Archive for the ‘A’ Category

Copyright: 2006

Pages: 206 (trade-size paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Straight Erotic Romance, Erotic Paranormal

Publisher: Avon Red

Author Website: www.KimberlyDean.com,www.LynnLaFleur.com (sorry, the Poser doll s’not not NOT sexy)

Grade: A, DNF

Unrequited Kimberly Dean

After years of secret longing for his brother’s wife, Tyler rejoices when she is set free and ripe for new love—though it may take a prolonged seduction to convince wary Trista to open herself up to pleasure once more.

Victim of Deception Lynn LaFleur

When a woman moves into an old house, she is suddenly tantalized by erotic dreams that cause her to shed her every inhibition . . . leaving her vulnerable to the very real, very irresistible ministrations of the man who’d once broken her heart.

First of all this anthology also contains a story by author Liz Maverick which I didn’t read because of it’s futuristic/sci-fi setting. Simply not my genre, sorry. I also tried to get into Lynn LaFleur’s story Victim of Deception, alas, after reading about two silly masturbating ghosts and a stupid hero who already fucked up once with the heroine and doesn’t recognize a second chance when it smacks him in the eyes, I didn’t want to spend anymore time on this author.

But BUT BUT BUT, there’s still Kimberly Dean’s jewel left, Unrequited, and the story is so absolutely fantastic that I decided to keep this anthology collection. My second ever on my keeperself right next to Sasha White’s Lush collection.

After eight months of single life Trista is more or less pushed back into the dating circuit by her well-meaning friends. Hurt by her previous marriage to a cheating never – do – well professional sportsman, Trista’s hormones are crying “hello world” while as her heart is still hurt and careful to trust again. Tyler is Trista’s ex brother in law, one of the few people who stood by her side when things went wrong with her ex-husband Danny. Trista secretly loves Ty but she’s not quite ready to give herself to him in fear of loosing his friendship all-together. Ty has been in love with Trista since his brother brought her back home years ago. When he sees her with a slimy date in a rocker bar, his self-control snaps and mission “win Trista’s heart” sets in full force.

This 100 page anthology story doesn’t contain a lot of plot, actually 80 % of Trista’s and Ty’s lovestory happens between the bedsheets, but oh my, when Kimberly Dean writes it, it’s a real treat. The best I can compare her writing style with is Lisa Marie Rice, only with a dash more appreciation for sexual adventures and with the author’s own brand of sensuality. Usually I am bored when the sex starts ten pages after the story’s beginning, but I count this author to a selective few exceptions that can sell me sex pure with little plot. It is hot, sensual and steamy and despite the story’s shortness the characters seem so wonderfully alive and realistic that I wanted them to have the whole book instead of some measly 100 pages.

Wow, I think I have to re-read this one again soon, it was simply too delicious :-)


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Copyright: 2007

Pages: 512 (hardback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Romantic Suspense

Grade: A


The first victim is found in a snow-covered Philadelphia field. Detective Vito Ciccotelli enlists the aid of archaeologist Sophie Johannsen to determine exactly what lies beneath the frozen ground. Despite years of unearthing things long buried, nothing can prepare Sophie for the matrix of graves dug with chilling precision. The victims buried there haunt her. But the empty graves terrify her-the killer isn’t done yet.


He is cold and calculating, the master of a twisted game. Even with Vito and Sophie hot on his trail, he will not stop. One more empty grave must be filled, and one last scream must be heard-the scream of an archaeologist who is too close for comfort and too near to resist…


I am always astonished about what Karen Rose comes up with next. This time she has outdone herself again. The killer is a sadistic SOB that “specializes” in medieval inquisition practices. In order to make figures and scenes of computer games more realistic and alive, he films his victims during their torture and then captures their dying moments in paint.

This time I have definitely reached the limits of my personal comfort zone. Betimes the scenes and ordeals of the victims were described so vividly that I was hugely tempted to skip those pages. I also wondered how far I am willing to go to read a Karen Rose. It’s no secret I adore her, but if her descriptions get any more graphic and horrible, I am tempted to not read her anymore.

Furthermore I always wonder about the imagination of a person and how somebody can COME UP with ideas like that. That’s definitely beyond me and one more reason why I never touch any horror movies and books.

On the other hand, the love-story between Vito and Sophie is so wonderful, romantic and deep-going that it made up for a lot in the “ick”-department. I am always amazed how sexy and deeply erotic Ms Rose’s love scenes are, even though they never cross the border to become real R-rated moments. Sophie is a marvelous heroine with a complicated and tragic past. Because of one mistake she had to fight twice as hardly to get where she is today. Vito has a more out-going personality but he, too, had suffered a great loss in the past and struggles to overcome it. Together they were simply perfect and involved me deeply and wholly in the story.

To sum it up, this book is fantastic and I am glad I read it, despite medieval torture practices and a freaked-villain that nearly made me check my cupboard for spooky ghosts.

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Series: Rose Series #1 

Copyright: 2003

Pages: 782 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Edwardian (England), Turn of Century (America)/Straight Romance

Grade: A

I am a hopeless case at summarizing book plots, that’s why I do it the easy way and start by giving you the back cover blurb (minus all the raving comments).

East London, 1888-a city apart. A place of shadow and light where thieves, whores, and dreamers mingle, where children play in the cobbled streets by day and a killer stalks at night, where bright hopes meet the darkest truths.

Here, by the whispering waters of the Thames, a bright and defiant young woman dares to dream of a life beyond tumbledown wharves, gaslit alleys, and the grim and crumbling dwellings of the poor.

Fiona Finnegan, a worker in a tea factory, hopes to own a shop one day, together with her lifelong love, Joe Bristow, a costermonger’s son. With nothing but their faith in each other to spur them on, Fiona and Joe struggle, save, and sacrifice to achieve their dreams.

But Fiona’s dreams are shattered when the actions of a dark and brutal man take from her nearly everything-and everyone-she holds dear. Fearing her own death at the dark man’s hands, she is forced to flee London for New York. There, her indomitable spirit-and the ghosts of her past-propel her rise from a modest west side shopfront to the top of Manhattan’s tea trade.

Fiona’s old ghosts do not rest quietly, however, and to silence them, she must venture back to the London of her childhood, where a deadly confrontation with her past becomes the key to her future.

I should have reviewed this book immediately after finishing it, instead of waiting until the end of the second book. I changed my opinion about it twice and eventually it was the second book that kept me from putting this one on my wishlist (to replace the library copy).

Jennifer Donnelly has an amazing writing style. Her stories are allowed to develop over years and are not pressed into fluffy 375 Avon-ized pages. What captivated me the most and was simultaneously the biggest hurdle to overcome was the realistic and drastic description of the poor’s living condition. The author did her research well, sometimes I felt myself pushed beyond what I felt able to bear. I prefer emotional draining and captivating stories to (most often) shallow romantic comedies, but I discovered that I feel very VERY reluctant reading about the inhuman living circumstances of London’s poor population.  Fortunately for me and my heart, circumstances for the love couple do change for the better :-).

Center of the story is Fiona Finnegan who grows up in a very poor but well-loved surrounding. The parents work hart to make the four children feel save and secure and even though there’s never enough money to escape the poorest part of London, Whitechapel, the Finnegans feel optimism and joy towards life.  Fiona is planning to open a store with her sweetheart Joe Bristow and together they are saving up a fortune of £ 25 to start this venture. 

Fiona’s father is involved in the union which tries to achieve better payment for the working class. When he suddenly dies, circumstances for the Finnegan family change drastically. Life spirals downward and forces the family to move to cheaper lodgings, the youngest child dies of a bad cough, the mother is murdered by Jack the Ripper and Charlie, the eldest son drowns in the river. Fiona is left alone with her baby brother Seamie and a relationship with Joe that seems to deteriorate.

Joe, in drunken stupor, impregnates his boss’s daughter and is forced to marry her. Fiona, adamant in getting some money from her father’s employer Burton Tea overhears that her father was murdered to annihilate the efforts of the union. With £ 500 she accidentally steals from Mr. Burton’s office, she flees to New York to save hers and her brother’s life. On the ship to New York she meets Nicholas Soames, a gay man who escaped his father’s imposing banking world. Nicholas is deathly ill (he has syphilis) but in Fiona he finds a friend and a wife for the next decade. With the £500 of blood money Fiona starts building up her tea emporium TasTea and prepares for the battle against her father’s murder.

The most fascinating part of this book was Donnelly’s ability to create lively, three-dimensional and authentic characters. Fiona, as she is portrayed in her development from a young adult to a grown-up woman with an acute business sense and a loyal heart stronger than Fort Nox. Joe who suffers tremendously because of his drunken slip-up and becomes a formidable self-made business man. Nicholas who is one of the most darling and friendly secondary characters I ever had the pleasure to read about. And  countless other minor characters that fill the story with love, laughter, sorrow and reality.

In some way I wished I had never read the second book of this series, The Winter Rose, because as a stand-alone, The Tea Rose offers a perfect reading time and a heart-warming story about boundless love that survives life’s cruelty’s. As a stand-alone I would have immediately reserved a place for it on my keepershelf, because of the follow-up, alas, I deleted it from my wish list.

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