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Devil's Luck (The Disillusionists)
Devil's Luck (The Disillusionists)
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Devil's Luck, February 29, 2012
One look at Simon and you know he is a wild man. With dragon tattoos, flamboyant (yet sexy masculine) clothing, and a "who cares" attitude, he is the definition of a bad boy. Having spent years working for Packard and his disillusionist team, now that Packard is free and the villains are taken care of (somewhat), Simon is off on his own. An addicted gambler, he can take his reckless attitude and "zing" it into anyone - causing them to then have the reckless feeling for a short amount of time.

Fawna was a childhood friend of Packard's, only to be kidnapped and kept as a slave for her gift. Her gift is that of a long-term prognosticator. She can see into the future, many years ahead and often can see how someone is going to die, or what the scores of big sports games will be. This has made her existence a prison. She was kidnapped by a scientific lab, only to be kidnapped again, to be used as Bobby Barrington, (a murderous gambler) prognosticator slave. Making him rich and feeding his gambling addiction, while exploiting Fawna. After many years, and conceiving a complicated plan, Fawna fakes her death, and is now free. Or as free as she can be. She is addicted to looking into people's future. There is this burning urge within in her to just take a peek at the near future, which then always pushes it for her to find out when exactly they will die.

She knows Simon, and sees him again at a carnival where he is playing a ring-toss game. And this is where their chemistry and unique relationship starts to jump off the pages. Simon could care less what the future holds. There is a wonderful explanation as to why he has this reckless ,live for the day attitude, which I don't want to give away in this review. But I loved it and once you learn this piece of information, as the reader you say - aha. This makes so much sense. Fawna can't stand that Simon doesn't give a care in the world about any of her predictions. But at the same time she is in awe. She realizes she could be free like him. It is a very big revelation for her.

For a novella, this really packs a punch. I think it really helps that I had read the trilogy, since Simon and Fawna and the world were both introduced previously. But I can also see people enjoying this one who are new to the world. We really get an in-depth look at these two, and their spirit, and attitudes portrayed are so well done. Fawna has looked into Simon's future and seen that he dies under a poker table. She never paid much thought to it until she becomes his friend. Until she realizes she doesn't want anything to happen to him. When Simon first brushes her predictions off, she is offended. This is what I love about Fawna. Because she was imprisoned and used for so many years, she is somewhat naive to the world. She doesn't want to be used for her gifts, yet she gets mad when Simon won't pay attention to them. On the other hand, Simon hates fate, thinking that once you know the details of your own fate, you are already dead to living. Yet at the same time, they find this fiery passion between them. Fawna finds a release, a reckless abandonment that she craves. And Simon realizes Fawna would never stop him from doing anything. If I have to think of something I didn't' like about this book it is that I would have liked a little bit longer ending. A little more closure between them.

So fascinating these two. I could have read an entire full-length book about them. I'm so glad Carolyn Crane wrote their story.


Something About Witches (Berkley Sensation)
Something About Witches (Berkley Sensation)
by Joey W. Hill
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
74 used & new from $0.01

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something About Witches, February 25, 2012
I've read a few of Joey W. Hill's Vampire Queen series and really liked the darker, erotic BDSM feel to them. Something About Witches is actually set in the same world, but with a new cast of characters. I would say this book isn't quite as dark as the ones I have read, but still has that erotic edge that really appeals to me.

Ruby Night Divine is a witch and a gun-shop owner. Three years ago she was in a relationship with a very powerful and very old sorcerer, Derek Stormwind. Their love and their relationship was intense, which resulted in Ruby getting pregnant. Derek is a Guardian of the Light, and gets called away often to do his sorcerer thing, many times not knowing how long he will be gone. As it happens, Ruby discovers she is pregnant in one of the longer stretches Derek is gone, and he never knows about it. At eight months along, Ruby has a terrible accident, and loses the child. Devastated beyond belief, when Derek comes back, she hides the loss from him and puts a secret soul-magic spell on him to make him think he should leave her be. Ruby's dip into dark magic starts to overtake the light in her.

Three years later, Derek has figured out what Ruby did, and he wants back in her life. He also needs her to travel to Florida to help a coven of witches who reside on the magical fault line. As Ruby is an instructional priestess, Derek asks her to go down there, fearing a very evil force, the demon Asmodeus might be trying to break through. When Ruby hears this, she knows she must go, as Asmodeus and her have a score to settle.

Something About Witches is the first book in her new Arcane Shot series and I loved it. As I said earlier, it has a dark, erotic tone to it and that really drew me in. This book isn't so much about Ruby and Derek fighting the demon Asmodeus as rather it is Ruby and Derek trying to find their way as a couple again. They have known each other most of Ruby's life, and deep down they love each other. But that year when Derek was away and Ruby had to deal with a pregnancy and then the loss of her most precious gift by herself, it broke something inside of her. While it opened her new powers, it also let the Darkness in, and that is something Ruby is not willing to let go of yet.

Ruby needs a dominant in her life, and these past years as she has tried to avoid Derek, she has turned to the very cold, very dominant Mikhael who she uses for physical pain and pleasure. Now that Derek is back in her life, Ruby has to start realizing she can trust Derek to give her that dominance she needs, but he can give her so much more as well. The sex scenes in this book are very explicit and has a light bdsm feel to them. Derek doesn't put up with any crap from Ruby, and he really comes across as a sexy hero. I think many of you will like him a lot. Derek is all powerful male.

*****
"Hey, girl" he murmured.
That was what he called her in their intimate moments. It wasn't the affected "giiirll" of the urban scene, like "Girl, where did you get those earrings?" It was the cowboy, meeting her for the first time at the church social, doffing his hat and giving her a slow smile. When he said, "Hey, girl," those concentrated blue eyes said he thought she was the prettiest girl in three counties, and she'd always be that way to him, even when she was eighty years old.
******

I loved the relationship between Derek and Ruby. It built up so well with wonderful chemistry and extremely hot romance scenes. I did get frustrated that much of the story (at least a lot of the beginning) is told in Ruby's POV. We do get Derek's but not as much as I wanted. I also think Asmodemus gets thrown to the side a lot of the story, but I was very invested in Derek and Ruby's relationship so I didn't mind that so much.

The next book in this series features Ruby's best friend Raina and Mikhael who I mention above, has very, very dark sexual tendencies. I'm excited.


Time Out
Time Out
by Jill Shalvis
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
41 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Time Out, February 21, 2012
This review is from: Time Out (Mass Market Paperback)
In high school, Rainey had a crush on Mark who was a few years older than she was. So much of a crush that one night she decided to go to his place for a surprise strip tease. But to her surprise, when she walked in, Mark was busy with another woman. Embarrassed, Rainey fled and they each went their separate ways. Now, Mark is the head coach of NHL team The Mammoths, while Rainey spends her days working at the sports rec center. This rec center is located in the part of California devastated by recent forest fires, and many of the youth come from poorer families. The rec center is in need of some cash to keep the program going, something Rainey is much invested in.

Mark's NHL team just lost the Stanley Cup, and while letting off some steam, a few of his players got in a bad bar fight, which then got posted all over the media and YouTube. Mark is looking to teach his players a lesson in a more positive role, so when he learns the rec center (which his brother owns) needs some help coaching their baseball teams, he brings the two hot-headed hockey players to Rainey's center to help out for the summer. Mark and Rainey haven't seen each other for a while, but now they are in a point in their lives where they might make that move toward romance.

I really enjoy books by Jill Shalvis but have never read any of her Harlequin Blazes, so I was happy to try this one out. She gives us a very alpha, protective male in Mark. He is wealthy, powerful, always in control, and gorgeous. He is also very popular in the sports world, appears on many television programs and dates lots of supermodels. And when Rainey sees him again for the first time in a long time, she immediately feels like her old teenage self with a massive crush. No matter how much she tries to tell herself that Mark isn't good for her, her body doesn't listen. Plus, she doesn't stand much of a chance when this unfolds in the first chapter:

******
He went still at the contact, then instead of trying to pull free, merely folded her into his arms, trapping her against him. And damn if her body didn't burst to life, as if all this time it'd been just waiting for him to come back.

"Yeah, you're different," he murmured, doing as she had, pressing his mouth to her ear, giving her a shiver. "The little kitten grew up and got claws."

When she choked out a laugh, he closed his teeth over her earlobe.
******

The chemistry jumps off the pages quickly in this one. I really enjoyed Rainey. She is a down-to-earth sort of heroine. Works hard, likes to laugh and it is fun to watch her try to resist the very charming Mark.

Mark is very over the top in his alpha status. It almost feels as though he claims Rainey a little too quickly. He becomes extremely protective of her and even makes some decisions for her that sometimes made me frown. At least twice, Rainey starts a date, and Mark comes along and makes the other guy go home. He just may have been a tiny bit too pushy for me. That doesn't mean he doesn't have his suave, charming moments. I like how their romance plays out. I just wanted him to take it a step down at some points.

Time Out is a quick read and has that fantasy of the rich, no excuses, gorgeous, overprotective male who knows all the right moves. It's a sexy, fun book.


Pixie Dust, A Paranormal Romance (The Karli Lane Series Book 1)
Pixie Dust, A Paranormal Romance (The Karli Lane Series Book 1)
Price: $0.00

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pixie Dust, February 20, 2012
There was something about the blurb that really appealed to me in this review request. And as I started to read, I did enjoy our Fairy heroine, Karli Lane. Over time, vampires have driven the fairies to near extinction due to the fairies intoxicating blood. Before her parents could hide Karli in the realm of Faerie, they died. Now with a spell to hide her fairy ears, she is the only known fairy on Earth. More stressful, her twenty-fifth birthday is looming, and that is when her full immortality will hit. Her magical powers will become stronger and harder to hide.

But Karli is not without friends. She has a best friend Erica, who is the snarky, somewhat crude (but funny!) BFF. Karli (and Erica) are very over the top, snarky females and there are many silly, funny things that come out of their mouths. Karli is a bartender for Pixie Dust, a bar on the Vegas Strip.

The new owner of Pixie Dust is a vampire named Leo Markos. Gorgeous and sexy, he definitely is on Karli's radar. When Karli discovers the brutally terrorized body of a Pixie Dust employee in the bar's walk-in refrigerator a couple of things happen. First, she meets detective Vance Alexander as he comes to investigate the murder. Next, they realize a very strong demon could only cause harm like this, and the hunt is on for this killer. Karli also has very lusty feelings towards Vance...two men. What will she do?

I really liked the set-up of Pixie Dust and for at least the first third, maybe the first half, even though it is more on the silly light-hearted side, I enjoyed the tone of the book. It was amusing and very entertaining.

My main issues come into play with the love triangle. Karli starts to get pulled in two directions. The very mysterious vampire Leo starts to seduce her, as does the hottie cop Vance. And it starts to unfold like a tennis match. First Karli is with Leo and she is all swoony. Then Vance (Leo and Vance have a past relationship and left it on very bad terms) gets upset she is exposed to a vampire and Karli comes running to him. Then back to Leo. Then back to Vance. Get my drift? She would fly off the handle in anger at Vance and run to Leo, just to turn around and do the same to Leo. It became really old, fast. She went from funny, snarky heroine, to whiny, immature heroine. She did things that made me question her smarts - she lets Leo taste her blood then realizes he might now know she is a Fairy. She "accidentally" throws Fairy dust at Vance - and then he knows what she is. How did she survive all these years without being discovered? I really don't believe she could have.

As this is a series, the end is a little more ambiguous, as I guess we will continue Karli's adventures in subsequent books. If the love triangle is played down a little, and Karli acts a little more mature, I think this series might be a cute one.But I was a little disappointed in this one.


Ride with Me
Ride with Me
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $2.99

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ride With Me, February 15, 2012
This review is from: Ride with Me (Kindle Edition)
Tom Geiger is ready to cycle across the United States on the TransAmerica Trail. Planning to start in Oregon and ending up in Virginia, he is looking forward to a couple of months of peaceful cycling and sightseeing as he heads east. But his sister, Taryn, has other plans for him. Worried that he is too much of a loner, she secretly places an ad for a riding companion for him and finds someone named Alex. She arranges for Alex to meet Tom at the starting point of the trip, much to Tom's dismay. But since Taryn is really his only friend, he doesn't want to disappoint her.

"Please, Tom. You can't ride your bicycle across the country alone. It's insane. You'll end up being slaughtered by a serial killer."

"Taryn, I'm thirty-five, single, tattooed, and anti-social. I'm the serial killer."
But when Alex shows up, Tom gets a surprise. Alex is a woman.

Alex is also a control freak. A high school English teacher, she has been planning this trip her entire life. She has every hour of the trip mapped out. She has a special computer on her bike and other high-tech gear. One look at Tom and she knows there is going to be a problem. Tom has an old bike and isn't even wearing proper riding gear. She tried really hard to find another woman to ride with, but no one showed interest. So now she is stuck with Tom, who is extremely anti-social and surly. She also doesn't want Tom to get any ideas at night when their tents are pitched right next to each other, so she blurts out she is married, although she is very, very single. Off they go on their cross-country journey.

Ride with Me is the debut book by Ruthie Knox, and I really liked it. She does a great job pairing up two very stubborn protagonists and making it a fun, amusing story. Tom is so anti-social and cranky. His ex-wife cheated on him with his brother, and he has a lot of family drama in the past. He works now as a bike mechanic and goes on crazy bike rides all over the world. His downfall is that he feels guilty about a lot of things. He would feel very guilty if he left Alex behind so he grudgingly agrees to be her companion. They butt heads many, many times at the beginning as they are so different. Alex is prim and proper and refuses to be spontaneous. But Tom finds her very attractive and slowly gets her to lower her defenses.

When Tom can get her to look up from the 27 gears on her bike, he pushes her to take a side road and see the sights. They start to fall into a friendship of sorts, although with an intense edge because they each find the other extremely attractive. My one gripe with this book is that Alex hangs onto the pretend-husband story for a little too long. There comes a point where they both want to dive into the sleeping bag together, but Tom still thinks Alex is married. It takes a phone call to his sister to realize maybe she is lying and that seemed a little farfetched. I wish Alex would have just told him sooner. I did like her apology, though, when the truth finally comes out.

Once they get past all of that, there is some hot lovin'! Who knew sexy times in a tent could be so hot? When Tom starts to lighten up and Alex sees that side of him, their romance really takes off.

Ride with Me is a sexy, contemporary. I don't think I've ever read a book about two people who cycle across the country. I'm a sucker for road-trip books, and this one definitely fit the bill.


Amazon Heat
Amazon Heat
Offered by Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
Price: $1.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Amazon Heat, February 15, 2012
This review is from: Amazon Heat (Kindle Edition)
I decided to read this one because I thought the blurb sounded a little crazy and fun:

*****
2 years ago...

Driven by grief to find a cure for cancer, Elizabeth DeMarco left Logan Spencer to accept a position on a research expedition to the Amazon rainforest. Kidnapped by guerrillas, she was saved by a secret all-female civilization, the last of the ancient Amazons. But Elizabeth discovers she's traded one form of captivity for another.

Today...

Logan never stopped searching for Elizabeth. While consulting in the remote Brazilian interior near where she was kidnapped, Logan suffers what should be a fatal fall. Near death, he's collected by the Amazons and magically healed. Elizabeth is the first person he sees as he wakes.

But there's no time for a joyful reunion. The Amazons' mystical medicine is rapidly changing Logan. They want his DNA and plan to take it--and then kill him. Logan and Elizabeth must escape before dawn or Logan--and their second chance at happiness--is doomed.
******

But unfortunately, the blurb turned out to be more fun than the actual book. Since the blurb sets up the book pretty well, let me tell you why I didn't enjoy this one very much.

First of all, the world is not explained very thoroughly. I wanted to know more about this all-female tribe and their magical powers. But we never get specific details. Elizabeth is held captive by these magical Amazon women, who have deep ties to the rainforest where they live (behind a secret veil). When we first see Elizabeth with the Amazons, she seems excited and happy to be researching a cure for the disease that is making these Amazon women sick. They happen to have a secret waterfall that heals injuries but it won't heal whatever genetic disease that is targeting this group of women. She is concerned that if she can't cure this disease, the entire clan will vanish. But then once Logan is captured by this same group, and brought back to where Elizabeth is staying, she decides she wants to escape. We are told she has never stopped watching and learning for a way to finally escape, and in the end it happens kind of easily.

Logan and Elizabeth's reunion didn't feel dramatic enough either. Logan has been searching for Elizabeth for two years, has no idea if she is even alive, then ends up injured so bad he gets cured from a waterfall and is reunited with Elizabeth and it felt like a very lackluster scene.

I wanted the entire story to be more over-the-top and crazy. Instead it falls flat and is on the boring side. It is a very short book, so it reads quickly. I finished and wanted more.


Slayer's Kiss: The Shadow Slayer
Slayer's Kiss: The Shadow Slayer
Price: $4.24

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slayer's Kiss, February 15, 2012
Not only does Kara manage an apartment building, but she is also a bartender and a witch. Although, being a witch is something she is not great at. Her best friend Abbey is a witch though, and together they take to the streets at night. Kara was sexually abused earlier in her life, and one of her abilities is being able to track someone if they intend to rape a female. Bringing Abbey along, they are usually able to subdue the predator before he can finish the deed, and then usually let the police handle the rest. But there is a very dark presence on the streets these nights, raping and murdering and Kara and Abbey might be over their heads to try to bring this guy down.

Meanwhile, Kara has two very sexy new tenants in her building. Julian and Gavin kind of rush into her life, and she is not sure what to make of it. Her hormones go into total overdrive when she is near them, and she is not sure what to make of it. All she can think about is one of them (it turns out to be Julian) physically pleasuring her. Unknown to her, there is a good explanation for all this.

Julian and Gavin are actually fallen angels, and Kara is one of the last females of her kind. (there is a long, messy explanation as to exactly what Kara is, that you can find out when you read the book.) They are watching her because it is close to the time when Kara should reach maturity, going through a big transition and coming into her powers. Of course, at first Kara knows none of this. She just thinks she is a witch, a poor one at that. And she is a lucky girl that these two gorgeous (and incredibly well endowed - we are talking big time here) men are into her.

Slayer's Kiss starts out really well. This is definitely an urban fantasy but with heavy erotic sex scenes. To start, Kara is a fun heroine. Flirty, funny, sarcastic - I enjoyed getting to know her and her BFF Abbey. At the beginning of this book there is this strange, dark "being" lurking around her, and that definitely puts some intrigue into the beginning pages. Then Gavin and Julian show up. As the reader you know they aren't quite human, but at this point, Kara just thinks two hunky guys are her new tenants. And her hormones just explode. Now, Gavin and Julian are not suppose to have sex with Kara. They are called Mercury Lords, and it is forbidden for these Lords to bond to a woman. So, Gavin has the first sexual encounter with Kara and behaves himself somewhat, but Julian just goes all at it. And here is where I start to have a little trouble.

Kara knows these guys for a matter of hours before Gavin has his face between her legs. Fine, I realize her hormones are wacky because all of the paranormal stuff going on. But the next day, Julian and her have sex. She doesn't know these guys, and she is having unprotected sex with them? Worse, throughout the book, she is always mad at Gavin because he wouldn't have sex with her. She equates having sex, to "liking me." I don't' like that. She has the attitude of - if you like me, you'd kiss me. She started to turn into this immature, whiny heroine who stomped her foot when a man wouldn't slake her sexual needs.

Besides all that, I really think the last two-thirds of this book loses focus. It starts to take this large scope and there seemed to be so much thrown at the reader, that it was hard to stay focused on the story. The dark, dangerous presence that Kara first wonders about in the beginning of the book, isn't explored very much until the end. All of a sudden, we are taken to a different land, and we have to learn all of these rules and customs for these fallen angels and I lost interest. It felt like Kara would get mad at Julian or Gavin and the next page be ripping their clothes off. I just never understood what exactly was so special about Kara that it would have every fallen angel fall to their knees for her.

I like this author's voice - there are funny moments and this book has some very sexy moments. I just don't think this was the right story for me. It felt too long, and the heroine was just not a favorite of mine.


Not Wicked Enough (Reforming the Scoundrels)
Not Wicked Enough (Reforming the Scoundrels)
by Carolyn Jewel
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
60 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Wicked Enough, February 9, 2012
I picked up Not Wicked Enough by Carolyn Jewel late one night, just intending to read one chapter before I went to bed. But I became so enthralled with the hero and heroine that I could not put this book down. We have two people with exquisite chemistry and such witty banter that I was charmed throughout the entire book.

Our heroine, Lily Wellstone, is a very wealthy lady who is extremely stylish and proper, at least on the outside. When she shows up at the Duke of Mountjoy's house to visit her dear friend Ginny (who is the Duke's sister), she is at first taken aback by this imposing duke, but the challenge invigorates her.

****
Lily stayed where she was, meeting his gaze without blinking or looking away. According to the terms she'd set for herself, she could not move while he trod on her shadow. The thought made her smile.

The duke didn't look away either. Nor did he smile in return. The effect was ... bracing.
****

Mountjoy learns she is not only beautiful, but she is quite the character. She flirts with him and has a very sharp sense of humor.

It takes him quite awhile to figure her out.

****
"Do you have ghosts here?" she asked.

Good Lord, he hoped she wasn't serious. With that innocent face of hers, he couldn't be sure. "Not to my knowledge," he said.

"You ought to consider it."

He was at sea. One moment he was convinced she was a helpless sort of female, none too bright, the next that she must be daft. Or intelligent beyond what her sex typically allowed a man to guess.
****

Lily's love of her life died on the battlefield, and she really isn't looking for another mate. She is happy in life when she visits to cheer up Mountjoy's sister, who is grieving over the loss of her husband. Lily likes to have everything arranged, from her friends to the food on her plate.

Mountjoy was brought up on a farm and, as a shock, was handed the title of duke through a messy family tree. Although never expecting to have this position, he took it on seriously and has always tended to his duties. He may not dress necessarily proper, but his manners and behavior make him a very respectable duke. While not engaged, everyone assumes he will marry family friend Miss Jane Kirk and, out of duty, he plans to. But when Lily lands on his doorstep, he just can't let her go, no matter how hard he tries.

A couple of things really stand out in Not Wicked Enough. First of all, the chemistry between Lily and Mountjoy jumped off the page in Chapter 1 and continued to the end. Lily is so unapologetic for her flirtation and her attention to the smallest details, yet she is extremely friendly and warm and truly cares about Mountjoy's sister and her well-being. She is very secure and confident about who she is -- so when she has the chance to flirt with the very attractive Mountjoy, she goes for it. She is very wicked and unashamed in her actions, and I loved it. And while they have a wonderful build-up of sexual tension, the sex scenes are so erotic and lengthy, they just added to the high sensuality of the book. There are these little moments, such as the following one, where they are having a somewhat normal conversation, and then Carolyn Jewel puts in just a sentence or two, that lights the whole page on fire.

****
"Tell me your adventure." The side of his finger brushed her bare shoulder. Neither of them acknowledged the contact. Not yet.
****

They have such a witty banter that I quite enjoyed. They tease and flirt so much that you can't help but smile as they do it. As he is not engaged to Jane Kirk yet, he isn't necessarily cheating on her, although it does give him pause a few times. I didn't have any problems in regards to Jane or how her character played out.

There is a bit of conflict surrounding Lily, as her mother married below her station, so therefore her mother's family practically disowned her after she was married, leaving Lily with little family. When Lily's aunt leaves her a great fortune, this also causes conflict, as many of the other family members don't think Lily deserves it. Someone from her past reunites with Lily and causes her some distress. Honestly, Mountjoy and Lily's relationship overshadowed this conflict, so I wasn't heavily invested in how things played out with it.

Not Wicked Enough is full of great chemistry and very sensual love scenes and is, dare I say, a very wicked book indeed. I highly recommend it.


An Affair with Mr. Kennedy (Gentlemen of Scotland Yard)
An Affair with Mr. Kennedy (Gentlemen of Scotland Yard)
by Jillian Stone
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
58 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Affair with Mr. Kennedy, February 8, 2012
Set in the late 1800's, Zeno Kennedy is a well known detective with the Scotland Yard. Having lost a mistress to a bombing years ago, Zeno has set his mind to keeping London safe. But he knows there are a group of men, "The Bloody Four" he calls them, that want to harm his city. These four are wealthy men who are for an Irish revolution, and will murder, conspire and threaten those that get in their way. Zeno is on their trail however, and won't back down.

Meanwhile, Zeno has a new tenant in the building he owns, a Ms. Cassandra St. Cloud. Cassie is a widow, who is just coming out of mourning. A very talented painter, she has decided to live on her own now, and start a new chapter of her life. A very progressive woman (with an even more progressive mother) Cassie has no qualms about taking a lover or living on her own. When she meets her new neighbor, the very sexy if not a bit cranky detective Kennedy, she can't help but peek out her window to observe him. And he does the same thing. When it comes to light that Cassie's brother in-law is involved with The Bloody Four, Cassie gets whisked into Zeno's investigation.

I'll admit it. When An Affair With Mr. Kennedy arrived unsolicited in the mail, I opened the envelope and was immediately drawn to the title and cover of the book. When I saw that the series includes a Scotland Yard detective, I was in. I didn't even read the blurb. I like the set-up of this book and I like the characters although I do think this book is slow at times and I was a little disappointed in the suspense part of the book. More on that in a minute.

First, we are presented with a lovely hero and heroine. Zeno is a little more on the brooding side of things. He takes his work very seriously, and hates to be in the papers or recognized because of the past bombing involving his love interest. When he sets his sights on Cassie, he can't look away. Cassie comes from a family of doctors, and has a mother that would much rather talk about sex and birth control than tea and the weather. So Cassie is definitely not a prude. She is very independent, and has more of the mind set that she wants to take a lover. She also lounges around and smokes cigars. Definitely a different type of heroine.

While the romance unfolds (and again, I really liked the romance in this one - it is very naughty) I did have problems with the suspense. These group of men are set to terrorize London, and they do have a nasty ringleader who is slightly obsessed with Cassie during the book. But I think there is a lot of slow time leading up to the big finale with this group. I kind of wanted them to be more of a threat. And then at the end, it isn't hard to guess what is going to happen. There is also a point in the book where Zeno must deal with someone from his past and it felt like this development should have been more dramatic.

Overall, I liked it, but not as much as I was hoping to. I'm happy to see on Goodreads that two more books are coming in this series. I don't think we get enough romances with this kind of setting.


A Town Called Valentine: A Valentine Valley Novel
A Town Called Valentine: A Valentine Valley Novel
by Emma Cane
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
94 used & new from $0.01

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Town Called Valentine, February 7, 2012
When Emily Murphy walks into a bar and sees a sexy cowboy looking at her from under his hat, she knows she is in trouble. After having a couple of beers and making out with him on the pool table in the back room, she knows she is more than in trouble.

Emily Murphy finds herself back in Valentine Valley, a mountain town she hasn't been in since she was a little girl. Now that her mom has passed away, Emily has inherited a store on the main street of this town. Emily has decided now that she has divorced from a very controlling man, she is ready to take control of her own life, and that will start by fixing up the store to sell and then going back to college. But then she meets Nate.

Nate is a cowboy, who works on a cattle ranch with his dad and brothers, and has lived in the valley all his life. He loves to help people, maybe a little too much. So when he sees that the store Emily now owns is a ramshackle, he reaches out and offers his help. But Emily wants to do things on her own,

A Town Called Valentine is the contemporary debut for Emma Cane, although I do believe this is a pen name for historical writer Gayle Callen. I wanted to like this book. Valentine Valley has a small town feel to it, with elderly busy bodies and a cowboy. Things I enjoy in books. But it just didn't come together for me. I had a very hard time warming up to Emily. First of all, Nate and Emily have a couple of beers and share a kiss and a little over the shirt groping action. And for much of the book, Emily freaks out because she did that with a stranger.

****
Was he good at keeping secrets, too? So far, she didn't think he'd said one word about what they'd done together - even though the whole town knew something had happened. But he'd been a gentleman so far and forgiven her for leading him on. And she'd forgiven him for taking advantage.
****

Emily is obsessed with how awful it was to be overcome by two beers and make out with Nate the entire book. It drove me nuts. Who cares if you kissed a stranger? I can understand if they slept together, but a little make-out session in a bar doesn't really constitute taking advantage of her. The blame she puts on Nate annoyed me.

She very much wants to take control of her life, now that she has divorced a controlling husband. Her mother was also a hippie and now she is looking for structure. But instead of coming off as wanting to be independent and strong, she came across as very ungrateful and prickly. Throughout the whole book Emily's reactions to Nate's (or anyone's) help made me cringe. She also gets annoyed when the town busybodies try to set her up with Nate, or make comments about the two of them. Yet, she also gets annoyed because Nate doesn't tell his family about her (this is before they really start a relationship too)

****
"No offense, Ms. Murphy," he said, "but I don't recognize you. Did Nate meet you in Aspen?"
This was just another confirmation that Nate didn't tell anyone - even his family - about her. But why wouldn't Grandma Thalberg have mentioned her? Was the old widow trying to keep Emily hidden so that Nate would feel less family pressure? Before she could explain who she was, Nate answered for her. Biting her tongue at his presumption, she poured some of the dressing over her salad.
****

I just couldn't get into the romance, or even believe Nate would be attracted to someone who acted like this. She totally grated on my nerves. Nate's big conflict in the book is that he helps people too much. He dives into someone's life and steers them, and sometimes he ends up steering them wrong, although not intentionally. So he is afraid he might do this with Emily. I just didn't find this plot very strong and felt it an odd problem for someone to have. Almost like it is too easy of a set-up - Nate helps people too much, and Emily doesn't want help at all from anyone. It made for a weak conflict between them and left me more frustrated than anything else.


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