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Archive for the ‘new to me author’ Category

Copyright: 2004

Pages: 299 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Americana/Straight Romance

Publisher: Mills & Boon Historical Romance

Author Website: didn’t find anything, what a shame

Grade: B-

North Carolina, 1884: Caleb Pitt, solitary lighthouse keeper, once believed love was eternal as the sea, for Alanna Patterson promised him for ever. But, despite her vow, she left him to drown in disgrace. now, years later, she’s reappeared in his life, beautiful as ever … and just as seductive.

The passion Alanna shared with Caleb has always burned in her memory, and now, faced with marrying another, she has returned to discover if Caleb still holds any smouldering feelings for her. Is it time to put tragedy behind them and find lasting love?

When I discovered that the libraries here in Glasgow are literally stuffed with all kinds of Mills & Boon goodies I mobilized my email buddies and asked for good historical recommendations. The Lightkeeper’s Woman was the first one in this mini-project.

Forget the blurb, it’s simply stupid, especially the second part.  …and now, faced with marrying another, she has returned to discover if Caleb still holds any smouldering feelings for her. GAG GAG, BLEARGH. Blurbs like that are a sure reason for me not to touch such books, thankfully there are people out there who are more resistant than yours truly.
First of all, big HUGE brownie points for the setting and the hero’s occupation. A lightkeeper *sigh*, I know in reality a lightkeeper’s job is far from romantic as part of the story reveals all too clearly, but oh my, all my girly hormones are melting in delight :-)

If it was for the hero and the plot idea I would have given the story a straight A, but Alanna, a heroine that sometimes flirts too much with not being likable, made me mark this book as B-. The reasons why I didn’t feel too close with her are totally subjective, and in some points – I admit – rather silly. I guess for many other readers this story could still be a real jackpot book.

First of all, I have bad connotations with the name Alanna. Who ever invented it is not my favorite pal. Secondly, Alanna used to be a spoiled woman who could spend whole days pouting because of some fashion issues. I have come upon a number of heroines who cleaned up nicely after such an idle past , Alanna only convinced me partly. Mainly, I think because her behaviour turned into (sometimes) such saint and angelic dimensions that I could only blink in incredulity.

Admittedly in the two years she separated from the hero, lost her father to suicide and all her worldly possessions to creditors she changed a lot, but a healthy dose of egoism and consideration for herself would have made her more believable.

Still, Mary Burton is a delightful new discovery and I will definitely read more from her work. Hopefully she has some other books with an interesting setting like this one!

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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: 2004

Pages: 302 (trade-size paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Straight Erotic Romance

Publisher: Signet

Author Website: www.LuAnnMcLane.com (ermm, the book pages leave a lot to be desired, a link to Amazon simply isn’t enough)

Grade: C

Stories of America’s other favorite pastime… (wink wink, nudge nudge, COUGH) <- this comment was added by yours truly, simply couldn’t resist.

It’s “Sex and the Small Town” in three fun and flirty stories… You’ll find both down-home dreams and big-time passion in Sander’s City. The town’s love affair with baseball sparks some scorching affairs off the field. And the men are fair game…

It’s “Sex and the Small Town” in three fun and flirty stories… You’ll find both down-home dreams and big-time passion in Sander’s City. The town’s love affair with baseball sparks some scorching affairs off the field. And the men are fair game…

In “Hot August Night,” Erin O’Shea is a high school principal with sports on her mind. The school’s lack of a baseball coach coincides with her lack of a man. Luckily, bad-boy former pro Michael Manning is ready and willing to fill both positions.

“Heat Wave” finds Josey Cooper, a recently divorced drama teacher, rounding the bases with Chase Mitchell, the sexy manager of the Sander’s City Flyers who is playing for keeps…

Skin-tight pants are hard to resist – especially when they’re on a starting pitcher. In “Hotshot,” sensible schoolteacher Halley Forrester finds herself loosening up with Reese Taylor, who’s an all-star in more ways than one…

I have finished a book, wouldn’t you believe it – YEAH – and it was for pleasure, not for money. Albeit, the money is fantastic, so I won’t bemoan it *g*. In the end, the pleasure part wasn’t that great, even though the book contained three stories about “America’s other favorite pasttime”. It took me two weeks to arrive at the last page, because – surprise, surprise – the stories were rather underwhelming, and after a chapter I felt my brain cells shrinking back into the farthest part of my thinking organ.

To be fair, I am a picky erotic romance reader, and these days, after years of reading in the genre, it takes more than an average good story. And good, the story is, in a way. We have three heroines that don’t suffer from TSTL (a big plus, IMO), three sexy men, a lot of America’s other favorite pasttime, and ….. plots so thin it made me nearly weep.

I think, I either need a very good plot combined with great characters and/or hot sex scenes (the big ideal), or, if one of those points isn’t perfect, at least one part that is outstanding and extraordinarily convincing. Like i.e. a hot story, with no plot and not overly developed characters, but mind-blowing sex scenes. I have come upon such books once in a while, but they are rare. In case of Hot Night pretty much everything is average, so when the h/h finally jump into bed with each other, it’s just another anticlimax instead of a conclusion to lots of sexual tension.

I would love for erotic romance writers to take more time developing their characters. To see them grow on each other and for me as a reader to consequently feel the buildup of passion and tension between the h/h.

Well, I’ll keep on wishing … that’s surely no sin. I have another book of this author on my TBR pile, perhaps this one will be more convincing.

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Copyright: 2003

Pages: 320 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Americana/Straight Romance

Publisher: St. Martin’s

Series:Grayson Brothers #2

Grade: C

When Kyle Grayson accused his competitor Tom Drake of treachery, he never imagined the man would die in his arms. Wracked with guilt, Kyle marries Tom’s daughter Amelia and vows to resurrect her father’s lumberyard. Though hard and cynical when it comes to love, he is all too aware of his desire for his beautiful wife-sensing her secret longing for his touch, her fear of his passion…and the unspoken secrets weighing down on their marriage.

I wouldn’t have finished this book, hadn’t I been sitting in a train without anything else to read. Nothing’s worse than not having anything to read on a long train ride, that’s why I stumbled through this story about Kyle and Amelia.

I put The Longing on my wishlist thanks to a review over at AAR and its (nowadays) unusual setting. I have a weakness for Americanas, so I am always eager to find out about new authors in this genre and hidden treasures.

To be fair, I do understand what makes this book so special to some readers. Wendy Lindstrom possesses a fine craftsmanship and ability to create characters and describe their lives. For me, it probably was an “it’s not you, it’s me” book.

From the beginning, Amelia, the heroine is put into a situation that makes her utterly dislikable to me, even though I DO (kind of) understand her acting and reasoning. Amelia is a school teacher and restricted to the severest rules of deportment. When Kyle calls on her to tell her about her father’s death, they are discovered and Amelia consequently tricks Kyle into marrying her by telling their “unwanted” visitors about his supposed proposal. Amelia has been ruined in the past and the only future she envisions for herself is a restricted life as school teacher. She desperately wants to marry and be a wife, and, in a way, Kyle’s visit seems to be her last chance.

Since his father’s death Kyle has been responsible for his brothers and mother, and to keep a roof over his beloved ones with a struggling family business. He has denied himself to go to university and now again kind of sacrifices himself in order to protect Amelia. Because he feels guilty and responsible for her father’s death he sooner or later would have offered for Amelia voluntarily, this way, however, the marriage is just another burden to his life.

This is just the description of the very beginning of the story. While it continues, many more facets of guilt come into play and just made me gnashing my teeth.

I know Amelia is in a horrible situation, especially considering a woman’s position in society in the late 1900s. Yet nevertheless, her acting made me dislike her immensely. Kyle was all in all a much more agreeable character, but after a while he got martyrdom qualities and I just couldn’t put up with him anymore.

There’s definitely too much guilt in this story and concerning my reading future I don’t feel very tempted to try Lindstrom’s writing out again.

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Copyright: 2000

Pages: 219 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Series Romance

Publisher: Harlequin Mills & Boon Sexy Sensation

Grade: B+

When Hallie Bennett was growing up, she wanted to be an archaeologist, a trapeze artist, or possibly even a fairy. Never in her wildest nightmares did she think she’d end up working in a tiny shoe store in London. But it’s only temporary, right?

Software developer, Nick Cooper, is about to close a deal with a wealthy Hong Kong software distributor. But there’s a catch. He invented a wife to ward off the businessman’s amorous daughter and now he and his wife are invited to Hong Kong to socialise and seal the deal. He needs a wife for a week. Someone savvy enough to keep the businessman’s daughter out of his bed, persuasive enough to pull off the pretence, and screwy enough to do it.

But first he has to buy his mother a new pair of shoes…

Oh my, what a fabulous category romance. Where has this author hidden until now? And it’s even a Harlequin Presents edition in America! After some big disappointments I can’t believe that I have found a book in this line that features such a witty and grown- up heroine and a hero that doesn’t have an Oedipus/anal-related Freud mother complex.

After countless of HPs, this on was the first one that made me laugh out loud and gave the corners of my mouth a serious workout! The witty dialogues between Halli and Nick are priceless. Hilariously funny and with a fresh voice, the author turns a not-so-new plot into a real treasure.

I discovered that Kelly Hunter is a fairly new author with only three releases so far (which I have immediately put on my wishlist). This was a real treat, thank you, and earns a solid B+!

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Copyright: 2000

Pages: 305 (trade-size paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Chick Lit

Series: Shopaholic #1

Grade: D-

On the face of it, Rebecca Bloomwood has it all. Confident, single and happily living in des-res Fulham with her best friend Suze, she’s a financial journalist who spends her days writing articles advising other people on the importance of budgeting and prudent investing. Her private life is a different story though; Rebecca manages her own finances in a way that would make most of her readers’ hair curl–for Rebecca is a woman on a mission–she just can’t stop spending.

This, ladies and gentleman, is a seriously dumb book with a brain-dead heroine and a listing of endless escapades about how to spend big money on useless stuff. The heroine, Rebecca Bloomwood, is a 25 year old financial journalist; though how she ever got her job in this branch boggles my mind because there isn’t a person more unsuitable. Problably won it playing Lotto.

The whole book is about how Rebecca tries to save money, doing so by applying the only two obvious options as in a) cutting back and b) making more money. The first one turns out a total disaster, the second one takes off better – but only thanks to Fortuna who probably couldn’t stand the sight of this addlebrained female anymore.

You would think that Rebecca would grow towards the ending of the book, advance in her being and progress at least a little in her quest. Forget it. She’s a blind squirrel that has found a nut and milks it for all that it’s worth.

As a reader I breatheda sigh of relief after the last page because, honestly, never have I met such an unlikable I narrator than shopping addicted Rebecca Bloomwood.

Well, definitely no more Shopaholic books for me, this one was more than enough to rest me a lifetime.

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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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