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The Whispering Rocks (Signet Regency Romance)
The Whispering Rocks (Signet Regency Romance)
by Sandra Heath
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
30 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars, December 19, 2008
The Whispering Rocks is a wonderful gothic story, full of that gloomy gothic atmosphere, danger, and people who aren't what they seem to be.

Illegitimate Sarah Jane Stratford has been recognized by her father and brought from a life of poverty into the wealthy world of Regency society... so that he can marry her to his nephew and heir. When she's innocently involved in scandal, he sends her away to Mannerby and places her under the care of Paul Ransome and his sister Melissa, and it's a frying pan and fire move, as they seem to dislike her even more than her father and cousin do.

In true gothic tradition, sinister things start happening, and Sarah Jane's only ally seems to be her maid.

I've always liked gothics, even before I knew they were romances, but this one gets docked a star because I didn't get to see the relationship develop between the hero and heroine. Which was always typical of gothics, but I find I'm less tolerant than I used to be.


Dreamscapes: Sharing the Darkness
Dreamscapes: Sharing the Darkness
by Tracy
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
21 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars -- a surprising gem, December 19, 2008
I'd bought this Silhouette Dreamscapes a year or more ago at the flea market just to round out the 5/$1 on categories. The back cover blurb sounded okay, but I didn't expect much.

This was one of those times when I got a lot more than I expected.

Sharing the Darkness is really densely emotional. It's about a telekinetic/psychic hero who's emotionally damaged, and a psychic heroine with her telekinetic/psychic son.

I docked it a half star because I wanted to know more about what the bad guys wanted from them, but that's a tiny niggle.

I'll be looking for more from this author--I hope there is more.


The Lady Lies (Berkley Sensation)
The Lady Lies (Berkley Sensation)
by Samantha Saxon
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
47 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars, December 18, 2008
I wanted to like this one more than I did. And maybe if I re-read it, I would like it more. The problem? Too many characters.

It's a Regency romantic suspense. I LOVE this sub-sub-genre. Makes me think of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

But Regencies have the problem of people having too many names: John Whosit, Earl of Thisplace. He can be referred to as John, as Lord Thisplace, as the Earl, as my lord, and if he's recently come into the title, his old friends may still refer to him as John Whosit or just Whosit, and heaven help us if he has a nickname, or if he goes by a middle name. It's confusing as it is, but when you combine this with an overabundance of characters, it turns an enjoyable story into something you have to study. And in this one, we have spies, so there are code names as well. HELP!

Other than that, though, it was really a good spy story. I grew up loving The Scarlet Pimpernel, so The Lady Lies was a lot of fun for me, especially because in this case, the incognito spy is the heroine.

Lady Celeste Rivenhall is a double agent, a British spy masquerading as a French spy. When Aidan, the Earl of Wessex, is captured after a battle in France, she sticks to her cover, but helps him to escape, unbeknownst to him. When she later encounters him back in England, things get really sticky.

Aidan reports her to the authorities, but is told she's already been investigated and cleared, and he can't get anyone to believe him. So he determines to find proof. Meanwhile, Celeste tries to stay incognito, with her life on the line from the French or from the traitor she's been assigned to find, and Aidan's investigation is complicating matters immeasurably.

One of the funniest parts of the book is when they both decide, independently, to seduce the other to keep them close and learn or protect the secrets.

The Lady Lies is a wonderful blend of romance, adventure, mystery, and history.


Fire Me Up (Aisling Grey, Guardian, Book 2)
Fire Me Up (Aisling Grey, Guardian, Book 2)
by Katie MacAlister
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
138 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hilarious, hot, and hard to put down, December 18, 2008
This doesn't happen all that often. Usually, I enjoy a second book in a series because I got to know the characters in the first book and I'm happy to see them again, but it's usually at best just as good as the first. But as much as I loved You Slay Me, I loved Fire Me Up even more.

It didn't hurt that it takes place in Budapest, the site of the most romantic weekend of my life. *sigh*

Gotta say, though, I didn't leave any scorch marks on the sheets or burn up any hotel room doors when I was there.

Aisling is in Budapest to attend a supernatural conference to find a Guardian to apprentice under so she can learn more about her powers, along with her demon-in-dog-form Jim, who provides help and comic relief. Her cabbie from Paris, Rene, shows up with his usual savoir faire; there's a man who keeps predicting, correctly, all sorts of humiliating things that will happen to her; she's invaded by incubi; and she teams up with professional virgin Tiffany.... and then of course there's Drake Vireo, green wyvern, sexy and exasperating in pretty much equal measures--and he's extremely sexy --who's in town for some delicate negotiations between the various dragon septs.

I really don't want to go into any details, because if I start pointing out the good bits, I'll end up giving away the entire story.

Fire Me Up is hilarious, hot, and hard to put down. And it wins the award for "most creative use of fire in a sex scene." Just truly a joy to read.


Carved in Stone (Les Gargouillen, Book 1)
Carved in Stone (Les Gargouillen, Book 1)
by Vickie Taylor
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
56 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars, December 18, 2008
Wow.

I'd been looking forward to reading Carved in Stone ever since I heard about it. Gargoyles? It was an intriguing concept and I wanted to see what Vickie Taylor did with it.

I wasn't disappointed.

Art history professor Nathan Cross is the gargoyle in question. He's ostracized from the rest of the gargoyles because he's tired of the cycle of death and rebirth, mating only to produce a son and then withdrawing to the all-male domain of guardians in a world that no longer needs them and would fear and hate them if it knew they existed.

Interpol agent Rachel Vandemere knows there are monsters out there. She saw one kill her father when she was a child. Now she wants to prove their existence and eliminate them.

Their paths cross at an art museum gala where Rachel is tracking an assassin.

The conflict between these two just sucked me in: Rachel tries so hard to convince Nathan of the existence of monsters, and even to protect him from them, while Nathan is prevented from telling her what he is by both the gargoyles' ingrained secrecy and his experience-based fear that she'll despise him if she discovers he's one of the monsters she's hunting. Nathan's own principles--stopping the cycle that means not fathering a child--are also at war with the gargoyles' instinctual drive to procreate, made stronger by his attraction to Rachel.

As if that weren't enough, the gargoyles are being targeted by someone or something, and both of them get caught in the middle.

All the facets of this book were well-done: the characterizations, the suspense, the world-building, the emotions. I thoroughly enjoyed it and couldn't put it down.

It also has one of the best/most interesting/sensual/unusual sex scenes I've read since the mirror scene in Feehan's Dark Symphony.


Aspen
Aspen
by Erickson
Edition: Paperback
43 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars, December 18, 2008
This review is from: Aspen (Paperback)
Another oldie from them, but more recent than the previous ones I've read--1995 for this one.

About a wealthy political family that thinks they can get away with anything, and mostly do, this is reminiscent of the more recent On the Edge, with a heroine who's good at heart, but really screwed up. They really delve into the psyche and don't pull any punches.

I'd have given it 5 stars, but the ending was a little too pat, and there were some hints of things that didn't go anywhere. Not for everyone--it's really... raw is a good description.


Lady Midnight (Signet Eclipse)
Lady Midnight (Signet Eclipse)
by Amanda McCabe
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
30 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 stars, December 18, 2008
Lady Midnight is a longer Regency about an almost-courtesan who starts a new life after a shipwreck. Trained to be a courtesan by her mother, she's about to take her first protector, a man whose obsession with her makes her uneasy. After the shipwreck, her mother's ghost urges her to take the opportunity to build a new life for herself.

We find her in England, seeking a job as a governess in the country. Of course, the peace she finds there, even as she tries to avoid falling for the widower who's hired her, can't last, and she runs into people who know who she is.

Amanda McCabe has done a really good job with the emotions--I feel them right along with the characters, even the secondary ones. There aren't any black and white, 2-dimensional characters in this story.

I hope there'll be a sequel about the hero's younger sister. There's a story there. She's already a remarkable young girl. I can't wait to see how she grows up.


Seeing Red (Signet Eclipse)
Seeing Red (Signet Eclipse)
by Jill Shalvis
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
28 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful romantic suspense, December 18, 2008
Like Blue Flame and White Heat, Seeing Red is a 5-star read. It's the last of Jill Shalvis's firefighters, if I remember correctly. This would make me unbearably sad, but the stories have had so much more going on than just firefighting, I'm certain whatever she writes next will be just as compelling.

This is also a reunion story, and anyone who's familiar with me knows how much I like those. There's just something about characters who've known each other a long time.

The heroine left town and her best friend Joe after her father was killed in a warehouse fire. She returns home years later when there's another fire at that same warehouse and finds that Joe's a fire marshal. Both of them are emotionally scarred.

The emotional journey could easily have taken a back seat to the twists and turns and drama of the mystery, or vice versa. But both sides of the story are equally intense and neither is short-changed. It's just a really good romantic suspense, with equal parts of both.


Tangle of Lies (Berkley Sensation)
Tangle of Lies (Berkley Sensation)
by Patricia Potter
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
60 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars, December 18, 2008
Tangle of Lies is the perfect title for this book, because that's what Liz Connor's life turns into: a tangle of lies.

It all starts when her father calls her up, frantic because her mother is missing. Turns out her mother has been arrested for a murder committed in the course of an armored car robbery by an anti-war protest group... 30 years ago.

The revelation of her mother's past and identity is just the tip of the iceberg, however. Thefts, a threatened abduction of her niece, and a house fire make it clear that whatever happened 30 years ago isn't over. And two men show up: ex-cop Caleb Adams who tells her he's writing a book about the robbery, and attorney Michael Gallagher, who says he was sent by her mother's cousin to help in any way he can. But everyone has a different agenda, and there's no way to know who to trust.

The unraveling of the tangle of lies is fascinating--trying to determine whether the threats are related to the robbery, or to an inheritance her mother is entitled to now that she's surfaced, what really happened 30 years ago, and who's behind it all.

Liz and Caleb are both on emotional roller-coasters, coming from opposite directions to forge a relationship despite the forces conspiring to keep them apart.

I tend to be wary of books that include a concealed identity plot, because so often it ends up the same, but that wasn't the case with Tangle of Lies. There were perfectly good reasons for both Caleb and Liz's mother to conceal their identities, and the reactions to the revelations were realistic and understandable.

I've been recommending this one.


Dangerous Diversions and Toast of the Town (Signet Regency Romance)
Dangerous Diversions and Toast of the Town (Signet Regency Romance)
by Margaret Evans Porter
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
27 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 2.5 stars, December 18, 2008
*** Dangerous Diversions.
This Regency romance is about a duke and an opera dancer. There are more details about the forming of the Regency and about theater at the time than about the actual romance. It is interesting, though.

** Toast of the Town.
This Regency romance is about an earl and an actress. Like the previous one, it's more about theaters than the romance. Plus, there was inexplicable back and forth between the hero and heroine, which I really hate. Why do authors do that???

In both stories, there's the incredible class difference the couple had to overcome to reach their Happy Ever After, something that definitely requires a historical setting to work in a romance. But what set these two books apart for me was the depth of detail about the setting. Even though I've been reading quite a few Regencies of late, I learned a lot.


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