Friday, November 6, 2009

Tempt Me At Twilight, by Lisa Kleypas. A Review by Debra


With the third book in Kleypas' Hathaway series, the author hits a high note.  The pairing of Poppy Hathaway and wealthy American hotelier Harry Rutledge is so much more believable to me than the stories of Poppy's older sisters, Amelia and Win and their Rom husbands, Cam and Merripen. While Amelia's story, Mine Till Midnight was good, I found the next in the series, Seduce Me at Sunrise, a tougher sell. With Tempt Me At Twilight, I just sat back and enjoyed the ride.

Poppy and her unconventional family are in London for what is Poppy's third London season and finally, she is having some success in finding a husband. They are guests at the Rutledge Hotel, owned by the enigmatic and mysterious Mr. Rutledge. When Poppy gets lost chasing down a family pet and meets Harry Rutledge, he doesn't let on who he is, but his identity soon becomes clear. What also becomes clear is that Harry will stop at nothing to make Poppy his wife. She's in love with another man, but with some interesting machinations, she winds up as Harry's bride. Unfortunately, Poppy finds it difficult to forgive Harry for his perfidy, and it takes a lot of work, on both their parts, to make something of the marriage.

The best part of Lisa Kleypas' stories are her secondary characters and their importance to the main characters' relationships. Kleypas uses the hotel staff as the means to get Poppy and Harry on the same page in their marriage.  Each hotel character is engaging and adds rather than detracts from the story. She does the same thing with Poppy's family. Her brother Leo has some sort of antagonistic relationship with Poppy's companion, Catherine Marks. Cat also has ties to Harry.  As a plot device, all of these secondary characters (especially Miss Marks) give us an insight into why Harry is the way he is; unable to offer love and afraid to accept it in return. All of this is resolved to this reader's satisfaction when Poppy forgives Harry and he, in turn, learns what it means to stop controlling and start loving. It's a wonderful transformation to watch.

I cannot wait to read Leo and Catherine's story, and after that, the younger Hathaway sister Beatrix's. What started out as a "spin-off" from an earlier series has turned out to be a wonderful collection in its own right.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Letters to a Secret Lover, by Toni Blake. A Review by Donna


There's several ways to relax on a five hour flight from Los Angeles to Newark. Some people plug into their iPods and some the in-flight entertainment. Some sleep, some drink and some actually just sit and watch the clouds drift by. I have my own system. I read Toni Blake.

I could say my last flight was the best ever, and it had nothing to do with the legroom, food or unusually calm air over the Rockies. As a matter of fact, I don't even remember taking off.

In Letters to a Secret Lover, love advice columnist Lindsey Brooks has been dumped. Definitely, definitively and publicly dumped. Now, instead of planning her big city wedding, she's escaping to Montana where her great aunt once set aside some property and a small business for her.

But the property and business now belong to Rob Colter - the man who took care of Lindsey's great aunt Millie after Lindsey unkindly rejected her gift. Rob is the town's established loner and as gorgeous and hunky as he is, not one woman in the small town of Moose Falls has succeeded in cracking his shell. That is until high maintenance Lindsey shows up on his doorstep, demanding the chance to buy back her aunt's land. But Rob is not selling; his life on Spirit Lake is all that he has.

Lucky for us Lindsey and Rob find they have much more in common than the desire to own the modest canoe rental business. They also share a strong attraction to each other and, no matter how they fight it, one thing leads to another (this is where Ms. Blake shines) and our two opposites are attracting like nobody's business.

But Rob has a secret - one so damaging it would change his life forever if revealed. And despite the growing affection between them, Rob refuses to spill and Lindsey finds herself wondering just who Rob Colter really is.

Letters to a Secret Lover has become one of my favorite contemporary romances. Ms. Blake literally takes you to that place - you know the one - where you actually feel the emotions experienced by the characters. Her scenes are vivid, the dialogue swift, sweet and real. I especially love how Rob is slowly uncovered (in more ways than one) - and you will too.

No need to wait until you're 37,000 feet in the air to thoroughly enjoy this one. You'll be off and flying after the first page.