Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Unwrapping: Release Tuesday!

As most who follow this blog know, on the last Tuesday of the month I like to give a sampling of the delicious reads to be had during the month to come. So if you're looking for something good to read, pay attention. Let the perusing of covers begin!

To start the ball rolling, it's Happy Release Day for Terri Garey with the long awaited A DEVIL NAMED DESIRE. The cover alone is worth the wait but with the Archangel Gabriel joining the mix, Sammy is going to have to punch up his game.

A DEVIL NAMED DESIRE by Terri Garey - Avon Books
ON SALE NOW!



It's also Happy Release Day for Stephanie Laurens with the release of her latest Historical Romance, THE CAPTURE OF THE EARL OF GLENCRAE - Avon     ON SALE NOW!


Happy Release Day to Cindy Gerard, LAST MAN STANDING from Pocket Star Books/Simon & Shuster is
ON SALE NOW!





Happy Release Day to Victoria Alexander with the release of MY WICKED LITTLE LIES from Zebra Books  ON SALE NOW!
                                                   
Happy Release Day and Congrats on her debut to Anna Randol with her exciting new release, A SECRET IN HER KISS, Avon.  ON SALE NOW! 

COMING IN FEBRUARY:

A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME by Sarah MacLean, Avon, due for release on February 28, 2012 - available for pre-order.

THE TATTOOED DUKE by Maya Rodale, Avon, due for release on February 28, 2012 - available for pre-order.






AGAINST THE NIGHT by Kat Martin, Zebra books, due for release on February 28, 2012 - available for pre-order.
                    


WHEN A SCOT LOVES A LADY by Katharine Ashe, Avon, due for release February 28, 2012 - available for pre-order. 


THE HUSBAND HUNT by Lynsay Sands (Yay!),
Avon, due for release on February 28, 2012 -
available for pre-order. 


The end of February is going to be a very busy time for choosing books so I advise you pre-order and then just wait for some good reading.  Giveaway for FORTUNE'S SON is still going on, click here if you're interested.  : )

Happy Reading Everyone!!

                                     

Monday, January 30, 2012

Unwrapping: A REVIEW + GIVEAWAY

A couple of months ago, I thought good fortune had been bestowed on me when I won a copy of Emery Lee's newest release FORTUNE'S SON (released Nov 2011).  Or so I thought.

I had read a few reviews of the new release and everyone appeared to have loved it but honestly, it has taken me all this time to finish reading it.

FORTUNE'S SON by Emery Lee is a historical romance, although I consider it more akin to a historical fiction. Published by Sourcebooks, it's 448 pages of well-researched historical information. As far as being a romance, it's mediocre but as a historical fiction it is quite exceptional. I suppose it would depend on what you wanted from the book as to whether or not you like it.

BACK COVER BLURB:

She is the ultimate gamble...

Beautiful young widow, Susannah, Lady Messingham, refuses to belong to any man again. Until, she inadvertently draws handsome Lord Philip Drake into an exhilarating game of terrifying stakes and unimaginable rewards ...

And he'll risk everything on a toss of the dice...

Philip is a seasoned gambler who knows all the tricks and isn't afraid to use them.  He'd do anything for Susannah, including sacrificing his honor and his freedom...

                                                       * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The minute I opened this book, I was put off slightly by the Table of Contents containing a Prologue, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 containing a total of 50 chapters followed by an Epilogue. But I continued on and when I turned the page to the Prologue, I smiled when I read "Newmarket, 1751". Yay, I thought, a historical romance set in the 1700's, how splendid. I dove right in. Having read the review and the back cover blurb, I was quite excited about this book. That excitement soon waned.

Philip Drake is a young lord who is more ambitious about gambling than nearly anything and Susannah, Lady Messingham is a young widow yet older than Philip who needs to supplement her dwindling income without succumbing to marriage and the prospect of being controlled by a man. She uses her feminine wiles to convince young Lord Philip to teach her his best gambling tricks so that she might once more be solid in her purse. In return, she endeavors to teach him all he needs to know about pleasing a woman.

Considering the back cover blurb and the promise at the beginning of the book of a steamy relationship between Philip and Susannah along with some intrigue and back room debauchery, I expected this story to move in that direction at a faster rate than it did. Most disappointing was that the steamy relationship between our hero and heroine actually turned out to be more implied than written.

So you might be wondering what actually filled these 50 chapters plus prologue and epilogue? Well, a lot of well-researched history for one thing. Intriguing scenes of gambling establishments, gaming tables, masked balls, and a group called the Knights of St. Francis. The reader meets an eclectic series of characters from a tavern maid rescued from a near rape to bold highwaymen. The reader travels to various locations throughout England and learns an abundance of historical facts along the way.  The writing is writing at its best but I fear the story and the pair's relationship took a back seat to the history.

I'm sure that many readers have enjoyed Miss Lee's trek through 18th Century English history but I personally feel that it just didn't rate up there for me as a historical romance. Had it given us more romance, a feeling that Susannah really was willing to give herself over completely to Philip and perhaps just a bit more conflict between them with resolve in the aftermath, the historical documentation would have been a bonus instead of the star.

If you are looking for a mild romance filled with more history than romance then FORTUNE'S SON by Emery Lee is the book for you. If, however, you are looking for an action-filled escape into romance based on a building relationship that takes you into an ever shifting conflict filled pairing with historical settings then perhaps FORTUNE'S SON is not for you.  It is difficult for me to recommend this book as a historical romance that will sweep you away but as a historical fiction, I can recommend it for you will surely come away with a little more understanding of the world as it was in 18th Century England.  I would never tell anyone not to read a book for everyone's tastes are different and so goes the world. Thankfully. I will say that the cover is absolutely beautiful!

Since I have no plans to re-read this particular book, I would love to give it away to someone who might love it more. If you're interested in receiving my copy of FORTUNE'S SON by Emery Lee, please feel free to leave a quick comment saying so and a VALID E-MAIL ADDRESS so I can contact you. I'm going to leave this Giveaway open to everyone! Giveaway will end on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 11:59 PM ET. I will announce the lucky recipient on Friday's blog. Thanks and good luck.   GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!

Happy Reading!

                                                                

Friday, January 27, 2012

Unwrapping: Quiz Results and Rant Against a Romance Hater


Well, the results of the Quiz to find out which Romance Hero is your best match are in and the Swashbuckler has taken the lead with 50% of those who took the quiz being matched with him!

He's a man of honour yet wildly adventurous who enjoys a bawdy time with an easy woman as much as a sword fight. But once his heart is stolen, he will defend your honour with sword in hand as quickly as his own. Loyalty is his best quality. 

The next Hero to steal 25% of the hearts of my friends is the Gentleman Lord who is a man of good breeding, manners and speech. He's easily bored and so is always in search of something to take up his time and is not above seeking out any woman with whom he can while away his time. If you're patient and willing to keep him stimulated in thoughts and in activities, you will find this man most willing to stay happily at home and while away his time with you.


The Spy/Agent was the next man to steal away 17% of your hearts and I'm sure he's pleased about that - he doesn't really have time for more of you. He's a man of secrets, living for the thrill of the next mission that may or may not bring him safely back to your arms. He's a man who keeps his truest feelings close to the vest so as not to lose his edge. If you're willing to be patient and not ask too many questions, he might even share a few of his secrets. Once you capture his heart, his loyalty will encircle you with the greatest feeling of safety.

For the rest of you, it was the man who fights the darkness to keep us safe, the Paranormal Hero. He's so deeply immersed in the world of darkness and danger that he probably doesn't have more time to share with a woman. He only matched up to a mere 8% of you. Perhaps he's lonely as he has hones his skills to battle evil and keep the innocent safe. Still, if any of you are willing to venture into his world and are not too afraid of the things that go bump in the night, he might teach you some of his skills so that together you can battle the forces of evil. His love is true and your safety will always be his first priority.

Sadly, no quiz takers matched to the Western Cowboy Hero! Does this mean that we aren't that interested in that tall, lanky man who would rather spend his day with a horse than with his woman or that we are all seeking more danger in our Heroes than what a man of the open range can provide?

Thanks to everyone who took the quiz. I hope you had fun and found out a little bit more about yourself and what kind of Romance reading you might enjoy if you aren't already reading it.

Now, on to my rant against a Romance Hater, Cale McCaskey. I will try to keep this short and not too angry. Wednesday, I read a blog written by this man.  I don't want to give him any more recognition than I have to so if you wish to read his blog - Google him. But I do wish to express my opinion of the trash he spouted in this post since he was hard at work deleting comments that he didn't like so I was unable to express my opinion directly to him. 

He began by insinuating that it doesn't take much more than a child's reading level to read romance novels and that:
"What the modern reader needs to understand is that romance novels by their very nature are meant to be inferior."  Really?

He went on to remark that:
"I think it's safe to say that no Ivy League school will ever teach out of romance novels as part of the curriculum."  Then perhaps you should check with Cornell because I found it in their Doctoral Program.

His next brilliant observation was in regards to JANE EYRE:
"No one would call Jane Eyre a "romance novel." It would instead be referred to as a "classic love story." The very thing that separates classic love stories from romance novels is that romance novels must by default be bad, tacky even, or they'll no longer be classified as romance novels and will get placed in a higher category." 
A Romance Novel is defined by its ending - a Happily Every After - and since Jane and Rochester do live happily ever after considering the hardships they faced after the destruction of Thornfield and Rochester's injuries, I've always considered it a Gothic romance.

His final remark in his original post was the real kicker:
"I find it difficult to respect something that is purposely meant to be a lessor work. One should always strive to do great work. If an author classifies their own story as romance, that tells me that even they don't think much of it. That being the case, neither should we."

I can only ask Mr. McCaskey if he's ever read a Romance Novel and if so, which one? There are many varieties within the genre, and even more sub-genres within the genre, therefore many different kinds of writing styles. To judge all writers by one standard is not only ludicrous but a generalization by someone who has not sampled a large variety of writing styles.

Finally, I read through some of the comments that he did leave available on his post and after an intelligent, most likely, well-read woman asked him if his 'thesis' also applied to all other trashy forms of entertainment not found in an Ivy League curriculum such as listening to pop music instead of classical music, he responded with a statement that would have Bach, Beethoven and Brahms spinning in their graves.
"Classical music, by the way, is nothing but jazz being played incorrectly."

I'm not even going to touch that one except to say as someone who greatly appreciates Classical music and believes that Jazz is played by wannabe musicians who don't read music ... each to their own.

Mr. McCaskey, if you do read mainstream fiction by authors of a so-called 'higher standing' then you would know that many incorporate scenes of romance and sex into their stories. And many times, more often than not I might say, those same characters are still together at the end of said story, even if it's in death. Perhaps it's something you've yet to experience, and very possibly never will carrying around such a hatred for romance, but most of us already know that sometimes love does survive when all else is gone.

To my dear followers and friends, thank you for listening and keep on reading. We know the truth that the Romance genre is one of talent, entertainment, escape and pride. I've always believed that those in the world who feel the need to denegrate others usually do it out of envy and a feeling of self-importance.

Happy Romance Reading Everyone and hope you have dreams of which ever Romance Hero you were matched to and if you haven't taken the Quiz yet, click here to give it a try!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Unwrapping: Wacky Wednesday - Quiz Time!

Welcome to Wacky Wednesday! We all like to imagine ourselves in every heroine role we read but have you ever considered which kind of hero would be your best match. Well, it's Quiz Time and that's what we're going to do!


Errol Flynn in THE SEA HAWK







Perhaps your best match is the Swashbuckling kind of Hero. Dashing, adventurous and little bit dangerous! 




Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy
from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE




Or perhaps he's more the Gentleman Lord kind of Hero like Mr. Darcy of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE - all charm and good manner but has possibly been around the block a time or two or three.





Daniel Craig as James Bond







Or perhaps you're better matched with the SPY/AGENT kind of Hero. The man of secrets and dangerous missions ... 






Robert Redford as Sundance Kid








Or maybe you prefer the rustic character of a Western Cowboy Hero with his "awww shucks, ma'am" and cocky saunter.



Alex O'Loughlin in MOONLIGHT





And last, but not least, there's the Paranormal Hero who chases away the things that go bump in the night but might not be all that he appears in the daylight.







Now for the Quiz ... are you ready to find out which is your Best Match?  Take this quick Quiz and then share with us which one is your Dream Hero. 
Have fun and Happy Reading!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Unwrapping: Review of A WARRIOR'S DESIRE by Pamela Palmer

A WARRIOR'S DESIRE by Pamela Palmer is the 3rd book in the ESRI Series from Harlequin's Nocturne Books. 288 pages (277 pgs of story) Available in print and ebook format. Release date January 24, 2012  -- that's tomorrow, folks!

BOOK BLURB:
Ex-Navy SEAL Charlie Rand embarks on the most dangerous mission of his career when he dives through the gate into Esria to try to rescue the only person who knows how to seal the gates, the Esrian princess, Ilaria. But it’s his guide and companion, Tarrys, who turns out to be the true revelation. And who ultimately poses the greatest threat of all. To his heart.            
            *                                     *                                  *

I have to be totally honest and confess that I have never read any of the Esri series before this one. I am a huge fan of  Ms. Palmer's writing and so when an opportunity to win a copy of this book came along, I took it and was lucky enough to be the one chosen to receive it. I haven't read any Harlequin Romances since the 70's because they had definitely become too 'formulaic' in nature and Avon gave me more diversity in its storylines. Having confessed this, I will say that I might have changed my mind. The Harlequin Nocturne Books are their paranormal romance section and if A WARRIOR'S DESIRE is any indication of what they publish now, I might just have to check out more of their titles. I will definitely be reading the first two of the Esri series and am looking forward to the next and final one, WARRIOR RISING coming in March 2012.

Charlie Rand is an ex-Navy SEAL, and a member of the Sitheen Resistance who are a mere handful of humans who know about the Esri invasion and can hopefully do something about it. Charlie is going on a mission into the magical and foreign world of Esria to rescue the Princess Ilaria, the daughter of the deposed ruler of Esria who had banned travel into the human realm and the enslaving of humans. The Sitheens believe that the princess is the only one who can help them seal the portals for good and save our world from a life of slavery.

Charlie knows that Esri are nearly immortal and that to kill one would mark him for death. Fighting them is going to be one of his greatest challenges. He also knows that one touch from an Esri can possibly enslave him and that he will be lost forever but if the human realm is to be saved from invasion and total enslavement under the Esri, he must not fail. He plans to go alone even as his brother, Harrison, begs him to take the beautiful Marceil, Tarrys, along as a guide. Charlie believes she would only slow him down and having only been recently freed from the slavery of her Esri master, Baleris, that she might be in danger of being captured and enslaved again. So, he is determined to go it alone.

The Esri world is nothing like he imagined even after Kade, a seven foot tall immortal, told him all that he hoped the young warrior would need to know. To pass through the portal, Charlie needs Tarrys help but insists that as soon as he is through that she return to the human realm. Guess what? She doesn't. She follows him until he makes it known that he has known she was there all along. His attraction to her makes him uncomfortable and even though he knows her archery skills are well beyond his own, he doesn't need the added complication of feeling like he needs to protect her. He begs her to return to safety.

Well, all that sort of changes when suddenly it is Tarrys doing the protecting. I love that Pamela took this is in a totally gender-reversal direction with Charlie becoming dependant on Tarrys to guide him and protect him. Even as it becomes clear to him that the petite warrior woman is in love with him, he knows he'll never complete his mission without her help. Charlie Rand doesn't do love. He keeps reminding himself of this even as his feelings for the girl begin to grow into more than just a lustful physical attraction.

A WARRIOR'S DESIRE is fantastical, and spellbinding in its imagery. I very much enjoyed reading it, which didn't take much time either because once you fall into the world of the Esri, you don't want to leave until you see what's around the next bend, or dark passageway in the Crystal Mines as was the case throughout most of the story. Even the fear- inducing Forest of Nightmares is intriguing. But ... I would like to have seen more action and less hormonal worrying on the part of Charlie Rand. I think that as an ex-Navy SEAL, he should have been concentrating more on the mission and less on how attracted he was to Tarrys and how much he didn't want to get involved with her. Considering that he was also sick as a result of an attack by a Black Trimor, his continual musing over how he didn't want to lead the girl on or hurt her feelings seemed a bit overdone. Perhaps this is the result of it being a Harlequin publication ... more romance less action.

But when all is said and done, and thanks to Pamela's excellent writing skills, A WARRIOR'S DESIRE is a wonderful read. It's an imagination teasing journey into a vividly unique yet nightmarish world where danger awaits at every turn. If you enjoy paranormal romance, fantasy in particular, you will thoroughly enjoy A WARRIOR'S DESIRE. I may have thought the concentration on romantic thoughts a bit overdone but it doesn't change the fact that I really enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the rest of the series. I suspect that if you've read the others first, it is even more enjoyable but it does well as a stand alone book.  I highly recommend reading A WARRIOR'S DESIRE.

If you'd like more information about Pamela Palmer, her books, and in particular, the Esri Series, please visit her website at http://www.pamelapalmer.net/.

Happy Reading Everyone!

                                                                   
                                                          

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