Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson



Let's face it, I'm a contemporary, category, women's fiction and romance/suspense reader.  However, this movie has something for all,  It is a romance, family saga and a drama and action you can't believe.  It's R rated for a reason.  There were some "bedroom" hard to watch but due to the storyline, necessary.  A few scenes and the subject matter I had to "brace" myself but it all fit together like a puzzle.

Excellent movie.  Went out to dinner tonight with friends and then to a movie.  Very mild New Years this year.  Now just waiting for the fireworks from the Space Needle.  Happy New Year everyone!



Overview

A sensation across Europe—millions of copies sold

A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue.

It’s about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden . . . and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.

It’s about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriet’s disappearance . . . and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age—and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it—who assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism—and an unexpected connection between themselves.

It’s a contagiously exciting, stunningly intelligent novel about society at its most hidden, and about the intimate lives of a brilliantly realized cast of characters, all of them forced to face the darker aspects of their world and of their own lives.


Meet the Author from Barnes and Noble:

Stieg Larsson


Stieg Larsson, who lived in Sweden, was the editor-in-chief of the magazine Expo and a leading expert on antidemocratic right-wing extremist and Nazi organizations. He died in 2004, shortly after delivering the manuscripts for his Millennium novels, a trilogy of thrillers that became international bestsellers.

Biography

Born in Västerbotten in northern Sweden in 1954, Stieg Larsson had a professional career that bears a striking resemblance to that of the protagonist of his Millennium thrillers, Mikael Blomkvist. Beginning as a graphic designer for the news agency Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå (TT), Larsson went on to become the chief editor of Expo, the magazine published by the Expo Foundation, an organization he helped establish in 1995 to combat racism and the Swedish right-wing extremist movement.

Inspired by an old joke shared with a colleague at TT, Larsson admitted he started writing the Millennium novels -- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and Castles in the Sky (working English title) -- just for fun. Describing them as "pension insurance," Larsson said he enjoyed the process of fiction writing so much that he didn't make contact with a publisher until he had completed the first two and had a third under way. Though Larsson died of a heart attack in 2004 and never saw any of his books in print, all three were subsequently published in Scandinavia and continental Europe to great acclaim. He left behind the unfinished manuscript for a fourth book in the series.



Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays

Today I feel blessed  to share this holiday with my mother and children.  Wishing you all a Happy Christmas or whatever you're celebrating this December.  Thanks for your visit to this blog.  In advance, Wishing you a happy and joyous New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lucy King - The Crown Affair (Yours, Hot and Royal)



This was such a fun and wonderful royal romance to read.  It reminded me of what I've fantasized about the British royalty William and Kate.  Throughout their wedding and the television specials, I was fascinated about how "normal" they appeared and how gracious.

So when I began the Crown Affair by author Lucy King and after reading her behind the book story at I(Heart)Presents, I was even more fascinated.  Lucy didn't disappoint me with her characters Laura and Matt.  It started out with Laura having her breath sucked right out from her when she watched this fabulous specimen of a man chopping wood.  He was bare chested, bulging muscles, and working outside of a manor she had been dying to see the inside of the place.  The manor was known for it's unique archecture.   Matt was the man she mistook for being the grounds keeper.  A man she had a one night stand with.  The very same man that thought she was a reporter looking for a story.

Circumstances in the end, had her travelling to a foreign country, the island of Sassania where she was to restore some of the crumbling palace.  Who should she run into but Matt, the actual King of Sassania.  Let's just say I could immediately tell I was going to love their story and that their romance would be a hot one!  Lucy King didn't disappoint.  She put up road blocks for this lovely couple and in the end, giving Laura her charming prince (in this case, King).  If you love royal romances, then you'll adore this one!


Back of the Book

Close encounters of the royal kind

After being made redundant and finding her boyfriend in bed with another woman, Laura decides it's time to take charge of her life. However, the last thing she expects is for the new Laura to end up having wild, naked fun with the gorgeous guy next door…

She virtually runs away afterward in shame—but so what? She soon gets a new job, on the Mediterranean island of Sassania, no less! But the island has a new king—aka Laura's guy next door! Now they're both in trouble, for King Matt should be focusing on affairs of the state, not on reigniting a hot affair of his own…


The amazing Lucy talks about her Royals at I(Heart)Presents.

The Pregnancy Contract - Yvonne Lindsay


After years of being away from home, can you imagine what it would be like to find out your father had died and that your home and family business no longer existed.  That your former lover now owned the business and the estate.  That you also no longer had your trust fund?  Top that off, Wade Collins, the man you once loved, the father of your child believed that you terminated your pregnancy even though you miscarried?

Emotional doesn't even describe the first chapters of The Pregnancy Contract.  It was obvious that Piper Mitchell only wanted to be loved.  When her mother died, her father distanced himself from Piper.  All she wanted was to be loved and to have a place in the family business.   However, her father in his own way probably thought he was doing his daughter a favor by pampering her.  Needless to say, he hurt her badly by putting his trust in her lover and the son he never had, Wade Collins.  In the end, Piper had begged Wade to follow her to Europe but Wade made the choice to stay and help run Mitchell Exports.  She loved him so much and when she miscarried their child, she was heart broken and alone.  A father who she felt didn't love her and the man she loved who turned his back on her.  So she left heart broken but in the end picked herself up and devoted her life to helping others whether it was nursing the sick or tending to babies and she used her trust fund to help the less fortunate.

However, upon her father's death and meeting with the attorney she found out that Wade not only owned her family home, he owned the business.  Her trust fund was gone, her father due to his illness and in an attempt to seek special treatments lost his fortune to Wade who had loaned him money.  Wade wanted her to settle her debt immediately, which of course she couldn't.  So he came up with a bizarre proposal........he wanted Piper to have his child, giving him an heir.  He was bitter because he thought years earlier that she had terminated her pregnancy and he now demanded she, at all costs, give him that child.  She could live at the Mitchell home and even work at Mitchell Exports and if she wanted, because God help him he still wanted her.

Talk about a mess and an emotional roller coaster.  They would see each other at work each day, she agreed in the end, to have his baby and she realized she still loved him.  However, he wouldn't believe her because her father had told him she had aborted their child.  I wondered what would this closeness they shared cost Piper?  Love, that's what it was all about, she just wanted to be loved but could Wade give that to her?  One thing was for sure, Piper worked hard at Mitchell's, her co-workers loved her and she surprised Wade and made him realize that her father, Rex Mitchell had done her a disservice by pampering her and not letting her work in the family business.

The ending chapters were hard to read.  Piper became pregnant but would Wade realize the mistakes he was making by assuming the worst about Piper and their shared past?  Sometimes it takes a wake up call to make sense out of things, and that's exactly what he got and then some.  Yvonne Lindsay did an incredible job, creating a "nail bitting" ending to The Pregnancy Contract.

Back of the Book


If she bears his child, he'll forgive her debt.

The proposal is unthinkable, unimaginable…yet not unappealing. Long ago, Piper Mitchell's passionate affair with her father's protégé ended in disaster. Now, in spite of his demands, she's thrilled to begin it anew—especially if it means a chance at forgiveness.

Wade Collins has longed for revenge on the spoiled rich girl who toyed with his affections. And now that Piper is back—destitute and deeply indebted to him—he'll use any means necessary to get her back in his bed. But when emotions enter the negotiation, will Piper turn the tables yet again, settling for nothing less than love on her terms?



The Trophy Wife - Janette Kenny (Bad Blood / The Nortorious Wolfes)



To say this couple both had issues is putting it mildly.  Rafael da Souza was the illegitimate son of the famous Wolfe family.  A man who came up in the technical world and was a millionaire several times over. Leila Santiago was a top fashion model.who knew what it was like to be raised in the slums of Rio.  This couple fell in love and married.  However, they put their careers before their marriage and trust me, they were going to pay for it.  Now Rafael was ready to start the family he had longed for but Leila was not ready to give up her modeling career nor her charity for young women with eating disorders.  She herself had suffered the disorder and her charity was so important to her and she didn't want to use her husband's money to finance the charity.

Talk about as dysfunctional marriage.  They so loved each other but didn't know how to function in their marriage.  They only saw each other a couple of times during the year.  Their marriage was a very passionate one but what Rafael didn't know was that Leila had suffered a miscarriage months earlier.  She was so afraid to become pregnant but Rafael was determined to have her quit her career and move to his lovely ranch and raise his family.  He had been denied his father who denied him his heritage.  However, thanks to his oldest brother Jacob, he had gotten to know his siblings when Jacob has snuck him into the family mansion.  He had issues of being raised alone and lonely as his mother worked two jobs.  He longed for the warmth and security that other children had and wanted it for his own children.  However, Leila had issues about becoming pregnant.  She also had issues with an overbearing mother who never worked a day in her life and felt deeply the loss of her father and brother.

After months of not being together, they finally had time together when they attended a film festival in France.  However, Leila's modeling took priority over spending time with her husband.  Photo shoots were her priority.  They had been married five years but hardly spent time together because their careers were priority for both of them.  Honestly, I could imagine how a marriage could survive this sort of arrangement.

To say this love story was tense, doesn't even begin to describe their marriage and I wondered how it would survive.  It was a battle of wills and emotional suffering.  Not to mention how their childhoods had shaped each of their and the emotions and battles they would need to face.  I have loved this series, The Notorious Wolfe's and The Trophy Wife has probably been the most emotional of them all to read.  Be prepared to feel their pain and emotions but you'll definitely be glad you took the journey with both Rafael and Leila.

Description:

Always an outsider, Rafael spent his life looking in on his privileged Wolfe siblings, a boy in the shadows. And so, determined to create the lifestyle and family illegitimacy denied him, Rafael punishingly worked his way to the top. His marriage to beautiful supermodel Leila was the icing on the cake of success!

Now his marriage is crumbling and the vows he took seem in vain. Rafael chased a rainbow—but made his wife feel as though she was never more than a trophy.… Now it will take all of his courage to win his wife back.…

Friday, December 09, 2011

December Recipe of the Month - Mary Burton's Sweet Charlotte Molasses Cream Cheese Roll-ups

The Italian Next Door - Anna Cleary


The Italian Next Door by the creative Anna Cleary was simply inventive. I cannot remember when I have read such an interesting love story. It’s complicated, interesting and extremely well written.


The hero Valentino (Tino) Silvestri worked for Interpol and as far as relationships went he did not do them; he was divorced, one that had caused gossip in his small Italian village. As for the Australian heroine, Pia Renferri, she was interesting as well. She not only was trying to survive a nasty break-up, she had also been held at gunpoint, suffered trauma and was not on the mend. Thanks to her cousin, she was headed to Italy and was hoping her creativity would return, as she was an artist.

Pia and Tino met in a most bizarre way at an Italian airport. As the trains and bus lines were are strike, she needed to rent t car. As things turned out there were none available. Tino overheard the conversation, began to interact with her but Pia wasn’t having any of it. In the end, he offered her a ride, along with his aunt and uncle as they were all going to the same village. As it turned out, Tino and Pia were neighbors in this quaint Italian town. However, some red flags came up to Tino. With his Interpol background, he wondered about Lauren, Pia’s cousin. How could she afford this apartment and then he definitely became suspicious due to the photos on her wall, especially when recognized a couple from Capri. The same couple who corrupted his ex-wife.

They were drawn to each other; just perfect together. However, neither was interested in permanent relationship, or so they believed. However, I wondered when everything would change, because it had to and I knew that would happen when Pia was invited to Capri. There was so much mystery about the Fiorellos, the couple from Capri who were friends with her cousin Lauren. They had introduced his ex-wife to so many things and he didn’t trust them at all. Therefore, when Pia was invited to a party at their villa, there was no way he would let her go without him.

Passion, lust, a missing Monet paining, Tino’s suspicions about the Fiorellos and a beautiful young Australian, who in the end, had stolen Tino’s heart, made for a spectacular, hot and extremely interesting romance thanks to Anna Cleary.

Product Description


The perfect holiday: sun, sand, sea and...Pia Renfern's holiday planning is easy - relaxation and recuperation are the only things on her to-do list! And she can't imagine they'll be too difficult in the beautiful, exclusive Italian village of Positano...But before she's even out of the airport Pia's heart is racing, her skin tingling and her mind filled with wild, uninhibited images of a holiday fling! The culprit? Valentino Silvestri - glorious Italian demi-god and Pia's new next-door neighbour...With him on her doorstep each day, how is a girl ever meant to wind down?




Monday, December 05, 2011

Sandra Marton - The Real Rio D'Aquila - Orsini Brides


So sad to see Sandra Marton's Orsini Brothers and Brides come to an end and oh what an ending as only Ms. Marton can pen.  Fabulous!

Rio De'Aquila had not always had this name.  Yes it was his legal name now but when he was a child, the nuns at the orphanage had named him Matteo Rossi.  He was sexy as sin, had homes all over the world, was filthy rich and not too hard on the eyes.  He had a home in the Hamptons which needed to be landscaped and thanks to spending an evening with Dante Orsini and his wife, because he was looking for a landscaper, Dante's wife suggested Izzy, Dante's sister for the job, at least an interview and he agreed.

What a day for Izzy Orsini.  Everyone wanted her to help with their plants,  she had an interview, borrowed her sister's Anna's clothes, shoes and car.  And she was late. More than two hours late, had an accident with the car, her clothes, hair, everything was a wreck and she looked horrible.  Now when she came upon the estate she met an arrogant man who claimed to be the caretaker, but really it was Rio D'Aquila and he made her furious.  Earlier in the day, Rio had been digging ditches and working in the garden.  He was furious that this Izzy was well over two hours late and when she finally arrived, dirty and disheveled, he decided to introduce himself as Mateo Rossi because life as he had once know it and since she actually thought he was the caretaker, he thought it would be fun to act the part. was.  In business and the women he dated liked him for what he could give them.  However, after some hours with Izzy, and the sparks flying between them he decided not to tell her who he was and because the train station was closed and her car out of commission, he offered her a bedroom in his home.

Talk about sparks and of course, in the end, they became intimate.  It was like neither of them had ever dreamed of.  Rio felt guilty for keeping his identity from Izzy and decided to take her to his private island and tell her the truth.   Let's say everything exploded because her family got wind of what was happening and dragged her home,told her the truth and she was definitely broken hearted.

The Real Rio D'Aquila, was the frosting on the cake so to speak and the perfect ending to a beautifully crated romance and series by one of my favorite authors, Sandra Marton.  I'm so looking forward to hopefully another family saga by this author in the near future.


Book Description:

Italian by birth, this street urchin lived a life of extreme poverty until he escaped to Brazil—where he cast off his roots, took a new name and pulled himself up from the streets.

Now Rio D'Aquila is beyond wealthy, with a reputation for being uncompromising in business and incomparable in bed! But on meeting vulnerable Isabella Orsini, he feels something deep within him stir, and he finds himself pretending to be that long-forgotten man.

Passion flares and their affair spirals, but Isabella still doesn't know that her lover has lied to her. Who is the real Rio D'Aquila?

Only Us: A Fools Gold Holiday - Susan Mallery (Fools Gold Series)


Susan Mallery is a master storyteller and Only Us: A Fools Gold Holiday was just the Christmas read I needed to make me feel "warm and fuzzy". It is a real life story about trust, yes trust, and love. Mallery's Fools Gold series is about a small town community, one that takes care of each other, people who care for each other and when veterinarian Cameron McKenzie and his young daughter Kaitlyn came to town, they were embraced by the town of Fools Gold.

Honestly, with tears still streaming down my face, I adored this addition to Susan Mallery's Fools Gold series. Rina had a space in Cameron's practice, she was a groomer. She also took care of Kaitlyn and on top of that, she loved Cameron and his daughter. The story unfolds that after his baby daughter was two months old his wife left him. Now they are residents in Fools Gold and Rina due to her grooming business, sees Cameron every day plus she carse for his daughter. She loves them both and that becomes a problem, because after a year of loving Cameron, one night she confessed her love for him only to be rejected.

Would this couple find happiness? Would the love of a good woman help to heal Cameron because there was one thing for sure, his daughter adored Rina and she loved both of them so much, it hurt! It's a holiday miracle, trust me and even though it's a short read, it's perfect to put your feel up, relax after a day of shopping, baking or decorating and read this lovely story by the very talented New York Times Best-selling author, Susan Mallery.

Product Description

Pet groomer Carina Fiore wants nothing more than to confess her feelings to the man she loves. She's drawn to veterinarian Cameron McKenzie's good looks, caring nature and especially his devotion to his young daughter. But he's also her boss and a good friend. Putting her heart on the line could cost Rina both her job and their friendship forever.

Since his divorce, Cameron hasn't been willing to trust his heart—or his daughter—with anyone else. For months he's pushed away all thoughts of taking Rina in his arms and kissing her, unwilling to risk their friendship for a single night of pleasure. But when a kiss under the mistletoe unlocks the simmering passion between them, Rina and Cameron may just find love for the holidays after all...

An ebook exclusive Fool's Gold series novella.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Night That Changed Everything - Anne McAllister


I adore author Anne McAllister's Greeks especially the Savas and Antodine family sagas and this was Nick Savas and Edie Tremayne's story. A romance that sizzles off the pages, one that I wondered because of its intensity and what they had both lost (each of their spouses had died) where would it go and how would it end?

Edie was the daughter of the famous actress Mona Tremayne and her sister Rhiannon was also an actress. She was a very spoiled and self absorbed sister.  Their mother, Mona had been married several times. In fact, she had six children all by different husbands. She demanded that Edie accompany she and her sister to the Savas royal wedding in Europe at Mont Chamon. And when they she spotted her "engaged" sister flirting with a man her mother insisted Edie take care of the situation..   Edie could tell Nick was trouble with a capital "T". He was the handsomest man she had ever seen and he took her breath away.

Nick was not a saint, yes he bedded women but since he blamed himself for his wife's death, he had no interest in a relationship.  Edie had mourned her husband's death as well.  She was tired of her mother forcing her to have a man in her life, so when she saw that an old flame of hers was also attending the wedding, she was furious.  So mad that in the end, as Nick was at the castle also restoring architecture, she agreed to go to his room and check out the renovations.  Let's just saw the attraction with mutual and they ended up in a "no strings attached" one night stand.  They both went their separate ways, Nick on to other restoration jobs and Edie back home to Santa Barbara.  Yet she couldn't get Nick out of her mind and had hoped he would come for her because their one night together had touched her soul.

Surprise, surprise, Nick arrived at her door step with the excuse that he had spoken to her mother about restoring an adobe ranch house, the house she had grown up in with her brother until her father had died.  Edie was shocked and held herself in check.  Nick wanted to resume their love making and Edie held off.  It was just she and Nick at her family home and it because a challenge.

Oh, oh, in the end, she succumbed to Nick's charms and I could only see her getting hurt.  She was so giving to her family and to Nick and in the end, knew she loved him and I wondered, she's only going to get hurt and I was right.  Would this handsome Greek come to his senses and give each of them the happiness they both deserved?  Could she risk her heart and teach Nick like her deceased had taught her because love and loving were worth the risk?

Another wonderful romance by Anne McAllister, one I thoroughly enjoyed.  Nick a strong, smart and sexy man and Edie, just an incredible daughter and sibling, one who definitely deserved her happy Cinderella ending.

Back of the Book

Nicholas Savas is tall, dark and too gorgeous for anyone's good. To shield her wild-child sister from Nick's intoxicating gaze, sensible Edie steps into his eyeline instead!

Nick's fascinated by the defiant, beautiful Edie—she's a challenge, and he'll thoroughly enjoy sweeping her down-to-earth feet out of the ballroom and into his bed! But one night with Edie Tremayne is unforgettable, hot as hell—and not nearly enough…


Other Greek romances by Anne McAllister, here

Book purchased by reviewer

The Power and the Glory - Kimberly Lang (The Marshall's)



Introducing the Marshall’s…

A rich, powerful family that mixes business, politics… and pleasure.

If the US had a royal family — this would be it!

The Marshall’s series has been a joy to read and I will be very sad when the last one in the series has been written.

What can one say about the Marshall’s, a series written by the talented and gifted romance author, Kimberly Lang. These men are the height of DC society, rich, famous and the Marshall sons, not too hard on the eyes. Nathan (The Privileged and the Damned), runs the financial side of the family’s business. Brady (The Power and the Glory) the political side of his father’s campaign senatorial campaign. And Finn, the youngest and a Hollywood playboy, (Redemption of a Hollywood Starlet), the spoiled baby brother. All three are close and love to tease each other. Three strong heroes you’ll definitely fall in love with and you’ll definitely approve of the women they choose.

The Power and the Glory is “buttoned up” Brady Marshall’s story and one I will long remember. It especially hit home to me with all of the politics here in the USA plus all of the scandals. I wondered what sort of a character the author would write and Aspyn Breedlove was perfect. The daughter of “hippies” who demonstrated for world causes and Aspyn was following in her parents shoes; she was the spokesperson for The People’s Imitative and now found herself handcuffed to the sexy and handsome Brady Marshall. Like her parents, her dress was that of a “flower child”.

All of the Marshall Brother’s adore their famous Grand and Grams Marshall. Like their grandfather, their father is again, running for the US Senate. They barely tolerate their father but adore their grandparents and each other. However, it was Brady that interested me because I wondered how he was going to remedy the handcuff situation and when he offered Aspyn as job working on the campaign and listening to what the people wanted just to end the negative publicity, I knew it would blow up in his face.

Brady and Aspyn’s love story, like most couples had a rocky beginning but in the end, they were both good for each other. However, to get that happy ending, they both had to go through some pain and suffering, because in the end the falseness and lies came to a roaring explosion.

You will not just want to read The Power and the Glory; you will want to invest in all three books.

Book Description:

The Marshall’s...A rich, powerful family that mixes business, politics...and pleasure. If the US had a royal family - this would be it! Any red-blooded woman would kill to be handcuffed to political hot-shot Brady Marshall, but campaigner Aspyn Breedlove wants to raise awareness - not her own acute consciousness of those delicious, iron-hard muscles beneath Brady's expensive suit...Overnight she's an Internet sensation, and in a shock move she's made part of the Marshall re-election campaign...Aspyn hopes she can dance with the devil and create change from within. But what chance does she have when that devil is sex-on-legs Brady Marshall - and she wants to do considerably more than dance with him...?

Book sent by author




Kimberly talks about her book at I Heart Presents




Friday, November 18, 2011

Doukakis's Apprentice - Sarah Morgan


Honestly, there is no way to describe how absolutely fabulous Sarah Morgan's Doukakis's Apprentice was to read.  I don't think I can ever remember reading about such a wonderful heroine as Polly Prince. 

This lovely young woman lost her mother at an early age and was raised by her somewhat irresponsible father.  Did he love his daughter?  Yes of course, but he was a romantic and when he dated, they were usually much  younger.  He usually fell in love and married them.  Now he was missing along , along with her friend, Ariana Doukakis.  Her brother Damon was out for blood because he knew Peter Prince's MO and was afraid his sister was going to end up marry him.  The sister he had raised, loved and adored.  He was protective of her and he wanted Prince's blood.  So much so he bought out the business and Polly Prince was afraid he would lay everyone off.

Polly was loyal to the Prince employees and her friend.   As a young teen, Polly and Ariana had attended the same school and had been kicked out.  Damon didn't think his sister should be friends with her and now that Ariana had gone missing with Polly's father, he was so angry, he thought he would kill him.  What Damon didn't understand was why Prince Advertising and the employees were so important to Polly.  He didn't realize that most of those same employees were like family to her, they had practically raised her and showed her the ropes.  What he didn't also know was that the Board of Directors and her father's deputy had been skimming money from the business and had sold her father out.  However, Damon was one smart and ruthless business man and decided to give Polly and the staff a trial period and hoped that Polly's father would get in touch with her and Damon could sort everything out with his sister.

Polly was bright, lovely, cheeky and hard working and Damon in the end, couldn't fight his attraction for her.  They were perfect for each other, loyal to those they loved, both were survivors and each had such strong personalities, I just knew they would be perfect for each other.  Yes, they both fought it and add to that their family situations was like a roller coaster.  I definitely would put this romance on my Top Ten for 2011 and I sincerely recommend you reading it, especially if you like "strong" heroines.  However, let's definitely not forget the sexy, Greek billionaire had how surprised he became when he learned that most of the success of Prince Advertising was due to Polly.  Thanks to Sarah Morgan, I so enjoyed Doukakis's Apprentice, so much so, I read it three times and really loved the last chapter giving this couple their happy ending.



Sarah talks about the Doukakis's Apprentice at I(Heart)Presents





Book Description:

With her family business in crisis, Polly Prince does her best to keep calm and carry on. But hard work alone can't save her London company from a takeover by the infamously ruthless Damon Doukakis…or her traitorous body from the lethal sensuality of her boss!


As his new apprentice, Polly accompanies Damon to Paris to negotiate the most challenging business deal of her life! Worse still, Polly must at all costs resist Damon in the most dangerously romantic city in the world.…

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Man With the Money - Lynn Raye Harris (The Nortorious Wolfe's)



Lynn Raye Harris has sincerely written a winner, especially with her dark, dashing and ruthless billionaire/gambler.  Plus her heroine Cara Taylor, what a sweet and loyal woman who didn't have a clue what to do with Jack Wolfe.  She was told by her casino boss to throw the game, it back fired and the  tables were literally turned on both Cara and Jack and they fled the casino when Jack tried to save Cara from her boss.  However, at what cost to Jack?  A beating, bruises and fleeing to safety.

If you are a fan of the Notorious Wolfe's you'll know that the family has a dark history.  They were all brutalized by their father who ended up dead due to an accidental fall at the hands of their oldest brother Jacob.  One has learned from this series that Jacob left all of his siblings and they are all tortured because now Jacob has returned.  For Jack, everything is like an open wound because one brother was getting married, Jacob was back in town trying to rebuild the family estate and all Jack could do is remember the past because in the end,  it was Jack who had to stepped up to the plate to take care of his family and he didn't get the opportunities his other brother's had.

Jack and Cara's journey was exciting to read from their running from Jack's beating at the hands of Cara's boss, going to Paris, to attending his brother's wedding and finally when their personal relationship began.  Cara was an incredibly lovely woman, very loyal to her family, sending money home because, first Katrina took their home, then her father had left them for another family he had and no one knew about.  Plus she had a sick sibling who needed additional care.  So they struck up a deal, she would be his date for the family wedding and Jack would pay her so she could help her mother.

Jack was arrogant, couldn't get over his past and even though I believed her enjoyed being around Cara, in the end her hurt her and she definitely deserved more from him.  She wanted more and in the end, she left and went back home to Louisiana.  The Man with The Money was such an overwhelming read, I stayed up all night because I absolutely couldn't put it down; it was that amazing.  Each of the Wolfe brother's are dark and tortured and in each case so far, it was the women who loved them who brought love and joy into each of their lives.  In Jack and Cara's love story the stakes were high and the ending was by far, absolutely stunning thanks to Lynn Raye's talent.
Back of the Book

Notorious gambler Jack no longer gets a buzz from the risks, or the money, he takes at the card table. In fact, it bores him. Until one night he wins more than he ever bargained for.…

His prize is the stunning Cara Taylor—she might be down on her luck but she certainly doesn't need rescuing by a maverick card-shark like Jack! Now she's stuck with him and she doesn't know whether to love him or loathe him. But, cut from the same pack, playing Jack at his own game is the most fun she's ever had!

Lynn Raye shares her Behind the Book and inspiration for The Man with the Money at I(Heart)Presents

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Winter Scandal - Candace Camp - US Giveaway






About the Author:

Candace Camp cannot remember a time when she was not interested in creating stories. Born into a newspaper family – her mother had been a reporter and her father was the business manager of the Amarillo, Tx., newspaper – some of Candace’s earliest memories are of making up stories which she played out on the floor of their den with whatever objects were handy. She began writing down her stories when she was ten, and from then on writing was her favorite form of relaxation. Explains Camp, “I was always very shy and did not talk much. However, in written form, I could express all my thoughts and feelings.”

Writing remained only a hobby, though, as Candace attended college at the University of Texas at Austin and West Texas State University, then became a secondary teacher in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. She later moved to North Carolina, where she worked in the trust department of a bank. It was there that she discovered the romance novel in modern form and started to write her first romance. She also began law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and while she was there, she finished her first novel, entitled Bonds of Love. Ms. Camp credits the rigorous training of law school with teaching her the discipline to finish a book.

Bonds of Love was published by Jove Publishing in 1978, under the pseudonym Lisa Gregory. Ms. Camp gave up the practice of law to devote her time to writing. Two pseudonyms, over 60 books, and 30 years later, Candace Camp writes under her own name for HQN – and still loves creating stories.

Earlier in her career, her historical were primarily set in the United States, usually in the post-Civil War west, a time and place that are very special to her

In recent years, however, she has turned to writing books set in Regency England, another period that ‘speaks to her.’ England in the nineteenth century, especially the early years, offers an ideal setting in which a romantic story can be played out, according to Ms. Camp.

She has been married for twenty-eight years to Pete Hopcus and has a daughter, Anastasia Hopcus, a writer of young adult novels.

Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Candace Camp weaves a heartwarming tale, first in a thrilling new series, of Christmastime love, discovery, and scandal. . .
When plain and proper Thea Bainbridge stumbles upon a baby in the manger of her church’s nativity, she is understandably shocked. Discovering a brooch bearing the insignia of Gabriel, Lord Morecombe, hidden among the child’s clothing, she is certain the dissolute rake is to blame. Incensed, Thea sets out to reproach the arrogant lord—only to find herself utterly swept away.

Gabriel is intrigued by the vivacity in Thea’s flashing gray eyes when she accuses him of fathering the orphan, even as he adamantly maintains his innocence. The brooch is one he remembers all too well, however, and Gabriel is determined to find the mother of the missing child. As the mystery around the baby deepens, Gabriel is continually thrown together with Thea—and finds himself growing more entranced every day.

Even with whispers of winter scandal swirling around them, they cannot deny the longing in their hearts. A longing which promises the best gift of all: a shelter from the storm . . . in each other’s arms.



Thanks to Pocket Star Books, I’m offering this book to one lucky US resident. Comment on this post, follow the blog and don’t forget to leave your email address. Contest will end December 15th.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cowboys Like Us - Vicki Lewis Thompson (Sons of Chance)

This Sons of Chance series by the fabulous Vicki Lewis Thompson has been a pleasure to read.  If you've read each book in the series you've learned about the history of the ranch and how Johnathan and Sarah met and married, and about the Chance sons.  Sarah had two adopted sons and one through her marriage and she was an incredible mother to her sons and their new wives.  Now more cowboys were working at the Chance Ranch and also falling in love.  Each is a stand alone book but I encourage you to read all of the books in this series.  What's not to love about a handsome, sexy cowboy?

Logan Carswell was also a guest at the Last Chance Ranch.  He was here because his friend Alex Keller had just gotten married.  Alex, at one time had also been a  ranch guest, then worked PR for the ranch and fell in love.  Logan was at loose ends due to an injury while playing baseball from the Chicago Cubs.  He's also attracted to Caro Davis, a bartender at the Spirit's and Spurs Bar, a bar it was said to be haunted.  The attraction between Logan and Caro was immediate and in the end, they ended up in Caro's apartment and made love.

There was so much for each of them to deal with.  Caro was caring for her grandmother and Logan had to decide what to do with the rest of his life.  Although he tried not to feel sorry for himself, it was hard.  However, the hours he spent with Caro and out at the ranch making a baby cradle for an upcoming Chance grandchild.was enjoyable.

There were so many secondary characters in this book from the Chance men, to their wives, the Foreman, the cook, Sarah Chance......they all gave me the sense of family and community.  However, I could see that Logan and Caro's relationship was changing especially when they decided to go public.  Their relationship was in danger because it was changing into something serious for both of them.  Plus there was the cloud hanging over Logan's head as to what career path he would follow.

Cowboys Like Us was another amazing read.  Plus the fact it also had a 10th Anniversary Collection Edition which featured Notorious, another VLT amazing romance, thanks to the talented Vicki Lewis Thompson.

Back of the Book

Real cowboys aren't born. They're made…

Logan Carswell has just kissed his professional baseball career goodbye. Goodbye dreams, career and future. For now, though, he's working at the Last Chance Ranch and the town saloon, where sexy bartender Caro Davis is definitely taking his mind off his troubles…

Caro's days have been so hectic, she's forgotten all about the finer aspects of life. Like men. And sex. And really smokin'-hot sex with men like Logan. But when their two worlds collide—and boy, do they ever collide—they both realize that once the gear is off, a cowboy is still a cowboy!

(This book purchased by the reviewer)



Sandra Marton - The Ice Prince (Orsini Brides)


To say I was ecstatic to finally hear that author Sandra Marton was going to continue her Orsini Brother's series with her Orsini Brides, well I did the "happy dance".  The "Queen of Romance" didn't disappoint me with The Ice Prince because like her strong and proud brother's, Anna Orsini was just as proud and "fierce".  She was firm at what she wanted and no one, especially the sexy Italian would tell her different.  This arrogant man had taken up two first class seats and she needed one for her computer.  His was defiant but what Anna didn't know was this very same alarming man was Draco Valenti, the very same man her mob boss father had sent her to meet with to get back some Sicilian owned property. 

Just like her brother's, her father asked Anna to fly to Italy as he wanted her to get back the property he felt belonged to her mother. Let the games begin, because this surely was going to be one tug of war match between these two spirited people.  That's putting it mildly, their emotions were like a force of nature, with neither of them wanting to negotiate nor give.  However, even in business attire, Draco was definitely attracted to Anna and as far as Anna was concerned, she fought her attraction every step of the way.  Their sparing was fun to read, especially a scene on the aircraft where after a nap, they touched, kissed and more and their chemistry sizzled off of the pages. This was going to be one hot romance I could tell from the first chapters and I couldn't imagine how it would all play out because they were two determined and stubborn individuals.


How would one describe Anna?  A professional of course, "tough", "prickly" and "difficult" but they were all for a reason.  She was adored by her family but her relationship with her father was strained.  She, like her sister and brother's hated that he was a mob boss in "Little Italy" in New York.  

As their pasts were revealed, especially Draco's I applauded him as a man and how from having nothing he restored the family properties and name.  His past was more sordid than Anna's, even  though her father was a Don and a Sicilian mobster.  In their own ways, they were better people from what they had endured.  However, Anna at least had her family where Draco had no one.  Anna also did not believe in "forever".  Sex was sex and being with Draco was great but definitely not forever.  Until he took her to see her Mother's supposed property, learned it's history and Draco said when they returned home, he wanted to "make love".  There it was.......... the word.  I wondered, how would their relationship develop from this moment on or even, could it because they both had trust issues.

The ending chapters full of emotional and confused feelings.  Anna didn't want to fall in love and I certainly believed Draco was just as confused as Anna.  Let's just say, in the end, I cried my eyes out and in only the way Sandra Marton can weave a romance, this one was just as incredible as her others.  I hope you'll read all of the Orsini books.  I for one am getting quite sad as there is only one more Orsini Bride and that Isabella's story, The Real Rio D'Aquila

(Reviewer purchased this book)

Sandra Marton talks about The Ice Prince at I(Heart)Presents






Back of the Book

Prince Draco Valenti, known as the ice prince, bears his title reluctantly, and wears his icy exterior like a suit of armor that no opponent can penetrate….

Except Anna Orsini. She isn't any ordinary adversary, she's a high-flying, straight-talking lawyer in a no-nonsense suit and killer stilettos—conflicting signals that perplex, frustrate and attract Draco all at the same time.…

While they're at odds in business, in the bedroom Draco's desire for Anna has the power to melt his defenses. The temptation to play with fire is overwhelming.…

To Touch a Sheikh - Olivia Gates (Pride of Zohayd)


If you love a hot romance, especially one set in the desert with one hot royal sheikh as only author Olivia Gates can deliver, you'll sincerely love To Touch a Sheikh. This was sadly for me, the final book in Olivia's  Gates Pride of Zohayd triology.  I would say probably one of the "darkest" sheikhs I've ever read and that was for a reason, betrayal!  I wondered if Prince Amjad's wounds would ever be healed and if he would find love his his brother's.

To Touch a Sheikh I would also describe as a romance/suspense because there were so many twists and turns;  betrayal, family drama and just plain hot sex!  Maram Aal Waaked was a lioness.  She was determined to have Prince Amjad Aal Shalaan not only in her life, but for the rest of her life.  However, what was on his mind, and that of his father and brothers were finding the jewels which had been stolen with fake ones put in their place.  His family honor and ruling their country were at stake and he had a plan but it backfired and in it's place the smart mouth and sexy Princess came in the place of her father.  So how to continue their plan for the kidnapping?  I could only see heat, no not desert heat but sexual tension and heat between these royals.

There were issues about the Princess's past, her father and first and foremost trust.  Because she gave him a different version of her past and she had given him everything, herself.  It was so very obvious that this adorable Princess wanted this man forever, but at what cost to her and to him?  Their time stranded in the desert was lovely to read.  They had both suffered so much thanks to duty at the hands of people that used them both.  To go any further into each of their past marriages, the rivalry between countries, and who would end up in power would ruin the last book in this incredible series.  Let's just say, this "dark" prince gets his happy ending with the woman who had stolen his heart.  This triology has been such a joy to read and I highly recommend all three books.

Back of the Book

No one gets past Prince Amjad Aal Shalaan's defenses. No one. But when Princess Maram shows up at Amjad's gala in her father's place, destroying Amjad's plans to reclaim what was stolen from his family, Amjad sees red…and uses a freak sandstorm to make her his prisoner of passion.

Swept to safety by the man she's always loved from afar, Maram knows she has one chance to make Amjad see her as a woman. His woman. But when the impossible prince and the unstoppable princess take shelter from the storm, neither is prepared for the aftermath of their desire…



Millionaire Playboy, Maverick Heiress - Robyn Grady (Texas Cattleman's Club: The Showdown)


The lovely and extremely talented author, Robyn Grady has produced such a fabulous love story with her contribution to the series, The Texas Cattleman's Club: The Showdown. I have enjoyed all of the Desire authors contributions to this series and Robyn's shines as a very special one.

Women were infiltrating the exclusive men's club and some of them were not happy. One woman running for President was a friend of New York acclaimed architect Daniel Warren. Daniel was a talented and highly respected but oh boy did he and his design team have their submission wrong.......so back to the drawing boards.

Elizabeth Milton's fate was sealed thanks to her parents will. She was only allowed two weeks of each year to leave Texas until she reached age 30. She was left quite well off and she had an older financial advisor by the name of Chad who was crazy about her. The family ranch home she inherited was full of fond memories for her but she also loved to travel and visit her boarding school friends but her hands were somewhat tied. However, the moment she met Daniel Warren she was interested, especially when he, on the spur of the moment kissed her and she definitely wanted more. She wanted more of everything while he was in Royal because once they made love they both were hooked.

Daniel didn't share much about his upbringing because he put it in the past and didn't want to revisit it. However, unlike Elizabeth who came from a loving home, he hadn't. His parents divorced when he was five and it was bitter. His father wanted him to go into his profession; of course, he didn't. In the end he and a younger brother were shuttled back and forth. In the end a tragedy occurred. His brother was killed due to a hunting accident and Daniel blamed his father. They continued their affair, were so happy in each others arms and then he took her away for a three day trip. Would they fall in love I wondered? Because of his past would Daniel commit?

Elizabeth Milton I adored. She was spunky, she had spirit, she felt a connection to her family ranch and estate but she loved Daniel as well. In the end, they parted and I wanted to shake Daniel because after reading about their time together in and out of bed, I new she probably was the one for him but would he realize it?

There was so much going on in the town of Royal, the race for presidency between Brad and Abagail, reworking the design for the club and Elizabeth and Daniel's time was heating up. They couldn't see enough of each other and in the end, Daniel took her away to a private island. They had a wonderful, way too wonderful, until they returned back to Royal and then it all ended because Daniel didn't do forever and Elizabeth bless her heart, somehow Elizabeth got through the break-up with her dignity in tact. However, Daniel had to return to Royal and I wondered would they see each other? Would he realize how much he needed her and loved her, because I was sure he did.

Robyn Grady is a master story teller and her closing chapters were amazing to read. It took an incident to wake up and a discussion with his friend Rand to make Daniel realize life wouldn't be a full life with Elizabeth in it. The light bulb finally went off in his brain when he finally realized on his own "it wasn't the walls or the roof that made a home, it was the person or people you were with". However, most important he wanted Elizabeth permanently in his life and he also realized he had to get over his past.,

(The reviewer purchased the book)



Back of the Book

For successful New York architect Daniel Warren, designing the new Texas Cattleman's Club is an exciting challenge. And so is getting to know the delicious Elizabeth Milton. The fiery Texas heiress combines cosmopolitan chic with down-home sass—a mix impossible for a city slicker to resist.

But a carefree affair is all they can have. A stipulation in her family's will keeps Elizabeth honor-bound to stay in Royal. And this millionaire's business will soon force him to move on. Unless either dares to make the ultimate sacrifice and put love first.

Monday, October 31, 2011

November Recipe of the Month - Paula Deens and Sons Lasagna



Servings: 8-10 servings

Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 2 hours 20 min
Difficulty: Easy

1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated

12 ounces cottage cheese, mixed with 1 beaten egg and 1/2 cup Parmesan

6 to 9 Long strips lasagna noodles

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon Paula Deen’s Seasoned Salt

1 1/2 teaspoons Paula Deen’s House Seasoning

1 1/2 teaspoons Paula Deen’s Sweet Italian Herb Blend

1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped

1/2 cup green bell peppers, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 cup onions, diced

1 cup water

2 cups tomato sauce

2 cups canned, diced tomatoes

1 cup Swiss cheese, grated

2 cups cheddar, grated

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

1 cup mozzarella, grated

Directions

To make the sauce, combine the tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, onions, peppers, garlic, parsley, seasoning mixtures, sugar and bay leaves in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Crumble the ground beef in a saucepan. Cook until no pink remains, then drain off the fat. Add the ground beef to the stockpot. Simmer for another 20 minutes. While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta according to the package directions. (If sauce is too thin, for your taste, you can thicken it up at this time by mixing 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and a 1/4 of a cup of cold water. Bring sauce back to a boil. Stir in cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly.) Remove bay leaves.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To assemble lasagna, place a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch pan. Layer 1/3 of each, noodles, cottage cheese mixture, Gruyere, Swiss and cheddar cheeses. Pinch off small pieces of cream cheese and dot over other cheeses. Add another layer of sauce. Repeat layering 2 to 3 times, ending with sauce. This may be covered and refrigerated. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with mozzarella and continue to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Note: If lasagna has been refrigerated, bake for 40 minutes total.


At the moment, I'm reading Robbie Grady's, Millionaire Playboy, Maverick Heiress part of the Texas Cattleman's Club:  The Showdown series.  The hero, Daniel Warren has come to Royal to redesign exclusive men's club.  He loves Elizabeth Milton's housekeeper's cooking.  I can just imagine her making this for Daniel.

Again, Robbie has done it again!  This romance is one hot book.  However, so is the entire series.

Book Blurb:

For successful New York architect Daniel Warren, designing the new Texas Cattleman's Club is an exciting challenge. And so is getting to know the delicious Elizabeth Milton. The fiery Texas heiress combines cosmopolitan chic with down-home sass—a mix impossible for a city slicker to resist.


But a carefree affair is all they can have. A stipulation in her family's will keeps Elizabeth honor-bound to stay in Royal. And this millionaire's business will soon force him to move on. Unless either dares to make the ultimate sacrifice and put love first.




Friday, October 28, 2011

Monarch of the Sands - Sharon Kendrick


Monarch of the Sands literally took my breath away.  It was such a fantastic and romantic love story by the fabulous Sharon Kendrick.

 Zahid Al Hakam was now sheikh of his country due to the death of his uncle and cousin.  He was in England for a series of meetings.  So he stopped by to see his childhood friend Frankie O'Hara.  His father and Frankie's father had not only been close friends, her father discovered oil in his country and you can well imagine how that improved their economy.  Frankie's father was considered a hero.  However, it had been years since Zahid had seen her and when her father had died he couldn't attend the funeral, so he sent his brother.  But now the young woman standing before him was someone he didn't know, she was lovely, no, she was beautiful and she was engaged to be married.

After questioning her, he found out that her fiance, Simon had come to her home when her father had passed.  A home sat on a lot of acreage, worth a fortune.  He had even gone so far as to offer her a job.  He also found out that her fiance, Simon had told her she was drab and so Frankie had a make-over.  New clothes, hair, make-up and contacts.  The red flags went up when he was told they were selling her family home.  To learn more, Zahid insisted on taking them both to dinner.  It was a disaster, and in the end Zahid "called" Simon out, she broke off the engagement and was so emotional because now she didn't have a job.  On top of everything, Zahid didn't know how to respond to this new Frankie who had grown into a very beautiful and desirable woman because she definitely appealed to him physically.  Resisting her was going to be hard.

Frankie had loved and adored Zahid from the time she was a child.  As a teenager, she not only loved him she fantasized about him.  He affected her in ways her own fiance didn't,  It troubled her because she was so in-experienced.  Shee was also furious with Zahid because he had Simon investigated and  found out he had another woman.  She was embarrassed, no job and wanted to leave her home.  So what did Zahid do........he created a job for her and took her home to Khayarzah.  Sounded a little fishy to me, because deep down I just knew he wanted her for himself.  He had ended his affair with a Russian model so he had no one in his life at the moment......dangerous!

When they arrived in his country, all sorts of things changed.  Frankie worked on his father's diary.  Zadiq was challenged to keep his distance and she couldn't believe how archaic their customs were.   Resisting Frankie or Francesca as Zahid called her, was torture. Of course, in the end with all of the sexual tension arching between them, they entered into a very secret affair.  And then when he realized it couldn't continue and he would have to choose a proper wife and/or wives, it ended brutally.


The ending chapters were hard to read and that's because author Sharon Kendrick always builds up the emotion, in such a powerful way and then it comes crashing down.  Adding to this particular romance, due to his country and the people, they would never accept a western woman as their queen, even though her father had been their hero.  Heart broken, Frankie returned home and Zahid was miserable and in bad temper.

Monarch of the Sands was such an interesting and spectacular love story.  I couldn't see how they would get their happy ending.  So how would Sharon Kendrick tie this all up?  I'm definitely not telling, you'll just have to trust me with patience and their love, they would both make their relationship work.

Back Blurb:

An impossible love affair – with a sheikh!

Francesca is shocked when family friend Zahid Al Hakam turns up on her doorstep. After all, he’s now the Sheikh of Khayarzah – England’s surburbia is hardly his regular stomping ground! But he is as achingly gorgeous as ever…and she’s certainly tempted by his invitation to come to the desert and work for him.

Zahid finds the geeky, gauche teenager he once knew is now an understated beauty. Embarking on a secret affair is bittersweet – but, however all-consuming their passion, Zahid’s duty to his kingdom must surely come first?


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fearless Maverick - Robyn Grady


I'm so loving the Mills and Boon's Bad Blood series and in North America it's The Wolfe's.  Robyn Grady again entertained me with her Fearless Maverick.  Honestly, this author never disappoints and this incredible book was no exception.

It featured two world champions......Alex Wolfe, a man at the top of his game as a race car driver.  Or should I say an injured race car driver who needed to be physically able to participate in the next world class race.  And Libby Henderson who also achieved world class status as a top surfer, only to loose a leg in a surfing accident.  However, that didn't stop Libby, with the encouragement of family and friends, she was now a top physio therapist and was going to be working with Alex.

After meeting Alex she realized two things and the most important was she wouldn't compromise her principals to release Alex before he was ready to return to the racing circuit.  She also immediately realized he was charming, dangerous and tempting; something she couldn't afford.  When she had needed her fiance, he had bailed, so she definitely had trust issues, especially when it came to her leg.  After weeks of being with him there was a definite sexual attraction between them and being the sexy man he was, he wanted to take it all to the next level with Libby.  Then the bomb was dropped by his assistant, and he found out about her prosthesis.

The Wolfe's what can one say about them as a family?  They had all gone their separate ways and only recently some of them had reunited but not Alex.  Their father was a horrible man, a drunk, abusive and he left behind so many scars on his children.  Especially Alex's twin Annabelle and his older brother Jacob, who recently returned home to England after many years of disappearing from his siblings.  So much tragedy.

All I can say is Alex had to came to some decisions and some of them hurt Libby.  However, when he found out about her accident he was so loving and kind and their relationship took my breath away.  Due to selfishness, he pushed her away.  However, being the strong and determined woman she was, even though she hurt inside, she continued on and I admired her strength.  As for Alex, he had to come to some realizations and try to make things right with Libby.

Could he make it up to Libby?  After taking  baby steps and making amends with those who had helped him along the way, his sister, brother Jacob, and his mentor he was able to also realize he had hurt and used Libby.  However, more than anything like his older brother's, Alex realized what Libby meant to him and how much she enriched his life.  This review hasn't shown the depth of this book nor the family secrets.  Therefore, I encourage you to purchase it because you definitely won't be sorry.

Fearless Maverick was a beautifully written love story with a ton of lessons to be learned.  For me, it was Libby's strength.  When I actually read about her accident, how she forged on to make a career for herself, how she didn't feel sorry for herself and how she loved her "cocky" race car driver, that made Fearless Maverick very special for me.

Robbie talks about The Wolfe's and Fearless Mavrick at I(Heart)Presents.






Book Description:

Driven to succeed, Alex's only desire is to win, win, win—at all costs! A champion race-car driver, he lives like he drives—fast, reckless and always number one. But after a huge crash, with his racing career facing ruin, Alex must confront his biggest fear: failure.

Physio Libby Henderson is there to help him get back to fitness, and all Alex wants to do is get physical! Libby's dealt with more challenging things in life, but it's taking all of her professionalism to keep this stubborn playboy at bay!

A Moment on the Lips - Kate Hardy



Dante Romano wanted to buy her grandfather's business and socialite Carenza Tonielli wasn't having any of it!  He believed her to be a spoilt granddaughter of a man who years ago helped him but in the end, he felt he owned Gino.  Dante knew Carenza'a history; she had partied and shopped all over Europe and now she was running a company that went back five generations and he wanted to buy it.
Carenza realized the family business was in trouble and she definitely knew Dante was the man to help her.  So on " bended knee" she went to him and asked him to mentor her.  He set up a schedule, gave her instructions of things she needed to accomplish and review in the company and set up a game plan.  Let's just say they were both distracted by each other, the chemistry was definitely there and sparks flew but they were both determined not to act on the mutual physical attraction for each other.  I'm laughing because Dante couldn't keep his hands off of her.

Carenza was adorable, spunky,  wore spiked high heels and was sexy beyond belief.  She also drove Dante crazy.  He didn't want a relationship but in the end, actually looked forward to their mentor meetings and she did as well.  The more time he spent with her, the more he enjoyed and it was mutual.  He was getting ready to take his restaurants into a franchise and he didn't have time for a relationship but instead of pushing her away, he couldn't help himself and neither could she.  They both loved the sparring that always happened when they got together.

Carenza couldn't put her finger on it but she didn't trust her grandfather's "right hand man".  She couldn't go to her grandparents because her grandfather had suffered some "heart spells" and of course, she wanted to prove herself and take the business from it's downhill slide and make it successful.  Dante actually wanted to help her but told her she needed to audit everything in order to get a handle on why it was failing.  All she wanted was for people to take her seriously and respect her and make her family business a success.  Plus the fact that it didn't help that she and Dante had become involved.

In the end, Carenza got to the bottom of who was stealing from her grandparents, all on her own.  Was there hope for Dante and Carenza?  There was certainly the chemistry and passion and add into their romance   Plus the fact that Carenza took Dante to Paris for his birthday, such a romantic interlude. She was getting to close for comfort and he knew he needed to distance himself.  At that point I knew Carenza would get hurt, that was the story of her life.  Loosing her parents, the things people assumed about her, including Dante.  I held  my breath because I didn't want to see things end badly for either of them.

Kate Hardy has written such a rich and romantic category romance,  Italy, Paris, a sexy Italian with a tempting heroine.  The ending had me sitting on the edge of my seat because what Carenza discovered about the family business and who was responsible for the skimming.  Also would they get a chance at love because Dante had issues due to his childhood and could he get past it?

What a spectacular romance Moment on the Lips was thanks to the creative and accomplished author, Kate Hardy.

Back Blurb:

Dante Romano may be dark and delectable, but Carenza Tonielli will never sell him her family's ice cream empire. Only she needs him—to help her learn how to run it! And when Dante looks at her as if she's the next decadent sundae on the menu, even wary Carenza just can't resist mixing business with a bowlful of pleasure.…


Cue one red-hot fling that's blowing her mind! But, unlike Carenza, her ice-cool Italian is adept at keeping his emotions well under wraps, so she decides to turn the tables on Dante and prove that sometimes living in the moment is sinfully good for you!

Behind the Book:

Recently, Kate posted her inspiration over at I(Heart)Presents.  Here's her post.


From Kate's Blog:

Carenza's Strawberry Ice Cream

•400g strawberries (about 14 oz US)
•400g fat free Greek yogurt (same as above)
•2 tbs double cream (whipping cream)
•50g caster (fine) sugar
•1 tbs lemon juice

Put the strawberries, caster sugar and lemon juice into a blender and puree until smooth.
Add yogurt and double cream, and pulse until blended.
Pour into an ice cream maker and let the machine work for about 30 minutes.
Spoon into lidded containers and store in the freezer

Return of The Secret Heir, Rachel Bailey (The Bramson Brother's)


 
Pia Baxter had a lot riding on Warner Bramson's estate.  JT Hartley believed he was one of Warner's three son's.  His mother had once worked for Bramson.  He had come up the hard way and was now challenging his two brother's for the estate as he believed his mother was entitled to some sort of settlement for the way Warner had treated her.  Pia had a lot riding as well, since she had personally brought the case to her firm.  If she carried it off, she would make partner.  For JT it would bring satisfaction if he won because that would mean his mother would be cared for for all she had suffered at the hands of that man.  Plus for all she had sacrificed for her son.

All I could think of was how would Pia and JT  be able to forget how much they had once loved each other and how much they had lost fourteen years ago.  The pain must have been unbearable for both of them, loosing each other the way they did plus loosing their baby, Brianna.  Could there be a chance they could rekindle that romance, forgive each other and get a fresh start?  After their loss, Pia had done what her parents had wanted, she had become an attorney. giving up her dreams.  Now, if her boss found out she had a past with JT  would she would loose her partnership and possibly her job?  His other two brother's trusted her and JT had asked her not to bias them in any way.  She agreed because that was the sort of woman she was, she had integrity.

Add to the mix, that while comforting Pia, JT and Pia rekindled their passion, the ending result; she was again pregnant with his child.  Talk about a mess and how would they deal with it?  What would her boss say and how would his brother's feel about their involvement?  I couldn't imagine how she would be able to keep her job and what about her family when they found out?  Because all of those years ago, her parents had believed him to be a loser.  Now he was worth millions.  He had worked hard to get where he was today whereas Pia had given up her dreams to be a fashion designer and had become z lawyer like the rest of her family.  All of the memories came flooding back for both of them.  Both the good and the painful.  I wondered how they would survive this mess and could they forge a new relationship based on their remembered love of the past?

Stunning is the only way I could describe the sensual journey in Return of the Secret Heir. There were so many twists and turns to this romance.  In addition, a shocking and surprising ending for the Bramson men and JT.  This romance was brilliant thanks to the extremely talented Rachel Bailey and like the author, I'm sad this is the last book in the series.

Continuity:
The hero in Return of the Secret Heir, JT Hartley, is the half-brother of Ryder Bramson (At the Billionaire's Beck & Call) and Seth Kentrell (Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal).


However, although this book is linked to At The Billionaire's Beck & Call and Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal, it stands alone - you don't need to have read the other books to be able to read this one.  

The Sultan's Choice - Abby Green


The Sultan's Choice by the fabulous Abby Green was a charming and sultry romance.

The Sultan of Al-Omar had only one reason he wanted to marry Princess Samia Binte Rashad al Abbas and that was for the stability and reputation of his country.  That came first for him and he wanted a wife to enhance that.  Samia also brought respect and no scandal as she was a respected archivist from London's National Library.  Unlike his parents marriage, he wanted a wife that was stable, who would compliment him and give him heirs.

Poor darling Samia overheard a conversation with the man she was soon to be asked to marry.  A man she had met years before when she had been embarrassed at a party she attended with her brother.  Now she overheard a conversation between Sadiq and his secretary about why he wanted to marry her and it was hurtful.  However, in the end she knew she would have to go through with it because as Sadiq pointed out it would benefit both of their countries.  Plus it would also bring peace to both countries.  On top of that, she was next in line for the throne of her country Burquat should something happen to her brother, the ruler.  As the Sultan pointed out, if she married him, he would assist her in ruling.  Personally, I thought it was a lot of pressure for this princess.

His future queen charmed him and his body responded in ways he didn't understand.  Five days later while at an exclusive department store in London he realized Samia actually had a body, built for sin and secretly I thought "let the games begin" because I would tell this playboy sheikh was going to meet his match both in and out of the bedroom.  Let's just say he was also in for a surprise because he thought as a 25 year old woman she couldn't possibly be a virgin.   There were definitely sparks between this couple and I just knew in the end, Samia would make Sadiq a marvelous queen.  However while in London they embarked on different discussions concerning his past romantic liaisons and what if she couldn't give him heirs, he told her he would divorce her and remarry.

Sadiq was absolutely sure Samia would make a great queen and so did his mother.  When they were both presented at the palace, even those attending admired Samia.  It was only her who felt unsure of herself, especially  now that she had a new wardrobe and was not wearing her former "boxy" clothes.  There was also the fact that she was afraid she would please her husband.  There was also the fact that Sadiq didn't believe in love because he had seen how it had destroyed his parents.

Their first time together was the night before their wedding and she gave herself completely to this sheikh.  She was so responsive, like no other woman he had ever been with and she held nothing back.  Oh, oh, I thought would this turn out hurtful for this future queen?   Her honeymoon was like a dream and they couldn't get enough of each other.  Sadiq even went so far as to take her to a tent and an oasis in the desert.  He had never experienced anything like this with a woman.  I could see neither of them had expected this from their marriage.  So who would get hurt, I thought probably both of them.  Because Samia made Sadiq feel things he had never felt before.  As for Samia when they returned back to the palace, the honeymoon was definitely over because she started making demands to her King.  She definitely wasn't going to be a figure head Queen, she wanted to make a difference in her new country!

Weeks later, her husband met her project demands but for her she was hurting.  She realized she loved her husband and really wanted her marriage to work, she wanted to get to know him, be with him both in and out of the bedroom.   She wanted it all!  And then in a jealous rage, Sadiq said things he didn't mean and there was a huge crevice thrown up between them.

A hot romance set in the desert, with all sorts of road blocks for each of them to knock down.  An amazing Sultan and Queen with so many lessons for each of them to learn, especially about each other.  It was shear madness until his very own mother made him see the light.  In the end, this fierce Sultan came to his senses and finally realized his connection and love for his wife!  Samia's and Sadiq's love story was fascinating and  definitely extraordinary to read.

 Back Blurb:

Chosen as the Sultan's bride, Samia has no option but to go ahead with the marriage. And, as her new husband slowly peels away her bejewelled wedding finery, despite her best intentions she finds her inhibitions swept away.

Sadiq is surprised by his new bride's passionate nature! He chose her as a shy, biddable wife who will not make any demands on his time. Now he finds Samia to be anything but...Instead she's determined, demanding - and defiant!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The S Before Ex - Mira Lyn Kelly



She hadn't seen her husband in years and now here Ryan was in Italy to bring his wife, Claire home because she had served him divorce papers.  Their initial meeting was tense and the sensual tension and memories very apparent.  The S Before Ex by the talented Mira Lyn Kelly was such a sweet and romantic read.  However, there was also emotion and pain, especially remembering their shared past and marriage.

I immediately fell in love with Ryan Brady.  What man would travel the world to bring his estranged wife home in order to make sure she received an equal part of his estate, I ask you?  All because she wanted a divorce.  On top of that he was smart, sexy, handsome and very, very rich.  Did he have an agenda?  In a way I think he did especially after he secretly watched his wife and found her so happy talking with friends, so animated and secure in the person she had become..  He knew she ran a successful gallery in New York.  After they lost their son, she went back to school and then told Ryan she was not coming back.  He had let her go, because he didn't know how to help her out of the dark place she was in and in the end, it was the easy way out for him as well.  So many things had changed for both of them since their separation.

What can I say about Claire Brady?  She was beautiful inside and out, smart, a successful business woman in her own right,  and she had held secrets and thoughts about her past and her marriage to Ryan Brady.  Plus the fact that seeing him in the tabloids since she had left him hurt.  For Claire, seeing a particular actress on his arm thorough out recent years.  Now she was face to face with him, she was still attracted to him and he wanted her to come to his home in California to sort out the divorce settlement as he wanted her to be secure for the rest of her life, after they divorced.

Sparks arched between them, so much so that in the end they ended up making love.  Could they do this without getting hurt?  I couldn't imagine it, but they did and agreed that after the settlement was sorted, they would both walk away.  It was sweet and just plain lovely to read.  However, in the end I just knew they would both be hurting.  They talked about how they met, how they married, how her parents disowned her, the miscarriage of their son Andrew with honestly and integrity and at times, it was painful to read.  However, Claire was more than honest and I wondered how she ever had the courage and strength to leave her husband?  As for Ryan, it was obvious he was an honorable man, a man who adored Claire.

Did they both have secrets?  Of course they did and when their secrets were revealed, one learned to understand both their motives, especially Claire's. "You'll see for yourself all the ways in which these reunited lovers had grown and changed in the years they’ve been apart, and what those changes meant for them going forward."  When Ryan realized when she left, he had made excuses because it was easier for him and for him to walk away.  However, after being reunited and spending weeks together, seeing Claire as a strong woman now and her honestly with him, this man, this very sexy Ryan Brady in the end, realized he wanted to fight for her.  He still loved her and it was the same for Claire.  Thanks to Mira Lyn for writing  such a charming sweet and sexy category romance!

Back of the Book:

There’s one thing even the tabloid hounds haven’t managed to dig up about celebrity Ryan Brady: he is married! He may be one of America’s most desirable men, but his secret wife has just filed for divorce.

Since their separation six years ago, Claire has turned her life upside down: new business, new friends, new life. But when she sees Ryan to hash out a settlement, her body tells her one thing hasn’t changed—he’s still the only man who really does it for her. With all other guys guaranteed to be totally meh, she’s in last-chance saloon: it’s either an X-rated fling with her ex, or straight to chastitybelts.com!




Mira Lyn talks about The S Before Ex at I(Heart)Presents
 

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