August 30, 2010
Thirty-eight-year-old divorcee Holly Burrows has had enough of battery-operated love. Prompted by an ad left at her law office, she investigates Hunk Du Jour, a website designed to foster ‘adult connections’. After weeks of sexy emails and phone calls with surf hunk Kent, she's ready to test their chemistry in person. But first she has to get through lunch with her colleague Alex, a man with a brain as agile as his body. When their consultation ends with a bang, she barely remembers the man she'd lined up for dessert. Now she thinks she's juggling two hot young guys. How can she choose between her two gorgeous cubs – and why do they remind her of each other?

Title: Full Disclosure
Author: Cari Quinn
Series: Hunk Du Jour, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Scarlet Rose Line
Year of release: 2009, November 6
Format: eBook, 126 pages
Source: Bought via publisher’s website
First line: She’d finally done it. Rather than calling out for a lunchtime delivery of Moo Goo Gai Pan, she’d placed an order for sex.
Memorable Scenes:
- The great reveal scene > the where and how of Alex revealing his identity was excellently done

Holly Burrows is in her late thirties and a senior associate at a law firm. She’s independent, she knows what she wants and goes for it, and she’s ambitious and dedicated. After a disastrous marriage, she’s done with relationships but like any healthy woman she does have a sexual itch to scratch so she signs up on a singles dating site where she ultimately finds much more than she was looking for.

Alex Stryker is in his mid twenties and Holly's new colleague (junior) at the law firm. He’s also the owner of the Hunk Du Jour website, the dating site Holly signs up for to find a new adventure. Intrigued by Holly he is the one to guide her to his site and he uses his alter ego, Kent to initiate contact with her, knowing he won’t be able to keep his identity a secret for long

In this short novella there is no room for secondary characters so the only fly-by one is Holly’s whiny ex husband who makes a brief appearance on the phone.

FULL DISCLOSURE is a great erotic romance. It’s fast-paced, to the point, very well written and it checked all the boxes of things I like in erotic romance. Alex is hot, Holly is great and the sex scenes are sizzling. It was a very fast read because of the pace and easy, fluent writing. Once I read the first chapter I couldn't tear myself away from the book and read it in a few quick hours. Of course I was wondering when and how Alex would tell Holly about his alter ego and I loved the way this was done and the emotional make-up scene and sex afterwards. This was a novella I have very little complaints about it. The characters were well-rounded, the story, though short, wasn’t rushed, there was heat, conflict, emotion, humor and love. In short, it full-filled all the wishes I have as a romance reader and kept me engaged to the very last page.

Fancy a scorching hot Cougar read? FULL DISCLOSURE delivers it and then some. It’s playful and intense, hot and touching and I absolutely adored it!

Favorite Quotes:
She studied him through hazed eyes. “Uh huh. You’re good at the seduction routine.”
“For someone my age?” Watching her eyes, he circled his fingertips under her knees. “FYI, this isn’t seduction. Seduction would be flowers, music, chilled champagne. This is the prelude to a good f#ck.”

She moaned his name as the velvet hammer of her climax punched through her, swift and devastating.

As the web-mistress for one of the Northeast’s hottest dating sites, Hunk Du Jour, Jenny Talbot is no stranger to reading the applications of potential clients. But when the latest application that crosses her inbox belongs to Ty Randall, the guy she broke up with a mere twenty-seven days ago, she does a double take. Reading what Ty wants in bed not only gets Jenny hot, it also makes her rethink ending their relationship. All she longed for was a little more spice in the bedroom—okay, a lot more—but he let her go without an argument. Faced with the possibility that Ty may really be moving on, getting her ex back becomes more appealing than ever. But will revealing exactly what she needs allow Jenny to finally experience ultimate pleasure or will she drive away the man she loves for good?

Title: Ex Appeal
Author: Cari Quinn
Series: Hunk Du Jour, book 2
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Scarlet Rose Line
Year of release: 2010, June 25
Format: eBook, 108 pages
Source: Received from author for review
First line: “Jenny, baby, you don’t know how I’ve missed
Memorable Scenes:
- Opening scene > Definitely attention grabbing and set the tone for the entire book
- Ty’s bed-talk > Do I really need to reiterate my love for dirty talking heroes?

Jenny Talbot is Alex Stryker's (hero FULL DISCLOSURE) friend and former lover and the web-mistress of his Hunk Du Jour site. She’s impulsive, very talkative and outspoken. When she tries to spice up the relationship with her boyfriend Ty and their sex life with tips from a magazine, he decides it’s enough and calls it quits. When she spots his application on Hunk Du Jour, she decides enough is enough and she sets out to win him back with a daring plan.

Ty Randall is an aspiring comic designer. He’s a sweet and down-to-earth guy who has a dirty mind and mouth when he’s in the mood for it. After he sees his relationship end up in a rut and Jenny’s attempts to spice it up only make things worse, he decides to find someone else, even though his heart still belongs to Jenny.

This was another short novella with little room for secondary characters as the focus is on Jenny and Ty and their struggle to get their relationship back on track. I did love the brief appearance of Holly and Alex from FULL DISCLOSURE, who understandably were the only secondary characters share the limelight Ty and Jenny’s story.

After reading FULL DISCLOSURE, which was my first taste of Cari Quinn's fabulously hot writing, I just couldn't resist the appeal (pun intended!) of EX APPEAL, so within 24 hours I read both books and EX APPEAL ranks right up there in the higher regions of hotness.

My high expectations after FULL DISCLOSURE were completely met within the first few pages and it only got better with every page I read. Cari Quinn's writing is hot, lush and witty. The pace she sets is fast and furious and makes you reach the end before you know it and then you're left yearning for more of the good stuff to which you've become hooked.

I love reunited lovers/second chance romances and EX APPEAL is a prime specimen of it. Ty and Jenny have been so caught up in their own worlds and lives that they neglected to truly communicate and therefore each other. At first I had to warm up to Ty but once he got in the game he surprised me and totally won me over. Normally I don't like misunderstandings caused by non-communication or the wrong assumptions but in EX APPEAL it really worked and Cari Quinn pulled it off.

EX APPEAL very different from FULL DISCLOSURE in trope, characters and sex, yet they complement each other perfectly in the series. I really must applaud Ms Quinn for making the two stories fit together so perfectly and I am anxiously awaiting the next in this series. I was hoping it would be Holly's baby sister Hayley and am very pleased that Cari Quinn confirmed that it will be so…YAY!

Favorite Quotes:
She hadn’t had sex in so long she was sure she could feel her hymen regenerating.

Ty lowered his mouth to hers again, but he didn’t kiss her. This time, he just let his words ripple over her flesh. “Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve heard you beg?”
“I begged, you just stopped listening.”
He absorbed the blow, then lifted his head to meet her gaze. Though it cost him, he nodded. “I’m listening now. Tell me what you like. What you need.” He palmed her breast and circled his thumb over the dusky tip. “I’ll give it to you.”

Her pupils widened. “You’ve never used that word with me before.”
“Is that what you want? Do you want me to talk dirty to you? Because, believe me, I’ll blister your cute little earlobes.” His teeth claimed the body part in question and tugged.

The intensity of their mating was something she’d never experienced before. He stared at her with hunger, with love, with possession, while his body ruled hers,
slamming her against the brink as she shuddered with the need for release. But each time she approached climax, he stopped and slid out of her, seemingly intent on killing her with the best sex of her life. “Please. Ty.” She gasped his name like a prayer and smoothed his damp mahogany hair away from his face. “Please.

August 28, 2010

As promised I'm trying to keep up with my Quotes Posts and this time I have a yummy one of a book that is coming out Monday at Carina Press.

Friday I posted my ARC-review of COMING CLEAN and if you've read it you must have noticed that A) I loved the book and B) there were quite some quotes already mentioned in the review...but I had so many more marked so what better to do than make another Quotes Post of it.

But before I start the Quotes let me treat you to a gem of a quote Inez Kelley gave me on Twitter when she read my review of COMING CLEAN:

Inez Kelley (@Inez_Kelley)
8/25/10 17:09
@Pearl_828 I may not have gotten your M/M cherry but I had my fingers in your panties, at least

As COMING CLEAN is an ebook I do not have a picture of the post-it markers to show so I'll just continue with a pic of the cover, blurb and the quotes.

Coming clean never felt so good….

Grant and Vivi Michaelson share everything in their marriage: love, commitment—and their wildest sexual desires. But their relationship is tested when Vivi admits she wants a threesome with Grant’s old friend Cade, proposing their annual trip to the lake as the perfect opportunity to fulfill her fantasy.

All three of them are aroused by the idea. Vivi and Cade have long felt a smoldering attraction to each other…and Grant and Cade have hidden an illicit desire for decades. Going through with the ménage will test their boundaries, reveal old secrets…and maybe tear them apart. After all, there might be room for Cade in bed, but is there room for a third in their marriage?

Grant and Vivi during sexy times
Forbidden erotic sensations coursed through him, and he poured every drop of lust into his hips, driving inside her.

Examples of Inez Kelley's amazing writing
*The beat of his racing heart nearly drowned out the sexually tinged melody.

*Fear mixed with dread and was fed by guilt.

*Jealousy swelled like a tsunami before common decency tramped it back down.

Grant and Cade discussing the possibilities:
“Are we seriously talking about anal sex in baseball analogies?”

Vivi thinking about what she wants
This was going to be fine. It would be a sexual experiment, a tasting of forbidden fruit and an erotic adventure, but nothing would rock her marriage or their friendship. It could only make both stronger.

Cade feels guilty over almost kissing Vivi in front of Grant
*Betrayal soured in his mouth. He’d crossed a line no friend should ever cross. Since fourth grade they’d been blood brothers, buddies, the guy you couldn’t call to bail you out of jail because he’d be sitting in the cell with you asking “Man, what the hell did we do?”

When my heart broke for Cade
Like every other person on Earth, he wanted to fall in love with someone who accepted him at his worst, loved him at his best and craved his company in between. He wanted someone to tell his dreams to, his fears, his fantasies. Someone who could finish his sentences and turn his insides to jelly.

Grant finally broaches the subject with Cade
“She wants the three of us together…all parties involved equally.”

Grant and Cade are nearing point of no return
“You okay?” Grant asked.
“Yeah, tired I guess.” Surely his voice wasn’t that thick with longing, was it? He must have swallowed some BBQ smoke that left his throat scratchy, that was all. He took a hasty but long sip of his beer to soothe his voice. The icy brew did nothing for his increasing internal heat.

Cade and Grant and Inez Kelley's wonderful writing again
*A soft command husked with gravelly texture. “Tell me what you’re thinking right now.” His sultry tone slithered across the air, shedding a skin of doubt and revealing scales of lust and promise.

Golden-brown brows dropped to a shrewd evaluating level. The stare danced over Grant’s skin, and each individual hair stood and twitched at the perusal. His gut tightened in anticipation of the questions he saw forming.

The grazing kiss barely touched their lips but Cade didn’t try to return it. This was Grant’s exploration and he allowed it, unhurried and uncontested. His heart jackhammered, pummeling his ribs. The desperate need to deepen the light peck scoured through him but he refused. He would not let loose the famished need inside him too quickly and fuck this up.

Grant definitely liked kissing, and each lick and nibble pumped more yearning through Cade. His control cracked, and he had to pull away before he moved too fast or tried to give more than Grant might be ready to accept.

No explanation needed
Cade, Grant and Vivian were a triangle. Three sides of equal strength, joined together.

(The ones with the * made the official review)

August 26, 2010

Coming clean never felt so good….

Grant and Vivi Michaelson share everything in their marriage: love, commitment—and their wildest sexual desires. But their relationship is tested when Vivi admits she wants a threesome with Grant’s old friend Cade, proposing their annual trip to the lake as the perfect opportunity to fulfill her fantasy.

All three of them are aroused by the idea. Vivi and Cade have long felt a smoldering attraction to each other…and Grant and Cade have hidden an illicit desire for decades. Going through with the ménage will test their boundaries, reveal old secrets…and maybe tear them apart. After all, there might be room for Cade in bed, but is there room for a third in their marriage?

Title: Coming Clean
Author: Inez Kelley
Series: Dirty Laundry Series, book 3
Genre: Erotic Romance, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Year of release: 2010, August 30
Format: eGalley
Source: Received a digital ARC from publisher via NetGalley
First line: How do you ask your best friend to f#ck your wife?
Memorable Scenes:
- Cade and Vivi dancing, Grant watching them > hotter, more seductive, more enthralling than the actual sex scenes, I'm a sucker for dancing.
- "Ground rules" scene > so sweet and hot

The story is short so I am leaving out a summary as the blurb covers that satisfactory so I’ll get right to business with my review

Even before I'd read one word of the book, Inez Kelley earned herself an extra point! In the contents I saw that the chapters were named. The naming of chapters is something I haven't seen in a very, very long time and I really liked it.

COMING CLEAN had an excellent start that pulled me right in, and of course a first line like that (see above), my attention is definitely drawn. Inez Kelley also has the uncanny ability to seduce and captivate me with her writing like few other authors can. Her writing is indescribable, it just pulls you in and I think it’s a wonderful style. A few examples to underline what I mean are:

The beat of his racing heart nearly drowned out the sexually tinged melody.

Fear mixed with dread and was fed by guilt.

Jealousy swelled like a tsunami before common decency tramped it back down.

Her writing is smooth and fast-paced with lots of showing and not much telling. It starts right at the heart of things and little by little the character backgrounds and the origins of their fantasies are weaved into the story. Easy banter, scorching desire and unadulterated lust alternate in an easy, fluent way while the lead-up to the ménage unfolds, but beneath the wit and the heat there's also doubt and fear.

Vivi wants the threesome not only for herself but also for Grant as she sees his feelings for Cade, which go beyond just sexual desire and she fears losing them both to each other. It's not a threesome the three of them embark on light-heartedly or without trepidation. All three have their doubts and insecurities about it and all three think about and consider the feelings of the others. I really appreciated hat they didn't do the mindlessly diving into a ménage routine.

I really loved how the "Dirty Laundry" theme of the series was subtly incorporated in this installment, in the refreshingly unique way I've grown used to by now in this series. Seriously, this is my favorite new (and newly discovered) erotic contemporary series of 2010.

One very minor point of criticism: the ending was kind of sudden, when I turned the page, ready for some more triangle action and I got the 'About the Author' page I just stared at it in disbelief and disappointment because surely this couldn't be the end. I flipped back and forth again but unfortunately there was no more and I really wanted more.

The m/m part of this ménage is...just wow...I have no words to do it justice. As known I only accept m/m action if there's a female somewhere in the equation and there is in COMING CLEAN but at the same time Inez Kelley gave me a taste of the most explicit m/m sexy times I have ever read in my limited experience of this subgenre and lo and behold: I loved it. True, I was anxiously waiting for Vivi to come out and into play too but still I thought the Cade and Grant raw chemistry and tentative exploring of each other was brilliantly written and I must thank Inez for giving me a first real taste of m/m, and not just the suggestion of it (which was fine with me and my comfort zone) and making me love it!

That being said, I still liked the parts where Vivi contributed to the sexual play the best and I don't believe I'd ever go for the straight m/m erotic romance but COMING CLEAN definitely proved to me that with the right kind of m/m/f ménage writing I can appreciate that part of it.

I was supposed to read this book slowly, little snippets spread out over a few days, in between other books I needed to read, but I couldn't because every time I closed the reader to go do or read something else, I'd keep thinking about it and opening the reader to go back to Grant, Vivi and Cade so eventually I read it in practically one sitting. Curse you, Ms. Kelley for keeping me entranced with this enticing piece of erotic romance! *shakes fist*

COMING CLEAN is a fun, poignant and dirty sexy erotic romance that will please both m/m and ménage lovers and it pleased even this non-m/m reader immensely!

Favorite Quotes:
Betrayal soured in his mouth. He’d crossed a line no friend should ever cross. Since fourth grade they’d been blood brothers, buddies, the guy you couldn’t call to bail you out of jail because he’d be sitting in the cell with you asking “Man, what the hell did we do?”

A soft command husked with gravelly texture. “Tell me what you’re thinking right now.” His sultry tone slithered across the air, shedding a skin of doubt and revealing scales of lust and promise.

Cade, Grant and Vivian were a triangle. Three sides of equal strength, joined together.

August 23, 2010

Summary from author’s website:

In Salem, human magick has thinned the veil between the planes to a permeable mist, forming a portal into the city, allowing time travelers and chameleons of the universe to enter there.

Bastian Dragonelli, once a Roman warrior turned dragon, is the first of his legion to be returned to earth, a man. So his brothers can also be saved and sent to earth, Bastian must reclaim the magick of Andra, Goddess of Hope, who sacrificed hers to transform him. He must seek his heart mate and make her quest his own. But the dark, powerful Killian, Sorceress of Chaos, who turned his legion into dragons and skewed his transition back into a man, is hot on his heels.

McKenna Greylock, the last non-magickal descendant of Ciarra, a witch who survived Salem's hanging times, needs a jack-of-all-trades to help turn her dilapidated Victorian into a bed and breakfast so she doesn't lose her home and her family's centuries-old legacy.

Enter McKenna's cousin, Vivica Quinlan, Ciarra's most magickal descendent, owner of the Works Like Magick Employment Agency. Vivica has a gift for matching human employers with magickal employees. Like Ciarra before her, Vivica knows when magickal supernatural ancients are about to arrive. She greets them and acclimates them to life, and to making a living, in Salem.

Besides Killian's threatening presence, Bastian's life is also complicated by McKenna, his guardian dragon, a troublemaking fairy, and a case of culture shock. Bastian also has a problem with his man lance. It won't behave at all the way he remembered it should. Not at all...

Title: Naked Dragon
Author: Annette Blair
Series: Works Like Magick Series, book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year of release: 2010, January 5
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Bought at The Book Depository
First line: In a body that seemed too small to contain him, Bastian tumbled endlessly through bouts of darkness and spirals of light, hailstorms and lightning, surcease and fright.
Memorable Scenes:
- The horse ride > the point where McKenna started to feel attracted to Bastian
- The two lake scenes > first one was an important scene for both plot and romance as a lot becomes clear to McKenna. Second one was just plain hot!
- Bastian’s PMS scene > funny, brilliant and cute!

Quick & Dirty-review:

- A dragon sent to Earth to find his heart mate in order to fulfill his destiny and save his brothers
- A cranky but loving house-owner in desperate need of a handyman and love
- A pesky and creepy property developer who has nothing but evil in mind
- Magical creatures that are colorful in more ways than just to the eye: a Goddess of Hope, A Crone of Chaos, a faery pixie, a guardian dragon
- A wonderful and sensuous romance filled with laugh-out-loud, pee-your-pants humor

Hero: Bastian Dragonelli, was turned from Roman warrior to Dragon to human handy man. He’s a true alpha dragon. He’s bold, protective and fearless. But he’s also caring, impetuous and endeared me with his unfamiliarity with earthly things.

Heroine: McKenna Greylock is a descendant of a famous witch in Salem but she has not inherited any magick. She is obstinate, tenacious, a little bit bossy and difficult and sometimes short-tempered and challenging. But she has a heart of gold.

Plot: There were a few plots and they flowed into one, connecting together in a fast-paced and thrilling ending. There’s the story line of McKenna needing to open her B&B as soon as possible so she won’t loose the house and land to an evil property developer, there’s the task of finding his heart mate for Bastian, in order to save his brothers from eternal destruction by an evil sorceress and of course there’s the romance between Bastian and McKenna. The plots were all clear and well written and fit into each other seamlessly.

Writing: What caught my attention throughout the book was the humor. I laughed so hard and so many times I lost count. It was everywhere: in the dialogues, in the plot, in the characters. The most funny parts were those where Bastian’s unfamiliarity with earthly things were displayed, the way he described everyday things like cars (“colorful noisemaking machines with stink powder coming out of their hind ends”), thin women (“bony females who needed feeding and badly”), breasts (“dragon-hardening globes”) or fried eggs (“food with big yellow eyes”).
After first 100 pages humor was toned down a bit as Bastian got more knowledgeable and familiar with the earthly terms and things and the story and pace seemed to fizzle out a bit but luckily the last 100+ pages were up to par again.

- The humor which I found refreshing as with paranormal the norm seems to be dark and gritty at the moment
- The romance that was touching and hot

- Very, very short chapters, average chapters: 5 pages and sometimes there were chapter breaks in the middle of scenes.
- Like other people's reading pet peeves can be babies or children, mine is ghosts. I dislike them in stories and there are plenty if them in NAKED DRAGON.

I thoroughly enjoyed NAKED DRAGON. The book caught me by surprise with its great humor that made it laugh-out-loud funny without going over the top. It’s also a lovely and touching romance that was fast-paced but never felt rushed. I don’t know why I left this treasure of a book on the shelves for so long and I can’t wait for Bastian’s brothers to get their books as this one has really left me wanting more.

Favorite Quotes:

“Your eyes are violet,” she said.
They’re dragon-elli eyes. Dragonelli. All my brothers have eyes this color.”
It’s in the genes, then?”
No, that is my man lance in my jeans. I am sorry if it distracts you. It is a bit out of control today.”

“McKenna?” her friend said. “You’re not answering me. I repeat. Have you seen him naked?”
“Little bit.”
“Yes!” Lizzie screamed. ”I’ll bet he’s hung.”
“Well, he wasn’t hiding a cocktail frank under that blanket.”

"I could get used to playing the royal in the bedroom.”
“I will adore you, my queen, with every inch of my body, and I have many inches.” His rough voice promised heaven while his look turned her into a useless puddle of need.

August 21, 2010
Surfer—make that ex-surfer—Carly Winters can't believe she accidentally faxed an erotic letter to…a secure military line? Now navy SEAL Jonathon "Hunt" Huntington is at her door, fax in hand, asking her how the fantasy ends.

Because Carly's parents think Hunt is her new boyfriend, and Carly does need a wedding date ASAP, Hunt's ready to play—only on one condition. Carly's got to teach him to hang ten. Problem is it's been a while since Carly's career-ending accident and she's terrified of anything aqua. But with Hunt, letting go just may make her fantasy a reality!

Title: Coming Undone
Author: Stephanie Tyler
Series: SEAL trilogy, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harlequin (Blaze)
Year of release: 2007, April 1
Format: eBook (Category), 256 pages
Source: Bought at eHarlequin
First line: “I started with, I think it’s sexy when we cuddle.”
Memorable scenes:
- All the beach scenes > wonderful and emotional
- The scene in the bar with Samantha and Ty > If you read nothing else of this book, please do read chapter 11! *Sigh*

Quick & Dirty-review:

Hero: Jonathan "Hunt" Huntington (28), Navy SEAL Lieutenant

Heroine: Carly Winters, recovering from a severe surfing accident which ended her professional surfing career and has made her fearful of surfing again and has impeded her from picking up surfing again, from a socialite family

Plot: To be honest, I read this book a long time ago and didn’t take any notes about the plot so I can’t dish up an eloquent plot summary here. The only thing I remember is Hunt finding Carly because she sent a naughty fax to a wrong number and and misunderstanding leads him into accompanying her to her sister’s wedding, they fall in love and he helps her overcome her fear of the sea after her horrible surfing accident. There was also a lovely tentative secondary romance plot with Samantha (Carly’s friend) and Ty (Hunt’s brother) that was pretty intense and impressive.

Writing: The writing is hot and engaging, once I started I couldn't stop.

- Depth of the characters, for a short book they were very well-rounded
- multi-layered story with the multiple (4) POVs

- Too short
- Missed some more suspense
- Carly's family. As characters as such not the way they were written

Verdict: I was really pleasantly surprised by this book and honestly I shouldn't be because it was written by Stephanie Tyler, who never fails to deliver for me! Even in the short span of a Harlequin Blaze she manages to bring a lovely emotional, action-packed story with amazing characters, multiple POVs and a wonderful secondary romance that makes me ache for that story to be completely told, preferably in a single title, full length book.

Favorite Quotes:
Oh Lord, he was on the phone with her sister. And doing a fine job of soothing the savage beast with the combo Jedi-SEAL mind-control thing.

“So, Samantha, what do you do?” Ty leaned an elbow on the crowded bar, cordoning off an area for her where she wouldn’t be bumped. He’d moved her away from the guy she’d been speaking to earlier, gently but firmly, as if he already owned her. His focus was all raw energy and on her alone.
“For a living?” she asked.
“We could start there.”
“I’m a teacher.” She took a long swig from her beer bottle, and her heart beat a tiny bit faster. She might have imagined it, but she could have sworn he’d moved closer to her.
“Hot for teacher,” he said, caressing her forearm.
“Like I’ve never heard that one before.”
“Never from anyone like me. Want to take a ride on my bike?”
“I’ve never ridden a motorcycle before.”
Ty winked. “That’s good. I like virgins.”
“Are you always this forward?”
“Yes. Always. I go after what I want.”

August 19, 2010

An orchestra musician, a private music teacher, and a homebody, Lily’s a full-figured, quiet woman who lives a fairly simple and solitary life. Aside from music, she has one big passion: stock car racing. She’s been a fan for as long as she can remember and makes the yearly pilgrimage to Daytona as often as she can. When she’s offered a chance to get away to North Carolina and attend two weeks of races, she jumps at it. Little does she know what that chance has in store for her…

Cam Carter is one of the most successful young drivers in the top tier of the stock car racing circuit. All over the country, he’s well known to racing fans, loved by some, respected by a few, and hated by others. He’s arrogant, strong willed, and a consistent winner. What he doesn’t have is balance…until he meets a pretty, very curvaceous, and unassuming fan named Lily.

Lily fears the difference in lifestyles, ages, and personalities while Cam in turn, embraces them. Can they find a way to cross the finish line and take the checkered flag together or will the obstacles push against them until they crash and burn?
Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse.

Title: Stick Shift
Author: Lissa Matthews
Series: Unnamed series with future books in the same setting, book 1
Genre: Erotic Romance, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Loose-id
Year of release: 2010, May 11
Format: eBook, .pdf, 148 pages
Source: Received from author when I was unable to buy it at Loose-id as they don’t accept Paypal payments
First line: “So what are you doing next month?”
Memorable Scenes:
- bench scene at Cam’s place > H.O.T!!!
- the cookie-bribe scene > made me wonder what I’d do for cookies

Lillian “Lily” Jackson is a self-employed woman working 3 jobs and leading a simple life. She is levelheaded, realistic and an analytic over-thinker.

Cam Carter is the total opposite of Lily. He’s a stock car racer who takes life head on. He is impulsive and lively and goes after what he wants and unapologetically so.

The first words that come to mind when thinking back to this book are cute and hot. I really enjoyed the story, Cam, Lily, their romance and the setting. Stock car racing and May-December trope with the woman being the older one are two topics that always attract my attention when I look for (e)books to add to my collection and Lissa Matthews delivered on both counts and also gave me some very, very hot scenes as an added bonus.

The instant connection and attraction between Lily and Cam was quite fast but Lissa Matthews made it work well. Lily is a bit unsure when it comes to believing Cam is really interested in her but not annoyingly so. It’s just her levelheadedness causing a bit of sound insecurity. I loved how Cam was so frank in his feelings for Lily. He was so utterly and delectably cute and completely into Lily from the moment he laid eyes on her. He is cute in a boyish sort of way but not when it came to the sex play. I also loved how Lily turned into a sex fiend once she gave in to the attraction and how she was the one to take the initiative sexually.

My first taste of this author’s work definitely left me wanting more because in its genre it was really one of the better short novellas I’ve read and it’s one hot book. Lissa Matthews knows her hot sexy scenes and it had been a while since the sexy times scenes had me as enthralled as hers did in STICK SHIFT. She writes them hot, raw and unadulterated and they set the pages on fire. I seriously thought my e-reader was going to meld down from the heat in these scenes.

There was one thing that I missed though. The end was kind of sudden. There was definitely a HEA, yet I still felt like I could’ve used some sort of epilogue or a few “I love you”-s. But other than that is was a great novella.

STICK SHIFT is a delightful and red-hot story of lust and love at first sight. I smiled, I tingled, I sighed and I enjoyed. I love it when books like these remind me why I love to read romance so much.

Favorite Quote:
“Inside you, Lily. I need inside you. Wallet. Condom.”
He was speaking in one-word phrases, but he couldn't help it. He was afraid if she so much as breathed in his direction, he was going to come right then and there and look like an amateur at making love to a woman.
She reached over and picked up the wallet he'd dropped on the table and handed it to him. With shaking fingers, he fumbled until he found the foil packet, then tossed the wallet away, and ripped the foil with his teeth.

August 17, 2010


Who wanted her dead? That's what Claire Samson wanted to know. On the run and alone, there was only one man she trusted to find her. Recovery agent Luke Hathaway was the best at locating and saving, and she needed the best if she wanted to live. But the handsome agent who promised salvation had some conditions of his own. If he were to help, she needed to stick close by his side. Very close. And the only thing more dangerous than her current situation was the way Luke made her feel. From the protective look in his green eyes, she could tell he felt the same. But every second that brought them closer together was also ticking toward an explosive confrontation that might tear them apart….

Title: Under the Gun
Author: HelenKay Dimon
Series: Harlequin Intrigue’s Ultimate Heroes
Unnamed series, book 1 (name of the series will be added shortly)
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin (Intrigue)
Year of release: 2010, March 16
Format: Mass Market Paperback (Category), 224 pages
Source: Bought at the
First line: Luke Hathaway scanned the surveillance monitors set up in the nondescript Washington, D.C., office building’s underground security headquarters.

Quick & Dirty-review:

Summary: Claire ran out right before they were supposed to get married two years ago. Now on the run and wanted for murder, she runs to Luke for help clearing her name.

Hero: Luke Hathaway, stubborn, determined, professional. His antiques recovery business is a front for an agency that finds and rescues missing people. Claire abandoning him left an undeniable impression on him and at first he is hesitant to help her.

Heroine: Claire Samson is smart, courageous and resilient. However there was something about her story that I just couldn’t grasp and I didn’t get a satisfactory explanation for it. I understood that her childhood played a big part in her reason to leave Luke as he was withholding part of his life from her (his real job) but that still didn’t explain why she not only left him practically at the alter but also chose to marry another man after she did.

Plot: A very well drawn and well-written, action-packed plot that kept me at the edge of my seat from start to end.

Writing: I really liked HelenKay Dimon’s writing. It’s crisp, clean and fast-paced. I just think that an Harlequin Intrigue is not enough for me to really form a founded opinion on it. So I am definitely reading more of her work in order to do so.

- The action that kept the story going in a very fast pace
- Luke’s fellow operatives, a wealth of future books there!

- Claire’s character and back-story. I am still on the fence about Claire because I liked her courage and determination but couldn’t get a solid explanation for her actions in the past.

This was a book of firsts for me. My first HelenKay Dimon book and my first Harlequin Intrigue. I had not tasted HelenKay Dimon’s writing before this book and didn’t know what to expect from a Harlequin Intrigue except suspense. I can safely say that I really liked this first encounter. The thrilling start immediately had my attention and held it and it was filled with hard-core action with the gunfights, fistfights and the suspense. I definitely want more and have my next HelenKay Dimon HQN Intrigue climbing Mount TBR!

Favorite Quote:
She fell into the kiss, returning his sure touches with her own. Hot breaths. Guttural moans. The memories of being with him came rushing back. Not that they had ever truly left. A woman didn’t forget being overwhelmed by the joint pleasure of a man’s mouth and hands.
Luke had that power over her.

August 16, 2010

It's been a while since I posted a Quotes-post...*goes to check when the last Quote-post was* To be precise tomorrow it'll be a year since the last Quote-Post...hmmm coincidence much?

I've decided to revive the Quote-post Feature as once in a while there are books that are just so quotable that I it's very, very hard to stick to the 2 or 3 I usually use in my reviews, and I'm not even talking about the times I sneak in an extra few on top of the 2 or 3...

I'm kicking it off with quotes from a book I had the honor of reviewing for Fiction Vixen Book Reviews...When I saw it on the list for reviews I first hesitated to put my name up for it, but then I saw it was romantic suspense and everyone knows by now, my weakness is romantic suspense so I put my name in, waited for the book to arrive and left in on the shelves until on the evening of August 10th, when I suddenly was brutally reminded of the fact that Fiction Vixen was expecting my review of SHADOWS AT MIDNIGHT on August 15th and I hadn't even cracked the spine yet. So I got my behind in gear and opened to the first page that same evening and totally unexpected was blown away by this book.

Fiction Vixen has my review up so you can read HERE why I gave it 5 stars...

Claire Day’s promising career as a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst comes to a shattering end in the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Laka, West Africa. For more than a year, Claire has been rebuilding her life and her confidence when she suddenly remembers the man who tried to protect her, and who might hold the key to the mysteries haunting her nightmares

Former Marine Gunnery Sergeant Daniel Weston believed Claire was dead. But the woman he grieve for has just come back into his life seeking to reconnect with her past, unaware of the feelings he has for her. Determined not to fail Claire again, Dan vows to help her heal.

Together, they begin to unlock Claire’s lost memories only to uncover a conspiracy that puts them –and any future they might have together– in deadly danger…

And as I didn't want to deprive you all of the wonderful quotes I found while reading this book, it has the honor of being the first Quote Post on the Blog again since a year. I hope you all enjoy the quotes as much as I did the book!

Dan's thoughts when he sees what's going on outside the embassy. It was a serious scene but the QT on crack remark made me smile:
It was a Quentin-Tarantino-on-crack-scene.
Hundreds of screaming soldiers, firing their weapons crazily in all directions, pouring into the city

Several "smell" quotes from Dan's POV, the sense of smell was used a lot in this book:
*He could smell individual bits of her and they all smelled wonderful. Freshly shampooed hair, some lemony lotion on her hands and something fresh and springlike that he imagined was the smell of her skin. Jesus, he’d like to smell all that up close. Just put his nose next to her neck and inhale, even though he doubted she’d like him pulling a dog imitation on her.

Dan looked away for a moment, trying to get back into his own head. He definitely needed to go out and get laid, asap, if holding a woman's hand briefly while looking in her eyes nearly overwhelmed him.

He forced himself to smile into her eyes instead of closing his, leaning down to her and sniffing her like a dog.

Claire about to sleep with Dan for the first time and citing the reasons why she wanted to:
He wanted her and she wanted him right back, but for all the wrong reasons. Because he was so hot he melted the icy chill that surrounded her. Because he had strong hands that wouldn't let her fall. Because he was completely, gloriously sane and she was...she was slightly loony on her best day. Because he was a Marine and was guaranteed to make her feel safe when she woke up at three in the morning, alone and terrified with the echo of danger and voices clamoring in her head.
Those were not good reasons to take a man to your bed.

Clair has a "smell" quote too, she's dressed in Dan's T-shirt after a shower:
She sniffed at the material but all she could smell was detergent. She'd been hoping for the smell of Dan. His smell would be embedded in the deepest recesses of her brain to the end of time.
Oh, God. A mixture of soap and musk and man. Intoxicating. Enthralling (...) The smell of him , musk and male, the taste of him, salt and spicy, the feel of him, hot and amazingly hard all over, the sound of him, breath heaving in and out of his lungs(...)

Dan's fear for Claire's life described while he hugs her after an ordeal they go through:
Dan hung on for dear life, sweating and shaking, completely undone. Later when he could think straight, it would astonish him.
He was known for his cool under fire (...)
But now he was shaken to the core, the adrenaline of the escape coursing through his system like poison and the only antidote was Claire, safe in his arms.

Claire asking Jesse to buy her and Dan supplies while they go into hiding:
"(...) And buy me a parka." She narrowed her eyes on him. "Can you buy women's underwear?"
His eyes rounded and he took a step back as if she'd asked him to French-kiss a rattlesnake. "No ma'am."
Claire sighed. Pity. Though God knew what he'd choose. She was fanatic about nice underwear, but sending Jesse into a La Perla store would probably give him a heart attack.

Another Dan quote that made me smile:
He forced himself to take his clothes off normally, not in a frenzy like last time. Sweater off, placed on the chair he'd been sitting in. He didn't fold it. There were limits to what a man could do but at least he didn't rip it off and toss it over his shoulder. His shirt seemed to have a million buttons, all tiny. He was never going to buy a shirt ever again, not with Claire around. Maybe he'd just wear one of those Arab thoubs, go commando underneath, pull it up and off and there you were.

Claire ogling Dan:
Naked he was an extraordinary sight. Broad, heavy shoulders, tapering down to a narrow waist, smooth buttock, hard hairy thighs with the muscles very visible as he walked.
If I can admire his ass, I'm feeling better, she thought.
Walking back, he was even more admirable.
"Thanks I feel much bettter"
"I know." He leaned over to kiss her forehead. "You were checking my butt out. Then my package."
That earned him an elbow in the ribs, which he took like a man.

Dan and Claire, hot and heavy and emotional:
"Can I use my hands now?" He asked quietly.
She nodded, unable to speak. The feelings in her were so intense she felt as is she could hardly contain them. (...)
"Dan, I--"
"Sh." He put a finger over her mouth. "I know."
Kissing her deeply, he turned them over and entered her, a long, slow, tender penetration.
He lifted his head and looked down at her, wiping the tear that had escaped with a rough finger. "You're mine now," he whispered.

Another example of Dan's protective feelings:
* He’d made love for hours to Claire, as if joining his body to hers could create a magical aura of protection, as if the more time he spent inside her, the safer she’d be. If he could have, he’d have tucked her right into his own body and kept her there.

Sweet, disarming Dan:
Dan sighed and she turned around, her face lighting up when she saw him.
Oh man.
He rubbed his chest. When she smiled at him like that his heart just gave this enormous thwack inside his chest, even after (...CAN'T QUOTE THIS PART AS IT IS SPOILERISH) . He should maybe see a cardiologist.

(The ones with the * made the official review)

August 11, 2010
In this riveting new installment of New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series, Gideon, keeper of the Demon of Lies, fights to uncover the truth….

Forced to his knees in agony whenever he speaks the truth, Gideon can recognize any lie—until he captures Scarlet, a demon-possessed immortal who claims to be his long-lost wife. He doesn’t remember the beautiful female, much less wedding — or bedding — her. But he wants to . . . almost as much as he wants her.

But Scarlet is keeper of Nightmares, too dangerous to roam free, and a future with her means risking everything. Especially as Gideon’s enemies draw closer . . . and the truth threatens to destroy all he’s come to love . . .

Title: The Darkest Lie
Author: Gena Showalter
Series: Lords of the Underworld, book 6
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: HQN, Harlequin Publishing
Year of release: 2010, July 1
Format: eBook - ADEpdf, 448 pages
Source: Received digital copy from publisher via NetGalley
First line: Gideon stared down at the woman sleeping in the massive bed of cerulean cotton.
Memorable Scenes:
- Scarlet and Gideon's marriage vows > so endearing and beautiful
- Amun, William and Aeron in Hell > action-packed, heart-in-throat exciting
- The scene where Scarlet discovers what really happened in the past > heartbreaking

I want to start this review by saying it was the hardest review I’ve ever written because I did not love this book by one of my all-time favorite authors and I so wanted to. I really wanted to LOVE this book as much as I did all the other installments in this series but I just couldn’t, there were too many things that just didn’t work for me and writing this review broke my fan-girl heart a little bit.

Gideon is the keeper of the Demon of Lies. I always thought Gideon kind of sweet and inconspicuous until THE DARKEST WHISPER, where he certainly made an appearance that stayed with me and in THE DARKEST PASSION he definitely made an impression on me with his great sense of humor and had me thinking I was going to have to change my mind about him. Unfortunately in his own book it was hard to get a firm grip on his character because of some very contradictory traits. He’s sweet and tough, brave and meek, ruthless and compassionate and tender.

Scarlet is the keeper of the Demon of Nightmares. She’s ruthless, saucy, sharp, fearless and intelligent. Scarlet is the first heroine in the Lords of the Underworld series I did not like very much. And despite me not liking her she still outshone Gideon for me. She did things I didn’t like but she was fierce and passionate and underneath that fierceness was a sort of vulnerability in her yearning for someone to love and accept her. Both Gideon and Scarlet are stubborn but Scarlet won hands down in that department too. She just refused to compromise or to see things in another light, holding on to what she thought of Gideon and to her version of what had happened in the past.

The contradictions in Gideon and some other things I’ll talk about later on in this review made it hard for me to fall for him as the hero of this book. Add to that that Scarlet either worked on my nerves or did things that made me want to smack her around for most of the book and you may deduct that the main characters didn’t quite work for me in THE DARKEST LIE.

The first things that bothered me were the prologue and chapter 1. To me it would have worked so much better if chapter 1 had been the prologue and the prologue chapter 1. I didn’t understand why and see the logic of the way it was done now. Also, I was sad to see some mid-scene breaks to completely different storylines at some very inconvenient points in the scenes. Remember my rant about that in my LOVER MINE review? Needless to say I was very disillusioned to see this in a book by one of my favorite authors.

While I liked the premise of Scarlet in THE DARKEST PASSION, where the foundation for Gideon and Scarlet’s story is laid, for the greater part of this book I didn’t like Scarlet. I really didn’t like how she physically hurt Gideon and I liked the emotional hurt she caused him even less. I really resented her hitting, kicking and punching Gideon repeatedly and Gideon just “lying there and taking it,” passively, without protest or retaliation. I truly disliked how Gideon let Scarlet physically abuse him. I am not an advocate for men hitting women, definitely not, but come on! She punched, hit, kicked, stabbed him and he did…nothing!!

There was a point in the story where I seriously wondered if Gena was going to be able to redeem Scarlet and make me like her more, further along in the book. To me Scarlet was a tad whimsical. Sometimes she would show a glimpse of compassion, of caring, of feeling Gideon’s torment and pain and wanting to assuage that pain. However, these moments were far too rare in my opinion and that contributed to me not caring much about her as the heroine for most part of the book. There was a storyline in the book that broke my heart and made me sympathize with Scarlet a bit more and in the end Gena Showalter did redeem her characters enough for my resentment of Scarlet to diminish but it did reek of too little too late.

And then there was the “Gideon-speak”. I admire Gena Showalter for taking up the complicated task of writing this book because the Gideon-speak was utterly confusing throughout the whole book. It slowed the pace down for me as figuring out what he meant sometimes, or the translations offered by the other characters or by Gideon’s inner voice, would take me out of the story and the reading rhythm. In the other books of the Lords of the Underworld series I found the Gideon-speak funny and quirky but it came in small doses then. Reading and mentally translating it in the first half of this book made me feel like my head was going to explode and this was another reason, next to the slow pace, the low amount of action and the disconnection with the main couple, why it took me so long (it took me a month(!) to read this book) to finish this book.

The pace was another thing that bothered me. For at least the first half of the story the pace is slow, there’s not much happening action wise, making it the “meh” book in the Lords of the Underworld series. I have a “meh” book in every ongoing series and unfortunately THE DARKEST LIE turned out to be it in this series. I was and still am disappointed in the lack of action and new information in the first part of the book. After I’d read about 100 pages I was still at the point in the story arc where I’d left it at the end of THE DARKEST PASSION. So that was about 100 pages of no new information, no new developments, only back-story and revelations that were already known to loyal followers of this series. As I said in my review of THE DARKEST PASSION: I understand the need to write these books as stand-alones but in my opinion as someone who reads series like these in order, it is a disservice to readers who have been with the series since book 1 when you have to read about 100 pages first before you get something new in the continuing story arc.

Next to all of the above things that didn’t work for me there were also things that did work for me, fortunately! The trademark Gena Showalter humor is definitely present again in THE DARKEST LIE. I loved that she never fails me in that department and it definitely gave me the reading pleasure I missed with other aspects of the book.

The story of Gideon and Scarlet and the romance between them is heartbreaking. Even without knowing Gideon’s side of the story in the beginning, the tale Scarlet’s character reveals bit by bit through her thoughts and memories shows a Scarlet who was rejected by everyone who meant something to her, everyone who was supposed to love and cherish her. I was intrigued by how Gideon doesn’t remember Scarlet or being married to her. The why and how kept me speculating during a big portion of the book and when the answers came I was surprised by what had been going on and what had been done to Scarlet and Gideon.

Still, it is not a good sign when the side stories capture my attention more than the main couple does. In this case it there was nothing wrong with the romance or their back-story but the characters themselves just rubbed me the wrong way. The side stories however were extremely interesting and made me want more, more, and more. I want to know about Aeron and Legion (can I say cliff hanger?), William (sexy immortal extraordinaire), Amun (fairly early in the story there’s a hinting towards Amun’s HEA and if that one is carried through it’s one I really didn’t see coming but I’m very curious to see how this is going to be played out), someone I can’t name for fear of spoilers of almost all the previous books in the series, especially THE DARKEST PASSION (but wow, I can’t wait for when stuff surrounding her starts coming out of the woodworks), Strider (disaster and mayhem about to happen there).

As usual Gena Showalter had the ability to surprise me with plot twists like no other and she kept doing it in THE DARKEST LIE too. I think I’ve mentioned the 100-page mark a few times and apologize for doing it again but it wasn’t until after about those first 100 pages that at last I was pulled into the story. The new developments and plot twists I had been craving were finally delivered and the pace picked up along with a lot more action and in the end I got what I am used to in the LOTU series. In terms of overall arc and side plots the series keeps getting better and better with every new installment and THE DARKEST LIE is no exception, because despite my misgivings with Gideon and Scarlet the plot, once it got going, was intriguing and original as always.

I so wanted to be awed by another installment of the LOTU, a series I love so much, but I honestly can’t say that I was. Disappointed and heartbroken is a more accurate description of how I felt until about 2/3 into the book and when I turned the last page of it I was very sad to say that this was the first ever Gena Showalter book I had problems with. Admittedly, the last third of the book did make up for some of the disappointment I felt, but sadly it wasn’t enough to boost my rating up to more than I’ve given it now. But I have faith in Gena! As someone on Twitter said: “everyone has the right to an off day, or in this case an off book…I am convinced and confident Gena Showalter and the LOTU series will deliver for me in the next installment.

Favorite Quotes:
He was a beautiful man, his face was like an angel’s –only sprinkled with all kinds of wicked.

She’d always been interested in him? Suddenly he wanted to puff out his chest and bang on it like a damned monkey.

“Don’t reach into my pocket,” he said.
There was a suspended silence. Then a dry, “I don’t think so.”
“I don’t have a present for you.”
Interest lit her dark eyes, but she remained still. Even suspicious. “The present wouldn’t happen to be a hard c#ck, would it? Because if it is, I would have to return it. Minus a few inches.”

The moment his tongue made contact, his entire body felt like it went up in flames from the inside out. His blood turned his organs to ash. His ashed organs liquefied his bones and those liquid bones scorched his skin, leaving blisters.

August 9, 2010
Soft shoulders and dangerous curves…

Braden can’t deny he’s always wanted Chelsea, but getting involved wouldn’t be fair. She has college and big dreams ahead of her—he has no desire to leave Jaffrey’s Cove. Plus, there’s the fact merfolk women often take more than one lover. Share her? Not in this lifetime.

When Chelsea’s plans for the future fall apart, the only bright spot remaining is Sheriff Braden Marley. She’s been angling for a shot at the gentle giant’s heart—and the rest of him—for a long time. Except he not only holds her at a maddening arm’s length, he somehow manages to keep other men away, too.

Enter Jamie Powell, a human marine archeologist who’s in town for a cataloging project. His instant chemistry with Chelsea inspires her to try a sexy new tactic: make Braden jealous enough to stop dragging his feet and start leaving his shoes under her bed.

The ensuing storm generates a boatload of complications none of them saw coming. A forbidden attraction no amount of merfolk magic can erase. And the danger that their secrets could be exposed to the outside world…

Warning: Seductive shimmering lights, a sexy interlude on the strip club floor, mysterious Spanish lovers, and a trio caught in an eddy of intense sexual attraction. Swim at your own risk.

Title: Whirlpool
Author: Vivian Arend
Series: Forces of Nature, book 2
Genre: Erotic Romance, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Year of release: 2010, August 10
Format: eBook - pfd, 118 pages
Source: Received for ARC-review from the author
First line: A shot of lust hit him hard as he looked into the brightest blue eyes he’d ever seen.
Memorable Scenes:
- Opening scene of the book > It started with a bang and never let up
- Jamie's solo sexy times scenes > Can I say HOT?
- Chelsea and Braden's first time together scene > culmination point of a lot of sexual tension and chemistry

Chelsea has had a crush on Braden Marley for 10 years but he keeps shooting her down and Chelsea is getting frustrated with it and with his every attempt to keep other male merfolk at a distance. Braden has had a hard time resisting Chelsea and now that she's not taking away the temptation by having to stay in town instead of leaving for college, it takes all his willpower not to give in. The arrival of Jamie Powell offers possibilities for a solution to Braden's dilemma, only not in the way he expected.

Chelsea is a young woman who has too much responsibility to carry on her shoulders. Her college plans are hindered by financial family problems but she is protective of her family and carries the burden by herself. Chelsea is stubborn, willful, vivacious and a very smart cookie.

Braden is the sheriff of Jaffrey Cove. He’s a big bald giant who loves to be in control, he’s commanding and straight to the point. His only weakness is his forbidden attraction to the young Chelsea, which he tries very hard to ignore and resist.

Jamie is an archaeologist who comes to Jaffrey Cove to do an assessment of a marine-artifact/nautical collection, inherited by Alexia (heroine TIDAL WAVE, book 1). He’s a little scatterbrained and sometimes forgetful about mundane things. Jamie is my kind of hero, very observant, sweet, calm and analytical. But there’s also that very seductive and sexual edge to him that fascinates and attracts. There were so many moments in WHIRLPOOL where I wanted to say to him: “Come to Pearl, I’ll make you feel better.”

From the start Vivian Arend pulled me straight into this story. Contrary to TIDAL WAVE, which took me a few pages to get into and stayed slow paced well into it, WHIRLPOOL reeled me in straight away and kept me utterly captivated. I really liked how the world building that was (understandably) prominent in TIDAL WAVE was toned down to a subtler and less intrusive level. This definitely benefitted the pace and the story.

The small plot of the crazies/vandalism spree was intriguingly woven through the romance. And resolved wonderfully and in a way I never saw coming. I was speculating about what could have caused it but never thought it to be what it turned out to be. I also loved how once again Vivian Arend created a love-triangle that totally worked though I was feeling a bit sorry for Jamie at the beginning but he got his and got it good in the course of the story and my consolation was definitely not needed anymore. I also admire the solution for the practical sides of this threesome and the way it still was a great HEA, though not a conventional one.

The build-up of the romance is excellently done, Vivian Arend created wonderful tension, building it up slowly and when the climax it was building up to came, it was titillating. Though, as might be known by now, I am not a m/m reader I did enjoy the subtle m/m parts of the ménage in WHIRLPOOL. they were beautifully done and not once did I feel uncomfortable with it. Kudos for Vivian Arend for joining the two other authors (Lorelei James and Lauren Dane) on my shelves who managed to keep me in my comfort zone while reading male on male sexy times!

Opposites and sex-on-sticks Jamie and Brady and bubbly, charming Chelsea carried the story wonderfully and provide some scorch-the-pages scenes that are guaranteed to set your reader on fire and keep you warm on a cold winter night. Ms Arend turned up the heat for this one, and I can’t say I had any objection to it. The sensual heat bar was set high from the first chapter and never diminished and her writing never fails to draw me in and keep me glued to the pages.

Favorite Quote:
Braden tweaked her nose and she smacked his hand away with a laugh. “Okay, baby. We give. You’re right, and we promise not to organize your life without you again. What’s our punishment? You want us to take you out to dinner?”
“I want to watch.” She crawled up on the back of the couch. Jamie flushed bright red and Braden grinned from ear to ear.
“Yes, Jamie.” She fluttered her hand at him. “Just pretend I’m not here and go back to what you were doing before I came home.” Her sex tingled in anticipation.
“You don’t want to join us?” Braden asked, giving her a slow clothing-melting stare from top to bottom, and the tingle increased to an electric pulse.
“Oh, I’ll let you know when I want in on the action.” She crossed her arms and tapped her lips. “I think you should start by taking everything off. Makes it easier for the watching, you know.”
Jamie leaned over her to nuzzle at her neck, caging her on either side with his strong arms. “You’re a naughty girl.”
She reached down and pulled his shirt from his slacks. “You, Braden. Naked. Now.”

August 6, 2010

Sara Montgomery's comfortable suburban life is turned upside down when handsome Hollywood actor, Enrique Alvarez, enters her life. Restlessness with her life drove her into his arms, but passion kept her there — a passion for him and for the love of writing he ignited once again. This burning need brings Sara a Hollywood success exceeding her wildest dreams. Everything that she thought was true in her life has changed, but at what cost?

Title: A Hollywood Affair
Author: Sally Royer-Derr
Series: Hollywood Series, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Year of release: 2010, April 29
Format: eBook - pdf, 222 pages
Source: Received for review from author
First line: He’s inside, waiting for me.
Memorable Scenes:A particular scene at the end that’s very emotional, but I can’t say much about it as it would spoil the story and the ending

When I started this book and read about how the heroine/main character Sara was planning to meet the man, an actor from her favorite TV show, she was going to cheat on her husband of 16 years with, I felt some trepidation. This book definitely pushed my buttons throughout most of it, as Enrique is also in a relationship and is willing/planning to sleep with Sara. I was seriously wondering if this was a book I was going to enjoy reading? I wasn't sure...but soon my insecurity was taken away and it wasn’t in a positive way because I really didn’t enjoy a big part of this book, namely the whole part where Sara and Enrique are having an affair.

My main problem was Sara. I just didn’t like her actions and motivation. The way she justified things for herself just totally rubbed me the wrong way. After she’s slept with Enrique at the first occasion they meet in person she rationalized it for herself as not cheating because it was just a fling and she still loved Bryan and would never leave him, I was seriously doubting if I could continue reading this book.

And it gets so much the worse when after she spends a night and day with Enrique in his hotel room she just rolls from his bed into her husbands and makes love to him telling him she loves him and is thinking that's where she belongs. Later her husband finds out about the affair from pictures in a magazine and instead of being upset that her husband and kids are giving her the cold shoulder after that, she's excited that she's going to be with Enrique.

Next to the problems I had with the characters, I also had a bit of trouble with the narrative, timeline and the flashbacks. In the narrative there were the occasional first person narratives and I really think this is an editing problem as the book is completely in third person, though it may have been first drafted in first person and later been revised and these occasional mix-ups were overlooked. If not, I can’t explain them.

The flashbacks were something that at first I didn’t even recognize as flashbacks as they started with an unannounced scene about Sara's parents' funeral that didn't make sense at that point in the story. I thought at first the flashbacks were parts of the novel Sara was writing but as Sara is mentioned and not the names of her characters I soon deducted that they must have been flashbacks. For me the flashbacks didn't add anything substantially important for the romance or the plot.

I don't like (you could say hate) cheaters and I did not enjoy the path the book was taking early on. I realize life and love aren’t always a bed of roses and affairs/cheating and people falling out of love is part of reality and applaud Sally Royer-Derr for having written a realistic book but at the same time it's not what I look for in my reading. I'm a believer in the "1 soul mate HEA kind of love" and would have been more accepting of the course this book took if Sara had been more honest and upfront with Bryan from the beginning.

On the other hand I must give kudos to Sally Royer-Derr for evoking strong feelings in me while reading this book. Okay, they were negative feelings but I prefer getting angry about what I'm reading in a book to reading books that are unable to evoke any feelings whatsoever. And I honestly cannot say that this was a bad book, the subject just wasn't for me. I liked reading about Enrique and Sara's separate lives, I didn't like the affair stuff and how Sara justified that to herself but I did like the ending of the book and thought the issues that bothered me were all resolved in an acceptable manner.

A HOLLYWOOD AFFAIR definitely has potential and the fact that I do want to read the sequel that is mentioned at the end of the book, is proof that I definitely want to read more by Sally Royer-Derr. I even went searching on the Internet for who the main character(s) of the second book could be as I was wondering if it could be (one of) the characters I met in this book.

So even though I can’t give this book a glowing review, I do recommend it to readers who are more accepting of the fact that people don’t stay with the love of their life forever and that people do fall out and in love during the course of their lives because the story around the affair is a pleasant one to read and intriguing enough to tempt me to read more by this author.

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39, married to my real life romance hero, addicted to TV shows, reading romance novels and Twitter. I'm a chronic (e)book hoarder and my absolute favorite genres within romance fiction are contemporary romance and romantic suspense, but I don't shy away from historical, paranormal or erotic romance either. Even the occasional (urban) fantasy romance, futuristic and sci fi romance may make it to my Mount TBR. This is my corner of the world wide web where I let you know what books I'm hoarding, reading and reviewing.
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GR Reading Challenge

2011 Reading Challenge

Pearl has read 10 books toward her goal of 50 books.

On My TBR Shelf

  • Unforgivable - Laura Griffin
  • Snapped - Laura Griffin
  • Darkness at Dawn - Elizabeth Jennings
  • Sizzle and Burn - Alexis Grant
  • No Mercy - Lori Armstrong
  • Animal Magnetism - Jill Shalvis
  • Crazy for Love - Victoria Dahl
  • Kink - Saskia Walker/Sasha White
  • So Sensitive - Anne Rainey
  • Dark Taste of Rapture - Gena Showalter
  • The Darkest Secret - Gena Showalter
  • Vampire in Atlantis - Alyssa Day
  • Vampire Dragon - Annette Blair
  • Captive Spirit - Anna Windsor
  • Chosen by Blood - Virna DePaul
  • Rebel - Zoe Archer
  • Stranger - Zoe Archer
  • A Taste of Desire - Beverley Kendall
  • Mistress by Midnight - Maggie Robinson
  • To Desire a Devil - Elizabeth Hoyt
  • To Tame a Dangerous Lord - Nicole Jordan

Digital TBR Next

  • Driven - Jayne Rylon (reread)
  • Shifting Gears - Jayne Rylon
  • Beg Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Tempt Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Jazz Baby - Lorelie Brown
  • Playboy Prankster - Pamela Britton
  • Just Like That - Erin Nicholas
  • Sweet Inspiration - Penny Watson
  • Breathe - Donna Alward
  • My Gigolo - Molly Burkhart
  • Scent of Persuason - Nikki Duncan

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