Tag Archive | sensual

Double Down, Alessandra Torre

Double Down, Alessandra Torre

Double Down (All In Duet Book 2) by [Torre, Alessandra]

Genre: Erotica, romance

Having just finished book one I dived quickly into this. The last ended on a real cliffhanger, but everything changes when we start book two.
I wondered how Alessandra was going to work things out to give Dario and Bell a HEA, and just couldn’t see how they could avoid either the killer, Gwen’s father or the police. Its one of those stories where We know they didn’t do it but will that matter to the cops, will one of them get blamed for Gwen’s death? After all we know her father has half the local force in his pay.

Its a roller-coaster follow-up, where I wanted to scream at them for what looked a bit like complacency at one point. We know the danger is still there, and Dario is still heavy on the security but Bell is chafing at the restrictions. It brings a question up for Bell, can she live like this, Dario is always going to be vulnerable now people know how he feels about Bell, and she isn’t sure she can live with a constant shadow. Still, for them sex heals, sex talks, sex bridges all the gaps and there are plenty of Alessandra’s trademark erotic encounters.

I love the way they talk through their feelings of guilt. Its understandable, we all think “if only I…” when things go wrong but neither of them are to blame, its the person with the gun that’s wrong, not them, they aren’t accountable for another’s actions. Thankfully Dario has deep pockets as they need it in this book to avoid getting caught unfairly.

Fantastic read, had me wondering “how will/why don’t they/what about….?” and struggling for answers. I was surprised, and then surprised again and of course like most of Alessandra’s reads its not just a one plot book, but has a solid second strand that becomes joined to the first, and gave me lots to try to work out.
Fantastic ending but….I can’t help wondering about that one loose end 😉

Stars:Five, fantastic read, excitement, drama, hot and erotic encounters, great characters. Some breath stealing suspense, that left me floundering to work out just how it could all wrap up and give Dario and Bell a HEA. Thankfully they do get one.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and Publishers

 

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Even Money, Alessandra Torre

Even Money,  Alessandra Torre

Even Money (All In Duet Book 1) by [Torre, Alessandra]

Genre: Erotica, romance

Alessandra’s writing is perfect for me, solid plots and excitement, real feeling people I can like – or dislike, books need those too, plenty of drama, angst, steamy, erotic encounters and loads of emotions.

So I went into this one eagerly and wasn’t disappointed, its got all of that and more. What I hate in a book though is a cliffhanger and this is a real doozy….BUT thankfully book two is only a week or two away. I can live with that, its when it happens in a book and the next isn’t due for 12 or 18 months, or even longer….( of course I’m lucky enough to have got an ARC for that on my kindle, but I’m writing there as a standard reader, about how frustrating it can be when the next book is so far away)

Bell’s a cocktail waitress in a “neutral zone “ casino, one where the other casino owners come to play. Its owned by two men who have become really good friends of hers, the kind who will – as the saying goes – help you hide a body without asking questions.
I like Bell, just wants to get through school, enjoy life and live and do her best to be independent. She’s had a tough background, some awful events in it and yet is strong, determined to live a better life.
Dario – I wasn’t sure of him at first, he seemed arrogant and one of those snap his fingers and demand instant obedience types. As we get to know him though I liked him more, he’s like Bell in that he too comes from a non moneyed background, but he’s talented, worked hard and married well financially, and is now in a strong position. Despite all that his hands are still tied in a way, his wife’s father, what an awful man, totally immoral, money is God type, and Dario and Gwen are tied tightly to him. Independence is close but they’re not there yet.
Gwen, Dario’s wife, is mostly a background figure. They married for complex reasons, live separate lives in many ways though they live together, and have a close respect and friendship with each other. So when he tells Bell Gwen knows and is OK with him having other women, he is actually telling the truth, not spinning a well worn line.

Of course life isn’t smooth, even though her bosses warn her about Dario, even though she knows he takes and drops women when the next comes along, even though she promised herself she’d never get entangled with a man like him she’s drawn to him, some undeniable thread pulling them together. Dario can feel it too, this connection that keeps him coming back when he Never chases, Never pursues women. There are too many ready and willing for him to have to do that.

Of course true love never runs smooth, and despite all the signs and self imposed blocks they do get together, then the fireworks start, ending with that astonishing cliffhanger.

I was desperate to read book two, and have it on my kindle so I did just have to take a sneak at the start to see how that cliffhanger moved forward….but didn’t let myself read more until I’d written this.

Its hard for me to write a review if I’ve read both books, trying to recall what was in book two not book one so I was disciplined! I was almost tempted to get up in the early hours and write though.

Stars:Five, fantastic read, excitement, drama, hot and erotic encounters, great characters. This book is a perfect read for those who want a solid romance with some real adventure. No sweet and cute folk here, no fluffy feeling scenes, no “heart warming” sections, heart rending maybe 😉 I will be eagerly reading book two today!

ARC supplied by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Relight My Fire, Joanna Bolouri

Relight My Fire, Joanna Bolouri

Relight My Fire: The naughtiest rom-com you will ever read! by [Bolouri, Joanna]

Genre: Woman’s Fiction.

Gah, Woman’s Fiction – I hate when we dismiss a whole sector of readers. Why do that? Why shouldn’t men read this? Ah well, rant over.

I Loved The List, a fabulous read. Maybe I just had over expectations for this but I didn’t find it as gripping, as funny, as can’t-stop-reading. I liked it, a lot but didn’t love it.
Oliver and Phoebe are wonderful, and Phoebe’s friends are great. Its lovely to see how they all are five years on. Phoebe though finds that each time she approaches Oliver he’s too tried, not in the mood, Molly needs something, and its suddenly a couple of moths since they’ve made love.
Phoebe’s list comes into play again – and wow, what great ideas the two of them have. Soon they’re on full flow, unable to keep their hands of each other, just like the old days. It seems all their issues are sorted – but are they? People from Phoebe’s past suddenly appear, and Oliver isn’t happy, then something comes out from him that shocked Phoebe ( and me). It caused a huge rift, and I understood how both felt. Its the kind of issues many couples face, and what can break a relationship if not dealt with properly and I so didn’t want that to happen.
Of course in all the drama are the usual comedic moments that characterized The List and lightened the seriousness of the novel. That was a great balance, not too bright and chippy to be considered fluff, not too deep and dark to be off-putting to readers who want a story to relax with. I love books like this that deal with real events, with issues we all face but also give me some bright moments and a HEA. I need that.
Overall its another great read but there were times I found myself drifting, not fully into the story, unlike The List where I found it impossible to put down. Its a good follow up, and was good to see how they were doing five years down the line.

Stars: Four, not up to the List for me, but a good read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Part-Time Husband, Trophy Husbands Book 1, Noelle Adams

Part-Time Husband, Trophy Husbands Book 1,  Noelle Adams

Part-Time Husband (Trophy Husbands Book 1) by [Adams, Noelle]

Genre: Women’s fiction, Romance

Once more, Women’s fiction. Why? Why do we try to cut out a whole section of readers, who says men don’t read romance 😦

So, this was a fun read, predicable but that’s fine. Sometimes its the actions, the characters that count and it doesn’t matter you can see where the story is going.
I liked Trevor, he is very sure of himself but not in an obnoxious way IMO, just very, very confident of himself and his abilities.
Melissa is a sweet woman, but I felt her determination to stay in the job she has partly because she loves it, has worked for it and of course loves her grandfather was understandable but to marry someone? Somehow that was a step to far for me. Still, she did it and it wasn’t long before feelings – on both sides – crept in.

Her grandfather, she says he loves them, he’s brought her and her sisters up but I found him to be an overbearing, misogynistic old man. I really can’t see how anyone who loved his family could take the decisions he did.

The story is sweet, plays out as expected, and was an easy read. No great dramas, just some hot and steamy sex, strong personalities, and an ending we can see coming….

Stars: Three and a half, its better than just a three/good read but not quite up to a four for me. If you can put aside a grandfather who pushes his family round like pawns, then its a cute, sweet romance, with some serious sensual scenes to liven it up, and an easy one to take on holiday to relax with.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Making Up, Lucy Parker

Making Up,  Lucy Parker

Making Up (London Celebrities) by [Parker, Lucy]

Genre: Romance

I loved the previous book, Pretty Face, and have just put the first one on my kindle. Somehow despite my intentions I missed it….In this book the characters from the earlier reads are here but the books are each stand alone stories, so its not necessary to have read the others, but is fun to catch up with them if you have.

Leo and Trix are the best of enemies, have been since they were teens and in the small theatrical world they inhabit their paths cross now and then. Each time the wit gets sharper and more caustic and to outward appearances they hate each other. Love and Hate though – two sides of the same coin the saying says…

Trix and Leo are now part of the same production, and as if that’s not enough Leo is her new housemate. ( and yes, Lucy described the aroma of a house of males perfectly!) Thrown so close together they see that the other is not quite the person their imaginations have constructed. To add to their confusion that spark that’s always made them snark and b itch at each other now has them in the grip of a sensual attraction, and they find that actually the person in their imaginations isn’t actually the real character, that the grudges they’ve been bearing are based on a flawed premise, misunderstandings, teen issues and angst.

Now they’re together that attraction is visceral, tantalising, a sensual searing that has them making out at every opportunity as if to make up for those lost years, unable to keep their hands off each other. There are some well done, heated scenes that aren’t OTT but fit perfectly the characters they are.

Its not a route to HEA though, both of them have some serious issues from past and present to contend with, and of course though their career fields match up sometimes, at others they could be not just hundreds of miles apart but whole countries. Can they work things out or are they doomed to fail?

Well, its a great fun journey finding out, full of love and angst, real issues that we have, fears and families, all the things that make life so real made these characters and their problems feel alive to me.

Stars: Five, a great fun read, and a terrific follow up books. It was good to catch up with characters from the last book, and finally book one is on my kindle waiting for time to be read…..

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Give Love a Chance, Darla Jones

Give Love a Chance,  Darla Jones

Give Love a Chance by [Jones, Darla]

Genre: Romance, Woman’s Fiction.

Gah, Woman’s Fiction – I hate when we dismiss a whole sector of readers. Why do that? Why shouldn’t men read this? Ah well, rant over.

Well, I saw this book had lots of five star reviews, but having finished it clearly I’m not on the same wavelength as those people as its a good read for me, could have been a really great one, but there were some irritating, hard to ignore niggles that for me really brought it down.

Evan, the man is gorgeous one moment, a true gent and then a real jerk. He reacted badly to the pregnancy news, but that could be passed off as shock, and sadly, family/friends experience. There are unfortunately women who will try those kind of tricks and he didn’t know Kim.
Once the background checks came in though, added to his experience of her at close quarters once she was living with him there was no reason for him to be so up and down, keep referring to the baby as “her baby” – the man admitted he’d had unprotected sex with her, the checks showed she hadn’t been dating others, c’mon on, own it your jerk! He was all over her one moment and then cold the next.
Kim, she let him get away with so much. Why didn’t she question about Amy, why did she just accept his cold times, why was she so grateful for the attention he gave her that she let the other times slide. I was kind of puzzled by money too, she’s skint and yet when not working, home and possessions gone, car wrecked, she still seems to have enough cash, “just pick me up a new phone Evan” – or words to that effect, and takes treats to a favourite patient and his family?
The way she and her daughter integrated so quickly with Evan and his son was weird, kids just aren’t like that, and though there was a little jealousy to begin they were soon just one unit. Real life is a bit more problematical .

I didn’t really relate to any of the characters, felt they were a little one dimensional. They were potentially great but just felt kind of stilted, unreal to me. There were things that had a lot of plot time that were not (IMO) worthy of it while others could have been expanded, gave flesh to the characters.
Evan’s pregnancy symptoms, amusing at first and second mention, by the Nth time I was rolling my eyes and irritated.
Likewise the suspense, it was such a great line, played out so well, and I really was shocked at who was behind events but somehow they way the story went it was very underdone in parts and overdone in others. It had the potential to be really breath catching the danger that was there but it got an almost lighthearted treatment until the climax.

I have to say this to finish -Evan and his undies….I cannot mentally envision the male lead wearing “fire engine red bikini briefs” and his underwear gets more mention when we read several times about his “scanty underwear”. Nope, that’s just wrong!! Back when I was reading Charlene Harris Sookie series I had a hard time getting past Alpha Hunk Eric wearing red bikini briefs…is it some US thing? Is it that UK readers simply don’t understand the attraction of skimpy red underwear on men?
I’d happily try another read by Darla, this one wasn’t great for me but it was a good read, and she clearly has great plot ideas, and maybe its just this book where the characters were a bit flat for me.

Stars: Three, a good read, but not up to that slew of five stars for me. But clearly its perfect for others. You choose 😉

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Melt for You, Slow Burn: Book 2,  J. T. Geissinger

Melt for You, Slow Burn: Book 2,  J. T. Geissinger

Melt for You (Slow Burn Book 2) by [Geissinger, J.T.]

Genre: General Fiction ( adult) , Romance

I loved the first book in this series, and looked forward to this one. I really liked it, just not quite as much as I loved book one.

Great characters once more, though to begin with I thought Cam was an obnoxious, arrogant ar se. Soon saw his softer side peek through and got a glimpse of that steely determination and fierce intelligence that has taken him to the top of his game despite his poor start.

I love characters like Joellen too, she’s a sweet girl, tries to please everyone and somehow her own personality and wants take a back seat. She’s got that loving family who just aren’t really supportive, she doesn’t fit the family beauty mould and feels inferior, too tubby, too dark, too unsocial, and that constant criticism from her childhood ( for her own good of course!) spills over into the rest of her life. She always feels the unwanted one, the one on the outside of a group. I know that feeling, I guess many of us do.

She’s had an unrequited love for her married boss for ten years now, and then he tells her he’s getting divorced and – wow – he really seems to see her, to be attracted to her. Somehow Cam catches on to her self improvements and along with fitting him into her life by way of meal bribes for keeping the music down, he’s now training her to make the best of herself. He’s not keen on her “air diet” so helps her to take up fitness training, and they end up spending more and more time together.

Its a read full of humour, some of it very subtle and some – Denny’s jokes – more overt and in your face.

There are some great secondary characters too, Joellen’s cat, Mrs Dinwiddy her neighbour, Portia and others from work. They all add to the “real” feel of the story.

There were some minor irritations though, small things but they niggled at me. Lassie – we know her well in UK, and Cam being a Scot he’d be well aware of the story. After all it takes place in Yorkshire and Scotland so Joellen wouldn’t have needed to explain that to him. You can’t just sweep up your cat, board a plane in an ordinary carrier with it, and the UK has pretty strict rabies Laws, and there’s a plethora of paperwork.
Set against those though was the fabulous humour, and this bit really made me snigger. Joellen is talking about a former date’s comment on her rather aggressive kissing “That was my lung you just licked” – loved it!

Great read, cleverly written and after the story ends the author has written a bit about negative body image and the harm it can do to some people. Very thought provoking and something I fully agree with, having always had that issue myself.

Stars: Four, a perfectly written transformation story, sensual and heated, but not Sex all the Way as so many stories are, and with some terrific characters.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Escape to the Country, A perfect feel-good read to escape with, Alison Sherlock

Escape to the Country, A perfect feel-good read to escape with, Alison Sherlock

Escape to the Country: A perfect feel-good read to escape with... (Welcome to Willow Tree Hall) by [Sherlock, Alison]

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

well, if you’re looking for a light and happy holiday read this fits the bill. As always the celebrity aspect caught my eye – I do love the drama that comes in celebrity stories.It was pretty muted here though, Tom is very understated as a singer/songwriter, not a fame chaser but one of those guys who loves the music and songs, and who fame found him, he didn’t seek it.

He’s just finished a grueling tour and is at his managers home, in a typical quiet English village. I really liked Tom, felt for him as a child, he’d had it tough and as always what happens to us does shape us. He sees manager Sam, happily settled, with his family around him and can’t help but feel he’d love that. Its just him though, the only family who ever cared for him, his lovely Nan, has died recently and he feels her loss keenly.

Along comes Eleanor, Celeb journalist who’s career has hit a bad patch. Actually its been an eight year patch, this isn’t what she envisaged, seeking stories out of dross and other peoples unhappiness. It was supposed to be a stepping stone to more but..,.and now even that’s gone so she’s home, helping her mum, licking her wounds and realising just what a bad friend she’s been to her two long time besties.

You can see that Tom plus Eleanor at some point is going to explode but it did in a way I really didn’t expect, and that was fun. I like to be caught out, like plots to take an unusual, unseen line.

Its got some great characters, and I’m off to seek out book one where it all started. It made for a fun read, not deep dark drama but some lighthearted smiles, and some sad parts that made me feel for the characters.

Stars: Four, a great fun read, perfect to take on holiday or to lose yourself for a few hours.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

recent reading

I’ve been reading some non netgalley stories, a couple i was asked to review by authors, some I borrowed on KU, and a couple I bought.

The Ex Factor,  Debbie Viggiano 

The Ex Factor by [Viggiano, Debbie]

Genre: general fiction

I’ve read several of Debbie’s books, and this is a departure from the usual but still with her excellent solid writing style.

Its a hard subject, one that strikes close to home for many readers. When a marriage breaks up some fathers drift off, happy to abandon their family, others though are like Sam, desperately want to be a father, to have as much access as possible but get thwarted at every step by the mother. Sadly apart from expensive court proceedings, and not everyone has the thousands that can cost, there’s nothing else they can do. Even then having a court order doesn’t help when the mother say the child is ill, asleep, at a friends, doesn’t want to come and refuses access. The father can go back to court as Sam does, but that takes time and the months away from his daughter take a toll on him, on his new family and of course on Ruby. The only happy one is the mother, Annie, such a vindictive character. It would be nice to think parents always wanted the best for their child/children but like Annie many only want control, revenge for what they see as slights. Annie was the one to leave, yet tells Ruby Sam was at fault, forced her into an affair. Of course her poison is all lies but kids naturally believe what parents tell them and Annie has Ruby for the majority of the time, been drip feeding her malicious words into her ears. Its cruel, and yet it goes on day after day for many families. My lovely brother is going through the same process, so far he’s been unable to see his daughter for almost two years, despite spending several thousands on court fees. The court agreed he’d done nothing wrong, was a good father, but the mother was so vindictive she has kept his daughter away and all he can do it seek more legal proceedings. Meanwhile his little girl probably is being told daddy didn’t want her…..
Its an incredibly sad, very realistic story of what pressures a family breakdown can put on the absent parent, spilling over into other family members. Thankfully the end shows there is a glimmer of light, and I’m hoping that same thing happens for my brother in time.

A KU purchase

Royal Love, (Last Royals Book 1),  Cristiane Serruya 

Royal Love (Last Royals Book 1) by [Serruya, Cristiane]

a KU purchase
This was a fun read, though it took me some time to warm to Angus, he was alpha male but on the OTT side, and there were times when I wanted Siobhan to just tell him where to go. She veers between wanting him and wanting independence and I did feel the whole getting together part was a bit rushed. I felt both acted out of characters and one thing that really annoyed me was the lack of condoms. That’s just not a good message to send out in this day and age!
There’s a little suspense, I’d kind of worked out what had happened and who was behind it, but it was still a good addition to the story and gave it a little extra edge.
I loved Angus mum and aunt, perfect snobbish b itchy characters – they really add to a story for me, make a contrast to all the sweet stuff.
Its not a story I’d re-read, a little too light and sweet for me, I need a bit more drama but its a fun read for when you want something easy to relax with.
Stars: Three, a little light but a fun story.

Rockstar Daddy, (Wilder Rock 1), Taryn Quin

Rockstar Daddy (Wilder Rock Book 1) by [Quinn, Taryn]

Genre: Romance,
a side spin from the Oblivion series. I usually loved Taryn’s stories, especially when she writes with Cari Quinn but this one was a little simple. Its got plenty of heat, lots of erotic encounters but for me they became the story, and there was little else to it – just a series of very hot sex scenes tied in with a tin backstory. For many people that’s perfect, for me it needs to be story first.

Another KU purchase

Lifeline,  Amelia Lawrence 

Lifeline by [Lawrence, Amelia]

Genre: Romance, M/M
A good read, very real with scenes that happen far too often. Alex was heartbroken after his romance with Jack went badly wrong, and feeling rejected he’s a prime candidate for manipulative bully Cole.

Like so many of these characters Cole starts off well and then the crack drift in, by which time Alex had lost his self confidence and was constantly striving to be someone who wouldn’t anger Cole. Its easy to say “why not just leave?” but much harder for anyone to do it. Bullied sap at self confidence, convince people no-one else will want them and of course the threats that Leaving will have drastic Consequences is enough to put most folk off, and Alex is just working and returning home, all the joy has been sucked out of life.
Jack – well, Jack was wonderful, regretted the past very much and wanted a second chance with Alex. The way the story played out was really well done. Its not one I’d re-read but was a very enjoyable story, a realistic portrayal of an unpleasant subject.

One I bought, was only 99p

Limits,  Susie Tate

Limits,  Susie Tate

Limits by [Tate, Susie]

Genre: Romance

I loved book one in this series and Millie and Pav both feature there as secondary characters. Rosie, Jamie and Libby from that book are secondary characters here along with the vivacious Kira.

Millie is painfully isolated, has a real social issue among her other problems. Seems she was a child genius, pushed by ambitious political parents into schooling way ahead of her years and peers. She never learned to mix with others as a result. Her parents were bullies in other ways too, sapping at her fragile self esteem and now she’s an incredible medical personnel trapped in a job way below her skills officially but where they are recognised and valued so unofficially she does all the work a consultant would do. She’s been having therapy but is a long way from being who she wants to be. She’s trapped in her own self limits.

Pav is her total opposite but by a series of incidences begins to see Millie isn’t the person he nicknamed Nuclear Winter. Millie envies him, is attracted to him but knows he, like the rest of the staff apart from Libby and her colleague Don, would never want to even be friends with her, let alone more. And then things change. To begin Pav does have an ulterior motive, but he very soon sees Millie isn’t stand offish, isn’t looking down on others but plain terrified. After an incident leads to her totally falling apart in front of other staff he sees beyond her facade, and tries to help. Libby too and the irrepressible Rosie, work on bring Millie forward, helping her get past those limits.

I so felt for Millie. Social anxiety is genuine, many of us have issues where the thought of meeting others has us in a sweat, hearts racing, blood pulsing, just knowing that we don’t have that easy connection, that simple conversation is anything but, that trying to talk to someone unknown will result in the usual brain jelly and lack of speech. Millie’s reactions are way beyond most though, and the way Susie gradually brings her forward, showing us how the CBT, the people she depends on, the gradual widening of those she can trust bring her forward is wonderful to read and felt so very real.
I loved Pav, he saw beyond the obvious to the gem that was Millie, and its was a treat to read this romance. When he spoke to Millie’s parents I was cheering him. Its a great read, I loved seeing the familiar characters from book one, loved seeing just how difficult Millie found things others breeze past, loved how Pav’s family changed when they got to know the real Millie.

The epilogue too was just perfect. Just enough to let us see how things would work out, but not enough to feel the story gets past the interesting part.

Stars: Five, a great fun read, and a terrific follow up.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

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