Archive for the ‘B’ Category

Copyright: 2002

Running Time: 2h, 20min (2 CDs)

Setting/Type: 1920s – 1930s/Mystery

Series: Lord Peter Wimsey #1

Producer: BBC Radio 4

Author Website: www.sayers.org.uk (website of the Dorothy L Sayers Society; the design’s a wee bit weak, don’t cha think?)

Grade: B

Ian Carmichael is Lord Peter Wimsey, with Patricia Routledge as his mother, in this BBC radio 4 full-cast dramatisation. Dorothy L. Sayers’ first Lord Peter Wimsey tale introduces many of the author’s best-known characters. Wimsey’s mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver, rings her son with news of ‘such a quaint thing’. She has heard through a friend that Mr Thipps, a respectable Battersea architect, found a dead man in his bath – wearing nothing but a gold prince-nez. Lord Wimsey makes his way straight over to Mr Thipps, and a good look at the body raises a number of interesting questions. Why would such an apparantly well-groomed man have filthy black toenails, flea bites and the scent of carbolic soap lingering on his corpse? Then comes the disappearance of oil millionaire Sir Reuben Levy, last seen on the Battersea Park Road. With his beard shaved he would look very similar to the man found in the bath – but is Sir Levy really dead?

Many thanks to Rosario’s Top 100 Ballot without I would have never discovered Dorothy L Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey series. In 2002 BBC Radio 4 adapted Sayers novels into full-cast radio dramas and brought them out as affordable audio CDs. When I browsed the Glasgow libraries for editions of Sayers’s work I stumbled upon those plays and decided to give them a try.

When I first heard the voices of Lord Peter Wimsey and his butler Banter I nearly sprayed my morning coffee all over my fellow train rider sitting just opposite of me. Wonderful, simply wonderful. Lord Peter sounds like a more “Oxford English” version of Pierce Brosnan (and I love that actor) and Banter is so stiff and posh you really need to check if there’s a stick hidden in his bottom. But the crème de la crème of the cast is Lord Peter’s mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver. Nobody, but nobody can say “Oh, dear” in quite such a voice and pronunciation as she. If for nothing else, the voices alone really made my day.

But not to be left out, the mystery of the story was pretty convincing too. I am kind of an old-fashioned girl when it comes to anything remotely connected with murder. Growing up with countless times of reading (and re-reading) Agatha Christie novels, I favor murders without too much blood and gruel and nasty details involved. And I would like to have a strong motive, not just a jealous lover or a freaked-out killer … well, maybe with the exception of Karen Rose, this woman is just too good.

And all this Sayers delivered. A naked corps in the bathroom of a well-established architect (quite shoking considering the story plays in the 1920s) and NO flash pointing in the direction of the culprit. Several possible murders are established, well combined with lots of clues and brain storming on Lord Peter’s side.

All in all, it was a perfect story that accompagnied me on my way to work, was with me while I spent some money for a new winter coat (it only cost 30 pounds and I simply couldn’t resist) and finally delivered a satisfying ending when I took the train back home. :-)

#2 in the series, I cooooooooooooooome!


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Copyright: 2006

Pages: 192 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Series Romance

Grade: B

When Jason Pollack bought out Beville Holdings, he had plans for its beautiful blond receptionist. But the infamously ruthless tycoon soon discovered that his wealth and power didn’t impress Leah Johanssen. She was the first woman in a long time who didn’t want to chase him down the aisle!

Leah’s refusal of Jason’s advances made him desire her all the more. He’d make her want him; he wouldn’t rest until he had Leah in his bed and at his command!

Ever since discovering a fantastic Miranda Lee keeper in a m-bag full of goodies, I try to read some of her books once in a while. It’s rather difficult to seriously work on her backlist because it’s longer than the Chinese wall.

Forget the title of this book, it’s totally stupid and only partly right. First of all, the heroine, Leah Johanssen, is in no way anyone’s mistress, au contraire, the hero Jason Pollack even stresses that she’s his girlfriend. And there’s also nothing forbidden about the whole liaison, so why in heaven they came up with such an unsuitable title will only the schizophrenic people from the HP editing department ever know.

This was not the best Lee ever but she did create an interesting and entertaining read. Jason is a rather unconventional HP hero. Formerly married to a much older woman out of love, widower and celibate for four!!! years and without any vampy bitch in tow. He has a very decent character, without the typical prejudices towards women, heroes from this Harlequin line usually have.

Leah, compared to Jason, is a rather typical HP heroine, however, she misses some stupid TSTL traits which was really refreshing. She’s a little Miss Goody-Two-Shoes who wants to live on her own, without the support of her father’s money, who has a complex because of some scars on her thigh and spends her Saturdays doing philanthropic work at the children’s wing in a hospital. That said, the end result is still a nice person, one that is for sure a little over the top and sweet, but still likable and entertaining.

Don’t expect anything big, but for a quick read an little brain investment this might be a good choice.

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Copyright: 2006

Pages: 256 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Series Romance

Grade: B

Stubborn Irish beauty Rhiannon O’Brannoch rides into Redhawk Jackson’s life, and he knows everything is destined to change. But he has no idea just how much. As if no money, a failing business, a rash of rustling and a dead body aren’t enough, now he has to contend with the one possibility that can truly break his spirit—losing Irish Heaven ranch, the only home he’s ever known and his one heart’s desire.

One look at her uncle’s sizzlingly sensual, broody ranch foreman has Rhiannon melting in her new pink cowboy boots, but Hawk only wants one thing from her…well, okay, two things… to get her off the ranch as soon as possible, and to get her into his bed. Will she insist on keeping her uncle’s legacy for herself, or will she succumb to temptation and give up everything for love?

I discovered Nina Bruhns years ago when I first read one of her erotic romance titles she wrote under the pen name Nikita Black. Totally loving it, I became curious about her category novels and hit jackpot. So far I have only read three of her series stories but each one of them delivered a solid story, good characterization and diverting entertainment. So when I checked the library catalogue and found several of her books I immediately put them on my reading list.

Hard Case Cowboy has a plot premise that is not one of my favorites. A big and integral part of the story is about the hero and heroine’s money problemes and how they struggle to save the ranch one of them is going to inherit. I try to avoid money issues, especially when both characters are concerned, but in case of Bruhns I made an exception, and thank heaven for that!

Rhiannon O’Brannoch is a refreshingly untypical category heroine. 32 and experienced in the ways of the world, she’s missing the purple prose many average females are forcefully “gifted” with. Despite money problems she never looses her joy for life. Her whole being instantly involved me in the story and made me feel comfortable and welcome.

Redhawk Jackson is a harder nut to crack. Too many times life has disappointed him and made him wary towards bubbly Rhiannon. Nevertheless, he is barely able to resist her charms. His quiet but sensual attitude conquers Rhiannon very fast, but it takes some time until he discovers his long lost thought heart.

This was an all around satisfying read and earns a solid B. There are five or six more books from Bruhns in my library and I am really looking forward to reading them… all of them!

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Copyright: 2007

Pages: 320 (trade-size paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Straight Erotic Romance, D/s

Grade: B

Three sexy city girls from Seattle are enjoying a night out at a chic coffee house in downtown Missoula, Montana, the heart of the old West. When a gang of cowboys mosey in looking for trouble, they find trouble of the best kind… and these boys are primed and ready to ride. There’s Gabe, the hard-bodied rancher with a wicked imagination. Chet, the rodeo cowboy who’s charmed the pants off more than a few country girls and vows to remain a bachelor for life. And Reuben, the former Army ranger with a taste for edgy sexual games. As the couples embark on a scorching night of passion and play, they experience the most exquisite pleasure—and discover kinky new thrills they never dared to imagine. Because when it comes to knocking boots, cowboys do it best…

This book by Charlene Teglia found its way onto my wishlist thanks to a review from the fantastic Dear Author blog. I wouldn’t give it keeper status, but after a long absence of any erotic romance in my reading habit, it proved to be a great book to return to the steamier side of romance.

The three person anthology plays in a contemporary Western setting in Montana. Now I have to say, I do love myself a good Western setting, be it contemporary or historical :-) … a very good start!

In the first story, A Man’s Word His Bondage, we have Gabe Wilson lusting after Willow Daniels. Willow wants to be a writer of fiction novels. She’s already an established poet but would like to advance her writing, and, in the long run with it her income and lifestyle. When Gabe sees Willow, he’s sure she’s the woman for him and does his best to convince her during their night together.

Ready to Play is the story about Jolie McIntyre and Chet Andrews. Before going back to an exhausting job, Jolie is looking for one summer of fun and relaxation and some man candy in the form of Chet is the icing on the cake. Chet knows he wants more from Jolie than a short time of torrid nights and therefore tries to capture her heart as she did his.

And last but not least, in Reuben’s Rules, enigmatic and mysterious Reuben has decided that Lemon Espresso Coffee-shop owner Laura Jamison is the right woman to become his submissive. After a horrible past, Laura has started a new live in Montana. When she gets a chance to act out some of her submissive fantasies with Reuben, she doesn’t count on a master who plays for keeps.

My one only real complaint with this anthology is that there was too much sex and too little plot. I know, I know, it’s erotic romance, it’s supposed to be steaming on every page until the paper goes up in flames. For I haven’t read any erotica/erotic romance in a long time because of this fact, I kind of felt a little under-entertained after the umpteenth love scene. All the more pity, for the love scenes are exceptionally well done and highly erotic. Especially where the first story is concerned I needed to rein in my incredulity, because our hero, Chet, puts a Duracell bunny on Viagra to shame. The third story does have an overall D/s theme, but it’s certainly the softest, downiest and most harmless D/s story I ever came upon but not less erotic for that reason. So anybody who would cry BDSM … MEEE = NOOO, can put his mind to rest.

I did like the characters, all six of them. The heroes belong to those romantic species of men who want to conquer and capture their women for eternity, come hell or high water. And which girl doesn’t want to sigh and dream from time to time about such men and be romanticized by a bunch of good looking hunks in cowboy boots, with English literature on their lips and wicked toys in their bedside drawer? The heroines, too, are some lovely ladies with a sure combination of heart and brain . Self-reliant, strong and with a confident mind to take what they want. I especially liked Laura from the 3rd story. Despite the shortness of the novella her past was vividly portrayed and consequently the reasons why she started a new life with a new job.

I already went over to Ms Teglia’s website and YES, it’s updated and full of information about her upcoming novels. Inexplicably a nice fairy put them on my wishlist ;-) and thanks again for this entertaining and sexy read!

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Copyright: 2007

Pages: 256 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Series Romance

Grade: B

She like the perfect lady!

As far as New York City attorney Cody Shea could see, Sara Wells was a model temp. She had brains and beauty–in fact, if he hadn’t been her boss, there were a few highly improper things he would have asked the very proper Southern belle to do….

Living in Manhattan under an assumed name for a year was Sara’s brief flirtation with freedom. Now back in her natural habitat, she’s prepared to marry a gentleman whose pedigree and fortune match her own. She’s even accepted that she’ll probably spend a lifetime fantasizing about the exquisite pleasure of being a tigress in her boss’s bed. Imagine if he only knew!

Well, Cody is about to find out. His trip to Atlanta to seduce her causes bedlam as Sara tries to keep her faux identity and her lustful feelings intact…. And fails!

I don’t really want to review If Only He Knew… on this blog because I already did an editorial review about it. To sum it up, I probably will never read a Blaze novel for pleasure again because I will forever associate this line with payed work but Debbi Rawlins is a good author I would definitely recommend to someone who wants to try out this line. Instead of silly mix-ups and big misunderstandings the h/h act reasonably and grown-up. I LOVE THAT! :-)

As an aside, the homepage could really need a re-design.

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Copyright: 2007

Pages: 320 (hardback edition)

Setting/Type: Victorian/Straight Romance

Grade: B

The first kiss occurred in a dimly-lit hallway on the upper floor of Elwin Hastings’s grand house. Louisa never saw it coming… Of course, Anthony Stalbridge couldn’t possibly have had romantic intentions. The kiss was an act of desperation, meant to distract the armed guard about to catch the pair in a place they did not belong. After all, Louisa Bryce was no man’s idea of an alluring female in her dull maroon gown and gold-rimmed spectacles. The only thing the two interlopers have in common is a passionate interest in the private affairs of Mr. Hastings – a prominent member of Society whom they both suspect of hiding terrible secrets. Now, thrown together by their ruse, Anthony and Louisa are united in their efforts to find the truth. Each has a reason for the quest. Anthony’s fiancee was said to have thrown herself into the Thames – but Anthony has his own suspicions. Louisa – whose own identity is shrouded in layers of mystery – is convinced Hastings has a connection to a notorious brothel. But bringing Hastings to justice will be more perilous than they anticipate – and their partnership will be more heated than either expects. For it is not only Anthony’s curiosity that Louisa arouses, and the two share something else: a thrilling attraction to danger…

Except for the name of the heroine which is rather conventional compared to other books books of this author, The River Knows promises solid, good and old-fashioned Quick entertainment. Louisa has found her niche in a time where most women could choose between a job in a factory, needle- and housework, working as a governess or joining the amoral world of the red light district. Her will to survive and not becoming a victim of a deranged “gentleman”made her hide in plain sight as a companion to an eccentric, modern thinking older woman. Secretly, she also found a secondary job as reporter for a sensational gossip magazine where she exposes vile machinations from well-known members of the haute ton. Anthony, too, is a typical Quinn hero. Hurt in the past, decent to the bone, good-looking and sensitive, he instantly discovers that there’s more to plain and boring looking Louisa.

The suspense plot of the story delivers nothing new, but frankly, I didn’t care. I was so happy to have a new Quick book with no paranormal elements in my hands that I gobbled it up in one evening flat. Either you like Quick’s style or you don’t, there’s not much space for anything in between. The dialog is witty, the characters grew on me, the love between them is convincing and the ending gives justice to everyone good or bad. So if you are looking for a comfortable read, but nothing too exciting, have a look at this one.

By the way, isn’t the cover of the British hardcover version gorgeous?

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SORRY about the long break between posts. My laptop cable broke and between school and leisure activities I didn’t find much time to go to the Internet cafe. I am trying to catch up in the coming days, but it may take some time until I review every book I read in the meantime.  

Copyright: 2003

Pages: 384 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Straight Romance

Grade: B

Lanie is happy to be free of the macho, misogynistic chief of police in Majestic, Colorado, and to finally have a deputy job in which she can use her police skills rather than being a glorified meter maid, but she is sad to be leaving her hometown and her mother. But right before her going away party, Lanie learns that her new job has been postponed, and that’s only the first disaster of the night. She insults her replacement, Paul Cabrera; then her stereo is stolen; and she breaks her leg pursuing the thief. Paul comes to her rescue, and the two manage to achieve a peaceful co-existence. A former Miami police officer, Paul has come to Majestic to revive his love of police work, not expecting to get involved with the woman he is replacing. Now Lanie is stuck living at home without a job and fighting her attraction to the new hunk in town in this delightful romance filled with small-town follies.

What a wonderful, perfect read. I praise the day I discovered Stef Ann Holm. Thanks AAR for writing such great and tempting reviews about her books. Undressed was Holm’s first contemporary after a long and successful career of writing historicals.

Undressed is a true, old-fashioned contemporary novel. No paranormal elements and the minor (very MINOR) suspense plot has a plausible reason for being there because of the heroine’s profession. Lanie is a policewoman and loves her work. She wants to free herself from her overprotective boss who prevents her to find complete fulfillment in her job.

The book has a rather slow pace and focuses mainly on the relationship development between Lanie and Paul. They have time to grow and discover each other before they advance their relationship. Lanie is a wonderful heroine. Full of wit, a warm heart and a good-natured disposition. I genuinely was happy for her finding such a fabulous, gorgeous and special man in Paul. Even though Paul may first appear as the stereotypical cop with a burn-out syndrome, he is everything but. Sensitive, unobtrusive and a heart as big as Great Britain, he portrays a carefully drawn and special hero in a sea of run of the mill alphas.

I would also like to mention the adorable second love story in the book between Lanie’s widowed mom and Lanie’s former police chef Dutch (yes, the over-protective one). Everybody who loves SEP’s second romances should grab this book and devour it, it’s definitely a superb recommendation for fans of this author.

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