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Archive for January, 2013

Find out what books are on my auto-buy list for February

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A new review of The Temptation of Your Touch by Teresa Medeiros

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Reviews of After Midnight and The Vampire Who Loved Me by Teresa Medeiros

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My favourite quotes

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and much more!

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MY FAVOURITE QUOTES

“With the world securely in order, Dain was able to devote the leisurely bath time to editing his mental dictionary. He removed his wife from the general category labeled “Females” and gave her a section of her own. He made a note that she didn’t find him revolting, and proposed several explanations: (a) bad eyesight and faulty hearing, (b) a defect in a portion of her otherwise sound intellect, (c) an inherited Trent eccentricity, or (d) an act of God. Since the Almighty had not done him a single act of kindness in at least twenty-five years, Dain thought it was about bloody time, but he thanked his Heavenly Father all the same, and promised to be as good as he was capable of being.”

– from Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

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MY FAVOURITE QUOTES

“To me you are stardust sprinkled across a night sky, forever in my dreams, but out of my reach.” 

– from Yours Until Dawn by Teresa Medeiros

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Did you know?

Richard Burton was born in the small village of Pontrhydyfen, South Wales. Although never trained as an actor, Burton was, at one time, the highest-paid actor in Hollywood.

Popular romance novelist Mary Balogh was born in Swansea, South Wales but moved to Canada in 1967, where she married and settled in Kipling, Saskatchewan.

Coal from the South Wales Valleys fuelled the world in the 18th and 19th centuries and shaped the Industrial Revolution.

Legendary singer Tom Jones was born in Treforest, Pontypridd, South Wales. Since the mid-1960s, he has sung nearly every form of popular music – pop, rock, R&B, show tunes, country, dance, soul and gospel – and sold over 100 million records.

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Just Like Heaven - Julia Quinn

SMYTHE-SMITH QUARTET SERIES ( #1)

Setting: England 1824

Honoria Smythe-Smith is:
A) a really bad violinist
B) still miffed at being nicknamed “Bug” as a child
C) not in love with her older brother’s best friend
D) all of the above

Marcus Holroyd is:
A) the Earl of Chatteris
B) regrettably prone to sprained ankles
C) not in love with his best friend’s younger sister
D) all of the above

Together they:
A) eat quite a bit of chocolate cake
B) survive a deadly fever and the world’s worst musical performance
C) fall quite desperately in love

It’s Julia Quinn at her best, so you know the answer is …
D) all of the above

★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩

Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series is a great favourite of mine and anyone who’s read the series will be familiar with the Smythe-Smith quartet. For those readers who haven’t read the Bridgerton books, the quartet of three sisters and a cousin gives an annual musical performance which can only be described as a discordant cacophony of sounds! So I was delighted to discover that Ms Quinn’s new series features the young ladies of this quartet. The first book, JUST LIKE HEAVEN, is a delightful story full of romance, charm and humour.

Feeling down? Well this book is the ideal cure! It has no great conflict, no heartrending angst and no threatening villains but I loved escaping into the cosy world Ms Quinn has created with an enchanting friends-to-lovers story.

I adore Marcus and Honoria because neither of them conforms to the typical hero and heroine you find in so many books. Marcus is not one of those drop dead gorgeous rakes whom every woman drools over. In fact, he’s shy, not particularly handsome, and hates being the centre of attention. Honoria is very down to earth, honest, loves getting together with her cousins just to chat and longs for a husband, her own home and a big family. I found it easy to relate to them because they seemed so much like real people.

Marcus’s illness provides the impetus for them to recognise that their feelings for each other are something more than friendship. Some reviewers have complained that Ms Quinn devotes an inordinate amount of the book to Marcus’s illness but I feel that these scenes are integral to the story. They reveal Honoria and Marcus’s innermost thoughts about each other and move their relationship forward to the next level. They also serve to highlight Honoria’s single-mindedness and courage in the face of adversity.

Ms Quinn also manages to blend in touches of her trademark humour as well. I love Honoria’s chatter to Marcus, even though he can’t hear her:

“I am thinking that when you are better you should come to London.” Honoria went on, fixing her voice back into a facsimile of good cheer. “If nothing else, you will need a new pair of boots. Maybe something of a looser fit. It’s not the style, I know, but perhaps you can set a new trend.”

I’d probably be just like Honoria, babbling a lot of trivialities, if I were sick with worry!

Marcus’s laudanum induced hallucination is also very funny:

He might have slept for a bit. He rather hoped he was sleeping, because he was quite certain he’d seen a six-foot rabbit hopping through his bedchamber, and if that wasn’t a dream, they were in big trouble.

I love how Ms Quinn emphasises the importance of family and friends, something that seems sadly missing in our 21st century society. Marcus values his friendship with Daniel and the sense of family he finds with the Smythe-Smiths because he’d never experienced either before. For Honoria, family means everything, and although she knows how truly dreadful they are, upholding the tradition of the musical performance is very important to her. She regards her cousins as friends as well as family and loves the rehearsals because it gives her the opportunity to simply chat with them.

Their first kiss seems such a natural progression and in perfect harmony with the story. Honoria is so happy to see Marcus recovered that she’s sobbing and naturally throws her arms around him and then:

“Honoria”, he whispered, looking down at her as if he’d never seen her before. His eyes were warm, chocolaty brown and rich with emotion. Something flared in their depths, something she didn’t quite recognise, and slowly, ever so slowly, his lips dipped to meet hers.

So romantic!

Marcus has always found Honoria’s ‘lucky red shoes’ a turn on and it is these shoes that ultimately move the story towards the big love scene which is really worth waiting for! Ms Quinn doesn’t do steamy but her scene is both tender and poignant with lovely touches of teasing between them.

The Smythe-Smith Quartet themselves provide some really funny moments with their friendly bickering and it‘s a bonus to meet some familiar faces from the Bridgerton series including my favourite Colin Bridgerton and the indomitable Lady Danbury.

If you’re in the mood for a tender romance with endearing characters, sparkling dialogue and delightful touches of humour, JUST LIKE HEAVEN is simply perfect. I’m now looking forward to reading the other books in this series but will be sure to have my earplugs at the ready!

RATING : ★★★★★

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read September 2011

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Setting: England, 1727

A reluctant heiress resigned to her fate… Mary Elizabeth Edwardes has one of the largest fortune’s in England, but has no desire to leave her quiet country existence… and even less to acquire a husband she cannot choose for herself.

A dissolute nobleman bent on retribution… Trapped in a duplicitous existence since scandal destroyed his fortune and family name, Lord Hadley Blanchard has spent the better part of a decade posing as a disaffected exile while spying and seducing in the service of the English Crown.

A dangerous game of seduction, and intrigue… When summoned from abroad by a former lover, Lord Hadley perceives an opportunity for vengeance at last. By employing the full measure of his seductive charm, he woos the ward of the man who destroyed his life, little knowing that winning Mary’s fortune will mean risking his own treacherous heart.

**AUTHOR’S NOTE
TREACHEROUS TEMPTATIONS
was very much inspired by the dark and romantic novels of the 18th century in which virtue vs. vice and plots to despoil virgins were very popular themes, books like Clarissa Harlowe by Samuel Richardson or Les Liaisons Dangereuses by LaClos. Similar to these classic tales, my story features an innocent country girl who, unlike the former heroines, is neither insipid nor naive, but still inadvertently becomes a pawn in a deadly game of revenge and intrigue.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★

Treacherous Temptations is Victoria Vane’s first full-length historical erotic romance. Having read and rhapsodised over her The Devil DeVere series, I couldn’t wait to read this ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ inspired book. Ms Vane never disappoints and this book was no exception. She weaves a sensual tale of scandal, treachery, intrigue, love and redemption.

Once again, I was swept back into the Georgian era with all its elegance, opulence and decadence which Ms Vane captures so perfectly. Her writing is always evocative, emotive, sensual and delightfully wicked. I chose this excerpt because, for me, it perfectly illustrates her descriptive flair.

With the arrival of dusk, however, the true Venice awakened. Donning her gilded and be-jeweled bauta, she revealed her soul beneath a thousand torches lighting the canals with sputtering brilliance over shimmering waters. With countless covered gondolas affording floating places of refuge for sinful delights, she reveled in all of her concupiscent glory.

Ms Vane did an excellent job of showing Hadley’s gradual journey from a man whose life had degenerated into an endless pursuit of every excess and dissipation to someone who regains his honour, his ideals and his self-respect.  I think I saw redemptive qualities in Hadley from the moment he interrupted Mary’s dancing lesson with the obnoxious French dancing teacher, Monsieur Gaspar, and sent him off with the proverbial flea in his ear. He was unaware of Mary’s true identity and simply championed a young lady being bullied.

When he discovers who Mary is, he initially sees her not only as the means to a large fortune but also a instrument of revenge against her guardian, Sir Richard, the man he holds responsible for stealing his inheritance. I loved watching his confusion when he finds himself developing feelings for her. Lust he can understand, but love is something that is completely beyond his comprehension.

She brought his hand to her mouth, kissing his palm, an artless act that had a startling affect.
Feeling unbalanced and terrorized, Hadley closed his eyes in an effort to shut her out, but the insidious and unwanted flare of feeling would not be ignored.

Hadley is the perfect hero (maybe not quite up there with DeVere, but then who is!). He’s charming, thoughtful, charismatic, seductive and protective.

How I imagine Hadley

Mary is warm, engaging, headstrong and witty; a country girl at heart who prefers reading a book or long walks to the superficiality of London. I love her astute observation of society.

“I will never comprehend the fashionable people. They resemble nothing more than a muster of peacocks—preening, strutting, and gawking at one another. They smile and croon but few of them ever have a kind or sincere word.”

A complex mix of wisdom and innocence, she understands estate matters but is completely inexperienced when it comes to men. So it’s no wonder she can’t resist Hadley’s seductive ways.

The warmth of his hands seemed to permeate the many layers of silk and linen that separated them as if the barriers didn’t exist. His voice, his touch, his subtle masculine scent combined to fill her senses, making her almost giddy. It was lovely. It was also terrifying.

How I imagine Mary

I loved the villainous secondary characters; the conniving, vindictive and depraved Barbara, Countess of Blanchard; Sir Richard, the fat, flatulent fool; Lord Barnesley, the libertine with his ‘little idiosyncrasies’. Their machinations certainly provided some interesting twists and turns.

Treacherous Temptations is definitely a worthy addition to my keeper shelf from one of my favourite authors.

RATING: ★★★★★

SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING

Read January 2013

This ebook was kindly provided by the publisher Entangled in return for an honest review.

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