I've read a large majority of Lorelei James's book and enjoyed them - some I loved - but the first book in this series was a total dud for me. So I waI've read a large majority of Lorelei James's book and enjoyed them - some I loved - but the first book in this series was a total dud for me. So I was wary of this second book but I knew I had to give it a chance because LJ had proven time and again before that she can write a good erotic romance. And I'm so glad I gave this book a chance. I really enjoyed it, so much more than the first book.
Series Note: Second book in Lorelei James's series "Blacktop Cowboys" about rodeo cowboys. I wouldn't say it's necessary to have read the first book in the series.
Summary: Harper Masterson hasn't had the best life. With a flakey, slut mother who up and left town, leaving Harper in charge of her little sister, Harper's had it rough. Along with that, she's got an undeserved bad reputation based on her mother's bad deeds. She can't wait to get out of Muddy Gap, Wyoming once her sister graduates high school, but things get tougher when she loses one of her jobs. Then a friend of hers recommends a job to her - as a ranch hand for local rancher Bran Turner.
When he opens his door to his new prospective ranch hand, Bran is shocked to see not only a female, but Harper. His friend hadn't told him who was coming by to interview. But Bran is desperate for help and Harper really needs the job so he gives her a chance. Surprisingly, things go well...and the sparks that ignite between the two and a total bonus. Neither sees any harm in having some fun during the last few months Harper is in town. But neither counted on the depth of their feelings, which just makes things all the more complicated.
Review: I was so happy this book ended up being leaps and bounds better than the first book. I was soo disappointed in that one, after having enjoyed so many books by LJ. I wondered if her main stream debut series was gonna be a dud all around, but LJ really redeemed herself with this book.
My biggest complaint with the first book in the series was that I did feel the romance at all, and I didn't really care for the heroine all that much. The whole set up was just off. This time around, with this book, the romance is much better. I really liked Harper as a character. She's got a lot of spunk and determination, having made it through what she has in her life. She tackles things head on. And Bran is a pretty good guy as well. Both were likable characters that you felt like you really knew as you read the story. Together, they've got some great chemistry and I really enjoyed reading about these two, separate and as a pair. It was just a really solid romance.
And of course, there's plenty of hot sex, but not so much that it takes over the story and leaves everything else lacking. There's a good blend between the romance, storyline, and sex. But what there is of the sex is pretty damn hot. The kink factor is fairly mild (compared to some other LJ books)...you get some chocolate with your vanilla, but not much that would hit readers Yuck! button.
LJ also introduces you to a cast of other characters that we'll probably get books about down the road. So it's nice to see where the series is heading. And you get some scenes with the H/H from the last book. Always nice to see what past characters are up to.
Another great part of the book was the humor...not that I would call it a comedic book in any sense, but there were a few scenes that were funny. The best being the scene near the beginning with the goats. That was absolutely freaking hilarious. I was laughing so hard my eyes were watering. I think it's probably one of the funniest scenes I've ever read in a romance book...and that's saying a lot considering how many books I've read. But it was a great one and one I'll be remembering for a long time.
I don't really have any negatives to complain about. Nothing really bothered me on a noteworthy level. It was just an all around solid book that I read quickly and enjoyed. For you LJ fans who, like me, didn't care for the first book, I think you'll find this one much more likable.
WARNING, this book contains: explicit sex and language, oral sex, anal sex, some mutual spanking, maybe a smidge of D/s play (to go with the spanking), and some sex in less than private places....more
I bought this anthology for Lorelei James's "Rough Riders" novella since I absolutely love that series. James didn't disappoint, and the other two novI bought this anthology for Lorelei James's "Rough Riders" novella since I absolutely love that series. James didn't disappoint, and the other two novellas were too bad either.
Series Note: LJ's novella, "Strong, Silent Type," is part of her "Rough Riders" series...it's sort of a 'between the numbers' addition and can be read as a standalone. I'm not sure if the other two novellas have any series connections.
Buckling Down by Moira Keith In this novella, Levi is a rodeo star, and a celebrity in general. He's just getting his career back on track after too many distractions when he runs into a childhood crush, Sydney, who is the sister of one of his best friends. The chemistry is instant and Levi decides to hell with the pack he'd made with his friend about not dating his sister.
I enjoyed this story, but at the same time, it wasn't really fitting to this type of anthology. Theme wise - with the cowboy, rodeo and all that - it fits perfectly, but on and erotic romance level it fell way behind. The other two stories are pure erotic romance and this one is just a sensual romance. It made it seem ill-fiting.
But it was a sweet story and I liked the characters, the situation, and the story. It was an easy story to read, and I especially liked that there was a slight suspense element added with Sydney's stalker, psycho ex. Really gave the story some extra meat.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Strong, Silent Type by Lorelei James Quinn and Libby McKay have been married for years, and together a lot longer. But things have gone south in their marriage, leading to a trial separation. Quinn is content to wait for Libby to come to her senses when he realizes he needs to fight for his wife. He's not about to let go of the woman he loves completely.
I've been waiting to read this story for ages and finally got a chance to buy the anthology it came out in (originally it was a solo ebook release a year ago). I love this series and couldn't wait to read about Quinn and Libby. And author Lorelei James delivered a great story in a short 90 or so pages.
I worried initially, once I figured out the storyline, that this would be one of those annoying stories where the wife is like 'if you can't figure it out, I'm not going to tell you' or that all the couples problems would be heaped onto one or the other. But I loved the way James wrote this story. Initially, it seems like Quinn is the screw up, but as the story moves along, Libby realizes that she did quite a few things wrong too. It was a great direction for the story to go. I liked how everything worked out between them
And yeah, there's some super hot sex too ;)
Rating: 5 / 5 stars
The Real Deal by Niki Green In this novella, Nick and Hayden Kiel manage to sneak into an erotic burlesque club in Dallas, Texas, but are shocked to find that one of the main performers is their brother Chase's ex-girlfriend, who ran off after Chase proposed to her. When Chase finds out where Willa is, he'll resort to anything - even kidnapping - in order to get her back.
This was my least favorite story of the 3 in this anthology. Mainly for two reasons. I liked the premise. It's kinda unique and had a lot of potential, but somewhere along the way the story fell a bit flat.
For one thing, something about the writing itself was off for me. The way things were worded at times was awkward and lacking flow, and a few times verb tense didn't seem right. I wondered while reading if maybe the author was either not a native English speaker, or if they were just a rather inexperienced writer.
Second, the story felt somewhat incomplete. There were areas that needed more fleshing out. I felt like I hardly knew the characters, the situation, who everyone was and all that. I wanted more to the story. Some unnecessary filler could have been cut out for more development in important areas. And also, the relationship resolution was way too abrupt. I didn't understand what was going on between these two, and Willa's change of mind was really abrupt and didn't make much sense. There just needed to be a lot more of this story.
But I didn't mind it too much and I was intrigued enough by the other Kiel brothers to want to read a story for each of them as well.
It's hard for me to say I didn't particularly like this book because I'm a big Lorelei James fan, but the truth is that I honestly didnRating: 2.5 / 5
It's hard for me to say I didn't particularly like this book because I'm a big Lorelei James fan, but the truth is that I honestly didn't really care for this one. I expected a lot from it and ended up disappointed.
Series Note: First book in James's new mainstream "Blacktop Cowboys" series about rodeo cowboys.
Summary: Lainie Capshaw works as a sports therapist for two different rodeo circuits where she comes into contact with oodles of sexy cowboys. She's always managed to keep her distance until two different cowboys - one from each circuit she works - catch her attention. She never intended to start sleeping with each, but that's what happens. Lainie could have never imagined that the two men were actually childhood friends. And all is well until the two men figure out Lainie is sleeping with both of them.
Instead of losing her altogether, Hank and Kyle offer to share Lainie and invite her to travel with them during "Cowboy Christman" - a frantic rush of rodeo events. Lainie agrees, as she's just been coerced to take a vacation. But traveling with two men who want her is more challenging than she could have imagined. Especially when one of them takes the lead in winning her heart...
Review: I love James's "Rough Riders" series and I had very high expectations of this first book in her first mainstream print series, "Blacktop Cowboys." Maybe some of my disappointment is just that I had such high expectations, but honestly, the book didn't work for me for the most part.
Right from the start I was turned off. Lainie, the heroine, is blatantly cheating by sleeping with two different men on the side. That's rather skanky and not what I want from a heroine in a romance novel. And her attitude about it made it worse. She had no remorse, no nothing. It was all fun and games. Yuck. Then she gets caught and runs with her tail between her legs. Chicken!
Aside from that rather inauspicious start, the romance level in the book was seriously lacking for me. After Lainie gets caught, Hank and Kyle - neither of whom wants to lose her (damn she must be something in bed!) - offer to share her and invite her to travel with them during "Cowboy Christmas." She agrees and they hit the road.
It should have been sexy and hot, two hunk cowboys pleasuring one woman. But James's lost me on all the jealousy and competition that existed between Hank and Kyle. The two are constantly annoyed when Lainie is with the other one, and they're constantly trying to figure out ways to out-do each other sexually when they get time alone with her. It got so freakin' old really quick. Less than half way through the book I wanted to start banging my head against a wall. I don't want to read about jealous competition among a threesome. It's not romantic.
Besides that, the whole vibe of the threesome lacked romance. It came off as fun and games. Lainie seemed very disconnected emotionally from the two and Hank and Kyle just wanted to make sure they pleased her more than the other one. There was very little emotional bonding going on, no romancing. Just a lot of sex, competition and jealousy. It made the book feel more like erotica than erotic romance. And I was very disappointed in that. Usually James's books are great romance wise so to not get that in this one was such a let down. Weirdly, the best chemistry I felt in the book was between Kyle and Hank's sister, Celia. Those two set off sparks and I hope James puts those two together.
Plus, the way Kyle faded away at the end was weird. All through the book you get the sense that he really wants her and cares about her then it's like a switch flips and he wanders off. It seemed really strange.
I also thought the book lacked some focus storyline-wise aside from the Who-wins-Lainie's-heart competition. It kinda wanders in ten different directions. From Lainie's job issues, her family issues, Hank's family issues, Hank's possible move to another rodeo circuit, Kyle's comeback from an injury, Lainie almost being assaulted and maybe some other stuff, it just felt like the story lacked a solid direction.
And yeah, all I've done is criticize. I feel bad about that since I love James's books...usually. On the good side, despite it's issues, the book was still very readable. James writes smoothly, with nice detail (sometimes too much in this one). The sex is hot and inventive. And hey, it's about cowboys, can't go wrong with that!
I just wish the book had been more romantic. But I'm not giving up on the series. I think it was just the storyline of this one book that didn't work for me, and not James' direction as an author. I'm still looking forward to reading more about the "Blacktop Cowboys."
WARNING, this book contains: explicit sex and language, oral sex (m/f, m/f/m hetero), anal sex (m/f, m/f/m hetero), toys, wax play, light bondage, light spanking, maybe some other stuff I'm forgetting, and also a scene involving an attempted sexual assault....more
Lorelei James really can't do any wrong with this series. And while this one wasn't one of my favorites of the series, I still enjoyed it a lot.
SeriesLorelei James really can't do any wrong with this series. And while this one wasn't one of my favorites of the series, I still enjoyed it a lot.
Series Note: Seventh book in LJ's "Rough Riders" series. I think you could probably get away with reading this one as a standalone, but you'd get more out of it reading in order.
Summary: Cameron McKay is a bit of an odd duck in the rough and tumble cowboy McKay family. He never wanted to be a rancher, so he went to war instead. And got his leg blown off. Now he's back home in Sundance, Wyoming, trying to accept his new life and the loss of his leg. Which he's not doing such a great job of. His fear of how people see him has kept him from acting on his feelings for Domini Katzinski, manager of the local cafe.
But Domini is tired of waiting for Cam to act on the lust between them, so she propositions him and lets him know her secret desires. Cam can't believe what lurks underneath Domini's calm exterior. It's more than he could have imagined and the two begin a blazing affair. For Domini, it's a great fantasy, but because of secrets she keeps, she knows she could never keep Cam. Or could she? But just as the two are facing their feelings, tragedy strikes and their lives will never be the same.
Review: I've been looking forward to reading Cam's book since he first popped up in this series. He's the mysterious, little-known McKay and LJ did a good job of making us readers want to know more about him. And he's a war hero at that.
I liked both Cam and Domini. Cam's the battle scarred, somewhat vulnerable Alpha Dom, and Domini's got this placid, calm exterior with a submissive sex-kitten inside. It's an interesting contrast. I liked that Domini sort of took the initiative and let Cam know what she wanted. The two had been circling around each other for so long that one of them had to take charge...at least in getting them together ;)
There are a lot of great emotional angles to the story as well. Cam's still struggling with losing his leg and how people see him. He doesn't want anyone to see him as weak, and has avoided women since being hurt. And Domini been through a lot in her life, has a lot of emotional scars, and a big secret about herself. All those things give the story a lot of depth.
And yeah, like any LJ book, there's a lot of smokin' hot sex. The D/S angle gives the book a little different feel than most of the others, which is a good thing, in my opinion.
There were two things about the book that keep me from giving it 5 stars. One is a small thing. And that deals with side story among secondary characters. There was a part about marital problems for one of Cam's cousins, and a tragedy that happens, and I felt kind lost on those characters and what was going on between them. I'm not sure if I'm just not remembering enough from past books, or if there just weren't enough details on them in this book. But I felt like I was missing something.
The other mild criticism I have is more about the setup of the book. For the first half, you get a wild sex fest between Cam and Domini. It's hot and steamy and fun to read. Then you get to the last chunk of the book and everything changes. Something big happens (I won't say what) and the whole tone of the books changes. I'm not faulting what happened...it fit the story. But I felt like the two chunks of the story were too divergent. The first chunk is all sex and steam and then the second chunk is almost all serious story. For me, there needed to be a better blending of the two parts to make the story flow a little better.
Still really enjoyed the book, though, and I'm really looking forward to reading more of the wild and crazy McKays...especially Keeley!
WARNING, this book contains: explicit sex and language, oral sex, anal sex, D/s sexual relationship, bondage, toys, a one-time m/f/m threesome...pretty much what you'd expect from an LJ book....more
Super short review: Usually I love everything Lorelei James writes, but this books just fell flat for me. I didn't mind it, but I just couldn't reallySuper short review: Usually I love everything Lorelei James writes, but this books just fell flat for me. I didn't mind it, but I just couldn't really get into the story....more
I almost like this one at much as the previous book, Rough, Raw and Ready. It was really good and I liked both Colt and India a lot. IfRating: 4.5 / 5
I almost like this one at much as the previous book, Rough, Raw and Ready. It was really good and I liked both Colt and India a lot. If I could have, though, I would have adjusted one thing about the book and that's to have made it a little more balanced with regards to the sex (which I'll explain in a little bit).
Branded As Trouble is the most recent and sixth book in Lorelei James' Rough Riders series. Back around book 3, readers got to know Colt McKay as the drunken, drugged up party boy/man whore. He was on a downward spiral to hell when the death of his cousin Dag and intervention from his cousin Kade helped get him into rehab. For three years now, he's been clean and sober...and celibate. He's tried to do everything right, but his family, and everyone else, seem to be waiting for him to fail. Except for India Ellison (sister of book 4's heroine). She's a recovering addict herself, and also a bit of a black sheep in town. Tattoo artists who are tattooed and pierced themselves aren't quite the norm in Wyoming. Without her support as his A.A. sponsor, though, Colt knows he would never have made it. She's been more than his sponsor; she's been his best friend...and the woman he's fallen in love with.
India's never given him any idea that she was interested in return. Until one odd sexually charged morning. When the two finally face what happened, Colt decides he wants to take things slow. He wants them to date and not have sex for two weeks. Which is easier said than done now that their feelings are out in the open. The two have their up and down moments and both must face some of their demons if they want to move forward with each other.
When I first saw that there was going to be a book about Colt and India, I was a little wary because of Colt's recovering addict status and the fact that India was his sponsor. I just didn't want this story to happen like a year after Colt got clean. And it didn't. He'd been clean for 3 years before getting involved with India. So I was relieved about that.
I really liked Colt a lot. When he was first brought into focus in book 3 he was a total drunken jackass and I remember thinking, I'm gonna have to read about this guy? I wasn't sure it would be possible to like him. But James did a really great job with his character and he ended up being one of my favorite McKays. You get a really great sense of his character, how he ended up the way he did and what he's going through now. I just liked him a lot.
And I loved India...but I'm always a fan of atypical heroines. And she's definitely atypical with her tattoos and multiple piercings and funky hair. She's got this badass exterior but on this inside, she was a big softie...who has a bit of a temper ;) She and Colt fit really well together. They understood each other.
One thing kept this book from being a 5 for me and that's the sex explosion in the middle of the book. Colt and India wait two weeks after starting to date before they first have sex...and after that, it's sex scene after sex scene. After the first couple, my eyes started to glaze a little bit. Because no matter how hot the sex is (and these were some smokin' scenes) reading them one after the other is a little repetitive. They just needed to be broken up a little bit to make the book more balanced.
This was a great addition to the series though and I enjoyed it a lot. I think those of you reading the Rough Riders series will like it. I can't wait for the next one to come out. My guess is it will be about Cam and Domini, but that's just a guess. And I'm also looking forward to the novella about Quinn and Libby.
WARNING, this book contains: explicit sex, explicit language, anal sex, light bondage, light dominance/submission, toys, body piercings, the H/H watching a group sex porn video that had some F/F action, some spanking, some rough sex...I think that about covers it ;)...more