A decent Christmas read but overall it didn't work well enough for me to give it 4 stars. Often in a Blaze the sex overwhelms the plot, but here just...moreA decent Christmas read but overall it didn't work well enough for me to give it 4 stars. Often in a Blaze the sex overwhelms the plot, but here just the reverse happens. If the mystery was more interesting that might still work, but I found it rather dull. It was written in a plodding police procedural manner (now let's go interview witness X) that squashed any excitement right out of it. And as for the sex, there were only 2 sex scenes in the entire book. Not what I expect from a Blaze. There were some nice kissing scenes, several in fact and hot. But it started to feel like the author tossed one in whenever the plot got bogged down. Overall this was more of a damp squib than a Blaze.(less)
I highly recommend this anthology of 3 erotic stories, with the last one being a gem and particularly suited for the Christmas season. All are well-wr...moreI highly recommend this anthology of 3 erotic stories, with the last one being a gem and particularly suited for the Christmas season. All are well-written, with decent plots and highly indecent sex scenes :-)
Adam & Evil - 5 stars The shortest at 50 pages, this shows Jaid Black's trademark humor and D/s sex. Julia is an alpha woman who despises her father's match-making attempts. She puts on the nasty to scare away daddy's latest robot. Sam however is no robot, he's unfazed by her rudeness - her curvy body fazes him fast though. When their plane goes down near a deserted island, Sam wastes no time putting on the moves and finds out that feisty Julia is delightfully submissive when it comes to sex. But will what happened on the island stay on the island, once they're back to their real lives?
Holly - 3 stars This story features explicit BDSM, with a woman who's been hurt by a previous Dom and needs to heal. This should have been right up my alley, but it left me cold for a reason I can't quite put my finger on. Ethan is rich, well-built, dominant, so why aren't I drooling over him? Maybe Holly's past requires him to pull his punches too much, so to speak, and the BDSM scenes fall flat for me as a result. Maybe it's because Holly is an experienced submissive, she's done it all before, and I prefer a couple to experiment together. Who knows? The writing is good, although the dialogue gets a bit stilted at times.
His Christmas Cara - 5 stars The longest novella here, this shows Shiloh Walker's special mix of sweet and sexy. Based upon A Christmas Carol (of course) Eben Marley is the corporate jerk who's visited by spirits. Cara is the woman he's hurt in the past - they had sex one night and he transferred her into another division the next day so he wouldn't have to see her. He now resolves to go after her. Cara is sweet but no pushover, she loves Eben but she's wary of getting hurt again. The sex scenes are erotic but full of feeling too. A warm read for Christmas :-)
(Note: there are no menages/infidelity/abuse except for Holly - the story opens with her being abused by her former Dom). (less)
A re-read of a story I first read back in the 80's in my teen Victoria Holt phase. Unfortunately it's one of her books that dwells too much on the her...moreA re-read of a story I first read back in the 80's in my teen Victoria Holt phase. Unfortunately it's one of her books that dwells too much on the heroine's childhood and family. The hero doesn't even make an appearance until page 100. The first 1/2 of the book was dedicated to the sad story of the heroine's mother and the history of the famed Green Opal and of opal mining. The heroine (her real name is Opal) has more scenes with the codgy old opal miner than she ever gets with the hero. I got totally bored with opals and the endless conversations about past events. And opals.
With this set up, the hero would have to be something really special to redeem this book. Unfortunately he just ... wasn't. He's proud all right, feels rejected by the heroine who insists on a marriage-in-name-only, but his flirting with the OW for spite is just childish. He actually gifts her a valuable opal under the heroine's nose. The Green Opal turns out to be missing, but the whole opal-opal-who's-got-the-opal mystery was a bore. VH throws in a murder of course, but it occurs too late in the book to really spice things up. And the murderer turns out to be a crazy bat, driven crazy by the Green Opal. Natch.
I did not feel any passion in the romance. There wasn't even any passionate kissing. And the ILY's at the end were hard to believe. So overall it's a dud for me. And I'm avoiding opals from now on. (less)
This book has a lot of the things that I've come to dislike about VH's books. The long opening chapters about the heroine's childhood and family. The...moreThis book has a lot of the things that I've come to dislike about VH's books. The long opening chapters about the heroine's childhood and family. The non-appearance of the hero until page 100 or 150 or worse. The lack of any passion, even passionate kissing. The hard-to-believe or totally absent ILY's. The first-person POV.
Still, still... I enjoyed this one. The volcanic island scenes were good, maybe cuz you just knew what was gonna happen. The heroine's impersonation - will she/won't she get away with it? The suspicious hero. The deadly family secrets. The taciturn servant. The gradual revelation of the impersonated woman's true character. Is the hero a murderer? Even the first-person POV works, as you feel the net tightening along with the heroine. I was totally absorbed and had to keep reading to see what would happen.
The heroine is likable, and sympathetic despite her deceit. Unfortunately the hero didn't make a strong impression. I never felt I got to know him. And the romance suffers.
So I'm torn. As a romance, it's barely 2*. But as a cracking good read, it's 4*.
PS. hero and heroine are second cousins, from what I can make of the convoluted family tree. So don't read if that kind of thing squicks your boat.(less)
'Sanny Joy Copeland, itinerant journalist.' 'Sanny Joy,' he repeated slowly, as if tasting the words. 'I like it.' 'I hate it. It sounds like the name...more'Sanny Joy Copeland, itinerant journalist.' 'Sanny Joy,' he repeated slowly, as if tasting the words. 'I like it.' 'I hate it. It sounds like the name of a toilet bowl cleaner.'
With this brilliant start, we launch on a heavily dialogue-centric, unusual HP set in Africa. The banter is very enjoyable, at least for the 1st 1/2 of the story. The plot is good and the writing is good, but the pacing didn't quite work for me. I liked the banter in the beginning but it does get old after a while, and I found myself wanting something more substantial that I could sink my teeth into. Then the pace picks up with the sex and the flashbacks and angsting. Then it bogs down again in the heroine's bizarre dreams and more snark. And so on.
Overall though it is a good read. The heroine is likable despite pushing everyone away. I felt her angst very well, but did get impatient with her toward the end. The hero is likable too and pleasingly persistent/stalkerific, without ever being a jerk. He's a bit bland, having some of his POV would make me feel that I got to know him better. It's nice to see an ordinary guy as a HP hero though, and I really appreciated that he wasn't some Greek/Spanish/Italian gazillionaire. The sexual tension is hot in the 1st 1/2, but the sex when it comes is not graphic. The ending is sweet and appropriate.
I love unusual settings in my HP's and have to give the Africa locale big points. It's almost a 3rd character in the story, it's so omni-present. Wonderful description of landscape, villages, beaches, foods, rundown hotels. Brings this up to a good 4*. (less)
what I liked - the writing, was smooth and flowed well - lots of angst but didn't bog down into endless inner monologues - good dialogue, not hateful...morewhat I liked - the writing, was smooth and flowed well - lots of angst but didn't bog down into endless inner monologues - good dialogue, not hateful bickerfests - hero, didn't descend into jerkdom and couldn't help treating heroine sweetly at times - heroine, wasn't TSTL but bit too self-sacrificing - very steamy for a HP - no virginity-as-proof-of-innocence or oops-pregnancy tropes - the ending
what I didn't like - spineless mother who wouldn't divorce abusive hubs even though she had million $ of real estate to fall back on - heroine didn't tell mother what her hubs was forcing her to do and drag stoopid mom outta there - heroine playing up (or down) to hero's poor opinion of her, why must they always do that?
what I didn't understand - pimp stepdaddy's scheme, how was heroine seducing hero supposed to sabotage his business deal?
classic Harlequin moment: heroine getting groped by stepdad's creepy pal and hero jealously assuming she's lining up her next sugar daddy. Oy! (less)
No time to write a proper review but here are my random notes.
- didn't like the overly sunny, Pollyanna-ish, doormat, gave-up-her-life-for-family her...moreNo time to write a proper review but here are my random notes.
- didn't like the overly sunny, Pollyanna-ish, doormat, gave-up-her-life-for-family heroine, LG did a much better job with the heroine in Spanish Groom
- didn't like the hero, too much a jerkwad, too much abusive language, the 'you're a slut cuz you gave up your virginity to me' scene
- didn't like the sex scene at the start, reading about characters having sex when I'm not invested in them makes me feel skeevy
- too many misunderstandings
- too much talk about her turquoise eyes and his glorious cheekbones, and at the most bizarre times too, like in the middle of an angry exchange: "That's absolutely horrible!" The faintest tinge of dark colour demarcated the angular bronzed planes of the aristocratic cheekbones that enhanced his superb bone structure. "That isn't how it was!"
- most crazy HP moment: the bitchy sister who breaks them up with lies
- best seduction line evah: "I'll buy you chocolate every day"
- liked how the hero felt insecure at the end, was so jealous of Ben, and was the one that wanted marriage
- liked that the heroine wouldn't marry him without ILY's despite being prego
- the last 50 pages was the best and brought it up from 2* to 3* for me (less)