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REVIEW – The Man Behind the Cop

May 3, 2009
The Man Behind the Cop

The Man Behind the Cop

Author: Janice Kay Johnson
Copyright: 2008 (Harlequin); 243 pgs.
ISBN: 978-0-373-71489-6
Series: Harlequin Superromance #1489
Sensuality: Warm

Who: Karin Jorgenson and Bruce Walker
Where: Seattle, Washington

The Man Behind the Cop is an intense read. The book deals with domestic abuse and kidnapping. Both the main characters are in professions that deal with these issues on a daily basis.

Most of the story is told through the eyes of Bruce Walker, a homicide cop with the Seattle Police Department. Bruce participates in the Big Brother program and he is a mentor to twelve-year-old Trevor DeShon. He is also about to start teaching self-defense classes at a women’s mental health clinic where the heroine, Karin Jorgenson, works.

Karin is a counselor at A Woman’s Hand. Her patients are women who have been abused or have been raped. One of her patients, Lenora, has finally decided to take her children and leave her abusive and controlling husband. Karin has given her specific instructions on what NOT to do when leaving an abusive relationship. Unfortunately, Lenora fails to heed all the advice and she is brutally attacked outside the clinic. Lenora is grievously wounded and it is not known if, or when, she will regain consciousness. Worst of all, her children have been taken and their safety is in question.

Close by when the attack occurred – but not close enough to have seen or stop it — Bruce takes the case. He is the product of an abusive household. His father was controlling and he took his anger out on his sons. Bruce’s mother never did anything to stop it nor had the guts to take her sons and leave. Being a cop and volunteering to mentor Trevor, and teaching self defense to abused women are his way of helping others in similar situations. Bruce’s biggest fear is that he’ll turn into his father. He doesn’t dare risk getting seriously involved with a woman and having kids is even further out of the question. He’s extremely fond of Trevor, but let’s the boy down when he refuses to be his foster father after Trevor’s mother disappears. Disappointing Trevor bothers Bruce and the situation is made worse, as far as Bruce is concerned, when child services informs him that Trevor’s father will be getting custody of the boy. Wade DeShon, a recovering alcoholic, used to hit his wife. Bruce is convinced that Wade hasn’t changed at all.

Bruce and Karin have an instant attraction and Bruce can’t seem to stop thinking about her. While he’s investigating the disappearance of Lenora’s children, he finds himself wondering what her opinion would be on things he learns and what she might be doing at any given moment. As for Karin, she’s fallen in love with him, but she also realizes that she has her work cut for her. She wants to help Bruce understand that he isn’t like his father and that he’s great, loving man. Bruce’s ability to excuse Trevor’s drug addict mother — who’s probably dead — but can’t give Wade the benefit of the doubt, frustrates Karin. He can’t seem to accept that some people can change, especially if there is a strong motivation for the change.

This is definitely Bruce’s book. He’s a great character, even when he’s stubbornly clinging to the belief that he’ll morph into his father if he got too angry or pissed off. Fortunately, Karin is a grounded, quiet person. Normally. The scene where she gets into his face about his issues is my favorite.  It didn’t surprise me when this book was nominated for a RITA.

Started: 19 March 2009
Finished: 23 March 2009




What Others Have Said:
All About Romance
The Good, the Bad and the Unread (Wendy’s)
The Good, the Bad, and the Unread (Sandy M.’s)

Challenge Update – April 2009

May 2, 2009


I didn’t read as many books in April as I had in the previous two months. I purposely took my time reading Kiss of Fury, in the hopes of getting caught up with my reviews. Didn’t happen.  None of the books listed below have a review as of today.

I completed one challenge this month, the Naming Conventions Challenge. I wasn’t sure I’d finish it. The books I picked with “I” titles weren’t grabbing me. Into the Fire by Anne Stuart is the last book for the challenge. I’ll make the review my second priority, right after The Man Behind the Cop.

Also this month, I joined two more challenges: Anne Stuart Read-a-Fest and the Summer Vacation Reading. The Anne Stuart started already, but the Summer Vacation kicks off on the 22nd.

Starting with April, I’ll list the breakdown first, then list the challenges.

The Breakdown:

  • Kiss of Fury – 2nd,  A-Z
  • Into the Fire – Anne Stuart, Countdown, Naming Conventions
  • Karma Girl – 1st, A-Z,  Countdown
  • The Magnate’s Indecent Proposal – A-Z, New Author

All books count toward the Year of the Reader Challenge

2008-2009 Challenges
Countdown: 23/45
Naming Conventions: 9/9 — COMPLETED
Series Challenge Season 3: 0/??

2009 Challenges
1st in Series: 3/12
2nds Challenge: 5/12
A-Z Challenge (Authors): 14/26
Anne Stuart Read-a-Fest: 1/??
A Year of Readers: $40.00 (20 books)
Contemporary Romance: 1/12
Chunkster: 2/??
Harlequin/Silhouette Romance: 3/5
New Author Challenge: 7/12
Pub 2009: 5/9
Romance Reading: 4/5
Summer Vacation: 0/6
Themed Reading: 1/4
Third Times A Charm: 0/3
Victorian: 1/4
What’s in a Name 2: 3/6
Year of the Category: 3/12

Perpetual Challenges
Georgette Heyer: 1

Total (Month): 4
Grand Total (Year): 20

REVIEW – Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn

April 21, 2009
Silent on the Moor

Silent on the Moor

Author: Deanna Raybourn
Copyright: 2009 (Mira); 465 pgs.
ISBN: 978-0-7783-2614-4
Series: 3rd in the Lady Julia Grey series
Sensuality: Kisses

Where & When: England, 1888

At the end of Silent in the Sanctuary, Lady Julia Grey learns that Nicholas Brisbane has invited her sister Portia to help him set up his household at Grimsgrave. Julia is determined to settle, once and for all, the question of whether there is a future for herself and Brisbane. She intends to accompany Portia to Yorkshire, whether she wants company or not.

As the book opens, Julia’s oldest brother, Belllmont, is fussing about his sisters’ plan to travel unchaperoned. The respectability of the family would be called into question and Bellmont doesn’t need that type of scrutiny at this time. His own children are entering society and a scandal could hurt their chances. The Marches have always been unconventional, but the Earl March has already decided to send Valerius, his youngest, along with Julia and Portia to prevent gossip. Bellmont is mollified, but the others are unhappy. In this state, the sisters set off to Yorkshire with their brother, their lady’s maids, and their pets.

What Julia finds in Yorkshire is an estate that will require extensive repair — a job way beyond simply setting up one’s household — and Brisbane is his usual impossible self. His habit of seeming to want her gone, at the same time holding her close, is frustrating — not to mention his habit of disappearing for days on end. Wanting to be useful to the destitute Allenby women still residing at Grimsgrave, Julia offers to catalog the late Sir Redwell Allenby’s Egyptian collection in preparation for selling it. However, she stumbles upon a mystery. There’s more about the Allenby family than an obsessed son who financially ruined his family estate and then died, leaving his mother and two sisters at the mercy of strangers.

The first Gothic romances I read where by Victoria Holt, so I could easily imagine the atmosphere Julia and her siblings found themselves in. The ancient estate and the bleak moor are perfect settings for the brooding half-Gypsy, half-Scotsman Brisbane. The man fit right in. And thanks to my extensive experience with those books by Holt, I knew to suspect everyone Julia met of some crime or other — because there’s no telling what secrets they might be hiding. 😉

I thought this was a much better book than Sanctuary. There seemed to be more interaction between Julia and Brisbane in this book than the last one. Maybe it felt that way because Julia learned a lot more about him, and the author wrapped up the mysteries of Brisbane’s past. I don’t think that Julia is quiet up to “equal partner” status in the private inquiry business yet. She has a lot more to learn before I trust her to solve a mystery. I must say I was impressed with her willingness to tackle someone.

Favorite Quotes:
“You are a singular woman, Julia Grey. You persist in seeing me as the man you want me to be.”
“No, I see you as the man you want to be.”

–Brisbane, Julia

“I could give it all away, you know. I am sure there is some home for elderly cats or something that would appreciate the money.”
— Julia

“I am leaving England for awhile.”
“For how long?”
“Until I am quite recovered from you.”
“When will you return?”

— Brisbane, Julia

Started: 17 March 2009
Finished: 19 March 2009




What Others Have Said:
At Home With Books
Bookishly Attentive
The Good, The Bad, The Unread
Bookshelves of Doom
A Girl Walks Into A Bookstore
Medieval Bookworm
Dear Author
All About Romance

Books in the series:
Silent in the Grave Silent in the Sanctuary

Summer Vacation Reading Challenge (Update)

April 19, 2009


What: Summer Vacation Reading Challenge
When: 22 May – 7 September 2009
Who: Molly (My Cozy Book Nook)
Rules: Quoted directly from her site:

Globe Trotter: you will commit to reading 6 pre-selected books during this time frame, but you may substitute up to 3 books due to changes in travel plans. Cross-overs for 5 out of the 6 books are allowed, but ideally one book will be read for this challenge alone.

Below is the list of potential reads for this challenge.  I’ve also indicated the location, if known:

  • Tangled Lies (Anne Stuart) — Hawaii
  • Lost Calling (Evelyn Vaughn) — Paris
  • Cold as Ice (Anne Stuart) — on a yacht
  • The Contestant (Stephanie Doyle) — a tropical island
  • The Maverick’s Greek Island Mistress (a.k.a Taken by the Bad Boy) (Kelly Hunter) — the Mediterranean
  • The Rome Affair (Laura Caldwell) — Rome
  • A Most Unconventional Courtship (Louisa Allen) — Corfu
  • Templar Knight, Forbidden Bride (Lynna Banning) — Grenada
  • The Widow (Anne Stuart) — Tuscany

I’ll track the progress on my 2009 Challenges page.

Reading My Name 2009 – Completed

April 14, 2009

Reading My Name

What: Reading My Name 2009
When: 1 February – 30 June 2009
Who: Callista
Rules: Read at least two books by authors that share your name OR book titles with your name in them.

  • An Unladylike Offer (Christine Merrill) {9 Feb 09} (REVIEW)
  • Shadow Game (Christine Feehan) {10 Mar 09} (REVIEW)

Though there is plenty of time left for me to read a third book, I’ve decided that two is good goal. The books are so different — Regency romance and contemporary paranormal romance — but I did like Merrill’s book more than Feehan’s.

Christine Merrill has become one of my favorite Harlequin Historical writers, so her books are auto buys for me.   Even if I have to pay international shipping.

Christine Feehan is new-to-me this year.  I plan to read one of her Drake Sister novels and her Leopard series.  I already have the second GhostWalker book.

I enjoyed this challenge.  Though next year — if Callista plans to host it again — I might not be able to participate.  I will be moving next year.

Thanks again for hosting it, Callista!

On the plus side. . .

April 13, 2009

Being behind on reviews has had an unexpected plus side.

By having that gap between finishing the book and when I actually sit down to put my thoughts on paper, I have a better take on which books stay with me.  Since I have to refresh my memory on some points, I usually have to do a little re-reading.  If I really love the book, I tend to keep reading after I found whatever it was that prompted me to refer to the book.  That’s a bit annoying, since I should be writing, not reading.  The harder it is for me to put aside the book, the more likely the book is going to be a 5-star book, flaws and all.

With that in mind, I’m going to go ahead and give ratings to the books I’ve already posted.  I’ll eventually update the individual review posts.  Reminder: anything I give a 3-Star or above is a guarantee that I will try other books from the author.

Five Stars:  LOVED!

  • Dawnkeepers (Jessica Andersen)
  • Bedded for Diamonds (a.k.a. Priceless) (Kelly Hunter)
  • Ravenous (Sharon Ashwood)
  • Dark Crusade (Lori Devoti)

Four Stars: Liked a lot!

  • Driven (Eve Kenin)
  • An Unladylike Offer (Christine Merrill)
  • Ace is Wild (Penny McCall)

Three Stars: Enjoyable Read

  • Slave to Sensation (Nalini Singh)
  • Cousin Kate (Georgette Heyer)
  • Shadow Game (Christine Feehan)

REVIEW – Dark Crusade

April 12, 2009
Dark Crusade

Dark Crusade

Author: Lori Devoti
Copyright: 2009 (Harlequin); 271 pgs.
ISBN: 978-0-373-61809-5
Series: Silhouette Nocturne # 62; Unbound #4
Sensuality: Hot

Who: Heather Moore (witch) and Kerr Vikk (garm)
Where & When: Gunngar

Dark Crusade is the fourth book in Lori Devoti’s Unbound series. Though the books are written to stand alone, the story picks up right after the events in Guardian’s Keep. I would highly recommend reading Guardian’s Keep first to get a better understanding of Heather Moore, the heroine of Dark Crusade. A note about the hero: Lori decided to change the name of the leader of the rogue garm (wolf shape-shifter). See comments in this postPost may be considered a spoiler.

This story takes place entirely outside the human world. Kerr Vikk and the other rogue garm were banished to Gunngar after their attempts to gain control of a portal. Shortly after arriving, Kerr is picked to be Marina’s protector. The elfin princess and leader of the Jagers — light elves that seemed to rule this world — is on a crusade to rid Gunngar of witches. Kerr doesn’t question the Jager’s mission. He’s responsible for Marina’s safety. Her cause is her business. That changes when realizes someone he knows is in Gunngar: Heather.

Heather helped the garm, not because she believed in their mission, but because she was after power. Growing up, Heather had nothing. She betrayed a friend and mentor in order to gain something she could call her own. As punishment for her part in the rogues’ plans, Heather was banished to Gunngar. Like the garm, Heather had hoped for a fresh start. However, she learns right away that witches are being hunted. Arn, the tavern owner that gives her sanctuary, is very anxious to help her escape Gunngar. Unfortunately, the portal that brought Heather is a one-way, roving entryway. Gunngar’s portal was sealed by the Jagers. Heather’s only hope lies with her being able to persuade the garm to find and open the portal.

At first, Kerr is reluctant to help. His sense of responsibility for the other garm is strong. Since coming to Gunngar, and finally having something to guard, Kerr’s focus has been on doing his duty and certain things have escaped his notice. Heather’s arrival has opened his eyes to the fact that something isn’t right, that there is more to the story behind the witch hunt and the closed portal. Kerr also realizes that his feelings for Heather have grown stronger. The longer she stays in Gunngar, the more danger she’s in, and Kerr is afraid for her safety. He is determined to save both the other rogues and Heather.

Throughout the story, Heather grows as a character. Not necessarily a bad person, she’s just someone who made the wrong choices for selfish reasons. By the end of the book, Heather is willing to sacrifice herself to protect others. Kerr also develops as a person. From the beginning, Kerr has been a noble and trustworthy being, but his mission to find a place where all garm have something to guard has blinded him to the fact that sometimes it’s a good idea to questions others’ motives. Not everything is worthy of being guarded by a garm.

I’m afraid to say to much more about the story, for fear of spoilers. I continue to enjoy this series and the world-building. Heather and Kerr are both likable characters and the romance is believable. Heather finally has something she can call her own — Kerr’s love; and Kerr has something worth guarding — Heather. They have each other and they’re happy.

Lori introduces other characters that I hope to see more of in future books.

Started: 11 March 2009
Finished: 16 March 2009




What Others Have Said:
All About Romance

Books in the series:
Unbound Guardian's Keep Wild Hunt

Summer Vacation Reading Challenge

April 10, 2009


What: Summer Vacation Reading Challenge
When: 22 May –  7 September 2009
Who: Molly (My Cozy Book Nook)
Rules: Quoted directly from her site:

Requirements: Summer vacations are meant to be relaxing and fun – not stressful. However, some people interpret “fun” by doing nothing but going to the beach and vegging out — while others like to maximize their sight-seeing adventures. To that end, I have developed two different levels of participation:

  • Beach Bum: you will read 3 books during this time frame (a leisurely book-a-month); cross-over book selections from other challenges may count; and you do not have to list books in advance — after all, summer vacation is a time for spontaneity.
  • Globe Trotter: you will commit to reading 6 pre-selected books during this time frame, but you may substitute up to 3 books due to changes in travel plans. Cross-overs for 5 out of the 6 books are allowed, but ideally one book will be read for this challenge alone.
  • See the sign-up post for more details.

    I know, I know. I said in the Anne Stuart Read-a-Fest post that I wasn’t going to join anymore challenges. But this one will compliment the read-a fest! If I can work in three of Anne’s books, that’s half the requirement for the Globe Trotter.

    I haven’t decided which six books (plus alternates).  Per my usual habit, I’ll list the books and track the progress on my 2009 Challenges page.