Tag Archive | sensual

Passion Unscripted, Anya Sharpe

Passion Unscripted, Anya Sharpe

Passion Unscripted by [Sharpe, Anya]

Genre:  Romance, erotica

As readers of my reviews know I have a weakness for film star romance so when i saw this it was “Hurrah”. I did enjoy it but…didn’t love it as I expected to.

The sex scenes are well written and hot, and as its an erotic novel I expected the book to contain plenty of them, but I did feel they made the romance take a little bit of backseat, that they overtook the main story a little. As I said, its in the Erotic genre though so for many readers that’s exactly what they want.

Carson, what a way to lose the love of your life, dumped by a Dear John( or Carson!) note, she didn’t even have the guts to face him. He’s kind of blaming all women though for her actions, turned into a love ’em and leave ’em guy. Lets face it, the ladies he picks are exactly relationship material anyway.
His friend Grey is concerned as he can see that Carson does respect one lady, seems to have feelings for her that he’s pushed down deeply and from his position he can see that Lara also has feelings for Carson – though at that point he’s such a manwhore I did wonder why?

When they do get together that reputation haunts them, with echoes of his past affecting the present and the future. There are secrets here too, from his ex and from Lara and they have the potential to derail the fledgling relationship.
Despite all that I did like Carson, he’s not respecting the ladies he sleeps with but they know the score, and he’s pleasant and polite to all of them including ones that are just freinds, acquaintances, work colleagues. I felt he was still grieving his breakup really – having told himself he judged her wrong he now doesn’t trust any lady or himself to see if they are genuine.
He does respect Lara though, initially pushing her towards Grey, til grey tells him no. And after looking at himself and his actions he finally takes the plunge with her, but wants to date her, take things slower.
That was sweet as were the gifts, but each time something crops up I was so angry at Lara for immediately thinking the worst, and running. Every Time. She knows how the press work, how rumours are created from nothing, how photos misconstrued and yet every time she rushes off, believes the worst.
I so felt for poor Carson and wondered if with so little trust they could make things work.
Its not just the romance though and the media issues, but there’s a snippet of suspense and danger creeps in towards the last quarter that added to the story and was fun to read.

Stars: four, a fun read but I wanted to shake Lara, ask her to have more trust.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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Hooking Up, Helena Hunting

Hooking Up, Helena Hunting

Hooking Up by [Hunting, Helena]

Genre:  Romance

This was a fun, spicy read, but not my favourite of Helena’s books. I really enjoyed reading it, its a worthy 4 stars for me but not the spark that makes a five.

One of the reasons for that I guess is that its a very sensual read, and much of that spice covers a huge chunk of the story but only a couple of weeks in time, meaning the rest of the story tended to get a bit crammed. It’d be hot car encounter – very steamy and then…its several weeks later.
Though those gaps were covered it left me thinking did they really have no contact? what else went on? It just left me feeling a bit disconnected.

The characters were great, Amie, perfect girl, but her past has lead her to try to save her family any more embarrassment and take the safe route.
She thinks Armstrong loves her, they will be happy and if he doesn’t set her on fire, well, his respectability makes up for that.And then at the wedding reception all that goes so very wrong, and she faces what she knew in her heart, Armstrong isn’t the good guy, the one for her, she deserves better.
She knew it really but wanted to please her family, and ignored all the little clues, started moulding herself with Armstrong’s not so subtle hints into a stepford wife type lady.

Armstrong, he really was a prig, so self assured, so much belief that his way was the only way. He doesn’t regard blow jobs as cheating, tries to spin it that he was doing it for Amie, so that he could last longer with her later…WTF, the man’s incapable of seeing his actions are ever wrong.He even says in their sphere its accepted that a man have a couple of mistresses and they don’t count, that Amie is making a fuss over nothing, bringing bad publicity to the family. she’s had a lucky escape.

Hottie hook-up – I think that’s what Amie’s best friend Ruby calls him, ( as requested by author I’m avoiding naming him!!) – is gorgeous, a great man but there are things he’s keeping quiet about for reasons that are clear later . I loved him, so kind, genuinely so, and so sensual. He knows what he’s doing when it comes to sex, and he’s happy to explore further, to have fun. He was perfect for Amie, but she needed to get rid of Armstrong first and that guy’s not going easily….

There are some funny moments here, bits that made me smile, ( the luggage inspection) and some sad ones too.
The sex, wow, hot and steamy and fitted the story so well, its just that at times it took the place of possible plot expansion, filled the time when the story could have been moving forward.
Its not a hugely long book, 4373 kindle locations – and the sex does take up a disproportionate amount of time I feel, making that actual story a bit rushed. I would have liked parts to be more expanded. Still, that’s just me, others are happy to have less story and more sex…you can’t please everyone.

Stars: four, a fun and sensual read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Proposition, Elizabeth Hayley

The Proposition, Elizabeth Hayley

The Proposition (A Players Novel) by [Hayley, Elizabeth]

Genre:  romance

A fun read, but a one off for me.

I loved Ben, couldn’t understand why he wanted to go to these lengths though just to fool his family. It seemed a bit nut and sledgehammer, and I couldn’t see why he just didn’t say No to them.
When more about his past came out it was a bit easier but it still sat a bit weird with me. He’s a nice guy though, very honest and straightforward – apart from the whole lying to his family thing 😉

Ryan, I really thought I’d like her – I didn’t dislike her, but there were times when I wanted to give her a shake….I understand independence, and she had a horrible background,  but she a long time past that now.
” What does your mother do?” “Let’s just say she works in pharmaceuticals”
Reminded me of when I was working, we had to get the staff to fill in a police check as they were working with kids. One guy said he had a traffic offence – yep, traffic(ing) heroin…..Words are easy to mislead.

The chemistry between them was great, but for someone so allegedly famous, who’s career was at risk if this all came out I was surprised he never got Papped when out with a lady, never got followed by those who wanted a story. That usually follows fame, but he seemed to live a pretty sheltered, private life.

You know at some point the secret will come out but I didn’t expect it to get done that way, caught me by surprise and I love it when that happens. I like to be kept on my toes when reading, for the unpredictable to happen.

I loved the other guys (and girls) too, made for a good cast of characters. I did find the ending and the family issues a little quick to get resolved, they felt a bit rushed and too much too soon but….

Stars: three and a half, a fun read, but not a re-reader for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

@SMPRomance

Relentless, D.B. Reynolds. The Trouble with Twelfth Grave, Darynda Jones

Relentless, Vampires in America, A Cyn and Raphael Novella Book 11.5, D.B. Reynolds

Relentless: A Cyn and Raphael Novella (Vampires in America 11.5) by [Reynolds, D. B.]

Genre: sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

I’ve been following this series since the start, and where some get stale after a while this one keeps fresh and exciting.
The main stories about individual characters mainly focus on romance, within a tight and suspenseful story, building on the overall theme for the series. these novellas tend to either show insights into characters, give us a bit of a lighter adventure with them, or push the ever present threat from others forward. this one focuses on the threat from Europe and the backlash from killing Mathilde.
I don’t often read novellas, except when like this one they are part of an existing series, this way  the reader knows the characters, there’s no backstory needed so the words are solely focused on delivering an new adventure.

While the past main books have focused on America, there’s been a threat from Europe from early on. America being vast compared to Europe, and the European vampires feeling pressed for space, they’ve been looking at American with envy, and a few have planned inroads into the territory.
Raphael saw that coming a long way back, and thus began his unheard of in Vampire world collaborations with neighbours. He saw that to protect themselves they needed strong Lords holding each area, and that if they were allies that would protect them better. He began working towards that, encouraging some of his Children, and other vampires he knew were strong enough to take over weaker areas.

He’s not a power hungry guy, he is a power in his own right, but uses that to protect his people, and where he’d be happy left to his own area the threats from weaker lords, and posed by Europe have determined that he take action. Of course that hasn’t gone unnoticed, or without jealous and offended eyes. He’s always going to attract envy, always going to be under threat and he feels the best defence is to take the action to the detractors.

That leads us to this book, where we meet Quinn, catch up with some of the other Lords, with Raphael  and Cyn of course, and his key team. Its another exciting adventure, packed into a short but solid novel and I’m hoping it means we get a Quinn story next 😉

Stars: five, short but packed read, and a great addition to the overall story arc.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Trouble with Twelfth Grave, Darynda Jones

The Trouble With Twelfth Grave (Charley Davidson Book 12) by [Jones, Darynda]

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers

If you haven’t begun this series yet then get book one now! Its an amazing story, and from the first book Charley’s world has so changed. Yet the original key characters are still all there, having grown along with Charley.

Its a story that’s gripping, at times graphic but never gory, searingly sensual but never overly sexual, its one of those rare books where what isn’t written is as important as what is.
The murders stack up yet are a tiny part of the story, the steam between Charley and Reyes is off-the-page erotic, always memorable ( shower scene back in the early books – I bet all readers member that!!)  and yet is only ever a fraction of the story.

Once more Charley’s in the thick of murder, mayhem, trying to put things right in a bumbling, almost chaotic way but she’s got such heart, such intelligence.
You love her, can’t help it, she’s never got a nasty side, whatever she’s facing. This time its literally end-of-the-world stuff after Reyes went in the God Glass and his other parts, the more unpleasant side of him came out.
I was gutted at that ending, have been waiting so eagerly for this book, and dammit, Darynda has done it again, given us another nail biting ending.

I can’t even begin to summarise what I love about this story, its much the same vein as the others, typical Charley snark, succinct and special humour ( love the names of Cookie’s girls BTW), plots and murders that seem totally disconnected and yet slowly gel together.
Charley is just so special, she Cares, so much about others, her family, her freinds, and just humanity in general. She’s come a long way since she discovered just who she is, and yet remains that slightly chaotic loving character we love.
The secondary characters are huge in their own right, and yet still supporting to the story of Charley and Reyes.
Reyes – well, even though he’s not quite Reyes as we know he’s still smouderingly sexy….but is he the killer? Would he really do the things everyone seems to think he has?
Charley can’t believe it and yet she needs to get Her Reyes back ASAP before Michael and the gang descend.
The secondary characters are huge in their own right, and yet still supporting to the story of Charley and Reyes, and most of them are here too. Cookie, oh how I love her, and Amber. Ubie, Charley’s lovely uncle, always so steadfast, always so supportive. Beep, fleeting appearance but so welcome. What a nightmare, to have to give up your child for her own safety…
Then there’s the “other” crew, Garret, human but more than that, Pari, also human with some great talents, but who can see Charley’s light. Angel – great investigator who’s a kid in body but been dead for so long he feels older, and who has a great line in flirting, Artemis – guard dog extrodinaire…oh I love that dog. Her existence is typical of the way key characters come into being, I remember she was way back in the early books, belonged to the biker gang that owned the asylum where Rocket, Blue and Strawberry reside.
That’s just a smattering of the cast that holds up these stories, building and extending them, bringing in threads from way back to tie up with current ones, and leading to what’s looking to be a Grande Finale. Part of me wants that Now, part wants the stories to go on forever….

I’ve had this one on my kindle for a week or so, promising myself I could read it as a reward when i’d finished a couple that I thought I’d like but which proved dull, boringly so, and I needed an incentive. Did that Sunday so had a glorious few hours in Charley’s wonderful world yesterday.

I’m going to need a couple of free weeks when this finally comes to an end so I can do a wonderful back-to-back reading fest of the whole series.

Stars: five – well, five hundred wouldn’t be enough. If you’re hooked on Charley’s world then this book is a must.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Best Man’s Bride, Anne McAllister

The Best Man’s Bride, Anne McAllister

The Best Man's Bride (Royal Wedding Invitations Book 4) by [McAllister, Anne]

Genre: General Fiction (adult), Romance

I love deep, dark, intensive novels but sometimes I just want an easy, quick, escapist read, one where I can just enjoy the story without having to use my brain to work out complex plots. This book delivered all that, and was a fun read.

I loved Celina, and so felt for her when we found out what had made her leave Jack – well, her reaction would be what most would do I think. She still loves Jack, even though they are divorced, even though she’s not seen him for so long.
Then her best friend, relative to her employer, tells her Jack is to be his best man, and of course she’ll be at the wedding as PA to her employer and as Friend to Jonas….no escape, and worse, its once of those weddings where celebrations go on for days.

Jack, he’s fiercely proud, and was so hurt that Celina didn’t give him a chance to explain, wouldn’t talk to him, didn’t trust him, and he’s angry at that when it all goes down but…he still loves her too and this chance to spend time with her, to get a chance to explain is one he’s seized on.
He’s such a well known star though its hard to escape the ladies and get Celina on her own, and she’s certainly doing her best to avoid him.
I wanted them to make things work, they seemed such a true couple, so good for each other, so in love and yet if they wouldn’t ever get to talk what hope was there?

Its a fun story, and even when Jack does get her to hear his story, there are still barriers that crop up – that’s so true in real life, nothing does ever go truly smoothly.
I would have liked a bit more of the Rock Star/band scene, it seemed he was a star for the novel but the action didn’t really reflect that, apart from the ever present paparazzi. He could have been anyone famous, not necessarily a rock star, and I was hoping for more of the background that goes with that scene.

Stars: 4, a fun story, easy to read and relax with.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Burn for You, Slow Burn Book 1, J. T. Geissinger

Burn for You, Slow Burn Book 1, J. T. Geissinger

Burn for You (Slow Burn Book 1) by [Geissinger, J.T.]

Genre: General fiction (adult), Romance

A quick word about Genre headings. I’m so glad this is General Fiction and not the (for me) dreaded Women’s Fiction. I find that so demeaning, so sexist in this supposedly enlightened times. Are we really saying a while category of books will only appeal to women?
Anyway, that off my chest and on to the book.

I’ve enjoyed many of J.T.Geissinger’s stories, both paranormal and contemporary, so clicked request soon as I saw this. I read it last night and loved it.
I was thinking about what to put in my review this morning earlier, and the dialect was something that struck me. So often its done badly and I cringe ( all those “doona worry lassie” “ach, I’m noo worrit ye fashit man” really make me want to hurl) but done well, as here, it makes me feel I’m there in that setting, that the characters are real. And I’ve never been to any part of US, but love books with this Southern setting, and have read so many I feel I know the place and the people.

Jackson, what a rude surly man he appeared to be, and his first dictatorial appearance was enough to have many people in tears. That he made one of her staff cry infuriated Bianca, and she lets him have it. Full flow, and she’s an amazing range of expressions, one for every circumstance. Of course after meeting her mother and her staff I can see where she gets it from.
I loved the banter between the two, the Slap, Slap, Kiss as it gets termed later 😉
Bianca’s a real star too, hard working, been burned by a man in the past, thrown everything into her restaurant. (I so want to try some of those recipes – though not okra, that stuff just seems to look like mush, jelly, slime, when I’ve seen it cooked!)

Of course the more we see of Jackson (Jax) and Bianca the more I fell in love with them. I loved hearing their innermost thoughts, seeing what the felt as opposed to what they were saying or doing.
Circumstances are such that they get thrown into an engagement, and Bianca learns more about Jax and begins to see beyond his grouchy exterior to the man hidden underneath.

Its a fabulous story, full of sharp, fresh humour, sizzling sex scenes, characters that I felt I knew, could understand, could “see” in my mind. There something really sad too, that was unexpected, and made me shed a tear or two, that’s how emotional and real this book felt.

Stars: five,  a very worthy five star read, and one to keep for re-reading.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

A Vampire’s Dream Carla Susan Smith

A Vampire’s Dream Carla Susan Smith
A Vampire's Dream by [Carla Susan Smith]
Genre: fantasy and paranormal, Romance
Longish novella at around 170 pages, and I’m always rambling on about how for me novellas rarely work – too short to deliver enough in depth characters and plots.
When they’re like this though, part of a world I already am familiar with through existing novels they’re perfect.

I loved this insight into Aleksei and Anasztaizia’s early years, how they first met, and of course Gabriel pre Rowan. It was interesting seeing Katja again too, and seeing how she feels about Gabriel.
I loved the main series, exciting and entertaining world and this peek into the years before those books was perfect. I’ve always had a soft spot for Aleksei, now after reading this even more so.

You could read this before, during – or as I have – after the existing books, and its a perfect read to add that additional character info.
I do love when existing series run these side books about individuals, it makes me feel more understanding of their actions. Its a great read, and as with the main books, really excellently priced.

If you like vampires, romance, suspense and action read this series, it delivers all that and more, though this novella is shorter on the suspense angle, that’s really the prerogative of the main books.
Might be time for a back-to-back read through them once more.
Stars: five, a great story to read pre,post or during the existing novels. Made me feel even more for Aleksei!

Can’t Walk Away, Sandy James

Can’t Walk Away, Sandy James

Can't Walk Away (River Bend, #3) by [McLain, Molly]

Genre:Romance

I love romances set in the music/fame world and this seemed to be right up my street. Well, I enjoyed it, it was a decent read but sadly not the spark for the magic five.

Brad and his friends were a great trio, and that kind of close friendship is to be valued.
I understood his feelings of betrayal over what he discovered after his loss. I did get irritated with him at times when he seemed to think he knew best what Savannah wanted from her career.
Savannah, devoted to her daughter, loves her music and after the disaster of her career years before she’s being very careful this time round. Sometimes though I felt she was OTT in her reactions to Brad, that she didn’t seem to realise he’s not a mind reader and she needed to make very clear how she felt.

Its a sweet romance, with some sensual and emotional moments, but overall I just didn’t feel any strong emotion coming from it, nothing that really made me really happy for the characters, or really upset, sad, felt down for them. Even right with the events at the end I didn’t really feel that kind of angst that I wanted.

Stars: Four, a sweet, well written romance but a little light on angst and drama for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Make Me Yours, Men of Gold Mountain 4, Rebecca Brooks

Make Me Yours, Men of Gold Mountain 4, Rebecca Brooks

Make Me Yours (Men of Gold Mountain) by [Brooks, Rebecca]

Genre:  Romance

A fun read, I hadn’t read the earlier novels but each are stand alone and I don’t think it would have made a great deal of difference, i was certainly able to get to grips with the story easily.

I liked Claire, loved little Maya, and really felt for her. she had been stupid when it came to Ryan, but when you’re young and in love we do act in stupid ways. when the chips were down though she pulled herself up and used her strength to build a good life for her and her daughter.
Ryan, in a world where everyone smokes, drinks and does drugs its hard not to give in to one of them, and like so many he just doesn’t realise or recognise he’s an addict until its too late, Claire has gone. he doesn’t know why or where and when after five years he sees her at a small venue he’s not letting her go. there’s a huge shock in store for him though…
She’s determine to stand strong but the attraction between them is still there, steamingly sensual. She still holds a bit of herself back though even when she’s given in to that. He seems changed, but is he? well, Ryan is determined to prove he is….until the ultimate test.

Its a sweet story, some serious heat, well written and fitting the story. Its very real in many way, parents do have to be “on” 24/7 but inevitably mistakes happen.
There’s a point in this book where something is pointed out – and i just knew what was going to result. I would have liked a bit more surprise, that felt a little too predictable but it worked well to move things along, and there’s a beautiful ending to this.

Stars: four, its a neat romance, sexy and fun but no deep dramas or real heartache.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Adam, Doms of the Silver Screen Book 2, Marie Tuhart. Breaking Hollywood, Samantha Towle

Adam, Doms of the Silver Screen Book 2, Marie Tuhart

Adam (Doms of the Silver Screen Book 2) by [Tuhart, Marie]

Genre: erotica, Romance

I struggled with book one in this series as it was just so short, but having enjoyed other books by Marie I wanted to give this series another go. Hollywood – one of my trigger tropes so I really wanted to like this series.
Sadly though this one is longer, just over 150 pages compared to 65 for book one, I still didn’t really enjoy it. It was the characters that didn’t work for me more than the story. Adam made me so so cross, and Nicki, well – I wanted to say Stand up for yourself woman!

Adam as a Dom was a complete failure IMO. I only know BDSM from books, but everything I’ve ever read suggests Doms consider their Subs needs first, and are always very composed, restrained, in control.
Adam isn’t, he’s angry, hot headed, jealous even though he has no cause, and to me he doesn’t deserve to be a Dom. Having someone’s trust means earning it and treating it as something precious, but he just steamrollers over Nicki’s feelings, ignores her wishes to get the result he wants. Bad Dom!!
And yet Nicki is so busy blaming herself for everything that when wrong. I wanted to shout at her, Stand up for yourself, he’s in the wrong, not you. They seem trapped in a vicious circle.
They reel from crisis to crisis, getting together for some hot and heavy scenes off-screen, and then something – usually Adam’s jealousy, crops up and its all off. I could see where the yoyo-ing was exhausting and why Nicky had enough.

When they do finally try to get to the bottom of their issues, to work things out I wasn’t convinced that what they did was the answer, they had much deeper issues, and needed to do so much more IMO before they stood a chance as a happy couple. Sometimes Love just isn’t enough, its needs some outside help and intervention.

A series that sounded perfect for me, but which has turned out to be one I’m better off without. As always though this will be perfect for other readers, even though its not one for me.
I do like Marie’s style, and have enjoyed other books she’s written, so though I’ll stay away from more of these I’ll happily look at others she has.

Stars: 2.5, there were bits I enjoyed but overall it was a miss for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Breaking Hollywood, Samantha Towle

Genre:  Romance

Well, I loved the Storm reads, loved the Alexandra Jones ones too – years back when I read them, but like other readers pretty annoyed that series never finished. Its a real pet hate of mine that.
So I know I enjoy Samantha’s writing style, but this book didn’t quite hit the spot 😦

I guess that “hilarious” tag should have warned me. I’ve found in the past that’s usually humour that feels forced, and that’s exactly what I found here. At first I did find their banter funny, but it got old pretty quick, and at times felt like two teens were joking around not two adults.
I was disappointed too that almost all the book seems to take place in his apartment, and though he’s a Hollywood star he seems to be able to go out incognito pretty easily, and there wasn’t any actual film connection other than them spending a couple of pages talking about his past films and reading a script.
He could have been anyone, there wasn’t anything of the film world included and for me that was a big lack.

The romance was cute, I did feel some serious Lust between them but Love? I’m not sure about that. Whatever they feel Gabe falls at the first hurdle though, and even though the evidence looks solid he didn’t even question it internally, just waded in with blame. #Fail, Gabe!
There’s an event that makes this part clear to see coming from a long way off, and if it had been a bit more protracted then I could have got past that. However when the sh it hits the fan it blows over very quickly, and Ava just knuckles under and comes back. Gah, he was Awful to her, I wanted her to make him work a bit more, not just accept his apologies.

The pygmy goat….well, I’m keeping quiet on that except to say goats are Spawn of the Devil, I grew up with them, and Pygmies are no different 😉 They eat everything except what they should, smell atrocious – even the females ( though I don’t know what sex Gucci is it wears pink so I guess female), and how the heck she house-trained one that’s only 4 months old… a dog, cat, even a rabbit would have been a better choice, goats don’t belong in flats.

Its a decent read, if you like forced humour then you’ll probably love it. I’ve read other books where the humour has spoiled the story for me, but where its made it a five star read for other people. Thankfully we all have different tastes so this could be just what you want, it isn’t great for me though.

Stars: three, an OK read, but not the story I was hoping for.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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