Archive | June 2016

Body Rocks, A. M. Arthur

Body Rocks,  A. M. Arthur

Body Rocks (Off Beat) by [Arthur, A. M.]

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Genre:  Erotica

I like rock band books but… this didn’t really work for me.

I’ve enjoyed some of A.M.Arthurs stories but this one just felt too YA. The main characters are around 21, but speak and act as so much younger in so many ways, and I found it hard to connect with them.

There’s lots of sex, so it does fit the erotica genre in that way, but I didn’t really feel it was particularly erotic sex, and there’s a huge difference. Just having sex in a story doesn’t make it an erotic book for me. Clearly though this story has lots of readers who love it and of course that’s the beauty of books, there’s something to suit all tastes, and we are so very varied in what we want.

I just found it hard to get lost in this story, to treat the characters as real, to feel this issues and anxieties were genuine, and for me that’s essential to really love a book. As always though that’s just my take and it depends on what sort of read you want. If a couple of YA men with issues from their pasts falling in love is what does it for you, and you can overlook what I couldn’t  then this read may be just what you want.

Stars:Two, one that didn’t quite work for me

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Beautifully Decadent, Beautifully Damaged 3, L.A. Fiore

Beautifully Decadent, Beautifully Damaged 3,  L.A. Fiore

Beautifully Decadent (Beautifully Damaged Book 3) by [Fiore, L.A.]

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Genre: Romance,

 

I love  L.A.Fiore’s writing, and have enjoyed the first two books in this series. Each is stand alone but the characters are connected and crop up in each novel, its like meeting old friends when Trace and Ember, Lucien and Darcy appear.

Once again its a cracking romance, with a plot that isn’t just the romance and the issues between Avery and Rafe stopping them being together, but an underlying plot featuring Rafe’s parents that brings Avery into danger. Its great to have a read like this, one that’s more, more than just a simple romance, a novel that has you thinking “why, how, when” and wondering just how its all going to work out, will Rafe and Avery get their happy ending.

Ok, its a romance read so we know they will but I need to feel the barriers are real and LAF makes it feel genuine. I really cared about the characters, the felt very realistic and that’s important to me, I can’t enjoy a read unless I want the main leads to get the HEA.

I loved the description of Avery’s desserts, mouth watering – and of course Rafe’s fabulous furniture. His home sounded wonderful, though getting phase one of the gardens and all those plant set in within just a few hours didn’t quite sound right – having a large garden myself I know it takes hours and hours – days and days to get stuff done!! Still, its storyland so I’ll let it pass 😉 The secondary charters were terrific, not only Trace, Ember, Lucien, Darcy and their kids but Rafe’s dad, the staff at Clover and Avery’s family. I loved too her step-mum and Melody, Rafe’s sort of girlfriend – great B itch characters, and for me they always add an extra spark to a story with their behaviours and rude, snarky comments.

Great read, perfect mix of sexy, seductive romance, humour and suspense. A hit and re-reader.

Stars: Five, fun read with that extra spark that makes for a keeper.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Wicked Ride, Wicked Horse, Book 4, Sawyer Bennett

Wicked Ride, Wicked Horse, Book 4,  Sawyer Bennett

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Genre:  Romance, erotica

I loved the first two in this series, liked book three but wasn’t in love with it, and this one? Well, like almost all of her stories have been for me ( there was one that I really didn’t enjoy – that’s all ) it was a good read but it didn’t have that must-keep-reading edge that books one and two had.

I liked Logan and Aurelie ok but didn’t love them. Mainly because of her story. TBH it just didn’t work for me, didn’t feel real and I need to feel that all the circumstances, all the plots and characters could be real. Her background too, I’m not entirely convinced Logan would have been “Oh that’s OK. Its just how you were brought up….” When she was a kid then as kids do you tend to do what parents want, but she continued as an adult, and its only now she wants to change.
Thinking of her story from the other side I found I couldn’t really empathise with her. She was a nice enough girl but still her history – the bit which was her choice, not early days when she didn’t have any say in what happened, I just couldn’t get past that. She didn’t seem to have any conscience over it, never worried about the others concerned,  just treated it factually and was only concerned for herself and family.
Though she seemed a pleasant person otherwise this was such a huge issue for me I found it coloured what I wanted to happen for her. I was surprised that Logan was so accepting too, I wonder if he or someone he knew had been on the other side whether he would have still felt that way.

It meant that as I didn’t really connect with them properly. I couldn’t drum up the emotion I need to enjoy a story and want things to work out – I was a bit indifferent. TBH I was more concerned for Bridger ( oh how I want his story! ) and how things would look for him.

It became a decent story, with some hot sex, but that’s all, it lacked making me really feel for Logan and Aurelie, and the sex became just that, sex, not a result of real passion, not emotionally torrid, just mundane but steamy scenes. I need the connection between the act and the characters, need to feel the story is real for sex to become erotic for me.
Bridger, man of few words, man of mystery and Sawyer tantalises a few more drips of his storey here….sneaky. I think there’s a whole faction of SB fans who like me Really want to read his story 🙂 Soon, I hope.

Stars: Three, hot and sensual but I felt the plots were lacking so wasn’t a great SB read for me, just an OK one.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Rock Steady, Dawn Ryder

 

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Genre:  Romance, General Fiction (adult)

A rock star romance,a weakness for me…so I had to request it 😉 I loved book one and really enjoyed being back with Toxin. Though this story features Ramsey we still see the other band members, just the sort of read I enjoy best.

I laughed at parts of this – the start, Ramsey and That Tattoo – brilliant. I kind of sympathised with the groupie… though she did know what she was getting into so it wasn’t really fair, but what a revenge!! Jewel – she was a terrific character, felt very real, a strong lady. She’s got past issues too and yet she’s worked to get past them. I do like ladies in novels that don;t just curl up and depend on a man, but run their own lives. Ramsey doesn’t know it but she’s just what he needs and vice versa. Jewel doesn’t need a “yes” man, but one who will understand her need for independence, and their romance was so explosive in the physical way. Yet the mental parts, the way they needed to adapt to each other took time and proved the for me much needed heartbreak section. I love the drama, and don’t want a sweet easy read. the more setback and hard parts to work through the greater the reward IMO and this book was perfect for that. .

Stars: Five, a cracking read. Great addition to the series

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

 

 

Full Disclosure, Book 1 of the No Secrets Series, Julie Olsen

Full Disclosure, Book 1 of the No Secrets Series,  Julie Olsen

Full Disclosure (No Secrets Book 1) by [Olsen, Julie]

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Genre:  Romance, Erotica

Wow – what a debut, a gripping, sensual and beautifully written story for a first book! Its a part one though…and I’ve a love/hate with continuation books.

Firstly what I love – the length. when so many eBooks are coming in at under 100 pages its a treat to find longer reads. They let the author really explore the characters, set complex plots and write a story that really pulls me in. Julie did all that here but then there’s…
What I hate about multi part books – I lose the momentum. They always seem to stop on a cliff-hanger and Julie throws in a real doozy of one here. Then by the time the next part is out, months later – years occasionally – I’ve lost the thread, the impetus, the whole grip of the story. I can reread the last couple of chapters and pick it up, but its never as good as if I’d read it all in one go. Still, after FSoG it seems inevitable that most erotic romance reads are going to be multi part reads 😦

So we meet Olivia, works as a trainer, lives with sister and has some good close friends. Then biking to work one morning she gets hit and Damien is on the scene, picks her up and is smitten with her. She’s tough though, reserved, has things from her past that still affect her and she’s not looking for a man. Damien’s persistent though, doesn’t give up even when she’s blatantly rude to him…he just smiles and continues and eventually she agrees to one date, that leads to a heck of a lot more.
She’s been attracted right from the start but pushed it down deep, but Damien manages to get her to relax and let him in. Well, he’s gorgeous, a real hunk, clearly wealthy, though its not til later she realises just How Wealthy, and he’s just what she needs. Someone who want her, protects her and gives her confidence. He is a bit overbearing and sometimes that gives her a pause, too close to things from her past but when she tells him he does try. The sensuality between them is off the charts but he’s reserved about his past and she has issues coming from hers.
Then we get to what makes the book for me, lifts it from just another billionaire, erotic romance read – The Bad Girl, the real B itch Queen. Hah- I saw her coming, just like Olivia I could see through her…and she’s so perfectly written, shows one face to Damien and another to Olivia. I do so love a character like her in a story!
Its all going well, the romance has been built up gently and is in full swing, there’s a couple of major hiccups but they get sorted,and Olivia and Damien promise honesty to each other – then we get That Cliff-hanger. Wow – I didn’t see that coming! I think – just – that I’ve an idea how its going to pan out, the when and why, but what a place to stop…arghh.

I’m so full of their story I need to know more, now dammit. and that’s what I hate about multi part reads, here I am fully engrossed in Damien and Olivia’s story, and when I get to the next book I’ll probably have read 100-200 others and their stories get muddled. Its time consuming to go back, try to get into the mood again and never quite works for me. What I really like best is a back to back read when all parts are out.Often if its a series I want to read and I haven’t Arcs then I’ll wait til final part is out, then buy all parts and read straight through.

I’ve asked Julie – via goodreads- if this is a two or three part story – or more maybe. I really like to know these things at the start and though this says book one it could very well be one of those stories that are about connected characters, thus book two would be maybe her sister or her best friend’s story, rather than the continuation of Damien and Olivia’s story. Readers need to know things like that before they buy.

Stars: Five, a fabulous debut read, a sensual and exciting story.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

26 Hours in Paris, Demi Alex

26 Hours in Paris (International Affairs) by [Alex, Demi]

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Genre:  Romance

Loved the sound of this but…one of those that just didn’t really cut it for me.

It felt rushed – OK there were only 26 hours in Paris ( that 24 hours from Tulsa keeps running through my head!) but somehow it felt as though Demi has tried to cram every second with something – sex, sex and yet more sex, that fast became dull for me rather than sensual and erotic. Kathryn must have had difficulty walking after all that happened..

Then Paris, Paris – the place she’s always wanted to visit and has a list of what she wants to see – and she does, but its a whirlwind tour it seems, crammed in between yet more sex.

Then when it went wrong – the drama and part I always love – it just felt odd, didn’t seem to me to be a decent or reasonable excuse for what happened. a real “storm in a teacup” – damn, yet more song lyrics! It just felt so unreal that for me this wasn’t a book that worked. Just too much of everything crammed in with no time to develop plots further. Romance,

Stars: Two, sorry one that didn’t work for me but has been great for many others. Usual stuff, not all book suit all readers, doesn’t mean this is a bad book,. just that its not to my taste. .

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Covet, (Splendor 1), Janet Nissenson

Covet, (Splendor 1),  Janet Nissenson

Covet (Splendor Book 1) by [Nissenson, Janet]

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Genre: Romance, Erotica

Well, just for info this book was originally called Splendor (Inevitable 2), and is still available under that name. Now because of reader comments and requests Janet has re-written it to include Tessa’s backstory and her  marriage. Despite her being married though this is not a book that contains cheating.
I’ve got some issues reviewing this – its a long book, and usually I love those, but this dragged so, so much I wanted to flick ahead and find the actual story. It starts with Tessa being just 16, and the first half of the book mostly covers her teen years and marriage. We don’t even meet Ian until almost halfway through the book. Its classed as erotica too – and having looked at Splendor, and seen comments about the sex in reviews ( positive and negative – isn’t that always the way? What some of us love others hate!!) I was expecting something steamy here but…its just all dreams. Literally!! The sex is just in Tessa and Ian’s dreams and imagination. That doesn’t cut it for me, sorry. I need to feel the emotional connection otherwise the sex is just…sex, not romantic, not any sort of lovemaking.
What I love about romance, whether erotica or otherwise, is the characters meeting, how they get together, build up to a romance, the push and pull, the slow burn that gradually sizzles until they finally take that plunge and become lovers, but here none of that happens. Its just Ian wanting Tessa but holding off, and Tessa wanting Ian but thinking he wouldn’t be interested in her. the sex is all imaginary.

For me the story is potentially very good and the writing flows well, but there was just far too much of what felt like padding, fluff, stuff included simply to get the word count up and make two books. I do want to read more…I think…  do want still to see how Tessa and Ian actually get together, and am wondering whether to buy Splendor for that rather than wait for the sequel to this.
If there’s really such a demand for a prequel I think Tessa’s background could have been covered easily in a brief novella, a Spendor 0.5 book, rather than rewriting the whole story and dividing it into two. There is supposed to be a lot of new material coming in the next book, but it worries me that it may be like this one – full of fluff, what feels to me like irrelevant padding 😦
Still, as ever I’m sure there will be readers who love it – along with ones like me who are ambivalent, a good story, good writing but just too much additives. The Wednesday issue irritated me too – just didn’t feel right, felt over hyped and forced. Its a minor irritation but one that had me rolling eyes and thinking “ for goodness sake girl!!”
So overall I’m going a three, a book that for me could have been 5 stars if it was more succinct. I think that maybe Splendor is the read for me, where all the story is told in one swoop – I hate romance stories being in two or three parts anyway, and Splendor seems to be a read without those extraneous parts.

Stars: three, lots of potential but too slow for me  to really get into it.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Before You, (Choc Lit), Kathryn Freeman

 

Before You by [Freeman, Kathryn]

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Genre:  Romance,

 

I’ve read and enjoyed several books from Choc Lit now, it seems what they publish almost always suits what I want to read – that makes choosing so much easier 🙂 This one proved a hit too.

 

Mel was a great lead – I really liked her. She’d been through a lot with her parents both dying when she was just 18, she’d not got any other family, but instead of curling up and giving in she pulled herself through and has been working as PR rep for Delta. After dating a top racing driver and finding he was a jerk, catching him cheating on her, she’s vowed to stay well away from any in future. Her heart won’t stand the stress.

Then she meets Aiden when he comes to Delta and – well, he’s all she’s come to expect from racing drivers but still she can’t help being attracted.

Aiden is used to just instant gratification – the ladies throw themselves at him, he doesn’t have to do anything, but when he meets Mel somehow she’s different. She makes it clear she’s not interested, that he’s just a manwhore, typical of the racing set, and it makes him  look at himself. He doesn’t like the image Mel has of him, and he’s intrigued by her more and more as they have contact through work. Of course sooner or later things go bang and when they get together its sensational. He wants more but Mel announces it was a mistake and she just wants to be friends. She’s got to him now though and he tries hard to show her he’s changed.

 

Of course he has issues too, living up to his world famous racing driver father, and now he’s racing for the same team the hype and questions are endless. The view the media and public have of their relationship though isn’t the real one. He died when Aiden was very young and his treatment and basic neglect of Aiden left him feeling angry at him, but he works hard at keeping his true feelings hidden while relating the usual spiel about their relationship. It’s all pressure in a year he doesn’t need it and then…well, something further happens that adds to that pressure, that causes problems but also bring him and Mel closer. Can he break through and persuade her that they can be together, can he still win the championship or will it all collapse.

Overall its a fun romance, enough drama and plots to kkeep me reading and intersted roght to the end. Felt very real, I know nothing about racing but was “there” with them, and enjoyed that Aiden wasn’t automatically the winner in each race, that things went wrong, he made mistakes, that Mel struggled with her feelings for him fighting the conflict of her vow to keep away from racing drivers, especially those who play the field so openly as he does. I like to feel there’s a chance they won’t make it togheher even though I know they will come through 😉

Stars: Five, a real fun read.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Saints of Denver (2) – Charged, Crownover, Jay

 

Charged (Saints of Denver, Book 2) by [Crownover, Jay]

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Genre:  Erotica, New adult.

I’ve read a few of Jay’s novels now, hadn’t read the first in this new series though but that didn’t matter it was easy to keep up with. There’s characters here from the Marked Men series and its fun to see how they’re all getting along now.

I loved Quaid, and of course Avett. Its easy to judge people looking at their outsides – the faces they show, and yet underneath they have reasons for portraying that appearance that isn’t really who they are. That was so true of Avett, she was judging herself so harshly, acting up because she just had no self esteem left, blamed herself for some things in her past. She was so lucky in her support from parents and dad’s “brothers”.

I loved the push and pull tension between Avett and Quaid, their sensuality was tangible, it jumped off the page to the reader just how connected they felt, but of course who Avett was and where she was going didn’t match with who Quaid wanted to be and where he wanted to go in his future. I really enjoy that, when two such disparate people get together, wondering if and how they can make things work. I enjoyed the suspense angle, it was fun- though not for Avett of course! but somehow, just like their romance, it felt a little “lite”, a bit slick and polished, where I need the rawness and unpredictability of both to really love this type of book. It was a well deserved fours stars for me but a bit short of the full five. For JC lovers though I’m sure this will be the perfect read.

Stars: Four, a fun and sexy read

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Roped In, Marie Sexton, L.A. Witt

Roped In,  Marie Sexton, L.A. Witt

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Genre: Romance, LGBTQIA

 

I didn’t realise this was a re-release.  Usually I love L A Witts writing, and that’s why I requested without looking further.

 

I didn’t realise it was so short, my bad, I should have checked. I’m not a fan of shorts, they feel too much crammed into too short a space usually, and this was what happened here IMO. Its 109 ebook pages and there’s such good potential here with the absolute opposites that Graham and Kaz are  but I just felt there was  far too much conflict to get solved in such a short novel.

I couldn’t really feel the romance between Kaz and Graham, lust yes but I didn’t really get the sense there could be more. They were such total opposites its hard to see how they could meet and the ending just felt a little too simple, given the absolutes they were.  I felt Jackson had more potential than Kaz for Graham 😦

I’m a horse lover/owner but not a fan of the part of rodeo that involves calf tying, bull roping/riding etc. I can see though how for Graham it was an essential part of his business, the advertising of him as a brand almost, but there has to be other ways of doing that. I didn’t feel Kaz really understood that – I would have had more respect for him if he’d suggested alternatives rather than the “its all cruel” mantra. Likewise Graham didn’t really seem to grasp why Kaz had such a passionate hatred of the industry, even if he didn’t actually understand parts of it.

I’m with Kaz, hate anything that causes such stress to animals just for entertainment. We had hunting here in the UK for many years, another industry that supplied jobs for many, and I was always opposed to it as a sport. Chasing and/or killing animals for fun is abhorrent to me, but there is an alternative in drag hunting, chasing a scent trail. It would take a huge change to get Rodeo banned though, and Kaz and his friends weren’t achieving anything in their protests, just antagonising the cowboys by their ignorance of how the animals were treated.

 

There’s a huge potential here IMO for a great read, but the differences between them were so vast it needed to be a solid, full length book where we could  really get to know the characters  and see changes in action.

Still, shorts do it for many readers and if some hot sex, and a quick read is what you want its a five star read, but for me I needed a bit more.

Stars: Three, a bit short for me.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

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