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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Contest Rules - Scroll down for reviews

During April, we are giving away a book every day. Most will be print romances in various genres, and there may be the occasional eBook. Either way, you'll be getting some great books to add to your keeper shelf.

Contest Rules: To enter, leave a comment on the book you want to win -- but you only have ONE DAY in which to enter for each drawing...the day it is reviewed. The drawing for each book will be held the morning after the review posts, so make sure you get your entry in on the correct day. The books available for giveaway will be marked with a yellow chick. For a second chance to win, find the same chick somewhere on our main website and Email us to tell us where he's located.

NOTE: Print book giveaways are open to US and Canada residents only. eBooks giveaways are open to anyone worldwide.

Be A Reviewer!

Review: Hibiscus Bay

Hibiscus Bay
by Debby Allen

An illicit affair with her boss loses Ashleigh Brennan her job along with her dignity. Untrusting of men in general, she vows never to be misled by first impressions again—until she meets wealthy, handsome Remmao Kamal. He’s full of passion and eastern promise—but for how long?

It’s hard to believe that this millionaire isn’t married, but his playboy lifestyle aboard his yacht has had its repercussions. After a succession of harbor pickups, his misjudgement of a lover’s intention put his life at risk. Since then, he has been determined to put his womanising days behind him—until Ashleigh walks into his life.

Their sexual attraction is immediate and the temptation for Remmao to break his vow of harbor celibacy is as strong as Ashleigh’s desire to protect her heart. But will a one-night stand with no commitments be enough for them?

“Hibiscus Bay,” set in a lush harbor town, is an emotional roller coaster of a romance between Remmao and Ashleigh, two jaded, broken-hearted adults trying to avoid commitment. When they meet by chance in the harbor one evening, their attraction is instant. But even after they spend the night and the following day together, Ashleigh doubts that she will ever be more to Remmao than a harbor pickup. Nursing a broken heart, and guilt-ridden over her own past relationship, she simply cannot trust a stranger with her heart. And Remmao has doubts of his own, since his last harbor pickup not only broke his heart but almost destroyed his life.

These characters operate mostly on lust and immediate emotion, and as such their relationship goes through ups and downs on every page. While Ashleigh is not the most admirable or likable heroine (she’s an adulteress who slept with her boss to advance her career) readers will likely understand her reluctance to trust a handsome playboy like Remmao. Readers will also understand Remmao’s frustration with Ashleigh’s unpredictable emotional outbursts. Ms. Allen develops his character well; he’s a gorgeous Middle Eastern sailor with a body to die for and a heart that needs tending.

The setting of gorgeous Hibiscus Bay is a perfect place for Remmao and Ashleigh to explore their feelings further, and those descriptive details are nicely presented. (On a side note, this novella’s cover is beautifully designed and paints an idyllic picture of the paradise where these characters fall in love.) Although, for me, Ashleigh’s repeated vacillating between her feelings for Remmao and her past hurt drew away some from the development of the romance. However, other readers may feel differently and instead see “Hibiscus Bay” as a romantic one-night stand that turns into something more and lasting.

Review by Dandelion

The Bodyguard and the Rock Star by Christy Tillery French

The Bodyguard and the Rock Star by Christy Tillery French
Publisher: L&L Dreamspell
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Review by Snapdragon

Protection specialist Natasha Chamberlain thinks guarding popular English rock star Giki during a tour of the Southern states will be easy and fun. She couldn’t be more wrong.

In no time at all she finds herself bogged down in Giki’s crazy world of sex, drugs, shoplifting, and an uncontrollable sweet tooth. If that’s not bad enough, Giki is being hunted by a ruthless cyberstalker, intent on putting an end to her career.

When Natasha gets shot after the first concert, her fiancé, Jonce Striker, steps in. Determined to keep Natasha safe, he sends his best men, Pit and Bigun, to watch over her. Striker wants Natasha to marry him and give up her dangerous line of work, but he’s having trouble convincing her of that fact.

Natasha’s torn between her love for Striker, and her desire to do her job. Will she give in to Striker’s demands and forget about her profession? Or will she stay with Giki and do whatever it takes to protect her?

The choice is obvious to Natasha, but will she live to regret it?

The Bodyguard and the Rockstar, by Christy Tillery French is full of fast action and fun, witty Dialoque. The storyline is unpredictable, often hilarious, and includes intrigue, love, adventure, and a fair dose of frustration.

That action starts abruptly with an assault. Bodyguard Natasha, a serious professional and very logical person, must cope not only with standard security issues, but a more pressing threat, as well. Events are plausible, but very unexpected. Giki, the 'star' starts out seeming to be the cliche'd everything one expects in a rockstar - but the white powder she is into is her clandestine powdered donuts! Woe to the evil paparazzi that catch her indulging! Likable Natasha must contend not only with Giki's issues - and concerns - but the interference ( of the well-meaning and very very delicious Jonce Striker, as well.

Striker is a strong, take-charge type man, and predictably, Natasha both admires and loves him. He is, after all, exactly the sort to set any pulse racing. Natasha is her own woman though, and when it comes to her profession, no one else gets to 'take charge.' The pressing danger, crazy rockstar, the battle of wills in the moment-by-moment changes in the romance will keep readers guessing right through. The background of the tour, Natasha's strange array of assistance - and even the oversized photographer (Lumpy) all add quality and character. This is an absolute page-turner, but be warned; if you attempt to read it in your cubicle at work, people will wonder why you are laughing so hard.

The only negative thing I can find to say is that this does have a rather unfortunate title; not because it is inaccurate, but because of that hint of Kevin Costner's epic - and - far from my dark-hearted suspicions, this is a totally original story, with far different characters and story line. This is the third in French's 'Bodyguard Series.' (No need to read the earlier to understand this.)

The Bodyguard and the Rockstar is a delightful blend of humor, action, and affection. I give this one as many books as we've got, and just want to know if I can nominate it for some kind of award.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Review: Something About That Lady

by Carol McPhee

Struggling to pick up the pieces of her life, widow Brie Beaumont accepts an invitation to visit the Circle C ranch in Canada's Rocky Mountains. Co-owner Jed Cameron distrusts Brie's motives. He is determined to protect his brother and the ranch from the red-headed gold digger. But when tragedy strikes, Jed's only hope is the woman he vowed to run off.

In SOMETHING ABOUT THAT LADY, Carol McPhee takes the reader to the breathtakingly beautiful ranch country of Alberta, Canada. Along with the heroine, Brienna Beaumont, she lures the reader into Jed Cameron Territory. Brie, still fragile from a disastrous marriage and the death of her husband, finds herself transported from the holiday atmosphere of a cruise ship to the Cameron Ranch where she’s met with Jed’s hostility that threatens to undermine all the emotional and physical healing she’s begun on the cruise.

As the reader learns about Jed’s reasons for being hostile and the story behind the scar on Brie’s cheek that is her “Badge of Shame”, a need to discover how they get past these old hurts, that have engendered so much guilt for them both, makes the reader hurry along with anticipation.

Ms. McPhee presents the reader with some unusual secondary characters. They add, spice and depth to the love story that emerges amid the troubles that beset them all. While internal and external conflicts contrive to make life troublesome for them all, Jed’s blind, gay brother and his life mate are the positive force that
never waivers. They are an intriguing sub-story in this novel.

Once initial difficulties have been overcome, love blooms, and the wedding is all set, the reader feels relief only to be propelled into a conflict and a heartbreaking turn of events. The happy-ever-after for Jed and Brie is hard-won.

SOMETHING ABOUT THAT LADY keeps the reader turning pages and holding her breath at times. I certainly recommend you pick it up and give it a try!

Review by Camellia

Review: Beware of Doug

Beware of Doug
by Elaine Fox

He's Nobody's Best Friend!

Lily Tyler's very interested in her sexy new neighbor, private jet pilot Brady Cole. Brady could really go for smart, gorgeous Lily. The fire that's generated whenever they're together isn't just chemical... it's nuclear!

But then there's Doug...

The real ruler of the roost - Lily's noisy, nasty, match-mauling pooch - Doug likes to greet anyone he dislikes with yaps, nips, and very unpleasant surprises. And Doug does not like Brady. (Doug, in fact, doesn't like anybody - except Lily, of course. And, oddly enough, the squeaky clean, partner-track attorney whom Lily's domineering dad would love for his dutiful daughter to marry.)

Brady's no canine fan to begin with - and Doug's the devil-dog incarnate! But Lily could never get serious with anyone who doesn't click with her precious puppy - so Brady's going to need a lot more than great looks, smooth charm, and hot passion to get himself out of the doghouse and into Lily's life!

Elaine Fox has done it again. She is a pro when it comes to bringing on the heat and the laughs, and Beware of Doug is no exception.

Lily loves her dog, and normally that would be okay. Except in her case, she thinks her Doug can do no wrong. He's an angel as far as she's concerned and it's rather comical to see everyone else's response to her dog and his antics. All Lily wants is a man who can get her excited and who can get along with her dog. That to her is the perfect combination... too bad the one man who has consistently made her all hot and bothered doesn't get along at all with her beloved pet.

Brady is a motorcycle-driving, jet-flying hottie. When he moves in next door to Lily, he's convinced that she's what he wants. What he doesn't want is her yappy, mean little punk of a dog! When he keeps finding "presents" on his doorstep, and parts of his shoe wardrobe keep going missing, he has a devil of a time convincing Lily that her little darling is responsible. All he needs is to convince Lily that he's telling the truth and maybe they can move on the amazing attraction they feel for each other.

As always, I had a great time reading this offering from Elaine Fox. The scenes written from Doug's unique perspective kept me laughing and wondering what in the world he would do next. The interactions between Doug and Brady were hilarious as each tried to establish their dominance in Lily's life. As the story moves along, though, they actually learn to get along. It was fun to see their uneasy truce as they come to the realization that they were both there to stay and if they wanted to keep Lily, they'd have to deal with each other. This was a truly fun book, and if you're looking for a book with humor, heat and dogs then this is one for you.

Review by Viscaria

Win This Book!

This book is part of our April "Book-a-Day Giveaway"!

Edited to add: Congratulations to Maureen -- today's Book-a-Day Giveaway winner!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Review: Eye of the Beholder

Eye of the Beholder
by Delia Deleest

A marriage of convenience isn't what Adeline Pierce had in mind for her life, especially since she was practically engaged to the man of her dreams. But, time is running out for her critically ill brother, who needs to move to a warm dry climate or face certain death. A move of that magnitude requires a lot of money--money her family doesn't have. When Will Denning, a man physically and emotionally scarred from his time in the trenches during World War I, offers her family the money they need in exchange for her hand in marriage, she feels she has no other option. Learning to love Will is hard enough, but it's made even more difficult by the fact that her former love is determined to do whatever it takes to drive them apart, including murder.

Heartfelt and charming, Delia Deleest's latest romance, "Eye of the Beholder," will enthrall readers. You will love both the hero and heroine, and before halfway into the story, will have so many hopes for both of them!

The plot is fast paced, witty, and utterly unpredictable. Modest Adeline lands in the soup - although it was her own, heartfelt efforts to do a good turn that land her there! Young and earnest, Adeline resolves to do her best, and in so doing, becomes the kind of character we love to admire, and of course, wish all the best for. She is perhaps not the most complex of characters, but she is sweet

Wealthy William Denning, who first operates through a representative, is at best a shadowy figure. When he does step forward, he embodies so many different beings - from a man that seems eminently admirable, and perhaps pitiable, to possibly someone so scarred by life that he should himself, be feared. As readers, we will be certain we can predict his motives, as well as the coming twists in the plot. Nothing could be further from the truth. The depths of Denning's character will only slowly come to light - and his life, seemingly finding a parallel in the movie world, might be considered a tragedy. Much of the plot revolves around the man Denning truly embodies.

Although, things are not quite that simple. Adaline already has a dedicated admirer, charming Mic Rafferty. Rafferty has everything Denning lacks - from looks to charm. He's also been a dedicated admirer for a number of years. Adeline has his love and support, if not his understanding. He is so charming, you cannot but feel that somehow, things will turn around. Adeline has the support of a warm, if needy, family. Even the community that surrounds her - from casual friends, Denning's housekeeper, to the lady who runs Mic's boarding house, are well thought out, and well-meaning characters. Heroism comes in many forms, and several of them are to be found here.

This delightful romance is enchanting. Deleest's attention to detail, and to the nuances of emotion is extraordinary. Loyalty and friendship are explored... and love. Romance is the heart of "Eye of the Beholder." don't miss it.

Review by Snapdragon

Review: Ask Again Later

Ask Again Later
by Jill A. Davis

Emily has a tendency to live with one foot out the door. When her mother dramatically announces, “They’ve found a lump,” Emily gladly leaves behind her career, her boyfriend, and those pesky unanswerable questions about who she is and what she’s doing with her life to be by her mother’s side. But back in her childhood bedroom, Emily realizes that she hasn’t run fast or far enough – especially when she opens the door, quite literally, to find her past staring her in the face.

Ms. Davis, an Emmy-nominated writer for Late Show with David Letterman and the author of the best-selling novel Girls’ Poker Night, pens this story about a thirty-one year-old woman at a crossroads. While I expected the novel to focus on the relationship between mother and daughter, it is a much lighter work that falls into the “chick lit” genre. Emily Rhode quits her job as a lawyer when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, and she spends most of the book trying to sort out her relationship with both her mother, a distracted, superficial woman, and her father, who abandoned the family when Emily was five years old.

In traditional chick lit manner, the first-person narrator is single, living in New York City, and struggling to find a man with whom she can have a healthy relationship. Emily has a ho-hum job and a gay best friend in whom she confides. However, sorting out the mess of her childhood, and coming to terms with her parents and their flaws, soon becomes the most important order of business. While the author does try to examine the serious nature of family relations, and the ways in which illness and death wreak havoc our own views of mortality, unfortunately the novel never really rises above the self-absorption of the main character.

With this novel’s resemblance to Anna Quindlen’s masterpiece One True Thing, one might expect a more thorough emotional impact. That is not the case, however, as Ask Again Later relies on witty commentary to deflect any heartfelt examination of the impact a cancer diagnosis can have on mothers and daughters. In fact, though Emily’s mother’s illness is the impetus for her decision to quit both job and boyfriend, this novel is much more about her fascination with her father, who re-enters her life at about the same time.

This novel is told in brief snippets, chapters of less than a page or so, and the writing itself is tight and flawless. Davis’ prior work as a television writer is evident, as one-liners pepper the text. There are some very funny moments, especially when Emily gives in to temptation and dates a lawyer who’s six years her junior. And there are some poignant, introspective moments as well, especially near the novel’s end. Depsite being amused and entertained by the humor, I was left wanting just a bit more, both from Emily and from the author herself.

Review by Dandelion

Win This Book!

This book is part of our April "Book-a-Day Giveaway"!

Edited to Add: Congratulations to Karin -- today's winner of the Book-a-Day Giveaway!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Review: Always Tomorrow

Always Tomorrow
by Shada Royce

Gavin Saxton, the residing Earl of Brockington, is guilty - first of sleeping with another man’s wife and then causing the death of her husband. After spending the last three years in the British Army with his best friend, Edward Noble, the Duke of Carlisle, fate hands Gavin more than he wants when Edward’s dying wish is to take care of his wife, Sarah - the one woman on earth unlikely to accept his protection.

After being neglected by a man she’d married for love, Sarah Noble carries a soul consuming bitterness like a badge of honor. With the gaping sadness at the loss of her husband and the loss of a child, Sarah’s future appears bleak – until an unexpected guest appears on her doorstep. To her chagrin, the man is no one other than Gavin Saxton - traitor, seducer, coward, and heartbreaker – professing his honor and protection.

I struggled a little to write this review, because although I enjoyed the setting, the characters, and the writing itself, there is very little conflict in the story. Gavin Saxton witnesses his best friend’s death in battle and promises to take a letter home to the man’s wife, Sarah. The only problem? Gavin has secretly loved Sarah for years. However, now that Sarah is a widow, and Gavin is still a single man, there is really nothing to keep the two apart, except perhaps their pride over the past or their uncertainty about the future. Once they reunite, it is only a matter of hours before they give in to the attraction they have always felt for one another.

The scenes in this story are detailed and well constructed. I felt fully immersed in eighteenth-century England, from the powerful, descriptive opening on the battlefield, to the steamy love-making scene later on. Gavin and Sarah are nicely developed and likable characters, too. I just wish there had been more anticipation built into “Always Tomorrow,” more doubt about whether or not these lovers would end up together. However, if you’re a fan of historical romances, you should find reading “Always Tomorrow” a nice way to spend an afternoon.

Reviewer: Dandelion

Review: Last Wolf Hunting

Last Wolf Hunting
by Rhyannon Byrd

Coming home, Jeremy Burns realized his life had all been an act.

As if sending the next rogue back to hell was his life's mission. But after seeing Jillian Murphy for the first time in a decade, Jeremy knew he could no longer ignore his desire. By rights of nature, the Spirit Walker belonged to him. Yet fate and fear had worked against these two headstrong lovers in their youth—and cast the Bloodrunner from his home.

Now Jeremy and Jillian must join forces to uncover the betrayal that threatens to destroy the pack's stability. And when they're done—well, Jeremy's not about to again deny himself the one thing he wants most in this world.… Jillian belongs to him, and this time his little witch is going to know it!

Blood Runner, Jeremy drew the short straw at the end of the first book in this series ("Last Wolf Standing") and must return to the pack and claim his rightful place there in order to investigate which of the pack leaders has turned traitor and is encouraging rogue werewolves to viciously attack and murder humans.

Rejoining the pack is the last thing Jeremy wants to do. Aside from the fact that they look down on him because he's not a purebred wolf, he also has to face Jillian, the Spirit Walker who is also his lifemate.

This book starts of with a bit of humor and a heavy dose of excitement from the moment you crack the cover. I love Cian, the Runner who accompanies Jeremy back to the pack, and his dry humor really starts the book off well. However, the pack sanctioned duel between Jeremy's lifemate and an old girlfriend really moves the story along.

At first I thought the "bad guy" was far too predictable and found myself disappointed, but was surprised by a little tidbit about this near the end of the story that made it clear I didn't know everything I thought I did!

I thoroughly enjoyed the relationship struggles between Jeremy and Jillian, including the very believable conflict: he hates living in the pack and can't stay, she is the Spirit Walker to the pack and can't leave. There are also suspicions on Jillian's part about whether Jeremy can be faithful, again quite understandable based on his playboy past. Jeremy is driven to mate with Jillian, but wants to wait until she's certain of his love. The tension between the two of them is strong, hot and well-written.

Though this book can stand alone, I believe it will be far stronger and more satisfying when read in conjunction with the first in the series and I recommend that you pick up all of the "Blood Runners" books... they are exciting, very sexy and, I'm betting after you read them they'll earn a solid place on your keeper shelf.

I'm off to read book three...

Review by Poppy

Win This Book!

This book is part of our April "Book-a-Day Giveaway"!

Edited to add: Congratulations to WindyCindy -- today's winner of the Book-a-Day Giveaway!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Review: Shaking Off the Dust

Shaking off the Dust
by Rhianna Samuels

Hannah’s list: Ghosts are cold to the touch. Being tied up isn’t much fun. And danger is a sure-fire prescription for amazing sex!

When Hannah Campbell attends a memorial service for the neurosurgeon who once saved her life, the last thing she expects is a lightning strike that knocks her out cold and blasts her lungs full of the departed’s ashes. Things only get weirder when she wakes up to find the deceased standing over her hospital bed, insisting she help him track down the terrorists who blew up his plane.

Professor Takeshi Shimodo doesn’t know what to believe when smart-mouthed Hannah appears on his doorstep, claiming to be haunted by the ghost of his best friend. Yet she exhibits some extraordinary psychic abilities. And her determination to find justice for the crash victims, in spite of her fragile health, touches his heart.

Takeshi’s acupressure techniques are meant to calm Hannah’s erratic heartbeat, but the longer they are together, the more his magic fingers have the opposite effect. Soon, their passion flares hotter than any lightning strike.

But now the terrorist they seek is hunting them. And the FBI is suspicious Hannah knows just a little too much.

Without some “spiritual” help, they haven’t a ghost of a chance.

Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex, graphic language and violence.

Defying any easy categorizing, "Shaking off the Dust" offers an unusual and unique story line, powerful, occasionally overwhelming emotions, and and a mystery wrapped up inside it all. Even though the suspense will grab you, there are many light moments, and humorous dialogue is to be found throughout.

Miss Hannah Campbell's day starts out in sad retrospective, yet she is swept along an unpredictable course at once. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the appearance of a certain ghost here is - strangely- plausible, and carried off very well by Samuels.

The array of emotions Hannah feels is heightened by confusion, her injury, and pain; and that's just the start! Because this ghost is both puzzled and demanding, and Hannah has a certain obligation to him, when you get right down to it. That obligation will set her on the trail of murderers, perhaps even terrorists. She won't be alone, although Dr. Shimodo might be more of a distraction than a help!

The delicious Shimodo can't claim all her attention, as Tom, the ghost never lets up. He is even to be found sleeping on the foot of her bed. Hannah and Shimodo's desperate efforts lead them to uncover an unspeakable plot, at great danger to themselves. Along the way, they really discover one another. Never mind sexual tension - the actual sex scenes make this one steamy thriller. Well written and continually engaging!

Review by Snapdragon

Review: Midsummer's Knight

Midsummer’s Knight
by Tori Phillips

Playing at disguises with her betrothed, Lady Katherine Fitzhugh knew not which role she had embraced, for pretending to be her cousin in order to discover the true nature of the stranger she was bound to by royal decree was proving to be much more complicated than she had planned!

Only a fool entered marriage blindly, and Sir Brandon Cavendish was no one’s fool. Yet disguised as his own best friend, he was now faced with a ticklish dilemma. For it was fast becoming clear that the woman he truly desired was not his simpering intended, but her strong-willed and passionate cousin!

This sequel to Silent Knight, of the Cavendish Chronicles, tells the story of Brandon Cavendish and the woman he is forced to marry, Katherine Fitzhugh. Both the King and Brandon’s father think it’s high time that the popular but promiscuous knight settle down, so they choose Katherine, a twice-widowed beauty of thirty who wants nothing more than to live the rest of her life alone and in peace.

When she discovers that she’s been promised to a young of rogue of the court, she and her cousin, Miranda, decide to trade places, to do a little spying on Sir Brandon. Meanwhile, Brandon and his good friend Jack have decided to do exactly the same thing, to discover who the real Katherine is. Of course, the men and women both fall for the “wrong” person, who in fact is the “right” person, though no one realizes it until it’s almost too late.

I was glad the “mistaken identity” ploy didn’t last longer than half the novel, as it was a bit trying to follow who was playing whom, and to believe that some character, at some point in the story, wasn’t going to find out the truth. Brandon and Katherine both do, soon enough, but then the story takes a turn for the worse when her evil, money-hungry nephew plans to do anything in his power to prevent their wedding, including murder.

As usual, Ms. Phillips’ characters are richly drawn: the knights are stunningly handsome, devilish, and lusty, while the women are beautiful, smart and strong. The minor characters in this story provide nice accents to the hero and heroine: Katherine’s quiet, innocent cousin Miranda and Brandon’s showy best friend Jack are the perfect secondary couple; while the plotting nephew Fenton Fitzhugh and his poor servant Tod Wormsley are richly developed as well.

I’m always interested in reading about the social customs of this historic period, and Midsummer’s Knight doesn’t disappoint. This novel gives insight to the typical bedroom escapades of knights, including the fact that it wasn’t unheard of for them to father more than one child out of wedlock. I also liked reading about the ways in which courtship unfolded during the Elizabethan age. Fans of William Shakespeare will also recognize certain elements of this plot, which run parallel to his play "A Midsummer Night’s Dream". Overall, I enjoyed this novel, though parts of the story weren’t as engaging as other books in this series. Still, the characters are fun and the love story is well written.

Review by Dandelion

Win This Book!

This book is part of our April "Book-a-Day Giveaway"!

Edited to add: Congratulations to MelJPrincess -- today's winner of the Book-a-Day Giveaway!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Review: Timeless Blue

Timeless Blue
by Adrianna Ravel

While vacationing in the Caribbean one summer, Jordan Brentwood meets Renee Carlson, a woman who is instantly captivated by him yet keeps her heart heavily guarded. Jordan isn’t used to chasing after what he wants, but something about Renee intrigues him.

Once Jordan realizes that Renee is his one and only love, he suddenly loses her in a car accident that changes his life forever. He falls back into his old womanizing habits, lasting until he is an aged man in his 70's. Technology has progressed and time travel is now possible thanks to a prosperous new corporation. Jordan is given the ability to find and save Renee, the woman he met on a beautiful paradise island in the Caribbean, while finally taking control of his future from under his proud father.

But can the past truly be changed?

Gorgeous playboy Jordan Brentwood meets his match in free-spirited, Caribbean island dweller Renee Carlson. Though an interracial romance isn’t the easiest thing to navigate in that day and age, these two fall for each other the minute they meet. Despite the obstacles that stand between them, including Jordan’s uptight father, Jordan’s own future as a doctor, and Renee’s doubt that there are any good guys left in the world, they manage to find true love.

An interesting twist is the way this story begins: thanks to technology, a seventy-year-old Jordan has the chance to relive his life and spend it with Renee, the woman he does not choose the first time around. Unfortunately, I felt the first few pages of this story were bulky and weighed down by this explanation. I also thought the author might have used the elements of déjà vu and second chances more consistently throughout the plot.

Jordan and Renee are likable characters, if a little stereotypical. I wasn’t convinced that after a few days and a few kisses, they were madly in love, though the bedroom scenes are steamy enough. The setting – Miami and St. Thomas – does lend itself to a sensual love story, and the details of the island are well written. The minor characters, including Renee’s sister, Lauren; Renee’s doctor, Malkia Westmore; Jordan’s current plaything, Sheila; and Jordan’s own father, are all fleshed out nicely.

A sweet if predictable love story, Timeless Blue will sweep you away for an hour or two and remind you that there are no second chances in life: make those choices of the heart wisely!

Reviewed by Dandelion

Review: Sex, Straight Up

Sex, Straight Up
by Kathleen O’Reilly

One part heat, two parts sin…

Meeting a handsome loner on a deserted beach in the Hamptons was like being his by lighting. One steamy weekend in bed with Daniel O’Sullivan and Catherine Montefiore was marvelously woozy from a delicious cocktail of sun, sand and superhot sex.

Abruptly, though, Catherine’s forty-eight hours of fun are at an end when her family’s exclusive auction house is hit by a very public scandal. She’s ready to step in and save the day, but she’d hoping Daniel, her hot Irish hunk, will lend a hand. After all, he’s got the necessary skills an d, straight up or not, Catherine wants another long drink of Daniel before another forty-eight hours are up and her legacy is lost forever!

Okay, once again, I am completely and utterly taken by surprise while reading a Harlequin Blaze book. Looking at the cover, title and blurb… I was expecting lots of heat and a bit of a mystery or suspense worked in. Don’t get me wrong, that’s exactly what I got, but I also got so much more. This book was so incredibly poignant and moving that I am again having a very hard time giving up a book for giveaway!

Catherine Montefiore could quite possibly become one of my favorite characters, or best friends at that. Again, not what I expected when I picked up this book, and what a wonderful surprise. Catherine is a lover of art in all it’s many forms, a woman with less-than-stellar self-esteem who is incredibly faithful to her family and friends, but is also so very lonely. She has always felt a bit out of place among her rather flamboyant family, and I just adored how she had finally reached the decision that she would be who she was and her family would just have to love her for who she was. Not that they didn’t anyway, but her determination to be true to herself was admirable. When she spots Daniel on her beach, looking just as lonely as she has always felt, if not more, she is drawn to him. Her insecurities cause her to observe from a slight distance, but it’s not enough to keep Daniel from noticing her.

Daniel O’Sullivan is straight-laced and somber as they come. He is a truly tortured hero, who isn’t truly free to have feelings for Catherine. At least that’s his take on the situation. He is a man who has suffered a truly horrible loss and my heart just ached for him. He has lived in his own private hell for seven years and until Catherine stepped into his line of sight, there didn’t seem to be any sign of a light at the end of the tunnel. Even then he was convinced that nothing could possibly come of it. His attraction to Catherine was so amazing to watch as he tried to fight her draw. It didn’t take him long to realize that it was a losing battle, as Catherine brought her own source of light to his darkness. He’s utterly helpless in the face of his attraction for her, and I could understand his struggle, but I can’t go any more into it. Needless to say, his story and his struggles are incredibly compelling and will have you firmly on his side, even when you think he’s being a fool. Throw in his “Greek god” looks and you have a truly hot and lovable hero that you just have to see to believe.

This book was so much more than just another hot tale of sex turning to love, even though that WAS a big part of it. The emotions and events it touched on were spellbinding and besides having my heart pounding, it brought tears to my eyes as well as a smile to my face. I could go on and on about how moved I was by certain aspects of Catherine and Daniel’s relationship, and the inevitable move from lust toward love that started from the moment they realized that there was more to the other person than just a sexual encounter. There were moments of levity that made me laugh, I don’t want you to think this was all about the hardships, and there were a few, but it was mostly a moving tale of two people finding each other. I have nothing but praise for Kathleen O’Reilly and this amazing book, and would urge you to give it a chance, you won’t be disappointed.

Review by Viscaria

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Edited to add: Congratulations to Dru Ann -- today's winner of the Book-a-day Giveaway!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Review: Eternity Waits

Eternity Waits
by Susan Macatee

Alexandra Ivanov has wandered the night alone for the past three hundred years. The only man she truly loved had been taken from her on a bloody battlefield centuries ago. Now she finds herself drawn to Caleb Weathers, a virile soldier who sets her heart racing.

Caleb, a Confederate soldier stationed in Gettysburg in 1863, is intrigued by the beautiful, exotic woman who calls him by the name Dimitri. When she touches him, she sets his body and soul on fire. But is she the devil in disguise?

Do you believe in past lives? Reincarnation? For those who do, Susan Macatee creates a tender love story of both that is sure to tug your heart strings. Eternity Waits is a beautiful love story between the lovely Alexandra Ivanov and her long-lost lover, Dimitri. Alexandra is a gorgeous vampire with a broken heart, doomed it appears to walk the earth forever without her mortal lover, Dimitri.

Yet she lucks out twice, finding Dimitri’s essence in Southern Civil War soldier Caleb Weathers and later in eager beaver reporter Matt McDonnell. Written with wonderful detail and poignant emotion, I found myself sniffling as she discovers her lover in both men. You can just sense her tearful joy. It twisted my heart reading how they came to be separated and I can guarantee some sniffles when you see just how much love is between them even after death.

If there was anything I found a bit bothersome, it was the sometimes heavy prose. Occasionally, Alexandra’s words were just a smidge too dramatic for me and it was a little hard to take her seriously at those points. Yet it was so easy to understand her woe, I could forgive her and still felt for her through her trial. Ms. Macatee’s story was touching on all points and I was more than a little sad to see their story end. Grab a tissue for this one!

Review by Narcissus