Friday, November 21, 2014

Texas Blaze (The Wrong Bed Book 49)

Texas Blaze (The Wrong Bed Book 49)  
by Debbi Rawlins
Print Length 224 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze (Dec. 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0373365527

Kate Manning's "blast from the past" has blown back to her quiet west Texas town. Mitch Colter was once the sum of all Kate's fantasies. But he was a few years older and her brothers' best friend, and her fantasies stayed exactly that. Now however, Kate's got seduction in mind and a point to prove: she won't miss out on Mitch a second time.

Mitch can't believe the woman his "little Katie" has become. She's beautiful, has a body that gives him all kinds of naughty ideas and, best of all, she's lost none of her fiery spirit and take-no-prisoners sense of humor. So, when Kate comes a-calling--he can't resist--and won't! But will their luck be better the second time around?

The author does a pretty good job with the book, however I felt that it could have been better. For being a book in the 'Blaze' series, I had hoped for a lot more steamy tension. This book had promise, but it just didn't deliver for me. 

Kate's character was a described as being a fiery spirited woman, but I found her to be a little to immature and mostly unsure of herself. The author had her in scenes that just didn't go along with her personality type. I understand that Kate was trying to come out of her shell a little, but I was hoping for a bit more from her as promised in the book description. Not her trying on a few sexy dresses and bending over at a pool table as the peak of her flirtatious behavior. Also the things that she seemed to get upset about were so insignificant that they felt labored and outlandish. Her upsets were suppose to bring tension between the two characters, but failed terribly. 

I have little problem with Mitch, I liked him. He was well practiced in the art of charm. 

As far as plot goes, it sort of dragged on and on. I would have liked the author to use several different twists and turns. Basically the whole book was about catching cattle rustlers. I admit, I sure would like to be trapped in a room doing surveillance with Mitch myself, but the sexual tension between the two wasn't heavy enough. I became bored half way through the book. 

The ending was just 'okay.' Nothing spectacular. It was a happy ending, and left me feeling semi satisfied, but no wrenching in my heart like a good romance novel should.

The author does use proper grammar and she doesn't over use words like some do. If I were to give constructive criticism, I would tell her to work on her plots more and not to rush sex scenes. In romance, the most important part is to grow sexual tension between the characters, but to do this, realistic conflict is needed. Having Mitch worried about what her brothers would say is reasonable to use as conflict, but it seems to be the only conflict used. We get it, Kate's not a little girl anymore.

The switch between character views is subtle and smooth, and I liked how capital letters in the first few words helped the reader to distinguish this change. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Fall of Rain: Book Three of the Emerald Isle Trilogy

The Fall of Rain: The Emerald Isle Trilogy   
by Renee Vincent
Paperback: 274 pages
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press (November 23, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937389553

Another one of Renee's books that held my attention, and kept me turning pages until the very end. I finished it in two days.

It starts out with a man named Leif Dæganssen, an archeologist from Norway, who is determined to trace back his Scandinavian roots as far as the Dark Ages and find proof of their existence on the Emerald Isle. After several years of living off the west coast of Ireland, he finally uncovers an ancient artifact—an intricately decorated chest with pagan carvings—buried beneath the very porch of his coastal cottage. Knowing it only confirms the presence of a glorified Norse-influenced settlement on Inis Mór, he’s determined to establish a link between himself and those who once inhabited the rugged isle.

Then there is  Lorraine O’Connor who has had dreams of a Norse warrior kissing her. And even though she’s never fully understood the reason for her vivid subconscious imagination, she welcomes the meaningless and wanton pleasure of being in a Viking’s protective embrace—until the day she meets that brazen Northman on an impulsive vacation trip to Ireland. Though blindsided by the relevance of her dreams and the strange familiarity of the man within them, Lorraine can’t help but feel a deep-seated intimacy toward Leif. And the more she gets to know him, the more she’s convinced they’ve shared a life together in a time long forgotten. Are the clues to their ancestral past hidden within the contents of the chest or buried deep within their hearts?

This book is the third book in the series, but being that I fell in love with Dægan Ræliksen from the first book: Ræliksen, I decided to skip book two and go straight to this one because I didn't have the heart to see Mara share the remainder of her life with another man. The second book wasn't needed to fully enjoy this one, so if you too, wish to skip it, you won't be lost in the story-line. 

Even though Leif is the reincarnate of Dægan, and Lorraine the reincarnate of Mara, they both seem to have quite different personalities than that of their past. They are thoroughly modern and shaped by the societies that they live in presently, and of course, that is to be expected. I did however hope to see more of that masculine, primitive instinct in Leif that Dægan had, and I missed it so much. 

It took me some patience to like Lorraine's character because of some of her actions in the book. One in particular being that she seems to have a melt down when Leif's present feelings for her aren't enough, and she feels she HAS to make him remember her from a past life together. 

For me, her reactions just weren't believable. I can understand her frustration with it, but not a complete melt down. If it had been me, I could see myself shrugging it off instead of spilling out an outlandish story and then being in shock when he looks at me like I'm a nutcase and kicks me to the curb. LOL. 

Leif's character is caring and treats her with adoration. Again, if it were me, I would accept what I had and cross my fingers that the rest would fall into place at a later date. Even if it never did, she still had one hell of a man to love her. 

Her willingness in the bedroom threw me off a little bit too, as I would have liked to have seen a little more of the innocence that Mara had in the first book. For me, when I pick up a Viking romance novel, I want to see the man taking charge and captivating the heart and soul of the object of his affections, not her trying to desperately win him over.

There were parts of the book that seems really predictable to me, and that took away from it's awe factor. 

In the first book, I couldn't predict any of it. I think that is why I held it so dear to my heart. It was poetic and intriguing. Dægan was a man of few words, but when he spoke it was as if he hung the moon.

Being a writer myself, I can understand why each scene was placed in the book when it was, and I can appreciate the efforts made by Renee to give Dægan and Mara their happily ever after. I was also quite happy when 'Patrick' got his as well. But in all honesty, I think I would have given Mara her happily ever after in book one because it was an emotionally captivating book to begin with and it deserved to go out with a bang instead of a whole heap of sadness. It was strong enough to stand on it's own.

I hope these words don't discourage the author because she has great talent. I just want to be honest so that her future books will shine.

This book was interesting, and a page turner, but a little too fluffy for me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ræliksen: Book One of the Emerald Isle Trilogy

Ræliksen: Book One of the Emerald Isle Trilogy 
by Renee Vincent
Paperback: 374 pages
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press (July 30, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935817019

This book gripped me from the very first page, and I can not say that about very many others.

It starts at the Shannon river in Ireland where a handsome viking is secretly watching the object of his affection. He has his whole life planned before him and she is to be his wife, yet he has yet to introduce himself. How primitive, but intriguing. His name is Dægan Ræliksen and he will from this day forth be carried in my heart and I know already how hard it will be for me to find another character who will match him in his wits and charm. This was my first viking romance novel, and I am quite happy to have shared the experience with him. :)

The twists and turns in the plot kept me propelling forward and each quite unpredictable. It only took me two days to read. I kept watching the page numbers fly by thinking that I didn't want it to end but it would to my disappointment. The action scenes were far better than anything on television, and what I enjoyed most about this book wasn't just the steamy love scenes, but that of all of the characters who played a role. It is the first time that an author has not only made the hero and heroine likable, but every character that took part on the pages were funny and well rounded. I caught myself laughing various times and crying at others. Each character moved me in their own way and I find them unforgettable. 

Mara, the object of affection was brave and noble. She was everything a heroine should be in a book, and even though the books life span was only that of two week, I could tell that she truly loved Dægan with all of her heart, and that their love would span through many lifetimes thereafter. 

Dægan's friends all devoted their lives to him and hung on his every word. They were more like his brothers than just his comrades. Nevan was also an endearing character that genuinely captured a piece of my heart. He is kind, intelligent, and his loyalties to Dægan make him very likable. Nevan is a king and it shows in his actions and words, yet his generosity firmly roots him to the ground like any common man. I think I liked that best about him. He gave fatherly advice to Dægan and allowed him his temper tantrums without judgment. They each had understanding of one another even with very little conversation between them. One Christian, the other Pagan. Two men from two different faiths, yet together as one unmissable force.

One particularly memorable conversation from the book between two characters describes Dægan perfectly letting you know the hold that Dægan has with everyone he comes into contact with: 

"I swear Dægan could convince a bird its wings are more suitable for swimming in the sea if he so wanted." 

That was Dægan's friend Tait describing him to Nevan, and as I wiped away tears, that very sentence made me laugh again. This book was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me, and that is the exact ingredient, in my opinion, that makes for a wonderful romance novel. 

The ending of the book is not so satisfying because the author is paving the way for the second book in the series. I would have much preferred Dægan & Mara's story to continue on, but sadly it doesn't. I sobbed like a baby. 

Reading the reviews on amazon for the second book in the series, I was much disappointed with so many spoilers, that I do not think I can bring myself to read the second book now. Not only that but I have a very hard time with the idea of Mara with another man. I prefer keeping a memory of just her with Dægan. But that is just me.

I will however read the third book in the series because it gives the promise of a reunion between the two souls & that for me is grand. 

The only thing that I didn't like about this book is that Christianity seemed to play a bigger role than I would have liked to have seen. I am a Pagan and it was hard to see that Christianity was cast in a much brighter vision than that of my ancestors. However, giving the fact that Dægan found eternal peace in the end, I can find it less offensive. I understand that it adds to the books historical integrity, and religion played a much bigger role then than it does now. At a time when death was inevitable and war so monumental, it was the person's soul that was mostly feared for. One never knew when they would draw their last breath and it was important that they lived their lives according to the laws of whichever God they served and that their faith remained unwavering.

Beautiful story, and well written. I would highly recommend at least this first book.