On My Radar December 15 to January 14, 2013

November 27, 2012

Jennifer Ashley

The Seduction of Elliot McBride
Highland Pleasure series (MacKenzie brothers)
Release date December 31, 2012

Connie Brockway
Eloisa James
Julia Quinn

A Lady Most Willing
Release date December 26 2012

Isobel Carr

Ripe for Seduction
League of Second Sons series
Release date December 18, 2012

Connie Mason
Mia Marlowe

Waking Up With a Rake
Royal Rakes series
Release date January 1, 2013

Juliette Miller
No website, Goodread, twitter and facebook

Highlander Claimed
Clan MacKenzie series
Release date December 18, 2012

The Cover Caught My Eye

Wendy Roberts

Grounds to Kill
Electronic format for now
Release date January 7, 2013

For a MORE complete list of upcoming releases, see Hey Delia!!


Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke by Suzanne Enoch

November 26, 2012

The mail must go through!!! 
Oh, that trickster, Suzanne Enoch, one of my favorite authors.  Sometimes she's at the top of her game and sometimes she's not so close.  With Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke, Ms. Enoch is at the top once again.  I'm a happy camper because so far I had been less than enchanted with her Scandalous Bride series, but this one is a charmer.

This romance is for Adam, the Duke of Greaves, and Sophia White, the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Hennessy.  This is their time to shine and shine they do.  These two characters were in the previous books in the series, but, honestly, I don't remember them.  I'll remember them now because I loved this story and I found Adam and Sophia truly magical.

Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke is a tale that can be divided into two parts - before the bridge is fixed, and after.  Even though there was a most definite difference in the emotional punch each part delivers, I loved both.  In the end they joined to make an enchanting story.

Here is a short plot: Adams has to get married before his thirtieth birthday or lose his inheritance.  Sophia has to marry to save her friends.  Adams has a party, invites eligible women and, on a whim invites Sophia (not eligible.)  Sophia accepts.  Bridge collapses. Sophia almost drowns. Adam saves Sophia. Adam, Sophia, his maniac sister and a plethora of servants are trapped at his estate.  The only thing that gets through is the mail, which puzzled me and made me go back and do some rereading.  Apparently, there is time to create an elaborate pulley system that can be used to deliver the mail, but there's no time to fix the bridge.

The story in the beginning has a slow, gentle, almost dreamlike feel about it.  Our couple is almost alone except for the aforementioned sociopath sister and the peripheral servants.  This is the time we fall in love with the effervescent Sophia.  What a wonderful character.  She's funny, strong, honest and she is able to break through the cold shell that surrounds Adam.  In this part we get to watch a slow build up of friendship, and then eventually they become lovers.  Both Adam and Sophia know their relationship can't last, but they hold on to their dream as long as they can.

And, then their world comes crashing back in and the bridge is fixed.  All those nubile girls and so called friends invade the estate.  Their brief interlude is over and they are forced to return to their old ways.  Adam returns to his ways with a vengeance, not really able to understand what has happened to him.  Sophia, as it turns out, was always delightful.

The one problem I had with this story was the abrupt ending.  I wish we would have had a nice long epilogue to enjoy and get a feel for how this couple was adjusting to their new life, because we all know Sophia and Adam are going to be socially unacceptable.  But, then I have to ask, just how many "friends" must a duke have to be happy?

Both parts of this novel connect into a brilliant love story.  What a wonderful couple.  I highly recommend Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Hot


The Second Seduction of a Lady by Miranda Neville

November 21, 2012
I have good reasons for hating marriage... Let's see, ur... It's coming to me, just a minute... Wait, I'm thinking... Nah, that's not a good one.


The Second Seduction of a Lady, a short story or novella - whatever - let's just say it's very short - by Miranda Neville happens to be a prequel to her new series, The Wild Quartet.

Because it is a short story, the reading goes by rather fast. There isn't anything too deep, too emotional, although there is an occasional glimmer of semi-character building.  And, there is one very interesting secondary character.

What we do have in this novella is a very cold, uncompromising heroine, Eleanor, who is at her best when surrounded by her unusual family.  I liked Eleanor when she exhibited some of her hidden humor - didn't care for her too much when she was on a "I hate marriage" tangent.  I didn't think her reason for disliking marriage justified her strong aversion to it.  It was over the top.

Then we have our controlling, I-stole-the-heroine's-magic-bud hero Max.  I sort of liked Max, except he was always scheming lying, controlling.  And, let's face it, the story was just too short to explain away all of his shenanigans. 

Next, we have our scene stealer, Caro.  What a gem!  She was funny and I just loved all of her over dramatic teenage theatrics.  She is the heroine of the next book, The Importance of Being Wicked.

I felt the book was too short for some of the development that should have happened; however, as a prequel it must have done it's job, because I intend to pick up the next book.

Time/Place: Georgian England
Sensuality: Almost Hot


Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries

November 20, 2012
It's the angry kiss couple!


Twas the Night After Christmas, by Sabrina Jeffries, is part of the Hellions of Halstead Hall series, just in case you're keeping track.  However, it is a standalone book, no continuing curse, murderer, missing siblings in this one - no there isn't anything you have to remember from the past books to keep you from enjoying this one.  Spoilers ahead!

This is a standard romance yarn by veteran writer Ms. Jeffries.  There isn't any new ground broken or world shattering romance pathos to be seen.  Which is mighty puzzling considering this tome is being published in hardback formatting first.  That means this story is a tad bit pricey for just a simple romance that isn't different from other romances out there.  However, for die-hard Sabrina Jeffries fans, this might make a nifty Christmas gift.  And, that's the end of that whine.

Now, let's take a look inside our story.  First we have our angst-filled hero, Pierce. He has a giant two-by-four on his shoulder.  If you have read any of the other books in this series, you may recognize him as one of the secondary characters from To Wed a Wild Lord and A Lady Never Surrenders.  Mr. stubborn hero-guy has a blind spot in the person of his mother, Lady Davenport.  He has cut her out of his life. He believes she abandoned him as a child and then again as a young man.  So, he has built up a cold solitary wall.  And, this wall consists of half-truths, innuendo and assumptions based on what he perceived as a young boy.  He is  not interested in finding out the truth, listening to his mother's explanation or anything that might change his mind or show that he has been wrong all these years.  What he has been interested in is hurting his mother by leading a hedonist lifestyle over the past few years.  He needs someone to just smack him in the head.

Ta-ta-ta-dah!  Enter our put-your-nose-in-other-people's-business heroine Mrs. Camilla Stuart.  Camilla is Lady Davenport's companion, you see.  And, she must must must help the sad lady who's son has neglected her and made her sad.  You see Camilla also has a son, Jasper.  So, you understand she knows a thing or two about mother luv.  Ms. nose-in-your-business sets out to right some wrongs, reunite poor Lady Davenport and her naughty son, Pierce.  And, what a messy bumpy tense catastrophe that turns out to be.

All four of the main characters in this book, Pierce, Camilla, Lady Davenport, and Jasper are well-developed, interesting personalities.  I loved how they interacted and played off of each other.  The slow layering that Ms. Jeffries applies was wonderful to behold.  And, by the way, Jasper is written as a six year old who actually seems six years old.  He also comes close to being a scene stealer.  What a charmer.

Then we have The Big Secret.  The tension created by Lady Davenport's secret kept me turning the pages in an-tic-i-pa-tion.  My mind was buzzing with all kinds of "maybe it's this" or "could be that."  Although, I thought the big reveal was drawn out just a little too long.  I was becoming a little impatient with doors being shut in my face toward the end of the book 

I also had a minor quibble with the angry kisses.  It didn't seem to me that our couple could embrace and smooch unless they had an argument first.  So, every time they had a fight I knew what was coming.

And authors gather round, let me impart a word of advice... sort of.  Be careful when comparing possible future hero material to animals.  In the case of this book, a black Labrador.  I know in this book we were supposed to perceive, something slick, smooth, svelte. But some people have overweight Labs and when they look at them snoring away on the floor the image in the book is shattered.

Anyway, this was a good book.  It has a bite your nails mystery, some lovely characters and some poignant moments.  While I'm not sure it was hardback material, I am sure that it is a book you will want to curl up with under a blanket while sipping some hot chocolate.

Time/Place: Late Regency England or Post Regency
Sensuality: Medium Hot


Seducing Mr. Knightly by Maya Rodale

November 14, 2012
Let me repeat myself... Let me repeat myself.


This is my first sampling of a Maya Rodale book and I don't plan on it being my last. It also appears that I've walked into the middle or last in a series when I chose Seducing Mr. Knightly. However, this particular book stands on its own.

Now, Ms. Rodale probably didn't have me in mind when she wrote this book, but I have to say that the heroine in Seducing Mr. Knightly bore a strong resemblance to moi. It was rather startling and there was even a totally embarrassing incident in this book that happened to the heroine, Annabelle, that also happened to me. However, in this book it was funny. Even though I could identify with Annabelle completely, I also found her thoughts and antics to be terribly funny and I even had a few laugh out loud moments.

Despite my love of Annabelle's character, because I could identify so closely with her, it was also a bit problematic. People who are introverts or shy or quiet are not weak people; in fact I think they are very strong people. They are also very observant, due to the fact that they are always watching while extroverts are always nattering away. Why am I saying this, you may ask? Well, you see Annabelle has this metamorphosis from a shy, retiring person into this, dare I say it, tart. I found it hard to believe that she, the quiet Annabelle, would be able to transform herself as much as she did in this book. Without a big bottle of tequila in her hand, that is.

The other issue I had with Seducing Mr. Knightly was - Mr. Knightly. First of all, he was flat, boring, and I couldn't quite understand why Annabelle was in love with him. Why she had mooned over him for years and years. He is handsome, so, I can understand an infatuation... but to love someone who is oblivious to everything around him, no. And, we know she loves him, because we are told over and over and over that she does. Then, she transforms into a floozy and all of a sudden Derek actually sees her, or her bazongas. And, he craves her, just craves her. Craves! Craves! Craves! We are told repetitively that he craves and she loves. We never get to see it. 

I felt more of a connection between Owen and Annabelle than I did between Derek and Annabelle, and that was the part of the book I was disappointed in. I also wished that Derek had fallen in love with the shy Annabelle instead of the pop-tart Annabelle.

So, for me, the beginning of this book worked. It was a humorous, fun read.  I enjoyed the secondary characters, especially Owen.  I thought they were well-written and not flat. Where the book lost me was in the romance. I had a problem with Derek and Annabelle connecting. I actually wanted her to end up with Owen.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Hot


A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long

November 5, 2012

"Mister Bluebird on my shoulder
It's the truth, it's actch'll
Ev'rything is satisfactch'll"
- Ray Gilbert & Allie Wrubel

Gather around my little kid-does.  We got us a winner!  A Notorious Countess Confesses is one to be savored.  Now, it may seem strange, but I find reviewing a good book harder to do than one not so good.  There is always a chance that one will be too flowery with one's praise.  I know my radar goes up when someone just luvs-luvs a book.  Well, I have to say this is one gem of a book.  May be spoilers.

Welcome back to Pennyroyal Green, the wonderful community created by Julie Anne Long.  I love series' that are set in little towns!  Let me introduce you to one of the finest mismatched couples created.  We have Adam, the vicar and Evie, the courtesan.  Neither one of these character types is high on my favorite list.  A vicar just doesn't strike me as exciting hero material.  And, as far as a courtesan, there are just way too many fake boo-hoo romance courtesans out there.

But then, in walks Ms. Long, a truly dynamic writer.  In her hands a vicar who, while he may be perfect, is no zealot.  He's smart, has a sense of humor, caring for his flock and oh yes, extremely handsome.  Most of the women in the community drool over him, hang on his every word and dream of being his right hand woman.  He is overloaded with jams and honey from his adoring female parishioners.  He is used to their adulation, so when a beautiful stranger falls asleep during one of his sermons, he is intrigued as well as a little insulted.

That beautiful woman is Evie, our heroine.  I loved Evie; she was a strong, smart woman.  She makes no apologies for her past, but she has one desire and that is to have a friend.  A female friend.  So, she enlists Adam's help in trying to reach this goal.

I can't say enough about how interesting these two people were.  They both know that they are worlds apart.  They are both very much aware how damaging a relationship between them would be.  But, hey this is romance and we all know resistance is futile.  In the hands of Ms. Long, their struggle turns into a very romantic love story.  The dialog was so wonderful, it had me posting notes all over the place.  Right from the beginning, I wanted to see just how Ms. Long would resolve this couples vast differences.  I was eager for it to end, yet at the same time I wanted to stretch this story out just a little longer.  I even found myself experiencing anxiety over Evie's eventual pain.  Some really great writing.

Now, was it perfect? Well, I had a bit of a problem with the eye brow raising, rainbow gleaming, blue birds tweetin', butterflies flying around my head ending.  It was just a little bit overwhelming, a little sappy.  And although some of my favorite Bible quotes were there, it was just a little too much.

However, even with the Zip-a-dee-doo-dah ending, this is a book that shouldn't be missed.  I highly recommend A Notorious Countess Confesses!

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Mildly hot


What the Cat Saw by Carolyn Hart

November 2, 2012
How do you get a warm fuzzy feeling from a murder mystery?

Well, I don't know how you do, but that's the feeling I had while reading What the Cat Saw by Carolyn Hart.  This is the first book by Carolyn Hart that I've ever read, and it probably won't be the last.  In fact, I believe this is the first in a new series by her and I think I am interested enough in the characters to check out the next few.

What the Cat Saw was a fast entertaining read.  There was a bit of traditional old-fashioned mystery story going on.  No goo or gore.  No detailed autopsy reports.  No cops in high-heels running after the bad guy.  Just a comfy - cozy, cup of hot chocolate kind of crime to be solved.

And, of course, the crime must be solved by someone not really in law enforcement.  You know those guys, police, detectives, the ones who really should be snooping around.  The ones who really ask questions that can hold up in court.  Nah, we have Nela Farley, who used to be an investigative reporter but she lost her job.  And now she's filling in for her sister at a place where there has been a mysterious death.  She's also feeding the cat (Jugs) of the dead woman.  Then there’s Steve, also an investigative reporter, who may be the love interest in future books.  Anyway, these two, Steve and Nela solve the mystery...cause reporters are so much smarter than police

I enjoyed both Nela and Steve.  Ms. Hart did a great job of slowly building my interest in these two characters.  I'm sure, as the series progresses, I will become even more involved in Nela and Steve.  The romance in this book was a soft, gentle, budding romance and the couple did not hop into bed with each other at first glance. In fact, there was nary a kiss throughout the whole book.  There was an underlying sensual tension between the two characters that I found refreshing.  I'm looking forward to the development of this relationship. 

Now, I did have a couple of quibbles.  The title of the book implies that the cat, Jugs, is going to be a big part of this book.  While there were some interesting cat thoughts being communicated to Nela, I thought that there should have been more.  I did find the cat's disjointed words and Nela's ability to pick up on them rather interesting.  I just wish there had been more, because it was fun. 

The other quibble I had was that I had a hard time believing that people/suspects were going to spill their guts to a pair of investigative reporters, especially in this day and age.  I also found it hard to believe that the detective/police eventually seemed to turn over the case - or at least the questioning - to Nela.

But, those were minor quibbles.  Mainly I found this book a fun read...not as in funny, ha ha, but entertaining.  And I will definitely be reading the next in the series.

Time/Place: Current USA
Sensuality: Sweet, Just Under the Skin Tension