Elle Kennedy's The Strong, Silent Type - I can't wait for more in this new series that spins-off from the Out of Uniform books.
InnocSo far I've read:
Elle Kennedy's The Strong, Silent Type - I can't wait for more in this new series that spins-off from the Out of Uniform books.
Innocent Burned by Eliza Gayle - Be warned!! This is a prequel novella that does NOT - I repeat - does NOT have a HEA. My advice: don't read until the first book comes out, because waiting WILL be a bitch. :)
I really enjoyed this one. All the stories were cute, although for some reason historical romance novellas seem so much shorter than contemporary/paraI really enjoyed this one. All the stories were cute, although for some reason historical romance novellas seem so much shorter than contemporary/paranormal. But enjoyable reads! B
The Nalini Singh story was amazing, I love Bastien. His heroine was amazing standing up to Mercy too, LOVED them both.
The Ilona Andrews story is....The Nalini Singh story was amazing, I love Bastien. His heroine was amazing standing up to Mercy too, LOVED them both.
The Ilona Andrews story is.... there are no words. I loved Jim before. After reading this, Jim is on the same level as Curran for me. Oh god, I loved it so hard. **Disclaimer: I work with Ilona, I'm totally biased, but right in my assessment of this story. ;)**
I'd never read Lisa Shearin before, but after reading this story, I will absolutely be picking up her books. Loved the set up to this UF series, can't wait to read more.
The final story from Meljean Brooks alter ego is the Barbarian Romance I've been waiting for. It felt a lot more like a fantasy romance than anything, and although I had a couple issues with it, it was still pretty epic. :)
An amazing anthology with stories from 4 incredible authors that readers will NOT want to miss out on. ...more
I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect with this anthology, but I have to admit that I absolutely LOVED the fact that all the stories took place in the same town, and that the characters overlapped. It was such a neat little thing that you don’t normally see in anthologies. That being said, I am going to rate each story on its own.
Heart of the Storm by Shannon Stacey
Brody left Tucker’s Point in the middle of the night, leaving behind his family and fiance. Coming back isn’t what he wants to do, but spending time with his newborn nephew is an opportunity he can’t pass up. But the worst winter storm of the year has him trapped with his family, old neighbors, and of course the woman he left behind: Delaney. Just seeing her brings back all the love he once felt for her, and leaving Tucker’s Point without her is no longer an option.
I adored this story. I’m a huge sucker for second chance love stories, and this one was just too damned cute. I thought poor Delaney was such a strong character, and I loved that she wasn’t so willing to accept Brody with open arms right away. She was very worried, and rightfully so, to just jump back into a relationship, but the history between them was almost too much to overcome.
Although Delaney was hesitant to start back up again, I do wish that they wouldn’t have jumped back into such a serious romantic entanglement so quickly. But I could also see why being stuck in such close confinements would force them to make a rash decision so quickly. I wish that we would get the chance to see more of them after the storm, to see if they could weather through the rest of life together. I give Heart of the Storm a B
Seeing Red by Jennifer Greene
Whitney is back in Tucker’s Point for one quick thing: to search her grandparents home for a mysterious box. Getting stuck in the storm is an unfortunate event, but one she is somewhat prepared for. Luckily for her, her grandparent’s house is in Red’s disaster zone, so getting checked on by her high school crush is enough to keep her toasty warm.
I’ve read Greene in the past, but this story was enough to convince me I need to read more and more from her. I loved the opportunity that Whitney and Red had to reconnect, especially since they both were secretly crushing on one another in high school. I thought their romance was sweet and cute, and absolutely heartwarming. Add in the sub-plot with the missing little girl and her rescue, and this was such a sweet and adorable contribution to the anthology.
After reading this, I’m definitely going to go back and check Greene’s backlist of stories. I thought both Whitney and Red were too cute together, and I really enjoyed their sweet and sexy romance. I give Seeing Red a B+
Land’s End by Barbara Dunlop
When Tessa broke off her engagement with Colton it was because she wasn’t happy with the way she felt herself changing. But six months later, she still misses him like crazy. When he shows up at her family estate, hoping to turn it into a swanky resort, Tessa can’t deny the attraction is still there. But getting engaged to Colton again is both exciting and horrifying at the same time.
I enjoyed this second chance love story, but was a little frustrated with the heroine. Tessa can’t seem to communicate with Colton, and instead runs from her life. She doesn’t know how to tell him that she doesn’t want to be this perfect ideal woman, so instead she pretends and then runs when it gets too hard. Because of it, I was concerned that Colton never got to know the real woman.
I did enjoy their romance though. I think Dunlop did a good job of showcasing Tessa in all her crazy ways, so that Colton got a chance to get to see who Tessa really was. I loved that they kept collecting people from the storm, and were acting as caretakers for anyone who needed shelter.
I thought this was a super cute and sweet story, and I felt like Tessa and Colton’s relationship was totally believable. While I’m not sure that their relationship will always be easy, it was fun to see them try and get to the bottom of who they each were, and what they wanted. I’d love the chance to see more of these characters in the future. I give Land’s End a B
All in all I thought this was a wonderful little anthology with a great premise. I loved the fact that they all tied in together, and that the characters made guest appearances in one another’s stories. I hope to see more anthologies like this, that tie in together, in the future. What a fun idea! I give Snow Day a B+...more
I loved the stories from Clare and Frederick. Another sexy Games novel that was super fun. And getting to see Noah & Grace's HEA was amazing!! TheI loved the stories from Clare and Frederick. Another sexy Games novel that was super fun. And getting to see Noah & Grace's HEA was amazing!! The third story was way too religious, and very Sound of Music-ish. Didn't like it very much. ...more
I love the Carina Press holiday anthologies, and this year I couldn’t wait to see what Angela James had in store for us. The contemporary romance lover in me was super excited to see so many contemp stories this year, and getting the chance to read more of a new favorite, Alison Packard, was an extra special treat. Two of the stories in this anthology I absolutely adored, and unfortunately the third was a little lost on me.
A Christmas for Carrie by Alison Packard
Carrie has never enjoyed Christmas, especially since her father died and mother left home. But ever since running into Nick at the coffee shop, Carrie has pledged to give Christmas a chance. With Nick showing her the Holiday spirit, it’s hard not to fall in love with both the season, and the man who was once her study partner.
This is a short story that takes place in Packard’s series on stand alone titles that are all loosely connected. I loved her previous baseball book, so getting a glimpse at another sports-like hero, Nick the agent, was a fun little treat.
I liked the fact that Carrie was the one to look down on Christmas, and how Nick did anything and everything he could think of to bring her around to the joy of the season. I loved their romance and how it was quick to build on the friendship they had in high school. I thought Packard did a wonderful job of building the romance up slowly, and how they really did work on becoming friends again, before worrying and stressing about moving their relationship forward.
All in all this story was by far my favorite in the anthology, and I can’t wait for Packard’s next full length book. I *think* we got a little sneak peak at the hero, and I’m so excited to read more about him, as well as Nick and Carrie. I give A Christmas for Carrie an A
Christmas Curveball by Shari Mikels
Mikels is a debut author, and her story about Rachel falling in love with her brother’s best friend was so cute! I loved the fact that although Rachel knew she had been in love with Kevin most of her life, she was also aware of how difficult his lifestyle was. It wasn’t until she came knocking on his door during the holidays that Kevin realized how much he wanted Rachel in his life.
I, personally, adore the older brother’s best friend trope. I loved the way that Rachel was able to tease Kevin about their past, and use their deep friendship to help him out of the funk that his life without baseball had become. I thought the scene where she revealed that she had spied on him and her brother was too perfect!
Another aspect I loved about this story was how Kevin was so determined to win Rachel, in spite of all the hesitancies she showed. Rachel was so worried about not being enough, about Kevin’s womanizing past, that she was more than a little gun-shy. Watching Kevin woo her in all the ways he could think of was so wonderful, and really endeared the story that much more!
All in all I thought this was a fabulous debut from Mikels, and I am absolutely looking forward to more. I thought the romance was super sweet and I loved both Rachel and Kevin. I give Christmas Curveball a B+
Kissing Her Scrooge by Kinley Cade
Hannah does her very best to make Christmas better than last year, despite how many people she drives batty. But the one man who catches her eye is Griff, the local Scrooge. The two are an unlikely pair, but the tension between them continues to drive them together. Possibly forever.
I really did not connect with this story at all. I thought Hannah was selfish and wishy-washy and the kind of heroine that I wasn’t at all interested in becoming invested in. Add in her meddlesome and immature sisters and I didn’t really have any interest in reading this story after only a few paragraphs, but I stuck with it.
I thought Griff was a good hero, but I really struggled with understanding why he was with Hannah. I never felt their attraction, and I couldn’t understand why he dealt with her obsessive desire to make Christmas perfect.
All in all I really didn’t like this story. I struggled with the heroine, the romance, and the overall plot didn’t hook me as much as other Christmas stories I’ve read in the past. I give Kissing Her Scrooge a D
Overall I thought this was another strong and wonderful Carina Press Holiday anthology. I adored Packard and Mikels’ contributions and thought they were both fabulous Christmas novellas. Another fabulous read for contemporary romance fans looking for additional Christmas stories to read this year! I give For My Own a B
When Sorenson asked for a review I was pretty excited to read her contribution. I’ve enjoyed her suspense books in the past and was looking forward to seeing what she could do with a short story. It wasn’t until I finished reading both stories that I found out the Brockmann story was re-released from an older Silhouette book. There were probably about twenty times I thought about quitting mid-way through her contribution, but stuck with it. Had I known it was a previously released title, I have to say I probably would have put that story to rest and skipped directly to Sorenson’s story.
Scenes of Passion was a second chance love story about Maggie and her childhood buddy Matt. Matt had always had a crush on Maggie, but between his on again off again relationship with her best friend, it never went anywhere. Now that Matt is back and needs Maggie’s help, they are free to explore the attraction between them.
I really felt like this book was older than it’s original 2003 release date. It felt almost “retro” in it’s contemporary category. I’m not a huge fan of category books from the 90s and early 2000s, so my problems with this novella were plentiful. Maggie let everyone and their mother (hell, her own mother) walk all over her. She was a doormat and although she loathed it about herself, she never got the gumption to make a change. She was content just floating through life hating everything. It was so annoying. Then, once she got the stomach to stand up for herself, it seemed like she constantly second guessed herself. I needed more from her.
Matt was a little better, but I had a hard time with their romance because of Maggie’s obnoxious ways. Why he continued to put up with her, especially after she flipped out on him, was something I couldn’t understand.
I really didn’t enjoy the first story at all, but was glad that the Sorenson novella made up for it. In Scenes of Peril, Paige is stranded at her cabin home during a horrible storm when she takes in a reckless driver. Colin can’t remember anything that happened the day he was rescued by Paige, but after just a few short days together, the attraction is more than either can stand. But a stalker has been waiting to make the move on Colin, and won’t let Paige get in her way.
I thought Sorenson did a great job with throwing a little bit of the classic suspense she is known for, while balancing the romance. I thought Paige and Colin had a very QUICK but sweet courtship. I always struggle with characters who get their HEA after just a day or two, but these two worked for me. Probably because they were committed to each other, but also to taking it slow. I needed that for their characters, and was so glad to see the way it all worked out for them.
I liked the twist of Colin having memory loss because of the car accident, because I think it added a lot to not only the suspense subplot, but also because it gave them the chance to really focus on nothing but each other and getting better. Along with the storm, it added another layer to the little cocoon they had going on in Paige’s cabin.
All in all I really liked one story, and really disliked the other. Brockmann fans might enjoy this previously released novella, however fans of Sorenson may want to just give this one a skip. If I had to rate Scenes of Passion as a solo book, I would give it a D-. However, Sorenson gave us a wonderfully short story about two people caught up in the pain of their pasts that want to move forward and find something and someone special. I adored their romance and would give Scenes of Peril a B+. Overall, I give the Passion and Peril duology a C....more
I love Christmas stories, so getting the chance to read three new-to-me authors, and two old favorites doing a theme I absolutely love was great fun. While I didn’t like all the stories, there were some goodies in this anthology.
Dream a Little Dream by Jill Shalvis
I absolutely adored Ian and Melissa. I thought the set up was so fun, with Melissa having recently broke off the “benefits” portion of their friendship, and Ian’s struggle to win her back completely. I especially loved getting to be in Ian’s POV when he had to fight through the fire at Melissa’s apartment complex to save her, before he could work on winning her back. It was so emotional, and then all the rebuilding they did after the fire was heart wrenching as well. This was by far my favorite story in the anthology, as Shalvis delivered both an emotional punch to the gut, as well as a fun and lighthearted Christmas read. I would absolutely re-read this novella again and again. I give Dream a Little Dream an A
Every Year by Kristen Ashley
I really like the Chaos books, however, I think I’ve overdosed on Ashley. With the last two or three books, I’ve struggled with the lack of diversity in her dialogue. Not every single person speaks the same way, with the same slang and same syntax. However in her books, they do. The first 20 books of hers I read didn’t bother me, however, it’s become more and more noticeable. It happened again in this book, and while I absolutely loved and adored getting the chance to spend Christmas morning with Tack, Tyra, Tabby, Shy, Rush, and the rest of the Allen clan, the ongoing dialogue problems hindered my enjoyment. It was like a fun little glimpse into the lengths that Tack and Tyra are willing to go to make their family happy. It was fun and sweet and very light reading compared to Ashley’s other books. I give Every Year a B
Silent Night by Hope Ramsay
This might have been my least favorite story in the anthology. I wasn’t a big fan of the whole homeless mom and baby in the barn thing, and thought it was a little too cheesy, even for me. While I liked the backstory of both Daniel and Maryanne, I thought their actual romance was a little too perfect. As it sometimes happens in short stories and novellas, there isn’t a ton of conflict and as such the romance seems to be so quick to jump from “Hi, my name is…” to “I love you, let’s get married.” This story had that feel, and it left me a little cold in regard to the romance and relationship development. I give Silent Night a C-
Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas by Molly Cannon
I thought Cannon’s story was super cute, and super fun to read. Lincoln has a busy and often messy life. When his mother gets him a personal organizer for Christmas, Lincoln is left with Dinah literally cleaning up in his wake. He’s reluctant to have someone poking around at Christmas, but despite his reservations, they develop a friendship and then some. There was not a whole lot of angst or drama in this novella, and I liked the no mess, no fuss relationship. Despite Dinah’s concerns that Lincoln was a bit of a Scrooge, I liked the way this story and their romance wrapped up. I give Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas a B
A Family for Christmas by Marilyn Pappano
Ilena misses her dead husband like crazy, but the Christmas spirit and her newborn son are enough to keep her going. She didn’t expect to fall in love again, especially with the town doctor, who wasn’t even sure he wanted to stay in town past the end of his contract date. This was also a cute story about a second chance at love. I adored Ilena, thought she was so sweet and caring and adorable, especially as she struggled with raising a newborn and mourning her husband. I wasn’t as excited about Jared. I think he was just coasting through life, not really making any decision for himself. He was a bit indecisive and standoffish, and I had a harder time connecting with him and their romance because of it. That being said, I still think Ilena and Jared had good chemistry, and their HEA was super sweet. I give A Family for Christmas a B
All in all this was a good anthology was some really strong stories in it. Only one story didn’t work for me, and I consider that a huge success. This anthology should be on the TBR pile for anyone looking for fun Christmas stories!...more
MinnChica: Oh, this story killed me in the best possible way!! I’m not always a big fan of amnesia stories, but I thought Gail put such an amazing touch on the characters, their situation, and the overall book. I can’t even count the number of times I burst into tears, both happy and sad. With this one story, Gail has cemented a place in my contemporary authors to buy list!
E: I started getting worried about this story when I saw numerous accounts of reviewers read this with a box of tissues. I attempted to start reading this story on my morning commute and quickly decided that since I was without my box of tissues I needed to wait until I was home and away from the public eye. I was very glad I made that decision because this story gripped my heart and really never let go.
MinnChica: There was so much awesomeness in this story, I can’t even tell you. The emotions that Lucy had to go through, knowing that her husband remembered almost everything in his old life except for their marriage was so heartwrenching. Yet, the strength she showed by still trying to support him in any and every possible way was so amazing. When we got to the end and realized that Sully had started to gain some of his memories back killed me. I was a big old puddle of tears by that point, and I loved every second of it. I just wish Gail would have had more time to explore them re-building their marriage. I give Starting from Scratch an A
E: Gail did a great job with this story by emphasizing that it isn’t only the the military member who has to adjust to their new normal but also the family members. I thought the way Gail had Sully receive his epiphany about the connection with Lucy was extremely touching. I just wish there was more shown about the journey of Lucy learning to trust Sully as they worked to build a new relationship together. As a result while this story packed a punch I found myself slightly let-down by the conclusion. I give Starting from Scratch a B+
Hero’s Homecoming by Rebecca Crowley
MinnChica: After having to follow Gail’s amazing story, Crowley had a lot to live up to. While I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first story in the anthology, it was still a beautiful telling of a soldier dealing with the fallout of wartime injuries. I just wish that Crowley would have given us a little more in the end, especially pertaining to Chris’ injuries and prognosis.
E: I enjoyed the change of pace with this particular story. While it didn’t pack the same heartwrenching punch as the first story I loved how Crowley focused on Chris’ emotional growth. He really needed to start seeing beyond himself and how his attempts at self-sufficiency were actually causing more harm than good. At the same time I could also see how difficult it was for a man accustomed to being the strong one to suddenly transition into needing help from those who had depended on his strength. Unlike MinnChica I felt that this was a complete self-contained story and I did not find myself wanting the rest of the story spelled out.
MinnChica: I wanted to give poor Beth a huge hug from almost start to finish. The pain that she went through, realizing why Chris cut ties with her was hard for me to read. Especially when he continued to push her away for reasons she was clearly okay to deal with in their relationship. I did enjoy watching Chris realize the extent of the pain he was causing Beth, and how he tried to deal with not only showing her he cared, but also dealing with his injuries to the best of his abilities. I really did want more though, while we absolutely got our HEA at the end, I wanted that extra special, rainbows-on-top HEA of knowing that Chris would recover completely and they could ride off into the sunset. I give Hero’s Homecoming a B.
E: I thought it was great when Beth didn’t let Chris get away with his actions towards her nor did she attempt to baby him. She expected that he would tell her what assistance he needed instead of just presuming. To me that attitude probably helped Chris sense what he could have. Crowley did a fabulous job of making Chris understand exactly what he symbolized and how much his small town cared about who they considered one of their own. Seeing that car extended to Beth was very touching. I think that scene was one of my favorites because it all came together, his hopes, fears, and the possibilities. I give Hero’s Homecoming an A-...more
Let me first start by saying that I love and adore all things sports romance. And getting the chance to see some other sports that aren’t typically represented in the genre was such fun. However, when reading a novella, I find that I have a very, VERY, hard time believing in couples that say “I love you” after only a few days. Each and every one of these stories had that, and even more so, they all had a destined-mate feel to the story. That ruined the fun reading experience for me, and by the end of the 2nd or 3rd story, really negatively impacted my reading mojo.
Worth More Than Gold by Ana Blaze
While all the other stories in this anthology focus a lot on the mystical torch that is said to bring good luck to all the competitors, this story didn’t. I liked that it was more about Amy being Erik’s good-luck charm, and I liked how that worked out for their relationship. It was fun to read about a heroine who had some strong athletic talent, but gave it up because she knew her Olympic chances were slim to none.
I really liked that Amy was able to develop a deeper relationship with her younger sister, and those moments between them were some of my favorites. However, for me the romance started off with a bang (literally), and then somewhat fizzled out. Don’t get me wrong, the sexy times between these two were off the charts, but I never really understood what it was that pulled Amy and Erik to each other. Their chemistry was obvious to each other, but as a reader, I never really understood it. Also, given the fact that Amy was willing to pick up her life and move to another state because of a man she had known for just a few days was a little too out there for me.
All in all I thought this was a super cute story, and had some really beautiful parts to it. However, this was the last story in the anthology itself, so I was extremely put off by the insta-love and quick development of the relationship. I give Worth More Than Gold a C
Trouble with Gold by Melinda Dozier
This was the first story in the anthology, and was a strong start to the anthology. I liked that Nadia was a volunteer for the Olympics, I thought it gave the story a different feel than most sports romance books I’ve read. I liked Ty, especially since he was so fun and carefree. Yet when it came to courting Nadia, he also went above and beyond to try and prove his devotion to her it. It was sweet, but again, the insta-love was a hard pill to swallow.
I also liked the fact that Nadia had to deal with some negative fallout from her family regarding her sudden relationship with Ty. I thought it was a great sub-plot to add in, and I wish that it would have been explored further within the story. I give Trouble with Gold a B-
The Girl behind the Gold by Aria Kane
I really liked the blurb of this story, and while some aspects of it were perfect, there were some that drove me crazy. I loved that Lia was so stern and serious, and that she was a little hurt by the fact that her public persona came across as bitchy instead of shy and professional about her sport. I could feel her desire to do anything and everything to get some sponsorships in order to secure her family’s future.
I liked Brandon as well, except for his little secret keeping from Lia. However, I thought he also put forth a pretty grand gesture in showing her just how sorry he was, and how much he wanted to patch things up between them. I really felt for them and their relationship, and was glad to see that there was no declaration of love, just a promise to try and work it out. That alone made this story my favorite of the anthology. I give The Girl Behind the Gold a B
Ice Gold by Kara Leigh Miller
I loved the premise of this story, however the execution was a little weak. I thought Brenna’s reasons for hating athletes could have been developed more, and came across as a flimsy excuse. However, it was nice to see the “golden boy” be put in his place time and time again because Brenna refused to take his crap.
That being said, it also seemed like Brenna was quick to change her mind about athletes and Cole and jumped into bed with him quicker than should be normal. On top of that, these two seemed to fall in love the quickest out of all the couples, and I had a really hard time believing in it. I give Ice Gold a C
All in all this anthology has some great parts (mainly getting to see more about the different winter sports) and some bad ones (hello insta-love gone overboard). While I thought all the stories had really strong and fun summaries, I also think there wasn’t enough execution for the stories to really work for me. Add in a few timeline errors between all four short stories, and this anthology didn’t live up to the expectation I had for it. I give Love and Other Games a C-...more
I love Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series, and for that reason alone I was excited to read this anthology. And I’m glad that I did, because I really liked three of the stories, and found two additional new authors that I’m excited to read more of.
The Devil’s Due by Lora Leigh is a story set in the Breeds universe. I have to be honest, I didn’t even like this story well enough to pay that much attention as I was reading. I didn’t really like Devil or Kate for that matter, and I thought their romance was lacking. It felt like half the story was spent on one of the secondary characters as much as the romance between Devil and Kate. I have read one other Breed story before and I didn’t hate it as much as I did this. I almost stopped reading this book two or three times, but ended up finishing it. However, I would give this story an F.
The Curse of the Black Swan by Alyssa Day is a novella set in the new series world, League of the Black Swan. I didn’t know what to expect while reading this story, as I’ve never read anything by Day before, but I was so happy with what I did read. The world was exciting and engaging and something unique. I liked the aspect of the city of Bordertown being in the midst of three different paranormal worlds and how they all interacted together. The story between Sean and Brynn was wonderful. The backstory with the curse was so fun and different, and I loved the way that Sean and his family felt they needed to hide their demon status. The worldbuilding was fabulous, the romance between Sean and Brynn sweet and sexy, and the set up for the series itself was wonderful. I’m excited to read the full length novel and am so glad that I’ve found a new author to enjoy.
I give The Curse of the Black Swan a B+
Salvage by Meljean Brook is a novella set in the Iron Seas world. I love the stories within this series, and this story was the main reason I read this anthology. This is the story of Thom, a salvager who left his one true love in search of a treasure to bring home to her. The only problem is that the only thing his wife wanted from him was to be home with her every night. When they get taken hostage by a pirate, they will have to rely on each other to get out alive. I really liked this story. It was sweet and gave us a glimpse into another aspect of the vast Iron Seas world. I really liked both Thom and Georgie, thought they were pretty perfect for eachother. I loved that Georgie was willing to wait for her husband to return to her, and yet she was also willing to pick up and make something of herself when he was away. Poor Thom had some big insecurities to overcome, and yet he did everything he thought he needed to in order to keep Georgie safe and happy. I thought they had a great rekindling of their romance, and I adored the two of them together.
I give Salvage an A.
Ecstasy Under the Moon by Lucy Monroe was the final story in the anthology, and a historical paranormal. While I’m not usually a big fan of historical paranormal stories, I read this are more of a fantasy romance, and it ended up working great for me. Una is an eagle shifter, but given her past she is scared of the wolf emissaries that come into their home. Something about Bryant attracts her though, and Una is willing to take a chance getting to know him in the spirit world. I happen to love fated mates stories when done right, and I thought Monroe got it right. I loved that Bryant pulled Una out of her scared little bubble, and that he was willing to go through so much to show her how special he thought she was. I liked that it seemed that these two very different cultures, wolf and birds, were going to come together to make their lives better all around. I don’t know how I would feel about a full length book in this series, but I did really enjoy this short and sweet novella.
I give Ecstasy Under the Moon a B.
All in all I thought the anthology was strong, except for the Leigh story. However, I know that the Breeds series is very popular, so fans of that will probably enjoy Devil much more than I did. On the plus side, those who pick up this anthology for the Breed story alone, will also have some great reading ahead of them with Day, Brook, and Monroe also providing knock-out stories....more
The Kit Rocha story was great, I absolutely love the Beyond series!! The Vivian Arend story was awesome as well, I love her sexy characters. The new sThe Kit Rocha story was great, I absolutely love the Beyond series!! The Vivian Arend story was awesome as well, I love her sexy characters. The new series from Dane was interesting as well, I can't wait to read more about that world. An all around fabulous anthology. ...more
MinnChica: I absolutely love and adore all things Jessica Sims/Jill Myles/Jessica Clare. I think I could read the phonebook, if she wrote it. Meljean Brook has created one of the most imaginative and incredible worlds that I’ve ever come across. Mix it in with her sexy writing and I can’t turn down anything of hers either. While I’ve only read a novella or two of Carolyn Crane, I’ve liked what I’ve read so far, and will definitely need to add her books to my ever-growing TBR stack.
Speed Mating was probably my favorite in this book. It was light hearted, sexy and an all around fun read. It was also the shortest, which made me just a teeny bit sad. I love that Sims has a way of finding ridiculous situations for her heroes and heroines, and then a humorous and sexy way of getting them out of it. Poor Estrella was looking for both a father for her child and a man who didn’t repulse her. More than anything she wanted her alpha, and I loved that she was so scared of ruining that relationship by approaching him about mating. I loved the way they finally got together, and how much they were secretly crushing on each other. I can’t say enough good things about Sims writing and just how much I love her stories.
I give Speed Mating an A
Conjuring Max was a really unique and different read. I loved the idea of using computers to enhance magic, and how Veronica was able to create a program to help her conjure up anything she wanted. It was a really cool and fun twist on magic that I haven’t seen before. For me though, there was something lacking in the romance between these two. I’m not sure what it was, but I just didn’t find that I was totally invested in the relationship between Max and Veronica. I wanted to be, but there was just a little spark missing, and it caused my interest to wane a little throughout the story.
I give Conjuring Max a B-
Wrecked was another fabulous novella to add to the Iron Seas series. As I said before, Brook has created probably the most imaginative world I’ve ever read, and I absolutely adore everything she writes within this world. I loved getting the chance to see some of the zombies up close and personal, and getting the chance to see first hand what their deal is all about. I loved the idea of having the cat and mouse game between Elizabeth and Caius be the foundation of their romance. I was rooting for them all the way and glad to see them finally find their way to one another. PS: Brook does an amazing job creating some really creepy villains as well!
I give Wrecked an A-
All in all this was another fabulous anthology from these three powerhouse authors. I love getting the chance to catch up with both the Midnight Liaisons and Iron Seas series, and I’m anxiously awaiting both of these authors to release their next books. I can only hope these three continue to write together and give us more in the future!
E: It was a great surprise to see a review request of Fire & Frost appear and since it contains two authors whose writing I absolutely adore I couldn’t wait to read it. I have found that Brook and Sims/Myles/Clare have a way of drawing me into their worlds. Crane is a new-to-me author who provided a very interesting addition to this anthology.
Speed Mating was a lot of fun to read. I found myself laughing often at the sheer incompatibility of prospects, Estrella’s combination of determination and shyness, and the uber patience of her alpha. I adored how Sims included some of the things that are used in society today to meet potential dates and played on how challenging it can be to meet someone who is interested in more than just a quick hook-up. One of the other things I enjoy about Sims’ writing is that she is always includes at least one key friendship so we get to see additional facets of her main characters. I really can’t wait to see what Sims provides for the next installment in this particular world.
I give Speed Mating an A
Conjuring Max was a very interesting take on computers, math, and magic. It brought me back to the days when I first started studying computer science and I tried to explain email and the internet to my family. Eventually I gave up and said it was magic. They were quite willing to accept that explanation so I had an immediate connection to the magic aspect that Crane used. Even with my fascination I found this novella missing a few things. I did not understand why the Council and hired assassins were trying to kill Veronica so I spend most of my time reading trying to understand that aspect. The other thing I found missing was, like MinnChica, the connection between Max and Veronica. I think I never quite grasped the romance because this was a snapshot after all of their internal conflict had been resolved so I really didn’t see the emotional attachment.
I give Conjuring Max a B-
Wrecked is another great installment in Brook’s Iron Seas world. Each story adds more to the world building and explores new aspects while retaining the familiarity of the original set-up. She explores some very fascinating issues here that aren’t completely revealed until the latter parts of the story which I thought was great. This ended up being a great game of chase with each side having information that could drastically sway the actions of the other side. I loved how both Elizabeth and Caius went to extremes to right what they saw as a serious wrong. Without giving away too much, I hope, I absolutely loved the themes of individuality and redemption that Brook wove throughout the story.
I give Wrecked an A.
Overall this was a really fun anthology to read. I hope the three ladies continue to join together for these collections. They are all skilled in creating fascinating worlds and unusual characters who inhabit them. Fire & Frost contains something for everyone from shapeshifters, to computers augmenting magic, to steampunk the variety was refreshing! I can’t wait to see what they come up with next....more
I really enjoyed this anthology, and most of these authors are on my auto-buy list. I was especially excited to read about Burton’s new contemporary romance series, and I can’t wait for more!
Hope Smolders by Jaci Burton is the start of her new Hope series, which I’m super excited to read more about. Jane is a single mother, whose husband left her with two kids and more problems than she ever expected. The last thing Jane thinks about is having fun on her own, as her kids, their finances, and keeping her jobs stays a large priority in life. Her ex-husband’s friend Will is determined to show Jane a good time, especially since he finds himself attracted to her.
I liked this story because it was such a great second chance story. I felt so bad for Jane and all that she had to go through with her horrible ex-husband, and although Burton made him extremely unlikable, it didn’t feel like it was done to make Will better. I love the romance between these two because it was a balance between sexy, flirty, and innocent. They seemed to spend as much time alone as they did becoming their own little family, and I loved that. Burton also did a great job introducing the fabulous characters-to-come in the Hope series, and I’m so excited to read more.
I give Hope Smolders a B+
Perfect Strangers by Carly Phillips is a new edition in the Serendipity series, and probably my favorite story in the anthology. I love the town of Serendipity, so getting a chance to do a quick re-visit before the next novel was fabulous. This book tells the story of Alexa, who falls instantly in lust with Luke at the bar one night. The chemistry is off the charts, and although they do nothing more than share a sexy dance, you can tell these two had a love-at-first-sight moment. I usually find it difficult to find stories like that realistic, but something about Phillips writing always convinces me, and I adored this story.
I think the other thing I really liked was that this story took place during the same timeline as the last full length novel, so we got a chance to see things from a different perspective. It was fun and different from Phillips norm. I would really love to see someone who doesn’t usually enjoy love-at-first-sight books five this one a try, because I think Alexa and Luke do a damn good job of convincing themselves, each other, and the reader that they will make it in the long-run.
I give Perfect Strangers an A
Legend of Jane by Jessica Clare was one of the stories I was most excited about, and ended up liking the least. I’m a die-hard fangirl of Clare, so the fact that I didn’t really connect with this story was a bit of a let-down. Jane AKA Luanne does wild and wacky things for her blog to supplement her income while she is out of work. Being arrested by a local sheriff opens her eyes not only to the possibility of love, but also the harm her new career is having on her family.
I thought Luanne was kinda annoying, refusing to listen to anyone tell her something negative about her blog, all the while she bitched about it every chance she got. It seemed a little out-of-character that someone who was willing to go to such lengths as “Jane” wouldn’t be willing to do the same on her own in the field she really wanted to work in. I just didn’t enjoy this story as much as I hoped.
I give Legend of Jane a C
The final story, Ice Princess by Erin McCarthy was a cute winter romance. Chelsea and her boyfriend broke up right before their romantic weekend, and Chelsea makes the best of it. After falling into the arms (quite literally) of a local hunk, Chelsea thinks things might be looking up. Especially when said hunk turns out to be her sky instructor. From that point on, Chelsea is given the chance to learn more than just how to navigate the slopes.
I thought this story was cute, but I also felt like Chelsea and Brody rushed a bit with their vacation romance. While they didn’t profess their undying love for each other after the end of the weekend (thank god) it did seem as if they were quick to think things would work out after only a weekend together. In many ways their situation was similar to the Phillips story, and yet I just didn’t believe in it as strongly. However, it was a cute and sexy story, as McCarthy usually delivers.
I give Ice Princess a B
Overall this was a strong anthology with well-rounded stories. I loved the chance to dive back into Serendipity, as well as get the chance to sneak a peak into the new world of Burton’s Hope. The contemporary romance fans will enjoy this great beach read....more
MinnChica: This novella is by far my all-time favorite of the Psy-Changeling series. It might even be my all time favorite story of the whole series, not just of the novellas. I absolutely love and adore Nate and Tammy, from the first moment we met them, they were so solid and sweet together, so getting the story of their HEA was so amazing. I loved the age theme, especially since Nate so was resistant to mating with Tammy. And watching Tammy struggle with becoming a woman, trying to seduce the love of her life, and dealing with some insecurity was so well done. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve read this novella, and just how much I love the story of Nate and Tammy’s beginnings. I give Beat of Temptation an A++
E: Nate and Tammy’s story was hinted at in several of the early Psy-Changeling novels before Singh released it originally. As a result I think I have re-read this so many time I practically have it memorized. I loved how Tammy decided that she had waited long enough for Nate and if he wasn’t going to give her what she needed than she wasn’t going to give him what he wanted. Her fierce determination to be treated as an adult and an equal by Nate despite her gentle healer nature was so much fun to see. I also really enjoyed the glimpse of the younger Lucas. I also liked how the entire pack banded together in support of Tammy when Nate was being his most intractable. I also loved that they started their own tradition when they finalized their mating and have continued it yearly. It completely makes my heart melt to see big tough Changelings show their softer sides.
I give Beat of Temptation an A
Has: I read Beat of Temptation a few years ago when it was first published, and it was a delight to reread the story because I remembered how much I enjoyed it the first time around. I loved how they got together and their issues over the age gap and experience, which really heightened the tension with their romance. It was also fantastic to see how the roots of the series first emerged, and seeing how it developed especially with the other cast of characters. This was gorgeous, and tender romance and it still remains one of my favourite novellas set in this world.
I give Beat of Temptation an A
Lou: I adore this short story, and I would love to read a full novel featuring Tammy and Nate. Nate and Tammy are the glue that holds their pack together. Tammy with her loving and sweet nature, and Nate with his maturity. Seeing Nate court Tammy was sweet and frustrating at the same time. Nate, you took long enough to get your Tammy .
I give Beat of Temptation a B+.
Stroke of Enticement (3.5)
MinnChica: I thought this romance between Zach and Annie was so sweet. I loved Annie’s quiet personality, and how she didn’t let her disability rule her life. She was patient and loving with her students, and when Zach first approaches her, she doesn’t hesitate to jump into a relationship, despite her lack of knowledge about the shifter lifestyle. While I think this was a very sweet story, I also didn’t think there was anything super special about it. I give Stroke of Enticement a B+
E: When I am in a quiet mood but want some intense romance I turn to this story because it is so sweet and wild at the same time. Annie had such an internal strength caused by her accident and by dealing with her disability that I just loved her. I could see why she was such a good instructor for Changeling students because she understood the struggle between what the inner self wanted and what the outer self was restricted due to circumstances to allowing. I also really liked that she wasn’t physically afraid of Zach, just emotionally cautious. Zach was great too. The way he charmed Annie’s mother and also his refusal to let Annie throw away their relationship based on her fears was really wonderful. I give Stroke of Enticement an A-
Has: I really enjoyed Stroke of Enticement, which was great because usually I am not a fan of human and changeling pairings in this series. But this was a cute and sweet story and I found Zach totally adorable! I loved the scenes where he was slowly winning her over despite her issues with her mother and her disability due to an accident as a child. The romance between them was also very sexy and did I mention Zach was adorable? And while I am also not a fan of a short stories, this was one of those novellas which ends beyond perfectly. I was also happy we got a little glimpse of them in the future in the latter novellas in this collection and really tied the knot on a perfect love story.
I give Stroke of Enticement an A
Lou: This has to be my second favourite short in the anthology. Zack and Annie’s romance was super sweet and very sexy at the same time. Annie was such a strong character, and she knew how to deal with the changeling pups. Whilst I’m not a huge fan of instant love and attraction, I bought the intensity that Zack had for Annie and loved how he courted her and went about showing her that she was worth it.
Declaration of Courtship (9.5)
MinnChica: Although Singh has hinted at it before, it’s rare to see her write a novella or story about an extremely alpha and submissive couple. I was so excited to see how she would handle Grace and Cooper’s relationship, given the difference in their power rank. I loved this novella. I loved how patient and caring and sweet Cooper was with Grace. He was so amazing with her both emotionally and physically, and I loved everything about him. It was also really nice to step outside of the main SnowDancer den, and into one of the smaller remote dens. Of the four stories in this anthology, I think Grace and Cooper are my second favorite. I give Declaration of Courtship an A-
E: I absolutely LOVED this novella! It had me with Cooper’s first words to Grace and continued to keep me captivated through all of their interactions. The way Cooper courted Grace as she refused to just go along with him. The way Grace addressed her fears about being so submissive to Cooper. The way she demanded that he not take her for granted after they were completely intimate for the first time. How she didn’t let Cooper get away with not sleeping and denying his fears about her safety. I just WOW the way Singh handled their disparate power levels and how she still kept the intensity of their relationship high. I think this overtook Nate and Tammy’s story as my favorite in this collection. I give Declaration of Courtship an A+
Has: Ohh I am so with you guys on this story. I think this was my favourite of them all! I absolutely adored the build-up between Cooper and Grace and the dynamics they shared as a dominant and submissive wolf. Their romance was filled intricate nuance and I was enchanted on how Grace worked out her issues by being a submissive and Cooper giving her the space and time to adjust to his dominance. I really felt this added another layer of sexual tension because the way it developed was sexually charged and I was so caught up with them to finally committing with each other. Declaration of Courship is an entrancing and wonderful short story and filled with high emotions and romance. I was left very satisfied with this story although I wouldn’t have minded more!
I give Declaration of Courtship an A+
Lou: How freaking SMEXY was this short story. This is by far my favourite story in the anthology. Cooper was very intense and dominant but he acted so carefully around Grace whose wolf was a submissive. What I thought Nalini did great was showing the submissive side of the wolf, but never showing Grace to be weak but strong and assertive. Cooper did give Grace some distance, but the sexual tension between them was smoking. I thought this short story was one of the steamier reads from Nalini, and it matched the intensity of Cooper. Loved LOVED this story.
Texture of Intimacy (10.5)
MinnChica: This novella goes more into depth with Lara and Walker’s mating. While we got to see a lot of this pair during Kiss of Snow, this novella is almost like an extension of that, and we get to see into the every day lives of these two. I have a soft spot for Walker, and his love and devotion to the young, both Psy and Changeling alike. While I adore Lara, I never really seemed to connect with her on the same level as Tammy, or some of the other heroines. I’m not sure why, but this couple just doesn’t resonate with me as much as some of the previous couples in the series. I give Texture of Intimacy a B-
E: I was really glad to get a glimpse in Lara and Walker’s relationship. I watched it grow in the small scenes Singh included in the novels and enjoyed the definite beginning in Kiss of Snow but this was special. I have been curious about Walker since he was first introduced and while this story answered some of my questions there is still a lot to Walker that we don’t have yet. I enjoyed seeing Lara and Walker get to know each other within their relationship and have to deal with the friction of their completely opposite methods of handling stressful events. I also enjoyed how each of them tried to send the message that they cared or that they were sorry through their behavior before attempting words. To me that made every moment worth so much more. I give Texture of Intimacy an A.
Has: I think for me, Texture of Intimacy was the weakest story for me in the collection although I loved Lara and Walker especially when they got together during the events in Kiss of Snow. But I felt something was missing with this story because while it covered the ‘missing aspects’ of their courtship in Kiss of Snow, I felt this story was kind of disjointed and it felt too brief for me because and it didn’t really cover anything new. However I did enjoy the story because it was cute and it did broadened the tapestry of events in the series but I was left kind of disappointed there wasn’t much depth.
I give Texture of Intimacy a B
Lou: I enjoyed reading about Walker and Lara in Kiss of Snow, but I have to admit this was my least favourite story in the anthology. I felt that this story didn’t develop anywhere. I’m in agreement with MinnChica that I don’t connect well to Lara compared to the other heroines in the series and I feel the same about Walker. There’s an intensity missing between them for me.
MinnChica: Overall, this is a fabulous anthology for the Psy-Changeling fan. Getting to see Nate and Tammy as well as Zach and Annie all over again was nice. Add in the two brand new novellas, with Cooper and Grace’s sweet and sexy old fashioned courtship to Lara and Walker’s day to day lives as a mated couple, this anthology has it all. Plus, I’m so glad I can consolidate my bookshelf with only ONE anthology.
E: I have decided I am a huge fan of author collections. I get my novellas consolidated in one book so instead of flipping between books when I need a short story fix I can go to one spot. The other thing I really love about this is that Singh didn’t just include her previously published novellas but she added two new stories that really fleshed out life amongst the changelings. I absolutely loved this collection and I recommend it to other fans of Singh’s Psy-Changeling series even if you already own Tammy and Nate or Annie and Zach because the two new stories are so worth it!
Has: While I am not a fan of short stories or novellas, overall for me Wild Invitation was a fantastic collection which added and developed aspects from the Psy and Changeling series. Actually it was well worth getting the Grace and Cooper’s story because it was that good! Wild Invitation is definitely worth the read for me and I was left very satisfied overall.
Lou: I’m not a big fan of anthologies, but Wild Invitation is most likely one of my favourites. Again, I would have loved to have seen Cooper and Grace have a full story because the dynamics between them were terrific.
These two stories are closely related and flow well together nicely. I enjoyed the crossover between the two novellas, but was pretty disappointed with different aspects of each story.
The first story is about Ty and his inability to cope with being back in the civilian world. His last tour of duty put him in a bad place mentally and emotionally, and he hasn’t figured out how to cope yet. When he meets Lauren, he is looking for someone to have some kinky sex with and forget the next day. What he doesn’t expect is for Lauren to intrigue him enough to deal with his problems.
I like the idea of Ty being the tortured hero, and although he was a huge asshole at times, I still kinda adored him. He was a good guy lost in a bad boy frame of mind. He knew that falling for Lauren would bring him back into the land of the living, and he resisted at all costs. Likewise, Lauren knew that Ty was a gentle and caring guy deep down, and despite his ability to crush her, she knew he would be worth the fight. I admired her tenacity, until get willingness to go back time after time had me scratching my head in wonder.
The angst in this novella was off the charts. Poor Ty didn’t know if he was coming or going, and the level of crap he drug Lauren through was astounding. While I’m not a big fan of the way Calhoun had these two come to a head, I could understand why they put themselves into the situation. For as much as I was not a fan of that scene, I was glad it played out the way it did. My only big beef with this novella was that Ty really screwed up big time with Lauren, and he didn’t have to grovel enough to win her back. After what she went through, I thought he needed to do something bigger and better to win her back.
The second story is a second chance love story, and while I usually love that trope, this novella didn’t work for me at all. Sean is on leave and trying to decide what he wants to do next. He is determined to win back the love of Abby, the one who got away, while thinking about his future. However, Abby had her heart broken by Sean once, and isn’t looking for a repeat performance.
I like Sean. He knew what he wants, where he went wrong in life, and is determined to do anything and everything in his power to win back the woman he loves. If not for him, I would have quit reading this story midway through. Abby, on the other hand, annoyed the dickens out of me! I can understand wanting to protect your heart, but I just couldn’t get behind the way she went about it.
One of my biggest problems with the erotic romance genre is that if seems as if most authors feel the need to add a menage into the story in order to bring a couple together. I don’t understand that mentality, especially when the threesome doesn’t seem to jive with the relationship of the couple. Calhoun did this is one of her short stories not too long ago, and again here with Sean and Abby. The entire scene was ridiculous and didn’t feel as if it had any bearing on their core relationship. It felt like it was added in for cheap thrills, and I hated it. For that reason alone I couldn’t stand this story.
All in all the book was sexy as hell, but had quite a few problems that really got on my nerves. Although there were parts of each story that I liked, it seemed as if there were more problems I didn’t like. If I were to grade each of the stories, I would give the first novella a B- and the second a D. Overall, the two seemed to even out to just a so-so anthology. I give Uncommon Pleasure a C-...more
I love the Holiday anthologies from Carina Press, and the contemporary romance one is by far my favorite, year after year!!
First up: The Best Thing by Jaci Burton
I think that this was my favorite novella in the anthology, and not just because we’ve been building up to this story over the course of the series. Burton does such an amazing job telling stories, and Tori and Brody had a lot to go through!
I love that Tori and Brody had to finally face the music of that kiss long ago. I liked that Tori was so cautious and worried that her relationship not just with Brody, but with his family as well, would be ruined if she pursued something further with Brody. I think it really spoke to her good common sense, and made me love her all the more. On the other hand, I adored that Brody was a little clueless about why Tori was acting so differently. And yet once he made the decision to pursue Tori, to make it work with her, he stuck to that decision with a single-minded focus.
I loved their romance. I thought it was so well done on Burton’s part. They eased into things a bit, and didn’t listen to anyone else about their status as a couple. I liked that. I liked that they already had a foundation of friendship to build on, so the quick fall into the sack was something believable and right on schedule. I was literally rooting from them since the first book in the series, and getting to FINALLY see them get their HEA was wonderful and amazing.
All in all I think this is my favorite story in the Burton series, as well as the anthology. I’ve been waiting not-so-patiently for this book, and loved getting the chance to see Brody and Tori finally admit their feelings for one another and take a shot at romance. I hope that Burton will continue either with the series, or create a new series that will keep her in the Contemporary Romance Holiday Anthology, because her stories are some of the best. I give The Best Thing an A
Next: We’ll Be Home for Christmas by HelenKay Dimon
Dimon continues with the third novella in her Holloway series, and the broody and moody brother Spencer. I have to admit that Spencer really was never on my radar before, but now that we got his story… Loved. I loved him so much, and I think that he might be my favorite of all the Holloway heroes.
I wasn’t a big fan of Spencer lying about his name to Lila, especially since he didn’t really seem to want to admit it to anyone. But once he came clean with Lila, and gave her his reasons why, I fell for the guy. I adore the strong and silent type heroes, and Spencer had that down to a T. Not only was he the strong and silent type, but he also came across as somewhat shy, and willing to play hero (as long as no one would find out about it). There were so many qualities to Spencer that I just loved and adored.
I liked that Lila had such a hard time accepting help from Spencer and his family, but that she was immediately accepted into the town as one of their own. The town definitely redeemed itself in my eyes, especially after the horrible way they acted in the last book. I do wish that Lila would have been a little more accepting of everyone’s help, but I could see why she wasn’t. I liked that she was hesitant of starting anything up with Spencer – especially given their first encounter – but once she got to really know him, I’m so glad that she went along for the romance ride.
I thought their romance was great as well. They started on very rocky terms, but as they got to know each other more and more, they really figured out that they were perfectly suited for one another. I loved watching them fall in love, and hope we get to see more from the town of Holloway and these two in the future.
All in all I think this was my second favorite novella in the anthology, and mostly because of how awesome Spencer was. He was such a wonderful hero, and I adored him to the very end. Dimon really did redeem the town in my eyes, and I was glad to have this series go back to a high note for me. I give We’ll Be Home for Christmas a B+
Last: Ask Her at Christmas by Christi Barth
I read Barth’s debut novel with Carina Press earlier this year and absolutely fell in love. When I saw that she would be rounding out this years Holiday anthology, I couldn’t wait to see what she would come up with. Add the friends-to-lovers trope and I was halfway in love after reading the blurb.
I must preface this review with telling you that this novella is cliched and cheesy, and may not be for everyone. I, however, thought it was great. Kyle is completely clueless. Not only to Caitlin’s feelings for him, but to pretty much everything else around him. There were times I wanted to throttle him for being so oblivious. But it did just add to his charm.
And poor Caitlin. So in love with her best friend, and she gets roped into helping him plan his perfect and romantic engagement to someone he doesn’t even claim to love. Talk about pure torture. While I wanted her to smack him upside the head with a clue, I also loved watching her come up with so many different beautiful proposals. I’ve never been to New York City – at Christmas or any other time of the year – but I could SEE how beautiful it was from Barth’s descriptions alone.
All in all once I got past the over-the-top basis of the story, I adored this novella. I am such a sucker for the friends-to-lovers storylines, and Kyle and Caitlin proved just how close they were at every page. When Kyle finally came to his senses and formed the perfect proposal to the perfect girl, I just about melted! I give Ask Her at Christmas a B
Overall I think this anthology is one that contemporary romance readers will want to pick up, especially if Christmas themes are a favorite. I loved that the Holidays played such a crucial role in all three stories, and think that Burton, Dimon and Barth all wrote beautiful stories with wonderful romances. I give the Romancing the Holiday Anthology an overall B+...more
The overall anthology was a great mix of stories. From the m/m story by Mitchell, to the emotional angst of the Calhoun novella to the fun and sexy, somewhat light-hearted read by Braemel, there is a little something for everyone. However, the stories are also so different that some people may not like one versus another. But for me, I thought it was a wonderful mixture of erotic holiday stories. I give the Red Hot Holiday Anthology an overall B
Wish List by KA Mitchell
I love KA Mitchell. I have a huge girl crush on her, and her stories are always so fun and sexy and fabulous. While Joey and Aaron still have my undying devotion, and are probably my favorite m/m heroes of all time, Evan and Jonah have a great little story to tell as well.
I can admit that one of the things that drives me bonkers in romance books is big misunderstandings. I hate when couples don’t talk things through and just work out whatever it is that is eating at them. Especially when huge drama can be avoided by one little conversation. However, in this case, I can see why Jonah was scared to say something. I just wish that maybe he and Evan would have talked sooner than they actually did…
I was a little surprised by the lack of sexy times in this book. It could be because of the novella length, however I was expecting more from Mitchell. It seemed like the majority of this book was spent on the angst of what if. What if Evan and Jonah broke up, what if Jonah shared his list of sexual explorations he wanted to try, what if Evan revealed some of his sexual dominant past, what if Evan proposed and Jonah never got to complete his list. What if, what if, what if. The sexual tension was at an all time high for Mitchell, but it worked within the story. With the uncertainty on both Evan and Jonah’s parts, they danced a bit around each other, not really sure how to move forward with their somewhat bland sex life, or how to spice it up.
I have to admit, I was a little bummed with the way that Jonah handled everything. Again, I can see why he was hesitant to come outright and talk to Evan, but he also went a little too far for me. Without giving too much away, Jonah looks for answers to all his kinky questions, and I thought he went about it in a way that felt kinda sleazy. For me, he came dangerously close to crossing a line that would have made his character unredeemable in my eyes.
BUT, I was happy with the way it all tied together and ended. The last scene in the book, where they finally connect both physically and emotionally was so intense and so sexy and just so everything. It really tied together the story and solidified the relationship between Jonah and Evan. It put them on not-so-equal footing, but in a place that was perfect for where they both wanted and needed to be.
All in all I really liked this novella. Mitchell kept me on my toes, and kept me guessing as to whether or not I would be able to stick it out with Jonah. However, I should know by now that she would never let me down, and I’m happy to say I loved the end! As always, reading anything by Mitchell has me panting for more! I give Wish List a B
I Need You for Christmas by Leah Braemel
I’ve read Braemel in the past and was glad to see she had a story in this anthology. She does a great job of writing really sexy and yet somewhat subdued light-BDSM romance. I was pretty intrigued by how serious Megan and Ryan were with their BDSM relationship, and loved the way it played out in their relationship. Especially since Ryan was not very Dom-like in every other aspect of his life, and Megan was a strong and confident cop. It was a great dichotomy to their relationship and I loved it.
The one thing every story in this anthology had was some kind of secret or misunderstanding between the main characters. In this, both Megan and Ryan are ready to move their relationship from long distance to living together. They’ve both decided to surprise the other with a big change, so the fact that they danced around the subject through the story drove me a little bonkers. I thought it was super cute, but at the same time wasn’t impressed with the way it came across as forced drama.
I have to admit, I loved the sexy times in this book. The BDSM aspects were well done, and I never felt like it was forced or that the characters were unsure. The scenes were hot, hot, hot and Megan and Ryan were so perfect for eachother. They had this wonderful opposites attraction, and I really liked the way it added to their relationship. When it came to outside the bedroom, Megan really seemed to take on the more dominant role, whereas in the bedroom she was a submissive through and through. It was a great change of pace from the standard female submissive characters I’m used to reading.
All in all I thought Braemel was a wonderful edition to the anthology. I loved the BDSM aspect of Megan and Ryan’s relationship. It was probably (IMO) the best novella in the anthology in terms of smoking hot sexy times. I am going to have to keep my eyes open for more of Braemel’s books in the future! I give I Need You for Christmas a B...more
I wasn’t going to read the Banks story initially as the blurb didn’t sound like something that would interest me, but I ended up caving and reading it after the Dane novella. I think it’s time that I finally admit that Banks’ style of erotic romance just isn’t for me. This story was basically one long porno with uncomfortable sex scenes that I didn’t find sexy in the least, and awkward situations that again, didn’t come across as sexy. I found the vast majority of the novella to be eye-rolling ridiculous and more graphic than romantic. The story didn’t have enough plot for me to really enjoy it, and the erotic situations came across as more hard-core pornish than the erotic romance I was expecting.
I give Exiled a F
This was the story I was really looking forward to, and after reading it, can’t wait for the Delicious series to start up! The novella had a LOT more plot to it than the Banks story did, and really set up the series in a way that has me counting down the days until Tart releases.
I loved that Levi struggled with the age gap between himself and Daisy, despite the intense connection. However, Levi failed to live up to the high expectation I set for him when his family’s reaction to Daisy was forced in his face. I wanted to smack him upside the head with the way he treated Daisy, and felt he could have done a little more groveling to make up for the way he treated her.
All in all, their romance was sweet and super sexy(like buy a little fan sexy…)! The supporting cast of characters is going to be a group that I can definitely fall in love with as much as the Brown clan, and I am anxious for Dane to get writing more books in this series! I give Sway an B+
I have to be honest and admit that I don’t know that paying $15 for the Trade Paperback or $10 for the ebook is worth it though, unless you are a fan of Banks’ erotic style. I can only hope that Dane will someday release her novella as a single ebook title. ...more
I’ve never read Giordano before, but after reading her short story in the Carina Press anthology, I think I’m going to have to look up more of her work. Although this story flew by and seemed to be the fastest read of the anthology, I adored the story.
Gavin and Janet haven’t worked together long, but the sexual chemistry between these two is off the charts. Gavin doesn’t want to risk his executive position with starting a relationship with a junior team member, but there is something about Janet that calls to him. Janet doesn’t want to be fodder for the office gossip girls, but she thinks Gavin might be worth it.
When they are called to work together to rescue their boss’ wife from kidnappers, they get not only their first chance to work together directly, but also spend long hours together in close quarters. While getting their target home safe and alive is their main priority, the feelings between them boil to a point that they can no longer deny.
This novella read very fast, and I wasn’t sure if it was because it was so jam-packed with start to finish action, or if Giordano just has a way of seamlessly telling a story and making the words fly across the page. Either way, this novella went quick, between the non-stop suspense of trying to reason with the kidnappers, and the ongoing sexual tension between Gavin and Janet.
I liked the mini suspense plot of trying to negotiate with the kidnappers. With Gavin’s past, it was obvious he was willing to do anything and everything to negotiate and get their hostage back safely without worrying about lethal force. Although he butt heads with his tactical co-worker, I liked that Gavin was able to keep his cool and figure out the best way to negotiate. Likewise, Janet was a level headed character as well. She knew her technology and knew how to work it to best suit their needs. She seemed to balance out Gavin well, at the office and emotionally.
The sexual tension was Off.The.Charts. These two danced around each other for most of the novella, even taking some time in the middle of their opp for a little nookie. I look forward to hopefully seeing more of these two in future books, because I felt as if we only got to see a small portion of how explosive these two could be together in a relationship. I thought they fit, and that their romance didn’t seem out of place, even though they were on an important job.
All in all this short story was super sexy and the suspense plot was very well done. I always like to find romantic suspense books that are not about military heroes, and Gavin was a wonderful addition to my keeper shelf. I will definitely be picking up both future and backlist books by this author! I give Negotiating Point a B....more
I will read anything and everything Shannon Stacey writes, so when I saw that she had a novella in the new Carina Press Editors Choice Anthology, I got my hands on it as soon as I possibly could.
Anna lost her high dollar job in the big city after the downturn in the economy. While in the process of discovering what to do next, she goes to her grandparents lakeside house to figure things out. No only did she never expect to see her childhood friend Cam living next door, but she never thought in a million years that she would enjoy the small town vibe and out-of-the-way lifestyle at the lake.
Cam loves his slow paced life on the lake. He can work easy hours, relax and enjoy life. When Anna shows up next door, Cam is immediately attracted to her, but also knows he needs to stay far away from her. Anna is big city, he’s small town. She is organized and a little anal retentive, he is laid back and go-with-the-flow. They are the most unlikely couple, yet when these two come together, they realize just how strongly opposites attract.
Although this was a shorter novella, it felt as if it was longer than average. I loved Anna and Cam together. They were the perfect opposites attract couple. They were so different at times, and yet Cam helped Anna relax, and Anna helped Cam smile more and come out of his somewhat hermit status. They understood each other in ways that neither expected, and although they were vastly different, they were also perfect for eachother.
I loved the relationship between these two. It started off slow, with Cam constantly looking out for Anna, getting annoyed, and then eventually helping her achieve whatever goal she has for herself. They start as friends, progress to lovers, and eventually make the jump to a committed relationship. Their relationship melted me into a puddle of goo and I really did adore these two together.
I also really liked the added conflict of Anna trying to find a job, not knowing where life is going to take her next, and the hesitancies both she and Cam have about it. Getting to peek into Cam’s head while he dealt with falling for her, and knowing she was eventually going to leave, along with Anna’s struggles with falling in love, while trying to find a job, was just done so well. It was hyped up drama, but instead was just enough conflict for the both of them to try and figure out what to do next. Loved it.
All in all I really enjoyed this Stacey novella. Although I wish it was longer – these characters were so easy to fall in love with – I also didn’t feel as if he story was rushed or cut short. The romance was so sweet and sexy and I fell in absolute love with Anna and Cam both. Fans of Stacey won’t be disappointed! I give Slow Summer Kisses an A- ...more
I love reading anthologies. I’m a big fan of finding new-to-me authors who I may have never read before, and while I’ve enjoyed stories by Black, Day and Walker before, I’m also a sucker for a hot guy with handcuffs. So when this book showed up on my doorstep, I snatched it up and tucked it away for a rainy day.
Arresting Desire Jon was an undercover FBI agent for a mob family, and now that he is done with the case, he will do anything and everything to prove his brother’s innocence in a judge killing case. The only thing he wasn’t prepared for was having to take Lucia with him on the case. He’s long desired Lucia, but was always afraid to act on those desires. With his undercover work being done and over, he is now ready for more.
I have to say, I think this was my least favorite of all the stories. While I like Black’s writing and the story was engaging, there was also a little something missing with the romance. While I believed in the lust and desire between Jon and Lucia, the BDSM aspects of the relationship were pretty tame, and then at the end Jon wanted to collar Lucia, which seemed to be a little extreme for the relationship to date. While I could see them as a couple who might experiment more with the harder BDSM aspects down the line in their relationship, I had a hard time buying the collaring with the lack of intensity in the relationship shown on the book pages.
I did really like the mystery-case aspect of this short story though. I liked watching Lucia’s mind work through the clues her father left her, and get to see her and Jon find out the truth about so many different loose threads in their lives. I give Arresting Desire a C+
On Fire This was my absolute favorite story in the anthology, Day is such a talented writer. Jared is called into a small town to look into a series of arsons that seem to be taking on the characteristic of a serial arsonist case. When Jared meets Darcy, local fire inspector, he has two fire problems to deal with: the one in town, and the one in his pants. The two immediately hit it off and the sexual attraction rages strong. They easily fall into a relationship, all why trying to figure out who is starting the town fires, and why they all seem to link back to Darcy.
I wanted to cry when this book was over… not because it was bad, or felt as if I wasted my time. No, I wanted to cry a) because it was over and b) because it wasn’t a full length novel that I could spend hours getting lost in. I loved the relationship between Darcy and Jared. While they started purely sexual, it was obvious that the emotions and feelings came quickly for these two, and I adored that aspect of their relationship as well. They were so wonderful and great together, and I just didn’t want their story to end.
The mystery surrounding the fire and all that drama was also so incredibly well done. Day constantly kept me guessing, and I was never quite too sure who was behind it all. I was floored by the end of the book, and never would have guessed who was behind it all. An exceptional story with a romance that had me wishing – desperately – for more. I give On Fire an A
The Unwilling I really enjoy the FBI Psychics series by Walker, and was pleasantly surprised to find this novella in the anthology. I’m not sure what I was expecting but it was a treat to read about Colby and Mica. Mica is working as a cop and on the case of a murderer she can’t nail down. When her captain tells her to bring in Psychic help, she finds herself turning to Colby, her once love and partner at the FBI. Colby has missed Mica, and although he fears using his psychic powers, will do anything he can to help her. But when the clues point towards a cop, will Mica trust in Colby’s power.
I really liked the main storyline with the murderer and the ongoing case that Walker created for this story. I think she does an incredible job writing believable and thrilling and somewhat creepy romantic suspense stories that pull the reader in. This was no different. I especially enjoyed watching Colby and Mica come to grips with their psychic powers while working together to solve the case.
The romance was a bit frustrating for me, only because I could see how perfect these two were together, and they kept fighting it at every turn. I wanted them to have an easier time to their HEA, and while I got their hesitancies, I also wanted things to go smoothly for them. But, in the end, I was glad things worked out the way they did, and that these two were able to come to common ground, admit their feelings, and move on. I give The Unwilling a B
All in all this was a wonderful anthology, and definitely worth the purchase. The sexy times are hot from start to finish, the mystery aspect of each story was incredibly well done. Fans of romantic suspense will enjoy the steamy bits, and the smutty fans will enjoy the mystery woven in. An all around wonderful anthology. I give Hot in Handcuffs a B+...more
I love and hate anthologies. They open my eyes to new authors, new stories and new situations that might push my comfort zone. With this anthology, I was hoping to find some new m/m authors that I could glom onto and find some great reads. While there were some good stories in this anthology, there were some not-so great stories either.
Haunted by Jana Denardo In Denardo’s story, a couple go on a working vacation together. One a photographer and the other an author of ghost phenomena. This story was super cute. Trestan and Connor were super secure in their relationship, and excited to be on vacation together, getting the chance to experience some hauntings first hand. They have quite a few sexy times and I enjoyed all their moments together. B+
Off the Tracks by Chelle Dugan This story really threw me for a loop. Owen was set to go on vacation to celebrate his best friends divorce. He trips and falls, knocking his head and landing back into the past. There he meets James and begins to fall for them. One night he falls asleep and wakes up back in present time, but to a life he always dreamed of, with James. I’m not a huge fan of time-travel, but when you throw in a weird dream/alternate reality thing, I just couldn’t connect with the story. C-
Krung Thep, City of Angels by Zee Kensington A young Marco is making his first international trip, backpacking through Thailand. When he gets lost one day, Chris, a frequent traveler, comes to his rescue and the two spend a few marvelous days together. I am not a huge fan of couples that come to such a quick HEA, and while they didn’t make any declarations, it felt as if they moved super quickly in their relationship. I did like the way Zensington described Thailand, that aspect of this story made it an enjoyable read for me. B-
Sunlight on Water by Susan Laine Ari is on vacation in Florida and meets the sexy Ryan. They have some steamy moments together, and when Ari tells Ryan his family won this extravagant vacation, Ryan takes off. Despite Ryan admitting he is a hustler, Ari wants to make a relationship work. This story didn’t really work for me. I never got a feeling of either character, and didn’t like their perfectly wrapped up HEA. D
Fall Forward by Jamie Lowe Chase and Harrett are going on their first vacation as a couple, and arguing about what is and is not acceptable to display their relationship in the small town they are going to. When they set their worries of others aside and just enjoy each other, sexy times commence. This story was super short, but cute too. B-
A Good Night’s Sleep by Anna Martin In all the stories of the couples that first meet, I think this might be one of my favorites. There isn’t a laid out HEA, instead a cute little HFN where Alex and Matt decided to travel together after a sexy night together on the train. Yes, there was train sex. It was good! B+
All You Need by Dar Mavison Trent and Rory are taking a much-needed trip into NYC on a limited budget and a rocky place in their relationship. They argue and snap at each other, but are eventually able to work out the kinks in their relationship and get back to a happy place. This story was ok, but for some reason didn’t stand out as great as some of the other rekindling romances from this book. C
All at Sea by JL Merrow Josh is on a family vacation, and runs into Rupe while renting a boat. The two connect as friends, and quickly take their relationship to the next level. They lean on each other and have a somewhat believable HEA, given they met in this short story (possibly due to the mini-epilogue in which it explains they broke-up and got back together throughout their lives.) Will definitely find more Merrow to read! B
Something Different by Sean Michael This might have been my favorite second chance story in this anthology. Adam and Tucson were once lovers, and broke up long ago. When they both end up in Vegas on vacation, they pick up their romance and realize they were better together than apart. I really liked this story, it was super cute and sexy and well done. I will definitely be looking into more of Michael’s work. A-
Perpendicularity by Mal Peters Kyle is an Olympic snowboarding champion in France for a tournament. What was supposed to be a romantic weekend turned into a solo trip. But one look at Kyle’s personal chef and he thinks he might be able to make time for a little romance. He and Dylan have a great friendship that leads to more and was super cute. I liked it. B+
The Jeep Guy by Eric Renner I had a horrible time getting into this story. I couldn’t get through it at all and ended up DNFing it after a few pages.
Know Nobody by G.R. Richards This short was more erotica than romance for me. Gerald wants to get away, and heads to Niagara Falls to “hook up.” He has an erotic evening with three twinks he picked up in a bar. But when his long-time best friend Sylvain shows up, he realizes what has long been in front of his face and the two begin a relationship. I didn’t really like this one very much. Not enough romance for me. D
Reconnecting by Claire Russett I adored this story. It was probably one of my favorites. Sam is at a work conference and dreads running into the love of his life – John. John knows what he lost when he left Sam, and is determined to win the man back. Anyway he possibly can. There is sexy moments and angst and a wonderful reconnection story. I likey. A
Mending and Moving On by Cecilia Ryan Bryan and Liam meet on the plane, and again once they land in Spain. Their relationship develops quickly and progresses to something serious in a VERY short time. I had a hard time reconciling them moving so quickly, especially since Liam was willing to give up his nomad lifestyle for a happily ever after. C
New Lease by B.G. Thomas This story intrigued me at first, and then went downhill, unfortunately. Wade and Kent are both dealing with the loss of their partners, but Kent is handling it better than Wade. I felt as if Wade was victim to an abusive relationship, and didn’t like that he was constantly thinking about killing himself. I had a hard time relating to either hero and their decisions. D
All in all this anthology was what I expected. There were some great stories, and some not-so-great ones. I personally am glad I read it though, because it gave me the chance to find some new to me authors that I am excited to check out!...more
Publisher: HQN Publish Date: Feb 21st How I got this book: NetGalley
The minute I saw Jill Shalvis’ name on the cover, I didn’t even bother to read the blurb. I knew she wouldn’t lead me astray, and the chance to read two other authors I didn’t know much about… It’s a win all around!
The first story in the anthology is Roxanne St. Claire’s THE SINS OF HIS PAST and although I’ve only read one short story by St. Claire in the past, I will definitely be picking up more of her work. Kendra has had a lifelong crush on her childhood friend Deuce, but when he walked away from her after a night of passion, she started to give up hope. But once Deuce’s baseball career is over, he comes strolling back looking to pick up life in his hometown, despite the fact that his dreams might ruin hers.
A good second chance or friends to lovers story is one that ALWAYS sucks me in and keeps me entertained. I did not want the story of Deuce and Kendra to end. At all. St. Claire did an amazing job building up the sexual tension between these two, especially as bits and pieces of their history together are revealed throughout the story. I loved Kendra’s strength to get through life, despite all the hardships she encountered along the way, especially when some of them had come at the cost of Deuce’s happiness. And the fact that Deuce was able to come around and really see what he was missing in life, what he really needed to make him happy… I’m such a sucker for a strong alpha man to be brought to his knees by his leading lady, and St. Claire could not have done a better job than she did with Deuce and Kendra. I laughed and cried with the characters and did NOT want the book to end, at all. I give THE SINS OF HIS PAST an A-
The second story was Jill Shalvis’ TANGLING WITH TY, a story about a sexy Irish architect and a genius prodigy doctor. I wanted this story to be on par with the current work I’m used to by Shalvis, and for me, it didn’t live up to that expectation.
Although I liked the overall setting and story with Nicole and her best friends, I had a really hard time connecting with both Nicole and Ty as characters. Nicole was a prodigy and workaholic, and Shalvis must write the most convincing genius ever, because I found myself thinking that Nicole was aloof and boring and almost seemed too smart to be human and interesting. I wanted to be able to connect with her, and I just couldn’t. While I liked and connected more with Ty, I still didn’t think that he was easy to fall in love with. But he did compliment Nicole well, so I suppose that is what matters. In their own weird way, the two of them completed each other well, I just didn’t feel it. I give TANGLING WITH TY a C-
The third and final story was Maureen Child’s WHATEVER REILLY WANTS. Child’s name sounded familiar, but I wasn’t sure if I had read her before, but I was so impressed with the story that I immediately went out to see if there were other books in the series. The four Reilly brothers made a bet to see if they could go for 90 days without having sex, and Connor thought he would have no trouble, but when he mentions to his best friend Emma that he thinks she is “safe,” she sets out to show him just how feminine she can be.
Like St. Claire, I thought that Child wrote an absolutely incredible friends to lovers story. Both Connor and Emma are hesitant to lose their friendship, but they are also incredibly attracted to each other, especially after Connor unknowingly taunts Emma and the gauntlet is thrown. I loved that they were both scared of loosing each other, but unable to stay away. I was so glad to see that Emma also put her foot down and refused to settle for anything less than what she really wanted. It was a fabulous friends to lovers story, and one that I could honestly read over and over again. I give WHATEVER REILLY WANTS a B+...more
I can’t count the number of times I picked up and put this book down since I got it. I was intrigued by the steampunk world, but could never really seem to find a time when I was in the mood to read it. I would get through the first couple pages and lose interest. I have to say, I wish I would have forced myself to read it sooner!!
This book actually has two stories: the first is about the Queen’s companion Dare. Dare is on a mission to find out who kidnapped the Queen and replaced her with a doppelganger. But her plans to find a specific airship are thwarted and instead she finds herself prisoner on a “Pleasure” submarine. Bodhan runs the sub and Dare instantly intrigues him, and he works hard to not only seduce her, but also uncover all her secrets.
I didn’t think this first story as much as the second. I don’t know if it was because so much of the world was being unveiled slowly, or because Dare and Bodham took some time to meet up, but either way it seemed to drag a bit in the beginning. Once things picked up, I found myself so entrenched in the story I had a hard time putting the book down. I wanted to know what was going on, who was who, and how they were going to find the Queen. It wasn’t until Dare and Bodhan leave the pleasure ship that the book started really turning around for me, but once it did, there was no stopping the awesomeness.
The sexy times between Dare and Bodham was so to develop, but so smokin’ hot. The sexual tension between them was done incredibly well, and I loved their little dance around each other as they moved toward a relationship. I hope we get to see a lot more of them as the series continues.
One of the things I also really enjoyed was that although the book was two separate novellas, the story was seamless overall. I didn’t feel like I missed anything when we changed from Dare/Bodham’s story to Phina/Cyrus’s story. The book follows the same crew of people once Dare and Bodham join up with the correct airship, and I hope we continue to follow this group of people as the story continues.
The second story follows Cyrus, the Queen’s sword. He has been through hell and back trying to find her, the worst of his problems: having to trust Phina, the woman who seduced him and left him to be kidnapped by his enemies. But the Queen trusts Phina, who was unaware of the plot behind Cyrus’ kidnapping. The tension between these two is enough to drive them both insane, if they aren’t killed by the Queen’s enemies first…
I adored Phina and Cyrus. Phina was the kind of heroine who could take care of herself, she didn’t need any man to come in and rescue her. But it also didn’t stop her from dreaming of that man. She has never had anyone to rely on, nor has she realized she wanted someone to rely on. I loved the vulnerability that Cyrus brought out in Phina, and the lengths that he went to for her. I can’t count the number of times he almost died for her, and he was more than willing to do it time and time again. They were a great couple that danced around their messy past before realizing that without each other, they both weren’t as strong.
These two had some holy amazing sexy times. They had angry sex, make-up sex, claiming sex. You name it, they had it…. But it also fit so well with their characters. I never felt as if it was just thrown in for the sake of it. They were great together both physically and emotionally.
The world-building in this story is incredible. While it took me awhile to get a good understanding of the world as a whole, as each detail was revealed, there was more and more that drew me in. I can’t wait to read more from Grace, see where the journey leads next, find out who took the Queen, where she is, and why her palace was always a little like a prison.
All in all this story was so engaging and fun to read. The first story built slowly and wasn’t as quick to reign in my attention, but once I was hooked, I couldn’t put it down. The sexy times were hot throughout the book, the world-building was just amazing and the characters (main and secondary alike) were all wonderful to read. I can’t wait to see where the series goes next, and get answers to my millions of questions! I give Geared for Pleasure a B ...more
This anthology was really hit or miss for me. I LOVED the LB Gregg story, only made it through 4 or 5 chapters before DNFing the Harper Fox story. I tThis anthology was really hit or miss for me. I LOVED the LB Gregg story, only made it through 4 or 5 chapters before DNFing the Harper Fox story. I thought the ZA Maxfield story was okay, and the Josh Lanyon one was good, but way too short IMO. ...more
Publisher: Harlequin Publish Date: Out Now! How I got this book: Review request from Jill
This has been the year of romantic suspense, and Jill Sorenson has become one of my go-to suspense authors this past year. When she offered me a copy of her Christmas novella, I couldn’t imagine turning it down. Suspense AND Christmas? It’s a double wammy!
In Holiday Secrets Leah is hiding away in witness protection from the man who killed her husband. She and her girls are living a quiet life, until the day their neighbor came over in a Santa suit bearing presents for the girls. Leah doesn’t know what to think about Brian and how great he is. When she thinks she spots the man she is running from, her Christmas season turns from a wonderful few days to the most terrifying.
I felt for poor Leah, she lived her life in constant fear, and at the beginning of the book seemed very deflated. She came across to me as timid and fearful of just about everything. But as Brian started cracking her shell, she became more and more open to trying the things that scared her most. I liked that she learned how to swim, that she was willing to take a chance at love again, and that she did everything in her power to save the day herself.
I really liked Brian though. He wasn’t what I would call an alpha, and instead of being the typical bad-ass hero in most suspense books, he was just the guy next door. I liked that he really seemed to care about Leah’s girls, and that they were his whole reason for going to Leah in the first place. I liked that he wasn’t the typical suspense hero, and he was one of the main reasons I enjoyed this story so much.
All in all it was a good short story. Brian and Leah did seem to come to their “I love you’s” a little quicker than normal, and while I didn’t fully believe it, they were a good couple together. I give Holiday Secrets a B-
In Kidnapped at Christmas, Chloe is down on her luck, her life is in shambles and she gets fired right before Christmas. Just when she thinks there is nothing left for her, she runs into Mason – an undercover FBI agent. Mason has Chloe pretend to be his girlfriend, and when Mason’s last operation goes bad, he brings Chloe home to his family for Christmas for her safety.
I didn’t like this story as much for some reason. Chloe came across as very insecure and down trodden and depressed. And throughout the story I never really felt as if she grew at all as a character. She stayed insecure with Mason’s family and never seemed to take life by the horns. I wanted more from her than we got.
I thought that Mason was just an okay hero, somewhat stereotypical for most romantic suspense novels. Sexy FBI agent, superstar undercover agent, tight knit family that had some kind of police or military training… There wasn’t anything that really had Mason standing out to me, and I lost interest pretty quickly in the story.
Overall I thought the second story was the weakest. The suspense was not as good as the Sorenson story, and the characters didn’t engage me. I give Kidnapped at Christmas a C-...more