donderdag 28 februari 2013

Kate Collins – Snipped in the Bud

The fourth book in the Flower Shop Mystery series, published May 2, 2006.
Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: cute

Snipped in the Bud

When I swapped the thorny problems of law school for the budding business of my flower shop, Bloomers, I vowed that I, Abby Knight, wouldn’t be caught dead visiting that hateful campus ever again. But sometimes a girl’s got to face down her dragons…
Plant of Attack.
Someone orders a black rose for Abby’s old law school nemesis, Professor “Snapdragon” Puffer. But her plans for a speedy delivery are foiled when he catches her putting the bloom on his desk and sends it straight into the trash. Abby flees in terror, only to run smack into Carson Reed, the professor who recently had her arrested at an animal rights protest. After a biting exchange, Abby storms out of the building. But if there’s anything she can’t stand, it’s injustice and bullies. So, even though she knows bad luck comes in threes, she ignores the advice of her sometimes boyfriend, hunk-a-licious Marco Salvare, and heads back in to retrieve her dignity and her flower – only to find the rose now decorating a dead professor, and herself the prime suspect…

When Abby is to deliver a rose to her law school nemesis, the professor who loathed her on sight, keeps calling her Betty Boop, and even threw his famous silver pencil at her, leaving a scar, she leaves with weak knees. Almost running over said professor in the parking lot does not do a lot of good to her nerves either. But when he catches her in his office, delivering the flower (one of her best deep purple –neer black- roses in a very pretty vase) he refuses to pay for the order, and throws the flower in the trashcan. Abby flees his office, and runs into another professor she despises. Carson Reed works as a legal advisor for Dermacol, a factory that uses live test animals to test make up and other beauty products in a very brutal way. And we are not talking rats and mice, but cats and dogs and bunnies and monkeys. Abby was part of a protest a few weeks ago, and Carson Reed had her arrested. A big picture of her being led away in handcuffs graced the frontpage of the local newspaper.
Back in her car, she needs to compose herself before she drives back to Bloomers. But suddenly angry at herself for being such a coward, she is determined to go back inside and get her flower back. She calls Marco for moral support, and though the tries to talk her out of it, she just has to do it. And boy, does she wish she had not! What she finds in Puffer’s office is Professor Reed in Puffer’s chair, with Puffer’s famous pencil stuck in his head, dead as can be. When she screams for help, one of the students is coming from the computer lab. They call the police, but what Abby never would have thought possible, happens. She is their prime suspect! Motive, means and opportunity. She was angry, she caught him alone, and she killed him! Even her fingerprints are on the murder weapon. How is she getting out of this mess?

The local media is painting her as the murderer, a militant animal rights activist. But all that airtime sure is good for Bloomers! The shop has never been so busy in years. But Abby is hounded by journalists all the time, especially one Connor Mackay, who has written that first nasty piece about her. And because Puffer keeps pointing the finger at her. Thanks to her cousin Jillian, who is finally moving out of their apartment, Abby gets some haute couture outfits that disguise her, so she can move around town, figuring out who the real killer is. And in the mean time, find out who is petnapping beloved dogs and cats around the town.

I have to admit, Abby is growing on me. I liked how she stood up for herself, and keep arguing against Dermacol. It is very hard for her to believe she is the prime suspect in a murder case, and people have gone to prison on a lot less evidence that there is against her. There are plenty of people with a good reason to want Carson Reed dead, but how to find the right one?
The relationship between Abby and Marco is going slow and steady, and I like that. Their kisses sure steam up the room! So please, please don’t make this some corny love triangle with Connor as the third corner! I don’t want to believe that Abby is so superficial.
Less family time for Abby, and I really did not mind that. Her mother is very annoying, and she has totally no bond with her older brothers and sisters-in-law.

The mystery was good, I did not guess who the killer was for a long time. The pet mystery was easy to crack though.

7 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 27 februari 2013

Nora Roberts – Entranced

The second book in the Donovan Legacy series, published in 1992.
Genre: paranormal contemporary romance
Cover: nice one, my book has the small picture as a cover, but more in blue/green than red


A missing child. A desperate mother. A private investigator running out of time. Mel Sutherland didn’t need the help of a fraudulent psychic to find the abducted baby – and she wasn’t about to let a con artist exploit a grieving mother’s vulnerability.
Then all the leads dried up.
Reluctantly, Mel had to accept Sebastian Donovan’s aid. She was cynical about his powers and suspicious of his motives. But as the clock ticked, Sebastian unfailingly knew how to follow the abductor’s tracks and Mel had to make up her mind. Was Sebastian’s gift real? Or was something far more sinister at work?

Mel is happy with her own little home in Monterey, and her independent job. She grew up with a mother who moved every few months to a new place, never putting down roots, never getting the chance to make friends. But now she is putting down roots, and she has even made some friends. Friends who really need her professional help as a private investigator. A few weeks ago, their little baby boy was stolen from their own backyard, when Rose just went inside for a minute. They are devastated, and so is Mel. She loves little David, and has vowed to get him back.
Rose is determined to use even something as nebulous as a psychic to get her son back, and no one can talk that idea out of her head. And so Mel has agreed to accompany her to meet with Sebastian Donovan, and ask him for his help.
Sebastian knows they are coming, and doesn’t want to take the case. He just came home from a few gruelling weeks in Chicago, and he needs to wind down, relax, and recharge. But he is a truly powerful seer, and he knows fate is about to interfere in his life. If he lets it. He is intrigued by the stubborn Mel, who insults him and his powers in his face. He just can’t resist a mother’s plea, and accepts the case. And so that night, after some time spend with his horses, and a nice glass of wine, he reaches out to little David, to find out what has happened to him. He can reassure Rose that David is still alive, and well taken care of. He has seen who has taken the boy, and he knows the room David is in now. With some of the clues Sebastian is able to provide, Mel takes the investigation up again. They soon find out the identity of the first kidnapper, who was just a desperate man owing money to dangerous people. But there is more behind this kidnapping, this smells of a professional organization, who provide babies when they have a customer. Usually some rich folks who don’t want to wait years going through the official adoption agencies.
Their first goal, is to get David back, and with the help of the FBI they do just that. But their next goal will be to bring down this ring of villains, and prevent other parents to go through the grief that Rose and Stan had to go through.

In the meanwhile, Mel and Sebastian are very attracted to each other, and travelling the route the kidnappers took together, brings them closer. Spending hours on the road, first on Sebastian’s bike, then in his private plane. Mel is certainly not used to luxury like that, but it sure is convenient.

I really enjoyed watching the romance, seeing the relationship between stubborn down to earth Mel and the powerful Sebastian grow. I also loved the meeting with his family, the main characters in the other books in this series. I do love those little peeks in their lives after the HEA. What else can I say, but that I love Nora Roberts’ books, especially the magical ones,

I have read this series a few times in Dutch, and this is the first time in English, and I still love the book.

8 stars.

Autobuy authorLove this book

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 26 februari 2013

Delilah Marvelle – Forever and a Day

The first book in the Rumor series, published December 20, 2011.
Genre: historical romance
Cover: sexy

Forever and a Day

Roderick Gideon Tremayne, the recently appointed Duke of Wentworth, never expected to find himself in New York City, tracking down a mysterious map important to his late mother. And he certainly never expected to be injured, only to wake up with no memory of who he is. But when he sees the fiery-haired beauty who's taken it upon herself to rescue him, suddenly his memory is the last thing on his mind.
Georgia Milton, the young head of New York's notorious Forty Thieves, feels responsible for the man who was trying to save her bag from a thief. But she's not prepared for the fierce passion he ignites within her. When his memory begins to return, her whole world is threatened, and Roderick must choose between the life he forgot and the life he never knew existed…

Wow, that blurb sure is wrong. Roderick is NOT the Duke of Wentworth, but his second son, and since his brother died, the heir. And Georgia is really not the head of the famous Forty Thieves. She just was married to the former leader for a short time. The mysterious map? Only mentioned, and you read nothing about it being pursued or followed or whatever. I am glad I did not read it before reading the book.

This book takes place in New York, 1830.
Delilah Marvelle has been on my wishlist for a while now, and as she is one of the authors coming to Berlin for LLC 2013, that was the perfect excuse to buy some of her books, and start reading.

Georgia Milton is on her way home, when a richly dressed English Gentleman stops her, flirts with her, and asks her out for a cup of coffee in his hotel. Georgia refuses, she is not that poor that she has to sell her body. And she knows what that invitation will lead to. But the gentleman pursuing her, doesn’t want to give up that easily. Something about her captivates him. While talking together on the sidewalk, a young street urchin steals Georgia’s purse, and she goes after the thief. But so does the gentleman, and she soon looses sight of the both of them. Ten some commotion ahead spurs her one, and she sees the gentleman lying on the street, his head bloodied. Apparently he was run over by one of the omnibuses. Georgia feels responsible for this, and makes sure he gets to the hospital.
When the gentleman awakes, he thinks himself to be Robinson Crusoe, but the docter knows better. Why would he think himself a character from a book? As he never told his name to Georgia, she can’t help him with that, but the doctor will place an add in the paper, if someone knows this gentleman. But he cannot stay in the hospital any longer, and Georgia should take him home with her. Which is not something she longs to do. She has only a very small apartment, and not in the best of neighbourhoods. While she herself is under protection of the Forty Thieves, he will not. And his clothes will be stolen from his back if she lets him wander the streets of New York on his own. His coat even has real silver buttons!
So she ruins his clothes, and snips off the buttons. Those will be worth at least four dollars! A fortune.

Georgia is the widow of Matthew, former leader of the Forty Thieves. A bunch of men who steal supplies to be able to get an education. Which is important if they ever want to leave the slums and have a better life. Her husband had a son from a previous marriage, who is Georgia’s age, and now one of the currant leaders of the gang. He is not happy that she has taken a man home with him, and more than ready to kill the bloke. But in exchange for some (a lot of) money, he will extend his protection to Robinson. Georgia has no idea how to help him get his memory back, but lying to him like the doctor wanted is not something she wants to do. She is a washerwoman, washing the clothes of some of the monks of the nearby abby. A job that makes her just enough money to pay the rent, eat just enough food, and safe a little to pursue her dream: to move West, and buy a plot of land for herself. Leave this filthy city for the open air, and a small logcabin with a garden. Just like her friend did some years ago. And now, helping Robinson will make sure she has enough money to actually do it, she only needs a few dollars more.

Living in those close quarters is not easy, as they are both determined not to sleep together. The attraction between them sure is there. Robinson wants to help Georgia with her daily chores, but his delicate aristocratic hands sure are not used to that. When finally Robinson is found by his father, how can he leave Georgia behind? He has fallen in love with her. But he also knows she can never belong in his world, the ton would only laugh at her.

The story was entertaining, I did like Georgia a lot. She is resilient, she knows what she wants and goes after it. I did not like Robinson / Roderick very much though. Especially after he gets his memory back. A lot of things were only hinted at in this book, and I sure would have liked to know more. The second part of the book is a flashback at what previous happened in his life, and how he and his father came to be in New York. But nothing at all about what they did there, and how they accomplished their mission.
There are intriguing things happening, which I hope are explained in the next book, as there is nothing at all revealed in this one. I do hope it is more than just a tease.

All in all, I did enjoy reading this book, but a lot of things could have used some more pagetime instead of being hinted at. A nice book, but certainly not a great read.

6 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 25 februari 2013

Anthology: Red Hot Santa

A collection of stories by Cherry Adair, Leanne Banks, Pamela Britton and Kelsey Roberts, published October 25, 2005.
Genre: hot romantic suspense
Cover: I like it!

Red Hot Santa

This holiday season, four bestselling authors give the gift that keeps on giving: gripping tales of special agents in a covert agency, out to protect the innocent . . . by any means necessary.

Snowball's Chance by Cherry Adair
Kendall decks the halls, unaware that a serial killer has her on the top of his list. Of course, being naughty with the sexy good guy sent to protect her would be so nice.

Santa Slave by Leanne Banks
After her best friend disappears, Hilary takes matters into her own hands and finds herself caught in the throes of danger, while a hunky male operative hopes to mix pleasure with business.

Runaway Santa by Pamela Britton
Biologist Kaitlyn Moneypenny's research is finally leading to a big scientific breakthrough . . . and mortal peril. When bullets start to fly, so do the sparks between Kaitlyn and her Santa-clad rescuer.

Killer Christmas by Kelsey Roberts
When several Santas are murdered at a swanky department store, the new CEO, Meghan Beckham, had better watch out, had better not cry - because a serial killer has come to town.

4 short stories, so I am keeping this review short. Four women in trouble, four bodyguards from the same secret agency are sent to keep them safe. There are cookies. All 8 main characters are gorgeous, and smart, and they all fall in lust at once. And in bed very soon after their first meeting, even though they know that is a bad idea. There is danger, lots of action, the hero defeats the bad guy(s), the ladies are rescued, but that is not the end of their personal story.

I’ve bought this book for the Cherry Adair story, and I liked that one. The story was predictable, but I liked it.
The Leanne Banks story has a heroine who is smart but who does incredibly stupid things.
I enjoyed the Pamela Britton story, but still have no idea what animals she was researching and saving. Nor why the danger is suddenly gone, when so many bad things could come from her invention.
The Kelsey Roberts story makes me want to read more of her work. Even though I knew who the bad guy/guys is/are, there was depth to the heroine.

6 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 24 februari 2013

Robin D. Owens – Heart Search

The tenth book in the Celta series, published August 2, 2011.
Genre: sci-fi / fantasy romance
Cover: slowly getting better

Heart Search

Laev T'Hawthorn -- one of the highest nobles in the land -- must rebuild his life after a devastating mistake. He married a woman he believed was his HeartMate, only to learn she was a greedy social climber. She callously used him, stealing his family heirlooms. He is determined to reclaim all that he has lost -- beginning with his self-respect.
Abandoned at fifteen, Camellia Darjeeling values her independence above all. She's fought to establish her own businesses -- elegant tearooms -- only to have her father and uncle re-enter her life. They emotionally scourge her and extort money. Trusting men, even her HeartMate, is too risky.
When Laev and Camellia meet, they refuse to acknowledge that they are true HeartMates. After her shady relatives are implicated in the theft of Laev's property, Camellia and Laev's lives become ever more entangled bringing each to the brink of despair and passion...and a destiny they can no longer avoid.

I have been looking forward to reading Laev’s story. I just knew in book 8 that he was duped. He did meet his HeartMate at 17, but he just locked eyes with a very beautiful girl, and thought that was it, overlooking his real HeartMate, who was only 13 at the time. And I was correct. Laev is T’Hawthorn now. His wife died three years ago, when a horrible illness swept Druida and killed a lot of people in all classes and ages. His FatherSire (grandfather) died three months ago, and Laev is dealing with his grief. He is also coming to terms with being T’Hawthorn, although the Residence and his Family are still treating him as a child. But he will remedy that. He is also ready to pick up his normal life again, and has hired a private investigator to retrieve all the Hawthorn possessions his wife stole and sold or gave away, including his HeartGift. And even though he wants it back, he is not ready for a new wife, or searching out his HeartMate.

Camellia is content with her life. She has just opened her second teashop, furbished after what she thinks a HouseHeart looks like. Being a minor noble, she never has visited a real HouseHeart, the Darjeeling Residence was not sentient, and sold for her father’s debs when she was a teenager. She has two good friends, and now a FamCat of her own. She knows who her HeartMate is, has known it since she was a child. But as he was married, there was no use in searching him out, or making him a HeartGift as is usual during the Second Passage. The only bad thing in her life are her father and uncle, who are burgling her house regularly, breaking her stuff, defiling it and stealing her valuables. They extort money from her teahouses as well. But she is through with it, even if her weak brother doesn’t want to take action, she is reporting everything to the Guards.

But of course Camellia and Laev cannot stay apart. They keep meeting each other at random (which is planned by both their FamCats!) and start having erotic dreams together. But Laev still doesn’t know who his HeartMate is. Until Camellia hints at it, and he draws away from her, hurting her horribly. Even though she is not ready for a husband yet. She likes her indepence, and she has some very important secrets her father may never find out.

Again, I loved this book. I know, I am sounding like a broken record. But if you like a great fantasy world, filled with magic (Flair), and great characters and pets, and of course lots of romance and some hot love scenes, you can do no other than love this series. Just pick up the first book, although I am sure you can read them as stand alone novels too. There is often considerable time between the books.

Camellia had a hard childhood with her abusive father and uncle, her weak mother and brother to take care of. She is doing fine now, with two teashops she is running, and some great friends. Taking time to get to know her HeartMate, become friends and lovers. Of course she is weary of men, but she takes action. She is taking self defence courses, learning to fight her father and uncle, and reporting them and their foul deeds. Laev really hurt her as well, when he thought some one else was his HeartMate.
And then Laev, already struggling with almost killing a GreatLady as a teen, having been used by his wife who was not his HeartMate but who wanted the status and gilt she had as his wife. He is settling in his new position, not ready for a new wife, even if she is his HeartMate. But once they have met, destiny is set in motion, and they are drawn to each other. I loved both their FamCats this time, they were great characters and not so selfish as some previous mentioned cats.

It is going to be an extraordinary book that will take my mind and dreams out of this realm next …

10 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 23 februari 2013

Erin McCarthy – Hot Finish

The third book in the Fast Track series, published August 3, 2010.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: I like it.

Hot finish

Not all marriages last forever…
Suzanne Jefferson is broke, which is why she's given up charity work for wedding planning. Fortunately, she has a high-profile client-and best of all, he's paid in advance. There are just two teensy problems: the bride is a bona fide bridezilla, and Suzanne's stock racer ex- husband is the best man. At least she thought he was her ex-husband.
… but this one might.
Two years after their marriage fell apart; stock car race driver Ryder Jefferson still can’t stop thinking about Suzanne. Which is why he isn’t too upset that, due to a glitch, the two are still technically married. Now he’s imagining easing Suzanne’s woes by satisfying her needs in the bedroom. After all, that’s the one room they never argued in. Besides, with wedding bells ringing all around them, Ryder is wondering if – even though they’d quit the race a few laps too early - they can still come on strong with a big, romantic finish …

Suzanne Jefferson has trouble making ends meet, she has had to quit the charity work she loved doing because of that, and has started up a wedding consultant business. And lucky for her, she has a very well paying client; only it is the bridezilla from hell! She wants 12 bridesmaids and groomsmen, so her fiancée asked all his racing buddies to be one. Not knowing how to decline, they have no choice but to accept, even if they are not real friends of the groom. And it is especially difficult for Ty, who used to date the bride, and now has to act as best man of the groom. Not that he is heartbroken, he is glad to be rid of Nikki. For the rest, she doesn’t know what she wants, but she does know what she doesn’t want. Suzanne is at the end of her wits, with so little planning time before the wedding date, they have to make some decisions now! When Nikki has invited al the groomsmen and bridesmaid to the planning, she is horrified. How will all those people fit in her small home? And not to mention, she will have to face Ryder again, her ex-husband. When Ryder makes a joke about an Elvis wedding, and Nikki jumps on it, seeing herself as Priscilla immediately, Suzanne is ready to strange him. She does not want to do a tacky themed marriage, she wants to plan something classy, to make her name in the business. But what the bride wants, the bride gets.

When Ryder hands Suzanne some papers from their lawyer, that are addressed to them both, she is horrified! As Ryder never showed up at the court appointment, they are still married! They sure have been acting like singles these last two years, and how about her taxes for those years? This is a disaster. Ryder doesn’t think so. He never wanted a divorce in the first place, it was Suzanne who walked out on them. He never stopped loving her, but how is he to convince her of that. They never talked about their feelings, or their future, all they had was great sex. Will a hot one night stand with the ex lead to more? Or will they just keep on hurting each other?

I did something, I don’t usually do, I read this book out of order! Melissa, you are rubbing of on me! Lucky for me, I had no difficulty getting to know all the other players, the race car drivers and their partners.

I liked both Suzanne and Ryder, and had a hard time choosing sides. Suzanne is trying to set up a business and a future for herself, while Ryder as a race car driver, has money enough to do as he pleases. He is famous and handsome and never without a woman if he wants to. But Ryder wants Suzanne, and after meeting her again, he is not interested in another woman anymore. Their marriage broke down, because they shared nothing, they did not talk about anything serious. Their feelings, their wants. They just got into fights and make up sex. And for them to try again, they will have to change that, which is not easy. Suzanne things that Ryder only married her because she got pregnant. And when she miscarried, there was no reason to stay married at all. But Ryder fell in love, and wanted her from the moment they met only he never told her that. They both keep making jokes instead of being truthful and open to the other, talk about stubborn! They are so afraid of getting hurt even more, but they are both still in love.
Okay, the bride, Nikki, I would have strangled a long time ago, for being an insensitive airhead. She totally doesn’t appreciate anything, and expects everything that happens as her due. Suzanne’s girlfriends are awesome though, and I do look forward to reading the rest of this series and find out their stories as well. Ryder’s friends, the other race car drivers are intriguing as well, and those that are already mated sure love that fact.

I have to say, you really cannot compare this to the Vegas Vampires series, which I liked very much. The fun and humor is still there, but there are many more love scenes, and those are a lot hotter as well.

8 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 22 februari 2013

B.J. Daniels – Justice at Cardwell Ranch

A book in the Montana Mystique series, published October 2, 2012.
Genre: romantic suspense
Cover: nice

Justice at Cardwell Ranch

Six years ago, Dana Cardwell found her mother's will in a cookbook and became sole owner of the Cardwell Ranch in Big Sky, Montana. Now happily married, Dana is surprised when her siblings, Stacy and Jordan, show up on the ranch...and trouble isn't too far behind. As danger draws closer to the ranch, deputy marshal Liza Turner quickly realizes that Jordan Cardwell isn't the man the town made him out to be.

I have not read any other books in this series, but it was easy to catch up with all the characters and what happened in the past. There are two story lines going on here, one with Jordan, and the other with Stacy.
Stacy suddenly shows up at the ranch with a six months old baby in her arms, and the very pregnant Dana cannot turn her out, no matter how badly Stacy treated her six years ago. She loves the little Ella on sight, and she really needs help with her own children now the doctor has her on forced bedrest. Hudson, her husband and the local Sheriff, is not happy with this, but Dana needs to stay calm. Stacy doesn’t tell them anything about the father, or why she is here, and one day she just disappears when she was going to visit their father, leaving Ella behind. Dana is worried, and Hud makes inquiries, but doesn’t find out anything. Still no reports about a kidnapped baby matching Ella’s description or something like that.

Jordan is back in his home town, because one of his old highschool friends asked him over. A third friend committed suicide 20 years ago, and now there is to be a reunion. Jordan never believe his friend Tanner would commit suicide, he was a brilliant young man with all kinds of plans for the future. Alex Winslow tells him he has evidence that someone killed him, but won’t discuss it on the phone. But when Jordan and Alex are supposed to meet, Alex is killed. Shot. Deputy Liza Turner spotted Jordan earlier on Cardwell land, and doesn’t trust him. To protect her best friend Dana from getting hurt by him again, she follows him. Which means that she is very close by when shots sound, and finds Jordan standing over the body. But he had no way of getting rid of the gun so fast, so he can’t be the murderer, can he? She will keep a close eye on him, and will find out the truth. When he tells her his reasons to come back home, she decides to investigate both deaths, and someone really tries to keep them from finding out.

A whole lot of intrigues and infatuations that go back to high school, the controlling cheerleaders, who still form a close clique, and a lot of mystery and suspense. This book really had only a tiny bit of romance in it, which was not what I expected. But both storylines were keeping my mind busy, and I did not figure them out at all, until the killer revealed all. I am not sure I want to read more about the Cardwells, but I did enjoy reading this book.
I liked Jordan, and how he is determined to find out what happened to both of his friends. I also enjoyed the parts with Dana and her family, and felt really sorry for Stacey in the end. I am curious what will happen to her next.
In the front of the book, there is a very intriguing and perhaps a little spoiling, list of characters. I am glad I did not read that before I started reading the book.

Another book I’ve won, this time at Booklovers Inc. One of my favourite blogs. I’m not really a fan of cowboy romances anymore, though as a child I loved to read about cowboys and Indians. “Arendsoog” by Nowee, and of course Winnetou and Old Shatterhand by Karl May. I still have those books tucked away in the attic.

7 stars.

I won this book on a blog

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 21 februari 2013

Annie West – Girl in the Bedouin Tent

A novel, published March 6, 2012.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: standard Harlequin (my book has the little cover).

Girl in the Bedouin TentGirl in the Bedouin tent

Not your average damsel in distress!
Sheikh Prince Amir has vowed to redeem his scandalous family name - so the last thing he needs on a tour of his desert kingdom is to have a sensuous blonde with more spirit than clothes presented for his harem. Fiery Cassie might have been kidnapped by bandits and dolled up as the Sheikh's love-slave, but she refuses to be any man's plaything. Yet spending a week in Amir's desert tent pretending to be his mistress would get under any girl's skin. Especially when she is under his sheets.

Cassie is an Australian actress, but she wants something more than that. So when she sees an advertisement for English teachers wanted in Tarakhar, a small but wealthy Arabic country, she applies for the position, and is accepted. Unfortunately, while travelling to the remote town where she will be teaching, the bus breaks down. All the other passengers live nearby and leave on foot, leaving her alone with the driver when bandits attack and kidnap her. She is terrified! So when she is given as a love slave to Sheikh Amir, she has no idea what to expect, and tries to defend herself with a fruit knife. What else is she to do? She has been dresses in those harem clothes, and chained to his bed!
But Amir has no plans of taking a woman against her wishes, and is determined to make matters right. After all, she is kidnapped in his country, but this bandit leader Mustafa whom he is trying to negotiate with. He needs peace along his border! So he cannot take Cassie home with him right now, he has to finish negotiations, and show Mustafa and his bandits that he is worthy of being the Sheikh. But he will protect Cassie, only she cannot leave his tent for the next week. And sleeping together is necessary to make the others think he accepted their “gift”. Even though Amir is to be married to a high ranking virgin in his own country in a few weeks. But the more he gets to know Cassie, the harder it is to keep his hands to himself. She is so gorgeous! And Cassie falls just as hard for Amir. Is it really possible that there are honourable men? Her mother was her father’s mistress for years, until she was replaced. After that, she took other protectors, and Cassie preferred staying at boarding school as much as she could, especially when one of those men thought that buying her mother gave him rights to Cassie as well. Cassie has sworn never to be like her mother.

Cassie and Amir do become lovers, and he doesn’t even notice she was a virgin. Back at his palace, he keeps her away from the main part, in the harem. Where she is bored silly, and refuses the many treasures he wants to give her. She only accepts a few clothes, and she wants to start teaching. The evenings they do spend together, while his marriage negotiations continue. He will get over his attraction to her soon enough, right?

But when Cassie finds out about it, and realises she has become a mistress after all, she is devastated, and leaves at once. How could she not see this? Why was so silly to dream that there was more between them? Was this what happened to her mother as well?

I know, not my usual reading material. I have won this (signed) book on Facebook, thanks to a recommendation by Anna Campbell. I have shared some emails with Annie West, who is a very nice Australian author, and so I was glad to get this book for review.

I did enjoy parts of this book, but thought Cassie way too naïve for me to really like. Yes, she has had a hard childhood, not getting cared for by either parent and considered an accident, and cramping her mother’s style. But she has a good education, and she is a good actress. And now she wants to do something good, and teach English to Arabic women.
Of course I do blame Amir for deceiving her, not being honest or truthful, and totally blinded with his desire not to be like his parents, who were only focused on their own pleasures and their next thrill.

And still, the book got to me, and I did enjoy the ending a lot. Yes, it did make me cry, I confess. But it also made me smile when closing the book. All in all, this is a lovely romance story. The language used is very descriptive, very flowery.

7 stars.

I won this book on a blog

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 20 februari 2013

Robin D. Owens – Heart Journey

The ninth book in the Celta series, published August 3, 2010.
Genre: sci-fi / fantasy romance
Cover: ugly

Heart Journey

Helena D’Elecampane, a renowned cartographer, is exploring Celta when she finds out she has a HeartMate. Yearning for a partner, she is drawn to meet him. Actor Raz Cherry is dedicated to his career. Uninterested in long-term commitments, he ignores an oracle that foretells of his HeartMate. Though passion ignites, their lifestyles clash. Only when mysterious thefts threaten their families can they overcome the obstacles on their journey to love.

Helena D’Elecampane is a cartographer, exploring the most remote places on Celta and making three dimensional maps of it. She feels constricted in a city, could never live there. Del likes being alone on the trail with her FamFox Shunuk. She is on her way home to Druida to claim her HeartMate when she gets the news her whole family has died in a fire, except the youngest baby. Her erstwhile lover and his wife Straif T’Blackthorn have taken her in and want to adopt her. But little Helendula is her Heir, the only family she has left, and she can’t just do that. She has to make reservations, decisions, settle her affairs. She inherited great wealth from her family, so money is not a problem. She also makes a lot of gilt on the maps she provides to the Council. But can she take a baby with her on the trail?
Del has given little thought to her HeartMate. They are HeartMates, they should be compatible.
But her HeartMate is Raz Cherry, a famous young actor. 8 years younger than Del. He loves living in the city, loves the applause, loves acting, interacting with other actors and people. So even now they have met, and are attracted to each other, like and admire each other, how will they ever be able to live together as HeartMates? Del gets sick in the city, she misses the fresh air, the unobstructed horizon, she longs for the new discoveries on a wilderness trail. And Raz he is a pure through and through city boy.

Lately, Raz and his family have a lot of bad things happening. Raz’s apartment is burgled and trashed, even the theater and not only his own dressing room. His parents own a big “shipyard” for gliders and airships, and the oldest part of it burns down. Which is a huge loss, as all their maps were stored there, including the latest they just bought from Del. Their second home in Gael City is ransacked and vandalized as well, and Raz will have to go there to sort things out. His parents can’t leave at the moment, and his sister has loved it there too much, she can’t face the destruction. So he leaves the play to his understudy, and asks Del to come with him. And that after he turned her down that morning when she suggested it …

Del is a proud woman, and she won’t force Raz into loving her, or acknowledging the bond between them. But she will not grovel, or go after him. If he withdraws from her, she will wait a while, and leave. The decisions she has to make are very difficult, but she is willing to make a lot of compromises just to be with her HeartMate, and have a Family of her own. But Raz is not ready, he wants his career, and is not interested in a HeartMate of a Family right now.
But when she leaves him, he knows what loneliness is, and deeply regrets his answer when she offered the HeartMateBond to him. Can he repair it in time, and can he find her again?

Another great story in this lovely series. Again entirely different from the rest, although ofcourse it is set in the same world and city, and with the same secondary characters. But not with the greatest Lords and Ladies of Delta as the main characters. Del is a GrandLady, but a lower one, and Raz is an actor. His sister is CherryHeir, not him.
I loved Del. She is very direct and down to earth, doesn’t play games, and is very honest. She expects the same from Raz which is not always easy for an actor. The FamFox really stole part of the show though. He is a great character, and Foxes are so much easier to live with than the extremely arrogant and selfish FamCats. The kitten Raz gets is really the worst in that regard.
Del is very giving towards Raz, and not only in monetary things. She is open, and patient, and will wait till he makes up his mind. And Raz is willingly blind. He doesn’t want to acknowledge their bond. He has always wanted to be a great actor, even when it got him on bad footing with his parents. And now he is almost there, he needs to stay in Druida, and focus on his career. He is good at what he does, and cannot imagine living on the trail, being a travelling storyteller or something like that. He did not study 10 years for that!

Of course, Del knows that, and she is very busy making plans for their future. But Raz won’t give her a chance, and she just goes.
The mystery plot is minor, and not very difficult to figure out. I did love the ending though, so very much. I did wonder if the HeartMateBond could be ignored after refusing it. And now I know.

10 stars.

Autobuy authorLove this book

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 19 februari 2013

Interview with Erin McCarthy, our fourth author for LLC 2013!

Hi, we are Aurian from Boeklogboek and Maia from Boekenlijstjes, and today we have best selling author Erin McCarthy visiting us here in Utrecht, Holland.


Of course you want to know, what is LLC 2013? It is short for Autoren Love Letter Convention 2013, which takes place in Berlin, Germany, on May 25 and 26, 2013. Erin McCarthy is one of the American romance authors attending. We had a blast this summer, so we immediately bought the tickets once they became available for next year’s convention.

Our guest is Erin McCarthy, author of many books in many genres, but all with a humorous undertone. And all sexy!

Aurian: Welcome to Utrecht, the Netherlands, Erin. Have some hot chocolate with whipped cream, and some Dutch cookies.

Erin: Thank you! How did you know cookies are my weakness?

Maia: Can you tell our readers who might not yet know you or your books, a little about yourself? Something that is not in your official bio (which is at the bottom of this post).

Erin: Let’s see… well, I sold my first book ten years ago. Before that I worked in retail and stayed at home with my children. Now they’re almost all grown up, with one away at university and one in high school, so my days are no longer spent carpooling and going to the zoo or sporting events on the weekends. Now I spend my free time listening to live music, drinking wine with friends, and participating in a book club. I love classic rock (the Beatles are IT for me) and the strange and unusual, like voodoo dolls and ghost hunting.

LL Convention questions

Aurian: Could you tell us why you are attending a convention in Berlin, Germany, Europe? Have you been there before? Or other places in Europe? Were you surprised at being invited to a convention this far away?

Erin: My Vegas Vampires series has done quite well in Germany and so I thought it was a great opportunity to connect with some of those readers. I’ve also had books published in Dutch and French, so perhaps some of those readers will be there as well (like you!) I have not been to Berlin before, but I have been to southern Germany, Switzerland, and France. I love cities and I love old architecture, so I really enjoyed what I got to see of Europe.

Maia: The convention is in Berlin, a beautiful city. Are you planning to do some sightseeing? In Berlin or even in the rest of Europe?

Erin: I am planning to sneak in what sightseeing I can. I want to see the Berlin wall memorial, as I was a political science major in college and was in my first year when the wall came down. I also want to see the Jewish museum, the Bauhaus Archives, and the art museum, since I’ve heard modern art is thriving in Berlin. Then I am heading south to Munich to visit friends and experience a more traditional Germany with castles and Bavarian food. I’m looking forward to exploring!

Aurian: There's a lovely group of authors coming this year. Do you personally know any of the other authors present?

Erin: I know Cherry Adair and Karen Rose personally. Karen is super sweet and Cherry is hilariously funny.

Maia: The convention promo and books are in German. Will it be possible for you to bring some English swag?

Erin: I was planning to bring books in German and Dutch, but if there is an interest in books in English, I can certainly bring those as well. Email me your requests. 

Book questions

Maia: The first time I’ve read some of your work was in the collections An enchanted season and A magical Christmas cat. I absolutely loved the stories of these three magical sisters. Is there a chance that the story about the third sister will be published in paper as well? I know you have self-published that one, but we both still prefer paper books over ebooks.

Erin: I have now self-published a YA, The Coming Dark, in print through Amazon’s Createspace, so now that I’ve cracked the code, so to speak, I will probably consider going back and doing Abby’s story in print, but I have hesitated because the price has to be so much higher than an ebook. But it’s on my radar and if there is enough reader interest I will consider it more seriously.

Aurian: I’ve recently dived into your Vegas Vampires series and really enjoyed them. How many times did you go to Las Vegas for “research”? Do you think vampires really could be living there?

Erin: I have only been to Vegas a few times, though I am going back in March. But Vegas is so alive and fake and over-the-top that it’s easy to capture the vibe as an author. I think if vampires could be living anywhere, it would certainly work in Vegas. With all the costumes and the glitz and the late hours, it would be a perfect environment. Where else can you get a haircut at 3am?

Maia: I liked the idea of a vampire president election every forty years. What special perks does this office have for a vampire? How much power does he have over other vampires?

Erin: I actually wrote the books about five years ago, so I have to confess I don’t remember all the details of the office, but I definitely patterned it after the US presidency, where he has a cabinet to assist in decision making and a senate to vote on changes. As for perks, I would say free blood and a kick-ass suite to live in. ;-)

Aurian: I also read one of your Fast Track books so far (and will definitely read the rest!). Do you know some race car drivers in person and are they really that hot? ;-)

Erin: I do not know any NASCAR drivers in person, though there are certainly some hot ones! Look up Kasey Kahne… what a cutie! But I have met local and regional drivers and they are definitely an entertaining bunch of guys.

Maia: The Fast Track books are about race car drivers. Why did you choose those men? Do you like to drive fast yourself? Or are you a very careful driver who prefers to stay home with her family and cats?

Erin: I chose race car drivers because they are risk takers, quick decision makers, and always in pursuit of the win, which I think makes them very sexy. They also are able to focus on one thing exclusively for hours on end, and in this world of multi-tasking, who wouldn’t want a guy with superior focus? Imagine how that translates to romance. Whew! I’m not necessarily a fast driver, but I do get impatient and switch lanes frequently. I have driven long distances by myself, and I enjoy that feeling of me, my car, and the open road. Last summer I drove from Ohio to Louisiana, which is about the equivalent of driving from Paris to Berlin twice, and I really enjoyed it.

Personal questions:

Maia: We both have enormous TBR mountain ranges, how big is yours? And what do you plan on reading next?

Erin: My TBR pile is a bookcase. Right now I am reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand for my book club, which is about an American track star who became a POW in Japan during WWII. It’s very well written and very emotional. I didn’t have any comprehension of how much torture those men endured. After this one, I’m going to need to read a romance to get my Happily Ever After fix.

Aurian: What would you be if you could not be an author?

Erin: I went to college to be a lawyer for maritime and international law. But if I had to change careers now I would want to be a Realtor, as I love houses, or an interior designer.

Aurian: Who are some of your favourite authors? Do you still have the books you loved reading as a young girl?

Erin: These days, I read for research purposes, for book club, and whatever I get at conferences so I don’t necessarily have a favourite author or one I always turn to. My reading has become much more eclectic, which I’m enjoying. As a young girl, I loved the Hardy Boys and anything with a ghost in it. By the age of ten, I discovered Stephen King and other thriller and horror authors, and I was hooked. Then by fifteen I found Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters and it was love at first read.

And now for some fun quick questions:

Are you left-handed or right-handed?
Right-handed. My father and my sister are lefties and I was so jealous as a kid. Not sure why, but I was. 

What is your favourite movie, and which is the last one you saw in the theater?
I don’t think I have a favourite movie though I’m always drawn to period films. The last movie I saw in the theatre was Skyfall, the latest James Bond movie.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Night owl, no question about it. I can dance the night away at conferences.

What famous author, dead or alive, would you love to meet and why?
Edgar Allan Poe because I want to see if he was really a drug addict as they claim, mentally ill, or just a word genius with a lousy life. I’m curious.

Where to find Erin on the web:
twitter: @authorerin

Erin McCarthy

USA Today and New York Times Bestselling author Erin McCarthy sold her first book in 2002 and has gone on to pen more than 38 novels and novellas in the paranormal, contemporary romance, and young adult genres. A RITA award finalist and an American Library Association winner of the Reluctant Young Reader award, Erin is a member of Romance Writers of America, Horror Writers Association, and Ohioana.

Erin’s latest book is Seeing is believing, bound to be released on 5th of march this year.

Seeing is believing

And now for the giveaway: I am giving away one book of the Vegas Vampires to one commenter, who is also a follower. Tell me, have you read anything by Erin McCarthy yet, or do you plan to? Are you coming to LLC2013?
I don’t know if Erin will be stopping by, so if you have a question for Erin, feel free to ask. I can always ask her in Berlin for you .