Expected Release Date: April 23, 2012 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Carina...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: April 23, 2012 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Carina Press Author’s Website: http://julianaross.com My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Hot
My biggest issue with this novella is that I’m just not a big fan of “blunt” or “crude” language in romances, nor do I care for anatomy lessons during lovemaking. It’s simply not a writing style that appeals to me. So you can probably understand when I say that this was actually a tough story to review. I loved the characters, with the unrepentantly wicked Leo and the blossoming widow Hannah taking center stage.
However, when a story is billed as an “erotic romance”, it’s very hard to rave about it when you didn’t actually care for the lovemaking. I loved the characters, and I enjoyed the plot, but the actual love scenes really didn’t do much for me.
So, in the end, I’d recommend this for fans of historical widows experiencing their first sexual awakening, bored rakes fighting their ennui with a forbidden affair, and explicit language to go along with the explicit romance.
Using "lathe" instead of "lave" is just as bad as using "waste" instead of "waist" in my mind. Two completely different words, two completely differen...moreUsing "lathe" instead of "lave" is just as bad as using "waste" instead of "waist" in my mind. Two completely different words, two completely different meanings. -1 star for that. Blech.
I love the premise -- marriage based on practical reasons (he a penniless lord, she a wealthy daughter of a merchant), she thinks he doesn't want her, he thinks it's wrong to be lustful with a wife.
Unfortunately, it just fell a bit flat for me. I think with very steamy lovemaking (there was crude language, light spanking, and light bondage), there needs to be a little more substance to the actual romance part in order to keep it from feeling like a bit of PWP.
Don't get me wrong; the author obviously has talent. I did enjoy the amount of emotions in the story, and the lovemaking was nice and steamy (once you got past the lathe thing...). I just think that this story would have greatly benefited from a longer word-count, perhaps with some background from BEFORE she bought the claret colored gown..
A short, sexy little read, With A Twist is based on a personal fantasy of the author.
On her fortieth birthday, Ava is sitting at a bar mulling over t...moreA short, sexy little read, With A Twist is based on a personal fantasy of the author.
On her fortieth birthday, Ava is sitting at a bar mulling over the mess of her personal life, how she's now middle-aged, overweight, and single since her skeevy ex-husband had run off with a young, perky, bleach-blonde bimbo. In walks the most delicious bad boy she's ever met, Shane, who just so happened to not only have been engaged to said bleach-blonde bimbo, but who is also insanely attracted to Ava's bombshell curves.
What follows is a fun, flirtatious, and incredibly sexy ride (no pun intended) that brings out Ava's sensuous side, as well as dabbles in very light bondage and anal play.
What worked for me: * What older woman hasn't had a fantasy (or five) of a hot, young bad boy coming in and sweeping them off their feet?
* The sexy times were very hot, with lots of bedroom talk, with just a dash of crude language. This appealed to me because crude language is a turn-off for me in erotica.
*I enjoyed the confrontation with the ex, as well as the family issues between Ava and her brother, and the slight bit of angst brought about by the obligatory "Big Misunderstanding"
What didn't work for me: * I didn't care for the author's note at the beginning that clued us into the fact that this fantasy was based on a fleeting experience from the author's life. While I know the old adage of "write what you know" is certainly true, this made me feel a little too voyeuristic for my tastes.
* Ava and Shane jumped straight into the ILY's after just a few days and a few nice tosses. I'm all for lust at first sight, but I prefer at least a couple weeks to pass before folks are ready to make a big commitment.
* I found it a little implausible that the ex and the bimbo would've shown up in that particular place/way, but I'm willing to forgive this because the ex was such an asshat that it's entirely possible he'd have done something like that for spite.
Readers should be aware that there is very light bondage and anal play, but nothing that sensitive readers should be too offended by.
Overall, it was a fun, sexy little read, and I'm going to say 3.5/5 Stars.(less)
Elyn Castel spent 50 years as the slave of a vampire sociopath. Now, thanks to cyborg bodyguard Jarl “Blade” Bladin, Kru...moreReviewed for The Romanceaholic
Elyn Castel spent 50 years as the slave of a vampire sociopath. Now, thanks to cyborg bodyguard Jarl “Blade” Bladin, Kruz is dead. But Blade is after Elyn now, and she has to do everything she can to get away from Blade. But that’s easier said than done…
This little erotica story starts off explosively — with Elyn running for her life from the assassin whose life she’d helped ruin.
What worked for me:
* I really enjoy the “enemies to lovers” plot device in romances, and this story is no exception. Having Blade out for revenge against everyone who’d caused the deaths of his team several months prior made his conflicting emotions for Elyn much more intense.
* I really liked that neither character was perfect. Blade made a very stupid mistake early on in the story in an attempt to be a smartass (his words), and Elyn literally threw herself in front of a blade later in the story because she didn’t take into account that as a Tekken, Blade could take care of himself better than she could.
What didn’t work for me:
* Elyn had been brutally and savagely raped and tortured for the entire 50 years that she’d been enslaved by the evil vampire Kruz and his lackeys, and yet, she shows absolutely no signs of this trauma when she not only set out to seduce Blade before the story began, but also shortly after he’d captured her. The second time comes directly on the heels of her being truly terrified by believing that Kruz was still alive and after her. This seemed to be too far at odds to her initial reaction to the possibility of Kruz being alive to be believable
* Elyn and Blade jumped into the ILY’s way too quickly for my tastes. Even though they had a very short previous history together, I wasn’t feeling the emotional connection that soon.
Overall, however, this spicy little short was a tasty treat, and the best part? Right now it’s only $0.99 for Kindle at Amazon.com
The year is 1902, and Winnifred Percy is tired of being the proper, polite, boring daughter of a prominent New York City family. She's anxiously await...more The year is 1902, and Winnifred Percy is tired of being the proper, polite, boring daughter of a prominent New York City family. She's anxiously awaiting her 21st birthday, still two years off, when she will gain access to a trust fund that will finally allow her to live. She wants to travel the world, have an adventure, and most decidedly not turn into her boring, staid, proper mother.
All of those dreams are shattered when it's announced that her father has sold her into marriage to an English Earl she's only met once -- without even asking her!
It's simply too much to be borne, so Winnifred hatches a plan to shock the Earl's sensibilities so that he won't have her!
Unfortunately for her, Sir David Knightsbridge, Earl of Wolshingham, desperately needs her money to pull the family estates back from the bankruptcy his scapegrace father has almost forced them into. When Winn tries to shock the Earl, he informs her in no uncertain terms that even if she is the whore she is acting like, there's no escaping the bargain made between David and her father, so she'd better get used to it!
Realizing her plan is foiled, she reveals that she was only trying to drive him away, and that her biggest fears are turning into a Proper Society Matron like her mother. David, however, surprises her by encouraging her to enjoy life, so long as he's the one by her side when she does it.
Just when the young lovers think that things will work themselves out, gossip turns to scandal, threatening to ruin the love they've only just begun to discover.
What worked for me: *I'm a big fan of arranged marriages in romance. Something about being forced to be together and yet working things out for a happy ending greatly appeals to me.
*I adored Margaret. :D
*I liked that Winn's father was very much in love with his wife, and never partook of the pleasures offered at the brothel run by one of his biggest clients. That was quite refreshing, especially since he was one of the "bad guys" so to speak in the story.
*I literally laughed out loud when Winn read the naughty French diary to David while her mother was in the room (never fear -- her mother couldn't understand a word of French)
What didn't work for me:
*I'm not a big fan of crude sexual language in my romance, even in erotic romance. It's just not my thing. Kitty cats, roosters, words that rhyme with "punt" all abound in this story, and I personally could've done without it.
*I really did not like David in the beginning. He comes across less like an "alpha male" and more like a big bully. I don't like when heroes grope the heroine the first time they meet, especially when it's a case of asserting their authority rather than both of them being overcome with lust.
My view of him did change, however, as he began to become entranced by Winn and when he decided that he wanted her to be happy with him.
*There was at least one (I say two, really) Too Stupid To Live moments that really annoyed me. The first is how one of the rumors got started and the last was right before the end.
Overall, I was quite pleased with the story. It was a fun time period to be set in, what with Coney Island, "horseless carriages", and crank telephones. I haven't read many stories set during this time period and found it to be quite enjoyable. As I mentioned, I could've done without David's initial bullying, and without the crude language, but I did feel as though the characters were well-developed and that there was genuine caring and chemistry between them, especially towards the end.
I had high hopes for this book, because I really enjoyed Gabriel's character in The Lover, and was looking forward to re...moreWell color me disappointed. :(
I had high hopes for this book, because I really enjoyed Gabriel's character in The Lover, and was looking forward to reading his story. Unfortunately, it fell a bit short in my opinion. The twist, while surprising, was a bit contrived (even moreso that "the man" in The Lover), and again the technical jargon during sex was a put-off for me. I don't know if it bothered me more in this book because it was more prolific, or if it was merely my getting bogged down from it having read three Robin Schone books in a row.
What worked for me: *Oooh the twist as to why Gabriel hated Michael *falls over* Even though it falls under the "contrived" description I mentioned above, it was still a "Say what??" moment, in a good way.
*The concept -- gutter born bastard who's been raped and abused and prostituted all his life to the point that he hasn't touched another human being in over a decade falls for a spinster governess who's fallen on such desperate times that she's auctioning off her virginity to the highest bidder. Would've been better had they not had the whole "second man orchestrating everything solely to ruin his life just because of the mess that went down in the first novel with Michael", but hey, I'm not all THAT picky
*How Victoria refused to give up on Gabriel, and how Gabriel longed to find a woman who would accept him for what he was, good and bad, light and dark, and make all that he'd suffered worthwile *swoon*
*Unlike other reviewers, I DID feel that there was love between Gabriel and Victoria. I admit it wasn't the sappy, besotted kind, but was instead the I-don't-WANT-to-love-you type, but still, I felt the love :)
*Still got that issue with the servants I mentioned in my last review, but not NEARLY to the point of the other novels, so I'm counting that as a favorable point :)
What didn't work for me: *Sex reading like a technical manual. Again. All this talk of vaginas and clitorises (clitori?), and vuvlas and penises and so forth are just flat out not sexy.
*I swear, if she'd referred to the electrical lights as "blinding", or the flyaway hairs on Gabriel's head as "areola" ONE MORE BLOODY TIME, this book would've been in the DNF category rather than read. It's called a thesaurus. Use it.
*The buttsecks made me laugh. I don't think buttsecks is supposed to be funny, but I'm not kidding you, it wasn't until almost a chapter after everyone was done orgasming that I was actually certain that buttsecks had even occurred. I mean, yeah, I knew they'd scrumped, but for an author who's so determined to use the word "vagina" in every third paragraph, you'd think she could've made it a little more clear of what was actually going on. Though, I suppose on further reflection, the absence of the word "vagina" should've been enough to confirm that it was, in fact, buttsecks.
*What the hell is up with the modiste? Just. Really. And forcing Victoria to be naked all the time, from the first undressing to the appointment with the modiste, to the being clad only in a towel while Gaston was in there, to the final twisty bit of being spied on during sex with Gabriel. I swear I was starting to think this was a Jaid Black novel or something. Oi.
You HAVE to read the first book in the series or you won't know wtf is going on. This is more like "Part II" of The Lover rather than a standalone sequel.
So, not to the standard of her other books that I've read, but not quite a wall-banger. 3 Stars(less)
Holy cow I've got mixed feelings on this one! It was DARK and gritty and horrifying and sexy and sweet and romantic, all wrapped up into one crazy lit...moreHoly cow I've got mixed feelings on this one! It was DARK and gritty and horrifying and sexy and sweet and romantic, all wrapped up into one crazy little package.
What worked for me: *Male prostitute hero and a spinster heroine. Oh yeah, I'm a sucker for stuff like that *I would liken Michel/Michael to an Anne Stuart hero -- tortured, earthy, at times very cruel, while at the same time both resistant and deliciously befuddled by the feelings elicited by the heroine. I was especially reminded of an AS hero by the hatpin bit. *Gabriel. Oh my word. I'm reading his story next, and I hope it lives up to my expectations because WOWZA is he a tortured man or WHAT? *The sex. Holeeshizz there was some hot loving in this book! *The murder mystery. I can honestly say the whole bit with "the man" was very intriguing and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the story, and I didn't even guess the twist until it was revealed.
What didn't work for me: *Technical language is a turn-off for me in erotica/romance. Vagina, clitoris, penis, and so forth get old after a while. Not saying that it should be all "purple-headed warriors" and "quivering mounds of love pudding" or anything (10 points to anyone who gets the reference on that btw), but still, I tend to go for euphemisms in general with a light sprinkling of technical/crude speak *One trend I'm noticing with her books is a tendency to have the servants be two-faced and easily bribed, to the great detriment of the main characters. While I'm sure this is quite accurate historically, it's still depressing as hell to think you're not even safe from the people you live with. *The gore, specifically in descriptions about Michael's childhood. Seriously y'all, don't read that chapter while eating *gag* *The banana. All I could think was "wow, that's an infection just WAITING to happen!" LOL
Other minor points of note: *There's a tiny bit of backdoor luvin, but with hands only and a bit of talk about the possibility of more. *There is a lot of talk of child abuse, child molestation and child prostitutes (by modern definitions). The point is made in the book that back then, the age of consent was 13, but that doesn't lessen what actually happened.
Overall, I really liked it. Be warned this is NOT a straight-up erotica story. It's very dark, very earthy, and very angsty, but overall, I'm going to have to say 4 Stars.(less)
What I liked: *True-to-the-times attitudes about women and sex, including the idea that she could be committed to an insane asylu...more**spoiler alert** Guh.
What I liked: *True-to-the-times attitudes about women and sex, including the idea that she could be committed to an insane asylum for "nymphomania" just because she wanted to experience passion and *gasp* orgasms. *The UST. Oh holy HELL the UST *falls over* So yeah, this is erotica. There's a looooot of explicit sex. However, the whole first half of the book is positively dripping with UST (yes, that pun was intended lol) *The smexin once it did get started. I liked that it was definitely erotica without resorting to a lot of the just plain gross words and descriptions that a lot of other stories do. While technical words (such as the one that starts with a V and rhymes with angina) abound, there's no seeyounexttuesday's or kitty cat references, which was a nice change of pace. *It was a love story!!! So much erotica is pure smut (which hey! it has its place!), but this story was, in the end, two lost, hurt, and unfulfilled people finding completion (not a pun!) in one another.
What I didn't like: *Infidelity. I know, I know, it's almost different when it's justified (and boy howdy, if adultery was ever justified, I think this would be the case), but it still squicks me. I'm able to forgive it, though, because there's no other premise that would actually have thrown these two together for these "lessons" unless it turned into some strange The Story of O type deal *I think I would love a sequel. There are several loose ends that I would love to have tied up (heh. tied up.) Specifically, I would love to see a reconciliation between our hero and his father, or maybe even better, a reconciliation between the hero's parents. *Not really comfortable with the whole "bathing with the future mother-in-law" thing lol *What happened to Richard. I understand fully why it was included, but that broke my heart.
"Beauty and the Brute" by Virginia Henley *** Not really my cuppa. 13 year old (rather plain) girl and 18 year old (rather asshatty) boy are forced to...more"Beauty and the Brute" by Virginia Henley *** Not really my cuppa. 13 year old (rather plain) girl and 18 year old (rather asshatty) boy are forced to marry in an arranged marriage that is to be "a marriage in name only", then she's to go to finishing school and he's to go on a Grand Tour of the Continent. They absolutely despise each other on sight and are quite nasty to each other in the very short time they know each other.
Three years pass and she's turned into a gorgeous (of course), refined young lady (who still hates her husband of course) and he's grown into a (hunky) man with a conscience and who, thankfully, seems to have reformed his nasty ways (and again, thankfully, doesn't seem to have spent his entire Grand Tour whoring it up -- I despise that sort of thing btw).
He comes back to London and sees her, not knowing she's actually his wife, and is immediately in love lust with his estranged wife. She, on the other hand, still hates him and wants revenge, and plans on making him fall in love with her so she can then toss him aside and let him feel some of the hurt and humiliation he dealt her when they first met.
Now, remember, she's 16 and he's 21. That right there is the first strike against them in my book. Yes, yes, that's common in those days and she's probably lucky he didn't demand to consummate the marriage at age 13, and blah blah blah but still. Yuck.
Second, there was a LOT of "cock" and "mons" talk that really threw me off, because for some reason I wasn't really expecting more than maybe a "rod" or "secret place" reference lol Totally my bad, but still, threw me off.
Third, the revenge bit just seemed ridiculous to me. I get that she's 16 and has been pissed off for three years, but I can't help but feel as though she should've just refused to let him share her bed rather than screw his brains out and then be all like "I don't want anything to do with you and was just waiting for you to say you loved me so I could rebuff you and make you feel stupid. So nah."
Yeah, like I said, just not my cuppa. Three Stars
"How to Seduce a Wife" by Kate Pearce ***** This story was SO familiar -- has it been published elsewhere before? I swear to you I've read the whole "pirate fantasy at a brothel" thing between a husband and wife.
I think this was my favorite of the three stories.
Hero and heroine have been married not quite a year, and the hero's dad was a total womanizing/gambling ASSHAT, so despite the fact the hero used to be a hoar himself, he's 100% reformed his ways and become boring as hell very respectful, especially where it concerns his wife and the marriage bed.
She, on the other hand, thought that marrying a man with a reputation like his (that is, one of a total man hoar), would be delightful, especially in regards to the marriage bed.
So the story opens with our hero preparing to very politely visit his wife's bed (having already let her know ahead of time, because, like I said, he's super stuffy and boring considerate like that). Only, things don't go as planned, for when he enters her room, he finds that not only is she not ready to receive him, but she's deep into a gothic novel (where a dastardly pirate is about to ravish the innocent lady HEY-O!) and is quite frankly a bit annoyed at being interrupted.
The conversation that follows is not only hilarious, but REALISTIC to me -- I can easily imagine during those times, a woman who entered a marriage with a man of a certain reputation with the ladies, being a bit disappointed at the lack of enthusiasm and enjoyment to be found in the marriage bed. I mean, c'mon ladies, if you married a man who known for his sexual prowess, and he never even bothered to disrobe you or engage in ANY foreplay, wouldn't you be put out (hehe pun intended)?
So presented with the revelation that his Wife is also a *gasp* Woman, our hero sets out to seduce and please her, even going so far as to take her to a bawdy house where they can engage in the pirate/lady fantasy straight out of her favorite gothic novel.
LOVED this story, even if there was the slight squick factor in being taken to a "pleasure house" that your husband used to frequent before you got married (IDK, that just woulda bugged me -- even knowing he had "a reputation", I don't think I'd want it rubbed in my face that he used to go to these places, but that's just me). 5 Stars
"Not Quite a Courtesan" by Maggie Robinson **** Not as good as "How To Seduce A Wife", it was still a good story.
Our heroine is a buttoned up, older (late twenties) widow, who'd had a VERY bad experience with a fortune hunter -- in trying to escape her oppressive life, she ran off and eloped at a young age with a fortune hunter, who was not only lousy in bed, but who also ended up getting himself killed climbing out of his mistress' window (and having been shot by the irate husband).
Her young cousin has eloped with a young scoundrel fortune hunter, and while Pru (our heroine) is desperately trying to protect her, it seems that nobody wants her help or even wants her around (ungrateful chit).
The fortune hunter's brother is a dealer in erotic antiquities, which result in some absolutely hilarious discourse, and there's a ruby ring made to look like a vajayjay and an ivory dildo, hay fever, and just a lot of fun all around. Very enjoyable story. Solid 4 Stars
So, overall rating for the anthology? I say 4 Stars. I could've completely skipped the first, but the second and third make it a worthwhile read.(less)
Don't get me wrong, I'm as into a good old fashioned PWP ("Plot? What plot?") story as the next gal.
But th...more**spoiler alert** Meh. Not really my thing..
Don't get me wrong, I'm as into a good old fashioned PWP ("Plot? What plot?") story as the next gal.
But this one just didn't do it for me.
I really wanted to like it. The premise is great -- BBW hooks up with an uber-hot vampire alpha male for a weekend of amazing sex, only he was expecting a thin, blonde, white chick, and, well, our heroine isn't any of these.
PERFECT SETUP for both some amazing angst and awesome smexin, doncha think?
Only.. It wasn't... Both the hero and heroine were practically bipolar with their mood swings, the whole "in blood" thing was a bit squicky for me, but beyond that, the hero goes out and bangs other people... Wait, no, not only does he go bang other people, but we get the joy (sarcasm) of reading it in full descriptive glory.
Now IDK, I don't read a whole heck of a lot of "erotica" (I typically prefer smutty romances that are less about the "sperm" and tons of other graphically explicit words and phrases that I can't type in my review, and more about the hot-banging-leading-to-true-love), so that definitely could be my problem with this book... It's just that I want my hero to, well, be faithful. There's nothing sexy about a man going off and @#$%ing some other chick (especially not in explicit detail) while he's trying to work out his new connection/feelings/desires/whatever with the heroine. And then for her to find out about it and forgive him (and then tumble into bed with him) in the span of a five minute conversation?
*shakes head* Not sexy.
Not to mention, who the heck has a "fantasy" about having unprotected sex? I mean, I get the wanting to go without a condom, especially if you're going to be with someone who can't carry/transmit STI's, but to intentionally stop taking your birth control two weeks before a wild weekend? Srsly? *shakes head*
But, like I said, I'm not as into the straight "erotica" type novels as I am into "erotic romance" (keyword being romance).. Stuff like Larissa Ione or Lisa Marie Rice, so take my review with a big grain of salt.