31 January 2014

Lora Leigh: Breeds Series Reading Order

The Breeds series by Lora Leigh happens in an alternate world (ours, btw), but in the future. As far as I can glean—as of this writing, I'm still on the third installment of the series—the actual stories happen several decades into the future. The experiments started during the present though.

A Breeds Primer

The Breeds are genetic experiments, their genes a mutation of human and animal DNA. The species involved are lions, tigers, cougars, wolves and coyotes. (An in one instance, eagles might've been included.) They were created by the Genetics Council, a secret group of scientists, investors, politicians and uber wealthy men who wanted a private army of deadly assassins to dismantle their enemies.

Designed to be cold-blooded killers, they're gorgeous, smart and deadly. The kink in their makeup appears in maturity. They couldn't kill people in cold blood. Unknown to their creators, coded into the animal DNA is a sense of honor and justice that no amount of assassin training can eradicate.

A series of escapes and rescues plunges the Breeds into the normal, ordinary world of humans. But not before they've endured cruelty, betrayal, rapes, and all-around harsh conditions. Their creators believe they don't have a soul because they were created from test tubes, they weren't conceived, despite the fact that human mothers served as their surrogates.

30 January 2014

Review: Forgiven But Not Forgotten? by Abby Green

   He’d spent five years haunted by her. He had to have her—had to have this closure once and for all. And he despised himself for his weakness.

   She was stunned again at Andreas’s world now, and stunned anew to see him in his open-shirted tuxedo and realise that only hours before Andreas Xenakis had still been firmly in her shameful guilt-ridden past, not her tumultuous present.
 High stakes. Satisfying payback.

Photo - Forgiven But Not Forgotten? by Abby Green jacket coverForgiven But Not Forgotten by Abby Green is the first romance I ever read from the author and it's one of those rare, evocative finds. 

The emotional underpinnings of this romance wrung tears so much that Hubby caught me sniffling at a critical moment. He was alarmed, thinking I had bad news from home. When he learned why I was bawling, he shook his head and left me alone in our room, probably disgusted heh.

First lines

Forgiven But Not Forgotten comes with a Prologue, giving us an insight into the "why" of Siena's choices. Her luxurious lifestyle isn't all that it seemed.
Siena DePiero held her older sister’s hand tightly as they left their palazzo. Even though she was twelve and Serena was fourteen they still instinctively sought each other for support. Their father was in an even more mercurial mood than usual today. Their car was waiting by the kerb, a uniformed driver standing by the open door. Siena knew that her father’s bodyguards were nearby.
I like me some nice, intriguing intros to my romance reads. Gives me a frame to my reading experience.

The first lines of Chapter One plunge us right into the conflict, too...
Andreas Xenakis didn’t like the strength of the thrill of triumph that moved through him. It signified that this moment held more importance for him than he’d care to admit. Bitterly, he had to concede that perhaps it did. After all, practically within touching distance now was the woman who had all but cried rape for her own amusement, to protect her untarnished image in her father’s eyes. She’d merited him a savage beating, losing his job, being blacklisted from every hotel in Europe and having to start over again on the other side of the world. Far away from anyone he’d known or who had known him.

29 January 2014

What's Your Love Personality?

So I was watching Dr. Helen Fisher—my new hero!—again, at TED.com and she let slip that she was the “Chemist” behind a dating site.

There, you'll immediately be greeted by a free personality test. You'll give some information on age, gender and, yes, your email. But I was so curious (Cat being my middle name) that I signed up and went through the Q&A for the short quiz. I think it was developed by Dr. Fisher herself.

In any case, I found out that I'm (A.) primarily a Negotiator, and (B.) then an Explorer. (Surprise! Surprise! Must be the curiosity, hee.) These types are what influences me the most, so says the result.

When they dig deeper into what each personality type meant, it gave me the creeps. The results were so dead on about me, even the things that I need to watch out for, that my goosebumps had goosebumps!

28 January 2014

Romancing the Plot: Fairy Tales are Forever

Photo: Cinderella and Prince Charming kissingIf you've been reading romance novels for a few months—or in my case, decades—you've probably realized by now that these stories are nothing but a retelling of the fairy tales we read as a child.

Any romance writer and romance writing teacher will admit to it, too. Now, whether they will do so freely or silently is a toss up, but the standard fairy tales that our parents read to us at bedtime are being retold over and over again—in one form or another—in our favorite romances.

Let's review the more popular happily-ever-afters we've encountered as children and see where and how they've been used.


The plot to Cinderella is simple: poor girl meets wealthy prince, they fall in love, girl's relations put spanners in the works, but love conquers everything.

Cinderella stories has many variations and iterations, but at the heart of the romance is the rags-to-riches story. I've seen some romances incorporating other Romanceland tropes: marriage of convenience, secret or accidental pregnancies, heroine as nanny/governess, etc.

The thing is, because a lot of Romanceland's heroes are uber wealthy and the heroine's often one of the masses, I believe there's something Cinderellaesque in most of the romances I've read.

27 January 2014

Review: Tempting the Beast by Lora Leigh

Burning thoughts:
Him: I was created, not conceived. She's human, they said I'm just an animal. But she has become my soul.
Her: I've never met him, yet I can't get him out of my mind. It's as if he's possessed me, body and soul. 
Photo - Red Hot sensuality levelPhoto - Three Stars rating Tempting the Beast by Lora Leigh is the first of her long-runing sci-fi romance series, Breeds (27 and counting!). It's also my first uber erotic romance read...and it's one burning hot, fan-yourself-every-second experience. I think Fifty Shades of Grey pales in comparison in the Scoville scale alone!

First lines

Tempting the Beast started with unassuming though no less interesting style. You have this feisty, no-nonsense journalist battling eight grown men—her publisher father and seven older brothers.

She's their baby girl, cosseted, protected and more or less shielded from the harsher realities of life. She wants the assignment but the rest of the clan is a formidable wall of granite—unmoving and unimpressed by her arguments.
“This story is mine.” Merinus stared down her family of seven brothers as well as her father, her voice firm, her determination unwavering. She knew she didn't present an imposing figure. At five feet five inches, it was damned hard to convince the males of her family, all over six feet, that she was serious about anything. But in this one instance, she knew she had no other choice.
As launchpads to stories go, I can say it's arresting. Just what was the story all about and why didn't she have any choice? It's a compelling first paragraph that wants you to dig deeper into the story.

First lines rating: 4.0

Main characters: Merinus Tyler and Callan Lyons

Callan Lyons is the epitome of the Alpha Male of most paranormal romances—physically powerful, forceful, and the leader of his Pride of feline breeds. He's the first successful breed created by the clandestine Genetics Council from a mutation of human and lion DNA.

The purpose of his genetic engineering? Become the ultimate killing machine, well-versed in all forms of warfare, including sex. It doesn't help that he's downright smexin' hot!
Some would say the man wasn't even human. A genetic experiment conceived in a test tube, carried to term by a surrogate and inheriting the genes of the animal his DNA had been altered with. A man with all the instincts and hunting abilities of a lion. A perfectly human looking male. A man bred to be a savage killer.