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review 2014-07-21 10:34
Heart of Fire - Linda Howard




If you have never read a Linda Howard book in your life, then Heart of Fire would be an awesome book to introduce you to her. Being a huge fan of hers, I can't help but be a little biased when it comes to her works, but ultimately, I think this is a sure winner for fans of contemporary romances who adore strong women, sexy and unabashed heroes and a little suspense to keep those pages turning.


Jillian Sherwood is a woman with nothing to lose. All her life, she has had to work under the label given to her late father, a "crackpot" scholar who's flights of whimsy had eventually claimed his life. His standing within the archaeology community had made it so that others do not take her seriously, despite being fairly successful within her own right. Angered at the way opportunities are being withheld from her, Jillian peruses through her father's work, determined to clear his name and to kickstart her dwindling career. It is here that she discovers her father's findings on a lost Amazon city based around the myth of "the heart of The Empress," a myth that draws the interest of her deadbeat brother and his associate. They enlist the help of a river guide, Ben Lewis, and as their team travels towards the lost city, Jillian comes to realise that clearing her father's name may be too high a price for her to pay.


I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book. All the characters worked for me. Jillian is a strong and feisty female, smart and savvy and not your typical heroine in the sense that she is trim, small-breasted and entirely capable, which is a refreshing change. Ben is your loveable rascal, simple with his wants and pleasures, and generally good guy. The connection between them is instantaneous, and the progression of their relationship is sexy and slow, so that when they both start dropping the L-word, you have no doubts about the sincerity of their words. And the banter, my goodness, the banter is amazing. Case in point:

He looked suspiciously at her purse.

"No, it isn't in there," she said and smiled at him. "And I'm not buying your act. You found it when you searched my room, so you know I have a pistol, you know what kind it is, and you know where it is."

He smiled back at her, not denying the charge. Of course he had searched her room while he'd had the chance. "You have nice underwear."

"I'm glad you enjoyed it. Did you try it on?"

Nah. Just rubbed my face against it."

What also worked was the overall simplicity of the story. There aren't any plot twists that you wouldn't see coming; its all pretty straightforward. The imagery is great, and I could certainly envision every aspect of their journey. I also enjoyed the sense of empowerment this book gave to women. What with Jillian being perfectly capable of taking care of herself, much to the chagrin of Ben's overprotective and possessive instincts, the feature of female warriors, and strangely enough, Teresa, with her uncomplicated sexuality and the fact that Ben praises it rather than demeans her for it.


Would I recommend it? Yes, a thousand times yes. If you're a hopeless romantic like me with a streak for adventure, then you would absolutely love this book!

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/985870347
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review 2014-07-08 07:29
Beauty From Pain (Beauty Series) (Volume 1) - Georgia Cates

Currently free on Amazon!


I always cringe when I read about books that will include Aussies in it, usually because I never completely buy the portrayal of the Aussie character, but I was so happy when I read this book as Georgia Cates does a brilliant job with getting it right. Not to mention, getting this whole story right.


Beauty from Pain, simply put, is the story of how an American girl falls in love with her Aussie bloke. Laurelyn Prescott, aka Paige Beckett, is a sweet and witty girl who's currently spending some much needed vacation time down under with her best friend. While at a club where its open-mic night, Laurelyn is pressured to take to the mic, capturing the attention of Jack Henry McLachlan, aka Lachlan Henry. Intrigued, Jack orchestrates two chance meetings before finally taking her out on a date where he offers her an arrangement that she simply can't refuse.


I really enjoyed this book. Admittedly, it started off a bit slow and kinda bizarre. Bizarre because of the arrangement that forms between the two mcs (I don't think I'd ever read anything like that before previously) and I wasn't really sure if I was going to like the direction that I thought the story was going to head in. But I'm happy to say that I was absolutely wrong.


What I really liked about this book was how open the two mcs are with each other. They tell each other what's on their minds and more often than not, the other can tell what they're thinking because Laurelyn and Jack Henry are just that good together. Cates does a spectacular job with portraying their relationship because you can feel the chemistry just oozing off the pages and you can't help but sigh with warm feels as you read their sometimes sweet and sometimes heated interactions. And boy, their heated interactions are awesome.


My favourite scene had to be:

"Baby, you fucked my mind without touching my body"


What really stood out the most for me was Jack Henry's journey of discovery. Written in dual POV, I loved reading Jack Henry's reactions and thoughts towards Laurelyn and how he just couldn't stay away or get enough from her. It was certainly heart warming to read and made the cliffhanger all that more credible because we'd been exploring right alongside him as the story progressed and knew the destination that he would eventually wind up at, even if it took him longer to realise it.


Overall, a pleasurable four star read. There aren't too many issues that arise to drive unnecessary drama between the two, rather everything that does happen allow you to understand the two characters POV and how far they've come in their relationship when it gets to the end. This simple focus on their relationship and what they come to mean to each other is the beauty of the story. Looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel!


Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/983743208?book_show_action=false
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