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Currently Browsing: contemporary romance
Jun
25

Review: Carolina Girl by Virginia Kantra

Review: Carolina Girl by Virginia Kantra Carolina Girl Author: Virginia Kantra  Release Date: June 4, 2013 Publisher: Berkley Dare Island #2 ISBN: #978-0425251225 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      Meg Fletcher spent her childhood dreaming of escaping Dare Island-her family’s home for generations. So after she landed a high-powered job in New York City, she left and never looked back. But when she loses both her job and the support of her long-term, live-in boyfriend, she returns home to lick her wounds and reevaluate her life.      Helping out her parents at the family inn, she can’t avoid the reminders of the past she’d rather forget-especially charming and successful Sam Grady, her brother’s best friend.Their one, disastrous night of teenage passion should have forever killed their childhood attraction, but Sam seems determined to reignite those long-buried embers. As Meg discovers the man he’s become, she’s tempted to open her vulnerable heart to him. But she has no intention of staying on Dare Island-no matter how seductive Sam’s embrace might be. What Ang is talking about:      Carolina Girl is a fun, smart, sassy story about second chances, learning to compromise and ultimately learning to trust oneself and those they love. The characters are completely realistic and charming in their own rights; even the secondary characters are well rounded and engaging, adding depth and color to the story without taking anything away. A rarity in the novels I have read lately. For example, I adore Tom, the dad and his no nonsense way about things. Of course this could be because I grew up in a ARMY home and totally relate to ‘the all for one’ attitude throughout Ms. Kantra’s Dare Island novels. I also found sweet, shy Taylor completely engaging and am anxious to learn more about her in the next book.      Another thing that I thoroughly enjoyed about this novel was the ebb and flow of the writing. Much like the tide of the ocean that the town is centered around, the descriptions and scenery pull you in allowing to see and taste every aspect of this hamlet of a community. For example, there is a place in the novel when Ms. Kantra describes the clouds as the mother of pearl found in an oyster shell, and immediately I found myself sitting on the front porch watching these clouds hover in the sky, tasting the salt air as the tide...
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Jun
19

Review: Fire Inside by Kristen Ashley

Review: Fire Inside by Kristen Ashley Fire Inside Author: Kristen Ashley  Release Date: June 4, 2013 Publisher: Forever Chaos Series #2 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): paperback (335 pages), e-book Book Source: NetGalley About the book: Lanie Heron isn’t looking for love-no surprise, considering her last serious relationship nearly got her killed. So when Lanie propositions Hop Kincaid, all she wants is one wild night with the hot-as-hell biker who patrols with the Chaos Motorcycle Club . . .  For Hop, Lanie has always been untouchable. She’s too polished and too classy for his taste. But when she gives Hop the once-over with her bedroom eyes and offers him a night in paradise, he can’t say no. And he doesn’t regret it when he finds that Lanie is the best thing that’s ever happened to him-in or out of bed. Now the trick will be to convince her of that. What VampBard’s talking about: If anyone forgets to tell me to join the party with a FABULOUS author that can weave a tale like nobody’s business, I’m gonna have a drama!  Kristen Ashley is definitely one of the new-to-me authors from 2013 that is hitting the auto-buy list!  This Chaos Series of hers?  Yeah.  I bought the first book already.  I have to find out about Tack.   Fire Inside is the newest offering in Ms. Ashley’s Chaos Series.  When I read the blurb about this book, I was totally on-board.  I have been looking for a way to pick up something by this author, and the second book in a series usually isn’t too late.  O.M.Geee!  I am not regretting one moment in the reading of this title.   There’s background info from the first book in the series, but I was OK jumping in here (I totally want to go back and read for myself, though!).  Screwed up from the death of her fiancé seven years ago, as well as the near-death stabbing of her best friend, Ty-Ty, Lanie Heron was fighting inner demons.  It was time she stopped.  That’s where the one-night-stand on steroids with Hop Kinkaid comes in.  All the inner conflict both Hop & Lanie endure to be together is simply REAL.  No one is ready – especially the second time around – to open up and let someone in.  It takes a lot of time and patience to win the heart of someone who’s been burned as badly as this couple.  The conflict between Hop & Lanie was INSANE!  I...
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Jun
18

Review: Flirting with Disaster by Ruthie Knox

Review: Flirting with Disaster by Ruthie Knox Flirting with Disaster Author: Ruthie Knox   Release Date: June 11, 2013 Publisher: Loveswept Camelot Series #3 ISBN: #978-0345546661 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (448 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Fresh out of a fiasco of a marriage, Katie Clark has retreated to her hometown to start over. The new Katie is sophisticated, cavalier, and hell-bent on kicking butt at her job in her brother’s security firm. But on her first assignment—digging up the truth about the stalker threatening a world-famous singer-songwriter—Katie must endure the silent treatment from a stern but sexy partner who doesn’t want her help . . . or her company. Sean Owens knows that if he opens his mouth around Katie, she’ll instantly remember him as the geeky kid who sat behind her in high school. Silence is golden, but he can’t keep quiet forever, not with Katie stampeding through their investigation. It’s time for Sean to step up and take control of the case, and his decade-old crush. If he can break through Katie’s newfound independence, they just might find they make a perfect team—on the road, on the job, and in bed. What Nima’s talking about: I have to say, I may not even be rational at reviewing Ruthie Knox any more, but I love being her cheerleader. She never fails to deliver. Flirting with Disaster is the third book in her Camelot series, and she’s proven, once again, her ability to put the reader at ease with humor and then dive in with a serious knife, cutting you to pieces with very real emotion. I want to be Ruthie Knox when I grow up. The plot in this book, the series really, has been slightly more predictable than in previous offerings by Knox.  There is a threat to one of the prominent characters, but it never felt like a real threat to me, I never felt the pressure of it; I was never really worried about something bad happening.  That fact, however, becomes incidental to the genuinely intense emotion between the main characters whom I was worried about.  Would they screw it up?  Could they get out of their own heads enough to communicate?  Communication itself was a legitimate challenge in a way that I’ve never seen presented in any other book.  The point of view flips back and forth between Katie Clark, Caleb’s younger sister from Along Came Trouble, and our unlikely hero, Sean Owens.  Even in rapid fire situations,...
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Jun
17

Review: Entwined With You by Sylvia Day

Review: Entwined With You by Sylvia Day Entwined With You Author: Sylvia Day   Release Date: June 6, 2013 Publisher: Berkley Trade Crossfire series #3 ISBN: 978-0425263921 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): paperback (368 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publicist About the book: From the moment I first met Gideon Cross, I recognized something in him that I needed. Something I couldn’t resist. I saw the dangerous and damaged soul inside–so much like my own. I was drawn to it. I needed him as surely as I needed my heart to beat. No one knows how much he risked for me. How much I’d been threatened, or just how dark and desperate the shadow of our pasts would become. Entwined by our secrets, we tried to defy the odds. We made our own rules and surrendered completely to the exquisite power of possession… What VampBard’s talking about: I want to go on record saying that I was glad to see Gideon and Eva again.  I absolutely adore them as a couple, and I have no doubt that they make the perfect couple.  I see that.  I feel that.  Stuff happens in the lives of every person out there, and they manage.  Why should we be surprised that a couple as perfect for one another as Gideon and Eva are managing?  We shouldn’t.  Marriage and commitment has become something that appears disposable in today’s society.  It’s not.   With that said, I had some issues with Ms. Day’s latest offering in her Crossfire series, which has increased from three to five titles.  I do adore the characters, but I feel: Gideon was a hot mess in this book.  A wuss.   Eva…Brett… grr. Conflict was unnecessarily increased.  No couple should have to endure this much crap. Eva seems like she drank the Kool Aid.  She normalizes thinking errors. Eva pushes past ‘NO’ and ‘Stop’.  Which pissed me off. Why add in the Cary drama?  Oh… wait… I see now.  Nevermind. Don’t leave me hangin’ about Megumi.  I like the sassy receptionist.   San Francisco.  Foreshadowing book 4.  That is all. Deanna.  No one flips from ticked to helpful in 30 seconds flat.  Over a glass of wine.  Once scorned. Spying.  Not attractive. So, while there’s a list of things that annoyed the crap out of me, I have to say that this was sweet sexy compared to the intense and smokin’ hot encounters between Gideon and Eva in the first two titles.  Entwined With You seems to be a transitional...
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Jun
7

Review: My Wicked Devil by Ann Mayburn

Review: My Wicked Devil by Ann Mayburn My Wicked Devil Author: Ann Mayburn  Release Date: May 21, 2013 Publisher: Loose ID Club Wicked #3 Genre: BDSM, Contemporary Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book:      After a motorcycle accident left her with a fractured pelvis, former dare devil and actress Kira Harmony cannot have sex without pain. Unwilling to give up on her dreams of someday having a normal love life, she has come to Club Wicked to find a Dom. And not just any Dom. Kira is looking for the best sadist she can find, a Master who can help her learn how to turn her pain into pleasure and help her escape the prison her body has become.      Lord Bryan Sutherland has always had a taste for meeting the needs of masochistic submissives. When Kira contacts him, her plea for his help intrigues him. He’s always loved curvy redheads, and they certainly have an explosive chemistry together, but he doesn’t know if it is possible to establish the kind of trust needed in order to train her mind to convert agony into ecstasy. That trust is sorely tested when Kira continually pushes herself too far and refuses to safeword out.      Bryan must make a decision; continue to train Kira and run the risk of seriously hurting her, or walk away from the uncontrollable woman who holds the key to his heart. What I’m talking about:      Kira, former Hollywood actress and friend of Master Hawk, is a new member at Club Wicked. Injured performing a motorcycle stunt on a movie shoot, she cannot have intercourse without experiencing a lot of pain. Now a size 16 and uncertain of her own appeal and sensuality, Kira hopes that she can find a Master who will help teach her how to derive pleasure from pain.      Lord Bryan is THE Master sadist at Club Wicked. When Kira witnesses him performing a scene, she is immediately taken with his raw sexuality and dominance, and she realizes he is the Master for her training. Masters Hawk and Jesse help put the pair together for a “get to know you meeting,” and their fierce attraction is instantaneous. Yet Brian is cautious, knowing the skeletons from his past may end up harming Kira.      Ms. Mayburn returns to her Club Wicked series with another intense and deeply romantic tale. Although it can be read stand alone, this series is fabulous, and...
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May
17

Review & Giveaway of Blush by Lauren Jameson

Review & Giveaway of Blush by Lauren Jameson Blush Author: Lauren Jameson Release Date: May 7, 2013 Publisher: NAL Trade ISBN: 978-0451419729 In Vino Veritas #1 Genre: Erotic Romance Format(s): paperback (304 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/ NetGalley Keep reading for the details about a special GIVEAWAY of Blush! Book Spotlight:      Madeline Stone is determined to heal from her tragic past, one difficult step at a time…and she doesn’t need any distractions. Then she meets a mysterious and captivating stranger—and over a glass of outrageously expensive wine, her world turns upside down. Try as she might to banish the wealthy business mogul from her thoughts, Madeline can’t fight Alex’s staggering appeal or his enticing offer of intimate discovery.      Alex doesn’t date—at least, not in the traditional sense. Still, he wants Madeline…and his sexual intensity provides her with a much-needed escape. They embark on a tumultuous erotic affair, one that takes them to the pinnacle of obsession and desire. But underneath each explosive encounter lie dangerous secrets waiting to consume them both.… What VampBard’s talking about:      I have an unbidden love for Blush, the first in Lauren Jameson’s new trio of titles surrounding rich guys that share ownership of a BDSM club near Vegas.  While my logical brain says, “Um, WTH?” my heart has a bookmance going on with this story.      With that stuff out of the way, I have to tell you why my heart has a ‘thing’ for Blush.      I read this title in ONE EVENING.  I even made dinner (yes, a real dinner, not picking up pizza or making box mac & cheese), ran laundry, helped with homework, and nursed a sick child.   There’s some serious internal conflict for our leading lady, Maddie;  this conflict keeps Alex at arms-length, until secrets that have the potential to tear them apart are revealed.  Wrap it up with some stellar external conflict, predicted earlier in the title, and tie off with a gorgeous red happily-ever-after bow.  Mmmhm.  That is Blush.  HEAT INDEX:  3.5 out of 5.  Sweet & spicy story.      I liked Maddie as a main character.  I like her sassy-ness, and  I like the fact that even though she’s messed up in the head, she thinks before she acts.  Even when it comes to signing a D/s contract for the hottest dude ever born.  Even when Maddie doesn’t think she deserves to be with Mr. Hottie Alex, she uses calming strategies to suck out...
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May
15

Review: Merger to Marriage by Addison Fox

Review: Merger to Marriage by Addison Fox Merger to Marriage Author: Addison Fox  Release Date: May 13, 2013 Publisher: Entangled  Boardrooms and Billionaires #2 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): e-book  Book Source: Publisher About the book: One night of passion… Mayson McBride has spent the last decade restoring her family’s magazine empire with her two sisters. She loves what she does, but she can’t shake the feeling something’s missing. Which is why she jumps at the chance–incognito–for a single night of no-strings-attached sex with Holt Turner. A once in a lifetime connection… Holt’s been unable to forget the woman he shared one night of explosive passion, and he’s thrilled to get reacquainted with her at a weekend house party. What he doesn’t expect are the immediate feelings of need and desire–emotions he keeps firmly in check–upon their reunion. A forever commitment… When Mayson and Holt’s single night together leads to unexpected consequences, both must decide what matters most. Especially when a threat from Holt’s past promises to ruin their relationship before it’s barely begun. What Nima’s talking about: At under 150 pages, Merger to Marriage, the second book in Addison Fox’s Boardrooms and Billionaires series is better classified as a novella.  It’s the perfect happy ending for an afternoon at the pool, two taekwondo classes, or three when-are-they-ever-going-to-let-them-out-of-this-show-choir-rehearsal’s?!  Unfortunately, it also means that there isn’t a whole lot here to review. The Boardrooms and Billionaires series follows the three McBride sisters.  Merger to Marriage focuses on the youngest sister, Mayson McBride whose natural instincts for visual composition make her the perfect person to lead the design department of their family magazine empire.  The story starts with instant chemistry between Mayson and Holt Turner at the wedding of Mayson’s oldest sister Keira to one time business rival Nathan Cooper.  While this can be hold its own as a stand-alone book, I was missing some of the McBride family background I suspect was in book one, Tempting Acquisitions (which I did not read).  Mayson often justifies keeping Holt at arm’s length based on this background and even though we are aware of it, I felt very little connection to it. I wanted more connection.  I liked these characters.  They were genuine and real to me, especially Holt who had some significant mommy issues.  Even if the resolution of the problems she caused was a little predictable, it was fun to see it come to fruition. Something I found odd was the lack of power and wealth displayed as assumed by the...
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May
10

Guest Review: Down London Road by Samantha Young

Guest Review: Down London Road by Samantha Young Today we welcome back Nena from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly review blog. She brings you today’s Guest Review of…    Down London Road Author: Samantha Young  Release Date: May 7, 2013 Publisher: NAL Trade On Dublin Street #2 ISBN: #978-0451419712 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/ NetGalley About the book:       It has always been up to Johanna to care for her family, particularly her younger brother, Cole. With an absent father and a useless mother, she’s been making decisions based on what’s best for Cole for as long as she can remember. She even determines what men to date by how much they can provide for her brother and her, not on whatever sparks may—or may not—fly.       But with Cameron MacCabe, the attraction is undeniable. The sexy new bartender at work gives her butterflies every time she looks at him. And for once, Jo is tempted to put her needs first. Cam is just as obsessed with getting to know Jo, but her walls are too solid to let him get close enough to even try.       Then Cam moves into the flat below Jo’s, and their blistering connection becomes impossible to ignore. Especially since Cam is determined to uncover all of Jo’s secrets even if it means taking apart her defenses piece by piece. What Nema is talking about:       Samantha Young delivers a great stand -alone romance novel that is part of the On Dublin Street Series. Even though this book was a spin off her best-selling novel On Dublin Street, this novel stands on its own and will appeal to all Young’s fans and new readers.       The Good: As a fan of On Dublin Street, I had great expectations for this book. Even though I loved the first book and I would have loved a sequel for it, I was very pleased with a spin-off of a minor character in book one. I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised when a character that I had no connection to, developed into a strong character with an interesting story to tell. Down London Road is a well written, character-driven novel. The romance is central to the plot but you are in for an emotional struggle. I even shed a tear or two.       The Bad: The plot is not complex but...
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May
8

Review: Whisper’s Edge by LuAnn McLane

Review: Whisper’s Edge by LuAnn McLane Whisper’s Edge Author: LuAnn McLane  Release Date: May 7, 2013 Publisher: Signet Cricket Creek #4 ISBN: #978-0451415578 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Cricket Creek, Kentucky, is a sweet river town known for its theater, shopping, and cuisine. But tough times are affecting the residents of the local retirement community—until a handsome hero shows up         Savannah Perry loves her job as social director of Whisper’s Edge, a retirement community on the picturesque waterfront of Cricket Creek. Raised in foster care, twenty-nine-year-old Savannah feels treasured and loved by the retired residents, who treat her as their adopted granddaughter and rotate having her over for dinner. But the community is struggling to stay afloat financially—until Tristan McMillan swoops into town, rescues a dog, and, well, saves the day          Business-minded Tristan bought Whisper’s Edge from his estranged grandfather to prove his worth to the curmudgeon and to turn a quick profit. He never expected to fall for the charms of a village of crafty retirees—or to fall hard for a small town girl like Savannah. Suddenly the man who knows all about making money finds himself needing lessons in love and what really matters in life What Ang is talking about:       Whisper’s Edge is part of the Cricket Creek Series, and although I was completely unfamiliar with the series it didn’t keep this novel from being fun and engaging. The back stories of the other characters weren’t overwhelming or distracting from the main storyline, always a plus when one comes in in the middle of something.       The synopsis tells us this story is about Savannah and Tristan; however, I felt like Kate and Ben’s tale was just as strong of a storyline, which was why I was disappointed when Kate and Ben’s story stopped so suddenly, and why I found it frustrating that we never really deal with their story completely. Maybe Ms. McLane is planning to save them for her next novel, but if that’s the case then they should have been introduced and given the role of secondary characters rather then having so much of the novel focus on them.       Another issue I had with the book is the lack of in-depth background for many of the characters. For example, we never really understand Tristan’s issues with his grandfather or his lack of...
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May
2

Review: Still by Ann Mayburn

Review: Still by Ann Mayburn Still Author: Ann Mayburn  Release Date: April 9, 2013 Publisher: Honey Mountain Publishing Long Slow Tease Book 1 Genre: BDSM Contemporary Romance, FemDom elements Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book:       Dr. Michelle Sapphire and Gunnery Sergeant Wyatt Callahan formed an unbreakable bond and an unacknowledged, forbidden attraction to each other while serving together in Afghanistan. Their lives are forever changed when a mortar attack grievously wounds Wyatt and Michelle brings him back from the brink of death. But when they both return to the civilian world, Michelle discovers that her rock-solid Marine is suffering from severe PTSD and may even be suicidal.       Wyatt Callahan fell hard for the aristocratic blonde doctor the moment he laid eyes on her. After reentering civilian life in his hometown near Austin, Texas, Wyatt is plagued by nightmares of the death and suffering he witnessed during the war. He’d love to reach out to Michelle, but — Michelle is a Dominatrix, and she has made it very clear to Wyatt she isn’t interested in a relationship with anyone who doesn’t accept her lifestyle. An Alpha male to the core, he can’t imagine the appeal of being submissive. At the same time, the idea of serving Michelle, of being everything she wants and needs, rings true in his wounded soul.       Michelle has dark secrets of her own, and together with Wyatt she will have to battle her personal demons during their emotional journey of healing, redemption, and love. What B is talking about:       Firstly, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read this new novel by Ms. Mayburn, as I’ve read quite a few of her stories and have yet to find one I didn’t like. Secondly, this story encompasses two topics I tend to be very greedy about reading, in no small part because both deserve far more attention than they generally get: the effects of PTSD in the brave men and women in uniform who fight for our country, and the BDSM lifestyle, which certainly hasn’t always gotten a fair shake in popular media and literature. I think it’s wonderful that Ms. Mayburn is tackling these subjects, and I was pleased to see both in such good hands.       One of the things that works best about this story is that both of the main characters’ PTSD appears as independent problems which are established on opposite...
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