Friday, November 30, 2012

Inertia by Amelia C. Gormley

Title: Inertia 
Author: Amelia C. Gormley
My RatingB+


Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Impulse #1
Main Characters: Derrick and Gavin
Release Date: July 2012
ISBN: ebook
Publisher: -
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:

AN OBJECT AT REST

Quiet, down-to-earth Detroit handyman Derrick Chance has had enough loss for a lifetime and he has no intention of ever risking his heart again. Living alone in the old house his grandparents left him, with only his dog and a few close friends for companionship, he has written off the possibility of romance or even sex. He refuses to consider himself lonely, or wonder what he might be missing. His life is organized, predictable, and, best of all, risk-free.

Until the day he installs shelves for accountant Gavin Hayes. With his contradictory combination of confidence and self-doubt, Gavin draws Derrick in with an intensity he's never known. As undeniable as gravity, Derrick finds himself falling for Gavin in defiance of all his usual slow and methodical ways. But Gavin carries wounds of his own. Fresh from an emotionally abusive relationship that ended with a dangerous betrayal, his future is far from certain. Can Derrick choose passion over safety, and let himself believe that Gavin is worth the risk?

My Review:
It's interesting the way that the author is setting up this series. This is a trilogy following the story of two men, Derrick and Gavin, through Derrick's eyes. At the time of writing this review, I haven't yet read the other two installments, but it seems to me that the author is setting up the books to show the stages of dating for this couple. I like that idea. As the first in the series, this book is showing how Derrick and Gavin come to be in a relationship.  That isn't as straight-forward as you would think. Gavin still has some lingering issues from his former boyfriend. We just see glimpses of this in this book, but I have a feeling that is going to come more into play in books #2 and #3.

For Derrick, this is a relationship that he never saw coming. For seven years (through high school and college) he dated the same girl. They grew apart, broke up, but still remained friends. That break-up was ten years ago. She knew he was attracted to boys when they broke up and now she's urging him to get out there and "live"...because he's never done that.  When they broke up, he was the primary caregiver to his grandparents who raised him. He basically spent three years watching them die. As a result, he just never felt the urge to try for another relationship. He had a HUGE physical blow to his psyche  with her break-up and their death and he just doesn't want to open his heart to a possibility of pain like that again. 

And the thing is...Derrick is such a nice guy, but completely clueless when it comes to a relationship. He doesn't know the protocol for even the most basic of dating rituals...flirting, asking someone out, first kiss, etc. You can't help but fall in love with and hurt for his character. He is so far out of his element here...with dating in general, much less dating a guy which he has NEVER done. While reading you want to just give him a hug and then a shove towards Gavin.

To me, Gavin is more your typical gay guy. He's very put together and usually self-confident, but there are cracks. You don't get any of the story from his POV, but you get to where you can spot that all isn't quite as it seems. Something has happened to him to fracture his self-confidence. There are lingering things going on here which makes him reluctant to get involved with Derrick, even though he obviously wants to become involved.

This book was a great start to the series and I can't wait to see where this couple goes from here, because things have definitely just begun and it's obviously not going to be all smooth sailing. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Pleasures of Winter by Evie Hunter


Title: The Pleasures of Winter 
Author: Evie Hunter
My Rating: B+

Genre: Erotic Romance 

Series: -
Main Characters: Abbie and Jack
Release Date: November 2012
ISBN: ebook
Publisher: Penguin
Links to Purchase:

Sexual Intensity: erotic


Story Overview:
The Pleasures of Winter is a steamy erotic story of romantic obsession and explosive sexual chemistry for fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You.

When reporter Abbie Marshall needs to escape Honduras, a private jet carrying a Hollywood A-lister is her only way out. She has a ride home with Irish actor Jack Winter - notorious womanizer and all round bad boy. Abbie is shaken to the core by Winter's blazing beauty and provocative mind.

After the plane's nose-dive into the remote rainforest forces them to fight for survival, Abbie catches tantalizing glimpses of the complicated man behind the image. And the more she sees of him, the more he touches some primal part of her that she is determined to suppress. But after a devastating encounter with Winter's shadow side, Abbie's detachment is shattered.

On returning to normal life, Abbie cannot forget what happened, nor ignore the shocking rumours about the star's private life. Her struggle to make sense of her torment leads straight back to Winter, who is just as obsessed by her. But if they are to have a relationship, Abbie knows she must embrace his hidden desires ... and accept her own.

No longer caring about anything but their intoxicating love affair, Abbie is drawn deeper into the dark heart of Winter - and the secret that threatens to destroy everything ...

'Evie Hunter' is actually two Irish authors who discovered a mutual love of erotic fiction when doing a creative writing workshop two years ago. They are delighted the rest of the world has caught up with them. Before writing The Pleasures of Winter, their first full-length novel, they co-wrote a number of BDSM-themed novellas.

My Review:
Okay, flat out, this book is definitely along the lines of the Fifty Shades phenomena. This is a BDSM relationship where the hero, Jack, is hard into the scene and the heroine, Abbie, is an innocent when it comes to BDSM play. I found the book entertaining, although I will admit to feeling a bit uncomfortable about how close some of the scenes mirrored scenes in other books which I've read. The story line had some real chances to set itself apart, but it just fell a bit short when it came to the follow through. But let's talk about what did work in the story....

The story starts off with the heroine being pursued through an airport in S. America. She's a reporter doing an expose on the drug trafficking and has stirred up something along the way. She needs an escape fast and her editor finds it by quickly slating her to do an interview of a hot A-list actor, Jack, who just happens to be at the same airport with a private jet. While en route, the pilot has a heart attack and they end up crashed in the jungle for 4 days. Honestly, if the authors had stayed with this story line....jungle, danger, intrigue...I would have been thrilled with this book. It was creative and entertaining and we got to see Jack being all alpha without being full-on Dom (although he did still have his moments). I liked that the heroine is a tough reporter and being threatened because of it. Unfortunately, the closure for this story line was rushed and unsatisfactory. Seriously, this part alone could have elevated this book to such a great level. It's sad when I see such amazing possibilities that don't quite live up to where they could have gone.

The book read well and was most definitely entertaining. I enjoyed both the main characters. There were some aspects of Jack (movie star that's been burned by his lifestyle before) that made him a great hero with some vulnerabilities. I liked how the author showed that he's just as affected by Abbie is she is by him, even though he's the Dom in story and in full take-charge mode most of the time. He's still human and I liked that... a LOT!

I really loved the last 25% of the book. There are some scenes from Ireland that I really enjoyed. Although I had a few issues with the way that it transpired, I thought the controversy in the last half of the book was good and loaded with great angst. I liked it. Overall, this was a great book. Would it be out there without Fifty Shades? Probably not, and I find that somewhat sad. I like what Fifty Shades has done for the erotica world. I just wish that there was a bit more creativity put into the end-result, but that doesn't change the fact that I enjoyed this one and it was definitely worth my time. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Operation Cinderella by Hope Tarr

Title: Operation Cinderella
Author: Hope Tarr
My Rating: A



Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Suddenly Cinderella #1
Main Characters: Macie and Ross
Release Date: October 2012 
ISBN: e-book
Publisher: Entangled
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy



Story Overview:
Manhattan magazine editor Macie Graham always gets her story—and she’ll do anything to uncover the dirt on famous radio personality Ross Mannon. After he smears her article on his show, nearly costing Macie her job, she devises a plan to masquerade as a modern-day Cinderella and get her revenge on the infuriating Texan.

All Ross wants is a woman with old-fashioned values to be his housekeeper and role model for his troubled teenage daughter. When the perfect woman shows up, Ross is relieved—until he finds himself drawn to his gorgeous, red-stiletto-wearing new employee. “Martha Jane” is opinionated and sexy, and Ross is intrigued…and more than a little turned on.

Macie thought Operation Cinderella was foolproof, but Ross, with his rugged good looks and southern charm, proves to be as perfect behind-the-scenes as he does in public. But when she finally uncovers a secret that could destroy Ross's reputation, she faces losing her job or losing the fairy-tale ending she didn't even know she wanted.


My Review:
I love it when I finish a book and I have a grin on my face. This was one of those books. 

Macie is an assistant editor on a liberal magazine out of NYC. She wrote a piece about prepping teenage girls with birth control BEFORE they become sexually active. When Ross Mannon saw the article, he was panicking over his 15 yo daughter's uncharacteristic behavior and it struck pure terror into his heart. As a conservative radio talk show host, he took that and ran with it, lambasting the magazine on his nationally broadcast radio show. The effects were immediately felt at the magazine as advertising was pulled, which sends Macie scrambling. Her plan....to expose Ross by going undercover within his household as a housekeeper/nanny for his daughter.

For Ross, he doesn't really know his daughter anymore. He hasn't had her for more than a couple of weeks at a time since he divorced her mother. He sure doesn't know what to do with this moody teenager who shows up unexpectedly on his doorstep to stay. He just knows that he needs help since he's very busy with his job and sees Macie as the perfect applicant. She's made sure that she presents a face that he will see as perfect...conservative, old-fashioned, raised in a small town with small town values. He doesn't question it, especially after her references check out.

On paper, these are two very different people... politically... but they connect in all the ways that matter. They have fun together and truly enjoy each other. There are several background stories at play here and one of those is Macie and her past. In her real life, she's goth and edgy, but a lot of it is a cover for something that happened to her during her teen years. Because she has to lose that armor, she begins to find herself again. I really liked that aspect of the story line and liked how it tied in with Ross's daughter, Sam's, story. If there is one thing that I could change with this story, I wish that the author had a moment between Sam and Macie about that. It really could have had an amazing emotional impact. But as the book is, it was really very good. I truly enjoyed everything about the story...the shoes, the magazine, the political background, Sam, Frannie, Macie's family...it was all really well-done and made for a great story!

Note: The touch of whimsy at the end of this book was just perfect. I definitely look forward to reading the rest of this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Naughty and Nice Anthology




Title:  Naughty and Nice
Author: Anthology
My Rating Overall: A


Genre: Holiday Romance
Series: -
Main Characters: anthology
Release Date: November 2012

ISBNe-book
Publisher: Loveswept 
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Tis the season for romance with three original holiday-themed novellas! Unwrap this festive eBook bundle and discover why these authors are quickly becoming the biggest names in the genre. Ruthie Knox tells a heartwarming contemporary story of first loves given the gift of a second chance; Molly O’Keefe releases the ghosts of Christmas past with a prequel to her novel Crazy Thing Called Love; and Stefanie Sloane weaves an irresistible Regency tale of fiery passion that burns deep on a cold winter’s night.
*******************


Title: Room at the Inn
Author: Ruthie Knox
My Rating: A+
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Main Characters: Julie and Carson
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Carson Vance couldn’t wait to get out of Potter Falls, but now that he’s back to spend Christmas with his ailing father, he must face all the people he left behind . . . like Julie Long, whose heart he broke once upon a time. Now the proprietor of the local inn, Julie is a successful, seductive, independent woman—everything that Carson’s looking for. But despite several steamy encounters under the mistletoe, Julie refuses to believe in happily ever after. Now Carson must prove to Julie that he’s back for good—and that he wants her in his life for all the holidays to come.

My Review:
A+ rating
Yes, this is a story that left me with tears in my eyes. It was such a GOOD story! Sixteen years....that's how long ago Carson left Potter Falls and the love of his life, Julie, there. He's been back for short visits, but never stays, even though every single time the chemistry and feelings between him and Julie are always explosive.

Julie came to visit Potter Falls when she was dating Carson in college. Having grown up in NYC with a family that was all about their things, she found a life and a home in Potter Falls, even though Carson refused to stay there and share it with her. For Carson, Potter Falls has always meant this crushing pressure on his chest. He feels like he's suffocating there and never stays. Julie stayed, adopted his parents, and saved his mother's life...in every way.

This story was so incredibly creative and wonderful. I couldn't figure out just what Carson's problem was, but when it's really revealed why he feels this crushing pressure in this town, my heart just broke for him. *gah* SUCH A GOOD STORY!! So heartfelt. So emotional. So absolutely PERFECT as a Christmas story. Truly, this story is simply wonderful!! It's definitely one I will read every single year. Read it...you won't regret it!!

***************************

Title: All I Want for Christmas is You
Author: Molly O'Keefe
My Rating: B+
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Main Characters: Billy and Maddy
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Maddy Baumgarten and Billy Wilkins are spontaneous, in love, and prepared to elope the day after Christmas—that is, if Maddy’s family doesn’t throw a wrench in their plans. After all, Maddy’s barely out of high school and Billy’s a notorious bad boy. Maddy doesn’t care about Billy’s rough past—all she cares about is living in the here and now. But after Maddy’s mother stops speaking to her in protest, and a Christmas Eve heart-to-heart with her father leaves her with butterflies, Maddy starts to get cold feet. She loves Billy, but is she taking this big step too soon?

My Review:
B+ rating
This is a novella which features the beginnings of Billy and Maddy's marriage. They are the couple in the upcoming novel, Crazy Thing Called Love, releasing in late January. But in this portion of the story, they are very young. Maddy is about to turn 18 and Billy is 20 and on the verge of heading into the NHL. They plan to get married on her 18th birthday which is the day after Christmas, but Maddy has doubts and so does her family.

They are so young in this and definitely act that way throughout the novella, but I loved having this little insight into their backstory. Back story is VERY important to know when you head into their current story (which I was lucky to also have an ARC of so that I could jump right into it when I finished this. HINT: It's an AMAZING book...my review won't be up until it's release date, but I gave a HUGE A+ to Crazy Thing Called Love. Seriously, that book is so good. You want to read this one to get you ready for that one.)

But back to this book...it's a novella when they are very young. It's very angsty, but also very sweet. The novella only covers 3 days, but these two have been together/friends/dating for 8 years. It's short, it's sweet, but it gives you just a taste of the tempestuous relationship between this volatile hero and emotional heroine.
**********************

ONE PERFECT CHRISTMAS by Stephanie Sloane

Story Overview:
After being jilted by her fiancĂ©, Jane Merriweather turns to her dear childhood friend, the Honorable Lucas Cavanaugh, for support—and unlocks the smoldering desire simmering in the man’s troubled heart. Frightened by his newfound feelings, Lucas flees to Scotland. But when the Christmas season brings them together again, one glance is all that’s needed to reignite his yearning. If Lucas can convince Jane that his intentions are as pure as the falling snow, they’ll turn a dreary December into a joyous Yuletide affair.


My Review:
I am not going to rate this novella, simply because I don't read or enjoy historical novels that often anymore. I did read this one and it was written really well. This just isn't a style of novel that's to my tastes.

Top Off Tuesday: Tightly Wound by Mia Dymond

hmm, he can undress for me any day...

Tightly Wound by Mia Dymond
(hint: I could do a couple of month's worth of Top Off Tuesday posts using Mia Dymond's covers. I highly recommend doing an amazon search for her simply for the gorgeous cover eye-candy.)


Story Overview:
Claire Steele has spent her whole life dodging shadows. Psychic since birth, she uses her talent to chase the evil lurking in the recesses of her mind.

For years, Lt. Malcolm "Shadow" Windsor has walked the fragile boundary of friendship, silently waiting for Claire to acknowledge her love for him. An ex-Navy SEAL and expert tracker, he knows patience is the key to her surrender. Until sinister forces threaten to eliminate her.

Caught between love and death, Claire and Shadow must combine both talent and skill to survive.

**********************

Join us (Felicia from The Geeky Book Blogger and Amanda from On a Book Bender and Me) as we celebrate those gorgeous hunky covers!! Thanks to Diana from Book of Secrets for creating this fabulous button.



Felicia is hosting the linky for this meme on her blog, so come play along....

*post a cover of a hot guy 
who just happens to be topless

*then go add your link to Felicia's blog.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Men Of Smithfield: Adam and Holden by L.B. Gregg


Title: Men Of Smithfield: Adam and Holden 
Author: L.B. Gregg
My RatingA

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Men of Smithfield #4
Main Characters: Adam and Holden
Release Date: November 2012
ISBN: ebook
Publisher: Carina Press
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Holden Worthington's globetrotting days are over. Once the host of a popular adventure show, he hasn't ventured past his own front door in more than a year. Then the arrival of a sexy new gardener sparks something Holden hasn't felt in a very long time—an interest in the world outside his window.

Holden tries to resist the attraction. But painfully shy yet definitely interested Adam Morgan has Holden longing to conquer his debilitating anxiety and live again. After a grisly discovery on the grounds of the estate, the town of Smithfield turns a suspicious eye on the reclusive Holden—and the two men must trust in each other to bring the truth out in the open.

Previously published, newly revised by author.

My Review:
The heroes in this book are really different, but I liked it. 

Holden is a 40 year old recluse suffering from debilitating agoraphobia. If he goes outside, he passes out. The most mind-boggling thing about this is that he used to live his entire life outdoors and under the spotlight. He's an award-winning author who spent five years trotting the globe, recreating the amazing adventures of his books for national TV. It all fell apart when his partner both on the TV show and in life outed him and ambushed him on a live talk show about his secret life writing gay erotica. The agoraphobia grew from that backlash. Now he stays indoors...ALL. THE. TIME.

I loved Holden's character and the entire story is told from his POV. He's snarky, and self-depricating, and horny, and so darn funny. His internal thoughts kept me giggling the whole time. He knows that he has severe psychological problems and with his new infatuation/lust over his new gardener, Adam, he can now add pervert to the list (his words, not mine).

Adam is only twenty-four years old. He has his own social issues. He cannot (truly is NOT able to do it) read innuendo or subtext to what people are telling him. He doesn't get jokes, or insults, or any of those subtle things that we all read into what people are telling us. He's also gay. As a result, he's learned to stay away from people because he doesn't get the subtle clues that tell him when he needs to back off or feel threatened or even that someone is attracted to him. He's been hurt both mentally and physically because of it and has learned that it's just easier to not put himself out there in any regard.

When Holden learned this, there was no holding him back. Holden is one of those guys who is in your face, telling you like it is...pure honesty, no holds barred. But for these two, that's what they need. Honestly, age aside, they are truly the perfect pairing up of people and I loved their romantic story. They are both such misfits, but they fit so well together.

There is also a great mystery/suspense story line in this book. Adam finds a dead body (who just happens to be Holden's ex-lover's current love) buried in the garden. Honestly, I had NO IDEA who did it until it was revealed in the book. That story line was done REALLY well. Usually, I have some sort of idea, but I was guessing all wrong on this one and when it was revealed, I could see it clearly. The clues were there, they were just woven in so amazingly well that I didn't catch them. 

This is book #4 in this series. I haven't read the other three yet, but they are definitely going into my TBR to read SOON! Just a great book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.