Review: In Serena’s Web by Kay Hooper

Posted January 31, 2015 by Marsha in Contemporary Romance / 0 Comments

In Serena's  Web KHThis is one of Kay Hooper’s earlier Loveswept novels.

Title: In Serena’s Web
Series: Hagen Series #1
Author: Kay Hooper
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published: 1987 Original Loveswept #189 (reissue March, 2010)
Source: own

At twenty-six, Serena Jameson is a handful—brilliant, manipulative, and passionate, at least when it comes to righting the wrongs of the world. Her father, a renowned computer magnate, is worried about Serena’s impetuous nature—as well as a far more tangible threat—and entrusts a colleague, handsome Brian Ashford, to ferry her on a trip across the country. But as usual, Serena has ideas of her own.

A novice in affairs of the heart, Serena asks Brian to give her a crash course in seduction so that she can tame the notorious womanizer Joshua Long. But what starts as a simple lesson in love becomes a complex erotic dance, as both men find themselves caught in the snares of Serena’s undeniable wiles. Is Serena trying to attract her declared target or her teacher? Who is really ensnaring whom? And can she finish weaving her web before the mysterious cabal eager to kill Serena’s father manages to succeed—over her dead body?

For the times (1987) this novel was written for, In Serena’s Web was a light-hearted, fast-paced romance for the Loveswept line which featured mostly this formula for their romance novels.

This is the original cover. In Serena's web original Yeah, I know.  🙂

One thing I am grateful to the Loveswept line is the fact that they sent so many new, wanting to be published, struggling writers out into the reading world who went on to write, for the most part, vastly different styles of novels.  And far, far more in depth characters and world-building.  The writer Kay Hooper who wrote this novel is the same person who now writes the Bishop paranormal crime fighting novels.  The two styles of writing and novels could not be further apart.

I put this post up for mostly memory sake.  At one time Loveswept and similar publishing houses of the time period, were mostly what I read.  At that time, they were good stories.  Now.  A trip down memory lane to a so-so story that I would not pick up to read today.

Guess I’ve  moved on to other novel styles as well.

Oh Serena?  Well she was a manipulative, spoiled brat who got two men hot for her and then picked one for a happily ever after.  Yeah, pure formula.

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Review: Nothing but Velvet by Kat Martin

Posted January 31, 2015 by Marsha in This one's a Keeper / 0 Comments

Nothing But Velvet KMGet ready for another Historical Romance romp.

Title:  Nothing but Velvet
Series:
Author:  Kat Martin
Genre:  Historical Romance
Published:  Original July 1997  (reprint: October 28, 2014)
Source:  owned

From the glittering ballrooms to the scaffold’s dark shadow,
Lovely Velvet Moran has renounced all thoughts of love. To save her family from ruin, she will wed the hard-faced Duke of Carlyle. But instead of becoming a nobleman’s bride, Velvet finds herself a notorious highwayman’s prize—her resolve to escape his forest lair warring with the wicked heat sparked by his caresses.

the path of temptation keeps unfolding…
Falsely branded a murderer, Jason Sinclair has secretly returned to clear his name and stop the wedding that would deny him his stolen dukedom. In an outlaw masquerade, he’ll kidnap this sensuous minx and detain her as long as is necessary. But can he bridle the surge of passion that has captured his soul…and could imperil them both?

This is the Kat Martin that I love.  Historicals with want to root for them to fall and stay in love characters, a deep storyline, of course sexiness and a satisfying conclusion.

Original Cover from 1997

This is a re-issued novel.  So buy it for the new cover if you want – but know what you are buying.  Nothing but velvet small orig

 

Read on for my thoughts on Kat Martin’s Nothing but Velvet.  No true spoilers, promise.

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Review: Plaid to the Bone by Mia Marlowe

Posted January 31, 2015 by Marsha in This one's a Keeper / 0 Comments

Plaid tothe BonePlaid to the Bone is the prequel novella in the Spirits of the Highlands series.

Title:  Plaid to the Bone
Series:  Spirits of the Highlands
Author:  Mia Marlowe
Genre:  Historical Romance
Published:  August 2013
Source:  owned

A Bride Comes to Bonniebroch

But Cait Grant is hardly dreaming of wedded bliss. As a duty to her father, she must marry Adam Cameron, laird of Bonniebroch. And then, because of a blood oath to her clan, she must murder him…

If only her new husband weren’t so devilishly handsome. If only she didn’t have to play the loving wife for one long, languorous month. If only she didn’t surrender to his softly sensual touch, she would be able to fulfill her oath. If only she didn’t fall in love…

Cait and Adam’s love story was a joy to read.

Marriages are not always welcomed as a love match in the 1500’s.  Often they are politically based on territory or simply keeping the enemy close through marriage.  Unfortunately for Cait and Adam this is how their marriage started out.

Although it was a marriage of convenience, Adam believed that in time and with mutual respect it could blossom into a deep affection, if not love for he and Cait.  To this end he gave his new bride time to get to know him, or as much as he could considering how much he wanted her.

Cait, on the other hand, doesn’t expect much from this marriage at all.  Except to become a widow rather quickly.  After one month of marriage, Cait has made a promise to kill Adam.  If she can now… dammit, why did she have to go and fall in love with him?

Who wins in the end?

It’s a short love story, so there is not a lot of time to develop Cait and Adam as fully as I would have liked.  But with it’s magical touches, tormented love and triumph at the end it was a very good read that sets up the following novels in the series. (Plaid Tidings and Once Upon a Plaid)

Why?  Because of the curse.

Plaid to the Bone is available at Amazon on the Kindle.

 

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Review: Plaid Tidings by Mia Marlowe

Posted January 31, 2015 by Marsha in This one's a Keeper / 0 Comments

Plaid TidingsPlaid Tidings is the second installment of Mia Marlowe’s Spirit of the Highlands series.

Title:  Plaid Tidings

Author: Mia Marlowe

Genre: Historical Romance, Christmas Romance, Paranormal

Published: October 1, 2013

Source:  owned personal copy

Christmas in the Highlands…

Not any dashing English lord’s idea of a good time. But now that Lord Alexander Mallory has won a Scottish estate in a hand of cards, he is the unlikely laird of the wild, snowy Bonniebroch. Worse yet, the ancient pile of stones comes with a betrothal. To a fiery red-headed virgin. And a curse. Alex will have his hands full honoring the first, seducing the second and breaking the third … all by Twelfth Night.

What happens when you mix up a

  • a handsome former spy for the crown
  • a beautiful, if unknown to the former spy, betrothed
  • a betrothed who talks to her own personal ghost
  • his own, newly discovered personal ghost
  • an evil curse that has a time limit on being lifted
  •  a hot, sexy couple who can’t keep their hands off each other

You get Plaid Tidings, of course.  🙂

This is a delightful, funny and sexy romp of a story. And I’m not going to say a lot about the story, which is odd considering this blog.  I just think that to say too much would take away from the enjoyment of reading about Alexander and Lucinda’s romance, and the crazy, fun, and loving things that happen at Bonniebroch.

It helps a bit to have read Plaid to the Bone, which is a novella set much earlier than this current story.  You don’t have to in order to enjoy Plaid Tidings, I just think it would give you a bit of background to some of the events in this love story.  You will love Brodie.  Just saying – you will.  🙂

I have a container full of only Christmas books.  I usually pull this out around November to get myself in the mood for the holiday season.  This is in that container.  Because I enjoyed it enough to re-read it every Yuletide.

Plaid Tidings is available at Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

 

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Review: Once Upon A Plaid by Mia Marlowe

Posted January 31, 2015 by Marsha in This one's a Keeper / 0 Comments

Once Upon A PlaidA wife may be courted, too…

Many would count Katherine Douglas fortunate indeed. Laird William Douglas is broad-shouldered, gentle-handed, everything a lass could dream. But after four years of marriage, Katherine still knows little of what goes on in his heart. And she has yet to bear him an heir. The distance between them is too great—and so she flees over the snowy highlands to Glengarry Castle, home of her childhood, to set her husband free.

But William won’t let his wife slip away without a fight. Before long, he’s at her father’s threshold himself, witness to the rumbles of discontent in Glengarry, the bright joy of Yuletide at a family hearth, and the hidden needs of his own beloved…

Once Upon A Plaid is the third installment of The Spirit of the Highlands series by Mia Marlowe. (Plaid to the Bone, Plaid Tidings are the first two)

This historical romance deals with a subject not often covered in romance novels of any genre.  Infertility.   It is a heartbreaking subject for any couple who want to have children with all their heart.  Imagine how emotional the inability of a wife to bear children for her husband was in olden times – when the need for an heir often cause women to lose their husbands if not their heads.

Be prepared for an emotional story.

Read on for my thoughts on Once Upon A Plaid.  No true spoilers, promise.

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Please Excuse The Mess This Upcoming Weekend

Posted January 30, 2015 by Marsha in This one's a Keeper / 0 Comments

book pileThis post is an apology to all those that get updates from Keeper Bookshelf through Bloglovin’

I’m sorry for blowing up your feed.

🙁

I have a weekend planned of major updating posts and adding new reviews from a website I no longer keep active.  It’s moving day around here.  And things might get ugly.  Between putting up new reviews here, on Goodreads – adding reviews from an older website – well, you might get more updates than you’d like from me.

I promise it’s only going to happen this weekend (in about 4 hours when I’ll start)  Then it will be finished.

Please don’t unfollow me because I broke your feed.  I’m sure the nice folks at Bloglovin’ can fix it.  😉  Thanks, you’re the best.

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Feature & Follow #3

Posted January 30, 2015 by Marsha in This one's a Keeper / 32 Comments

FeatureFollowParaAlisonThe Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

This week’s feature blog is:  A Writer’s Dark Corner

Today’s Question up for discussion is:

Hard print (real thing) or Kindle/Nook, which is your favorite? 

I love the feel of a physical book.  The weight of it, the smell, and the anticipation of opening it up to the first page.  I will always buy some favorite author’s novels in “real” books to keep on my bookcase(s) and know that “old friends” live there to visit at any time. Yet. I love my Kindle for the convenience of having a new book in moments (no dragging myself out on release day to the store through storm, snow and such) is such a pull to use my Kindle more.  And the E-reader is so easy to take with me.  I can read in line, during lunch, when stuck in traffic.  I enjoy the portability of a really huge novel on a lightweight Kindle.  So, I can’t give a real answer to this one because I love them both.

Now it time to get following – hope you find awesome new blogs today.  🙂

Because this blog cannot use GFC – I prefer Bloglovin’ please.

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FetureFollowbloglovin

 

 

 

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Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #1

Posted January 29, 2015 by Marsha in This one's a Keeper / 4 Comments

unConventionalBookViews_Meme-ThirstyThursdayHungryHeartsThere is a fun new meme going on over at (un)Conventional  Book Views.  Lexxie is hosting the Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts weekly list of food and drink.  😉  More specifically what food or drink from a recent read of yours would you like to try or never in a million years touch.  You can find details, sorta rules and the sign up linky by clicking on the graphic or on the bold link above.

I really wanted to join in on this because it sounds fun – and get to be in the very first part of a new meme.

But for the life of me I could not remember a mention of food or drink in anything I read recently.  🙁

Then it hit me:  donuts

A dozen donuts.  Pure bliss.  Not the last meal of legends, but it worked.

Box balanced on her knees, she fished out a white powdered donut and crammed half in her mouth.  Strawberry filling coated her tongue.  Hand under her chin, she caught a little red glob on her palm before it escaped and licked it off.  After the trouble she’d gone through, she wasn’t wasting a drop. ~ from Eternal Neverland: Steps Before the Fall by Natasha Rogue.

*wipes brow*  Yay, found one in the memory banks.  Now I’ll have to keep an eye out for food as I read.  😉

A favorite fantasy of mine is to eat however many donuts I want – and it would never add an inch to my hips or a pound on the scales.  Yeah, right.  A girl can dream.

How about you?  Read any good food or drink lately?

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Throwback Thursday – The Dark Prince by Christine Feehan

Posted January 29, 2015 by Marsha in This one's a Keeper / 0 Comments

Dark Prince cfThis is where it all began.  My addiction to Ms. Feehan’s amazing vampire saga.

Enter the enchanting world of the Carpathians, where dark adventure, mystery, and love await, and the desires of two daring hearts unite in one irresistible passion.

A telepathic hunter of serial killers, Raven Whitney helps catch some of the most depraved criminals. But her work keeps her from getting close to others, and has drained her body and spirit. In need of rest and rejuvenation, she embarks on a vacation far from home.
Mikhail Dubrinksy is the Prince of the Carpathians, the powerful leader of a wise and secret ancient race that thrives in the night. Engulfed by despair, fearful of never finding the mate who can save him from the encroaching darkness, his soul cries out in loneliness. Until the day a beautiful voice full of light and love responds, softly soothing his pain and yearning.

From the moment they meet, Raven and Dubrinksy are helpless to resist the desire that sparks between them. But just as fate unexpectedly brings these life mates together, malevolent forces threaten to destroy them and their fragile love. Yet even if they survive, how can these two lovers – Carpathian and human – build a future together? And how can Dubrinksy bring Raven into his dark world without extinguishing her beautiful goodness and light?

Read on for my thoughts on The Dark Prince

You’re welcome.  😉

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Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Posted January 28, 2015 by Marsha in This one's a Keeper / 0 Comments

The Here and Now A BrasharesI received a copy of The Here and Now from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title:  The Here and Now

Author:  Ann Brashares

Source:  NetGalley

Publication Date:  January 1, 2015

 

Book Blurb:

Thrilling, exhilarating, haunting and heartbreaking, The Here and Now is a twenty-first-century take of an impossible romance.
There are rules.
Never reveal where you’re from. Never be intimate with anyone outside the community. And never interfere with history.
Seventeen-year-old Prenna James emigrated to New York when she was twelve. But Prenna didn’t come from a different country, she came from a different time – a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.
Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth and take the lives of her younger brothers. But everything changes when she falls for Ethan.
She might be able to save the world … if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

My Review:

Our planet’s future is not secure, in fact it is in great danger.  Because of climate changes that raise the water levels around the world mosquitoes have become a menace to mankind.  They carry blood plague and humanity will eventually die off from this pesky insect overpopulation.  People hide in dark homes, sleep under netting and spray toxic fumes around them in an effort to avoid being bit by these miniscule carriers of death.

But nothing can stop the coming destruction.  Then.

Time travelers are sent back in time to assimilate into today’s world.  To escape the future and presumably to stop what is in our future from becoming reality.  Or not.

There are rules for our time travelers.  Strict rules that when disobeyed… well, people tend to die shortly after breaking them.  In perfectly natural conditions, of course.  Or so it would seem to anyone outside of the closed community.

Prenna and Ethan are teenagers, in the same school and friendly.  Ethan has known Prenna longer than she knows at first – but he is her champion, often explaining things that she should know, teaching her ways to fit in with society and eventually bring her to a homeless man who will play a large part in her life and in everyone else’s as well.

Prenna must make a choice to interfere with the history that is or the history that could be.  Doing so could be the most difficult decision of her life.

My Opinion

I really enjoyed Prenna and Ethan’s story.  Putting time travel along with world destruction makes a very interesting and compelling story.

I have a pretty good imagination and I could, often, put myself in a person’s place who came from a very different future and look at the world with both fear and wonderment.  But mostly fear.  Afraid to do the wrong thing at the wrong time to completely change history.  Change one thing here, another thing changes over there where you can’t see.

But at some point Prenna comes to no longer trust the closed community of time travelers.  I was so glad to see that point come to her.

The teenage romance of Prenna and Ethan was presented very believably.  Overall, I enjoyed this novel very much.

I’m hoping for another book.  Time will tell.

 

Yes, this is an Amazon affiliate link.  The cover is different than the one on NetGalley.

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Review: Eternal Neverland: Steps Before The Fall by Natasha Rogue

Posted January 28, 2015 by Marsha in This one's a Keeper / 0 Comments

Eternal Neverland Steps Before the FallI received this copy of Eternal Neverland: Steps Before The Fall from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Blurb:

“I’ve abandoned all my principles for you… Broken laws I held to so firm for centuries, did things I never thought myself capable of…” He kissed her as he whispered. “Was it worth it?” His tears wet her lips. “I don’t remember.”~David

Helena K. Sharpe was raised by a man who had sympathy for supernatural creatures, for the vampires his bloodline hunted for centuries. She was too young to understand how he tried to help them, but she knew it was important. Her father made her promise never to hunt them and she would do anything to keep that promise.

Until he is murdered by the very things he dedicated so much of his life to.

Orphaned and alone, Helena takes to the street, afraid for whatever’s left of her life. Without her family, she doesn’t know how—or even if—she can go on. Until a vagrant takes her under his wing and gives her a purpose. Revenge.

For six years she learns about the monsters, studies their habits, until, at 15 years old, she feels she’s ready to find the ones responsible for her parent’s death. All she has to do is become one of them. She’s cute, young, innocent…

They’ll never see her coming.

 

My Review is behind the Read More.  No true spoilers, I promise.

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