4.5 stars maybe. A bit too much 'womb' referencing to make it to 5 stars for me, although it did live up to most of the hype. Looking forward to Patie...more4.5 stars maybe. A bit too much 'womb' referencing to make it to 5 stars for me, although it did live up to most of the hype. Looking forward to Patience, although from the preview at the end of the book I think Valdez may have written Matthew too similarly to Mark. A good hot story with a sweet romance - not an easy combination to pull off (if you'll pardon the pun), and heart-wrenching to boot.(less)
The only thing stopping this from being a 5 star read was the relationship between the main protagonists.
I enjoy the romantic suspense genre because,...moreThe only thing stopping this from being a 5 star read was the relationship between the main protagonists.
I enjoy the romantic suspense genre because, to state the bleeding obvious, I like action and suspense - but the romance is the key ingredient. Otherwise, I would be reading mainstream thrillers and, for the most part, these don't do much for me.
The story, action and suspense was great - fast-paced and well written. The romance, however, was almost non-existent.
I enjoy reading about the relationship between the hero & heroine, on an emotional, intellectual and physical level. Plenty of hot (and, dare I say, at times repetitious) sex does not a romance make. That was the basis of their relationship. It seemed to exist primarily at the physical level, and while we were told that they had an emotional level, I couldn't see it.
Seth was an OTT alpha and Raine was borderline TSTL at times, with a disturbing tendency to cry ALL THE TIME.
It's obvious McKenna can write because despite all this, it was still a solid 4-star read and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
This should probably be a 2 star rating for the story, but the quality of the writing just edges it up to 3.
Unfortunately, Deeper was a massive disapp...moreThis should probably be a 2 star rating for the story, but the quality of the writing just edges it up to 3.
Unfortunately, Deeper was a massive disappointment for me. Broken was one of my top reads for 2010, and created some pretty high expectations of this author’s work. I had heard that Deeper was fairly controversial, and I can usually appreciate that in a book. The reviews are polarised, and it seems to invoke a love/hate response in readers, so at the very least, I was expecting to have strong feelings about the book. Ummm... No.
There was nothing about this book that made me care enough to have a strong reaction, either positive or negative. On the whole I found it (or, to be more accurate, my experience) to be decidedly mediocre, which was the complete opposite of what I was expecting. Any positives were counterbalanced by negatives, so I just ended up feeling a bit ‘meh’ about the whole experience.
Firstly, I was already aware of what I expected to be a big spoiler in that the hero was (view spoiler)[a (corporeal) ghost (hide spoiler)]. Well given that was announced on the back cover and was made pretty clear by the end of the first chapter, there was no big twist or reveal in play. I have seen this author be pretty darn clever in her writing, so I was looking forward to seeing how she handled that (even knowing it in advance), only to find out that there was no secret to reveal. (view spoiler)[ And while I’m on this point, I’ve got to say that I did find the whole thing, particularly the sex with someone who doesn’t eat, breath, sleep, have a pulse or ejaculate, a little... weird (hide spoiler)]
Secondly, these would have to be among the most unsympathetic, uninspiring characters to have ever graced the author’s pages. If I cared a whit about the characters I probably would have forgiven the fact that the story took three quarters of the book to actually progress to any extent. As it was, I read chapters about ‘Then’ that too closely resembled a YA novel about teenage angst, with chapters from ‘Now’ populated with the same characters that I didn’t particularly like, who had no depth. By the time there was actually some significant movement in the story, I was almost beyond caring.
The author does write with some amazing insight and detail, and more of that was on display here, but it seems to me now that maybe she only excels with fractured relationships. This book really only captured my interest in the last third when we finally got a little bit of angst and heartbreak going after pages of nothingness. What I will say, is that the emotions had more impact because of the contrast and the pages and pages of mundaneness preceding them.
If I was able to connect with the main characters on some level, then this might have been quite a powerful way of unfolding the story and adding layers at the end. Part of me can observe that and appreciate it in theory, but that was unfortunately not my reality. So while the writing was lovely, as I expected, and I did like one of the secondary characters quite a lot, I wasn’t engaged until the end of the story – and by then, it was too little, too late.
I wasn’t completely sold on the romance when they were younger, told in the ‘Then’ chapters; and the ‘Now’ chapters focused almost exclusively on their (repetitive) sexual relationship, which meant that my emotions were never fully engaged. This is not a romance, erotic or otherwise, but it did have the potential to be a wonderful love story, and there are certainly many readers who feel that it achieved that mark. Unfortunately, I am not among their number.
Oh, and for what it’s worth, I have heard many complaints about the ‘wall-banger’ ending. I didn’t have any issues with the ending - it was one of the few times these characters actually got it right! And a special heads-up for those of you who don’t tolerate cheating in your books – although it wasn’t one of my complaints, it might be one of yours. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'm very late to the Breeds party, but then, what else is new? Tempting the Beast was my first read by Lora Leigh, and I quite enjoyed it. There has b...moreI'm very late to the Breeds party, but then, what else is new? Tempting the Beast was my first read by Lora Leigh, and I quite enjoyed it. There has been a lot of chat here on GR regarding Leigh's work - some of it less than favorable - but I had remembered hearing good things about her Breeds series some time ago. I'm glad I used this series to try her out, because I can't say I was disappointed.
Sure, you had to suspend belief, but I what would you expect when you read a PNR 'romantica'? I actually really liked the premise in this one. I found the concept of animal DNA being blended with human quite intriguing, albeit with scientifically improbable results. I sure did like the outcome in Leigh's world, where we have a person with some of the instincts and nature of the animal - in this case a lion. Rawrr!
The sex scenes did become a tad repetitive, but that was the nature of the plot device used to carry them, and I suppose it worked OK given the storyline. I'm really looking forward to continuing this series and learning more about the Breeds - which should be interesting given all the different animal DNA that was used! ;)(less)
Riding Wild was not at all what I expected, as I found out about 30-something pages in. I was expecting a romantic suspense novel, probably f...more3.5 stars
Riding Wild was not at all what I expected, as I found out about 30-something pages in. I was expecting a romantic suspense novel, probably fun, possibly hot, featuring a bad-boy biker. Well, I did get that - absolutely without question - but I also got a lot more than I bargained for. This was not just a hot mainstream novel, but definitely crosses the line into romantica/erotica.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. It just caught me completely by surprise. I guess I should have read some reviews first! Possibly unfairly, my rating was probably influenced by the fact that what I read wasn't what I was expecting. That said, the sex scenes, which were plentiful and not kinky (unless you count backdoor action), were probably the best executed parts of the novel. They were scorching! If that's what you go in expecting, you will probably be well pleased.
As it was, I had some concerns with the overall execution of the suspense plot. In particular, the use of dialogue to set up, and then resolve, the action. Lily is an ex-cop turned P.I. who is performing a routine job checking out night security at the museum, when she witnesses a break and enter resulting in the theft of an artifact. She recognises the thief as none other than Mac Canfield, her one love who left her after taking her virginity some 10 years ago.
Rather than calling it in, she finds herself an unwilling passenger on Mac's Harley after discovering the virus hidden inside the artifact and being shot at by unknown assailants. They begin a road trip to origins unknown as Mac, ex-thief turned covert government operative, is determined to keep his mission a secret and Lily schemes ways in which she can steal the virus from him and turn it over to the authorities.
Trained operatives in a situation where they are trying to move a vial of mass destruction under the most dangerous and covert circumstances would not conduct their telephone conversations specifically using the word virus over and over, particularly when in the vicinity of someone who is openly working against them. At best it would be referred to as 'it' or some other code word. There were also occasions where the dialogue was used to state something fairly obvious that needed no explanation. It made the dialogue unrealistic and jarring, and clearly designed to be explanatory to the reader or move the plot forward.
"Do you realise what's at stake here?" Mitchell asked. "Billions of dollars, and you stand to profit handsomely when I turn this company around. So spare me your thoughts because I'm not interested in hearing them. You let me take care of the minor details, since you botched this up from the start. Having this virus and letting it loose on a small section of the population, then suddenly cornering the market on a miracle cure will bring Delor out of potential bankruptcy. We'll all be rich."
Then, in the final denouement, we learn many of the details of the take-down from an explanatory conversation taking place after the fact.
The unnatural (and dare I say, lazy) use of dialogue contributed to my rating far more than my expectations around genre being incorrect. I will still try the next book in the Wild Riders series, Riding Temptation, now that I now what to expect.
Can I finish by saying how wonderful it is to see a steamy romance book with a cover that doesn't need to be hidden? I should add a star just for that.
Anyone who read Fragile, the first in Shiloh Walker's Rafferty duology, was no doubt looking forward to reading Quinn's story. And for the most part,...moreAnyone who read Fragile, the first in Shiloh Walker's Rafferty duology, was no doubt looking forward to reading Quinn's story. And for the most part, Broken doesn't disappoint.
Quinn Rafferty (great name, BTW!) is twin to Luke, the deliciously sexy lead in Fragile. Quinn and Luke were separated at birth, with Quinn taken by their mother and raised in a heart-breakingly abusive environment. Luke, on the other hand, was raised with love by their father.
The twins were reunited at eleven years of age upon the death of their mother from an overdose, neither previously knowing the other existed.
This difference in upbringing during the critical formative years has left Quinn with deep emotional scars and an inability to trust. There are precious few people Quinn will allow to get close - his father and Luke being among those who could be counted without using all the fingers on one hand.
And close is a relative term where Quinn is concerned. He lives alone and distant, relying on the almost psychic connection with his twin to govern when one of his infrequent calls to check in are needed. And that's just the way he likes it, thanks very much.
Until Sara Davis moves into the upstairs apartment at the house where Quinn also lives. The landlord is a lady known for helping those in trouble, so Quinn known Sara must have issues of her own. Nope, Quinn is not interested.
Sara, on the run, doesn't need any further complications in her life. What she needs is not to be noticed by anyone, especially not by the dark, brooding and sexy-as-sin neighbor whose eyes betray painful secrets of his own.
But notice each other they do. And the result is combustible.
The author provides the suspense in a deliberately vague and sinister way throughout the novel, leaving you wondering before introducing a twist toward the end that you probably won't see coming. Unfortunately, where the suspense succeeds, the denouement disappoints. Everything was wrapped up a little too easily and tidily for my liking.
The romance element, however, definitely succeeds. Quinn is everything a tortured hero should be and the love scenes are smoking hot and definitely more explicit than you will find in most mainstream romance.
Not as dark as Fragile, Broken reads more like a romance with suspense elements than a suspense with romance elements - just the way I like it. I will definitely be reading more from this author.
Hunters: The Beginning contains the first two novellas in Shiloh Walker's Hunters series - the stories of Declan and Tori and Eli and Sarel.
Declan and...moreHunters: The Beginning contains the first two novellas in Shiloh Walker's Hunters series - the stories of Declan and Tori and Eli and Sarel.
Declan and Tori does a surprisingly good job of introducing the paranormal world of the Hunters, while also including a plot and some smoking hot love scenes - all in 159 pages.
28-year-old Tori is practical, sensible and doesn't believe in fanciful superstitions - until she suddenly finds herself attacked by one very real, very nasty vampire. Tori fights back and the vampire turns her then leaves her for dead, believing she will not survive the change. Tori manages to seek out Declan, a friend and cop for whom she has always lusted. Declan has a few secrets of his own, and introduces Tori to a world of Master vampires and shifters.
Declan and Tori includes m/f/m menage which is very well done in the context of the story and actually appropriate to the plot. Although there are the usual limitations with novella length stories, the characters are well drawn and do elicit interest in their own right and for more than just the sex scenes. 4 stars
Eli and Sarel does not fare quite as well. Eli is a centuries old Master vampire who has waited a long time to find a mate. Having been a main character in Declan and Tori, I was really looking forward to reading Eli's story. He is very honorable but very lonely and I felt quite sad for him. While you do learn a lot more about the Hunters, and other paranormal elements like witchcraft are introduced, the relationship between Eli and Sarel is unsatisfying on nearly every level. This is a shorter read at around 135 pages, and the limitations show. 3 stars(less)
One thing I love about Shiloh Walker’s writing is that she’s not all about the sex scenes. Her books contain some steamy scenes, of course, but there...moreOne thing I love about Shiloh Walker’s writing is that she’s not all about the sex scenes. Her books contain some steamy scenes, of course, but there is always a solid and satisfying actual plot to go with them. It is possibly for that reason, in part, that I seem to enjoy her full length novels more than her novellas.
With this book, the author gives the reader the best of both worlds. Chains contains three connected novellas that combine into what is essentially a full-length novel with three POVs and an overarching suspense plot. She has delivered three steamy and very different relationships effectively with a strong storyline to tie them together.
Renee, Lacey and Sherra weren’t friends, but their lives came together when a party during their final year of high school goes horribly and unimaginably wrong. That tragic night affected all their lives, and when they each return to their home town fifteen years later for their school reunion, the horror of that night returns in far more tangible ways.
In college, finally free from her ‘perfect’ life and controlling mother, Renee, seeing the ultimate act of rebellion, dabbled in the BDSM lifestyle. When she returns home for her fifteen-year school reunion, the last thing she expects is to meet a stranger at a bar – a dom who recognises her subtle signals.
Having not exchanged names during their one night of smoking hot passion, neither expects to see the other again. They could not be more surprised to not only run into each other the next day, but to realise exactly who it is they played with last night. Turns out they are not strangers at all.
Is it possible to make something permanent in a D/s relationship where the sub has control issues? With their growing feelings for each other, Renee and her dom will have to work this out while they also try to discover who is trying to kill Renee, and why. (NB: BDSM is not my thing, but this is very light and the hottest of the three stories)
Lacey’s story takes a very different turn. Unbeknownst to Lacey, Sherra’s twin brother has been in love with her for as long as he can remember. But Lacey is the quintessential golden girl – and despite one crazy night of passion five years ago – he knows a bad-boy like him doesn’t stand a chance.
Now the bad-boy has turned town sheriff, and when Lacey is threatened, he is determined to protect her, both as a man and the law. Thrown into such close proximity, the passions of that one night years ago reignite, and Seth is determined not to let Lacey get away from him this time. And if he can get the good girl to be a little bit bad in the process, so much the better!
Sherra was at the centre of that fateful night fifteen years ago, and she has been living with the consequences every day since. Now a best-selling author, she expels her emotions through the horror stories she writes. But when she returns to town determined to attend the reunion and kick off her book tour, her stalker steps up his game to truly terrifying levels.
Can the bodyguard assigned to her keep her safe, and will the attraction he feels be accepted and reciprocated, or will he be pushed away by this recluse like every man that has come before him. The stakes are high, and the danger even higher.
The suspense plot is strong across all of the stories, rather than just being there to tie the stories together, and the denouement is suitably intense. If you like a good plot and some variety in your erotic romance, then the well-written Chains will definitely fit the bill. (less)
Broken is an amazing book that defies description and categorization. It is not your typical erotica, nor can it be classed as roma...moreWow. Just..... wow.
Broken is an amazing book that defies description and categorization. It is not your typical erotica, nor can it be classed as romance, though it certainly contains elements of each. It is a complex and layered novel that is so much more than any synopsis could possibly represent.
Broken is the story of three people - Sadie, her husband Adam, and Joe. But this is not a love triangle story.
Sadie and Adam meet in college and fall in love in the sweetest way. They marry and have their whole lives to look forward to, until a tragedy shatters their existence and turns their entire world upside down in the most heartrending way.
Sadie, desperately needing some relief from what has now become her existence, meets Joe. Strangers, they fall into an unspoken agreement that sees them meeting on the first Friday of every month. There, Joe will tell Sadie the story of his latest sexual encounter. Having had sexual intimacy in her marriage brutally taken away from her, Sadie imagines she is Joe's sexual partner in each story.
Sadie remains desperately in love with her husband and, although she never cheats on him, is agonized that meeting with Joe is a form of emotional betrayal. For Sadie, life has become the ultimate no win situation.
Broken is told in the first person from Sadie's point of view, and wouldn't be as powerful any other way. I didn't feel any of the limitations often found in first person narrative because the story is written in such a clever way.
Even though Sadie was not present in any of the sexual encounters Joe describes, these are written in the first person from the female's point of view - a different character each time. We therefore get a different 'feel' each time. Joe, who begins as a complete stranger, also reveals more of himself in each encounter, so we get to know him at the same time as Sadie. The writing is so clever there is no way of knowing how much of the story comes from Joe, and how much from Sadie's imagination.
There is a whole critical element in this novel that I have not included because I don't want to diminish the powerful impact on the reader.
Broken is such an apt name for this novel. It is achingly sad, confronting and real - and different from anything I have ever read.
I didn't find the sex gratuitous or kinky (although there is one f/f/f/m scene), but an integral part of the broader story, which is so much more than just the sum of these scenes.
Broken will not be for everyone, but on the strength of this novel, I can see Megan Hart becoming one of my favorite authors.(less)