Monday, October 24, 2011

Book Review: Nobody's Angel by Kallypso Masters

Nobody's Angel (Rescue Me, #2)

Author: Kallypso Masters
Series: Rescue Me #2
Blurb: (from Goodreads):

Marc d'Alessio might own a BDSM club with his fellow military veterans, Adam and Damian, but he keeps all women at a distance. However, when Marc rescues beautiful Angelina Giardano from a disastrous first BDSM experience at the club, an uncharacteristic attraction leaves him torn between his safe, but lonely world, and a possible future with his angel.
Angelina leaves BDSM behind, only to have her dreams plagued by the Italian angel who rescued her at the club. When she meets Marc at a bar in her hometown, she can't shake the feeling she knows him, but has no idea why he reminds her of her angel.
When Marc's search-and-rescue partner, widower Luke Denton, confides he believes Angelina is the angel his wife promised to send him, Marc is convinced she is meant for Luke. A painful incident from his past keeps Marc from letting any woman drive a wedge between him and a friend.
While Luke can provide Angelina with love and stability, Marc knows his friend can't satisfy her submissive needs. Marc offers one night to show her that BDSM is not about pain, but a power exchange with mutual trust and consent. But he knows he can't commit emotionally to anything more.
When the abusive Dom from Angelina's past threatens, Marc's protective instincts kick in; he must keep her safe. Again at the Masters at Arms Club, she turns the tables on him and turns his safe, controlled world upside down. (Book Two in the RESCUE ME series; follows introduction to series, MASTERS AT ARMS.)

 Last week I reviewed the first book in the Rescue Me series, Masters at Arms, and if you recall, I was very pleased with the book. I still am, but I'm also realizing I might have made a huge mistake in reading this second book so fast. I had a moment when I thought "Don't read it now, wait till December, so you don't have to pull out your hair waiting for the next book." That thought never manages to sway my initial intention of reading a book fast and it totally didn't help now. *sigh* Oh well, no matter. I'll learn patience next time (yeah, right!).

Like I said in the previous review, Marc seemed to me like he really found himself after he enrolled. After reading his story, I stand by what I said then. Before the Army shaped him into the man he is, Marc lived in the shadow of his older brother, with the typical rivalry that comes from having an older brother that somehow managed to be good at everything. Before he enlisted he never did anything for himself. The job he had was at his parents's resort and even though he didn't feel quite satisfied, he stayed there, trying to prove his parents that he was just as capable as his brother, Gino. I think the first thing he did for himself was actually enrolling, but even that seemed fueled by his deep sense of regret for the fact that he couldn't get one more chance to apologize to his brother.Even so, I believe the minute he realized that he was good at what he did, he started to believe more in himself. In a way, going to war helped him mature. The thing I loved about Marc was his ability to say "I messed up and I'm sorry for it". He wasn't trying to pass as the dumb ass alpha wannabe guy, the one who either can't do a thing wrong or the one who never admits he made a mistake. He wasn't that guy. Also, he didn't have the arrogance that usually comes with wealth. Had he met Angelina before he enlisted, I think the relationship would've been doomed from the start, him not being mature enough for her, Angelina being too intimidated by her education and her brothers to take risks.

Angelina is what you might call a good girl. She only dates guys that are perfect in the eyes of her family, as she called them "boring" and "safe". At the same time though, I think she was a bit scared of listening to her instincts or to her heart or to trust her gut or whatever you want to call it. She was scared of going after the guy or type of guys that really appealed to her. I don't think it's because she never found the perfect guy before meeting Marc and Luke, but it's because she was scared of what they made her feel, and the only moment she allowed herself to take a chance was when the fear of being hurt was stronger than the fear of her feelings.

I mentioned Luke. Before you get your hopes up, it's not a threesome. You only get one scene (though I REALLY hope Ms. Masters will write an M/F/M scene - a big one *smiles* ). Luke is still a puzzle to me. I think there's more to him that what we learn in this book. I do think that there are other things that were left unsaid, things that made Luke who he is now. Also, there's a moment in the book where Luke totally surprised me. I'm guessing there a few other surprises for Luke, so I'm waiting (im)patiently before I make any judgments about him.

The ending is the real reason I regret finishing the book so early. Should've stopped at two, three pages a day, but I couldn't. Who could? I won't talk about the ending, except to say that it convinced me to get hooked up on the series and to say, again, good job! Anyway, I hope we'll get Master Adam's book soon.

My Rating:
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Follow Friday (5)

Welcome to Follow Friday hosted this week by Parajunkee and Alison!
The main idea behind FF is just to go see a bunch of new blogs you may never have seen before, and follow the ones you like (and they’ll follow you back!) It’s a total win/win, so take a peek around and follow me!

This week’s question is:

Q.What superhero is your alter-ego?

Hmmm, tough question. I really don't like superheroes that much. The only one I really liked when I was a kid was Wonder Woman. Of course, it passed once I found out I didn't change clothes if I turned into a circle really fast. Hey, I was four! I did love her hair though.

What's your alter-ego?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Review: Club Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair

Club Shadowlands (Masters of the Shadowlands, #1)

Author: Cherise Sinclair
Series: Masters of the Shadowlands #1
Blurb: (from Goodreads)

Her car disabled during a tropical storm, Jessica Randall discovers the isolated house where she's sheltering is a private bondage club. At first shocked, she soon becomes aroused watching the interactions between the Doms and their subs. But she's a professional woman--an accountant--and surely isn't a she?
Master Z hasn't been so attracted to a woman in years. But the little sub who has wandered into his club intrigues him. She's intelligent. Reserved. Conservative. After he discovers her interest in BDSM, he can't resist tying her up and unleashing the passion she hides within.

You know how sometimes a reader starts searching for that perfect type of character for a certain genre? I became one of those searchers of perfection when I found I liked erotic romance with BDSM themes. Let me define what perfection is for me. It's not that character that can do anything  and everything he/she wants, it's actually the character who has bad habits, who makes mistakes, you know the type, it's called "normal people".

So I was a very happy camper when I stumbled by a complete accident upon Cherise Sinclair's Doms. They are so not perfect and I love that, because they seem real. They have fears like real men, they mess up and they have those moments when the only thing you can do is say "Men!" and go on. And her heroines aren't the gorgeous bombshells that can wear anything they want. They might not be slim, but they are smart, hardworking women that have the same issues real life women have. And those are very good things. For me, anyway.

Club Shadowlands is the first book in the Masters of the Shadowlands series. We meet Master Z or Zachary, child psychologist by day, owner of the Club Shadowlands by night. Now, the fact that Master Z is a psychologist made me love him on the spot. It's very hard to find a book with a psychologist that's a Dom, you know? He's a very good judge of character, he is very good at reading people, he's very patient, he has a very strong sense of justice and he keeps his word. If you broke a rule, no matter how much he hates it, he's going to punish you for it. That's something the heroine, Jessica, found out really soon.

Jessica is a very curios woman. She's shocked by what she encounters at Master Z's club, but she's not scared into leaving and she actually likes some of the things she sees. Other things she sees make her turn into mother hen mode and protect the ones that she feels are in danger, making her break a few of the club's rules.  Jessica is also very impatient and I think Zachary helps her become the playful woman that she is later in the series.

One thing I loved about the book and the series in general: the way the lifestyle and the BDSM practices and rules are explained. I've read so far enough books to understand a bit about it, but usually all the things surrounding the subject is explained either very... shall I call it dry? I don't know, I just never had that feeling of complete understanding and usually some of the explanations feel copied from a sort of master book, a guide book, while remaining on the surface of the subject. I actually felt that Ms. Sinclair knows what she's talking about and the explanations felt real and they were very well mixed with the story.

There are four more books in the series, at this moment. With every book, the series improves more and more, the characters get more complex, more multidimensional, while staying very close to my concept of real. The sixth book is on it's way and I can't wait for it! I do believe I'll bite all my nails 'till that day comes. Oh well, I can always reread ;)

My Rating:
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Book Review: Masters at Arms by Kallypso Masters

Masters at Arms (Rescue Me)

Author: Kallypso Masters
Series: Rescue Me
Blurb: (from Goodreads):

Masters at Arms begins the journey of three men, each on a quest for honor, acceptance, and to ease his unspoken pain. Their paths cross at one of the darkest points in their lives. As they try to come to terms with the aftermath--forging an unbreakable bond--will they ever truly become masters of their own fates? Or would fate become masters of them?

Wow. I just finished reading this story and all I can think of saying as a start to this review is "wow". Another thing that crosses my mind right about now is "balls of steel" and it's directed at the author. If you're looking for a HEA or declarations of undying love, this is not the book. This is the book that promises many happy endings and many "I love you"s, but in the future. You meet the main characters all at once and you get a background story for each of them, but it's not complete, it still leaves you with questions, questions that Ms. Masters promises to answer in the next books in the series.

The characters are so complex and so different from each other, that I had a hard time imagining how they could be friends without fighting every few days. You have Adam Montague, the oldest of the bunch, sexy for his age (picture Mark Harmon), he seems like the Dom of Doms if that makes sense. He's a former Marine, so he's used to give orders and have them followed. Don't go picture a sadist in his shoes, he's not. He's one of the most caring characters I've ever read about. I won't say much about him, or the other characters, because I now this story is just a prequel, so my image of them is not complete. I know there are many facts to them that will be revealed in the next books.

After reading a short story about Adam, we meet Damian Orlando, a young man who's already paid for doing what he thought was right. But even knowing that he could end up losing his job or even his freedom, he comes to the rescue of a girl who I hope will be his heroine in his book. He then joins the Army and he meets Marco D'Allesio, another important character who I loved. Damian is willing to risk his own life to protect the men in his unit, and the price he ultimately pays is a big one for a man so young. It made my heart ache for him and I can't wait till February to read his story.

Marc is different than the other two characters we've met. From what I've read so far, he really found himself after he joined the Army. But I won't dwell much on his story now, because I want to get a clear picture of him after I finish the second book in the series, Nobody's Angel.

I think this series will be one of the best in the genre. It has a lot of potential, and so far, I'm not disappointed. The characters are new, fresh and more complex than I ever imagined possible. The plots in this prequel (though I prefer to think of it as a bigger first chapter) are very well built and intriguing. And I think for a new author to decide to publish a story without happy endings is a very gutsy move. I do believe the fact that you don't have the ending makes the book all the more interesting and amazing, because without the romance and the numerous "Aww" moments that come with a romantic relationship between two or more characters, you can actually see the real deal, the true sense of building the characters into what we see them ultimately. I think it's amazing and brilliant to get the back story first and then the characters in present time. I'm well aware of the fact that there will be some details that this book didn't reveal and that we'll get them in the future, but some of the main traits, the important traits, the reader can see develop. If I could give it a higher rating, I definitely would. All I can hope is that Ms. Masters keeps up the good work, because, again, AMAZING!!

My Rating:
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Follow Friday (4)

Welcome to Follow Friday hosted this week by Parajunkee and Alison!
The main idea behind FF is just to go see a bunch of new blogs you may never have seen before, and follow the ones you like (and they’ll follow you back!) It’s a total win/win, so take a peek around and follow me!

This week’s question is:

Q.If you could have characters from a particular book meet and form an epic storyline with characters from a particular TV series, which would you choose and why?

That's a tough one. I'd love to see the sexy vampires from The Vampire Diaries meet the Dark Hunters. That would be a very fun experience. I can just imagine Damon trying to piss off Acheron *giggles*

What do you think? And what is your answer for this week's Follow Friday?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book Review: The Shakespeare Secret by Jennifer Lee Carrell

Author: Jennifer Lee Carrell
Series: Kate Stanley #1
Blurb: (from Goodreads)

A long-lost work of Shakespeare, newly found.
A killer who stages the Bard’s extravagant murders as flesh-and-blood realities.
A desperate race to find literary gold, and just to stay alive. . . .

On the eve of the Globe’s production of Hamlet, Shakespeare scholar and theater director Kate Stanley’s eccentric mentor Rosalind Howard gives her a mysterious box, claiming to have made a groundbreaking discovery. But before she can reveal it to Kate, the Globe burns to the ground and Roz is found dead . . . murdered precisely in the manner of Hamlet’s father. Inside the box Kate finds the first piece in a Shakespearean puzzle, setting her on a deadly, high-stakes treasure hunt.

From London to Harvard to the American West, Kate races to evade a killer and decipher a tantalizing string of clues, hidden in the words of Shakespeare, that may unlock literary history’s greatest secret. At once suspenseful and elegantly written, Interred with Their Bones is poised to become the next bestselling literary adventure in the tradition of The Thirteenth Tale and The Historian.

 Two years ago I was browsing my favorite bookshop in Italy in search for something fun to read on the plane on my way back home. I was a very happy camper that the bookshop had a special floor just for books in English, so I just HAD to buy at least one book. I saw the cover, which I absolutely loved, and the blurb convinced me that this might be a good book. I was wrong. It's an amazing book.

The book starts with the scene of the original Globe Theater burning on June 29, 1613. That prologue left me with so many questions, I felt I had to read the rest of the book, to at least find some answers. In the present day, we meet Kate Stanley and her former teacher and mentor, Rosalind "Roz" Howard. Fast forward a few hours, and Roz is dead, the Globe Theater is again on fire and Kate is followed by a killer. The only link between these events is Shakespeare.

I won't go into details, for fear of giving something away. I can tell you what I liked about the book, though. First of all, I liked the way Ms Carrell managed to throw little scenes from the past, adding even more mystery to the book. I can't comment on their accuracy, but the small details, the little hints and the cliffhangers, everything was perfect about them, from my point of view.

I loved Ben. Ben is a man hired to protect Kate if she starts searching for the truth behind the gift that Roz gave her on the night she died. I don't think there's anything lacking about him. He's British, he's smart, he reads, he helps Kate get out of dangerous situations, he's very intuitive. Even though he lacks deep knowledge about Shakespeare, Ben manages to keep up with Kate's thinking, with their search and he even points out some things that maybe Kate missed.

I also loved the fact that I didn't get to figure out who the killer is until the very end.  I don't know about the others who've read the book, but I totally didn't expect the killer to be who it turned out to be. And I loved that, because I couldn't figure out the killer's motives. I mean, he had more than one chance to kill Kate, and yet he doesn't. Why? What does  Kate have, that Roz didn't?

Then come the details about Shakespeare's work and about the mystery surrounding the real William Shakespeare. The details are many and you can see the author did her research very well. I didn't mind them, though for someone not interested in knowing more about the Bard, they can be a little difficult to get past and a little "too much" history. They did get a bit too in depth at some time, but I believe those details helped combine the real, non-fiction mystery behind the Bard, and the mystery from the book.

I loved the book the first time I read it, and I love it even more now, while I'm rereading. It doesn't feel boring or less thrilling on the second read. Even though I know the story and I know who the killer is, I still can't figure out if there was a point where I could be able to say "Here is the hint that the killer is who he is". Of course, now that I'm rereading it, I can manage paying more attention to the historical details about Shakespeare and the attempts many historians and scholars have made to uncover who the Bard really was.

I was extremely happy when I heard there was a sequel and I read on Ms. Carrell's website that she plans on writing more stories about Kate and Shakespeare. I'm only hoping we'll get a new book about them sooner rather than later.

My Rating:
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