Tuesday, October 28, 2008

FOREVER MY LADY by Jeff Rivera

Kimber An here. I sped-read FOREVER MY LADY. Although it is a love story, it's not your run-of-the-mill Romance novel. If you can set aside your expectations of that genre and read this multi-cultural story for its worth, I'm sure you'll enjoy its power. There is violence and swear words, but nothing I couldn't handle and you know how sensitive I am. It all fits within the context of the story and enhances the character development.


Please Comment with a link to your blog, website, or email if you want to be entered in a drawing for a *Free Copy!* FOREVER MY LADY is released today, but you might not find it in your local bookstore. It all depends on how good they are about not segregating authors and such. If you don't see it, pop over to http://www.amazon.com/Forever-My-Lady-Jeff-Rivera/dp/0446545562/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225211682&sr=1-1 to order it on-line. You'll be glad you did.


FOREVER MY LADY is rich in world-building. If you can get into Historicals or Science Fiction, you'll have no problem if the cultural setting is nothing like your Real Life.


Here's the synopsis-


Originally independently published, Jeff Rivera's debut novel, Forever My Lady went on to be acquired by Warner Books/Grand Central. It tells the award-winning passionate story of a juvenile delinquent named Dio who is sentenced to prison boot camp. Everyone who he has ever trusted has given up on him except one special girl that promises to stay by his side no matter what, the love of his life, Jennifer. He promises he will to turn his life around for her and she promises will never leave him. In fact, they plan to marry one day. But when Dio is released from boot camp he discovers Jennifer is about to marry someone else.


Forever My Lady was featured in national magazines, on national television and radio including: The Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Rotarian Magazine, Urban Latino Magazine, VOY, Right On! Magazine, NPR, American Latino TV, SITV and was awarded Best New Author Award and the Best Urban Fiction Award and by the Mahogany Media Review. His first novel, Forever My Lady (published by Warner Books/Grand Central Publishing) became a critical media darling having received over 45 reviews on Amazon, over 30 reviews on BarnesandNoble.com and was given 5 stars by Amazon.com's #1 Book Reviewer Ms. Harriet Klausner.


Here is the author's bio-

Once homeless and living in his car, award-winning novelist Jeff Rivera writes passionate stories of those often forgotten and neglected by society. He believes even in the eyes of a gang member, even beneath the soiled clothes of a bag lady or behind the tears of a lonely kid in the back of the class, there lies a common thread that links us all, the universal human story. He has made it his personal mission to help change the way the world thinks in a positive way through his stories. Mr. Rivera currently lives in Miami, Florida. Adopted by his Filipino stepfather when he was seven years old, his ethnic background is Black American and Native American.


Learn more about Jeff Rivera and his forthcoming books at http://www.jeffrivera.com/

Sunday, October 26, 2008

OOPS, I Did It Again

I can’t believe I just made a Britney Spears reference. Anyway, I don’t have a review up because I made a big mistake- I bought this book, loved the blurb, loved the first few pages, and loved the ending. Yes, I peeked. Sue me. So I thought it would be perfect to review today.

Except, the book was ultimately a disappointment. Not exactly a wall-chucker, but a frustrating near miss. I won’t go into detail, because it’s just unique enough that you would recognize it and I don’t want to slam anyone. I will tell you that it is a historical, with one of my favorite plots. I must marry Bachelor #1, but I love Bachelor #2…or do I?

The characters were engaging and different, and the storyline was interesting, but it fell where I find a lot of historicals go plop. The, you know, intimate scenes. Tea and crumpets. Regency hula.

If the characters are married, and learning to love each other while consummating, fine. Love it. Got no problem with it. Even if our heroine is a widow who knows very well what she’s about, I can at least understand that. But a virginal young miss who knows very well that her reputation is truly all she has? You just lost me.

Historical writers have to walk a fine line- you have to do enough research to make it believable, but there will always be some reader screeching that those kind of wine glasses weren’t used until 20 years later, moron! I understand the frustrations of appealing to modern readers while staying true to history, but this one thing I can’t take.

How, precisely, does a typical sheltered young girl, who has been protected from the exact details of sex, who has probably at some point been told to “lie back and think of England,” decide that hiking up her skirt OUTSIDE ON THE GRASS is perfectly fine? I can accept that said young miss got carried away, and can straighten her dress with nary a stain and go back to the house unseen. What I can’t accept is that, without benefit of marriage or instruction beyond a gossiping servant, is that she can on second tryst become a skilled and enthusiastic…er, performer of certain type of crumpet-making, if you catch my drift.

And so lies my frustration with a lot of historicals. In the zeal to make them requisitely hawt, they’ve become unbelievable.

ETA: Kimber runs a fairly family-friendly place, so if I've confused you with my euphemisms feel free to email me and I'll clear it up!

I’ll do better next time, I promise! I’ve read the next one all the way through, and you’ll like it. Kimber An, there’s even a diaper-changing Viking! Check ya Nov. 16.

I'm at 'Romancing the Blog' today.

Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Key - Pauline Baird Jones

Sara Donovan is a crackerjack pilot in the US Air Force assigned to a top secret mission to explore a galaxy far outside the Milky Way. This human mission stumbles into the middle of a generations long war between the Dustan and the Gadi. Donovan is attacked by the hostile and ruthless Dustan and crash lands on the planet Kikk. Kiernan Fyn is a member of a group of outside-the-law fighters known as the Ojemba who are sworn to destroy the Dustan. He’s been stranded on Kikk for long enough that his people think he’s dead. Donovan dropping almost into his lap seems like a reward from the gods to make up for all his hardship. Donovan wouldn’t like the idea of being someone’s reward but she’s more than a little taken by the hunky alien who ‘rescues’ her from her crashed war-bird.

Fyn and Donnovan both have secrets, and they are surrounded by a vast number of questions. Why is Donovan the exact image of Miri, the woman who may have caused the Dustan-Gadi war? What exactly is Fyn’s aleigence to the Ojemba’s mysterious leader? Why, although the Gadi don't think much of women, and the Dustan are worse, do both their leaders risk provoking war with the explorers from Earth to try to marry feisty, outspoken, more than a little, rough around the edges Donnovan? Why do they think she is the key to the lost secrets of Garradians who vanished centuries ago leaving behind vast empty cities and outposts all over their galaxy?

This book reads like the novelization of the whole seasons run of a SF TV show that you somehow missed seeing. I’m guessing that’s intentional since Donnovan is a fan of the SciFi network. Jones really nails military jargon, but the story is light on things like - How did the Earth team get to another galaxy? How did they built a fleet of ships to get there in secret? Why exactly are they exploring another galaxy instead of someplace closer to home? In some ways this would have worked better for me if they were in another solar system in our galaxy because the scale of extra galactic travel is just too big for me to buy it being done this casually, but… I’m willing to overlook that because the book was such a fun read.

Donnovan is almost too perfect, ace pilot, talented musician, completely unaware of her sex appeal, but she is also vulnerable and tough so she grew on me. Fyn is big, gorgeous and silent most of the time, but he has an inner vulnerablity and sweetness that grew on me too. If you were a fan of shows like Farscape, the various Treks and most of all Stargate you will enjoy this book. If you like a slightly harder version of SF you might find the book a little light, but don't let that keep you away, it makes for a great comfort read. I’m in the middle of the home remodeling adventure from hell, which is why this review is being posted late, and knowing I had a fun comfy read waiting for me at bed-time last week helped keep me sane. That may sound like a weird recommendation for a book, but I’m a strong believer is reading as escape from the stress and strain of the real world. Not enough books can give you that release, so when I find one that helps we unwind as much as this one did, I’m happy.

Everyone in this book is in the military, so there is some “salty” language. Although much of it is done with euphemism, it’s easy to see what’s really being said. I can have bad potty-mouth myself given the right triggers, so I enjoyed the “code word” cursing. Someone really sensitive might be offended. There is sexual tension all over the place in this book, including a might-build-up-to-rape-but-gets-stopped-before-things-go-too-far scene, but all sex takes place off-screen. There are several battle scenes, and there are deaths, but they are bloodless for the most part.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

NETHERWOOD by Michele Lang

Amazonia meets The Avenger in the gladiatorial arena, savoring the shouts of the crowd. She knows that no matter who wins the fight, she and The Avenger will head to his lair after it’s over to heal their wounds. Yes, to literally heal wounds and as a euphemism for having sex. But it isn’t an amoral thing for her- it’s a connection with another living soul. Even though it isn’t real.

Amazonia is the avatar of Sheriff Talia Fortune, and the Netherwood is a virtual reality world where you can be anything, anyone. Think World of Warcraft times the Matrix times the Holodeck. In this future society, the governments are still nominally there, but everything is run by corporations. Space travel to other occupied worlds takes months, even if you use wormholes, and no one can do anything without their handheld computers. More than communication, more than a PDA- you can literally download yourself through your device to enter the Netherwood. It’s slightly illegal- the Netherwood has become the ultimate Sin City. But Talia risks going anyway, both to hone her skills, and because The Avenger is her only real connection.

He gave her a message during their last fight; everyone is going to die, and she can learn how to save herself on a world called Fresh Havens. She has to head there anyway. Her uncle is the mayor of that world, and he’s doing a rotten job. The motherboard that runs the place has just been sabotaged, and it’s her duty to get the place running again. She has other concerns, too: Talia is the heir to FortuneCorp, the monolithic company her grandmother Violet Fortune started. Talia is under pressure to take her place as the head of FortuneCorp in just a few years. When Violet’s body started to die, she downloaded herself onto a chip, or “reduced down.” She can basically go anywhere in the computer universe, as long as she’s loaded onto a program.

When Talia investigates the sabotage, she knows that her Avenger is a man named Kovner, and he is the one who melted the computer system. She must go beyond the carefully cultivated city, into the Gray Forest wilderness, to find him. Once there, she finds wild, hungry predators and a distinct hostility to technology. In the forest, computers don’t work. And the wind calls her name.

Kovner is in the forest with a group of people who have never used technology. He is trying to save a pocket of humanity that will not become part of a frightening computer assault. He tells Talia of the coming Singularity; FortuneCorp and the other big companies are assimilating human life to become part of a single, collective mind. Since corporations long ago censored historical documents, as well as used a horrific war started by religious zealots to outlaw religion, the majority of people have no concept of their own souls. When approached about reducing down and entering the hive mind, many will give in. Talia, good corporate officer that she is, can’t believe that it could happen. Accepting what Kovner tells her means gutting her career and betraying her grandmother. But doing her duty means destroying her Avenger.

Michele Lang is a great world-builder; I can see everything she’s prophesied happening. Fantastic though it is, it’s entirely believable. It takes a long time and a big struggle for Talia to overcome her training and her fear to accept what’s going on around her. Reading her journey was a joy; she finds some strengths she didn’t know she had and is brought down a peg or two on things she was arrogant about.

Michele skillfully illustrates the fears of the computer age- we know there is almost no such thing as privacy anymore, and we have legitimate worries that corporations are really running things. Are we in danger of selling our souls for convenience, money, power and pleasure? Within all the deeper meanings, though, is just a good adventure yarn about a small band of rebels fighting the Evil Empire, something I’m always happy to read. There is action but not gore. The heat level is very hot but those passages were a little disconnected; of course that may be my bias against first-person love scenes. Reading “He grabbed my this, that, and the other” and “I shrieked as I became one with the cosmos” always makes me feel like I’m trapped in the booth at Denny’s with the other girls from the office who are totally oversharing, ya know?

I enjoyed the story, and I’m looking forward to more. Thanks, Michele!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Heather of the Galaxy Express...

...is spouting the virtues of Science Fiction Romance as a blogger at Tor now! http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=blog&id=7247 Congrats to Heather and what a boost for SFR!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tuesday News

This Tuesday I’m thinking about SHOMI. I’ll be reviewing my first book from this line, Michele Lang’s NETHERWOOD, next Sunday. I decided to check out the other books from SHOMI- from their website: “Dorchester’s new line of speculative romances. These romances aren’t bound by rules or any one reality. They’re suspense, they’re paranormal, they’re fantasy, they’re sci-fi…but above all, they’re romance at its very best.”

The newest release is IRREVERSIBLE by Liz Maverick. “Katherine Gibbs is engaged. Engaged, popular, gorgeous, and living a life of sheer perfection. This is her best week ever. The trouble is, it’s manufactured. She’s lived this week over and over and doesn’t know it. L. Roxanne Zaborovsky, Katherine’s best friend, is outside looking in. Once again, Kitty’s life is being stolen away by a man as twisted as he is brilliant. This time, there’s something Roxy can do. The barriers of time are like the walls of an apartment—or the bars of a prison—and they can be demolished. She just has to start the jailbreak.Walter “Q” Sheffield is hot, smart, and just the man to free Kitty. A time-anomaly specialist, he can split seconds, erase hours and make the most of a minute. The one thing he can’t do? Relationships. But hate and revenge have Kitty trapped in the vagaries of time, and only love will get her out. And that love must be…IRREVERSIBLE.”

You gotta love a hero named Walter. And you gotta love anything that expands the boundaries of romance. Check it out!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What Robin's Reading

Hello Blog Buddies,

I'm blogging from the world of the horrible, terrible, no good, eternal flu. So forgive me in advance if I sound a little, um, addled. I haven't really eaten in three days. ;)

That said, I wanted to share with you what I'm reading. I don't like to rave about a book till I'm done because it could all fall apart in the end, but so far these look really promising.

First - The Diplomat's Wife

It's set right after WW2 in London, and is written in a really beautiful lyrical style. I feel like a lot of literature today has a snarky female protagonist, and while I love spunk as much as the next person, it's nice to read someone who is more introspective and calm sometimes. This is about a girl who fights in the resistance, survives untold physical and personal calamities, and keeps a quite determination about her. It also does an excellent job of pulling you into the story while the rest of your world is swirling about you and with little kids, that's a must have!

Second - The Guard's

I can't tell you how much I love this mystery. I flipped open the cover not expecting to be drawn in. I was challenging it to make me keep reading. And wow, it did. It uses short sentences, but not in a sparse, Hemmingway sort of way. It's more poetic, but down to Earth. Very difficult to explain. It's funny, without being snarky, and intelligent, and very masculine, but very enjoyable to a female reader.

Jack Taylor is an loveable Irish alcoholic who used to be part of the Irish Guards and is now working as a Private Eye, which is apparently very un-Irish.

All I can say is go to Amazon and read the first page and you'll hit one click buy on the spot!

What Kimber An Wants

Good morning, Blog Buddies, and welcome to Showcase Sunday!

On the second Sunday of each month, each reviewer here showcases whatever she wants, be it books, interviews, news, or opinions about the industry. Or not. Depends on if she's in the mood, has time, and wants to talk about something. So tune in again tonight or tomorrow night, just in case more of us have posted something throughout Sunday. It's kind of unpredictable. I instituted Showcase Sunday after I stopped doing Cyber-Launch Parties due to Tendinitis.



(besides chocolate and a robotic chef)

Kimber An loves books. So do her offspring. And her husband. Kimber An loves all books, except Horror (except Steven King) and Erotica. Kimber An loves HOW TO MAKE AN APPLE PIE AND SEE THE WORLD by Marjorie Priceman


just as much as grown-up novels like THE HERETIC QUEEN by Michelle Moran.


Kimber An's favorites are stories which take her far and away. Kimber An reads very few stories set in the Here & Now. The novels of Gwyneth Bolton and
Karen Templeton are notable exceptions.

Right now, Kimber An is booked solid for all eternity. However, she's squeezing in certain books where she can. She just started a new blog, Young Adult Science Fiction. http://youngadultsciencefiction.blogspot.com/ This has sent her on the book-hunt for YA SciFi, which is rarely labeled as such which makes the hunt more challenging which doesn't surprise her as to why young people have such a hard time finding it too. What are publishers thinking these days? If you have or know of a book which qualfies as YA SciFi, chances are Kimber An will squeeze it in if she thinks her younger friends will like it. RAZOR GIRL by Marianne Mancuzi is on the way because of this.

On a personal level, Kimber An is loooooving YA Historicals right now and that includes YA Fantasy Historicals. Kimber An wants BEWITCHING SEASON by Marissa Doyle and she wants it bad.

She's also digging up the greats in Science Fiction, like Jules Verne, but she can find those by herself.

Does Kimber An always refer to herself in Third Person? Nah. Don't worry. She's just going through a phase.


Added Later On:

I forgot to mention I'm into Steampunk now too, but I've already got plenty of that. I even went out and spent my own money (rather than getting a free ARC) to buy CLOCKWORK HEART.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

THE HERETIC QUEEN by Michelle Moran

Ever wonder about the appeal of Ancient Egypt? I mean, were these guys the Kings of Cool in their day or what? They lived in style. They died in style. Forget Paris Hilton! NEFERTITI http://enduringromance.blogspot.com/2007/05/nefertiti-novel-by-michelle-moran.html was all that and more. But, the HERETIC QUEEN is not about Nefertiti, although she was the original. And you don't have to read NEFERTITI to understand and enjoy THE HERETIC QUEEN. I strongly encourage you to though.
Princess Nefertari is the neice of Queen Nefertiti and, as such, is regarded with extreme suspician. It was Queen Nefertiti and Pharoah Akhenatan who banished the true gods of Egypt in favor of worshipping one god, Aten. Plague and other horrible things were visited upon Egypt as a result and, you know, the priests of the old gods weren't exactly happy with losing their money and power. Akhenatan and Nefertiti died. The people hated their memory, fueled by those politicians for whom it was advantageous. The Throne passed through several hands, including the famous Tutenkamen. Nefertiti's sister, Mutny, survived long enough to give birth to Princess Nefertari who was then raised with the other royal children in Pharoah Seti's harem.
Nefertari starts the story a 13 year old girl with a giddy crush on Prince Ramses. This would all be your average schoolgirl crush, except for two things. Ramses is about to become Pharoah of Upper Egypt and he's in love with her as well. Naturally, they're a little shy about it, but having grown up together means the crush is something much deeper than you'll find in the average 7th grade classroom.
There are those at court who favor Nefertari marrying Ramses and those who are vehemently opposed. Meanwhile, Nefertari is so giddy in love she'll do whatever she's told to achieve marriage with Ramses. And an achievement, it is. While she's mooning and swooning over him, her nanny, Merit, and others know she'll hold power as a wife of Ramses. More than that, they know she'll have a shot at becoming Chief Wife - Queen of Egypt.
The Pharoah has a lot of wives, most of whom he never sees and has no interest in. Pharoah Seti is still alive and Ramses is just getting started. Those opposed to Nefertari manipulate him into marrying Iset. Although he doesn't love her, she's gorgeous and, well, he's a horny teenage boy and, besides, Nefertari is too young still. So, he marries her first and those who oppose Nefertari have their pawn.
But, Nefertari studies hard in the temple, becoming fluent in many languages. As the neice of the Heretic Queen and a possible second wife, beauty and babymaking are not enough. One of the other things which sets Ancient Egypt apart from the rest of the world of its time is women's rights and power. The wives of pharaoh are not whimpering fools kept around only for frolicking naked in the royal chambers. Some are like that, but they can become advisers and judges. The Chief Wife, the Queen, can rule while Pharoah is at war, or even take over if he dies.
Ramses is smart enough to know he needs a smart queen because he's UNselfish enough to realize the sun does not rise and set on his backside, as Akhenaten seemed to think. He loves Nefertari and knows she's the one. Still, he also knows the people oppose the marriage because she's the neice of the hated Heretic Queen. Once Pharoah Seti is won over, however, those who oppose cannot stop the marriage.
Okay, time to live happily ever after! Right? Wrong. This is not a Romance novel. Like real life, the wedding is only the beginning and 'happily ever after' is earned the hard way. Nefertari does not automatically become queen upon marriage. Ramses must choose his queen from two wives. Those who support Iset becoming Queen of Egypt do so for their own power and glory, and they'll do anything to destroy her competition. As in NEFERTITI, the competing wives are like high school cheerleaders vying for the top spot and the captain of the football team. And well Michelle Moran should know this dynamic. She's a former high school English teacher. Of course, Iset is a snotty little slut. Aren't they always? There are no cliches here though. You'll sense from the start that Iset is a victum who may not even need to have her nose rubbed in the doggy do-do before it's over.
Ramses goes to war and a Habiru named Ahmoses shows up asking that his people be set free so they can worship their one God in their own way in Canaan. Sound familiar? If you've ever been to Sunday School or watched the cartoon movie Prince of Egypt, you know what I'm talking about - Moses and the Hebrews leaving Egypt for the Promised Land. Having grown up in Sunday School, I was thrilled to see it all from the Egyptian point of view. While this is Historical *fiction,* Michelle Moran did her homework. There's scant evidence of the Hebrews ever being Egypt, but that doesn't mean they weren't. Ancient Egyptians tended to erase embarressing bits from their history. This is why so little is known about the female pharoah, Hatshepsut, for example. Her successor destroyed as much evidence of her existance as he could.
Anyway, with Ahmoses showing up demanding pharoah let his people go, Nefertari has the opportunity to prove herself. The Habiru worship one God, just as the Heretic Queen did. (Or did she?) If Nefertari banishes the Habiru from Egypt, she could claim that she's cleansed the land of heretics once and for all. But, her husband, Pharoah Ramses, isn't fond of the idea. War threatens on all sides, due to the bad governing of the Heretic King who came before. The Habiru are one-sixth of his army. He needs them. He cannot let them go. They're well-paid, unlike in the movies. Yet, they are not free to go or worship God without persecution.
Persecution is something Nefertari can relate to.
Before you start thinking this is Nefertari's biggest challenge, try to remember one's chief worries are most often within one's own family. This is not the Old Testement.
The worldbuilding and details for this novel were awesome. I could love it only for that, but the characters and their relationships are well-developed too. Once again, Michelle appeals to universal human truths to make her story gripping to contemporary readers. She doesn't resort to contemporary attitudes or the movies to color her story.
THE HERETIC QUEEN was released in September in hardback and should still be on the shelves. Otherwise, you can order it on-line. http://www.amazon.com/Heretic-Queen-Novel-Michelle-Moran/dp/0307381757/ref=pd_sim_b_9 I got mine free, of course, and autographed. What can I say? It's one of the perks!

HERETIC QUEEN will be reviewed...

...later on today. Please pop back in!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday's Oldies but Goodies...


This week's Oldie but Goodie is....

The Switch by Sandra Brown
First released in 2000

Have you ever wished you could trade places with someone for the day, or even for a few hours, just to break up the mundane routine that is your life? Well, in The Switch, twins Melina and Gillian Lloyd do just that.

Melina is a media escort, hired to accompany one Christopher "Chief" Hart, beloved astronaut, around town on the eve of a speech he is giving in Dallas. Melina thinks Gillian would enjoy herself much more, and convinces her to switch places for the evening.

Gillian agrees, needing the outlet. She is in a relationship that has no spark, and she had just completed her first appointment at a fertility clinic to be artificially inseminated.

Neither twin has any inkling that the night will end with one of them murdered.

Melina is awakened at the crack of dawn by two police officers who relay the worst news she could ever face - her sister has been found dead in her bed, the victim of an apparently random attack.

Melina is not convinced when it appears the killer is found, dead by a self-inflicted wound, and neither is Chief. The subsequent attempt on Chief's life, and the appearance at her door by two people posing as FBI agents spurs her into action. Both Chief and Melina slowly uncover what at first looked like a deadly attack on her sister but becomes proof of a conspiracy that reaches to the very door of a powerful and enigmatic televangelist.

As Chief and Melina run from the fake FBI agents hunting them, trying to permanently silence them ~ they discover their reasons for wanting the killer found have more in common then they knew. The question now before them is how much to they tell each other, and how much do they dare trust each other?

The Switch highlights, in my opinion, some of Ms. Browns' best work. Not only is the character development top notch, she maintains a pace not easily conveyed. At it's heart, this is definitely a story of love and redemption, but the fast-paced action and huge shocker of an ending will make you glad you gave this story a thorough read-through.

You can view this authors website for more information and a complete back list at http://www.sandrabrown.net/

Happy reading!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

NO REGRETS by Michele Ann Young

Lord Lucas Foxhaven must marry his childhood friend Caroline Torrington or risk being cut off financially by his father. He doesn't want to marry anyone, not even Caro, a woman he finds irresistible. He refuses, using excuse after excuse, one of them being Caro's rather generous proportions. Finally his excuses run out and he does the unthinkable - he proposes to Caro.

Well, Caro may have been left destitute upon her father's death, she may be responsible for a houseful of sisters, she may be well aware that no one, including Lucas, finds her plus sized figure attractive, but she does have her pride. Caro initially refuses Lucas' careless offer of marriage. It takes much pleading and a business deal set in writing for Caro to relent. Partially relent. Their's will be a temporary and platonic marriage of convenience.

I know what you're thinking… the plus sized heroine is a gimmick. Nope. Caro's character is so real and admirable and wonderful that I was crying for her three chapters into the novel. She's not a skinny heroine in a size 14 dress. She's plus sized because… she simply is.

Lucas, having his own problems, is completely unaware of Caro's insecurities. He finds Caro attractive so he assumes everyone else does too. Yeah, I know, very male thinking but then Lucas is very male (very, very, male, oh, my). He's not perfect, he's much more flawed emotionally than Caro, but he is real.

The chemistry between Lucas and Caro works. The author, Michele Ann Young, uses flashbacks to their shared history to show us what a strong base they've built. These flashbacks are especially amusing because Lucas and Caro look at them from VERY different perspectives (like the time the teenaged and easily embarrassed Lucas had an ummm... physical reaction to Caro – I was laughing my head off).

The heat level is sensual. There are only two sensual scenes in the novel, not that I noticed (I was so sucked into the story). The Gore O' Meter didn't blip at all (some beat downs of the baddies).

For more information on No Regrets, visit Michele's website at http://www.micheleannyoung.com/ .

A LOVER'S KISS by Margaret Moore

Dynamic barrister Sir Douglas Drury is attacked in a seedy part of Regency London. Juliette Bergerine, a French seamstress, rescues him from certain death (she throws potatoes at his attackers – priceless). Drury is perhaps not as grateful as he should be. Why? Because after spending time in French prison, tortured and left to die there, he holds an understandable grudge against the entire country. So he is happy to reimburse Juliette for her time (and her potatoes) and be on his way.

Except that Juliette is then attacked by someone thinking she is Drury's new mistress. Knowing no one else in London, she insists Drury protect her. Protect HER. An irrational and overly emotional French woman. He wishes he could refuse but his honor won't let him. The best he could do is find the person responsible for the attacks as quickly as possible.

Okay, I'll admit to being a frothing-at-the-mouth Margaret Moore fangirl. Any novel she publishes is a dependably great read. However, I usually prefer her medievals as they have that author-in-her-element glow about them. So I was disappointed when I heard Margaret's next book was a Regency. Boy, was I foolish. I LOVED A Lover's Kiss. Loved it.

I also love Drury. (Sigh) He is so tortured and deep. Juliette, do I really need to sell you on her? She threw potatoes at the hardened thugs attacking Drury. Potatoes! Her creative solutions are a delight to read. Drury and Juliette together? Fireworks. The more emotionless Drury tries to be, the more dramatic Juliette becomes. And he secretly loves it.

A Lover's Kiss is book three of a series but it can very well be read alone. Actually, I recommend you read it first (if you haven't already read the first two). Why wait? It is that good.

This is a Harlequin Historical so you know what to expect for heat levels and the gore o'meter.

For more information on A Lover's Kiss, visit http://www.margaretmoore.com/