Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009...

Wishing you and yours a safe and prosperous new year.

Myspace Comments

Fall Romance Book Challenge...

It looks like I'm not going to complete this challenge. So close. Only one book to go but I'm only half way through it. So congrats to those that did complete the challenge. It was fun and I read some great books. A few that I had planned to read and many that would probably still be on that mountain I call the TBR pile. Looking forward to some interesting challenges in 2009. More on those later.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Review: King of Sword and Sky

Title: King of Sword and Sky
Author: C. L. Wilson
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Tairen Soul/Book 3

Tairen's breath of fire reigns,
She of red hair feeds the flame.
She soothes the soul cast in chains
Because of love she holds no blame.

While he embraces her love so pure
And guides her to her waiting fate.
With magic and sword they will secure
This land of legend and truemates.

The third book in the Tairen Soul series is nothing short of wonderful. After reading Lord of the Fading Lands and Lady of Light and Shadows it was obvious that C. L. Wilson wasn't just a one hit wonder. She has what it takes for amazing world building and fascinating storytelling. This isn't just a fantasy romance. This book has everything ~ action, romance, friendship, magic, darkness, light, good and evil. It's epic without being overwhelming. The flow of events and character development is done with a gentle touch here and a push when needed there.

Rainier vel'en Daris. Rain Tairen Soul. Rain. This is the story of his journey to his rightful place as King of the Fading Lands. His battle with himself and with the Fey who still question his leadership. His need to keep his people, both Tairen and Fey, safe from death is what drives him. His love for Ellie is what keeps him from losing hope.

Rain is one of those heroes that stays with you long after you've moved on to other books. You find yourself comparing the hero of your current read to Rain. Is he as loyal as Rain? As smart as Rain? As good looking as Rain? Can he fly? Breathe fire? Can he make that adorable chuffing sound when he laughs? Yes, Rain is a difficult hero to follow. But he does have his faults. He can be overbearing, arrogant, stubborn. But all of that is what makes him such a compelling character. He's not perfect even with all his magical abilities. He is still flawed. And that is what makes him so special. So real.

His love for his blade brothers (love that term) is demonstrated time and again. I think it's so important for the hero to have that core group of friends. It doesn't have to be a big group, just ones that give the reader a chance to see the hero interact with and allow us to get to know him better through those interactions. To see all sides of him, not just his relationship with the heroine.

Ellysetta Baristani. Feyreisa. Ellie. She has come so far since we first met her. She was the shy, quiet daughter of the master woodcarver Sol Baristani and his wife Lauriana. She is now coming into her own power and beginning to feel comfortable with her abilities. Her love for family and her desire to help the Tairen lead her to her destiny.

Ellie wasn't the easiest heroine for me to connect with at the beginning of the series. She started out a little too timid for me but has evolved into a strong, remarkable woman. Her courage comes not necessarily from confidence in her abilities but from her love. It's in everything she does. In the decisions that she makes. Her love is there. She is the driving force behind Rain and his ability to overcome his past. I have come to adore her calm strength and her stubbornness in the face of Rain's own stubbornness. I think Rain acknowledges Ellie's strength by not sheltering her from the truth, even though he knows it will at times cause her pain.

The love between Rain and Ellie isn't just in the way they lean on each other. The physical lovemaking is a very large part of who they are and how they connect. The love scenes are sweet, tender and very hot. With lots of giving and taking by both. There are enough of these scenes to leave no doubt that Wilson can write some very steamy love scenes.

As the story progresses the reader gets to see Rain and Ellie deal with the obstacles that every king and queen may face. Questions about there leadership and their loyalty. The politics that go on in every kingdom also occur in the Fading Lands. We get to see how they deal with these issues, how they rely on each other's strengths. The day to day workings of a kingdom. I found it gave a realistic feel to this magical world that Wilson has created.

Vadim Maur. High Mage of Eld. Nasty bastard. This guy is the Hannibal Lecter of mages. He is evil incarnate. And he is exactly what this book/series needed. To have an antagonist that wasn't up for the challenge of what Rain, Ellie and company could dish out would have left the story lacking. Give me a powerful opponent, one who keeps me guessing. Oh sure, I know in the end the good guys will win but the end isn't here yet and you don't win the war without losing some battles.

And that leaves us with some of my favorite secondary characters. Although, I don't really think of them as secondary, they are such an integral part of the story. They are Gaelen vel Serranis, Belliard vel Jelani (Bel), Kieran vel Solande and Keil vel Tomar. These Fey warriors are the ones that Rain and Ellie trust with their family and at their backs. There is also the pride of Tairens. These great, winged cats. The character development of the Tairens is so vivid. They are not merely large, magical cats but beings with emotions and needs. With love for their pride that is just as strong as what the Fey and mortals feel.

I do want to thank you one and all who read my attempt at poetry at the beginning of the review. I'm not sure what came over me but when I sat down to write that's what came out so I went with it.

Just in case you were wondering, yes, I would highly recommend this book/series. lol It isn't a stand alone so you really need to start with the first book of the series.

King of Sword and Sky is a book you can literally curl up with and loose yourself in. The next and final book in Rain and Ellie's story is Queen of Song and Souls, due out in June 2009. For more on the writings of C. L. Wilson she has a magical website full in information about the Tairen Soul series, characters, language and the world of Rain and Ellie.

Rating: A+

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Catherine Spangler Sentinel Series...

Found the cover for Touched by Light over on Shelfari and Amazon. Still can't confirm who the hero and heroine are. The only thing I could find was a release date of June 2, 2009. Adam and Julia's book is suppose to be next in the series. Checked Ms. Spangler's website and it hasn't been update in over a year. I do hope this is their book and it gets released next year. Adam in particular was such an interesting character. And Julia should fit well with him. I really enjoyed Touched by Darkness and Touched by Fire, the first two books in the series. They were both released in 2007 so it's been a while since I read them. Might need to do a re-read on those. She also wrote another series called the Shielder series that I've heard very good things about. I have those in my TBR pile.

Here's the deets on the Sentinel series from Ms. Spangler's website:

The Sentinels are reincarnated Atlantians, the same souls who were the priests and high priests who served The One (God/Creator/Supreme Being) in the temple on Atlantis.

The Sentinels have returned to Earth, taking on human bodies, in order to track down Belians, also reincarnated Atlantians. The Belians are the souls of those who followed Belial on Atlantis and worshipped dark forces and made human sacrifices—and whodestroyed Atlantis. They are also in human bodies and they, like the Sentinels, have superhuman abilities.

It is a cat-and-mouse game between them, as the Belians mount a reign of terror and evil on current-day Earth, and the Sentinels track them and dispense karmic justice.
The two groups are well matched in physical and psychic powers, but the Sentinels have a slight edge: Conductors—a small group of humans who are able to mentally link with Sentinels and enhance their psychic tracking abilities.

A human conductor who psychically matches a Sentinel is always the opposite sex. When the conductor and Sentinel meld minds and souls in a conduction to track a Belian, powerful sexual energies arise, and it becomes much more than a mental exercise. The sparks fly as Sentinel and conductor come together in a blaze of psychic power and sizzling desire, to track unimaginable evil.

Your Earth is once again touched by darkness.

But those who worship Belial will not win.
There is no escape from destiny.
We are the Sentinels.
We will prevail.

If anyone has heard anything about this book please share. Thanks!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Review: Contact

Title: Contact
Author: Susan Grant
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Jordan Cady is a young widow who is also a single mom. She's worked very hard to get to where she is. Which is why she's is currently sitting in the co-pilot's seat of United Airlines Flight 58 bound for San Francisco from Honolulu. What started out as a normal flight turns out to be anything but normal for the passengers and crew. A thunderstorm that should have been easy to fly around becomes something completely different. What Jordan doesn't know is that her world is about to change ~ literally. That change comes in the form of Kào Vantaar-Moray, former lieutenant in the Alliance Space Force and now a member of the Perimeter Patrol. An alien.

This is my first foray into Susan Grant's writing and I am so glad I took the jump. The story of Jordan and Kào is a wonderful blend of romance with some sci-fi and suspense added to the mix. Ms. Grant is a pilot so there was a very real sense of what happens on an airplane during a crisis and what happens in the aftermath. How the crew is trained to do more than simple serve drinks and peanuts. It was interesting to read the dynamics of how the crew pulls together along with the passengers in the bizarre situation.

Even though Jordan and her crew are not considered prisoners but guests the tension is still there and the crew and passengers don't trust their hosts. Jordan is put in the position of leader by default and has to rise to the challenge. While she usually does manage to meet most of the challenges self doubts do plague her. New friends and old help boost her self esteem. Jordan is a well developed heroine with a strong sense of responsibility to her crew and her passengers. She doesn't want to fall for Kào but is drawn to him.

Kào is definitely a tortured hero. He was a prisoner of war and is still recovering, both physically and mentally. The nightmares of his imprisonment are still with him and he blames himself for many deaths. He is slowly sinking further into depression when he is assigned as the liaison for the crew and passengers. This assignment puts him into contact with Jordan. As he gets to know Jordan he realizes he actually enjoys spending time with her. Soon he becomes conflicted with his sense of duty to his father, the commander, and with his developing relationship with Jordan. Kào's trust is tested and he has to make hard decisions.

The love story between Jordan and Kào is well paced, the development is not rushed but takes into account the extremely stressful and difficult situation they find themselves in. When they do become intimate their passion comes from not only their physical needs but their emotional needs too.

The secondary characters of the crew of both the airliner and the space craft are developed enough to give the reader insight into the workings of both groups. And the tension of the life aboard the ship is felt and shown by both crews. Overall Grant does a good job portraying the different and similar values of both groups of people.

Susan Grant is the author of eleven books and four novellas with more books due for publication in 2009. You can find out more about her at her website.

Rating: A-

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Kreativ Blogger Award...

The lovely Brie at Musings of a Bibliophile has honored me with the Kreative Blogger Award. Brie is one of those readers who not only has great taste in books but has a truly kind heart. She makes you feel welcomed and she has such a variety of books to recommend that there is always something interesting to read at her blog.

Not only is there an award but there is also a MeMe.

Here's the rules for the MeMe:

1. Mention the blog that gave it to you.
2. Comment on their blog to let them know you've posted the award.
3. Share 6 values that are important to you.
4. Share 6 things you do not support.
5. Share the love with 6 other blogging friends.

As Brie mentioned the rules have been tweaked a bit by previous award recipients so I'm going to do a little tweaking myself.

The 6 things that I value this time of year:

Togetherness ~ that means spending time with family that I don't get to see very often.
Honesty (to a point) ~ Do I like the present? Of course I do! I could always use more slippers.
Good Food ~ Do I really need another cookie? Why, yes... yes I do.
Tape ~ wrapping paper-check, name tags-check, bows-check, tape? Where's the tape? Who took the last of the tape?! Finding the tape=Priceless. (In case you hadn't guessed, I can never find tape in my house.)
Good Hiding Places ~ that are kid proof and I can remember where they are. (the gifts, not the kids.)
Warm Fuzzies ~ not the afore mentioned slippers but the feeling you get after things quiet down and you realize how lucky you are to have such a great bunch of people in your life.

The 6 things I do not support this time of year:

Long Lines ~ at the post office, the grocery store, the bookstore, McDonald's drive-thru...
Christmas Music ~ before Thanksgiving!
Bad Drivers ~ OK, I don't like them at any time of year but they seem to be especially bad this time of year.
Rampant Commercialism ~ I do not have to buy every toy in the world to give my kids a wonderful Christmas. Period.
Chia Pets ~ need I say more?
The Clapper Commercial ~ it always gets stuck in my head. Always.

Sharing the love with one and all.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Review: Natural Born Charmer

Title: Natural Born Charmer
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Chicago Stars/Book 7

Is that a...beaver? Yes, Dean that is a beaver. A big one too. But where's it's head?

The sight that greets Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard, while driving down a Colorado road, is nothing short of bizarre. In the beaver suit is Blue Bailey, an artist who's luck has abandoned her along with all her money and her boyfriend. Her car broke down and the only job she could find is dressing in said beaver suit. Sounds like a country western song gone wrong but things are about to change for Blue when Dean decides to give her a ride. Just to relieve the boredom he tells himself. Dean certainly gets a relief from the boring drive but Blue also gives him a heck of a lot more.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips has done it again. What an entertaining story! I was laughing quite a bit with this one. I also squeaked out a couple of tears during a few scenes. What starts out as a comedy of errors transforms into a family drama. This was a story not only of Dean and Blue and their often times very rocky road to HEA but also the opening and healing of old wounds. The making of a family by blood and by circumstances.

As Dean and Blue head to Dean's farm in Tennessee they do what people usually do on road trips ~ get to know each other better and drive each other crazy. By the time they get to Dean's farmhouse the relationship has evolved from distraction to irritation to sexual frustration.

Once they get to the farmhouse things become even more complicated with family members coming out of the woodwork. All Dean wanted was some time to relax and recover from a shoulder injury. What he got was another chance at mending the relationship of some of the most important people in his life. He also got Blue Bailey in his life and soon he realizes that he can't be without her. It isn't that simple for Blue. She's used to moving around and never really having anything or anyone permanent in her life. But now she's coming to feel too much for these people. To care too much.

Blue was such an interesting character. A genuine original. She's self sufficient because she's had to be most of her life. She is determined not to get involved in Dean's personal life but keeps getting drawn into the drama of his relationships with his estranged family. Blue's childhood was a series of constant change. Change of location, change of what passed for family. She was raised by different people with some visits from her mom who had a "need to save the world" obsession which kept her away a lot.

Dean was lovable, sexy, sweet, sexy, caring, sexy, funny. Umm...did I mention sexy? LOL Yes, he might be one of my favorite contemporary heroes so far this year. His childhood was not even close to normal. His mother was what I would call a "casual parent" meaning that she didn't concern herself with his upbringing personally, merely hiring people to care for him. Unfortunately for Dean, she was too busy fighting her own addictions to give him the security every child needs from their parent. Dean became a man who places a high value on friendship, those he considers close friends he views as his true family. While his family members are viewed more as complications in his life that he tries to avoid.

I really enjoyed Natural Born Charmer. The dialogue was pure SEP and kept me completely entertained. It is part of the Chicago Stars series but IMO can be read as a stand alone. I've only read two other books in the series and had no problem following along. There is very little interaction with other members of the team since the story primarily takes place away from Chicago.

Rating: A-

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cover Love ~ Dreamfever

It's a long way off before the release date of August 25, 2009 but the cover is simply gorgeous! Mac looks like she'll be kicking some Unseelie ass. And the colors are amazing. This has that popular Urban Fantasy cover look ~ showing the back of the heroine. Although it's usually more of a close up and tats are involved. Still, I'm loving it. How about you?

And here's a little teaser KMM sent out for Dreamfever:

I am a kite in a tornado but I have a long string. There is tension in my line. Somewhere, someone is holding onto the other end and, although it cannot spare me this storm, it will not let me be lost while I regain my strength.

It is enough.

I will survive.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cover Love ~ Branded by Fire

Posted on Nalini Singh's blog. So, what do you think? Like it? Don't like it? What I like is the fact that both heroine and hero are on the cover. I'm glad that Mercy wasn't left off. I'd say it's one of my favorites of the series. Release date of July 2009.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quickie Review: The Magical Christmas Cat

Title: The Magical Christmas Cat
Authors: Lora Leigh, Erin McCarthy, Nalini Singh, Linda Winstead Jones
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: The Breeds by Lora Leigh & The Psy/Changlings by Nalini Singh

The Magical Christmas Cat is an anthology with four stories by four different authors. I've read Lora Leigh and her Breed series and also Nalini Singh and her Psy/Changling series. I enjoy both series and that's why I wanted to read this book. This was my first read by Linda Winstead Jones and I've read Fallen by Erin McCarthy.

Stroke of Enticement by Nalini Singh

This first story was about Zach Quinn, a DarkRiver soldier, and Annie Kildaire, a teacher at a school where some of the students are Changlings. Zach is the uncle of one of Annie's students and comes to take his nephew home after the boy gets into a fight. The sparks begin when Annie and Zach meet and continue through the story. This was a beautiful addition to the series. I don't think Singh is capable of writing a bad romance. She is able to pack so much information, so much "story" into the shortened format and still leave you feeling satisfied.

Rating: A

Christmas Bree by Erin McCarthy

This is about Bree Murphy who is one of three sisters that are witches. Bree's younger sister Abby predicts Bree will meet a lawyer wearing a pink shirt. Totally not Bree's type. But who shows up at the door? Ian, who is a lawyer and guess what he's wearing. Yep, a pink shirt. Bree and Ian seem an unlikely pair but they soon come to know each other and realize they were meant to be together. These two opposites attracted in a big way. It was a quick, cute read but didn't leave me wanting to read the next Murphy sister's story.

Rating: B

Sweet Dreams by Linda Winstead Jones

Ruby attends the annual Christmas party on her street and has the misfortune of being the Secret Santa for Zane Benedict, her new neighbor. Zane is an attractive guy if a bit odd. Ruby and Zane find themselves together due to some scary goings on at Ruby's house. There is a little mystery of who Zane really is and his connection to Ruby. It was an interesting story but I would have like to have it in a longer format. Definitely will be reading more of Ms. Winstead Jones.

Rating: B+

Christmas Heat by Lora Leigh

The last story is about Noble Chavin, a Jaguar breed, and Haley McQuire who is a librarian. If you've read any of Lora Leigh's Breed books you know what to expect. There are some appearances by Breeds from previous books and some new Breed characters are introduced. Overall, Noble and Haley's story was similar to other Breed stories with the initial attraction, the hunt and the taming. A decent addition to the Breed world.

Rating: B+

Just curious ~ did anyone else notice the phallic symbol on the cover?

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Voice In My Head...

Is a man's voice. My current audio book is Nora Roberts' Blood Brothers. And while I'm enjoying the story I can't help but chuckle whenever a female character speaks. It's read by a man and when he does a woman's voice I get flashes of Monty Python going through my head. Or the church lady from SNL. His rendition of Layla, who is from New York City, is particularly funny. As for the male voices, those he does well, giving them enough variance that I can tell them apart. In particular he does a wonderful, deep voiced Cal. The female voices don't bother me enough to stop listening ~ the plot is too interesting. So I simply concentrate on the words instead of the voice.

Over this past summer I listed to Karen Marie Moning's Darkfever and Bloodfever audio books. They were read by a woman and she did a wonderful job of Mac's voice. For me she hit it dead on. But Barrons voice was another story. There were times that he sounded like an angry old leprechaun.

Anyone else listen to audio books and find some of the voices just don't fit the characters? I would imagine it's hard to sound like the opposite sex but I almost think I would rather not have them try than to give what sounds like an SNL skit.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Review: Untamed

Title: Untamed
Author: Pamela Clare
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: MacKinnon Rangers/Book 2

Prisoner. That's what he was. Their prisoner. But not for long. Soon he would be taken by the Abenaki Indians and then he will be made to wish for death. Long for it. But he could not, would not betray his brother or his men to the French. The Rangers were his family and he would die for his family if he must. Then she was there, an angel among the nightmares. She gave him peace and then she gave him hope.

The second book of Clare's MacKinnon Ranger series is about the middle brother, Morgan MacKinnon. The setting is 1759 during the French and Indian War. Morgan took over as leader of the Rangers when his older brother Iain left the Rangers to return to the family farm with his wife and child. Now it is Morgan the men look to for leadership. Along with his younger brother Connor, Morgan fights the French and their Indian allies all the while hoping that the war will end soon.

When the Rangers attack a supply shipment that is being unloaded at Fort Carillon one of Morgan's men is wounded and Morgan goes back for him. While he is able to get his man to safety, Morgan is shot and taken prisoner by the French. It is here that he is tortured but kept alive so he can be given over to the Abenaki Indians where he will be tortured more and burned alive. When Morgan's wounds are being seen to he meets Amalie Chauvenet. She has been asked by the fort's commander, Chevalier de Bourlamaque, to see to Morgan's injuries in the hopes that she may learn something of importance from him.

Amalie Chauvenet is the daughter of Major Chauvenet of the French army. She was raised in a convent but has come to Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga) to be with her father. Her mother, who is deceased, was half Abenaki. Amalie does have some physical characteristics of her Abenaki heritage but she is unfamiliar with their way of life. She is part of two worlds yet not meant for either.

I really liked Amalie. She is a strong heroine but quiet in her strength. She has certain beliefs that are tested as she comes to know Morgan. Her intelligence is such that she understands there are two sides to every situation and she is open minded enough to realize that things are not always black and white, the shades of gray being the hardest to understand and accept. I can not imagine what it would be like to live in the fort with the opportunity for attack always present. What it must have been like, knowing that there was a war going on just outside the walls and that at any moment it could come knocking?

There is a scene where Morgan is holding Amalie and notices that her heart is beating fast...

"Your heart is beatin' like a wild bird's, lass." His lips brushed over her skin as he spoke, his breath warm and scented with brandy. "What is it that's frightenin' you?"

She swallowed, tried to speak. "Tomorrow." page 206

To be afraid of what each tomorrow would bring must have been truly difficult to live with. Clare is able to bring that underlying fear to the story. And by doing so gives the reader the idea of how strong these men and women of the frontier were.

Morgan is similar to Iain in that he has the same innate loyalty to his Rangers, his family. But I sensed that Morgan had become more of the diplomatic type than Iain and is more inclined to weigh all possible outcomes before acting. He was a man pulled in opposing directions ~ his love and loyalty to his Ranger brethren and his feelings for Amalie. No matter what he does there are negative consequences along with the positive. I loved Morgan unfaltering loyalty and love for his men...

But long afore I pledged my loyalty to him, I made another oath ~ to my brothers and my men! Would you have me break that vow and become a betrayer and slayer of my own kin? As you loved your father, so I love them!

She heard his words, felt the conflict within him, but was too hurt, too outraged to care... page 195

And I don't want to forget the love scenes. They are very hot! As the story progresses Morgan and Amalie are not shy about their physical attraction to each other. I was left with visions of Morgan in my head that are definitely x-rated. Not that I'm complaining. Not in the least. *grin*

The situation Morgan found himself in made for an interesting twist to the story that I thought Clare pulled off brilliantly. I thought Untamed was a really good follow up to Iain and Annie story in Surrender. You can read my review of Surrender here. Pamela Clare also writes romantic suspense novels with her I-Team series. You can find out more about Ms. Clare at her website. I would certainly recommended not only Untamed but any of Pamela Clare's novels.

Rating: A

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sick and tired...

funny pictures of cats with captions

The nasty flu bug has been flying around our house. I was hoping it wouldn't land on me but no such luck. I'll try to get a review up later today but for now I'm camping out on the couch and trying to get some sleep. Hope everyone else out in blogworld is staying well.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Surrender Winner...

Big thank you to everyone that entered my first contest. I wish I could give a copy to all of you but I only have one extra copy of Surrender. My daughter Abby and the magic hat worked their mojo and the winner is ~ HILCIA

Congratulations Graphic #7

Please send your snail mail address to and I'll get the book in the mail to you. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Review: Surrender and a Contest

Title: Surrender
Author: Pamela Clare
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: MacKinnon's Rangers/

Book 1

The British and French are at war in the North American colonies. The MacKinnon brothers who are Catholic and from Scotland, want no part of it. They simply want to farm their land and eventually go on to raise families. One day that changes and they are forced to fight not for France and the Catholics but for their enemy the British. If they refuse to fight it will mean death. Iain, the eldest, chooses life.

An ocean away in Scotland a young woman must also make a difficult choice. She is fighting for her life and chooses to take the arduous road to what she hopes is eventually freedom. Wrongly convicted, Lady Anne Burness Campbell is sent to the colonies as an indentured servant to fulfill her fourteen year indenture. It is here that she meets her fate in the form of Iain MacKinnon.

This first book of the MacKinnon Rangers series sets the tone for what is to be a stunning trip back in time to the late 1750's. When America was still a colony and wars were waged on her soil. Much like her book Ride the Fire, Clare holds nothing back in terms of the brutality of war. She doesn't shy away from the fact that innocent people are brutally killed by both sides. The life of a soldier and that of the frontier families is full of hardship and pain. But through these hardships bonds of trust and loyalty are built. The men who make up the group of Rangers in Surrender demonstrate such a vivid example of those bonds. Clare is able to bring these men to life and gives them such a strong presence in the story.

Iain MacKinnon. Just the name alone makes me sigh. Iain is certainly a sigh-worthy hero. He was born in Scotland and was exiled with his family when he was fifteen. He along with his parents and two younger brothers moved to the American colonies to start life over. Here he was taught the ways of the Muhheconneok Indians when he and his brothers were adopted into the tribe. Iain has such a strong sense of honor and loyalty. Even when he has difficult choices to make his loyalty and honor never waiver.

When Iain sees Anne running from Abenaki Indians he decides he must save her. His brothers, Morgan and Connor, try to talk him out of it. They tell him that he will be in serious trouble with his commanding officer, the same officer who has forced him to fight for the British. They also remind him of the mission they are on and how Iain's rescuing the woman could jeopardize the mission and put his men in harm's way. But he can't turn his back on her and leave her to certain death. So he orders his brothers and the Rangers to leave and risks his own life for that of a stranger.

"Curse me for a fool, but I cannae abandon her. This is of my choosin'. Leave me to it! I'll rendezvous wi' you if I can. Go! Now!" Iain waited until Connor had disappeared into the trees behind him, whispered his clan's motto.

"Audentes fortuna iuvat." Fortune assists the daring.

page 31

Lady Anne Burness Campbell may be a lady born but she is no frail, delicate miss. She is accustomed to the life of an aristocrat but when she is faced with hardships and difficulties she does her best to overcome them. In her own way she is a fierce fighter like Iain. She has her own loyalties and tries very hard to honor those loyalties. Annie Burns, the name she gives to Iain, is a heroine that is full of life and will scrape and claw her way out of danger because of the value she places on life. She also has secrets that she must guard or else jeopardize her shaky future. Even though her loyalties are to the British, as she comes to know the MacKinnons and the Rangers she realizes that there are two sides to every war. That the Rangers are honorable men whose friendships she values.

Iain and Annie's love story develops over time along with their learning to trust each other. First they must travel through hostile territory and get back to Fort Elizabeth. Then once at the fort they are confronted by Lord William Wentworth, commander of the fort and the man who forced Iain and his brothers to serve as Rangers. Wentworth is suspicious of Annie and her background. He decides he wants her for himself and causes no end of trouble for Iain and Annie.

As Iain comes to feel more than lust for Annie he still tries to hold back, thinking he has nothing to offer her until the war is over and he is free to live his life the way he wants to. But he can't seem to help himself when it comes to Annie. The sex scenes are beautifully written and hold such depth and passion along with some humor.

When they are making their way to Fort Elizabeth, Annie is able to take a few moments to bath quickly while Iain leaves to scout the area. She intends to only wash her feet but quickly changes her mind...

Eager to put it all behind her, she washed quickly, first her breasts and belly, then her arms and shoulders. The breeze raised bumps on her wet skin, but the cold water soothed her bruises. As dirt and mud and dried blood washed away, she began to feel like herself again.

“You’d tempt a saint, lass. But I am no’ a saint.”

Annie gasped and covered her breasts with her arms.

He stood not ten feet away, the butt of his rifle resting on the ground, his hand around the barrel, his gaze sliding blatantly over her.

“Y-you ought no’ be watchin’!”

“You ought no’ be naked.” pages 88-89

And when Iain can no longer hold back his passion, he does what he's been longing to do...

He ran his thumb over the fullness of her lower lip. "All I'm wonderin' today, mo leannan, is how I've gone so long wi' out doin' this."

Then he took her lips with his.

With a whimper, Annie gave herself up to his kiss, welcoming the sweet invasion of his tongue, melting into the hard wall of his chest. Heat licked through her, flared deep in her belly, leaving her weak, reckless, breathless. "Iain!"

He growled, took the kiss deeper, ravished her mouth, until her lips tingled and ached and there was nothing in her world but him. The sharp stubble of his beard. The hard curve of his shoulders. The spicy male scent of him.
pages 161-162

And there is also the "shaving scene". Not going to say more, don't want to spoil it. *grin*

The characters of Morgan and Connor, Iain's brothers, are well developed and exhibit that same sense of loyalty and honor that all the Rangers have. I think Iain, being the eldest of the brothers, has more of the natural leadership abilities than Morgan or Connor. Iain seems to understand that while not all decisions he makes as the leader will be the best choice for all he still needs to follow his conscious and is willing to take responsibility for any mistakes he might make.

The Rangers who appear on the pages are such a diverse group of men. Many but not all are from Scotland. They are loyal to a fault to Iain and his brothers and transfer that loyalty to Annie. There is also Captain Joseph who, along with his Stockbridge men, help the Rangers on their missions. Joseph is a Muhheconneok Indian and has been friends with the MacKinnon brothers for many years.

The book is full of action and passion. The action of war and all it's blood and glory. The passion Iain and Annie have for each other and for their beliefs and convictions. The story held my attention long after closing the book. I was fortunate to have Untamed, the next book in the series, to read after finishing Surrender. I can only hope we don't have to wait too long for Connor's story.

I first read Pamela Clare's romantic suspense novels and enjoyed them. I'm so glad I finally gave her historicals a try. It's obvious that she does a lot of research of not only the historical setting but of the type of people that were part of those historical events. Surrender is another exceptional read from Clare. The next book in the series, Untamed, is out now and is about Morgan MacKinnon. I would highly recommend any of Clare's work, both the romantic suspense and her wonderful historicals. You can find out more at Pamela Clare's website.

Rating: A

CONTEST ~ Today, December 2, is the birthday of a someone very special to me. So in honor of his birthday I'm having my first contest. I've got one brand-spanking new copy of Surrender up for grabs so if this sounds like a book you'd like to read leave a comment to this post before noon, Friday, December 5, 2008. I'll put all names in a hat and pick one winner. Due to postage costs this contest is limited to residents of the U.S and Canada. Check back here after noon on Friday for the winner's name. Good Luck!