Review: The Time Traveler’s Boyfriend by Annabelle Costa

time-travelers-boyfriend-by-annabelle-costaSummary: Claudia loves her boyfriend Adam and would love to marry him. Unfortunately, he’s not ready for the next step. He’s leery of commitment because he had been deeply hurt by a girl he met just after the accident that left him paralyzed. When Adam invents a time machine and asks Claudia to use it to save him from the accident, she’s not sure what to think. But then Claudia sees this as the perfect way to separate Adam from the emotional wounds of his past. If he never meets that girl then he’ll be emotionally ready for marriage in the present when she gets back… of course it’s not that simple and things go awry.

Review: This is a cute, fluffy romance that is quick to get into and quick to read. I loved Claudia’s and Adam’s interaction after her first foray into the past. Oh my! Not quite what either one were expecting. I liked how Claudia accidentally-but-eventually-purposefully influenced her younger self toward the career path she finds so rewarding. I like how young-Claudia and time-travel-Claudia butted heads about things. I love young-Adam and Adam-at-the-end-of-the-book. It’s hard to say what made this work for me without giving too much away. I hope though, if you’re in the mood for something lighthearted you’ll consider reading this book!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Time Traveler’s Boyfriend

Review: The Beauty Within by Marguerite Kaye

 Beauty Within by Marguerite KayeReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Considering he thought he was only as good as the subjects he painted, prominent artist, Giovanni di Matteo is a modest man and often wonders why women of a certain age throw themselves at him, and although others who have commissioned paintings from him think him as an amazing artist, he is unsure of his talents. Giovanni has been at the top of his profession for many years since he had come to England, but his enthusiasm for painting as waned, his muse, his subject matter, not piquing his interest.

Although Giovanni is supposed to be commissioned to paint Lord Armstrong’s sons, he has a yearning to paint his daughter Cressida once he sets eyes on her, even if she is forbidden to him. Cressida, like Giovanni is intelligent and accomplished in scientific matters. She lives and breathes it and isn’t one to consider men, let alone marrying one that her father arranges. He does not regard his daughter as anything other than marriage material, while his sons are those he holds in much higher regard; so much that he wants him to paint his sons rather than her. For him this is annoying as all he wants to do is paint the elusive and attractive Cressida. When they talk in her father’s absence, she points out his dissatisfaction at his own work. He believes it only relies on the rules and principles of mathematics to appear brilliant. His work wasn’t always like that, earlier, he painted from the heart, full of enthusiasm and vigour, and even if he got harsh criticism for being at one with his art, he at least was true to himself back then.

Marguerite gives readers a first hand account of what Giovanni is like as a person. They get to see his whole personality in this volume, his thoughts that his painting hasn’t inspired him until he meets Cressida, the woman who fires his heart and gives him the drive to paint again. Giovanni finds her a beautiful woman who is overlooked by her family, mainly her father who is more concerned with his precious sons. It is easy to get into the story and the characters are made real by their backgrounds and personalities. Readers can be sure they will be entertained by this story, and it will be one to introduce them to future novels by this author. This is steamy and romantic, and one that if you don’t already, you will have an interest in art by they end of it! This is well worth a 5 star rating.

Likes:

  • Marguerite Kaye has an excellent grasp of the technical process of art, and the reader can feel she has researched it in full to make her character of Giovanni Di Matteo believable.
  • Cressida plays the role of the ‘ugly duckling sister’ very well, yet doesn’t realise how beautiful she is inside as well as out.
  • There is the contrast of Cressida’s cruel stepmother and father to her natural niceness.

Dislikes:

What’s not to like?

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Beauty Within (Harlequin Historical)

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Why Archaeology is Sexy!

The Shadowy Horses coverGuest blog by Susanna Kearsley, author of The Shadowy Horses

OK, I have to say that in my time as a museum worker I did mingle with some archaeologists, and none of them looked anything at all like David Fortune, the hero of my book The Shadowy Horses (which has just been re-issued by Sourcebooks). In fact, the archaeologists I know would roll their eyes if I suggested that their work, with all its detailed methodology and scientific focus, might be sexy. But there’s no denying that, in many people’s minds, it is.

When I discussed this with a couple of the women working at my local library, they had a few suggestions why it was that archaeology—and archaeologists—might make us swoon. Indiana Jones aside (because we all know that real archaeologists don’t run around in fedoras, with bullwhips, don’t we? Don’t we?), the fact remains that archaeology is all about exploring, and that carries the potential for adventure. Explorers, by nature, are brave and adaptable and self-reliant, all swoon-worthy traits in a man.

Sure, they may only be exploring as far as Ohio , but many digs take them away to exotic locations like Greece, South America, or underwater beneath the Black Sea. These are women and men who aren’t fettered to desks in a 9 to 5 job. They have freedom to travel, to chart their own course (well, as long as they get back in time to mark papers at their universities, that is…) But they’re not tied down to convention the same way that, say, an accountant might be. And that, too, can be sexy.

Besides which, they’re smart. They’re intelligent. And when you combine the appeal of a man who can debate morphological projectile point typology and the classification of flaked stone tools, with the rugged allure of a man who spends much of his day working out of doors, that’s a potent mix for any romance hero.

Maybe the real reason, though, was the final one given to me by the women who worked at the library. “Well,” they said, after some thought, “archaeologists work in the dirt. They get dirty, and sweaty.”

I wasn’t quite following. “And?”

“And that means,” said the women, “they might have to take off their shirts.”

Enough said.

Why do you think we think archaeology’s sexy?

GIVEAWAY: 1 print copy of The Shadowy Horses is up for grabs! Open to US and CAN readers. Enter by leaving a comment telling us why archaeology or archaeologists are sexy! The last day to enter is October 19, 2012. Good luck!

Buy: The Shadowy Horses

Review: Reluctant Protector (Protectors Series, Book 1) by Nana Malone

Reluctant Protector Nana MaloneReviewed by Karin of Savvy Thinker

Cassie Reeser’s brother has engineered her to be a genetically altered person, and not only herself, but others also. She has been virtually kept prisoner, though she has tried to escape. This time, she makes it out in the trunk of a car belonging to Seth Adams, a former war correspondent. When she tells him her tale, he hardly believes her, but soon they are running for their lives, against the ruthlessness of her brother.

Cassie must protect Seth, because he has no idea what he is up against. And she has promised to free the others held by her brother. This is Cassie’s one chance to experience life outside of a laboratory. Cassie and Seth make a good pair – and the sex is hot. Moved a little fast for me, but on the other hand if the alternative is death, well, move fast indeed!

A solid read. Very enjoyable.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Reluctant Protector (Protectors Series #1)

Review: The Legend of Michael by Lisa Renee Jones

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This is the first book of the “Zodius” series.

Cassandra Powell comes to work for her father and to evaluate some of the soldiers at the military facility.  Not two minutes after literally bumping into one of the soldiers he’s hitting on her.  His name is Michael Taylor.  She then goes to meet her assistant Kelly who tells her something interesting about the GTEC soldiers that she will be working with.  I love how Kelly tells Cassandra how to have protected sex – ok Mom!

Cassandra’s father seems to be one of the evil forces in this story.  He’s done some experiments on the soldiers that Cassandra must now see what the effects are.  He seems to think that he can play God and not be held accountable.  But there is someone who is much more evil than he is.

Michael goes on a mission with two brothers, Adam and Caleb.  Adam shows us how the experiment can take a turn for the worse.  What’s even worse is that there is a woman, his wife, who’s as evil as he is.  Lisa paints Adam as a very dark sadistic man.  He gets pleasure from other people’s pain.  Lisa doesn’t make it too graphic but just enough so the reader will understand the type of evil man he is.

Lisa takes the reader on a very suspenseful ride.  From one chapter to the next we don’t know what’s going to happen to Cassandra and Michael.  But we have to keep reading so that we can find out.  You have to love a hero that in the midst of a war going on, he has time to make love to his lifebond.

Cassandra’s father isn’t happy on how his soldiers have turned out, now he wants to create a super soldier.  This is one more reason to keep reading.  Was this latest experiment a success?   And how does Michael’s mother fit into all this?  Lisa gives us a glimpse into a world where if you fool with Mother Nature, you will suffer the consequences.

I love how Lisa has given Cassandra a strong personality.  She either fights by Michael’s side or she’ll just go out on her own.  They also love each other – no matter what.  This is the type of love we all long for.

The story ends with us wondering whether good was able to defeat evil.  Who will prevail?  You will have to keep reading the series to find out the answer to this question.  I definitely recommend reading this series.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Legend of Michael: Sin and Satisfaction (Zodius)

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Review: Persuade Me by Juliet Archer

Reviewed by Carla F.

Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen novel and so I grabbed this one as soon as I saw it. The appeal of the story for me is the thought that no matter how much time has passed nor how large the mistake, it can be fixed.

Summary: In this adaptation Rick Wentworth lives in Australia and is a famous marine biologist who has spent his career studying sea dragons. He is now headed back to England to promote his book which his publishers have fortunately for him decided to name Sex in the Sea. Ever since Anna Elliot refused to marry him and broke his heart, Rick has lived by the motto, “Never forgive, never forgot”. But after ten years, Rick is thinking that once he returns from his book tour, that he needs to finally forget Anna, perhaps marry his supermodel girlfriend and get on with his life.

Anna’s life has been busy with her work as a professor of Russian Literature. She regrets that she let her mother’s friend Lady Russell (or Minty as she is known to her friends) talk her in to rejecting Rick’s proposal. She has kept up with Rick’s career, and she even has a ticket to his Bath book signing, but she doesn’t know if she will have the guts to approach him.

Review: Archer captures perfectly the style and tone of the origin. You see and feel the melancholy. (The advantage this one has over the original is that you get to see it both in Anna and Rick.) There is also the sly humor. (The total cluelessness and self-absorption of Anna’s father Walter Elliot and her sister Lisa is a frequent target.)

I liked how that even though this Rick and Anna had a more intimate relationship than their Austen counterparts, the sexual detail is somewhat vague and left for the most part at the bedroom door. It feels the way that Austen might have written it if she were to do so today.

The fun for me with any adaptation of Austen’s is the way the author fits in all the important plot points and characters. For example, the “Letter” scene is a convincing variation. However, one problem that I had with the overall story is that the keeping Rick and Anna apart felt a little forced. Societal rules in Austen’s time meant that there was a more “natural” barrier in the fact that a woman had to wait for the man to approach her.

Things that made me chuckle: The Forward in the book by Will Darcy who met Rick when he and his sister Georgie were on holiday in Australia.

Any mention of name Dottie Dalrymple.

The thing that creeped me out: William, who is Walter Elliot’s heir, bears enough of a physical resemblance to Walter to make Anna uncomfortable. Her sister Lisa doesn’t even seem to see this and is eager to marry him.

Overall: An excellent version of Persuasion. The author captures perfectly the mood and humor of the original while telling a modern story.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Persuade Me (Darcy & Friends)

Review: Falke’s Captive (Puma Nights, Book 2) by Madison Layle and Anna Leigh Keaton

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

The book Falke’s Captive is the second story of the “Puma Nights” series.

Main Characters:  Beth Coldwell is a graduate student looking for some big cats.  Kelan and Reidar Falke are brothers with a family secret.

We also have minor characters:  The rest of the Falke’s family – younger brothers; Sindre and Torsten, younger sister; Heidi (ironically she is a veterinarian), and older brothers; Axel and Gunnar along with their woman Dakota (their story is in book one titled Falke’s Peak).  Tim another grad student working along side of Beth and Professor Whitmore who oversees the research project.

Our story opens with the brothers at their favorite place in Leavenworth – the Tap ‘n Tine.  Then they see Beth walk in.  The purpose for Beth being in town is because of a research project.  We see that it’s lust at first sight for the brothers.  And it seems that the feeling is mutual.  Our authors give us the typical bar scene – Kelan starts hitting on Beth.  Then she gets an eyeful of Reidar.

We see that while Beth is out in the woods she shoots a big “cat” with a tranquilizer dart.  But not everything is as it seems.  She has also tagged and implanted a microchip into the cat.  Later we see her trying to track the puma which leads her to the Falke family store.

Our authors give the reader a BDSM scene between Beth and the brothers.  It’s not something that is over-the-top but fits in very well into the story line.  Reidar can feel their connection right away but Kelan fights it.  Their connection grows as the story continues.  I love how our authors add in funny moments when the brothers and Beth interact with one another.

Then we finally get to meet the professor in charge of Beth’s research project.  His actions are questionable.  This adds a little suspense to the story.

Madison and Anna have the brothers acting like spies when they go after something that Beth has and they want.  It’s funny to see how the brother’s minds work – one thinking of their future with Beth while the other is trying to make it go away.

This story reminds me of the romantic suspense movies I sometimes watch.  It was also interesting to see my feelings about the interactions between humans and wild animals written into the story.  This gives the reader another connection to the story.

At one point Beth feels betrayed and you have to sympathize with her.  But her anger is short-lived (some of which could be because this story is short).  You have to wonder that if the story had been longer if things might have been a little different.

Spoiler alert:  Our authors made Beth out to be honorable.  But if you are willing to alter test results how honorable can you be?  In Beth’s defense I will say that it was done out of love – but still, honor is honor.

Getting toward the end of the story, Madison and Anna give us an action scene fit for a movie – the good guys are here to save the day!  And all ends happily ever after.  Love conquers all!

You will find that you don’t want to put this story down.  If you love shape shifter romances, you will want to read this book.  If you haven’t read the first book, and you liked this one, I would suggest putting it on your must read list.

You don’t need to in order to understand this book but if you want to know more about the older brother’s story, you will want to check out “Falke’s Peak”.  I’m looking forward to seeing if they continue the series.  I want to know what happens with the younger brothers and their sister Heidi.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Falke’s Captive

Review: The Storm that is Sterling by Lisa Renee Jones

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

The reader first meets Rebecca Burns as a very studious high schooler. She’s so smart that she tutors during the summer. Sterling Jeter is a young man that hacks into computers for money. He uses the money to take care of his grandmother. We think that they will be sweethearts right away but then Sterling gets into trouble and Rebecca doesn’t see him after that.

The story then jumps fourteen years. Sterling is now part of a special elite team. He then goes to see Rebecca. This is where Lisa gives her reader an indication of what makes Sterling a hero. This is also where our adventure begins.

If you have not read Lisa’s first book in the series, The Legend of Michael, you may not understand a lot of what’s happening in the story. Originally, I read this book first and was totally lost in what was going on. I then went to my local library and took out Michael’s book. This time everything was less confusing and it made sense. You do need to read this series in order.

This book is darker than the first – the evil in Michael’s book continues here. You can tell that this is a book about good vs. evil but that the evil is getting stronger. As you get into the story, you will question as to which will win.

The first time I read this book, I was reading it as a paranormal romance. This second time, I read it as a paranormal romantic suspense. The book is good as a paranormal suspense but it is a little light on the romance. Danger always seems to get into the way of any type of romance between Sterling and Rebecca.

In other paranormal romances, that I have read, the life mate appears early on and we see the instant connection between the two main characters. As I started to read the first few chapters of Sterling’s story, I just didn’t see that connection. At the end of chapter 5, Sterling and Rebecca finally admit that they want each other but as a reader I just don’t feel it.

In Chapter 21, Becca says how badly she wants him but as a reader I’ll have to take her word for it. I just never saw it in the pages previously. At the end of this chapter, we finally start to see their romance take shape. But as a romance reader, I felt that the author had to put in a love scene somewhere and this is where she decided to put it. To me it felt out of place. It just didn’t seem to flow with the rest of the story.

Once the romance finally starts it seems like the dark side of the story seems to take a back seat. You see glimpses of it so that you know it will continue into the next book but the feeling of the story changed.

Would I buy this book? No. Would I borrow this book from the library? Yes. Would I read the next book in the series? Yes, I would like to see what happens next. I will say that I did like Michael’s story better.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Storm That Is Sterling

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