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Currently Browsing: contemporary romance
Apr
3

Review: Too Hot to Handle by Victoria Dahl

Review: Too Hot to Handle by Victoria Dahl Too Hot to Handle Author: Victoria Dahl Release Date: March 26, 2013 Publisher: Harlequin Jackson Series #2 ISBN: 978-0373777464 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pages), e-book Book Source: NetGalley About the book:       This good girl’s going bad….       Merry Kade has always been the good girl. The best friend. The one who patiently waits for the guy to notice her. Well, no more. Merry has just scored her dream job, and it’s time for her life to change. As the new curator of a museum in Wyoming, she’ll supervise a lot of restoration work. Luckily she’s found the perfect contractor for the job.       Shane Harcourt can’t believe that someone wants to turn a beat-up ghost town into a museum attraction. After all, the last thing he needs is the site of his dream ranch turning into a tourist trap. He’ll work on the project, if only to hasten its failure…until the beautiful, quirky woman in charge starts to change his mind.       For the first time ever, Merry has a gorgeous stud hot on her heels. But can she trust this strong, silent man, even if he is a force of nature in bed? When Shane’s ulterior motives come out, he’ll need to prove to Merry that a love like theirs may be too hot to handle, but it’s impossible to resist. What VampBard’s talking about:       Why hasn’t anyone insisted that I read something by Victoria Dahl before?!?!  Her writing is smart, sassy and sultry.  Definitely hot, and it doesn’t insult my intelligence.  I picked up Too Hot to Handle, the second title (with a novella tossed between) in her Jackson series via NetGalley.  I’d always been curious, because Ms. Dahl is so wonderfully outspoken and passionate on Twitter, as to how her books would communicate her passion.  O. M. G.!  Happiness.       I think I clearly identified with the heroine, Merry, in Too Hot to Handle.  I saw her as someone that every woman on the planet should aspire to become.  Ultimately, as a mom and a teacher and just one of those general people that like to be nice, etc., Merry exemplifies everything I’d like my daughters to be – pretty confident, predominantly OK with who they are, and accepting.  As a mom, that’s one of the reasons I adored Merry.       Shane treated women – and Merry especially...
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Apr
1

Review: Lush by Lauren Dane

Review: Lush by Lauren Dane Lush Author: Lauren Dane Release Date: April 2, 2013 Publisher: Berkley Trade The Delicious Series #3 ISBN: #978-0425256084 Genre: Contemporary Erotica Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Mary Whaley has her hands full running a successful catering company and overseeing her supper club. She has everything she ever wanted—or so she thought. When she meets ridiculously hot and very dirty rock star Damien Hurley at her friend’s engagement party, the attraction she feels is overpowering—and she isn’t about to deny herself.        Damien is used to a hard and fast life. He and two of his brothers started a band when they were fresh out of high school—then they hit the big time and stayed there. He’s also a legendary madman on the stage and in the bedroom. But when he meets Mary, something clicks, and the bad boy starts thinking he may have finally found something good.        What begins as a series of fleeting trysts soon gets much more complicated. Damien can’t figure out why Mary doesn’t want more from him. And before long, it’s Damien who wants more from Mary. But it turns out Mary is no stranger to celebrity news, and he’s got a very big job ahead of him: proving that he’s worth more than a one-night stand… What Nima’s talking about:       Lush visits the next member in a group of friends who call themselves “Delicious” in the Delicious Series.  It lays out the relationship of Mary Whaley, the younger sister of Cal Whaley who found his happily ever after with Mary’s friend Juliet (and Gideon Carter in a three-way relationship) in the previous book, Tart.  The course of this book reverses the traditional romance where a couple moves slowly from shy glances across a crowded room to steamy and can’t live without the other sort of fairytale.       Instead, Mary is immediately attracted to bad-boy rocker Damien Hurley and gives herself up to a hot and heavy one night stand.  She tells herself that she’s too busy building her catering company to nurture a relationship, but still has “needs.”  Damien Hurley is just the right guy to scratch that itch.  Over the course of the story it goes from all about the physical chemistry to deeper, sweeter emotions.  The story does develop a kind of depth that is missing at the beginning of the book.  ...
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Mar
27

Review: Wrecked by Shiloh Walker

Review: Wrecked by Shiloh Walker Wrecked Author: Shiloh Walker Release Date: April 2, 2013 Series: Barnes Brothers #1 Publisher: Berkley Sensation ISBN: 978-0425264454 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher / NetGalley About the book:      In the nineties, Abigale Applegate and Zach Barnes were the most beloved sitcom child stars in the world. Then they grew up and left Hollywood behind…      Whatever happened to Abigale Applegate?      She’s been wondering the same thing.      With her Hollywood dreams long gone, Abigale now has a nice, neat, uncomplicated life—until the day her perfect fiancé needs to talk. Dumped, a little more than shattered, and totally confused, Abigale turns to Zach, her best friend since forever, to help her pick up the pieces. He does it with a gift—a copy of Wreck This Journal. She can vent her frustrations, and sketch out a new plan. Zach just hopes he’s part of it. Because he’s been in love with Abigale his entire life.      When the journal falls into Zach’s hands, he discovers Abigale wants a new man. And fast. Nothing more than a hot distraction. Zach has a strategy, too. He’s going to be that man. It’s his last chance. Abigale might be out to shake up her life, but Zach’s out to reinvent it. Now, all he has to do is convince Abigale that life can go as planned. What VampBard’s talking about:      I simply adored Wrecked.  There’s no other way to put it.  If I’d had a 3-hour block to sit and read, I would have finished it in one sitting.  This sweet friends-to-lovers story was just what I needed to heat up a cold & dreary weekend.      The fact that I completely love and identify with a book by Shiloh Walker isn’t anything new.  The woman needs to stop rooting around in my head for story ideas. Kidding.  She needs to tap me on the shoulder and remind me that the story is out of my psyche next time, however, before I begin reading.  My connection to her characters, this time her female character, is simply amazing.  I felt as though I was walking in Abigail’s shoes for the entire story.  Her situation, and the way she figures out Zach needs to be a part of her life, was a situation with which I could completely and utterly identify.  As the story unfolds, we see how a whim...
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Mar
11

Review: Along Came Trouble by Ruthie Knox

Review: Along Came Trouble by Ruthie Knox Along Came Trouble Author: Ruthie Knox   Release Date: March 11, 2013 Publisher: Random House/ Loveswept Camelot Series #2 ISBN: #978-0345541611 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): e-book (350 pgs) Book Source: Publisher About the book: An accomplished lawyer and driven single mother, Ellen Callahan isn’t looking for any help. She’s doing just fine on her own. So Ellen’s more than a little peeved when her brother, an international pop star, hires a security guard to protect her from a prying press that will stop at nothing to dig up dirt on him. But when the tanned and toned Caleb Clark shows up at her door, Ellen might just have to plead the fifth. Back home after a deployment in Iraq and looking for work as a civilian, Caleb signs on as Ellen’s bodyguard. After combat in the hot desert sun, this job should be a breeze. But guarding the willful beauty is harder than he imagined—and Caleb can’t resist the temptation to mix business with pleasure. With their desires growing more undeniable by the day, Ellen and Caleb give in to an evening of steamy passion. But will they ever be able to share more than just a one-night stand?  What Nima’s talking about: After finishing Along Came Trouble, I think we may have to officially classify me as a Ruthie Knox groupie.  Her contemporary romance novels are clever, funny, sophisticated, and well, let’s just put it out there—hot.  Along Came Trouble is the romance of Clark sibling number two, Caleb.  It is set some years after Amber and Tony find their happily ever after in How to Misbehave.  In fact, they have three kids when they show up near the end of Caleb’s story.  This particular tale is the one that Knox says was the impetus for the whole Camelot Series and started with a lazy daydream about Justin Timberlake.  That’s as promising an inspiration as I’ve ever heard. The book opens with single mom Ellen Callahan, resident of Camelot, Ohio, entirely annoyed by some stranger in her flower beds.  Ellen’s brother Jamie just happens to be a mega-famous international pop star—and he’s in love with Ellen’s pregnant next door neighbor Carly.  Caleb, hunky ex-military police with his own security company, has been hired to ensure Ellen’s safety and privacy when the paparazzi descends on the little hamlet of Camelot in search of a story about her, her son, or her famous by association neighbor.   I liked Caleb. ...
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Feb
27

Review: My Wicked Valentine by Ann Mayburn

Review: My Wicked Valentine by Ann Mayburn My Wicked Valentine Author: Ann Mayburn  Release Date: Feb. 12, 2013 Publisher: Loose ID Club Wicked #1 ISBN: #978-1623002541 Genre: Contemporary Romance, BDSM, erotica Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book:      Lucia Roa needs a miracle to keep her fledgeling event planning business from going under. When she gets word about the opportunity of a lifetime to do a Valentine’s Day party for an elite club in Washington D.C. she jumps at the chance, only finding out that the party isn’t for just any club, it is for the premier private BDSM club, Wicked. Desperate for a chance to make the social and professional connections that this job would offer, she agrees to a most unconventional business arrangement with the handsomest man she’s ever met.      CEO Isaac O’Keefe swore off relationships years ago after having his heart broken and his bank account emptied by his gold digging first wife. He thought he’d managed to keep his heart under lock and key, but when Lucia walks into his office he is instantly drawn to the fiery beauty in a way he’s never felt before. He convinces Lucia to take the position as event planner for Wicked’s Valentine’s Day Party, but in order to make the event a success, something he needs to happen to secure his place on the board at Wicked, he must give her a crash course at all the dark pleasures BDSM has to offer. What starts out as a business partnership quickly turns into something more as Lucia breaks down every wall around his heart without even trying. Isaac must then make a choice, push Lucia away and continue to live a safe, but lonely life, or open himself up again to the greatest pain and pleasure in the world. Love. What I’m talking about:      Lucia Roa is excited, but extremely nervous, for her interview to plan a major party for the rich and powerful Isaac O’Keefe. She is going in blind, at the urging of her mentor, Mrs. Florentine, not knowing who or what the party is for. So when Isaac tells Lucia that the party is at a BDSM club and that she’s too young and inexperienced, Lucia is determined to prove he’s wrong. And within a few pages, Isaac is determined to bring Lucia into the fold – with him showing her the ropes (pun intended).      The pair set up an unconventional business arrangement...
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Feb
6

Review: Hot Ticket by Olivia Cunning

Review: Hot Ticket by Olivia Cunning Hot Ticket Author: Olivia Cunning  Release Date: Feb. 5, 2013 Publisher: Sourcebooks Sinners on Tour #4 (reading order Book 3) ISBN: #978-1402245831 Genre: Erotic Romance Format(s): paperback (400 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/ NetGalley About the book: He needs her to mask his pain… When Jace walked through the doors of Aggie’s dungeon, the last thing he expected was to find self-forgiveness and the love of a remarkable woman. But when a terrible accident sidelines Jace during the band’s tour, the burdensome chains of his past wrap ferociously around his heart. She needs him to forgive himself… Determined to crack through Jace’s armored shell, Aggie must go beyond her usual methods to mend his heart to love again. What B is talking about: Jace Seymour is carrying quite a few demons from his past, and only one thing is guaranteed to give him any relief. When he finds exactly what he’s looking for during a bachelor’s party at a strip club, he’s all for a little temporary distraction, but as with everything else in the Sinners’ world lately, nothing goes according to plan. Desperate to escape his memories, he seeks out a different kind of pain, but it seems that his angel in leather is more than he bargained for, and just might be the answer to his prayers. Aggie has worked hard for the life she has: she’s independent, confident, and has a great gig making men literally beg at her feet. She’s happily single and intends to stay that way, thank you very much. But, when she assumes her newest client, a gorgeous, blonde bass player with a taste for what only her skills can deliver, is just like so many others she’s broken, she’s in for a surprise. Jace is unlike any man she’s ever known, and she’s determined to do everything she can to help him, even if it leaves her with a broken heart. This was a really enjoyable story to read, and is possibly my favorite Sinners story to date. Jace is not only the most introverted member of the band, but one of the most interesting. As an extremely skilled bassist playing in a band he’s always loved, Jace should have confidence in abundance, yet he never allows himself to truly feel a part of everything, choosing instead to keep his bandmates and anyone else he meets at a distance. He’s been made a fighter by his own circumstances, and is viciously...
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Jan
29

Review: Rush by Maya Banks

Review: Rush by Maya Banks Rush Author: Maya Banks  Release Date: Feb. 5, 2013 Publisher: Berkley Trade Breathless Trilogy, Book #1 ISBN: 978-0425267042 Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance  Format(s): Paperback (416 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher/ NetGalley About the book: Gabe, Jace, and Ash: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Gabe, it’s making one particular fantasy come true with a woman who was forbidden fruit. Now she’s ripe for the picking…  When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.  Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.  As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected. What VampBard’s talking about: While reading Rush, the newest offering from Maya Banks, I was driven – often – to the term ‘Holy Hell’.  I’m not gonna lie.  I ran the gambit of, “I LOVE this book,” to “Um.  Wow.  Not sure,” to “this better resolve – quickly – or I’m outtie.”  I finished.  I pondered.  I learned… and I quickly became thankful for my own life and relationships. First and foremost:  BDSM is prominent.  The D/s roles are a central figure and major plot point.  The sex is hot, intense, and PLENTIFUL throughout this book.  It’s not over-done.  It’s an important aspect of the main characters’ relationship, although it’s not the ONLY aspect of their relationship.  There were a few things that made me uncomfortable while reading, and one situation that had the potential to be a deal-breaker (as in, I would have stopped reading), but this situation...
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Jan
24

Review: How To Misbehave by Ruthie Knox

Review: How To Misbehave by Ruthie Knox How to Misbehave Author: Ruthie Knox    Release Date: Jan. 28, 2013 Publisher: Loveswept Camelot Series Introductory Novella ISBN: #978-0345545305 Genre: Contemporary Romance, Novella Format(s): e-book (99 pgs) Book Source: Publisher About the book: As program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she’s hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move? Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature’s fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she’s ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own—unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed? What Nima’s talking about: I love dependable authors.  I know that when I open the pages of a new book, it’s not going to be a waste of my time or money.  Ruthie Knox has proven to me that she is a dependable author.  She’s apparently proven it to Random House as well because she’s been green-lighted to embark on an entire series, the Camelot Series, based in the imaginary little hamlet of Camelot, Ohio, about an hour outside of Columbus.  It’s one of those insignificant places that you fly over while going from one coast to the other without knowing what you’ve missed—unless you are among the lucky few who’ve lived there.  I’m originally from the west coast and now make my home in one of those historic little gems of Ohio, but really, this story would have been at home in just about any small, Midwest town. How to Misbehave is a novella, our appetizer to the main course of the series to come.  The series follows the Clark siblings—Amber, Caleb, and Katie.  Blessedly, we do not have to wait a year between books.  Caleb’s story, Along Came Trouble, is due out in March, and Katie’s story, Flirting with Disaster, follows in June.  According to the author’s end notes however, How to Misbehave was not written first.  Knox wrote it last.  Amber...
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Jan
23

Review: Island Pleasures by KT Grant

Review: Island Pleasures by KT Grant Island Pleasures Author: KT Grant  Release Date: Jan. 25, 2013 Publisher: Decadent Publishing 1 Night Stand Series Genre: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source Author About the book: Carly Kimball, columnist for the popular magazine, Chit-Chat Weekly is going undercover to reveal the truth behind Madame Evangeline and 1Night Stand. She’ll infiltrate the Grand Turk Castillo hotel and resort to find the proof she needs for her article.  But Carly is in for the biggest shock of her life when she comes face to face with a man from her past, Quinn Alfasi, who she shared one passionate night with back in college. Quinn never thought he’d see Carly again, and now six years later she’s come back into his life with the purpose to take down his employer. He’ll do whatever he has to in order to expose her as a liar and a fraud. But then his friend Woody shows an interest in Carly and has a plans to seduce her whether Quinn likes it or not. Quinn won’t allow Carly to fall for Woody even if he has to team up with his Lothario best friend to claim Carly as his own.  Carly is in danger of not only giving up on her mission, but also falling for the adorable Woody. But then there’s Quinn, the one man she has always loved and has never forgotten… What I’m talking about: Carly Kimball is trying to get ahead at her tabloid newspaper, so she attempts to find some dirt on the 1 Night Stand match-making service. Believing it’s a front for an escort service run by the Castillo brothers, Carly attempts to infiltrate one of their hotels by pretending to be her twin sister, Cassidy. However, Carly isn’t fooling anyone, especially Woody and Quinn, two friends of the sisters from college. Island Pleasures is a delightful romp in an exotic locale. I enjoyed the descriptive details of the luxurious hotel, island setting, and delicious men.  Carly was a mixed bag for me. She certainly isn’t cut out for the undercover work. She is only fooling herself, believing that Woody and Quinn are buying her story. She comes across a bit green… especially when she uses her own credit card to secure her stay at the resort! It bothered me at times that she came across so naive; I wanted her to be strong and successful, not down on herself. Quinn is a confident man, but unsure...
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Jan
23

Review: Beautiful Scars by Shiloh Walker

Review: Beautiful Scars by Shiloh Walker Beautiful Scars Author: Shiloh Walker  Release Date: Jan. 15, 2013 Publisher: Samhain Publishing Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Purchased with my own funds About the book:      Some scars cut right to the heart.      Three years after her divorce, Chaili Bennett is over her ex. Her only problem now? Of the few men she’s dated since, no one “gets” her. Not like Marc Archer—a man who’s never seen her as more than a friend.      Marc Archer needs a date for a last-minute charity event, and he needs it fast. Not that women aren’t throwing themselves at his world-famous face and body, but sometimes it’s less messy—as in less personal—to use his sister Shera’s escort service.      The last woman on earth Marc expects to see in his sister’s office is Chaili. There’s something different about her, but nothing pleases him more when Shera sets them up. That simple date quickly evolves into much more as they both discover the other fills a deep, secret need they’ve shared with no one else.      Though Chaili insists one night is all she wants, Marc isn’t walking away now. Not until he discovers what put the shadows in her eyes. And the scars on her soul.      Warning: This book involves soulful songs, soulful sex, a soulful singer and lots of heartbreak. But no worries, there’s a happy ever after. What VampBard’s talking about:      In the synopsis for Beautiful Scars, the reader is warned, “This book involves soulful songs, soulful sex, a soulful singer and lots of heartbreak…”  Thanks for the warning, but I still wasn’t ready for the emotionally-charged story into which I was plunged head-first.  When it feels like an author takes a peek into my soul, reaches for the strings of my heart, and plucks them like a skilled harpist, that’s exactly when I know that this is one of the titles that will be on my top list for 2013.      The synopsis for Beautiful Scars gives us a concise overview of the plot.  There’s a lot that happens, but one of the most important over-arching themes in this title is that of meaningful relationships developing from truly knowing a person on the INSIDE.  I’m so sick of the porcelain doll, or even the reluctant butterfly, that is pure perfection snagging the rich, hottie.  We ALL have scars we bear.  In this day and...
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