Monday, December 10, 2007

Paula Quinn - Lord of Seduction - Risande Trilogy 3


A battle of wills has begun, for a lethal warrior is in pursuit of a lady's heart, but the refined lady is reluctant to give in to him .....

Gareth ap Owain is a Welsh prince and warrior who lives solely for his land and his people. There is nothing he will not do to secure peace and prosperity for his land, even if that means he has to marry the enemy. He has travelled a long way to meet King William of England to seal a treaty that should secure the peace between both countries and to claim the woman who is rightfully his, lady Tanon Risande. They once spent a whole summer together as children and Gareth never forgotten the spirited girl, but the girl is gone and in front of him stands a refined, obedient Norman lady who is very reluctant to marry him. Determined to make her come willingly into his arms, it will take all his seductive skills to get this spirited passionate girl he once knew back...

Lady Tanon Risande's world is turned upside down when this savage fierce warrior dashed into King William's court and claimed her under the cloak of peace and some old treaty. She is astonished when she learns his name, is this lethal feral warrior really Gareth, the boy she once knew and fell in love with? Not wanting to disappoint her parents or her King she is willing to do what is required of her. She reminds herself over and over again that he only marries her to secure peace for his country, but her breath falters every time he is near and sinfully smiles at her. She is determined not to fall in love with him but old love never dies easily...

With this final part of the Risande trilogy Paula Quinn consolidates her skills as a writer. This trilogy turns out to be really addictive, once you start to read you can't stop and in all honesty it is one of the best I have read in many years. These three stories are not inferior to one another, what story you like the most depends on your personal taste in heroes, but that you will like these stories is indisputable.

One of Miss Quinn's talents is that she knows how to interlace historical facts in a story. For instance in this story we learn a lot about the medieval conflict between Wales and England without it becoming overwhelming. She pens down things so vividly that you can actually picture Gareth's village, the cottages, the glen or the Celebration feast, I love this part of the book!

She also knows how to create a cast of characters that you will adore. All of her heroes make your heart beat faster and Gareth is no exception, he is an honourable fierce warrior who seeks peace for his country no matter what and at the same time he is this sexy devil determined to win his bride's heart. But now he is facing a dilemma, in order to gain the peace he so much desires he has to betray the one person he loves the most. As for Tanon, she is a beautiful spirited woman who knows her duty and she tries to make the most of a tricky situation, she has to live in a savage country without the luxuries she is used to, but she holds on to her dream to have an affectionate marriage. The chemistry between Tanon and Gareth is so strong and so full of passion, that their encounters are sizzling hot and make you hungry for more!

Tanon to Gareth and vice versa:

"What are you doing in my room? Allowing the view to convince me that I'm not making the biggest mistake of my life by marrying you." "Knave." "If I was a knave you 'd be flat on your back in this bed, my lady."

Almost all of her secondary characters have enough dept that they could sparkle in a story of their own. Who will not like Madoc, Cian, Tomas and Alwyn, the rough warriors Gareth has surrounded himself with or Hereward and Rebecca, it is so endearing to see their love blossom, they will steal your heart! I was also thrilled to see Brand and Dante again in this story. The plot is thrilling and very well written with a climax that takes your breath away!

Paula Quinn ends this trilogy with a bang! She delivers yet another fabulous fast paced medieval story that will keep you riveted to your seat! This story has it all, a cast of characters you will adore, a lush and heated romance, humour and a breathtaking climax! Paula Quinn sweeps you off your feet with the intensity of her writing and I cannot wait to read her next novel!

From now on I will buy anything with her name on it!

4,5 stars

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Paula Quinn - Lord of Temptation - Risande Trilogy 2


A sinful handsome warrior determined to tempt her and a bold slave decisive to resist him, let the game begin...

With his coal black hair, pale grey eyes and radiant smile Lord Dante Risande has never come across a woman he could not seduce. But behind his carefree and charming attitude he is consumed by guilt. He blames himself for his sister’s death and has only one thing on his mind, revenge. Then he meets Gianelle, a beautiful slave, who seems to be immune for his charm. When she is blamed for the murder of her master he cannot sit back and do nothing, but if he wants to proof her innocence he has to buy her. Although she is grateful for his help, she still refuses him flatly. Now isn’t that a challenge for a fierce warrior who is not used to lose on the battlefield or in the bedroom.

Gianelle Dejiat has been a slave all her live, she only wants to be free and independent. She wants nothing to do with men, they have treated her cruel and unkind her whole life. But she is in real trouble, she is accused of murder and every piece of evidence points in her direction. The roguish warrior is her only hope to escape the destiny of a murderer, therefore she can do nothing else then put her faith in him. Yet she soon discovers that Dante is nothing like any man she met before, for he treats her like an equal not a servant. But is she willing to surrender to the man who owns her and give up her own dream to be free at last.

This is the second part of the Risande trilogy and it only took a couple of pages before I was fully immersed in this dazzling story. This sensual and breathtaking story drew me in and would not let me move until I finished the last page. It left me in awe and I felt completely spellbound. This story toyed with my emotions and touched my heart in so many ways, I cannot help but feeling this book was a perfect read for me.

Paula Quinn not only does extensive research, steeping her story with an abundance of medieval flavour, but also created strong, well-written characters with immense depth to them. Gianelle is this strong, beautiful woman, she is loyal to her friends, speaks her mind though she is a slave and sometimes rebels against the nobility. As for Dante, he is heavenly sexy! He is strong, handsome, honourable, seductive, witty, always says the right things and you cannot get enough of him. How can you not like such loveable characters!

The cast of secondary characters play a great part in this story but they do not dominate the story. Casey and Balin are lovely personalities and you will like them immediately, they only add more of a good thing. Another character that caught my eye and made me laugh, is the almost blind James, he is hilarious with his chicken obsession! Just like in Brand’s story the dialogues sizzle from the pages and are first class. As for the plot, it is rich, thrilling and anything but predictable, it will keep you flipping the pages.

Dante to Gianelle and vice versa:

“Walk with me outside later when your work is done.” “Non.”

“I will remain silent, and you can ‘interrogate’ me.”

“But my lord.” She raised her eyes to his. “There is nothing I want to know about you.”

Lord of temptation is the perfect blend of passionate romance, chivalry, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, humour and radiant conversations. Dante Risande has become one of my favourite heroes! This is one of those stories you can read over and over again till your book falls to pieces due to extensive reading. For me, Paula Quinn has penned down the perfect classic medieval story with Lord of Temptation.

This story is addictive and a sinfully sexy read!

5 stars

Monday, October 15, 2007

Catherine Kean - My Lady's Treasure


A legendary treasure waiting to be found, a treasure so valuable that one has schemed, betrayed loved ones and killed for to get it, but sometimes the real treasure does not consist of gold and coins...

This story takes you back to medieval England, back to a time where the legend of King Arthur's treasure is still very much alive. You immediately get introduced to Lady Faye Rivellaux, a headstrong penniless widow, who lives at Caldstowe Keep thanks to the grace of Lord Torr Lorvais. She has vowed to protect the child of her best friend, but now the little girl has been kidnapped and she has to pay ransom to get the girl back, but all she has to offer to the kidnapper is a gold cup.

Brant Meslarches is a fierce, scarred warrior who has just returned from the crusade, during this crusade his brother was murdered and now he has to deal with his inner turmoil. He is determined to leave no stone unturned to accomplish his brother's dream, namely to find King Arthur's legendary treasure. Against his will he has to collect ransom for an acquaintance, he is astonished when this beautiful bold lady shows him a gold cup as ransom. Finally Brant has prove that the treasure exists!

They need each other to achieve their goals, so they make a deal. He will help her find the girl and she will join him on his quest to find the treasure. But they soon discover they are in danger, for they are not the only ones hunting the treasure ...

From the first chapter Catherine Kean pulled me into her book and I could not put it down. This story is an easy and delightful read. Basically the plot is simple with only one major subplot, but it is refreshing, original and very well written with an astounding surprise at the end. It speaks of love, trust, commitment and betrayal.

Ms. Kean writes with such an intensity that you hold your breath in anticipation of what will happen next. She describes things so vividly that you can actually picture medieval England, the scenery, Caldstowe Keep and its population. With great detail she has captured the daily life and traditions of the people in the dark ages.

She has a gift to bring her characters to live, in this story she focus mainly on the hero and heroin, page by page you get to know more of Faye and Brant. Their relationship is built up very slow, you see the subtle changes, from mistrust to trust, but right from the start you feel the chemistry between them. Their encounters leap off the pages and are always sensual and interlaced with passion and that made me devour the pages. Their relationship is so believable and moving that my heart cried out for them when they got separated due to misunderstandings and lack of faith in each other.

This story does not really have strong secondary characters, except for Torr. He is an intriguing man of great strength and just like Faye and Brant he has his own secrets to protect, but there is definitely more to him than meets the eye.

Catherine Kean delivers a medieval story so enchanting, dazzling and full of passion that it will keep you at the edge of your seat. Faye and Brant's quest will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride and will keep you flipping the pages till there are no more pages to flip. Ms. Kean sweeps you off your feet with the intensity of her writing and I cannot wait to read her next novel!

4 stars

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jean Johnson - The Master - Sons of Destiny Series 3


The Third of Sons shall meet his match:
Strong of will and strong of mind
You seek she who is your kind
Set your trap and be your fate
When Lady is the Master’s mate

Eight mage-brothers who were born in four sets of twins, all on the same day two years apart each time, are known as the Sons of Destiny. They fulfil the Curse of the Eight Prophecies, written by the seer Draganna over a thousand years ago. They were exciled by the Council of Mages of Katan to Nightfall Isle to prevent the fulfilment of the eight prophecies. But now with two fulfilled prophecies and the fourth already on it’s way, the thirdborn of the eight mage brothers stands not the ghost of a chance to get away from his destiny.

Lady Serina, a great mage and obsessed mathematician, cannot believe her luck when she, by chance sees Dominor at the slave market. He is the answer to all her prayers, she needs a powerful mage from abroad to participate in a mating ritual to undo a permanent spell that was cast long ago. To secure his co-operation she conveniently conceals a major detail of this ritual. She is sure he is competent and powerful enough to perform this mating ritual with her and of course it doesn’t hurt that she is attracted to this very tall, handsome, sexy stranger. But what will he do if he ever finds out the whole truth?

Taken captive and far away from his home Nightfall Isle, Dominor is sold as a slave at a slave market. His humiliation is complete. The beautiful Lady Serena buys him and offers him a deal, he is to aid her in a mating ritual in exchange for his freedom and powers. As an arrogant and dominant male he wants to be in control of his own life again so he agrees, but he cannot help feeling that this beautiful, clever Lady has not told him the whole truth about this mating ritual. He also cannot shake the feeling that she might be destined to be his wife. Has he finally met his match?

This story is mainly about Serina and Dominor. Dom is truly an alpha male, handsome, sexy, arrogant, very competitive and all alone in a strange place that is called Natallia. Serina is very obsessed with her work, so obsessed that she forgets she has a social life as well. When she gets angry or upset she throws vases through her workroom. They are very different and at the same time very alike, Dom has finally met his intellectual equal and it turns him on. Their attraction just vibrates from the pages.

As the story develops further you see how Dom doesn’t feel the need anymore to compete with her all the time, he feels content with managing her life and just to be in it. Misunderstandings tear them apart, leaving them both alone to deal with their inner turmoil. I really felt for them, they are adoring characters.

Dom to Serina:

“Put yourself in my hands,” he promised her, “and I will give you pleasures untold.”

Serina to Dom:

“Stop teasing me, Dominor, and start pleasing me!”

In this volume of the Sons of Destiny Jean Johnson takes a whole new direction with her plot. The magical world gets explored much more in depth, she shows us how magic influences daily life and what happens when one cast a spell thoughtlessly. At the same time she gives us subtle clues on plots still to come in future installments. Slowly you see the development of a larger plot that probably has it's grand finale at the end of this series and how every character introduced to us, each in his or her own way, plays a part in it. Little by little all the pieces come together. For instance it turns out that Rydan, the gorgeous sexy, brooding sixthborn brother, already knows Serina and has a few other secrets of his own. I really like to know how powerful he really is, there is so much more to him than meets the eye!

So with this book Jean Johnson once again proves that she has a vivid imagination. She has created a perfect blend of romance, magic, destined mates and a touch of history. I love it! I have devoured every page as if it was the last one of the book. So far these series is a fantastic enthralling read and I cannot wait to read Evanor’s story!

Jean Johnson keeps you riveted to your couch with her new book!

4 stars

Paula Quinn - Lord of Desire - Risande Trilogy 1


A fierce warrior determined not to lose his heart again and a headstrong lady persistent to win his heart, let the battle begin...

Once he was called “The Passionate”, but nowadays lord Brand Risande has not a passionate bone left in his body. Betrayed and hurt by the one woman he loved with all his heart, Brand has vowed to never ever love again. Now this ruthless warrior is claiming the land he legally won in battle from lord Richard Dumont, but he can only posses the land if he marries Brynna, the daughter of lord Dumont. Reluctantly he accepts that he has to marry her, but he vows to never ever love her. Yet the second he set his eyes on the beautiful and headstrong Brynna he knows he is in trouble and has to stay calm and collected no matter what.

Lady Brynna Dumont is furious when she finds out she has to marry this total stranger that defeated her father in battle, but she loves her people and her land with heart and soul so she agrees to marry this feral warrior. She is highly surprised when she discovers that the savage man she has to marry is the same passionate man she once spied on and secretly fell in love with. But the man in front of her does not even posses a heart, he is as cold as ice. Determined and stubborn as Brynna is, she decides to fight and win his affection, but is it not labour lost to battle for Brand’s heart when it was taken long ago by another woman?

From the first chapter this book kept me riveted to my sofa, I could not put it down and I finished it in one sitting with a big smile on my face. You don’t get to read a story like this every day and it swept me of my feet. With her debut novel Paula Quinn throws you back in time to the year 1065 AD, with a great eye for historical detail she has captured a medieval England that only adds to the overall authenticity of the book. This lady certainly has done her research.

In Brand Risande, Paula Quinn has created a charming, handsome but complex hero, one that has to deal with his broken heart, lives by his code of honour and values loyalty above anything else. Your heart just cries out for him. Brynna Dumont is a beautiful headstrong persistent heroine that speaks her mind, a heroine who will not settle for a marriage of convenience. You will sympathise with her struggle to capture Brand’s heart that seems to be impossible.

The supporting cast of charming characters are deeply passionate and profound. You will be intrigued by Brand’s brother Dante, he is one sexy rogue and you will see him again in part two of this trilogy. William is this boorish guy you just have to love and then there is this person I hated instantly, need I say more? The dialogues are witty, full of humour and leap off the pages, especially the ones between Brand and Brynna are sensual and interlaced with passion. Paula Quinn writes so vivid, so intense that you completely forget the world around you and only want to read more of these engaging characters she has created.

Brynna to Brand and vice versa:

“I am not leaving Avarloch, of that you can be sure. And if ignoring you does not work, I could just kill you in your bed.”

“That sounds very tempting.”

With her debut novel Lord of Desire Paula Quinn has delivered the perfect fast paced medieval story. It is masterfully written and researched with characters of debt. This story will grab you and hold you tight in your seat to the very last page! I am looking forward to read Paula’s Quinn next novel, because this one left me breathless!

4,5 stars

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sophie Jordan - Too Wicked to Tame


To avoid the oppression of marriage a lady only has to act like a shrew....

As a little girl, Portia Derring was abandoned by her mother who wanted to travel and see exotic places. She promised Portia to stay in touch and to come back for her, except she never did. Now her family is on the verge of bankruptcy and they want her to marry well, but Portia is not ready to give up her dream, she is convinced that her mother will come back for her. So she acts like a sharp tongued shrew every time a suitor comes near her, in a last attempt to see her married her grandmother sends her to the country to meet the wealthy Earl of Moreton. The moment she meets him she is appalled by his boorish behaviour, but why is she so drawn to him.....

To avoid the shackles of marriage a man only has to display boorish behaviour....

The very wealthy Earl of Moreton, Heath, has no desire of ever getting married. No woman has ever been able to touch his heart. Bad blood runs through his veins, his father and mother suffered from madness and he is therefore determined to stay single. So far he has chased away all potential brides to be with his ill-bred behaviour, but his cunning grandmother does everything in her power to see him to the altar. She has invited the granddaughter of an old friend, Lady Portia Derring, to stay with them for the Season. They argue from the start and he thinks she is a real shrew, but at the same time his desire for this feisty beauty consumes him and he can’t stop thinking about her, but marriage is not an option....

This is the first book I have read from Sophie Jordan and it is only her second novel. This novel takes you back to the Regency period and tells the story of Heath and Portia, two lovely characters. Portia is a young woman who desperately holds on to her dream, but gradually throughout the book you see her change, she becomes more mature and finally she realises that what she wants from life and hopes for is not the same thing as the dream she has clung to for so long. Heath is a tormented handsome devil, who lives his life by the day, he feels like he has nothing to offer due to his bad blood until he meets Portia, but his fear, pride and stubbornness gets in the way.

I like the way Miss Jordan writes passionate, witty and funny dialogues. The interactions between Heath and Portia spatter from the pages.

Heath to Portia and vice versa:

“God you are a shrew,” he chuckled against her ear, the sound oddly pleasant. “Because I do not take insults kindly?” “No, because nothing but vinegar flows from your lips.”

Portia to Heath and vice versa:

“Pesky gentlemanly honour,” she mocked. “Picks the most inopportune times to surface.” Sarcasm doesn’t suit you, Portia.” “No, my lord, you don’t suit me,” she countered. “Ah, but we know that to be untrue.”

“What you know couldn’t fill the inside of my boot.” “God’s teeth, you’ve a viper’s tongue. No wonder you can’t find a gentleman to wed in Town.”

As for the plot I found it a bit too common and predictable. There are no surprises and the story is solely about Heath and Portia, there is not really a secondary story line and the only other characters that play a part are Mina, Heath’s sister and his grandmother. It is a pity that Jordan did not allow them a greater part in this story, they would have made this story a lot more interesting. Mina is the rebellious sister who is not allowed to go to any social event and is therefore very afraid to end up an old spinster, his grandmother is so cunning and sharp that you just have to like her!

In general I think this story could have been so much more, it was a nice read but it did not give me goosebumps. Nevertheless I think Sophie Jordan has a great talent for writing fantastic dialogues, if she can combine that with a great and intriguing plot she will most definitely be a writer to keep your eye on.

3 stars

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Jean Johnson - The Wolf - Sons of Destiny 2


The Second Son shall know this fate:
He who hunts is not alone
When claw would strike and cut to bone
A chain of Silk shall bind his hand
So Wolf is caught in marriage-band

Eight mage-brothers who were born in four sets of twins, all on the same day two years apart each time, are known as the Sons of Destiny. They fulfil the Curse of the Eight Prophecies, written by the seer Draganna over a thousand years ago. They were exciled by the Council of Mages of Katan to Nightfall Isle to prevent the fulfilment of the eight prophecies. But now their downfall has begun, the first prophecy is fulfilled and the second one is well on it’s way, there is no escaping...

For years Alys has been treated badly by her uncle Broger, now she has finally managed to escape him and his evil magic. She runs for shelter to her childhood friend Wolfer, the boy she fell in love with a long time ago. Only the boy is now a man, a very hot good-looking man, naturally she is most welcome to stay with him and his brothers, but she is terrified how he and his brothers will react when they discover her horrible secret...

Wolfer can’t believe that the young woman in front of him seeking shelter is his sweet little innocent Alys, except that she ain’t so little anymore and not so innocent. All the deep feelings he had for her return in a split second and with that the strong need to protect her from her evil mage uncle, Broger. Wolfer accepts his destiny freely, he is certain that Alys is destined to be his wife, but courting her is not so easy when pure evil is banging at the front door and disaster is bound to happen...

This is the second instalment in the Sons of Destiny series. Once again Jean Johnson takes you back to this wonderful and magical place that is called Nightfall Isle. In this volume the characters of the brothers are explored in depth even further and that is why you will enjoy and appreciate them more. For example, we get a little taste of how powerful Morganen really is in comparison to his brothers, very intriguing indeed. They all have their own flaws and strong features which makes them deliciously divine. As for Alys, she is a wonderful brave young lady, she is just perfect for Wolfer. The only thing that annoyed me a bit was Kelly’s character, I found her a bit too dominant for the story.

It is interesting to read how the lives of the eight brothers are all connected with one another, how the choices and actions of one brother effects the live and well-being of another brother. The fulfilment of the first prophecy is like an avalanche, one prophecy leads to another and so on. Yet again Jean Johnson has come up with an amazing plot, her imagination has no limits. As for her dialogues, they are witty, sensual and fun to read.

Wolfer to himself:

“When had she grow up? When did she become a woman? Why the hell didn’t I notice all those years ago?”

Alys to Wolfer:

“That is why men have muscles for, isn’t it? To make them big, and hard, and to use them to make a woman happy by ... by moving the bed, when asked nicely?”

This book is definitely no punishment to read, it is a real pageturner. It is a great fast- paced story with a sexy hero and a charming heroine and it only makes me crave for more. I can’t wait to read the next instalment in these series, so that I can return to the magical, sensual and funny world that Jean Johnson has created and get lost in it. These series should come with a warning: Beware, highly addictive reading material!

3,5 stars

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Michelle Styles - Taken by the Viking


This story takes you back to a time that Vikings ruled the seas, traded their goods or simply raided the lands of others. A time where people were in fear for their lives by the mere thought of a Viking ship. You get to meet Haakon Haroldson, a dark, arrogant, Viking warrior, who trades his goods for coin or gold so he can take care of his people and estate back home and Annis of Birdoswald, a young, fierce widow who came to the monastery of her uncle for counsel to avoid another forced marriage.

As Haakon came to the monastery to collect the coin that was legally his, he never anticipated that his visit would end in a raiding and massacre or that a beautiful intriguing young woman would save his life. To protect Annis against his own men and to keep her safe he takes her captive and sweeps her back to his homeland. But maybe she is not so safe there as he thought. Maybe he is not so safe in his own home as he thought, since greed, jealousy and betrayal are just around the corner.

The first thing that occurred to me as I read this story was that this is truly a classic Viking tale. It is obvious that Michelle Styles paid great attention to the historic facts of this period in time and this only benefits the story. These facts also provide a great insight of the day-to-day life of the Viking community.

With Haakon Haroldson Michelle Styles has created a characteristic Viking, arrogant, prevailing and honourable. Annis, the heroine, is an engaging, strong-willed, noble lady who desperately wants to be in charge of her own life again. I could feel the chemistry between them from the moment they met, it vibrates from the pages and their interactions sizzle.

Haakon to Annis and vice versa:

“I regret I will not be able to take up the invitation your lips issued just then when we kissed.” “My lips never did.” “Ah, but we both know the truth, don’t we, Annis?”

Besides the hero and the heroine this story has many engaging secondary characters. For instance there is Guthrun, Haakon’s stepmother, she is quite a hag and there is Thrand, Haakon’s half-brother. He is one of those secondary characters in a book who you would like to see in a story of his own. The stunning sub-plot concerning betrayal, greed and jealousy gives this story more depth and intrigued me till the last page.

From page one this story captivated me and urged me to keep flipping the pages into the wee hours of the morning. Michelle Styles certainly knows how to throw her readers back in time, she made me crave for more, more of those arrogant Viking warriors! Taken by the Viking is an enthralling, sensual, fast-paced read, a must-read for everyone who likes a classic historical tale!!

4 stars

Monday, August 13, 2007

Jen Holling - My Devilish Scotsman

“If you marry me you do so understanding that you are mine.”
His hands tightened on her arme and he stared down at her, eyes hard. “I will not share you.”
Gillian tried to twist away from him. He was a fool if he thought he could be rid of her so easily and since he would not release her, she stopped struggling and met his gaze. “You’re not getting rid of me.”
His mouth covered hers in a hard kiss of posession that sent her senses reeling. She surrendered immediately, her body softening, melting into his.
“I won’t share either,” Gillian finally said. “Do you understand me?”

Gillian MacDonnel is the middle one of three sisters and the only one with no magical powers, or so she claims, she is no witch like her sisters Isobel and Rose. Her father is mortally ill and has arranged marriages for her and her sisters so they will be well taken care of after his death. Isobel in the meantime has married the man she loves en Rose can also marry someone her own age, young and handsome. But Gillian is promised to an old Frenchman. Gillian does not like this at all. The only other solution is to marry that darkhaired sexy man who makes her heart race, the duke of Kincreag. This is Isobel’s former fiancĂ©.

The duke of Kincreag, Nicholas, has had it with women! His first wife was unfaithful, lied and cheated. He promised his good friend Alan to marry his eldest daughter, Isobel, who then just went and married someone else. And now they want to marry him off to the middle sister Gillian so she won’t have to marry an old Frenchman. To prevent this from happening he refuses to take another step into Alan’s home. However when he receives word that his friend will not live to see the morning he races to vain...Alan is very ill but is most certainly not dying yet. Alan asks him again to marry Gillian and not able to refuse his friend anything he agrees reluctantly.

Gillian has already fallen in love with Nicholas and wants him to fall in love with her to. During a dinner to get to know each other better, Gillian slips a love-potion in his wine, he sees this and without her noticing gives the wine to the dog. He is very suspicious, afraid she is trying to poison him. But the dog is unharmed...only very unwilling to leave Gillian’s side. So what did she slip in his wine?

When Gillian moves into her new home strange and inexplicable things happen and Gillian discovers that she does have magical powers. She can communicate with the dead. She also finds out she is cursed...Nicholas won’t have it and forbids her to to something with it. The witch-hunt is still in full force, every day some woman ends up on the stake. When there are some attempts on her life Gillian gets fed up and calls in her sisters. Her sisters accuse Nicholas because his first wife also died under strange circumstances and he was the suspect. She fell of the cliffs right after she and Nicholas had had a fight and her body was never found. But Nicholas claims he would never hurt Gillian.

This is book 2 of the MacDonnel Brides Trilogy and it gets better and better. Gillian is beautiful, sweet but also feisty and has a ready tongue. Nicholas is tall, dark, handsome and silent. He reminds me a little of Sin (Kinley MacGregor), so he’s totally okay! Once again nice humor and dialogues, a sensation-packed story and just when at the end of the first book you think you know exactly what the outcome of the other two books will be, you’re wrong!!

4 stars

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Jen Holling - My Wicked Highlander

“So, I’m your prisoner now?” Isobel snapped. “I wonder what my father will think of this?”

“He’ll take a strap to yer arse when I tell him about yer behavior.”

Her face flushed and her mouth flattened. Phillip was afraid she might explode. He stared back at her, brows raised.

“Perhaps you should save him the trouble,” she said. A wicked grin pulled at his lips as he imagined it. “All you have to do is ask, lass – I’d be happy to oblige.”

Scotland, 1597

Times are dangerous for women in Scotland. The scottish king has determined that every village, every town can administer justice on alleged witches and everyone who associates with them. The country is consumed by the persecution of witches. One only has to point at a woman, the word witch merely needs to be mentioned and said woman is a dead woman walking. Women are massively thrown on the stake and dying a gruesome death.

After her mother Lilian died on the stake, 12-year old Isobel MacDonell is sent to friends in England by her father for her own safety. Her two sisters Gillian and Rose are sent away too. Isobel can not contact them. She grows up in England, becomes an adult, but she is always considered a misfit. For Isobel has the same gift her mother had. She can see people’s past and future by holding an object of theirs. She knows she has to be very careful with it because it can land her on the stake. But she is headstrong, stubborn, enchanting, helpful and she thinks she is being careful enough. She thinks her father has forgotten about her until Sir Philip Kilpatrick appears on her doorstep. He is to escort her home, her father has married her and her sisters off. Isobel has to marry the duke of Kincreag.

Sir Philip Kilpatrick doesn’t believe in witches, he’s escorting a girl home because of his friendship with her father Alan. Alan is very ill and dying but Isobel is not to know of this. He has enough problems of his own, his younger halfsister is missing and his stephmother blames him for it. He is weighed down by feelings of guilt. He has been searching in vain for his sister for years. His father wants him to show more interest for the estate he will one day inherit and then there is his evil illegal brother who is more than willing to take his inheritance away and will stop at nothing to do so.

On the way home besides all the troubles they already have they are also having problems with each other. He changes his minds about witches en because of her gift starts believing in their existence. Unfortunately her gift causes danger to them several times. They are attracted to each other, Isobel and Philip fall in love, Isobel wants to help him find his sister. Philip wants to marry her but Isobel feels obliged to honor her father’s dying wish, after all she’s already engaged to the duke. Philip goes away to look for his sister en doesn’t want to see her marrying the duke. Isobel wants to make the best of it with the duke and is convinced she will succeed. Until she meets the duke. He is very handsome....and cold as ice. She doesn’t want to marry him. When she finds out dat Philip’s life is in danger because of her, her choice is soon made en she ends up in trouble.

This is the first book of The MacDonell Brides Trilogy, a fun read, especially the hero in this book is to die for! There are many great and temperamentful dialogues between Philip and Isobel in this book en the secondary characters are nice.

4 stars

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Alyssa Day - Wild Hearts (anthology) - Warriors of Poseidon 1.5

Bastien is a warrior of Poseidon, he protects Conlan, the High Prince of Atlantis, and mankind against vampires. He was forced to commit unspeakable acts in the name of protecting humanity, but hides his troubled mind from his fellow warriors. Now the old alliances are changing and the battle against the vampires is getting worse, he is asked to be an official Atlantean liaison and form an alliance with a group of shape-shifters that has gone rogue. His way in with this group is a woman he met briefly two years ago, the only woman that ever got under his skin ...

Kat Fiero, official National Park Service ranger, is half human, half shape-shifter. She recognises Bastien immediately as the handsome warrior who has saved her on the beach two years ago from vampires. Together they try to convince the alpha of her pride, Ethan, not to form an alliance with the vampires. They fear that the vampires have alternative motives and will use the pact against her pride, Ethan wants proof of this before he makes his decision. Both Bastien as Kat feel this intense attraction between them, but a relationship between an Atlantean and a shape-shifter is not allowed ...

So this is the second part in the Warriors of Poseidon series. I was looking forward to read it after Atlantis Rising and was not disappointed. I like it! Miss Day has a way with words, the dialogues sparkle and she has a tremendous humour.

Bastien to himself about Kat:

“I offer my sword, my heart, and my life to protect your own. From now until the last drop of ocean has vanished from the earth. You are my soul.”

“Oh boy. Next I’ll be taking out the garbage and shopping for curtains.”

Ven to Bastien and vice versa:

“You remember that hot ranger you saved from that gang of bikers a couple of years ago? Kat Fiero? Yeah. Vague recollection.”

Bastien to himself:

“Vague recollection of that day, twenty-one months and three weeks ago.”

This story is an easy read, well written but is lacking depth as most anthologies are. It would have been nice if the relationship between Bastien and Kat was explored in depth. The story is just too short and told with too much haste. I did not like the end, it felt like the story wasn’t finished ... What saves it from being just an average tale is Miss Day’s humour and talent for writing sparkling dialogues.

3 stars

Friday, August 10, 2007

Alyssa Day - Atlantis Rising - Warriors of Poseidon 1

“Eleven thousand years ago, before the seas swallowed the Atlanteans, Poseidon assigned a few chosen warriors to act as sentinels for humans in the new world. There was only one rule – desiring them was forbidden. But rules were made to be broken....”

Conlan is the High Prince of Atlantis. He has sworn to safeguard mankind against the vampires. After seven years of imprisonment and torture by Anubisa, the goddess of the night, he returns home to Atlantis only to find out that an very important artefact, the Trident, has been stolen from the temple of Poseidon. Now he and his warriors have surfaced on a mission to retrieve Poseidon's stolen Trident and declare war on all vampires.

Riley is a dedicated social worker in Virginia Beach, she is also an empath with a special connection to the sea. She is courageous, pretty, smart, witty and always blurts out whatever comes up in her head. After a tough day at work she goes to the beach to relax, there she is attacked by three men and Conlan safes her. Since she is an empath Conlan can’t let her go, he needs to protect her against the vampires because she could be very valuable to Atlantis. From the moment they met there is an intense attraction between them, he wants to claim her and make her his, but Conlan has a war to fight and there is still the matter of the missing Trident....

The warriors of Poseidon are Conlan, his brother Ven, the high priest to Poseidon Alaric, Justice, Brennan, Bastien, Denal, Alexios and Christophe.

What a great debut of Miss Day in the paranormal genre! She has created a whole new world full of hot sexy alpha males... okay so there are some similarities between Day and other writers, but that didn’t bother me at all. I just got pulled into the book and could not stop reading, as I got to the last page all I could think of was I want more!

The way Miss Day describes the warriors, all I can say is OMG!! She has make them so divine, you just have to love them.... They all are so different, they all have been hurt one way or another, that’s what makes them so interesting and you want to know more about them. And the women in this story, Riley and her sister Quinn, they don’t take crap from anyone. They are very independent and nobody tells them what to do. Girlpower! I just love Conlan and Riley, their interactions are so intense and sensual. The interactions between the warriors are sometimes just hilarious!

What I liked most in this book, besides a great plot, is Miss Day’s tremendous humour, it’s great! So here are some quotes.

Conlan to Riley:

“Yes it is definitely me. If I am only a figment of your imagination, can the figment say that I’d really appreciate it if you’d ...rethink... your clothing before you show up in front of my men? Not that I don’t appreciate your choice of nightwear.”

Conlan and Ven are having an argument and Alaric says to them:

”Lovely. Very impressive. We have Reisen on the loose with the Trident and some unknown threat who has drained our prince’s power, and yet we have time to play ‘whose d*ck is bigger?’ between the brothers Grimace.”

Conlan to Riley and vice versa:

“Sitting and waiting sucks... You think? And yet that is what you want me to do? That’s different. You’re ..... A woman? Oh, you so do not want to go there, mister. Riley, you are the heart that beats within my body. If you were to die, my existence would end with yours. Conlan, you’re gooood. Yes I know.”

So in short, I like this story and I am looking forward to read the next volume in this series. Personally I like Alaric and Christophe, I can’t wait to read their story.... Atlantis Rising is an easy read, romantic, sexy and compelling. If you are going to read this book, make sure you have all the time in the world because you won’t be able to put it down.

4 stars

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Allyson James - Rees: tales of the Shareem

“The Shareem. Males are created to be tall, muscled, sexy and ... enhanced. They come in one of three levels – pure sensual pleasure, games and wicked fun, or the ultimate barbarian – complete with whip. They know how to bring a woman to ecstasy and exactly how to keep her there.”

Lady Talan d’Urvey is an high-born lady who follows the Way of the Star, that means separating mind and body so that the mind can function at its highest level possible. After she read the wicked adventures of a high-born lady with a Shareem she decides that she wants to experience this herself before she dedicates herself totally to the Way of the Star and gives up all carnal pleasures. She goes in search for a Shareem and finds Rees.

Rees is an experiment among the Shareem, he is all the Shareem levels combined and more. No one really knows what he is capable of. He has long blond hair, is tall, muscled and is of course very handsome. When he meets Talan he is intrigued, he wants her in a way he himself doesn’t even understand. He teaches her how it is to be with a man, how to love. But he is afraid to lose his restraint with her, a Shareem is always in control with a woman....

Talan falls in love with Rees, she wants him to stay. But high-born ladies do not associate with the Shareem. Rees doesn’t understand where his fascination with her comes from, according to all books a Shareem can’t fall in love, they were only made to please women. Could they be in love and have a happy ending, he dare not risk it, he already lost control once....

This book is classified as E (E-rotic). That means that the love scenes are explicit, leave nothing to the imagination and are high in volume per the overall word account. If you don’t like male male female love scenes, you should not read this book, if you don’t mind these kind of scenes this is a fun story to read.

This tale is an easy read. Yes, there are a lot of love scenes but it did not bother me at all. They were not annoying to read, I like them! There is still a story to read, it is not as if the love scenes take over the story completely. Miss James writes passionate, sensual and humorous dialogues and I like her style. Her characters Talan and Rees are very likeable and so is Rio as secondary character. I really like to read his tale as well. So I enjoyed this book very much and will definitely read other stories by Miss James.

3,5 stars

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Jean Johnson - The Sword


The Eldest Son shall bear this weight;
If ever true love he should feel
Disaster shall come at her heel
And Katan will fail to aid
When Sword in sheath is claimed by Maid

Their fate was sealed the minute the last set of twins of the Corvis family were born, from now on the eight mage-brothers who were born in four sets of twins, all on the same day two years apart each time, would be known as the Sons of Destiny. They fulfil the Curse of the Eight Prophecies, written by the seer Draganna over a thousand years ago. Women will be their downfall, so they were exciled by the Council of Mages of Katan to Nightfall Isle where women are forbidden. But the most powerful mage of the eight brothers believes that they cannot outrun their destiny and takes matters into his own magical hands......

Trapped in a blazing inferno that was once her house, Kelly Doyle was most definitely knocking on heaven’s door, but in a split second everything changed and now she finds herself in another magical realm with only eight other people. Eight hot sexy well muscled good-looking males to be precise and seven of them are not happy to see her....

Saber, the eldest of the eight, cannot believe that his youngest brother has brought a woman from another non-magical realm to their isle. He is convinced that she brings nothing but trouble and disaster and he wants her gone, but she is also hurt from the fire that trapped her, so he takes care of her, of course only until she is well again. But love works in mysterious ways and before he knows it he is consumed by desire and lust for this feisty redhead and she for him, he cannot outrun his destiny and she is his downfall, the first of eight to come ...

This is Jean Johnson’s first novel in a new intriguing paranormal romance series, the Sons of Destiny. This novel pleasantly surprised me, it was different, original, passionate and enchanting to read. Once you start reading you can’t stop. In the first part of the book you are introduced to the eight brothers, their magical world and Kelly of course. In the second part of the book the story takes an unexpected turn when Kelly, Saber and his brothers have to face the threat of the coming prophecy.

It is moving to read how the eight brothers look after one another and how they come to respect and accept Kelly in their midst after she makes them eat dirt first. Their interactions are sometimes hilarious, Jean Johnson certainly knows how to write witty, funny or sensual dialogues that make the characters in this book come to live.

Saber to himself:

“I will not fall in love with her. She isn’t even my type. She’s sharp-tongued, screams too much, and doesn’t even dress properly – no, don’t think of how she’s not dressed!”Saber to Kelly and vice versa:

“Do not fall in love with me. Do not make me fall in love with you. Do you understand?” “All right.” “No falling in love.” “Want to have hot sex instead?”
This story is addictive, it is like a box of chocolate, once you get started you can’t stop! It will only make you crave for more and it is a good thing for us that there are seven more prophecies to be fulfilled. With her boundless imagination Jean Johnson has created a thrilling, exciting and sensual new world. The exquisite combination of time travelling, romance, magic, a curse, a touch of history and eight very hot alpha males make this story a passionate, original, compelling and sexy read. It is definitely worthy of your time!

4 stars

Friday, July 6, 2007

Review Policy

If you are an author or publisher and would like Lounging With Books Retreat to review your book, please email me at I accept print and ebooks and will be happy to receive books for review, interviews, guest posts and contests. Both print books and ebooks are accepted but since I live in The Netherlands shipment cost can be pricy. In ebooks the preferred formats for me is epub, but any other format will do.

I prefer to read Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense and Fantasy Romance. I am not a fan of the Young Adult genre or straight up Fantasy, but am open to try books of other genres if the blurb appeals to me.

When you make your request please include the title of the book, genre, if it is part of a series and the format. Please note that I am situated in The Netherlands, therefore my native tongue is Dutch not English, small errors may occur in my reviews. But I do try to avoid them as much as possible of course. Reviews will be posted  4 - 8 weeks after I receive the book depending on how busy I am,
ARC reviews will be posted one week before the release date. If you prefer a different time frame we can always discuss this. All my reviews will be posted at my blog, Amazon and Goodreads, I also use Twitter and Facebook to announce my reviews.

I always give my honest opinion about a story and I stand by my rating, it will not be changed in any way after I reviewed a book. But I do not write bash reviews, if I do not like a story I will explain in my review what did not work for me.

If you have other questions, please don't hesitate to contact me!

I look forward to hearing from you!

Review Rating

Under Construction.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Recommended Reads

Under construction

Over the years I have fell in love
more than once with stories that
I can read over and over again,
here are a few of my
favorite reads!
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About Me

Hi everyone.
My name is Marissa. I live in the Netherlands with my partner, two kids and a hooligan cat. My son is 9 years old and my daughter is 5. Dutch is my native tongue; English is a second language for me. I am an avid romance reader. When I am not busy with work, household stuff, friends or my family, I read romance novels and review them or try to lol. I am a paralegal, I draw up legal papers for my boss who is ingenious but forgetful and I try to keep him out of trouble. I am very organized at work but chaotic at home and I certainly have my Bridget Jones moments. I love to travel and enjoy a good glass of wine, I hate coffee and I am addicted to chocolate, hot men and gorgeous romance covers.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.