domenica 20 aprile 2014

Bite me, di Shelly Laurenston

Bite Me (Pride, #9)Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really good as all the titles in Pride series, but not so strongly funny nor so hilariously heart-breaking as others. Livy is ok, Vic is super, but new characters not so much, most of all the families. Too many points of view, too many returns from previous books (some are good, but we have real need of all these characters?), too many snakes - real snakes and figurative ones, too many dialogues about evil plans! The romance suffers a little for all those "too much". There are funny moments, romantic moments, action moments, witty dialogues, and it's an enjoyable reading.
So this author remains an auto-buy for me, but I assume that it's impossible to maintain the same level (5 stars level) in a long series. A series that is already improved a lot from book one to now, in covers, characters, plots, dialogues, humor...
So, see you for the next title!

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venerdì 18 aprile 2014

Meant for love, di Marie Force

Meant for Love (The McCarthys of Gansett Island, #10)Meant for Love by Marie Force
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This month is really lucky for me in romance reading, this is the third 5-stars-book that I read! More 4,5 stars, but the improvement from the last two books of the serie is so great that I prefer 5 incredibly-involving stars!
In this last book in the Gansett Island serie, we see the interaction between hot Alex and dear Jenny. It's a tender and sexy story, with funny moments and precious words, with deep insights and sad memories, a lot of hope and strength and force and courage. And less whining and man confidence than in the previous (finally!). And less characters and sub-plots (finally!). And less Tiffany and Caroline (finally!). And less children (no, it's a joke, more than ever!). Recommended!

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giovedì 10 aprile 2014

Wild wolf, di Jennifer Ashley

Wild Wolf (Shifters Unbound, #6)Wild Wolf by Jennifer Ashley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sarebbe 4,5 a causa dell'elemento fae che proprio fatico a sopportare. Siccome però i personaggi e la storia mi sono piaciuti molto (tranne gli elementi fae, ribadisco), ho gradito tanto il libro che non mi sento di rimanere sulle 4 stelline. Sì, non mi ha preso come la storia di Eric e Iona, ma anche qui i personaggi sono così ben delineati, che si stagliano chiaramente e soprattutto...non cambiano per amore. Un po' sì, ma sono cose minime. In particolare Graham rimane fino alla fine un autentico SOB autoritario e sarcastico e Misty mantiene inalterato il suo caratterino pepato e indipendente, e riescono a volersi bene lo stesso, e soprattutto ad ammetterlo. Perciò il pregio del libro sono proprio i personaggi, e non per la loro evoluzione, ma per come riescono ad integrarsi nonostante i loro limiti. Comprimari perfetti, nipote, gemellini, altre donne del pack di Graham e qualche degna apparizione di Eric e Jace, che non guasta.
Una serie che sta migliorando decisamente e che spero abbia ancora una lunga vita!

La serie Shifters unbound è così composta:

0.5 Shifter made (racconto breve, 6)
1. Pride mates (primo volume, interessante, 8)
2. Primal bonds (ben costruito, 8)
2.5. Bodyguard (carino, 7)
3. Wild cat (intrigante, 8)
3.5. Hard mated (breve ma intenso, 8,5)
4. Mate claimed (ottimo, 9,5)
4.5. Shifters unbound (un po' noioso e sbrigativo, 6,5)
4.6. Lone wolf (così così, 7)
5. Tiger magic (ben fatto, 8,5)
5.5. Feral heat (bello! 8/9)
6. Wild wolf (mi ha avvinto, 9!).

E speriamo altri...

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sabato 5 aprile 2014

A week to be wicked, di Tessa Dare

A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2)A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Questo secondo volume di Spindle Cove ha tutti i pregi del primo e non ne ha i (pochi) difetti. Due protagonisti adorabili, simpatici, non convenzionali nel genere, dotati di humor ma anche di debolezze e insospettate (anche a loro stessi) profondità. Una storia vivace, mossa, con qualche colpo di scena e rivolgimento intelligente e dei comprimari o figuranti ben delineati. Tanti momenti e dialoghi da ridere di cuore: le balle incredibili di Colin, le frasi spiazzanti di Minerva, tutti i nomi con la M, la cara Francine (orma di dinosauro) e le sue disavventure, la natura nerd-ante-litteram di Minerva, parole scientifiche usate in contesti non proprio ortodossi...E molti momenti di insight commovente.
Un delinearsi naturale e intrigante di una bella storia d'amore. Minerva e Colin riescono alla fine del libro a entrare nel cuore di chi legge con ancora più forza di quella di Susanna e Bram.
Ma che bella serie, davvero! Può rinobilitare egregiamente il genere del romance storico per chi ne pensasse male.

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“Oh no. Oh God. I couldn't possibly be so stupid."
"Don't limit yourself. You can be anything you wish."


Truly? That whole determined, dangerous saunter across the room was for me? In that case, would you mind going back and doing it all over again? Slowly this time, and with feeling.” 


“She stared at him, horrified. And thrilled. And horrified at being thrilled.” 


“What on earth are you wearing? Did you take orders in a convent since we spoke last? Little Sisters of the Drab and Homely.” 


“It’s all right,” she said. “You’re through.”

“Jesus,” he finally managed, pushing water off his face. “Jesus Christ and John the Baptist. For that matter, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.” Still not enough. He needed to reach back to the Old Testament for this. “Obadiah. Nebuchadnezzar. Methuselah and Job.”

“Be calm,” she said, taking him by the shoulders. “Be calm. And there are women in the Bible, you know.”

“Yes. As I recall it, they were trouble, every last one.” 


“He lay on the bed, freshly shaven and washed, legs crossed at the ankles and arms propped behind his head. His posture said, Yes, ladies. I truly am this handsome. And I don't even have to try.” 


“This is ideal, you’ll see. We do everything backward. It’s just how we are. We began with an elopement. After that, we made love. Next, we’ll progress to courting. When we’re old and silver-haired, perhaps we’ll finally get around to flirtation. We’ll make fond eyes at each other over our mugs of gruel. We’ll be the envy of couples half our age.” 


“She couldn't "heal" him. No woman could. Events that far in the past just couldn't be undone. But perhaps he didn't need a cure, but . . . a lens. Someone who accepted him for the imperfect person he was, and then helped him to see the world clear. Like spectacles did for her.” 


“You know,” he said, “this design begins to appeal to me after all. Sea slugs aren’t the least bit arousing, but logarithms . . . I’ve always thought that word sounded splendidly naughty.” He let it roll off his tongue with ribald inflection. “Logarithm.” He gave an exaggerated shiver. “Ooh. Yes and thank you and may I have some more.”

“Lots of mathematical terms sound that way. I think it’s because they were all coined by men. ‘Hypotenuse’ is downright lewd.”

“ ‘Quadrilateral’ brings rather carnal images to mind.”

She was silent for a long time. Then one of her dark eyebrows arched. “Not so many as ‘rhombus.’ ”

Good Lord. That word was wicked. Her pronunciation of it did rather wicked things to him. He had to admire the way she didn’t shrink from a challenge, but came back with a new and surprising retort. One day, she’d make some fortunate man a very creative lover.” 


“The words burned on her tongue, but Minerva couldn’t give them voice. What a hopeless coward she was. She could pound on his door at midnight and demand to be respected as an individual. She could travel across the country in hopes of being appreciated for her scholarly achievements. But she still lacked the courage to ask for the one thing she wanted most.
To be loved, just for herself.” 


“Anyhow,” she went on, “so long as my mother forced me to embroider, I insisted on choosing a pattern that interested me. I’ve never understood why girls are always made to stitch insipid flowers and ribbons.” “Well, just to hazard a guess . . .” Colin straightened his edge. “Perhaps that’s because sleeping on a bed of flowers and ribbons sounds delightful and romantic. Whereas sharing one’s bed with a primeval sea snail sounds disgusting.” Her jaw firmed. “You’re welcome to sleep on the floor.” “Did I say disgusting? I meant enchanting. I’ve always wanted to go to bed with a primeval sea snail.” 


“Sweet heaven.” She swallowed back a lump in her throat. “You must do this all the time. Night after night, you tell women your tale of woe . . .” “Not really. The tale of woe precedes me.” “ . . . and then they just open their arms and lift their skirts for you. ‘Come, you poor, sweet man, let me hold you’ and so forth. Don’t they?” He hedged. “Sometimes.” 


“Is that a nautilus?” he asked. “Close, but no. It’s an ammonite.” “An ammonite? What’s an ammonite? Sounds like an Old Testament people overdue for smiting.” “Ammonites are not a biblical people,” she replied in a tone of strained forbearance. “But they have been smited.” “Smote”. 

“With a snap of linen, she shot him a look. “Smote?” “Grammatically speaking, I think the word you want is ‘smote.’ ” “Scientifically speaking, the word I want is ‘extinct.’ Ammonites are extinct. They’re only known to us in fossils.” “And bedsheets, apparently.”“You know . . .” She huffed. 

“Perhaps, she thought, people were more like ammonites than one would suppose. Perhaps they too built shells on a consistent, unchanging factor—some quality or circumstance established in their youth. Each chamber in the shell just an enlargement of the previous. Growing year after year, until they spiraled around and locked themselves in place.” 


“I always felt that you could see me, somehow. In a way no one else did. That with those fetching little spectacles, you could peer straight through me. And you made no secret of the fact that you despised what you saw, which marked you as far cleverer than most. I couldn’t rid myself of this fascination with you. Your sharp gaze, your enticing mouth, your complete invulnerability to all my charms. If I treated you poorly—and I know I did, to my shame—it was because I always felt rather hopeless around you.” 


“I’m a rather useless insomniac viscount, but”—he gestured at Minerva—“my companion here is a brilliant geologist. There’s a symposium, you see. We need to get to Edinburgh by tomorrow, so she can present her findings about giant lizards and possibly alter our understanding of the world’s natural history.” 

venerdì 4 aprile 2014

A night to surrender, di Tessa Dare

A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1)A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Generalmente i romanzi storici mi annoiano o mi fanno cadere le braccia. Ho però scoperto due cose:
- se li leggo in inglese li apprezzo di più (più umorismo, più guizzi, più richiami, più fascino)
- se in una serie provo prima con le novelle, riesco a farmi un'idea abbastanza chiara se la scrittrice mi può andare a genio.
E devo dire che nel caso di TESSA DARE il risultato è stato ottimo!

Ho iniziato leggendo due racconti, "Once upon a winter's eve" e "Beauty and the blacksmith". Il primo un po' smorto per storia e personaggi, per la verità, ma con una bella scrittura. Il secondo davvero divertente, ben costruito, non convenzionale, in cui peraltro si confermava la capacità di scrivere con talento.

Allora sono passata alla serie principale cui queste due novelle fanno riferimento, Spindle Cove.
"A night to surrender" è il primo volume ed è veramente riuscito. Bella l'ambientazione, originale l'idea di un luogo di ricovero per giovani donne particolari, intrigante la storia tra Susanna e Bram, carinissimi tutti i personaggi di contorno, in primis le pecore; ironici e salaci i dialoghi, divertenti o pungenti o commoventi le scene, ben definiti tutti gli elementi principali e anche quelli di contorno.
Solo due cose lasciano un po' a desiderare: l'improbabilità dei luoghi in cui i due protagonisti si scambiano le loro effusioni amorose (cosa che grazie a Dio la scrittrice ha avuto presente, dato che fa dire a Susanna, ad un certo punto, se riusciranno mai a fare qualcosa in un letto, tanto per cambiare) e la nuova visione del padre di lei che emerge alla fine del libro, mentre per tutto il resto l'uomo era stato mostrato in un altro modo. A parte questo, davvero un bel romanzo!

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“No, no. Don't make that face. Every time I propose to you, you make that twisty, unhappy face. It wears on a man's confidence.” 

“He pierced her with a look. “I thought we had an agreement. I keep my men away from your ladies, and you keep your distance from me. You’re not holding your end of the bargain.”
“It’s but a momentary interruption. Just this once.”
“Just this once?” He made a dismissive noise, rifling through papers. “What about just now in the church?”
“Very well, twice.”
“Try again.” He stacked his papers and looked up, devouring her with his intent green gaze. “You invaded my dreams at least a half-dozen times last night. When I’m awake, you keep traipsing through my thoughts. Sometimes you’re barely clothed. What excuse can you make for that?”
She stammered to form a response, her tongue tripping against her teeth. “I . . . I would never traipse.” Idiotic reply.
“Hm.” He tilted his head and regarded her thoughtfully. “Would you saunter?”

“I'm not going to accept your challenge. There will be no duel."
"Why not? Because I'm a woman?"
"No, because I've seen the way you spinsters handle a pistol. You'd shoot me dead where I stood.” 
“A beast is just what you want. A big, dark medieval brute to throw you to the ground, tear the clothes from your body, and have his wicked way with you. I know I’m right. I haven’t forgotten how excited you were in the aftermath of that blast."
The nerve of him!
How could he tell?
She lifted her chin. "Well, I haven't forgotten the sound you made when I first touched your brow. It wasn't even a moan, it was more like . . . like a whimper."
He made a dismissive sound. "Oh yes. A plaintive, yearning whimper. Because you want an angel. A sweet, tender virgin to hold you and stroke you and whisper precious promises and make you feel human."
"That's absurd," he scoffed. "You're just begging to be taught a hard, fast lesson in what it means to please a man."
"You're just longing to put your head in my lap and feel my fingers in your hair."
He backed her up against a rock. "You need a good ravaging."
"You," she breathed, "need a hug."
They stared at each other for long, tense moments. At first, looking each other in the eye. Then looking each other in the lips. "You know what I think?" he said, coming closer. So close she could feel his breath wash warm against her cheek. "I think we’re having one of those vexing arguments again."
"The kind where both sides are right?"
"Hell, yes."
And this time, when they kissed, they both made that sound. That deep, moaning, yearning, whimpering sound.
That sound that said yes.
And at last.
And you are exactly what I need.”

“She [Susanna] realized she was still hugging the wall. Pride propelled her two steps forward. As she advanced, something bleated at her, as though chastising her for trespassing. She stopped midstep and peered at it. "Did you know there's a lamb in here?"
"Never mind it. That's dinner."
She gave it a smile and a friendly pat. "Hullo, Dinner. Aren't you a sweet thing."
"It's not his name, it's his...function.” 
“This explains so much," she said, clucking her tongue in mother-hen fashion. "You're compensating for this withered appendage."
Withered appendage? What the devil was she talking about? He shook his head, trying to clear it. Colin's dire predictions of shriveled twigs and dried currants rattled in his skull. Wide awake now, he fought to sit up, wrestling the sheets.
"Listen, you. I don't know what sort of liberties you've taken while I was insensible, or just what your spinster imagination prepared you to see. But I'll have you know, that water was damned cold."
She blinked at him. "I'm referring to your leg."
"Oh." His leg. That withered appendage. 

“The question is, Miss Finch . . . what are you doing in this village?”
“I’ve been trying to explain it to you. We have a community of ladies here in Spindle Cove, and we support one another with friendship, intellectual stimulation, and healthful living.”
“No, no. I can see how this might appeal to a mousy, awkward chit with no prospects for something better. But what are you doing here?”
Perplexed, she turned her gloved hands palms-up. “Living happily.”
“Really,” he said, giving her a skeptical look. Even his horse snorted in seeming disbelief. “A woman like you.”
She bristled. Just what kind of woman did he think she was?
“If you think yourself content with no man in your life, Miss Finch, that only proves one thing.” In a swift motion, he pulled himself into the saddle. His next words were spoken down at her, making her feel small and patronized. “You’ve been meeting all the wrong men.”
“She would allow him to comfort her. And perhaps, someday, she would listen patiently if a dark, dreary night found him well in his cups and he drunkenly confessed to still feeling scores of wounds that weren’t his own, but those of men under his command.”
“So I will just tell you I love you. I love you, Bram. I want everyone to see it, and I want you to know . . . you’re a part of this place now. No matter where duty takes you, Spindle Cove will always be here for you. And so will I.” He put both arms around her, pulling her flush against his chest. “You beautiful, brazen thing.” Then he went silent, just holding her gaze for what seemed like eons. Nerves multiplied in her stomach with every passing second. She swallowed hard. “Don’t you have anything else to say?”“ ‘Hallelujah’ springs to mind. Beyond that . . .” He brushed a caress down her cheek. “Does this mean that if I proposed marriage to you right now, you might not make that twisty, unhappy face?” “Try me and see.”
“How is it you’ve never married?” A soft splash. “It’s an easy enough thing. Every morning I wake up, go about my day, and return to bed at night without having recited marriage vows. After several years, I have the trick of it down.”
“A home isn’t only defined by what you need, Bram. It’s also about the people who need you”
“I adored you. All my life, I adored you. I asked nothing of you. No promises, no courtship. I surrendered my virtue. I gave you my trust. And you left me with a note.”His mouth twisted in an expression of regret. He pushed a hand through his hair. “I’m so very—” “Twenty-six words!” she shot back, in the loudest whisper she could manage. “I gave you my virginity, and you left me twenty-six scribbled words.”

“Thorne looked to the woolly beast at his [Bram's] knee and and cocked a brow. "You seem to have acquired a lamb, my lord."

"The lamb goes home tomorrow."

"And if he doesn't?"

"He's dinner.”
“This isn't food." Bram picked up a lavender-iced cake between thumb and finger and stared at it. "This is...edible ornamentation.” 
He shook his head, looking perplexed. “I even like it when you snipe at me.” “You’ve seen me with a gun. If I were to snipe at you, I promise you’d feel it. And you wouldn’t like it one bit".

“Bram stared into a pair of wide, dark eyes. Eyes that reflected a surprising glimmer of intelligence. This might be the rare female a man could reason with.

"Now, then," he said. "We can do this the easy way, or we can make things difficult."

With a soft snort, she turned her head. It was as if he'd ceased to exist.

Bram shifted his weight to his good leg, feeling the stab to his pride. He was a lieutenant colonel in the British army, and at over six feet tall, he was said to cut an imposing figure. Typically, a pointed glance from his quarter would quell the slightest hint of disobedience. He was not accustomed to being ignored.

"Listen sharp, now." He gave her ear a rough tweak and sank his voice to a low threat. "If you know what's good for you, you'll do as I say."

Though she spoke not a word, her reply was clear: You can kiss my great wolly arse.

Confounded sheep.”

“So close. He'd get there. Not today, but soon. He had a task to accomplish here, and the sooner he completed it, the sooner he could rejoin his regiment. He wasn't stopping for anything.

Except sheep. Blast it. It would seem they were stopping for sheep.

A rough voice said, "I'll take care of them."

Thorne joined their group. Bram flicked his gaze to the side and spied his hulking mountain of a corporal shouldering a flintlock rifle.

"We can't simply shoot them, Thorne."

Obedient as ever, Thorne lowered his gun. "Then I've a cutlass. Just sharpened the blade last night."

"We can't butcher them, either."

Thorne shrugged. "I'm hungry."

Yes, that was Thorne--straightforward, practical. Ruthless.”

“The further he raided, the closer he came to the other rooms. Those unused, cobwebbed chambers of her heart. Would he dare to venture there? She doubted. Jumping off a cliff was a flashy sort of courage, but a man would need true strength and valor to break through those padlocked doors. There were dark, uncharted spaces within her that had been built to house love, and even she was afraid to explore them. Terrified to learn just how vast and how achingly empty they truly were.”
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