Monday, April 27, 2009

Review of Tempted at Midnight by Jacquie D'Alessandro

Tempted at Midnight by Jacquie D'Alessandro
Which of the following is true?
While vacationing in Sanibel, Penelope...
A) wore an itty bitty bikini
B) met a cabana boy named Sven
C) got a deep dark tropical tan
D) read Tempted at Midnight while sipping a strawberry daiquiri, and remembered why she loves Jacquie D'Alessandro so much!

Yes, of course the answer is D.  Penelope would not be caught dead in a bikini. First of all, let me just say how very much I adore the name Jacquie D'Alessandro.  It simply rolls off the tongue and inspires all sorts of romantic notions.  What an excellent name for a romance author! Magnifico! I am a huge fan of Jacquie D'Alessandro for the simple reason that she is a fabulous writer.  Her characters are wonderful, her stories are engaging, funny, sweet and emotional, and....very, very sexy.  Certain authors really capture the male POV incredibly well, and D'Alessandro is one of them.  I always adore her heroes, especially Andrew Stanton in Love and the Single Heiress (LOVE that book!).  It's been a while since I read one of her novels, and Tempted at Midnight was a super way to jump back into her writing. Logan and Emily are a case of two opposites attracting, both of them baffled by their intense sexual chemistry (and fighting it every step of the way).  In the midst of their prickly and combative relationship is a sweet and satisfying scene where Logan runs into Emily's family at Hyde Park. In this one scene, everything changes...Emily sees Logan in a new light as he bonds with her family, and Logan finds out that Miss Prim-and-Proper has another side to her (undefeated champion frog catcher).  Here is an example of a great author at work...with just one simple scene, the reader rejoices as this new and awakening romance unfurls. D'Alessandro's heroes are always protective, full of integrity and selfless, everything a hero should be (and oh yeah, very sexy, too. Can't forget that part!)  D'Alessandro's dialogue is also wonderful and full of humor.  My favorite line in this book is "That's my damn hunk of cheese, you bastard!" (You'll have to read the book for the full effect!) For those of you who are already familiar with this author, this book is an excellent addition to your library.  For those who have not read D'Alessandro yet, check out Whirlwind Wedding, Red Roses Mean Love, and my all time favorite, Love and the Single Heiress. And of course, Tempted at Midnight. You will not be disappointed.  I highly recommend this book, which has earned an A for Awesome! 
Grade: A 
Tempted to read more Jacquie D'Alessandro books,

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Vacation Time! April 19-26

Good-bye (temporarily!) to all of my faithful fans...Penelope will be sunning herself in lovely Sanibel, Florida until Sunday April 26.  Hopefully, I will return rested, invigorated, and not looking like an overcooked lobster. 
Packing and prepping for Floridian activities,

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Premio Dardos Award

Many thanks to Emily Bryan for the shout-out on her blog site.  She was awarded a Premio Dardos Award which "acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day." Nice! She is spreading the love by mentioning five of her favorite blogspots, including Penelope's Romance Reviews! She says (and I quote)..."Penny's reading tastes are broad and she gives thoughtful, well-written reviews. I've been fortunate to receive lots of raves for my work, but Penny's insights are fresh and intensely 'quotable' - a quality my editor really prizes in reviews!" Oh, I feel a swoon coming on! Emily also mentions some other excellent blogs she enjoys, including MamaWriters, which I love. Here are my recommendations for some additional Premio Dardos Awards...
  • The Long and Short of It All - an excellent website for dachshund lovers
  • The Quirky Ladies - a romance writer's blog composed of six women writing various genres of romance, including historical, paranormal, fantasy, contemporary, and erotic
  • The Witchy Chicks - a blog by nine women writing in the fantasy/magic spectre, including Annette Blair, one of my favorite authors!
  • The Moody Muses - another romance writer's blog, written by a wonderful, supportive group of women, also part of the New England Chapter of the RWA
  • Emily Bryan's Blog - (right back at you, babe!)...Emily always has an interesting topic to read about, including cool historic tidbits, interviews, and of course, the Mr. Romance Contest at RT doesn't hurt either.
And so, by the power vested in me, I hearby bestow the honor of Premio Dardos to these exemplary bloggers, and look forward to reading many more fascinating posts (especially the ones about Mr. Romance...don't forget to post photos, Emily!!!!)
Passionately yours, Penelope

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Review of The Vampire Queen's Servant by Joey Hill

The Vampire Queen's Servant by Joey Hill
I would like to think that I am not the squeamish type when it comes to romance novels. However, a book classified as a BDSM erotic vampire novel sounds a bit daunting, does it not? Since reading A Mermaid's Kiss and A Witch's Beauty, I have become a serious Joey Hill fan. My good friend and fellow writer Michelle heartily encouraged me to start her vampire series, and so I acquiesced, all the while harboring some reservations about the BDSM stuff. Who would have expected it to be one of the most touching, revealing and vulnerable relationships in a romance novel? Hell, not me. (Okay, I was expecting whips and chains. So sue me.) Obviously I was missing the big picture about this lifestyle, which is ultimately about trust. But having the dominant be the female partner, in this case Lyssa the vampire queen, is a fascinating take on this sort of relationship. Jacob is a fabulous character, struggling with his instinctive need to dominate and the need to serve his "lady" who has stolen his heart over several lifetimes, as a knight, a Japanese warrior, and now as an applicant to be her human servant.  God, is that romantic or what? This is one of the most "romantic" books I have ever read, and the fact that it is a BDSM erotic paranormal is just some tasty icing on the cake.  Hill has written a beautiful book, although not as intense and fast-paced a read as A Mermaid's Kiss or A Witch's Beauty. Jacob and Lyssa's story unfolds in a slow, sensual, and satisfying way. Another interesting part of this book is that one of the key characters (Thomas, Lyssa's former servant and instructor for Jacob) has already died when this book takes place. That does not stop Hill from painting a stunning portrait of this man who selflessly loved his vampire queen, and dared to kill for her.  Joey Hill is a writer beyond reproach and The Vampire Queen's Servant is a joy to read. I can't wait to devour the rest of the series! Grade: A+
Predicting a very vampirish spring vacation, Penelope

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Break Is Almost Here!

Penelope is chomping at the bit for Spring Vacation. There's nothing more wonderful than lounging on the beach in lovely Sanibel Island with a frosty strawberry daiquiri and my basket filled with romance novels. I have a few books I'm looking forward to devouring...Amanda Quick's The Perfect Poison, Mary Balogh's Then Comes Seduction, and Tempted at Midnight by Jacquie D'Alessandro. I would love your reading suggestions. Have you read any good romance novels lately? Please let me know...I'll add them into my beach bag. Thanks! 
Praying for sunny weather and cabana boys who look like Hugh Jackman,

A Blast from the Past: Review of Mistress by Amanda Quick (1994)

Mistress by Amanda Quick
I thought I had pretty much read all of Amanda Quick's historicals, but I guess there are still a couple kicking around that I missed. I discovered this one in the romance section of Barnes and Nobles, and I was filled with glee. I adore Amanda Quick...she creates perfectly wonderful characters, well-paced, interesting story lines, and emotionally satisfying "moments of intimacy." Mistress follows the romantic adventures of Iphiginia (where does she get these names?) and Marcus, the Earl of Masters (and yes, he is masterful). Honest to God, Quick's dialogue is brilliant.  The witty banter between her characters is flawless.  Unlike other books in her collection, this one had a somewhat convoluted path to resolution. Not only is Iphiginia obsessed with antiquities, she also was headmistress of a finishing school, as well as a successful real estate developer. Marcus is a farmer, an earl, an inventor fascinated by machinery, and a would-be astronomer. Phew! Talk about multi-tasking. Halfway through the book, it appears that the villain blackmailer has been uncovered. Obviously, since the book is only half over, that is not the case. Quick takes us down various paths including illegitimate family reunions, murders of odious first husbands, a hilarious scene at Dr. Hardstaff's Museum of the Goddesses of Manly Vigor (Dr. Hardstaff, get it?), and confrontations with lecherous ex-employers. She really packs a lot into this book!  I am a fairly forgiving reader as long as I get my satisfying romance, and once again this well-loved author delivers with Marcus and Iphiginia. Although Mistress is not quite as good as some of her other stories (such as Ravished, one of my favorites), I still found it a fun affair. Grade: B+
Sincerely, Penelope