Thursday, April 30, 2009

HER WARRIOR SLAVE by Michelle Willingham

*It's not your imagination. I really am reading more Romance genre novels these days. All those mushy pregnancy hormones, you know, and I gotta have a Happily Ever After. I weep over dog food commericals, okay? So, if you're an author or an author associate with a Romance novel which needs reviewing, I'm your girl, the Blogging Book Reviewer Now On Semi-Bedrest! Any mushy Romance novel will do, the mushier the better. Not interested in Heroines who don't absolutely adore babies and small fluffy animals. eBooks are happily accepted.*
Okay, on with the review.
HER WARRIOR SLAVE is a good one for you if graphic descriptions of naked body parts trip your personal 'ick' factor, but you never met a chocolate you didn't like. The romantic tension is good and then they're all over each other like a bad rash.
Iseult is a passionate lass who previously didn't have a lot of sound judgment in a place and during a time when such treats were not well tolerated. She got knocked up and then her lover left her for the monastary, of all things. As you might expect, that didn't exactly make her feel good about herself. So, she had a baby out of wedlock and her family figured her marriage prospects were pretty much shot. Since women didn't have many career prospects back then, her life was a bust. But, it got worse. Someone kidnapped her baby. So, while Iseult is distraught and desperately searching for her baby, a chief's son falls madly in love with her and presents her with an option too good to be true. Marriage to wealth and privilage. Her family's thrilled for her, of course, and his mother not so much, but she agrees to it even though she doesn't love him because, well, what else is she gonna do? Meanwhile, she keeps searching for her baby.
Then, one day her husband-to-be buys a beaten up slave whose sense of dignity isn't exactly typical of his supposed class. When it's discovered Kieran's a talented wood carver, the husband-to-be orders him to carve a likeness of Iseult. He obeys. Stupid husband-to-be. You know, some guys really need to learn not to take their women for granted.
Eventually, Kieran learns of Iseult's desperate search for her son and their romance builds as they come to know each other as human beings and man and woman, rather than mistress and slave. Soon, he becomes driven to find her baby, which, of course, would make any mommy swoon. I call it Excellent Dad Potential and if you want to be a mommy don't marry a guy who doesn't got it. Needless to say, they can't live without each other after that.
If you like HER WARRIOR SLAVE, you might also like CRUSADER'S LADY by Lynna Banning - To learn more about Michelle Willingham, pop over to her website- It's gorgeous and well-organized. I'd give this a Heat Level of Highly Sensual, but, like I referred to, there are no graphic descriptions of naked body parents, just lots o' lovin'. So, I'll put this one at Sensual.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

EVERYBODY'S HERO by Karen Templeton

Well, you all know how I feel about Karen Templeton's books, so when I saw this one at the second-hand store I had to grab it. Published in 2004, EVERYBODY'S HERO delivers another wonderful family-oriented romance. Just because it's 'family oriented,' don't think it's not hot though. I mean, good grief, how do you think babies are made anyway???
Taylor is a Kindergarten teacher running a day camp when, Seth, a new kid is brought in, sullen and silent. His guardian isn't any more cheerful, but, my goodness, Joe's a major studmuffin! It's all Taylor can do to hold her hormones together through introductions. Turns out Joe is Seth's much older brother. Their dad and Seth's mom were just killed in a car wreck. Joe is suddently a single parent in his thirties after a long bachelorhood and Seth is reeling with grief over losing both his parents.
Joe's into construction and he's only going to be in town for the summer. Doesn't make sense to get involved, especially with his new and overwhelming responsibilities. Here's my favorite quote from the book-
Joe: "What kind of guy gets turned on by a woman reading a children's story, for crying out loud?" Well, Joe, for one, and my husband for another. I was a nanny when he married me and now we're expecing Baby #5. This kind of guy makes a great dad! And to think, some girls worry such men don't really exist. They do!
Taylor's been burned by her workaholic father and workaholic ex-husband and fears Joe's the same way, 'cause the guy really works his butt off. And she wishes like crazy she'd stop falling for workaholics. Stinkin' hormones always getting her trouble.
Then, she finds out that Joe's been working his butt off most of his life because his deadbeat dad abandoned the family when his little sister, Kristen, was born with Down's Syndrome. So, this guy's felt the pain and rose to the challenge twice in his life. And I'm yellin' at the back, "Nail his butt to the sheets! He's the one! He's the one!" (Psst, the love scene is one of the best examples of 'Sensual' I've ever read.)
Calm down, Kiddies. Taylor and Joe have some good friends and they all kinda gang up and the next thing Taylor knows she's at a big shindig listening to her girlfriends talking about having sex and making babies. In fact, one is so huge with babymaking she can't have sex anymore. And poor ol' Taylor just wants to gag.
In case you're worried Joe's going to take advantage of Taylor's rabid maternal instinct (childcare professionals are born that way) and push Seth off on her, you should know she doesn't stand for it.
This was a great story for me to read as my pg hormones are going crazy and all that. Click on Karen's name at the bottom here to see how much I've enjoyed her books in the past. She has a huge backlist and she's up for the RITA this year, which is the prestigious award given by the Romance Writer's of America.

Friday, April 24, 2009



I'm tellin' ya, I really hate shopping too, but not for the same reason Raine Benares does. She's a sorceress, but not a very good one. She's a much better Seeker. In fact, she was a little too good at it. Way back in MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND she found a soul-stealing rock, the Saghred, and it thought she was just yummy. She managed to not get et, but it latched onto her like a booger on her finger she can't shake off. Now it wants to use her to et more yummy souls, some baddies want to get her so they can use the Saghred's power, some others want to kill her because they're afraid of what the Saghred will use her to do, and a handful want to help her get that sucker off. All of this makes buying a new set of leathers a major pain in the neck for Raine. The girl just can't jaunt down to Wal-mart, you know.
As she puts it, "Most girls go shopping with their girlfriends; I go with an armed escort."
So she's out shopping and the next thing she knows a butt-naked blue demon pops out of nowhere and starts making a mess of things. Next thing you know there's running and screaming. It's a good thing her measurements were already taken at the leatherers. Turns out someone's opening up Hellgates and trying to start a war. Guess why? Well, the demon high muckety mucks want Raine and that dang rock, of course.
Among those wanting to help Raine are Vegard, her bodyguard, the big lug and Phaelen, her cousin, and Piaras, a couple of young hotties from the local magic school. She also has her own personal hotties, Mychael and Tam. Mychael's a fine, upstanding elf citizen, the kind you want to settle down and make little elflings with and Tam's a bad boy goblin, the sexy kind who's trying his darnedest to reform for Raine. I like little baby elflings, so count me on Team Mychael.
In the process of walloping demons right and left, Tam 'accidentally' forms a magical bond with Raine, which is kind of like a soul-binding marriage without the physical nookie. I'm not buying it's a 'whoopsie' thing though. Naturally, Mychael is not pleased. And the threesome's efforts to deal with the little problem cranks up the tension, if you know what I mean.
Helping to sort out the mess is dear old Dad and big time bad guy, Sarad Nukpana, both of whom where sucked into the Saghred and pass the time playing chess because they hate each other and it's the best way to keep an eye on each other.
This story's one big action romp from start to finish with lots of little twists and turns. If you want another take on it, pop over to Tia's blog- I'm a trilogy kind of girl and I was ready for more closure for Raine than this story ended with, but that's just me. This book's getting reviewed all over the blogosphere and I think I'm the only one who feels that way.
Even if you don't normally read the Fantasy genre, I'm betting you'll like THE TROUBLE WITH DEMONS just for Lisa's storytelling 'voice.' And also the sexy hot goblins. What I envy most about her, as a writer, is her prose. I'm far too impatient to get my stories out, but her words just spin away, a floating pleasure to read. Click on Lisa's name at the bottom of this post to read all the other books and news of hers we've mentioned here. She's an ER favorite!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Kimber An Wants

Good morning, Blog Buddies!
Well, I went to the bookstore yesterday and I could barely waddle in and out. Due to an old back injury, I tend to become immobile earlier than most women. Next time I go grocery shopping, I'm going to be in one of those power-chair carts. One thing's for certain, I do believe this has helped me develop empathy for the disabled. At any rate, I'm longing for certain kinds of books right now and I'm less able to go out and get them. Soon, I'll be on bedrest and I won't be able to go get them at all. So, I'm countin' on you authors and/or author associates who send out ARCs and such for my book-fix.


Remember, I now accept electronic ARCs and eBooks. My Heroic Husband bought me a mini-laptop to balance on my tummy while I'm beached on the sofa. All stories must have a Happily Ever After ending and the Nookie can't be above a Sensual rating. I've been knocked up a few times - I know how to get that way! I don't need it described in graphic detail. I'm more into romantic tension right now. Also, no children or small, fluffy animals can be harmed in the making of the story. (Caution: Weepy Pregnant Woman.) At any rate, here's what I want-


Science Fiction Romance, but only if the Heroine is, will be, or wants to be a MOMMY. Susan Grant's next book can't come out fast enough. I hope to have a review of WARLORD'S DAUGHTER up for you all soon.

Historical Romance, but only if the Heroine is not so contemporary I'm jerked out of the story and she should love Babies too. I've had a terrible time finding a Historical Romance lately because of this. If you got a regular Historical to send, fine, but it's got to be romantic and have an HEA.


A Contemporary Romance with Baby or Babies Involved. Karen Templeton is my favorite author in this category, but she doesn't have a new one coming out that I know of.


YA Science Fiction. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find YA SciFi? And I have a whole blog devoted to it! Sure, I've found some great Middle Grade SF, but the good YA SciFi often gets mislabeled, making it harder to find. And the ones which are known to be YA SciFi are lame. If you've got YA SF or SF which will work for the YA crowd, send it along. Just make sure it has an Happily Ever After ending.

That's it for now. I'm almost finished with THE TROUBLE WITH DEMONS by Lisa Shearin.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Join the Lobby for a Better Book Cover for Susan Grant Heather over at the Galaxy Express is sounding the charge for a better book cover for Susan Grant's next novel, a lady space pirate story. Some of us SFR readers think she's had more than her fair share of bad luck in this area. I don't blame the publishers. I think it's just a lack of understanding on what appeals to readers who already or potentially will love Science Fiction Romance. So, pop on over and add your voice to the call. If you want to see Susan's cover art, the good, the bad, the "Huh?" then pop over to her website too.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Kimber An Accepting eBooks Again!

Good morning, Blog Buds! I'm excited to announce I can accept electronic ARCs and eBooks for review again. A while back I had to give it up because pregnancy makes it very difficult to sit up to the computer reading for long periods of time. Working on my own stories had to take priority. Now, thanks to my brand new little mini-laptop, I can read eBooks and electronic ARCs anywhere, as well as work on my stories and check email. This is very good because, even though I'm not on bedrest yet, I'm getting more and more uncomfortable and it's only a matter of time. It's not a question of 'if,' but 'when' I'll go on bedrest.
My cute little mini laptop is one of the cheaper models, but it serves my needs. I'm still learning all about it. Thankfully, my Heroic Husband is translating. Like I always say, "Any knight in shining armor can slay dragons, but it takes a real hero to make a lady's computer work for her." Take my word for it, Girls. Skip the washerboard abs and go for the Geek. He's just as cute and no fat ego to get in the way.
In the meantime, I received and am reading THE TROUBLE WITH DEMONS by Lisa Shearin. I hope to have that review up Saturday.
I also have HEART OF THE RONIN by Travis Heerman coming up, but I have to wrestle it away from my husband first.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hope's Folly

I first came across Linnea Sinclair when I found Finder’s Keepers while browsing the SF section at Joseph-Beth, my local indie bookstore. As soon as I stated the book I was hooked. Here was Science Fiction Romance that really worked. It wasn’t re-worked Historical Romance with ray-gun and rocket window dressing. It didn’t use a SF setting only as an excuse for odd or contrived sexual situations. The heroine wasn’t the token girl, added only to allow a love story subplot to be tacked on to an action adventure novel as an improbable afterthought. The SF and the Romance elements worked together and moved to a mutually satisfying resolution.

Before I had finished the first book I was already on the lookout for more of Sinclair’s work. I had a full-blown fangirl-crush on her writing style. Since then I have sucked up all her books and enjoyed them all bunches, but nothing had hit my “wow” button as hard as that first book, until I started Hope’s Folly. By the time I finished the book it had become my favorite. I think it is her best work to date

Hope’s Folly is the third book in Linnea Sinclair’s Dock Five universe. Don’t let that keep you away if you have not yet read her work. You will want to read Gabriel’s Ghost or Shade’s of Dark after you read Hope’s Folly, but you don’t need to have read them first to get into this book.

Philip Guthrie is a fleet admiral on the run for being on the wrong side of a coup that has just over thrown the Imperial government he has served all his life. He is grieving for good officers lost in the fight against the takeover. He is worried about how this change in government will affect ihis socially prominent, and politically powerful family. He is worried about his ex-wife Chaz Bergren, and her mysterious lover Gabriel Sullivan who have got off to help organize a resistance movement. He is feeling his age and recovering from a serious hip and leg injury. Despite all this he had agreed to help organize as many civilians and ex-fleet officers as possible into a military force for the newly formed Alliance of Independent Republics.

What Philip has not counted on is running into Rya Bennton, the daughter of Cory Bennton his old mentor. Cory Bennton hadbeen killed in the recent fighting, and Philip feels his loss. . Rya, is an ex- Imperial Fleet Security Special Forces agent, she wants revenge for her father’s death. She feels partly to blame for it because she was not abel to take part in the fighting at his side. . Philip remembers her as a precocious and annoying tween and has very conflicted emotions about meeting her again as a mature, dangerous, and to him outright sexy adult.

Rya knows Philip is the man to build the Alliance’s new fleet, but thinks he has a huge blind spot when it comes to his personal safety, especially since he’s not very mobile due to his injuries. She appoints herself his bodyguard. It is her duty to protect her commanding officer the only man who can lead the Alliance to military victory. On a personal level Rya has fond memories of Philip from her childhood because he is the first person who taught her to shoot. Rya and Philip are gun crazy. Really, really gun crazy. They are connoisseurs of fine fire arms and they both love to spend time tossing around gun tech talk. . This is the spark that draws them together on a personal level despite their difference in age and rank.

The Alliance is hard up, so when they get their hands on Hope’s Folly, a retired warship converted into a cargo carriier, they are happy to have her despite the lingering smell of oranges, and the ship’s cat that come as part of the package. For Philip and Rya there is the extra sense of justice in Folly becoming the foundation of the new Alliance fleet, because in her first life Rya’s father had been her commander. It’s not easy to turn a fruit hauler into a top-of-the -ine battleship, especially when your hand picked, but slightly motley crew may contain hidden saboteurs and assassins.

Philip needs to get the Folly from the station where the Alliance bought her to the shipyard that is going to re-convert her to a warship. Rya needs to keep Philip alive. Along the way they realize, that despite it not being convenient, they are head-over-heals in love.

I really hate May-December Romance plot lines. I’m not comfortable around firearms. Both of these things are important to the Plot of Hope’s Folly, but despite that, or maybe because Sinclair is able to use these plot elements in unexpected ways they didn’t bother me. Philip knows he is a little old for Rya, but Rya is not a sweet protected schoolroom miss. She is a mature woman in her late twenties who probably has more personal relationship experience under her belt than he does. Philip has been married to his job, and in many ways he is an emotional late bloomer. His relationship with Chaz didn’t workout because he was not mature enough to be in a stable relationship of equals when they were married, and he knows that.

Rya and Philip are so enamored of firearms that when the gun-spec techo-babble starts flying between the two of them, it is the strongest possible aphrodisiac. Philip loaning Rya part of his personal collection of firearms does more to woo her than flowers, wine, or chocolate ever could. That was a clever plot point that could have fallen flat, but Sinclair turns it into one of the big selling points of the book. These two people are perfect for each other, not just because of some vague bio-chemical sexual attraction, but because they have shared interests and really love the way each other’s minds work.

You will love seeing them realize that while you read Hope’s Folly.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

TENNYSON by Lesley M. M. Blue

This is a cheater review because I'm going to post the summary from Booklist and just tell you how I liked it.
From BooklistThe year is 1932. Eleven-year-old Tennyson Fontaine and her younger sister, Hattie, have grown up running wild, but that ends when their mother leaves without warning. While their father searches for her, the siblings stay at the Fontaines’ crumbling ancestral home, Aigredoux, once a wealthy Louisiana plantation. There, Aunt Hattie and Uncle Twigs live in the shadow of the past, holding tight to false hopes of restoring the family fortune. The precocious and sensitive Tennyson begins dreaming of her Civil War ancestors and is swept into their dark history of greed, betrayal, and pride. She begins writing down this history and publishing it in her mother’s favorite literary magazine, but this plan to connect with her missing parent has unexpected consequences. The Fontaine history is complex, evoking horror and sympathy; by contrast, a subplot involving Tennyson’s haughty New York editor feels jarringly cartoonish. Still, many readers will respond to this novel’s Southern gothic sensibility, especially Blume’s beautiful, poetic writing about how the past resonates through the generations. Grades 4-6. --Krista Hutley
Kimber An here. I agree that the subplot with the New York editor was jarring. The author just didn't have the voice for it. However, everything else about this novel was absolutely wonderful! Tennyson is an unusually precocious but thoroughly believable 11 year old girl and the way she deals with the dreams and navigates her creepy relatives is hypnotic. Although this is what I'd call Middle Grade Paranormal Historical, I think anyone would enjoy it. I certainly did. In fact, I'm finding the best new fiction in Middle Grade right now, which is wonderful but a little frustrating because I scour the shelves for YA Science Fiction and most often turn up empty.
If this sounds interesting, you might also like THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ISLAND by Allegra Goodman.
Learn more about the author and her books here-

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I know, I know… you're surprised. Enchantress: The Fey from Amy Ruttan isn't my usual straight historical romance. This romance has a fantasy twist to it, the heroine being fey as in the fairy folk (but she's human sized so more like Legolas from Lord Of The Rings – yum, Legolas).

Enchantress: The Fey is a fresh look at the medieval marriage of convenience plot. Battle worn Saxon warrior is told by his King to marry a Mercian maiden. On the way to pick up his arranged bride, Lord Edwin gets hopelessly (and hilariously) lost in the woods. As he's wandering around, trying to look macho while having no idea where he's going, he runs across a heathen beauty dancing in the woods. His heart is captured yet loyalty dictates he must go through with the wedding. Wonders of all wonders, his bride Lady Aislinn is the delightful heathen.

Then it gets complicated. Not only are their countrymen former enemies but Aislinn practices a forbidden religion. She has mystical powers. If any of this is uncovered by her distrusting to the point of vengeful new countrymen, she could be burned at the stake for witchcraft. Yikes.

Enchantress: The Fey has it all. There are steamy love scenes (using blunt language but this is not erotica). There's magic and mystery. Most surprisingly, it has humor, laugh out loud humor. Don't read this at work as I did or your coworkers will think you insane.

You can read more about Enchantress: The Fey on Amy Ruttan's website.