Archive | May, 2009

Midnight’s Bride by Sophia Johnson

31 May

midnightsbridejohnson Favorite Line: “Blessed sweet Jesus. Look at his ballocks.” Mereck whispered so low Damrn leaned closer to hear. “Do ye no’ see how huge they be? Oh, me puir son,” he groaned. “the lad will ne’er be able to walk with sech a burden betwixt his legs.” (p.380)

The Heart Of A Warrior

Mereck of Blackthorn has vowed never to love-for he is cursed with baresark blood and it runs hot. But he must take a wife. When he meets Netta of Caer Caldwell, he is willing to spirit her away from her father’s violence, even if he refuses to give her his heart.

The Soul Of A Lover

With her father determined to be rid of her, spirited Netta cannot escape marriage to the heathen Mereck. But she soon learns that he is not the barbarian he believes himself to be-and his kisses fire her blood with a passion she longs to claim.

Sophie Johnson has written a historical romance set in 1073 England/Scotland about a headstrong heiress and an illegitimate warrior thrown together and destined to save each other.

Midnight’s Bride has the feisty and innocent heroine and the damaged world weary man for a hero. Together the couple is capable of great love. Separate they are consumed by inner demons and abusive relationships.

The inner demons that plague Mereck stem from old wives’ tales heard during childhood. The superstitions followed him throughout life and it isn’t until he decides to face them that he discovers exactly how strong he really is.

Netta’s issues come from being the daughter (or so she thinks) of an abusive man who wants to be rid of her. The pain she feels at being rejected/abandoned by her father is a slow constant burn inside of her.

Both Mereck and Netta have complicated relationships with their siblings. Netta because her stepsisters are treated better. They reminded me of the stepsisters in Cinderella by the way they looked down their noses at her. Mereck’s relationship with his brother is different though. He erected barriers between them thinking that he wasn’t good enough. His brother loves him and wants only the best for him.honey-scones

There were moments during Midnight’s Bride that I rolled my eyes at the over done displays of innocence by Netta and Elise; other times they had me smiling. I never became emotionally tied to the story or its characters, but I wanted something to take me away from the real world for a time and I found that in Midnight’s Bride.

Out of the different food served in Midnight’s Bride-rabbit stew, bannocks, dried beef, etc.-I picked scones to go along with the story. At one point Netta is in the kitchen eating hot scones with honey and my mouth watered at the thought. Click on the photo to find the recipe.


Future Release: Death’s Mistress

24 May


If you read Midnight’s Daughter by Karen Chance, you prob. are looking forward to the second book in the series, death’s Mistress. Here’s a blurb about the book.

Dorina Basarab is a dhampir—half-human, half-vampire. Subject to uncontrollable rages, most dhampirs live very short, very violent lives. So far, Dory has managed to maintain her sanity by unleashing her anger on those demons and vampires who deserve killing.

Back home in Brooklyn after the demise of her insane uncle Dracula, Dory’s hoping her life is about to calm down. But then she gets some visitors. A friend wants Dory’s help in finding a magical Fey relic, and the gorgeous vampire, Louis-Cesare, is desperate to find his former mistress Christine.

Dory and Louis-Cesare quickly discover that the same master vampire Christine is bound to is also rumored to be in possession of the relic. But when the master vampire turns up dead, they realize that there’s more at stake than a missing mistress. Someone is killing vampire Senate members, and if Dory and Louis-Cesare can’t stop the murderer, they may be next…

Death’s Mistress comes out Jan. 5, 2010!

Possessed by the Highlander by Terri Brisbin

21 May

possessedbythehighlanderbrisbinFavorite Lines: “I want a man who will chose me above all else.” (p. 257)

The Peacemaker has arrived to make a treaty between the Robertson and MacLerie clans. As he waits for his contact within the Robertson village, he sees a man accost a woman and steps in chasing the man off. Little does he know, she is the infamous “Robertson Harlot.”

A secret forced Marian away from her family and named her whore. An outcast just returned to her childhood lands, she is determined to create a good life for her daughter. Then she meets Duncan MacLerie, the peacemaker. Something about his eyes calls to her and the tenderness he shows her daughter tempts her to think of what she will never have–a decent man of her own.

It isn’t long before Duncan finds himself thinking of Marian and her daughter, and finding reasons to spend time with them. But each visit brings Marian face to face with her loneliness and she tries to avoid him.

When Marian’s brother is informed of Duncan’s interest in his sister, he pushes the two into a promiscuous position forcing them to hand fast to ensure the truce. But how can a man whose life is built upon honor love a woman who has lived a lie for five years?

Possessed by the Highlander (Harlequin Historical Series) by Terri Brisbin is a historical romance novel set in Scotland-part of the MacLerie series-about a man and woman that discover love can heal wounds. In it we are introduced to the heroine, Marian, a woman who saved a child and in so doing is condemned as a whore.

Her family threw her out and she lives as an outcast. Her main priority is her child and that never changes throughout the story. Even as the relationship between Marian and Duncan heats up, they both remain aware of the importance of Ciara and plan their interludes and lives around her.

Duncan, the hero, is a simple man who does not lie. He is known for his patience (that seems to leave him after he meets Marian). I guess it goes to show the upheaval love can bring. Duncan knows that Marian is not a whore because she arrived in their hand fasting bed a virgin. He decides to look into clearing Marian’s name not knowing the upheaval her secret will bring. In the end he will have a decision to make about the person he has been and the life he could have with Marian.

Looking back I feel that a person central to the secret Marian is keeping is not dealt with properly. He faces no consequences despite Marian’s five years of hell. It doesn’t seem fair. I also think that whoever wrote the back cover blurb gave away too much of the secret. The story itself doesn’t mention her “rescuing a child” until the end of the story when the secret is revealed. As a matter of fact, the couple is put in a promiscuous situation at the end of chapter five which is dealt with in chapter six.oatmeal

Possessed By The Highlander (Harlequin Historical Series) is a traditional romance novel. It follows a couple meeting, facing the past together, and making a major decision about their future together. If you’re looking for a Scottish historical, romance novel it is the book for you.

Check out the author’s website to read an excerpt or to learn more about the MacLerie series.

Take a bite of American porridge (oatmeal) if you get hungry while reading the story.

Immortal Outlaw by Lisa Hendrix

19 May

immortaloutlawhendrixFavorite Lines: “You asked my price. That is it: a pound of silver…and you. I’ll take you wherever you wish, so long as I can take you whenever I wish.” (p. 24)

Cursed four centuries ago by a sorceress, Steinarr is a shapeshifter. By day he is a man and a bounty hunter. At night he transforms into a lion. As a beast, he has hurt his friends and the mere sight of him terrifies the villagers giving him no other choice but to live alone in the forest only going into town to turn in the wanted men he has captured.

Until the day he meets Marian and her cousin, Robin, after they are set upon in outside of Nottinghamshire, England, in August of 1290. Marian doggedly follows him insisting that he help her and Robin on their pilgrimage. Steinarr knows that the duo is hiding something from him, but is fearful that if he doesn’t look out for them his beast may harm them at night.

Marian looks at the ragged, but competent knight and sees the man that is capable of protecting her and Robin on their journey to obtain Robin’s inheritance. Unwilling to tell Steinarr that they are on more than a pilgrimage, she just needs him to protect them as they travel the dangerous roads. Then Steinarr kisses her and she can imagine him giving her so much more than protection.

While the group follows its scavenger hunt, a sorceress begins to amass power. She is the sorceress who cursed a group of Vikings for killing her son. She is a wily and a murderess capable of stopping the group before it can obtain its goal.

Lisa Hendrix is the author of the Immortal Brotherhood Novels. Immortal Warrior is the first book, Immortal Outlaw, which comes out in June of 2009, is book two. In it Ms. Hendrix takes the super old tale of Robin Hood and revamps it with a shapeshifter twist. I’m not a person who loves old stories re-worked, but Immortal Outlaw takes a subtle approach.

I was worried that the parallel to Robin Hood would overwhelm the story. It did not. It enhanced it and had me thinking, “oh, yeah. I get it.” On the journey, a tale is spun about Robin and Marian, and their fight against the Sheriff of Nottingham. Told by Steinarr’s friend, the story is a work of fiction based loosely on Steinarr and Marian, but it becomes so well known that people begin to believe it.

Full of disgust with himself, Steinarr is a man that I wanted to have something good. He was lonely…and loveable. A big, strong, handsome man, Steinarr could be so much more, but only if the curse he was released. Paired with Marian, a masturbating virgin, he gets the the slightly smudged but innocent girl. (Something he totally deserved.) Which really worked for me. She isn’t perfect, but attainable. Her ability to please herself adds to the plausibility of her having a sexual liaison with Steinarr minus the benefit of marriage.

The paranormal aspect in Immortal Outlaw doesn’t play as big of a role as I thought it would though. It is always there, but the emphasis seemed to be placed on the time period and the riddles. The time with the shifters is relatively short and to the point. The scenes with the sorceress contain the majority of the magic/paranormal parts of the story.

Immortal Outlaw is an interesting, historic paranormal story that encourages you to believe in love and the joy that can be found in happily ever after. Read an excerpt at the author’s site.

Bread with cheeseOn their journey cheese and bread is eaten a lot, so I figured it would be the perfect meal to go along with the story.  Check the author’s site for an except of the story. Immortal Outlaw will be released in June 2009.

Future Release: Cast in Silence

18 May

castinsilencesagaraI love the Chronicles of Elantra series written by Michelle Sagara. Next up in it is book 5, Cast in Silence, set to be released in August.

A member of the elite Hawk force that protects the City of Elantra, Kaylin Neya has sacrificed much to earn the respect of the winged Aerians and immortal Barrani she works alongside. But the mean streets she escaped as a child aren’t the ones she’s vowed to give her life guarding. Those were much darker…

Kaylin’s moved on with her life–and is keeping silent about the shameful things she’s done to stay alive. But when the city’s oracles warn of brewing unrest in the outer fiefdoms, a mysterious visitor from Kaylin’s past casts her under a cloud of suspicion. Thankfully, if she’s anything, she’s a survivor….

Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare

13 May

ridethefireclareFavorite Line: “She was aware only of how badly she hurt and of Nicholas–the reassuring sound of his voice, the strength of him behind her, the mercies he showed her as he held her hand, pressed cool cloths on her cheeks or gave her sips of water.” (p. 63)

Everyone of the frontier knows that the most important thing is survival. Do what ever you must to live another day. Nobody knows that better than Nicholas Kenleigh. After being held hostage and tortured by the Wyandot Indians and surviving by treachery, he’s not above holding a pregnant woman at gunpoint and making her tend to his wounds.

Pregnant and alone in the wilderness, Elspeth Stewart was frightened when the stranger appeared and forced her to care for his injuries. But she quickly took control of the situation and tied him to her bed. Unprepared to care for him along with herself and her unborn child, she freed the man, but kept his weapons.

Bethie constantly watched the stranger, waiting for a sign of aggression as he began to heal. Instead she began to see an honorable man willing to save her from rampaging Indians and her inner demons. Little did she know that her very presence was reviving him and healing the invisible scars within.

Pamela Clare wrote the Blakewell/Kenleigh trilogy a few years ago. Ride the Fire is book three and is all about the prodigal son returning home after sending himself away in shame.

It is a fast paced story set in the American wilderness in 1763. It races until the final few chapters. Before chapter three a man is vividly tortured by Indians, strangles his sister during a nightmare, has sex with a prostitute, is attacked and injured by two men, and holds a pregnant woman at gunpoint. During this time we also learn that someone molested the pregnant woman (either her stepfather or stepbrother), married her off to an older man, and that her husband died, all while an Indian uprising took place.

The realistic depiction of frontier life works to move the story forward while emphasizing how short life is. The bond between Nicholas and Bethie is strong and enviable. Watching them come together and beat the odds is unforgettable.

In the end: I really enjoyed the story. I would recommend it to people wanting to read a historical romance that emphasizes overcoming the negative in order to create a future.

Eat Irish stew in honor of the heroine and the role stew played in American history. (Click the picture to find the recipe.)irishstew

Kissing Midnight by Emma Holly

11 May

Favorite Line: “You’d think that lightening struck her p**sy, too.” (p. 100)

Emma Holly is known for her erotica so don’t be surprised by the many pages full of twinge worthy sex. It is also book one in a trilogy.

Edmund Fitz Clare enrolled his daughter, Sally, in school and entrusted her fellow student, Estelle Berenger, with her care. Over the years she became a member of the family, but always hid her feelings about her younger friend’s father. She had no way of knowing that he was attracted to her, too.

Edmund is an umpyr (shapeshifting vampire) trying to atone for past deeds. He has told his family that he is allergic to the sun, but whenever he’s around Estelle he becomes consumed with a need to mark her and keep her close.

Estelle was struck by lightening as a teen and gained a few special abilities abnormal to humans. She hides her strength, but after she is attacked and saved by Edmund, decides to live the life she has always wanted…with Edmund. After she tells him her little secret.

Kissing Midnight is hot! It’s set in 1933 England and revolves around an umpyr and his human family. Edmund is a professor who has adopted three orphans and loves them unconditionally. He is over 500 years old and uses glamour to hide his true image from the world. His glamour works well until one day when his oldest son, an MI5 operative, follows him and witnesses him transform into a wolf.

Graham’s peek at his father’s furry form was no accident. A woman is teaching him about vampires and their evil nature. She is planting seeds in his mind and waiting for an outcome that could flip the balance of power in England. Graham is conflicted. He loves his dad, but he will not allow monsters to threaten his country or his family.

Emma Holly is known for her erotic stories, so it should be no surprise that there is a ton of sex in Kissing Midnight. It is sheet scorching, mind numbing, I want to have it, sex. And everyone is doing it. Every where. In all kinds of ways. It plays a major role in showing conflict, acceptance, joy, love, and shame as they unfold in the story.

Some people might be offended by certain plots that are introduced. Estelle was 15 when she met Edmund and it is revealed that they both wanted each other back then. There is also a 17-year-old and young man who hook up in great detail. I didn’t have a problem with it, but I can see where some people might.

Thinking back on the book: Edmund is pretty normal. He’s an umpyr who worries about what his family and loved one thinks about him. He is not an alpha male.

Basically: Kissing Midnight is an erotic paranormal romance that doesn’t end with the last page in this book. It has a big, fat to be continued ending on it that will be addressed in book two, Breaking Midnight. The story follows many major lines. It doesn’t just report on Edmund and Estelle.

Kissing Midnight will be released in June 2009.

Food to go with your fiction: roast beef. Eat it while you read. Click on the picture to find the recipe.


Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

10 May

deadandgoneharrisFavorite Line: “Tell her to give it to me tonight, in front of Victor.”

Yeah, I know that doesn’t tell you much, but I bet you want to know what I’m talking about. It has to do with Sookie and Eric and it’s a biggie.

Things have calmed down for Miss Sookie Stackhouse (telepath, friend to the supernatural and part fae-blooded waitress) since Louisiana was taken over by a new vampire group. The vamp she is blood bound to, Eric, has managed to maintain his position as sheriff of Shrevepoint, but their new relationship has yet to be evaluated.

It’s mid-January and the shifters have decided to reveal their existence to the human world. Things seem calm, but the revelation is soon followed by the crucifixion of Sookie’s sister-in-law (a werepanther) behind Merlotte’s bar.

Determined to solve the mystery of Crystal’s death, Sookie delves into the minds of those in Bon Temps in search of a murderer. As usual there is more going on than meets the eye. The fae are about to go to war and one side has plans for Sookie.

Charlaine Harris is good at hooking her readers and reeling them in. She baits us with little temptations, pieces of the truth, and tiny peeks at possible futures. Then she snags us and pulls us in for the year long wait for the next installment of the Southern Vampire series.

She does this again in Dead and Gone when she discuses past and present relationships, while opening and closing doors of many plot. Ms. Harris also gives Sookie a major hurdle that threatens to change her on the most basic of levels.

As the townspeople appear in Dead and Gone, it’s easy to imagine being a part of the small town of Bon Temps, La. We’ve met the townspeople over the course of eight books so when they’re all brought together it seems natural. (Not so natural, was the revelation of a person who played a role in Crystal’s murder. And that person’s reasons for doing so.)

The writing is easy, fast paced and enjoyable. The story was engrossing. Fans of Eric will love the story and Bill lovers will be pleased with his showing and what it might possibly mean for the future of the series.

What I really think: I loved this book and am pissed that I’ll have to wait a year for the next one.

Future Release: The Drowning City by Amanda Downum

8 May


Amanda Downum is the author of The Drowning City, which will be released in September 2009.

Symir — the Drowning City. home to exiles and expatriates, pirates and smugglers. And violent revolutionaries who will stop at nothing to overthrow the corrupt Imperial government.

For Isyllt Iskaldur, necromancer and spy, the brewing revolution is a chance to prove herself to her crown. All she has to do is find and finance the revolutionaries, and help topple the palaces of Symir. But she is torn between her new friends and her duties, and the longer she stays in this monsoon-drenched city, the more intrigue she uncovers — even the dead are plotting. As the waters rise and the dams crack, Isyllt must choose between her mission and the city she came to save.

A Knight’s Captive by Lindsay Townsend

6 May

Favorite line: “Your mother’s dead, but I can still flay you. And I might let Ketil and Told have a turn with you, one night, to teach you about defiance! Half sister’s not the same as full and when all is said and done you are nothing but a slave’s whelp. Remember that!” (p. 31) 

Sunniva of Werefold is the slave of her father and brothers. While her mother was freed from slavery before she married her father, Cena, after her mother’s death it became Sunniva’s duty to care for her vicious family. Used as bait to lure money from rich men, she dreams of the day when she can escape it all and find a little bit of peace and comfort for herself.

Marc de Sens is a warrior brought to England to train the old king’s soldiers in warfare. Not long after his arrival, the old king died and most of Marc’s family perished in a fire leaving him sole guardian of his three nieces.

Both Marc and Sunniva are on a pilgrimage when the flames of war blast its demand for England’s warriors to enter into battle with the country’s Norman invaders. As Sunniva’s father and brothers depart, she takes a breath knowing that her freedom is around the corner.

Little does she know that Marc has every intent of winning her over into the protection of his arms.

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a newly published historical romance. I missed the knowledge that comes with all the research the authors do.

A Knight’s Captive by Lindsay Townsend is set in Northern England in 1066. King Harold is about to defend England from the Vikings which means the nobles are being called to war, along with most able bodied men. This call to war leaves young Sunniva alone on a pilgrimage after her family goes to battle and her servants drug, rob, and abandon her.

Enter Marc. He’s already protected her from a would be slaver and her family. A God fearing, gentle warrior, Marc has placed Sunniva upon a pedestal because of her sunny disposition and beauty. He admires her attitude towards his wards and is sexually drawn to her. But after her brother tells him something that is at odds with the Sunniva he thought he knew, he finds himself keeping secrets and questioning her every move.

The premise is an old, well used, and always interesting one to me. A woman is abused and then love comes to rescue her. There are always misunderstandings, but love conquers all. A Knight’s Captive begins like that, but where a lot of novels have a touch of religion, it goes out of its way to place a lot of emphasis on Christianity. I understand that back in the day religion played a heavy role (thus pilgrimages, etc.), but I was overwhelmed by the use of prayer and religion.

I know some people like this, but I’m more of a subtle girl. I enjoy the mentioning of a prayer line and then a head bowed in prayer or eyes closed in meditation. That is not what I got and I became sidetracked before losing interest.

I will not be reading A Knight’s Captive again, but because my reason for disliking it is all based on personal preference you might want to give it a try.