This was one of the best M/M reads of 2009 for me! I can really recommend it. For a change it’s a book with no angst in it. The characters are well de...moreThis was one of the best M/M reads of 2009 for me! I can really recommend it. For a change it’s a book with no angst in it. The characters are well developed and the smexing is long anticipated but scorching hot when they finally get to it. The story is about two friends, one gay one straight. One of them breaks his shoulder and needs some help during his recovery. So his straight friend moves in with him. Because of the injury, the heroes share some very intimate moments and something starts to sizzle. I thought that the authors did a great job of making their feelings tangible and showing how lust and love developed steadily. This book is especially highly recommended to all my M/M virgin friends because of the new to gay sex hero who’s been lead into this wonderful experience by his kind and loving friend.(less)
I’ve read Warrior’s Cross the last week of 2009 and it was one of the best M/M romances I've read that year. And when you know my taste for smut the s...moreI’ve read Warrior’s Cross the last week of 2009 and it was one of the best M/M romances I've read that year. And when you know my taste for smut the surprising thing was that there weren't a lot of sex scenes in this book. It was just plotted and written very well which made it really very hard to put it down! And I loved that!
Although it’s been over three weeks that I finished this book, I don’t mind at all to dive into it again to write this review. I like the little distance and objectivity the lapse of time provides, so I can look at Warrior’s Cross without the rushed and overwhelming feeling with which the book had a grip on me shortly after reading it. So here are my High 5, Low 5 concerning Warrior’s Cross. The High Five are five things that have impressed me or that I really enjoyed, and the Low Five are five things that had me shaking my head in a less admiring way.
• The fabulous anticipation Definitely one of the highest high fives of this novel is the incredible almost heart stopping anticipation the authors have their readers submit to. The first third of the book the two heroes circle around each other like moths around a flame and things are very mysterious. I just wanted to keep reading because I had the feeling that any moment they could get together or something important could be revealed. Instead new circles were made and new mysteries were raised. Very compelling.
• Wonderful story building When Julian and Cameron finally start working on their relationship and get to know each other, this is so realistically done. The story build is nice and the novel is long, but it’s perfectly so. The book could not have been one page shorter. The anticipation from the beginning turns into tension (also of the erotic sort but not only) and then evolves into suspense, while the writers lead me through all kinds of emotions, to finally, finally deliver the happy ending, but not before I was doubting a few times if there would be one at all.
• Beautiful language There’re beautiful sentences in this book, not one word is unnecessary. This is one of those stories that ask for the reader’s full attention and dedication to the written words. I wanted to read this novel slowly and fast at the same time. Fast because I wanted to know where the story would take me and slowly because the writing forced me to, since it would have been a shame if I’d skipped some words, let alone sentences. (yes, I admit I do that sometimes with other books…)
• Strong characters Cameron and Julian are opposite poles who can complement each other once they get passed their differences and insecurities. One is the good guy, the other the bad guy and not the kind that becomes suddenly pure of heart because he found love. The character development is very well done. The story is mainly told from Cameron’s point of view (except for one moment when we hear Julian’s friend Preston’s voice). Julian can be kept mysterious this way and little bits of information are released in a well dosed pace. Meanwhile Cameron’s feelings, thoughts and insecurities are out in the open pretty much from the beginning. We are a close witness to every change and every growth he goes through. This way the characters never become boring and nicely grow into three-dimensional persons.
• Heart aching sob moment If you don’t care for romances that make you grab for a tissue Warrior’s Cross is not for you, because it had me sobbing. Granted, I’m a weak hearted squealer that cries way too easily at fictional sorrow, but only when it’s done well by the author. I’m not gonna spoil what scenes made me whimper but those who have read the book will know…
• Loneliness and desolation The lonely existence of Cameron depresses me a little bit. I always like the main characters to have one or more good friends or a nice family support system. But the protags of this book don’t seem to have family or friends to spend Christmas with, which is sad. But I must admit that it strengthens their storyline because the focus is solely on them.
• The ever annoying female friend I haven’t read that many M/M romances yet (less than 50) but I haven’t seen many nice female characters in them so far. The women that are allowed to play a (minor) role at all are usually of the annoying kind. So is Miri, Cameron’s colleague and friend who means well but is also the irritating one that causes the stirring of a lot of doubts in Cameron’s head.
• Few tame sex scenes As the smutty hussy that I am I would’ve been even happier if there were some more hot sex scenes between Cameron and Julian. Just a few times in the beginning of their relationship we are witness of the two men getting hot and bothered. Sadly these love scenes are also more lovely than scorching hot…
• Cameron’s quick capitulation Near the end Cameron and Julian have a lot of issues still standing between them. It’s hard for Cameron to trust Julian again, but all it takes are a few words of Julian and they are as thick as thieves again. Hmmm, I wouldn’t have minded if that was drawn out a little bit more.
• Questions about Julian’s profession The authors left me hanging with a few unclear things about Julian’s profession. Without wanting to spoil anything I just have to say that it’s not only not clear what he’s doing for a very long time into the book but I hardly find his role believable in the whole situation with Cameron’s boss. Let’s not say more…
~~ Those were my five highs and lows. Overall, I loved Warrior’s Cross in case you hadn’t figured that out ;). The heroes were a joy to spend my time with. Their love, insecurities, attraction, grief, happiness, doubts, satisfaction, anger, distrust, joy and happily ever after were all told about in such a way that it brightened the hours I spent with them. I highly recommend this M/M romance, especially to those who have never burned their fingers on this genre, because it’s more of a love story than an erotic romance. The sex scenes are easy to absorb for those who are new to them having two guys in it instead of the traditional man and woman. By the way, Warrior’s Cross made it to my Best of 2009 list!(less)
Skin Game by Ava Gray has been applauded very loudly by a lot of the romance bloggers I f...more4.5 stars Genre & Keywords: Paranormal, Suspense, Violence
Skin Game by Ava Gray has been applauded very loudly by a lot of the romance bloggers I follow. It made me curious enough to give this novel a try myself. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I’ve never read a book by Ava Gray before - as Ann Aguirre she has written some SciFi and Urban Fantasy novels – but this will definitely not be the last one I want to try. Next June the sequel Skin Tight will be released and I will be hanging out for it. Because I can only applaud along with the others: man, this woman can truly write a wicked, explosive story!
Reading Skin Game was a different experience than usual. It’s a full length novel that’s structured accurately and written in a deliberate way. I haven’t read many romances that are quite as… well… literary as this one. Although a lot of reviews already have been written I still like to share my High 5, Low 5 with you. The High Five are five things that have impressed me or that I really enjoyed, and the Low Five are five things that had me shaking my head in wonder or even annoyance.
• Fast paced suspense One of the highest high fives of this novel is the well dosed pace which adds to the great suspense. There’s a lot of action and many events take place but this is alternated at the right moments with reflection on feelings and emotions. The suspense is not only brought on by the chase and the violence. The sexual and emotional tension yield quite some reading suspense in itself.
• Sexy read The physical attraction between Kyra and Rey is pretty explosive. Although they don’t have sex all the time - like in some other romances where the h/h only have to look at each other to become completely aroused - when it happens their interaction is hot, with some blazing love scenes. These scenes evolve from quick sexual relief into long and tender love making. Their growing feelings for each other become credible because of the way Ms Gray expresses them.
• Not your usual suspects Ms. Gray’s characters are something else. Her heroine is a con women and her hero a hit man. Not the most moral persons. And on top of that, ...
Genre & Keywords: Bdsm | Full-figured Heroine Rating: 5 of 5 stars | Heat level: 3 of 3 flames
This first novel in the Masters of the Shadowlands se...moreGenre & Keywords: Bdsm | Full-figured Heroine Rating: 5 of 5 stars | Heat level: 3 of 3 flames
This first novel in the Masters of the Shadowlands series tells a very erotic story that’s sweet, scorching, sexy and romantic. The hero of Club Shadowlands, Zachary, is a very kind and perceptive dominant hottie who is just right for the heroine Jessica. She’s never been in a club like his and has never heard of the D/s lifestyle, but she’s curious and aroused by the scenes she sees in the club. Zachary, Master Z, is not only attracted to her but also mesmerized by her contradictions and her spirit. He’s very gentle and tender with her, even when he has to punish her because she broke the club rules (which she signed only didn’t read well). Because the story is told from both point of views it’s easy to fall in love with both characters. It’s done really well by Cherise Sinclair, their thoughts, feelings, insecurities and behavior are all so likeable and genuine. This makes that you can relate easily to them. The love scenes are blazing hot, not only the ones inside the club, but also those outside that setting, when bondage isn’t part of the sex. And the romance is sweet, even in this setting of pain and obedience, thanks to the insight in the characters’ thoughts and feelings. There is a second and third book in this series (Dark Citadel and Breaking Free) that feature some of the secondary characters of this first book. And hopefully they also show a little bit of Jessica and Zachary’s continuing story, because I love to learn more about this lovely heroine and hero.
Back Blurb: Her car disabled during a tropical storm, Jessica Randall discovers the isolated house where she's sheltering is a private bondage club. At first shocked, she soon becomes aroused watching the interactions between the Doms and their subs. But she's a professional woman--an accountant--and surely isn't a submissive . . . is she? Master Z hasn't been so attracted to a woman in years. But the little sub who has wandered into his club intrigues him. She's intelligent. Reserved. Conservative. After he discovers her interest in BDSM, he can't resist tying her up and unleashing the passion she hides within.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, strong BDSM theme and content (including/not limited to bondage, caning, restraints, spanking, etc), exhibitionism, voyeurism. (less)
Wow! This short story is hot! I almost burned my fingers reading it ;-) The heroine, Isabella, is picked up by the hero, Logan, by accident - and they...moreWow! This short story is hot! I almost burned my fingers reading it ;-) The heroine, Isabella, is picked up by the hero, Logan, by accident - and they end up having a very passionate night doing things they’ve never done before, neither she nor he. And that’s what makes this story so sweet, that he’s a ‘virgin’ to all the hot (bondage) stuff as much as she is. Jenna Ives writes from Logan’s point of view as well as Isabella’s, which warrants that the events don’t repulse at all, while they easily could have since it’s sort of a kidnapping and abuse situation. But Isabella is consenting once she realizes that there’s a misunderstanding and she’s in no danger. And Logan is so tuned in on her feelings and her pleasure that it’s totally sweet how he acts. I think that the author has done a great job portraying her characters the way she did and giving the reader insight in their feelings and thoughts. Because of that, their romantic feelings are as believable as their erotic feelings. The latter are so well described! It makes The Initiation of Isabella a great, completely arousing and scorching hot story, which I can really recommend!(less)
After the arrest of Cavan’s former Master and their initial thirty days contract ended, Biton and Cavan are still together and trying to find out if t...moreAfter the arrest of Cavan’s former Master and their initial thirty days contract ended, Biton and Cavan are still together and trying to find out if they can have a true D/s relation. Cavan is still working to leave his trauma behind him and Biton is giving him his space. On advice of Cavan’s therapist they don’t have sex and they don’t talk about the therapy. That doesn’t help them to become closer, of course. When Cavan rebels against his therapist, because she tries to convince him to leave Biton, he runs and he has a breakthrough on his road to independency. It makes their relationship stronger and more equal. But then Shayla Kersten turns the suspension up a knot when Cavan’s past gets back at him. When it was hard to put Thirty Days down, it was impossible to do so with Forever. It was more thrilling and exciting, where Thirty Days was sweet, tender and full of pathos. Not that Forever wasn’t all that as well, but it was even more than that. The love scenes were super hot on top of that. The two books complement each other in a wonderful way. You just want to keep on reading and reading about these sexy, hot, kind and lovely men. So I really recommend both books, I loved them!(less)
Thirty Days is the first of two books about Master Biton and his sub Cavan. In this book they meet, a few months after Biton has lost his par...more4,5 stars
Thirty Days is the first of two books about Master Biton and his sub Cavan. In this book they meet, a few months after Biton has lost his partner and the love of his life, Eric. He’s still grieving and not looking for a new sub yet. In fact he’s considering a retirement. But when he’s invited by good friends to a private party he meets Cavan, who’s been badly abused. Biton is interested in the young man and his story. He’s not sure what he’s getting himself into, but Cavan’s terrible past and his psychological problems also help Biton to get over Eric’s death and his own grief. It’s really lovely to see how these two troubled men gradually grow on each other. Biton is really sweet for Cavan and the young man learns fast to trust his new Master. The title of this novel refers to the length of their D/s contract. Cavan is anxious to know if Biton wants to prolong the contract after their thirty days are up. Before the decision can be made, the two men will have to deal with a lot of issues.
I just couldn’t put the book down, because their story is really catching and getting to you. The way Shayla Kersten writes about their attraction and growing love for each other is very convincing and enjoyable. I truly felt compassion for both men and did fall a little bit in love with Biton, who’s not only hot but also so considerate and tender with Cavan. I was glad their story doesn’t end on the last page of Thirty Days but continues in Forever - and that I bought the two books together. Because I think their story isn’t complete at the end of the first novel. They still have a long way to go. (less)
This is the fourth book I’ve read by Shayla Kersten and she definitely is one of my favorite authors! Hidden Force didn’t disappoint me either. Not at...moreThis is the fourth book I’ve read by Shayla Kersten and she definitely is one of my favorite authors! Hidden Force didn’t disappoint me either. Not at all! Again it’s one hot and exciting story! Not only does she never fail to portray her characters very well and make me sympathize with them very easily, she also knows how to build a solid layer of suspense and add a lot of hotness to the mix. There’s just nothing to dislike in her stories, unless you’re not into gay love I guess. I for one am becoming a big fan of gay romances, and Shayla Kersten is one of the authors responsible for that.
Hidden Force is part of a series of three books about hot gay policemen. The other two titles are A Helping Hand and Hidden Hands. Tony and Ryan are friends with benefits. Ryan would like to be it more than that, but Tony wants to hide their relationship and his sexual preference. But then a serial killer is drawing their attention and things start to get dangerous. Feelings are changing and they might lose what they’ve got. My stomach fluttered a few times reading some of the love scenes between Tony and Ryan. They were scorching and arousing as well as compassionate. The feelings of excitement and love of the characters did come alive because of the way the author wrote these scenes. It’s hard not to love these two guys with all their comprehensible feelings, doubts, fears and thoughts - and I liked the way the secondary characters were portrayed as well. The sub story about the serial killer is very believable and adds a lot of suspense, which increases the reading pleasure. But it doesn’t overshadow the main story at any time, it only complements it. Shayla Kersten truly does know how to write great books and I’m looking forward to read Hidden Hands (and some more of her books I’ve purchased at Ellora’s Cave’s eBook shop!(less)
Wow!! This novel is very, very hot, sweet, sexy, lovely, arousing, enjoyable and surprising. I really recommend this book if you like reading about M/...moreWow!! This novel is very, very hot, sweet, sexy, lovely, arousing, enjoyable and surprising. I really recommend this book if you like reading about M/M love, friends turning into lovers and handsome, straight guys discovering their attraction to a man with all the confusing feelings and doubts that go with that discovery. Because Shayla Kersten truly wrote a great story with all these ingredients. And luckily this novel is the first in a series of three, the other two titles are Hidden Force and Hidden Hands. All are M/M stories with policemen as heroes. I’m gonna read them for sure, because if they’re only half as good as this one… *gasp*
A Helping Hand is the story of best friends Rich and Dan, who live in a small town and work for the Sheriff’s Department. Dan is a lady’s man; he’s dating a lot in his search for the right woman to spend his future with. Rich is gay but quiet about it. And he’s in lust with his friend Dan for years now. When he witnesses Dan’s car take a spin and crash, he realizes that his feelings go much deeper. A period follows in which Rich has to take care of Dan because of his injuries. In this period the two men get to share intimate moments which lead to more. And this really shakes their worlds. Not only are their dialogues and actions very well-written, their feelings, doubts and behavior are also believable and developed very well. The love scenes between the two men were scorching hot and a real joy to read.(less)
T.A. Chase writes a lovely story about two kind but hot cowboys. I think that cowboys are perfect characters for a steamy romance, even or especially...moreT.A. Chase writes a lovely story about two kind but hot cowboys. I think that cowboys are perfect characters for a steamy romance, even or especially when it's a gay romance. Tyler and Ren are deep characters with a well worked out history, they bring therefore some issues into the relation which makes it a good read. But, not unimportant, their attraction and encounters are also pretty steamy. They appear to be a perfect match in bed - although they don't necessarily need it to get satisfied, Ren likes to be in control and Tyler wants to give up control in bed. So there's a little spanking and binding. I rate Bound by Love with 4 stars. And I added two other novels of T.A. Chase to my wishlist: Out of Bounds and High Line. These are book 1 and 2 in the Love of Sports Series, about the gay twinbrothers Kasey and Garrett Johnson.(less)
Heat of the Moment is a very hot and sensitive story (about 55 pages in my digital version). Really well written with lovable characters. Besides that...moreHeat of the Moment is a very hot and sensitive story (about 55 pages in my digital version). Really well written with lovable characters. Besides that I like to read about men in uniform the men in this story are particularly sexy and gifted with eloquence. I'm looking forward to the second story in this 'Out of Uniform' series by Elle Kennedy: Heat of Passion. It tells the story of Carson, the third person that joined the threesome in Heat of the Moment.(less)
4,5 stars My first acquaintance with the books of Evangeline Anderson was Str8te Boys. I’m pretty sure that it was at the same time my first M/M story...more4,5 stars My first acquaintance with the books of Evangeline Anderson was Str8te Boys. I’m pretty sure that it was at the same time my first M/M story ever. And it got me completely hooked at the genre! It was such a sweet story about two straight roommates who start feeling attracted to one another. In fact, The Assignment reminded me of that story in more than one way. Both are featuring best friends falling in love and straight guy(s) turning gay. And both are written from just one point of view, which keeps you guessing about the other guy’s feelings. And let’s not forget, both contain scorching hot M/M sex scenes! The difference is that the protags of The Assignment are working together on an undercover assignment and that they can’t screw up their cover, so the suspense level is higher than that of Str8te Boys. The publisher even labeled the novel as ‘Romantic Suspense’ (and GLBT). Maybe that’s a bit too strong a label, although I found myself being unable to put the book down. I wanted to keep reading and reading, but that was more due to them making out and falling in love with each other than to the investigation or the threats of danger that were supposed to hang over their heads.
Overall, I loved The Assignment but there were a few things I had questions about. So, I like to share my High 5, Low 5 with you. The High Five are five things that have impressed me or that I really enjoyed, and the Low Five are five things that had me shaking my head in wonder or annoyance.
• Favorite subject, effectively done I’m a sucker for the Friends Become Lovers subject. Can’t help liking that type of romances, but when it’s done well, these are the best. It’s because friends already know each other well and apparently like the other person for who he (or she) is. And it’s not only about physical attraction in these stories, but there’s a broader base. Now, Ms Anderson has a way of making this subject work for me. The doubts and insecurities that come with the feelings of love and attraction are made insightful and perceptible. At least those of Nick, since the story is told from his POV. There are a few flashbacks in which their history as friends becomes clear, their special bond and how things started changing and became more than just friendship. Nick’s reluctance to take the next step with Sean, time after time, is understandable because of the way he feels about their friendship and losing that. It was very easy to empathize with him thanks to the insight Ms. Anderson gave into his emotions.
• Lively dialogue The way Sean and Nick interact with each other is lifelike. A big part of what made me enjoy this story is due to the lively dialogue, which was also funny at times. Just let me give an example:
“So you’re sayin’ if Valenti and I don’t act the part, we could be in deep shit,” O’Brian said bluntly. “That’s putting it mildly, sweetie,” Twonnie said. “And from what Turk said, you’ve only got a week to practice your act, so you better get to it.” He gestured at both of them. “What, right now?” Valenti asked, feeling slightly panicked. “What do you want us to do, kiss?” O’Brian asked, a lot more coolly than Valenti would have believed possible. What had gotten into his partner lately? Valenti would have bet even money that if someone had suggested that Sean O’Brian was willing to kiss another man -- even his partner and best friend -- O’Brian would have punched the chump in the mouth. But now here he was suggesting it himself. Twonnie looked amused. “No, honey,” he told O’Brian. “You’ll have to work up to that, I think. But why don’t you take tall, dark, and beautiful here out for a spin on the dance floor?” “What, here?” Valenti asked, knowing that he sounded like a broken record, but unable to help himself. “Where else did you have in mind, honey, Grand Central Station? Of course here. Don’t get that panicked look on your face; I’m not asking you to throw your partner facedown on the table and screw him. I just said dance.” Twonnie looked disgusted with them. “If you can’t even dance with each other, then you might as well forget it -- you may have to do a lot more than that to pass at the RamJack.”
• Sweet, giving characters Both Nick and Sean are very easy to like. They are good friends, willing to push aside their own needs to put the other at ease. Their appeasing words about what’s happening between them are meant well, even if they turn out to cause a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. In their lovemaking they’re sweet and giving as well, which makes that these scenes are not only hot, but also sensitive and affectionate.
• Great sexual tension Yep, there’s plenty of that! And how can that not be a good thing in an erotic romance, right? It’s excellently done and it makes this a fast paced, page turning story that I didn’t want to put down.
• Memorable hot scenes The Assignment does have a couple of hot scenes I won’t forget easily. One of them is when Sean tells other guests at the resort a bogus first-time story. This backstory is close to their real relationship except for the sex, which they hadn’t had yet at that point. He tells the made-up story while sitting on Nick’s lap, who’s sporting a huge erection at the time. Sean’s saving their asses and is voicing Nick’s deepest fantasy at the same time. The other one is memorable in a weird sense, because the setting is awkward. A very intimate and hot moment takes place between the two guys while they’re accidentally participating in a very publicly jerk off contest (how weird is that, huh?). Because of that odd and unlikely setting I also mention it as one of the Low Fives, but memorable it was! And well written as well.
• Single Point of View I started missing the POV of Sean. For the most part of the book it works great that only Nick’s POV is shown. It adds to the tension and it makes you feel his doubts and fears as if they were your own (so to speak). But at the moment that Nick’s fears let him behave in a way I didn’t agree with and when the lack of communication between the two guys starts to get annoying, I thought it was time for a POV switch. But that didn’t happen, grrrr…
• Early 1980s? It’s beyond me why Ms. Anderson had to date her story ‘Early 1980s’. I wondered about that for a while and it only made me realize that the guys would’ve been pushing the age of 60 in the year 2009 /:o. Luckily after the first chapter I forgot about it. Why did the author not just leave it to the imagination? Maybe it had to explain the lack of mobile phones when the guys are separated at the end?
• First names, last names It bugged me a bit that someone calls the one he loves by his last name. They switched between first and last names, but a definitive choice for the first name with the progress of their loving feelings would have been so much sweeter.
• Suspense? Like I said in my intro the publisher labeled this novel as romantic suspense. I thought the suspense storyline was a bit farfetched. It offered a good alibi for all the love scenes and it caused the kickoff of their relation to begin with, so it served a good purpose. But it got snowed under and the events became sort of unlikely. The guys are after this big drug baron who’s the owner of a gay resort, so they go undercover at that resort. But they hardly do any investigating. And when they sort of do, their personal issues get in the way. Not very professional... Even so, they know to arouse the suspicion of the bad guy. De drug baron exposes them and puts them in a highly unlikely situation, for a villain. For the love storyline it’s an excellent dilemma that brings the lovers to another level. But the suspense storyline gets wrapped up too quickly and not in a very satisfying way. Luckily I could easily discard that and concentrate on the romance part, but if you picked up this book for the suspense, it would’ve been rather disappointing I imagine.
• The RamJack? Really? The location of the gay resort, the RamJack, put the guys in some awkward situations. I can hardly believe that such a place could be for real. And some of the regular activities were downright weird, like the on stage jerk off and suck off contests. But even though the protags participated in one of them, which was in itself nonsensical, Ms Anderson turned it into a beautifully written love scene. By concentrating on the feelings and actions of the guys as if they were the only people in the room, she succeeded in helping me get over the awkward feeling I had about the surroundings. And the emotional scene afterwards was even better done.
So, these were my five highs and lows. I did like The Assignment quite a lot, because of the excellent writing, the great tension and the sweet, loveable characters. And although I had a few annoyances and questions, they didn't bother me enough to take away from my enjoyment of the story. It’s definitely a hot and erotic M/M romance!
I’ve finished both sequels I’ll Be Hot for Christmas and Fireworks as well, but maybe I’ll write about them another time. Both are short stories and a nice addition to the novel.(less)
This was a wonderful erotic, historical and romantic read. I'm not a huge fan of historical stories, but this one was really good. The historical deta...moreThis was a wonderful erotic, historical and romantic read. I'm not a huge fan of historical stories, but this one was really good. The historical details were not too elaborate and added a nice touch to the characters' issues. Rules of society that brings a man to duel for a woman's honor or make a woman an outcast because she's raped did give this story's heroine a believable struggle when the two men she loved did ask her to marry them.
The Courage to Love is a story of a menage a trois and there's a lot of sex going on. The erotic scenes are written very graphically and I recommend to read this novel with a fan and a glass of cold water at hand because it gets very, very steamy and hot. In the end there's also a sexy M/M scene: while the two male heroes started out as not being gay they are falling in love with each other as well after they're united with the woman they both love for years. The feelings of all characters are described very well and make this novel a great romance, besides that it's very sensual and hot. (less)
I’m a big fan of Lorelei James’ work ever since I discovered her...moreGenre & Keywords: Contemporary, Cowboys , Ménage, Dominant Man, Brooding Bad-Boy
I’m a big fan of Lorelei James’ work ever since I discovered her Rough Riders series when I was visiting a Barnes and Noble in New York. So on my first day in NY I stumbled on book 4 of Ms. James’ series: Tied Up, Tied Down. What I didn't know than is that Lorelei James is one of many erotic romance writers, but I still think she’s one of the best, so it was nonetheless a lucky hit. Of course I started reading her other books and I just finished Cowgirl Up an Ride, book 3 in the series.
I like to share my High 5, Low 5. The High Five are five things that have impressed me (with an emphasis on the author’s writing skills), and the Low Five are five things that had me shaking my head, made me wonder or regret.
• First of all, I think it’s amazing how Lorelei James keeps a firm grip on all the different characters and their adventures throughout the whole series. She weaves a large but solid web of all her protagonists, who are sometimes the main characters and in other books the supporting actors. It’s amazing to get to know this extensive family and their friends and love interests. It makes reading one of the Rough Riders books each time a pleasure and a feast of recognition. One of the strong features, even when you read one of the books as a standalone, is the extensive gathering of secondary characters. None of the couples are isolated from their surroundings, as you see in some other authors’ books. So the big supporting cast around Cord and AJ is definitely one of the highs in Cowgirl Up an Ride.
• Another high in Cowgirl Up an Ride are the great, lifelike dialogues. They make the encounters between the hero and heroine vivacious and easy to empathize with. The dialogue alternates well with the characters’ thoughts and reflections on the dialogue (mostly in italic). The last are oftentimes prompting a smile or a chuckle at least. Especially Cord speaking to himself in this way is disarming. Ms. James makes his struggle with himself and his assumptions and doubts very well visible. He’s so adorable with his hard, tough appearance and his vulnerability on the inside.
• Which brings me at the next high: the lovability of the protags. Both Cord and AJ are easy to like, not only because of their characteristics or appearance, but also thanks to their well drawn-out complexity. Ms. James makes you understand their behavior, even the hurtful and stupid actions. But most of all she made the two of them a believable couple, their chemistry is great, although their age difference is more than ten years. AJ is a beautiful, sweet, sassy, hard-working, self-sacrificing, virgin, who pursuits her goal determinedly. Cord is a hot, dominant gruff, stubborn, proud, responsible but empathic and good-hearted divorced rancher, who’s afraid to get hurt again. His persuasive actions at the end of the book to show AJ his love, after he finally had the guts to admit his feelings to himself, are totally alluring and had me falling in love with him.
• The love scenes are hot, frequent and never the same. I admire Ms. James’ skill to never repeat herself (by the way, not only in sex scenes but neither in plots or characterizations, within the rest of the series). I recall one of the many great love scenes when AJ was there for Cord after he got beaten up by his drunken brother and she gives him a – initially – relaxing massage. Cord completely submits to her, physically and emotionally, which is very sweet and touching.
• We got a sneak peek of Kade and Skylar’s relation, which will be told in book 4 of the Rough Riders series. I’ve already read that story, because it was my first book by Lorelei James and I didn’t realize then that is was part of a series. But now I’ve become to learn more of the McKay family I wanna reread Kade and Skylar’s story because I know I missed quite a few references to the other couples from the earlier and later books. Plus I wanna read their love story again with the extra background info about them.
I honestly can’t think of one single low. Even Cord’s goatee couldn’t turn me off, while I’m not a fan of permanent facial hair on my heroes (the non-permanent five o’clock stubble... now that I do like!). Probably because the goatee of the model on the cover looks really sexy. By the way, I LOVE the covers of the Rough Riders series! (there, another high sneaked in. So no lows I can think of for this book – can you tell I’m a fan?).
So, this were my five highs and zero lows. It won’t be a surprise that I strongly recommend Cowgirl Up and Ride. I promise, it won’t be a waste of your time. Enjoy!(less)