No sophomore jinx here! Samantha Young's 2nd novel is another heart-wrenching tale set in modern-day Scotland focusing on a tortured heroine and the b...moreNo sophomore jinx here! Samantha Young's 2nd novel is another heart-wrenching tale set in modern-day Scotland focusing on a tortured heroine and the bone-melting, sex-on-a-stick Scottish hottie who loves her. This is a 4-star read compared to On Dublin Street but in the big scheme of things it is definitely a 5! I [image error] Samantha Young!!!(less)
Attention New Adult Authors: If you are having a difficult time writing awesome, believable, jaw-dropping, panty-wetting, kick-ass sex scenes, then ma...moreAttention New Adult Authors: If you are having a difficult time writing awesome, believable, jaw-dropping, panty-wetting, kick-ass sex scenes, then make the best $3.99 investment of your career and BUY THIS BOOK!!! S.H. Kolee will show you how to do it right!!
For the past two years, I've been totally absorbed in the melodramatic, angst-ridden world of digital romance created (mostly) by indie authors. Their...moreFor the past two years, I've been totally absorbed in the melodramatic, angst-ridden world of digital romance created (mostly) by indie authors. Their stories are usually written in 1st person POV and sometimes - as is the case here - in dual 1st person POV. IMO this is by far the best POV to tell a story from because the reader is privy to what is going on in the minds of both hero and heroine. It effectively does away with the "WTF moments" and thus brings a new vulnerability to the hero that, until now, was a rarity in romance novels. Male emotion - raw, honest and straight from his heart - can be the difference between a good book boyfriend and an Oh.My.God.I.LOVE.HIM! great book boyfriend...
...which brings us to this story and Evan Maxwell.
I only have one negative thing to say about this book so I'll say it now and get it over with. The packaging sucks. As a big fan of new adult romance, I am familiar with how the genre is presented. These are digital books so readers are not walking into Barnes & Noble and picking up this book or that, mulling over the back blurbs, etc., we are checking out places like Amazon where there are already hundreds of books listed under this relatively new genre. With the majority of authors being unknown at this point, the "look" of the book - the appeal of title and bookcover - has the big job of reeling the buyer in. And once we're in, well...we are all pretty much "1-click crazy". Think "new adult" romance and covers/titles like these appeal:
Champagne Toast is every bit as good as these 3 books and fits the genre perfectly, yet the cover and title scream Nora Roberts' Bridal Quartet. Not even what a new adult reader is looking for.
Fortunately for me, I came across author Molly McAdams' review of CT and saw this:
WARNING YOU NOW LADIES: You will swoon. And not just swoon...but SAAAWOON! I actually sighed out loud at one part because I love Evan so much and my husband looked like he was going to go find the guy that gave me that dopey look on my face.
Molly's idea of a swoon-worthy hero is definitely my own (hello Team Brandon) and my number one "must have" in a book, so I bought it. Soooo damn glad I did!
Kate Armour is a free-spirited, part-time college student working at a local bar to support herself. She is beautiful, flirtatious, passionate about photography and a serial cheater in relationships...if that's what you would call the superfluous hookups she repeatedly engaged in. Sex and arm candy were the staples and love wasn't even a consideration. Yet coming from a home seriously deficient in affection, it is what Kate thought she wanted from a man.
Until the day Evan Maxwell walked into the bar.
Evan was in his 3rd year at the local University, working towards a degree in marketing. He had solid goals planned for his future and no doubt that he wouldn't meet them. He epitomized "tall, dark & handsome" as though the term was created just for him; and women were always a big part of his life...though he had never been in love.
Until the day he met Kate Armour.
The attraction between Kate & Evan was instant and mutual. However, Kate had a boyfriend, so the first few weeks of working together they were basically "flirting friends". Soon, however, lines started to blur as they became consumed by desire for each other.
He places the pads of his fingers on my cheek, brushing lightly before pushing my hair behind my ear and placing my long thick hair behind my shoulder. “What are you doing?” I whisper, my pulse racing so fast I feel like I might faint. “Swooning,” Evan smiles softly as he looks me in the eyes. My heart stops. “Oh,” I reply, swallowing hard, attempting to hide my emotions and failing miserably. He knows I want him as much as he wants me. “I want to kiss you, Kate. But, I don’t think I should . . . ” his voice trails as he explores my features with his eyes. “Why?” I ask, completely under his spell. Evan caresses my face gently with his fingers and then cups my chin with his hand. “Do you still have a boyfriend?” I nod with an apologetic glance. “It’s okay, I want you to,” I say, my words betraying me. “Not my style,” he says, shaking his head with a deep frown. He leans in and kisses me gently on the cheek. “Goodnight, Kate,” he says softly before walking into the back room. I hear him saying good-bye to Bree and Vince. Slowly, I slide down the bar until I’m seated on the floor, in a complete daze. Every bit of me is on fire, my skin, my hair, my bones. I didn’t know I was capable of swooning. But, Evan Maxwell has gotten under my skin in a way I never knew was possible. So, if Kate Armour swoons, this is how she does it.
Kate & Evan succumb to their desires that night and sleep together. The next day, Kate breaks up with her boyfriend and she and Evan are immediately a couple. For the most part their relationship is great...fun and comfortable and filled with love. As in any relationship, they have problems that they normally meet head-on and deal with; however, Kate's history of cheating coupled with Evan's quick temper and apparent lack of trust culminate in an explosive "it's-not-what-it-looks-like" scene that proves too difficult to overcome. So, after two wonderful years together, Kate & Evan part ways.
OMG their breakup nearly broke my heart! The author does an excellent job of showing rather than telling, and I truly felt like I knew this couple well...like I was actually living their relationship with them. Kate & Evan have a true, deep-seated "soul-mates" type of love that is so badly shaken I was afraid the damage that had been done was beyond repair. The dual POV works so well here as we get inside Evan's head as well as Kate's and understand that he is every bit as broken as she is, although he does try to move on.
Another Saturday night. Another evening surrounded by friends who are pushing me to move on. Patrick and I are meeting some other friends at a bar. Supposedly, there’s a girl he wants me to meet. Whatever. All I really want to do is show up at Molly’s, take a seat at the bar and watch Kate work. I want to watch her run her fingers through her hair and give the customers attitude. I want to watch her pour drinks and make smart-ass comments. I want to walk in that bar like nothing ever happened. But, I can’t. Walking to my dresser, I pull open the drawer and move the stacked clothes to the side. A small box sits in the drawer. It makes my heart race just looking at it. Opening the box, I see the promise ring that Kate threw back at me last spring. My brow furrows as I put the ring in my hand, like I do every few weeks when I can’t get her out of my head. Holding the ring between my fingers, I stare at the band knowing what this ring once represented. A life with Kate. A future that I let go of way too easily.
Champagne Toast is the emotional rollercoaster that we new adult fans crave. The perfect blend of love & happiness, promises & heartbreak, discovery & hope, and awesome, toe-curling sex. Best of all, it has a believable HEA. That's a must for me and I know for most of you as well. And Evan...mmmmmmmm! What can I say? The guy is book boyfriend perfection!!! Sure we all love the rockstars, the actors, the fighters...all the bad boys that just need to find that special someone to love them. But Evan isn't a bad boy at all (well...maybe in bed...mmmmmm). Yet he is so smokin' hot I dare you to read this book and not rank him right up there with the Kellans & Travis' of book boyfriend landia!
I can't say enough good about this book and really, the only reason I complained about the cover and title is because it diminishes the powerful story inside. Champagne Toast really needs more exposure so that others can enjoy this diamond in the rough. One thing is certain...Melissa Brown knows how to tell a powerful, emotional love story. I'm looking forward to reading more from her.
I've read many books with the "sheikh" theme and the storyline for Innocent in the Sheikh's Harem is basically the same as most of them...innocent Ame...moreI've read many books with the "sheikh" theme and the storyline for Innocent in the Sheikh's Harem is basically the same as most of them...innocent American/English woman and wealthy prince of a fictional middle eastern country fall madly in love but cannot marry due to cultural restrictions. However, this book sets itself apart from other Harlequin "harem" novels because the sexual encounters between Prince Ramiz & Celia are seriously off the charts hot! Every encounter - and there are several - is lush and sensual and described in vivid detail. Just close your eyes and you are there (although that didn't work too well for me since I was listening to the audiobook and almost ran off the road). Nevertheless, if you are a sheikh fangirl and don't mind delving into the naughty, this is the book for you!
Emma Wildes doesn't write a bad book. If you're looking for a historical romance with an unusual storyline and explicit sexcapades - usually involving...moreEmma Wildes doesn't write a bad book. If you're looking for a historical romance with an unusual storyline and explicit sexcapades - usually involving a rake or two - this is the author you want.(less)
This is the 3rd installment in Jennifer Foor's Mitchell Family Series; and although there is at least one more book on the way, Raging Love was like r...moreThis is the 3rd installment in Jennifer Foor's Mitchell Family Series; and although there is at least one more book on the way, Raging Love was like reading one very long epilogue for Colt & Savanna's story in Letting Go and Ty & Miranda's story in Folding Hearts. This is a great series to get into because the characters are so well drawn and the drama so real that you easily lose that tenuous touch we all have with reality when we read and become part of the Mitchell family. There is, however, a bittersweet twist to this story that I couldn't seem to get my head around enough to rate it higher.(less)
Three years and 20 books later I'm still loving Jack Sheridan and the rest of the Virgin River gang as much as I did when the series first started. Ku...moreThree years and 20 books later I'm still loving Jack Sheridan and the rest of the Virgin River gang as much as I did when the series first started. Kudos to Robyn Carr for her amazing imagination and to the awesome narrator Therese Plummer for bringing the citizens of VR to life!
Another great book in Suzanne Enoch's Scandalous Brides series, focusing on the women of "unfortunate circumstances" that work at the gentlemen's gami...moreAnother great book in Suzanne Enoch's Scandalous Brides series, focusing on the women of "unfortunate circumstances" that work at the gentlemen's gaming establishment known as the Tantalus Club.
Sophia White, the bastard daughter of a duke, has been forced to quit her employment at the Club because her father has surfaced for the first time in her life and demand she marry a country vicar he has chosen, thereby removing the blemish on his "good" name. Fortunately, Sophia has a short reprieve before her impending doom and has been invited to a Christmas house party being hosted by Adam, the Duke of Greaves. On her way to the party, a bridge leading to the estate collapses and Sophia's carriage plunges into an icy body of water. Sophia is rescued by the Duke and taken to his home; however, she is his only guest for 2 weeks, as the fallen bridge makes it impossible for the other partygoers to join them.
Adam has arranged this Christmas party for the sole purpose of finding a suitable wife - not that he wants a wife, mind you - but he will turn 30 in less than 3 months and it is stipulated in his father's will that he must marry before then or lose all of his holdings to his sister's 9yr old son. Sophia is far from a suitable wife but Adam invited her on a whim one night at the Club. She is a beauty, after all, with her brilliant red hair ...but it is her uninhibited, carefree nature that pique's Adam's interest. Deliberately ignoring Adam's attempt to adhere to social propriety, Sophia treats him as if he was her equal...shocking him when she shows up in a pair of borrowed trousers and - gasp! - pelting him with snowballs. Eventually, Adam relaxes and truly enjoys the fortnight he spends with Sophie...both in and out of bed.
Unfortunately for the new lovers, the bridge is repaired and their idyllic paradise is interrupted by 20 now-unwanted guests. Working at the Tantalus Club has saddled Sophia with the false reputation of being a woman of ill repute and she is given the cut direct by all of the attendees except for Cami & her husband Keating (H/h from book #2). Sophia tries to remain unaffected by all the snide remarks from the ladies and the lewd advances from the men, but watching Adam parading around with his potential brides-to-be...loving him yet knowing they both must marry others...the light in her eyes is soon distinguished. Making matters worse, Adam sets his cap on the most beautiful of the purebred ladies and then asks Sophia to be his mistress. Terribly hurt but resigned to her fate, Sophia slips away from the estate on Christmas Day and sets off for Cornwall where the unknown vicar resides.
As always, Suzanne Enoch breathes life into an interesting cast of characters with a worthwhile story to tell. Sophia is lighthearted and fun...one of the few heroines that I've truly enjoyed. She brings the best out of Adam when they are together, and for the first time in 30 years he is content and enjoying life. Therefore, when he realizes the horrible truth of what his actions have done to Sophie, he kicks all of his guests to the curb and tears up the countryside is his quest to find her, beg her forgiveness and bring her home.
Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke is historical romance at its finest. Highly recommended!
The Duke of Greaves - off to bring back the woman he loves(less)
I'm a little disappointed because I thought Eva was taking Krav Maga classes so she could kick Nathan's ass herself, but the way it all came together i...moreI'm a little disappointed because I thought Eva was taking Krav Maga classes so she could kick Nathan's ass herself, but the way it all came together in the end was just another example of Sylvia Day's brilliant creativity. She has set the standard for the "classy" eroticism we are being treated to these days. I can't wait for Crossfire #3!(less)
LOVED this story!!! Jude Ryder is all kinds of sex-on-a-stick and he loves Lucy with such a Travis Maddox-like intensity, it makes him all the more ap...moreLOVED this story!!! Jude Ryder is all kinds of sex-on-a-stick and he loves Lucy with such a Travis Maddox-like intensity, it makes him all the more appealing. If you are into teenage love stories with a hefty dose of angst, then this 2-book series is perfect for you!
The first book, Crash, takes place during Jude & Lucy's senior year in high school. This is when they meet, fall in love, and, unfortunately, are faced with numerous external situations that end up dictating their relationship. The 2nd book, Clash finds Jude & Lucy at separate colleges hoping to maintain their long-distance relationship by relying on their relatively new-found trust. But when a cunning bitch sets her sights on Jude, will that tenuous thread snap and let trust be damned? Apart from what transpires and how it affects Jude & Lucy's relationship, this exciting segment of drama culminates in a brutal chick fight. Lucy may seem fragile because she is a ballet dancer and is small in stature, but you know what they say... "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". That scene still has me smiling!
Of course the road to an HEA for Jude & Luce is long, rough and scarred. But I've come to trust (almost) completely an indie author will bring her protagonists to the finish line in the most endearingly gratifying & sweetest way possible. Nicole Williams doesn't disappoint. This is mature YA at its best!
Review of Love Unrehearsed by Tina Reber (and recap of Love Unscripted as well)
Love Unrehearsed is the long-awaited sequel to Tina Reber's awesome deb...moreReview of Love Unrehearsed by Tina Reber (and recap of Love Unscripted as well)
Love Unrehearsed is the long-awaited sequel to Tina Reber's awesome debut novel, Love Unscripted. It is the continuation of Taryn Mitchell and Ryan Christensen's love story...a story of doubts and acceptance, of misgivings and trust, of hopes shattered then pieced back together, of total devastation and extreme elation, of closures and new beginnings; and, ultimately, a story of finding blissful peace and life-long contentment from loving someone completely and unequivocally, and having that love reciprocated in spades.
In Love Unscripted, we were treated to all the angst we could possibly hope for in a "new adult" contemporary romance. Taryn Mitchell - a 27-yr-old Rhode Island resident, owner of Mitchell's Pub, smart, understated beauty, recently "un"engaged from Thomas, her significant other of 2 years who she found in bed with someone else - meets Ryan Christensen - a 26-yr-old guy who lives out of a suitcase, world-renown movie star, becoming wise to the selfish, ruthless people in the entertainment industry, gloriously beautiful but without conceit, recently unattached from a woman who sold their personal story to the tabloids - when the two collide on the street as Ryan is literally running for his life from a hoard of crazed female fans. Taryn sneaks him into her bar and for the next four hours they drink beer, do shots, play pool and have a great time getting to know each other. Ryan and his entourage come into the bar several more times as they are filming only a few blocks away, but it is clear they are there because Ryan is developing a "thing" for Taryn and vice versa. Taryn, who has major self-esteem issues, is convinced they can never be more than friends because they come from two extremely different worlds. Ryan, on the other hand, sees the glass half full and pushes for more. After a very enjoyable - and believeable - 100 pages of getting to know each other, the day of reckoning finally dawns.
“So… am I to understand that you’re mine?” I asked teasingly. “I can be yours if you want me to be, Taryn,” he whispered. My breath hitched from his words. My pulse quickened and my fingers started to tremble. “Is that your intention?” I asked, still skeptical. Ryan cleared his throat. “My intention is to let you know where my heart is. The rest… the rest is up to you,” he said softly. I took another deep breath. My own heart was thumping in my chest now. “So… now what? Where do we go from here?” “We give it a chance,” Ryan declared quite convincingly.
Finally, Taryn and Ryan become lovers...that swoon-worthy, "bedroom door wide open" scene reason alone to read the first book...and their relationship becomes exclusive. Now the angst begins. Taryn and Ryan deal with one intrusive situation after another - jealously from Ryan's leading lady in Seaside, the papparazzi relentless in their pursuit of pictures and a story of not only Ryan but a very uncooperative Taryn - who guards her privacy zealously - as well, a car accident, a pregnancy scare and a deranged stalker intent on doing away with Taryn so she can have Ryan - are just a handful of problems they encounter. Still, Tar and Ryan continue to grow as a couple and are very much in love. But Taryn's self-esteem issues eventually get the better of her and the angst gets ratcheted up to its peak and finally explodes when she joins Ryan on-set in Florida and becomes convinced he is sleeping with his co-star (who happens to be his ex lover). It is heart-wrenching to watch Taryn suffer, especially because the story is told in 1st person by her. The ending of Love Unscripted is terribly sweet and perfect for the moment but really only leaves Taryn and Ryan with a HFN ending. On to book two.
All eyes were on him as he stood atop the table. It was so quiet in the crowded bar, you could have heard a pin drop. I could hear my heart hammering in my chest as I stared up at him. “We’ve made a beautiful mess of things lately, haven’t we?” He flashed that sexy crooked smile at me, which made my heart flutter. I nodded, agreeing with him. “But it’s our crazy story,” he stated. “It’s been ours, only ours. There’s been a lot of romance, sometimes way too much drama…” He raised his eyebrows and smirked. “Very memorable comedy, a few pulse-racing action scenes…” He shrugged and sighed. “We’ve also had our fair share of suspense and raw terror, and unfortunately gut-wrenching heartache too. “I think we’ve covered it all, everything except for being captured by aliens!” I couldn’t help but chuckle. “But through it all you’ve loved me, unconditionally, and I know how fortunate I am to have your love. “I don’t want to live without you, not for one more minute, not for one more second. I want to spend the rest of my days living my story with you… only you.” He walked to the edge and jumped off the table, landing in front of me. “It is here that I fell in love with you,” Ryan whispered, taking my hands in his. He dropped down on one knee. “And as fate would have it, it is here that I humbly kneel before you and ask you to be my wife. “Taryn Lynn Mitchell, will you marry me?”
Love Unrehearsed begins with Taryn and Ryan engaged and very much in love. But the demands of Ryan's job force their way into the couple's private world right from the start, as he must deal with Marla, the publicist from hell, and David, his manager from the same place, who insist Ryan cannot go public with his engagement. At first Ryan goes along with their plan; soon, however, he understands how much it is hurting Taryn so he basically says "fuck it" and lets the world know he is in love. And he fires Marla...a wonderful turn of events that unfortunately will have repercussions later.
The angst in the second part of this love story is nothing compared to what we experienced in the first part, and because of this I enjoyed Love Unrehearsed even more. LU is basically a story about what it would actually be like for a girl to be in a relationship with someone as famous as Ryan. Less angst, however, does not mean there wasn't any at all because there was indeed plenty. It just played out differently; and, IMO was much easier to handle. The biggest reason for this is that Ryan, and even Taryn, are pretty much secure with their love and in their relationship. Angst presents itself as ramifications of being a movie star when both Ryan and Taryn so desperately want to live a life as close to normal as possible...so much so that protecting their privacy lands each of them in jail on separate occasions! Surprisingly, Taryn adapts to her new life much better than I expected she would. She suffers through two major (and totally unforeseen) personal crisis' that both end well for her, although one is a little bittersweet. Of course, being a woman very much in love with an actor who works primarily in the romance genre would really suck at times...
I don’t care how other women would handle watching their man fake sex with another woman; I twitched when Jonathan yelled “Action!” yet again. Ryan’s mouth on her jaw, her lips, grinding her into the bed like he was actually fucking her looked so real that the heartache seared its way up my throat. It’s pretend. It’s fake. The sheet covering them slipped and a good sliver of Ryan’s ass was now in full view. No matter how many times I repeated my mantra it still didn’t keep the bile from rising up.
But Taryn hangs on to her sanity and eventually coaxes Ryan back into the "fake sex" and everything else acting entails when he reaches a point in his life where he feels that the sacrifices are too great for doing the job that he truly does love. Tina Reber did an outstanding job of portraying the everyday life of a famous man and the woman who loves that man unconditionally. I've read both books twice and can't wait to find a quiet weekend to sit down and read them again. *sigh* Ryan is that perfect hero who is so much fun to read about and Taryn is the ideal woman for him. Their journey to reach happily-ever-after was not an easy one; yet despite all of the situations that could have broken them apart and all of the temptations to stray that were presented to Taryn as well as Ryan, not once did either of them falter. From the day they agreed they were in an exclusive, committed relationship they remained that way; and because of this Ryan had my total heart. Love Unscripted & Love Unrehearsed together present one of the most heartwarming and truly enjoyable love stories I have ever read!