One of the things I love about romance books is how you can pick whatever kind of hero matches your mood or sparks your interest. The Gray brothers, named for their matching storm-cloud gray eyes, are definitely not your average every day guys, even for soldiers. They were trained since birth to kill, track, and work undercover, and are gifted with heightened senses: hearing, precognition, instinctively knowing the truth from a lie. It generally doesn't go over too well with your employers when you blow up their laboratories and training facilities and make off with their expensive property, especially when said property is four badass world-class killers with a conscience determined to right the wrongs done to them.
Because the characters are capable of so much more, physically and mentally, than normal people, the action sequences and plot arc of Sweet Revenge are all deliciously amped up. The mystery is deep enough to avoid being transparent and predictable but isn't so complicated you need a flow chart to map it out. Which is great, because while I want to be challenged a little intellectually by the books I read, that's not what I'm here for... ya know? *wink* Speaking of, the chemistry between Matt and Laney is superb and his presence is palpable.
Matt dominates every scene he's in, and not just in that I'm-an-alpha-dog-hear-me-roar way (although there's some of that too, for you alpha lovers). Laney holds her own pretty well against the overwhelming force of his personality, and she's definitely got spunk and determination.
We get more involvement with the other two surviving brothers (Nate and Shane) and even a few scenes from Nate's perspective, giving us a teasing glimpse of what it will be like to be in his head whenever it's his turn to fall madly in love. I really like this series and can't wait to see where the storyline goes with the missing brother! Kudos to Ms. Zanetti on another fine Sins Brothers installment, definitely a series to watch! (less)
I saw this story featured on a 1 Night Stand newsletter and couldn't resist the rock star - werewolf - male/male triple threat. Sex, Wolves, and Rock n Roll is a standout quick read, packing a lot of history and emotion into a short, memorable story. If you're a fan of rocker romances with hot preternatural heroes and enjoy a little guy-on-guy action, definitely pick this one up!(less)
From the blurb, I thought I was really going to like this one, but I just couldn't connect with the characters. I found the heroine frustratingly flat...moreFrom the blurb, I thought I was really going to like this one, but I just couldn't connect with the characters. I found the heroine frustratingly flat and the hero too self-controlled, and built up almost no interest in the plot. I started skipping pages around 23% (something I rarely do) and ended up giving up altogether not too long after.
This could just be me - I know not all books resonate with all readers. I was attracted to it for the MMA element but I generally don't care for small-town stories and the mob element was a turnoff. Those are personal preferences. I find it hard to identify with heroines who withdraw and allow themselves to be walked on, even if it is due to past trauma, and while I think some self-restraint is a good way to build up sexual tension, I felt there was too much on the part of the hero. Possibly it was just talked about (in his head) too much - too many references to his cryptic past and why he could never possibly be happy. These elements caused my reading experience to feel more depressing and frustrating than entertaining.
On GoodReads, 2/5 stars is "it was ok", which is pretty much how I felt about Fighting for Irish - it was okay, not not appealing enough for me to keep reading. (less)
***This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
The beyond series books always make me want a tattoo... no, not just a tattoo, freaking sleeves of them, and I am not a permanent ink kinda gal! There are just some things about this series that are incredibly addictive. Besides the ink, which symbolizes belonging to a family of loyal open-minded people, the free-spirited sex and the bad ass cage fighting are to die for. Layer in the slowly unfolding mystery of Eden and the origins of the Sectors, and you've got a hell of a good series. Like, gleefully hedonistic and unapologetically-addicting good.
This is the menage book, the Ace-Rachel-Cruz story we've all been waiting for, and it starts out in trademark O'Kane fashion, with fighting and drinking and tattoos. Beyond Jealousy definitely requires a lot of backstory knowledge to read smoothly through all the references and history looped in, so there were times when I wasn't sure whether the characters were subtly passing on new information or if I was just forgetting the events of previous stories.
Every time I think the Beyond series has hit its peak, Kit Rocha twists it up another level... more secrets, more danger, and an ever-expanding universe for the series with more unique characters and even kinkier possibilities.
My only criticism about the story is that I wanted more intimacy between the men, and not only in the physical sense. They consistently used Rachel as their buffer and I really wanted more Ace-on-Cruz (and vice versa) in the personal little ways that show someone how much you care. That said, this book was hot and the ride was definitely worth the wait!(less)
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
The characters in Feel The Rush are real standouts, each vibrant and unique enough to shine on their own. I love Meagan's sense of snarky humor and straightforward attitude, and also the softer side that she's not afraid to show. And Reed is adorable in that sexy, wanna-jump-his-bones sort of way. His personality flips from cheeky, charming jumpmaster to intense, sincere and all male, and I looked forward to experiencing both equally. The secondary characters, particularly Eva and Luke, were fantastic and thoroughly entertaining.
Feel the Rush is a beautiful romance full of ups and downs, with unexpected twists and heartbreaking revelations. I loved all these characters so much that I didn't want it to end... but end it finally did, going out with the perfect epilogue. Kudos to author Kelsie Leverich on another fabulous new contemporary romance!
*** This review is spoiler-free! Read on with confidence! ***
One of the great things about a Laura Kaye story is you can always count on intense emotion without over-used cliques or boring predictability. Hard As You Can is a standout contemporary romance that honors its ex-military special forces heroes, representing these men in a way that feels realistic, respectful, and grounded. They're not super heroes and they're not perfect; they each have subtle character nuances and fit together as a functional tactical unit. Crystal, in the fine tradition of many of Ms. Kaye's other memorable heroines, brings an alluring mix of vulnerability and strength to the mix and is a great match for Southern boy Shane (who is, in his own right, incredibly hot).
I really enjoyed the action in this one and the unexpected moments of humor and camaraderie. I was glad to see the team starting to mend the rifts in their relationships with each other, and can't wait to see whose swass and swalls we'll get to read about next. ;-)(less)
*** This review is spoiler-free! Read on with confidence! ***
Fallon, the heroine of this story, can hold a serious grudge. Like, Olympic worthy, if bickering were a competitive sport. And Lucas has an ego large enough to represent an entire hockey team. Together, these two are edgy and hair-trigger explosive... and I mean that for more than just in the bedroom!
I like the premise of the story and the characters are well developed, but one thing that repeatedly bothered me was the over-the-top prissy feel of some of the dialogue and internal character monologues. One minute Fallon is cursing out Lucas and the next she's thinking things like 'oh golly gee'. It's jarring and a little uncomfortable, as I don't actually know anyone who talks like that and if I did, chances are high they wouldn't be at the top of my friends-to-hang-out with list. I also noticed some instances of similar word usage too closely occurring in the text... things like, she'll say 'for the fifth time' and in the very next sentence he'll say 'for the hundredth time'. Is it plausible conversation? Yes, but it doesn't say much for the characters' intelligence when they repeatedly can't come up with original dialogue.
Overall, I enjoyed this book... enough that I plan to read the first in the series, then the next one when it's released. I'm taking off 1 star for the angsty nature of the hero and heroine, the repetitive dialogue themes, and the predictable behaviors, but the emotion is well-tended throughout the story arc and I really sympathized with Lucas's personal struggles and dedication to his family. (less)
Tessa Bailey novels always start off with this very special resonating, almost tangible chemistry between the main couple and, while Staking His Claim is (sadly) the finale of the series, it definitely follows the tradition of excellence (and over-the-top sexual tension) set by the previous four books.
Where Daniel was playful and charming and Brent was outrageous and hilarious, Matt is intense and focused. He is a man with serious needs, caged by personal demons and keeping up constant emotional shields. That stone wall around his heart is protecting a very vulnerable core of honor and goodness, and it just about broke my heart. This man is a natural dominant and craves serious submission from a woman… craves it in a very real and physical way, like an addict. I usually prefer the dominant types who tend more toward overwhelming force of personality rather than straight up controlling, but Matt is a good blend of both and is incredibly hot… hot with a capital O-M-G.
He is downright diabolical with some of his sensual punishments and Ms. Bailey’s creativity and ability to build in layers of character nuance is impressive. I hesitate to compare any book to Fifty Shades these days, with so much anti-Grey sentiment going around, but if you like that sort of hero – a man with an unrelenting aura of presence and easy authority who feels compelled to take absolute sexual control of his partner, and knows damn well how to make her fly – Matt is going to take your breath away and make you tingly all the way to your toes. That said, even if you hated Fifty, give this book a chance because where Christian proudly obliterated that line between protector and dictator, Matt strikes just the right balance to leave you understanding his pain yet trusting that he’s mature and confident enough to ultimately make the right choices about his relationship with Lucy.
Lucy is no shrinking violet either, a woman with a free spirit and a giving soul who badly wants to be accepted as a responsible, dependable adult. She has such strength of character and still submits to Matt so naturally, they are practically made for each other. Add in the family drama of her being Brent’s little sister and Matt being his best friend, and Staking His Claim is one hell of a ride.
To borrow a sentiment from the book, holy hell, I so did not want this story to end! I loved the whole thing, from the first word to the very last (I even read all the Acknowledgements!) and I really hope Ms. Bailey writes us a short story about the triple wedding in the couples’ future. *hint hint* Pretty please? *wink*(less)
*** This review is spoiler-free but does contain references to previous books in the series and the Night Prince companion series. ***
After opening with a shocking revelation, Up From the Grave goes on to reveal secrets dating all the way back to One Foot In the Grave, the second book in the Night Huntress series.
Don is as mysterious and tight-lipped as ever and Ian, one of my favorite secondary characters in the entire series, is as charming and rogueish and powerful as we’ve ever seen him. I’m actually glad that Ms. Frost hasn’t paired him up for his own story yet. The established couples get a lot less page time and it’s a real treat to see Ian in action again and learn some adorable (although, please don’t tell Ian I said he was adorable!) new tidbits about him in Up From the Grave. We also get a crossover view of some events from the companion Night Prince series starring Vlad and Leila.
Even after 7 books, the passion between Cat and Bones is massive and soul-deep, and their single-minded, unwavering dedication to one another is nearly unmatched in the genre. Cat and Bones still set the sheets on fire, even without fancy positions or dirty talk or explicit and lewd, lengthy sex scenes; they are just, simply, a perfect match in every way and that fierce love is what makes this whole series shine so brightly.
While I was a little disappointed that the plot arc wasn’t completely original, I loved how Ms. Frost brought everything full circle and wrapped it up smoothly (if a little predictably). If she doesn’t continue to write more stories in this universe, I predict a wave of fan fiction soon revolving around two of the more memorable secondary characters. Come back and read statement that again once you’ve finished the book and I bet you’ll know what I mean. *wink*
Up From the Grave marks the end of an era, where Cat Crawfield-Russell ruled the supernatural world (and the urban fantasy literature one, too!) with a viscously- and hard-earned reputation and romanced us all with the literally undying love and passion she shared with her husband, Bones. As sad as I am to see one of the best series ever written in the urban fantasy genre come to a close, I can’t help but be happy (and relieved – geez, these guys have been through a lot!) for the characters and satisfied that this final installment in the Night Huntress series goes out with both a bang and an unexpectedly poignant happily-ever-after. Frost Fans have been waiting a long time for this one, and Jeaniene Frost really brings it home! If you’re a fan of the series and avidly awaiting release day, be sure you have this one pre-ordered and time set aside to read, because you will not be disappointed! If you’re new to the series and wondering what all the fuss is about… well, then let me just point you right along to one of the best urban fantasy series ever written. Start reading Night Huntress with Halfway to the Grave and fall in love with everybody’s favorite smokin hot ex-gigolo British vamp, Bones.(less)
Levi/Liv is one of my favorite characters ever. I love the dichotomy of jock and queen, and the flair he brings to the pages. While this story is abou...moreLevi/Liv is one of my favorite characters ever. I love the dichotomy of jock and queen, and the flair he brings to the pages. While this story is about his brother Jude, we get to see a lot of Levi and learn more about his history, what makes him who he is. Something else I love about this series is how tightly woven the stories are. Each one includes memorable scenes with the couple(s) from previous books and their dynamic as a group is both edgy, as you might expect with a bunch of football players and a marine, and has a solid feeling of brotherhood that is irresistible as a reader.
The dynamic between the three couples is unique. Bo and Dylan are intense. Levi and Tracy are sweet and dirty. Slayer and Jude are antagonist and kinda adorable. They're either pissing each other driving each each other crazy, and that's just the we're-not-really-gay sex. Jude vacillates between reserved and almost cold and a Liv-like exuberance smothered in sarcasm. Slayer spends half his time alienating everyone with his defensive homophobia and the other half trying to get into Jude's pants, verbally sparring with him both ways.
The tangle of relationships the characters all have with each other is more complex than we've seen in previous books, which is totally my thing, and the revelation of events in Offside Chance brings everything full circle in the story. There are so many great moments in this book; I was really sad to see it end. I devoured it in about 12 hours and there's still plenty of room for another book in the series, with unresolved story arcs and new complexities for all three couples so I hope Ms. Celeste keeps on going with it! Jude and Will are just as hot together as any of the other couples and just as complex, and their story feels like it's really just beginning. A note of advice to readers just starting the series: you need to read these in order or you will be completely confused with a lot of the character and event references, so if you're new to Southern Scrimmage start with Six Ways From Sunday.(less)
* This review is spoiler-free! Read on with confidence! *
Mitch Foster has been my favorite character in the Phoenix Rising series since he burst into the scene in Fever, all swagger and charm and cunning. Unlike the other characters on the team, he's not a genius or a badass fighter or gifted with any sort of special power, so that speaks to just how much larger than life his character is, thanks to his smart mouth and quick intelligence. This guy is a straight up shark, a defense attorney you definitely want on your side and the kind of man you want to stand by your side.
Every book has shown us a new facet of Mitch's personality. His playboy lifestyle and drive to fight for right are Mitch's way of trying to protect his heart from the betrayal of the only woman he has every really loved, and very scene between Mitch and Halina in Shatter is bursting with emotional and sexual tension. Who knew all that passion has been hiding under a mask of scathing, flippant, witty repartee in thousand dollar suits?
Halina is the badass of the couple, on the run from some very bad people and forced to learn to defend herself in more ways than just physically. Throughout the series it has been rare to see a woman leave Mitch Foster tongue-tied or break his focus, so watching him try to navigate all his rocky feelings for his old flame is a real treat. It also puts him off-balance and keeps the sheer force of his personality from eclipsing Halina, a definite challenge with such a strong and established character. Together, Mitch and Halina are red hot and addicting, making me sadistically want to draw their story out longer to get another hit of all that passion.
I love that Mitch takes his share of teasing and ribbing from the team in Shatter, after dishing it out so freely across the previous three books. I also adore the group dynamics of this cast. Their personalities are such a perfect compliment to one another, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie, love, friendship, and professionalism that is rarely matched.(less)
With this 8th and final installment in the Feral Warriors series from Pamela Palmer, the epic battle between the last remaining Therian shifters prote...moreWith this 8th and final installment in the Feral Warriors series from Pamela Palmer, the epic battle between the last remaining Therian shifters protecting our world and the Daemon-possessed Mage trying to destroy it finally comes to a heart-pounding, action-packed, and all-around satisfying conclusion.
Where many of the previous books in the series ended on a cliffhanger, leaving the Ferals and their Radiant in some sort of distressing peril, the events that unfold in Wulfe Untamed finally give the warriors their chance to earn a happy ending. There is much revenge to be had and even a little unexpected, heart-warming redemption!
Wulfe has always been understated and a little haunted, the kind of guy with a quiet inner strength who carries the weight of past sins on his shoulders... and, in Wulfe's case, on his face. Natalie was introduced as his love interest a few books back and their connection is sweet and deep. I love that his scars not only don't disgust her, she sees them as badges of honor and proof of his good heart. And YES, we finally get to learn just how he came by those scars and what his Daemon heritage really means. The epilogue was adorable and sweet, the perfect way to tie off the prevailing Therian-Mage-Daemon story arc. If you're a fan of the Feral Warriors series, you absolutely must read Wulfe's story! If you're new to the series, start with book one - Desire Untamed - so you won't feel overwhelmed by names and events and lore.
Wulfe Untamed is a satisfying and worthy end to a fantastic (and one of my personal favorite) series in paranormal romance! This happily every after has been a long time in the making, and the shifters and their mates have more than earned a little downtime. There are some open story threads that Ms. Palmer doesn't address, but they're minor and may possibly be the basis for a spin-off Ferals world series. For more info on the Feral Warrior stories and what may be in the pipeline for them, check out Ms. Palmer's FAQ here: http://www.pamelapalmer.net/faq.php?v...
The Walking Dead meets Julie Kagawa's Blood of Eden (minus the vamps), Strain is a contemporary romance set in a futuristic dystopian world where zomb...moreThe Walking Dead meets Julie Kagawa's Blood of Eden (minus the vamps), Strain is a contemporary romance set in a futuristic dystopian world where zombies (revenants) roam freely, terrorizing Earth's final scattered bands of survivors, and super-soldiers called Juggernauts hunt them down and exterminate the infected creatures. The premise for this story could have easily come across as contrived, where all the societal and scientific rules of the universe felt coerced into funneling the characters along a particular path, but everything meshes together realistically and believably. The Jugs are intentionally biologically altered men and women who were originally US Army ground troops; they have infected blood and are the origin of the zombie plague. Their blood also provides immunity to it and the most effective means for passing on that safety net is sexual transmission... by heavy exposure with multiple partners, in an environment where there is little privacy and few luxuries beyond the necessities of survival. When they save Rhys from a close call with a rev, his only choices are to accept death or let them attempt to infect him with the alpha strain of the virus.
Now, based on that, you might be thinking "hey, that sounds a lot like a rape situation", and that is actually something that is addressed in the story, with the Jugs feeling decidedly unenthusiastic about coercing emotionally unwilling partners. What takes this story to the next level is two-fold: 1) The company of soldiers our protagonist, Rhys, finds himself with are all genuinely good-hearted people and do not make a habit of creating new Jugs, neither as a by-product of recreational activities nor for the purposes swelling their ranks with new soldiers. They keep to themselves, do their jobs, and honor the exile from what's left of civilization their volatile blood forces on them when not out sweeping the countryside for revenants. 2) The setup is ideal to highlight the psychological aspects of a D/s relationship dynamic. Rhys agrees to attempt to become one of the Jugs through sexual transmission of the virus but feels shameful when he submits to the gentler men in the company and won't allow himself to enjoy it even though he is admittedly gay. However, when he feels physically overwhelmed by Darius (the company's leader, who quickly discovers this is what he needs), he can let go of his own emotions and trust Darius with all his choices, feeling no shame or demoralization and finally able to enjoy the process of trying to survive.
Normally, I wouldn't give this level of detail in a review because part of the story experience is discovering the nuances for yourself, but this book won't be for everyone and it's important to know what you're getting into before you start. If you do not enjoy reading about physical domination and submission or if multiple sex partners between men in a public venue is not to your taste, or if you absolutely can't deal with the realism behind a post-apocalyptic world infested with zombies, this book is not for you! However, if all of that makes you sit up and take notice, Strain is an excellent read and is both viscerally realistic and emotionally compelling.
Even though this story features a lot of sex, it's not ABOUT sex or even about a D/s lifestyle. It's about fighting for survival and the life-affirming connections you make with the people you trust to have your back. It's about brotherhood and love and making the best out of a hard life, and it is haunting... absolutely beautiful. The emotional depth is so tangible, Strain is both heartwarming and endearingly painful, from vivid adrenaline-packed start to aching, bittersweet ending. Definitely a must read for fans of male/male romance!
Strain is available February 17, 2014. You can pre-order it directly from the publisher here.(less)
This was an excellent read, quick and totally entertaining! "Quick" is actually one of my only two complaints about the entire story. I wan...more4.5/5 stars
This was an excellent read, quick and totally entertaining! "Quick" is actually one of my only two complaints about the entire story. I wanted MORE! I mean that in two ways: I wanted more story- longer, with deeper personal interaction between Justin and Jack- and I wanted more open-door love scenes between the two of them (there is one, a very fast quickie, and one publicly interrupted escapade that ends before it really gets going). I liked the ending but wanted more exposure to the relationship between the guys before skipping straight to the happily ever after.
Justin Hayes, former boy band falsetto front man and notorious player, has one of the most amusing and appealing narrative voices I've read, right up there with Ash from Alexis Hall's Glitterland. Justin has a dry wit, uses sarcasm liberally, and looks at the world from a very straight-forward perspective... and his reputation for not being able to keep it in his pants is a great comedic hook that plagues him throughout the story. I also enjoyed Jack and wish this had been told from dual-first perspective so we could get a glimpse into that formative brain of his. The relationship between the band members was hilarious and I could spend an entire book just reading their banter and antics. This is a fun, fairly clean read and is a great intro novel for readers wanting to check out the male/male genre but not sure they want to read too much guy-on-guy sex (there is no backdoor play at all, and only one scene that has explicit content, and even that is limited). (less)
Holy hotness, Batman! If you liked Officer Off Limits and thought Daniel and Story were hot, wait til you get up close and personal with Brent and Hayden. *fans self* Brent is, in his own words, "a big bad dude" and he has an aggressive dominant streak that will melt your bones. He's also incredibly perceptive and sensitive and takes his I'm-the-provider role seriously, even when it means backing off from what he wants and needs to be sure Hayden is taken care of. She's a very strong heroine as well, emotionally complex with multiple fronts covering a soft, vulnerable heart that only wants to please others. Together, their chemistry is explosive and the give and take of power between them is magnificent. He might be the big bad alpha dude, but ultimately she's in control and when she physically takes it from him, it's hotter than sin. Author Tessa Bailey is certainly making her mark with her dirty-talking heroes, and Brent's mouth is downright epic. Their arguing and bickering is just as fun as their sexcapades (and really, it's all just foreplay anyway) and I love love loved them both as characters.
This is such a great story, an excellent addition to an already fab series. Even if "in charge" guys aren't your thing, I bet you'll like Brent. And Hayden... she's a gem, someone I'd gladly have as a friend of my own. The ending is fan-freaking-tastic, vibrant with its raw emotional intensity and over-the-top comedic glory. One of my only real complaints about Officer Off Limits was how Daniel's profession was used almost as a token plot hook and Ms. Bailey really stepped up her game in Asking for Trouble, putting the focus on the couple more than their respective professions. This third installment in the Officer Off Limits series is absolutely a must read! (less)
One growly buff elf prince, a tenacious and intelligent leading lady, a grumbly-but-loyal second in command elf wa...more*** This review is spoiler-free! ***
One growly buff elf prince, a tenacious and intelligent leading lady, a grumbly-but-loyal second in command elf warrior, and a fearless, cocky, and beautiful human Hunter...
Mix in a healthy helping of sexy love scenes, a comedy of errors whilst our mating-crazy elf prince tries to scare off every other male within sight of his female, and a bond that neither wanted but both are helpless to resist, and we've got the makings of an exciting new series from Felicity Heaton.
Overall, I enjoyed Kissed By A Dark Prince, but the first half of the story had some pacing issues for me. My biggest complaint was all the introspection the main characters individually indulge in about trying to get out of their fated mating. It became a little tiresome to see them mentally rehashing the same thoughts over and over and was a relief when the plot finally turned. That said, the chemistry between Loren and Olivia is excellent and I really liked their personalities. I also really enjoyed the entire cast of secondary characters and am already looking forward to how the next story will play out.
I absolutely loved the characterization of the almost living armor the elves wear. The way it works is just a fab idea and having it so integral to their persons gave the story a needed extra oomph. Because their armor is always on them in some form, it would be easy to lose track of it in the little character movements and dialogue of a scene, but Ms. Heaton did an excellent job of keeping up with how it's positioned and incorporating the elves' intentional uses of the armor so that it feels organic and natural.
If you are a fan of Ms. Heaton's Vampire Erotic Theater series and were drawn to the darkness and difficult path set out for Snow, you are going to love Vail. I won't say much, to avoid spoilers, but this guy has an even harder path to walk than poor Snow and should make for some exciting storylines!(less)
For Real is a sweet New Adult romance told from the perspective of the heroine, set in college and full of shiny 'new relationship' and university-typ...moreFor Real is a sweet New Adult romance told from the perspective of the heroine, set in college and full of shiny 'new relationship' and university-type activities (studying, coffee shops, bowling and parties with friends, etc). If your general reaction to 'new adult' is "eww, sugar shock and no sex!" then know that this story does indeed have sex and the narrative doesn't skimp on the details, although it takes a while to build up to and it isn't gratuitous.
All the characters in For Real are interesting and fun to read about, but I particularly liked Jett (Shannon's "fake boyfriend", whose name is AWESOME!) and his roommate Javier. Jett is a total sweetheart, the kind of guy who is intuitive, well-mannered, just a little geeky, and your parents would adore. Javier is his total opposite but has a good heart, is a loyal friend, and adds a punch of comedic relief.
Overall this is a fun, sweet read, ambling casually through the various stages of Jett and Shannon's relationship to end in a predictable-yet-enjoyable happily ever after. A recommended read for fans of the New Adult genre who don't mind a little more behind-the-scenes details.
There are a lot of similarities between this book and the first few stories in the Sinners On Tour series (which I think is a fabulous thing since I'm...moreThere are a lot of similarities between this book and the first few stories in the Sinners On Tour series (which I think is a fabulous thing since I'm absolutely addicted to the Sinners boys): attractive single woman on tour with a megastar 5-man rock band made up of single-yet-emotionally-unavailable guys when it comes to romance, each with his own dark history. Oh, and a hot as hell lead singer who all the groupies chase after for his smoky voice on stage and sexy moves in the bedroom.
The sexual tension between Jamison and Ryder is stellar, steamy and well developed. My biggest frustration with the story was the excessive amount of inner monologuing by both lead characters. It got a little repetitive and was often too much to read through during a hot and heavy sex scene or a meaningful conversation between the two of them. I found myself starting to skip entire sections of text to get to the next actual development. I would have liked a little more exploration of both Ryder and Jamison's respective pasts, but even without it, their motivations were clear.
That said, this is a great start to a new rock star series and has a lot of potential. I like the personalities of each of the band members and love that they have such diverse and dark back stories. And the epilogue is the mother of all happily ever after endings, sealing up the story between Ryder and Jamison while also teasing us with a glimpse of the happy endings to come in the rest of the series. I'm excited for the next book in this hot new rocker series! (less)
Wilde For Her starts out in romantic Key West at the wedding of Jude and Libby from the first book in the series (Wilde Nights in Paradise). Since Eva...moreWilde For Her starts out in romantic Key West at the wedding of Jude and Libby from the first book in the series (Wilde Nights in Paradise). Since Eva lost a bet to her best friend (and Jude's older brother) Camden Wilde, she accepted defeat like the tough homicide detective she is and goes with him to his brother's wedding as his "date", having no clue that Cam has been concealing some very personal feelings toward her for years. When a light-hearted shots competition leads to a night of drunken- yet very enjoyable- sex, there's no going back to the simple friendship they had before.
This couple is hot and their chemistry is easy going and comfortable yet still enjoyably awkward and experimental. While as a friend, Cam is supportive, magnanimous, and a perfect gentleman (if you don't count the joking jibes and sarcastic volleys they so casually lob at one another), in bed he's protective and dominating and the past five years of sexual restraint become searingly obvious when he directs all that pent-up energy at Eva. Eva strikes a nice balance between strong, capable woman and sensual, alluring female while doing her best to convince both herself and her former homicide partner that friends-with-benefits is way better than couple-with-strings.
The plot isn't so complicated that it's impossible to unravel and yet not so simple that I had it figured out from the start, making the mystery and investigation story arc a nice balance and counterpoint to the romance. I also loved the interplay between all the brothers in this one. We didn't get much of that with Jude's book since it took place mostly in Key West, and I'm looking forward to getting to know these sexy Wilde brothers better. Wilde For Her is a great read and a solid installment in the Wilde Security series, a must read for people who like their romance hot and steamy, with a healthy side of mystery and action.(less)
This book evolves as the pages turn. From rich boy neighbors and college tests and parties to that first complicated dance when you're falling in love...moreThis book evolves as the pages turn. From rich boy neighbors and college tests and parties to that first complicated dance when you're falling in love with a stranger to the closeness two people share when they just fit. Add in a healthy dose of bad timing and closely guarded secrets and you've got a slowly simmering love story with a heroine and hero who have grown from people I could almost sorta identify with to unconventionally charming and admiringly vulnerable characters I wanted to see push through all their struggles and find happiness together.
This story is alternately amusing and frustrating as hell. The incrediblely pervasive meanness of Lilah gets old quickly and the continually interrupted important conversions, where if they'd only had five more seconds would have saved a lot of heartache, passed the realm of annoying and strolled right into irritatingly predictable. That said, this is a new adult novel and angst comes with the territory. The book would have been half as long without Lilah's meddling or Spring's simmering temper.
Spring is a likeable main character although sometimes immature and selfish, which is appropriate considering her relatively young age and the setting of the book (college). She has a great sense of humor, is a faithful and loyal friend, and has the drive and determination to go after what she wants and feels is right. Spring has a core of inner strength and empathy that makes it easy to relate to her despite some of the unfortunate decisions she makes. Henry is a complex hero, initially standoffish and judgemental then making a complete turnaround to reveal his charitable side and tender, vulnerable heart. These two are definitely communication-challenged! There is a shiny thread of attraction between them but zero bedroom action beyond a little innocent kissing, so if you're looking for smut, go into this book knowing that Definitely, Maybe In Love is more story than heat. A recommended read for fans of the new adult genre!
Wow. That's what I was feeling as I read the emotional conclusion to Bad Idea. After a string of on-again off-again pacing issues, mostly losing my at...moreWow. That's what I was feeling as I read the emotional conclusion to Bad Idea. After a string of on-again off-again pacing issues, mostly losing my attention in the little life details not pertaining to the guys' relationship with each other, out grows this incredible story of dedication and need and completeness. All the pieces came together at once and I suddenly found I hadn't had enough after all.
This book is comic nerd heaven. I consider myself geeky and nerdy, but most of the references, from classic horror to campy theater to obscure tv and print comics, flew totally over my head. Even so, every character took on a life all its own, not a cookie cutter in sight. The personalities reminded me a lot of New York itself: bigger than life and just about as unapologetic and unpredictable.
Oh and I adore the clever character names! Trip Spector, a talented and withdrawn comic artist who stumbles through and practically haunts his own life, and Silas Goolsby, a vivacious, outgoing special FX makeup pro who makes monsters for a living. Well played, Mr. Suede! The devil is definitely in the details! *grin*
Hot Head is currently the only other Damon Suede work I've read and Bad Idea had a distinctively different feel. Where Hot Head focuses on two men who share a close friendship and decade of history (not to mention their prevalent anti-gay work atmosphere), we get to see all of Silas and Trip's story, from sweet, geeky start to crazy-emotional happily ever after. Something I was glad to see this story share with Hot Head, however, is Damon's distinctive 'guy' voice. He doesn't pretty up the language, neither from a male perspective nor from a New Yorker's, so everything feels authentic even when the lingo may be a little difficult to follow.
Final thoughts? If you like contemporary male/male romance and want to follow the whole crazy experience from a realistic guy's perspective, friends and work and social tangents and all, Bad Idea is for you. You have been Judged!(less)
This story is a true "happily ever after". Throughout the entire book, I kept waiting for the angst and drama to happen, but it never did and that was...moreThis story is a true "happily ever after". Throughout the entire book, I kept waiting for the angst and drama to happen, but it never did and that was a refreshing change. There's no great mystery to solve, no massive differences to overcome, no danger waiting in the wings to make Aaron and Zach realize how much they truly love each other. He Completes Me is a relationship story that follows Zach's POV from before he meets Aaron until they become fully integrated into each others' lives, extended family and all. I loved being Zach's head. He lived a hedonistic, fast-paced life before Aaron and his perspective is charmingly abrupt and open-minded. Aaron came off as a little too sweet, too perfect and needy at times, but overall he was an enjoyable character too. Some of the secondary characters seriously irritated me and I assumed it was part of a plot device to help further Aaron's character, but nothing much really comes of that - not a big deal overall, but it felt like a weak line in the story arc. If you're looking for a sweet, dependable love story that doesn't use gimmicks to pace through the plot, check out He Completes Me.(less)
I'm torn on how to review this book. On the one hand, I ultimately liked it and would possibly be interested in reading the next in the series. On the...moreI'm torn on how to review this book. On the one hand, I ultimately liked it and would possibly be interested in reading the next in the series. On the other, I feel a little cheated by the content of over half the story. The title and cover of this book are misleading. This story is told in first person from the heroine's point of view and the rock star Gavin has very little involvement, other than some emailing and chatting online, in the first half of the plot arc. She's in his space (house-sitting), and does occasionally communicate with him (and has developed a massive crush on him from afar), but the story is primarily about her rather than him and it's told from her personal perspective. It's not very "rock star" at all, which is what appealed to me. It's more new-city-adventures and growing-up-experimentation rather than the highs and lows of being around a rock band.
That said, once they finally meet in person, the pace picks up significantly and I had a hard time putting it down. Because they were able to meet and develop their relationship organically over time and completely online, the chemistry and friendship between the couple is strong and believable. That part of the story I really enjoyed and I feel like maybe I just endured the rest of it to get to the point where they finally actually see each other.
I need to really connect with (or be entertained by) the personality of a character in order to really enjoy living in their head in first-present perspective, especially with heroines. Beryl was interesting but I didn't find her fascinating and I had to force myself not to put the book away during the first half. A story about some chick's domestic and professional troubles as she navigates the big bad city is really just not my thing. Smut and romance, that's what I want! Tattoo Thief does have that, but it's not the focus and it takes a while to get there. Overall, I recommend this book if you typically enjoy female voice first-person present-tense storytelling and don't mind that the "rock star" aspect is secondary to the heroine's daily life. (less)
The chemistry between the two main characters, Carlos and Greg, is near instantaneous but slowly builds over the first half the book as they get to kn...moreThe chemistry between the two main characters, Carlos and Greg, is near instantaneous but slowly builds over the first half the book as they get to know each other and deal with their own personal demons. Carlos's job isn't glamorous - he works in Greg's strip club as a janitor - and he hasn't made the best life decisions, but his intentions are pure and he's working hard to get his life back on track. His self esteem is fairly low and there were times my heart really ached for him.
Greg is probably the book's most complex character; determined and a little gruff, this man is direct, yet knows how to diffuse difficult situations without using aggression. He's a unique combination of masculine strength (even though Carlos is technically bigger and stronger) and conflicted emotional sentimentality. While Carlos's motivations and characterization are fairly straightforward, Greg's personality and history peel slowly away as the story moves through critical events. Ricky, Greg's co-owner of the club, is a memorable secondary character with a great sense of humor who knows when to be serious and when he can joke around. I enjoyed every scene he was in.
The only thing that really bothered me about the story was repetitive word usage. "Stuff" and "things" were used so many times I actually did a word count to see just how many times I'd read it (59 and 108 mentions, respectively). I felt like the over-usage of these plebeian terms made the men seem less intelligent and gave them a lower class feel during scenes where I really wanted them to come across as stark and strong and confident in their language.
Overall, Stripped Clean is a solid, contemporary m/m romance with a Happily Ever After ending. There's some relationship angst but it's understandable (and expected!) considering the serious emotional baggage both these guys carry around. It's not glamorous (one owns a strip club and the other meets him while working there as the after-hours one-man cleaning crew) and, while both are attractive, neither of them is badass or overly-anything. They feel like real men with real histories and their own assortments of family drama and life regrets and hopes and dreams. If that genre of romance is your style, definitely take a look at this book. Ms. Carrington does a great job of bringing these characters to life and tethering them to one another from the heart without sacrificing who they are or bending her own story rules to get them into easier situations. If you're a fan of Cardeno C. romances, where the story is the journey and the HEA is guaranteed, Stripped Clean will be just your speed!
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
The characters in this series are always standouts. Each one is unique and not at all coo...more*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
The characters in this series are always standouts. Each one is unique and not at all cookie-cutter. While there are some, like Micah, who play a fairly prominent role in every book (I think of him as the AKM shepherd), it's unusual for me to like and identify with EVERY featured couple across a book series. The first time Malek and Gina are reunited in RotA is a powerful scene and exquisitely written. You can practically feel his aggression and possessive instincts vibrating off the pages, and the shock and bewilderment of their unwitting audience is priceless. The writing is so passionate it gifts the scene with a striking, visceral feel. RotA bristles with emotional intensity and charms with its soul-deep love story. The highs are steamy as hell, and almost manic, while the lows are unbearably intimate and earth-shattering.
There are so many memorable scenes that tugged at my heart strings, but one in particular stood out as exceptionally moving. I won't tell you what it is because I don't want to spoil it, but I must have read it five times. The closeness and boundless, selfless friendship and loyalty Ms. Lynne pulls from her characters is just exquisite, and one of the reasons this series is so increasingly habit forming. Another scene is brutally satisfying in its relentless revenge, even for someone as squeamish as I am about bodily mutilation, especially since it's the good guys who get to dish it out and for good reason. If you have not yet started this series, you simply must!
Donya Lynne is a ruthless storyteller, in the best possible way, and the AKM books just keep getting better. Even if you know how events will ultimately end up (this is PNR, folks, a happily-ever-after ending ain't exactly a state secret), the story takes you on such a complex, well-crafted emotional ride, you can dive into the story and completely immerse yourself in the deep friendships, loyalty and camaraderie, the passion and despair that are so intimately penned.
If you've been waiting for the next Black Dagger Brotherhood, this is it, but with a story arc and featured characters that stand on their own merit and writing that is as complicated and talented as J.R. Ward's without the abrasive, almost gangster style. I dare you to read Return of the Assassin and remain completely unmoved by the events in this book. And to think, this series has so much potential awesome left to explore!
New to the series? Start with Rise of the Fallen and meet the infamous and incorrigible Micah. *Grin*(less)
Half Puerto Rican, with a violent history as an adolescent, Javier Corbray has more reason than most to be stronger, faster, and smarter until he can prove to himself that he's worth someone's love. He lives for his work with "the teams", his fellow Navy SEAL special operators; combat is what he does for a living and killing is what he's best at. Well, that and seduction, because he's damn good at that too. Slow, fast, hard, tender, with a thousand different ways to make a woman feel special. He definitely needs all of that skill when he meets back up with Laura, the woman he never quite got over...
Laura Nilsson has been subjected to the very worst of humanity, treated like a slave, beaten, raped, brainwashed until her sense of reality is so warped she barely remembers her own name. Her path of recovery is slow and tenuous and her tall SEAL savior plays a pivotal role in that. The relationship between Laura and Javier practically shimmers off the pages, it's so intense. They are both exceptionally strong and determined people with fragile weaknesses, and each supports the other exactly how they need it most. The pacing of the romance is perfect; anything too fast would have felt false due to Laura's traumatic past, and taking it much slower would have dragged the plot down. It's also smoking hot. The things Javier can do with his hands and mouth... and Laura is no slouch once she hits her stride again too. I loved his accent (which came through very clearly) and Spanish curses, and her Swedish words interspersed with English phrases. The pacing of the plot itself felt a tad slow around the middle, but once it picked up, it really took off, and the ending is one of the most emotional and fulfilling I've read in a long time. This story has a true Happily Ever After in more ways than one!
Fast-paced and addicting, Striking Distance will keep you chained to the pages long after the story has ended. The good news is that this is #6 in a series, the I-Team (a team of journalists, not fighters, who apparently hook up with special forces men… in case you were wondering), and while there are a lot of characters from previous books, you don’t need to have read those first in order to enjoy this one. The camaraderie between all the couples and friends amps up the feel-good quotient of the story and makes you want to keep on spending time with these remarkable individuals. Striking Distance is an absolute “must-read”, easily one of the best romantic suspense stories of the year!(less)
Guild Hunter novels are always so intense they cause me to lose sleep and stress out about a happy ending. This se...more*** THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER FREE! ***
Guild Hunter novels are always so intense they cause me to lose sleep and stress out about a happy ending. This series, folks, is urban fantasy at its finest. Throughout the story, I couldn't get enough of Elena and Raphael and Illium, but I was also thrilled to get to know a few of the other members of The Seven better. Naasir and Aodhan both have significantly larger parts in this book than in any of the previous ones and their character development is superb. I'm already speculating about the relationship between illium and Aodhan, and what the heck is Naasir anyway? It was fab getting to see Honor and Dmitri again (and especially to hear her commentary on his, ah, skills), as well as newly-in-love spymaster Jason.
The action in this book is beyond intense and the last 30 pages just about killed me, my heart was racing so fast the entire time. Ms. Singh really amped up the danger level for ALL the characters in this one and held off on revealing the big development until right at the end. It made me crazy and jittery and glued to the pages! The story also wrapped up nicely after the nearly-traumatic ending, so there's enough time to come down from the ledge and take a safe breath again, get our proverbial feet under us before we have to wait another many months for the next installment. I want to avoid spoilers as much as possible but I will say this...
No matter what it feels like while reading the final chapter of this book, take comfort in knowing that it does NOT have a cliffhanger ending and it is totally worth the ride! I'm both glad it's over and impatiently awaiting the next chapter in this scintillating and addicting universe! Long live the Guild Hunter series!! This series, and Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling world, might as well be the raison d'etre for the urban fantasy genre! Here are some fun quotes to send you off with...
Trying to keep her wings from trailing in the crap, [Elena] took a step inside... and a rat as big as a goddamn cat scurried over her boot. Biting back her instinctive scream, she glared at Ransom - who was very conspicuously not grinning. "You couldn't warn me?" "You're a tough-ass Hunter who gets naked with a freaking archangel, has a miniature flamethrower - which, by the way, you should leave to me in your will - and a crossbow, all within easy reach." His cheeks creased, eyes glinting. Rats quiver at your presence."
Raphael held her gaze. "Eternity would mean nothing without you. For no power on this earth would I trade my Elena."
"Narrow, but we can get in if we angle our bodies." "I'm the Hunter," Elena reminded [Raphael]. "I should go first." "Of course you may go first. When I am dead."
I am quickly becoming a Mercy Celeste fantastic, as in the truest sense of the word fan. I loved loved loved Six Ways From Sunday, the story before th...moreI am quickly becoming a Mercy Celeste fantastic, as in the truest sense of the word fan. I loved loved loved Six Ways From Sunday, the story before this one in the series (and you really do need to read it first) and I adored Sidelined. Why do I have this growing lady-crush on Ms. Celeste? Oh, let me count the ways!
First of all, I am obsessed with Levi Brody. He's just about freaking perfect as a likable protagonist. He is sexy, sarcastic, confident in a not-always-manly-way, a jock who is also artsy and a foul-mouthed sexual bottom, secretly sensitive and hiding a shockingly flamboyant personality no one would have ever expected, and rarely does what you expect... so basically, he's complicated, enigmatic, and hot. Tracy is equally as likable for completely different reasons. Where Levi is bursting with charisma, Tracy is stoic and in control. This is a man who knows what he wants and doesn't make excuses for going after it. He's not showy or exhibitionist (the complete opposite of Levi) and when he hooks up, he calls the shots.
Ms. Celeste doesn't shy away from dark topics and she tackles real modern issues. The voices of the characters just work and, especially with Levi at the end of Sidelined, I love them more the more I read. This book has become one of my personal favorites and I've read it several times in the past month. I absolutely cannot wait for the third book in the Southern Scrimmage series to be released because I just can't get enough of these guys! I now have a fangirl affinity for Saints gear and the fleur-de-lis symbol! (less)
Robin's New Adult books are such fun to read. You can count on her characters having personalities that really shine and the plot keeping a steady pac...moreRobin's New Adult books are such fun to read. You can count on her characters having personalities that really shine and the plot keeping a steady pace while building up a strong connection between the couple. Healthy platonic friendships also get a starring role in the Secret Wishes stories and the small town Cascade setting is just cozy enough to be wistful without inducing sugar shock or tripping my busybody neighbor irritations. This is the second book in the series that starts off with the heroine making a wish that doesn't quite turn out like she intended, and I think it's a charming hook.
We get to see a little of Sela and Luke from Kissing the Maid of Honor but the real stars are Shane and Kagan. He's a reformed playboy (Sela's brother and Luke's best friend) and perpetual flirt, and she's the daughter of a wealthy businessman trying to escape her father's controlling influence. Both characters are very easy to like and root for, and their chemistry builds naturally and slowly. This is a New Adult story, so while there is some kissing and thinking of naughty thoughts, the sex is completely off-screen. If that bothers you and you really want to be in the bedroom with the couple, you should probably skip this series (and most other New Adult categorized romance). Otherwise, pick up Her Accidental Boyfriend, spend some time in the sweet seaside town of Cascade, and fall in love with this swoon-worthy cast. Even though this isn't the first book in the series, it can be read as a standalone without too many spoilers (because, honestly, in the New Adult genre a happy ending is practically guaranteed).
Her Accidental Boyfriend is a little bit adorable, a charmingly sweet and endearingly cozy New Adult romance.(less)