Spirited Brides by Amanda McCabe
If you have insomnia, this book is for you! It will put you to sleep in a matter of minutes.
Spirited Brides by Amanda McCabe is a reprint of two regency books that were published in 2003.

The first one One Touch of Magic has a very slight touch of the paranormal in the form of kind of reincarnation. Miles and Sarah are the main characters in this book, she's digging up a viking village and he owns the land she digging on. The villain is easy to spot, and the romance is almost not there at all. This was a mediocre traditional regency read, however it is better than then second story in the book, A Loving Spirit.

A Loving Spirit has a story full of matchmaking ghosts haunting the castle of the uptight hero Philip and the ghost-chasing heroine Cassie. This story could have been really funny, but the author seams to have pulled back every time I thought that moment for a laugh out loud might occur. She must never have seen the Bob Hope movie, Ghostbreakers, later made into a Jerry Lewis/Dean Martin vehicle Scared Straight.

Both stories just sort of meandered along, never really going anywhere. Too bad, both of them could have been really good and it wasn't that there wasn't enough time. The books were long enough to have created some really funny memorable characters, they just didn't.

Time/Place Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Kisses


Sold to a Laird by Karen Ranney
Here is me beating my head against another disappointing read by an established writer. Is it written somewhere that an author becomes stale after so many books? And by the way, what a cheesy cover!

I really wanted to like Sold to a Laird, I really tried. Marriages of conveniences/forced marriages are one of my favorite story lines. You see, the hero, Douglas, is forced into marrying Sarah by the eviiiiil father. There is a silly plot-line of fabricated diamonds that doesn't go anywhere, the eviiiiil father piddles away then appears again, then piddles away. The hero says he will respect his uptight wife and not consummate the marriage, however, he talks dirty too her so he can seduce her. Another thing that irritated me was, Sarah is really devoted to her home and the people that inhabit it, but in the end that devotion just sort of vanishes and she moves on to her place in Scotland. Some of her servants go with her, but I couldn't help wondering what about all the other people that were on her land? The only person left there to take care of the land was her eviiiil father and well, he's eviiiil, so what would happen to all of those tenants?

However, amongst all of this silly stuff is some really strong, emotional, heartrending writing in the form of the death of Sarah's mother. In my opinion this part of the book was stronger than anything in the rest of the story. In fact, I found some of this really hard to read because the emotion suffered by Sarah was really devastating.

So, I found this a very inconsistent read, on one hand, silly plot-lines, eviiillll father and on the other hand, some really deep emotion prose.

Time/Place: Victorian England/Scotland
Sensuality Rating: Hot

Mistress by Mistake by Susan Gee Heino

Can you say far fetched, stretch of the imagination, farce, silly and historical inaccurate?
I purchase this book for a number of reasons, one it was a debut author and two it was getting good reviews. And those reviews happen to say "laugh out loud romp." So, I thought "Just what I'm looking for, a book with laughs." Half way through Mistress by Mistake, I was still waiting for my first laugh, I eventually smiled when I was about 50 pages from the end.

As I've said before, writing funny is hard and I give Susan Gee Heino some small applause for trying. However, she tried too hard. From the totally historically inaccurate Regency miss getting drunk on the bottle of wine she's carrying around to the convoluted idea that the hero, Dashford, has of getting out of his engagement, it was just way too much. It was like a Jerry Lewis movie, beating the audience over the head trying to get a laugh. And then there was one of my pet peeves, the interrupted love scene...over and over and over. There's that Jerry Lewis thing again.

Overall, the writing wasn't that bad and Ms. Heino seems like a talented writer, it's just I didn't find it funny.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot


The Sins of Lord Easterbrook by Madeline Hunter

Fan please!
Madeline Hunter writes hot stuff; she is also one of the better Medieval writers around, however, this isn't is hot though! This is the last of the four book Rothwell series, and it is about the eccentric older brother Christian. At last we find out why he is an eccentric recluse... he's empathic. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a paranormal book, it just has a little new age stuff thrown into the mix. You see Christian is a recluse because he is bombarded with other peoples emotions, that is until he meets Leona and she is the calm in his storm.

One of the interesting things about this book was the title. For once in a romance, the title actually matches the storyline. You see, The Sins of Easterbrook are not only Christian's but his fathers as well.

If you like books with strong Alpha males, this one is for you, Christian is very domineering, which was a good thing because Leona was a very stubborn woman. In fact she was very close to being a TSTL heroine who couldn't trust Christian; however she could certainly hop into bed with him for some very hot sex. And let me say, these sex scenes did require a fan. Also, for being a recluse, Christian certainly had all the right moves. This was a very intense romance and these two people struggled to the very end.

While I did enjoy the book and I found the writing to be above par, Leona really got on my nerves for way too long, which is why I couldn't give it the A rating I would have liked too.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Burning Hot


Written on Your skin by Meredith Duran
Written on Your Skin was the third book I've read by Meredith Duran and I really like her writing style. I'm also expecting great things from her, which is why I was disappointed in this book. This is the story of Phin and Mina. I believe it's supposed to be taking place around the same time as her previous book Bound by Your Touch, because the character of James from that book shows up, but doesn't seem to have been changed into a hero yet.

I had trouble with this book, while the writing was good, it was also slow and I keep waiting for the romance to happen. It seemed to go on and on and on and on and eventually I did what I do when reading slow books. I started to skip read, and when you skip read you start missing stuff. But in this case when I'd skip and come back, they were still droning on and on. I found this book boring, with very little romance. I was very disappointed and hope her next book is better.

Time/Place: 1880's Hong Kong/England
Sensuality Rating: Hot


Fare Thee Well 2009

I was able to read 71 new books this year or at least that is how many I recorded. I have over 50 at home that are collecting dust as we speak, regardless, I thought I'd take this moment to reflect on 2009. Or regurgitate 2009, which ever the case may be. Do the name Jennifer Haymore's A Hint of Wicked strike a familiar note? I think that one may get my worst book of 2009 award. (And, yes that sentence is supposed to start with DO.)

It's been an interesting year, a year of old authors disappointing and finding some new authors who don't disappoint. So, here is my list of the ones I've awarded the coveted Kay's A . Drum roll please!

The list, in no particular order:

Bettina Krahn, Make me Yours
Julia Quinn, What Happens in London
Meredith Duran, Bound by Your Touch
Elizabeth Boyle, Confessions of a Black Dress
Jacquie D"Alessandro, Tempted at Midnight
Suzanne Enoch, Always a Scoundrel
Julie Garwood, Honor's Splendor (reread 1987)
Eloisa James, This Duchess of Mine
Deborah Simmons, Tempting Kate (reread 1997)
Deborah Simmons, The Last Rogue (reread 1998)
Sally MacKenzie, The Naked Baron
Jennifer Ashley, The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie
Emma Wildes, The Indecent Proposition
Elizabeth Rolls, Lord Braybrook's Penniless Bride
Mary Balogh, First Comes Marriage
Connie Brockway, So Enchanting
Liz Caryle, A Woman of Virtue (reread 2001)
Carolyn Jewel, Scandal
Candice Proctor, Beyond Sunrise (reread 2003)
Candice Proctor, Whispers of Heaven (reread 2001)
Candice Proctor, Night in Eden (reread 1997)
Candice Proctor, September Moon (reread 1999)

The Renegade Hunter by Lynsay Sands
Warning: A WHAT THE CRAP ending! I cleaned up my act and said Crap instead of what I really thought.

Let me be blunt! I hate the ending of this book! AARRGGHH! I would throw it across the room, except it is part of a stupid series that I have been sucked into!

The Renegade Hunter by Lynsay Sands is the 12th in the Argeneau family series and the 3rd in the Rogue Hunter series. Nicholas Argeneau is/was a rogue hunter (he who hunts rogue vampires or immortals as they like to call themselves.) Anyway, Nicholas is believed to have killed an innocent person, so the hunter becomes the hunted. Along the way he meets his "life mate" (hate life mates) Jo and the story begins.

We are once again reintroduced to the Argeneau clan and to Ms. Sands fast paced writing interlaced with humor. I like the Argeneau series better than the hunter series, however, this particular book was better than the last one in the hunter series.

I found Nicholas and Jo to be a cute couple, with just a little too much of a feisty heroine thing going on with Jo. Jo is out to solve the mystery surrounding the death of Nicholas' first wife and clear up the false murder charges against him. The momentum builds, the chase is on, puzzle pieces are being put together and vampires are running all over the place and then...and ends with *SPOILER* a telephone call that Nicholas is innocent.

What! How? Sputter...Sputter...what the crap; did I miss a book? Turn the page back and forth looking for more writing. Heart-attack looming, blood pressure to the author's website. Oh, I guess we will find out who murdered who August of next year. Ms. Sands is ever so sorry, because when she wrote the cliffhanger she had intended that the follow-up book come out the following month. Ms. Sands, do you know that I will not remember this plot line come August of next year? So, I guess I need to picket the publisher for changing the schedule or whine to the author for writing one of the worst cliffhangers I've ever read.

Place/Time: Present time United States and Canada
Rating overall:
Sensuality Rating: Hot


A Courtesan's Scandal by Julia London

Warning: Suspend your disbelief! And this review contains a history lesson.
A Courtesan's Scandal by Julia London is a book about courtesan that is really a courtesan and not a fake virgin courtesan. The heroine, Kate, is a working girl, she's been a working girl since she was 13. And, I must say that I loved Kate. She was a sweet, optimistic, refreshing heroine. Grayson, the hero, is a snob. He is a hypocrite and a panderer, but I still liked him. The plot of this book is similar to the one written not too long ago by Bettina Krahn, in which the Prince Regent wants Grayson to pretend to be Kates lover, just a different time period, different Prince Regent.

Now, I did really like this couple, but there were two things that bothered me. One, was Kate says all the way through the book that she knows who she is and knows that she will always be a courtesan, but then she expects marriage from Grayson. This storyline was perfect for the irritating "I'm not good enough for you" romanceland routine and in this case I would have understood it, but it didn't happen. However, that was just a minor quibble. My main problem was the portrayal of the Prince of Wales, George. And this is where my suspension of disbelief comes in. I did not suspend by disbelief with the thought of a courtesan marrying a Duke, because it's happened, Lord and Lady Lade come to mind. Laetitia Lade was the mistress of a highwayman before she married her lover Sir John Lade, of course he was only a Baronet. But still, they were in the Prince Regents set of friends and only the female half of society shunned them.

I digress, let's talk about George the Prince of Wales. Now, as a student of the English royal family, I can tell you that throughout the entire history of England there wasn't any English royal that didn't come from a pretty dysfunctional family. And, more than likely George was a very class conscious snob, without any morals whatsoever. However, in this book he is a downright villain, really nasty and I think that Ms. London's depiction of George is very extreme (I had vision of Snidely Whiplash). The part that really made me roll my eyes was when Grayson publicly tells off Prince George using a 21st century voice. Of course, there is that famous time when Beau Brummell asked Lord Alvanley "An' Alvanley who is your fat friend" and received the cut direct from the prince for doing so. Prince George never talked to Brummell again and Brummell died in a madhouse suffering from syphilis. And that is your history lesson for today. To return to my previous statement, it was hard for me to imagine a duke publicly yelling at a prince. Maybe it was just the words he used, I don't know, they were just too preachy.

So here we go again, if you are reading Julia London's Scandal series, go ahead and read this one. It is the third in the series and it is an ok read. But be prepared to suspend your disbelief.

Place/Time: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot


Wicked all Day by Liz Carlyle

Quick! Someone I need a Margarita!

Repeat three times. Liz Carlyle writes dark stories, Liz Carlyle writes dark stories, Liz Carlyle writes dark stories. Don't be deceived by the smiling woman on the cover, it is the last smile you'll see.

Wicked All Day is the story of Zoe Armstrong (her father was the hero in My False Heart) and Stuart Rowland (his mother is the heroine from (A Woman Scorned), so we are bringing two of Carlyle's families together...the Rowland's and the Armstrong's...Carlyle has a handy dandy pedigree chart on her website for further information. Anyway, we get to see old friends again...lot's of old friends.

If anyone has read My False Heart, you will remember that Zoe is the illegitimate child of Elliott Rannoch. She is a wild child and she's been incredibly spoiled by her father. She is constantly getting into one scrape after another...enter Robin Rowland, her childhood friend and fellow scrape getter-iner. One night at a party, she becomes enraged with her father and seeks out her friend Robin. Now, Robin is slightly drunk and depressed because he's in love with his mistress and he doesn't know what to do about it. Anyway, these two come together to comfort each other and get carried away and caught by Robin's older brother, Stuart the resident scrape getter-iner rescuer. Stuart has also dragged along his mistress, who isn't happy with him because he just dumped her. Stuart at this point realizes his feeling for Zoe, but insists that Robin do the right thing and marry Zoe. So, to avoid a scandal, the atrocious spoiled jerk Robin; the I've ruined everyone's life Zoe and the I must watch my brother marry the woman I love, Stuart and their scandalized family go to Stuart's country estate for a perfectly horrendous miserable time.

It is at this estate that I truly learn to despise the constantly drunk, whiney Robin...what a jerk. Of course, he's not the hero of the book, but still for supposedly being Zoe's best friend and her fiance, he is a real jerk jerk jerk jerk. I did like Zoe after she finally started to grow up and she's a good match for staid uptight Stuart. Small qualm: since there was sex between Zoe and Stuart (remember Zoe is his brother's fiancee) and then that big baby Robin (who is supposed to love his mistress) and a bar maid, I have to say these people have the morals of a snail.

This book was well-written, but gee-wiz it was one heavy duty, filed with lots of angst, 421 pages of sweat and tears book. If you've read any of Carlyle's other books, go ahead and read this one and catch up on the family do's, but just be warned, this is really an intense book. So, tread carefully.

Place/Time: Late Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot


To Desire a Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt
"He began to think that the source and secret of this ghostly light might be in the adjoining room, from whence, on further tracing it, it seemed to shine” Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

If Dickens can do it Elizabeth Hoyt can and let's not forget God..."I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence come
th my help."

I digress, none of the above have anything to do with Elizabeth Hoyt's latest book and the last in her soldiers story, To Desire a Devil. Now, if you've read the other three this is a must read. This book is the spoiler, you get to find out who was responsible for the massacre at Spinner's Fall. And it brings back to life, Reynaud St. Aubyn (the hero), who everyone thought had bit the dust.
Surprise! He makes a grand entrance at a tea party given by the heroine, Beatrice Corning, barging in, waving a knife and collapsing at her feet. Now, we are faced with another conundrum. You see, Elizabeth Hoyt is really a skilled writer, one of the best to come along in a few years. One should not really skim her books because one just might miss something, however, I will admit that I skimmed this one.

To Desire a Devil was out of balance. There were great moments and close to tear jerking moments when Beatrice is with her childhood friend Jeremy. What a lovely secondary character, spoiler...don't get attached to Jeremy. And, while I found the secondary characters to be very interesting, I also found them to be a distraction from the romance between Reynaud and Beatrice. If there was a romance. One minute Beatrice is nursing him back to health and the next moment they are having tea together in his bedroom and he's in love with her. Maybe it was the tea, Beatrice serves a lot of tea.

I was a little let down by this book, it seemed to me that the author may have chopped some things out of her book because of a word count, I don't know. While both Beatrice and Reynaud are lovely characters, they could have been more fully developed and coming from such a gifted writer, they should have been. So, I'm not sure what happened with this book. Maybe, she was in a rush to finish so she could begin her next series coming to a store near you in the summer of 2010.

I was hoping for a smashing ending to this series but didn't get it. So, if you want to find out who did what, you need to read this book and watch for some touching scenes with Jeremy. However, this book is not up to the standards set in the others.

Time/Place: 1765 England
Sensuality rating: Hot


The Care and Taming of a Rogue by Suzanne Enoch
Well, how to start with this review. Suzanne Enoch is one of my favorite authors and I was really looking forward to The Care and Taming of a Rogue. And with every page I turned I kept hoping to really like this book, but, alas twas not to be.

It had all the makings of a good story, the hero, Bennett is an adventurer who everyone thinks is dead. The villain has stolen Bennett's journals and publishes them, taking Bennett's heroics and making them his. The heroine, Phillipa or Flip, is a bluestocking who has read all of Bennett's previous books and doubts that the most recent one was actually written by the villain. Then Bennett returns from the dead and things start to happen, or are supposed to happen.

First of all let me say that I have a problem with monkey's on the shoulders of the hero everyplace he goes. Wouldn't there be crap on those manly shoulders? I really couldn't get past that monkey. I didn't care for Flip's sister until the end of the book and then she turned into someone interesting and I'm hoping for a story on her, but I don't think that is in the works. I thought the romance was a little flat and even though I liked Flip better than Bennett, she did some hypocritical things, she's supposed to be different but she wants to be courted, she faints when she receives red roses...what! Why is she fainting? And, there were other family dynamics going on, that once the book was over I was left to wonder what would happen there.

And then we were introduced to the Adventurers Club. This was a really clunky introduction into the series of books that are coming, but I didn't get the reason for the club. I'm sorry, why are these guys hiding out here? I didn't really understand the reasoning behind the club other than it introduced characters that will eventually have their own book.

Bottom line, I was disappointed in this book and partly that's because I have come to expect more from Suzanne Enoch. This book seemed to be a tad bit rushed and put together clumsily. This book reminded me of a hampster in one of those wheel things, running, running, running and never getting anywhere.

I did like the dedication at the beginning of the book, it was the best part of the whole thing.

Time/Place: Regency England, I think
Sensuality Rating: Hot


Indiscreet by Carolyn Jewel

Sorry to say, I couldn't finish this book. I was very disappointed because I really have enjoyed Carolyn Jewel's other books, but I could not get into this book.

I found the premise of the book interesting, a heroine destroyed by a false rumor and a hero 15 years older than her. But, there were just too many things going on, kidnapping, heroine disguised as man, escape, false deaths, etc. And, I knew I was in trouble when I kept putting the book down because I was bored. And then my shipment of new books came in and the Carolyn Jewel book became an albatross around my neck. So, that wasn't a good sign.

I'm not giving up on Ms. Jewel because I know she can write really good books, so maybe the next one will be better. And, if you want to read a good Carolyn Jewel book read The Spare from 2004.

Time/Place: All over the Middle East/Victorian


Seduce Me by Christmas by Deborah Raleigh
Warning: I Can't Marry You Because...What Was That Reason Again Heroine?

Yes, the I'm not worthy heroine strikes again in Deborah Raleigh third book in the bastard series, Seduce Me by Christmas. Now, don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this book and I really liked the hero Raoul.

Raoul is on a journey to the countryside to discover the secret of his childhood and he happens upon Jimmy and Willie by trampling them with his horse, knocking the one unconscious. He takes the injured boy to their guardian Sarah and it is lust at first sight.

He is really very seductive and Sarah does fall for his charm, but of course she cannot marry him. It's not as if he is too good for her, he is the illegitimate offspring of the local gentry (or so you think, mystery, mystery.) So, I never really understood Sarah's reasoning, because Raoul is a hotty!! A really nice, charming, sexy guy. All I can say is Sarah, you are a boob!

If you can get over Sarah's shilly-shallying, this is a pretty descent book and a nice follow-up to the other two.

Place/Time: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot


Make me Yours by Betina Krahn
Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover or publisher!!

I almost missed this one due to my not reading very many Harlequin romances. I'm a Harlequin snob. Another reason I almost missed this one is I lost track of Betina Krahn when she switched publishers and she didn't keep her website updated. She has a new website by the way. Anyway, Make Me Yours is a gem, and shouldn't be overlooked. It's fast-paced and filled Krahn's trademark humor.

A refreshing change from the Regency time period, it takes place during the late Victorian era, when the Prince of Wales was cutting a swath through Britain's women. The heroine, Mariah, is wonderful, she's pragmatic and has a wicked sense of humor. The hero, Jack, is one of my favorite types, the befuddled hero. He is in the Prince of Wales set of men friends and he is given the job of finding a husband for Mariah so she can become Bertie's mistress. Of course, he falls for Mariah and when that happens the fun begins.

I really enjoyed Mariah, she appeared to be one jump ahead of Jack all through the story and I loved the way she made him trip over his feet on the rocky road to finding love. Thankfully, Mariah was not a virgin widow nor a widow that didn't like sex because of her cruel husband.

There are some gentle moments, some fun moments, some nice sex and a happy ending.

This was a delightful story, and I highly recommend it.

Place/Time: Great Britain 1880's
Sensuality Rating: Hot


A Christmas Ball by Emily Bryan, Jennifer Ashley, Alissa Johnson
Sorry, I tried to get through it, but really...the stories were awful. The writing was bad and I lost some money in this deal.

No recommendation here.


Tempt me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas
I love Lisa Kleypas books, well most of her books. She has had a couple of clunkers. Tempt me at Twilight comes close to being a clunker. In Tempt me at Twilight, we are once again in the midst of those whacky Hathaways. This time it is Poppy, the one that wants to be normal. Although, why she should view her family as anything other than loving and warm is beyond me. But Poppy wasn't the problem I had with this was Harry!

Harry, boo, hiss, throw those rotten tomatoes. Harry is the owner of the hotel that the Hathaway's stay in when they are in London. Harry sees Poppy and he must have her. Or he must have her body. I'm not sure why some other body wouldn't do, it's never explained. Harry is a self-centered, cruel, manipulative, ruthless villain-hero. It's been a long time since I've read a hero who is this mean-spirited, he reminds me of Steve from Sweet Savage Love written in 70's by Rosemary Rogers. Ms Kleypas has made him too much of a villain, and eventually when he does become the lovable teddy-bear (don't they all) I cannot forgive the cruelty, sneakiness displayed in the beginning.

There was also a stupid suspense thing tossed in toward the end of the book, totally unnecessary. It had the feel of "Hey, Lisa, we need to make your book longer, add something."

The secondary characters of Leo and Cat/Marks were really interesting and I'm looking forward to reading their story. They actually stole the show, along with the youngest sister Beatrix. Beatrix spouts things about animals like "monkeys are as greedy as people." I call them Beatrix's little animal sayings that have some deeper meaning that we can all learn from.

This book wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good either and Harry was just a creep. So, if you are reading the Hathaway family stories, you should read this, just be prepared for a mean hero.

Time Place: 1852 England
Sensuality rating: Hot


A Lady of Persuasion by Tessa Dare
Just in time for Halloween: The Heroine with no Brain!!

A Lady of Persuasion
is the final book in Tessa Dare's debut trilogy, and I have to say I didn't like it as much as the other two. I really liked Toby in the other books and I was looking forward to his happy ending. But gee-willikers Bullwinkle, I really found Isabel to be one of the most irritating characters I've read in a long time.

Isabel really, really got on all of my nerves, she was this strangely naive reforming zealot. She wouldn't eat ices because they were made from sugar on plantations that had slaves, but she didn't seem to have a problem wearing clothes made from cotton imported from plantation that had slaves. She expected Toby to go along her on her journey through England righting wrongs, regardless of his thoughts or even his wants. Now, granted, Toby was a beta hero, but why did he but up with it? I kept asking myself, what does he see in her? Liked Toby, wanted to shoot Isabel.

There is also a secondary romance between Josh and Hetta, but not enough coverage of it in this book for me, so, the author might as well as left it out. Maybe, she should have included it in a novella.

And, I really think that this book isn't necessarily a stand alone book. To understand what's going with the other characters, you really need to have read the first two books.

So, in the end, I think that Tessa Dare is an author to keep an eye on, however her third book is the weakest in the trilogy.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot

Candice Proctor project
This was a great project, I got behind in my other readings, but it was good to know that my memory wasn't playing tricks with me. I wish she still wrote romance.

So, in order of preference here goes:
1. Beyond Sunrise A+
2. Whispers of Heaven A
3. A Night in Eden A-
4. September Moon A-
5. The Last Knight B
6. The Bequest
7. Midnight Confessions C-

You really have to pick up one of these Candice Proctor books, I promise you, you'll enjoy them.

Beyond Sunrise, rollicking adventure! A cross between Romancing the Stone and African Queen. And at last a book by Ms. Proctor that has some laughs in it. The story of a starched-up spinster by the name of India and a rude hard-living rogue by the name of Ryder.

The background for this book is set in the lush South Pacific islands, as we follow these two through one adventure after another. This is a fast paced book, raced with a lot of humor as these two people butt heads. This book has some really fun bickering as these two characters fall in love. And once again Ms. Proctor proves that she can create complex secondary characters, including the villain.

I'm rating this one my favorite, I loved these two people. They were fun and poign
ant at the same time.

You really have to pick up one of these Candice Proctor books, I promise you, you'll enjoy them.

Time/Place: 1800's, South Pacific

Sensuality Rating: Warm

Warning! I hates the Yankees to piecccesss, ya'all!

Ok, it seems that I like Candice Proctor books when they are not in the Unite
d States. Midnight Confessions takes place in 1862 New Orleans. And New Orleans is beautifully, atmospherically written in this book. However, I couldn't like the heroine Emmanuelle, a TSTL heroine.

You see Emmanuelle is a Confederate sympathizer and her husband was killed by a dirty Yankee. So, she isn't fond of Yankees, especially dirty ones.. The hero, Zach Cooper is the resident provost marshal...dirty Yankee. Emmanuelle is a witness to a murder, Emmanuelle sees things, she knows things, she must protect her son, she may be the intended victim. But does she tell any of this to Zach? Nooooo, he's a dirty Yankee.

Anyway, this is more of a murder mystery story than a romance and because I really did not like the heroine, I think this must rank among my least favorite of Candice Proctor's books. This story has one of my pet peeves: non-communication between the hero and the heroine, so this love story does not work.

But the scenery is nice. Thank goodness, this was not her first book.

Time/Place: Civil War/Reconstruction New Orleans

Sensuality Rating: Warm

Another good one from Candice Proctor!!
Whispers of Heaven is set in Tasmania in the 1840's and once again we get to see the prison system that was part of the Engli
sh empire. This time it isn't quite as rough as Night in Eden.

The heroine, Jesmond, is returning to a land she loves from 2 years spent schooling in England. She returns to an aristocratic overbearing mother, a brother who has some problems of his own, an English gentry stuffed shirt fiancee. She assumes she will be returning to the life she left behind and just do what is expected of her. Enter Lucas Gallagher, a convict laborer on their estate.

Now, this may sound like a plot from some other books, however, in the hands o
f Ms. Proctor the story turns into something truly magical. This is really Jessie's story, its a truly amazing story of her struggle to conform to the role that has been created for her. Her struggle is presented realistically; she doesn't reject her way of life as soon as the hero makes his appearance. This is a character driven story, and the tension in the story is mainly from those characters with very little external conflict. While I found Lucas to be a interesting hero, it is Jessie that steals the show. Also, Ms. Proctor has once again created some very intriguing secondary characters, I wish that she had written a sequel or something with them in it; but, noooo, she had to start writing murder mysteries!

This book is what romance novels are all about.

Tasmania 1840's

Sensuality Rating: Warm

The Last Knight, another vivid novel by Proctor, this one in Medieval England during the reign of Henry II and his dysfunctional family. That dysfunctional family is the background story for which the romance is built around.

Basically, Attica, a woman of her time not some 21st century woman, is awaiting an arranged marriage to a 14 year-old boy nickname Fulk the Fat. She stumbles across some secret message about Henry II and decides that the only one she can trust is her brother Stephen, who is with Henry II. So, she dresses up as a boy and on her journey stumbles across our surly hero Damion de Jamac, a knight with some problems.

The book is really well researched, and full of the noise, images and smells of the time. The love story is not a love at first sight story, we get to watch them fall. And, while they are doing that, they stay true to the time period. The villains are all very interesting and have their own story, which I would have liked to read more of, but alas, that could not be. The middle of the book bogged down a little, but the ending more than made up for it. The one big problem I had was with the solution of Stephen. I'm not going to write what that was, however, because of what happens to Stephen, I wondered if the couple could really ever have a happy ending. According to Candice Proctor they can, so it must be true.

Time/Place: 1180's France-Brittany
Sensuality Rating: Warm/Hot

Note to self: When rereading a heavy-duty beloved writer, throw a Julia Quinn in for laughs.

September Moon! Candice Proctor returns to the Australian outback with this tale of a destitute English spinster (29) taking on the job of governess for 3 children who have systematically chased off all of their other governesses.

Amanda Davenport is a so very proper Englishwoman, when she arrives to take care of Patrick O'Reilly's children from hell and if they aren't bad enough, there is a drought going on. Patrick's English wife has left him for another man when the youngest of his children was a baby, so he has a slight grudge against Englishwomen. Amanda slowly grows to care for the children;and these children were not 21 parading as nine, but very realistically portrayed. There is some really great sexual tension between Patrick and Amanda. There are some very touching moments with the children, and we get to watch Amanda gradually change from hating Australia to loving it. All of the characters in this book are well-drawn and one of the most compelling secondary characters is the Australian outback itself. What a harsh place, and what an interesting portrait Candice Proctor has drawn of it.

Time/Place: Australian Outback 1864

Sensuality rating: Warm/Hot

The Bequest is set in Colorado in the late 1800's and once again this not a light fluffy read. This is also not as good as Night in Eden. Maybe it's because it is a western and I'm not a great fan of westerns. This one has the Girl Raised in Convent Inherents Her Mothers Brothel And Falls For The Half Owner plot.

In the hands of Proctor this is a pretty gritty, filthy, smelly story and there is way too much violence in it for my taste. I could use a good comedy right now, but I'm going on with my project.

This was really too realistic for my tastes, and I couldn't really give it a good rating because I didn't like it. Although the writing was superb.

Time/Place: Colorado 1870
Sensuality Rating: Warm/Hot

A Night in Eden
When I started reading A Night in Eden, I had to keep reminding myself that this was Candice Proctor's debut romance novel. The more I read, the more I wished she was still writing romance instead of mystery. Sigh...

This book has a number of unsettling things in it; it is not a light fluffy read. The heroine, Bryony is a convict who has been sent to the New South Wales penal colony (Australia). The harsh treatment of the women and the heroine in this book is not sugar coated. When Bryony arrives, she has lost everything, her children, her husband, her home. She is a dirty, vermin-ridden sad creature. The hero, Hayden,...let me tell you, his entrance into the book is some of the best descriptive writing I've read. I really could visualize him, with his big ol' hat shading his eyes, smoking his cheroot.

Hayden has come seeking a woman who will be a wet-nurse to his son, so, Bryony becomes his prisoner/servant/slave.

This book by Ms. Proctor is refreshing. It is powerful in it's descriptions, from a horrible justice system to the extraordinarily magnificent landscape that is Australia. And, this was her first book, keep repeating it.

I highly recommend this book, but remember this isn't something that is going to make you laugh...this is a deeply disturbing, moving story.

Now, I did give this story a minus. The reason: I had a minor issue with a tiny little sentence (I am not going to say what sentence, but it is one of my hot buttons) and one of the characters in the book just kind of disappeared. But, these were little.

Read it!
Time/Place: 1800's New South Wales/Australia
Sensuality Rating: Hot


Cleansing Palette !!!

After the last few books, with the exception of Laura Lee Guhrke, I feel the need to cleanse my palette. So, I have chosen to reread some old ones by one of my favorite authors Candice Proctor. At least my memory says I like her. They are in order of publication: Night in Eden 1997, The Bequest 1998, September Moon 1999, The Last Knight 2000, Whispers of Heaven 2001, Midnight Confessions 2002 and Beyond Sunrise 2003. Ms. Proctor is now writing mysteries under the name of C.S. Harris. I understand that her mysteries are pretty good, but I've never read them.

I'll let you know if my memory lives up to my expectations or is it vice versa?

To Wed a Wicked Earl by Olivia Parker
I was looking forward to the second novel by Olivia Parker, To Wed a Wicked Earl, but I have to say it was a struggle to get through this. I just keep slogging through hoping for a good story, I finally gave up around page 300. The story started out great, then it jumped to a year later, then it jumped to a month later, then jumped again and again and again; you get the picture. We never get to see the romance develop between the two main characters. And supposedly the hero Adam has loved Charlotte for years, however, that doesn't stop him from indulging his baser instincts with other women.

The book is almost 400 pages, so one would think there would be plenty of time for some kind of relationship to grow. There was no connection, and I never ever knew why Adam love Charlotte. And way way too much flitting from one scene to another. I really wanted to like this book, but I didn't, hope her next one is better, if not she's off my list.

Time Period: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Warm