Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Review for "How to Seduce a Scoundrel" by Vicky Dreiling

How do you seduce a scoundrel? If you are anything like me, you cannnot help but be drawn to the bad boy, the feverishly sexy guy you know you shouldn't want, but do anyways. Wouldn't you want to know HOW to seduce him, to make him yours, not just for now, but for always? Well, do you bat your eyes at him? Do you display your luscious bosom in a sexy but classy gown? Do you laugh at his witty remarks and play a little hard to get? Well, my fellow romance lovers, the answers are here for you in Vicky Dreiling's second novel,
"How to Seduce a Scoundrel".

Our heroine, Julianne Gatewick, needs to seduce a scoundrel, and not just any-old-scoundrel. We are talking about her brother's best friend, Marc Darcett, the Earl of Hawkfield (aka Hawk). How do you seduce a man that you've known since you were a little girl, a man who is reputed to be a complete rogue, a man whom you have loved since you were 9 years old? Julianne is determined to make Hawk hers, but how does she convince him that she is no longer his innocent little Julie-girl, but a beautiful, engaging woman?

Hawk had no idea that being the guardian for his best friend's sister would be such a task! She has young bucks surrounding her at all times wherever she goes, and Hawk, being a man, knows EXACTLY what is on their minds, and it's not sharing a game of lawn bowling! Soon enough, Hawk realizes that Julianne isn't a little girl, but a exceptionally beautiful woman with curves he would like to stroke and eyes he could loose himself in and hair that he could sink his fingers through. Wait. This is his best friend's sister. He cannot have these desires for his Julie-girl. It's not right...or is it?

I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I think I liked it more than the first book! I laughed at the banter between Hawk and Julianne and you could just feel the chemistry building between them. The scene where Julianne and her girlfriends get sloshed at an evening soiree is hilarious! The secondary characters are meaningful and memorable. I think Lady Rutledge stole the book. She is Hawk's aunt who is a no-nonsense, tell it like it is kind of gal. I loved her. She encourages Julianne to write a pamphlet to help the single girls ca
tch a man, with many of the ideas coming from Lady Rutledge herself.

This is a great summer read where the characters learn and grow. With the help of Julianne's true love, Hawk learns to forgive himself for a grave mistake in his past. Julianne learns that there is more to love than just outward appearances. What's beautiful is on the inside of both a man and a woman.
I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Review for "The Wedding" by Julie Garwood

Just imagine. It is the early 12th century in the Scottish Highlands and you've just had a row with your husband, your very new husband. He's taking off for an undefined amount of time and doesn't even bother to say goodbye. You whisper your adieu to him and you take your leave, heartbroken, feeling unwanted and alone. As you walk up the hill, you suddenly feel the ground shaking and others are rushing to get off the path in front of you. Before you can face the impending danger, you are plucked from the ground and swept up onto your husband's horse, his hand tight around your waist as you gallop at a breakneck speed. At the top of the incline, he stops his stallion, stares into your eyes and whispers his farewell. And then he kisses you, long and hard.....a kiss both you and he will never forget. Just imagine. Your new husband has just swept you off your feet.

This is but one of my favourite parts in this enjoyable tale. Julie Garwood has a talent for shaping unforgettable characters. She lets you think their thoughts and feel their emotions until you believe you are there with them.....a secondary character yourself....a member of the clan. I really delighted in the heroine's character, Brenna. She was a sweet romantic at heart, yet she was strong, determined and out-spoken when she needed to be. Her quirky flaw of forgetting her personal belongings all over the place made her more real and endearing to me. Brenna was going to make her marriage work, and that was one outstanding feat, for Connor MacAlister is one formidable, unemotional Highlander. And the fact that he stole her as she was making her way to her wedding to another Highlander is no easy fact to get over. Connor's past has shaped his actions and his need for revenge is no secret. But he is an honourable man. Yet his English bride Brenna manages to tap upon his heart, little by little breaking down his hard exterior, reaching into his soul and releasing the love he has for her. Brenna makes Connor realize that loving someone does make him vulnerable, yet it doesn't make him less of a man. A great story and perfect read for the summer.
"The Wedding" is book #5 in the 2011 Highlander Reading Challenge.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book Review for "Ransom" by Julie Garwood

When writing a review, I usually have a method to my madness. I start with some kind of hook to get the reader interested. Then I move into a brief synopsis of the plot. I then move on to some personal anecdotes outlining why I loved the book. Finally, I wrap it all up with some sweet thought that leaves the reader contemplating the values of humankind. Voila, my review! However, this time, I am doing things a little different. I'm just going to tell it like it is....I'm going to lay it on the line and just say WHY I liked this book. Somehow, I need to let you know what made me say, "Sorry, son, I can't make dinner right now. Mommy's reading. Go ask Daddy." or even "I can't help with your homework right now, can't you see I'm trying to finish this book? Go ask your dad."'s shameful, but it's the truth. Now why???

Reason 1: The setting. I've said this before and I'm sure I'll say it again, there is something about the Scottish Highlands that sweeps me away. I don't want to leave that magical, romantic place. Yes, it's cold and blustery, but it is also serene and epically beautiful with rolling mountains and heather-covered fields. Simply breath-taking.

Reason 2: The humour. I couldn't help but laugh out loud many times in this tale. The banter between the lovers had me giggling and I especially enjoyed the "talking to" that Brodick and Ramsey had to endure from dear old Uncle Morgan. Gillian's dear uncle was old and crotchety and very dear to Gillian. He had to endure the hysterics of both Gillian and Bridgid when the two women believed their men were not going to pledge their forever love. Uncle Morgan took his frustrations out on the two warriors, letting them know that they better be good to these women because he couldn't take their whining any more!

Reason 3: Hunky men. God....this book is filled with them! Iain Maitland is back. I fell in love with him in book 1 (The Secret). His dark, imposing figure sent me swooning then and now. And then there's the breathtakingly beautiful Ramsey Sinclair, described even by other men in the book as an "Adonis". Women flock to him in hordes, and I am sure that I would have been one of those fair maiden's chasing after this beautiful beast. And of course, our main hunk, Brodick Buchanan. His sheer size blocks out the sun and his long, flaxen hair and tanned skin take your breathe away. What more could a women want....beautiful, strong men and all of them wearing kilts, riding on horseback and carrying dirks!

Reason 4: Great female leads. I loved Gillian. She was a formidable woman, with a will to survive and a genuine love for others. She protected the young Alec Maitland from the evil Baron Alford with nothing other than courage and strength. She's my kind of gal....tough enough, yet gentle and knowing. The second strong female character that I enjoyed was Bridgid KirkConnell. She was a fiesty young beauty who was in love with Ramsey, but of course, kept her feelings a secret, until she befriended Gillian. I loved the way she would mutter how stubborn and arrogant Ramsey was one minute, and then suck in her breathe when she looked into his eyes. She sees his flaws, and still loves him. I know where she's coming from!

Reason 5: Action and mystery. This was a fast-paced book full of action and a bit of mystery that keeps the reader thinking. Who has that jeweled box and what is in it? I enjoyed the plot and the immediate adventure one takes from the very turn of the first page.

Reason 6: Love. Yes, I am a sucker for a good love story. Gillian finds herself unwittingly falling for a brute of a man, and even questions how she could fall so quickly. Love isn't supposed to happen so suddenly. Is it? The following quote is a question I have even asked myself. Can love grab you by the throat and leave you breathless.....or is it only a feeling that is nurtured with time? What do you believe?
Love wasn't supposed to happen this suddenly. Gillian spent most of the ride to Ramsey's holding thinking about Brodick and wondering how in heaven's name he had managed to capture her heart so completely in so little time. The man had all but robbed her of her senses. She was well aware of his flaws, most of them anyway, but she still loved him all the same, and how was such a thing possible? Love was supposed to be nourished. It was a slow realization that occurred afer months and months of courting, and sometimes that awareness took years. Love certainly didn't strike like lightning.

"Ransom" is book #4 in the 2011 Highlander Reading Challenge.
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