Joely Sue Burkhart is another author I discovered via Twitter. Can’t remember who but someone tweeted about the release of DEAR SIR, I’M YOURS and I s...moreJoely Sue Burkhart is another author I discovered via Twitter. Can’t remember who but someone tweeted about the release of DEAR SIR, I’M YOURS and I succumbed and clicked on the link and I was sold. Downloaded the prequel (LETTERS) from Joely Sue Burkhart’s website, bought DEAR SIR, I’M YOURS at My Bookstore And More and started reading immediately. All I can say is that I have found another talented author, able to take me on a discovering journey into world of BDSM with its many levels. I have found out that I am not always comfortable with some aspects of BDSM in the books I read but Joely Sue Burkhart’s take on it, is one that agrees with me.
DEAR SIR, I’M YOURS is the story of English Literature teacher Dr Verrill “Conn” Connagher and Rae Lynn Jackson. Rae joined his poetry class with ulterior motives and had a final exam that shook her to the core. She fled from the powerful emotions, not able to deal with her feelings and after five years their paths cross again, not entirely by way of coincidence. Conn let her go five years ago but now he is determined to show her there is nothing to be afraid of.
Rae is scared of what she’ll do for Conn, to what lengths she will go to please him. She is scared of losing her own self in her longing to give Conn what he wants and is exploring her feelings and boundaries after letting herself get caught in a bad marriage with an emotionally abusive and manipulative (ex-) husband.
Conn is afraid that Rae will run away again if he pushes her boundaries and does something or demands things from her she is not ready for. He likes to be in control but in a sweet way. He is possessive and (sexually) confident but never overbearing. He wants to be with Rae but he doesn’t want to cross her boundaries.
I was glad I read the prequel first because it gave me the background of what happened between Rae and Conn that lead them to the situation they found themselves in at the beginning of DEAR SIR, I’M YOURS. And the continuation of the letters from Rae at the start of each chapter is one of the things I loved about this story. I would think having so much insight into Rae’s character through her letters, it would take away from getting to know Conn but this was not the case.
The characterization of both main characters was balanced and well done. And there was also room for some intriguing and complementing secondary characters such as Miss Belle (Conn’s grandmother) and Mason Wykes (Conn’s colleague). I wonder whether Mason will have a story of his own some day. He was one of the secondary characters that made an impression on me and would love to see him get his HEA too.
What I liked most about this book was the story build-up. It was done gradually and perfectly. Allowing me, as reader, to go along with Rae in every next step Conn takes her. Conn is the one who is in control but it is Rae who sets the pace in the rekindling of their relationship. The character-development and extensive background for both Rae and Conn makes them well-rounded and multi-faceted characters that both captured my heart and took me with them to their HEA. A journey that was not without complications. The way Joely Sue Burkhart build up the story and characters with their struggles, angst and insecurities did not take away from the intensity or hotness of the love scenes. They were spine tingling and arousing. For me it was erotic romance as it is suppose to be: classy, erotic and emotionally intense.
Another thing I liked was the poetry throughout the story. I have never really been into poetry but this book has stirred my curiosity and the used poems fitted the story perfectly. I will definitely look up some of the mentioned poets and poems.
With DEAR SIR, I’M YOURS, a story of love, sexual discovery and most importantly trust, Joely Sue Burkhart has put herself on my reading map and I am ready for the next story that comes out of her pen (or keyboard). (less)
Lori Love took over her father’s garage after his death and even though it messed up her professional ambitions and her dreams of traveling the world,...moreLori Love took over her father’s garage after his death and even though it messed up her professional ambitions and her dreams of traveling the world, she makes the best of it. She’s stubborn, independent and realistic. She is not a girly girl and is seen as one of the boys. In the small town of Tumble Creek she even has the rumored reputation of being a lesbian because nobody has ever seen her romantically involved with a man. When she’s looking for a man to have a sexual fling with, her best friend’s brother is the last one she’d think of, but he is available and when he volunteers very willingly she decides to go for it.
Quinn Jennings is the embodiment of perfection, at least in his parents’ eyes. He’s an accomplished architect who is a workaholic to say the least and scatter-brained is another description that fits him well. Nonetheless, he’s adorable and hot. Sometimes he’s the foot-in-mouth type of guy but his heart is definitely in the right place. When he finds out his sister’s best friend is looking for a volunteer to have a fling with, he doesn’t hesitate, he decides to take a chance and see where it leads them.
I loved Lori and Quinn and their story. They were lovely characters and their story was a very enjoyable read. There is a suspense plot intertwined through the romance again but it’s a very small plot and not the focus of the book. This is perfectly fine with me since it’s a contemporary and not a romantic suspense. However, the plot did present the perfect background for the emotional ending of the book and it also provided some insight in Lori’s character and motivations for the choices she has made in her life. What must be mentioned in this review is the resolution of the plot. As small as the plot was, the resolution was amazingly done. I was leaning towards the right person with my suspicions of who the “villain” would be but the motivation for this person’s actions was brilliantly found and totally took me by surprise.
START ME UP is a contemporary romance that was very much to my liking: not too complicated but with enough intensity to keep me captivated and even with the more staid Lori and Quinn (in comparison to Molly and Ben from TALK ME DOWN) the sexual tension leaped up from the pages. But it’s not only sex and fun. Both Quinn and Lori have emotional issues they have to deal with. For Quinn it’s his parents’ constant praise and approval of him while when at the same time they disapprove of his sister Molly because she chose her own way and doesn’t meet their expectations. For Lori it’s giving up her dreams, education, ambitions, and love life; in short giving up herself, in order to take care of her father and his needs and wishes when he becomes ill and later after his death.
I loved the amount of secondary characters, both the familiar and the new. Among the familiar of course Ben and Molly couldn’t be absent and I loved that they made a few appearances. The balance between romance, characters and hotness is perfectly done but I expected nothing less after TALK ME DOWN and THE WICKED WEST. Compared to other contemporary romance authors I’ve read, Victoria Dahl takes the love scenes quite towards the erotic side. Yes, they are explicit, but also tasteful and classy. Arousing yet never crossing the line to vulgarism. The use of the snippets from the erotica books Lori reads and Quinn’s “research” of the stories in order to find out what Lori liked, was another ingenious element in START ME UP and the verbal fights between Lori and Quinn, were delightful to read, not to mention the unbelievably hot make-up scenes they would have after them.
START ME UP is one of the books I read in July that I just flew through. From the moment I started reading I couldn’t stop. Between the numerous clever and laugh-out-loud one-liners and Lori and Quinn’s off the chart chemistry filled with sexual innuendo, there’s a story of dreams and independence. Sincere compassion and heartfelt and genuine love shine through the book. All brought to me by way of a writing style that is down to earth and delectable scenes that made me fly effortlessly through page after page until I reached the last one and felt crushed because there weren’t any left to enjoy.
Victoria Dahl’s writing is witty, hot and sensual. I haven’t sampled her historical writings yet but her contemporaries definitely are a hit with me and they are right up my alley: funny, sassy, fast-paced and excellently written. She is among the authors whom have made contemporary romance my favorite genre at the moment! START ME UP has become one of my favorite books and that’s not just because of the mention of Formula One and Amsterdam, or the snippets of Spanish or the fact that one of the walk-on secondary characters has my husband’s name.
I could go on and on with my praise of Victoria Dahl’s talent and maybe I’m starting to become repetitive with my worship but this is where it comes down to: Victoria Dahl is talented as hell and her Tumble Creek trilogy should be on every contemporary loving romance reader’s keeper shelf. Just don’t forget to keep a fan in arm’s reach. Oh and some tissues, because just when I thought I’d make it through a book with dry eyes and after all the hotness and fun, Victoria Dahl made me cry at the end with some beautiful, emotional scenes!
With START ME UP Victoria Dahl has written a contemporary romance novel as it is meant to be! Humorous, brazen, engaging and emotional yet uncomplicated.
Quotes: Lori put her hands on the headboard. The electric slide of his hand down the small of her back made her shiver. “Good girl.” A jolt of lust swept through her belly, to her absolute mortification. You do not have daddy issues, she told her body in her best feminist voice. Her body responded by arching back in a blatant effort to please him. Hussy, the stern voice hissed, but hussy was no insult to her greedy body.
He stood there a moment longer, fantasizing once again of rescuing Lori Love. She’d turned out to be a damsel in distress after all, but not the innocent, helpless kind. No, she was a damsel of a different sort. The brave kind who fought and lied and did really dirty things to the knight in shining armor. (less)
WOLF TALES comprises 5 parts. The first 4 parts focus on the introduction of the main characters: Xandi Olanet, Stefan Aragat, Anton Cheval a...more2,5 stars
WOLF TALES comprises 5 parts. The first 4 parts focus on the introduction of the main characters: Xandi Olanet, Stefan Aragat, Anton Cheval and Keisha Rialto. Part 5 is called THE GIFT and, as I suspect, is the closing part of this introduction of a group of characters that will play important roles in future books of the series.
The Chanku are a poly-amorous, female oriented (it’s the alpha female who leads the pack), ancient race of Wolf shifters. They were thought to be almost extinct with the few Chanku left scattered all over. Powerful wizard and Chanku Master Anton, who learns of his heritage by accident, is locating the ones left in order to bring them back together and rebuild the once powerful race. In this first installment of the series we get acquainted with Stefan, Xandi and Keisha. They are the first members Anton discovers and brings into the Pack.
I am starting this review by expressing my utter disappointment in this first book of the series of which I had high expectations and now have been forced to dial that down a bit. This book did not bring me the things I look for in the books I read, not emotionally, not in the plot and not even in the eroticism. I think what bothered me most was the way things were set up in this book. First impressions are important and the first look I got was hot, heavy and very explicit sex with an absolute stranger, without exchanging a single word within the first 10 pages of the book. This set up bothered me and made a rocky start to say the least.
Throughout the entire book I had the feeling something was missing and I am very frustrated because I can’t exactly put into words what it was. But I will give it a try. As I have mentioned often in other reviews I like my erotic romances to be more than just a string of erotic scenes held together by a meager or non-existent plot and I was very afraid it was going to be just that with WOLF TALES after the first few chapters. But about 20-30 pages into it started to get better and a story began to unfold in between the sex scenes. And just when I thought all wasn’t lost after all there was the scene that was the absolute deal breaker for me. Stefan being forced into sexual submission, practically raped by Anton was what went beyond my comfort zone and I can honestly say I can take a lot when it comes to erotica but rape is not one of those things.
The fact that I kept on reading and finished this book after that scene was solely because I hate not finishing books and because this was a book I chose for my reading challenge. If this hadn’t been the case this would have been a DNF for sure because at page 10 I was ready to give up and at page 60 I was completely done with it. This was not a book for me. I kept putting the book aside, only able to read small portions at a time. This rarely happens to me when I read. I missed characterization, background, connection and emotional development. It was all over snowed under by eroticism to an extent that is not what I look for in erotica. But I kept on reading and despite my misgivings it got a bit better after Anton’s explanation of the Chanku culture and Stefan and Xandi’s roles in it. At least this offered me some background and motivations for some to the events that were taking place. Preferably I would have liked this explanation earlier and a bit more elaborate though.
For the first time ever I actually skimmed through some of the sex scenes. I did not skip them but did not read them as intensely as I normally do either. Why? They just didn’t do it for me and there were just too many of them. As I have stated before in reviews I prefer quality over quantity when it comes to sex scenes and these felt too forced and too detached to me. This is not the type of erotic romance that I crave. It was too sexually aggressive and I couldn’t emotionally connect with the characters. Sincerity obliges me to admit that I missed intensity that is able to captivate me.
Another thing that bothered me was the easy acceptance by the characters of the events, the mental connections and sexual acts. I understand that it might work that way in a pack of wolves with the alpha male/alpha female stuff but a little reluctance or hesitation or doubt would have made it a better and more acceptable book for me. I was definitely not in sync with the kindred-spirit stuff because I just didn’t “feel” it all. It was all mentioned but it didn’t resonate with me. From the first this book and I started off on the wrong foot and with the lack of background and foundation for the characters and events in the beginning it just never got back on track completely.
I enjoy ménages, I enjoy M/F/M stories and even F/F doesn’t really bother me but still the poly-amorous ways of the Chanku kept bothering me. Why? Maybe because of the disconnection and detachment I felt from the beginning. Things happen and are accepted so fast that for me they lost their credibility. Everything was too easily accepted and kept too much on the surface making it unable for me to feel emotionally connected to the characters or the writing.
The things that bothered me kept getting in the way of letting me enjoy the rest of the story, which definitely had potential. The world of the Chanku is fascinating and I think with a bit more emotion and character development it can be a background for great stories. I will definitely give the following installments a try since I have heard that it gets better along the series and I have read a novella (in an anthology) of the series which I really liked, so I am not giving up on Kate Douglas’s WOLF TALES series and will consider this a small bump in the road to more satisfying reads.(less)
Grace Havilland is a descendant of the Goddess of the Hunt, Diana, complete with bow and arrows. She's a true warrior woman who is independe...more3.75 stars
Grace Havilland is a descendant of the Goddess of the Hunt, Diana, complete with bow and arrows. She's a true warrior woman who is independent, fierce, headstrong and courageous.
Alexios is a Warrior of Poseidon who is a lot more than meets the eye. He is quiet and intense, sincere and honorable, loyal, powerful, broken and uncertain he is able to love. His imprisonment with the vampire Goddess Anubisa has left him scarred both emotionally and physically.
ATLANTIS UNMASKED starts right after an attack on the St. Louis rebel headquarters. Grace's best friend Michelle is injured in the attack and when Alexios and Grace are alone after taking the seriously injured Michelle to the hospital, they share a kiss that sends Alexios running as fast as he can from Grace. But he can't keep running because when the Fae High Prince contacts Grace wanting her to set up a meeting with the Atlanteans to discuss the problems with the vampires, he is sent back to her as the Atlantean representative and to train the group of rebel recruits she commands. Amidst feral shifter attacks, injuries and sparring sessions Grace and Alexios grow closer and closer and the attraction between them is undeniable.
I don't know what to say about this installment of the Warriors of Poseidon so this isn't going to be one of my long-winded, ranting and raving reviews. It definitely felt different from the previous books I read in this series. In every series there's a book that is what I call the transition book. The book that falls right in the middle of the overall story arc and even though it continues the arc it doesn't move forward with it. To me ATLANTIS UNMASKED was the transition book in this series. I liked it a lot but I did miss the sizzle of the first few books in this series and I missed the overall story arc a bit as it was just mentioned a few times. And I am also a bit ambivalent about the ending. Though it rounded off the book perfectly, it was kind of sudden and felt a bit rushed compared to the rest of it. It felt to me as if all the action and resolution were cramped into the last 20 pages and I am not used to that by Alyssa Day. This was an installment I just didn't feel as connected with as with the rest of the books in this series. Unfortunately that can happen.
Were there things I liked about the book too, you ask? Of course there were! I love the banter between the warriors, which was of old and a joy to read again and their self-deprecating humor that gets to me every single time. I loved a certain joyful event that took place in the beginning of the book, an event I have been waiting for from the moment I closed the first book. I loved that the mutual pining and not acting on it stopped just before it started to bother me. I loved that the focus was on the romance between Grace and Alexios and liked the fodder for speculations about the Fae, Alaric, Quinn and Michelle sprinkled throughout the book. I adored Christophe who is getting cockier and more fascinating by the page and I can't wait to read his story and see him find the woman who will make him take it down a notch. So thanks to the ambivalent ending that predicted a lot of interesting twists and turns to come I am looking forward to continuing with the next installment of this series. (less)
Ian Maclean is arrogant, wealthy, powerful, selfish and antisocial. These are traits that wouldn’t make a very likeable hero but still he is...more4.5 stars!
Ian Maclean is arrogant, wealthy, powerful, selfish and antisocial. These are traits that wouldn’t make a very likeable hero but still he is because his behavior and look on life and the world was profoundly altered after he was killed, revived and held captive for 66 years by his demon grandfather and tortured by said grandfather and his demon friends with their perverted games.
Ever since a demon killed her mother and she wasn’t able to safe her, Sam Rose has taken it upon her to hunt and destroy evil. She is the Slayer of the Rose women. When her job for the Historical Crime Unit (HCU), puts her in the path of Ian Maclean, she has to work together with a man she despises and desires at the same time. While they are both trying to use the other for their own purposes, they are forced to face their fears, enemies and feelings.
Ian fears pain and evil and therefore has wrapped himself in a cocoon of aloofness where he thinks no one can reach him. He needs sex to avoid giving into the horrible flashbacks of his tormented and he uses his wealth to prove to himself he is capable of doing anything he wants and doesn’t have to rely on anyone else for his needs. He may seem the sexy, arrogant, careless playboy but underneath that image he’s build for himself, he is a traumatized man who went through horrors during this abduction and is a long way from recovering from them.
Sam seems to be a free spirit, one who lives life her way, liberated, strong, confident, she doesn’t take crap from anyone, especially men. She is vengeful, smart-mouthed and fearless. Beneath her tough outer shell is a woman who tries to protect herself from hurt by pretending not to care about anything or anyone except fighting evil. She doesn’t allow herself to care because caring means pain when she loses them. She has learned to depend only on herself and her own strength.
Sam and Ian are like to peas from the same pod. They both like to be in control, both like to win, losing is not an option and they always get what they want. This makes them clash like crazy, creating a verbal sparring extravaganza even if they are perfect for each other and they are kindred spirits. From the moment they meet, sparks fly and their interactions and dialogues are sizzling. These two take verbal sparring to a whole other level. I loved the way their romance fitted their characters perfectly. It went from pure sexual attraction to partners fighting evil to love. And both went kicking and screaming all the way. They both crave what the other provides but are not willing to admit it, let alone give into it.
Even though there were many secondary characters, the story focuses mainly on Sam, Ian and their enemies. Nick Forrester, who runs the HCU and is Sam’s boss, is the only character who is deepened out a bit more than the others and I really hope he will get his own book, or at least a substantial secondary storyline in the future. There is just so much surrounding him that intrigues me and arouses my speculative mind.
Am glad I stuck with this series throughout some books that I did not enjoy reading so much (books 2 and 3) because if I had given up on it after the terrible second book I wouldn’t have experienced this amazing and almost perfect installment. This fifth book in the series and final installment of the Rose Trilogy within the series was definitely the best so far. There was no confusing time leaping or messed up chronology. It was the first book in the series that I found easy to follow. The characters were great and the plotline was very good, though I am a bit done now with the resurfacing of Moray (the villain of the series). He’s like the soap opera character that just won’t stay dead. Yet again in this book the solution to the problem of Moray leaves possibilities for resurrection so I won’t be surprised if he shows up again in future installments.
Dark Lover is an action-packed romance novel that is all about freedom, taking control back, despair and passion. It represents the potential of the series and shows Brenda Joyce’s writing talent with strong, willful characters and a well written plot, without distracting and confusing time leaping mechanisms, even if the role of the Masters of Time is less present than in the first 2 books of the series. Contrary to my normal “stick to the series order” advice I tend to give, in this case, I would recommend the first installment of the series and then this one to readers who’d like to sample this series.
And if you don’t read this book for the romance or plot, you should read it just to discover what intriguing body part adornment Ian has and where it is…and I am not talking tattoos here.(less)
Colt(on) McKay is considered the black sheep of the McKay family. He is the one who fell of the wagon, doing drugs, alcohol and women in all...more4.5 stars!
Colt(on) McKay is considered the black sheep of the McKay family. He is the one who fell of the wagon, doing drugs, alcohol and women in all types of combinations. But a tragic event in the family opens his eyes and now he's gone through rehab and has been clean and sober for over three years. His lifeline turned out to be India "Indy" Ellison, his AA sponsor and best friend. Somewhere along the way he's fallen in love with her and he isn't quite sure what to do with those feelings. He knows what he wants but he's afraid to jeopardize the friendship with the complication of love and his sordid past. Indy is no goodie two-shoes herself. She too has known the dark side of life and substance addiction. But like Colt, she has overcome it and is living taking it day by day, making the best of it. When she starts seeing Colt as more than her buddy and feelings come to the surface she tries to fight it, afraid of the intense emotions that are taking her by surprise. After an embarrassing sexual moment between them for Colt, he tries to avoid contact with her. He lasts a few days but then realizes he needs her in his life, not only as his buddy and sponsor but also as his lover. They decide to embark on a relationship that entails more than friendship and start to date but take it slow. No sex. For two weeks which is a compromise between Colt's two months and India's two days. After these two weeks and considering the long periods of abstinence for both of them their first encounter is explosive. Colt's dominating side surfaces and India relishes in it despite the fact that she is normally the one in control in her sexual relationships.
Colt is very masculine. Even though he has left his bad-boy days behind him there is still plenty of wicked in him to entice. But he is also sweet, smart and insightful. Underneath his outward persona is a vulnerable man who is longing to fit in and be accepted. India is feisty and an in-your-face kind of woman. She is not used to compromising. She's rebellious, bold, hot tempered, smart-mouthed. But she's also honest, thoughtful and caring. And deep down she isn't the carefree rebel she wants everyone to believe she is. She may seem very confident and sure of herself but she has her insecurities about her place in society and in relationships. She craves order and logic and wants to know what to expect from people, Colt included. Planning ahead, knowing what to expect are things that are very important to her and when she looses her grip on them she panics and lashes out.
Both Colt and India aren't your average clean-cut people. With their pasts as addicts they carry quite some baggage with them. They've both come a long way in turning their life around. This made them both characters that were far from uncomplicated and very three-dimensional. The fact that they would become good friends is something that is obvious from the start but it's also clear that something very passionate is brewing beneath the surface of their friendship. A tumultuous, heated and complicated relationship develops between them that left me with an utter feeling of satisfaction. India and Colt are experts in verbal sparring and this led to some heated arguments, which in turn led to some incredibly hot scenes.
In the supporting cast of characters it is in the line of expectation that Colt's brothers and their wives and India's sister play a big part. This expectation was met with Cam, Colt's younger brother, playing a crucial secondary part. But I've said it before. In the Rough Rider series Lorelei James writes more than just the love story between hero and heroine. To me her Rough Rider books are parts of a family saga. In this installment next to Colt and India's story I got a lot of background on the McKay family, especially on Carson and Carolyn, the parents. This provided another great addition to the saga Lorelei James is creating. I also loved the peeks into the previous couples lives and much to my pleasure, the McKay family is expanding rapidly with all the kids, babies and pregnancies.
As much as I loved the emotional and passionate story of India and Colt, I was most impressed by the intense family dynamics in this book. Things were brewing in the McKay family, with Colt and Cam on one side and Cord, Colby and their father, Carson on the other side. I won't go into specifics because readers of these books should experience those dynamics on their own without spoilers but for me it was a welcome and realistic turn of events since in all families there are the occasional fights and tension but I must admit I was hoping everything would be cleared up because Colt wasn't being treated fairly. It was mostly the family stuff that pulled on my heartstrings this time. I literally choked up and cried at the scene where Cam stands up for Colt and berates his father and brothers for not appreciating Colt and their skepticism of Colt and when I thought I was through with the emotional break downs, I totally lost it at the "apologize-and-talk-it-out" scenes between Colt and his father and brothers.
I can't begin to tell how much I loved this book! I have love for every Rough Rider book and all the McKay men but Colt is my favorite so far. I was intrigued by him from the moment I met him in TIED UP, TIED DOWN, as messed up as he was in that book, I knew he had the potential to blow me away in his own story and he did. His story is one of trust, friendship, overcoming insecurities, redemption, strength and resilience.
It’s a beautiful story that fitted into the series perfectly and drew me deeper into the enticing world of the Rough Riders. It's no secret I love Lorelei James' writing and for me this series enthralled me from the first book but it also seems to get better with each consecutive book. The eroticism is good beyond question, but she also expands the world of the Rough Riders with each book, incorporating more and heavier emotional issues and she does this without compromising the steaminess of the books. This combination is what draws me into her books and makes me crave the next book like an addict.
For each book and each couple Lorelei James finds the right tone, both emotionally and sexually. And don't get me started on the sex scenes. Like with the other aspects of her books in this series, she keeps them fresh and original. There is no repetitiveness whatsoever. In every book she surprises me with things I haven't encountered before in her or any other books. Let's face it no one but Lorelei James can make watching a porn movie turn into a hot and beautiful love scene and only a McKay (to be honest I'd like to think only Colt...) would be able to turn washing hands into something erotic!
Lorelei James does this to me every time; she gets to me with the mix of true to life writing combined with hot sensuality and powerful characters and heartbreaking emotions. BRANDED AS TROUBLE was no exception. (less)
Cam(eron) McKay has returned home from Iraq with a war injury that leaves him eternally crippled and this affects his self-image greatly. He...more4.5 stars!
Cam(eron) McKay has returned home from Iraq with a war injury that leaves him eternally crippled and this affects his self-image greatly. He has a hard time accepting it both physically and emotionally and shields himself from family and women by living solitary and dedicating all his time to his job as a deputy sheriff. Domini Katzinski has had a thing for Cam since like forever. When they share a steamy kiss, she thinks she's making progress but Cam doesn't follow through on it, worse, after the kiss he flees so fast from her he's about to leave skid marks. Domini still longs for him but doesn't dare make another move for fear of rejection. Then Keely McKay, Cam's sister gives Domini some advice she puts to good use and things get rolling. However before they can ride into the sunset together, there are a lot of issues to deal with, issues that eventually bring them closer together than ever!
Domini is hardworking, sweet and kinda shy. She is reserved and quiet but doesn’t let people boss her around. Sometimes she's a bit insecure and with Cam sexually submissive but she's no pushover or a doormat. This was very refreshing! Cam doesn't beat around the bush. He is bossy and a take-charge kind of man. He's straight up linear and expects the same from others, no embellishing or skirting around the real issues. Except for his true feelings for Domini. He's in love with her from the start but because her only stipulation going into their thing was that it wouldn't get serious (just sex) and because he's afraid of losing her if she uncovers his feelings, he keeps quiet about them.
Both Cam and Domini are a perfect mix of strength and vulnerability. I was impressed by the way Lorelei James incorporated the issue of Cam's disability into the story and into his (sexual) relationship with Domini. It doesn't have a prominent place in it but is an important factor that cannot be overlooked. And Domini doesn't baby or spare Cam because of it. A piece of great characterization! This and the gradual reveal of Domini's personality and background/history kept me once more engaged and invested in the story and gave it yet again it's unique place in the series.
Domini and Cam are realistic characters with real problems. This is something I love in Lorelei James' books. They're not the fairytale-ish, all-problems-work-themselves-out-magically kind. No, in these moving and emotional books the characters have to work on their issues, work hard to compromise and get to the point they can look out to a happy future.
Lorelei James' secondary characters are truly added bonuses in every single book. In SHOULDA BEEN A COWBOY there were two who grabbed my attention. One familiar and one new. I learned a lot more about Keely, the only girl among the McKay siblings and as I was reading this book, knowing that her book was waiting for me on my TBR pile, I couldn’t wait to start reading her book! She knows exactly what her brothers need and want but she's so oblivious to her own HEA waiting in the wings.
Quote: “See? That’s why you two fit so perfectly.” Keely leaned into Domini. “You’re quiet and sweet, but that’s deceiving because you have an inner core of pure steel. I always thought Cam would need a woman who is as hardheaded and tenacious as he is. But Cam needs someone like you, a woman who gives him a soft place to land as well as quiet strength. You understand him in ways none of us ever have.” Keely’s eyes filled with tears and Cam felt himself tearing up. “I will always be grateful to you for that. And I am so happy you found each other.”
And then there was Brock Tennyson, Cam's best friend, who saved him when he was injured in Iraq. I am so very sad Brock ain't a McKay, and therefore it’s definitely no a sure thing of him getting his own book, because he really made my heart go pitter-patter and I am hoping with all hopes there's at least a novella story for him in the future but would settle for any secondary appearance in future books too.
Quote: Brock’s six-foot two-inch frame unfolded from the sports car. He wore his usual aviator shades, jungle print camo pants, and combat boots. The difference between this uniform and his official army uniform was the dark green tank top with “That’s MISTER Asshole to you” emblazoned on the front.
I adore Lorelei James' characters, both main and secondary, both men and women. In SHOULDA BEEN A COWBOY they all entranced me once again. I was pulled deep into the family dynamics Lorelei James is a master at writing and into the emotional story between Cam and Domini. There were several scenes that brought a lump to my throat. Lorelei James does not pull punches, be it sexual, be it emotional, she puts her readers through the wringer and SHOULDA BEEN A COWBOY is no certainly no exception!
And the sex scenes? Hot as hell! There were numerous scenes where Cam's take-charge attitude made me go tingly all over. Contrary to the last two books in this series (BRANDED AS TROUBLE and STRONG SILENT TYPE) which were pretty vanilla, SHOULDA BEEN A COWBOY touches the D/s element of BDSM in a way that is not elaborate but yet very clarifying of how it works. I loved how shy Domini explained clearly to Cam what she wanted from him sexually and how she wanted to be submissive to his sexual dominance but she would not be a pushover or tolerate bossiness.
This series just never bores. It's one of the few series I dare to recommend reading back to back as it is never repetitive but rather each book is an enhancement to both the previous and the following ones and without annoying cliffhangers. Lorelei James never fails to please me with her Rough Riders, every book is a hit, and every book makes me crave the next like addicts crave their fix. Every time I read a Rough Rider book it's like being welcomed in a loving embrace of familiarity and comfort. It's like coming home.
*Quotes: He licked the shell of her ear and his hands tracked her bound arms from her shoulders to her wrists. “Sweet Domini, who has a hankering to be dominated, I am so gonna f*ck you until you scream. But first—” he tugged her arms down and sank his teeth into the nape of her neck, “—I’m gonna play hard and dirty with you.”
Domini’s heart raced at the wild look in Cam’s eyes. This was the predator. The alpha. She, shy Domini Katzinski, brought out that beastly side in Cameron McKay.
“Darlin’, when they manufacture one that can do all the things my hot, wet tongue and my soft lips and sucking mouth can do, well, then I might be worried.” He grinned with pure male confidence. “Then again, maybe not.”
“You said double yum and I’m wondering if that’s some kind of Ukrainian slang for ‘dumb ass you’re late’.” “No. That’s American slang for you look and smell yummy.” Cam actually blushed. The man could fu*k her like an animal and demand all sorts of kinky things from her, but a compliment caused him to blush? She bit back a grin.
Today Cam strode directly to her. The gleam in his eye was unmistakable. No hello. No smile. Cam just planted his lips on hers and kissed her with passion, hunger and total possession. In public. The only place they touched were lips and tongues until Cam reached for her hand, sweeping his ragged thumb across her knuckles. Domini’s knees threatened to buckle. This man could undo her with a simple touch.
Holy shit did Domini kiss him. Seductively. Wantonly. Relentlessly. She licked and bit his lips as her tongue tasted and teased. Her kisses destroyed him, turning him into a raging beast; her caresses tamed him into a junkie who craved her touch.
“Let me finish. I fell in love with you so goddamned hard and fast my ass is still sore. The thing is, I fought it from the first time I set eyes on you, which is partially why I tried to just stay friends with you.” (...) “You fill a part of me that’s been empty since before I lost my damn leg. For the first time in my life I feel like a whole man. Not because you accept my handicap, but because you accept me. All of me.” Cam’s hand shook as his knuckle drifted down the side of her face. “You own my soul, Domini. You are my heart.”
*) There are much more quotes in this review than I am used to include in my reviews but I really couldn't leave 'em out! I had even more but unfortunately I don't have the time to do a Quote Post at the moment. I have saved them because you never know if there might be some more time in the future to do some Quote Posts of the Rough Rider series. For now enjoy these and let them entice you to read the whole story of Domini and Cam!
Sweet Seduction mainly tells the story of Julie Stanford and Nathan Tucker. A story which starts when in the first book of this series, SWEET SURRENDE...moreSweet Seduction mainly tells the story of Julie Stanford and Nathan Tucker. A story which starts when in the first book of this series, SWEET SURRENDER, when Nathan decides he wants an earring to go with his new bald head and Faith (heroine of book 1) takes him to the beauty and massage parlor owned by Julie to have the job done. After the earring he decides to frequent Julie’s salon for her massages. He doesn’t know that while he love struck but too shy to act on it, despite her not so subtle hints. Julie is also attracted to him but annoyed with the way he doesn’t pay attention to her, thinking she’s not good enough for him. Julie being the outspoken, independent ball-busting woman that she is, decides to teach him a lesson and then go her merry way, a way that includes fulfilling her ménage fantasy. The only thing she didn’t count on was Nathan not leaving it at that and going after the woman he wants in a most surprising way.
To say I discovered Maya Banks on the social network called Twitter is not accurate because I bought her eBook Brazen ages ago (No I haven’t read it yet but will very soon) but it was Twitter that brought her to the center of my attention when the second book in the Sweet series (SWEET PERSUASION) ended up in my possession after a contest.
As I am obsessed with reading books in order I read SWEET SURRENDER and SWEET PERSUASION before I read this ARC. With the introduction of Julie and Nathan in book 1 and the tiny glimpses in book 2 I was primed and ready for their own story in SWEET SEDUCTION. As with the other two books, I flew through SWEET SEDUCTION. Maya Banks has a writing style that is very agreeable. Her books read like speeding trains and you want to keep reading, flipping the pages as fast as you can, just to know what happens next with the characters and their story. Still she manages to keep her writing realistic and her characters down to down-to-earth despite bordering on hot and emotional topics and delivering some extremely hot sex scenes.
I loved reading Julie and Nathan’s story. Julie was an amazingly strong heroine, even if she sometimes came on a bit too strong in my eyes and was too stubborn for her own good. With Julie being such a strong character, something had to give and in this case it was Nathan’s character. Nathan was just too sweet for my taste and a bit overshadowed by Julie’s in-your-face personality, which I really liked, don’t get me wrong but I thought the balance between them was a bit off for a big part of the book. Of course it was remedied at the end of the book where Nathan decides enough is enough. Again it was an ending that twisted my emotions into a pretzel and one which definitely contributed to my liking this book a lot, despite Nathan not being one of my favorite heroes of this series. Even though I would have loved to see Nathan more edgy and less sweet, I understood that Julie was the driving force of this book and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
In Maya Banks I have found another new author to provide me with crazy hot and sexy contemporary reads that definitely aren’t a dime a dozen. I love her voice, one that is in-your-face, real, raw and humorous and SWEET SEDUCTION, in fact the whole Sweet series, is a must-read for everyone who loves to read sexy contemporaries filled with drool-worthy men, strong heroines and scorching hotness.
When Dawn Halliday asked if there were reviewers interested in reviewing the upcoming anthology she contributed to, I didn’t hesitate. Howev...more4.25 stars
When Dawn Halliday asked if there were reviewers interested in reviewing the upcoming anthology she contributed to, I didn’t hesitate. However, after some emails back and forth we decided I’d review HIGHLAND OBSESSION instead. This has to do with my reading-in-order obsession but I have bored you enough with that in other reviews so I’m not going there in this one. The scorching first chapter of HIGHLAND OBSESSION immediately set the tone for me and I knew I was in for a steamy and emotionally complicated read. My expectations were thoroughly met after that first chapter because Dawn Halliday delivered an emotional and heartbreaking love story against the backdrop of Highland political turmoil, a background that added to the already emotional tension between the main characters of the story.
As I don’t want to spoil the main storyline and important stuff of the book I will not say too much about it but for me it was a beautiful story with a good resolution. I’ve read my fair share of ménage and permanent threesome stories and some were good, some were of lesser quality, some were emotionally detached, some were very intense. HIGHLAND OBSESSION belongs to the good and intense ones. It is well written, fast-paced and engaging. The three main players are distinct personalities with their passionate and fiery nature in common. This makes for a story of passion, betrayal, trust, friendship and love with great chemistry and synergy and emotional, explosive interactions.
I totally fell for the way Alan fought for his wife and showed his resentment towards Cam. Alan is kind, honorable and humble, but that is to a certain extent. Cross him and you will suffer the consequences. He will fight for what he perceives as his with determination and charm. Cam on the other hand struck me as rough and unpolished at times. Dark, brooding and stubborn, he is used to getting what he wants and can be quite arrogant. There were times I actually didn’t like him in the way he was convinced Sorcha belonged with him. In the end, I did however sympathize as I saw why he hides his compassion and tenderness behind his hard-headedness and that he wasn’t out to hurt Alan and Sorcha intentionally. With the battle between Alan and Cam for Sorcha’s love and affection, at first I was afraid she was going to be overshadowed by the men. But my fear was unfounded, bit-by-bit her determination and strength came out and I admired her for standing her ground with both Alan and Cam and fighting for her happiness. When she accepted her feelings, she showed her true smart-mouthed, quick-witted and stubborn self.
This highly erotic historical romance is definitely not conventional and for me that sealed the deal. As I said I have read several stories with this topic, mostly in contemporary settings, but this one was brought in a wonderful combination of history, emotions and characters. Dawn Halliday has a way of enthralling with the imagery in her writing and combined with the strong emotional dilemmas, this book totally worked for me. I will definitely be on the lookout for the sequel, HIGHLAND SURRENDER (coming April 2010), because with HIGHLAND OBSESSION Dawn Halliday gave me an enticing read that has me wanting more. (less)
I won’t do a summary of the story in this review because the cover blurb actually says it all and I don't want to spoil.
Maddy is a librarian with a se...moreI won’t do a summary of the story in this review because the cover blurb actually says it all and I don't want to spoil.
Maddy is a librarian with a secret that I will leave undisclosed due to spoilers. She is mouthy, reclusive, self-sufficient, stubborn and hotheaded. She is the perfect match for Gregor who is a nightclub owner on the verge of opening a second nightclub. He is a grumpy workaholic, sexy as hell and tough but brought to his knees by the power of love and a mouthy woman.
Gregor and Maddy are great together and their chemistry is extremely powerful, despite (or maybe because of) their constant bickering. Their interactions feel like sparkling verbal sparring. Gregor is sexy and Maddy is fierce but they both have a touch of vulnerability that makes them easy to relate to and sympathize with. Maddy's despair about not being able to have a future with Gregor, once she accepts that she does want that future, is heartbreaking and palpable. It gave the story a deeper dimension that was much to my liking.
Maddy is perfect for Gregor. She offers resistance where needed but at the same time she makes him feel wanted once she accepts their mutual feelings and despite the difficulties surrounding their future. Gregor, to my relief, is not the overbearing, dominant vampire and yet still very much in control and alpha. But he is also aware of his own flaws and weaknesses and although ultimately and deep down he feels that Maddy belongs to him and he belongs to her, he still respects her choices and boundaries. Next to Maddy and Gregor's story, this book also does a lot in setting up an extended world around them. Prominent places are reserved for Gregor’s brothers Alex and Mikhail and in a slightly lesser extend for their parents.
The Faustin brothers are three brothers with totally different personalities. Gregor is the serious, workaholic and practical middle child. Alex is the romantic, playful and charming youngest brother. And Mikhail is the brooding, responsible and old-fashioned oldest son. From the opening scene of the book you just know they are all going to meet their match and fall hard, no matter how much they fight it or don’t believe in their mother’s antics.
Sometimes true treasures are stumbled upon via the most unexpected places. When I clicked on a link via Twitter to a blog-post at Samhain Publishing by Evie Byrne and immediately after clicked on the "buy-button" at MBSAM, I couldn't have guessed how impressed and overwhelmed I would be by an erotic vampire romance novella. What this book evoked is that gushy feeling over a book that I hadn't felt in quite some time. Heck, I'd never felt it over a novella before!
I was glad I had prior knowledge to the fact that even though this is book 2 in the series, chronologically the events in it precede those in book 1 (CALLED BY BLOOD). Being a bit obsessed with the chronological order of books I wouldn't have wanted to read it out of that order and I was relieved I knew the deal upfront.
When I started reading this story I was forewarned that it was a different approach to vampires and I must say I was a little skeptical at first. There are so many vampire-based stories, especially in the paranormal and erotic romance genres. What could this author and story bring to the table that could be new and/or refreshing? Well, my skepticism was totally unfounded. With BOUND BY BLOOD Evie Byrne has indeed delivered and original and different take on vampires, vampire mating and vampire romance and I loved it, she has shot straight to my favorites list by giving me a distinctive concept of vampires combined with a beautifully written tale of love, destiny and fate.
The dialogues and characters were outstanding. The plot was original and refreshingly unique. The sex scenes made me go tingly all over. They are explicit but very complementing to the story and writing style. Had these scenes been less explicit, it wouldn't have worked so well for me. I couldn't stop reading as Byrne's writing pulled me deep into the story and it was hard to let go. Maddy and Gregor's journey from dislike and bickering to fascination and attraction to ultimately love was done exquisitely, gradually and believably. I was sorry when the journey ended and I had arrived at the end of the book. 108 pages weren't nearly enough; I could have gone on reading about Gregor and Maddy endlessly.
This for me was truly a perfect read; containing all the elements I love in my romance reads. It was intense, fast-paced, witty, endearing, high on family dynamics and arousing. The ending with the ingenious solution to Maddy's problem (involving Gregor's whole family), Gregor's declaration of love to Maddy, Maddy's acceptance of the solution and Gregor's love, it was all prove of Evie Byrne's amazing talent and imagination and it was the ending that truly sealed the deal for me! With BOUND BY BLOOD premise and promise were met beyond my expectations!
There were so many quotes in this book I would have liked to share but they'd give away too much of the story, so I limited myself to the ones below and one on the RealmsOnOurBookshelves message board. I was enthralled and mesmerized by Evie Byrne's writing and I fell hard for Gregor Faustin. The way his story unfolded is a tough act to follow but I'm ready to see where Alex' destiny and story will bring me in CALLED BY BLOOD.
All I can say is: read this book and experience it for yourself. If you like vampire romances and you like ‘em hot and intense, Evie Byrne and her Faustin brothers are what you seek.(less)
4.5 stars Alexander Faustin was disappointed when his mother's first visionary dream brought a bride for his middle brother Gregor (BOUND BY BLOOD), so...more4.5 stars Alexander Faustin was disappointed when his mother's first visionary dream brought a bride for his middle brother Gregor (BOUND BY BLOOD), so when finally the dream comes with his intended bride, he wastes no time and heads to Colorado to whisk her of her feet and carry her straight to the proverbial altar. But he didn't count on Helena MacAllister who is sure Alex is a stalker who has targeted her. Little by little Alex convinces Helena that she is his life mate but before they can walk away towards the sunset, there are some issues to be dealt with.
Alex is a vampire but he tries hard to adjust to the human world by imitating their ways. Sometimes so hard that he tends to forget he IS a vampire. He is romantic, easy-going, charming, impulsive and gentlemanly. But despite his softer side and his high level of cuteness, he can be just as dominant and sexy as his brother Gregor (who stole my heart in BOUND BY BLOOD) is. Helena is great! Evie Byrne writes heroines that I can't but like. Helena is a feisty and take-charge kind of woman. She's bubbly and stubborn, a bit chaotic and impulsive. Indeed a perfect match for Alex.
After blowing me away with BOUND BY BLOOD I knew it was going to be tough for CALLED BY BLOOD to reach those same heights and I was right, but still Byrne is anything but predictable. In the beginning of the book I had a big scare and just as I was thinking: "Oh no, Evie don't tell me you're going that way, please!" but fortunately she made a surprising retreating movement and went down the exact right path, making everything good and putting me straight.
Because BOUND BY BLOOD was so good in my eyes I took into consideration that this installment would be less impressive, more sedated and would have less emotional impact on me and the first half definitely was all of the above. Not in the least because of Alex' character and personality. Contrary to his brothers' reluctance towards the idea of marriage and their mother's visionary dreams, Alex embraces the concepts of romance and marriage as wholeheartedly as he does everything else. This leaves only the hurdle of convincing his intended bride, which would logically lead to a less intense story than the previous one where both Gregor and Maddy were dead-set against ending up together.
However about halfway through the tone of the book changes, and it gets even better than it already was, when Alex is forced to reveal to Helena who and what he is and not in the romantic, easy-to-grasp way he had intended to. What started out all sweet and romantic and fitting Alex's personality, became an intense and emotional when desperation, fear and guilt play a big part in the second half of the novella, with a crucial role for oldest brother Mikhail.
While Helena fights to get a grasp on the fact that Alex is a vampire and learns to accept it because her growing feelings for him, Alex also learns to embrace and accept the fact that he is a vampire. Instead of pretending to be a normal human and doing things in denial of his vampirism. I absolutely loved the beautifully written second half of the book and the ending too, even if it was a bit sudden and I felt left hanging a bit. I wouldn't have minded an epilogue to show me how they were doing after the acceptance of their mutual feelings but I hope to see how Alex and Helena are doing in a future book, in Mikhail's story (DAMNED BY BLOOD) maybe?
Evie Byrne is amazing. I really love the humor, originality and intensity in her writing. They go so well with the pace, the plot, the romance, the characters and the sex scenes. And those sex scenes, they are scorching and not to mention very original. Having read and reading plenty of erotic romance I am always happy when an author surprises me with original love scenes like the ones in CALLED BY BLOOD are. But my favorite scene of the book isn't even a love scene. It's the scene where Alex and Helena go to the grocery store to get provisions for a dinner Alex is going to cook for Helena. If I thought Alex was cute and sexy before, this scene had me utterly convinced.
What I also like about Byrne are her characters. They are so lifelike and easy to identify with; I was expecting them to leap out of the pages (Ehm, read these novellas in e-format on NDS so I should say: leap out of the NDS) any moment. They are far from perfect people. They are flawed, with insecurities and weaknesses, but in a good way, a way that makes them extremely likeable. And their HEAs are not easily achieved. They have to "work" for it. I can appreciate that kind of HEA more than one that comes to the characters without them having to put effort into it. But I especially like Byrne's vampires. They are strong, alpha and sexy without being overbearing or Neanderthal. They pull off vulnerability in a way that doesn't take away from their sexy alpha vibe. It takes a skilful author to achieve that (Alyssa Day comes to mind) and Evie Byrne is such an author.
Both books I have read in this trilogy match the personalities of each Faustin brother perfectly in setting, plot and heroine. I expect DAMNED BY BLOOD (Mikhail's book) will continue this excellent writing of Evie Byrne that, after just two installments, I've grown totally addicted to. I am definitely ready for Mikhail Faustin! (less)
I won this ARC on Ann Aguirre’s (Ava Gray’s alter ego) blog and I think it’s safe to say that it’s the best win of this year, even if we sti...more4,75 stars
I won this ARC on Ann Aguirre’s (Ava Gray’s alter ego) blog and I think it’s safe to say that it’s the best win of this year, even if we still have 2 months left to go. I can’t imagine another book having the impact on me this one had. Despite having the books by Ava Gray’s alter ego on my shelf this was the first taste of her writing for me and it definitely tastes like more. If I were asked to describe SKIN GAME in one word, it would be: compelling. It’s the first word that came to mind and it describes this book perfectly. SKIN GAME sucked me in, slowly and surely it got under my skin and didn’t want to let me go. Even now a few weeks after finished it and even though I don’t do re-reads, ever, I am certain this book will be re-read and maybe multiple times even.
Ava Gray’s writing really resonates with me, she penned down a mixture of romance and suspense with a sarcastic and raw undertone that worked wonderfully. She’s an admirable storyteller and a most talented writer. The way she builds up the setting and the plot, using a perfect combination of descriptions, dialogues and emotions is astounding. She doesn’t dumb down the language and regularly uses movies references, which I loved and they were never disturbing or annoying but rather fitting the rest of the book. There is never any question to what her meaning or purpose is with the language and references. The writing, the characters, the plot and the pace all conspired to lure me into a story that worked for me on so many levels I am still amazed at it. The reader has information the characters don’t have and knows the basics of the plot but still I was very curious as to where it was going and how certain things were going to pan out.
One of the things I undoubtedly liked about SKIN GAME were the characters, from the main couple, Kyra and Reyes, to secondary characters as Mia and Foster, to the villain Gerard Serrano, they were all exceptionally portrayed and developed. Next to the dialogues, the characters are a major strong point in Gray’s writing. Let’s face it, an author who names her hero Porfirio Ten-Bears Reyes and manages to make me forget that outrageous name and focus on the amazing character he is, deserves to be praised for that.
SKIN GAME swept me away to a world of suspense, intrigue and on top of that I got a story of raw passion between two people so alike that they are perfect for each other. I loved the chemistry between Kyra and Reyes. I loved how Reyes would chase and Kyra would find ways to outwit him. I joined them on a road trip and the further their trip progressed, the more their relationship developed from assassin and target to partners in crime to lovers and soul mates. Kyra doesn’t fit in any mold. She’s a free spirit, both literally and figuratively and this is what attracts Reyes to her. Reyes tries hard to stay in control of his emotions, her and his assignment. It’s hard but he manages to fight the attraction and his feelings. This made him an even stronger character to me.
One thing puzzled me at first about Kyra and Reyes: How come Reyes got immune to Kyra’s talent? I was hoping for an explanation for it by the end of the book and when I didn’t get it, the only thing I could think of was that being in each other’s vicinity so much must have made Reyes resistant to it. I reminded myself that Kyra had always shied away from repeated contact with other people so for me this explanation is the one I’m sticking with until the author tells me otherwise. Though this had me thinking for a while, it didn’t bother me or impede me from enjoying the characters. I definitely appreciated that Kyra stayed cautious and vigilant despite her attraction and growing feelings for Reyes. It was refreshing to see that Gray doesn’t make the mistake some romance authors make of letting the heroine (or hero) spill their guts the moment their heart (or other body parts) come into play. Gray handled this part of the story excellently and it earned her some extra points.
The villain of the book, Gerard Serrano, is a paranoid and ruthless control freak. He reminded me a bit of Shannon McKenna’s villains but with a lessened “icky” factor, which made him more realistic and more believable. Speaking of villains, let’s talk about Foster. He intrigued me from the very moment he stepped into Serrano’s office and the book. I knew from the start there was so much more to him than met the eye and he was definitely not whom he was making me believe he was. My suspicions were confirmed in a few scenes that were as tantalizing and mesmerizing, as they were confusing. Scenes that raised many questions in me, questions I hope will be answered in his own story, SKIN TIGHT, which is coming out Summer 2010. I have formed my own ideas about him, but will have to wait and see if my speculations are correct. He managed to distract me from Kyra and Reyes and that was quite an achievement as they aren’t characters that can be easily surpassed. I fell for Foster from the start and have no doubt my fan club membership is a lifelong one.
Even though SKIN GAME is labeled and being marketed as paranormal romance (for obvious and understandable reasons), in my opinion, it belongs in the romantic suspense section of the romance genre and takes a special and unique place within it. As some may know I am a big fan of romantic suspense and this was romantic suspense as it’s meant to be: compelling, mind-blowing, excellently set up without the fluffy embellishments of unnecessary action or missions impossible. It’s raw and candid writing that allowed complicated emotions to come through loud and clear. It’s wonderfully written with a perfect pace, excellent character development and an intriguing plot. This is one of those books you don’t want to end and yet you can’t stop reading so you try to drag it out to make it last as long as you can. I really didn’t want to reach the end because I knew I would have to leave this amazing story and the intricate characters Kyra, Reyes and Foster turned out to be, behind. I am more than ready for the next installment in this series and that’s not just because Foster will be the hero of it.
SKIN GAME is very good read for readers who appreciate romantic suspense with paranormal elements and a perfect must-read for those of us craving unembellished writing, raw action and strong characters that you need to peel through their layers to get to their cores.(less)