Monthly Archives: October 2013

Review: Tempted by Lori Foster

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3Stars

When time is limited and reading an entire novel is out of the question, picking up an anthology is a great route to choose. Lori Foster has written a lot of books and has participated in many anthologies. “Tempted” is the collection of Lori Foster’s Sawyers family stories and a reissue of an earlier trade paperback version released in 2005.

In the first story, “Little Miss Innocent?” is about conservative Dr. Daniel Sawyers and brazen sex therapist Lace McGee. It’s a story where opposites attract, assumptions are wrong and characters discover that they cannot fight the feelings bubbling to the surface. Thought Daniel and Lace are two very different people, Foster is able to make their relationship feel plausible and emotional.

“Annie, Get Your Guy” features Daniel’s kid sister Annie is love with his best friend Guy Donovan. Annie has been in love with Guy for years, but his seeming indifference to her advance has caused her to use more drastic seduction techniques. Foster is able to show by using dialogue and flashbacks to show the reader that Guy loves Annie as well without it seeming like a huge revelation.

The final novella is about Maddie Montgomery, a counselor whose fiancé cheated on her. Needing a no-strings attached fling, town lothario Max Sawyers seems like the perfect candidate. Unfortunately, after adopting a dog, Max is looking to settle down. This story is the least successful of the three. Throughout the events of their tale, it seemed that Maddie was more in love with Max’s dog than she was with him. Thus, with the rapport of the human character less believable than that between the dog and the humans, Foster has created a story that is less appealing than its predecessors.

If you are new to Lori Foster “Tempted” may not be the best book to start off with. It has its charms and fun characters, but ultimately some of the story elements fell a bit flat. Gorgeous new cover though.

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Filed under Anthology, Contemporary, Harlequin, Review, Romance Novel

Review: Highlander in Her Bed by Allie MacKay

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1Star

Highlander in Her Bed” is one of those books that doesn’t leave a reader satisfied. Even when Mara cried, “Don’t stop,” I wished it would.

In present day London Mara McDougall, a self-employed tour guide from Philadelphia, needs a breather from the ghost tour group she’s been leading around. Slipping into an antique store, Mara spots a beautiful medieval, four-poster bed which she buys after suddenly inheriting an old highland castle and a fortune.

What she doesn’t know is that her new bed is haunted by the ghost of Sir Alexander Douglas — a Scottish knight who was murdered by Mara’s ancestor, Colin MacDougall, 700 years ago. He has vowed that no one from her family will have a peaceful night in his bed. But when Alex and Mara meet it’s lust at first sight.

MacKay can write well, but seems to slip into gimmicky phrases. The most abundant being “Hottie Scottie” which, at one point, appears four times on a single page. Alex is Scottish and he’s very handsome. We get it!

The major flaw is the novel’s utter lack of romance. The lead characters are too preoccupied with physical lust to really learn anything about one another other than basic of personality traits. The chemistry between Alex and Mara boils down to nothing more than “Hey you’re hot, let’s do it.” Their love is unrealistic because it doesn’t seem rooted in anything but lust.

Thankfully, MacKay’s book isn’t all “Hottie Scottie” and Mara. The novel boasts a delightful cast of supporting characters ranging from the disgruntled, old castle caretaker, Murdoch, to Alex’s best friend, a perpetually horny ghost called Hardwick (pun intended). Their quirkiness adds to the color of the Scottish highlands as well as the humor of human interactions. Sadly, the supporting characters are highly underused. They act as quick flashes of delight that are gone before you know it.

“Highlander in Her Bed” is a one night stand that fizzles out before the night is through and leaves you wondering why you agreed to it in the first place.

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Filed under Ghost, Paranormal, Review, Romance Novel, Signet

Review: Knight of Pleasure by Margaret Mallory

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4Stars

Whenever you read a good book, there is usually a background character who you want more of. In “Knight of Desire” that character is William’s half-brother, Sir Stephen Carleton. About twelve years have passed since the happy conclusion of William and Catherine’s romance. Stephen is now a young man, serving his king in the war to reclaim Normandy.

Stephen is a charming wastrel. He is a fierce and skilled knight, he tends to drink and wench a bit overmuch. The first time the reader meets him, Stephen is waking up with a hangover in a married woman’s bed. Not exactly a hero we want to fall in love with. Then he meets Lady Isobel Hume, a widow who has been summoned by King Henry V (Prince Harry from “Knight of Desire”) to marry a Frenchman.

Left without a choice headstrong Isobel arrives in Caen to meet her betrothed. Her outlook is bleak with the thought of seeing her brother again being the only beacon happiness she has to look forward to. Then she lays eyes on Stephen Carleton. He’s a seducer and all the women fawn over him.

Through the course of events, they spend more and more time with each other. Attractions grow, but they try to resist and avoid giving into temptation, but it is fruitless. There is a comfort they find in each other’s presence that cannot be forgotten no matter the distance they and others put between them.

Stephen and Isobel are dynamic characters that you grow to like and even love as a couple. It is Mallory’s excellent pacing in their story that really make’s the progression of love believable causing the reader to not see it as fiction, but how real love can grow and develop over time.

The real scene stealer of novel is little Linnet. When Stephen finds her and her brother, she does her best to steal your heart as she helps Isobel and Stephen find love. Luckily for us, the third and final book in Margaret Mallory’s trilogy features her love story with Jamie Rayburn.

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Filed under Forever (Grand Central), Medieval, Review, Romance Novel

Review: Knight of Desire by Margaret Mallory

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4Stars

Picking up a book by an unknown author is always a crap shoot. With the economy as it is, seven dollars is a lot of money to gamble with, but after reading the back of “Knight of Desire” byMargaret Mallory, I was willing to take the chance.

“Knight of Desire” begins with a woman in a difficult position. After turning in her husband for treason, Lady Catherine Rayburn must now decide between imprisonment in the Tower of London or marriage to William FitzAlan, who looks handsome despite the mass amounts of blood (some of which belonged to her now dead husband) covering his surcoat. Catherine chooses marriage.

At its core, Mallory’s debut novel is about trust and its integral part in love. Catherine is not only forced to trust William with her wellbeing and those of her people, but that of her young son, Jamie. With no other choices, Mallory is able to illustrate Catherine’s desperation with her situation and the limitations of her sex in medieval England. It is when she is trapped that her true inner strength as a person shines through. She becomes the woman William has been dreaming of for five years.

When they were young William and Catherine shared a special moment with each other. One that William hasn’t been able to forget. Upon meeting her again he is gobsmacked. He recognizes her in an instant. William has kept that midnight kiss in his heart during years of warring, but now that the king has forced them to wed, how can he trust a woman who spied on her husband and then betrayed him?

Though not the only conflict in the novel, trust plays a central role in all conflicts. It is a time of war for England and you never knew who to fully trust. Mallory expertly uses that time of turmoil to frame her romance beautifully.

The greatest compliment I can give “Knight of Desire” is this: Before I finished this novel I bought the sequel, “Knight of Pleasure.” And as I write this review, I’ve already finished it and going out to buy the third one soon.

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Filed under Forever (Grand Central), Medieval, Publisher, Review, Romance Novel

Review: Geek Love by Mechele Armstrong

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2Stars

Geek Love” reads like a nerdy pop culture encyclopedia.

It is the story about Joel and Sam who are online gaming buddies. Now, after becoming best friends online, Sam is ready to meet Joel in person and reveal that she is a woman. It is an interesting story and a situation that is possible with advent and popularity on gaming anonymously online. Plus, it would appeal to poorly represented demographic—the geek.

Unfortunately, Mechele Armstrong forces the geeky factor into the story without any subtlety. The mention of anything that has to do with geek culture is followed by a sentence—or three—explaining it. Thus destroying any momentum the prose tries to build.

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Filed under Contemporary, Liquid SilverBooks, Review, Romance Novel