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Currently Browsing: contemporary romance
Feb
4

Review: Hero by Samantha Young

Review: Hero by Samantha Young Hero Author: Samantha Young Reviewer: Nena Rating: B What I’m Talking About: If you are familiar with Samantha Young’s writing, you know her writing tends to flows seamlessly at every turn of the page. Contemporary romance readers will appreciate the story telling in this novel, even though the story seems to follow the popular “independent young woman, falls for self-made millionaire” trend. In Hero, we meet Alexa Holland as she’s preparing a set for a photo-shoot session with a high profile client. When her boss informs Alexa that they’ll be working with Mr. Caine Carraway, Alexa’s world stops spinning. She immediately recognizes the name and realizes that she must decide quick if she can pretend to be someone else, or if it’s time to set the record straight. Alexa is haunted by a family secret that involves Caine Carraway, and makes Alexa the enemy by default. Caine is a successful entrepreneur who’s learned to play his cards well, but life has not always been easy for him.  When Alexa confronts Caine with an unexpected truth, Caine sets out to fulfill a promise he made to himself long time ago. Revenge has always been his fuel, but now that opportunity has presented itself , revenge becomes the inevitable force that will destroy them or force them together. Overall, Hero is a solid story with great character development, and a good dose of chemistry that makes both of these characters relatable and enjoyable. Samantha Young’s story telling is flawless as usual, and I highly recommend this book to seasoned and new readers alike. My Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: Alexa Holland’s father was her hero—until her shocking discovery that she and her mother weren’t his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets,. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him. Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair. Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they’re on...
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Feb
3

Review: More by Lea Griffith

Review: More by Lea Griffith More Author: Lea Griffith Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: More opens three years in the past, where readers learn of a passionate love affair between Ruthie Copeland and Tobias (Toby) Edwards. Ruthie has always known a bit of Toby’s hidden desires to master and control sexual situations; he is a Dom, but he has kept that side of his life from her. One unforgettable night, Ruthie offers herself to Tobias completely, and after begging him to take her as he needs to, he finally gives her everything. However, the next morning, he is gone, demanding Ruthie leave and never return. Fast forward to present day when Ruthie returns to her home in Atlanta, determined to make Tobias hers forever. But will she have the mental and emotional strength to break down Tobias’s walls? When I picked up More, I didn’t realize that it was the second story in a series. While the author does a fine job pulling in the backstory as needed, I did feel like I was missing out on much of the history between several of the players in the book. It was obvious from comments and scenes that the core characters in the story have a long, shared history, and I wondered if I would have enjoyed the tale more had I read the first book, Too Much. With that in mind, I suggest to anyone new to the series to start at the beginning. Overall, I enjoyed More; however, I had some issues. The opening prologue and start of the book was emotionally gripping. I found myself empathizing with Ruthie and wanting her to find her happiness. It drew me in and kept me glued to my Kindle. However, while I adored Ruthie, I found her attitude and self-esteem problematic at times. Ruthie is a strong woman with gianormous balls! She comes back to Atlanta, to a man who tossed her out, demanding his attention. But honestly, I felt like she was too often begging for him to love her after she gave him the biggest gift she could ever give (herself), and he threw it away. I hated to see her implore Tobias to take her back when instead, Tobias should have been groveling big time and begging her to come back! In addition, Tobias is not a good man. While his heart may be golden when it comes to Ruthie and his friends, he is involved in dark,...
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Jan
8

Review: Ahead in the Heat by Lorelie Brown

Review: Ahead in the Heat by Lorelie Brown Ahead in the Heat Author: Lorelie Brown Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Quickie Review. Warm weather. Rippling ocean water. A man out of his element, and a woman longing to return to hers…even though she didn’t know it. Sean and Annie’s story is one of the sweetest I’ve read in a while. Athletes have always intrigued me. From the time I entered high school, I have always appreciated a fit male form as a work of art. Athletes are artists. They sculpt their bodies to perfection. When they fail, or are injured, there’s all sorts of emotions. Reasoning, begging, and rehab. Lots and lots of rehab. Sean has come back home after a bad wipe-out on the surfing World Championship Tour, and needs rehab on his torn-up shoulder. Great athletes want the best for their bodies, and they don’t skimp on physical therapists when the need arises. It was interesting watching Sean’s emotional investment through the course of the book. I was surprised at several points by things Sean said and did. Even though the story turned out just fine. Annie has been burned by the surfing world. She’s also the best physical therapist. Period. With a heart of gold, she offers her home / office as a haven for youth. She aspires to do more for the kids than she currently is, and has plans to make it happen. With demons of her own, Annie goes through some pretty amazing changes. She’s also got a huge moral compass that keeps her doing the right things, and helping others. I really liked Annie because even though she was just a little thing, she was FIERCE. I think the best thing about Ahead in the Heat is that it’s told in a natural manner. It’s believable. I feel like I know the characters, and that I could hang out with them. Double-date. I connected with the characters as though they were good friends. There’s probably other things, but I can’t quite put my finger on them. I think it’s a compilation. The way Ms. Brown twined Sean and Annie together felt natural and it tugged at my heart. I think I may have gotten wrapped-up in the story and I let the emotion roll me through the book. It’s that hard-to-define ‘I love this book’ state. I’m loving the Pacific Blue series. It’s earned the number one slot for sports stories for me. I can’t wait to...
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Dec
29

Review: Going All In by Alannah Lynne

Review: Going All In by Alannah Lynne Going All In Author: Alannah Lynne Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: One year ago Wade Neumann was dumped by his rich, entitled, cheating finance Miranda, who didn’t seem to really care about him at all. With his heart broken he kept going, hating that his boss and good friend, Kevin Mazze, had him working with Callie Holden, someone who reminded Wade all too much of his ex. Callie Holden did work Wade into the ground a year ago, but only because Kevin told her to do it – to keep his mind off his breakup. But in the two years since she’s left her wealthy father’s home, she’s learned she’s no longer that rich snob party girl. Now she’s working for her living, following her own ambitions, and refuses to use any of the trust funds left in her name. Once again working together, Wade begins to see past Callie’s superficial similarities to Miranda and who she is on the inside. Wade is attracted to Callie – both physically and as a friend, but he does not want it to lead anywhere, afraid he’s going to be used and hurt all over again. Going All In is a delightful romance, hitting both sweet and serious notes, which comes altogether for a satisfying conclusion. I really enjoyed both Callie and Wade. They are down-to-earth individuals and characters that I could be friends with. I appreciated how Wade expects Callie to act like Miranda, and is pleasantly surprised each time she proves him wrong. Of course, his constant expectations for Callie to hurt him and “waiting for the other shoe to drop” does lead to a major blow out over a pretty minor misunderstanding, which irritated me a bit. But overall, it works for the couple. I liked that both Callie and Wade are super attracted to one another right from the start, and they both want to do what is best for the other. Wade is convinced that he can’t give Callie his heart, and so he tries to remain friends, but Callie wants more and pushes herself outside her own comfort zone to flirt with Wade. It creates a wonderful dynamic and some emotionally tender moments. Oh, and a SUPER HOT shower scene! And while there is a major misunderstanding that causes issues for the couple, I loved how they usually talked things through, especially when Wade admits he may not be the man Callie...
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Dec
18

Review: Mixing Mike by Megan Slayer

Review: Mixing Mike by Megan Slayer Mixing Mike Author: Megan Slayer Reviewer: B. Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Sure, everybody has their quirks, but Mike Larson’s album collection is in a league of its own. It also speaks of an obsession that tends to make a lot of people keep their distance. Which is fine by him, since the last guy he let get too close betrayed him. But, loneliness doesn’t really suit Mike, and what he’d like is to find someone he can truly relate to—not that such a man actually exists. Though he’s never much cared for commitment before, Leon Sanders isn’t sure he can help himself when the gorgeous, self-conscious man in business casual walks into his record store on a mission. Haggling over hard-to-find albums gives Leon a thrill, but something about Mike makes him want more than just a one-night stand. But, letting down his guard has not served him well, and doing so now won’t be easy. But, somehow, he’s not going to let this chance at real happiness slip through his fingers without a fight. While I have read quite a few short stories designed for quick gratification and a guaranteed happy ending, I ran into several difficulties with Mixing Mike. Mike and Leon are both interesting characters, but, even with the brevity of the story, the speed with which they progress from their initial meeting to referring to each other as “friend,” along with the casual, physical gestures that accompanied the designation, felt a little awkward. I find that one-night stands are fairly easy to accept, but the instant friendship here is a bit harder to believe, and caused me to question my understanding of the timeline involved. The confusion over the passage of time, as well as a shift in the subject of the action of a scene, and so forth, made it difficult to stay with the story from beginning to end. Having said that, though, it is true that there are pros and cons with any series of this kind, and there were plenty of good things in Mixing Mike that can be built on as well. Ms. Slayer has written two characters who are complete opposites on the surface, but very much alike at heart. They are unique, and both are survivors adrift, but not yet drowning. It is a sweet story, in many ways, and Mike and Leon are certainly incredibly sexually compatible. They are at their best when they are together...
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Dec
10

Review: The Good Chase by Hanna Martine

Review: The Good Chase by Hanna Martine The Good Chase Author: Hanna Martine Reviewer: Una Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Ms. Martine has done it again with her wonderfully passionate and slowly burning contemporary romance, The Good Chase. The book was a fun and enjoyable read. I have loved Shea since reading Longshot.  Shea is a no nonsense whisky expert who loves and cherishes her Scottish blood.  She is a woman who has learned from the mistakes of her past and is working hard to be the strong independent woman she knows she can be.  Shea is smart and talented, and I found myself connected to her in many ways.  She had been hurt and that hurt caused her to be careful to keep her personal and private lives completely separate.  However, Shea is not afraid to work for what she wants, especially since she enjoys what she does. Bryne was eye-catching in Longshot as well.  Though we only briefly saw the ruggedly handsome rugby player in Longshot, we are finally introduced to him fully in The Good Chase.  Whew, he improved considerably – and that was impressive.  But Byrne is not a prince charming that will swoop in and make everything right (though he will try).  I loved his loyalty, his love of his family, his devotion and strength, and his heartbreak and frustration at not being able to help those he loves.  Bryne is witty and charming and smart.  His attraction to Shea and his admiration and love for who she is were sexy as heck.  I loved how he worked hard to keep to her comfort zones, not being pushy but still pursuing. What made this story so awesome is the subtle tug-of-war that occurs between Bryne and Shea.  They are both very smart and independent people who want to do things for themselves.  Combined with the caring nature of Bryne, it creates obstacles for them.  I also enjoyed the almost backward courtship they had.  It causes them to get to know each other far better and to be more intimately connected. Their story spanned quite a bit.  First there was the obstacle of Shea and her beliefs about keeping work and private lives separate.  Though this was the largest of the issues (spanning more than half the book) it was also the cutest in many ways.  I enjoyed watching Bryne work hard to approach Shea at the right times, not getting discouraged after being turned down, and then trying to find...
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Dec
8

Review + Giveaway: Owning Violet by Monica Murphy

Review + Giveaway: Owning Violet by Monica Murphy Owning Violet Author: Monica Murphy Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary romance lately. It’s interesting that the subgenre still holds interest for me, as I’m pretty sure I’ve seen every trope out there. I had to fight for moments to read the first title in Monica Murphy’s new Fowler Sisters series, Owning Violet. Stolen moments on my lunch break, at the grocery store while waiting in line, and while waiting for Youngest to be released from wrestling practice. And then, I binged. I gorged myself on Violet and Ryder’s story for an afternoon. And I don’t regret a single minute. This is a workplace romance. And, the one thing that irritated me about Owning Violet was that Violet wanted to keep everything with Ryder on the down-low, while her entire relationship with Zachary was in-the-open. Both work at Fleur Cosmetics, and have parallel positions in the hierarchy. I’ll just leave that right there for a minute. Violet is the ‘responsible’ sister. She’s destined to run Fleur Cosmetics someday. I mean, she’s really the only one of her sisters interested in the position. I liked Violet’s chapters. The narration is first person with shifting viewpoints, and Ms. Murphy tells us who’s talking. What drew me to Violet was the fact that she changed and evolved throughout the novel. She started as a meek and quiet ‘flower’—a ‘shrinking violet,’ if you will—that wasn’t interested in rocking-the-boat. By the end, however…well, you’ll have to read to find out why I like her so much now. 🙂 Ryder. How to explain Ryder? He’s certainly an enigma, that’s for sure. Besides being damaged, and needing to learn to actually love, Ryder has about a bazillion things going against him in the grand scheme of things. Even though he holds a position pretty high-up in Fleur Cosmetics, he feels unworthy. I know that Ryder’s narration in his chapters is about HIS growth throughout the novel, but the boy did things slow and in his own time—that’s for sure. I kinda wanted to wrap him in a fleece blanket and pet his thick, wavy locks a few times as I was reading. We all know I have a thing for damaged heroes, and while Ryder had several of those qualities, he didn’t quite fit the grid. Does that make sense? And whew! He certainly has the domineering control-freak thing mastered. *snort* I’d be Violet in a heartbeat....
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Dec
4

Review + Blog Tour + Giveaway: Hell on Wheels by Z.A. Maxfield

Review + Blog Tour + Giveaway: Hell on Wheels by Z.A. Maxfield Hell On Wheels Author: Z. A. Maxfield Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Living in Bluewater Bay always suited Nash Holly just fine, for the most part. Taking on a lot of the responsibility for his family at a young age never made his path an easy one, but he gladly accepted his role with unshakeable devotion. The idea that there might be more for him wasn’t anything he allowed himself to think about, at least until a close call on a rainy night turns out to be much more than it seems. Spencer Kepler-Constantine knows all about the pitfalls of fame, but recent heartbreak has made his entire existence a misery. Unable to escape the spotlight, he’s determined to hide his pain from everyone, including himself, if he can possibly manage it. But, when an unexpectedly erotic interlude with a stranger who doesn’t play by the rules shakes Spencer up in lovely and terrifying ways, he begins to wonder if the best thing to ever happen to him isn’t right in front of him after all. Hell on Wheels is an appealingly simple, romantic tale of two men who aren’t exactly looking for anything, but end up finding it anyway. Nash and Spencer are opposites in just about every way possible. Nash is a high-octane, small-town mechanic whose commitment to his family doesn’t leave him any room for romance. Spencer is a famous celebrity on a popular TV show who is in the middle of a very public divorce and would prefer to avoid another relationship at all costs. A “no-strings” arrangement would be preferable to both men, if only they weren’t so perfect for each other. While it is neither action-packed nor suspenseful, Hell on Wheels is a sweet story about expectations and honesty, and the dangers of making assumptions, no matter how badly our hearts want something. Though their respective worlds seem to clash spectacularly, Spencer and Nash are more complimentary than either is willing to admit, except sexually—an element of their relationship they both (thankfully) embrace. Z.A. Maxfield has, once again, written two complicated, deserving characters who have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be happy, yet who can’t seem to let go of their own fears long enough to reach for it until it’s almost too late. With one exception, each of the Bluewater Bay stories is written by different authors and is meant to be read as a standalone. However, I thoroughly enjoyed...
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Dec
2

Review: Razed by Shiloh Walker

Review: Razed by Shiloh Walker Razed Author: Shiloh Walker Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Ms. Walker has certainly brought intense sexual tension to fruition with an explosive release in Razed. This second title of her Barnes Brothers series was most eagerly anticipated… Because I completely fell in love with Zane the moment I saw him in Wrecked. Razed has the super-secret-ninja-identity trope, which is one of my favorites. I’ll just leave this here to drive you crazy. Because I can’t say more, or it’d be spoilery. So, if you’re a fan of this trope like me, pick up this book. STAT. If you read the first book, Wrecked, in this series (recommended to read the series in order) you’d remember that Keelie kissed Zach because she thought she loved him. But there wasn’t fireworks. However, that didn’t stop her feelings for him completely. Feeling awkward at Zach’s wedding, Keelie was ‘rescued’ by Zane, Zach’s older brother. The way that Keelie responded to Zane WAS full of fireworks. In the best possible way *fans self*. What was extremely interesting for me was watching Keelie interact with others. We found out early on in Razed that there was something going on with Keelie. The way that Ms. Walker built up that plot point was extremely skillful and kept me flipping pages as fast as I could muster. It also made me stay up WAY past my bedtime. Always a sign of a well-written book and engaging plot. And this part of Keelie’s storyline?!? BAM! Never saw it coming. Nev-er. Now Zane also has a huge secret lurking in HIS backstory. I was equally in awe of the handling of his admission as I was Keelie’s, but it also brought up some bullying baggage I thought I’d left behind from grade school. LOVE Zane. Did I mention that?!?! And really, who wouldn’t love a sensitive, artistic photographer that has pined after—and tried to win over—a woman for three years? I think what I love most about Zane is that he’s perfectly content to wait for Keelie to be ready for their relationship. He doesn’t really frame it as an ‘if’ either. It’s as though Zane instinctively knew that Keelie was right for him. I think that’s why I fell for Zane. To be that confident and patient with someone who was obviously skittish about becoming entrenched in a relationship was pretty special. I love the way that Zane looks at things, too. The awe...
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Nov
28

Quickie Review: The Christmas Top by Christi Snow

Quickie Review: The Christmas Top by Christi Snow The Christmas Top Author: Christi Snow Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Not surprisingly, Christi Snow has written yet another wonderfully sweet and sexy story with The Christmas Top. In this addition to the 1Night Stand series we’re introduced to Jason Wieland and Mark Cummins, two men on the edge of a new beginning that could be the answer to their wildest fantasies. Both men are trying to start over with a clean slate, although for very different reasons, and are hoping that Madame Eve can help make their Christmas wishes come true. Of course, all of the 1Night Stand stories I’ve read so far have been erotic in nature, and The Christmas Top delivers on that expectation beautifully. Mark has a very specific idea about what he wants from the arrangement, and it just so happens that Jason is the perfect man to provide it. Jason’s objective at the beginning of their date is more substantive and bittersweet, but, as the evening progresses, his desires are not only met, but end more happily than he could have hoped for. The Christmas Top is just the thing for anyone who enjoys their m/m romance with a little bit of an edge to it. Jason and Mark are interesting, warm-hearted characters, and knowing there would be a happy ending for them made their story a real pleasure to read. There aren’t any big surprises or a lot of angst here; just a nice mix of eroticism and romance that makes this an excellent indulgence for the holidays. My Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot About the Book: All he wants for Christmas… It’s time for Mark Cummins to come out of the closet. He’s ready, but he’s never been topped. Asking Madame Eve for the one-night stand of his fantasies, he hopes she can grant his Christmas wish. He’s a less-than-merry gentleman… Jason Wieland’s life partner died in a horrific hate crime two years before and he hasn’t taken a lover since. He knows it’s time, and he reaches out to the 1Night Stand dating service to find the right man to light up his holiday. But when masculine, sexy, and extremely straight Mark shows up, he doesn’t know what to do. Is this 1Night Stand a cruel joke or has Madame Eve truly worked Christmas magic? Release Date: December 6, 2013 Publisher: Decadent Publishing Series: 1 Night Stand ISBN: #978-1613336335 Genre: LBGTQ, m/m romance, novella Format(s): e-book Book...
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