Friday, October 28, 2011

My 40th Birthday...Gifts For You

I’m turning 40 on Saturday, October 29th. My friends and I celebrated as a group, as we all 7 turn 40 within one calendar year, in Vegas at the first of the month. I decided that to celebrate turning 40, I would give away some of my favorite books that have been released this year. I’ll be giving away 4 books in some of my favorite romance genres (1 book for each decade). I will giveaway digital copies (1 in each genre), Kindle of course is the easiest since you can gift those books, but will email a gift card for cost of digital copy for Nook, Sony, or Kobo. Please let me know which book(s) you would like to win in the comment section, and why. Also, please tell me how you celebrated your favorite birthday. I’d love for you to follow my blog as well, but that is not required to enter. Please include email address if not listed in your profile. Giveaway will run from October 28 – November 2. I’ll use to pick the winners for each category. I'll email all winners, as well as post all winners in a separate post. Winners will have 7 days to respond or new winner(s) will be drawn.

**As I know these books are not all new releases, if you have the book I’m giving away, I’ll be happy to buy a backlist book by the author or pre-order the next book in the series by that author.**

Contemporary Romance
My favorite contemporary romance I’ve read this year is Serendipity by Carly Phillips.

Romantic Suspense
My favorite romantic suspense book I’ve read this year is Cold Touch by Leslie Parrish.

Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
My favorite paranormal romance/urban fantasy book I’ve read this year is Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison.

Historical Romance

Ok, when it comes to historical romances, I had too much trouble picking one book. So I’m giving away any historical romance book by either Tessa Dare or Maya Banks. Please let me know which author and book you would like in the comments.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

One Dance with a Duke

One Dance with a Duke is the 1st book in Tessa Dare’s Stud Club series. From the back cover.~

A handsome and reclusive horse breeder, Spencer Dumarque, the fourth Duke of Morland, is a member of the exclusive Stud Club, an organization so select it has only ten members-yet membership is attainable to anyone with luck. And Spencer has plenty of it, along with an obsession with a prize horse, a dark secret, and, now, a reputation as the dashing “Duke of Midnight.” Each evening he selects one lady for a breathtaking midnight waltz. But none of the women catch his interest, and nobody ever bests the duke-until Lady Amelia d’Orsay tries her luck.

In a moment of desperation, the unconventional beauty claims the duke’s dance and unwittingly steals his heart. When Amelia demands that Spencer forgive her scapegrace brother’s debts, she never imagines that her game of wits and words will lead to breathless passion and a steamy proposal. Still, Spencer is a man of mystery, perhaps connected to the shocking murder of the Stud Club’s founder. Will Amelia lose her heart in this reckless wager or win everlasting love?

I’ve said before, I buy books as soon as they come out, but don’t always get to read them right away.  I loved Tessa’s first trilogy and had high hopes for The Stud Club trilogy, and with One Dance with a Duke, the trilogy gets an amazing start.

I am a huge fan of Tessa Dare’s books. In fact, her books are what got me back to reading historical romances after going years without going near one. She writes some of the best characters ever, and Amelia and Spencer are among my favorites (yes I’ve said this about some of her other characters before). I liked how strong Amelia is, even though she really doesn’t see herself that way. I love strong female characters in historical romances. Amelia actually approaches Spencer at the ball so she can ask him to forgive her brother Jack’s debt. Spencer didn’t know what to expect when Amelia stepped up to take his one midnight waltz at the ball. In fact, she overwhelms him to the point that he has to carry her outside so he can catch his breath. Once outside, they soon learn that Leo Chatwick, founder of the Stud Club, has been murdered. When Spencer returns Amelia home the next morning he decides they will be married and it will happen within the next 24 hours.

Amelia is attracted to Spencer from the first, but wants to get to know him better before she will make love with him. Spencer has wanted Amelia from their very first dance together, but isn’t happy about having to tell her personal information. Amelia and Spencer have some of the best chemistry from the very first. Amelia is attracted to her husband and once they make love for the first time, she can’t get enough of him. I really love that she never felt the need to hide her desire for her husband. There are a few bumps in the road that keep their relationship from being too easy. One would be Amelia’s brother Jack and his gambling problems that seem to get between Spencer and Amelia. Two would be Spencer’s young ward, Claudia, who is ugly to Amelia from the beginning.  Three would be the murder of Leo and the other members of the Stud Club and the fact the 3 remaining members can’t seem to agree on anything.

Both Spencer and Amelia make a great couple. They are both strong, yet need one another to be stronger. They each find a way to put their relationship above any of the roadblocks that have been thrown at them. With each page, I found myself loving them more and more as a couple, and as individuals.

I have the next 2 books in The Stud Club series in my TBR pile and plan to read them soon. I really do love having an entire trilogy in my hands before I read the first book, since I hate having to wait for the next book to come out. I highly recommend Tessa Dare’s books to anyone who enjoys historical romances.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Too Wild to Hold and Too Wicked To Keep

Too Wild To Hold and Too Wicked To Keep are the 2nd and 3rd books in Julie Leto’s fabulous Legendary Lovers series. From the back covers.~

Too Wild to Hold

Hot nights in The Big Easy…
In the sultry heat of New Orleans, as masked man stalks his next prey…private investigator Claire LeCuyer. In order to protect her, FBI agent Michael Murrieta-the descendant of a real masked legend-must go undercover at her hiding place…as sensual retreat, where decadence and sin beckon from every room.

Once immersed in this world of pleasure, Claire and Michael find themselves teased by the languidly sexual environment-and their blazing attraction to each other. But even as they “mask” their true identities, it’s too late. Now Claire and Michael are caught up in the danger…and their desire. And the longer they stay in the sensuous world, the more dangerous it is!

Too Wicked to Keep

Revenge is a dish best served hot…

Can a bad boy change for the better? Thief Danny Burnett wonders if the heirloom ring in his possession-once owned by a legendary masked bandit-is as powerful as his brothers say it is. But when heiress Abby Albertini steps back into his life after five long years, Danny knows he’s about to find out…

Abby needs Danny’s help to retrieve something he stole from her. Besides her heart. But Abby’s not the naive girl she once was. She has a few naughty tricks up her sleeve. She’ll get Danny’s help, and teach him a lesson about payback that he won’t soon forget-one hot, wicked night at a time.

I really enjoyed both Too Wild To Hold and Too Wicked to Keep, but have to say Too Wicked to Keep is my favorite of the two books, actually the favorite of the series. Of course, since I wanted Danny’s book since we met him, I figured Too Wicked To Keep would be my favorite in the series.

Too Wild To Hold is Michael and Claire’s story. Michael was the toughest of the 3 brothers for me to connect with. I liked him, but he was more reserved than his brothers. Helps him to be an awesome FBI agent, but took a bit for me to connect with his character. I loved Claire from the moment she appeared on the page. She is a strong woman who is willing to do whatever it takes for her clients, even if that means signing on for a sensual weekend where she meets Michael. Michael shows up to keep Claire out of danger. Claire and Michael are attracted to one another from the moment they meet. They fight their attraction for a while, and when they finally do give into their passion, it is explosive. Of course, Claire is still in danger, and Michael will do anything to help keep her safe, even accept help from his brother, Danny.  Michael and Claire are good together both as a couple and as investigators.

Too Wicked To Keep is Danny and Abby’s story. I fell for Danny from the first time he appeared in Too Hot To Touch. Danny is such a scoundrel and yet there is something about him that just makes you want to give him a hug. Abby shows up in New Orleans to get Danny’s help in stealing back the painting he stole from her 5 years ago. Danny never really got over what he did to Abby 5 years ago. In fact, he has avoided all jobs in the Chicago area to insure he not see Abby again. However, Abby won’t take no for an answer this time. She knows Danny is the only man for this particular job. He knows the history of the painting, which would reflect negatively on her family if it is ever shown in public. Danny takes the job to help Abby out partially due to guilt, but mostly due to the fact he still has feelings for her.

Abby thought any attraction she had for Danny died 5 years ago when he used her to steal her painting. However, as she spends more time with Danny, Abby soon realizes she has never completely gotten past her attraction for him. Danny has never gotten over Abby in all the years they’ve been apart.  This time he is ready to keep his word, partially to show Abby he has changed, but mostly because he still loves her. Danny and Abby still have the same chemistry they had 5 years ago, only now there are no lies between them.
In the end, it turns out Danny can’t help Abby out without some outside help. For the first time in the series, we get to see Danny, Alex, and Michael all work together to fix the situation. One Murrieta man is good, so 3 are even better. I enjoyed watching Danny and his brothers. For 3 men who only met months ago, they really did act like they had been brothers for years. I loved the chemistry between the brothers every bit as much as I loved the chemistry between Danny and Abby.

I’m a huge fan of Julie Leto and have to say she gives her readers winners with her Legendary Lovers’ series. As all three books are from the Blaze line, at this point you will have to buy online to find this series in either print or digital. I know , , and each should have copies still available.  I actually won the series from Julie on an auction from earlier this year. However, it didn’t keep me from ordering the books from for my kindle.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

On the Steamy Side

On the Steamy Side is the 2nd book in Louisa Edwards’ Recipe for Love series. From the back cover.~

She’s never met a man so mouth-watering

When Lilah Jane Tunkle fled her dull life in Virginia for the bright lights of New York City, she didn’t expect to wind up a nanny to a gorgeous celebrity chef’s ten-year-old son. Working for the delectable Devon Sparks is a sure-fire recipe for disaster, especially after Lilah gets a tantalizing taste of his perfectly seasoned kisses…

And he can’t resist her down-home spice

Devon’s not sure he can handle one more surprise ingredient in his life-he left his popular TV show, his culinary reputation is on the line, and now the son he barely knows is back for seconds. Lilah’s Southern sass is supposed to keep the boy in line, but soon enough she’s teaching Devon a thing or two about homespun food…and turning up the heat.

I tend to buy books as soon as they come out, but don’t always get to read them right away. I like to joke that I’m afraid they will stop printing books one day. I’m a big fan of Louisa Edwards and I really enjoyed On the Steamy Side a great deal.

In the beginning, Devon is exactly how I would picture a big-time TV chef. He is rude to others in the restaurant, thinks he is always right, and pretty much can get any woman he wants by smiling at them. In fact, the first night Devon and Lilah meet, they hook up. As he spends more and more time with Lilah, I think we get to see the real Devon Sparks. Lilah is like no one Devon has ever met. She says what’s on her mind and doesn’t really care if he likes it or not. She even steps up the help Devon with Tucker, the son he barely knows. Devon is at a career crossroads when we first meet him. He has been doing a cooking TV show for so long; he thinks it is affecting his skills in the kitchen.

Lilah was an interesting character for me. I loved how her Southern roots came out as she passed on the down-home wisdom her aunt taught her. She has feeling for Devon very early on and those feelings only grow stronger the more time she spends with him. She sees a side of Devon he doesn’t usually share with anyone. I found it a little hard to believe how well they got along at first, since they truly are polar opposites. However, the more I read, the more I liked them as a couple.

I really like the voice Louisa Edwards gives to her characters and am happy to say I have both Just One Taste and Too Hot To Touch in my monster TBR pile. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

First Grave on the Right

First Grave on the Right is the debut novel and 2009 Golden Heart Winner by Darynda Jones. From the author’s website.~

A smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper.

Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go to the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad buys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an entity who has been following her all her life…and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

I bought First Grave on the Right for my kindle after seeing lots of talk on twitter, many blogs, and one very long conversation with a bookseller in the Elizabethtown, KY B&N store (who says actual bookstores aren’t still a good thing?). I’m glad I went with my gut instinct and downloaded it to my kindle as soon as I walked out of B&N that day (parking lot Wi-Fi doesn’t restrict kindle like some B&N store Wi-Fi does).

Charley Davidson is one of the best characters I’ve ever read about. She is the grim reaper and dead people see her as sparkly. She works as a PI to help dead people who have been murdered find their killers so they can move on. She also been having some really hot dreams involving Reyes, who she remembers seeing from the very first moment she was born. Charley remembers every single thing that has happened since the day she was born. She can be pretty snarky at times, but she is also super smart and I love smart women in books.

While Charley is helping the police solve the murder of 3 attorneys, she is also trying to figure out who and what Reyes really is. She also has to deal with skip tracer Garrett Swopes, who knows her secret thanks to her Uncle Bob, who gave up her secret after having a few too many beers one night. Uncle Bob is on the police force and Charley uses her talents to help him solve crimes. Garrett doesn’t know what to do about Charley. I could see he was attracted to her, but didn’t believe she could really see and talk to dead people. Charley’s focus throughout the entire book was really saving Reyes. She knew he had been in her life since she was born and wanted to know who he really was, especially since he didn’t seem to age.

I really liked First Grave on the Right and already have Second Grave on the Left waiting for me on my kindle. I like the characters and can’t wait to see what happens with Charley and Reyes and even what happens with Garrett.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Serpent's Kiss

Serpent’s Kiss is the 3rd book in The Elder Races series by Thea Harrison. From the back cover.~

In the latest novel of the Elder Races a Queen on the brink of sanity has on one to rely on except the Wyr warrior whose conviction is every bit as strong as his passion…

In order to save his friend’s life, Wyr sentinel Rune Ainissesthai made a bargain with Vampyer Queen Carling-without knowing what she would ask from him in return. But when Rune attempts to make good on his debt, he finds a woman on the edge.

Recently Carling’s Power has become erratic, forcing her followers to flee in fear. Despite the danger, Rune is drawn to the ailing Queen, and decides to help her find a cure for the Serpent’s Kiss-the Vampyric disease that’s killing her.

With their desire for each other escalating just as quickly as Carling’s instability spirals out of control, the sentinel and the Queen will have to rely on each other if they have any hope of surviving the serpent’s kiss…

I was lucky enough to borrow an ARC from a friend and read Serpent’s Kiss before the release date. However, I had lots going on around the release and didn’t get my post up as soon as I wanted to. I’ve said repeatedly that Dragon Bound, the first book from this series, is my favorite book I’ve read this year. That being said, I’d have to say I loved Serpent’s Kiss almost as much.

I liked Rune from the first time we met him. He has proven he is both a good warrior and friend. The fact that he would make a bargain with Vampyer Queen Carling without knowing what would be asked of him fit right in with  his character for me. We met Carling in Storm’s Heart, and I really thought she was a bit of a cold-hearted bitch. However, I found myself really liking Carling as I read Serpent’s Kiss.

Carling is suffering from a disease that seems to only effect older vampires. As she and Rune spend more time together, they start to see she is changing with each episode she suffers. Carling’s original name was Khepri, which is changed to Carling when Rune saves her life and the endearment darling is misunderstood. Of course, each time she has an episode, Rune is there and helps Carling change something from her past, that ends up changing things in the future as well.

With each change, Carling is becoming more stable, which makes some in the present not very happy. As Rune helps Carling through each episode, they become more and more attracted to one another. They are one of my favorite couples from this series. They have great passion and respect for one another, yet can still fight and play. Both will do anything and everything in their powers to protect the other.

While Dragon Bound is still my favorite book in this series, I truly loved Serpent’s Kiss as well. Carling is an unlikely heroine, yet her differences from the standard heroine are the reason I love her so much as the story progressed. Rune has always been a favorite of mine, but watching him protect Carling from everyone proved to me he was a true hero.

I have to thank all my friends on twitter for tweeting so much about this series. Without them, I would have missed out on an amazing group of books. There is a bit of a wait for the next full-length book in this series, but there will be a novella released in December 2011.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Heart of a Killer

The Heart of a Killer is book one in The Killers Series by NYT’s bestselling author Jaci Burton. From the author’s website.~

No one said coming home would be easy. But for Dante Renaldi, it's murder.

Before the Special Forces hero has even unpacked his bags from twelve years of active duty, he's embroiled in murder—corpses bearing the brutal trademark he's seen only once before—on the worst night of his life.

The last time Detective Anna Pallino saw Dante Renaldi, they were in love. Now, he's part of the connection to a string of fresh homicides and a horrible assault Anna only survived thanks to him.

More than anything, Anna wants to trust Dante. But as the bodies and the coincidences stack up, Anna will have to decide, and fast: Is the man she owes her life to the very same one who wants her dead?

I’m a huge fan of Jaci Burton and was so excited when I saw The Heart of a Killer was available on NetGalley, and even more excited when I was able to get an early copy. This is Jaci Burton’s first romantic suspense book and I think she hit it out of the park.

Twelve years ago Dante, Gabe, Roman and Jeff were foster kids living with George and Ellen Clemons and best friends with Anna Pallino. Anna and Dante were dating and in love, until the worst night of the lives had Dante leaving town with no warning. On the night he returns, someone important to Dante is found murdered and the attack and calling card, a heart carved into the above the heart, are similar to what happened on the worst night of his life.

Dante and Anna are thrown back together as he helps her investigate the attack and murder. Since the attack is in the same location and similar to the one Anna lived through twelve years ago, they start to wonder who else saw what happened that night. Of course, Anna isn’t ready to trust Dante as soon as she sees him. He has been gone for 12 years and no one really knows where he has been or what he has been doing. However, the attraction between Dante and Anna is just as strong today as was when they were teens. When another person important to Anna and Dante is found murdered, there is no doubt they will work together to find out who is behind the latest murders.

I figured out the “bad guy” pretty early on. However, even as I was guessing who was behind everything, I was really hoping I was wrong. I did enjoy watching Dante and Anna work together and when they finally decided to move their relationship to that next level, it was explosive. Dante was 18 and Anna was 16 when they dated as teens, so they had never taken that next step. As adults, they can explore their relationship on every level and work towards having a long-term relationship.

I loved both Dante and Anna best of all the characters. I also liked getting to know a bit more about the guys, Gabe, Roman and Jeff. I have to say I was most intrigued by Gabe of all the secondary characters and really hope we get his story in the future. Even figuring out the bad guy early on, I still loved The Heart of a Killer and hope we get many more romantic suspense books from Jaci Burton in the future.

The Heart of a Killer is set for release on October 18, 2011 and can be found at your favorite bookstore or online retailer. I’ll be heading to my local B&N to pick up my print copy for my keeper shelf.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Real Men Will

Real Men Will is the 3rd book in the Donovan Brothers Brewery series by Victoria Dahl. From the author’s website.~

It was meant to be a one-night stand. One night of passion. Scorching hot. Then Beth Cantrell and Eric Donovan were supposed to go their separate ways. That’s the only reason he lied about his name, telling her he was really his wild younger brother. Hiding his own identity as the conservative Donovan. The “good” one.

But passion has its own logic, and Eric finds he cannot forget the sable-haired beauty with whom he shared one night of passion. When Beth discovers that Eric has lied, however, she knows he cannot be trusted. Her mind tells her to forget the blue-eyed charmer. If only every fiber of her being did not burn to call him back.

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Real Men Will from NetGalley. I’ve wanted to know more about Eric since Good Girls Do. Even though he is very controlling of his younger siblings, who are now adults, I still liked something about Eric from the beginning. I loved reading Beth’s and Eric’s story. In fact, I think their story was the hottest of the three Donovan sibling’s books.

Beth understandable doesn’t trust Eric once she finds out he lied about his name, but she can’t really resist him either. Eric didn’t really mean to lie to Beth when they first met. He just held off from correcting her assumption that he was Jamie, since Jamie was supposed to be working the event. Of course, he is attracted to Beth from the first and their chemistry burns up the pages.

The usual drama between the Donovan siblings happens again in Real Men Will. Of course, learning more about the family’s history made me understand the relationships between Eric, Jamie, and Tessa much better. I still love Eric best, even with all his control-freak issues.

The release date for Real Men Will is October 25, 2011, and I can’t wait to buy my print copy for my keeper shelf. Also, anyone wanting to read about Eric and Beth’s first meeting can read all about it in “Just One Taste” in The Guy Next Door anthology.