone in the romance community knows by now about the auction that was put together and is currently in progress at to raise money for fellow blogger, Fatin, whose husband was killed in a horrible shooting outside the family's business.  All proceeds from the auction will go to Fatin and her four children.

Every time I head over to the auction to see what's up I am awed at the incredible outpouring of support I see there and frankly it's choked me up more than once. 
If you haven't taken a look at the auction to see what's available yet, I highly recommend that you do.  

Click on Operation Auction picture to go to the auction's home page.

Review: A Love Rekindled

Efe returns to Nigeria after years in the United States, dreaming of a happy, independent life. However, her nights become plagued by nightmares of Kevwe Mukoro, her ex-fiancé. Long hours at work and drinking in nightclubs only provide temporary relief, and when she encounters Kevwe's twin brother, she knows it's a matter of time before Kevwe is back in her life. Sparks fly when they finally meet again, but desire is no match for bitter memories of heartbreak. All these years, Efe believed she was rejected; now Kevwe claims he'd never stopped loving her. Stuck at a crossroads, Kevwe prefers to look to the future, but Efe is not so sure. Can the traumatic events of the past be resolved, and will she give in to rekindled love?

Efe is ready to get on with her life after returning from the States. She has spent the last 7 years there getting her education and learning to get over the heartbreak of a failed relationship. You see right before she left for the States her fiancé, Kevwe, broke up with her – not even having the decency to tell her to her face and having his parents do the dirty deed for him. Her friends had seen him around with another woman and Efe is devastated that her love could be so easily thrown to the side of the road.

Now she’s older and wiser but upon her return to Nigeria she finds herself having strange nightmares about Kevwe. She’s shocked when a man walks into her office and she’s sure it’s him, but really it’s his identical twin brother, Ofure. When Ofure relates his meeting with Efe to his brother Kevwe is determined that he will do nothing about Efe’s return, but he eventually can’t hold himself back and plans a meeting.

Together Kevwe and Efe try to discover what happened 7 years prior and try to figure out if they can try and rekindled the love that they once had.

I was very interested to read this book as I’ve never read a romance set in Nigeria before. The different cultures and the tribal politics were definitely something that was new to me.

The book was told in a series of flashbacks - going back to 1999-2002 and then forward to 2009 - and though this sometimes works for me in a book I didn’t care for it in this novel. I would have preferred to read most of the past in one fell swoop and then read the current happenings with Kevwe and Efe with a few flashbacks interspersed. I think that because of the flashbacks the emotionality of the romance actually suffered. I would just be getting into what was happening in 2009 when the book would head on back to the past. I couldn’t get a true grasp of how the characters were feeling about each other because I was pulled from the story again and again. While the romance was sweet it lacked the depth that I thought the story required for such a huge issue as the couple’s break up.

I also had issues with what I believe is the slang of Nigeria. Not that the slang itself was an issue but not me knowing it was a problem. Sometimes the characters said things to each other and I had no idea what the meaning of the sentence was. Like the word “sha”. After reading it I thought it might mean friend but after looking it up just now I realize that it means “anyway; like that” and there were several other words that I was just as confused about. I just found it very confusing – especially if the author was writing the characters to be speaking in broken English. Now those were my personal issues with the book and someone else may not have the same problems.

In the end A Love Rekindled was a decent read but there were parts of the book I liked and others that I didn’t care for.

Rating: 3 out of 5

What I Read Last Week

Good morning!

How was everyone’s weekend? Hopefully it was all good. Mine was pretty quiet. My hubby’s b-day was yesterday and we had a lovely lunch with his parents on Saturday and then another wonderful dinner with my family yesterday.

Since there’s not much going on around here I’ll get right to the books I read this past week.

My first read was One Magic Moment by Lynn Kurland. This one doesn’t release until early May but I really loved Kurland’s time travel novel’s. This one was good but it almost felt like 2 different books to me. The first was the meeting of the couple and it was so sweet and I was loving where the romance was heading. Then the couple time traveled and the tone of the book changed. Still good but not as good as the first part of the book, imho. I read this one for The Book Binge so I’ll let you know when my review posts. 3.5 out of 5

Next up was another book for The Book Binge, Hidden Embers by Tessa Adams. (This one also releases at the beginning of May.) In this book we meet Jasmine who is going to New Mexico to help try to find something that will help the Dragonstar clan with the virus that is killing their people (the same virus we learned about in book 1). Quinn and Jasmine hit it off but there are roadblocks in their way. This was a good story but I did have some issues with it. I’ll let you know when my review posts. 3.25 out of 5

Delivered with Love by Sherry Kyle was my next read. This was an inspirational book about a twenty-something girl who is trying to find out more about her deceased mother’s past. She heads out on a road trip and the info that she discovers was nothing like she expected. A good book but more than a few parts of it, I felt, were really unrealistic. My review of this one will go up on Friday. 3 out of 5

When Holly was down last weekend she talked me into buying What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long. I’d heard good things about the book and had planned on reading it but maybe not too soon. When I really looked though I discovered that it was a revenge story and I hesitated. I’ve discovered that I really don’t like revenge plots all that much any more so what to do? In steps Holly and said DO IT! I caved and read it and it was SO good! I loved it. It’s definitely one of my favorite reads of the year so far. I loved the duke – his character was entertaining as well as so heart wrenching. I loved Genevieve even though she was a bit wishy-washy at times. I adored how Long (this was my first read by her) didn’t pull any punches with the fact that the duke is almost 40 and in fact even had Genevieve make mention of the lines on his face. Just a great book. If you like historicals then you won’t want to miss this one. 5 out of 5

My Tracy’s TBR Challenge read for the week was The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks by Josh Lanyon. This was another of Josh’s great mystery stories. Perry comes home early from a vacation and finds a dead body in his bathtub. He goes to get help but when the person goes to check it out the body is gone. His neighbor, ex Navy SEAL, Nick, decides to help out and not only do they work together to solve the mystery but they end up having a relationship as well. A really good mystery and romance mix. 4 out of 5

Last on the list was A Love Rekindled by Myne Whitman. This was the story of Efe who has returned to Nigeria after 7 years when she runs into her ex-fiance who broke her heart. The fiancé, Kevwe, however, believes that Efe broke his heart all those years ago. Can they get to the bottom of the issue and rekindle their love? I’ll be reviewing this on Wednesday so I’ll tell you more then. 3 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:

Happy Reading!

Sex Talk with Karen Mercury (NSFW) and a giveaway

Please welcome, once again, Karen Mercury to Tracy's Place!  Karen is here with us today with some enlightening and quite humorous information on...

Ye Olde &%$@! Talk

I adore slang—a big reason I’ve never written a historical novel set farther back in time than 1827. Writing medievals must be well-nigh next to impossible, with the restrictions put upon descriptions of various bawdy practices. I’ll venture a guess they had a wider vocabulary that never made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, but in historical writing, one must be entirely accurate and avoid anachronisms at all costs. I am constantly turning to my Random House Dictionary of American Slang, Volumes A-G and H-O (when the hell are they going to put out P-Z?).

There are limitations even in writing about 1827, a year that sounds fairly recent (to a historical novelist, anyway). A sucker in drag couldn’t boot anyone for being too breezy, a gun-shy peewee couldn’t cook a potato-head’s goose, a guy who wanted to put on the dog couldn’t pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, and an uppity no-count lunkhead couldn’t talk the hind leg off a donkey. Rummies drinking caper juice had to hit the road if they wanted to kick a lung out of any nances who were knee-high to a grasshopper, and god forbid if any geezers on a bust were to get worked up and yell blue murder while punching cows. It simply wasn’t done in 1827. Those poor bastards couldn’t even get the creeps, be tickled to death, or sass like a house on fire. Evidently everything was fairly proper in 1827.

And that’s not as much fun, is it? They couldn’t polish anyone off, put anyone out of action, or even experience puppy love until 1834. Yo! What in hell?

I felt very limited writing about 1827. Sure, they had funky, oiled duck-fuckers popping up when it rained cats and dogs, creating a rumpus and telling sons of bitches to kiss their ass. And I was lucky they could tell someone to cheese it (yes, as in Muggsy!), shake in their shoes, neck, pick someone off, or give a flying fuck (1800, when a fun-filled person, evidently lusting for life and liberty, distributed a flyer describing a sex act done on horseback). And one of the biggest losses to historical literature is that until 1870, no one could attend a “circus” featuring bestial couplings. 

Writing historical sex scenes is even more limiting and frustrating. I suppose I love it because I love a challenge, and I play a sort of guessing game with myself. When a slang term pops into my head, I guess the decade it was first used, getting a nerdish thrill when I’m right. “Fucking” is a word with a grand old tradition dating back to at least 1687, when apparently a guy named Burford lamented his “Half ten Guineas spent in Wine and Fuck.” By 1785, these rebellious libertines were hard at it humping, but if you were to have a character saying “Let’s have coitus,” I’m sure the reader would picture Dr. Sheldon Cooper leering at them in his Flash superhero costume.

In the world of pre-Edwardian sex, a man could be possessed of a cock. That word goes back to a Middle-Aged gent who took his own quivering quill in hand and penned:

I have a gentle cock…his comb is of reed coral, his tail is of jet…and every night he perches him in mine lady’s chamber.

Or that’s my best interpretation, what with their Middle-Aged habit of randomly sticking the letter Y into every word. And pity the clueless 1618 adolescent who wondered, “Oh man, what art thou? When thy cock is up?” Our potent forefathers could have pricks, jocks, johnsons, bones, and a John Thomas if he was in Britain, but it wasn’t until 1888’s Stag Party (apparently a book containing “Socratic love,” a “French crisis,” and “a thousand other stories full of pith and point”) that someone thought to write:

Student (turning her fairly around and putting his dick where his finger was): Nice, isn’t it, ducky?

I am continually chagrined that in writing historicals I can’t use the word “dick.” My number one all-time favorite author Henry Miller gets into the game here (he is all over Random House, Volumes A-O), in 1934’s Tropic of Cancer writing, “It feels exactly as if he had taken out that dick of his and was peeing on us.” Thanks once again, Henry, for your descriptive prowess. I’ll stick with “penis.” I actually find that word elegant, attractive, and entirely unmedical, unlike:

Vagina. I just finished a wonderful Robin Schone novel where she uses that word a lot, but when reading it, I can only imagine myself with my feet up in stirrups, being prodded in a much more unpleasant and cringe-inducing manner. When it comes to describing women’s anatomy, a writer is even more limited thanks to the dreaded C-word, which still seems mostly unacceptable even in erotic romance due to its standing, and holding the number one place, as the most pejorative epithet one can call a woman. How fair is that, when it’s the mildest but equivalent thing to call a fellow a “dick”? For women we have twat (1656) which has a nice bawdy Earl of Rochester ring to it, quim (1613), and various other euphemisms invoking images of trains going through tunnels. And frankly, I like honeypot, simply because it sounds so damned cute.

For when you have possession got
Of Venus Mark, or Honeypot

These furious fornicators also had to invent verbs to describe the age-old practice of spanking the monkey. You’re pretty much stuck with “frig,” which sounds like something our lascivious ancestors made their wives do to their dirty pantaloons. Nobody was allowed to “jack off” until 1916, much less “beat off” (1962), probably a huge frustration to those who were stuck boxing the Jesuit and getting cockroaches, for which thanks must be given to that old standby for historical writers, Captain Grose of the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Grose states that is a “sea term for masturbation; a crime, it is said, much practised by the reverend fathers of that society.” I can’t be sure about “wanking off,” since Random House has not had the foresight to release Volume P-Z, but it sounds British, maybe 1950s. I am only guessing.

I wonder what these randy pioneers said when it came time to describe even more obscure acts, such as oral sex? Again, the authors of 19thC and earlier stories cannot feel free to utilize blowjob (1942), fellatio (1893), cunnilingus (1887), or cocksucker (1891). It’s a continuous search for acceptable terms that aren’t anachronistic, sound cute or sexy, and don’t make you feel like you work in an OBGYN office.

I have only barely dipped my wick into this rich pool of sexual terminology, and barely made a ripple, so please, if anyone can think of any historical terms possibly used by our founding fathers, in their fetid fervor for freedom, please let me know.

And in the meantime, if there are any questions about slang words P-Z…you’ll just have to ask the moth-eaten, flat-headed codgers currently growing cobwebs over at Random House.

Karen has been so generous and is offering up one e-copy of her new release Either Ore to one lucky winner.

They would form no brotherhood of virtue until driven to it by a brotherhood of vice.

1848 San Francisco. Lola Moreno has found a home at last, saved from destitution by businessman Gage Lassen. Gage is a withdrawn bachelor, and the most intimate subject he’s discussed with Lola is his preference in tea. Adventurer Harrison Bancroft arrives, fresh from years on the Plains living with Indians. Gage can only admit affection for another man, and things heat up when Harrison paints his portrait.

Harrison and Lola can find no way to allow Gage to participate in their love until Harrison unlocks the pain from Gage’s past, allowing him to emerge from his prison of cold restraint.

Corrupt enforcer Fowler threatens the trio with seeming knowledge of their private vices, harassing Harrison with his unwanted attentions, and a night of riots forces them to make a stand.

Three lovers, one destiny.

Just leave a comment on this post by 7:00pm (pacific) on Thursday, March 31st to enter.  Winner will be announced on Friday, April 1

Review: Called Home: Two Hearts Answer by Gloria Schumann

Emma Benson's view of life was crafted by the death of her brother as a child, abandonment by her father and later, the man she trusted she would marry, until David Schlosser-back in town after years in New York writing best-selling novels-threatens her neatly tended life. Romance blooms. Emma and David eventually persevere in the face of tragedy, refusing to leave their dreams behind.

Emma has quit her teaching job to return to her family’s Wisconsin farm to help her mother try and save said farm from foreclosure. David has returned home after 7 years because he finally realized that the Wisconsin area he grew up in wasn’t as Podunk as he thought.

David is on his way to his parents’ farm when a storm hits. Heads to the nearest farm - Emma’s home – to take refuge from what looks like a tornado. Emma isn’t thrilled with letting him in but finally agrees. Though David is pleasant to Emma and her mother, Emma is incredibly rude and wants no part of the friendship that David immediately offers. David starts hanging around on a regular basis and even saves Emma during an attempted robbery at the bookstore where Emma works.

The couple spend more and more time together but Emma is constantly rude to David. I honestly couldn’t understand David wanting to spend time with Emma after the foul way she talks to him – even the first time, but I guess his attraction to her was just too great.

Emma and David become closer – especially after someone seems to be after them – he doesn’t want to leave her alone. Eventually David breaks through Emma’s self-imposed barrier and get to the soft center of the woman.

As I’ve said Emma was quite impolite when David first came to her house for shelter. She continued her nasty behavior as the days went on and frankly I just didn’t like her. I thought that David was really the glue that held the book together but I just couldn’t see – even though it was explained in the book, what the attraction to Emma was besides physical. Yes, she did have issues because of the abandonment of her father, the death of her brother and the ill treatment of a previous relationship but I would have still expected common human decency. Thankfully Emma lightened up as the book went on and I understood and liked her a little better.

David was quite forward with Emma even when they first met but he felt a connection to her immediately. I began to feel that connection as the book went on but not as strongly as I think I was supposed to. He was quite a wonderful guy – caring, giving and patient and loyal – great qualities.

Overall it was a nice story of a couple from a small farming community coming together. I liked Ms. Schumann’s writing and descriptions of the countryside, I just wanted to like the heroine a bit more.

Rating: 3 out of 5

What I Read Last Week

Good morning!

So it’s going to be a busy day at work today. Yesterday we had quite a storm and got mucho rain. My office at work was flooded as well as the preschool that’s attached to it and part of the rest of the facility. Lots of work to do.

This past weekend I got the pleasure of spending quite a few hours with Lori, Holly and Nikki which was just a ton of fun. We had lunch, went to the local Borders (which is closing down so all the romance was on sale for 50% off) and then to B & N. We talked and laughed and just had a great time.

A funny thing that happened last Friday…I was assaulted by the Oatmeal Police. You didn’t know that they existed, did you? Well frankly, I didn’t either until I was in Starbucks. This is what happened…I got my coffee and oatmeal from Starbucks and was “fixing” my oatmeal at the counter when a man walked up to me and started spewing about how much milk I put in my oatmeal. Now, if you’ve ever had oatmeal from there you’d know that the cups are rather small so really I had probably put about 2 tablespoons in but apparently that was way too much in this man’s opinion. I asked him why he thought it was his business and he was just disgusted that I would put milk in and not let the oatmeal “cook” with just the water. I told him that it would "cook" by the time that I got to work, it would just do it with the milk in it. He just shook his head and walked off. This man was seriously disturbed about my oatmeal. I had to laugh but then I started thinking about the fact that this guy thought that it was really OK to tell me how to do something – someone he doesn’t even know. I have a sense of propriety and even if I think someone is doing something completely ridiculous I would never say it to them (unless they were harming someone else). Is this something that would just happen in America or would this happen in say England where (I think) they are very proper? Or any other place? I just don’t get why people think everyone else’s business is theirs as well. Huh. Something to think about.

So on to what I read last week:

My first read for the week was a YA fantasy book called Chime by Franny Billingsley. I don’t normally read YA or fantasy all that much, for that matter, but it was a decent read. You can read my review here if you’re interested. 3.75 out of 5

Next up was The Rake and the Recluse by Jenn LeBlanc – a book I read for The Book Binge. This was a time travel historical where a woman is sent back in time. The theory that her father had come up with is that there is that one person that we are destined to be with and that we could travel time in order for that match to happen. She thought he was nutty but obviously something happened. She falls in love with the recluse, a Duke, who finds her by almost running over her with his carriage. This was a decent read as well. There were parts of it that I didn’t care for but since it was so long (580 pages) there could be parts that I didn’t like and still like the book as a whole. 3.75 out of 5

After that was Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley. This was an m/m about an FBI agent, Miller, who is determined to bring down a drug lord. He gets an ex-con who works in the drug lord’s organization, Danny, to help him out and ends up babysitting and protecting him when said drug lord comes after the informant. But there’s so much more going on here besides Miller trying to save Danny’s life. It’s Miller admitting to himself that yes, he is gay, and that yes, he has been living a lie his entire life and what will he do about it if he wants to be with Danny. This was such a great read. I loved the tension both sexual and suspense-wise. Danny and Miller’s relationship really had me on the edge of my seat and I loved not being able to figure out how the hell they would ever be able to be together. Just a damn good read. 5 out of 5

My Tracy’s TBR Challenge read for the week was Born to Be Wild by Christine Warren. Josie is a vet and Eli is the town sheriff and also an Other - a lion shifter. Eli brings in a wolf – who’s actually a shifted human – to her clinic and she tries to help the person. They discover that there’s something funky going on with the wolf as well as in the town and they’re determined to figure it out. The suspense part of this book was really the only thing I cared for in the story. It was pretty interesting and kept me guessing. The romance did nothing for me. I didn’t like Eli because he treated Josie like she was an idiot though she was really quite smart. However, she did have her TSTL moments and I ended up thinking they were perfect for each other. 2.5 out of 5

Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips was my next read. This was another good read about Meg who heads to Texas for her best friend’s wedding and realizes that these two people should not be getting married. She manages to get Lucy to realize that Ted is not who she will be happy with the rest of her life. The wedding gets cancelled but Meg is stuck in town because she has no money. Though they hate each other, eventually Ted and Meg start a sex only relationship but as does happen, Meg ends up falling in love with Ted. I wasn’t sure what to think about Ted at first but as the book went on I got to like him more and more. Meg and Ted were great together and I really ended up liking the book. 4 out of 5

Last on the list was Called Home: Two Hearts Answer by Gloria Schumann. This was the story of Emma and David who head back to their home towns for different reasons and meet up. I’ll be reviewing this on Wednesday so you can read more about it then.

My Book Binge reviews that posted this past week:

Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

I first started listening to Alter Bridge when I heard the song Rise Today from their 2007 album Blackbird.    This is Isolation that is off of their latest release AB III which is a great album.

YA/Fantasy Review: Chime by Franny Billingsley

Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.

Briony hates herself. She caused a great wind to come and knock her twin, Rose, off of her swing and hit her head on a rock. Now her twin is not quite right in the head at all times. Then she caused a great wave to come and knock her stepmother over which caused a spinal injury. She created fire and burned down the library in their house. She’s not a good person but it’s all because she’s a witch. Her stepmother told her that and because witches are hanged Briony can never ever tell anyone what she is.

When the story opens it is to show us that Briony and her family are waiting for a ship to come to port that holds the son of a local man. He will be staying at Briony and her family’s home and Briony’s not happy about it at all. But when Eldric arrives she finds a friend. She can’t let down her mask and show Eldric who she truly is but they have great fun together with their Bad Boy club, boxing lessons and their swamp excursions.

Briony’s not supposed to go into the swamp because according to her stepmother bad things happen. But when she goes to talk to the Boggy Mun she discovers that he’s the one causing the people of the village to die of the swamp cough. He’s punishing them because they are taking the water from the swamp in order to put in a railroad. Briony makes a deal with the Boggy Mun but in order to save her sister Rose and the other citizens of the village she must reveal herself as a witch.

This is a fantasy book that really had a great blend of lightness and humor along side the darker more evil side of the spirits, the Old Ones, and the havoc they can create. There are Old Ones walking around that others are unaware of but the ones in the swamp are the most volatile. There’s the Boggy Mun, Mucky Face the Dead Hand and many other spirits that were created specifically for this story. They were pretty intense at times and you never knew what they were going to be up to next.

The story is really about Briony and the information about her witchiness that her stepmother pushed on her and told her not to tell anyone. You take an innocent girl and foist horrible ideas on her and her memories start to twist, fade and disappear. She begins to wonder what is reality and what is fantasy. It was quite clever to create a fantasy book that has a girl in it that doesn’t know what is reality and what is fantasy…to a point.

Then there’s Eldric who is 4 years older than Briony but is a fantastic friend. Though she doesn’t allow herself to think of Eldric with feelings (because according to her she can’t feel – she can only think about feelings because she’s not a normal girl) she knows that she wants him in her life – even if she can’t completely admit that to herself. Their friendship and the intensity of their connection really came to life in the story

I liked the book but there were some things in the book that I really thought could have been left out. Briony had so many issues going in her life (there’s a lot going on in the book) that adding a separate love interest for Eldric really rubbed me the wrong way. I would have preferred (which is something Rose is always saying: she “prefer to” do something or “prefers not to” do something) to not have that added to the story but since I’m not the author…I guess it wasn’t up to me! lol Also, at the end of the book Eldric does something that I think was completely out of character and it really bothered me that the author felt the need to put that in. I just couldn’t figure out why the author would go there…and I still haven’t figured it out.

Overall I liked the book and would read something by Ms. Billingsley again.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

TBR Challenge Review: After the Kiss by Suzanne Enoch

This month’s TBR Challenge theme was “a new-to-you author”. Well I had plenty on my shelves to choose from for this theme so how did I choose this book and author? Well, I’ve actually met Ms. Enoch and have a book autographed by her. She was charming to my little one and even signed her Disney autograph book (right next to Goofy, if I remember correctly). I have 5 of her books sitting on my shelves…so why the hell haven’t I read her before? I have no flippin clue! And frankly after reading this book I’m pretty much kicking myself because I let them sit. I hate it when I do that! So on to the review…

A Notorious Gentleman . . .

Sullivan Waring wants only two things: his rightful inheritance, and revenge against the man who stole it from him. By day, Sullivan is the most respected horse breeder in England; by night, he plunders the ton's most opulent homes to reclaim his late mother's beautiful paintings. His quest is going swimmingly . . . until the night he's discovered by Lady Isabel Chalsey. Clad only in a revealing nightdress, she's an entrancingly different kind of plunder, and how can a thief resist stealing a kiss?

A Curious Lady . . .

Surprised by a masked man in her own home, Isabel should be quaking with fear. Instead the sight of the sinfully handsome Sullivan makes her tremble with excitement. Who is this man, and why is he so set on this reckless pursuit? Lady Isabel loves a challenge, and she'll dare anything to uncover Sullivan's secret—but she may instead convince him that she is the greatest prize of all.

One night Sullivan Waring was going about his business stealing his mother’s painting from an aristocrats home when he runs into trouble. She is ethereal in her night rail and threatens to expose him. He manages to distract her and when she gets read to scream…he kisses her. Nice distraction. The next day when Isabel Chalsey is at a horse breeder’s with her brother the last person she expects to see is the thief! But there he is and she’s determined to figure out his game and decides to blackmail him. Ok, it’s not really blackmail but she manages to force him into training a horse for her.

The problem with Isabel’s plan: #1 is that she’s afraid of horses and really had no plans to ride one…ever. Number 2 is that she finds Sullivan, a horse breeder and thief, quite fascinating. Their attraction to each other is quite mutual and they find themselves falling in love. But there are so many issues to deal with: The fact that he’s the bastard son of a nobleman…and completely unacknowledged; the fact that she’s being courted by his half-brother; the fact that he’s taking extraordinary risks by continuing to steal (with good reason, mind you, but still!). Theirs is a relationship that can go nowhere.

I have to start by telling you that Ms. Enoch had me wrapped into the story from almost the first page. Sullivan Waring was such a compelling character who had such issues! The poor man, I just felt sorry for him at first but he grew during the story and I love when the romance is as much about the love story as it is about the characters finally seeing themselves. Isabel too grew in the story but she seemed to grow in character as well as grow up. I loved seeing the pair come together and the sexual tension was amazing between the two.

On top of the great central characters we got some wonderful secondary characters as well. Sullivan’s friend Bram played the bored nobleman but he was quite different, I think, on the inside than he showed to the world. I loved his sarcasm and dry wit. Then there were Isabel’s brothers – Douglas in particular. Her was Isabel’s 16 year old younger brother and was quite the young adult. He had the protective thing going on for his sister and loved an adventure but he also was smart. Some of his lines had me cracking up.

There were a couple of niggles I had with the story that I can’t actually tell you about without giving you major spoilers but they had to do with Isabel’s parents and Sullivan’s acceptance of who he was. That’s not very forthcoming, I know, but if you haven’t read the book I just don’t want to give it away.

Overall I really loved the book. The love story was great and I really liked that Sullivan wasn’t a nobleman – it just made things so much more interesting. I do have the next two books in this series and I will definitely be reading them soon.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Review at The Book Binge

My guest review for Saddled and Spurred by Lorelei James has posted over at The Book Binge.

Bran Turner's new hired hand for his Wyoming ranch is feisty former rodeo queen, Harper Masterson. All she wants is to earn enough to leave this small town. But as Bran ropes her in, he could change her mind.

Harper Masterson is desperate for a job. She lives in Muddy Gap, Wyoming and there’s about 12 businesses total. She already works part time at the nail salon and the other business, well, some are unavailable to her permanently based on past events with her mom. Harper isn’t quite sure what to do. She just needs to work for the next three months until her sister, Bailey, graduates from high school and then she’ll move to wherever her sister decides to go to college.

What I Read Last Week

Good Morning!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and a great week last week.

There were some horrible events that happened in the world last week. Japan and all of the tragedies there just hurt my heart.  Also, fellow blogger, Fatin, whose husband was killed this past week which is just so wrong. I will be keeping Japan and Fatin and her 4 children in my thoughts and prayers.

So what did I read this week?

I started off the week with the upcoming new release by Kristan Higgins called My One and Only. It was the story of a woman who meets her ex-husband after 12 years and finally admits to herself that she never stopped loving him. You can read my review here. 4 out of 5

One of my Tracy’s TBR Challenge reads for the week (yes, there was more than 1!) was The Perfect Waltz by Anne Gracie. This was the story of Sebastian who decides that he needs to take a wife and he has a specific type of woman in mind that can help him take care of his two young sisters. When his man finds a woman in London that fits the bill he heads off to court her. While there, however, he sees and eventually meets Hope Merridew and though he knows he should have nothing to do with her he can’t help the feelings that she stirs in him. It was a charming story and I loved seeing Sebastian and his sisters breaking free from their shells. A lovely romance. 4 out of 5

Next up was a book for The Book Binge called The Bottom Line by Shelley Munro. This was about Maggie who had picked up an erotic novel by mistake but was now completely obsesses with the thought of being spanked after having read about it in the book. She starts a friends with benefits relationship with one of her male friends but she’s not sure how to ask him to spank her. For Connor he started the FwB because he wants to be with Maggie for good and this was how he thought he could get his foot in the door. It was cute but I had some issues with it. I’ll let you know when my review posts so you’ll be able to read more of my thoughts. 3 out of 5

Another Tracy’s TBR Challenge read for the week was Captive Heart by Anne Kane. This was a short about a dragon shifter who finds his mate but his mate had been bound to an evil dragon shifter not that long ago and wanted nothing to do with dragons. I had some issues with the story. First Haydn was determined to bring Cassie over to his way of thinking – which he did…in 1 night. Not even 24 hours but A night - too fast for me. Maybe if she had just accepted the mate thing they hadn't pulled out the “I love you’s” it might have been ok – but probably not. Then Cassie was a big woman, which I have no problem with except when it’s said over and over and over. We know, thank you. It was stated so many times I was starting to think of the woman as Big Mama. lol Not good. 2 out of 5

Next was another Book Binge read called A Duke’s Desire by Liz Cole. This was a historical short but it was more sex than story. And the man in the story was incredibly raunchy. Just not my thing. I’ll let you know when my review posts. 2 out of 5

Yet another Tracy’s TBR Challenge read was Country Boys: Wild Gay Erotica edited by Richard Labonté and oh my lordy was it good. I really liked all of the stories except 2 of them and even though were alright – just not my kind of stories. If you want to read some great man-loving about some country boys this is a great book to pick up. 4.5 out of 5

After that was a novella called A Lady’s Wish by Katharine Ashe. This is a lovely story about a couple who met one day at a fair but through different events never met again…until 9 years later. It’s a story that falls between books 1 and 2 of Ashe’s historical series Rogues of the Sea. I didn’t read book 1 but you don’t need to in order to read this one – total standalone. You can read my mini review here. 4.5 out of 5

And last on the list was my read for the monthly TBR Challenge After the Kiss by Suzanne Enoch. My review for this one will post on Wednesday so keep your eyes peeled. lol

My Book Binge reviews that posted this past week:

Happy Reading!

Mini review: A Lady's Wish by Katharine Ashe

Nik and Patricia met at a fair 9 years ago and fell in love after only hours spent in each others company. Due to many reasons they never saw each other again but never stopped dreaming for the other person, and in Nik's case, he never stopped looking for her in every woman he saw.

Now both Nik and Patricia have been sent on separate missions to find a treasure - Nik by a friend and Patricia by a letter she recieved from her dead husband (through his solicitor). On the way they run in to each other but is what they felt for each other all of those many years ago really love or just the fancy dreams of two young people?
This is an absolutely charming novella that I very much enjoyed reading.  I've not read Ashe before but I will definitely be looking for the book before this novella and will be reading her next books in the series.

I love stories of love reunited and though this one was short it was no less wonderful. The emotion of both Patricia's and Nik's suffering was so strong and I felt it quite deeply.

I don't want to give anything away but suffice it to say that it's definitely a novella worth reading.

Edit: This is a novella that is part of the Rogues of the Sea historical trilogy and comes after the first book Swept Away By A Kiss.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

This book releases from Avon Impulse on March 15th

Saturday Song

I've had this song stuck in my head all week long (with a short break when this song took it's place - luckily it only lasted a day!) so I thought I'd share the love. Enjoy Stronger by the boys of Glee. Funny that I'd have it in my head when I'd never heard the song before I heard it on Glee. Go figure. lol  I love the vid too.  How can I not love watching football players dancing, I ask you!?

Review: My One and Only by Kristan Higgins

Divorce attorney Harper James can't catch a break. Bad enough that she runs into her ex-hubby, Nick, at her sister's destination wedding, but now, by a cruel twist of fate, she's being forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. And her almost-fiance back at home is not likely to be sympathetic. Harper can't help that Nick has come blazing back into her life in all of his frustratingly appealing, gorgeous architect glory. But in Nick's eyes, Harper's always been the one. If they can only get it right this time, forever might be waiting; just around the bend.

Harper and Nick got married at a very young age and things didn’t work out. As it happens with so many marriages they didn’t communicate with each other and things fell apart. Actually when they did talk they chose to ignore the info because it wasn’t what they wanted to hear and the two just couldn’t get past the hurdles and ended up getting a divorce.

That was 12 years ago. Harper is now a well-respected divorce attorney living on Martha’s Vineyard. She has friends and her family but despite that she’s missing something in her life. Sure, she has her boyfriend Dennis but is he really the one she wants to be with for the rest of her life? For a while Harper is sure that he is, but then she meets Nick again and her doubts pop to the surface.

Nick and Harper end up leaving Harper’s sister’s wedding together and taking a road trip. Nick has offered to get Harper to a certain destination but he’s not in any hurry to get to anywhere. He takes his time and the pair get to talk some, reconnect on a certain level and in the end talk about what really went wrong all those many years ago.

I’ve really liked all of the Kristan Higgins books that I’ve read so far so when I started off this book and by page 19 wanted to smack Harper around I wasn’t sure what to think. But since I’ve had such good experiences with KH books in the past I kept reading and I’m glad I did. I ended up having a like/hate relationship with Harper. She would annoy the crap outta me or do something ridiculous but then she’d redeem herself for a while and I’d like her. I believe it was because she had such issues because of her mother leaving when she was 13 but it took her SO LONG to figure this out. She was a really smart woman so why the heck it took her so long to grasp the meaning behind all of her decisions is beyond me.

Nick – he was interesting. He loved Harper so much and only really wanted to be with her – then and now. But the man was only willing to wait around so long before he got sick of being crushed. Now granted we only really saw Nick from Harper’s view what I saw – I liked.

The book is a much more emotional book than I’ve read before from this author but it was well done, imho. The matters between Harper and Nick were dealt with thoroughly. I don’t always want it wrapped up in a pretty little bow but I want there to be a clear resolution and there was. The book is not a fast-paced read so while the issues weren’t dealt with quickly in the end, I was quite satisfied.

Rating: 4 out of 5

This book releases on 3/29/11

What I Read Last Week

I have pictures! My youngest got her glasses this past week and she loves them. No problem with getting her to wear them as she wants to wear them constantly! I tried to get pictures that showed the true colors of the glasses but I don’t think they turned out well. The front of the glasses are a brown color with a turquoise and green inside. Very stylish and cute!

I’m just happy that her eyesight has improved! :) We also had a parent/teacher conference with her teacher this week and she’s doing really, really well in school so that’s wonderful! (She obviously takes after her father in the math department because I suck at math! lol)

Other than glasses life is moving along in our house. It seems like life has its highs and lows but isn’t that how it is all the time? I think ours are just more intense.

I did go and see the movie The Adjustment Bureau yesterday. Kind of a strange movie but it had a very sweet romance in it so it made it all worth it. lol. I’m such a romantic!

Anyway, on to what I read this past week:

I was trying to catch up on my Book Binge reading this week so I read quite a few for that site.  I started off with Hidden Away by Maya Banks. This is book 3 in her KGI series and was Garrett’s story. He’s put in charge of watching a woman in hopes that her half brother will be drawn out and he can then be arrested as he’s not a nice man. Garret doesn’t expect to fall in love with the woman though. I really liked this book – not quite as much as I liked book 2, No Place to Run, but still a very good read. You can read my review here if you’re interested. 4 out of 5

Next was a very short book called A Good Bargain by DC Juris - another Book Binge read. This was a 10 page story of a 40 year old man who was married to a woman for various reasons - even though he's gay and is now divorced and has decided to get back into the dating scene. He ends up going to a bar and picks up a very young man and brings him home. He starts to have doubts about whether he should really be bringing young men home but things end up working out in the end. It was cute. More sex than story but cute. 3 out of 5

I read Saddled and Spurred by Lorelei James after that – yet another Book Binge read (I told you I was trying to catch up!). This is book 2 in the Blacktop Cowboys series. The story was about Harper who lives in Muddy Gap, Wyoming and holds two part-time jobs. When one of her jobs goes under she is desperate to find work and there are very few options open to her for a variety of reasons. Her friend hooks her up to work as a ranch hand for a friend of hers, Bran. Harper is a nail technician and past beauty queen but she’s not afraid of hard work. Bran and Harper, though trying to keep things on a professional basis can’t deny their attraction to each other – or eventually their feelings for one another. This was another good installment in the series. I would have liked to have seen more depth with the characters at some points in the book but overall pretty good. 3.75 out of 5

My next read was The Vampire Voss by Colleen Gleason. The series is about Regency Vampires and the first book was about, you guessed it, Voss. He’s fallen for a human woman but she’s not all that happy to hear he’s a vamp. You can read my review here. 3.5 out of 5

Love in an Elevator by Vivian Vincent was one of my Tracy’s TBR Challenge reads for the week. This was a pretty short novella about a woman who is stuck in an elevator with her ex-boyfriends twin. They’ve always had feelings for each other but have ignored them. They do the nasty in the elevator but then Trey steps back and shuts himself off from Dana because he knows that he’s not her type. The sex was steamy in this one but the main characters acted so childish in this story I wanted to slap both of them. 2 out of 5

Another of my Tracy’s TBR Challenge reads for the week was An Indecent Proposition by Emma Wildes. This was the story of a Duke and an Earl who are mighty drunk and decide that to make a wager about who is the better lover. They get many offers from women who want to be the one to decide between the two but only one offer really intrigues them. When they meet the woman they find that she is a widowed lady who they have met before but she is known for her standoffish, icy demeanor. They are intrigued and the duke decides that they will spend a week together. I really liked both the lady and the duke together – there’s was just a sweet romance, even though the duke wouldn’t see it as a romance. The earl wagered but only because the woman he loved had gotten engaged to someone else. During the course of the book he not only helps the lady and the duke come together but gets off his ass and goes after the woman he loves. This was my first time reading Ms. Wildes’ work and I really liked it. I have another of her books on my shelf and will have to pull it out sooner rather than later. 4 out of 5

Another Book Binge read was Never Again by Michele Bardsley. This is book 1 in the Wizards of Nevermore series and it was good. I really like Ms. Bardsley writing. She has a great way of bring intrigue and fun together to make a great combo. In this book we meet Lucy who is desperate for shelter and is running away from an evil man. She heads to Nevermore to ask her ex-brother-in-law to help her. He turns her away – after all her sister tried to kill him 10 years before, but he gets a bout of conscience and heads after her. On top of the romance which was good but a bit rushed, imho, there was the story of a resident of Nevermore who was trying to gain power in an evil way. Despite the romance going to fast I really liked the book. 4 out of 5

Last on the list for the week was Mongrel by KZ Snow. I really loved KZ’s writing. She has this way of dragging me in to whatever story I’m reading of hers and not letting go. Mongrel was no different. This was a steampunk m/m novel where we met young and thoroughly human, Will, who works for the mechanical circus selling medicine/tonic. He meets Fanule who is a mongrel one night at the circus and eventually the two fall in love. But there’s so much more than a romance in this book. The story covers the constant hate and distrust of the humans of the mongrel community as well as the horrible things leaders of the province are subjecting the mongrels to. I really liked the world – although I think I would have liked to have learned more about Taintwell, where the mongrels lived. It’s a story about acceptance and fighting for your rights as a living soul and it was very good. 4 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted this past week

Happy Reading!

Ginn Halle Book Giveaway at DIK

Ginn Hale is releasing a new book on March 8 - or should I say books?  It's an awesome serialized novel with 10 installments that sounds really, really good.  

Head on over to DIK and enter the contest for a subscription (that's all ten installments free).  You only have today to enter so what are you waiting for? Go!

Giveaway and book info--------------------------->>

Saturday Song

I heard this for the first time this week - Sweet Serendipity by Lee DeWyze.  Cute song - not sure how long it's been out but it put a smile on my face and so I'm sharing. :)

Review: The Vampire Voss by Colleen Gleason

Regency London - a dizzying whirl of balls and young ladies pursued by charming men. But the Woodmore sisters are hunted by a more sinister breed: Lucifer's own. Voss, also known as Viscount Dewhurst, relishes the sensual pleasures immortality affords. A member of the Dracule - a cabal of powerful, secretive noblemen marked with a talisman that reveals their bartered souls - the mercenary Voss has remained carefully neutral...until Angelica. Angelica Woodmore possesses the Sight, an ability invaluable to both sides of a looming war among the Dracule. Her very scent envelops Voss in a scarlet fog of hunger - for her body and blood. But he is utterly unprepared for the new desire that overcomes him - to protect her.

120 years ago, during a dream, Lucifer offered Voss Arden a chance to be immortal. Being the pampered and spoiled only son of a Viscount he was all for extending the fun of his live to eternity. Of course Voss thought this was all a dream and when he woke up he had a somewhat harsh reality to face. He had to learn more than a few things along the way and not all of them fun…like never being able to feel the sun on his face ever again.

Despite the downfalls of being a Dracule Voss has lived an unrepentantly fun life. His thrall aids him in his quest for blood and sex and no one can resist him…until he meets Angelica Woodmore.

Angelica is the sister of a vampire hunter who is missing – and happens to be missing along with a Dracule’s sister, Narcise, who is also Dracule. Narcise’s brother is a very bad man and takes his power hungry desires to the nth degree. So when he discovers that Narcise is off with Chas he decides that he can bring Chas in by kidnapping one of Chas’s sisters – his main target: Angelica.

Angelica and Voss, after meeting, have a certain connection that draws them to each other. Angelica is almost instantaneously smitten and wants nothing more than to be with Voss. For Voss he feels drawn to Angelica but more for the blood and sex. When his thrall doesn’t work on her he’s intrigued by the woman along with the fact that he realizes that he’s actually going to have to seduce the woman the old fashioned and human way. Voss is determined to keep Angelica from the hands of the evil Dracule but Lucifer, who more or less controls the Dracule’s thoughts and actions wants Voss to take her any way he can get her. But Voss hesitates…to a point. Is he actually getting a conscience after all of these years? And if so, what is it about Angelica that creates these thoughts? Voss isn’t sure what to make of it but he’s certain he wants Angelica.

This, for me, was more of a vampire focused book than a romance. Voss was not a vampire that I liked very much, even at the end of the book. Even when he stopped his random sex fests he still didn’t seem to me like a man who had learned very much about himself. I think he was supposed to have but the change in him seemed to sudden to be believable. I personally didn’t see it.

Angelica and Voss in the romance department: She was mighty attracted to him but once she found out he was a vampire she loathed him. Even when he was doing a good deed she wasn’t thinking nice thoughts about him. That didn’t stop her from lusting after the man, which is understood, but when the words, “I love you” were spoken, I actually thought she was saying it just to stop her brother from killing Voss. Later I was saying, “oh wait, she actually meant that? Wow” since I just didn’t believe the turn from hate to love.

The writing was really good and while the world-building in the book could have answered a few more of my questions (maybe they’ll get answered in later books?) I really liked the world of the Draculia. I enjoyed the blend of regency historical with paranormal which is not something I normally go for. I was also very interested in the totally anal retentive, intolerant of humans bore that was the vampire Dimitri. He intrigued me and I’m very anxious to read his book.

So while I didn’t love The Vampire Voss I thought it was a good book and a good start to the world of the Draculia.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

This book releases in on 3/22/11

Review: The Tourist by Clare London

Visiting isn't a science, at least not for me. It's just what I do. Not that I mind, though. It's not a bad thing, you understand, to find yourself in someone else's body, stepping into a hot shower stark-naked and sporting a decent-sized morning wood.

Ace is a tourist. A spirit who spends his time visiting the lives of others for entertainment and sexual satisfaction. He can't make anyone do anything they aren't willing to do-but he is able to push them to their personal limits.

He's currently visiting Dan and his lover, Ricky-a couple struggling with jealousy and words left unsaid. Emboldened by Ace, Dan becomes more sexually aggressive, a pleasant surprise for Ricky. But when an abusive ex threatens their newfound happiness, how far will Ace want to get involved? Will his fascination with the couple's sexual games tempt him to protect them from a very real physical danger?

Ace is a spirit who jumps from body to body just to have fun and have sex. What more could a spirit want? But one day he jumps into Dan and he likes being there. Ace likes to delve deep into the body he’s in in order to bring out things in their personalities that they may be afraid to show at times. With Dan it’s a bit of the dominant in him and Ace likes that, but soon Dan seems to be a bit of a downer. You see Dan’s worried about his relationship with his boyfriend Ricky and Ace just wants happy, happy all the time. Ace decides that he’ll jump into Ricky and succeeds.

Ricky is a bit more free-spirited that Dan is but Ricky has his issues as well. You see, Ricky was in a relationship with a man, Calder, who tried to control every aspect of his life. You know one of those horrible people that not only tells you what you should wear or eat or think and when you don’t do what they say, they degrade you until you feel that the other person is the only one who truly knows what’s what? *shudders* Those type of people just freak me right out! Eventually Ricky got up the nerve to leave Calder but Calder is seriously delusional and can’t fathom that anyone would want to leave his great self. He calls Ricky constantly and unfortunately Ricky answers quite a bit. When Ricky finally tries to put his foot down Calder doesn’t take it well and takes matters into his own hands. But where does that leave Dan and Ricky.

In true Clare London style she sucked me in and didn’t let go until the last word of the book. I started the book and didn’t want to put it down until I was done.

The premise of the book was very different from anything I’d read before and it was great being able to see Dan and Ricky from the inside, but from someone else’s point of view, if that makes sense.

Ricky had gotten himself into a bad situation with Calder and it irked me that he didn’t trust in Dan or in their connection more and come clean about everything with Calder. I really felt bad for Dan at times but he was willing to wait until Ricky got his shit together and that made me like Dan even more.

I did get a bit confused at times because the story is told from Ace’s point of view and when the person that he was “in” was talking I just never knew if it was Ace talking, or if it was Dan, or Ricky. Were these really the person’s words that they were saying, from deep down where Ace was dragging them out? Or was it Ace who was saying them in that person’s stead? I think I would have liked to have more clarity with that in the end.

Overall, however, I really liked the book. Clare’s writing is always wonderful and I come away from one of her books with a smile on my face every time. What can be better than that?

Rating: 4.25 out of 5