Saturday, November 30, 2013

Entwined (Darkest London, #3.5) by Kristen Callihan

    Title: Entwined (Darkest London)
    Series: Darkest London
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Historical Romance/Paranormal
    File Size: 1072 KB
    Print Length: 120 pages
    Publisher: Forever Yours (November 5, 2013)
    Sold by: Hachette Book Group
    Notes: Received an eARC loan from the publisher.

It all started with a simple request by his brother to answer a letter for him...

'Dear Sir,

It has come to my attention, by way of a most distressing yet undeniable order, that we are to be married. As I find arranged marriages to be goth archaic and tantamount to a glorified stud service...'

But what started off as a ploy for Eamon to persuade the chit to marry his brother, Aidan, had grown into something more. Eamon started falling for the beautiful young woman whom he had befriended while conversing through letters while pretending to be Aidan. A woman now, thanks to him, was happily engaged to marry his brother and there was nothing he could do about it.


This book is the second novella from the Darkest London series and, if I do say so myself, a nice introduction to the series if you haven't had one yet. It is definitely a standalonestory, but it also satisfies the curiosity of a person like myself who has read the previous books. In Entwined we learn where Isley acquired Alden's mechanical arm (mentioned in Winterblaze) as well as a little about Ms. Holly Evernight's family. Holly's the gadget and gizmo guru--think Alfred of Batman or Q from 007--in Winterblaze and Shadowdance. I can't help but wonder if the next book in the series after Shadowdance will focus more on Holly Everbright. If so, this is definitely a novella fans will want to read.

Eamon is a complex character. He's been shunned by his father and all but disowned. He and his brother are very close, but it is very clear who their father favors. Eamon's father believes he is marked by the devil because of his red hair. We, through his letters to Lady Luella, see a gentle, smart, and sweet man who challenges Luella with every letter. Something she finds very attractive and appealing.

I've read several books which have letters as part of its main dialogue, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. In Entwined, Ms. Callihan uses the technique to perfection endearing both characters to us as she reveals their personalities. I loved watching these two converse with each other and then seeing the one thing Eamon hadn't foreseen in the writing of them--that he would fall in love.

Overall I thought this was a great novella and gave it 5 out of 5 roses. It's a fun short story with a lot of twists and a touch of drama thrown in. I can't help but wonder if the novella was little inspired by the play Cyrano de Bergerac--where one friend gives another the words to say to a love interest. Luckily for Eamon, however, his brother wasn't in love or infatuated with Luella. 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.

Order of the series:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Forever Historical Hookup Prize Pack Giveaway & What's the funniest note you've ever gotten from your editor while writing a sex scene?

We asked Jennifer, Kristen and Kate:

'What’s the funniest note you’ve gotten from your editor while writing a sex scene?'

Here are their responses:

 Jennifer Haymore – Wait—they were just on the floor—how were they magically transported to the bed?

As a child, Jennifer Haymore traveled the South Pacific with her family on their homebuilt sailboat. The months spent on the sometimes quiet, sometimes raging seas sparked her love of adventure and grand romance. Since then, she's earned degrees in computer science and education and held various jobs ranging from bookselling to teaching inner-city children to acting, but she's never stopped writing. 

You can find Jennifer in Southern California trying to talk her husband into yet another trip to England, helping her three children with homework while brainstorming a new five-minute dinner menu, or crouched in a corner of the local bookstore writing her next novel.

Kristen Callihan – I do believe it was in edits for Moonglow. There is a scene in which my hero, Ian, erm…inserts a thumb in a certain area, and I wrote something like: and a gasp escaped her. My dear and lovely editor wrote in the margin, “unintentionally funny. Hahahahahaha.” It took me a moment to catch her meaning, but then I promptly went scarlet and laughed until my husband came to investigate.

There may have also been a typo involving “nibble” instead of, well, another body part. :D

Kristen Callihan is a child of the eighties, which means she's worn neon skirts, black lace gloves, and combat boots (although never all at once) and can quote John Hughes movies with the best of them. A lifelong daydreamer, she finally realized that the characters in her head needed a proper home and thus hit the keyboard. She believes that falling in love is one of the headiest experiences a person can have, so naturally she writes romance. Her love of superheroes, action movies, and history led her to write historical paranormals. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area and, when not writing, looks after two children, one husband, and a dog - the fish can fend for themselves.

Kate McKinley - I’m always trying to get away with a little extra naughtiness in my love scenes, to which my amazing editor, Lauren Plude, says, “Way to send the heat level through the stratosphere! Wowza!” She’s always adding fun and encouraging comments like that!

Kate McKinley writes Regency and Fantasy Romance. When she's not staring at her screen, dreaming up delicious heroes, she's a wife, mother and part-time assistant.

~ The Books ~

The Rogue's Proposal 
by Jennifer Haymore

Lord Lukas Hawkins, the rakish second son of the House of Trent, has never found a wager he couldn't win or a woman he couldn't seduce—until his search for his missing mother leads him to a mysterious encounter with a beautiful stranger.

Luke's mother has been missing for months, and while his honorable older brother Simon, Duke of Trent, leads the official investigation from London, Luke sets out on a somewhat seedier path. Sources have told him his mother was last seen with a scoundrel named Roger Morton, but their association isn't clear. Was she kidnapped or did she go willingly?

While searching for Morton, Luke meets Emma Anderson, a secretive beauty with her own reasons for hunting Morton. At first Luke laughs at the idea of allowing a woman to join him in his search, but soon Emma's insights into Morton—like the woman herself—prove impossible to resist.

by Kristen Callihan

Once a heart is lost in shadow...

Life has been anything but kind to Mary Chase. But the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals has given her purpose. Now she's been tasked with catching a vicious murderer dubbed the Bishop of Charing Cross. But someone is already on the case—and the last thing he relishes is a partner.

Only someone who lives in darkness can find it.

Jack Talent has been alone with his demons for many years. He never expected to have the willful Mary Chase assist him on the Bishop case. Their age-old rivalry reaches new heights—even as their desire for one another reaches a fever pitch. Though he aches to bring her close, Jack's dark secrets are a chasm between them. With dangerous enemies closing in, Jack must find the strength to face the past...or risk losing Mary forever.

by Kristen Callihan

Eamon Evernight has always lived in his older brother's shadow. While his brother is fair of hair and lithe in body, Eamon sparks fear with his fiery locks and massive frame-and rumors of a mysterious power. But when his brother has the good fortune to be betrothed to a beautiful stranger, it's Eamon's help-and quick wit and romantic heart--that he needs. Eamon agrees to write the noble lady...a generous offer that will forever leave him a changed man.

Lady Luella Jane Moran has no interest in an arranged marriage and tries valiantly to dissuade her betrothed from afar. Though her own letters plainly state her case, the words her husband-to-be writes her leave her aching for his touch. Will Lu give in to the desire the missives have kindled within her? Or will desire turn cold when she discovers their true author?

A Duchess in the Dark  by Kate McKinley

When a well-bred young lady opens the wrong bedroom door at a Regency house party, she has no idea of the sensual delights that await her on the other side…
Miss Daphne Hayward is on the hunt for a safe, honorable husband and she has set her sights on the perfect target. He’s kind, titled, and miraculously single. She plans a full-scale seduction that will bring him to his knees, begging for her hand in marriage. But when she mistakenly climbs into another man’s bed, sparks ignite, threatening to send all her plans up in smoke.

Ashton Fitzgerald, Earl of Claymore, is surprised by the powerful desire that surges through him when he sees Daphne for the first time. So when he unveils her as his mysterious midnight visitor, he is determined to make her his…forever.

Twas the Night Before Mischief 
by Nina Rowan

'Twas the night before mischief and all through the house, a lady was plotting—it was time to break out!

When Penelope Darlington is persuaded to elope with a most unsuitable suitor, she wastes no time. With visions of passion and adventure dancing in her head, she steals away in the middle of the night, just before her father’s Christmas feast.

Fearing for his daughter’s reputation, Henry Darlington begs Darius Hall, the Earl of Rushton’s daring yet discreet son, to bring Penelope home. When Darius finally catches up to Penelope, he is shocked. She’s not the silly little girl he expected, but a beautiful woman with a sharp mind and an allure that cannot be ignored.

Now forced to kidnap Penelope in order to bring her home, Darius and his new charge spend the next several days—and nights—in very close quarters. Penelope wanted passion and adventure, but she never could have imagined the pleasures Darius can provide…

Once Upon a Highland Christmas
by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Warrior Grim Mackintosh understands why his friend Archibald MacNab has decreed there be no trace of Christmas in his castle. After a devastating attack destroyed everything-and everyone-in Archie's life, he prefers to stew in his own misery until the holiday passes. But Duncreag has seen enough tragedy. Grim decides to throw a grand Yuletide feast, one that the bards will sing about for years to come, one that will remind his laird how beloved he is. He can't do it alone, though. Grim needs an accomplice . . .

There's nothing Breena O'Doherty won't do for Archie, so she's thrilled to help Grim with his plan. Yet she has a Christmas wish all her own-to win Grim's heart-and this might be her only chance to make it come true. As Breena and Grim work together to bring the joy of the season to the cold, gloomy castle and to the heart of the cantankerous chieftain, an undeniable passion ignites between them. But when a shocking secret about Breena's past comes to light, threatening everything she holds dear, will it ruin Christmas in Duncreag forevermore?


One winner will receive a prize pack which will include one copy of each of the following:

The Rogue’s Proposal by Jennifer Haymore (print)
Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan (print)
Entwined by Kristen Callihan (e-book)
A Duchess in the Dark by Kate McKinley (e-book)
Twas the Night Before Mischief by Nina Rowan (e-book)
Once Upon a Highland Christmas by Sue-Ellen Welfonder (e-book)

Rules of Eligibility:
- Only residents of the US who are 18 years of age or older are eligible.
- Please leave your email address so I may get in contact with you to get your mailing address.
 **No P.O. Boxes, please**
- Become a follower of my blog, if you aren't already. (Required)
Winner will be randomly chosen. Only one prize pack per person and per address. Giveaway ends on November 1st, midnight Eastern time. Winner will be posted on my blog and notified by email. Winners will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected. Good Luck!
Prizes will be distributed by publisher.
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Early Review of Shadowdance (Darkest London #4) by Kristen Callihan

A year ago someone starting killing people in London, ripping out their hearts and severing their spinal cords and leaving their branded corpses on the plinth of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square where it faced Charing Cross. Witnesses of a questionable backgrounds claimed to have seen a person wearing a long black robe flee the area. For that reason the killer was dubbed by the newsboys as the Bishop of Charing Cross.

Jack Talent had been assigned to the case, but has had little success in finding the killer, and his spotless reputation is now being called into question. Two years ago he'd been captured by demons. He'd been rescued, but not before he'd been tortured, marked and humiliated. Mary Chase, under the guise of being his knew partner, has been assigned the task of finding out if Jack is somehow involved in the killings. Unbeknownst to the general public, who know nothing of the supernatural world, the victims of these violent crimes had, until recently, been an assortment of raptor and sanguis demons. Could Jack be out for revenge? If so, why are some of the more recent victims turning out to be shapeshifters?

To complicate matters more, Mary and Jack don't care the least bit for one another. They're practically always at each others throats. There is a fine line between love and hate and in this book, one of those lines is about to be crossed. That is, if they can survive.


This is the fourth book of the Darkest London Series. I would not recommend diving head first into this one if you haven't read any of the previous books. I feel a newbie to the series may feel a little lost in the wonderful world Ms. Callihan created. I'd recommend reading the second and third books, 'Moonglow' and 'Winterblaze' before reading Shadowdance', otherwise you'll miss some of the essential background to this story.

Jack is a shapeshifter who can change into multiple forms. He has feelings for Mary that he wishes he didn't. It's those feelings that allowed him to be captured by demons two years ago. Mary has no clue as to why Jack appears to hate her so much, and knows he wasn't happy that she played a major role in his rescue. Both Mary and Jack work for the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals (aka SOS) as regulators (agents) who try to keep the supernatural world a secret from the general public.

Mary is a Ghost in the Machine, aka GIM. GIMs are essentially people who have died and been brought back to life and now possess the ability to disengage from their bodies and walk around in their spiritual form. As you can imagine, this talent is very useful in spying on others, but leaves their bodies vulnerable until they repossess it.

In 'Shadowdance', we finally get the back story to Mary's and Jack's animosity toward one another. Additionally, we learn a lot about Jack and Mary that we weren't privy to in the previous books. Some of the reveals are quite something. I loved watching these two finally open up to one other and reveal their true feelings. 

What I love most about the Darkest London series is that Ms.Callihan packs a lot into each of her books. They are not lighthearted fluff reads, but rather have well thought out plots with emotionally engaging characters combined with a lot of action and a fast pace. The story has a Gothic setting with supernatural beings who sport superhero type powers and/or clockwork mechanism of the steampunk variety. It has the feel of Cassandra Claire's Infernal Devices series, but with the romance setting cranked up to high. Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. Another fine story by Ms. Callihan. 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.

      Order of the series:

Early Review of A Duchess in the Dark (By Invitation Only, #1) by Kate McKinley (eBook Novella)

Author's Website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher. Quotes will need to be checked against the final version. Any and all errors in said quotes should be assumed to be mine because they probably are.

Daphne Hayward had finally found the man of her dreams. He hadn't yet purposed, but she knew an offer for her hand wasn't far off.  To seal the deal and put an end to any objections, she decided to sneak into his room and take their relationship to a more intimate level. The only problem is after having her wicked way with the man she realized he wasn't the man in the bed she'd just ravished...

She slipped out the door and into the passageway, tiptoeing her way back to her bedroom. He was hers now. And no one, not even her brother-in-law, could possibly object to the marriage. Smiling to herself, she ran her fingers along the cool surface of the wall when someone rounded the corner from the opposite end of the passageway, candle held high.

Daphne stopped abruptly and looked up, into the face illuminated by the orange glow of the candle flame. "Edward"? 

"Daphne," he said, surprised.

Her heart stopped, then leapt into her throat. "My God," she gasped, "What have I done?" 


This was a fun and charming novella, and I adored it. Daphne made me laugh and the Duke's pursuit to discover the woman who'd warmed his bed made me giggle. This was a short short story that read like a full blown one. It kept a good pace, didn't feel rushed, and left me feeling satisfied and entertained.

Overall, this one  gets a 5 out of 5 roses. If you want to read something, but don't have a lot of time between cooking dinner and entertaining your friends this holiday season, you should read a novella like this one. It will satisfy your need to read and not have you staying up all night reading. If you have a tendency to be seduced by a book and hate to put it down once you pick it up, this book may be your solution--You can have your book and read it too. LOL 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.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Rogue's Proposal (House of Trent #2) by Jennifer Haymore

Title: The Rogue's Proposal (House of Trent)
Series: House of Trent (Book 2)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Forever (November 19, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1455523372
ISBN-13: 978-1455523375
Author's Website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher.

Emma Curtis and her family have lost everything or so she thinks. Her husband of only three months was murdered and her family fortune stolen. All the evidence points to one man--Roger Morton, a man her husband had dealings with. As her father is too ill to leave his bed and take matters into his own hands, Emma has taken it upon herself to find and wreak vengeance on the man who murdered her husband and restore her family's fortune. She's willing to do practically anything to get it even if it means sacrificing her reputation. With little funds for travel, food or lodgings, she approaches a man known for his rakish ways--Lord Lukas Hawkins.

Lord Lukas Hawkins is on a seemingly impossible mission--to find his mother. She was last known to be in the accompaniment of Roger Morton but hasn't been seen in close to three months. Suspecting foul play is involved, he's trying to track down Morgan to find out what happened. He just can't seem to find the blasted man. When Emma makes her case for teaming up and accompanying him on his chase, he's sees it as a means of killing two birds with one stone. Emma is a young and pretty widow, and he finds himself attracted to her. He accepts her proposal to help him in exchange for his allowing her to travel with him as they track Roger Morton down, but he has a stipulation of his own...

"I can offer you the heights of pleasure, Mrs. Emma Curtis. If, at some point during the term of our agreement, you were to beg...I promise, I'll not deny you."


Ms. Haymore has certainly turned up the heat in her latest series, House of Trent. This is her second book in the series and you won't feel lost by diving right into this one. I had no problem starting with book two, but I have to admit, I'm very curious as to whether or not the first book in the series is as steamy as this one. I'd thought her previous series, the Donovan Sisters, was sweet and charming, but those are not words I'd use to describe this book.

Emma Curtis is a strong, beautiful, smart and a somewhat headstrong young woman who had picked the wrong man to marry. She's vowed never to repeat her mistake by falling for another rogue, but the pull toward Lord Lucas is a dangerously seductive one. Her first husband had been handsome, and left her one too many a night alone even though they'd been married only a short while. She doesn't want to risk a repeat so she makes it perfectly clear a liaison between her and Lord Lucas is not on the table. What they have will be strictly a business transaction. Nothing more, nothing less.

Lord Lukas Hawkins is a rogue of the highest order whose sexual prowess is known among the ton. Said to be an insatiable and domineering man with wicked needs, he's tormented by a dark past. When Emma approaches him he immediately decides to seduce the young widow making sure she knows the rules. He's not looking for anything more permanent than a tumble in the hay, but he'll be a perfect gentleman unless she asks nicely. Nice, however, is not what he has in mind.

Overall, I'd give this one a 4 out of 5 roses. A fun story with a steamy romance. There is a twist that I saw coming, but enjoyed it none the less. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, I'm giving this one 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. Ms. Haymore delves into the land of bondage, but does so in a way that those squeemish of the practice won't feel overwhelmed. She gives the reader enough leeway to let their own imagination take hold allowing them to make the experience as wicked as they desire. I actually think this is a fine example of how to add bondage to a mainstream romance without crossing the line into erotica.  

Order of the series:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Givaway ~ No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean comes out on the 26th and we're celebrating!

Looking for your next favorite romance author? Check out RITA award winning author Sarah MacLean. Her latest book, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, comes out November 26th and we're celebrating. Enter below, and you could win the first two scandalous books, A Rogue by Any Other Name and One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, of Sarah's Rules of Scoundrels series.

About Sarah
Sarah MacLean is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of YA and adult romance. She grew up in Rhode Island, where she spent much of her free time bemoaning the fact that she was more than a century too late for her own Season. Her unabashed addiction to historical fiction helped to earn her a degree in European History from Smith College before she moved to New York City to pursue a career in publishing. After receiving a Masters in Education from Harvard University, Sarah returned to New York, where she lives with her husband, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels.

About the Rules of Scoundrels series:

A Rogue By Any Other Name
The Third Rule of Scoundrels

What a scoundrel wants, a scoundrel gets...

A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury.

A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to such unexplored pleasures.

Bourne may be a prince of London’s underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness—a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them... even her heart.

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
The Second Rule of Scoundrels

Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled, brilliant fourth daughter of the Marquess of Needham and Dolby cares more for books than balls, flora than fashion and science than the season. Nearly engaged to Lord Castleton, Pippa wants to explore the scandalous parts of London she's never seen before marriage. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of The Fallen Angel, London's most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross. 

Like any good scientist, Pippa's done her research and Cross's reputation makes him perfect for her scheme. She wants science without emotion—the experience of ruination without the repercussions of ruination. And who better to provide her with the experience than this legendary man? But when this odd, unexpected female propositions Cross, it's more than tempting . . . and it will take everything he has to resist following his instincts—and giving the lady precisely what she wants.

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished
The Third Rule of Scoundrels

A rogue ruined . . .

He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London’s corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he’s dreamed of . . . absolution.

A lady returned . . .

Mara planned never to return to the world from which she’d run, but when her brother falls deep into debt at Temple’s exclusive casino, she has no choice but to offer Temple a trade that ends in her returning to society and proving to the world what only she knows . . . that he is no killer.

A scandal revealed . . .

It’s a fine trade, until Temple realizes that the lady—and her past—are more than they seem. It will take every bit of his strength to resist the pull of this mysterious, maddening woman who seems willing to risk everything for honor . . . and to keep from putting himself on the line for love.

~ Giveaway ~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 18, 2013

Early Review of No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (The Rules of Scoundrels #3) by Sarah MacLean

Author's Website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan via Edelweiss from the publisher. All quotes will need to be check against the final version.

For the past twelve years the Duke of Lamont, known by the ton as the Killer Duke and throughout London's darkest corners as Temple, has fought his demons with his fists. Twelve years ago his life changed drastically when he awoke naked and alone in a bed covered with blood in the room of his father's fiance. There was no sign of the young woman who was to wed his father that very morning. His father upset, angered and embarrassed exiled him to the streets. Alone and penniless and not knowing if he'd actually committed the crime he was accused of, for he had little recollection past knowing he had been with the said lady, he had to learn to fend for himself and make a new life.

That new life included a partnership with three other men. They own a club called The Fallen Angel which has a long standing tradition that if a man loses everything at the gaming tables he still has one chance to regain the fortune he lost--He can challenge Temple to a fight in the ring. If he wins, his fortune will be returned to him. Temple, however, has never been bested in all the years the challenge has been extended. Now a woman he doesn't know wishes to regain the family fortune her brother lost. Temple doesn't fight woman, but this one isn't looking for a fight. She's looking to prevent one by acquiring the fortune her brother lost by another means--absolution. She holds the key to clearing Temple's name. For twelve years ago, on the eve of her wedding, Mara Lowe didn't die, she ran.

Vengeance is finally within Temple's grasp. He just has to reach out and take it.


This is the third book in the Rules of Scoundrels series by Ms. MacLean. If you haven't read the previous books, you won't feel lost, but you will probably be kicking yourself for not picking up the other books in the series and reading them when they came out. Ms. MacLean is one of my favorite historical writers and she infuses her stories with a wonderful blend of wit, humor and characters you can't help but bond with and fall a touch in love with. If you don't trust my judgement, then know I'm not the only who sees the brilliance in her writing. This past summer she won the RITA award for Best Historical Romance of 2012 for the first book in this series, A Rogue by Any Other Name. For those who might not know, this is an award bestowed by her peers--other romance writers.

One of the first things I thought to myself as I started getting into this story was how in the world were the two main characters of this book going to get over the event that happened 12 years ago? It seemed that Ms. MacLean had started off this book by painting herself into a corner for which there was no way out. As I tend to say, however, it's only the most brilliant and talented of writers who can, with a stroke or two of their pens, magically erase the seemingly permanent and impenetrable lines which corner their characters in, thereby, allowing the seemingly impossible to come true. That is what Ms. MacLean did with this story.

Mara Lowe is a strong, bold young woman who fights for what she believes in. 12 years ago, however, it was a very different story when at the tender age of 16, she found herself in an intolerable position and took the coward's way out by running. Her only true regret was the way she left things--with Temple, then William Harrow, Marquess of Chapin, being accused of her murder. Since then, she's reinvented herself as Margret McIntyre, the widowed proprietress of MacIntyre Home for Boys. It is her desperation to save that institution that coaxes her to come out of hiding and face the man she ruined all those years ago.

William Harrow, the Duke of Lamont, has been ridiculed, scoffed at, scorned, feared and talked about for years. Where once ambitious mother's of the ton practically threw their daughters at him, now they hid them from him lest they be his next victim. The only female companionship he could find were those he paid and even some of those wouldn't have him. Lonely and haunted by the past, he's not the carefree young man he once was who sported a quick smile. Now he longs for a wife, a child, a family, a legacy. Mara robbed him of that in just one night and he wants vengeance. The only problem is, the more he learns about the scheming young woman, the more he finds himself intrigued and attracted to her. Will vengeance truly get him what he wants?

Besides the two wonderful main characters, there is a cast of wonderful secondary characters who take it upon themselves to steer these two in the right direction. It was wonderful how they pointed out what might be obvious to others but not to them. While some may find what Mara did unforgivable, I felt this one line kind of sums things up rather nicely, "I know better than anyone that the roll is final once the ivories leave one's hand." Sometimes, once the dice are rolled, they can't be changed. You need to leave them where they lie. You can't undo them and you can only deal with the fallout.

Overall, I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. I loved how we slowly learn the what and the why of  the events that fateful night. I enjoyed the way Mara was sorry for what happened to William, but wouldn't apologize for what she'd done. It was nice seeing how each had changed and grown in a positive way despite the terrible hand life had dealt each. I love the message that vengeance doesn't always have the effect you wish and you should be careful when dishing it out. Plus, I loved the chemistry between Mara and William which was undeniable. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned itself a STEAM rating bordering on a SHOWER 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 the series:

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Finding It (Losing It, #3) by Cora Carmack

Series: Losing It
Classification: New Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback; 320 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 15, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0062273280
ISBN-13: 978-0062273284
Notes: Received an eARC from the publisher via Edelweiss.

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” ~ Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Kelsey Summers was on a one way trip to self destruction. After losing it, faking it, she was attempting to find it--happiness-- in all the wrong places. She's entered a dark place within her soul that she may never be able to crawl out of. That's when he walked into her life. A guy who seems to see what she tries to hide from everyone behind her ever present party girl smile. A guy who makes her see that what she is doing will never gain her what she's looking for. A guy who will show her how to face her demons and want more. A guy who will make her  realize "the best parts of life are the things we can't plan. And it's a lot harder to find happiness if you're only searching in one place. Sometimes, you just have to throw away the map. Admit that you don't know where you're going and stop pressuring yourself to figure it out. Besides...a map is a life someone else already lived. It's more fun to make your own."

Kelsey's about to discover that home isn't always a physical place, but where you're the happiest. For home truly is where the heart is.


This is the third book of the Losing It series. You can read this one as a standalone, but I'd recommend you read them all in order. I like the way Cormack focused on a group of friends their senior year of college and then tracked them as they make their way into the brave new world of adulthood. As Cormack states, "This funny thing happens when you graduate college. You hear so much about being an adult that you start to feel like you have to become a different person overnight, that growing up means being not you. And you concentrate so hard on living up to the term "adult" that you forget growing up happens by living, not by sheer force of will."

I read this book while my mom was residing in the ICU after heart surgery. She remained there till just this past week, over a month after her surgery. Cora Carmack's book offered me a nice escape from the worries and fear that I might lose my mom as her health seemed to be spiraling down hill. Perhaps that is why I could relate to Kelsey. There are situations in life that affect a person deeply and give one a sense that things are out of one's hands, and out of our control, leaving us to feel vulnerable and defenseless. Emotions, when bottled up for an extended length of time, have a tendency to make us act irrationally and lash out as we try to find a way to curb the pain and memories. If a person doesn't cry, scream or find some means and/or support to constructively deal with one's feelings, they have a tendency to do things that are reckless and self destructive. Kelsey is well on her way to doing something that could pull her down lower than she's ever gone before--to a place she may never be able to find her way back from.

Jackson Hunt knows where Kelsey is coming from, but he keeps his emotions and secrets close. He sees a little something of himself in Kelsey, and by helping her, he also helps himself. While the two may have different circumstances, he sees that self destructive nature for what it truly is--a cry for help--and it stirs something in him he thought was dead.

Overall, I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. I love the way Carmack eloquently makes her characters come to life and burst off the pages by blending her trademark brand of humor and drama with a good dose of reality. She creates characters that are imperfect/broken, thereby, perfecting their humanity and capturing the raw emotions on her paperback canvas. I adore the way she ties her descriptions with her character's emotions giving us insight into their mindset without having to blatantly spell it out. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this book gets 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 the series:

Friday, November 8, 2013

Cover Reveal for Never Been Kissed by Molly O'Keefe

About Never Been Kissed:

Perfect for readers of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson, Molly O’Keefe’s second novel in her exciting new series—The Boys of Bishop—features an irresistible romance and unforgettable characters in a page-turning story that delivers equal parts emotion and humor . . . with a little edge to boot.
As the daughter of a wealthy politician, Ashley Montgomery has had enough of her parents’ expectations for her future and is going her own way, volunteering to work at a refugee camp in Africa. But her act of charity turns dangerous when she takes a boat trip and is abducted by Somali pirates. Enter Brody Baxter, who was a bodyguard for the Montgomery family ten years ago and doesn’t think twice about coming to Ashley’s rescue. Handsome and tough, Brody has always done what needed to be done. So he swoops in, saves Ashley, and brings her to a place where she can rest and recuperate without the glare of the press and her demanding family: Brody’s small hometown of Bishop, Arkansas. But Ashley soon realizes that she’s not the only one in need of healing.

Holed up with Ashley in a tiny apartment over his brother’s bar in Bishop, Brody is tempted and torn in ways he never anticipated. Beautiful Ashley, vibrant despite her ordeal, fearless enough to love him beyond his wall of self-punishment, is now determined to save him. But with a little faith and a lot of love, they just may find happiness in each others’ arms.

Author Praise:

“Molly O’Keefe is a unique, not-to-be-missed voice in romantic fiction.”—New York Times bestselling author Susan Andersen

“Irresistible and satisfying . . . addictive and sexy romance at its best.”—New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery

About the Author:

Molly O'Keefe has always known she wanted to be a writer (except when she wanted to be a florist or a chef and the brief period of time when she considered being a cowgirl). And once she got her hands on some romances, she knew exactly what she wanted to write.

She published her first Harlequin romance at age 25 and hasn't looked back. She loves exploring every character's road towards happily ever after.

Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, she went to university in St. Louis where she met and fell in love with the editor of her school newspaper. They followed each other around the world for several years and finally got married and settled down in Toronto, Ontario. They welcomed their son into their family in 2006, and their daughter in 2008. When she's not at the park or cleaning up the toy room, Molly is working hard on her next novel, trying to exercise, stalking Tina Fey on the internet and dreaming of the day she can finish a cup of coffee without interruption.

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