Saturday, April 19, 2014

Houseboat on the Nile by Tinnean

Title: Houseboat on the Nile
Author: Tinnean
My Rating: B+ 

Genre: Romantic Suspense (m/m) 
Series: Spy vs. Spook #1
Main CharactersMark and Quinn
Release Date: March 2012
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Links to Purchase
Amazon  
Sexual Intensity: hot



Story Overview:
Mark Vincent is WBIS—Washington Bureau of Intelligence and Security. Quinton Mann is staunchly CIA. Mark thinks the CIA is full of dilettantes who leave him and the rest of the WBIS to clean up their messes. Quinn thinks most WBIS agents are sociopathic loose cannons. So they don’t exactly get along.

Of course, just because they don’t like each other doesn’t mean they can’t play mind games on each other. Or sleep together. But when an explosion at Mark’s apartment sends Quinn to the morgue to ID a body, he has to reevaluate his position on denial.

My Review:
You need to go into this knowing that this is not your normal book and these are most definitely not your normal spies/agents. At the heart of the conflict in this novel is the competition between the different alphabet agencies in DC. Mark is WBIS, while Quinn is CIA. Mark has a reputation for being a tough, but extremely good at what he does...and he is tough. Whoa, this guy does not allow for betrayal of any sort even within the agencies (and on one level, I found that was a little appalling.) 

But I did fall in love with both of these guys, although it did take a little bit. The first quarter of the book, the reader is deep into the politics of the alphabet agencies and all the double-agents and politics of the different cases going on. Once the book settled into the relationship between the two main characters, I liked the story a lot better. The book is written in an interesting way, too. First it's told in 1st person point of view from one of the heroes, then it goes on to repeat the same scenes in 1st person point of view from the other heroes view. Overall, I really liked that once I settled into the rhythm of it. It's a completely different style than I've ever read before, but it made it so that the reader knew every detail about how these guys felt about things. 

For so much of the book, there is a back and forth to the relationship between the guys. Just like their work relationship, they are pretty contentious with each other, but for these two, a lot of that boils down to simmering sexual chemistry. It was fun to read about that ratcheting up as they became deeper and deeper entwined. It was also really entertaining to see what they would come up with next.

I feel like in this book that I got to know Mark better, which is intriguing in and of itself just because Mark is the more closed off of the two characters. But I loved him. His protective nature, especially with the rent boys, just melted my heart. This is not a guy that makes connections easily, but when he does, they are deep, long-abiding connections. How can you not love a guy like that? But by the same token, when he makes enemies, he doesn't forget and he has several enemies in this book. 

Like I said, this book was unlike any I've ever read before, but I did ultimately enjoy it and immediately got online and bought the rest of the trilogy. I later found out there are following books about the rentboys...I love that because I really did get attached to those guys. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cover Reveal: Hard to Hold On To by Laura Kaye


ABOUT HARD TO HOLD ON TO:

Edward "Easy" Cantrell knows better than most the pain of not being able to save those he loves--which is why he is not going to let Jenna Dean out of his sight.  He may have just met her, but Jenna's the first person to make him feel alive since that devastating day in the desert more than a year ago.

Jenna has never met anyone like Easy. She can't describe how he makes her feel--and not just because he saved her life. No, the stirrings inside her reach far beyond gratitude.

As the pair are thrust together while chaos reigns around them, they both know one thing: the things in life most worth having are the hardest to hold on to.

And don’t miss the other Hard Ink books, now available:




A Note from Laura:

Hey guys! I am so excited about Easy’s book that I can hardly wait for August to get here! Easy’s character was a total surprise to me. When I initially plotted out the series, there were four surviving members of the Army Special Forces team and therefore I planned for and sold four book in the series. But then, when I sat down to write Hard As It Gets, all of a sudden the story demanded there were actually five guys, and Edward “Easy” Cantrell was born. And I’m so glad! Because Easy’s character is a totally tortured hero, which I adore writing! So I’m super happy that we added his story and this novella into the series, and I can’t wait for you to learn about Easy in Hard to Hold On To!

Is it August yet???

xo, Laura

Praise for the Hard Ink Series:

For Hard As You Can:

"TOP PICK! There is a sinister and desperate edge to this tale that will keep readers glued to their seats. Kaye has dark romantic suspense nailed!" ~ RT Book Reviews Magazine

"Hard As You Can is another five star read. The characters Ms. Kaye has created are wonderfully broken and the drama is gritty, but the burgeoning romance and the tight-knitted relationship of the team leaves you with a sense of redemption. A must read series!" ~San Francisco Book Review

For Hard As It Gets:

"Edgy, sexy and full of suspense!  A great read from a great new author!" ~ #1 NYT Bestselling Author J.R. Ward
"Sizzling romance... The intriguing tattoo parlor and military background will appeal to fans of Suzanne Brockmann and Lindsay McKenna." ~Publishers Weekly Review

"Kaye's depiction of sexual tension and her sex scenes are masterful and this will appeal to fans of Maya Banks' KGI and Julia Ann Walker's Black Knight's series." ~Booklist

ABOUT LAURA KAYE:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Pre-Order Links:

Links:







Reckless by Skye Jordan

Title: Reckless
Author: Skye Jordan 
My Rating: A 

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Renegades #1
Main CharactersLexi and Jax
Release Date: August 2013
Publisher: Cygnet Books
Links to Purchase
Amazon  
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
A couture wedding dress designer to the rich and famous, Lexi LaCroix’s image means everything. But crossing paths with a sexier-than-sin, bad-boy biker makes Lexi realize how much living she’s sacrificed for her success and one touch is all it takes to threaten her carefully choreographed life. When that touch fills far more than just Lexi’s physical needs, she finds herself torn between the career she needs and the bad-boy she craves.

Jax Chamberlin gave up the superficial life of acting for the thrill of running his own stunt company years ago. But a recent betrayal proves he’s still too close to the limelight to find a woman who doesn’t plan to use him as a stepping-stone to success. When the charming and mysterious Lexi offers him a totally anonymous hook-up during an out of town trip, Jax accepts. Only Lexi is more sextacular than charming, and Jax wants more.

But Lexi’s got a major hang-up over his renegade lifestyle, and Jax isn’t willing to change his ways. Especially not when he discovers who she really is. Because if she finds out his connections could catapult her to the top of her career, he’s afraid the fantasy woman he’s falling for might just end up like all the other gold-diggers. And this time, it’s not just his bad-boy reputation at risk, but his heart, too.

My Review:
I have this book in print, e-book, and audiobook formats. Overkill much? I know, but everyone said it was good, and they were right. The day I started it, I was in between audiobooks and needed to do about 30 minutes of mindless chores around the house. It was the perfect time for an audiobook. Big, HUGE mistake. I managed to listen to the first seven chapters on audio doing that single 30 minute chore and then finding several others just so I could listen just a little bit longer. I finally bit the bullet, pulled out my print book, and didn't get anything else constructive done the rest of the day. Yes, this is one of those books...it sucked me in and didn't let me go until the final page. Then I immediately got online and bought the ebook of #2. (Can I whine here right now about the fact that book #2 isn't available in print yet?...I do love my print books.)

So, yeah, if you didn't catch the gist of all that...this book is freaking awesome! I loved every minute of reading/listening to it. From the first scene, the story grabbed my attention and I couldn't read fast enough because I had to know how things were going to get resolved between these two amazing, sexy characters: Lexi and Jax...and they are incredible characters. 

Lexi is a girl struggling to build her business. Okay, so she may not be a normal girl. She used to be a model and now owns and runs her own haute couture design business, but every day that is a struggle with long hours and very little reward...mainly because she doesn't allow her time to have a reward. Her every loyalty right now is to making her business a success.

Jax isn't all that normal either, but Lexi has no idea because she doesn't even own a TV...and again, never takes time to herself so she never sees movies either. He's a former movie star, son of A-list hollywood, and has his own business, too... a stuntman business. Like Lexi, he works way too many long hours trying to build his business. While he doesn't need the money that comes from it, he knows that his employees do so he's doing all this work for them. 

They truly are the perfect couple with incredible, sexy, sizzling chemistry, but they both live in LA and have definitely been burned by beautiful people. Chemistry or no, neither one trusts the either especially since they know nothing about one another. 

The build-up and set-up for this romance was awesome. I loved it and the suspense of the romance kept me 110% engaged in the outcome of their explosive relationship. This story touched every hot button for me. Both characters have incredible careers and the book visited both of them which provided some great, interesting ambience for the book. And when they weren't working, the sex was simply scorching. Wow...it's been a while since I've read a book that was this hot. Really, really hot. 

I loved it all! And I can't wait to read book #2, Rebel. We got to meet the hero and heroine in this book and they are going to be awesome...I think all that sexy flirting is going to get deep pretty quick. Renegades is the stuntman company that Jax owns and I foresee several good books in the future from this series. Yippee! I love finding new series that I love!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Trouble & the Wildflower by Kade Boehme

Title: Trouble & the Wildflower
Author: Kade Boehme
My Rating: A- 

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: -
Main CharactersDavy and Gavin
Release Date: February 2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Links to Purchase
Amazon  
Sexual Intensity: hot



Story Overview:
Raised in near seclusion by an agoraphobic mother, Davy Cooper’s social skills are almost nonexistent. Now that his mother has died, he needs to make friends for the first time in his life. He catches Gavin Walker’s eye, but the sexy, confident, bad boy hipster intimidates shy Davy so much that he throws away Gavin’s number every time he offers it. 

When Gavin defends Davy from a rude guy, Davy begins to warm to him. However, with his limited experience, he thinks he and Gavin are too different, and anything more than a casual acquaintance will end in complete disaster.

My Review:
A- rating

This was one of those books that when I read the last line, I had a smile on my face. I like books like that, but I will admit that there were some unexpected aspects to this story (and I LOVE that!)

Reading the story description, I went into this book thinking that Davy would be the more fragile, weaker, scarred character and that appeared to be true at first. But Gavin's outgoing, self-confident facade is hiding someone very different underneath. There was most definitely a character arc that changed who both of these characters are throughout the book and it was fascinating to follow their story as that evolved.

Davy is extremely socially awkward. As a result, Gavin's heavy-handed flirting and hitting on him makes him EXTREMELY uncomfortable. He's attracted to Gavin, but no way could he ever go out with someone like that. He'd never be able to keep up. In the beginning of the book, my heart ached for Davy. He wants to do all those things, but he's so painfully shy, he doesn't. The scene of him at the nightclub hurt to read.

But I love that Gavin didn't give up. He's playful and outgoing and a complete flirt and he just keeps pushing at Davy, until eventually Davy agrees to be at least friends. Through that friendship, they really begin to learn about the guys underneath and not just the Trouble & Wildflower personas that the rest of the world sees. It's a great book about how easy it is to judge someone else without knowing what's really going on with them. For Gavin, this is especially true. He's hiding a world of hurt under that laissez-faire attitude. I really liked that aspect to the story line although again...my heart just broke for him and the situation from his past with Max. Although, thank goodness for fate because he wouldn't have ever met Davy if that hadn't happened. 

And then there's Oliver. I was so surprised by that aspect of the story line so late in the book, but it absolutely made me fall in love with this book even more. And it really did make the ending on this one so perfect. That last line...like I said, it left me with a smile and for me, that's the sign of a good book. 

I need to read more by this author!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger (audiobook) by Beth Harbison


Title: Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger
Author: Beth Harbison
My RatingB
Narrated byOrlagh Cassidy 

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: -
Main CharactersQuinn and the Morrison boys
Release Date: July 2013
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Links to Purchase
Audible  
Sexual Intensity: spicy


Story Overview:

From Beth Harbison, the New York Times best-selling author of When in Doubt, Add Butter and Shoe Addicts Anonymous, comes Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger, a delightful new novel that will make you look at second chances in a whole new way.
Ten years ago, Quinn Barton was on her way to the altar to marry Burke Morrison, her high school sweetheart, when something derailed her. Rather, someone derailed her - the Best Man who at the last minute begged her to reconsider the marriage. He told her that Burke had been cheating on her. For a long time. Quinn, stunned, hurt, and confused, struggled with the obligation of fulfilling her guests’ expectations - providing a wedding - and running for her life.
She chose running. With the Best Man. Who happened to be Burke’s brother, Frank.
That relationship didn’t work either. How could it, when Quinn had been engaged to, in love with, Frank’s brother? Quinn opts for neither, and, instead, spends the next 17 years working in her family’s Middleburg, Virginia, bridal shop, Talk of the Gown, where she subconsciously does penance for the disservice she did to marriage.
But when the two men return to town for another wedding, old anger, hurt, and passion resurface. Just because you’ve traded the good guy for the bad guy for no guy doesn’t mean you have to stay away from love for the rest of your life, does it? Told with Beth Harbison's flair for humor and heart, Chose the Wrong Guy will keep you guessing and make you believe in the possibilities of love.
©2013 Beth Harbison (P)2013 Macmillan Audio

My Review:
Overall.... 3.50
Performance... 3.75

Story.... 3.50

Beth Harbison's books tend to fall more under women's fiction than my normal straight romance genres that I like to read, but every once in a while, I grab one on audio for something different. I absolutely adore the title of this one which is definitely what grabbed me and the story sounded intriguing.

This book is okay. It's really about Quinn and where her life has gone...or hasn't gone...in the last ten years since she left Burke at the altar. Since the notorious weekend, she has seen neither Burke (jilted groom) or Frank (best man and Burke's brother that she spent the weekend in Vegas with after the jilting) although neither has ever truly left her thoughts. Even though she hasn't seen them, she's still in the same place she always was. In fact, very little about her life has changed in 10 years. She's stuck in a rut which is made more obvious when the two guys come to town to help their grandmother close her life there.

There's another character to this story...Quinn's gay best friend, Glenn, who also grew up with the other three although he wasn't in their circle of friends then. He sees Quinn struggle and sets out to change her perspective with a 30 day challenge. Every day, he gives her an assignment to do something that isn't normal for her. He sees that she's stagnating and confused and wants to help shake things up for her. 

This book isn't all that long...8 hours on audio, but it did go on for too long with the amount of story there. It got a bit old to listen to Quinn go on and on in her head about what happened with Burke and how she should have handled it all better back then. With two hours left on the audio, I actually considered DNF'ing it because I was getting so fed up with her. But I stuck with it and in the end, I was glad that I did.

There are no winners here because all three of these people are entwined in each other's lives and they are ALL very emotionally involved, regardless of the fact that it's been 10 years. I definitely had a favorite with who I thought Quinn  should be with, but even with that, there really wasn't a bad choice here. In fact, even Quinn choosing neither guy would have been okay, too. NO SPOILERS HERE. The point of the story was that life moves on and she needed to move past that event in her life and find happiness in her choice...in whichever way possible.

Normally, I am a HUGE Orlagh Cassidy fan, but there were a few issues with her narration on this one. Toward the end of the book, the voices kept getting crossed and it was hard to tell who was speaking which lines. Even the main characters, especially Quinn got lost in the other voices in those final scenes which is really bad and distracting at those pivotal moments in the book. 

Overall, I'm not sad that I took the time to listen to this one, but it definitely isn't one I would ever listen to again. Like I said, it was okay...and sometimes okay is good enough for a little escape.