Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: Backwoods (#1)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was the first book I've ever read that was a male/male romance. Shane - the heterosexual, gruff bar owner in Nowheresville, Louisiana and Gabriel - the "too beautiful to be believed" mandolin player. Gabriel walks into Shane's bar one night - and neither of their lives would ever be the same again.

Shane has never been attracted to men......until he meets Gabriel. There's something magical about Gabriel that Shane just can't understand - and what starts out as Gabriel just bumming a night on Shane's couch soon turns into nights of passion and the best sex Shane has ever had.

OK - I really loved this story. The chemistry was very real between Shane and Gabriel. I love the fact that Shane is a macho alpha-male heterosexual who can't quite understand his attraction to this man. He fights the attraction, takes his anger out on Gabriel (which he loves) and they have some crazy hot mansex.

This was my first m/m book....but it certainly won't be my last. Hot sex is hot sex, y'all. Whether it's m/m, m/f, m/f/m.....whatever. H.O.T.

My ONLY complaint is that this book was so short. I would have rather it have been a full length novel with more time for some character building (more for Gabriel than Shane).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Review: Spitfire

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this short story. I really did. But the truth is, I sort of hated it. The "hero" was a complete asshole of caveman proportions. I get that he was into spanking and such. But his spankings came across like he was actually punishing the "heroine", rather than just spanking her for some sexy bedroom fun. I don't mind the men in my books being dominate. I'll admit, it's kind of hot. And authors that write about these types of men do walk that fine line of dominate sexy male versus caveman douchebag asshole. Our hero, Rem, came across as the 2nd type. As a result of the caveman hero, I didn't even find the sex hot.

I'm disappointed. This was the first Mari Carr book that I didn't love. Boo-hiss-grrr. So mad.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: Because Of You

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was definitely a shorter story that was begging to be a full length novel. The plot and characters were great, although the bad guy in the piece was not a shock at all. I think if the book had been fleshed out into a full length book, the story surrounding the bad guy could have been built up more and it would have been more of a surprise.

So, the story focuses on Jessie, a young widow, who is not convinced that her husband's "accidental" death was an accident. She begins asking questions and doing her own investigating and soon she begins receiving phone calls and threats....she gets mugged.....and her apartment is broken into. To get away from it all, she goes and stays with her gay BFF in a little town about 3 hours away. While on vacay, she meets Caleb at a party. They both have a little too much to drink and Caleb walks her home.....and they have some tipsy hot sex on the kitchen counter.

Even though Jessie feels it's too soon to hop back into another relationship (it's only been 8 months since her husband died), she can't help the attraction she feels to Caleb.

But the vacay ends and Jessie goes home and resumes her investigation into her husband's death. The threats against her continue and she ends up moving to the town where her BFF (and Caleb lives). After a car accidents thrusts her back into Caleb's life....they both come to realize that they can't fight the feelings they have for each other.

Like I said, I would have loved for this short to be a full length novel. I think the characters deserved that. But as it is, it's a great short story (albeit, predictable)....and I completely fell in love with Jessie and Caleb. And while this book didn't have as much of the crazy hot monkey sex that Mari Carr's books usually have....what it did have was enough.

Loved it. Solid 4 stars.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Review: Scoring

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Meh. I don't have much to say about this short story. Hunky high school football coach has the hots for the high school choir director. And they have hot monkey sex. That's all fine and good.....and I'm even willing to accept the speed of the "relationship" due to the short length of this piece. BUT - where it fell apart for me is when the story turned into "let's see how many sports related sexual innuendos and double entendres we can fit in here". If there's one sure way to make my girl-wood go limp - it's to start talking about sports. Even if you're really not talking about sports. If you say touchdown but you mean you just had a powerful orgasm.....I probably stopped listening after I was distracted by the word touchdown.

3 stars - but only because I LOVE Mari Carr's writing (and I can't stand to give her anything lower than a 3). And it did sorta start out as a hot little story.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review: The Swing

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yet another hot little gem from Lissa Matthews.

Caitlyn and Jethro. Caitlyn - she is the widow of Jethro's twin brother, Marcus. Jethro and Marcus served in Afghanistan together, were in an accident - and only Jethro walked away from it. The story takes place 2 years after Marcus' death.

Caitlyn was always in love with both men. Marcus was light hearted, fun, romantic, and sweet.....the complete opposite of his twin. Jethro was dark, brooding, and the bad boy that every good girl wanted. It was no secret that Jethro was as in love with Caitlyn as his brother was. (My only problem with all this is WHY Caitlyn married Marcus over Jethro. It's sort of hinted that she had stronger feelings for Jethro....but being a short story, it isn't fully explained. Anyway.....)

So - two years after the death of Marcus - Caitlyn can't ignore her feelings for Jethro any more. She goes to him and they have some crazy hot sex on his porch swing that he built. (And ps - he has a porch swing business.....) Anyhoo.....

Caitlyn is torn between her desire for Jethro and what she feels is a betrayal to her dead husband. She feels passion for Jethro that she never had for Marcus and a desire that she just can't ignore any more.

And Jethro - gah - he could break your heart. His silent longing for Caitlyn.....agh. It was obvious that this was a man that loved his brother. Loved him to the point that he could watch him marry the woman he was in love with, and still be happy for him. He didn't fight Marcus or try to steal Caitlyn away. He just wanted his brother happy. And his brother knew that Jethro was in love with Caitlyn. We realize this when Jethro reveals his dying brother's final words....something to the effect of....."Take care of Caitlyn; I know you've always loved her." Gasp. Heartbreaking.

This story had all the makings for a really, REALLY cliche romance, but you know what - it wasn't like that at all. I found the story to be completely believable, a little gut-wrenching, and most of all....very, very hot. The only thing I wish was that this had been a full length novel. I think it could have easily gone there. There's enough back story presented in this one short story that it could have easily been expanded on. As I turned each page, I found myself wanting to know more. How the twins met Caitlyn.....why Marcus married instead of Jethro.....the war.......the family issues when Marcus and Jethro enlisted. Soooo many questions.

But overall - I loved this piece. A lot. Maybe one day the author will expand on it and give us the full-novel treatment that these characters are just begging for.

Solid 4 stars.

Review: Sugar Rush

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another short gem from Lissa Matthews.

This one involves Jane (the owner of a candy business) and Graham (hunky freelance travel writer). It starts out with Jane making a delivery of her homemade truffles. Usually her business partner/roommate/gay BFF, Edward, makes the deliveries - but today - he insisted she make this one delivery herself. She gets there and meets hunky Graham. And when she tries to give him his truffles, he tells her that he didn't order any. She immediately gets mad, thinking Edward had played a joke on her. She insisted he take them anyway - which he did - only if she would come in for a few minutes and get warmed up. (They're in Denver - and it's winter.) So - as they're sitting on the couch - Graham opens the box of truffles and laughs when he realizes it's a box of rocks. Now Jane is pissed. She had a feeling that maybe Edward wasn't playing a joke but trying to set her up on a weird sort of blind date with Graham. Graham denies knowing anything about a set up or Edward or anything. They share a hot kiss.....but Jane leaves in a huff and goes home to talk to Edward.

Turns out, Edward met Graham at a bar and thought he would be a good match for Jane. See - Jane got her heart broken pretty bad a while back - and she's sort of just given in to moping around and not exactly making an effort to get over her ex. Edward said he just wanted her to smile again. (Awwww.)

Later that night, as Edward rushes out for a "date" and insists that he will be out all night.....Jane sort of figures that something is up. And sure enough.....Graham shows up a few hours later wanting to take Jane out to dinner. Jane ain't havin' it. She makes him leave when she just REALLY wants him to stay. He does leave, only to come back a while later with pizza and beer. If she can't go out to dinner, he'll bring the dinner to her.

And of course - the night ends in sex. HOT sex.

The next morning - after Edward comes back home and realizes that Graham has spent the night......they begin to talk. Jane wakes up and walks in on the tail end of a conversation and takes some words out of context and ends up thinking that Edward made Graham ask her out and that the last evening didn't mean anything to Graham. Furious and somewhat heartbroken - she kicks Graham out again.

Here's what I love about this book - Jane's character. She's a bigger girl who has a lot of self esteem issues, mostly because of the ex that broke her heart. He used to tell her she needed to diet and lose weight....that she wasn't pretty enough....that she needed to change her job.....blah blah blah. And Jane's self esteem suffered because she started to believe him. I've been in very similar situations - where I went into a relationship feeling pretty damn good about myself, but I let the guy's insecurities rub off on me in the form of him telling me that I have the problems - issues - flaws (and not him) and that I'm the one that needs to change (and not him). Believe me - that fucks with a person's head. So in this case, I could relate to Jane on so many levels that it was just scary. And I loved Graham. How can you NOT love a hot ass guy that loves your curves and doesn't want you to be a boney ass poster child for bulimia.

You know there's going to be a HEA. And I must say - I LOVED the chance encounter with her ex-boyfriend and the possible reveal about him. (And just so ya know.....I have those same suspicions about my last ex-boyfriend! I think that's why he was such a miserable bastard and why he tried to break me down so much.....because he couldn't accept who he REALLY was so he felt like he needed to try to make me hate who I was.)

Gah. I'm going from book review to personal diatribe of my bitter love life. Anyway....

Solid 4 stars! I can't wait to read everything that this author comes out with!

Review: Arrested Holiday

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now THIS is the Lissa Matthews that I love.

Holli is traveling from Atlanta to NYC on Christmas day to spend the holidays with her friend Charlotte. Somewhere in BFE Pennsylvania, in the middle of the night, she gets pulled over for speeding. While the officer is checking her license and registration, a red flag pops up and it says she isn't who she says she is. So....the officer arrests her.

Come to find out, the red flag was merely a clerical error - but due to it being Christmas and all....there's no one working who can fix it. So....Officer Hunky (as Holli has started calling him, in her head) is forced to keep her in jail. They talk off and on during her 28 hour stay in the pokey - and both realize that they are pretty attracted to each other.

So - when the call finally comes down that Holli can be released, with conditions, both Holli and Michael (ie, Officer Hunky) are excited. BUT - the conditions are, that she must not leave the city and she has to be under house arrest. So rather than take Holli to a cheap motel room, he takes her to his house.

Next....ok, but I have to explain what happens next? Gah. It is a romance novel, after all. GUESS! I'll give you some hints - hot sex, more super hot sex, and handcuffs.

The story was sweet and hot when it needed to be - and you really got a good feel for who these people were - you had a reason to care about them. I loved how playful they were with each other. It was really sweet to watch their relationship unfold.

And let me just say this.....this man makes her a grilled cheese sandwich with smoked Gouda. I mention this ONLY because smoked Gouda is my favorite cheese for a grilled cheese sandwich. I would have done Officer Hunky then and there. (After I finished my sandwich, of course.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review: Charming Lucy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oy vey. This book.

It started out super, smoking hot. Lucy and Kasper, Kas for short. They're having hot monkey sex involving this little turquoise stone he brought back from a trip to Eqypt. Ok. I'll give it that.....kind of hot. Kas leaves later on (he never spends the night) and suddenly Lucy can't find the stone. Hmmmm? Kas didn't take it. So where is it? I guessed it was in her hoo-ha - cause, you know, they were having hot monkey sex with it and all. But apparently when a big ass piece of turquoise is stuffed up your vag, you can't feel it. But whatever.

So - Lucy goes around all day feeling super crazy horny. She goes to meet with the accountant for her business (she is co owner of a club with Kas, the accountant - Tony, and her brother, Luke). Anyway - she's so hot and bothered that she begs Tony to fuck her - even though she thinks he's strictly dicky with the menfolk. Not true, apparently he is bi, but hasn't ever been so attracted to a woman as he is to Lucy. *groan*

So, after Lucy and Tony have hot monkey accountant desk sex, she feels bad - cause, oh, she's dating Kas. Tony is all.....nah, Kas won't care - in fact, he's probably wondering why we haven't done it yet. See....Tony and Kas are a couple too. see where this is going. Tony wants Kas, Lucy wants Kas, Kas wants Lucy and Tony and Lucy thinks she could really go for some Tony from time to time.

And then we're back to the piece of turquoise. Remember that? Yea - so apparently it's this magical rock that is supposed to make the person who carries it all uninhibited. Or something. And the BEST part of this whole thing.....when Lucy finds out that Tony and Kas have been a couple behind her back - she was actually MADDER by the fact that Kas bought her this magic rock to help trick her into being part three of their threesome. (This is the point when I wanted to cunt-punch Lucy....just for being a fucking dumbass.)

I'm giving this story a 4 for writing - despite my disappointment with the storyline, I still like Lissa Matthews' style. I'm giving the story a 1 on topic/plot/character development and the fact that there's a stupid fucking magic piece of turquoise involved. I'm giving the book a 3 for hot sex. That averages up to 2.67 - so I'm rounding UP to 3 stars.

Review: Do Over

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Good. Lord. I. Loved. This. Book.

It's super short - so it's a quick read. I know sometimes it's hard for a short book to really give you a feel for the characters and make you understand them. That wasn't a problem with this book. It was shocking how well developed the characters actually were, given the length of the piece.

The story focuses on Faith and Troy, a couple who has been happily married for 25 years. Recently, their youngest child left for college - and for the first time in a long time, they are alone. Faith is feeling the pains of an empty nest. To cheer her up, Troy suggests they go their hometown where their parents still live.....and where they met and fell in love.

Faith is sort of having a pity party with her mom.....the kids are gone, she's lonely, Troy is Mr. Happy-go-lucky, etc. She's not unhappy in her marriage....she just doesn't know what to do now that she doesn't have to parent every single day. Suddenly Troy come in (she thinks he's been out golfing with his Dad) and hands her a bag and tells her to go upstairs and change. Faith is confused, but she does it. When she gets upstairs, she realizes that the bag contains Troy's old high school letterman jacket. Still confused, but curious, she leaves with Troy and he proceeds to take her around the town to all of the places where they had their "firsts" and their momentous moments - where they shared their first kiss, where he proposed, the church where they got married, their honeymoon suite at the hotel, etc.

OMG. While I loved every single thing about this story - it also pissed me off because I am not convinced that a man like Troy exists. Cause Troy is fucking perfect. The sweetest, most romantic, name it. And to boot - he is still totally, head over heels in love with his wife, even after 2 kids and 25 long years of marriage.

Beautiful story, hot sex, and it's nice to read a romance novel that doesn't involve a bunch of crazy shit. It's just your average married crazy hot passionate romantic loving erotic monkey sex.

I loved this book. 5+ stars.

Review: Educating Rose

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh where to start....

First - it's a super short story, so I get that there isn't a whole lot of time for character development. BUT.....there needed to be some in order for me to even care about these characters. (Honestly, I really didn't care for either of them.)

I'm always torn when I read books with a BDSM theme. I'm torn between finding it kind of hot - and incredibly offensive. The hot part is the spanking and the tying up. The offensive part is the whole "you're mine; I own you; I'll share you with others if I feel like it; now put on this collar and let me lead you around like a dog." Um, no. Not hot....not sexy. AT ALL. (I know there are some that are into that. I'm not judging. I'm just saying - for me - it's a no go.)

Rose is a virgin librarian who has basically stalked Professor Jack since she was a college student. She wants him.....bad.....but he is out of the lifestyle. But he finds he can't resist Rose, so he comes back to the lifestyle. For her. And over a weekend, they become a Dom/sub pair. Sound vague? Yes, it was. The whole relationship needed to be explored more. The whole reason of WHY Rose was so obsessed with Jack and why Jack turned away from the lifestyle. Ok, it was VERY BRIEFLY explained during the course of the story - but not enough to where it made sense.....not enough to make me care about these people.

I still love Lissa Matthews' writing, even if I wasn't all that impressed with this particular book.

Solid 4 stars for the writing - 2.5 stars for content. Average rating of 3 stars.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: Pink Buttercream Frosting

Pink Buttercream FrostingPink Buttercream Frosting by Lissa Matthews

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was one of those quirky stories that I didn’t expect to work for me at all. I wasn’t a fan of the title - it was, for lack of a better way to put it, too sugary. I expected it to be a sappy love-fest with touches of erotica. Or something like that. It had it's moments of hotness, no doubt, but our hero leaves much to be desired. And Bailey puts up with his antics for far too long. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

So, it starts out with Aidn the lawyer spotting Bailey the baker crossing in front of the cafe where he’s having lunch with a friend. Aidn, who apparently hasn’t gotten laid in a while, decides to follow her. He recognizes her from somewhere, but he can’t quite figure out where. He spots her in a beauty and bath store, looking at some scented lotions. He stands outside the store, waiting for her to come out. When she finally does come out, he remembers where he’s seen her before - The Abyss (a BDSM fetish club). See, Aidn is a Dom.

At the club, they had exchanged some smalltalk, but never formal introductions. When Bailey comes out and sees Aidn, she immediately recognizes him from the club. She’s always had a little crush on him, so she welcomes the interaction in front of the bath store....however awkward. They share introductions and agree to have some coffee. Afterwards, as Aidn’s walking Bailey to her car - he asks her to have sex with him. And (not surprisingly) she agrees, although she does explain that she doesn't usually do the sex-on-the-first-date thing.

And of course, they go to her place and have crazy hot monkey sex and then Asshat Aidn leaves while she’s sleeping. And by sleeping, I mean she’s having an orgasm in her sleep and she moans his name and he’s awake to witness it all, freaks out a little, and leaves. *cough*douchebag*cough* Yep. Aidn is a fuck and run. Bailey is disappointed to find him gone when she wakes up, but I imagine she’s thinking....”well, that’s what I get for fucking him two seconds after we officially meet.”

So two weeks goes by and then out of the blue, Aidn shows up at Bailey’s bakery. He locks them in her store, basically tongue-fucks her face, tells her how much he wants her.....and then he walks out on her - AGAIN.

What an asshole. This is the point where Bailey should have given up....but no. She goes to see him at his office and he sends her away - saying that they are better off this way - i.e. not together.

Sometime later, Aidn happens to be at the fetish club and sees Bailey being flogged by a fellow Dom....and he loses his shit! I mean, he freaks the fuck out, grabs Bailey, and drags her out of the club.....all the while he’s making a big scene and telling her how she is his and no one else’s. At this point, I’m banging my head on the wall because I just can’t believe that Bailey is going to let this guy be such a total fucking douche to her.

Anyway - they go back to his place, have some hot monkey sex and (get this) he freaks out AGAIN and was all “I need a shower RIGHT NOW!”. Well, nothing warms a girl’s heart like a guy feeling so dirty after he fucks her that he needs a shower two seconds after pulling out. Bastard.
Aidn’s dickishness and tendency to run away when emotions get high is only evened out by Bailey and her forward, ballsy way about her. She may be a sub, but she’s not a doormat. She follows Aidn into the shower and she basically demands (begs?) to be his sub. They both want each other, that much is obvious, so why fight it? And finally....FINALLY....some of Aidn’s walls begin to come down.

After the shower, Aidn explains why he is a scared little Dom.....and why he runs. He caught his last sub with another man. Although this was something they often was something they did together. Aidn’s sub wasn’t with other men unless he was there - or unless he knew about it. But in this one case....he didn’t know she would be with another man. And to add insult to injury.....she removed her collar. And as Aidn said....”She knew, or rather I thought she knew that the collar was the symbol of that bond. Taking it off broke us, destroyed the trust and the respect we had built together.” At this, Aidn packed up and left - and never thought he would have another sub again. More than that....he never thought he could trust another woman not to break his heart again. After opening up to Bailey, he kisses her goodnight and leaves the room....not intending to sleep with her that night.

Early in the AM, Aidn goes to his kitchen to find Bailey in there.....making (of all things) pink buttercream frosting. (TITLE!) And of course Aidn tastes it by licking it off of her boobs. But despite the sappiness of this scene and the overly obvious need to work the title of the book into the story - this is the scene when Bailey lays it all out on the line. She has a huge set of balls, Bailey does. And like I said earlier, she may be a sub, but she’s not going to just sit back and take it. She demands to know where she stands with Aidn. He answers her by tying her down to the kitchen table, picking up the bowl of frosting, and saying, “I’m afraid you’re going to have to make more later. I’m not going to be able to get enough of it, and I’m not going to be able to get enough of you.”

Despite my issues with Aidn’s extreme dickishness and my desire to smack him on multiple occasions, I actually liked him. It’s one of those cases of a tortured man being scared to give his heart away again for fear it will get broken. Again. With that knowledge, I can almost forgive him for his being an asshat to Bailey for 95% of the story.  Almost.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Review: Stick Shift

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When sweet musician/teacher Lily goes to North Carolina for a mini vacation to house sit for her friend, she never imagined that her life would be turned upside down.

Lily is a huge race fan, and while her friend is out of the country, she leaves Lily with her racing tickets. Before a race one day, Lily and a friend go to an autograph session that features Cam Carter - THE hottest driver in racing today. Lily is shy, 32 years old, and doesn't feel she is anything special. After an awkward meeting with the hot 25 year old Cam at the autograph session.....he feels an instant attraction to her and she feels the same, but doesn't want to admit it to anyone.

He scribbles his number and a time and place to meet on the back of one of his photos - and she shyly leaves the autograph signing without even realizing that he had slipped her his number.

After much prompting from her friend, Lily goes to met Cam, blah, blah, blah....and they proceed to have some crazy hot sex.

Lily is never quite comfortable with the whole Cam thing. He is young, hot, rich, and famous - she is (what she considers) old, not famous, and not the rail-thin model she thinks everyone expects him to be with. I sort of love that about her. I have my own body issues - so I totally relate to Lily thinking she isn't pretty enough to date the hot guy. (Awwww.)

And Cam. Jesus Christ - he is just about the hottest thing there is. His affection for Lily is so honest and sweet - it's so easy to see why she fell so hard for him so fast. And really - Lily is a sweetheart - so that works the other way too. Lily is real - she doesn't want Cam because of his fame....she wants him for him and he knows it.

I really loved this story. It was short, sweet, passionate, and VERY VERY sexy.

Solid 4.5 stars.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Review: Simple Need (#1)

Simple Need (Simple Need, #1)Simple Need by Lissa Matthews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good. Lord. This book..... It's super short and super hot. Very hot. VERY VERY HOT. (Am I being clear?)

The story starts out with Elise in a bar, drowning her sorrows. Just that afternoon, she was dumped by her boyfriend via text message. (How classy of him, right?) While she's finishing her last drink, she's approached by Vinter, co-owner of the bar....although she doesn't know this until later. He makes pleasant small-talk with her and listens to her story and buys her another drink. Then he tells her he wants to take care of her (Read: fuck her silly). Elise usually attracts the suit wearing douchebag types - but he has always fantasized about hot sex with a bad boy. Now is her chance to make that fantasy a reality.

Ok - first of all - could the name Vinter be any hotter? That right there is almost enough to make you go down on your knees in front of this man. I mean.....what is hotter than a tatt'ed up bad boy who is really just a sweet, fluffy marshmallow inside? Granted, he's a marshmallow that will go down on you until you pass out and fuck you until you hallucinate, but still. HOT! In fact, everything about Vinter is just about perfect. He's so incredibly sweet to Elise. Probably sweeter than any other guy has ever been. And in just one short night, he helped Elise discover parts of herself that she'd always kept hidden....even from herself.

The only thing I wish was different?  I wish the story was longer.  (But I ALWAYS want the story to be longer when I love it as much as I loved this one!)

One more thing - COCK PIERCINGS.

Review: Carnal Ecstasy (#2)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Following the same formula as Ink Spots, which is actually the 3rd book in the series.....but one that I read first (I didn't know!) - this book is basically one hot sex scene after another....with just enough plot and character development thrown in to make you care about the story and the characters.

This one focuses on Dallon and Carrie. They randomly meet at a store when she asks him for directions to the local Christian university where she just began working. She is new in town and was running errands and got turned around. They strike up a very brief conversation and he happens to mention where he worked - and then they each go about their day. Dallon is attracted to her, but doubts he'll ever see her again. He's part owner of a bar in a rough part of town and she's a buttoned up goody girl who works at the God school.

Well, that night, she comes in as the bar is closing and wants a drink. Guessing that's she's never even HAD a drink.....Dallon gives her a beer and proceeds to talk to her, since they're the only folks left that late. She confesses that she quit her job. She explains that it just wasn't was a job that her very Godly father secured for her....and she was tired of not having any say so in her own life and she wasn't her parents and this wasn't what she wanted out of life, etc. Dallon immediately feels a bond with her, because he, too, came from a similar background. Religions parents who just didn't "get" him.

Dallon feels Carrie is too good for him.....Carrie wants Dallon to teach her how to be a naughty girl. So, true to all good smut books - they have crazy hot monkey sex in the bar, on the pool table, everywhere.

Hot as hell. Yes.....totally. But I will admit I had a slight problem with 2 things in this book. And really - it wasn't even what was done with the neck of the beer bottle and the pool stick. (Hint - Dallon uses them as, um, sexual devices in Carrie's hoo-ha.) Now.....for's really a sanitation issue. Did he properly wash those items? I mean, how many gross man hands handled that pool stick? I mean....ewwww. (But I'm sort of a germ phobe....and I'm digressing badly.....)

This was another super quick read with crazy hot yummy sex. Lissa Matthews can write the hot shit, no doubt.

Solid 4.5 stars.

Review: Ink Spots (#3)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all - I kind of hate the title. I don't know just doesn't seem to be hot enough for the contents of the book. On the other hand, I have no idea what a "hot" title would be. So there.

Next, I had no idea when I started reading this that it was the 3rd book in a series. I'm frustrated now because I like to read a series in order. I'm pretty anal-retentive about that. That being said, I don't feel I was lost or confused by the story. But as soon as I finish writing this review - I will be reading book 1 and then 2. If they are as short and sweet as book 3, I should get through them both in no time.

Ok - so, Ink Spots. The easiest way to describe this book is as follows: You know those porn DVDs that just have a series of smoking hot sex scenes strung together with no plot? That is this book. Well, that's not exactly fair. There is a little plot. It's Mandi's birthday.....she's always had a crush on Jaz (her boss's brother).....Jaz has always had a crush on Mandi......the sister sort of fixes them up as a birthday present for Mandi.....and they have smoking hot sex all day long. In a nutshell.....that's the book.

But besides the thin plot and hot sex, there is a great deal of character development. Mandi and Jaz do talk to each other between sex breaks and you learn a lot about them - and their past. It's quite sweet, actually. But then there were the times when the character's inner dialogue went something like this: "He wanted the next piece of meat she put in her mouth to be his cock not another piece of bacon." Yea. See - I'm not mature enough to not laugh and snort at that.

While my review does sort of come across like I didn't like.....that isn't correct. I loved the book. It was hot, short, and to the point. It didn't have any ambition to be anything other than what it was - smoking hot sex intertwined with enough character development to make you love Mandi and Jaz and hope they had a HEA in their near future.

Solid 4 stars.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Review: Dating Cupid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

FIrst off - this book is a total cheeze-fest. OMG. Cheezy, cheezy, cheezy. That being said - it was cute, sweet, and hot when it needed to be.

Roxanne Fortuna is tired of the loser boyfriends that her dating service keeps hooking her up with. The dating service in question is named CDS - Cupid's Dating Service. cheeze The CDS claims to have a 100% success rate - and Roxanne sets out to prove them wrong. She starts a smear campaign against them.....but to her surprise, she can't find anyone else who has a problem with them. Apparently she really is the only failure they've ever had. As a result of her smear campaign, the boss of the company, Maverick Eros, cheese sends Roxanne a letter, threatening a lawsuit if she doesn't stop her attempts to ruin his good name. Upon receiving the letter, she heads over to his office to meet with him - and the sparks fly between both of them, but neither wants to admit it.

After the instant connection they both felt, Roxanne and Maverick each go to their mothers - and demand that the love spell be removed. See.....Roxanne is the non-human daughter of Lady Luck cheeze and Maverick is actually THE Cupid. cheeze Both are Gods - but neither realizes it about the other one. (Apparently Gods look JUST like humans! Even other Gods can't tell!) convenient cheeze

Once they are both told by their families that they are not under a love spell......neither can believe it. Maverick/Cupid was once married to Psyche (HE was under a love spell that eventually got broken when she bore a child that was NOT his) and he has no desire to be in love or married again.

Although both try to deny it, they are in lust with each other. After a chance meeting at a dinner party and some hot hallway sex DURING the party - they realize they do feel something for each other - but good Lord, they both still try to deny it. After this, Maverick decides to do things the right way and ask her to dinner. No sex....just a regular old mortal "get to know each other" dinner. And who woulda guessed....he likes her mind as well as her body. And she feels the same.

That night after their date, he confesses that he is in love with her, and although she feels the same way - she can't bring herself to admit it.....because she fears being hurt.

Of course, you know there is a HEA for these two crazy (non-human) kids. There always is.

Like I said - this book is a total cheeze-fest.....but it's short, and that makes it easier to stomach. If this had been a full length book, I don't think I could have handled it. Only so much cheeze is allowed before you start to get sick, right?

Review: Simply Forbidden (#6)

Simply Forbidden (House of Pleasure #6)Simply Forbidden by Kate Pearce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this series so much, I'm not sure why I ever doubt that I'm going to enjoy one of the books in it. (Especially after I could get through - and COMPLETELY LOVE, I might add - the book about the hated Lorn Minshom.) But this one, featuring Helene's youngest daughter Lisette....I'll admit, I didn't think I would be too keen on. Like I said, why do I have to doubt? LOL

The book starts out with Lisette wondering about the quite Lord Gabriel Swanfield. He's at her father's house to discuss horses, and seems perfectly content to keep to himself. Lisette, ever the curious one, strikes up a conversation with the handsome Lord and is somewhat taken aback by his lack of interest in her. (Or so she thinks!)

Eventually, the two strike up a sort of friendship when Gabriel offers to teach (or reteach) Lisette how to ride a horse. They meet up a few mornings for lessons, and one day after their lessons are over, Gabriel grabs her and kisses her passionately and eventually that leads to an orgasm, although they don't have sex. While the scene was totally hot - I couldn't help but think....."Ewww! They both probably smell like sweaty horses!" But anyway.....

Through their sort of "love to hate you" relationship, Gabriel tells Lisette that he will not bed her because he doesn't want to get married. Being the daughter of Madame Helene of the Pleasure House - sex before marriage isn't exactly a problem for Lisette. Besides, she isn't a virgin anyway. But Gabriel won't budge. He refuses to have sex with her because he absolutely doesn't want to have children out of wedlock.

Lisette knows there is more to Gabriel than meets the eye. Something about his unwillingness to have sex just doesn't sit well with her. After she learns from her twin, Chrisian, that Gabriel often frequents the Pleasure House - Lisette decides to investigate. She goes to the Pleasure House (disguised, of course) to see for herself what kinds of things that Gabriel enjoys. She finds him in the role of a servant and he allows various people to touch him and pleasure him, although she does find out later that he doesn’t have actual sex with anyone at the House.

To get back at Gabriel, she decides to request him for a private session in which she has him masturbate to climax in front of her. (He doesn’t know who she is.) And during another similar session, Lisette actually gives him a blow job and right as he’s climaxing, she reveals who she is as she’s running out the door. (Always the lady, that one.)

Oddly enough (or not) this little event seems to sort of bring them closer together. She feels bad for playing the prank, he feels more comfortable with her because obviously she is just as freaky-deaky as he is when it comes to bedroom fun.

As their psudo-relationship continues down it’s sorrid little path, we learn why Gabriel is so opposed to having bastard children. We also learn that Gabriel has, on occasion, batted for the other team. (Starting when he was a prisoner during the war.....and it most often occurred with his friend/cellmate, Paul.)

Sidenote: We learn during casual conversation that my hated/loved Lord Minshom did indeed have more children - TWIN GIRLS!

Lisette and Gabriel continue along their “no sex that can get Lis pregnant” relationship until one night in the pleasure house. They have a hot night of buttsecks and end up falling asleep together. Lisette wakes up to the sound of some very noisy fireworks and gets out of bed and finds Gabriel huddled in a corner - obviously having some flashback to war. As she’s trying to comfort him, he grabs her and they have sex - you know, like vagina sex. At first Lisette isn’t sure if he even knows that he’s having sex with her, but he calls her name and then has sex with her again. After which he tells her that he will speak to her father and ask for her hand in marriage. (Whoa, there, buddy!)

Lisette is very taken with Gabriel, but she isn’t sure that she wants to get married.....even if their one night of sex might have resulted in a pregnancy. But Gabriel is very insistent. So much so that he ends up sort of kidnapping her and tries to take her to Scotland to elope. Initially, she fights him, but the reality of it is.....she’s fallen for Lord Gabriel and when she has the chance to leave his side, she doesn’t take it.

Lisette and Gabriel do end up coming back to London without getting married, but only because she has agreed to marry him and wants to do so in front of her family. This is done very quickly - like the next day.....I think.....and come to find out, her family was sort of in on the whole elopement thing. This infuriates Lisette because she thinks her family either wants to get rid of her or they don’t trust her enough to make her own decisions. Oddly enough, she isn’t all that upset with Gabriel.

The newlyweds try to settle into married life, but they’re finding it difficult given their “supposed” place in society.....their mutual affinity for kinky bedroom sexy times.....his family troubles.....their iffy reputations, etc. But if you’ve read any of the books in this series, you know the hero and heroine are gonna work it out....even when it seems impossible.

Dear Lord, how much do I love this series. Like I said earlier, even when I think the characters aren’t going to interest me....I’m proven wrong. (And I love to be proven wrong about a book!) I love that these are essentially period pieces but the characters are SO sexual and downright dirty! As I’ve said in another review, those Regency Brits were a randy bunch! And I love it. And by saying that, I’m not implying that this book has just enough story to be able to move sex scene to sex scene. That’s not true for any book in this series. There is a very rich world built in this series, and yes, it does all revolve take place in and around the Pleasure House, but it’s not just just sex that drives this series - it’s the characters and their stories. And if part of their story just happens to involve jade dildos and buttsecks, well, that’s ok too.

And PS - I know the next book is Christian's story.  I'm predicting he ends up with Paul. There SO needs to be a M/M HEA in this series!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review: Simply Insatiable (#5)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lord. I have tried and tried to write this review....but I found it incredibly difficult considering the roller coaster ride I experienced while reading Simply Insatiable.

First off - I hated Lord Minshom before I even started this book. He was featured in book 4 (and maybe others, I can't remember) and he was a completely despicable, piece of shit, sadistic fuck. I can't remember hating a character so much. So when I found out that book 5 was HIS story.....needless to say, I was less than thrilled. I thought how in the world am I even going to get through this book?

For the first part of the opinion of him didn't change. We find out that he has a wife named Jane, but he hasn't seen her in 7 years. She lives in their country house and has absolutely no contact with her. He spends his time in London at the pleasure house - on the third (and most extreme) floor of the house, I might add. He gets off on abusing men there. (And let me just say this.....the "abuse" is consensual. He isn't raping anyone. He's being rough, forceful, and violent with them.....he beats them, humiliates them, etc....but they are all asking him to do it. Not that I feel the need to defend Lord Minshom, I just want it made clear that while he IS a sadistic douchebag, he ISN'T a rapist. So there.)

For whatever reason, Jane still loves and wants her husband. AND, she wants a baby. And she wants Lord Minshom to father the child. Jane seems WAY too sweet for a dick like Minshom. Like, you almost have to think that she's an idiot for even wanting him. So, obviously there is something about Minshom that is lovable, if someone so seemingly sweet as Jane is able to have feelings for him even after not being in contact with him for almost a decade.

So, Jane is now in London and is refusing to leave even though Minshom has made it perfectly clear that he doesn't want her in his home or in London even. And he refuses to get her pregnant......again. Come to find out, they had a son who died in infancy. This revelation leads us to learn more about why Minshom left Jane and moved to London in the first place.

It's hard to describe the many plot twists and turns without giving away the whole novel, but I will say this.....I did a complete turnaround in my feelings toward Lord Minshom. While I still consider him a douchebag of epic proportions, I learned why he became that way. Childhood physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of his father left deep emotional scars that he was incapable of dealing with. This led to his belief that he was a despicable and perverted person that no one was capable of loving. No matter how much Jane professed her love, he refused to believe it until it was almost too late.

In romance novels, I love nothing more than a tortured hero. The trouble is, when I started this book, I considered Minshom so tortured that he couldn't find redemption. Didn't deserve it, even. I found him to be that vile. But after finding out who he really was and the history he had, my heart broke for him over and over. I started to read between the lines and even as he spoke the most hateful words to those who loved him, I saw him as a character so broken and abused that he had no choice but to lash out. Why would he or how could he EVER trust anyone. Of course Lorn Minshom became a hateful bastard. He had to be in order to survive.

So, yea.....I started out hating this book. Hating it before I had even read a page of it. I don't remember exactly when the transition occurred, but after that - I couldn't read quick enough. I had to make sure that this man got his HEA. Because if he didn't, my heart was going to be broken all over again.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: Simply Wicked (#4)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, this wasn't really my favorite book of the series.....but I still enjoyed it enough. The 3.5 stars (I rounded up) are because I didn't really start to care about the characters until about halfway through the book.

The story focuses on Anthony Sokorvsky and Marguerite Lockwood. Anthony, half brother of Valentin (from book 1) and Marguerite, bastard daughter of Madame Helene (owner of the House of Pleasure).

So....Anthony. Poor thing. We see him at the beginning of the book, waking up on the 3rd (and most extreme) floor of the House of Pleasure. He is passed out/asleep - still in the punishment corner, covered in blood and several other body fluids that I won't name. His particular brand of sexual excitement involves beatings and humiliation - mostly at the hands of Lord Minshom, a sadistic asshole who is more than happy to beat the hell out of men for his own sick sexual pleasure.

Well, for whatever reason, when Anthony wakes up this time, he realizes that he has got to change. He is essentially killing himself - and he finally realizes it.

Sometime later, Madame Helene's son, Christian, invites Anthony to meet him and his twin sister for tea. At their meeting, Christian invites Anthony to escort his older sister, Marguerite around town. Marguerite, a young widow for two years, has rarely left the house.....and her family is desperate to get her out of mourning and bring some joy back into her life. Why they decide that Anthony is the person for the job....I'm not quite sure. Maybe they see who he is underneath it all.....and they want to help him out of his rut too.

Both Anthony and Marguerite are extremely damaged people - and even though they start out as just friends, they soon realize that they have stronger feelings for each other, feelings that they both try really hard to deny. Anthony is still troubled by the rape he experienced at 19 as well as his sexual need to be punished and dominated. Marguerite is still dealing with the loss of her husband as well as some secrets that she's keeping about her brief marriage.

MOST of the sex in this book was hot enough. While some of it (punishment, humiliation, master/slave, physical abuse) is not something I understand or enjoy.....I can see how that is something that Anthony would turn to as a result of his rape and his trying to come to terms with who he is sexually, versus what he is being told he his. I get all of that. And really - I can't pinpoint exactly what didn't work for me in this book except that I didn't feel much of an emotional attachment to the characters until the book was half over. Eventually, I wanted to see them reach their HEA.....but mostly, I was just meh.

Truthfully, I spent most of my time with this book hating Lord Minshom and wanting him to die a thousand horrible deaths at every possible turn.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Review: Dirty Thirty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This super quick read by Cara McKenna did not disappoint. It takes place in one day of Evan and Margie's life.

Evan and Margie - a super hip and somewhat punk married couple living in Portland. Evan is due to turn 30 tomorrow and his birthday wish is to have someone join him and his wife in the bedroom. The someone being another man. Margie, being the super-hip wife, thinks it's hot and readily agrees. She seeks out Paul, a hot bouncer at one of their favorite bars. Paul is all too happy to give Evan his birthday wish.

The book is super short and very hot - and just gives you a tiny glimpse into the lives of Evan and Margie. Great story. I'm giving it 4.5 stars, simply because I would have liked the story to be longer.

Review: Caught On Camera

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story focuses on Kate and Ty. Kate is a personal assistant for Ty, star of an Extreme Survival show called Survive This!. But more than being a personal assistant - she is also the camera assistant, travel agent, etc. Basically - she does EVERYTHING for Ty and this show, except be in front of the camera. And she has had a mad crush on him forever.

One day while filming an episode in a snowy location, they have an accident and become stranded. And well, I'm sure you can guess that they both gave in to temptation. Of course. As we come to realize, Ty has had a crush on Kate for years as well. There is endless flirting, but Ty thinks Kate isn't really interested and Kate thinks Ty is just joking around with her. Being stranded forces them to face some realities that neither of them ever have before. Both have some issues from childhood that are still effecting their adult lives, etc.

I'm giving this book a 4.5.....and only because it took me a little while to actually care about the characters. It seemed that the real story began after they got stranded and each of them really began to let down their walls.

Overall, I loved the book. I still think Meg Maguire (or Cara McKenna) is my new favorite author. And PS - I effing LOVED the ending. L-O-V-E-D it. The perfect way for it to end.....and didn't see it coming at all.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review: Willing Victim

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've said it in my other reviews of Cara McKenna/Meg Maguire books.....I just love her style of writing. It's just so effortless and flawless. The dialogue is so real and lacks any cliche that I've come to expect (in some form or fashion) in my romance novels. I guess I just need to realize that and stop being so surprised by it. :)

The story centers on Laurel and Flynn. Laurel meets Flynn when he breaks up a fight in a park between a random couple. Laurel follows Flynn to thank him for stepping in and offers to buy him lunch. He lets her and throughout lunch, despite Laurel's hints and advances that she might be interested in him, he keeps telling her that he's not her type, etc. She persists and finally he breaks down and says that he'll agree to go on a date with her if she'll meet him at a certain location on Friday night. He tells her if she can handle that, then he'll go on a date with her. Turns out the location is a bar that is also home to an underground fight club. Flynn is one of the star fighters. Laurel is immediately drawn into Flynn's rough world - and as she will soon learn - that world also includes rough sex.

I really thought I was going to have a problem with the type of sex in this book. There were lots of warnings about the content and the rape fantasy scenes, etc. But really, it never got to a point where I found any of it offensive. Maybe it was because underneath all the scruff and gruff - Flynn was actually a super nice guy. He wasn't a misogynistic douche that wants to smack women around in bed. It was all completely consensual and that is made very clear in the book - and even the scenes where Laurel "struggles to get away", it doesn't come across as scary or rapey (I know that's not a word), but it really doesn't. It comes across as two people who know what turns their crank in bed.....and two people that aren't afraid to ask for what they want. That right hot.

As with the other books I've read by this author, the characters have so much depth and you really do fall in love with them and get emotionally invested as they move toward their HEA.

My only complaint? This book wasn't long enough! I wanted more.....

Solid 5 stars. No question.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Review: Ruin Me

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story starts out with Jay and Robin getting (almost) engaged. Robin has been with Jay for 4 years and is deeply in love with him - but when he proposes, Robin can't make herself say yes......because of Patrick. Patrick is a man that saved her life many years before she met Jay. He even served 7 months in prison for beating up the guy that attacked her. She visited him often while he was in prison.....but when he got out, then barely saw each other or spoke. But ever since that night he saved her, Robin can't stop herself from wanting Patrick. (And she's never even so much as kissed him.)

Jay, the impossibly understanding boyfriend, knows about Patrick and the fact that Robin wants him (sexually). So he gives her permission to go to him - with one condition......they can do anything EXCEPT intercourse. Even though Robin is initially shocked by the idea, she is also hopeful that she will finally get Patrick out of her head......

And it just gets insanely hot and sexy from there until the end......goooood Lord.

I think Cara McKenna (otherwise known as Meg Maguire) might be a new favorite author. I love her writing - it's so effortless. I don't really know how to explain it. It just flows and I can't make myself stop reading. The dialogue is witty and sexy without being cliche in a way that some romance novels tend to be.

My only complain about this book is that it wasn't long enough! And I can't wait to read more of her work!

Review: The Reluctant Nude

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This. book. OMG. I don't really even know where to start with it. First of all - I effing loved every second of it. To the point I kept putting it down and walking away because I did not like the idea that I was almost done with it. I just wanted it to go on and on and on and on for infinity. I've read a ton of damn good books this year, and this one is up there in the top three for sure. I want to read it again. Now. And then finish it so I can read it again. I loved it that much.

So, the book features Fallon and Max. Fallon is a somewhat reserved ecologist from New York who travels to Canada to meet with the famous (and famously reclusive) artist Max Emery. He's a sculptor and he has been commissioned to create a statue based on Fallon - for her "fiance". Of course that's just a cover story she worked up because the "fiance" is actually this doucebag land developer that is trying to tear down her childhood home - and they only way he'll give it up to her is if she poses nude for Max, so he can create a life size (and naked) statue of her. (Dickish, right?) Since she has no other means to get her childhood home back, she reluctantly agrees.

Of course, she is immediately uncomfortable with Max and his casual, sexy, artsy Frenchness. But he senses her unease, so he proceeds with caution. At the beginning, it is just a HUGE paycheck for him.

As time goes on - both Fallon and Max begin to have feelings for each other as each of them slowly let their guards down and begin to really know each other. As the story unfolds, the sexual tension and desire jumps off the page. And parts of it were so intense....I just had to put the book down and think about what I had just read.

I don't even want to give any more details of the plot because I just want everyone to read this book. I promise you, you will not regret it.

I would give this book 10 stars if I could.

And finally - my favorite quote from the whole book: "What kind of bread?"

And yes - I realize that makes NO sense out of context. Just go read the damn book.....and you'll get it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Review: Simply Shameless (#3)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. Loved it.....loved it......loved it. I didn't want it to end, I couldn't put it down and the only reason I didn't read it in one sitting was because, you know, I have a job to go to.

Book 3 of this series tells the story of Madame Helene - who is the owner of the House of Pleasure. I love a good tortured hero. I also love a good tortured heroine. Fortunately for me, this book has both.

The book starts out with Helene, traveling alone from France to England to start a new life for herself. On her way there, she meets Philip Ross. Initially, she ignores him....but when a carriage accident forces them to spend a few nights together at an inn in the middle of nowhere - things heat up quickly. At the end of their few days together, they realize that their little fling is really something more. Philip ends up proposing marriage to Helene, but is swiftly turned down because Helene just can't bring herself to trust him or think she's good enough for him. He storms off and they part ways......for the next 18 years.

Through a series of events, Philip comes back into Helene's life 18 years later, and neither of them can deny that the attraction and the passion they once had are still there.

So far, I have loved both books in this series. When I got to this one, I honestly thought I was going to dislike it. I mean, I really didn't care about Helene, the owner of the House of Pleasure......until I learned about her backstory. Oh man. Talk about breaking your heart. And Philip, too. Geez. If two people EVER deserved a HEA - it's these two.

I would give this one more than 5 stars if I could.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Review: Simply Sinful (#2)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For the second book in the House of Pleasure series - it was almost a 5 star book for me. Almost.

This one focused on Peter Howard, who we met in book 1. He was also a sex slave in a Turkish bordello, along with Lord Val (from the previous book). At the end of book 1, we see Peter, Val, and his wife Sara involved in occasional threesomes - and all parties are ok with that. While in the bordello, Val was often violent when he was forced to be with male customers, and many times, Peter would step in and take over Val's duties....since Peter had no problem sleeping with men.

So anyway - this book starts with Val telling Peter that Sara is pregnant and he is requesting that Peter stop coming to their bed during this time. Peter takes this to mean that Val and Sara no longer want him, so he storms off without giving Val a chance really explain his request. Shortly after, Peter ends up at the House of Pleasure when he is introduced to Lord Beecham. And they soon have a quick tumble in the sheets and the men part ways. Later on we find out that Lord Beecham is married to sweet Abigail Beecham, and although they have never really had a sexual relationship - she now wants a child. Lord Beecham, knowing of Peter's relationship with Val & Sara, decides that Peter should join him and his wife in bed.....and help the couple come together sexually.

Pretty soon, it's clear that Lord Beecham is falling for Peter - and so is Abigail. On the other hand....Peter finds himself falling for Abigail and Lord Beecham as well. (Though, later on, his feelings do tend to go more to Abigail.)

One of the things I love about this author and this series is that even though it takes place in pre-Victorian England, the language for sexual acts, body parts, etc, and strictly modern. I respect the author's choice to go head first into anachronism-land. I think it's a bold choice for an author to make who is writing a historical romance novel.

The only reason I'm giving this book less than 5 stars is because of this one whole scene/chapter that is all about the sexual slave/master relationship. Granted, it was well written, but it was just a hair outside of my comfort zone. But that being said, the character that is the master does it for a very particular reason - that makes the HEA happen.

All in all - I give this book a solid 4.5 stars. Now....on to book 3.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Review: Simply Sexual (#1)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love a tortured hero. And we don't get much more tortured than wealthy and handsome Lord Valentin Sokorvsky. Valentin (or Val) was abducted from his English father and kept as a sex slave in a Turkish bordello for many many years. He was eventually freed, but left with scars - both physical and mental. (He was forced to service both men and women - and was also tortured by one particularly sadistic man named Alaibad.)

The book begins with sweet Sara Harrison seeing Val having wild sex with her maid, Daisy. Val catches her watching and she scrambles off down the hall. Come to find out, Val is about to be engaged to Sara's younger sister, even though the sister is in love with another man. Sara feels an immediate attraction for Val, although she is considered the spinster of the Harrison daughters (she's 26!), she knows she has no chance to ever have a lusty man such as him for a lover. Val also feels an attraction to her, and he finds ways to talk to her and see her during the time he is staying at her house. Well, as it turns out, the reason Val has agreed to marry Sara's sister is because he owes her father his life. Mr. Harrison is the man that rescued him from the bordello.

After Val meets and feels the attraction to Sara - he tells Mr. Harrison that he no longer wishes to marry the sister - the only Harrison girl he wishes to marry is Sara. Even though Mr. Harrison doesn't want that for his favorite child (because he knows of Val's previous life as a sex slave), he eventually agrees to it after Sara begs him.

But let me just say this - Sara is not a blushing flower. A virgin, yes....but she does all sorts of things that are considered "unladylike" for her time. She's a master harpsichord player, a math genius, and she isn't happy to simply sit by and let her husband boss her around. In fact - all her unladylike qualities are exactly what drew Val to her in the first place. Val, who had never been faithful to any one woman, suddenly finds himself unable to desire anyone else BUT Sara.

This book is filled with some crazy hot sex. Sara and Val's relationship is initially JUST about sex, but eventually he begins to realize that he doesn't just want her in his bed - he wants her working with him in his business too. Sara's math smarts help him and his business partner uncover some mistakes in the accounting ledgers and all of that unfolds around the same time they find out that someone is trying to sabotage his shipping company.

Through twists and turns - we see Sara and Val grow as a couple - both sexually and emotionally. There are some bumps along the way, but in any great love story - we know that the bumps are necessary to find the HEA.

I loved Sara's strength and patience with Val. He could be kind of a douche at times - but knowing his painful was kind of hard to imagine him being any other way. Underneath his dickish exterior, you knew he had a huge heart - and that it beats only for Sara.

Just so you know - this book takes place in England in 1815.....which makes the things I'm about to mention all the more interesting. Those pre-Victorian era Brits were a randy bunch, obviously! ;) There is a lot of sex. LOTS OF IT. Starting from basically page one. It wasn't anything I would consider raunchy or perverse - but you will need an open mind to deal with some of it. There are toys involved....made of jade, of all things. Body piercing - which, I have to admit, was very hot and nothing I had read in other books of this sort. Then there is the House of Pleasure, for which the series is named. Scenes in the house contain some m/f/m action, though not much. Also some f/f and m/m, but again....not much. There is a lot more that happens in the House of Pleasure - but I'll leave that up to you to figure out. But like I said - it is nothing that I found to be raunchy or perverse.

I loved this story - and getting to know the characters and watching them develop. Was the story perfect? No. There were some holes and some things I wish the author had explained more in depth. But all in all - I found this story to be beautiful, passionate, and believable. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Review: Dangerous Boys and Their Toy

Dangerous Boys and Their ToyDangerous Boys and Their Toy by Shayla Black

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book. Well.....

First of all - the sex is REALLY HOT. That alone would get 5 stars. But everything else. Meh. There's basically no plot, no character development, and no believability - at all. And this is exactly why I read it. I have been reading series after series of PNR books - and frankly, all of the vampire worlds were starting to fuse together. I needed a reset button. This book was my reset. I wanted mindless, escapist fun. And really, that's all the book is. Hot, sexy, escapist fun. If I were rating this book on actual literary value - it would get maybe a half of a star. And only because, you know, the author used proper grammar and stuff.

Now - if you haven't guessed from the title or the book cover - the relationship in this book is one of menage. Two guys, one girl. And sometimes it's m/f/m.....sometimes m/f......and there's even some m/m/f in there as well. And maybe a fraction of m/m. If this isn't your thing - I suggest skipping this book. If you're open minded - well, read away. The book is less than 200 it's a super quick read.

3 stars based on a average of 5 for the hot sex and .5 for everything else.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Review: Lover Unleashed (#9)

Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #9)Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've really been trying to think about what I wanted to say in my review. I've read so many about this book, I don't really know what to say for my own.

There seems to be a lot of hatin' going on for this BDB novel. And yea, I can see why. It's put out there as a book exploring the relationship between V's twin sister, Payne and Doc Jane's former (human) boss, Manny. But really - this book is more of a continuation of Doc Jane and V's storyline. Payne and Manny come across as a secondary plot at best.

But here's the thing.....I liked the book. I LOVE V and Jane as a couple. There's a tortured soul in V that wasn't fully explored in his book. In Lover Unleashed, we get to see his emotional side. OK, yea - we ALL know V loves Jane more than anything. But he seemed to always hold something back - and that something finally gets explored here. And I love how that all played out. It broke my heart and made me fall in love with V all over again.

As far as the Payne/Manny was sweet. I think Ward had some missed (ok, MANY missed) opportunities for some hot sex between those two crazy kids. There were some steamy scenes - but having them NOT doing THE deed until the very end of the book? Not cool, Warden, not cool. *shakes finger at JR*

And the continuing build up of tension between Qhuinn and Blay - well - that's just cruel. We all want to see them get it on. I mean, really. We all want some hot boy-vamp on boy-vamp action. Don't keep us waiting much longer, Ward. Seriously. You won't like us when we're angry.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. Was it perfect? No. Nor is it my favorite of the series. What I really wished the author had done was focus more on Payne and Manny in this book and take all the V and Jane stuff and channel it into a novella. But she didn't ask me what I there.

And I shall close with this: the whole serial killer plot point? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?