Promise Me Forever – Lorraine Heath

Promise Me Forever coverLorraine Heath’s Promise Me Forever was a PBR reader suggestion, and since I’ve never read Heath (how is it that I’ve read more romances than the average soul, yet managed to miss so many big-name authors?), I eagerly volunteered. Sheesh, now I’m telling whoppers before I start the review. I volunteered because I love a challenge.

As teenagers, Lauren Fairfield and Thomas Warner fell in love (as only teenagers can do) despite their different stations in life. Then Lauren was whisked off to live in London and Tom took up cattle ranching. Now Lauren’s a proper lady who still mourns her first-and-only love – and, conveniently, Tom is now a long-lost earl (also conveniently filthy rich) arriving in London to take his proper place in society. One can only guess at the odds that Lauren and Tom will somehow reconnect and rekindle and reunite.

Continue reading

Hide In Plain Sight by Michele Albert

hideinplainsight.jpg HelenKay: Jumping into the middle of an ongoing romantic suspense series is a risky proposition. The plot is running. Backstories have been told. Many times the villian has appeared and disappeared, and it’s time to find him again. The fear is in being unable to keep up or, worse, in being unable to catch up and immerse. Hide in Plain Sight avoids many of those pitfalls by keeping a tight focus on this installment of the series.

Continue reading

Penelope & Prince Charming by Jennifer Ashley

penelopeprincecharming.jpgAs fairy tales go, the one where the handsome prince sweeps into a small village and tells a pretty—if unassuming—young woman that she is his princess, is hard to beat. Whether the young girl is cleaning out fireplaces or just living an ordinary life, wife of royalty is a more exciting proposition. Then there is the prince himself, who in the fairy tales is always tall, dark, and handsome, and never ever has ears like dinner plates. In romances the prince (be that literal or figurative) is monstrously well endowed, with a prowess that never abates, and enough skill to coax even the most shy and reluctant future princess into multiple earth shattering orgasms. The enduring and wide spread appeal of this fairy tale is understandable. Who wouldn’t want Prince Charming? Jennifer Ashley takes on the tale and the prince in Penelope & Prince Charming and proves that the story is worth telling again.

Continue reading

Dead and Loving It – MaryJanice Davidson

deadandlovingit.jpgWhy is it that most books about vampires and werewolves are so deadly serious? Oh, right, deadly. All those sharp teeth, the blood-sucking, the tearing from limb-to-limb. I suppose evil beings might strike some as non-frivolous subjects. But not MaryJanice Davidson – in her newest short story collection, Dead and Loving It, she offers vampires and werewolves with humor to spare.

Housekeeping first: Dead and Loving It is a collection of three previously published short stories and one brand-spanking new story. The older stories came out in e-book format – “Santa Claws”, “Monster Love”, and “There’s No Such Thing As A Werewolf” were published by Ellora’s Cave. This little bit of knowledge explains some of the action in the sex scenes, if you know what I mean. The final story, “A Fiend In Need” is original and, apparently, highly anticipated. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Continue reading

The Taming of the Duke by Eloisa James

thetamingoftheduke.jpg In the past few months the publishing industry has seen scandals that range from the eyebrow raising variety, to the forever-alter-the-way-business-is-done variety. The latter, of course, refers to James Frey’s embellished memoir; the former could be filled by any number of minor disgraces authors and publishers have endured. It wasn’t that long ago, a little over a year, that the book business scandal of the moment was Fordham University Professor Mary Bly’s confession that she writes romance under the nom-de-plume Eloisa James. In the wake of A Million Little Pieces, Bly’s confession hardly seems worthy of ink. There is no true scandal in an academic with degrees from Harvard, Yale and Oxford writing those books. More importantly, James writes with too much elegance to be anything less than an asset to romance.

Continue reading

Captain Sinister’s Lady by Darlene Marshall

CaptainSinistersLady.jpg HelenKay: From the title of this book you may expect a swashbuckling alpha hero – sort of a romance read of old where the strong handsome man kidnaps the desperate heroine and through a serious of arguments and fights love blooms. In these other tales, financial interests or vengeance motivates the hero’s actions. Love isn’t the goal; it’s the result.
In some ways that throwback description fits Marshall’s Captain Sinister’s Lady but not really. Morgan Roberts does capture Amanda Stephenson and does decide he wants to keep her. Those characteristics remain. The difference here is in the why and how. The problem here is in the when. One of the drawbacks of the book is that the majority of the romance action takes place in in the first third of the book, leaving the last 200 pages with little conflict or driving force.

Continue reading

The Rogue’s Return–Jo Beverley

theroguesreturn.jpg The romance world loves a great series. Heck, I love a great series, but like so many readers, I am fickle. So few series compel me to continue to the very end (a certain man named Miles Vorkosigan excepted, and even he has his moments). The problem with all series, great and small, is that not every character should be resolved. Some should remain the mist.
In Jo Beverley’s The Rogue’s Return, Simon St. Bride, an English aristocrat in Regency Canada, is preparing to return home with evidence of thievery in the Indian Affairs group. His temper leads to a forced duel with the man he’s fingered; his actions lead to a forced marriage with Jane (Jancy) Otterburn, a recent immigrant from England. Only this Jane Otterburn isn’t the Jane Otterburn he thinks she is – rather than a poor relation of aristocracy, he ends up with the bastard daughter of a respected family.

Continue reading

Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase

mrimpossible.jpgIt is, I understand, a simple to thing to write romance. After all, it’s just a formula, right? I am reminded that romance novels are the kind of easy that defines the word whenever I read a book by Loretta Chase. In fact, her novel, Mr. Impossible, is a case study in formulaic historic (Regency-era) romance.

Let us review the formula of this novel: a sexually repressed widow hires a disreputable rake (as opposed, I suppose, a reputable one) to help her find her kidnapped brother. Along the way, she discovers there’s more to the rake than people realize. Also that she’s one lusty lady. They find the brother, vanquish the bad guy, fall in love, and live happily ever after.

Continue reading

Matchmaker, Matchmaker by Joanne Sundell

matchmakermatchmaker.jpgWendy:  At present, the romance section of bookstores teems with contemporaries so hot they might combust, paranormals that stretch the imagination to its furthest reaches, and Regencies that have finally arrived at a genetic bottleneck of population destroying proportions.  There was a time, not too long ago, when heroes were more likely to push cattle than fear sunlight and frontier heroines did what they could to further peaceful relations with Native Americans (ok, Cassie Edwards never stopped writing that book).  Lately, whispers and rumors have abounded that the long dead western would once again rise to the forefront.  There’s some difficulty in imagining tales of westward expansion exciting a romance community that is more demanding and sophisticated now than it was when westerns were last well-liked.  It would seem that if westerns are to make the predicted comeback they’ll need to do so on a fresh horse.

Continue reading

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Jenna Lawrence

themostwonderfultimeoftheyear.jpgHelenKay:  In contemporary romance novels a hero often holds a law enforcement job.  Whether he works for the DEA, CIA, FBI, police or any branch of the military, many times the hero is honest, strong and carrying a gun.  Like its contemporary counterpart, the historical hero is often based on a factual job – The Pinkerton Man.  Allan Pinkerton, considered the first private detective and a man of the utmost integrity, ran the Pinkerton Detective Agency.  He sent his men out across the country to solve crimes, hunt down the bad guys and sometimes take on the unfavorable role of squashing union activities.  The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year focuses on one of these upstanding men.  One who is lying to protect his cover.

Continue reading