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Friday, November 9, 2007

Review: Why Should The Fire Die

Why Should The Fire Die
by Emery Sanborne and Philippa Grey-Gerou

For months Harvard anthropologist Morgan Gregory has been searching for a holy relic, a medallion that will allow him to translate a mysterious ancient text. But what the enigmatic professor finds in the little antiquity shop in South Boston is equally compelling—former lover Rachel Alexander and a rare painting.

Rachel Alexander has been popping in and out of Morgan’s life for years. Drawn to one another’s magic, consumed by mutual lust and desire, their encounters have always been sizzling. Add in a secret that will tip the balance of power between them and a wanton siren willing to seduce them both to get what she wants, and the passion becomes dangerously explosive.

Together, Morgan and Rachel follow a scavenger hunt laid out in ancient rituals and artifacts. One secret seems only to hide another, and another, until soon neither are sure of the truth or themselves. Can the couple put aside the past in time to fight for the future? Only if they can admit their burning need and control the fires within, fires that can comfort or consume them.

Why Should The Fire Die is about Morgan and Rachael, two long time on-again, off-again lovers who are thrust into a place of darkness shrouded in light. This story seemed to look into our inner-selves where that darkness lurks whether we want it or not.

First, I want to delve into Morgan. In many stories, the bad boy usually revels in his badness and when those characters are all grown up, they maintain that element somewhere in their behavior. Not so with Morgan. He bucked the trend to such an extreme that I felt he was a man ready to burst. No one can deny themselves, their true selves, so completely and not suffer for it. Think of it this way; ever hear of the philosophy that if you prevent kids from having any candy what-so-ever in the home, that when they DO have it, they gorge themselves with frenzied abandon? Ultimately, they get belly aches the likes of which they'd never known. But, the kids who have candy in moderation, handle themselves with aplomb. Well, Morgan fits the first scenario. He denied himself so completely, that when something taps into his bad boy tendencies, he's a goner. Although the author didn't delve too much into his psyche, I got enough of his character to figure out Morgan was in for a rude awakening. I was worried as the story went on because he needed a wake-up call and wasn't sure if he'd get one in time,or even how it would come about.

Rachael was a woman you both loved and hated at the same time. In fact, Morgan and I felt the same way about her. Both Rachael's and Morgans POV's are on stage during this story but I think Rachael was a bit more harsh as a character. By the same token, Rachael knows what she wants and never ever denied herself anything. It got her in trouble though. Big trouble. She starts off as Morgan's polar opposite, but as the storyline is revealed, you see that gap getting narrower and narrower.

The contrast between her and Morgan was developed to a razor's edge. The idea that these two characters have been together, on and off, for a couple of decades is intriguing. Both are stuck in a rut of their own making, both have a hard time trusting and yet though they are in love, are unable to recognize it. There is fear there and until they face it, there cannot be any forward movement towards a real relationship.

The catalyst comes from a seemingly benign source that quickly morphs into something scary. To me, the movement of the story seemed almost Gothic in nature. The matings--I certainly can't call it 'making love'--are rather violent and dark, especially when Morgan's inherent alpha nature is blasted to the surface. If you don't mind a bit of consensual roughness, then this book delivers that sexy edge. I was gratified to see that because of all the trials, they eventually 'grow' and have their first experience in lovemaking. The kind that hints at a more caring and solid relationship that could take them into their AARP years.

Why Should The Fire Die was an unusual romance with a story that will keep you on edge. Not a fluffy read--only the bold should brave this heat.


Reviewed by Xeranth

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Review: Trilogy 110: Timeless Embrace

Trilogy 110: Timeless Embrace
By Sylvia Shults

Romance is timeless, love is eternal. Come experience love through the eyes of three ancient cultures in this trilogy of novellas from the imagination of Sylvia Shults.

Let yourself be lost in a Timeless Embrace.

What You Wish For: Egyptian prince Ankh-Kheperu had been dead for centuries, until museum curator Emily Chase coaxes him back to life with the help of text from Ancient Egypt’s The Book of The Dead. What kind of girl could say no to being seduced by a dark, handsome, exotic Egyptian prince?

Love 101: Someone is stealing ancient Greek artifacts. When sexy detective Tony Saals signs up for Professer Becca Hellenga’s art history class, he thinks that he’ll learn something that will help him catch his man. But Becca is about to catch a man of her own!

Through a Glass Brightly: When American Angela Woods move to Europe to pursue a job as a English teacher, she never expected to find herself caught in a ménage a trois with two attentive Italians, both dedicated to pleasuring her to utter writhing fulfillment. The problem? One of them is a ghost!

This anthology was a pleasure to read with various levels of enjoyment.

The first one, What You Wish For is a delightful twist on an Egyptian god come to life scenario. Sylvia Shults had me chuckling with memories of my own foray into archeology when I was a kid. Right there, she had me hooked. The lead character is plain ol' Emily who works diligently as head curator at a museum. Next,the story serves up a side dish of her rather flamboyant older sister, Brenda who plays a significant role in twisting this story on its ear. Then there is Norman, her nerdy assistant, which at one point she referred to as, a "dork". Norman is also a fun sidekick to have hanging around. I really liked Norman.

What You Wish For is exactly that. You know the old saying, "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it"? Sylvia took that saying and ran with it. During this story I laughed, I was shocked, got surprised and melted like honey when Emilie and the her perfect man finally got together. And still I laughed. The final chapter where Sylvia ties up all the loose ends continued to cause eruptions of mirth but I heaved sighs of satisfaciton for a wonderful happily ever after. How can the author top this story?

Love 101 had great sensual tension. Becca is the professor, Tony is the student and never the twain shall meet. Again, Sylvia plays with the idea that things are never what they appear to be and until the end, I really had no clue how it was going to work out between Becca and Tony. Oh, I got the feeling that they would ... no wait, Sylvia played with my mind on that one too ... that was a clever twist she slipped in there. Let's just say I liked the investigative element in this story, it provided meat to the plot and I enjoy books where the HEA corresponds with the solving of a mystery. Love 101 easily gets a passing grade from me.

Through A Glass Brightly was the most emotional story of the three. I was hot and bothered during the scene with both the ghost and Gabriel. And I was deeply surprised and shocked at the turns this story took and who Angela ended up with. It was a bittersweet HEA - still happy and believable but totally unexpected. The author managed to get me invested in all the characters so I ended up being on a roller coaster of emotions. You couldn't ask for a better story to be written.

Timeless Embrace encompasses all the great human reactions and emotions; laughter, amazement, lust, tears, joy, surprise and the best, love. None of which could have been possible if I hadn't connected with the characters. And I did. Every last one.

Thank you, Sylvia, for a wonderful read.


Reviewed by Xeranth

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Review: Secrets and Misdemeanors

Secrets and Misdemeanors
by G. A. Hauser

When having to hide your love is a crime…

After losing his wife to his best friend and former law partner, David Thornton couldn’t imagine finding love again. With his divorce behind him, he wanted only to focus on his job and two children. But then something happened, making David realize that despite believing he had everything he needed, there was someone he desperately wanted—Lyle Wilson.

Young and determined, Lyle arrived in Los Angeles without a penny in his pocket. Before long, however, the sexy construction worker nailed a job remodeling the old office building that held the prestigious Thornton Law Firm. Little did Lyle realize when he gazed upon the handsome and successful David Thornton for the first time that a door would be opened that neither man could close.

Will the two men succumb to the tangled web of societal pressures placed before them, hiding who they are and whom they love? Or will they reveal the truth and set themselves free?

This is my first M/M book and I wasn't sure what to expect. So, I decided to read it with the same expectations for any romance book I read. Will I care about the characters? Is the conflict believable? Will I get my HEA? Those are some of the basic bones of romance I look for and G.A. Hauser delivered every single one.

I cared about David's happiness. His ex-wife is the stuff of nightmares and I kept gritting my teeth every time she had a scene because she MADE a scene. What a horrible personality! The fact that she seemed more than willing to use their children as chess pieces just burned me. I really don't like it when parents do that. Even worse is when they get away with it. I was gratified to see the author handle that serpent with dignity. She gave David a heck of a lot more patience in dealing with her than I would have done. After a few episodes of venom, I was really ready for David to have his HEA. He more than earned it. Lyle was not only adorable but he was cautious, sweet, courageous and all man. He had a few issues to deal with as well, but none of his personal making. That was a bit scary and not only made for a great conflict - his relationship with his room mate ... well, non-relationship, really - was quite effective in moving the story along.

The love scenes were, in a word, hot. At one point I sort of had the feeling that it was rushed a bit to get to the "I love you" part, but that's the only blip on an otherwise satisfying romance. I enjoyed the tenderness they displayed and never did I feel a scene was gratuitous. Sure, they enjoyed each other, but the story and character development was not jeopardized in any way.

All in all, from a strictly mainstream romance reader's point of view, Secrets and Misdemeanors hit all the high notes of a beautiful romance in a wonderful story about memorable characters.


Reviewer: Xeranth

Review: The Awakening

The Awakening
by Rynne Raines

Torn between fantasy and reality, Natalie Kendrick wakes each morning on fire, haunted by passionate dreams of Alexander, the nineteenth century gentleman she believes saved her life fifteen years ago. But when living outside the erotic dream world they share becomes unbearable, she seeks the help of a dream analyst. The solution seems simple: dream suppressants. But can Natalie bring herself to forever shut out the only man she has ever loved--from her head, her life and her heart?

The Awakening offers a crisp, refreshing read with a dusting of paranormal. As a reader, I was quickly engaged in Natalie’s internal struggle. She’s a believable character who tackles her dilemma, handsome Alexander, with a straight forward approach. The steam and sensuality unravel at a perfect pace throughout Natalie’s experience with the evasive rogue. Miss Raines captured my imagination and kept me guessing until the end. Well done!