This is the first time I can honestly say I’m starting a review and have no idea what rating I want to give it. I think maybe I need to work out my feelings as I’m typing and hopefully will figure it out by the end…
The blurb for this caught my eye:
Love is like an avalanche. It hits hard, fast and without mercy.
At least it did for me when Sculpt, the lead singer of the rock band Tear Asunder knocked me off my feet. Literally, because he’s also a fighter, illegally of course, and he taught me how to fight. He also taught me how to love and I fell hard for him. I mean the guy could do sweet, when he wasn’t doing bossy, and I like sweet.
Then it all shattered.
Kidnapped. Starved. Beaten. I was alone and fighting to survive. When I heard Sculpt’s voice, I thought he was there to save me.
I was wrong.
After reading the blurb I thought I would be reading a dark erotica book, which is something I’ve read and enjoyed by other authors. In dark erotica the reader has to go in knowing that there will be bdsm in an extreme way. Most dark erotica has pain and scenes that will make any average romance lover wince, but if it’s told well the reader comes away with the sense that all parties involved enjoy and in some cases even need this kind of sexual relationship. This is not a genre that works for all people, in fact even I balked before reading my first book. But I soon found that in some cases, when written by a talented author these type of stories can be very compelling. This is not that type of book.
Torn from You was all over the place. It seemed to me that the author tried to throw in everything that might appeal to readers of any genre. The hero, Sculpt (or Logan if the name Sculpt is too ridiculous for you to take serious), is not only an up and coming rock star, but he’s also an underground fighter. Who drives a motorcycle. And is alpha and likes to be in control in the bedroom. The heroine, Emily, is a not so pretty (at least she thinks so anyway) girl who reaches out to him to help her learn to defend herself. She’s had an awful childhood, with a mother who apparently has an alcohol problem and likes to demean her daughter. By the way, all of this is alluded to in the prologue, because all of that happens in a novella that was released at the same time as this book and was listed at book number .05. I really, really should have ignored the author’s note that said this could be read as a stand-a-lone and read that novella first. I think so much of this story didn’t work for me because I had no understanding of Emily and Sculpt’s relationship before it goes off the deep end.
What begins as a sweet, sexy encounter between Sculpt and Emily soon turns into a nightmare when in the first chapter she wakes up in a cold, bare room tied up and helpless. Then before she knows it there are men who come in and molest and beat her. That’s when she hears Sculpt’s voice and thinks he’s there to rescue her. Only he isn’t. From there she is taken to Mexico to learn to train as a sex slave. She’s abused, surrounded by women who are being forced to engage in sexual activities against their will and tied up and used by the man who she thought loved her. All the while she is fighting mentally and physically, because THIS ISN’T WHAT SHE WANTS. She thinks things like this:
I realized it felt safer this way. My body was just an apparatus, something to be used. It had no real value any longer. I could let it go and drift away to safer pastures with my mind. Some place where no one could reach me.
Then there’s Sculpt aka Logan.
“Don’t ever think you’re safe with me. I fuck you because I need release, that’s all you can be to me.”
Then he pushed inside me.
If you keep reading you’ll learn why Logan acts the way he does in the sex slave training camp. In fact, he helps Emily escape. Not sure exactly what happens immediately after that because time jumps two freaking years and then you have a completely different story. This is what I began to think of as the “New Adult” section of the book. It’s full of Logan trying to get Emily back and telling her what was actually going on behind the scenes while she was tied up and facing the floor, afraid of being sold in a sex trafficking ring. He’s growly, and alpha and determined to repair their relationship. He’s so determined that he won’t take no for an answer and keeps following her around, texting her and getting in her face. What bothered me about this was that she was scared of him. Emily just wanted him to go away and leave her in peace. She tells him this over and over. But he just won’t leave the poor, traumatized girl alone, because they are “engraved” on each other. So after a while she gives in. I really didn’t want her to, but she does. Sigh.
Then it turns syrupy and they have lots of sex. Logan becomes all dominate again and Emily gets off on it because he’s her soul mate who helped repair her heart and tear down the Lego walls in her mind. There are lots and lots of Lego walls in her head and she’s constantly building them. We know this because Logan repeatedly warns her to stop doing it and let him in. His alpha need to dominate her in the bedroom rears its ugly head again and this time she enjoys it. I can’t tell you how much this didn’t work for me. It was hard for me to believe that this girl could go from afraid of being powerless again to letting Logan tie her up and issue her orders in a matter of weeks.
They are surrounded by a bunch of annoying, hot men and drink happy girls who like to talk about getting laid a lot. Which is usually fine by me, because I like to read about hot men and sexually confidant women. Maybe my annoyance with the two main characters overshadowed my enjoyment of the secondary characters. All I know is that there were a couple of characters who I wanted to smack upside the head, others I wanted to sit down with and have a talk about maybe slowing down on their alcohol intake and yet still others that made my head hurt when they walked onto the page. By the big, high energy, hot men charging to the rescue scene I was ready for it to all be over so I could read something else. This book is sure to appeal to many readers, it just didn’t work for me.
I think I figured it out. It was interesting enough for me to work my way to the end and not DNF, but I had so many issues that I can’t recommend. Final Grade- D ...more
Every single time I pick up another book in Delilah S. Dawson’s Blud series I fall in love with this whimsical, magical world all over again. With this novella we are reacquainted with Criminy Stain and his caravan and introduced to Jacinda, a journalist who has just gained permission from the ringmaster to stay with them and work on a book about life as a carnivalleo. The newest member, and to Jacinda the person with the most interesting story to tell, is the Daggerman, Marco Taresque. It’s rumored that his last assistant went missing and all that was left of her was a pool of blood, but before he could be caught Marco vanished. Jacinda is determined to get the truth out of the mysterious, dangerous knife thrower, while Marco is just as determined to make Jacinda work for the any answers she gets about his past.
Marco and Jacinda dance around each other, tempting and taunting and flirting. Jacinda may have started out wanting the truth of Marco’s past for her book, but she is quickly seduced into just wanting the man himself. Marco is a sexy alpha male who fills the page with his presence, I couldn’t wait for Jacinda to peel back his layers and discover his truth. It amazes me that Ms. Dawson can create such a wonderfully vibrant world, with such well fleshed out characters in so small amount of page time. I felt transported to Sang, the chemistry between Jacinda and Marco fairly jumped off the page and by the time I finished this delightful novella I was engrossed in their love story. Very well done.
As always, with any book in this series, I highly recommend reading it in order. Not because these individual stories can’t be read as stand-a-lones, but rather because I really feel like this series is worth the investment in both time and money. Book three, Wicked After Midnight, is scheduled for release on January 28th and I am eagerly awaiting my return to Sang. Final Grade- B+
“I like you like this, spread out for me. If you let me enjoy myself, I promise you won’t regret it.” His lips nibbled her clavicles, his tongue tracing the fine lines of her bones. “I told you, I like to take my time.”
“I’ll do my best. But, I’m not one for following orders.”
So hot. And dirty. Gahhhh... I absolutely loved Logan and Tate. I think I cried a little bit when I saw that book two, Take, has a release date of SUMMER 2014.
Logan thought that this coupling would be hard and fast, but Tate lodged himself inside and stopped. Tate came down over him and spread his arms out to the sides where Logan's lay, and he entwined their fingers. The mouth by his ear kissed the shell of it, and the hips pressed up against him moved in a slow rotation.
"Every time we do this, it convinces me that I'm exactly where I need to be."...more
Mark Sayre joins the Interstellar Navy for the money—his only goal is to keep his little brother out of the colony mines that sent their father to an early grave. With concepts like duty and honor floating high over his head, he hardly expects to fall for the serious, idealistic Shane Cawley. Not to mention that Shane is his commanding officer . . . and his Resonance partner, a one-in-ten-thousand mental connection so profound that they can travel in each other’s mindscapes.
Shane Cawley is carrying on the family tradition by serving in the Interstellar Navy. He hardly expects to fall for the quirky, happy-go-lucky Mark Sayre. But as the Resonance between them grows, neither can deny what he feels for the other.
When war breaks out, Mark and Shane find their military training and their Resonance link tested to the edge of sanity. Shane is haunted by memories and flashbacks, and Mark becomes trapped in his own mindscape. But with help from an unlikely ally, they may be able to salvage their futures and the love they share.
Doesn’t that blurb sound interesting? Yeah? I did to me too. So I imagine my upset when the story I read was vastly different from what I was expecting. This is a short (very short) science-fiction romance. When the story opens Shane is visiting his lover Mark in a mental hospital where he is comatose, trapped in his own mind since being rescued as a POW in the interstellar war. From there the story jumps from present to past tense and from Mark to Shane’s POVs for the rest of the book. It was confusing at times. I’m not sure if it was just the formatting of my copy, but the jumps in time and POV came with no warning and lasted only a few pages. It started to bother me after the first twenty pages or so and I was ready for Shane to figure out a way to wake Mark up just so they could maybe be in the same time period together and not make my head hurt.
I do think this story could have worked better if it had been better fleshed out, with a more in-depth telling of Shane and Mark’s love story. There were small bits of it revealed through flashbacks told through Mark’s POV, but every time I thought maybe I could get a handle on their relationship time jumped and we were back to the insane asylum where Shane is desperately trying to get inside Mark’s mind. After awhile I was just reading to finish and didn’t care. There wasn’t even any sex. None. Not any. At all. Very disappointing. ...more
It took me five days to read this book. Five days of sneak reading at work. Five days of staying up until 2 a.m.. Five days of laying my iPad on the bathroom counter to read while I brushed my teeth and dried my hair in the morning. Five days of reading while at my son's football games. This is a loooooong book. I could have read four regular sized books in the time it took to read this one. But damn it, it was worth it.
First off, it's epic. Epic love, epic characters, epic adventures and trials and one hell of an epic journey. It reminded me of the love I once had for high fantasy.
Secondly, Amber is who I would hope to be if I was ever trapped on a alien planet. She's foul mouthed, bitchy and brutally honest...., but she's also smart and capable and a survivor. There were times she made me laugh out loud and times I wanted to weep with her. I never at any time doubted her decisions or wondered if she would let her circumstances defeat her. Amber was the shit.
Lastly, there is Meoraq. Yes he is a lizard man who starts out harsh, prejudiced and unforgiving. When this story begins he is not who I would ever call a good man, but by the end of this journey he is worthy of the title of hero. He is changed by his love for his Amber. His ideas and visions evolve. I may have started out a little squeamish over this alien/human pairing, but by the end I was convinced that these two were meant for each other and found their bond to be nothing but absolutely beautiful.
This book is dark and violent. There’s gruesome death and rape. It’s not for the faint of heart. But I would urge readers to give it a try. I am so glad I listened to all the recs on GR and Twitter and blogs (Thank you Mandi!) and gave this one a chance. It will most definitely be on my best of list at the end of the year.
"You are always for me, Soft-Skin. Though your nearness and infirmity are a terrible trial upon my years of discipline, I will stand fast with the aid of God against my natural lusts. And when you are whole again, I will fill you. Between those hours, and for every other hour from now until the end of Time, you are for me." He paused to watch with grimacing, lizard-like satisfaction as she came to a swift, violent climax. His hand stilled, but stayed where it was, cupping and not quite caressing her. "This day will end," he said softly, "You and I will go on."...more
I absolutely loved Lacey and Galen from Down for the Count, Christine Bell’s first book in the Dare Me series. This novella is their story after the HEA. They want a family badly and have tried unsuccessfully for a while to either conceive on their own or, since that doesn’t seem to be working, adopt. They are also only a week away from walking down the aisle.
Every single thing I loved about that first book is still present in this novella. Humor, wonderfully hot sex scenes and some laugh out loud dialogue. Lacey still needs help coming out of her shell and Galen still wants to protect her. I mean seriously, the story opens with Galen’s sister and Lacey’s best friend Cat kidnapping and hooding her to take her out to a strip club named The Meat Market. Here’s just a small tidbit from that hilarious goodness:
“Jesus, did you seriously just handcuff me? she asked, craning her head to get a look at her assailant.
“I did, ma’am,” a low male voice purred. “Because you’re under arrest, and I’m taking you … in.” A second giant oily man in a policeman’s cap and a holster seemingly only held in place by his enormous, banana hammock covered man-meat leaned over and did a shimmy.
Surely they were kidding right? There was no way they’d really do this to her.
But they do. Poor Lacey gets an eye full of some well hung, oiled up strippers. It’s up to Galen to come to rescue her.
Regardless of the beginning, this novella had a heavier feel than the other books in this series. Lacey and Galen have a wonderfully loving relationship. Their chemistry still burns up the page and Galen remains a charmer, but there is a tension between them now. The quest to have a family has put a strain on their sex life and there is a lot of pain and heartache with each let down. Galen wants to give his Lacey what ever it is she wants and that includes children. He feels further away from his lover than ever and will do just about anything to spice up their love life again. It’s a lovely thing to watch as they reassure each other and find their HEA once again.
There are some new characters introduced and I do believe that they will be the next couple in this series. I am so excited and intrigued by them as a potential couple. I will most definitely be putting their book on my TBR list. I loved this novella and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fast, funny read with just the right amount of angst and sexy times. Final Grade- B
“I love when you wear clothes like this. You’re my own sexy school teacher.” Another kiss, this one over the peach silk of her bra. “When you’re getting dressed in the morning, walking around in your skirt, putting on your earrings, fixing your lipstick, it takes all my strength not to follow behind you and undo all the things you’ve just done.”
I’m a character in my story, going through the chapters of my life as if it was written by an imaginary person, when I should be the author.
Elle has so many good things going for her. A nice career in a law firm she likes, a fantastic best friend who understands and supports her and a comfortable relationship with a good looking man who she’s known since law school. William is everything she should want in a man, successful, attractive, kind… their relationship is just easy. She’s always strived to contain her emotions and not repeat the mistakes of her childhood. Lately she feels like something is missing, everything is so stagnant and there’s no spark. Until she agrees to help William with a case and meets his client Nico “the lady killer” Hunter. He’s everything she shouldn’t want in a man, but she can’t seem to stay away.
Nico has his own demons to fight and has been living his life in pause, unable to get past his last fight and move forward with his life. When he meets Elle he’s so taken with her that he comes back to her office the very next day and asks her out. There is just something about this buttoned up, smart woman that gets to him. She just might be what he needs in his life.
This was one of those reads where I was so happy with myself for making the decision to push my one click button . I will admit to being initially drawn to it because of the sexy cover and the fact that the hero is a MMA fighter, but once I started reading I kind of fell into the story and didn’t look up from my kindle until I was about two thirds of the way through. Nico is so alpha, who at first comes across as the typical hard bodied, tattooed fighter that is used to getting what he wants with women, and I might not have enjoyed this romance as much if he had stayed that way… but he didn’t. As his and Elle’s relationship progresses he becomes so much more. Yes, he’s alpha, but he’s also a gentleman who waits to get to the good stuff until he knows it’s right for his lady, he cooks her meals and is glad to do it, he takes in a young boy to train so he won’t end up on the streets and he’s living with a terrible guilt because of the events of his last bout.
He can go from saying something like this:
“You’re a beautiful, smart, strong woman who is used to being treated like a lady."
And in the very next paragraph rock his woman’s world by finishing up his thoughts with this:
“But when I finally get you underneath me, I’m definitely not going to treat you like a lady.”
Elle is engaging and smart and funny, she might be unsure of jumping into a relationship with a man who inspires in her such strong emotion, but she doesn’t play games. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that. Nico and Elle have an instant intense attraction, but there was no insta-love and their relationship progresses in a believable way. There were just the right amount of sensual, passionate love scenes and each one moved this couple closer together and allowed them to open themselves up to each other. The first person POV switches between the two and I think is the very reason this story works so well. I always knew how each felt about the other and getting into both of their heads helped me understand their reactions as the main conflict played out. Watching them support each other and learn how to forgive themselves was lovely.
This is one MMA fighter romance that lived up to every single expectation that I had from looking at the cover and reading the blurb. The romance is well written, the characters likable and well fleshed out and the love scenes were smoking hot. I can’t wait to get my hot little hands on the next book in the series as soon as it releases. Definitely recommend. Final grade- B+
“Where are you going?”
“I’m hungry. I was going to have some breakfast since you’re sore.”
I begin to answer, ready to argue with him, when I realize what he’s doing. He isn’t lifting himself off of me, he’s lowering himself down my body. Nico is hungry and I can’t wait to be his meal.
Nick Hamilton and Willow Cavanaugh have a history. They met when he was in his first year of the NFL and she was just nineteen. Their affair burned out of control, they couldn’t keep their hands off each other and both started to fall in love. Until Willow’s sports lawyer father became involved and warned Nick to back off. Which he did, leaving Willow broken-hearted and having learned her lesson when it came to bad boy football players. They’ve managed to avoid each other for years, but now that their best friends are married and living in domestic bliss they keep getting thrown together. Nick’s always regretted leaving Willow. No woman will ever live up to the memories of his first love. He’s older now, wiser to what he wants in his life and what he wants is Willow back. He just has to convince her he’s serious.
Willow has lived in the shadow of her famous father all her life, now she just wants to prove that she can make it on her own. Several years ago she started a custom cotton candy business and has since seen it slowly grow. She’s convinced all she needs to see it take off is lease space and she thinks she’s found the perfect location for her first store front. The only problem is that the owner of said location is none other than the man who loved and left her, Nick Hamilton. But Nick has deal for her, he will gladly take her on as a tenant, even go down on the lease price, if she will agree to go out on 8 dates with him. He thinks that’s all he needs to prove to her that he’s a changed man and that they are still made for each other.
This was one of those books where as you’re reading you know in your head that the premise is far-fetched, but you just don’t care. From the very beginning the dialogue and sexual tension between the H/h had me completely glued to the page. I loved the back and forth between these two:
“No sexual favors, if that’s what you’re hinting at. God you haven’t changed a bit, have you? Do you ever not think with that thing between your legs?”
Well hell, now she’d offended him.
“Baby, I can think clearly most of the damn time. It’s only when I’m around you that my dick decides to tell me what I should do. I can’t help it if I’m still sexually attracted to you.”
I’m also a sucker for any kind of story where it’s clear that there is a prior relationship between the main protagonists. Whether it’s unrequited love, animosity or just plain lust that they are fighting, I can’t help but want them to figure it all out and find their way to each other. This couple first appeared in Game for Marriage and I just knew their story would be a fun, lusty ride. And I wasn’t wrong. Nick is bound and determined to win over the woman of his dreams, he doesn’t let a little thing like her fiery temper get the better of him. Willow fights her attraction for Nick, equally determined that she won’t fall for him again. Their interactions are funny, the dialogue between them amusing and laced with chemistry and sexual tension. When they finally do fall into bed that tension explodes into some awfully sexy love scenes.
Game for Trouble was a fast read. The progression of Nick and Willow’s relationship from snarky exes to a sweet, affectionate couple was lovely. The only thing that threw me off a bit was Willow’s reaction to why Nick originally left her. I was confused over why she still doubted his devotion after their heart to heart. I kind of wanted to reach into the book and slap her. Luckily, her stupidity only lasted a few pages. It did lend some angst to the storyline and create some added tension between this couple.
Overall, I did enjoy this contemporary romance and would recommend to those looking for something easy to read with plenty of sexy times. Final Grade- B-
Oh, my God. He was acting like a completely different person. No more easygoing Nick. Now he was growly, animalistic Nick. Tear her panties to bits and look at her like he wanted to eat her alive Nick. She liked it. Heaven help her, she fucking loved it.
After being betrayed by his lover, Max Arrington, the Duke of Pelham, decides never to fall in love again. But after spending almost a year alone he lets his loneliness and the urging of a friend drive him to looking for some sexual relief in a brothel that caters to the whims of men seeking other men. There he meets Tristan. A beautiful man who captures his attention so fully that he can’t get him and their compatibility in bed out of his head.
Tristan Walsh left the family farm and came to London when he realized he didn’t fit in with the rest of his kin. When gambling debts leave him in serious risk of losing his life he makes a deal with the owner of an upscale brothel to work as a prostitute in exchange for help paying off his creditors. He spends his nights catering to the wants of men , doing things he may not be comfortable with in order to keep a roof over his head, his debts to his boss paid and indulging in his love for fine clothing. Then he meets a strong, kind Duke and his whole world changes.
Max’s obsession with Tristan leads him to seek him out again and again. When he finds him being abused by another client one evening he takes control of the situation, buying his debt from the brothel owner and whisking him away to his London townhouse. In order to keep Tristan with him Max extends an offer for paid companionship, days spent as a guest in Max’s country estate and nights filled with immeasurable pleasure in his bed. He makes it clear that there won’t ever be any tender feelings in this arrangement, but he’s more than willing to give his body and his honesty. As the lovers settle in to country life they embark on a torrid affair behind closed doors, coming together over and over until the inevitable happens and love enters the picture. Then the two men must come to terms with their differences in rank and power. Can a Duke and a prostitute really find a happily ever after?
You just can’t go wrong when you pick up an Ava March historical. She takes everything there is to love in a historical romance, inserts two wonderfully strong heroes, adds just the right amount of naughty love scenes, sprinkles the whole thing with angst and misunderstandings and then finishes it all off with a believable HEA. When I pick up a m/m historical I find my self even more interested in the romance, wondering throughout the whole book how the lovers will find a way to make it work in the end. There is just something about two men finding and maintaining a loving relationship in this time period that keeps me engrossed. There is so much keeping Max and Tristan from having a future with together… their stations in life, Max’s experience with his past lover, the knowledge that they can’t let anyone know of their affection for each other and Tristan’s resolve not to be a kept man. While I completely enjoyed the love scenes (especially the ones with leather cuffs and wooden paddles… YUM), I especially loved the relationship progression between these two totally different heroes and their determination to find a future built on respect and trust.
All In with the Duke was a wonderful start to the Gambling on Love series. I can’t decide if I want Rawling or Morgan’s story next. Both were intriguing in their own ways and left me looking forward to finding out more about them. Whomever’s story is next, I plan on putting it on my must read list and snapping it up on release day. Final Grade- B+
“I’m happy,” he said simply.
For the first time in his life, he felt truly happy. Content. At peace with himself and his life. And it was all because of Tristan.
The most beautiful smile curved Tristan’s lips. “So am I.”
I usually start my reviews with a summary in my own words and then move on to how I felt about the romance, plot, characters, etc. I’m going to do things a bit different with this review.
Blurb from Goodreads:
Lady Aileen never thought she’d be in this position—falling in love with her sister’s betrothed! Of course, her sister did run away rather than marry him, and he doesn’t seem to be all that interested in her sister either, but even so, such a match is impossible…isn’t it?
Aileen is certain she must turn away from the man she loves in order to protect her sister’s reputation. However, he’s not one to give up without a fight, and now that he’s met a woman he wants to marry, nothing on earth could convince him to let Aileen go.
The main reason I am writing this review in a slightly different way is because regardless of what the blurb says, this book isn’t solely about Lady Aileen. No, this book is about Lady Aileen, her sister Lady Tara Davidson, Tara’s fiancé Blake Stephens, Tara’s first love Ruary Jamerson and Ruary’s fiancé Jane Sawyer. The POV shifts repeatedly between all five of these characters. In fact I would say this book is more about Lady Tara than anyone, as she is at the center of the storyline and everyone’s happiness depends on her decisions.
The prologue starts off with Lady Aileen finally getting the chance to come out in society and her optimism in finding a true love match. She and Lady Tara have been shut away at their country estate, Annefield, for years, while their father the Earl of Tay gambles, womanizes and lives his life in London. After years of taking care of her sister in the safety of the country it’s finally Lady Aileen’s turn to head out into the world and find true love. Unfortunately, between the prologue and first chapter times jumps nine years so we don’t actually know all that happens to Lady Aileen during her debut in London and her married life afterwards. We just know she has returned to the countryside a divorcee accused of adultery who now stays out of the public eye and that her married life was miserable. That’s when her sister Lady Tara makes her appearance and I believe takes over much of this book.
Lady Tara jilts her fiancé, Blake Stephens, and runs home when she realizes that she really is in love with the Horse Master for Annefield. But unfortunately for her Ruary Jamerson has moved past his feelings for the spoiled, flighty daughter of the Earl of Tay and has recently become engaged to another woman. Of course her fiancé, accompanied by the earl, chases her to Scotland because the shame of being abandoned right before a wedding isn’t something the bastard son of a duke wants to experience. That’s when things get confusing. Tara wants Ruary, but agrees to go ahead with the wedding to Blake when Ruary confesses his engagement to Jane. That doesn’t mean she stops chasing after Ruary, just that she has to keep a man on the hook in case Ruary doesn’t fall back into her arms. In the meantime Lady Aileen and Blake have fallen in love,. but Aileen won’t let Blake out of marrying her sister unless she agrees to cry off. Then there is Jane. Poor Jane who has to listen to the rumors of her betrothed running around with another woman at the same time her banns are being read.
In the middle of all of this is Tara. A spoiled, ridiculous girl who is so rude and self-absorbed that even at the end she doesn’t do the right thing for her sister’s sake, but because it makes Tara feel better. I was so happy when someone finally said something to her:
Sabrina smiled evenly. “No, I don’t dislike you, Tara, but you are selfish. I understand why. If I had your looks and your father with his own special type of benign neglect, I might behave the same. It is probably not entirely your fault.
Personally, I might have been a tad bit more forceful in my language, but that’s just me.
I know that this is supposed to be Aileen’s love story, with the next book being about Lady Tara, but her personality and presence take a such a backstage to her sister that this didn’t feel like her book at all. By the time she and Blake fall in love and begin an affair I was more caught up in what Tara would do, how she would react to all the ongoing situations and figuring who her love interest might be in the next book in the series. Even Aileen and Blake’s happily ever after didn’t feel like their own. Just more Tara time. I do plan on reading the next book in the series, The Bride Says Maybe, mainly because if anyone can redeem such an unlikable heroine as Tara, it would be Cathy Maxwell. Final Grade- C-
Her boldness stole his breath. With what little sanity he had left, he demanded. “Why?”
She moved closer to him to press her lips against the line of his jaw. “Because there isn’t another man in the world like Mr. Stephens,” she whispered. “And I am in the mood to make you very happy.”
Grace Love and Trick Matthews are neighbors and friends. The kind of friends who walk each other’s dogs, are comfortable curling up on the coach together to watch horror films and finish each others sentences. Grace hasn’t had any luck in her own love life, but she’s a master when it comes to hooking up other people through her matchmaking company, Love Will Find a Way. She’s still regaining her confidence after the disaster that was her former relationship and knows that acting on her attraction with a player like Trick will ruin their friendship. The sex would be ridiculously hot, but not worth he heartache.
Trick Matthews has it bad for his best friend. Yes, he was a womanizer when he first met Grace, but after realizing she was the woman of his dreams he’s changed his ways. The only woman he wants in his life now is Grace. He just can’t figure how to escape the friend zone and get her to look at him as something more. It’s Halloween though and he’s got a plan to go in disguise to the hottest party in Salem where he hopes to finally show her just how great they could be together. Trick’s plan to get Grace to see him as something more than her friend involves a mask, a few little white lies and some smoking hot sexy times. Super smoking hot sexy times.
Dirty Trick was a sexy, sweet friends to lovers story that I read in one sitting. This is my third Christine Bell read from Entangled Publishing’s Brazen line and she’s fast becoming an author I can depend on to give me a quick read with witty dialogue and fun characters. Friends to lovers is my favorite trope and I had all kinds of fun with this story. The chemistry between Grace and Trick was apparent from the beginning. They, along with Grace’s other friend Serena (who I absolutely adored), have a great camaraderie that shows its self with how easy their banter is with each other. Once the plan is put into motion Grace has some intense sexual encounters with her mystery man, but all the while can’t help but keep her mind off Trick. He on the other hand is caught in a trap of his own making and must figure out how to tell Grace that he IS her mystery man. They have some misunderstandings, one very sweet confession and in the end a very lovely HEA.
This was the perfect way to set off a new series. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Serena will be the main character in the next book. I absolutely can not wait to see her meet her match.
He found himself fighting back another twinge of totally irrational jealousy. What an asshole. Here he was, lying to his best friend, and he was the one with hurt feelings?
Love was a fucking kick in the balls sometimes. ...more
Adam Craig is tired of being surrounded by groupies, fake people and pretending to be someone he isn’t . As the lead singer of the metal rock band Black Varen his life is lived in the closet in order make everyone around him happy. Everyone knows that it’s okay to be bi in the rock community but gay is definitely not accepted. He spends his days in a blur of parties filled with drugs and booze, surrounded by people he doesn’t even really like. What he needs is some time away. When his latest tour wraps up Adam finds himself wanting to escape the craziness that is the after party, so drunk and high he takes off, not knowing where he will end up. When he wakes up he finds himself at the lodge where he vacationed with his family as a child. He also meets the cranky artist who owns the resort.
Miles Caldwell finds the leather clad, hung over lead singer asleep on his porch and is annoyed at first over the trespassing on his property. Until he gets a good look at the man, then he’s just interested. As an agoraphobic Miles hasn’t left the property in years. He lives his life alone with only his parrot, sister, a few close friends and his art to keep him company. His sister and friends visit occasionally, but it’s his art that occupies most of his time. Working on commissions Miles creates beautiful illuminated manuscripts that seem to be his one great love. Then he starts a summer affair with a hot rock star.
There was a lot to love about this romance: angst, very sensual love scenes, two damaged heroes and some pretty great secondary characters. One of the things I appreciated the most was that each man was dealing with very personal matters in addition to their struggle to be together. Miles suffered a major trauma as a young man and has a completely different personality from what those closest to him remember. I struggled a bit at first with understanding him, but as he worries and frets over how to deal with his feelings for Adam and how to work toward fixing himself I started to ‘get’ him. Adam is a rock star and he lives that life fully. Drugs, drink, partying all night, he is out of control and doesn’t even realize it. They spend two weeks together, alone except for a few visits by Miles sister and friends. Each man is desperate for intimacy and their sex life is very passionate, but they also start to fall in love. When the two weeks end it’s with the understanding that Adam will be back over Thanksgiving. But once they are apart Miles starts to doubt Adam’s feelings and Adam has to hide his true self away once again. Miles wants to believe that he is enough for a famous rock star, but pushes him away when the tabloid rumors start. Adam puts on a façade for the public even though he really misses Miles and wants to stay in his life. They were battling themselves just as much as each other.
This couple was apart for quite a bit of the book. Apart and longing to be together, but needing the time apart to work through their own issues. I use the word believable in many of my reviews… Was the HEA believable? Did I believe the passion and feelings the two main characters have for each other? Was the resolution to the main plot rushed or allowed to unfold in a way that it flowed with the rest of the story? The answer to all of those questions for this romance is yes. Their passion develops quickly, but I never doubted their chemistry. Ever. Even in the time away from each other Adam manages connect with his lover via email and video. Such a sexy scene. I think I read it twice. The time spent apart was needed in order for Adam and Miles to work on helping themselves first, so that when they finally reconnected they were in a better place mentally and physically. Even their HEA worked. I wished there would have been a more absolute future for them, but with these two I think how the story ended was realistic.
I loved this romance from beginning to happily ever after. For two such different characters they come together beautifully, I think because each has something the other needs in their life. Miles needs companionship and someone to understand him while Adam desires peace and quiet and the ability to be himself. I enjoyed this couple immensely and definitely recommend. Final Grade- B
Adam was different, was like sucking understanding through his fingertips, as if his fingers were knowledge vacuums. Every touch was an education.
The friends to lovers trope is my very favorite. Doesn’t matter if it’s a historical, contemporary or romantic suspense, if the blurb even hints that there is history between the H/h, or he is her brother’s best friend, or there might be some unrequited love on either main character’s part I’m all in. It’s like my crack, I just have no willpower to resist. The blurb for this novella in the H.O.T. series had that AND the hero’s nickname is Knight Rider AND the title is Hot Mess. Just a glimpse at it on Goodreads I could feel the pull and hear it calling my name. So I gave in.
Georgeanne Hayes has had her sights set on Sam McKnight since she was thirteen years old. To Sam she will never be anything more than his best friend’s kid sister, she knows this because the one time she tried to offer her virginity to him shortly after her 18th birthday he refused to give in to his desire and pushed her away. He’s only made one other appearance in her life since then and that was on the day of her wedding. Now she’s divorced and an English Professor living in DC. She likes her life and job, but can’t make her family understand that despite her divorce she’s okay. When her brother calls Sam in to check on her she’s not surprised when he’s distant, after all they haven’t seen each other in years. But when her life is threatened the next day he’s the first person she thinks to call.
Sam McKnight refuses to give in to his desire for the gorgeous Georgeanne Hayes. As a child her house was the only place he could go to escape his parents fighting. He’s a poor boy from the wrong side of the tracks and has always known that he is not who her parents would want for their little girl. He has nothing to offer her, even his job as a new member of the Hostile Operations Team (H.O.T.) requires him to leave at a moments notice and often stay away from home. When Georgie calls him in a panic and he then discovers that a student of hers is connected to some very bad people he is determined to keep her safe.
First let me say I thoroughly enjoyed this romance. It’s supposed to be romantic suspense, but I felt that the focus was more on the romance than the suspense. Don’t get me wrong, there is a suspense plot, but it doesn’t really go anywhere and the resolution is quick and easy. The romance aspect on the other hand was very skillfully allowed to unfold and the passion to ignite beautifully. Both Sam and Georgie are well fleshed out and it was easy to get into their heads to understand where they were coming from. I liked these characters. Their dialogue was both sexy and funny and kept me entertained even while I was waiting for them to resolve their feelings and finally jump into bed.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” he said.
“I doubt you’re that big.”
He couldn’t believe that she could make him laugh at a time like this. “I’m thinking of your hip, smartass.”
“I’ll let you know, but right now I think it hurts worse not to have you where I want you.”
Here’s another fun moment:
“I’m not wearing any panties,” she whispered. “Doesn’t that make it all better?”
“Georgie,” he groaned. “You’re killing me here.”
She reached for his belt buckle. “Ooooh, you feel that? The wind is blowing. Blowing my dress right off. Blowing you right where I want you.”
Georgeanne isn’t the typical girl who is begging for her brother’s best friend to see her as something more, she’s strong and sassy, while at the same time completely down to earth. I could have read another two hundred pages of her smart comebacks and sexy come-ons. I admired Sam’s thoughtful handling of his G. There is a lot of push and pull until passion ignites and their feelings fall into place soon after. The ending felt like more of a HFN rather than HEA, but I was okay with that and hope that I will get to see more of this couple further on in this series.
This was my first Lynn Raye Harris, but it won’t be my last. I’ve already hit my one click button and purchased the first book in the series. I’m hoping with the longer length that the suspense plot will be more intense. I’ll report back and let y’all know. Final Grade- B
She thought he had trouble remembering she wasn’t a kid anymore. No, what he had trouble remembering was that he was no good for her. Because damn if he didn’t want her. He wanted her every possible way he could have her.
So far in the last year I’ve read four Rhys Ford books… two romantic suspense, one urban fantasy and one paranormal romance. Each one was very different from the last, but all were either A or B reads for me. I really like this author’s voice. When I found out she was putting out a ghost story I was freaking ecstatic. No joke. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. What in the world could be better than two hot men falling in love amid creepy, weird, otherworldly, unexplained happenings in a big, old house? What I ask?
Wolf Kincaid is a ghost hunter. Or rather he’s a skeptic who grew up in a magical family who now makes his living debunking people’s claims of anything supernatural. So when he’s hired by an older woman to prove that her nephew and his stories of ghosts in the family mansion are fake he heads out straight away to Hoxne Grange and meets the strange, attractive estate owner Tristan Pryce. He is expecting a simple hoax, not to be thrown in the middle of a crazy haunting by a dead serial killer.
Tristan was left the Grange by his Uncle Mortimer and has carried on the tradition of seeing ghosts to their final resting place as they travel through his home to finally find their way to the other side. Tristan has never been “normal” in his family’s eyes. He’s always been a bit different, but after being shipped to his uncle as a child he finds the place where he belongs. The Grange isn’t just his home, but where he feels the safest and where he feels a sense of responsibility to his deceased guests.
When Wolf Kincaid and his team show up Tristan does the only thing he can, he lets them stay, with the hope that they will be gone as soon as possible. These two men clash at first, arguing and sniping at each other, but soon realize there is an attraction between them as well. Wolf can’t understand why his equipment keeps malfunctioning and strange things keep happening. I mean come on, this is all a hoax. Right? Tristan can’t understand why the Hellsinger team can’t just leave him and his ghosts alone. When the members of Wolf’s team unknowingly unleashes a terrible evil on the estate the shit hits the fan and Wolf and Tristan must join together to save the day.
Oh, man. This book was so good. There is just so much to love about Fish & Ghosts. The characters are outstanding, not just Wolf and Tristan, but even the secondary characters kept and held my full attention. Matt and Gidget are a nice comedic relief when things get creepy. I mean how can you not love a girl who says things like this right in the middle of a séance gone wrong?
Handing the younger woman a box, Wolf yelled, “Get as much on her as you can. Like you’re spreading chicken feed.
“I have never fed a chicken in my fucking life!” Gidget screamed back. “Chicken comes on Styrofoam trays or in little white globes.”
I loved Gidget so much. Between her and Tristan’s housekeeper Mara I was smiling almost the entire time.
The romance between the two main characters is sweet, yet sexy and with just the right amount of dirty. While Wolf acknowledges to himself his attraction to the other man rather swiftly, Tristan is inexperienced and can’t decide if Wolf is even interested in him at first.
“I think it’s bat for my team. I’m not even sure if “pitching my cricket” is a thing.” He had to think about it, then decided he was right. “I don’t feel the gay. Shit, I barely can tell I’m gay. How the hell am I supposed to figure out if someone else is? There should be a handshake or something. Worst fucking club ever.”
When the creepy happenings quickly turn to scary and the Grange and everyone in it is threatened Wolf and Tristan figure out real quick that they’ve got to work together to overcome it. Their relationship progresses rather quickly from the first love scene, but for me this worked for this couple. There was just something about these men and how they fit together that just seemed to work. Maybe it was their backgrounds, maybe it was that Rhys Ford did a wonderful job showing their chemistry or it might have been that there just seemed to be needs that each had that the other fulfilled. All I know is that Wolf and Tristan made a wonderful couple.
While there was a dark, ominous feel to this story, because hey, it’s a ghost story, it also had a lightheartedness that made it an easy read. I think I’ve heard that this is to be a series and that makes me a very happy girl. Final Grade- B+
“I am going to say it again.” Wolf laved at one of Tristan’s plum-hued nipples. “You, Tristan Pryce, are so fucking beautiful it almost hurts my eyes to look at you. And God help me, I am never going to stop telling you that. Whenever I can. Maybe even after you finally believe me.”
Shannon is out for revenge against Drake Gallagher. At seventeen she fell in love and spent a lovely summer with what she thought was a lonely man, until he ends their budding relationship cruelly. The series of events that follow have stuck with her so completely that she is unable to trust anyone and won’t settle down in any place that might feel like home. She can’t sleep for the nightmares and hasn’t been able to form an intimate relationship in the last ten years. Maybe if she gets her revenge she can finally put her past behind her and forget about him. Her chance comes when she finds out he is looking to hire a new assistant. So she goes to the interview, and gets hired. It’s obvious he doesn’t remember who she is. Or does he?
There were things I liked about this story and things that bothered me. The overall premise and plot is a good one and also the main reason I accepted for review. A good revenge story is hard to find, and the blurb is intriguing.
Blurb from Goodreads:
I was seventeen when I met Drake Gallagher. Seventeen, naïve, foolish…and in love. Or so I thought. That summer, and the months that followed, set the course of my life.
Ten years later, I’m still struggling to put the pieces of me back to together.
It’s time to stop struggling. It’s time to take control…and maybe, it’s time for a little revenge.
He doesn’t have time for naïve little virgins?
Well, I’m not naïve anymore.
Shannon (or Shan) comes across at first as an angry, hurt woman who needs to find some closure with the man who hurt her badly as a teenager. She’s standoffish, but not mean, distant to Drake, but not a rude person to others around her. That I liked. When the story opens she is interviewing for a job at Drake’s company and as determined as she is to get the position, I had the impression that what she really wanted to know is if he would remember her. Their first meeting sets the pace for the rest of this short story. I found myself intrigued over whether he was playing with her or not, and if he was, what her reaction would be.
This had the feel of a typical billionaire romance. Drake was the rich, playboy who needed to be in control and Shan was the naïve virgin who he becomes infatuated with. The only thing missing was the bdsm elements. Despite all that, despite realizing when I opened to read that this was a very short story, therefore would most definitely end in a cliffhanger (which I despise), I was drawn into the pages and found myself very interested in their story. I didn’t really fall in love with or dislike either character, even though Drake is supposed to be the bad guy. He did lead a seventeen year old girl on when he was a twenty-four year old man, and that I did find icky, but I decided that just had to figure into her revenge and the overall plot. I was ready for great things to play out, Shan to make Drake beg for forgiveness, the two of them to circle around each other and sparks to fly, and then there was table sex, then office sex, but then all of a sudden…. to be continued.
It’s my own fault really. I didn’t pay attention to the word count or how many pages were listed on Goodreads. Overall I did enjoy this story, and I will be reading the next installment, but the serial format doesn’t appeal to me and I’m not a fan at all of cliffhangers. Also, when there is a cliffhanger I want to be able to go somewhere to find out the tentative release date of the next book. Even if it’s just a “we think it might be in the winter” or something. Shan and Drake’s story will continue in Redemption. Not sure when it will be released, but let’s hope it’s soon. Final Grade- C
Lexxie Couper’s Heart of Fame series is one I like to turn to when I’m looking for an easy read. I don’t always absolutely love each installment, but I do enjoy them and find them to be fast reads. Steady Beat is book four and tells the story of Noah, the drummer from Nick Blackthorne’s band, whose story is told in book one, Love’s Rhythm. Since Nick is more than content to stay retired, the band has broken up and each member has been busy with other projects, but now they want to get back together and that means finding a new lead singer. Noah himself has been at loose ends since his high profile, swimsuit model girlfriend decided to leave him for their dog-walker. The only thing that keeps his ADHD in check is being able to get rid of his excess energy behind a set of drums which means he’s more than ready to get back together with his band mates if they can find the right person to front their new band.
When Pepper Kerrigan overhears the band’s plans to reunite she decides to try and overcome her raging shyness and reach out for what she wants. Namely, to finally put her singing voice to the test and try out for the role of lead singer. When she approaches Noah she has a deal in mind, she’s willing to test her music knowledge against his and if she wins she gets an audition. If he wins, he gets a kiss. Noah is quite taken with this shy beauty who intrigues him with her music trivia answers and who seems to be just as attracted to him as he is to her. He’s willing to make an audition happen for Pepper in order to spend more time with her, even if it means fighting with his friends in order to get it.
While I enjoyed this installment in the Heart of Fame series a bit more than the last one, I was still disappointed in certain aspects of the story. I didn’t really understand Noah and Pepper’s instant attraction to each other, other than maybe he was a famous rock star and she was a shy, geeky girl who was vastly different than his other conquests. So I went with that, and really they have a sexy chemistry and some pretty hot love scenes so it worked. Their relationship develops pretty quickly, once they meet Noah starts up late night phone calls everyday while he’s out of town and soon schedules a meeting with his fellow band mates for Pepper to audition, where her sexy, smoky voice blows everybody away and brings these two lovebirds together in an intense night of lovemaking.
I think most of my issues came from Pepper and her inability to follow through with her dreams. I didn’t mind the gold digging ex-girlfriend coming back to ruin a good thing, I kind of saw that coming, but what I didn’t care for was Pepper’s giving up on something she worked hard for and supposedly had to much talent for at the end. It made the ending not work for me and wrapped everything up in a slightly off way. The entire plot revolved around Pepper overcoming her shyness to do something she’s always wanted to do, which led her to love. So why the giving up at the end? Maybe we’ll find out in the next release. I’m sure we’ll see more of Noah and Pepper in book five.
“Noah,” she breathed, the centre of her existence flooded with elemental pleasure. ”I’m going to… please, come with me. I want… want you to come…”
He nipped her earlobe, drove his body deeper into hers. “With you, babe. Always with you.”