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Friday, October 30, 2009

Review of Kresley Cole's Untouchable In Deep Kiss Of Winter


Untouchable by Kresley Cole

First of all, I have not read Gena Showalter's story yet. This review is only for Kresley Cole's novella, Untouchable. Second, I am an idiot. I did not realize as I was clicking that fun little button for primetime customers at Amazon that this was a freakin' hardcover. So, I am doubly irked that I did not like this story, and I paid out the wazoo for it. 

Okay, I am seriously disappointed. Lots of folks loved this story, and I was all jazzed up. I did not love KC's last book Kiss of a Demon King.  I was hoping that this author would re-capture the magic soon, since A Hunger Like No Other is one of my favorite paranormals of all time. Here is what I liked about the story....

Good Stuff:
  • Cover: scrum-diddly-icious
  • Title: Untouchable is such a great title for Daniela the Ice Queen
  • Premise for story: Half-fey, half-ice princess who cannot touch or be touched...incredibly great premise for a romance novel
  • the build-up and anticipation for hot sex....Murdoch and Daniela staring at each other's lips, bodies, not being able to consummate their lust...hot diggity damn, Cole knows how to build up the anticipation
  • the Wroth brothers (as you know, I LOVE cool brotherhood stories, and the Wroth brothers rock it)
  • the whole ice thing....gorgeous imagery, absolutely spectacular. I especially loved the description of Murdoch's home after Daniela transformed it into her own ice castle...so cool!
Bad Stuff:
  • After all that good build-up for the hot sex, I found their kiss unremarkable, and the sex was hotter when they couldn't touch each other. What the????????
  • Pacing was off. Too much time walking around New Orleans, too much time with Daniela hanging out BY HERSELF in Siberia (Jesus H. Canola!), not enough action. In a short novella, gotta keep the action going. And I know damned well KC can do this...she is a master of it. But not here.
  • No emotional connection. All the deep POV was about how pissed Murdoch was to be bonded to Daniela. When/how/where does he fall in love with her? Not feeling it.
  • Re-hashing the other stories already visited in other books. Not a good idea, slowed down this story and was confusing if you haven't read the other books in the series.
  • Re-cycling conflict. Same sentiment from Lachlain in AHLNO...why I am bonded to this girl? I'm so pissed off. Enough already, get over yourself. Here is the plot in a nutshell.....
I don't like you (but I lust for you).
Well, I don't like you either (but you are a hottie).
Still don't like you. Pissed we are bonded.
Well, I still don't like you either.
(This continues until the last 5?10? pages....)
Oh, I figured out I am in love with you. Let's get it on.
Okay.

(I apologize for the sarcasm, but sheesh! This whole thing got tiresome.)
So, I am a bit torn. There were some cool things about this book, but the bottom line is I didn't feel the love connection, and the lust connection started out with great potential, but in my opinion failed to deliver. Bummer. Still love this author and pray for the next installment.
Grade:? C+/B- (not really sure how to grade it)

Planning to carve a pumpkin,
Penelope

P.S. Here is a link to the Youtube book trailer....hee hee hee!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Feeling Paranormal-ish


I am looking forward to the weekend. Paranormal activities will include Halloween parades, parties, trick-or-treating, hopefully watching a butt-load of horror movies on the Sci Fi Channel, and of course a couple of paranormal romance novels. One is Kresley Cole's Deep Kiss of Winter, which I am very excited to read. And the other is an ARC of Annette Blair's Naked Dragon, which looks very lusty and funny. Hope everyone is looking forward to a horror-licious weekend. Too bad all 14 bags of Halloween candy mysteriously disappeared and all I have left is one pack of twizzlers. 
Paranormally pleased,
Penelope

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Contest Winner!


Big congratulations to Jessica, who won an Amazon gift card, compliments of Oskar Klaus. (Jessica, Oskar said you should check out the Chinese poetry section, but I'll let you decide for yourself what awesome books to buy!) Thanks to everyone who stopped by for Oskar's Invasion. Next Monday, Nov. 2, will be Gregor's day to entertain us. (He's the financial wiz for Klaus Enterprises, and he looks seriously hot in his suit. Yowzah!)  I will be posting an interview with new author Michelle Picard in the near future. Her book Ruling Eden will be released soon by Crescent Moon Press. Hope everyone is having a great week. 
Prepping for a Pumpkin Spice Latte,
Penelope

Monday, October 26, 2009

Klaus Brother's Invasion Week 1: Oskar Klaus



Howdy, everyone! I am back from a rocking New Jersey romance writer's conference. Had a most excellent time with The Quirky Ladies, met some new authors, listened to some cool workshops, drank an incredible mango cocktail, hung out in a bizarre lounge area decorated with lava lamps, a disco ball, leopard-skin pillows, and sequin-covered walls. I shit you not. (Photos at The Quirky Ladies.) And now I am happy to welcome Oskar Klaus, youngest brother of Nicholas Klaus (hero of my novel Sweet Inspiration) to Penelope's Romance Reviews. 

Yep, today is the beginning of the Klaus Brother's Invasion! For the next five Mondays, the Klaus boys (Oskar, Sven, Gregor, Wolfgang and Nicholas) will be entertaining us at Penelope's. For those of you who have missed my shameless self-promotion over the last six months, I am releasing my debut novel Sweet Inspiration in December. It's a light paranormal holiday romance, featuring the Klaus family in the North Pole. And each of the five Klaus brothers just happens to be hunkalicious. (Please refer to header photo of Oskar Klaus.) This isn't actually the perfect photo of Oskar since you can't see the dyed hair, Dr. Seuss hat, or his plethora of tats. (Hey, I just used plethora in a sentence. Do I get some sort of award?). Anyway, Oskar is the youngest of the Klaus brood, and he's pretty much a snowboard punk, and Director Of Elfin Resources at the pole. Please leave a comment for Oskar, since one lucky visitor will be winning an Amazon gift card. Oh, here he is now.....Woa! Nice hair. I've never actually seen that color of neon orange before.

Oskar: Thanks! It's my tribute to Halloween. 

[From Penelope: So you all get a nice visual, Oskar is wearing low-rider ripped up blue jeans, purple Doc Martens, an old T-shirt that says Drink Your Ovaltine!--with the sleeves pushed up so you can see his smokin' tats, cool mirrored Oakley sunglasses and his Dr. Seuss hat.]

Penelope: Well, thanks so much for stopping by. I know things must be getting a little nuts in the North Pole right about now. Cranking out millions of toys, keeping those rowdy elves in line...

Oskar: You got that right. The elves are driving me nuts this month. For some reason, they are on this Extreme Manhunt kick.

Pen: My 12 year old son loves to play that game! How exactly do you play Extreme Manhunt in the North Pole?

O: Probably the same way a bunch of twelve year old boys do. The elves dress up in black, run around Glasdorf with nerf guns, and shoot the crap out of each other. Well, your son probably doesn't get rip-roaring drunk at Dag's Bar first. And he probably uses a flashlight at night instead of sternschnuppen to light the way.

Pen: (FYI, Glasdorf is the town in the North Pole where Oskar and his family reside. And sternschnuppen is a kind of elfin magik that looks like tiny shooting stars.) Actually that sounds pretty fun, Oskar.

O: Yeah, it's all fun until someone falls off a roof into a huge snowdrift and breaks his back. Although I must admit I kicked some serious ass the last time we played. Won a bag of magik pebbles from Monie and the gang.

Pen: Well, other than participating in Elfin Extreme Manhunt, what's going on lately?

Oskar: Actually, I'm stoked to be here today. When I found out this is a book blog, I got really excited because I just recently finished this very cool book of Chinese poetry, and I can't wait to talk about it...

Pen: Woa....hold on there, buddy. Oskar, are you high?

O: Huh?

Pen: I haven't read a book of poetry since I was in middle school. Seriously. This is a romance blog. As in, romance novels.

O: What?!

Pen: I haven't read a non-romance book for at least 5 years, maybe longer.

O: (Raises left eyebrow mockingly.) Are you kidding me? Nothing else?

Pen: Nope.

O: How about a biography?

Pen: Nope.

O: Mystery?

Pen: Uh uh.

O: Jesus! (Scratches his head, removes Dr. Seuss hat, gives me a sly smile and a dimple pops out). I'll bet you've read your kids a Dr. Seuss book.

Pen: Ohhh, yeah. Got me. I do read children's books quite a bit. My favorite Dr. Seuss is Too Many Daves. You know..."Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave had 23 sons and she named them all Dave?"

O: (laughing) "Well, she did. And that wasn't a smart thing to do. You see, when she wants one and calls out 'Yoo-hoo! Come into the house, Dave!' she doesn't get one. All 23 Daves of hers come on the run!"

Pen: My daughter loves that one, too.

O: So do the elfin kids in Glasdorf.  But seriously, Pen, that is sick. I mean, there's a hell of a lot of cool books out there besides the bodice ripper variety.

Pen: Dude, no disparaging remarks about romance novels. Or you'll be eating your Seuss hat, got it? Anyway, how did a snowboarding punk get to be such a voracious reader?

O: Dude, no disparaging remarks about snowboard punks. 

Pen: Touché.

O: Honestly, unless you're an elf, Glasdorf can get a little bit boring. Reading was my favorite activity growing up. I read everything...biographies, travel books, horror, mystery, poetry, you name it. (Blushes). Maybe even a, um, you know....spicy bodice ripper-style, a couple of times.

Pen: (snickers) Well, well, well. So there's erotica in the North Pole, eh?

O: (rolls his eyes). Well, I managed to squeeze in some other activities besides reading, too. You know...snowboarding, taking Dad's sleigh out for joy rides, sneaking into Dag's bar for the pool tourney, ski-jumping, stuffing firecrackers down the chimney, and....

Pen: Oskar?

O: Yeah?

Pen: How many times did you get called before the Council Of Seven? [The Council Of Seven is the governing body of Glasdorf, composed of seven crotchety old elves.]

Oskar: Addendum to FYI..."composed of seven crotchety old elves who like to torture Oskar Klaus as much as humanly possible."

Pen: Now O, they are just doing their job. You're just too good at breaking the rules.

Oskar: Well, somebody's got to do it. 

Pen: So, snowboarding is your first love, right?

O: Hell, yeah. I'm planning an epic trip to Mammoth in a couple of weeks. Gonna sneak out and let Boris take over for a bit.

Pen: Who's Boris?

O: My assistant in Elfin Resources. Basically, if I get him a box of Cubans, he can be bribed to do just about anything. 

Sven: Yeah, like fix Dad's sleigh after Oskar smashed it into little bits.

Wolfgang: And miraculously produce a hot tub just when seventeen snow bunnies showed up at Oskar's condo for a party.

Sven: Oh yeah, remember when Boris told dad that Oskar had broken his leg that time he was in Vegas....

Oskar: Hey! First of all, get the hell out of here. Today is my day to host Penelope's. You have your own damned days later in the month. Second of all, shut the hell up. I'm sure Penelope does not want to hear about that trip to Vegas...

Pen: Hey Wolfie! Hi Sven. I would love to hear about Vegas. Sounds Vega-licious. Hee hee hee.

Oskar: Out! Now! Or I'll bring out those photos of Sven wearing his night brace and Wolfie hiking the Alps wearing lederhosen.

Wolfgang: (blanches) Shit. I thought I threw away all of those photos.

O: (smiles and raises an eyebrow) Nope. Mom has some stashed away for "safe-keeping."

Wolf: (salutes) I'm out of here. You know, plenty of people in Germany wear those things. It's not that weird if you're in Europe.

Sven: (staring at Wolfie as though he's lost his mind). O, you are a douche to bring up my night brace. Anyway, the ladies seem to like my smile, so I guess it turned out okay. (Sven and Wolfie bump fists and walk away, laughing).

O: (Shakes his head.) Anyway, like I was saying. Boris is a good guy. 

Pen: I know. He has some awesome scenes in the book I'm writing now, Sweet Magik. It's the second one of the Klaus Brother Series.

O: Why is Boris in Sweet Magik?

Pen: Because it's your story, Oskar.

O: Whaaaaat???!!!! You cannot be serious. But I'm the youngest brother. My story should be last. Why not Sven? Or Gregor? I'm not ready to settle down. Seriously. Big mistake. That's what happens, right? I get hooked up with some chick for life? Jesus, I think I need a beer.

Pen: It's only 8 am, too early for a beer. And quit being such a big baby. Your "chick" is beautiful, smart and extremely well read.

O: (perks up a bit) Really? Tell me more.

Pen: No way. Gotta wait until the book comes out, Christmas 2010. Well, gotta run and get the kiddies off to school. Why don't you hang out here and chat with my visitors. And no fooling around Penelope's website. If I find a review of Chinese poetry when I get back...

Oskar: (laughing) I swear I will refrain from posting poetry discussions while you're gone. Please leave a comment/question for me, since Pen will be choosing one lucky commenter to get an Amazon gift card. Thanks again, Penelope for having me over as a guest today.

Pen: Thanks, O!



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Review of Almost Like Being In Love: A Novel by Steve Kluger


Almost Like Being In Love: A Novel by Steve Kluger

Have you ever finished a book and thought, "Geez. I think the author wrote this book just for me." Well, that's how I feel about Almost Like Being In Love. Is it so damned funny that it made me laugh out loud more than any other book I've read in my life? Yep. Is the structure of the book refreshingly outside of the box and utterly unique (POV of various characters reflected by numerous memos, letters, newspaper articles, journals, etc.)? Check. Are the characters fascinating, clever, funny as hell, touching, loving and lusty? Damned straight (okay, that was a joke because this book is totally gay, which is part of its unbelievable charm). Does it have a multitude of pop culture references, sports statistics and political observations mixed together into an incredible amalgam of storytelling? Uh-huh. Did I totally fall in love with flawed, funny, wonderful characters? I sure did. And finally, did one of my favorite themes of all time--what constitutes a loving family beyond the bonds of blood and marriage--resonate with perfect clarity? Oh dear God, yes. Kluger shows us how a precocious baseball player's son, anal retentive gay history professor, politically minded lawyer with a Red Sox obsession, a secretary with a heart of gold and loyalty beyond comprehension, and a bevy of other characters somehow find themselves as part of one, loving, wonderful family. Hot diggity dog. It just doesn't get better than that.

Well, actually it does. Because in addition to that, Kluger also creates an amazing anticipation as we follow Travis' journey to locate his long-lost love. I was totally stressing out. What would happen? Would Craig reject him? Rejoice? How was Clayton going to react to all of this? The ending of this book was just as satisfying as the most romantic of romance novels. I got my HEA, and I freaking cried. Oh yeah, happy days.

This book is not for everyone. Especially folks who are perfectly content with the standard romance novel. It is quirky. It is about gay love. The structure of the book takes some getting used to. No one says "I wanna eat you like candy, baby." (Sorry, I just couldn't resist that one!). This book is truly beyond a grade. I want to marry it and have its babies. But since I do have to grade it, it is clearly getting an A+. Let me leave you with one more hilarious snippet from this story that made me laugh out loud!
***

FROM THE JOURNAL OF Travis Puckett...

$38 for fish?! Are these people out of their fucking minds?! What do they put in the cream sauce--plutonium? And get this: $9 for verre d'eau. Know what that means in English? Glass of water! "Our orchestra is pleased to welcome those couples in love." Yeah? For $38, you'd better blow me.
***

Almost Like Being In Love: A Novel
Grade: A+
Penelope

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gonna Be A Crazy 2 Weeks!


Okay, folks, next 2 weeks will be a little bit crazy. Here's the agenda:

1) I'll be getting ready for the New Jersey RWA Put Your Heart In A Book Conference, Oct 23-24. This includes hair appointment, shopping for clothes other than sweats and T-shirts, getting the NECRWA goody basket ready (I'm on the promo committee!), and getting my husband mentally prepped to take care of the children without me for three days. Oy.

2) Soooo looking forward to Michelle Picard's book launch for her debut novel, Ruling Eden. This book is an adventure...exciting first person fantasy/romance. High rockability rating! My review will be up next week, and please stop by to visit with Michelle on Thursday, Oct. 29 for an interview and give-away.

3) Starting on Monday, Oct. 26, it's a Klaus Brothers Invasion! The Klaus Brothers will be visiting ("taking over") Penelope's for five consecutive Mondays. They wanted to introduce themselves before my debut novel Sweet Inspiration comes out on Dec. 2 (it's a light paranormal romance about the Klaus family in the North Pole...yeah, that Klaus family!). Oskar Klaus, the green-haired, punky snowboarding youngest brother will be hanging out first, chatting with visitors and giving away an Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter. Here's the schedule...

-Oct. 26: Oskar Klaus
-Nov. 2: Gregor Klaus
-Nov. 9: Sven Klaus
-Nov. 16: Wolfie Klaus
-Nov. 23: Nicholas Klaus

Each Monday for five weeks, the Klaus boys will be giving away Amazon gift cards, and Nicholas will also be giving away a sweet holiday treat on Nov. 23. Please stop by and hassle these guys! Believe me, they can take it (and they can dish it out, too!).

I'm tired already and it's only Monday morning. Hope everyone has a great week!
Ciao, Penelope

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Reading Slump Is Officially Over!


I am in love. With a book. Not almost in love. Not almost like being in love. Totally, completely, joyously in love.

This book is quirky, touching, absolutely freakin' hilarious, clever, and sweet. And a M/M love story. But it is not erotic. It is sweet. It is brilliant. I am in love.
(This book is definitely not for everyone, but since I love quirky stuff, it is right up my alley).

When I have finished, I will post a review. In the meantime, here is a snippet of dialogue that made me laugh out loud. In fact, this is the funniest thing I have read in a very long time!

***
Gordo: ...Travis, if you'd taken Trig with me like I asked you to, you'd know by now that it doesn't matter if you like boys instead of girls because the formulas are all the same.

Travis: I never said I like boys!

Gordo: Ever beat off to Penthouse?

Travis: No.

Gordo: Ever collect baseball cards?

Travis: No.

Gordo: How old is Barbra Streisand?

Travis: 36. Three weeks ago.

Gordo: What do you need -- a fucking blueprint?

***


Oh! Happy Weekend,
Penelope


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Still Waiting For A Stunner...


Wicked All Day by Liz Carlyle

I though Wicked All Day by Liz Carlyle was going to end this irritating reading jag I have been enduring for the last several weeks. But alas, no. Although No True Gentleman is one of my all-time favorites, there are some other books by this author I did not love (The Devil You Know, for example). Wicked All Day is not one of Carlyle's best efforts, in my opinion. Zoe, the heroine, was not very appealing...she was more or less a spoiled, naive, whiny girl. She spent a lot of time in her room crying and feeling sorry for herself (boring!) Also, the pacing really dragged mid-way through the book. Just after the heroine decided to break it off with the ne're-do-well fiancee, Carlyle decided to employ one of those aggravating "let's have this guy fall off of his horse and almost die, thereby forcing the heroine to nurse him back to health" incidents, which felt incredibly gimmicky to me. Bright spots: The love scenes between Zoe and Mercer were intense and satisfying, and the conclusion tied up the loose ends neatly, and with the requisite HEA. Nevertheless, I am still searching for something to rock my socks off. I ordered Almost Like Being In Love: A Novel by Steve Kluger, and I have heard great things about this book, so hope springs eternal. 

Grade: Not sure how to grade this book, exactly, so I'm giving it a B-/C+

Hoping for greener pastures and more satisfying romance novels, 
Penelope

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Blast From The Past: All About Passion by Stephanie Laurens


All About Passion by Stephanie Laurens (2001)

I had a very weird reading week. First of all, I read Pamela Clare's Surrender, one of the most beloved books of romance, and I found myself laughing (that would be laughing at it, not with it)..."Oh Annie! Oh Iain!" Oh, Jesus H. Canola! Then I tried Wild Card by Lora Leigh (as in "lay"?) which is another top recommendation. "I'm going to eat you like candy, baby." Hee hee hee...you have got to be kidding me! I realized while reading this book that one of my top pet peeves with romance novels is the over-use of "baby" as a term of endearment. Seriously, whenever I hear the term "baby" it makes me think of a greasy dude in polyester with lots of gold chains, a cheesy mustache and a bowl haircut..."Oh yeah, I'm gonna eat you like candy, baby." Sigh. I would laugh my ass off (thereby killing the amorous mood) if my man ever said that to me.

Which brings me to All About Passion, a favorite re-read. There were a minimum of exclamation points. And Gyles never refers to Francesca as "baby." Excellent! I think this book beautifully showcases Stephanie Laurens' talent as a writer. Gyles is a fascinating alpha-male, Cynster-like hero, determined to marry for convenience, not for love. Francesca is one of Lauren's best heroines ever...fire-y and intense, smart and clever, stunningly beautiful, incredibly passionate...she is Gyle's match in every way. One of the greatest scenes EVER in a romance novel is the beginning of their wedding ceremony, when Gyles looks down the aisle to see his supposed wimpy little bride, sees the woman he thinks he is about to marry sitting in a pew, and then realizes he has made an unbelievable mistake and is actually marrying the sexy "gypsy" he intended to take as a mistress. Crimeny, this scene rocks it, baby. (Oops, I just used the term baby, please forgive!). Laurens does a great job weaving the emotional journey between these two characters, a nice little mystery, her usual breath-taking glimpse into the world of Regency England, and very lusty love scenes between the h/h. Watching Gyles fall under Francesca's spell is wonderful. All About Passion is a classic Laurens' novel, and one of my favorite re-reads from the Cynster series. Grade: A

It's Penelope, Baby! 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mazel Tov Jim and Pam!


The folks who make The Office are freaking brilliant. This final scene from the Pam and Jim wedding episode is laugh-out-loud funny, sweet and touching, and totally zany. I love it! I love the fact that they spoofed the YouTube video, I love the cut-aways to The Maid of the Mist, and I love this Chris Brown song. This clip is a bundle full of goodness. (And a reminder why I love romance!)
Penelope

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

If I were being chased by a posse of wild Indians....




Okay, I just started Surrender by Pamela Clare. This book keeps popping up all the time on people's recommendations as being the most awesome book, blah, blah, blah. Seriously, folks, I am not feeling it (I'm on page 80-something). Call me crazy, but if I were being chased by a posse of wild Indians intent on scalping my sorry ass, the last thing I would be concerned about is my hard c**k and how badly I wanted to do my damsel in distress, whose poor body is battered because she was just about gang-raped by a posse of wild Indians. Seriously, do you not think that the threat of maiming, torture and a slow, painful death is enough to squash any and all libidinous impulses out of the most testosterone-laden hero?

I am finding the book ludicrous at this point.  But, I guess I'll keep reading to find out what happens. Sheesh! Maybe early colonial American romance is not my genre. Too much conflict (all the wars with practically every freaking European nation, the marauding Indians, plagues of locusts, etc etc). Not sure how those colonists managed to squeeze in their romance, but I guess it did happen. In the meantime, I just finished Sc0undrel in Disguise by Annette Blair, which was an adorable, fun and well-written historical (with just the appropriate amount of conflict for moi!), and also a quickie re-read of All About Passion by Stephanie Laurens, which is one of my favorite Cynster novels. I totally love Gyles and Francesca, and I guess I can deal better with a psychotic, mentally-unstable cousin hellbent on revenge than the impending threat of scalping.

Finally, I hope you enjoyed the fantabulous photo of Kevin from Top Chef (my favorite TV show) next to Yukon Cornelius, obviously his long-lost twin. I also joined a facebook group called Fans of Kevin Gillespie's Beard. As you know, I really, really, REALLY like beards, and getting to watch Kevin every Wednesday night is a treat. (The fact that he is also an incredible chef and will most likely win the whole competition is just the icing on the cake, baby!). As I am writing Sweet Magik, the second book of the Klaus Brothers Series, I am imagining Kevin's face superimposed on my main elf character's head. Hee heeee heee....
Penelope


Friday, October 2, 2009

Contest Winner!


Congratulations to Sandy, the winner of a free Emily Bryan book of her choosing! Sandy, please email me (penelope.romance@gmail.com)with your snail mail addy, and I will ship one of Emily Bryan's backlist to you (let me know which one you would like!). Thanks again to everyone who stopped by on Wednesday, and special thanks to Emily for hanging at Penelope's!

I just finished Scoundrel In Disguise by Annette Blair--first time reading one of her non-witchy stories. This is a great, funny, delicious historical. Review coming soon! I am off to plan my son's birthday party...he is about to turn 12. When I think about all of the crap I pulled when I was 12, I find myself thanking God that my kid is not so naughty! Hope everyone has a great weekend!
Penelope

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Quickie Reviews!



Thanks to everyone who stopped by my interview and contest with Emily Bryan this week. I will be announcing a winner shortly!

I've read a nice bushel of books recently, so I decided to include some quickie reviews today. And, might I suggest enjoying a nice Pumpkinhead Ale from the Shipyard Brewing Company while reading (in particular, Pumpkinnappers). I just couldn't resist purchasing this festive Autumn brew at my local liquor store. How totally cool is that packaging? 

In no particular order....

  • Father Mine by JR Ward (in The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider's Guide). Oh, how I miss Zsadist! That series just hasn't been the same since Lover Awakened. I bought this book for the short story about Zsadist, Bella and Nalla, their new daughter. Did I like it? I loved it! This is why I fell in love with this series...Z rocks, Bella is awesome, the secondary characters such as the dermatologist are fascinating. Most of all, the beauty of watching this big, scarred hero fall in love with his own daughter is perfection. I also love how Zsadist and Bella find their way back to each other and rekindle their love. Frankly, I'm not sure if JR Ward will ever be able to re-capture the magic after Zsadist. But I sure as hell hope she will. Grade: A
  • Pumpinnappers by Linda Banche. Didn't know that this was a quickie, nor did I realize that it was a "sweet" not "spicy" book...honest to God, I don't remember the last time I read a sweet romance novel (OK, I do remember, that would be never!). Nevertheless, I totally enjoyed this funny, extremely well-written and well-characterized story. Banche does a great job with this cute, fun Halloween-y tale. I wished the story had been longer because I really liked the characters, in particular the hero, and I also was digging the botanical angle (experimenting with pumpkin seeds! So cool!). I am looking forward to reading more of Banche's stories. Grade: A-
  • Touch Me by Jacquie D'Alessandro. Don't you love it when an author takes a secondary character from one of your favorite books (Genevieve from Love And The Single Heiress) and gives her her very own story? I must admit that I was worried about Genevieve after the conclusion of LATSH...Catherine and Andrew found true love, but poor Genevieve was left behind, struggling with her arthritic hands and pining for her lost love. I wanted her to have a HEA, too, damn it! Well, thank you Jacquie D'Alessandro for making all of my dreams come true! Genevieve gets her own story, and of course her own HEA, and my only criticism is that the book should have been longer. When Simon kisses Genevieve's swollen hands and tells her how beautiful she is...well, hell, I started crying. And now, I'm worried about Baxter...I sure hope he gets his HEA, too! By the way, this was my first Harlequin ever! That's right, I was a Harly virgin, but no longer. Grade: A-
I am currently reading Ruling Eden by Michelle Picard and Scoundrel in Disguise by Annette Blair, and loving both of them. One has unicorns, and one has wiener dogs, and I'm not telling which one is which!

P.S.--I have posted a list of my quirks at The Quirky Ladies blog, please stop by and check them out!

Happy Fall Reading,
Penelope