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Currently Browsing: contemporary romance
Jun
1

Review: About Last Night by Ruthie Knox

Review: About Last Night by Ruthie Knox About Last Night Author:  Ruthie Knox   Release Date: June 11, 2012 Publisher: Random House – Loveswept ISBN: #978-034553516 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Cath Talarico knows a mistake when she makes it and God knows she’s made her share. So many, in fact, that this Chicago girl knows London is her last, best shot at starting over. But bad habits are hard to break, and soon Cath finds herself back where she has vowed never to go… in the bed of a man who is all kinds of wrong: too rich, too classy, too uptight for a free-spirited troublemaker like her. Nev Chamberlain feels trapped and miserable in his family’s banking empire. But beneath his pinstripes is an artist and bohemian struggling to break free and lose control. Mary Catherine — even her name turns him on — with her tattoos, her secrets, and her gamine, sex-starved body, unleashes all kinds of fantasies. When blue blood mixes with bad blood, can a couple that is definitely wrong for each other ever be perfectly right? And with a little luck and a lot of love, can they make last night last a lifetime? What Nima’s talking about: Like Ruthie Knox’s last novel, Ride with Me, I sat down to just “start” reading her latest, About Last Night.  It was one the busiest days I’ve had in months and the first chapter was going to be my reward for meeting a major deadline.  I was a full quarter into the book before real life came pounding down the door, and I had to pull myself out of the relationship quickly evolving between main characters Nev and Cath.  I came back to it later that night after fixing dinner and told myself I was going to “just get comfortable at the computer” before starting the next project on my list.  Naturally, I read the rest of the whole darn thing in that one sitting.  I had no business blowing off so much work, but I was consumed.  Three lousy hours of sleep was worth it to go to bed knowing how it all resolved. The overall story arc is not overly complicated with subplots, and in this case, that’s a good thing.  The narrowness and simplicity of the story serve to make it an intense experience.  You have everything invested in the characters and what happens to this unlikely couple.  Cath is a chronic mistake-maker. She...
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May
31

Review: Public Display of Affection by Emily Cale

Review: Public Display of Affection by Emily Cale Public Display of Affection Author: Emily Cale  Release Date: Jan. 18, 2012 Publisher: Decadent 1 Night Stand Series Genre: Contemporary Romance, Lesbian, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: After a heartbreaking end to her relationship with her girlfriend, Lucy Stark is looking to try something more adventurous. She turns to Madame Eve’s 1Night Stand service to help her find the perfect woman to push her boundaries and introduce her to the more daring side of a sexual encounter. Samantha Taylor’s helped more than one woman explore her sexuality, but Lucy’s the first to really get to her. Keeping her walls up and the women she dates from getting inside is a skill she’s managed to master. After one night of unbridled passion, she has to decide whether to give up her hard exterior or let the woman of her dreams slip away. What I’m talking about: Once again I find myself drawn to Decadent Publishing’s 1 Night Stand Series. In this go around, we meet Lucy, a woman feeling a bit down on her luck and waiting for the other shoe to drop. She was dumped by her girlfriend for another and lost her job. Deciding to try and do something about it, Lucy hires Madame Eve’s service to help her find a woman who will break her out of her vanilla world. And as always, Madame Eve delivers more than Lucy expected. I was immediately drawn into the story from the beginning. Ms. Cale is able to capture Lucy’s raw emotions on page so that I too was nervous and second guessing Lucy’s decision to utilize the services Madame Eve offered. Although Lucy tells herself that she wants to move beyond her vanilla nature, I think she really wants to break free of her ex, Kristen. After a short while, Sam shows up at Lucy’s hotel room and takes charge right away. She orders Lucy to put on a butterfly vibrator under her clothing and then takes her out for dessert at the hotel restaurant. What happens next is delicious! Using a remote control, Sam stimulates Lucy off and on while engaging in polite dinner conversation. I enjoyed equal parts of Sam’s excitement to control the situation and Lucy’s mixed emotions over wanting to orgasm and fear of doing so in public. The well comprised scene was extremely enjoyable for all! Although I felt the first part of the story was well written and exciting, the...
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May
24

Guest Review: Larkspur Road by Jill Gregory

Guest Review: Larkspur Road by Jill Gregory Please welcome Angela, who brings you today’s Guest Review of… Larkspur Road Author: Jill Gregory  Release Date: May 1, 2012 Publisher: Berkeley Sensation Lonesome Way #2 ISBN: #978-0425250891 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Fifth grade teacher Mia Quinn expected a tranquil summer in her hometown of Lonesome Way, Montana, sewing for her quilting group’s exhibition fundraiser and caring for her rescued dog, Samson. But all her plans for a relaxing break are thrown out the window when Travis Tanner—the boy who broke her heart in high school—returns to town with his ten year old adopted step-son. A former FBI agent, the boy Mia once knew is now well over six feet of male muscle—and he still has the power to make Mia lose her train of thought with just a glance. When Travis asks her to tutor his troubled son, Mia quickly discovers that the sparks between them are hotter than ever. As danger comes to Lonesome Way and family secrets come to light, will Travis and Mia realize that love can be even better the second time around? What Ang’s talking about: I had some concerns going into this novel, the first being that it was part of a series.  Despite having read the first book in the series, Sage Creek, I was worried that I would be distracted or worse yet, frustrated trying to remember enough details from the last book to make sense of this one. Fortunately, neither proved to be an issue.  Although both novels are connected by place and characters, Gregory does a wonderful job of giving us just enough back ground that if you have not read Sage Creek, you won’t be lost. In fact, if I hadn’t known and already read the first novel, I still would have enjoyed this one and in my opinion, so will any other reader. Larkspur Road is a delightful distraction and perfect read as we come into summer. It is a fantastic fit for your beach or pool bag with just enough meat that you will want to continue to the end. When I first sat down and opened the book, I was concerned there wouldn’t be enough story to carry it the full length of the book. I mean how much can happen when we are told at the outset about the history between Mia and Travis and the level of pinning both have been doing for the other?...
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Apr
11

Review: Want

Review: Want Want Author: Ann Mayburn  Release Date: Jan. 16, 2012 Publisher: Decadent Publishing 1 Night Stand Series ISBN: #978-1613331966 Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, M/M Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      Construction foreman Cody McPherson always considered himself as straight as they come. That is until he finds himself falling for the handsome stonemason, Sam Denham, who constantly occupies his thoughts. He wants Sam, badly, and can’t get the man out of his mind. Worse yet, he isn’t even sure if Sam is gay. When he finds out that Sam has signed up with a dating service searching for a guy who looks exactly like him Cody is even more eager, and confused than before.      Sam can’t believe that he’s developed a huge crush on his obviously straight co-worker. Even worse, the job that allowed him to see Cody on an almost daily basis has ended and he desperately misses his buddy in a way that goes far beyond just friendship. In an effort to soothe his aching heart and body, he tries to get a blind date with someone like Cody so he can pretend for just one night that he holds Cody in his arms.      When Cody himself shows up as Sam’s blind date, he is at once elated and afraid of having his heart broken by just another straight guy looking to sample the gay life. He wants to be so much more than Cody’s 1Night Stand and if he’s given the chance, Sam will do anything to prove that love doesn’t discriminate based on gender. What B is talking about:      Want is a sweet, delightfully erotic short story that is a perfect addition to the 1 Night Stand series. I absolutely adored reading about Sam and Cody. Both are grown, successful, down-to-earth men who are strong enough to pursue what they want, yet have lived enough to doubt that they will find it. While both have had experiences with the opposite sex (to vastly different degrees), they want each other and no one else.      Sexually, Sam and Cody are hot. Despite a somewhat awkward walk to the elevator in the beginning, Mayburn doesn’t waste much time with a drawn out learning curve for these men. Instead, she gives their mutual desire, curiosity, and enthusiasm free reign. They are well matched and willing, the attraction they feel for one another having already built to roar during...
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Mar
29

Review: Arrow to the Heart

Review: Arrow to the Heart Arrow to the Heart Author: Arlene Webb  Release Date: Feb. 8, 2012 Publisher: Decadent Publishing Genre: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Dr. Cu has no doubt that love at first sight happens only in fairytales. He knows intimately that it takes a unique blend of chemicals to force two hearts to beat as one. A world-renowned player, he’s accepted his fate. As a God of Love, he’s doomed to remain lonely. But when he opens his eyes and his gaze takes in a woman in need of assistance, he’s shocked to find himself falling, exactly like his many victims. Naturally, when an arrogant legend is smitten, happiness comes at a price. Cu must fight the powerful Goddess of Love, his controlling mother, in order to protect the mortal who’s captured his fancy. When his love betrays him, Cu learns how hard a God can hit rock bottom. If he can’t put down the bow and wrap his hand around humility and forgiveness, his destined love will remain a myth. What I’m talking about: Dr. Cu is an renowned psychologist with an uncanny knack for bringing two people together and finding love. The story opens with Dr. Cu interviewing a female police officer who has killed off one too many bad guys when not necessary. It is evident from her reactions upon seeing his identity that not only is Dr. Cu infamous, but so is his socialite mother. What no one seems to know is that Dr. Cu is also apparently Cupid, and he uses a bow and arrow to make his perfect matches. However, the one perfect match he can never make is his own. The premise of Cupid as a psychologist and matchmaker in the real world is fun. His parents – Goddess of Love and God of War, are equality notorious, but for what I’m not entirely certain. What is unclear (and I guess not that important) is if the humans around them know there are “fallen” gods, or if they just think these people are wealthy, famous celebrities. The story was a take-it-or-leave-it for me. Since it is a novella, I read the whole thing; however, had it been a full-length novel, I probably would have DNF. The premise of the story is entertaining – Cupid sets up couples all of the time, but is destined to never have a love for himself. Of course, he finally finds the...
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Mar
21

Guest Review: Waltz This Way

Guest Review: Waltz This Way Please welcome Angela, who brings you today’s Guest Review of…  Waltz This Way Author: Dakota Cassidy  Release Date: March 6, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade Ex Trophy Wives #3 ISBN: #978-0425245507 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Left without a partner… When former ballroom champion Melina Cherkasov found out that her famous husband was cheating, she was devastated, especially since she was informed by a sleazy reporter on national TV. Thanks to an ironclad pre-nup and a scumbag ex, Melina has to pack up her dog and her dignity and take refuge in her dad’s retirement community in New Jersey.  …it’s time to take the lead. To make ends meet, Melina puts her dancing shoes to use as an instructor at Westmeyer—a private school for boy geniuses. Teaching a bunch of hormonal teenagers the waltz is trying, but the school’s sexy handyman proves to be an ample distraction. Drew McPhee is perfect, except for one thing: he doesn’t like dancing. Thankfully, the finesse Drew lacks on the floor is more than made up for by his skills in the bedroom. And after one steamy night, the ballroom diva is the one getting swept off her feet… What Ang is talking about: I would truly like to give this book a B- rating, so like 2.75 stars. The parts of the book I enjoyed, I really truly enjoyed, but the parts that fell flat didn’t just fall flat–it’s like they were launched off the empire state building as they came crashing down. Since B- isn’t a real rating I gave it a B. If you want a beach side read for the summer and aren’t put off by the F bomb being dropped 1, 2 or 30 times (seriously I counted) or you’re a fan of Jersey Shore you’ll probably enjoy this book. It comes complete with a variety of characters, mostly women who are strong and foul mouthed, who find empowerment and self discovery after nasty often public divorces. The main character Mel is mostly believable as a ballroom dancer turned humanitarian in her own way, and her love interest Drew makes for a believable gentleman with cave man tendencies and more baggage then even Louis Vuitton can take care of. Together it makes for a decent amount of tension and chemistry between the pair as the plot moves along.  The humor, especially in the last half of the novel, was completely enjoyable and well placed as we learn of Drew’s issues and Mel draws her line...
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Mar
5

Review: A Bid For Love

Review: A Bid For Love A Bid For Love Author: KT Grant  Release Date: Feb. 12, 2012 Publisher: Decadent 1 Night Stand Story Genre: Contemporary Romance, m/m, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Anthony Conlin is a forty-one year old workaholic in love with his twenty-nine year old neighbor, Reece Whitmore, who looks like he belongs on the cover of GQ magazine. Anthony longs for Reece to the point of obsession, but doesn’t think he stands a chance because of their difference in age, his graying hair and a less than rock hard physique. When Anthony’s friend, Jagger Castillo urges Anthony to try the matching services of One Night Stand, Anthony still refuses because of his crush on Reece. But Jagger, along with the help of Madame Evangeline, the owner of the 1NS has something up their sleeves to make certain Anthony and Reece finally get together. A charity auction sets the stage and rolls into motion a night Anthony and Reece will never forget. What I’m talking about: Tony and Reese have been neighbors for a few years, both men are completely hung up on and attracted to the other. However, neither is willing to make the first move, that is until Reese decides he will take a chance. But his flirting doesn’t get far, and poor Tony is completely tongue-tied.  When a mutual acquaintance offers Reese a way into Tony’s bed (and hopefully his heart), Reese jumps at the chance for love. This was my first 1 Night Stand (1NS) novella and the second novella I’ve read by KT Grant. I am impressed with her ability to create intimate romances in such a short space. The characters are real enough, relatable on some level, and don’t require lots of background and superfluous details to enjoy the story. We know these two men long for each other, and Ms. Grant is able to quickly build the need and frustration. For those wondering, each 1NS story is independent, using a somewhat mysterious character, Madame Evangeline, as a match maker with a 100% track record in finding the perfect long-term mate. In this book it’s a suitable vehicle used to get the men together in a fairly short span.  I adored Tony and Reece. They both were a bit shy, but once together, passion explodes. And wow–there are some completely sexy scenes involving a hot tub! At times I thought that Tony was too hung up on the age difference and the...
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Feb
29

Review: Love is a Battlefield

Review: Love is a Battlefield Love is a Battlefield Author: Tamara Morgan  Release Date: Feb. 14, 2012 Publisher: Samhain Publishing Games of Love #1 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s):  e-book Book Source: Author About the book: It might be modern times, but Kate Simmons isn’t willing to live a life without at least the illusion of the perfect English romance. A proud member of the Jane Austen Regency Re-Enactment Society, Kate fulfills her passion for courtliness and high-waisted gowns in the company of a few women who share her love of all things heaving. Then she encounters Julian Wallace, a professional Highland Games athlete who could have stepped right off the covers of her favorite novels. He’s everything brooding, masculine, and, well, heaving. The perfect example of a man who knows just how to wear his high sense of honor—and his kilt. Confronted with a beautiful woman with a tongue as sharp as his sgian dubh, Julian and his band of merry men aren’t about to simply step aside and let Kate and her gaggle of tea-sippers use his land for their annual convention. Never mind that “his land” is a state park—Julian was here first, and he never backs down from a challenge. Unless that challenge is a woman unafraid to fight for what she wants…and whose wants are suddenly the only thing he can think about. Warning: The historical re-enactments in this story contain very little actual history. Battle chess and ninja stars may apply.  What VampBard’s talking about: Before I begin my actual review, I just wanted to comment on the author’s website.  For an awesome time-killer, check out her tab for the Julian Wallace Virtual Paper Doll.  MmmHmmm.  Playing with a man in a kilt.  Very clever!  If I said I only dressed (and undressed) the paper doll of Highlander Julian Wallace once, I’d be lying… Love is a Battlefield, the first book in debut author Tamara Morgan’s Games of Love series, is definitely a unique and awesome exercise in character development, rising action, and inner conflict.  Throughout the duration of this novel, the reader is kept on the edge-of-their-seat with the rising tension and conflict between hero Julian and heroine Kate.   Ms. Morgan keeps her readers engaged throughout the story by continuing to ratchet the tension and conflict.  While the basic source of the conflict is the need for both Kate and Julian to utilize one piece of land, Cornwall Park, for their events the same weekend, in reality...
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Feb
28

Review: The House on Butterfly Way

Review: The House on Butterfly Way Please welcome Angela, who brings you today’s Guest Review of…  The House on Butterfly Way Author: Elizabeth Bevarly  Release Date: Feb. 7, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade ISBN: #978-0425245347 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Once upon a time, in Manitou Hills, there was a home so radiant and vivacious it was christened with its own name: Fleurissant. Now it’s in ruins, forgotten and neglected-except by a woman who sees her own life reflected in the broken windows of that house on Butterfly Way…  As a child, from afar, Eugenie Dashner loved Fleurissant and the elegant, youthful fantasies it provided. Now, with a failed marriage behind her, a troubled son at her side, and a contentious and bitter mother to care for, Eugenie returns to the Louisville neighborhood of Manitou Hills to fulfill a dream: buy and renovate the house that once meant so much to her, and maybe, in the process, rebuild her own life.  Day by day, as the house reveals more and more of its forgotten beauty, Eugenie sees her dream come to fruition-especially when the attentions of two men help to reawaken in her feelings of romance and passion she thought were gone forever. As she navigates her rediscovered emotions, Eugenie comes to realize that there is no such thing as irreparable damage-not in herself, not in the house on Butterfly Way, and not in the family who now calls it home…  What Ang is talking about: I wanted to love this book. The title had me intrigued, the write up on the back cover sounded promising, and the prologue totally pulled me in with its picturesque description and sweet reminiscence. The first chapter started strong continuing with its strong visual descriptions. I enjoyed the emotion that we felt with the various characters, but like in many races the strongest start does not mean a big finish. Such was the case with The House on Butterfly Way. The characters are likable enough, slightly flawed as all the best characters are, but their strengths never completely make up for those flaws. Eugenie is at best wishy-washy. She begins the novel totally enraptured with the high schools feelings for her brother’s best friend, but when given the opportunity to take the relationship to the next level she leaves him, sitting on the porch swing alone. Something I could totally understand if it had been addressed, but it never is. They have one date and then ice cubes. There isn’t even any internal dialogue telling us how she gets from “oh...
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Feb
3

Review, Giveaway & Personal Notes: Ride With Me

Review, Giveaway & Personal Notes: Ride With Me Ride With Me Author: Ruthie Knox   Release Date: Feb. 13, 2012 Publisher: Random House ISBN: 978-034553450 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: When Lexie Marshall places an ad for a cycling companion, she hopes to find someone friendly and fun to cross the TransAmerica Trail with. Instead, she gets Tom Geiger-a lean, sexy loner whose bad attitude threatens to spoil the adventure she’s spent years planning. Roped into the cycling equivalent of a blind date by his sister, Tom doesn’t want to ride with a chatty, go-by-the-map kind of woman, and he certainly doesn’t want to want her. Too bad the sight of Lexie with a bike between her thighs really turns his crank. Even Tom’s stubborn determination to keep Lexie at a distance can’t stop a kiss from leading to endless nights of hotter-than-hot sex. But when the wild ride ends, where will they go next? What Nima’s talking about: Ride With Me is a contemporary romance tailor-made for anyone who loves to travel, or loves to dream of travel.  This is especially true if you are captivated by those quirky, one-of-a-kind places that are scattered across the country.  Everyone should probably see the Redwood National Forest and the faces of Mt. Rushmore in person, but have you ever seen the Shoe of Shoes in Clayton, Missouri?  Ride With Me revels in some of these unique destinations that you’re unlikely to see except from the kind of travel that happens at the pace of bicycle touring as well as must-see’s like Yellowstone National Park. The story opens with Knox’s over-thinking, over-planning Type-A heroine Lexie “Alex” Marshall and her search for a riding partner to take on the TransAmerica trail from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia, a total of 4,262 miles.   Knox’s anti-hero Tom Geiger does want to make this ride.  He does not want to do it with a partner and definitely does not want that partner to be a girl.  As a bike mechanic, he balks at being saddled with any partner; envisioning himself riding painfully slow, repairing flats, and never veering off the charted course for sight-seeing or adventure.  His sister Taryn, answers Alex’s ad and sets-up the pairing without knowing that “Alex” is a girl.  When Taryn finally confesses to what she’s done, Tom makes his own best introduction to the reader: “Please Tom.  You can’t ride your bicycle across the country alone.  It’s insane.  You’ll end up being slaughtered...
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