Sunday, May 27, 2012

Historical Romance Month - Winners of Week 4!



Our winners for Week 4 of Historical Romance Month are….


Amanda and Kelly!!


Congrats to both of you!!! As always, the winners were chosen using random.org.


Thanks to all of you who participated in Historical Romance Month. We enjoyed reading all your comments, and loved giving away some of our favorite books.  A special thank you shout-out to our guest reviewers, Kathleen, Kristen and Elizabeth. We could not have done this without you and your awesome reviews!!


Check back with us soon. We will continue to post reviews and have some exciting giveaways in the upcoming months!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Historical Romance Week 4: The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran and Sea Change by Darlene Marshall


The last week of Historical Romance Month has arrived and we’ve got two wonderful books for you. One of our guest reviewers, Kathleen, recommended Sea Change by Darlene Marshall for Week 4, as we’re visiting exotic locations this week. Steffi decided to include The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran, which is an amazing book that’s partly set in India. We can’t believe Historical Romance Month is coming to an end already. This has been so much fun and we want to thank Kathleen, Kristen and Elizabeth again for being the fabulous reviewers they are and allowing us to publish their reviews on Swept Away By Romance. As always, directions on how to win The Duke of Shadows or Sea Change are down below. Enjoy the last week of Historical Romance Month! You’ll hear back from us soon with more news, reviews and giveaways.



My first book by Meredith Duran and I was instantly blown away! WOW! This was a 5+++ read for me.

Emmaline Martin is supposed to meet her fiancé in India. The journey ends fatally for her parents but Emmaline survives, barely! Finally in India, she is confronted with a culture that is so new and different from what she was used to and the British colonial society doesn't help much. When war breaks out and her fiancé leaves her behind, Emmaline has to turn to the one man who is considered a traitor, a savage, but he might also be the only one who can actually save her from danger.

I loved Julian. He is the ultimate protector, sexy and macho and sweet and gentle and and and....he is the perfect hero. I wouldn't have given this book 5stars if both main characters weren't great. Emmaline has a lot of courage and I loved her open-mindedness about the Indian culture. She stepped out of her comfort zone to integrate herself into the new society she was to live in. Only, did she understand that ignoring and mistreating the people of India wasn't the right way to go about it.

I was so engrossed in the book that I could almost feel the sun shining down on my neck, stifling heat, the bright colors of the markets and the smell of spices. Meredith Duran creates a believable exotic setting and intertwines history and imagination very well. In fact, on her website, she gives detailed information about her research and the books she read in preparation.


She made me so curious about Colonial India and the time this book is set in, that I even purchased some of the books myself!

I recommend The Duke of Shadows to lovers of historical romance, exotic settings but also to those who love highly emotional reads and strong-minded characters. I greatly enjoyed it!!




 Steffi






 
Story Rating 5 stars
Character Rating 5 stars
Romance Rating 4 stars
Heat Level 3 stars
Overall Rating 5 stars



I LOVED this story and I had a really hard time putting it down.
The heroine made this book for me, she was a fantastic character, but I have to say that all the characters in this book were very well done.
This story had some really exciting moments and the action of the sea battles was very well done. Warning if you do not like reading about the injuries that happen from battles this book would not be for you because there are quite a few gory scenes.
The love scenes while not many were done well and I was a bit surprised at the heat level I got out of this book. They were very believable and I could feel the love as it grew between the H&h.
There were also LOL moments and I shed a few tears while reading this book.
This was the second book of Darlene Marshall's that I've read and really enjoyed. I look forward to more from this author.






Thank you, Kathleen


 
If you want to win The Duke of Shadows or Sea Change (ebook or pb), read the Contest Rules in our intro post and enter (please leave your comments down below)! Historical Romance Week 4 closes on May 26, 2012.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Historical Romance Month - Winners of Week 3!


Our winners for Week 3 of Historical Romance Month are….


Kelly and Susan!!


Congrats to both of you!!! As always, the winners were chosen using random.org.
We visited England, America and the Scottish Highlands and are slowly nearing the end of Historical Romance Month. The last week will spotlight historical romance in exotic locations. We have two wonderful books for you: The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran and Sea Change by Darlene Marshall. For reviews and a chance to win either one of the featured books check back on Tuesday, May 22, when Historical Romance Week 4 begins.





Steffi and Karla

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Skin Deep (I-Team After Hours #1) by Pamela Clare


5 Gigantic Stars! The Boys Are Back In Town!!!Yes they are and there’s a new boy ridin’ with the posse…Nathaniel West, former Marine, rancher and Marc Hunter’s worst nightmare. Nate’s got his eye on Megan, Marc’s baby sister, who he rescues from the clutches of her drug addicted ex, Donny. Now Megan’s making eyes at Nate and Marc’s not happy, because no one can take care of his sister as good as he can…so he thinks! Let the pissin’ contest begin!!!

Pamela Clare does it again! I could not put it down, and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to finish! Beautifully written story about 2 people who are trying to piece themselves back together, each having suffered from tragic events that now shape their lives. Megan is trying to build a life and home for herself and her daughter, Emily. She still deals with the shame of being a recovered drug addict, and letting her brother Marc take the fall when she killed one of the men who raped her in prison. Nate is healing from a horrific incident in Afghanistan, in which he was severely injured, burned and has left him permanently scarred. He also suffers from the mental anguish of losing his comrades and watching the other men that were injured deal with their own living hell. Then he meets Megan, albeit not under normal circumstances. They have chemistry and both are willing to explore the possibility of something more, they are perfect for each other, much to Marc’s dismay. Oh that Marc…or shall I call him a mother hen...his patience is about to be tested!

Jack, Nate’s father, and Emily form a loving relationship of their own and these two delightful characters added depth and emotion to this novella that reads like a full length novel. Terrific dialogue, suspense, humor, the involvement of all our favorite characters…”Uncle Julie”…*snicker*, a heartwarming feel good tale, a fantastic epilogue, make this a must read for fans of Pamela Clare’s I-team series, or for that matter anyone who wants to read a gem of a book!

On top of all this there is a short story, Marc and Julian Make a Beer Run, where the "posse" work their magic once again, as they come in guns a blazin’ to save the day! This unlikely band of brothers had me laughing and smiling, I wanted to jump into the book and hug them all…maybe even fondle them…did I say that?! What a treat…you are so good to us Pamela!!

On a final note…I LOVE YOU MARC HUNTER…and if Sophie ever leaves you, I’ll be right here waiting for you *smooches*. She won’t, but one can dream *sigh*!

 **One more final note and a request**

In this novella we read about a fictional character Nate who suffers from the affects of going to war, being a soldier and serving his country. Everyday around the world, the life of Nate and his comrades depicted in this novella, is “real life” for the men and women who serve in the military. They struggle to overcome unimaginable changes in their lives, physically and mentally, families are torn apart and all too often the financial impact is devastating. So maybe take a week, brown bag it to work, make your own coffee, have that Friday night dinner at home, or even do a re-read instead of buying a new book…send that money you saved and support an organization that supports the military in your home country. Two that I support myself are, Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund http://semperfifund.org/, my brother was a proud Marine, and the Wounded Warrior Project http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/, or take the time to thank someone whose served.

Pamela Clare's books are always a joy to read, but she also brings our attention to issues that are sometimes overlooked...so, thank you!





Karla

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Historical Romance Week 3: The Bride by Julie Garwood and My Fierce Highlander by Vonda Sinclair




Please welcome our guest reviewers of week 3 of Historical Romance Month. We asked Kristen and Kathleen for their reviews of these books because their love for them shines through in their writing. Historical Romance Week 3 is all about sexy Scottish Highlanders and we thought we’d give you a little visual to keep your attentionJ Enjoy the reviews and the man candy! Directions on how to win the featured books are down below.




I loved this book. It's one of those feel good stories that leaves you smiling for days.  If I was to sum-up this book with one word, "delightful" comes to mind.  I honestly can't think of a better word to describe the experience I had while reading it.
Jamie has become one of my all-time favorite heroines. Julie Garwood has a way of writing heroines that are strong willed without becoming annoying (hard to do in my opinion.) Jamie's one of the most endearing characters I've read. She's impossible not to love. She's confident, honest, loyal, self-deprecating, stubborn, genuine, quirky, feisty, and guileless. I think it's her lack of guile that makes her such a lovable and enchanting character. She's such a sweetheart
I really liked Alec's character. 100% alpha-hero. He's the perfect counterbalance for Jamie. He's powerful, ruthless, egotistical, possessive, stubborn, and cocky,  but he's also kind, gentle (when needed), charming, loyal, honest, and somewhat mischievous. I couldn't stop laughing during the part where he finally told Jamie he loved her. Poor girl. She really can be her own worst enemy. Lol.       
The chemistry between these two characters  jumps off the pages. As the reader, you're instantly drawn into their world of witty banter, erotic sexual tension (fans self), laugh-out- loud situations and dialog, and swoon-worthy romance. *sigh* The secondary characters were three-dimensional and fun to read. I was almost as taken with Gavin and Father Murdock as I was with Alec. Almost. 
The plot leaned towards the ridiculous and was historically inaccurate at times. I admit to a few "roll of the eyes" moments but this story is so full of heart and soul that it was easy to overlook the few liberties the author took with the plot.
I will definitely read this book again; especially, if I want a good laugh or cheering up.


Karla says:
"I  agree with Kristen,  The Bride is delightful and a whole lotta fun!! Unrealistic at times, but the characters are so charming and absorbing that you just want to see where the story takes you. It's a wonderful heartwarming romance, which will leave you smiling long after you've closed the book!"


 



Thank you, Kristen





Story Rating 4.5 stars
Character Rating 5 stars
Romance Rating 5 stars
Heat Level 3.5 stars
Overall Rating 5 stars

I had never read a Vonda Sinclair book and boy am I glad I read this book.

Yes, I know that this story line has been done before but I truly enjoyed it. I read a review at Amazon after I started this book saying .....

The love scenes in this story are few, and are sophisticated, penned for the mature reader.

Those of you, who know me, know that I like heat in my romances. I figured there was only going to be one, maybe two good love scenes in this book because of that review. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the overall heat level in this book because while it was not an erotic book, the last 60% of the book had MANY loves scenes and were very well done plus had plenty of heat. I have to wonder what that reviewer was reading.

LOVED that in this book it was the hero who was first to say I love you and also got the broken heart. I absolutely LOVED Alasdair. That's not to say that I did not like the heroine Gwyneth, I loved her too. Really great characters that made a great story of passion, honor, love, kindness, strength, courage and so much more. I also have to mention the villains. There was more than one but in the end they got their comeuppance and we get a wonderful HEA ending, sigh.

This book also had some good action to it, I like action in my books, I really don't care much for books when the story is all in one place with no movement.

This for me was a Scottish Romance at its best. I am jumping right into book 2 My Wild Highlander, where we get Alasdair's younger brother Lachlan's story.

Karla says:
"Just like Kathleen said, the story’s been done before, but it was different enough to make it unique. I love the “fierceness” and compassionate nature of Alasdair, and Gwyneth’s strength and determination. They are a charming, compatible couple. You get a good dose of Lachlan, Alasdair’s brother, a funny delightful lady’s man, in other words a “manwhore”, and I look forward to reading his book too! "







Thank you, Kathleen





If you want to win The Bride or My Fierce Highlander (ebook or pb), read the Contest Rules in our intro post and enter (please leave your comments down below)! Historical Romance Week 3 closes on May 19, 2012.


  



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Congrats to the winners of Historical Romance Week 2 and Happy Mother's Day!


Congratulations to Kathleen and Natalija! You are our winners of Historical Romance Week 2. As always, winners were chosen using random.org.



As a little treat, Karla gives you a glimpse of her PERFECT MOTHER’S DAY:



Karla’s Perfect Mother’s Day!



So I don’t know what you all want for Mother’s Day, but I just want a day to relax. I imagine in my mind…and here’s how it goes….



First, I'm going to find someone to help with the housework. Okay you can put the basket down now…please!






Then I’m going to have breakfast in bed…mmmmm…yummy!





Take a relaxing bath…oh look a tubby toy…you think if I squeeze him, he’ll squeak?!








And maybe I’ll even get some flowers…delivered special, just for me!



Okay, Okay...a girl can dream, can't she??? It's more like a fantasy, but it's mine and I like it!! Happy Mother's Day to all of you, whether you’re a mom yourself, expectant mom, mom to your pets, you’re going to spend it with your mom, have a beautiful day and keep dreaming!! 

Historical Romance Week 3 starts on Tuesday, May 15. Week 3 is all about Scotland and sexy Highlanders! We will be reviewing and giving away My Fierce Highlander by Vonda Sinclair and The Bride by Julie Garwood. We would love for you to stop by and say hi and of course enter the contest if you’re interested in winning one of the books.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

While You Were Dead by C.J. Snyder



For a while I didn’t read any romantic-suspense, even though it’s my favorite romance genre. The reason being that I was annoyed by the predictable plots and boring revelations of something I’ve known since page 10. You see, I was quite annoyed and in a real RS funk. So much so, that when I first picked up While You Were Dead, I didn’t get past the first 20 pages. I just wasn’t in the mood and that can happen but when I felt the time had come to give romantic suspense another try, I returned to this book. Thank you CJ Snyder for bringing back my love for RS and managing to shock and surprise me at every corner.

While You Were Dead is exactly what I was looking for.

Kat has loved and lost. The love of her life died and while she married someone else, no one can ever compare to Max. It’s not surprising that her marriage didn’t last long but Kat has another secret: a part of Max is still alive, his daughter. Kat decided to give up Lizzie when she found out about Max’s death. In her grief and because of some other personal issues she couldn’t take care of her and instead gave Lizzie to Max’s sister and her husband.  Now twelve years later, Kat is getting regular updates about her daughter but when those updates stop, she decides to drive to the house. She doesn’t find Lizzie or Max’s sister there but she does find MAX. From that point, the action really picks up and the book becomes one fast-paced ride when Max and Kat have to work together in retrieving their kid-napped daughter, while rediscovering their love for each other.

While You Were Dead is brilliantly constructed in its suspense plot. Everything that happens has a reason and is somehow part of solving the puzzle. Nothing is coincidence, even though Kat adamantly tries to pretend that it is. Once you start reading and the plot start to unravel there is no going back. I was swept along on a thrilling ride that I wouldn’t want to miss. CJ Snyder must have put a lot of work and research into this book to make it so convincingly real. On top of all that, she gives us a beautiful story of the invincibility of love and how it can survive death and other tragedies.

I really enjoyed this book and will go onto reading the next in the series, which is Greg/Ghost’s story. CJ Snyder has a new special place in my favorites shelf.  Heartily recommended!





Steffi


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Historical Romance Week 2: Silver Lining by Maggie Osborne and Taming Eliza Jane by Shannon Stacey


The hosts of this blog are back for Historical Romance Week 2. This week it’s all about America and the Wild West. Silver Lining by Maggie Osborne is Steffi’s choice for this week, while Karla decided on Taming Eliza Jane by Shannon Stacey. Two wonderful books by two talented authors. We are giving away all reviewed books this month and Silver Lining and Taming Eliza Jane are no exception. Directions on how to enter are down below.




What a pleasant surprise! One of the most endearing love stories I’ve ever read. Think Maverick/Cheyenne Social Club/Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, all rolled into one. Eliza Jane, divorced women’s libber has come to town, and now the townsfolk are in an uproar, and she is at the center of it all. The trigger finger happy sheriff, Adam, and town doc/deputy sheriff, Will, have made it their business to keep her in line. One wants to shoot her, and the other one wants to bed her. Quite the comedic duo. This book had me crying tears of laughter over Eliza Jane’s antics, and sadness for her aching heart. Favorite moment for me was Sadie’s heartfelt philosophy on marriage, so simple yet so profound…you’ll just have to read it and see.

Gidday up!!




 Karla





WOW, this is a keeper! Silver Lining has been wasting away on kindle for a while because I was never in the mood for it and, not knowing Maggie Osborne, didn’t have any expectations either. I can’t believe I had this in my possession without realizing what a gem of a book I owned.
Silver Lining is the story of Low Down or Louise Downe, a woman who just wants to be one of the guys. Or rather she has to be because she is one of many prospectors searching for gold in the Rockies. When everyone around her suddenly falls ill, Low Down nurses the men through the pox. In return they agree to grant her, her deepest wish. Low Down’s deepest most heartfelt wish is….a baby but no one volunteers for the job, so the men have a drawing.  The man who has to step in for his friends and comrades is Max McCord. When the local preacher insists they marry, everything takes a turn for the worse because Max is already engaged.
Louise/Low Down is the most lovable heroine I have ever come across. She is simply amazing and the heart of this book. Without her, Silver Lining would still be great but not as amazing as it is. Louise is a vulnerable woman; at the same time she is the strongest character I know in romance. She has seen and experienced so many horrible things but still has hope and a light in her that not only attracts the reader but eventually also Max.
Of course I wanted Max to turn around quicker and realize what he has in Louise but Maggie Osborne did a brilliant job in keeping the situation realistic and believable. After all, Max believes himself in love with his former fiancée, Philadelphia, and he can’t fall out of love in the matter of a few days. When he does realize how wonderful his wife is, he doesn’t hesitate to show her his affection.
Silver Lining is not only a great historical romance; it enriched my reading experience and strengthened my love for romance novels. I have read other books by Maggie Osborne and she is a brilliant author. All her books are recommendable but Silver Lining is one of those rare gems that will stay with you forever and will always be remembered.







Steffi




If you want to win Taming Eliza Jane or Silver Lining (ebook or pb), read the Contest Rules in our intro post and enter (please leave your comments down below)! Historical Romance Week 2 closes on May 12, 2012.