Welcome to my Den of Delights! Please make yourselves comfortable.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

GIVEAWAY WINNER: Lucky's Lady by Tami Hoag

Thank you very much to everyone who participated in my very first International Giveaway!

Soooo... Who got LUCKY?? Well, I've decided that 2 people will get Lucky today!  The WINNERS, by random draw, of one of my "classic favourites", Lucky's Lady by Tami Hoag are...

REN and DINA!!!

Congratulations, Ren and Dina!!! I hope you both enjoy Lucky's Lady as much as I do! Please email me at ladyjaynesreadingden@yahoo.com with your postal details.

For those of you who weren't successful this time around, I'm very sorry. I wish I could give everyone a copy of Lucky's Lady.

But ... I will be having another International Giveaway here at the Reading Den in AUGUST 2011!! To give you a hint of what the book will be, I will be giving away 2 copies of the latest book (which was released in May 2011) in an Urban Fantasy series. Soo...stay tuned!!! ^_^

Sunday, July 24, 2011

REVIEW: Rules of Attraction (Perfect Chemistry #2) by Simone Elkeles

4 of 5 Stars

(This is an Adult-who-enjoys-reliving-the-stirrings-of-first-love-and-self-discovery-during-the-teen-years-through-YA books review)

**CONTENT WARNING - Since this is a YA book I will include a warning that this book contains some Sexual, Drug and Alcohol, Course Language and Violent Content - Recommended for Older Teens and Adults who enjoy YA books**

Rules of Attraction is the sequel to Perfect Chemistry, and the second book in the “Fuentes Brothers Trilogy”. I really love the cover of this book - Very HOT and romantic! I don't know what it is about kissing in the rain... *shivers* ^_^

Perfect Chemistry was one of my favourite reads of 2010. I just absolutely adore Alex and Brittany!

In Rules of Attraction, author Simone Elkeles once again uses the formula of “bad-boy” from wrong side of the tracks meets middle-class “good girl”. However, while I really enjoyed this book, it lacked that sizzling, combustible magic that was Perfect Chemistry, for me.

Carlos Fuentes is a rebel who loves living on the edge. He is forced to move to Boulder, Colorado, to live with his older brother, Alex, to finish off his senior year of high school. One his first day of school, Carlos gets assigned to Kiara Westford, who is to be his “peer guide”. Kiara is an avid hiker, dresses in baggy T-shirts and hiking boots, and is wholesome – definitely not Carlos’ type.

When Carlos ends up getting into some trouble, he moves in with the Westford family, as part of the REACH program. Through living in close proximity to each other, Carlos and Kiara get to know each, and well, much to both their surprises, sparks eventually fly and they end up falling for each other. Hey, this is a YA Romance! ^_^

Like in Perfect Chemistry, I really enjoyed the alternating point-of-views that allows the reader into both Carlos’ and Kiara’s heads. Simone Elkeles is really connected with her “inner teen”. Her writing keeps me engaged and makes me remember what it was like to be a teen falling in love.

I didn’t like Carlos much from the snippet I got in Perfect Chemistry and wasn’t sure how much I would like this book, but ended up really enjoying it. The reason I love Alex so much more is because he didn’t want to be in a gang, but felt he had no choice. He wore a “mask” to convince others he was bad, yet longed for something more in his life. His internal struggle moved me so much…plus, he was so gosh-darned sexy! ^_^ Whereas, while Carlos was a hottie, too, I felt that he had an attitude problem and enjoyed being a “badass”. I really enjoyed watching Carlos’ growth throughout this book. Though at the end of the day, Alex is still my numero uno Fuentes brother, mi corazon. Aahh…Alex… *sighs*

I loved Kiara. She is the kind of girl I could see myself having been friends with in high school. She is smart, funny, strong, determined and caring. Though, actually, her love of cars and hiking wouldn’t have aligned with my interests of reading and talking about hot guys, at that age. Oh, wait, those are still my interests! LOL

I really liked Kiara’s best friend, Tuck, and her adorable younger brother, Brandon.

The epilogue was sweet but was a little corny.

But what I most especially loved, was getting more of Alex and Brittany in this book and seeing them in college, even though things were not smooth sailing. I loved the realism of their relationship. They are one of my favourite YA couples. I just love them!

All in all, Rules of Attraction was funny, romantic, angsty, and tugged at my heartstrings, just at the right moments. I happily recommend this YA series for adults who enjoy reading YA and want a sexier, grittier read, and for older teens.

Some of my favourite quotes/scenes:
“We kiss all the time." I clear my throat, then add, "We just...do it in private."
"A smug expression crosses his face. "I don't buy it for a second, 'cause if you were my girlfriend and a stud like me was livin' in your house, I'd kiss you in front of the guy every chance I got as a reminder."
"A reminder of w-w-what?"
"That you were mine."

"Tell me somethin’ you do that would shock me.”
She sits back on the couch. “Shock you?”
“Yeah. Shock me to the core.”
She sits up on her knees and leans toward me. “I’ve thought about you, Carlos,” she whispers in my ear.
“At night, in bed. I think about kissing you, our tongues sliding against each other’s, while your hands are buried in my hair. When I think about feeling those ripples in your naked chest I touch my—”
“Here’s more popcorn!” Westford says, barging into the room with two big bowls filled to the rim with freshly popped popcorn.
“Kiara, what are you doing?"

"You know about fixing cars, you're athletic, and you know when to shut up."
"That last one isn't a skill."
"Honey, trust me. It's a skill."

"La cucaracha, La cucaracha, Ya no puede caminar, porque no tiene, porque le falta, I don't know the rest, la la la la!"

“K, The lady at the store said yellow means friendship and red means love. The Rosary is the only thing I own that has value to me. It’s yours. I’m yours. C.”
My Carlos (Marlon Teixeira)

My Kiara (Hayley Erin) 

I'm REALLY looking forward to the youngest Fuentes brother's (Luis') book, Chain Reaction, out on 16th August 2011 - SQUEEE!!!!

LOVE the cover! It seems that in this 3rd book, Luis Fuentes is the "good boy" with big dreams who falls for the "wrong" girl. And I already have a cutie image of "my Luis", so bring on Chain Reaction!

Book Description:
"Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. But that didn’t stop him from taking risks—whether he’s scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis can’t stop ...looking for the next thrill.

Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules—boys lie to get their way, don’t trust a boy who says “I love you,” and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Her parents may be from Mexico, but as a doctor’s daughter, she has more in common with her north-side neighbors than the Latino Blood at her school. Then she meets Luis at Alex’s wedding, and suddenly, she’s tempted to break all her rules.

Getting Nikki to take a chance on a southsider is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world and permanently living on the edge?" 

Monday, July 18, 2011

REVIEW and GIVEAWAY: Lucky's Lady by Tami Hoag

*~*INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY details at the bottom of this review.*~*

5 of 5 Stars

"Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point."
“The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of."
~ French Proverb

I first read Lucky’s Lady in 1994, during my late teens, and have re-read it several times over the years. Writing this review has spurred me to re-read it, my last re-read being about 8 years ago. It was such fun revisiting this "classic favourite" of mine.

For me, Lucky’s Lady is my favourite Tami Hoag book and is a blend of steamy, sexy contemporary romance and suspense; though stronger on the former, as this was her first full length novel after writing Category Romances (Loveswept) for many years. Tami Hoag’s later books focussed more and more on the suspense elements and eventually went from Romantic Suspense to Crime Thriller. I really miss her Romantic Suspense.

In Lucky's Lady, psychologist, Serena Sheridan, is looking for her missing grandfather and she needs a guide to navigate the dangerous back country of the Louisiana swamp. Enter, the dark and mysterious, smart-mouth, ex-military, Etienne “Lucky” Doucet, a tortured, artistic soul who calls the wild and treacherous swamp his home, to be her “guide”. There is some great banter and sexual tension between Serena and Lucky, and here are some samples to whet your appetite:
“I’m hiring you as a guide,” she said through clenched teeth, her voice trembling with rage or desire or both. “Not for stud service.”

Lucky mentally thanked her for breaking the spell. He stepped back, cocking one hip and hooking his thumb in the waistband of his pants. He gave her a devilish grin. “Why not, angel? I’d give you the ride of your life.”
"I'm amazed," she said at last.
"What?" He gave her a narrow look. "That I wouldn't sell you to white slavers?"
A corner of her mouth lifted in a wry smile as she started toward the dock. "That you have a friend."

"Serena lifted her chin in a defiant notch. “You have an amazingly high opinion of your own appeal, Mr. Doucet.”
“Oh, no, chère, I just call ‘em like I see ‘em.”
“Then I suggest you make an appointment with an optometrist at the earliest possible date. A good pair of glasses could save untold scores of women the unpleasantness of your company.”
Their gazes locked and warred – hers cool, his burning with intensity."
But Lucky's Lady is more than just a sexy read. It is emotional and romantic. And there's a scene with Lucky and some baby raccoons that just melted my heart. 

I learnt quite a few Cajun-French words reading this, with the handy glossary of words and phrases at the back of this book. Just remembering Lucky say mon couer (my heart), vien (come)...ahem... and je t'aime (I love you) sends shivers down my spine. And there's a scene with a mirror that is forever burned in my memories. *fans self*

Tami Hoag does a fantastic job of painting, with her words, images of the hot, steamy and wild Louisiana bajou. I had images just like the ones below, in my mind's eye, as I read. I just love the setting!

Lucky and Serena traveling in his pirogue through the misty bajou.
The wild bajou with its many mysteries and lurking danger terrifies Serena.
How I imagine Serena's grandfather's plantation, Chanson du Terre, to look.

And if that doesn’t make you start to feel excited and warm, then the dangerously sexy Cajun, Lucky Doucet (or as I like to call him, "Luscious Lips" Lucky), will.
“Her first impression was of raw power. Broad shoulders, bulging biceps. His chest, bare and gleaming with a sheen of sweat, was wide, and hard muscle beneath taut, tanned skin. The strong V of his torso narrowed to a slender waist, a stomach corrugated with muscle and dusted with black hair that disappeared beneath the low-riding waistband of faded green fatigue pants.

She raised her eyes to his face and felt a strange shiver pass over her from head to toe, making her scalp tighten and her skin tingle. He stared at her from sleepy lids with large, unblinking amber eyes, eyes like a panther’s. His brow was heavy and straight, his nose bold and aquiline. His mouth did the most damage to her nervous system, however. It was wide, with lips so masterfully carved, so incredibly sensuous they would have looked perfect on a high-priced call girl. The effect of that mouth on a face so masculine – all lean planes and hard angles and five o’clock shadow – was blatantly sexual.”
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this sizzling Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense, first published in 1992. Read it for yourself and see if you don’t want to be Lucky’s Lady, too. ^_^

THANK YOU, Ms. Tami Hoag, for Lucky Doucet!   *sighs* 

My recent image of Lucky Doucet (The swoon-worthy Gilles Marini)
- It's a good thing I didn't "know" him as a teen, since my parents would have had a heart attack if I'd had posters like this in my room! LOL


My very first Giveaway and I'm excited! ^_^

To honour one of my "classic favourites" and to give one lucky person the chance to "know" the sexy Cajun, Lucky Doucet, too, I will be giving away a brand new paperback copy of Lucky's Lady by Tami Hoag. Entries open from 18 July 2011 - 25 July 2011. The randomly drawn Winner will be announced on 26 July 2011 here at Lady Jayne's Reading Den and notified by email.

Please enter by posting your name and email address in the comments below, and by sharing the name of the book (plus the author's name) of your "classic favourite" Contemporary Romance or Romantic Suspense. (Edited to add: Or if you are not as old as me *LOL*, or new to these genres and don't have any "classic favourites" yet, then current favourites are also welcome. ^_^)

Please note that the Giveaway is only open to followers of Lady Jayne's Reading Den (including new followers) and  must be from the ~100 countries to which The Book Depository has free shipping. Please see list below for eligible countries:

List of eligible countries

Good luck!!! ^_^

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Poetry: Resilience

"Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it's less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you've lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that's good." 
~ Elizabeth Edwards

I've been feeling like I've been down in the gutters after a family death at the start of June and then a home robbery and vandalism in the middle of June, which is why I haven't posted anything for a few weeks. Apologies!

But in the past week or so, I've felt re-born and have been "claiming back" my home ... and myself ... again.

While I've lost some drafts of my recent reviews, which was on the laptop that was amongst the items stolen from my home, I will write them again - hopefully soon!

I did write another poem, though. This poem arises out of recent events and is inspired by the above quote by Elizabeth Edwards and Jaci Velasquez's song, Flower in the Rain (video posted below).


I’ve felt like I was kicked down,
But I picked myself up,
I could continue to frown,
But instead, I look at my half full cup;
I will be like a flower in the rain,
And when the storms have passed,
I will grow stronger again;
Oh, my bittersweet Resilience,
I have come to know your brilliance,
For even my Faith like a mustard seed,
Can give me strength when I bleed,
And to be enduring like a weed;
Like a weed growing in the gutter,
Which can still make one utter:
There is beauty in the gutter,
Where Resilience springs,
A beauty that reminds us to be thankful,
For the depth of Hope it brings!

~ By Jayne Michellane a.k.a Lady Jayne, 4th July 2011

Flower in the Rain by Jaci Velasquez: