Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie

  • Title: Matched
  • Classification: Young Adult (Ages 12 and up)
  • Genre: Dystopia
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (September 20, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 014241977X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142419779
  • Author's Website:
  • Notes: This was my second time reading this one and I expanded upon my original review. I reread this one with my online book club on Goodreads. It was one of our Books of the Month. 

'The goal of matching is twofold: to provide the healthiest possible future citizens for our Society and to provide the best chances for interested citizens to experience successful Family Life. It is of the utmost importance to the Society that the Matches be as optimal as possible.'

Somewhere in the future the Society now dictates who you will marry and what job you will hold. When Cassia is matched with her best friend, Xander, she thinks she's the luckiest girl in the world. Her happiness, however, is soon cluttered with confusion when the microcard containing information about her match changes from Xander's photo to Ky's. Even though she's told there was an error with her card and Xander is her true match, it sets off a whole lot of questions about how perfect the matching program is. When Ky and Cassia are paired together for an extra curricular activity she finds herself wondering if maybe Ky truly is her perfect match. She has been told he will never be paired with anyone because he's a Aberration - a person who has committed or is related to someone who has committed some infraction of the law and has been deemed unmatchable, essentially insuring the killing off of the offending party's line. The question now forming in Cassia's mind is, if they could be wrong about her match what else could they be wrong about?

This one had The Giver (by Lois Lowry) type feel to it. The Society attempts to predict and control every aspect a person's life such as who they marry, what they'll do, when they'll die. They even try to predict the smallest aspects of a person's life right down to which dress and what color they'll chose for their match banquet with scary accuracy. It's to the point where most people trust the Society so thoroughly that they accept whatever decisions it makes for them without question. People aren't encouraged to think for themselves and have no outlet for any creative energy. Art, music, stories, etc have been reduced to only 100 paintings, 100 poems, 100 stories and 100 songs of the Society's choosing.

In the beginning, Cassia thinks the Society can make no mistakes and is perfect. She doesn't question authority or its decisions. I kind of see Cassia as someone awakening from a fog. The people who live in the Society are like robots who've been programmed throughout their lives. As the story progresses, Cassia slowly starts to grow and think for herself, although she does appear to be easily influenced. She's naive to the extreme, but I think that kind of fits with this story. She's had her whole life plotted out from little on. There were no surprises and now she's being thrown one surprise after another. I look at it from the view point that she has room to grow. A lot of room. I can't wait to see what she's like in Crossed, the second book of the series. She needs to be deprogrammed. 

Ky, is under no delusions. He was born in the Outer Provinces. He understands what the Society is doing and knows what they can do to a person and therefore keeps quiet. To do otherwise would be to face their punishment and for him, being that he's an aberration, it's best to keep under the radar and go unnoticed. His one weakness which could prove his ultimate downfall is Cassia. A girl he's admired and loved from afar for years. For aberrations are not allowed to be in a relationship and when Cassia finally seems to notice him after her match banquet, how can he resist? 

One of the things I loved about the book was the imagery Ms. Condie used. She subtly introduces symbolism through her descriptions of ordinary, yet not so ordinary as we look at them, items. For example, her description of new roses symbolizes what's been done to the people within the Society:
     "Newroses," I tell Xander." You probably have some growing in your yard. We have them in ours."
      I don't tell him that they're not my mother's favorite. She thinks the ones we have in the City in all the gardens and public spaces art too hybridized, too far from their original selves. The oldroses took a lot of care to grow; each blossom was a triumph. But these are hardy, showy, bred for durability.

Additionally, I felt the cottonwood seeds described at the beginning of the book represented the seeds of  doubt being planted. Later, toward the end, I felt they represented Cassia and Ky and others like them who will fight and survive despite the Society's best efforts to stamp them out. A tiny symbol of hope that they will persevere despite the odds:
     'You can't use cottonwood tress for fruit or fuel. And their seeds are a nuisance. They fly far, catch on anything, try to grow everywhere. Weed trees my mother says. Still, she harbors a particular affinity for them because of the seeds, which are small and brown but cloaked in beauty, in these thin white tendrils of cotton. Little cloudy parachutes to slow their fall, to help them fly, to catch the wind and glide them somewhere they might grow.'

Why did the illustrator choose to show Cassia in a glass globe on the cover? Well, I believe it has to do with this verse: 
     'I want to tell her everything but I can't. Not now. I am too fragile. I am trapped in glass and I want to break out and breathe deep but I'm afraid that it will hurt.'

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 Roses. I liked the characters, writing style, and symbolism used. I would have liked to have learned more about the Society and it's workings, but as this is the first book of a series I'm hopeful one of the next books in the series will contain a more in depth look into its inner workings.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Release Day Review of The Recruit (Highland Guard, #6) by Monica McCarty

  • Title: The Recruit: A Highland Guard Novel
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (October 30, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0345528417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345528414
Author's Website:

Mary of Mar knew what it was to be betrayed. To love someone who didn't return your affection. To suffer heartbreak and sorrow. To have no say in what transpired with regards to your life. To have no control over it whatsoever. Her husband had left her and their son to the mercy of England's King Edward while he had left to go fight for Scotland's King, Robert the Bruce. John said they'd be safe where they were, but it was only by luck that she and her son had managed to escape the King's wrath, although not completely. For her husband's treasonous crimes against the crown her son had been taken away when he was just 6 months old and raised in King Edward's household. If someone was to ask where her loyalties lie, she'd have said with her son. So while she considered Scotland her true home, her present home was where her heart (her son David) was which was England.

When her husband was finally captured and hanged for treason, she decided she never again wished to be at the mercy of another a man. So she did what she could to hide her beauty and not draw attention to herself. She dressed down in plain clothes and hid her hair, something she considered one of her best features, behind a veil. She hoped that by doing so she'd not draw the attention of any man or, more specifically, the King who had the power to marry her off against her will. Her plan had worked for three years and then she met Kenneth.

Kenneth seemed to be a mirror image of Mary's former husband. He was handsome, dashing, and had a way with the ladies. He'd never had a long term relationship with a woman in his life, but when Mary  first comes across Kenneth in rather a compromising position, well, there is just something about Mary he just can't seem to resist. Perhaps the man who can't resist a challenge sees Mary's drab and demure facade as just that--a challenge?

This was a highly entertaining read and I will definitely need to read the previous books in the series. This is the 6th book in the Highland Guards series, but I didn't feel lost by jumping into this series at such a late stage. Enough information was provided to let me know what was going on, but leaving me wishing I had the full story from the previous books in the series under my belt.

Mary was such a fun character. When we first see her she is twenty three years old and the type of woman who needs someone to lean on, and wishes she were more like her twin sister who is self assured and self confident. As the story progresses, we see her transform into someone who manages to support herself and who gains the self esteem and self confidence she was previously lacking. While she still isn't fully free of male dominance due to the time period she lives in and the hold King Edward has by holding her son, she feels more free than ever before.

Kenneth is heir to an earldom and wishes to become part of King Robert's Highland Guard. He's come to the Highland Games in the hopes of accomplishing that task through proving he's got what it takes to be part of the Guard. When he first meets Mary, he doesn't realize who she is and that makes the story so much more fun and entertaining. For Mary is King Robert's former sister by marriage, and the woman King Robert wishes Kenneth to marry. Mary has been commissioned by King Edward to be part of a truce delegation because of her familial connection to King Bruce. It is King Edward's hope she can spy on King Robert and, if possible, persuade him to return her son's Scottish lands. Mary isn't in the market for a husband, but the thought of a tumble with the man does entice her.

I enjoyed the merry chase Mary led Kenneth on, and how this is a little bumpier than most romances. I got a kick out of how seemingly clueless Kenneth initially was about his true feelings for Mary. He figured after a little time with her that his feelings for her would fade as they had with all the other women he'd encounter. I liked how Mary was able to see past her fear that she'd end up in another loveless marriage which would leave her once again lonely and wanting so much more. I additionally loved how she didn't cower to Kenneth and stood her ground when they disagreed. Plus, I loved the story that went on alongside the romance where Kenneth attempts to gain his place on the Highland Guard.

Why is the book called The Recruit? Well, it's because Kenneth is the new 'recruit' for the Highland Guard and he's earning his place on the team with his first mission. His mission is to infiltrate the enemy camp, earn their trust, and find out what King Edward's plans are so they can counter them.

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I loved the, albeit loose, connection to historic people and events. It's great to learn a little bit about history, and books like Ms. McCarty's inspire me to look up events I previously had no knowledge about. I loved the way the relationship between Kenneth and Mary started off with a strong physical attraction but grew into something much more. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. (I know it left Mary that way. lol)

The Series:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Early Review The Devil's Thief (The Saint’s Devils, #1) by Samantha Kane

Title: The Devil's Thief: A Loveswept Historical Romance
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: eBook only
File Size: 1977 KB
Print Length: 289 pages
Publisher: Transworld Digital (November 12, 2012)
Author's Website:

     "Unless you care to be shot this evening, I wouldn't move from where you're standing." The deep voice was quiet but firm and it came from the shadows of the big bed...
     "...tell me what you found so irresistible in my bedroom in the middle of the night."
     "Let me assure you that it was the Stewart Pearl I found irresistible," she retorted, "and nothing else."...
     "You're a Woman," Mr. Sharp exclaimed in shock...
     "I'll give you the pearl, my dear."..."For one night in my bed. Tonight."

Julianna's heart was in the right place, but the rest of her? Well, not so much. Let's just say she's a little misguided. Determined to keep the foundling home she'd established for children running, she desperately sought out a way to pay the rent and had concocted a plan to steal the Stewart Pearl so she could hock it for the proceeds. In Julianne's case, the apple truly didn't fall far from the tree. Her father was a reformed thief and newly married. That is when all the problems had begun. Her stepmother hadn't approved of her foundling home and so her father had cut off his funding of it. Now here she was with a choice to make--was the home worth the price Mr. Alasdair Sharp was asking?

Have you ever read a book where the heroine keeps doing things that make you want to shout out, "No, don't do it."? lol This is such a book. Julianna is a fun character who doesn't think things through, or perhaps doesn't comprehend the consequences before she acts. I was constantly shifting between giggling and shaking my head at her. Perhaps that is partly what makes Mr. Sharp fall in love with her. She needed someone to keep her out of trouble. At one point he actually says, "If you ever do something so bloody stupid again, I will turn you over my knee and spank the living daylights out of you.'

Truth be told, I didn't really care for Alasdair at the beginning. He was basically a jerk after their initial one night stand. He got upset and embarrassed because he'd been bested by Julianne and probably because of his own stupidity, for he never truly intended to give her his pearl, he'd decided instead to make her his mistress. I guess his mama didn't teach him to mean what you say and say what you mean.

When he wakes up the following morning to find both her and his pearl missing, well, to put it mildly, he goes a little crazy and asks his friend to help find her. Once found, he takes his anger and frustration out on her and Julianna doesn't seem to even notice just how awful he's being. He basically demands she either give him back the pearl or grant him sexual favors whenever he wishes as comeuppance. While she reminds him that was not their official deal, Alasdair is simply not satisfied and starts to stalk her in an attempt to get the pearl back. The thing that redeemed this hero in my eyes is that at some point he takes a good look at himself, realizes he doesn't like what he sees or how he's been acting towards Julianna and does an about face. Some however, I fear, are not going to get past his initial bad behavior.

Why is the book called The Devil's Thief and the series called The Saint's Devils? Well, it "was a silly nickname their (Alasdair and Hil's) group of friends had earned years ago in school, based on Hil's surname." Hil being Sir Hilary St. John, one of the friends Alasdair recruits to help him find Julianne. Hil is a very well connected person who is very good at finding things out. Since Alasdair was considered one of the Saint's Devils it goes without saying that Julianna would be The Devil's (Alasdair's) Thief.

Overall, I gave this one 3 out of 5 roses. I liked the camaraderie of Alasdair's friends and found each of them intriguing. My favorite secondary character, however, was Wiley, a street wise 17 year old who already has 4 children by 3 different woman and takes his family responsibilities very seriously. Hil takes him under his wing, and I hope we see more of the delightful character as the series progresses. Likewise, I'd love to see more of Hil. He seemed the most level headed and interesting of the friends.

Besides the characters, I loved the writing and look forward to reading the sequels. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM rating-- too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. A couple of scenes, however, where Alasdair treated Julianna poorly do not fall into the STEAM category.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blood by Moonlight (Anthology) by Jocelynn Drake , Terri Garey, Caris Roane

  • Title: Blood by Moonlight
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Supernatural/Contemporary Romance
  • File Size: 369 KB
  • Print Length: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Impulse (October 23, 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • ASIN: B008XOA4YW

Of Monsters and Men by Jocelynn Drake
It's All Hallows' eve which marks a shift in power between the courts. A night in which the Winter Court celebrates their rise in power by conducting The Wild Hunt. This year the Elves have decided to conduct it in Low Town and the local werewolf pack is their target. The pack's alpha Jack has come to Gage, the town's local warlock, for help. Gage, however, is not an average warlock, he's one from the Ivory Towers, a group of the most feared, ruthless and powerful of warlocks. Jack had left the group 10 years ago due his objection to some of their practices. If those around him were to find out who he truly was, well they would probably try to kill him. Dare he risk all to save those in need? Plus, knowing something and seeing it aren't always the same. Will Trixie, his girlfriend, be able to deal with him in his full power?

This was such a fun story and I want more!!! lol I adored Gage and Trixie and the world Ms. Drake created. I believe this is part of he Asylum's Tales series and I would love to read more about these two. I think those who like Jim Butcher's  series might like this one as well. From what I can gather, Gage is limited in what powers he is allowed to use and works as a tattoo artist which I'm guessing incorporates magic within them. This magical industry is governed by TAPPS, the Tattoo Artists and Potion Stirrers Society. I'm intrigued and would love to get a better glimpse of this world. Overall,  I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses and will definitely be reading the other books associated with this series.

The Ghoul Next Door by Terri Garey
It's All Hallows' eve as well as the eve of Samhain. A time when the veils between this world and the hereafter is at it's weakest. Cassie Calloway has decided it's time to call in the troops, well, her grandmother in an effort to get her neighbor, James T. Falco, to leave her family land. Cassie's father had sold the land to James' and she wants it back. She felt since the land had been passed down from her mother's side of the family her father had no right to sell it. Now she hopes by raising the spirit of her grandmother, that she'll haunt James to the point he'll leave. Things, however, don't quite work out as she'd planned. 

This was a fun little story, but did have a little violence as someone is brutally murdered. It's perfect, however, for the Halloween holiday season. It includes witches, warlocks and ghosts. Oh my! lol I loved all the twists that were involved in this one and how the story didn't feel rushed. Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses.

Trick or Treathen by Caris Roane
A Treathen bond joins a human and  a vampire together until one dies. The name was derived from the first known woman to bind herself to a vampire. Treyne, a master vampire, who resides over the territory of  Prescott, Arizona was against them personally, but allowed them amongst those he presided over. To his utter dismay, however, he found himself extremely attracted to Jenna Shawe. A young woman who he'd come to know over the past year due to her wish to find information about her sister Britt's mysterious disappearance a year prior at a Halloween rave he'd hosted. Every time he is near Jenna he has a powerful urge to set a Treathen bond in place. Likewise, Jenna doesn't think much of human-vampire relations, but finds herself extremely attracted to Treyne. While Treyne has a good idea where Jenna's sister may have ended up, vampire law forbids him from interfering or disclosing anything that Jenna might use.  Will passion win out over beliefs? Well, you'll just have to read the story to find out.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I liked the world Ms. Roane created. I also liked how both Treyne and Jenna both were torn between their feelings toward one another and their beliefs that humans and vampires shouldn't mix. I also loved the drama created by Britt's disappearance and how Treyne's beliefs were put to the test and he ultimately had to choose between them and her.

My overall rating for the anthology is 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. A great value at only 99 cents for the eBook version. Plus, a nice way to be introduced to three authors whose books I'd personally never read before. This is a great read for the Halloween season. I totally recommend this one. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Bride Wore Pearls by Liz Carlyle (Fraternitas Aureae Crucis, #3)

  • Title: The Bride Wore Pearls
  • Classifications: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Format: Paperback, 432 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (July 31, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0061965774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061965777
  • Author's Website:

Fifteen Years ago, Rance Welham, The Earl of Lazonby, narrowly missed death by the hangman's noose. He'd been accused of murdering Lord Percy Peveril. It was his membership in the Fraternitas Aureae Crucis that had ultimately saved him. He vowed he'd prove his innocence in the matter and was determined to find the identity of the real murderer. 15 years long years later he still hadn't discovered the truth of what happened that ill fated night. He had hope by now to have restored his life and reputation. But the clues just weren't forthcoming.

A year ago Lady Anisha Stafford came to England shortly after her father and husband died. She wanted the best for her two sons and decided England had more to offer them. So she uprooted them all from India, the place they'd always thought of as home, to live with her brother, Lord Ruthveyn (Adrian). But London society didn't exactly welcome a woman of mixed heritage with open arms, and sometimes Anisha wondered if she'd made the right choice. Her first marriage had been arranged and as she was independently wealthy, she decided if there'd be a second marriage in her future it would be a love match. She had a certain gentleman in mind, but alas, she knew she'd have to take matters into her own hands if she wished anything to come of it. So after making a few inquires and using her feminine wiles, she managed to coax her way into a look at the files of Lord Lazonby's case. If that didn't work well, seduction was always an option.

I have to confess the beginning of this book confused me. I believe the person being hanged is Rance, but it sounded like whoever it was being hung died. If it was Rance, how did he survive? I didn't find an explanation. There was a dream that seemed to be a flashback, perhaps to what happened? For this reason, I recommend reading the first two books of this series so you won't be wondering if you're assuming too much.
Other than the confusing beginning (I hadn't read the prior two books), it took a little while for me to get hooked on the book. Once the romance between Rance and Anisha started to heat up, however, the book started to pick up its pace. That was when things got more interesting and Anisha started finding answers that no one else had. 

Anisha was such an interesting character.The constraints of society hold less of a grasp on her than most because she is a widow and independently wealthy and could therefore pretty much do what she wanted. She is confident, smart, and has a good head on her shoulders. She also knows what she wants (namely Rance) and how to go about getting it. She's waited for him to make the first move, but now she'd become impatient and decides to speed things along.

Rance, aka Lord Lazonby, was accused of a murder he didn't commit. While saved from death, he doesn't have the best of reputations and is shunned by society. He'd never been able to remove the belief in their minds that he was involved in the murder. Because of this, he doesn't feel comfortable making any woman his wife because she'd be equally shunned by society. That countered with his wish to comply with his best friend's wishes, Anisha's brother, to keep his hands off his sister make this such a fun and complicated romance.

As for the romance between these two, well, it sizzles and ignites the pages. There is a scene with a pearl necklace that is now one of my all time favorite love scenes. I believe it is that scene that inspired the title. I bet if I showed this scene to my hubby I could get a shiny new string of pearls for myself. lol I will definitely have to check out more of Ms. Carlyle's books.

Overall this one gets a 4 out of 5 roses. I loved the mystery of who truly killed Lord Percy Peveril and how Anisha figured it out. There was plenty of action, suspense, and romance. Plus, I adored Anisha and her handling of Rance. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one got STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Order of series:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Naughty & Nice Blog Hop hosted by Romance at Random (October 22nd - 29th)

To celebrate the new release of Naughty & Nice, (on sale November 5th) written by authors extraordinaire, Ruthie Knox, Molly O’KeefeStefanie Sloane,  Romance at Random is giving away: 

· Fifteen Net Galley Preview copy winners of Naughty & Nice +
· Five paperback copies of ABOUT LAST NIGHT  (US only) +
· One Grand Prize of $15 Gift Certificate to eRetailer of choice!!
(must be 18 or older to participate)
For a complete list of rules and to view the list of winners, please go to the Romance at Random website:
The website Romance at Random is owned and operated by Random House, Inc. (the publisher) and they will be in charge of distributing the prizes. Winners will be announced on October 30th.

Book synopsis of Naughty & Nice:
’Tis the season for romance with three original holiday-themed novellas! Unwrap this festive eBook bundle and discover why these authors are quickly becoming the biggest names in the genre. Ruthie Knox tells a heartwarming contemporary story of first loves given the gift of a second chance; Molly O’Keefe releases the ghosts of Christmas past with a prequel to her novel Crazy Thing Called Love; and Stefanie Sloane weaves an irresistible Regency tale of fiery passion that burns deep on a cold winter’s night.

ROOM AT THE INN by Ruthie Knox
Carson Vance couldn’t wait to get out of Potter Falls, but now that he’s back to spend Christmas with his ailing father, he must face all the people he left behind . . . like Julie Long, whose heart he broke once upon a time. Now the proprietor of the local inn, Julie is a successful, seductive, independent woman—everything that Carson’s looking for. But despite several steamy encounters under the mistletoe, Julie refuses to believe in happily ever after. Now Carson must prove to Julie that he’s back for good—and that he wants her in his life for all the holidays to come.

Maddy Baumgarten and Billy Wilkins are spontaneous, in love, and prepared to elope the day after Christmas—that is, if Maddy’s family doesn’t throw a wrench in their plans. After all, Maddy’s barely out of high school and Billy’s a notorious bad boy. Maddy doesn’t care about Billy’s rough past—all she cares about is living in the here and now. But after Maddy’s mother stops speaking to her in protest, and a Christmas Eve heart-to-heart with her father leaves her with butterflies, Maddy starts to get cold feet. She loves Billy, but is she taking this big step too soon?

After being jilted by her fiancé, Jane Merriweather turns to her dear childhood friend, the Honorable Lucas Cavanaugh, for support—and unlocks the smoldering desire simmering in the man’s troubled heart. Frightened by his newfound feelings, Lucas flees to Scotland. But when the Christmas season brings them together again, one glance is all that’s needed to reignite his yearning. If Lucas can convince Jane that his intentions are as pure as the falling snow, they’ll turn a dreary December into a joyous Yuletide affair.

To increase your chances of winning, visit all the websites listed below and enter at each one. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Giveaway - Win a copy of The Recruit (Highland Guard #6) by Monica McCarty

Thanks to the wonderful folks over at Random House, I'm giving away 2 copies of The Recruit by the very talented 
Monica McCarty 

Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce is retaking his kingdom from the invading English. To win, he’ll need all the grit and courage of his elite band of warriors, the Highland Guard, men who fight without fear and love without limits.

Fiery, aggressive, and bold, Kenneth Sutherland is a true champion—skilled with any weapon and driven to win. Now Kenneth is ready for his greatest challenge: joining Robert the Bruce’s secret army to fight among the elite. Kenneth’s best chance to attain that honor is by winning the Highland Games. Focused and prepared for victory, he is caught off guard by a lovely wisp of a woman—and a stolen moment of wicked seduction. Her innocent arousal and her shameless hunger fire his blood. He will win his place in the guard—and in Mary of Mar’s bed.

The ruggedly handsome hero-in-the-making stirs a heart that should know better. Mary vows that her surrender will be sport only—no promises, no heartbreak, just one night of incredible passion. Nothing, she swears, will persuade her to give up her hard-wrought independence and put her fate in the hands of another powerful man. But with every gentle touch and heart-pounding kiss, Kenneth makes her want more. Now Mary wants his heart. But is this determined champion willing to surrender everything for love?

Rules for eligibility:

- Only residents of the US who are 18 or older are eligible.

- Please leave either your email address or a link to your GoodReads profile so I may get in contact with you to get your mailing address. **No P.O. Boxes, please**. Books will be sent directly from the publisher.

- Become a follower of my blog, if you aren't already. (Required)

Winner will be randomly chosen. Giveaway ends October 28th, midnight eastern time. Only one book per person and per address. Winners will be posted on my blog and notified by email or message posted to them via GoodReads. Winners will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Caressed By Ice (Psy-Changelings, Book 3) by Nalini Singh

Two years ago the Laurens left the PsyNet when the Psy Council sentenced the entire family to be rehabilitated. That included Judd's brother, Walker; Walker's daughter Marlee; and Sienna and Toby, his niece and nephew by his deceased sister, Kristine. Rehabilitation was not a method which helped people to get back on their feet. It was a mechanism used to wipe a brain clean and turn the individual being rehabilitated into not much more than a walking vegetable. Judd, because of his vocation as an Arrow, had previously renounced his family ties and had, therefore, been excluded from the sentence.

In a desperate attempt to save their family, they defected to the SnowDancer Changeling territory hoping they'd be able to save at least the children. Walker and Judd had no expectations of surviving for the Psy and Changelings were not on friendly terms, and SnowDancer had the reputation of being one of the most powerful and ruthless groups of Changelings in the country. The Changelings, however, had surprised them and offered the entire family sanctuary. In return the Laurens swore allegiance to SnowDancer, but trust is something that needs to be earned and is not readily given.

Brenna had been the victim of horrible crimes committed by the now defunct Counselor Santano Enrique. Unbeknownst to her, Judd had had a crucial part in her recovery. While her body had healed, a part of her never would. She'd been changed and wasn't the happy, carefree, sweet natured girl she'd once been. She'd survived the torture and experiments, but Enrique had done something to her. Something that she feared now allowed her to see visions of murder through the eyes of a psychopath. Could Enrique have had an accomplice? Could he have somehow managed to survive in the net? Could she be going insane? When the victim in her vision shows up dead, she begins to wonder...


Nalini's books are soooo good for many reasons. I feel like I should be spouting that famous poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning....How do I love thee? (thee being the books) Let me count the ways... *giggle* I was reading this with my Goodreads buddy Southpaw and we were hoping the next book after Visions of Heat would be Judd's. We try not to peek at the next book we'll read in the series.  Judd is the strong and silent type. He is such a mystery and while Psy are known for not having emotions we get blurred glimpse of the ones he has buried beneath the surface of the icy exterior he has cloaked himself in.

From Judd we learn not all aspects of Silence are bad. As we all know, every good lie contains some grain of truth or its foundation starts to crumble. For some Psy, their powers are so volatile that for them Silence is a true blessing. Judd is one such Psy. We'll learn more about Judd's powers and his extraordinary but deadly abilities which totally blew my mind. It is something that makes him fiercely try to fight the attraction he has toward Brenna. He has no aspirations of ever being part of a loving relationship and that isn't just because of the Silence imposed upon him.

We also learn more about what happened to Brenna at the hand of Enrique. Some scars cannot be seen and for her they're still fresh and festering. She feels she can't go to her brothers who still haven't accepted she is a different and slightly broken person from the little sister they've previously known. She seeks out the help of Judd in figuring out what is happening to her. Their is something about him that makes her feel safe. Perhaps it's because he didn't know the old Brenna or perhaps it has something to do with his role in her recovery. Whatever it is she is drawn to Judd.

Kaleb Krychek was the candidate the Council favored most to replace Enrique in Visions of Heat. We'll get to learn more about him as he takes his newly found place on the Council. He's ambitious, and it's obvious he has a plan, but at present we can only speculate what that might be. Perhaps that is why right now I find him the most interesting of the Psy Council members. He truly intrigues me.

Overall, I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. I liked the mystery of who the killer was and learning the full extent of Judd's power. He is truly a man most would never wish to face in a fight. His gift is a double edged blade because it's both a gift and curse, it all depends on how his powers are used. Additionally, I loved how Brenna manages to finally crack through the ice Judd so carefully enclosed himself in. We're  given a great view into the heart of the man who has so carefully hidden it away. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a  SHOWER rating--a cold shower is necessary (need I say more?). Some books should come with a warning - make sure your significant other is handy or your shower is in working order. lol

Order of Series:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sneak Peek at Forbidden (World of the Nightwalkers) by Jacquelyn Frank

Coming October 30th

Book Synopsis:
From New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Frank comes this first book in The World of the Nightwalkers—an exciting and sensual new spin-off series in which the Bodywalkers, an ancient race of the night, battles the evil forces who prey on them.

The unexpected happens in an instant. On her way to work, secretary Docia Waverley hurtles into a crashing crossroads, and she quickly begins to suspect that things will never be the same. Then, when a tall, blond, muscular stranger intervenes on her behalf, telling her it is his duty to protect her at all cost, what is just a feeling turns to proof positive. That is, as long as Docia’s savior doesn’t turn out to be a crazed kidnapper.

When Ram finds Docia, he has no doubt that she is his queen. But as this golden warrior sweeps in to protect her, he feels something more than body heat every time they touch. He is overwhelmed by a searing connection that goes deep into the twin souls inside him. A desire rises in him that is forbidden—this woman is his queen, the mate of his king, his leader, his best friend. And yet Docia is so vulnerable and attractive that she awakens a hunger in Ram that is undeniable, a carnal craving he cannot yield to . . . not without risking the very survival of the Bodywalkers.Forbidden (World of the Nightwalkers) by Jacquelyn Frank

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1) by Kresley Cole

  • Title: Poison Princess (Arcana Chronicles, Book 1)
  • Classification: Young Adult
  • Genre: Paranormal/Dystopia
  • Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (October 2, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1442436646
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442436640
  • Author's Website:
  • Notes: Under age drinking. 
  • Sexual Content: Talk of cashing in one's V-card (virginity), kissing with a bit of heavy petting and talk of doing the deed, but nothing overly graphic.

"The Beginning is nigh..."

Legends, them what you like, are all usually based from some semblance of truth and hold significance even today. They hold lessons and warnings of what could happen again. Over the years and centuries, however, some of these stories have all but been forgotten, falling through the cracks of time. Such is the case with the Arcana and the true meaning of the Tarot cards. For the cards are more than just a means for telling a person's fortune. They hold the key to an ancient people known as the Arcana who will rise from the ashes of the earth only to once again engage in an ongoing battle so ancient that only a few living souls, the Tarasova (aka the chroniclers of the Tarot), have been able to pass on the information on from one generation to the next. A battle, or game if you will, that all began with the Gods.

Evangeline Greene, Evie to her friends, had been one of the most popular girls in her high school. She was a cheerleader, dating Brandon, a football player who possessed a movie star like grin which left many a girl swooning in its wake. She was friends with pretty much everyone and considered the school her queendom. But during her Sophomore year everything changed. She started having hallucinations. Nightmare like dreams during the day while being wide awake. Brutally disturbing hallucinations of death, destruction, and the end of the world. Dreams which depicted people with unbelievable powers causing gruesome and disturbing death and destruction in their wake. Her mistake had been in confiding what she was experiencing to her mother, and when her mother found her notebook where she had meticulously documented all she saw, it had been the key to her incarceration to the funny farm, aka the Children's Learning Center, a behavioral clinic for kids. When the events from her hallucinations and notebook start to actually take place, however, Evie will need to come to terms with the fact that she might not be just a normal average teenager. She'll set out to find her grandmother who prophesied the events and was locked away years ago, when she attempted to kidnap Evie, so she could "prepare" her for her destiny. A destiny Evie has no clue about.

This was such a fun and unique book. It did get a little gory at times with some of the descriptions, but I enjoyed the mystery of what was going on, and who or what Evie truly was. The contrast between Evie and who she ends up being is very interesting, and I look forward to finding out more in future books. 

Evie is a very interesting character. In some ways, Evie feels guilty for not warning her friends about the events she had foreseen in her visions. She had feared she'd loose their friendship if she confided in them and couldn't imagine they'd believe her crazy visions. After all, she had a hard time believing them herself. She's thrust into a seemingly impossible situation. The Flash, as they refer to the event that was triggered by solar flares, destroyed all the vegetation on the planet, evaporated all the water outside, and killed the majority of the population. Only those who took shelter survived unscathed. An additional side affect of the Flash were new zombie-like creatures which Evie refers to as Bagmen. If they don't kill you, a wound can turn you into one of them. 

After months of living alone with her mother, and only a minimal amount of interaction with their few surviving neighbors, Jackson Deveaux, a former classmate from the wrong side of the tracks, rides into town and literally saves her from a horrifying fate. The question is: can and should she trust him with her secrets or her life? According to the boy who haunts her visions, when Jackson helps, he hurts. Will she be able to accept her fate and will the boy she'll come to rely on be able to as well, or is a relationship between the two doomed before it has a chance to truly begin? Will they have to part ways? 

Jackson is a very complicated character. He seems extremely accepting of so many things, but I keep thinking there is more to him than meets the eye. He seems to be the type of guy where actions speak louder than words, which throws Evie a little bit. When we first meet him, I wasn't sure I liked him; he seemed a bit stalkerish in his fascination with Evie. As we get a little bit more of his background and get to know him a little better, however, I started getting a better picture of who he was and began to like him. He's very protective of those he cares about, but is a little rough around the edges and has no sense of tact at times. Evie is different from the girls he's dealt with, and he has no idea how to handle her.

The use of the Tarot cards in the series was very ingenious thing to do. I've always thought Tarot cards were quite beautiful with their intricate designs. Creating a story around them was a very clever idea. While we're starting to skim the icing on the cake with this book, I can't help but feel the real layers of the story have yet to be uncovered. 

Overall, I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. The ending of this one is a cliffhanger, but not the type that makes you want to throw the book and shout a few choice words at the author. It does, however, make you want to know what happens next. A perfect read for this time of year.

Notes to keep you in the know:
There are 22 cards included in the Major Arcana of a Tarot deck. Each is associated with a particular number, so when Matthew refers to himself as "Matthew Mat Zero Matto", we now know why--the fool's card is often considered the zero card. Each picture is surrounded by symbolism. As there are many different decks associated with the Tarot, I can't be certain the following would have all the appropriate symbolism which is used by The Arcana Chronicles series, but I felt it was a good representation/illustration of the Major Arcana cards of the deck. It should be noted there are also Minor Arcana cards as well which we'll have to wait and see if Ms. Cole will incorporate into her series.
(the above picture found on photobucket)

None (0 or 22) The Fool
1 The Magician
2 The High Priestess
3 The Empress
4 The Emperor
5 The Hierophant
6 The Lovers
7 The Chariot
8 Justice
9 The Hermit
10 Wheel of Fortune
11 Strength
12 The Hanged Man
13 Death
14 Temperance
15 The Devil
16 The Tower
17 The Star
18 The Moon
19 The Sun
20 Judgement
21 The World

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Great Escape (Wynette, Texas, #7) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

  • Title: The Great Escape: A Novel
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (July 10, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0062106066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062106063
Author's Website:

There are certain events in a person's life which bring a certain clarity that couldn't be seen prior. When you realize you are at a crossroads and need to decide whether to make the initially, easier, but incorrect choice or the right, yet more difficult choice. It's times like this when only your best friend, the person who's got your back will tell it to you straight and nudge you toward the right decision and today, the day Lucy was to marry Ted Beaudine, was one such day:

"He's wonderful, Luce. Everything you said. And you absolutely can't marry him."
"I know," Lucy hears herself whisper in return. "But I' going to anyway. It's too late now to back out."
Meg had given her a fierce shake. "It's not too late. I'll help you. I'll do whatever I can."

And so after a briefly telling her would be groom, "I can't," she found herself literally running away from her perfect fiance, her dream wedding, her friends and family. Basically from her life. That's when she met him. He was everything Ted wasn't... 

'He had too-long black hair that curled past his collar, cold blue eyes set above high cheekbones, and sadistic lips.'...'His nose was blunt, square at the tip. A wrinkled necktie poked out of the pocket of his ill-fitting suit coat. And that long, wild hair, all curls and tangles, looked like a finger paint of a van Gogh night sky made from a sloppy pot of black ink.' And when he asked, "Wanna go for a ride?" She  climbed on the back of his motorcycle and left her oh so perfect, yet imperfect life behind. 

This is the seventh book in the Wynette, Texas series. Lucy was first introduced in First Lady as a child. While you don't have to read the whole series before reading this book, I do recommend reading Call Me Irresistible first. Everything gets set in motion for this novel in Call Me Irresistible and you'd probably feel like you'd missed something if you didn't read it first.

This was a very fun read. I think all of us at one time or another have wanted to runaway from our lives and just figure things out. I think Lucy had the worst timing ever when she finally got up the courage to do what she should have done probably months before, but sometimes timing is everything and we don't see right away what we so clearly see at a later date. I think what I like best about Lucy is she doesn't make the decision as lightly as it might first appear. I think since she was adopted into such a high profile family (her mom is a former President of the US), that she felt the need to be perfect even if what she wanted and what would be deemed the 'perfect' choice conflicted. Her best friend, Meg, realizes that Lucy would never be happy married to someone so seemingly perfect. She'd never feel at ease, and she'd always feel the need to be perfect. Meg sees clearly what others do not.

Panda (I wish we would have had this name explained), was a complicated character. He's a protector by nature who at one time failed his little brother when he was killed. The loss compounded with some of his other life experiences have scarred him and made him feel a long term relationship is not in his future. While a relationship might be what he craves, he feels it's not something he'd ever be able to commit to. He has his reasons which will slowly be revealed. He grew up in foster care, ended up in jail, but later turned his life around. He is far from perfect, but deep down he's got a beautiful soul.

While at first a relationship between these two seemed ill fated, we slowly get to know each of them  and that's when everything clicks into place and makes sense. I loved the battle of wills between the two, and the way Panda realizes early on that Lucy has a way of seeing past the facade he puts on and perhaps sees a little more than he'd like. Lucy sees that underneath, the rough and tough exterior he attempts to portray, and sees an intelligent and down right decent guy. I think it's partly the challenge of figuring out who Panda truly is and piecing together the contrasting glimpses she gets of him during their initial time together that makes Lucy seek him out after he leaves her at the airport figuring she'd fly back home. It's kind of like the resident pass she finds and later uses the information from to find Panda which says, "Your Pure Michigan Adventure Begins Here." I felt that when she gets to Michigan the book shifts from Lucy feeling a little lost and unsure how to proceed to slowly coming back into herself and beginning to figure out who she truly is and what she wants. In other words, that's when Lucy's story really begins.

Overall, I liked the book and found it rather charming. I gave it 3 1/2 out of 4 roses. I liked seeing both Panda and Lucy come out of their shells. I liked how while the attraction was instantaneous, it took a while for a relationship to grow between the two and how Panda realized if he truly wanted a relationship he had to analyze himself and get some assistance in dealing with his past. Perhaps not as lighthearted a read as some of  Ms. Phillips' other books, but I liked it just the same. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale this one scored a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Order of series:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sneak Peek at The Recruit (Highland Guard, #6) by Monica McCarty

Book Synopsis:

Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce is retaking his kingdom from the invading English. To win, he’ll need all the grit and courage of his elite band of warriors, the Highland Guard, men who fight without fear and love without limits.

Fiery, aggressive, and bold, Kenneth Sutherland is a true champion—skilled with any weapon and driven to win. Now Kenneth is ready for his greatest challenge: joining Robert the Bruce’s secret army to fight among the elite. Kenneth’s best chance to attain that honor is by winning the Highland Games. Focused and prepared for victory, he is caught off guard by a lovely wisp of a woman—and a stolen moment of wicked seduction. Her innocent arousal and her shameless hunger fire his blood. He will win his place in the guard—and in Mary of Mar’s bed.

The ruggedly handsome hero-in-the-making stirs a heart that should know better. Mary vows that her surrender will be sport only—no promises, no heartbreak, just one night of incredible passion. Nothing, she swears, will persuade her to give up her hard-wrought independence and put her fate in the hands of another powerful man. But with every gentle touch and heart-pounding kiss, Kenneth makes her want more. Now Mary wants his heart. But is this determined champion willing to surrender everything for love?

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