Ex-Army Ranger Ethan Cooper owns a bad-ass biker bar in a small Texas town and enjoys his no-strings-attached, love ‘em-and-leave ‘em, bad-boy lifestyle. He suddenly finds his life turned upside down and his hardened, cold heart turned inside out when he finds himself lusting after his quiet, innocent, prim and proper neighbor, Miss Sarah Fox. I loved Sarah’s character, and her yearning and loneliness brought tears to my eyes. I really enjoyed this story.(less)
It’s been a while since I’ve read such an imaginative paranormal romance. Bec McMaster has penned a noteworthy...more4 ½ stars – Paranormal Romance/Steampunk
It’s been a while since I’ve read such an imaginative paranormal romance. Bec McMaster has penned a noteworthy debut that’s bold, inventive, engrossing, and sensual. I really enjoyed this!
McMaster has crafted an intricate, alternate London set historical with memorable, complex characters and unique elements of paranormal, steampunk, vampires, and verwulfen blended seamlessly without excessive world building to bog down the pacing or impede the romance. The dark, eerie Whitechapel setting gives the story an authentic gothic resonance and provides lots of danger, intrigue, thrills, and chills.
Blade, “the devil of Whitechapel”, is a captivating, sexy hero with a fascinating mix of tortured soul and primal alpha male who’s at times brutal yet intimately tender and protective of those he cares about. He’s rough, growly, ruthless, and possessive, has a caring heart of gold, and yearns for affection, trust, and peace. Blade reminded me a little of Charming Mickey from Elizabeth Hoyt’s Scandalous Desires at times but with more of a predator, supernatural edge and a somewhat softer, gooier center. In other words...YOWZA!
Honoria Todd is a strong, brave heroine and I both admired and wanted to strangle her at times for being so stubborn, proud, and loyal to a fault. It drove me crazy that she continually resisted and rebuffed Blade, no matter what he did or how hard he tried. Blade and Honoria engage in quite a bit of bickering, sparring, and bantering and have some seriously explosive chemistry. And when she finally comes to her senses I nearly screamed...well, it’s about time!
Kiss of Steel is a terrific, original debut that’s dark, passionate, intense, emotional, and satisfyingly steamy. I’m looking forward to the next book, Heart of Iron.
I found out about this from its Goodreads Choice Award nomination and then noticed that several...more**spoiler alert** 5 stars – Contemporary Erotic Romance
I found out about this from its Goodreads Choice Award nomination and then noticed that several of my GR friends had rated it 5 stars. I didn’t read any reviews before reading (other than glimpses here and there that I couldn’t avoid) because I didn’t want any spoilers. So I’m not sure if the author intended it to be somewhat Twilight-esque or not, and/or if other readers thought there were comparisons between them like I did? I couldn’t help but feel like this read as a dark, erotic, and intriguing BDSM twist on Twilight, sans vampires. I mean, there just seemed to be so many similarities to me. Or maybe seeing The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn movie three times has influenced and/or warped my thinking? Hmmm...that’s definitely a possibility.
Anyway, here are some of my random observations/thoughts. Coincidences?
•Heroine is Anastasia “Ana” Steele (vs. Isabella “Bella” Swan). •Ana’s first person POV narrative read like a YA book, particularly for the beginning 15%-25% or so, and her insecurity and inner dialogue and the overall tone of the story reminded me of Bella in Twilight, even though Ana is 21 and turns 22 during the story. •Ana is a plain, mousy, bookish, awkward, klutzy, shy, clumsy, naïve nerd, misfit, and virtual loner and reads classic literature for fun. •She has pale skin and blushes profusely...at just about everything. •She has two left feet, trips easily, and can’t dance. •Hero Christian Grey is “heart-stoppingly beautiful” and “dazzling”, has gorgeous, messy copper colored hair that’s always in sexy, mussed disarray, and has a “crooked, dazzling smile”. •He’s remarkably handsome, rich, autocratic, domineering, enigmatic, controlling, stern, gruff, brooding, jealous, mercurial, possessive, and outright stalkerish. •She’s a brunette and he prefers brunettes, even though he’s surrounded by tall, leggy, stunning blondes. •She was never picked for team sports like volleyball...hmmm, that’s familiar. •She talks in her sleep and in doing so reveals her feelings about Christian. •It takes place in the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver and Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon) and her mom lives in sunny Georgia (vs. Florida). •Ana has a close male friend, Jose, whom she loves like a brother but he has unrequited romantic feelings for her. Their dads are also close friends. Hmmm...Jose...Jacob? •She drives a beat up Beetle (not truck) that used to belong to her friend Jose’s mom and he does the maintenance and repairs for her. •Christian saves her when she’s almost run over by a cyclist. •He saves her from unwanted advances outside a bar when she’s drunk by stalking tracking her down. •He warns her, more than once, that she should stay away from him...for her own good...and that he’s not the right man for her. •He always says he wishes he knew what she was thinking. •She has vying suitors, even though she’s an awkward, shy, and insecure girl. •She doesn’t understand or believe what Christian sees in her, even though he insists that he finds her beautiful and irresistible and it’s quite obvious that he’s totally infatuated/obsessed with her. •He buys her extravagant gifts. •He buys her a car. •He has a black Audi SUV, not silver Volvo, but its close. (Audi is apparently his motor brand of choice.) •He expertly plays the piano...melancholy classical of course. •She has a flighty, whimsical mother. •She has a serious, taciturn, yet loving father. •He’s adopted. •His adoptive father is a handsome blonde named Carrick...ahem...not Carlisle. •His adoptive brother is an easygoing hunk with curly blond hair. •His adoptive sister Mia, whom he shows fond affection for, is exuberant and enthusiastic in befriending Ana and encouraging Ana’s and Christian’s relationship.
I’m not saying the author plagiarized the Twilight series, so don’t get your panties in a twist if you disagree with me that there are similarities between them. (And notice I rated it 5 stars, so obviously I think it’s a great read.)
Overall I found Fifty Shades of Grey really intense and addictive, but I would have enjoyed the story even more had it been told from third person POV because I really, really wanted insight into Christian’s “fifty shades of f*cked-up” psyche! I immediately started reading the second book, Fifty Shades Darker, but then realized the third book, Fifty Shades Freed, isn’t out until January. Eeks! I imagine that I’ll be anxiously awaiting its release. 5 stars!
Now I’m off to read reviews to see what my GR friends think about this!
*Addendum: I’ve since learned (after reading some reviews) that this was originally written as a Twilight fanfiction story, so I guess my powers of observation are keen and my thinking is appropriately warped. LOL!*
I’m a big fan of Toni Blake’s Destiny series and friends to lovers storylines, so I was really looking forward to Amy...more3 ½ stars – Contemporary Romance
I’m a big fan of Toni Blake’s Destiny series and friends to lovers storylines, so I was really looking forward to Amy and Logan’s book. And while I enjoyed the comfy familiarity of once again visiting small town Destiny, Ohio and spending time with its endearing characters, I was disappointed with the romance this time around.
The H/h pairing of town good girl and resident matchmaker, Amy, and her hunky firefighter lifelong best friend, Logan, had potential for a great romance but unfortunately didn’t quite deliver and fell rather flat. Their relationship progression from friends to sudden attraction following an awkward kiss to unexpected “is this love that I’m feeling” just didn’t seem believable, especially with Logan spending a significant amount of time flirting with and circling around a woman from the past whose surprise appearance in Destiny and competition for Logan’s attention makes Amy rather miserable. The triangle went on far too long, and I just didn’t buy the character motivations, romance, or eventual HEA.
My biggest complaint was with Logan’s character, or more accurately, his shortage of appeal. I’m a hero-centric romance reader and Logan was sorely lacking as a romantic hero. He was immature, selfish, oblivious, inconsiderate, and pretty much an a**hat for most of the book. His constant ineptitude regarding Amy’s feelings was frustrating, and I wanted her to realize that she deserved better. I actually found myself thinking she should have explored things with Lucky’s biker friend, Duke. (I hope Ms. Blake gives us his story at some point!) I also felt like there wasn’t nearly enough of Logan’s POV, which probably exacerbated his a**hat status.
So, not as good as previous books in the series, but I’m still a fan and look forward to returning to Destiny when Half Moon Hill comes out. I can’t say I “really liked it” for 4 stars but it’s better than just a 3...therefore I’m rating it 3 ½ stars.
Big thanks to Lindsey and Ms. Blake for providing me with an ARC!
Awesome read! Finally another ICE book and it delivered! With exotic locales, nonstop action, edge-of-your-seat danger, knu...more5 stars – Romantic Suspense
Awesome read! Finally another ICE book and it delivered! With exotic locales, nonstop action, edge-of-your-seat danger, knuckle-gripping suspense, uber nasty villains, an unforgettably sexy, ruthless Irish hero, a heroine who manages a minimal amount of whining for such extreme and violent situations, hot sexual tension, and steamy romance, On Thin Ice is definitely a must read for fans of Anne Stuart’s ICE series and dark romantic suspense! My only quibble is that there are quite a few editing errors, but those minor mistakes didn’t lessen my enjoyment, at all. 5 stars!(less)
Oh I really enjoyed this one! A sexy, rugged former Army Ranger turned PI alpha hero and a sweet, spunky teacher masque...more4 ½-5 stars – Romantic Suspense
Oh I really enjoyed this one! A sexy, rugged former Army Ranger turned PI alpha hero and a sweet, spunky teacher masquerading as a stripper to find her missing sister have scorching hot chemistry. It’s got the perfect mix of steamy romance, suspense, drama, and action, great characters, and even had me tearing up. I’d only previously read the first book of the series, Against the Wind, but this worked really well as a standalone read.(less)