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