I really enjoyed this one! The sexting and love scenes were creative and fire alarm hot! Jax was wowza yummy! The endi...more4 ½ stars – Contemporary Romance
I really enjoyed this one! The sexting and love scenes were creative and fire alarm hot! Jax was wowza yummy! The ending was too abrupt and left me hankering for an epilogue, but otherwise this was a great read! I'll definitely read the next book in the series.(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 adore everything Julie James writes and this was another winner! With intelligent characters, witty dialogue, snappy b...more5 stars – Contemporary Romance
I adore everything Julie James writes and this was another winner! With intelligent characters, witty dialogue, snappy banter, sarcastic, sexy quips, and sizzling chemistry, her books never fail to please. And she’s definitely turned up the heat with steamier love scenes! Cade was such a yowza, yummy hero, and he and Brooke made an appealing, enjoyable couple.
I just wish she wrote more and faster, but without sacrificing the quality that marks every single one of her books; so I guess Ms. James needs a clone.(less)
Oh, but I really enjoyed this one! There are opposites attract stories and then there are opposites ignite, combust, and...more5 stars – Contemporary Romance
Oh, but I really enjoyed this one! There are opposites attract stories and then there are opposites ignite, combust, and singe my Kindle stories and this is definitely the latter. Whew!
And the premise is one of my favorites...seemingly stodgy, stuffy, rich, straitlaced Darcy-esque hero and free-spirited, quirky, flamboyant, provocative heroine clash, battle, and then inevitably end up lusting and scorching up the sheets...and pretty much any stable surface.
But Sarah Mayberry has penned an insightful, affecting story and given depth to Martin’s and Violet’s characters that dispels clichés and stereotypes. And talk about a swoonalicious, husband-worthy hero! I absolutely loved Martin! *sigh*
Her Best Worst Mistake is a sequel/spin-off of Hot Island Nights that takes place during the same time period, and I enjoyed this much more having read Hot Island Nights first.
It’s a sexy, fun, super steamy, and emotionally gratifying romance with a memorable H/h. 5 stars!
This is Kristen Ashley’s first venture into the “erotic” romance genre, and I loved it! Knight Sebring is a serio...more5 stars – Contemporary Erotic Romance
This is Kristen Ashley’s first venture into the “erotic” romance genre, and I loved it! Knight Sebring is a seriously sexy, magnetic, dark anti-hero and all kinds of yummy “Dom”ineering alpha hotness. Anya Gage is very likeable and genuine and one of my favorite KA heroines. I really enjoyed their captivating, intense connection, dynamic relationship, emotional progression, and explosive bedroom scenes! YOWZA!
Ms. Ashley took a gamble with this, and I imagine some readers/fans will be put off by certain aspects, like the BDSM (D/s) elements and Knight’s dark side. He’s definitely an enigmatic, powerful “anti-hero”, but that’s one of the things I loved most about it. And I’ve read quite a bit of erotic and BDSM romances, so for me, this is actually on the somewhat lite/mild side, but it’s still gratifyingly steamy!
Controversy and Quibbles:
1) Spank Me Daddy
Knight had Anya answer/call him “Daddy” instead of “Master” or “Sir” in their sex play, which usually sets off my ick factor alert, but it really didn’t bother me in this. Somehow Knight mastered it, and I actually found this “Daddy” more smokin’ hot than creepy. “Come to/for Daddy?” If/when it’s Knight Sebring demanding it? Oh Hell Yeah!
2) I’m No Mr. Nice Guy...aka...Knight’s Big Secret
(view spoiler)[Knight is a pimp. WTF?!?! But hey, he treats his stable of women much better than his smarmy predecessor and he once covered Anya with a blanket while she was napping, so it’s okay. *dramatic eye roll* It just didn’t seem right to me that he would continue to profit from the world’s oldest profession, despite his reasoning and assurances that his girls are well treated and protected, especially considering his mother’s tragic past as a prostitute and how it impacted him when he was a little boy. And not to mention the fact that he’s already filthy rich. (hide spoiler)]
3) HEA But Knight Isn’t Traditional
(view spoiler)[Knight wouldn’t “officially” marry Anya or give her his last name because it’s just not him (too white picket fence and traditional). Yet he gave her a ring and very reception-like party and was excited and enthusiastic about having kids. Hmmm...isn’t that a bit ironic? (hide spoiler)]
Overall, I’m a very satisfied Kristen Ashley fangirl and sincerely hope she pens more erotic romances! 5 stars!
Favorite Knight quotes:
“Wars fought over a face like this,” he murmured like he was talking to himself, my heart stopped beating and his thumbs moved lightly across my cheeks. “A man would work himself into the ground for it, go down to his knees to beg to keep it, endure torture to protect it, take a bullet for it,” his eyes came to mine, “poison his brother to possess a face like this.”
“And I wake up happy, baby, because I possess beauty and I own that beauty in all the forms it can take and the least important of those are physical.”
“Who’s Your Daddy?”
Knight’s Hot in a Suit, Sophisticated Style:
‘Cause every girl crazy ‘bout a Sharp Dressed Man!
There’s no possible way I can adequately express my feelings about this book or gush enough over how much I admire Kris...more5+ stars – Contemporary Romance
There’s no possible way I can adequately express my feelings about this book or gush enough over how much I admire Kristen Ashley’s writing brilliance. So I’ll keep things simple and just say that I loved, loved, loved this!
Ms. Ashley is the reigning queen of smokin’ hot, badass uber alpha heroes, addictive, sigh-worthy romance, and dreamy, gratifying epilogues, and Heaven and Hell is certainly no exception. It’s one of my very favorite KA reads to date! Huge, heavenly 5 stars!
Sam in all his sexy, swoonalicious glory:
Kia in casual glamour mode:
Kia lounging around Sam’s beach house in North Carolina:
Memphis going for a walk on the beach:
On a side note...I’ve been to Lake Como in Italy and it’s without a doubt one of the most beautiful, heavenly places I’ve seen. So I especially loved all the Lake Como scenes.
Lago di Como è bellissima!
This emotional, heartfelt scene pretty much sums up the book.
(view spoiler)[“You walked into that dining room, baby, and you know, the minute I saw you, I wanted to fuck you. Two days later, I saw you outside havin’ a drink and even before you looked at me with tears in your eyes, just when I saw you sittin’ there, I was annoyed, thought you were playin’ games, and I didn’t care. Just you sittin’ there I knew it was you.” He knew it was me. Me I closed my eyes. “Look at me,” Sam ordered quietly and I opened them. “Weeks after that, Kia, I saw you standing in my kitchen writing a grocery list, doing nothing, just writing a grocery list. But you’d just made me laugh and, just like you, you made me do it hard. That shit with Gordo, with Luci, losin’ Ben, Felicia tryin’ to off herself, that shit’s too much, it wears you down. I hadn’t laughed like that in months, not since Gordo died and in that moment, you in the kitchen, I realized I did it all the time with you. There were times before, a lot of them, I’d look at you and feel your pull, so strong. I wanted to fight it, deny it but I couldn’t, you wouldn’t let me and I didn’t get it. But seein’ you standing in my kitchen, effortlessly beautiful, writing a fuckin’ grocery list after you made me laugh like that, I knew what it was. I got it. I knew it was more. I knew that wasn’t an offer. That was a promise. Even with all the shit goin’ down with you, shit that would wear any other woman down, it didn’t with you and you gave me that from the beginning. And it hit me then that was what my life would be like if I lived the whole of it with you. And I knew I couldn’t live without you.” Oh. My. God. He couldn’t live without me. His face got close. “You cannot leave me. You can’t. I can’t live without you.” He couldn’t live without me. He was in hell, just like me. And just like he did for me, I showed him heaven.(hide spoiler)]
My favorite badass alpha, yowza dirty talkin’ Sam quote:
**********explicit language and spoiler warning**********
(view spoiler)[“Kia, eyes on me,” Sam ordered gently and my eyes slid back to him to see he wasn’t smiling anymore and there was no trace of hilarity. He was focused, intent and serious but all of that in a tender way that made something important shift inside of me. “Makin’ you melt for me then makin’ you light up for me, listening to you get excited, feeling it, tasting it, eating it.” His words made me shiver and it helped that his hand was gliding up my back, my neck and into my hair then he pulled my head down so my face was an inch from his and he continued on a whisper, “Feelin’ you come against my mouth, watchin’ you drive yourself down on my dick, listening to you moan as your pussy clenched around my cock when you came, baby, yeah, that was all okay, that was all better than fuckin’ okay. It was fuckin’ beautiful.”(hide spoiler)]
This started out a strong 4.5 stars, but I got really irritated with Sophie's and Jake's lack of communication. There we...more4 stars – Contemporary Romance
This started out a strong 4.5 stars, but I got really irritated with Sophie's and Jake's lack of communication. There were too many times I wanted them to actually TALK to each other instead of thinking everything. That's a complaint I have about the previous books in the series as well, but it really annoyed me this time since I liked the H/h better and was more invested in their relationship and HEA. But this is still my favorite of the series so far.(less)
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!*