Monday, August 16, 2010

Beach Bag Reviews



Summer is winding down and soon we'll feel the crisp chill of Autumn but, before that happens, there's still time for one more getaway. Whether you're headed to the beach, the lake, a hammock in the back yard or maybe a shady corner of the local park, here are a few books you might consider taking along. 






Last Night’s Scandal
By Loretta Chase
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: July 27, 2010

After spending the past ten years in Egypt, Peregrine Dalmay, Earl of Lisle returns to England and a reunion with his dear childhood friend, Miss Olivia Wingate-Carsington. They’ve corresponded by letter during his time in Egypt so it doesn’t surprise him to learn that the remembered mischief-maker is still the talk of the ton but he’s stunned to discover that she’s become a beautiful woman and even more surprised to find that, unlike when they were children, his feelings for her aren’t at all brotherly!

Olivia has turned down several marriage proposals but knows her family is growing impatient and she will soon have to accept one of her admirers and settle down to a life of boring respectability. Before that happens though, she’s determined to have one last grand adventure and who better to have it with than her childhood friend. Though he’s anxious to return to his beloved Egypt, when he’s forced by his parents (who threaten to cut off the money) to instead travel to Scotland to put an, apparently haunted, ancestral castle to rights, Olivia, along with two funny, feisty old ladies who are possibly the world’s worst chaperones, decide to go along to offer their “assistance”…without letting Lisle in on the plan. What Lisle and Olivia discover in Scotland is much more than they could have anticipated and, possibly, what their hearts have been searching for their entire lives.

Last Night’s Scandal is Loretta Chase at her very best. The characters are vibrant, the dialogue sparkles and the story kept me riveted to the pages from beginning to end. I’ve been waiting for this book for four years, ever since the young Peregrine and Olivia burst onto the pages of Chase's Lord Perfect. These two likeable characters, and their story, are all I could have hoped for…and more.

~PJ

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The Viking Takes A Knight
By Sandra Hill
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: August 31, 2010

Viking Princess Ingrith is fleeing a vicious Saxon commander who promises retribution to her and the band of orphans she is bound to protect. At the ripe old age of one and thirty (hey, this is the Middle Ages!), Ingrith is fairly certain that she will never marry and have children of her own, no matter how many suitors her father parades before her. Finding love is the last thing on her mind when Ingrid arrives at Hawk’s Lair.

John of Hawk’s Lair is a knight in the king’s service who values quiet and solitude when he is home. His passion is beekeeping and studying the many uses for his varieties of honey. So when the beautiful Ingrith arrives with her merry band of orphans, to say John is less than please would be an understatement! To his way of thinking, the sooner they leave the better off he’ll be. But neither John nor Ingrith count on the attraction they feel for each other growing into a love they cannot ignore.

I love Sandra Hill’s contemporaries, but this is the first of her many historicals that I have read, and it definitely will not be the last. From the very first page, this book captured my attention. I smile, giggled, chortled and laughed out loud all the way through. The banter between John and Ingrid is hilarious, and the motley crew of secondary characters completely won me over. With sizzling love scenes and passion aplenty, The Viking Takes A Knight is a must have for your end-of-the-summer reading.

~ Gannon

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Hell, Yeah
by Carolyn Brown
Publisher: SourceBooks
Release Date: August 3, 2010



The second installment in the Honky Tonk series, Hell, Yeah is sure to make you put on your best dancing cowboy boots and take your sweetie for a swing on the dance floor. Cathy O’Dell is the new owner of the local bar, the Honky Tonk. Being a pretty young thing in Texas, Cathy is used to all the oil workers making a play for her and being the tough cookie she is, she has no problem turning them all down flat. Really, who needs a man when you have money in the register and the best country songs on the jukebox? But life has a way of throwing you curve balls when you least expect them and that is exactly what happens when tall, sexy cowboy Travis Henry walks through the doors of the Honky Tonk. Smittened from the get go, Travis does all he can to win over the very independent Cathy. And when she finally takes the time to ask herself if she is ready for the Texas Two Step with this hunky guy, the country gal in Cathy screams back -- Hell, Yeah!

~Buffie

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Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Mistress
By Diane Gaston
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Release Date: September 1, 2010


Miss Marian Pallant is in Brussels as a guest of her friend Domina and her parents. Disguised as boys, Marian and Domina have the wild notion to see the battle at Waterloo. They become separated, and Marian finds herself alone and far too close to the thick of the battle. She is discovered by Captain Allan Landon, who thinks he has rescued a boy… until Marian’s cap falls off and her long golden tresses tumble down. Amidst the danger of war, Allan and Marian forge a bond of friendship and passion. But their fragile bond is all but broken through the deceit and machinations of others. They meet again in London after the war, but now Marian and Allan find themselves on opposite sides of a social war, and neither of them is willing to concede. All’s fair in love and war….and this is both!

This is the second book in Ms. Gaston’s Three Soldiers series, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is sprinkled with enough historical detail to make it interesting, but it does not detract from the love story. Allan and Marian go through a great deal of pain and strife to reach their happily ever after, and it is very well deserved. Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Mistress is a perfect addition to your end-of-summer reading.

~Gannon

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Devil’s Highlander
By Veronica Wolff
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: August 3, 2010


A young love is nipped in the bud when a childish dare has tragic consequences. Cormac MacAlpin’s twin brother, Aidan is kidnapped, never to be heard from again and Cormac, wallowing in guilt, turns away from Marjorie Keith before their feelings for one another ever have the chance to blossom. Though they haven’t seen one another since that fateful day thirteen years earlier, Cormac and Marjorie have never forgotten and their lives continue to be shaped by the loss of Aidan. Cormac, a tormented warrior, punishes himself by not allowing any happiness into his life and Marjorie devotes herself to helping the poor children of Aberdeen. When a young boy in her care goes missing in circumstances reminiscent of the kidnapping of Aidan all those years ago, Marjorie swallows her pride and travels to the MacAlpin home to ask Cormac to help her rescue the child. It soon becomes apparent that feelings long buried still simmer between the two but, as they work together to unravel a nefarious plot to impress young children into slavery, will they be able to overcome the guilt of the past and give their love a chance to bloom?

Though this is a straight historical, unlike her previous time-travel romances, Wolff once again brings us a passionate, action-filled story with engaging characters, deep emotion, rich historical detail and enough twists and turns to keep me glued to the pages late into the night.  Cormac and Marjorie are a couple I won't soon forget.  Devil’s Highlander is the first book in Wolff’s new Clan MacAlpin series. I can’t wait to find out what she has in store for us next!

~PJ 

Tell us about the books you've read lately that should be added to our beach bag.  One random commenter will win a signed copy of Diane Gaston's Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Miss.

30 comments:

  1. I enjoyed Veronica's "Lord of the Highlands," so I'll definitely check out "Devil's Highlander."

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  2. Gannon, I have always enjoyed Sandra Hill's books so I think I better be on the lookout for this one.

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  3. Great reviews! I'm looking forward to reading Diane Gaston's. I read and enjoyed the first book in her Three Soldiers series.

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  4. I adored Last Night's Scandal. It lived up to my every expectation, which, considering that it's a Loretta Chase book that I've been anticipating for four years, were extraordinarily high.

    I'll be reading the Gaston book too. She's another of my autobuys.

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  5. Adrian Phoenix's Black Dust Mambo was one of the new books I've read this summer. A lot of others have been different Harlequins, Sharon Sala's recent trilogy and some old ones for reading challenges.

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  6. Hope you like Devil's Highlander, Jane. I really enjoy Veronica Wolff's voice. She's become an auto-buy for me.

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  7. Janga, like you, my expectations for Last Night's Scandal were very high. I was so happy that Chase not only met them but blew them right out of the water!

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  8. Andrea l, I haven't read anything by Adrian Phoenix so I popped over to his website to check out Black Dust Mambo. Wow! It sounds like the kind of book that keeps me wide awake, and looking over my shoulder, late into the night. I'm going to give it a try!

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  9. I am liking the sound of Devil's Highlander, I really love those Highlanders.

    I have been reading Susan Mallery's Marcelli Sisters I am up to number 3

    I have also been reading some of Mary Balogh's older books, I got lucky (after 3 years) and received a couple of her out of print books from PBS.

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  10. I have been reading Susan Mallery's Marcelli Sisters I am up to number 3

    I love Susan Mallery's books!

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  11. Thanks for stopping by, Joanie! Which of Gannon's selections did you like? I'm looking forward to reading them both! :)

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  12. I just finished Jane Austen Ruined My Life, which was pretty good - one of those books that would make a good beach read because it moves quickly along.
    Margay

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  13. "A Kiss at Midnight" by Eloisa James. It gives a really interesting twist on the Cinderella story.

    Melissa

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  14. Here's an oldie, sort of, that I just read recently. 'The Belly Dancer' by Deanna Cameron is an excellent story and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys a well-written historical. This one takes place in Chicago in 1893 during the Chicago World's Fair.

    Additionally, I just got a copy of 'The Mammoth Book of Regency Romances' that I'll be reading next. 23 authors are included, most of which are some of my favorite authors.

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  15. Additionally, I just got a copy of 'The Mammoth Book of Regency Romances' that I'll be reading next. 23 authors are included, most of which are some of my favorite authors.

    Karen, I really want to read this one. It just sounds like a wonderful collection of short stories.

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  16. PJ,
    I'll have to check out Last Night's Scandal by Loretta Chase. It looks really good!

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  17. The Diane Gaston books definitely sounds the most intresting and intriguing. Will definitely have to pick that one up.

    As for what I'm reading right now, I'm just trying to catch up on my TBR pile! Next up is NR's The Search. I've heard good things about it, so I'm definitely looking forward to it.

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  18. I would add Ruthless by Anne Stuart.

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  19. I really enjoyed "The Viking Takes a Knight". It make me laugh out loud at times.

    I haven't read "Last Night's Scandal" yet but I'm really looking forward to do so.

    cories119[at]yahoo.com

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  20. HI PJ!

    I'm reading Tessa Dare's TWICE TEMPTED BY A ROGUE and am loving it! I also finished up Gaelen Foley's MY DANGEROUS DUKE and was totally swept away.

    Thanks for posting the reviews! I have one more shopping trip in my future and have added these little gems to my list! :)

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  21. I would add Ruthless by Anne Stuart.

    I'm dying to read that one and the rest of the series, Maureen!

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  22. Melissa, isn't A KISS AT MIDNIGHT wonderful? One of my favorite books this year!

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  23. I just finished Jane Austen Ruined My Life, which was pretty good

    Margay, I love that title! I'll have to check it out.

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  24. Trisha, I'm looking forward to reading LAST NIGHT'S SCANDAL, too.

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  25. Lisa, I'm sure you'll enjoy Diane's book.

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  26. Cories, I laughed A LOT while reading THE VIKING TAKES A KNIGHT!

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  27. Sarah, Tessa is a truly gifted writer. Definitely an auto buy! I've heard great things about MY DANGEROUS DUKE.

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  28. Both of these have been around since last year, but I have recently discovered them.

    SKIN GAME by Ava Gray and ADDICTED by Charlotte Featherstone. I just finished reading ADDICTED during my beach vacation getaway. I'm still trying to determine which was better: ADDICTED or SINFUL. The jury is still out on that one. SKIN TIGHT just arrived in the mail and I'll be cracking the spine on that one this week!

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  29. Just finishing up Eloisa James’ latest book. I love her how she combines humor and heartbreak. Then I’ll read Chase’s Last Night's Scandal. Like many others I have been looking forward to reading Peregrine & Olivia’s story for Years. Next comes Diane Gaston’s Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Mistress. I’ve been an admirer of Gaston ever since I read her book, The Mysterious Miss M . A story with a very young heroine. A difficult subject that is handeled with great sensitivity by the author.

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