Tag Archive | sexy

Rock King, by Tara Leigh

Rock King, by Tara Leigh

Rock King (Nothing but Trouble Book 1) by [Leigh, Tara]

Genre: Romance

I’m a sucker for rock/film star romance, and Kristen Callihan and Kylie Scott are top of the genre for me….so this was an easy request.
How did it stand up to those two paragons of fame books, the Queens of rock romance though?

Well, to begin I struggled. Its a great start in that Delaney is the kind of heroine I love, broke, hard working and honest – well, apart from that one big thing of course…..
She’s busy at work when someone comes in who she knew from their school days, not a friend but someone who recognised her, and she’s with her boss, who thinks Delaney is perfect for his latest brief. Find a “girlfriend” for his client, rock star Shane Hawthorne. He needs someone stable in his life while touting to keep him off the alcohol/drugs fiasco. So far a serious of temporary girlfriends, NDAs and cash/chance at fame for them have done the trick. It has to be the right person though, and Travis thinks Delaney is perfect.
I loved Delaney, understood why she did what she did, and why that decision haunted her. Its a hard thing to live with, and she’s desperate to make reparations, but of course with no money, in a poor paid job how can she?
Shane too, I thought he was great. He knew his weaknesses and wasn’t going back, and so far the paid girlfriend has worked out. Travis his manager has come through every time. Delaney isn’t the usual actress, would be singer though, hoping for some of his fame gloss to rub off on her, she’s very different. There’s something about her though that Shane can’t let go, something that calls to him, makes his life brighter.

There’s so much going on in the first half and yet it felt like nothing was happening once the initial story started. Its seemed to be Will She Stay or Will She Go….over and over. So many inner musings and monologues that I felt every bit of life in the story was being dragged out, chewed over, spit up and spoiled. A really danger of me not finishing this. That’s a personal view though of course, others love it as is.
Then we moved forward and…I was hooked. Some great drama, some very real scenes, some tears, heartache, secrets laid bare and wow – that point where it all falls apart, the drama that I love. That was superb, and had the whole book been like the second half it would have been a five for me, but that slow, dull start pulled it down. I needed more action, more of the day to day things actually happening and less musing, questioning decisions, less of the whole should I or not stuff.
I certainly enjoyed Tara’s writing style though once things moved forward, and I look forward to more from the series.

Stars: four, a really slow first half for me, but a fabulous finish.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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Catching London, M.V.Ellis.

Catching London, M.V.Ellis.
Catching London by [Ellis, MV]

Genre: Romance

A debut novel and a great start for M.V.Ellis. There were things that niggled, but overall it was a terrific first book, and I look forward to more.

Arlo, he’s brash, self opinionated, incredibly confident and a total rock star cliché, and yet under that there’s a real guy, who’s got some genuine emotions, who does care about his people, who has a strong sense of what’s right and wrong. When he meets London – and what a meeting – he knows she’s special and goes all out to get her in a position where he can see more of her, get to know her and let her know him. Lucky for him she’s a talented photographer, which fits in with his plans perfectly.
I loved Arlo, who couldn’t? He really is a solid guy, and determined London will be his. He has the money and connections to make that happen but he wants her to want it so treads carefully.
London, had a sad past and was a sweet girl and I really felt for her and what she’d lost. Gah, the number of times I wanted to slap her though, blowing hot and cold, giving Arlo the OK and then changing her mind over nothing it seemed. Arlo could have got whiplash from the stop-start of their romance.

I would have liked to understand Arlo a bit better, that’s where I love dual POV as it lets me see what characters are thinking and feeling, but I got a pretty good sense of him from his actions.
London as I said irritated me so many times, I liked her but she was a bit too ready to pull the plug for no reason, and then in next breath all over Arlo.
I’d have enjoyed seeing more of the secondary characters, we did in the first half of the story but they seemed to mostly sort of fade out in second half.
I guess the thing that stops this from being five star for me is the long mental monologues London has going on, pages and pages and pages of them, and I felt the story was being told by this rather than shown by way of action and dialogue. Its me, I just like dialogue based books best. Not everyone does, but that’s what brought this down for me, too much telling and not enough showing the story in action.

Stars: 4, it was a fun read, I adored Arlo, and liked London but she did irritate me. For me it needed more dialogue though for a five, however not everyone does so you choose 😉

ARC supplied for review purposes by author

Reach for the Stars,  Kathy Jay 

Reach for the Stars,  Kathy Jay 
Reach for the Stars: A feel good, uplifting romantic comedy by [Jay, Kathy]

Genre:  General fiction (adult)

I bought book one when I saw this, that’s the story of Alex, Nick’s twin brother. Sounded the sort I love and was only 99p. Sadly though I liked it I wasn’t really convinced of the story, felt it was a bit meh, so almost wished I hadn’t asked for this. What a difference though, I love this story, full of drama and fun, laughter and heartbreak and with some very real feeling characters.

I really didn’t like Nick in book one but now I saw a different side to him, saw the reasons for his behaviour and it made sense. Layla is a great character, one of those people everyone depends on, but its leaving her no time to do what she wants, pit herself first. When Joe does the dirty ( hiss, boo, what an awful man he is) she’s distraught, they’ve been together and she was thinking marriage and family so it came as a shock. Then Nick comes along and she sees what passion really is.

It was great fun to see events play out, to see what starts as a no strings fling becomes more, to see Layla discover what real love is, let her see what she had with Joe was just a good friendship at best.
Paris, great at first then heartbreaking. But we’d kind of guessed that would happen. Then the events after that had me amazed, how Joe rationalised everything cemented in my mind just what a jerk he was. I did feel sorry for Lainy though, an innocent caught up in his selfishness.

Stars: 4.5, it was a really fun read, and I enjoyed it so much more than book one. I’m not sure I’d re-read, not for a very long time anyway but one I’m very glad to have chosen.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Tribute Act,  Joanna Chambers, Porthkennack 8.

Tribute Act,  Joanna Chambers, Porthkennack 8.

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I loved A Gathering Storm, book two from Joanna in this series, and I enjoy that it’s written by so many different authors but set in the same fictional town. AGS was a historical novel, while this one is current day.

I loved Nathan, and its easy to see he’s one of the world’s people pleasers, someone who feels they need to fix every problem. I sympathise, I have the same issue….
He’s given up so much to help his mum and her husband and his half sister, left his well paid job in London, used his savings to keep the shop afloat. Derek his stepdad is a good man, but really bad at business, and they were in danger of losing everything.
It wasn’t helped when they discovered Rosie was so sick and now needs a liver transplant. They’ve all been tested but aren’t a match.

Imagine Nathan’s surprise then when his night before hook-up hottie walks in the house and he finds its Derek’s estranged son. He is a match and is staying for a while while he donates part of his liver.
Its a sticky few weeks, Derek and Mack don’t get on, he’s staying with Nathan while he recovers and it makes Nathan feel a bit stuck, wanting them to reconcile, feeling awful for the way Derek has been such a great dad to him, but essentially abandoned Mack at 15 after his mum died. I felt so angry at Derek, and so sad for Mack. How could anyone do that? I was cross too at Nathan’s mum, she must have realised what was happening and she should have had compassion for Mack, made Derek do something.
Anyway, there they are, an awkward grouping, thrown together. Mack and Nathan are still fiercely attracted, Nathan knows Mack’s off soon as he recovers, but somehow despite his not wanting to get into a temporary relationship they do, and of course Nathan falls in love….

I loved Nathan felt so sad for Mack, for all he’d been through and he still feels so lost, so unloved.
Can Nathan persuade him to stay though? Does Mack feel anything more for him than lust? What about the issues surrounding the cafe, the way Nathan has become the guy who does everything?
There’s a lot to ponder here, family issues, how we make mistakes that get larger as time passes, how hard it is to say sorry sometimes, to make it meaningful, and of course will Mack stay?

Stars: four, an enjoyable story, with issues that too many people face. I felt so sad for Mack, facing what too many gay kids faced.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publishers

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

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

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

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

Killing June, A Dark Romance, (Saved by Sin 1), May B. Bridges 

 

Killing June, A Dark Romance, (Saved by Sin 1), May B. Bridges 

Killing June: A Dark Romance (Saved By Sin) by [Bridges, May]

Genre:  Romance, Erotica.

I enjoyed this book, a sensual romance with a very interesting story-line.
I’m always interested when the BDSM side of a story comes with a psychological angle and here June exists to help Alex cope with her past. Is it June that needs the pain or Alex?
Alex wants to leave June behind but she’s tangled up with some dangerous characters and its not an easy decision.

Alex is a very successful business woman, has two parents that adore her, traditional southern church going types, and she thinks if they knew about June they’d be ashamed of her. So she keeps that part of her life very separate, and presents a different front to them, a career woman doing well, who only has time to pop back home to visit and attend church with them every few weeks…

In her alternate life she plays the part of June, her own creation, a woman who dominates men for money, all arranged by her old school friend and former lover Rob.
He’s an odd guy and a bit of me felt sorry for him when Alex is talking about their childhood. It doesn’t excuse the man he’s become though, a dangerous criminal, with some strange delusions about Alex and what she needs. He’s helping her track down someone from her past, as well as arranging clients for June.
They have a strange relationship, she seems to think of him as the sad, gentle boy she knew, not the vicious drug lord, moneylender he is now.

She’s busy with one of her clients when Cade and two other men burst in. That’s a part that I’m uncomfortable about. She sees first hand how Cade works, how he’s a hired mobster, happy to dish out physical violence.
When he’s with Alex we see another side to him, and I really liked that man but he’s also the man that is part of the underworld, works for Rob, doing whatever he needs to keep people in control.
Its why I usually stay away from MC or Mafia style romances, I have issues accepting that level of violence as OK, that men can dish it out, beat up, blackmail people, commit murder,s  and still be a romantic lead.

I really enjoyed the psychology of this though, seeing just why Alex craved the pain, seeing how it let her mind free from the guilt she carries, even though it wasn’t her fault. It was interesting the way she created June, thinking of her as a separate person with differing needs, and yet the past interacts with June too, dictating how she allows people to respond to her, what she wants/needs them to do.

I liked how Cade took care of Alex, how he tried to understand her, anticipated her needs, tried to keep her safe even when it meant risking Rob’s wrath, knowing just what he is capable of doing to get his own way.
When things went wrong between them I understood his reasons, and sympathised with him, even though I don’t like the violent part of him.
That drama part was perfect for me, played out well, lasted some time, not just over in a couple of pages. That’s just how I like the emotionally sad parts of stories to be.

Stars: Four, a great read, perfect suspense, great balance of sex v story with neither dominating, but I just can’t go five stars and accept that Cade can be a romantic hero, knowing he’s also a violent thug and very likely a killer too.
That’s my issues though, won’t affect others of course so it could be a five star read for you 😉

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Strong Enough, Melanie Harlow.

Strong Enough, Melanie Harlow.

Strong Enough by [Harlow, Melanie, Romanov, David]

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I’ve enjoyed some of Melanie’s past novels and was delighted to get this for review – I do so like a good M?M romance, somehow there’s so often the tenderness, the real romance side that’s often lacking in hetero novels. And this book had bags of that, along with some very sensual heat.

I loved Maxim, he’s just such a true gentleman, loves his mum and little sister, opens doors for ladies, always polite, that sort of guy.
He wants more than the life waiting for him in Russia, with its anti-gay stance, and has taken a 6 month visa to the US to follow his script-writing dreams. Sadly though, like so many he’s unprepared for the vicious, cruel world waiting to take advantage of an innocent.
The guy who’s meeting him and showing him to his new home doesn’t show up, then having a drink in a bar wondering what to do next his luggage gets nicked, and he’s homeless, jobless, cashless all in one fell swoop.
Luckily Derek’s sister has a penchant for strays, for helping people and animals and when she hears whats happened she invited Max to stay with Derek, then rings Derek and tells him 😉

Derek’s kind of  a neat freak, a place for everything and everything in its place. His friends take the mickey but its how he is, along with his long held dream of wife and family. Times passing though, he’s approaching forty and hasn’t got there yet despite trying hard.
Of course when we see him with Max its clear why, he’s really not that into women, maybe he’s bi, but its clear he wants Max. He’s had an upbringing though that’s taught him Gay Is Bad.

What a disservice parents do when they inflict their bias and views on their kids, and how hard it is to come out and go against parental dictates.
Its not good parenting doing that, but sadly for so many people its what they get. I get the feeling its not so much homophobia, as not really understanding it and fear that drives his parents.
Never the less Derek is not going to act on his attraction, it makes him angry with himself and Max, just knowing its there. And then it all gets too much and he snatches Max into one searingly sensual, erotic, life changing kiss that shocks them both.

Gah, Derek made me so angry with his hot/cold, not-my-fault attitude, and poor Max was totally confused.
I did understand and sympathise with Derek though, he’s repressed these feelings for so long, won’t even acknowledge them to himself, so he’s had his world turned upside down when he cant do that with Max.
Max isn’t going to be anyones dirty little secret though, had to hide himself in Russia, isn’t doing that again…

So can they make it through, can they find a HEA or is their romance doomed?
Its heartbreaking at times wanting them to be together and yet seeing Derek’s barriers fall down tight again.
I really enjoyed their story, the emotions, the sweetness, and of course the angst.

Stars: five, a really emotional read, with a sweet and yet steamy romance.

ARC supplied for review purposes by author

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