Happy Birthday, Janga! Wishing you sunshine, smiles, and happily ever afters today and always.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Beach Bag Reviews



Summer is in full swing and we're back with some terrific new books to add to your beach bag. Have you read any of these yet? Have others to recommend? Join in and tell us what's in your beach bag this summer!






The Irish Warrior
By Kris Kennedy
Publisher: Zebra
Release Date: June 1, 2010

Traveling to Ireland to conduct wool business with Lord Rardove, Senna de Valery is shocked to find herself at the not so tender mercy of the diabolical Englishman whose plan is to wed her then force her to create the secret dyes that will make him rich and powerful. But Senna’s painful memories prevent her from ever attempting to make the magical dyes that caused her mother, a well-known dye-witch, to abandon her. Finian O’Melaghlin, diplomat and chief councilor to the Irish king, needs to find the secret dye recipe before it can fall into the hands of Rardove and be used against the Irish but is being held captive in Rardove's dungeon. Senna knows with one look into Finian’s eyes that he’s done nothing wrong. She helps him escape with the promise that he’ll escort her to the coast and a ship back to England but Finian has a secret mission to complete first, a mission which, it gradually becomes apparent, will require Senna to confront her deepest fears and the secrets of her family and will force Finian to choose between his destiny and his love.

Kris Kennedy, a relatively new author on the block with two books under her publishing belt, is quickly making a name for herself in historical romance. She drew me into her story immediately and held my interest far into the night when I turned the final page with a smile and a sigh. With an interesting and original storyline, a truly despicable villain, a spunky heroine and one of my favorite heroes of the year, The Irish Warrior is a must-have book for every beach bag this summer!

~PJ

********************



To Conquer a Highlander
By Mary Wine
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: July 6, 2010

Used to the callous mistreatment of her tyrannical father, Shannon McBoyd has learned to be strong and independent even though she has no real power. She’s resigned to her lot in life but when she’s shipped off to become the bride of a man she’s never met as a bargaining chip in a deadly political battle for control of Scotland her life takes an unexpected turn. Captured before she can be wed by Torin McLeren, an honorable man and neighboring laird attempting to stop McBoyd raids on his clan, she’s taken instead to the McLeren keep where she’s to be held hostage. Though they should be enemies, Torin and Shannon grow closer, passions flaming, hearts softening, and soon Torin wants to keep Shannon forever, not as his hostage but as his wife. Will they find happiness together or will betrayal and its deadly consequences rip them apart forever?

I love a good medieval romance and Mary Wine has quickly become one of my favorite “go to” authors for this sub-genre. For a fast-paced, emotional story with political intrigue, fascinating secondary characters, a hero and heroine who will capture your heart and plenty of steamy passion, you can’t go wrong with To Conquer a Highlander.

~PJ


********************




A Groom Of One’s Own
By Maya Rodale
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: June 29, 2010



When Miss Sophie Harlow is jilted by her fiancĂ©, quite literally walking down the aisle of the church, she is understandably devastated and feeling like her life is over. Will she ever live down the scandal? She picks up the pieces of her shattered life and moves to London with her dear friend, Lady Julianna Somerset and becomes a reporter---one of the Writing Girls--- for The London Weekly. She covers the society weddings in her column, “Miss Harlow’s Marriage In High Life”, which is ironic given her experience at the alter. Her biggest assignment to date is to cover what promises to be the wedding of the year: the upcoming marriage of the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon to the Lady Clarissa, the only daughter of the Duke of Richmond. The problem is that ever since she met Brandon (when she didn’t know he was THE duke), she decided he was the one for her, falling hopelessly in love with him. Soon it looks like Brandon is equally enamored with Sophie, but will this man of honor jilt his fiancĂ©e? Scandalous secrets, a foreign prince and stolen kisses may just give Sophie a groom of her own.

Maya Rodale begins her new Writing Girl Romance series with this delightful story of a young lady longing for love and a duke who’s afraid to embrace that same emotion. Sophie and Brandon will have you longing for their HEA, which is so worth the ride. You’ll definitely want a copy of A Groom of One’s Own in your beach bag this summer.

~Gannon

********************

The Duke’s Captive
By Adele Ashworth
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: June 29, 2010



Ian Wentworth, Duke of Chatwin, was captured by two young women, drugged and chained in a dungeon for five weeks. Now five years later he is still bent on revenge, seeking the one person who has not paid: Viola Bennington-Jones, Lady Cheshire. Despite his unwavering attraction for her, Ian will not stop until Viola has suffered as deeply as he did at the hands of her sisters.

Viola is a young widow, mother and well-known portrait artist, who has managed to keep secret the horrible incident years ago involving Ian. She tried to help him when he was held captive, but he remembers none of that. Viola is shocked---and not a little frightened---when Ian shows up in London. Initially he acts as if he doesn’t recognize her, but all of her memories, both good and bad, coming rushing back to her. Soon it becomes apparent that he knows exactly who she is, and he blames her for his past. Will Ian ever remember the moments of tenderness they once shared or will his thirst for revenge destroy them both?

In the follow-up to her last novel, A Notorious Proposition, Adele Ashworth has created a dark, intense, erotic story with a captive/captor theme. My attention was definitely held captive as I followed Ian and Viola on their sometimes painful, but often passionate journey. Add some more heat to your already steamy summer and pick up a copy of The Duke’s Captive.

~Gannon

********************

Knight of Passion
by Margaret Mallory
Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: June 1, 2010


Margaret Mallory continues her All the King’s Men series with Knight of Passion, and what a wonderful installment it is!

A few years ago, Jamie Rayburn had his heart torn from his chest and ripped to shreds by the young woman he loved. Swearing never again to give his love so freely, Jamie returns to England after fighting in France only to find Lady Linnet has befriended the Queen and thus situated herself into his daily life. Jamie’s attempts to ignore Linnet are futile. The blasted woman is everywhere, including his dreams!

Lady Linnet is on a mission. A mission of revenge. Decades ago, several men duped her grandfather out of a fortune leaving her and her brother penniless and now Linnet is determined to make all them pay. What she didn’t count on was running into her first love, her only love, Jamie Rayburn. The man she betrayed on her path of revenge. Why did he have to be at the castle all the time? As Linnet draws closer to identifying the circle of men she seeks, danger lurks all around her. The only man that can save her is Jamie. But can Jamie overcome his broken heart and become Linnet’s Knight of Passion?

~Buffie

********************

Taste of Temptation
by Cheryl Holt
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 1, 2010



After the death of her parents, Helen Hamilton is too busy trying to care for her younger sisters to worry about the marriage market. But when she is given a love potion by a traveling salesman who guarantees if she drinks the potion while staring into the eyes of her true love she will marry him in four weeks, Helen wonders if her luck is about to change. Left with a small amount of money to support her sisters, Helen begins interviewing for governess positions around London. While interviewing with Captain Tristan Odell, guardian to the Earl of Hastings and his younger sister, Helen tries her best to pursued Captain Odell to hire her. However, Tristan does not want to hire a young, attractive woman for the position. Not when the Earl of Hastings is eighteen years old and chasing every skirt around. Soon Helen becomes exasperated by Tristan’s snippy tone and stomps out of the house. While standing outside the front door, Helen realizes she hasn’t eaten since the night before and the only thing in her bag is the love potion. Just as she begins to drink the love potion, Tristan startles her by opening the door and looking her straight in the eyes. Disconcerted by the odious thought of marry a man that irritates the dickens out of her, Helen storms off. Through a series of circumstances, Tristan runs into Helen the next day. When he sees her dyer living and financial conditions, he immediately offers Helen the governess position and living quarters for her and her two sisters. After spending several days in Helen’s company, Tristan soon finds himself attracted to this spunky and lovely woman. When he turns his attentions on full force, Helen wonders if Tristan is really in love with her or if it is the love potion. Determined to find out, Helen gives Tristan a Taste of Temptation. This book is a wonderful way to spend a few hours while soaking up the sun!

~Buffie

********************

Money, Honey
By Susan Sey
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: July 6, 2010

Former jewel thief Patrick O’Connor comes back to Grief Creek, Minnesota at the request of his sister, Mara, who is in a bit of a predicament. The only problem with his return is the probability of seeing FBI Agent Elizabeth Brynn again. Six years before, Patrick turned himself in to Liz to keep his sister out of jail, and then proceeded to assist the Feds for three years as an informant. After that stint, he left and became a successful crime novelist. Now, Mara needs his help to nail a counterfeiter that has been circulating fake bills in her and her husband’s casino and restaurant. Patrick wants to help his sister, but finds it difficult to work again with the only woman who seems immune to his charms. Or is she?

I really enjoyed this debut by Susan Sey and heartily recommend it as an ideal beach read! Patrick and Liz are a delightful pair that had me laughing one minute and fanning myself the next. The tension between the two was sizzling! Patrick is a deliciously confident hero and I loved how he constantly called Liz “Liz. Darling.” Liz is pretty uptight and completely by-the-rules, so it was an absolute pleasure to watch rule-breaker Patrick get under her skin. The secondary characters fit their roles brilliantly and added just the right touch to the story. If you like your contemporary romances laced with wit, humor, and a bit of suspense, Money, Honey is definitely the book for you!

~Andrea

********************

Daring a Duke
The Courtesan Chronicles – Book 5
By Claudia Dain
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: July 6, 2010

American Jane Elliot comes to London for a bit of adventure. While there, she attends the wedding of one of her male cousins, the future Duke of Hyde. During the breakfast reception, Jane meets several people, one of which is the alarmingly handsome Duke of Edenham. Jane has no interest in him beyond an acquaintance, though it’s obvious to her and everyone else (including her overprotective older brothers) that the duke is instantly smitten with her. With the help of Sophia Dalby, Jane decides to make Edenham her adventure and win a little challenge instigated by one of her new cousins-in-law. What Jane doesn’t realize is that she may be in way over her head as Edenham has also enlisted the help of the infamous Lady Dalby to win Jane’s heart!

Daring a Duke is such a fun and unique book! Almost the entire book (except for the final chapter) takes place during the six or seven hours that the guests are waiting for breakfast to be served at the reception. Ms. Dain does a terrific job of telling this story from many different people’s point of view whose conversations and gossip flow right into the next. I really liked this concept. Jane can’t understand why Edenham wants her until Sophia explains: Because, darling Jane, aside from being an utter beauty, you are almost certainly the one woman in the room who should be dazzled by Edenham, yet who doesn’t want him at all. You don’t fear him. You are not in awe of him. You are not impressed by him. Naturally, he finds this illogical, unnatural, and irresistible. Men find that sort of challenge impossible to ignore. You, Jane, have captured his interest. I love that Edenham experiences love at first sight and isn’t ashamed to admit it. He and Jane’s banter sparkles with humor and made me smile repeatedly. If you’re looking for a great beach read, pick up a copy of Daring a Duke and immerse yourself in the wonderfully witty gossip!

~Andrea

27 comments:

  1. Oh there are some great books in this post I have ordered a couple of them and am waiting for them to arrive and most of the others are already on my must have list.

    One book I just finished last night was Nalini Singh's Bonds Of Justice and I love it another great book from The Psy- Changleing series.

    Have Fun
    Helen

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks like another great bag of books!!

    Helen, I'm reading BONDS OF JUSTICE now and totally loving it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Helen, I have a few of Singh's books in my tbr pile but haven't had a chance to read them yet. Too many terrific books...not nearly enough time to read them all! *g*

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've been reading some earlier books since I've been unable to travel out for the new ones! But did get to read I read July's Alice Gaines Historical MISS FOSTER'S FOLLY and so recommend this one! (its in ebook)

    I have all those you listed in your bag on my wishlist!! I haven't ventured out yet, but got so far of July's books (and some in mail on the way):
    THE GHOST AND MISS DEMURE by Melanie Jackson
    TO SURRENDER TO A ROGUE by Cara Elliott
    GIVE ME A TEXAS RANGER- Anthology by Linda Broday ( a favorite of mine) etc.
    RUSHED TO THE ALTAR by Jane Feather (in the mail to me)

    And too want to get out to grab:
    ONCE DANCE WITH A DUKE by Tessa Dare
    THE MERCENARY'S BRIDE by Terri Brisbin
    RUTHLESS HEART by Emma Lang
    COURTESAN'S KISS by Mary Blayney
    and so many more! I love historicals and paranormals and so much to look forward to this summer!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Caffey! I hope you're able to get out and about soon. Lots of interesting titles on your list! I've read a few (highly recommend Tessa Dare's). I hadn't heard of Miss Foster's Folly (love that name) but am off to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I haven't read any of them yet. But I do have Money Honey in the "to be packed" pile for the cruise. It looks like a great beach (or cruise) read!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was here when Susan visited, so Money Honey is definitely on my list!

    On the top of my list is Tessa's Three Nights with a Scoundrel and Eloisa's A Kiss at Midnight! But A Duke's Captive, Taste of Temptation, and Daring a Duke definitely sounds intriguing as well.

    I've already read A Groom of One's Own and absolutely loved it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love these Beach Bag reviews. I have Maya Rodale's in my TBR pile/mountain and can't wait to get to it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. PJ, I've not read Singh's books either, though Buffie tells me I must! Thanks for the rec, Helen!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great list, Caffey!

    Ooooh, enjoy Money, Honey and your cruise, Christie!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lisa said: I was here when Susan visited, so Money Honey is definitely on my list!

    Enjoy it, Lisa!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Lisa, A Kiss at Midnight and Three Nights With a Scoundrel will both be reviewed here later this month. I've read both books and let me just say that they are FABULOUS!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Christie, hope you have a wonderful cruise! Enjoy Money, Honey! It's terrific!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I loved Kris Kennedy's The Irish Warrior, and I'm not usually a reader of Medievals. The hero is wonderful! I'm starting the Ashworth today, the Dain on my TBB list, and I won a copy of Susan Sey's Money, Honey over at the Banditas' lair.

    This is just an extraordinary summer for terrific reads. Recent A- to A+ reads for me include Eileen Dreyer's Barely a Lady, Julie Anne Long's I Kissed an Earl, Kristan Higgins's All I Ever Wanted, Lisa Kleypas's Love in the Afternoon, and Eloisa James's A Kiss at Midnight. And I'm sure I'm forgetting some.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, I want to add a new-to-me writer to the list--Meg Benjamin. I read the first of her Konigsburg books, Venus in Blue Jeans, and loved it. It has endearing characters and great dialogue plus a small-town setting that feels real, and it's sweet and sexy at the same time. She has three more books in the series that I can't wait to read.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Buffie, thanks for the great review of KNIGHT OF PASSION! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it. :)

    Margaret

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Janga!

    Barely a Lady is on my tbb list. I've been hearing great things about it all over the internet. Same goes for All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins. I'm going to wait and get that one at RWA. I've loved all of her books.

    I haven't read Lisa's last two yet. I need to get busy and wrap up some reviews and interviews so I can indulge myself in some Kleypas delight!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Janga said; Oh, I want to add a new-to-me writer to the list--Meg Benjamin. I read the first of her Konigsburg books, Venus in Blue Jeans, and loved it. It has endearing characters and great dialogue plus a small-town setting that feels real, and it's sweet and sexy at the same time. She has three more books in the series that I can't wait to read.

    This sounds like something I'd enjoy. Thanks for the heads up!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have a few Nalini Singh books in my TBR pile, Helen and Buffie. Guess I need to get started!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Lisa, I'll be reviewing A KISS AT MIDNIGHT later this month. Absolutely loved it!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I just won a copy of MONEY, HONEY over at the Lair. Can't wait to read it!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. PJ, I've not read Singh's books either, though Buffie tells me I must!

    YES, you ladies need to read her stuff. Her paranormals are unlike any other I have read.

    Helen, I'll be reviewing BONDS OF JUSTICE on 7/21 here.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Buffie, thanks for the great review of KNIGHT OF PASSION! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it. :)


    Margaret, you know how much I have enjoyed the All The Kings Men series! Each book has been a wonderful delight, and KNIGHT OF PASSION is no different! Jamie is a wonderful hero and Linnet is a spunky heroine. She sure takes Jamie on an adventure ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  24. I have a few Nalini Singh books in my TBR pile, Helen and Buffie. Guess I need to get started!

    Oh yes, Gannon, you do!! I would suggest that you read the series in order though. Each character is built up a little bit in the books prior to their story. And you really need to get a sense of the different races -- human/psy/changeling.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I haven't read any of them yet. But I do have Money Honey in the "to be packed" pile for the cruise. It looks like a great beach (or cruise) read!

    Have fun on the cruise, Christie!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have MONEY, HONEY coming. ALL of the others are on my Wish List. I have read good reviews on most of them and look forward to reading them.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I read "The Irish Warrior" and I really enjoyed it. It had unexpected flashes of humor.

    I, too, have "Money, Honey" so I'm looking forward to that.

    I think I also have a new Lisa Kleypas in my TBR pile that I have been saving for a pool day.

    ReplyDelete