Review: Anytime Darlin' by Julia Rachel Barrett

Friday, September 24, 2010

Paramedic Jake McKenna drops to his knees beside the young woman. Beaten, starved, she's barely breathing, burning with fever. He stabilizes her, but when she opens her green eyes and stares, panic-stricken, into his, he realizes this is only the beginning of their relationship.

Devlin Barre has been through hell. If her uncle finds her, she's dead. When she looks into the warm brown eyes of the paramedic, she knows deep in her bones she can trust this man with her life. Devlin and Jake grow close, but, fearful of commitment, Devlin runs off to rebuild her life, leaving Jake heartbroken.

Five years later, Jake and Devlin meet again. Neither has forgotten a single detail of their time together. Both harbor the secret hope that they can begin again--this time, for keeps. But Devlin isn't the only person who ran off. Her uncle still waits for the right opportunity to get the one person who got away.

Note: This book contains rape of the heroine.

After reading the blurb for this book I had to swallow real hard. I wasn't sure if I would be up for this. I'm not  at all fond of rape in books. I hate when authors use this as a way to make their heroine more vulnerable. It is, at least for me, not a topic that should be talked about lightly. It's something that will influence you and your life severely and it's nothing you can just forget or ignore easily. That being said I have to say it's the first book I ever read about that topic that didn't made me hate it. Julia handled this topic with so much care and thoughtfulness, it was bearable for me to read about it. Yes, It broke my heart and made me cry but I found it was handled in away that me believe it's real- with all the pain, hurt and humilation it involves. I don't think this topic should be banned from books and  Anytime Darlin' showed me that there are books out there who do it right.

Jake is a wonderful character. He's working as a paramedic but he's a cowboy at heart. He always helped out on his father's ranch and he wants to have one for himself in the future too. He loves his family and always has an open ear for them when they need him. He's caring, funny and has a dirty side, too. For me he is a dream come true. I love when a man is more than just sex-o- stick. Of course I know to appreciate a sex-on-stick man, no worries I'm still a red-blooded woman, but I think you need some one you can trust completely, someone you just want to tell everything no matter what. Jake is one of those men. He eriadtes calmness and reassurance- he's a place of peace for Dev.

Devlin's life is shattered and lays in pieces in front of her. When the paramedics find her in the Kmart she nearly gave up life. Until she saw Jake. She doesn't know why but she feels  safe with him- like nothing can touch her. He gives her the hope and safety she needs to give her the strength to survive. I loved  reading about her journey even though it was a cruel and sad one. I admired her strength and how she tried to stand on her own feet. She's a survivor and I'm sure she will give hope to other woman in this situation.

When these two meet again after 5 years without one single word the air between them sizzles.  They can't keep their hands off each other and wow they really know how to use their creativity. It gave  the whole book a lighter touch and finally satisfied my need to see these two being happy.
 I enjoyed the way Julia also included the lives of the side-characters in her story. They all were unique in their own way and they just fit in. I loved the group dynamic this created and I caught myself wanting to be part of such a close knitted group of friends.

At the end of the book I could have lived without one scene but I'm never a fan of seeing something through the bad guy's eyes. It's always so weird and I don't really like to read the twisted thoughts of a maniac. Yes I am a scaredy cat when it comes to books.

As you perhaps noticed I really did like this book. It was a wonderful emotional read- a rollercoaster ride that will take you from heartbreakingly sad to nearly high of joy. Anytime Darlin' made me feel and that's one of the things I love most about books. Julia's writing drew me in completely and I couldn't put this book down. I have already spent hours discussing this book and it still hasn't let go of me. Definitely a keeper on the top of my shelf.
To learn more about Julia and her books please visit her website here.

Read other reviews @goodreads, buy the book @BookStrand


Review: The Road to Shanhasson by Joely Sue Burkhart

Monday, September 20, 2010

The long awaited sequel to Joely Sue Burkhart's first Shanhasson novel, The Rose of Shanhasson, is finally here. The Road to Shanhasson is the second in the "Blood and Shadows" series, and continues the breathtaking story of Shannari, rightful queen of the Green Lands.

Shannari is about to be made the Khul’lanna of the Plains, wife to the Khul, leader of the 9 camps of the Sha’Kae al’Dan people. Unusual in the land of her birth for her skills as a warrior and prized as the rightful ruler of the Green Lands before being stolen away by Rhaekar, the Khul of the Sha'Kae al'Dan, Shannari is as foreign to these people as they are to her.

Shannari has admitted her love for Rhaekar, and, reluctantly, that she also loves Gregar, the Shadowed man who, along with the other eight Blood guards, protects Rhaekar from danger. Rhaekar, far from being angered by her love for another man, is man enough to give her what she wants, and determines that Gregar shall be her co-mate.

Some of her new people welcome Shannari, but others are angry that a hated Outlander is to become their new queen. Controversy and danger swirls around Shannari and the men she loves, threatening to tear apart the camps. Shannari works with Rhaekar, Gregar, and some new allies to bring peace to the camps, but she forgets that Theo, the current ruler of the Green Lands, will stop at nothing to debase and destroy her, and his bloody pact with Lygon, the god of Shadow, will bring Shannari to her knees.

I already read this book twice and it really deserves a full length review. I don't know why but it seems I can't bring my thoughts onto the screen after the first read of Joely's books or perhaps it's just an excuse to read them again. I won't tell. The first thing I have to say is that I completely adore this cover. It's gorgeous and it really reflects the book. It always distracts me and I can't wait to get a print copy in my hand. Joely already knows that because I'm stalking her with my inquiries about the print release.

The Road to Shanhasson is book 2 In the Blood and Shadows trilogy and it brings us back to the world of the Sha’Kae al’Dan. I still love this world Shannari, Rhaekar and Gregar live in. I'm still in awe how different it is and I sometimes catch myself thinking of someone as my na'lanna. Joely put so much love in creating this world, you can feel it with every chapter you read. This world just grabbed my heart and I can't seem to let it go. Yes this world is brutal and full of violence but you also find total love and utter adoration and trust in it. It's balanced and it never makes you feel overwhelmed with one or the other.

Shannari is getting stronger in this book. She still is not 100 percent sure she fits into the lifestyle of the Sha’Kae al’Dan but she starts to feel more at home. I loved to see her still blush when someone made a naughty comment but she learns fast and we now finally see her teasing back. Rhaekar is still the mighty warrior and powerful Khul of the Nine Camps. He's strong, stubborn but also totally smitten. He just can't deny Shannari anything not even the things she herself can't admit to want. He still pushes her and tramples one of her boundaries after the next. He wants her to accept what she is and that it's not wrong to love and to enjoy life.

And then we have Gregar. *insert dreamy sigh* I still adore him. I would have never thought that such a wicked character could conquer my heart but he did from the start. In The Road to Shanhasson we learn more about him and his thoughts. I loved to see him worry and even more to see his adoration for Shannari. He really treats her like the most precious egg in the world (outside of the blankets *wink*). I think his appeal is a combination of both- to see his softer and his wicked side.

Many things happen in this novel and I'm not at all happy about all of them. *pouts* I can't tell you why but this book made me cry. I know it was bound to happen but still it broke my heart. We live through many ups and downs with Shannari and meet some interesting new characters who make room for many naughty possibilities. The plot is engaging from the start, never let me release my breath and left me wanting more at the end. Joely has a talent for making the story flow just exactly right. It's hard to explain but everything just fits together and makes this book a round thing.

The Road to Shanhasson is a wonderful Fantasy Romance which does everything right. I loved the story, the characters and the wonderful narration. This book broke my heart and put the pieces back together and left me with a warm feeling deep inside. I can't say often enough how wonderful Joely's books are and again I'm sitting here craving more. Highly recommended to all romance readers.

The Road to Shanhasson is a wonderful and unique Fantasy Romance with wicked warriors, a heartbreaking lovestory and an engaging plot.
To learn more about Joely and her books please visit her website here. You can also find a free prequel about Gregar here(The Shadowed Blood) and another one called The Horsemaster plays in that world too.

The Shanhasson Trilogy:

1. The Rose of Shanhasson: my review, reviews @goodreads, buy print copy @amazon, buy ebook @Drollerie Press 
2. The Road to Shanhasson: reviews @goodreads, buy @Drollerie Press

3. Return to Shanhasson (October 2010)


Review: Size Matters by Stephanie Julian

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Carrie Benton’s got the best job in the world working as a reporter for the Weekly News Journal. Chupacabra picnicking at the Jersey Shore? Check. Aliens in the White House? Absolutely. Bigfoot stalking the forests of northern Pennsylvania? Well, okay…but Bigfoot is so Left Coast.

Tim Sattizahn can’t believe his luck. The six-foot redhead who crashed into his forest during a snowstorm is gorgeous, funny and hot for him. Everything would be perfect except for the fact that she’s looking for Bigfoot.

And, unfortunately for Tim, she found him…

Wow...this book was something special. It took me completely by surprise. I knew I would like it like I did every other book written by Ms Julian but I wasn't prepared for this. You ask why? I finished a book yesterday at 12:30 AM and was a bit giddy and couldn't sleep. So I thought read a bit of this book before sleep and yes I did find sleep after I finished it. I couldn't stop. My eyes dropped close once or twice but I had to finish it.

I won't tell you anything about the story itself. It's a novella and I always feel like giving away too much if I tell anything. Carrie is an intelligent and independent woman. She works as a reporter for a magazine with lets say not much credibility. They bring news about things like alien abductions and Big Foot news. She doesn't see herself so much as a reporter in the common says but more as an actual writer. With her stories she gives the reader a way to escape the real world and just be entertained for a short while. She loves her job and no, she doesn't believe in all the crazy stuff she writes about. She has a temper and I loved every second of it. She is funny, witty and also very comfortable with herself. She likes herself and I think that's one of the reason I liked her ASAP too. 

We have on the other hand Tim. He's the mysterious guy living in the middle of nowhere. He has his own company and usually stays alone. He has some issues with himself (I can't tell you more about that though) and thinks he's too big and some other things. I have to say I highly disagree. OMG I love the big guys and yes I know that sounds dirty. But I mean that for real. With myself being really tall it's always good to see a guy being bigger. And seriously, who wants to have such a slim guy? Not me, only makes me feel fat. LOL So yes I really liked Tim and his being so gentlemanly all the time without being shy. He knows how to grab his chances even though he has some reservations. He is one lovely man. *dreams*

The sex in Size Matters is scorching. I rediscover every time I read one of Ms Julian's books that I completely adore how much compassion and eroticism she brings into her scenes. It's not only the sex, it's the way she sets the stage and makes everything work out- just fascinating and totally sexy. 

I can only say Size Matters is a fabulous read. Nice story, wonderful characters and sizzling hot romance. I couldn't put it down even though sleep called to me and I tell you sleep, in the original sense, wasn't what I wanted at all. ;)  

You can read more about Stephanie and her books at her website.

Read other Reviews @goodreads

Size Matters will be available at Ellora's Cave on September 8th. That's today!!!! Wooot!

And be sure to come back tomorrow. Stephanie will be here with a guestpost to celebrate her new release.


Review: Red Demon by Deidre Knight

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

After assuming the power of life and death for the immortal Spartan brotherhood, Aristos Petrakos still hasn’t mastered his unpredictable, newfound abilities. And now a medium brings him a message from the other side—a romantic message Ari doesn’t want to hear…

A century ago, the love of Ari’s immortal life, Julianna Tiades, drowned herself in the Savannah River—after she learned about Ari’s shapeshifting abilities. Desperate to reveal the truth about her death, Julianna makes a bargain with a Djinn demon, who offers to give her physical form. But as Julianna and Ari are reunited in passion, the debt must be paid—in souls and spirits…

Since reading the first 2 books in the Midnight Gods series last summer I knew that this series was an absolute keeper. The wait felt like an eternity and when the time was finally there I realized with a shock that I couldn't afford the book. HORROR! Luckily the wonderful pattepoilue took pity with me and my months-long-book-abstinence and surprised me with this one. Thanks so much hon. You are made of awesome.

So I couldn't wait to start this book and from the first few pages I knew that I would love this book, too. Red Demon is all about Aristos and Juliana. At the end of Red Fire was this scene where we met Juliana for the first time and yes I craved to know what was behind that for 1 year.

We already know Aristos as a part of our Spartan brotherhood and he always was one of my favorites. He's funny, he cares and he is like the glue that keeps the brothers together.  In Red Demon he is a bit changed. At the end of Red Fire his life was changed dramatically, not only because he saw his long dead love again. His new powers, or perhaps burden is better, make his life a bit more complicated. And who wouldn't be freaking out when you see the love of your life again after her being dead for 100 years? He struggles with his emotions. He is afraid to believe that she is real and to fall in love again, just to be left alone- mourning again. My heart broke for him. He loves her still, he never really stopped. His heart was and will always be hers. *sigh* Oh my, 100 years and no other woman. It is totally unrealistic but I love it. There is also the guilt of her death. Ari believes that he caused her death indirectly with showing her his shifter side. No matter what she say he is 100% sure that was scared of him and his unnatural form and committed suicide because she just couldn't cope with it. Ari always was a man of jokes and pun and it was a bit strange to see him like this at first but I discovered real fast why that is so.

Julianna is a strong and open-minded person. At first she is a bit confused but as a ghost I wouldn't expect her to realize and understand everything that happens around her. She has deep feelings for Ari, so deep that they prevent her from going on after dying. She HAD to see him again, no matter what, so she never in all those years let go of her old life. When she's back under the living she feels a bit lost. The whole world has changed so much but even more she is afraid of Ari turning her down. What will she do then? In a world she doesn't understand with no one to turn to for help? I really liked her and her way of handling Ari. Sure she has some old-fashioned ideas about modesty but she knows what she wants and she always was a "feminist" at heart. She quickly adapts to the new way of life even more with the help of her female descendants.

The romance in this book is scorching. Ms Knight sure knows how to melt my heart. Two lovers rediscovering each other after a very long time without each other. They took their time but when they finally are at that point the air around you will begin to sizzle. The only thing I say is sky smex. *dreams*

Another point which makes this series wonderful is that Ms Knight knits her future story-lines into her novels. I already crave Leo's & Daphne's and (hopefully) Mason's & Nikos' book. Leo and Daphne have a heartbreaking foundation for there love and as I see the development these two take, I'm sure I have to prepare myself for tears while reading the next book. Mason and Nikos, these to nearly make me speechless because of all the emotion I feel while thinking of them. I want, no I need them to get an HEA and preferable in a book. *wink* Actually I love all her side characters. I squeeeed every time I read a chapter about one of the future couples. I'm already so addicted.

Red Demon is a wonderful new addition to this series: great story, action, love, passion and friendship. It will make you laugh and make you cry but you will feel very good after you read the last word. As always Ms Knight touched my heart with her prose and especially the love she puts into her writing. Wonderful book and highly recommended to all PNR lovers.
To learn more about Deidre Knight visit her website here.

To learn more about these wonderful Spartans take a look at their website here.

The Gods of Midnight Series:
1. Red Fire: Reviews @Goodreads; buy @amazon
2. Red Kiss: Reviews @Goodreads; buy @amazon
3. Red Demon Reviews @Goodreadsbuy @amazon
4. Red Mortal (February 2011)



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