1) DARK OBSESSION by Alison Chase~Victorian, Gothic~Rating-B
A pleasing read, though I didn't fall for the Gothic feel I believe Allison Chase was going for. I felt the ghosts and mystery fell flat in the sense of I didn't feel anxious or edgy by the suspense. I did enjoy following Nora and Grayson's budding relationship and the problems they faced, and I liked Johnny. All in all I found this a nice freshman effort by Ms. Chase, and look forward to reading more of her work.
*2) WHEN THE DUKE RETURNS by Eloisa James~Georgian~Rating-B+
*3) DARK TEMPTATION by Alison Chase~Victorian, Gothic~Rating-C
While this is written in a Gothic style, it is merely an echo to earlier Gothic novels, the mystery was there, but I had difficulty feeling any tension or anxiety when Sophie or Chad were in precarious situations. Though the story is written well, there were just to many personal things that irked me and kept me from getting completely immersed into the story. Such as, I found myself continuously annoyed with Sophie, because I found her selfish and stubborn on the verge of stupidity, making it a challenge for me to connect with her. Chad just really fell flat for me. I found the ending to be very cheesy. I was intrigued by the local legend of Meg and Jack Keating and would have liked to have seen their ghosts intertwined into the story. I also would have liked to have seen Nora, Grayson and Johnny, Chad's friends who we met in DARK OBSESSION a novel of Blackheath Moor #1.
*4) DESTINY KILLS by Keri Arthur~Paranormal, Contemporary, Dragons~Grade-A
I loved following Destiny and Trae through their relationship and their travels. Keri Arthur did an excellent job creating an engrossing story that hooked me from page one. I really liked Destiny's determination and passion for life, while she had spent much of her life in captivity, she never gave up on the hope of freedom. When she finally attained her goal it was at a huge cost, but she knew she must go back to help those that were still at the hands of evil. Trae was hot, sexy and extremely lovable. I loved the connection between them, and how Trae wasn't discouraged by her attempts to fight the battle alone, and helped her fulfill her destiny. I also loved the little teasers about Trae's sister and look forward to meeting her in the next book.
5) EVERY NIGHT I'M YOURS by Christie Kelly~Regency~Rating-A
This is an engrossing tale that kept me awake late into the night, as I followed Avis and Banning though their journey of discovery. The combustible emotions flaring between them led to an entertaining story, full of passion and fun. The depth of the emotion felt by Avis' aversion to marriage after watching her parents abusive relationship and an antipathy towards Banning was blended perfectly, showing Avis' vulnerability, though not sapping her strength, and I felt the issues were well resolved. I felt that both Avis and Banning grew as the book progressed. I also felt that the secondary characters, while not over powering, were well written and fully developed, I hope to see a few of them in future stories of their own. Toward the beginning of the book, the writing seemed a bit choppy, but everything quickly smoothed out and flowed together, captivating me into the story. This was an excellent debut from a new author, as I can't wait for more of Christie Kelley's books to come out, to see how her writing grows, as she sucks me into another story.
6) HERO WORSHIP by Dawn Calvert~Time-Travel, Regency~Rating-C
7) HIS AND HERS by Dawn Calvert~Time-Travel, Regency~Rating-C
I loved the premise of this book, an author's characters taking over the story and showing her that she may not have cast them quite right, hoping that she will create a better story. Unfortunately the execution just didn't work for me. I really struggled through this book. I found Jane to be insipid and annoying, I wish she would have been less of “Book Jane” and more “Real Jane”. I understand why Jane was willing to have someone write her as a “perfect” heroine, but there were just some parts when I felt “Real Jane” should have stood up more, especially knowing this was a romance. Such as when Jane knew the feelings for James just weren't there, instead of trying to “make” herself feel emotions, she should have used that as an opportunity to move the story from that point. I would hope that as a reader of romance, she would know that in the best books, there is intense feelings between the hero and heroine, sure it may start as hate, but it is still a vivid impression, not the vapid indifference between her and James. There really wasn't much feeling between her and Curran either, though at least he showed some potential and had some drive to change his prospective character. I really think that this book should be classified more as chick lit than historical romance. HIS AND HERS is a light-hearted story, with romantic elements, but I felt that there was no real passion or a sense of “true love” in this book. It told more of Jane's emotional growth. I didn't think that there was enough time spent between Jane and Curran to qualify them as a romantic couple, sure she felt some desire for him, but I didn't feel as if she was really longing for him when she knew she couldn't have him. And the ending of this story truly fell flat for me, I did not like it at all.
*8) NEVER DARE A DUKE by Gayle Callen~Victorian~Rating-B
*9) WHAT A PIRATE DESIRES by Michelle Beattie~Pirate~Rating-A
Mmmm...pirates, one of my favorite kind of heroes! I loved Luke's sexy demeanor, and his bit of bad luck along with his gorgeous self endeared him to me. I loved that with his cocky attitude, he wasn't annoyingly arrogant, he was still likable. Samantha was a great match for him, as she was strong and independent, with a bit of vulnerability that allowed Luke to help her. I liked her, though I really wasn't impressed by her skills as a captain, I felt that though the men liked and respected her, they saw her more as a figurehead, or as a sister they needed to protect, even when it was told how she saved some of them from a life of slavery. I wish that she was a stronger Captain. The secondary characters were were well fleshed out and very likable, without stealing the show. I especially liked Samantha's protector, Joe; young Aidan; and Luke's sister, Jacqueline. The villains were pure evil, and deserved what they got, though I felt that the scenes of her revenge against both villains were a bit anti-climatic, and they fell kind of flat for me. I look forward to more of Michelle Beattie's characters and story lines in the future.
10) UNEXPECTED by Lori Foster~Contemporary, Action/Adventure~Rating-A
*11) DEMON'S HUNGER by Eve Silver~Paranormal, Contemporary, Gods/Demons~Grade-A
I absolutely devoured DEMON'S HUNGER! I was captivated by Eve Silver's realm of sorcerers and demons, living out their lives in our world, seeing how the light battled the dark. The characters were engaging and the sexual tension between Dain and Vivien was hot hot hot. Dain's battle against the demons and his attraction to Vivien, the a woman who may be his enemy, fascinated me. I liked the mystery of not really knowing who the evil was coming from, but realizing that the serial killer they searched for wasn't just killing random victims, but humans who had inflicted harm onto those weaker than themselves, not that it made the killing okay, but it gave the killer more depth and took an edge off the malevolence. The only reason this didn't give a perfect score, was because I felt that the book jumped around a little to much for me, though I was thankful that it did because one of the particular jumps happened at a time I was supposed to be getting ready for work, it jolted me enough out of the story so that I could bear to put the book down and wasn't too late in the office-though it didn't stop me from wanting to pick it right back up! I was drawn into the lives of the secondary characters and look forward to more of this series, eager to see where Ms. Silver takes this universe and their battle of good vs. evil.
12) THE HUSBAND TRAP by Tracy Anne Warren~Regency~Rating-A
13) THE WIFE TRAP by Tracy Anne Warren~Regency~Rating-B