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

Friday, January 27, 2012

REVIEW: Lover's Leap (#4 Eternity Springs) by Emily March

5 of 5 Stars

This book had one of my favourite quotes quoted in it:
"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love."
~ Washington Irving

It is no secret that I have fallen under the Eternity Springs’ spell, and WOW, I just loved Lover’s Leap!

I’ve been waiting for Sarah Reese’s story since I “met” her in Angels’ Rest. I had sort of expected Sarah to end up with the handsome Sheriff Zach Turner, even though I realised that it was clear that Sarah wasn’t quite over Cameron Daniel Murphy, the “bad boy” of Eternity Springs, a “no good Murphy”, father of her daughter, Lori, and whom she hasn’t seen since they were both teenagers.

Sarah Reese - Businesswoman, Single Mother, Amazing Baker

Twenty years later, Sarah and Lori have won a two week trip of a lifetime to the AMAZING country of Australia. Am I biased? Why, but, of course! LOL

Unfortunately, as Sarah and Lori were about to head off on their Great Barrier Reef tour, who do they run into on a boat halfway across the world? Well, none other than sexy, green-eyed Cam Murphy!

Cam has beautiful mountain green eyes, which Lori inherited.

Despite the wonderful holiday they had up until that moment, Sarah and Lori flee Australia to return home to Eternity Springs after they shockingly come face-to-face with Cam and his son Devin. Both Sarah and Lori were hurt to see Cam with a son almost Lori’s age.

Cam was equally stunned to see Sarah and Lori, and was wounded that they ran away from him. He decides to return to Eternity Springs, the town that brought him pain and unfair judgment, the town which turned their backs on him when he needed help, because he wanted to right his wrongs and make-up for all the years he missed with Lori. In the process, he realises that he isn’t over Sarah.

I loved seeing Cam and Sarah’s second chance. I didn’t have a high opinion of Cam, before I read this book, for leaving Sarah to raise Lori all alone. I ended up loving Cam, though, and really felt for him as I saw his side of the story. Cam’s demons run deep. I ached for him and Sarah, and was cheering for them to work things out and have their HEA.

As per the previous Eternity Springs books, though, we get a closed door to Cam’s and Sarah’s love scenes. So, I just had to use my imagination with sexy Cam.

Mmmmmm.... ^_^

I also ached for Lori. It was a difficult and emotional situation for all involved. I loved how understanding Devin was about Cam wanting to know Lori.

One thing that I’ve come to realise after reading this book right after Give Me the Slip under the author’s pseudonym of Geralyn Dawson (which is connected to Gabe Callahan of this series), is that this author’s characters can really go for the jugular when they are expressing their anger. It’s something I find difficult to read. In this case, it didn’t come from the hero or heroine, as it has in other books, but from their daughter, Lori. While I understood that Lori was having a really difficult time, her incredibly hurtful words made me cry for Cam… and Sarah. Even in anger, how could Lori say such things to her mother, who had done so much for her? And Cam was really trying hard to make-up for all the lost years… My heart just broke for him for what Lori said and because he had believed he was unworthy of Sarah and Lori.

I loved seeing Nic and Gabe Callahan and their kids and what wonderful friends they were to both Sarah and Cam.

I ADORED Mortimer, the Boston Terrier, and dubbed “The Boston Terrorist”! Of course, if I had a dog like that, who ran amok all over town, I’d probably be pulling my hair out, too. LOL I loved Cam so much for taking Mortimer on!

Mortimer, "The Boston Terrorist"
Awww...Poor Mortimer!
Image credit: Jessica's (bleunoko's) photo of her dog, Rylie,
initially posted on lolcatz.
Awesome photo!

Once again, the magic of Eternity Springs, or more precisely, the beauty of the surrounds of Eternity Springs, some of its amazing citizens (including the four-legged ones), and mostly, the blessed Celeste Blessing, work their healing touch on these broken hearts.

THANK YOU, Emily March, for another moving Eternity Springs story and for another adorable dog character! Mortimer almost stole the show! ^_^

I’m looking forward to Jack Davenport’s story in Nightingale Way, next! I’m also looking forward to Zach Turner’s story, which I hope will be in the near future, as I really loved how he was with Cam and just what a great guy he is. I’m eager/curious/anxious for his HEA.

- My Sarah – Carla Gugino
- My Cam – Greg Vaughn

Eternity Springs Reading Order:

1. Angel's Rest - My Review Here
2. Hummingbird Lake - My Review Here
2.5 A Callahan Carol - My Review Here
3. Heartache Falls - My Review Here
3.5 Mistletoe Mine - My Review Here
4. Lover's Leap
5. Nightingale Way - To be released 28 August 2012.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


For Australia Day, this year, I hope to catch up on some sleep, tomorrow, like this adorable Aussie icon, below. Then, I'll enjoy a lovely dinner with some great friends to celebrate both Australia Day and great friendship. I hope I don't fall asleep with my food in my hands like this one did though! ^_^

to all my Aussie friends and members! 

I hope you either have a relaxing day, if you so please, or if you have activities planned, that it is very happy and enjoyable! Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!!! ^_^

Monday, January 23, 2012

Quote of the Moment: A Better Feeling

“Sometimes Webb believed that he would never experience a better feeling than when he was looking 
at her, would never see anything or anybody bursting 
with more life and spirit. Sometimes he felt he needed 
to inhale it and place it in a storage area in his soul. 
Just in case. ”

~ From On the Jellicoe Road by Meline Marchetta 


Sunday, January 22, 2012

REVIEW: Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley (eBook)

Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountain, #2)
4 of Stars

Sweet Dreams didn’t just have “Moist Factor Five Hundred”, for me, it had the “Turn Around Factor”.

In fact, it even made me feel like I was doing the Twister!


Why do I say this? Weeelll…. I was initially quite drawn into this story DESPITE its editing issues.

Yes, this book has overly long/run-on sentences; under-use of commas and full stops; over-use of parentheses; and some non-linear time lines. If you are a reader who can’t get passed this, then this book is not for you.

Despite noticing all these issues, though, it really didn’t bother me because, as I said, I was drawn into the story. It’s been said before, but I concur: Kristen Ashley is a great storyteller and has great characterisations. Her characters seemed so real. In fact, that is really where my main issue arose (which I’ll explain more later).

The story is written in first person POV of Lauren Grahame, a newly divorced 42-year old woman from middle class suburbia in search of “Nowheresville”. Lauren used to believe in “something special” but her cheating husband changed all that. She no longer expected “special” and wanted to escape into a nothing place, never thinking that Carnal, Colorado, a small biker town, would ever be home or where she would indeed find “special”.

Lauren was an extremely likable and relatable character. She is sweet, caring, gets along with almost anyone, a hard worker, classy, but she's also insecure, and well, can be quite impulsive and reckless.

I want to say THANK YOU to all my Goodreads friends who first encouraged me to read it and also to “Hang in There” with this book! The story was well worth my time despite pushing some very personal buttons.


Now, on to the hard part… What were my personal buttons? Hmm…Well, it was Tate Jackson who pushed them. It is something that upsets me to talk/write/think about, but to fully explain my issue with Tate, I feel I need to share.

I wasn’t just annoyed with Tate. I was MAD at him. The introduction to Tate isn’t the best. Though, that wasn’t even my main issue.

Tate is bossy and controlling. Yes, he’s an alpha male, and maybe at a different point in my life I might have been less upset by this. Recent events, though, made me really angry seeing this behaviour in Tate. My dad has always been the “boss” of the family. But in the last few years he has developed a brain condition that is causing his motor abilities to degenerate, such that a man of only 65 can’t walk without the aid of a walker, and it will just get worse. What really breaks my heart, though, is what I would have formerly seen as just protective behaviour by my dad, has become over-possessive and controlling behaviour. This behaviour has always been there. It is just so much worse now. It is such that my mum can’t even speak to me on the phone without him needing to be present, because he is paranoid she is planning to run away with a young lover. This is not the case. My mum is faithful and does everything for him. He is constantly bossing her around and she isn’t even allowed to sleep with her back to him because then her “body language” is all wrong. I love both my mum and dad and it really breaks my heart. I feel all teary now just thinking about it.

Also, Lauren’s nickname for Tate was “Captain” and my dad was a ship’s captain and everyone calls him that, even mum when she’s talking about him to others.

Anyway, these feelings about my dad is something that’s very difficult for me to deal with, and seeing Tate’s controlling and bossy behaviour (as well as some annoying repetitions in text)…well…I needed to step away from this book, for a bit. I was almost considering "DNF"-ing it.

I decided to re-read an emotional favourite of mine, The Bronze Horseman, because I needed to hurt. I needed to cry, without necessarily thinking about my mum and dad.

After I released some of these emotions, I decided to go back and continue Sweet Dreams and I was completely sucked into the story. I can completely understand now how my GRs friends couldn’t put this one down.

Only several pages in from where I stepped away, I was met with this scene below. It made a big dent in melting my heart.
“And he cradled it, the cat’s lower body resting on his forearm, the cat’s tail gliding across his bicep, the cat’s front paws straddling Tate’s wrist and the cat’s head resting in Tate’s big hand.”
Tell me that an image something like this doesn’t melt your heart, too? Aawwwww..…

Although, Buster looks more like this:

I LOVED Buster! She was a real present character. Being owned by a cat, myself, her behaviours were just soooo adorably cat, to me. ^_^

Back to Tate...In the end, in spite of Tate still being such a jerk, at times – especially, when he’s pissed off or because he is just being his “bossy” self – I ended up loving him. Tate does some very thoughtful and sweet things, in his very Tate way. He doesn’t make my Top heroes list, but as my friend Jill said, he is an “unforgettable hero”.

I like how Lauren argues with him. She doesn’t take it lying down…well, sometimes she does, if you know what I mean . ^_~ *snickers*.

I know that Tate will still do things to frustrate and annoy me – we all have people like that in our lives, and yet we still love them – but he’s a good man and he and Lauren really do bring out the best in each other. I love how he spoiled her, how he made her see what “special” is, and taught her to see herself through his eyes –YOWZA! If only I’d had “treatment” like that for my anorexia and insomnia! *fans self* LOL

See, I’m writing about him like he’s REAL! Kudos to Ms Ashley on characterisation!

Also, there was an amazing and interesting cast of "secondary" characters! Loved Shambles and Sunny, Betty and Ned, Jim-Billy, Wendy, Krystal, Wood, and Laurie's family!

I was kept on the edge of my seat with the suspense elements.

I even enjoyed reading about what Lauren was wearing almost every day; but then again, I like clothes, as does, it seems, Ms Ashley, from what I read in the “About the Author” portion of the book

So, for the “Turn Around Factor”, I’m giving this one 4 Stars.

Tate…He can be such a jerk, but he has his oh-so-sweet moments, and, man, he’s gorgeous!
“He was tall, maybe taller than he seemed in the parking lot or maybe he just seemed bigger in the bar since his shoulders were so broad. But his hips were lean and his legs were long, his thighs obviously powerfully muscled and I could tell that through his jeans. His dark brown hair gleamed even in the dull light of the bar. It was thick and it was clear he washed it and let it fall where it lay for the part was natural and not straight, it was swept back but some fell around his temples and curled a bit around his ears and at the back of his neck. His eyes looked dark. I couldn’t tell the color but there were sun lines emanating from the sides that were attractive. His brow was heavy; his nose wasn’t perfect but it was straight with a slight bump at the top of the bridge that made it interesting; his cheekbones were cut and his jaw was strong. His skin was tanned in a way where I knew he didn’t get that color lounging by the pool and he was wearing faded jeans, black motorcycle boots and a heathered-gray-blue, long-sleeved, skintight, thermal Henley.

He was beautiful.”
Tate looks HOT in a Henley....
....And without one. ^_^
He's a badass biker and bounty hunter...

...And he's a yummy playmate in the pool

Friday, January 20, 2012

Inspiration of the Moment and My Photography: Weeds

"Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them." 
~ A.A. Milne

This was definitely what I found when I got up-close-and-personal with some weeds in my overgrown, messy backyard, with my macro lens. Funny how something can look quite beautiful if we look at it through a different lens. 
(Of course...I'm not the one who mowed our lawn, afterwards. Haha!) Speaking of lenses, this makes me think of 
another quote...

"Begin challenging your own assumptions. 
Your assumptions are your windows on the world. 
Scrub them off every once in awhile, 
or the light won't come in." 
~ Alan Alda

Thursday, January 12, 2012

REVIEW: Tatiana and Alexander (#2 Tatiana and Alexander Trilogy) by Paullina Simons

5+ Stars!!!
“Where did they teach you how to live after you’d lost it all? Who taught you how to go on after you had lost everything?” - Tatiana
This song, “My Love” by Lene Marlin (link below), is my theme song for this second book in the Tatiana and Alexander trilogy. 

The haunting voice and the lyrics…How my heart aches as I listen to it…Especially because every time I listen to it, now, it will forever remind me of Tatiana and Alexander’s achingly, hauntingly beautiful love story, that is not only etched into my heart, but my whole body. My chest aches, my eyes water, my breath catches, my skin feels tight, sighs escape...I can’t help but want to cry and sigh whenever I think of these two. And those of you who have EXPERIENCED and LOVED this trilogy, I believe you KNOW what I’m talking about. Don’t you?

It has taken me so long to write my review for Tatiana and Alexander - over a year - because I was so CONSUMED with wanting to read the last book, The Summer Garden, that I just couldn’t to stop to review this one.

Also, I’ve really struggled with how to write a review for this one without spoiling the book for anyone who hasn’t read the first. Strangely, now that I’m re-reading The Bronze Horseman, I’m ready to try.

I started this second book armed with the quote below:
"If it were not for hope, the heart would break." ~ Thomas Fuller
This quote helped me to be able to breathe when I first started this book, after all I went through with Tatiana and Alexander in The Bronze Horseman. I hugged my hope for Tatiana and Alexander tight. Because of this, I found I was able to breathe in the first couple hundred pages, but then …as I read on, my chest grew tighter and tighter…and tighter. I ACHED. I was RAW. But I kept clutching on to that hope. My heart still broke, but it was also healed.

Without any plot spoilers I will say, though, that you will learn about both Alexander’s and Tatiana’s lives before they met each other through flashbacks. You’ll also discover some additional things about scenes in the first book. I really appreciated seeing scenes from The Bronze Horseman from Alexander’s perspective as I was longing for that in the first book. You will understand just how momentous that scene on the street, when Alexander sees Tatiana for the first time in her white dress with red roses, eating an ice cream, really was for Alexander.

Alexander and Tatiana are the embodiment of courage, strength, determination, and an enduring, epic love, for me.
""Kiss my forehead".
She obeys.
"Kiss my lips".
She obeys. And obeys.
"Can't you see I'm breaking?"
"Ah," she says, "You're still in one piece then."
I cannot promise you that you’ll be in one piece when you read this. In fact, if you have the experience I did, you’ll be shattered. But I do wish you what I also experienced, which is Hope and Love - the excruciating loss of hope and love…and the heart bursting regaining of hope and love... so INTENSE that you’ll never be the same.

This is not just a “read”. It is an EXPERIENCE. I really can’t explain it any other way!

Orbeli!!! What does it mean? It means so much. And, well, you’ll just have to experience it for yourself.

One of my favourite quotes from this book and which gives the title of the last book, The Summer Garden, such meaning:
“There is one moment, a moment in eternity. Before we find out the truth about one another. That simple moment is the one that propels us through life – what we felt at the very edge of our future, standing over the abyss, before we knew for sure we loved. Before we knew for sure we loved forever. …
Before all that, you and I walked through The Summer Garden, and once in a while my bare arm touched your arm, and once in a while you spoke and that gave me an excuse to look up into your face, into your laughing eyes, to catch a glimpse of your mouth and I, who had never been touched, tried to imagine what it might be like to have your mouth touch me. Falling in love with you in The Summer Garden in the white nights of Leningrad is the moment that propels me through life.”

P.S. Tissues required.

P.P.S. These books are not for everyone, but they are precious keepers for me and many others who have been captivated by Alexander and Tatiana's story.


13 January 2012, Edited to add:

Oh, my. *sniffles* It feels like fate. The day after I finally write my review for Tatiana and Alexander, I come across this haunting song which is absolutely PERFECT for this book! Just PERFECT. This song makes me want to weep, as I did with this book.

"If I Could Be Where You Are" by Enya:

Reading Order:

1. The Bronze Horseman - My Review Here
2. Tatiana and Alexander ( also titled "The Bridge to Holy Cross", in some editions)
3. The Summer Graden – To be reviewed.


- My Alexander – Henry Cavill
- My Tatiana – Teresa Palmer

Saturday, January 7, 2012

REVIEW: Heartache Falls (#3 Eternity Springs) by Emily March

3.5 of 5 Stars

I read Heartache Falls last year and am finally writing my review for this just before I do one for Lover’s Leap

I loved Angel’s Rest and Hummingbird Lake, the first two books, in Emily March’s EternitySprings series! Heartache Falls, on the other hand, is more of a “liked it”, for me, and I’m giving it 3.5 out of 5 Stars on my scale of enjoyment and connection to it.

Ali Timberlake, the always well groomed and stylish lady from Denver, a descendant of the Cavanaughs of Cavanaugh House in Eternity Springs has made some wonderful friends in the beautiful and charming little town in the Colorado Rockies. We “meet” Ali in Book 1 of this series, and since then, she has been taking some fairly frequent trips to the town. 

Ali’s last child has just gone off to college and Ali has “empty nest syndrome”, after having her life revolve around her children for so long. She's feeling lost and decides to follow her dream of running a café/restaurant, by taking over the Bristlecone Café at Eternity Springs, after the owners left. 

Ali’s husband of over 20 years, Mackenzie “Mac” Timberlake, is a successful federal judge.

At 44 years, Mac is still looking good because of his regimented daily swims. He is a strong, stubborn and determined man. 


Mac has been working too hard and he and Ali have grown distant over the last few years. But when Ali goes to Eternity Springs to follow her dreams, and though it takes him some time to do something, Mac chases after her and uses his seductive skills to try and woo back his wife.

The premise was promising - How does a couple who have been married for more than 20 years continue to make their relationship work when they have grown distant, their children are no longer there, and their dreams/goals no longer coincide?

The reason I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first two books was because of Mac’s attitude and how he viewed Ali’s wants. He didn’t really listen to her and any attempt by her to tell him how she felt was viewed as her being a “drama queen”.

That being said, I certainly read this quickly enough, it kept me engaged, and there were aspects that I liked and appreciated that the author went there, but I did find it hard to truly connect to Mac, until the end. Plus, it seemed to me that the reason he finally went to chase after Ali was because he wanted sex. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a husband wanting that with his wife, but I certainly wasn’t feeling the love and romance, at that point. And to be fair, the problems in their marriage weren’t all Mac’s fault; it takes two to make a marriage last.

In the end, though, this long-married couple learnt to truly communicate with each other again. The rifts in their relationship were healed because, well, that’s what Eternity Springs is. It’s a place where “broken hearts” go to heal.

In summary, I’m still in love with the charming and magical Eternity Springs and its people, and I loved the setting of Heartache Falls, but I wasn’t so much with Ali and Mac, unfortunately.

Now, on to Lover’s Leap!

Eternity Springs Reading Order:

1. Angel's Rest - My review here
2. Hummingbird Lake - My review here
2.5 A Callahan Carol- My review here
3. Heartache Falls
3.5 Mistletoe Mine - My review here
4. Lover's Leap
5. Nightingale Way - To be released 28 August 2012

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

REVIEW: Give Him the Slip (#1 Callahan Brothers) by Geralyn Dawson

3.5 of 5 Stars

Hmm… I’m disappointed to say that Give Him the Slip, the first Callahan Brothers book by Geralyn Dawson, did not captivate me the way her Eternity Springs series, written under the pseudonym of Emily March, did. Angel’s Rest, the first book in the Eternity Springs seriesis John Gabriel Callahan (Gabe Callahan’s) story and was one that really grabbed me.

The four Callahan Brothers of Brazos Bend, Texas - Matthew, Mark and Luke (the twins) and John Callahan - were known as the “Holy Terrors” from their mischievous childhood. After their mother died tragically, however, and their father, Branch Callahan, fell into a neglectful depression, they went out of control. A drunken, careless act, in their teens, caused a fire which burned down a factory (the biggest employer) in town. Branch Callahan disowned and banished his sons from their home following that incident.

The four brothers grew up to be worthy men, but they never forgave their father. Not so much for what he did by banishing them when they were young, but for what they felt he didn’t do when their brother John was kidnapped, and which led to his death.

Having read the Eternity Springs series and the free novella A Callahan Carol, first, I was surprised that this event regarding John had already occurred from the get-go of the Callahan series. I had been under the impression that readers got a chance to “know” John in this series…which we do, to some extent, through the recollections of his brothers and father.

Maddie "Baby Dagger" Kincaid, whose back-story was sad and made me feel for her, has finally made a home for herself in Brazos Bend. But after discovering some illegal substances in a client’s lake house, another one of her client’s, Branch Callahan, directs her into the path of former DEA agent, Luke “Sin” Callahan.

Sparks flie between Luke and Maddie straight off.

This was an "okay" Romantic Suspense, for me.

I guess my main issue with the book was that Luke seemed to be quite snappy, at times, and he said some mean-ish things to Maddie, which I didn’t like. He apologised for them pretty much immediately after, and he did have his romantic and sexy moments - Oh, yeeaahh…Mmm…Bananas… LOL - but some of the things he said were uncalled for, and were more, it seemed to me, him taking out his issues with his father on Maddie.

And Maddie… well, while I also understand her issues and felt for her, her jumping to conclusions did annoy me a bit.

Mind you, I did read this during a heat wave and had been having headaches, so I might have been grumpier and less forgiving that usual. ^_^

I have seen that some GRs friends enjoyed this series more than the Eternity Springs one. I hold a different view…at this stage.

I do really enjoy how this author, in almost every book I’ve read by her, seems to incorporate some adorable animal characters. Her love of animals shines through and as a fellow animal lover I really appreciate it. I loved “Knucklehead” and the parts of the story relating to the “Oscars”. ^_^

My copy of the latest Eternity Springs book by this author, Lover’s Leap, arrived in the mail this morning. I’m excited to read it!!! Looks like the other two books in this series will have to wait a bit.

Luke "Sin" Callahan

Maddie "Baby Dagger" Kincaid

My Luke - Dominic Figlio
My Maddie - Alicia Witt

The Callahan Brothers Reading Order:

1. Give Him the Slip
2. Never Say Never
3. Always Look Twice

Novella: A Callahan Carol

Related: Angel's Rest (#1 Eternity Springs) - John Gabriel Callahan's Story

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year's!

Hope all of you had a wonderful New Year's Eve celebrations, and wishing you a wonderful 2012 of good health, happiness, love, and some amazing new books to enjoy and share with each other!

We're having a heat wave here where I live, at the moment, and this is how I feel...