Friday, February 24, 2012

REVIEW: Awakening by Scarlett Valentine

Title: Awakening
Author: Scarlett Valentine
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Publication Date: October, 2011
Genre: Erotica
Rating: 7/10

Description: Ysbail of Ellesmere is a pawn in her guardian's war. For decades there has been unrest between the marcher lords and Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd, King of Gwynedd. The most recent war had been the bloodiest she could remember in her eighteen years. Madog ap Maredudd, Prince of Powys, and his allies lost untold numbers of men at the hands of Owain's soldiers. When a settlement of truce is presented to Madog, it's at Ysbail's expense. She is to marry Bedwyr ap Owain, one of King Owain’s bastard sons, and his most notorious henchman. If all the rumors and stories she's heard are true, she knows her marriage will be rife with horror and fear.

Since proving himself worthy with his sword, Bedwyr fights at his king's side. He's shed oceans of blood and sent untold numbers of men to their graves. He's become what his name foretold—the grave-knower. He's afraid of nothing, least of all death. All men fear him, including those who fight at his side, and sometimes even his own king. Terror of him lives within women's hearts; only the bravest of whores accept him into their beds. And children weave their own tales of the monster they hear him to be, embellishing the details to their own gruesome degrees.

When King Owain informs Bedwyr that he's to marry Ysbail of Ellesmere as part of a peace settlement with Madog, Bedwyr is furious. A man such as Bedwyr can only survive on the battlefield. For without love, hatred will send a man like him to the edge of insanity. Then push him over. But when Bedwyr sees Ysbail for the first time, blood-thirst turns to blood-lust, and he vows to show her that she should have no fear of him.

My Thoughts: I’ve never really been a fan of the erotica genre, but historical romance was my first favorite genre. Even if you aren’t a fan of erotica romance or have never read the genre before, Awakening by Scarlett Valentine is a good place to start. In 12th century Wales, women are viewed as nothing more than property and vessels to birth heirs. If women even survive the childbirth process, they have no rights, no voice. Our heroine, Ysbail, knows this and knows she has no choice when she is given in marriage to Bedwyr, one of the King’s bastard sons, who has a reputation as a blood-thirsty warrior. Most people are afraid of him. I didn’t get the sense that Ysbail was afraid of him, however. My first impression of her was that she can be quite defiant and stubborn in her own right. She proves this when she has to deal with some trouble makers while Bedwyr is away. She possesses inner strength and determination that will serve her well in the surroundings she has been forced to live.

The rumors about Bedwyr are all absolutely true. From childhood, he has been groomed to fight and kill in a kill or be killed environment. He has learned to stifle emotions like mercy, compassion and love and live without them. There is no place for them on the battlefield. When he is told that he is to marry, obviously he isn’t happy but acquiring property as part of the arrangement sweetens the deal and he agrees. Bedwyr is no fool and he realizes how fortunate he is when he meets Ysbail for the first time and experiences a fiercely strong desire and sexual hunger for her.

The story begins after the wedding and the wedding night has commenced. A fortnight has passed and Bedwyr and Ysbail have arrived at their new home and Bedwyr wants to introduce his new bride to the sensual side of marriage. Ysbail is a quick learner, though at first, I thought she would resist. The bedroom scenes are very intimate and explicit without being overly graphic or obscene.

Awakening delivers a good story outside of the bedchamber as well as inside. Strong characters and coherent dialogue make the story flow so smoothly that I found myself surprised when it was over. If you are looking for something a little different than your usual reading choices, give Awakening a try.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

REVIEW: Fantasy In Death by J.D. Robb

Title: Fantasy in Death (In Death #30)
Author: J.D. Robb
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: February, 2010
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Rating: 10/10

Description: In the latest novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author J.D. Robb, it is game over for the criminals pursued by NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas.

Bart Minnock, founder of the computer-gaming giant U-Play, enters his private playroom, and eagerly can't wait to lose himself in an imaginary world, to play the role of a sword-wielding warrior king, in his company's latest top-secret project, Fantastical.

The next morning, he is found in the same locked room, in a pool of blood, his head separated from his body. It is the most puzzling case Eve Dallas has ever faced, and it is not a game. . . .

NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas is having as much trouble figuring out how Bart Minnock was murdered as who did the murdering. The victim's girlfriend seems sincerely grief-stricken, and his quirky-but-brilliant partners at U-Play appear equally shocked. No one seemed to have a problem with the enthusiastic, high-spirited millionaire. Of course, success can attract jealousy, and gaming, like any business, has its fierce rivalries and dirty tricks-as Eve's husband, Roarke, one of U- Play's competitors, knows well. But Minnock was not naive, and quite capable of fighting back in the real world as well as the virtual one.

Eve and her team are about to enter the next level of police work, in a world where fantasy is the ultimate seduction and the price of defeat is death. . . .

My Thoughts: Welcome back to the world of Eve Dallas where she operates at a level most of us can only dream about. With this installment, J.D. Robb takes virtual reality to a whole new level as Eve and her team have to solve a murder where trying to figure out how the victim was actually murdered when there appears to be no plausible explanation proves to be quite challenging. From the outside looking in, this case appears to be unsolvable. I enjoy how Eve Dallas’s mind works and this book is no exception as she analyzes every detail with a fine-tooth comb looking for the slightest hair out of place.

Sadly, there wasn’t enough sparring with Somerset in this book. I have come to enjoy their snark sessions as much as they do and wish there had been more.

One of my favorite things about this series is seeing how the characters have evolved. Early on, I wondered if Eve had a compassionate bone in her body. Oh, sure, she feels passion, anger, satisfaction, and even fear throughout the series, but this is a character that plays her hand very close to her chest. You have no idea what cards she is holding until it’s time to draw. Eve surprises me throughout the series with the range of emotions she displays and the control she exerts on herself to hold herself to her high standards. This book brings us another surprise when the reader is given another glimpse into Eve’s soul and how she has to remain detached from people in order to do her job. To someone who doesn’t know her very well, she may come across as cold and unfeeling. And sometimes to some who do know her well, they make the same assumption about her too.

With every book I wonder where J.D. Robb can take this series to next. There are no limitations. On planet or off, virtual or reality, this series takes the reader to unbelievable heights and depths and we are left to wonder, what next? One thing is for certain, with this series, no matter what happens next, it will be amazing and I am looking forward to my next Eve Dallas excursion.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

REVIEW: Seattle Girl by Lucy Kevin

Title: Seattle Girl (A young adult romance about love, sex...and my really big mouth)
Author: Lucy Kevin
Publisher: Lucy Kevin
Publication Date: January, 2011
Genre: Chick-Lit
Rating: 8/10

Description: The first time Georgia Fulton gets behind a microphone at her college radio station (because of a guy, of course...), she's hooked. (Who would have thought she'd ever find a potential job where a boss would appreciate her big mouth?) But being a smart-mouth doesn't necessarily keep her from getting hurt by one (smoking hot) jerk after another.

With help from her friends - and loyal listeners - will Georgia finally figure out the real deal about guys, sex, love...and maybe even herself?

My Thoughts: At first glance, Georgia Fulton is your typical college student. Nothing about her really stands out. One night at a frat party, she meets a guy named Bill after he spills his beer all over her. They begin talking and he invites her to join him on his talk radio show. Now Georgia feels like she has a purpose, a sense of direction for her life. However, this book isn’t about her struggle to succeed in the talk radio industry though the story centers around it. It is more about Georgia’s experiences with trying to find true love (like the rest of us) and the losers she encounters along the way.

I enjoyed observing Georgia’s attempts to find the one and there are many. What I enjoyed the most about this book is how she took her experiences and used them on her radio show, Seattle Girl. I also enjoyed Georgia’s direct snarky sarcasm and humor. Some of the disasters of relationships she experiences can cause most of us to give up and stay single, but Georgia doesn’t let it stop her.

My only problem with this book was the editing errors. Entire words were missing from sentences and though it didn’t ruin the story for me, it pulled me out of the story enough to try to decipher what word is missing. Next to reading an awful story, being interrupted from a story I am enjoying for a lame reason is highly annoying.

Overall, this story is quite good, filled with characters you can easily relate to and care for. I recommend this story if you are looking for something a little bit different, a romance that isn’t filled with face burning graphic sex scenes and a fairly strong character who knows what she wants and isn’t willing to settle until she finds it.


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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at Happy Reading! :o)