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Currently Browsing: contemporary romance
Nov
16

Review: Come Fly With Me by Addison Fox

Review: Come Fly With Me by Addison Fox Come Fly With Me Author:  Addison Fox   Release Date: Nov. 6, 2012 Publisher: Signet Eclipse Alaskan Nights #2 ISBN: #9780451238498 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (386 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: How do you say no to a man at thirty-thousand feet? When Grier Thompson is called to Indigo, Alaska to deal with the estate of her late, estranged father, the last thing she expected to find was a hotly contested will, a hostile half-sister who never knew Grier existed, or for that matter, an entire town that doesn’t take kindly to this stranger. Except maybe for Mick O’Shaughnessy. An Indigo native, Mick has all he wants in life: a soft flannel shirt, a nice cottage, and a thriving airline charter business. Could this simple life get any better? One look at Grier and Mick discovers the answer is a resounding, “yes.” She thinks so too—and if it weren’t for her family baggage, maybe she could relax and enjoy herself before it’s time to return to real life. But then an unexpected visitor from Grier’s past unsettles the entire town just when the residents were finally starting to warm to her. By the time Mick comes out of the clouds to realize he’s fallen head over heels in love, it might be just too late to win Grier’s heart. What Nima’s talking about: It’s no secret that I’ve been waiting a year for this book.  Last year I fell in love with the little town of Indigo, Alaska and its quirky, love-obsessed inhabitants in Addison Fox’s Baby It’s Cold Outside, book one of the Alaskan Nights Series.  I’m happy to report that it was not a one-book wonder.  If that book was the courtship, this one, Come Fly With Me, is the marriage because now I feel like I’m a member of the family.  It’s not necessary to have read the first book, but doing so will make Come Fly With Me a richer experience as we learn the back stories of several of our favorite eccentrics.  We become more embedded in lives of the characters and it’s a happy place to be—homey.  Better still, those stories continue to move the main narrative forward and don’t slow it down as unessential tangents. The main focus of book one was the love story between Sloan McKinley and her best friend Grier Thompson’s attorney, Walker Montgomery.  Book two focuses on Grier and Mick O’Shaughnessy.  Book three, Just in Time, expected out...
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Nov
7

Review: Tart by Lauren Dane

Review: Tart by Lauren Dane Tart Author: Lauren Dane Release Date: Nov. 6, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade The Delicious Series #2 ISBN: #978-0425253250 Genre: Contemporary Erotica Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Juliet Lamprey is having the time of her life running her successful bakery, TART, when Gideon Carter comes back into her life. Returning home to help his grandfather run the family on the farm, Gideon is back for good. When they meet again, the spark between them is immediate, and it isn’t long before the former childhood friends play catch up in bed.       That’s not good news for local lawyer Cal Whaley. Though the sexually open but strictly monogamous Cal has loved Jules for a long time, he’s hardly ever taken it further than friendship. When he sees her start to fall for Gideon, he knows he has to make his move or risk losing her forever.       Who would have anticipated that all three of them would connect on such an intimate level? The trio’s scalding liaisons take them places they’ve never dreamed. But such an intensely passionate and unusual relationship comes with equally as complicated emotions, and when Jules must suddenly leave town, she wonders if she’ll have a choice to make when she returns. What Nima’s talking about:       Words to describe Tart:  Passionate, erotic, playful, feisty, bitchy, happy, and delicious.  “Delicious” is the name four best friends have given themselves as a group.  The group consists of Juliet, Gillian, Daisy, and Mary.  Tart is the second book in the Delicious Series and focuses on Juliet’s love triangle-turned-triad romance.  While this is a new series, it really is the extension of Dane’s Brown Siblings Series.  You don’t have to read it first, but I would recommend it.  A large focus of Tart is the wedding of Gillian to Adrian Brown (Never Enough).       Main character Juliet was happy with her life, her friends, her business, and her new relationship with an old friend, Gideon Carter.  This spurs another old friend, Cal Whaley, into staking a prior claim and neither man will give her up even though they too are old friends.  Juliet loves them both.  Rather than forcing her into a situation where she must choose, one of the men proposes a three-way relationship.  The matter-of-fact way in which he brings it up is startling to this female reader. They all agree and they...
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Nov
5

Review: Reflected in You by Sylvia Day

Review: Reflected in You by Sylvia Day Reflected in You Author: Sylvia Day   Release Date:  Oct. 23, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade Crossfire Book #2 ISBN: 978-0425263916 Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Romantic Suspense Format(s): Paperback (432 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley About the book: Gideon Cross. As beautiful and flawless on the outside as he was damaged and tormented on the inside. He was a bright, scorching flame that singed me with the darkest of pleasures. I couldn’t stay away. I didn’t want to. He was my addiction… my every desire… mine. My past was as violent as his, and I was just as broken. We’d never work. It was too hard, too painful… except when it was perfect. Those moments when the driving hunger and desperate love were the most exquisite insanity. We were bound by our need. And our passion would take us beyond our limits to the sweetest, sharpest edge of obsession… What VampBard’s talking about: I’m not going to lie.  Reflected in You felt a LOT like New Moon to me…except for one thing:  Eva is a survivor.  Don’t look for my review of this title to be sugar-coated or fan-girlish.  You won’t get that here.  I “hated” New Moon.  However, Reflected in You gave me an entirely new perspective on the genre of romantic suspense.  I didn’t even know there was a mystery brewing… I simply adored Sylvia Day’s plot arc in this title.  You definitely must read the first title in the Crossfire series, Bared to You, before reading Reflected in You.  It’s important to know how Gideon and Eva came to be a couple, where they’ve been, and the hurdles they’ve overcome to be together.  Granted, they have more mountains to climb before their HEA, if there is to be one, but the delicious bite of heartache makes the reunion so much stronger for both the character and the reader.   The way Gideon and Eva grew as a couple during Reflected in You was some seriously awesome plotting.  Kudos to Ms. Day for allowing the reader to be **right there** with Gideon and Eva as their relationship hit highs, lows, and rock-bottom.  This title isn’t for the weak; be ready to go on a wooden roller-coaster ride.  Emotions get knocked around, and those that get into their books may feel as though you were put through a wood chipper before things resolve in this title.   It’s difficult to discuss much about Reflected in You without giving away some of...
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Nov
1

Review: Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Review: Bared to You by Sylvia Day Bared to You Author: Sylvia Day Release Date: June 12, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade Crossfire Book #1 ISBN: 978-0425263907 Genre: Contemporary Romance, erotic Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness… He was beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily… Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other’s most private worlds…and desires. The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn’t tear us apart… What VampBard’s talking about: When I finished reading Bared to You by Sylvia Day, I felt as though I was left a bit … raw.  While it feels a bit reminiscent of the 50 Shades books, I felt it was written much better, and the characters were so realistic – they could have been someone I knew.  Eva seems like one of my friends that I knew in college.  Gideon?  Well, he’s that unattainable, terribly attractive guy that we never saw with a girl no matter when we ran across him.  Bared to You brings together realism and fantasy in a compelling, emotion-wrought read. I had a lot of commentary for this title.  As I was reading, there were many, many times I’d simply tell myself that I needed a good friend to read the book with me so we could discuss.  THAT is how compelled I felt while reading.   Bared to You, while a sensual and compelling title, tempers what could be difficult content with realistic humor that lightens the mood a bit: “Sex that’s planned like a business transaction is a turnoff for me.”  “Establishing parameters in the beginning makes it less likely that there’ll be exaggerated expectations and disappointment at the conclusion.”  “Are you kidding?” I scowled. “Listen to yourself. Why even call it a fxxk? Why not be clear and call it a seminal emission in a preapproved orifice?” (p. 42) We’re not reading some simple fluff fiction with this title.  Carefully crafted to respect the reader, Ms. Day breathed life into her characters, making them realistic and believable.  They’re like those close friends with...
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Oct
30

Guest Review: Rescue My Heart by Jill Shalvis

Guest Review: Rescue My Heart by Jill Shalvis Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Ms. Liza Lou from Blogging by Liza. She brings you today’s Guest Review of…  Rescue My Heart Author: Jill Shalvis  Release Date: Nov. 6, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Animal Magnetism #3 ISBN: #978-0425255810 Genre: Contemporary Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley About the book: She never wants a hero… After a tragic stint in the National Guards, Adam Connelly returns to Idaho and to Belle Haven, the animal shelter he owns with his brothers. All Adam wants is to be alone. Then he opens the door to the past—the woman whose heart he once broke. Still gorgeous, still tough-as-nails, but this time, unusually vulnerable. Holly learned the hard way to never depend on a man for anything. Now, of all men, Adam is the last one she wants to see, and the only one she needs. Her father has gone missing in the Bitterroot Mountains and she could use someone with tracking skills to help find him. For Holly and Adam, each with their ghosts, a trek this desperate, this unpredictable, and this intimate, will have its share of risks—including opening their hearts one more time. What Liza is talking about: I’m a huge Jill Shalvis fan! She has been an auto-buy author of mine for years and I couldn’t wait to read Rescue My Heart. I loved Rescue My Heart so much. It seems like I’d been waiting for Adam’s story forever, and can only say it was totally worth the wait. We’d seen Adam and Holly interact a bit in other books from the series and I always wondered if they didn’t have some sort of history. There was an amazing tension between them and I couldn’t wait to see what happened if they could spend more time together. Holly is worried because her father has gone missing and she needs someone to help her track him down. Adam is her first choice for guides, as he has the best tracking skills of anyone she knows. Adam is more than willing to go look for Holly’s father, but he doesn’t want her to come with him. All these years later, Adam is just as attracted to Holly as when they were teens. He is in a bit of a bad place still following his last tour in Afghanistan. He is still having some issues with PTSD and really just wants to be left alone. Holly is determined to go with...
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Oct
9

Review: Kissing Under the Mistletoe by Marina Adair

Review: Kissing Under the Mistletoe by Marina Adair Kissing Under the Mistletoe Author: Marina Adair  Release Date: Oct. 16, 2012 Publisher: Montlake Romance St. Helena Vineyard #1 ISBN: #978-1612185859 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (310 pages), e-book Book Source: Author About the book:       Regan Martin stopped believing in Christmas miracles six years ago when she lost everything—her house, her job, and her impeccable reputation in the wine industry—after she fell in love with a man she had no idea was married. Then Regan gets a chance for a fresh start in the Napa Valley. With her dream job, dream home, and her daughter enrolled in a wonderful new school, she starts wondering if holiday wishes really do come true.       But she soon tumbles back down to earth when she learns that her new boss is none other than Gabe DeLuca, the scorned wife’s brother. Gabe wants nothing more than home-wrecking Regan Martin out of his life, his sister’s world, and his family’s business. Mostly, he wants the lush beauty out of his head. Yet his attempts to run her out of town have him thinking twice, especially when he sees that Regan may hold the key to tracking down his sister’s stolen start-up capital. Even worse for Gabe, Regan might just be his Christmas wish and hold the key to his heart. What Nima’s talking about:       Set in California’s wine country, Kissing Under the Mistletoe was a great snowy day read.  Having grown up in northern California, even riding horses through the vineyards, I know this part of the country well.  I loved turning my mind’s eye back to stucco, wood, and Spanish tile buildings, endless rows of vines, and the wonderful, earthy smell of the fields.  I could understand main character Regan Martin’s love for her new home in St. Helena and how it would inspire dreams of a good life for her and her daughter.  I cuddled deeper into my favorite, over-stuffed chair, pulled the blanket tight—and was wonderfully surprised by the brawl that is chapter one. Kissing Under the Mistletoe is a feisty book.  All the characters certainly are and when they clash, sparks fly.  The book opens with a brilliant fight that takes place in the parking lot adjacent to the small town’s Christmas display.  When the dust settles, there’s a broken car window, damaged property, and a beloved vintage reindeer is missing.  You know right away this is going to be a good book.      ...
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Sep
12

Review: Playing to Win by Jaci Burton

Review: Playing to Win by Jaci Burton Playing to Win Author: Jaci Burton  Release Date: Sept. 4, 2012 Publisher: Berkeley Trade Play by Play #4 ISBN: #978-0425247839 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      Football star Cole Riley is notorious for doing as he pleases—on the field and off. He parties hard and fights harder, but if he doesn’t clean up his act, his career is over—so Cole reluctantly agrees to work with image makeover consultant Savannah Brooks. He’s not used to being told what to do, especially by some (admittedly hot) Southern belle. As for Savannah, she’s not convinced she can transform this cocky (and aggressively sexy) force of nature. But she’s determined to give it her best shot.      When the sparks start to fly, Savannah lays down the ground rules: no personal complications. If she can turn off the tingle she feels every time Cole gives her a hot stare with his gorgeous baby blues, he can turn off his desire as well. But for two people determined to have it all, a hands-off policy can only last so long before one of them yields. What Nima’s talking about:      The fourth installment of Jaci Burton’s Play-by-Play series, Playing to Win, is worth picking up just to stare at the cover.  Fitness model Jed Hill once again lends his “hip dents” or “hip dips” to ignite our imagination of what main character Cole Riley might look like in the flesh.  In an interview with About Happy Books, Burton said of Hill’s previous appearance on her book The Perfect Play, “Of course, who can deny the appeal of a hot, sweaty guy on the cover of a book, right?”      If you can tear your eyes away from the cover, (or maybe the cover away from the book so you can pin him to your pillowcase) to actually open the book, Cole Riley comes to life.  I liked Cole.  I didn’t always understand how his past produced his current behavior because he was a good guy at heart from a good family.  His family seemed to keep him grounded, but he had this apparent need to act out and it didn’t feel genuine.  Savannah’s need to keep a professional distance from Cole made more sense.      Parts of this single-afternoon-read were clearly formulaic, but not in a way which I can really fault.  It felt more like I could predict what...
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Jul
23

Review: Too Hot To Handle by LC Dean

Review: Too Hot To Handle by LC Dean Too Hot To Handle Author: L.C. Dean  Release Date: April 21, 2012 Publisher: Decadent Publishing Genre: GLBT Contemporary Romance, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Why the hell do I torture myself? Sitting in the sun and hiding a hard-on from his best friend is not Tucker’s idea of fun. He’d rather drink beer and fantasize than destroy what he and Jase have. A good f*** between friends, what the hell’s wrong with that? Heat and lust make a man do crazy shit, but Jase intends to prove he and Tuck can be lovers and friends. When desire flares under the Texas summer sun, will it burn too hot to handle. What B is talking about: Tucker’s best friend is gorgeous, blond, and completely perfect. If only Jason wasn’t straight as well as a total player. Still, Tuck can handle lusting after him from afar, as long as nothing happens to ruin the friendship they have. Jason’s got some secrets of his own, as it turns out, and he’s got plans for his personal geek that’ll change them both forever. I tend to be a sucker for “odd couple” pairings, and Tucker and Jason definitely fall into that category. Jase is all brawn, and Tuck is the self-conscious geek who has no idea how hot he really is. Too Hot to Handle is a very short story, so there are quite a few clichés, but they streamline the backstory and allow the tale to stay true to it’s primary purpose, which is the explicit sexual reinvention of a solid friendship between two men.  Tucker and Jason are easy to like, and I enjoyed sitting back and taking in their story as it unfolded, without the need pick through unnecessary details. For a story of this length, that’s a definite bonus. The two men are awfully good together, and possess distinct enough personalities to keep them interesting. There was a slightly uncomfortable scene to add conflict to a story that might otherwise be too easy, but Jason remedied the mistake as quickly and enthusiastically as possible. Too Hot to Handle is essentially a snapshot of one extremely sexy afternoon of wish fulfillment between two best friends. Although I read it in less than an hour, I enjoyed it quite a bit. There’s a fair amount of predictability and some phrasing that I stumbled over a little, but the sex between the two men is hot, and the...
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Jul
18

Review: Because of You by Jessica Scott

Review: Because of You by Jessica Scott Because of You Author: Jessica Scott  Release Date: Nov. 14, 2011 Publisher: Random House: Loveswept Coming Home Series #1 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Keeping his men alive is all that matters to Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison. But meeting Jen St. James the night before his latest deployment makes Shane wonder if there’s more to life than war. He leaves for Iraq remembering a single kiss with a woman he’ll never see again- until a near fatal attack lands him back at home and in her care.  Jen has survived her own brush with death and endured its scars. And yet there’s a fire in Shane that makes Jen forget all about her past. He may be her patient, but when this warrior looks her in the eyes, she feels – for the first time in a long time – like a woman. Shane is too proud to ask for help, but for Jen, caring for him is more than a duty -it’s a need. And as Jen guides Shane through the fires of healing, she finds something she never expected – her deepest desire. What Nima’s talking about: Because of You is the first book of Jessica Scott’s Coming Home series.  It has an intensity that’s a little unexpected in a romance.  It is not a fluffy, poolside read.  Scott is a career soldier, a company commander in charge of 130 soldiers, and mother of two kids, whose husband is currently serving in Iraq.  Scott’s descriptions of war and life back home for those who wait are completely authentic. There’s no question that she understands her subject matter. Main character Shane Garrison, Sergeant First Class is severely injured while deployed in Iraq.  He shows a range of emotion while coming to terms the limitations of his recovery and therapy.  After the dissolution of his marriage, his entire identity was consumed by his role as Sergeant.  His men were his family.  To be state-side and out of commission while most of his men continued to fight, was to be alone in the worst way.  I liked the way he showed his emotions to nurse Jen St. James, the other main character and Shane’s love interest, in spite of himself.   Jen too, I liked as an individual.  As a breast cancer survivor, something no often seen in the romance genre, she knows what it is be at your lowest and physically unable...
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Jul
9

Review: One Hot Night by Tatum Throne

Review: One Hot Night by Tatum Throne One Hot Night Author: Tatum Throne  Release Date: May 31, 2012 Publisher: Siren Genre: Contemporary Romance/Erotica Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Exactly one year ago, Samantha “Sam” Emery was nearly killed by her ex-lover. Now as an executive chef for Kalen Industries in New York, Sam has struggled to move on. At K.I.’s annual party, Sam is seduced to the dance floor by a man she only met once in passing. Passions ignite, and one dance leads to a fiery one-night stand with a man she thinks she will never see again. Sam is pursued by Austin, a man who knows something about her troubled past. Caught by Austin and the physical scars of her past, will Sam realize she has something worth fighting for before it’s too late? What VampBard’s talking about: One Hot Night, a slim novella (PDF said 83 pages) that takes on a difficult topic, was pretty much ‘sexy time’ from the beginning.  There’s a lot of makin’ whoopie in this title.   Samantha has been through a lot.  Her near-death experience has left her shaken and lacking the ability to trust in relationships.    She is ashamed of her body – the scarring that remains as a constant reminder of the trauma.  Beyond the body image issues, Sam seemed to be mentally working through the entire thing, still.  I felt that Sam was definitely a wishy-washy lead female character.  I want him…I don’t want him.  The guy isn’t a daisy from which petals are being plucked.  Since Sam is a chef, I was hoping to see more than powdered sugar ‘in the sack’ scenes.   Austin is a pretty primal, sexual, testosterone-laden male.  In the novella, he’s described as a predator when he looks at Samantha.    Several times.  Despite this description, I actually liked Austin.  He seems to have a heart that is full of passion and COMpassion.  I felt sorry for Austin, because I felt that Sam treated him horribly.   I’m not sure whether the PDF I read is the same as those that will be sold…  I hope this title went through another edit or two prior to release.  In general, this IS a good story arc.  I simply felt that there could have been more done with the story, and that the language used – especially during sexual acts – was predictable.  I didn’t enjoy the self-defeating attitude of Samantha, and I didn’t like parts of...
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