Amazing book. I haven't read any other romance like it. I initially found the hero (almost) a complete turn-off, and just like the heroine I was annoy...moreAmazing book. I haven't read any other romance like it. I initially found the hero (almost) a complete turn-off, and just like the heroine I was annoyed at myself for actually being somewhat attracted to his really unattractive qualities. Cara McKenna does a brilliant job of creating complicated, complex characters.
This is the first of her books I've read but I'll be ordering more so please let me know if there are any you recommend.(less)
I'm new to Beth Kery's books - Exposed to You is only the second I've read - but thankfully she has a tremendous backlist for me to read through.
I ab...moreI'm new to Beth Kery's books - Exposed to You is only the second I've read - but thankfully she has a tremendous backlist for me to read through.
I absolutely loved Exposed to You. The characters are very well established, so they feel like actual people - something that's critical for me to enjoy erotic romance. The heroine has battled terrible health issues on her own (her choice, as she didn't want her loved ones to suffer with her), and her fear of her illness returning leads her to act in ways with the hero that she otherwise can't imagine.
The hero, a famous movie star, is one of the kindest, most devoted and down-to-earth alpha heroes I've ever read - again, something I really love. The emotion between them cranks up the heat. The sex scenes are erotic because of the intense emotional tension.
Really recommend this novel. I read the digital version, and I'll be buying the print version as soon as it comes out in the UK.(less)
As a courtesan, Juliette's life depends on being seen as notorious and fascinating.
As a duke, William's self-respect depends on being reserved and ha...moreAs a courtesan, Juliette's life depends on being seen as notorious and fascinating.
As a duke, William's self-respect depends on being reserved and haughty.
When Juliette witnesses William's intended being brutally attacked at a ball, she tells him what she saw and asks for his help protecting herself. It's no wonder William is slow to believe her at all.
But when the evidence mounts up and William realizes she's truly in danger, he whisks her away to Yorkshire where she'll be safe and he can investigate. But doing so may tarnish his own reputation beyond repair.
I loved these characters. Two people for whom reputation is everything, but one of them craves discretion while the other has to give at least the appearance of indiscretion in order to survive.
William is every inch a duke. He believes he should never have to apologize because he's above nearly everyone around him. The only person he needs to avoid is the Prince Regent, because he can say no to every other request that's made of him.
Both William and Juliette are survivors of abuse. This hidden vulnerability helps them look beyond the masks that they each show the world and see each other for who they really are. With William, Juliette learns to stand up for herself (even if he's sometimes the one she needs to stand up to). With Juliette, William learns how to have an identity beyond his title.
Shana Galen's novels are always a treat for me to read. When You Give a Duke a Diamond has a bit of suspense, a good dose of humor, and a bucketload of irresistible sensuality. I look forward to the next two novels in this series, featuring Juliette's fellow courtesans.(less)
An absolutely amazing novel. I don't read a lot of erotica, but I loved how intelligent, funny and thought-provoking this book is. I'll definitely rea...moreAn absolutely amazing novel. I don't read a lot of erotica, but I loved how intelligent, funny and thought-provoking this book is. I'll definitely read more Mistress Nora novels!(less)
Victoria’s husband stole money from their friends then killed himself when he was found out, leaving her with a sick son, no house and friends who des...moreVictoria’s husband stole money from their friends then killed himself when he was found out, leaving her with a sick son, no house and friends who despised her. When her father dies and leaves his ranch to Victoria’s half-brother, her brother asks her to live at the ranch and run it.
Liam’s family has worked on the ranch for generations. In fact, they used to own the land but lost it in a dodgy deal. So when city-girl Victoria shows up with no clue how to run the place, Liam takes immediate advantage and sells all the cattle.
Needless to say, this does their relationship no favors. But as an inexplicable attraction draws them together, they both have to decide how much they’re willing to trust the other when they’ve both been betrayed by the people who should’ve loved them most. (Liam’s mother left when he was a boy and never contacted him.)
Have you ever read a book that seeped into your soul while you read it, leaving you feeling both destroyed and elated when you finished? Can’t Hurry Love was that book for me.
I’d never read any of Molly O’Keefe’s books before, but a couple of my blog readers had highly recommended this one so I bought it. Holy cow, this is exactly the kind of novel I love. I have a soft spot for heroines who start off with a critical lack of self-confidence, and Victoria certainly has a lot to learn about her own capabilities throughout the novel. All of the characters—not just Liam and Victoria—are driven to emotional hell and back, making their redemption all the sweeter.
And Molly O’Keefe’s writing is sumptuous. She uses language beautifully to crank up the heat between Liam and Victoria, like in this scene where Victoria confides in Liam that she wants to turn the ranch into the kind of luxury spa and resort she used to visit when she was rich.
”I happen to be an authority, Eli. And I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that this resort will be a success. As long as I can get the money to have it done right.”
“Why?” he asked as currents ran between them, slowly building speed and strength until the world fell away and it was just them in the twilight with this unreasonable connection. “Convince me.”
“This land is beautiful. Wild and raw. Dynamic. Virile, in a way.” She was close, too close probably, but she’d been pushed here by a wind she didn’t want to fight. And she could see his heart pounding hard under a quarter-sized bit of skin in his brown neck. She wanted to lick him. Taste the skin over his blood.
“And women like that sort of thing, but from a safe distance. Behind glass. Under control.” Yes. Oh Lord, yes. She wanted to control this wild, virile man in front of her. “They want to experience something unpredictable, while being cared for. While being petted and stroked and made to feel beautiful and womanly.”
He blinked. “You’re…you’re talking a about a spa, right?”
No! she wanted to scream. I’m talking about sex! Wild, crazy sex. With you!
Another reason I loved this book was because of Molly O’Keefe’s unique descriptions. She draws out intriguing details and creates comparisons so vibrant that at several points I closed my eyes and smiled as I pictured the scene, like this description of Liam taking several very busy businessmen and their young sons horseback riding.
The dogs ran ahead of the horses as if they couldn’t believe their luck to be out on a day like this. The boys were sort of like that, too, preening under their fathers’ attention.
Their fathers, though—they handled their sons as though they were sticks of dynamite or talking frogs or some other kind of scary mystery. They kept looking at the boys like they’d never seen them before, like they’d just popped up riding alongside them.
I said earlier that this book left me destroyed. When I put it down, it took me a full week to pick up another novel. I read some non-fiction instead, because Can’t Hurry Love was so perfect that I knew any other novel would pale in comparison. (less)
Matilda Geoffrey has risked it all for love, just as her Nana did when she left her own country to marry an American serviceman. Matilda h...more4.5 out of 5
Matilda Geoffrey has risked it all for love, just as her Nana did when she left her own country to marry an American serviceman. Matilda has invested in her fiance’s business, left her home in the Australian Outback and moved to rural Wisconsin…only to discover she’s been jilted in the worst possible way.
Marc Olsen kicked the dust off his Wisconsin childhood and is a happy New Yorker who only visits for Thanksgiving. But when he arrives home and finds a sad-looking foreigner wandering through town in an antique wedding dress, he can’t walk on by. And when his little sister confides in him that she’s very ill and needs help, he feels the tentacles of his family pulling him back to the place he never wanted to be.
Two people who both feel the weight of family history and tradition…only Marc desperately wants to escape them while Matilda craves their comfort.
Boomerang Bride won this year’s RITA award for best contemporary romance, and I can totally see why. It’s got characters who are full of heart, a secondary romance that’s so good it nearly outshines the primary romance, and a small town populated by wonderfully normal characters – not people who are so quirky it kills the illusion that this place could actually exist.
Plus, Fiona Lowe makes Wisconsin in winter sound sexy. Seriously! No offense to Wisconsin because I’m sure it’s a very sexy place. But in winter? I never would’ve believed it. Fiona Lowe made me a believer.
I love stories that bring together characters from different countries – hell, it’s what I write – and Marc and Matilda are two strangers who bring out all of each other’s best and worst traits. Their back-and-forth as they navigate their cultural differences leads to some witty, fun verbal sparring.
Marc’s sister Lori also gets her own romance within the story. I’ve said before that I usually hate secondary romances. They have to be really special to keep my attention. Usually I feel they just distract me from the main event. But Lori’s story is definitely special. She’s recovering from a mastectomy and doubting that any man would ever find her attractive again. I cried when she and her small-town cop got their own happily-ever-after.
I loved this story and would highly recommend it!(less)
Coral Smythe is known throughout London's underworld as Aphrodite - the madam of London's infamous brothel Aphrodite's Grotto - but she hasn't sold he...moreCoral Smythe is known throughout London's underworld as Aphrodite - the madam of London's infamous brothel Aphrodite's Grotto - but she hasn't sold her own body in two years.
She owes money to an unscrupulous man, and he plans to make her work it off on her back. One night he puts his plan in place by running a high-stakes card game with a week of sex with Coral as the prize.
Captain Isaac Wargate doesn't sleep with prostitutes. He happens to be in Aprhodite's Grotto to round up some of his sailors. But Aphrodite clearly doesn't want to be given away as a prize, and he can't help himself from becoming her hero...or from claiming his prize when he wins.
This novella is part of a series (The Princes Trilogy) which I haven't read, but you don't need to have read any of the full-length novels to understand and enjoy The Ice Princess.
Elizabeth Hoyt does a fantastic job of making each of the characters vulnerable, even though they're both at the top of their careers and used to commanding others. She draws out enough of their back stories to help the reader relate to and root for them. And there was just enough story here to make it fit a novella - I didn't finish with the feeling of disappointment that I sometimes do with novellas, that I've missed out on a lot because the story was rushed or should've been made full-length.
Overall, this is a really entertaining, sensuous read.(less)
Grace Brooks is Lucky Harbor's newest resident. Her high-powered banking career has tanked, and she's struggling to figure out what she's going to do...moreGrace Brooks is Lucky Harbor's newest resident. Her high-powered banking career has tanked, and she's struggling to figure out what she's going to do about it. Banking has never been her passion, but the problem is that she doesn't know what her passion really is. All she knows is her bank account is dwindling, fast.
So when E.R. doctor Josh Scott calls and offers to pay her if she'll walk his sister's dog, she jumps at the chance. The single father of a five-year-old boy and carer for a paraplegic sister, Josh's personal life is challenging enough. His career is so full-on that he barely has time to breathe. The last thing he has time for is love. But love isn't something that either Grace or Josh can deny when it smacks them upside the head.
Forever and a Day is probably the funniest of the three latest Lucky Harbor novels. I kept highlighting passages that made me laugh out loud, like this one between the three heroes of the series.
The morning went so smoothly that Josh got an actual lunch break. He met Ty and Matt at the Love Shack, Lucky Harbor's bar and grill. They'd beaten him there and were seated at a table hunched over Cosmo magazine.
"It was on the table when I got here," Matt said in his defense.
Josh eyed the open magazine. "You don't already know how to satisfy your boyfriends in bed?"
Matt ignored this. "Did either of you know there's ninety-nine ways to give a blow job? That's ninety-nine nights of blow jobs."
"Look at you with the math skills," Josh said.
Matt flipped him off while Ty flipped the page. "'How to Give Your Hoo-Ha a Spa Day.' Huh," he said. "I didn't know a woman's hoo-ha needed a spa day."
Just because the novel's funny doesn't mean it's any less gut-wrenchingly emotional than the other two. In fact, Josh and Grace have more to battle against, in some ways, because of Josh's family and overwhelming career, and Grace's fear of having to live up to someone else's expectations. They fight hard to figure out what they want from their lives, and they discover they want each other.
Jill Shalvis, please give us another Lucky Harbor novel soon!(less)
Amy Michaels has the kind of past that belongs in an after-school special. She was a teenage runaway and did things she regrets in order to survive on...moreAmy Michaels has the kind of past that belongs in an after-school special. She was a teenage runaway and did things she regrets in order to survive on the streets. She hasn't been in Lucky Harbor long, but she's managed to make two good friends (Mallory from Lucky in Love and Grace from Forever and a Day), she has a stable job in the local diner, and she's exploring the local mountains with the diary her grandma wrote about her own travels several decades ago.
Which leads to a run-in with sexy forest ranger Matt Bowers. Amy tries hard to ignore the feelings Matt stirs in her. Sex has always been a dangerous activity for her, and she's trying to turn over a new leaf. But Matt tempts her beyond reason...and he can't deny how much he wants her, either.
Of the three Lucky Harbor novels released this summer, At Last was my favorite. Perhaps that's because Amy's life experiences are so completely opposite of mine. Or maybe because the national parks are my absolute favorite thing about America, and I've always found forest rangers sexy (except for the khaki shorts).
But really, I think it's because Jill Shalvis has created two characters whose chemistry smolders - even more so than her usual couples, if you can believe it - making the final happy-ever-after all the more poignant and redemptive when it comes.
I could read At Last over, and over, and over. In fact, I may buy a print copy so I can do just that.(less)
E.R. nurse Mallory Quinn has a terminal case of goodgirl-itis. She grew up in Lucky Harbor, in a family so chaotic that she thought she had to be perf...moreE.R. nurse Mallory Quinn has a terminal case of goodgirl-itis. She grew up in Lucky Harbor, in a family so chaotic that she thought she had to be perfect in order to keep everyone together. But that means she's always played it safe, and now has a reputation for being selfless that she can't shake.
Bad boy Ty Garrison is recovering from an injury that derailed his career, and from the loss of his closest friends when he was a Navy SEAL medic. He couldn't save them, and now he thinks of himself as someone who can't be relied on in a crisis. But he's drawn to Mallory Quinn like a moth to a flame, and as much as he tries to protect her from falling in love with him, he can't keep his own heart from taking a tumble.
I've been looking forward to Lucky in Love since I read an excerpt nearly a year ago, and the novel was everything I'd hoped it would be and then some. Of the three heroines in this summer's Lucky Harbor releases, Mallory is the one I could relate to the most. She's spent her life putting other people's wishes first and trying not to let people down. When she finally realizes that she's letting herself down, she tries to have a casual relationship with Ty - but soon figures out she can't divorce her heart from her body.
Jill Shalvis is a master at creating characters with instant, undeniable attraction. Ty and Mallory completely burn up the pages as they fall in love.
Lucky in Love introduces the reader to all six of the characters who couple-up over these three novels. The three heroines - Mallory, Amy and Grace - bond during a moment of crisis and continue to support each other through life's heartaches and joys. Their friendship throughout the series is just as addictive as their love stories and the chocolate they devour whenever they meet.
When I finished Lucky in Love, I had to start reading At Last within 24 hours because I needed to get back to Lucky Harbor. It's the most special community I've come across in a contemporary romance series.(less)
Alyssa Scott returns home from college with only a car and a couple of pennies to her name. With her brother serving in the Special Forces ab...more4.5 stars
Alyssa Scott returns home from college with only a car and a couple of pennies to her name. With her brother serving in the Special Forces abroad God knows where, and her abusive alcoholic father not someone she can turn to, she decides to apply for a job at a local bar/live music joint. It helps that Marco Vieri - her brother's best friend and the man she's had a crush on since childhood - is a bartender there.
Marco Vieri is former Army Special Forces - former because he was injured in Afghanistan in ways that go beyond physical damage. He's completely changed, and when all-grown-up Alyssa gets a job working in his bar, he's terrified. He no longer trusts his ability to take care of anyone the way he used to protect Alyssa from her father, and he doesn't trust himself not to make a move on his best friend's little sister.
The characters and the story are very realistic. The story never veers into melodrama, instead focusing on building trust between Alyssa and Marco through their sacrifices for each other - which start out small and build into bigger moments requiring them to lean heavily on each other.
There are so many poignant moments, but this was one of my favorites, when Marco realizes he wants to pursue a relationship with Alyssa but he's hurt her too many times for her to believe it:
Marco turned toward her and rested his elbows on his knees. God, he really was a beautiful man, even if he had broken her heart. "I really need to talk to you."
She got up from the table. "I have stuff I need to be doing."
He followed and stepped closer, close enough that she could smell the clean scent of sopa on his skin. "It doesn't have to be here or now. But later, after work?"
She lifted her gaze to respond, and his knuckles caressed her cheek. Jeez, but hope was such a desperate bitch sometimes, wasn't it? Because Alyssa would've sworn that Marco was looking at her with something close to love in his eyes. She stepped back. "I don't know..."
He didn't let her get away, instead coming right up in front of her again, his hand curling around her neck. "I do. Give me a chance to make this right. Please." He massaged her neck with gentle squeezes she felt everywhere.
"Okay?" He gave her a small smile.
She ducked her chin. "Yeah."
His lips pressed to the top of her head and Alyssa bit down on the inside of her cheek. She held still, afraid to move lest she break the spell that had apparently fallen over him.
I loved Her Forbidden Hero, and I will definitely be back for more Laura Kaye. (less)
Seth and Leila got married young and, after eight years and two kids, their life is in a rut. Seth works hard to provide for his family, but that mean...moreSeth and Leila got married young and, after eight years and two kids, their life is in a rut. Seth works hard to provide for his family, but that means Leila's often alone. Their lack of communication is affecting all areas of their relationship, but the first place it rears its ugly head is in their bedroom, where sex has become routine.
When Seth hears Leila call into a radio show to admit she nearly cheated, he knows drastic measures are in order. So he takes her away for a weekend at The Ranch, an S&M retreat.
I loved Roni's Crash Into You, her debut novel which introduces The Ranch, because even though I'm not usually an erotic romance reader her stories have two very necessary ingredients: 1) emotional depth, and 2) damn fine character development.
Still Into You is a novella, but it's amazing how much depth Roni was able to pack in without the story being bogged down in details or backstory.
Winter Makepeace is a man with many secrets. The one thing everyone knows is that he's a serious, somewhat dour manager of the foundling orph...more4.5 stars
Winter Makepeace is a man with many secrets. The one thing everyone knows is that he's a serious, somewhat dour manager of the foundling orphanage his late father founded. He works himself ragged taking care of 18th century St. Giles' most vulnerable residents, children who would be sold or kidnapped into slavery and suffer all manner of unspeakable abuses if Winter didn't rescue them.
Talk about a hero.
But Winter's foundling home is funded by a group of well-to-do ladies with more experience of fashion than survival. And when one of them decides that the home needs a more polished manager, the widowed Lady Isabel steps in to educate Winter in manners, so he won't be removed from his post. Turns out that Winter has a thing or two he can educate Lady Isabel about, too.
I only read my first Elizabeth Hoyt novel last week, and I was immediately drawn in to the Maiden Lane series (of which Thief of Shadows is the fourth book). Since I didn't have books two and three on my Kindle when I finished book one, I immediately opened my ARC of Thief of Shadows and spent another day in Elizabeth Hoyt's dark and dangerous St. Giles.
Thief of Shadows contains spoilers that would ruin the first three books of the series, since there's a mystery that runs though them all, so I'll be quite vague in what I reveal.
One of the many things I loved about Thief of Shadows is how the class difference between Lady Isabel and Winter Makepeace (son of a brewer, and with many Puritan tendencies) plays out. Winter knows there are more important things in life than ensuring your bow is low enough, but for the most part he doesn't fault Isabel for the world she comes from. It's not a world he's interested in fitting into, and when he falls in love with her he wants her to join his own world.
There's a blunt, almost brutal honesty between Winter and Isabel. Winter reveals early on that he's a virgin, and sex to him is an act of love. Isabel has been married and has had lovers since becoming widowed. The inequality of their sexual experience, and their discussions on what sex means, are wonderful to read.
Plus, it's hot. Is there anything better than a man who admits he doesn't know what he's doing, and who's eager to learn? Like in this scene, when Winter touches Isabel intimately for the first time.
Men had touched her there before, but they'd never asked how. If they'd been skilled, she'd rejoiced; if they hadn't, she'd directed them elsewhere. Male pride was such a delicate thing. Never had she thought to tell them how to touch her. Tell them what she liked best,
Finally he moved, a tentative poke.
She bit her lip. "Could you...stroke?"
She inhaled. "Softer."
She laughed, but the sound was frustrated. He was too high, hadn't quite found the right place. Perhaps she should--
"Isabel," he suddenly breathed by her ear. "I have all night. Surely by dawn I can learn this. Please show me."
And of course, he does learn. But only because Isabel has the guts to be plainspoken.
I devoured this novel and will definitely go back to read the two previous books, which I missed in my Hoyt-a-thon. (less)