Publisher: HarperCollins

SILK IS FOR SEDUCTION by Loretta Chase

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: Publisher
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
SILK IS FOR SEDUCTION by Loretta ChaseSilk Is For Seduction by Loretta Chase
Series: Dressmakers #1
Published by HarperCollins on 2011-06-28
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Reviewed by Shayna

From the Design Book of Marcelline Noirot:The allure of the perfect gown should be twofold:ladies would die to wear it . . .and gentlemen would kill to remove it!Brilliant and ambitious dressmaker Marcelline Noirotis London's rising star. And who better to benefitfrom her talent than the worst-dressed lady in the ton,the Duke of Clevedon's intended bride? Winning thefuture duchess's patronage means prestige and fortunefor Marcelline and her sisters. To get to the lady,though, Marcelline must win over Clevedon, whosestandards are as high as his morals are . . . not.The prize seems well worth the risk—but this timeMarcelline's met her match. Clevedon candesign a seduction as irresistible as her dresses;and what begins as a flicker of desire between twoof the most passionately stubborn charmersin London soon ignites into a delicious inferno . . .and a blazing scandal.And now both their futures hang by anexquisite thread of silk . . .

Marcelline Noirot may be part of the notorious “Dreadful DeLuceys,” but she and her sisters are not a pack of liars and thieves.  Marcelline is, however, incredibly ambitious, and she’s determined to be London ‘s premiere dressmaker.  And what better way is there for her to win over the ton than to dress the Duke of Clevedon’s future bride?  Marcelline tracks down the scandalous duke in Paris and sets out to convince him to patronize her shop.  But there’s one thing Marcelline didn’t count on when she set out to capture a duke: that she’d come to want his heart, not just his wallet.

Loretta Chase brings 1830s fashion to vivid life in Silk is for Seduction.  The amount of detail allotted to dressmaking in Silk is for Seduction is sure to please fashion enthusiasts. Unfortunately for this reader, it felt like more attention was paid to dresses than characters or plot, making Marcelline and Clevedon’s story fall flat.  Marcelline’s personality seems to be limited to her ambition and Clevedon’s character doesn’t come to life except when he’s thinking of how he lusts after Marcelline.  The future heroines of the Dressmakers series, Sophia and Leonie, have no personality whatsoever, making it very difficult to find something to interest me in Silk is for Seduction.  The one character of note is Clara, Clevedon’s intended.  Clara is the one character that leaped off the page and I found myself wishing that the book was about her rather than Marcelline and Clevedon.  Theoretically, Clara’s almost-engagement to Clevedon would be the major obstacle of Silk is for Seduction, but strangely this element of the book never really seems to hit its full potential.

Silk is for Seduction plods along with its tepid romance and weak attempts at intrigue until the very end of the book.  Ms. Chase does finish up Marcelline and Clevedon’s story nicely, but not enough to make me want to revisit Silk is for Seduction.  Readers who already are fans of Ms. Chase’s might enjoy this book, but those who are new to her work would be better served by looking to another one of Ms. Chase’s stories to read instead of sitting down with Silk is for Seduction.

BEYOND THE DARKNESS by Jaime Rush

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: Publisher
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
BEYOND THE DARKNESS by Jaime RushBeyond the Darkness by Jaime Rush
Series: Offspring #5
Published by HarperCollins on 2011-11-29
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 384
Reviewed by Miranda

They live ordinary lives,but they are extraordinary.They are the Offspring,children of a mysterious experiment gone awry—and they are in terrible danger. Cheveyo: a name that stirs Petra like no other, reviving deep feelings of pleasure . . . and pain. Despite her rare psychic gifts,the beautiful half-human Offspring doesn’t know why the magnificent shapeshifter walked out of her life when the bond they shared was powerful . . . and intensely passionate.But Cheveyo is not gone. From the shadows, he watches over his beloved, determined that the malevolent enemies he hunts with fang and claw will not invade her world. But now, suddenly, the stakes are getting higher—as an insidious evil plots the destruction of Petra’s race. Cheveyo can remain hidden no longer from the lover who completes him but could destroy him . . . if his own inner darkness doesn’t destroy her first.

Petra Aruda is feeling rather lonely lately. Everything should be peachy considering it appears her and her family of Offspring are finally safe from the evil that has been stalking them. When Petra looks around she sees her friends and family paired off; each couple more romantic and happy than the rest. They all have what Petra wants love and a family of her own. There is only one person that Petra has ever had those feelings for and he disappeared from her life after saving it. 

Cheveyo follows Petra from afar. He’s been a part of her forever but knows that his life is too dangerous for her. Cheveyo is a hunter. He has trained his whole life to hunt down the bad things that skulk around in the dark harming humans. It is what he was born to do just like his father before him. The last thing he needs is to put a target on the back of the woman he loves. It takes every disciplined cell in his body to stay away from Petra and she doesn’t make it easy.

Pope has helped the Offspring in the past, but now that he has landed in trouble himself he comes to Petra for help. Well, he needs protection and the only one that can give him that is Cheveyo. Petra gets Pope and Cheveyo together but unfortunately doesn’t get out of this without putting that target Cheveyo’s feared on her back. With Pope and Petra in need of his protection there is only one thing Cheveyo can do; take out the enemy before it gets anywhere near Petra. Can Cheveyo get them all out of this unscathed? More importantly can he get through this and keep his hands off Petra?

Every series has that one couple that you absolutely cannot wait to read about and in this series, for me that couple is Petra and Cheveyo. Beyond the Darkness is a pulse-pounding, heart wrenching, jump out of your seat novel. I’m an Offspring fan but this is my favorite so far. Jaime Rush kicks ass with Beyond the Darkness!! The action is top-notch! I felt as though I’d been running on a treadmill the way my heart was racing while reading. The action is not the only thing that got my heart going. The amount of emotion that lies between Petra and Cheveyo is massive. For a couple destined to be together they have such a hard time getting there. I really felt Petra’s loneliness at the beginning while seeing all her friends and family so happy in coupledom. She knows that her perfect person is out there but she can’t be with him. It’s torturous for both of them. Beyond the Darkness is a killer journey that pairs one scorching couple with dastardly danger. Petra and Cheveyo sizzle, Beyond the Darkness should not be missed!!

SEXIEST VAMPIRE ALIVE by Kerrelyn Sparks

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: Publisher
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
SEXIEST VAMPIRE ALIVE by Kerrelyn SparksSexiest Vampire Alive by Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: Love at Stake #13
Published by Avon, HarperCollins on 2011-09-27
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 384
Reviewed by Jo

The secret is out . . . Vampires do exist!When a video reveals to the world that vampires live among us, it's up to
All Gregori Holstein wanted to do was get his commercial filmed and in the can before someone wanted to stake the star.  However, this wasn’t an ordinary night because the human public had been exposed to the truth about vampires being alive among them by a torqued off girlfriend.  A video has gone viral on the internet and all vampires are scared of what the backlash might be.  Gregori has an idea to calm his workers and when he calls his boss’ office to put it into action, he is requested to come to the last part of a high level meeting.  What Gregori learns there will change his life forever and we all know that forever is a really long time for a vampire.
 
Abigail Tucker is one of the U.S. President’s daughters.  However, she is the forgotten one, a scientist trying to find a cure to save her mother’s life.  In her search for a cure, Abigail believes that some rare plants found only in China might hold the key.  But there is no way the President will allow one of his daughters to travel to China without serious protection and secrecy.  Still hunting for a way to convince her father to allow the trip, Abigail hears that there are vampires meeting with her father and his team in the White House. Yeah right. Dragged by her sister to check out the “vampires,” Abigail sees the sexiest man she has ever seen.  What amazes Abigail more is that he appears to be looking at her – not her more glamorous sister.
 
Gregori feels the heavy weight of the entire race of vampires on his shoulders as he goes to meet the President.  He knows his mission, just not what it will take to achieve it.  Gregori has always wondered what happened to the President’s other daughter and is very surprised to learn she is not only all grown up but a serious and hard working scientist.  Their meeting is packed with awareness and shimmering passion.  When the vampires learn what the President wants in return for his help in keeping the vampires hidden surprises everyone – getting Abigail in and out of China safely with the rare plants.  Very doable on the surface; however, as Gregori gets to know more about Abigail the less he wants to let her face any danger.  What starts out as a business adventure on both sides quickly turns into a passionate and adventurous journey where one wrong move can get Gregori, Abigail and their team killed.
 
Abigail is about to learn that vampires are more than a myth in books and movies and that one of them can be too sexy for his clothes.  Sexiest Vampire Alive takes Gregori and Abigail on a whirlwind adventure containing both suspense and passion.  There was no doubt in my mind that Abigail would have done anything to find a way to heal her mother. However, I could see that believing in vampires was pushing her limits, at first.  Gregori might have been acting like a playboy, but once you got to know him it was obvious that there was so much more beneath the surface.  Watching as Gregori and Abigail discovered each other had me not wanting to put down their story.  I so enjoyed watching their journey into love.  What really had me going in the end was the extent Gregori would go to prove to Abigail the depth and strength of his love. Sexiest Vampire Alive is the best type of love story, filled with suspense and passion with just enough danger to keep you on the edge of your seat.
THE YEAR EVERYTHING CHANGED by Georgia Bockoven

THE YEAR EVERYTHING CHANGED by Georgia Bockoven

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: Publisher
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
THE YEAR EVERYTHING CHANGED by Georgia BockovenThe Year Everything Changed by Georgia Bockoven
Published by HarperCollins on 2011-08-23
Pages: 432
Reviewed by Vanessa

As Jessie Patrick Reed’s attorney, I’m writing to you on behalf of your father, Jessie Patrick Reed. I regret to inform you that Mr. Reed is dying. He has expressed a desire to see you . . .Elizabeth, even though sustained by a loving family, has suffered the most from her father’s seeming abandonment and for years has protected herself with a deep-seated anger that she hides from everyone.Ginger, in love with a married man, will be forced to reevaluate every relationship she’s ever had and will reach stunning conclusions that will change her life forever.Rachel learns of her father’s existence the same day she finds out that her husband of ten years has had an affair. She will receive the understanding and support she needs to survive from an unlikely and surprising source.Christine is a young filmmaker, barely out of college, who now must decide if her few precious memories of a man she believed to be long dead are enough to give him a second chance.Four sisters who never knew the others existed will find strength,love, and answers in the most unexpected places in . . . The Year EverythingChanged.

JoyfullyRecommended

Jessie Reed is dying and longs to make a connection with his four daughters one last time before he dies.  However, his plans don’t completely pan out the way he wants, and his Last Will has these women committing to six months of their lives listening to explanations that they refused to hear when Jessie was alive.

Needy Ginger Reynolds who is in an adulterous relationship with a married man, is very surprised with the news that greets her when she meets Jessie and discovers secrets from her past as well as a portrait of life for the betrayed wife.

Chip-on-her-shoulder, Christina Alvarado, knew that Jessie Reed is her father, and that he walked away from her years ago.  She agrees to the meeting to gain something monetary for her chosen career.  However, Christina gains more than she ever knew she wanted or needed.

Rachel Nolan’s marriage is on the verge of collapse after discovering her hubby of ten years has recently had an affair when she receives the note to meet Jessie Reed.  Rachel never knew Jessie Reed was her father let alone that she has three sisters.  However, Rachel soon finds support from someone she would have never met or befriended before.

Elizabeth Walker has buried her pain from her father’s abandonment so deeply that not many people even know she has it.  On the surface, she seems the most put together of the four, yet once she gives in to seeing Jessie, her carefully constructed walls start cracking and she discovers some truths and hidden memories that were long since hidden by her protective shell.

The Year Everything Changed is a fabulous read about new beginnings, starting over when you think all is lost, learning to forgive and moving on with what you have, building through the debris . . . not once, not twice, but always!  The Year Everything Changed is about different facets within each person and how they come together to make the whole stronger.  It’s a wonderful read that kept me entertained from beginning to end, and I joyfully recommend The Year Everything Changed.

The Year Everything Changed easily compared and contrasted each of the sisters showing how each was affected by Jessie’s actions or lack thereof.  Some knew Jessie from different ages and some never knew him at all, but each was changed by learning about him and his life through circumstances beyond their control.  Each of the girls brought different things to the table: anger buried so deeply that you have to work to get it to it, one who likes to try to shape herself in to something she believes will please her significant other, one who pursues money and neglects other things, and one whose bark is worse than her bite. The Year Everything Changed brought change and healing to each one of these women and had them leaning on people they probably never would have known about before.

The Year Everything Changed is a character driven story, and I liked the change and development of each of them over the course of the story.  I felt like even though one door was closed to them, a window was opened to offer another option to discover the truths from the past.  The Year Everything Changed isn’t a standard romance, but there are snippets of romance in there and some are very heartwarming.  While I didn’t always agree with the resolutions in each of the characters’ lives, I really enjoyed the camaraderie that developed between them.

The Year Everything Changed is a deep, rich story that kept me engaged to find out how it would all end, and I have to say that the ride to get to the closing pages was truly engaging.

THE CHASE by Debra White-Smith

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: Publisher
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
THE CHASE by Debra White-SmithThe Chase by Debra White Smith
Published by HarperCollins on 2011-09-20
Genres: Religious
Pages: 240
Reviewed by Vanessa

Ryan Mansfield wishes he could turn back time and save his marriage. But there was no going back once his wife, Shelly, found out about the affair. He’s since turned his life around and found God, but Shelly has moved on. There’s a new man in her life, a successful dentist who attends her church. Then the unthinkable happens—a parent’s worst nightmare: Sean, Shelly and Ryan’s young son, is kidnapped and taken from his own house. Their shared grief, fear, and love for Sean have drawn Ryan and Shelly together again—and now the chase is on as they set out to find their helpless child and bring him home safely. But can Ryan and Shelly also find the forgiveness they will need to start all over again as a family?

Police Officer, Ryan Mansfield, is deeply sorry for straying outside the boundaries of matrimony.  He has found God since his mistake and wishes to reconcile with his divorced wife, Shelly, and put their family back together again.  However, Shelly has since begun to move on and is now engaged to a successful dentist.  She is planning to make a new family with him and her adopted son, Sean.  But events unfold and Ryan and Shelly are made to work with one another when Sean is kidnapped from his bedroom.  Once forced into one another’s company, issues from the past are brought to light and dealt with over the course of their tracking down their missing son.

The Chase surprised me with its subtle message of forgiveness and two sides to every story.  I was a little concerned that since this was a Christian story that the one character who had committed the most obvious sin and then turned to God would try to force the forgiveness because they were now a born again Christian.  However, that was not the case in The Chase.

I truly believed that Ryan was sorry for what he did and even though he wanted to push the issue he didn’t.  Ryan backed off and let Shelly come to the truth on her own, and eventually she does.  But it appears that he wants that full trust back pretty quickly as well.  I did not like that Shelly’s fiancé was painted as the bad guy either.

The Chase had timing issues for me, and I never felt that Ryan and Shelly truly had that important conversation about all the flaws in their marriage that precipitated his adultery.  It was more than just what was acknowledged as her part of the breakup.  I wanted that dialogue between these two so badly that I could taste it.  The premise was great, but I don’t like unanswered questions in my stories.  I felt like I was chasing for answers in The Chase that just weren’t there.  Ryan seemed to move on so quickly with the other woman, and Shelly professed her love for the other man, yet her allegiance quickly changed and I felt these two were portrayed as shallow because of that.  The surprise twist near the end of The Chase had me wondering if there will be another book in this series that will further answer my questions and solidify the HEA for me better.  Perhaps The Chase was to set the ground work/foundation for Ryan and Shelly to build on, but I needed to see these other things dealt with as well.

A TASTE OF CRIMSON by Marjorie M. Liu

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ECSTASY UNTAMED by Pamela Palmer

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FAMILY AFFAIR by Debbie Macomber

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SOUL SONG by Marjorie M. Liu

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THE WILD ROAD by Marjorie M. Liu

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