Monthly Archives: July 2014

Review: Looking For Trouble by Victoria Dahl

Looking for TroubleLooking for Trouble by Victoria Dahl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for an honest review at Romancing Rakes for the Love of Romance.

Alex Bishop spent too much of his life in a nightmare that started the day his no-good father ran off with a neighbor lady, never to return. Alex’s mother was already in a precarious mental state, but being abandoned by her husband pushed her over that ragged edge into something close to full-blown madness. After finally finishing school even as his mother would attempt to drag him and his brother around on wild hunts for their missing father, Alex moved away and planned to stay gone for good. But when his brother contacted him about the discovery of his missing father’s body, Alex knew he had to come back to town just one more time before he could shake the dust of Jackson Hole, Wyoming off his boots forever.

Sophie Heyer has lived most of her life in a nightmare that started the day her no-good mother ran off with Alex Bishop’s father, leaving a husband and two children in a town that would never let the scandal completely die away. It took years for Sophie to trust that her stepfather would never kick her out, but even now she still tries to do everything for him and her brother in a never-ending attempt to prove herself worthy of their love. Now Alex’s mother has resurrected the years-old gossip with a misguided attempt at a memorial service for her late husband, making Sophie’s life a fresh hell to bear. But when the woman who won’t leave falls for the man who can’t stay, it’s anybody’s guess as to whether scorching sexual chemistry between a couple who should never have met can turn into something more.

This was my first visit to Victoria Dahl’s small town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but after LOOKING FOR TROUBLE it won’t be the last. So many small town romances focus only on idyllic and charming features of that genre, but as we see here, a small town also has a long memory, especially when its citizens behave in highly inappropriate ways. Alex and Sophie were both deeply damaged by the behavior of their respective parents, but they reacted in completely opposite ways. Yet what we see in LOOKING FOR TROUBLE is that when two people really love each other, they also try to be honest with each other, especially when they see the person they love making a huge mistake. It was just as bad for Sophie to ignore her own desires for a life away from Jackson Hole as it was for Alex to ignore his family’s need for him to visit and be a part of their lives. When Alex and Sophie first met, it was sex they had in common. And even though it was amazing mind-blowing sex, both of them still needed to grow up before they could even consider seeing each other again, let alone plan a possible future together. Their slow but convincing character growth is the core of a rather interesting story about old scandals and new beginnings. That’s what made LOOKING FOR TROUBLE both an entertaining and touching romance for me, and it’s why I’ll be going back to read Victoria Dahl’s other books in the Jackson Hole world as well.

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Review: One Sexy Ride by Vivian Arend

One Sexy Ride (Thompson & Sons, #2)One Sexy Ride by Vivian Arend

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.

ONE SEXY RIDE is the second story in Vivian Arend’s new Thompson & Sons series, and it’s set in the same world as her previous Rocky Mountain series, but you don’t have to have read any of the previous books to be able to enjoy what’s here.

Janey has spent most of her life up until now pining after Len Thompson, all to no avail. He’s always been around her, being her good friend, but nothing more. What Janey really wants is that one true love to settle down with and raise a family, and she’s been convinced that Len is that guy. But what she’s never known is that even though he does secretly love her, that love is also why he’s continued to keep her at arm’s length. For Len has seen what happens when you lose your one true love, and he’s determined to never let that happen to him. So the last thing Len wants to do is love Janey, because losing her would be so much worse than not ever having her in the first place.

Tired of putting her life on hold for a guy who apparently doesn’t see in her what she sees in him, Janey has made plans to finish renovating her beloved family home, then sell it and leave town for good. Her decision to leave town, combined with a key moment when Len saves Janey from certain danger, makes him think that maybe he can at least have a taste of what he would never dare claim for good. But Janey’s heart is all in, and only time will tell if Len can move past his fear to commit to her before it’s too late.

One of the things I love about Vivian Arend’s books is her heroines and heroes are both strong and sweet. I never doubted for one minute that Len was worthy of Janey’s seemingly unrequited love, yet when he provided tangible proof of that worthiness near the very end of the story, it was all I could do not to melt in a puddle of happy tears at just how right I’d been. Len wants to love Janey – he really does! – but he’s just so terrified of being left without her that he’d rather push her away now than lose her for good later on. When Janey inevitably gets too close for comfort, the way Len tries to hasten her departure is so devastating that it demands an epic hero grovel to make things right. And let me tell you, Len’s grovel is easily one of the best I’ve read in a very long time. It isn’t just about how he shows how sorry he is, although that’s a big part of it. It’s also how he shows that he really does understand her as her own person, and how he’s been in love with her just as long as she’s been in love with him. Janey and Len’s romance is a great read all the way through, but the way they resolved their differences is what elevated ONE SEXY RIDE from merely a wonderful story to one of the best I’ve read in 2014.

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Review: Naughty Bits Part IV: The Highest Bid by Joey W. Hill

The Highest Bid (Naughty Bits, #4)The Highest Bid by Joey W. Hill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Seductive Musings.

After three stellar installments, NAUGHTY BITS has reached its climax, the moment when Madison and Logan finally reach the happy ending that we’ve been anticipating for them all along, and boy howdy, do they ever. As they continued their careful dance toward each other and a complete Dominant/submissive relationship, it was clear they both wanted what was ahead, but that rushing it would only end in ruin. Logan has had what seems like infinite patience with Madison as she has traveled so far already, knowing that she must choose him instead of accepting his claim without question the way she’s always done before. It’s with that in mind that Logan is ready to give her the one fantasy she’s always dreamed of, the one she dared not speak aloud until he gained her trust to understand her desire and make it happen. It’s the ultimate mind-blowing experience for Madison, and although her brain knows it’s just roleplay, her body reacts exactly as she’d anticipated, leaving her to deal with the realization that what she feels for Logan is true love. But does he feel the same, or has she waited too long to commit?

As much as I loved the first three parts of NAUGHTY BITS, THE HIGHEST BID is definitely my favorite, and not just because it contains the long awaited HEA. Madison has had years to expand and refine her greatest fantasy of being sold at auction to an attractive Dominant military man and being shared by him with his closest friends. And that’s what Logan has provided for her, including a preliminary setup to get her in the right state of mind, and the best possible aftercare. I marveled at his attention to the smallest possible details, yet never lost sight of his ultimate goal to make Madison his in full by the end of the evening. There was also quite a bit of symbolism involved in Madison’s experience, with numeric references to the mistakes she’d made in her past, and how they’d helped her see that what she had now was what she truly needed. For it’s not just the D/s relationship that Madison fully embraces by the end of THE HIGHEST BID, but also the knowledge that the only person she could ever accept as her Master is Logan, the man she loves and who loves her in turn. Their happy ending is a perfect cherry on the delicious cake that is NAUGHTY BITS and the only thing I didn’t like was that their story had to end.


Overall: 5
Sensuality level: 4

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Review: The Bookseller’s Daughter by Pam Rosenthal

The Bookseller's DaughterThe Bookseller’s Daughter by Pam Rosenthal

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Night Owl Reviews.

Review Excerpt:

From the very start, Marie-Laure displays her unyielding spirit and indomitable will, and we see that despite her lowly status, it is clearly she who is too good for Joseph. But as THE BOOKSELLER’S DAUGHTER progresses, Joseph is forced to come to terms with his useless existence, and by the end, he has grown emotionally into a fully adult man worthy of her heart. Even though I had an idea of how and where they would ultimately end up together, the journey there kept me riveted the entire time, and made the seemingly inevitable ending even more enjoyable for me. It’s a wonderful historical romance well worth reading. (Copyright Night Owl Reviews)

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Review: Never Say Never ed. by Alison Tyler

Never Say Never: Tips, Tricks, and Erotic Inspiration for LoversNever Say Never: Tips, Tricks, and Erotic Inspiration for Lovers by Alison Tyler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for an honest review at Night Owl Reviews.

Review Excerpt:

As with most Cleis Press anthologies, the stories featured within NEVER SAY NEVER are uniformly entertaining and perfectly chosen to represent their individual topics. Those that were especially effective for me tended to explore less obvious ways to highlight their assigned topic. Charlotte Stein’s “Allowed” showed how being deprived of the one thing you want makes it the one thing you want even more. “Silk” by Teresa Noelle Roberts proves yet again that submission is just as much psychological as it is physical. And Dante Davidson reminds us in “No Shame” that knowing exactly what will happen next can be the best aphrodisiac ever.

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Review: The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.

The final book in Deborah Harkness’s fantastic All Souls trilogy is finally here, and it seems like it’s been forever since we last saw Diana and Matthew. THE BOOK OF LIFE picks up where SHADOW OF NIGHT left off, with our favorite witch and vampire returning to their current timeline and dealing with the aftermath of their actions back in Elizabethan England. To say more is to spoil, and I won’t do that. But be assured, all their past interactions are accounted for here in the present, even as time appears to start circling back on itself while the story hurtles toward its final confrontation between good and evil.

After Diana and Matthew began their improbable quest in A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, and then stepped back in time for SHADOW OF NIGHT, no less than the safety of everyone on Earth was at stake in THE BOOK OF LIFE. Its landscape spans across time and space, and nearly every question posed in the first two books is answered in full. But what made the All Souls trilogy work so well for me was the romance between Diana and Matthew. Their love was forbidden, impossible, and irresistible. It should never have happened, should never have lasted, and yet by the end of this final book, we see how perfectly they fit, and how their romance wasn’t just fated, it was required in order to save the world and everyone in it. To take their love story out of THE BOOK OF LIFE would be like removing the first three pages of the Book of Life in the story itself; all the words would run together in search of the missing portion that made them all make sense. And to call THE BOOK OF LIFE one of the best romances I’ve read this year is no insult – it is the highest compliment I can pay. If you enjoyed the first two books in Deborah Harkness’s All Souls trilogy, this final book is the payoff you’ve been waiting for. If you haven’t read the other books, then you need to start now with A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. I envy you the ability to read all three books in a row for the very first time.

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Review: Icing On The Cake by Karla Doyle

Icing on the Cake (Close to Home, #2)Icing on the Cake by Karla Doyle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.

ICING ON THE CAKE is the second story in Karla Doyle’s Close To Home series, and picks up a few months after the first book, CUP OF SUGAR, where we are now about to see Conn and Nia walk down the aisle. After all the shenanigans Nia’s sister, Sara, had pulled in book one, I was curious to see who could possibly her love match. When Conn’s love ‘em and leave ‘em brother, Curtis, appeared to take an interest in Sara, I knew I would be in for a rollercoaster ride until the very end. What I didn’t expect was how ICING ON THE CAKE would manage to show the hidden sides of both Curtis and Sara, and how she wasn’t the only one who needed that perfectly matched someone to care and understand.

Even though we got a fairly decent explanation of why Sara behaves as she does, and why Nia’s family continues to support her no matter what, it’s in ICING ON THE CAKE that we see exactly what her past actions and present stubbornness have brought her. Nia and her parents still have no idea how Sara really lives, and only by virtue of his desire for her does Curtis manage to wedge his way into her existence and ultimately her heart.

Curtis may be less self-destructive than Sara, but he’s still a badass, and just as resistant to romantic relationships as she is. His police job puts in him danger every day and women are just a off-duty distraction. Any time one of them gets close, it’s all over, and he’s on to the next one. But even Curtis knows that as much as he wants Sara in his bed, he still needs to be especially careful with her heart. If only he was looking after his own as closely.

As much as I loved Nia and Conn’s sweet and passionate romance in CUP OF SUGAR, I was even more taken by the rough and tumble path to love for Sara and Curtis in ICING ON THE CAKE. So much of what keeps them apart is a lack of trust, but you have to give trust to get it, and that’s one thing neither Sara nor Curtis seems to be particular good at. Thank goodness that their mutual sexual attraction is so incredible that it keeps bringing them back together even as they resist acknowledging their deeper feelings for each other. By the time Curtis and Sara stop denying the obvious, each has finally stopped putting on the front they keep for everyone else and the result is a happy ending that is not only satisfying but realistic for both characters. ICING ON THE CAKE is a lovely continuation of the Close To Home series, and I quite enjoyed it.

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Review: Reward of Three by Kelly Jamieson

Reward of Three (Rule of Three, #3)Reward of Three by Kelly Jamieson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

This review may contain spoilers for RULE OF THREE and RHYTHM OF THREE. It would make absolutely no sense to try to read REWARD OF THREE without reading those two titles first.

Kassidy, Chris, and Dag discovered their mutual love in RULE OF THREE, and learned to live together as a triad in RHYTHM OF THREE, but now it’s time for them to take the next big step in REWARD OF THREE, one that will either cement their relationship for good or split them apart forever. For Kassidy is pregnant, and the resulting upheaval will be the ultimate test of their mutual love. And when things don’t go as planned, each of the three will need to recommit their love and trust in each other, regardless of what might happen next.

What I have loved about the Rule of Three series from the very beginning is how it presents the concept of a true MMF poly relationship in a non-idealized contemporary setting. In each of the stories, these three strong personalities have had to learn to adapt to each other and compromise in ways a mere couple would never have had to face. Yet so many of the issues Kassidy, Chris, and Dag have are all too familiar, especially once Kassidy lets her men know they are going to have a baby together. Chris’s parents have kept their distance ever since they found out Chris and Dag were as sexually bonded with each other as with Kassidy, and their absence is still keenly felt. Dag has no living parents, but his terrible childhood makes him worry that he can’t be a good father. Only Kassidy has the advantage of a family that’s present and loving, but that can only go so far to help her deal with all that happens after she announces her pregnancy.

In the previous two stories, Kassidy was the glue that brought and kept Chris and Dag together with her in love and support, but it made sense here in REWARD OF THREE that this time she was the one with the deep emotional crisis. Although I’ve found Dag to often be the weakest link of the three, it was great to see him figure out his own mistakes proactively instead of having to be dragged into the light yet again. But Chris was the true revelation of all in this story, as Kassidy’s pregnancy provided a bridge back to his parents that allowed them all to start healing the wounds of the past. And as an avowed lover of epilogues, I couldn’t help but enjoy the one here, baby and all. For me, REWARD OF THREE was just as much of a reward as to its main characters, and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to see the three of them settled down at last.

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Release Day: Reward of Three by Kelly Jamieson

Reward Of Three banner

Title: Reward of Three

Author: Kelly Jamieson

Release Date: July 8th, 2014


About Reward Of Three (Rule of Three #3):

Reward Of Three cover

Sometimes the darkest nights produce the brightest stars.

When the pregnancy test turns positive, Kassidy, Dag and Chris are thrilled they’re going to be parents at last. Their polyamorous relationship has blossomed, and there’s more than enough love to go around for their long-awaited little “Belly Bean”.

Then reality sets in. Dag grew up without a father. Does that mean he’s too damaged to be a good role model? Kassidy is at a critical point in her career, working long hours on a high-profile project. And Chris gets a disappointing—but not exactly unexpected—reaction when he contacts his parents with the news.

As worry nibbles at the edges of their happiness, fate is poised to tear it to shreds, leaving a loving foundation three years in the making cracking under the weight of grief and guilt. And the trio in the fight of their lives to repair their unconventional bonds. Warning: Our sexy threesome is back for their happy ending. Keep extra tissues on hand for tears, a fan on standby for hot sex, and a post-it note to remind you to take a deep breath. It’s time to find out if the juice is really worth the squeeze.

Purchase Links:

Amazon // iTunes // Barnes and Noble // Kobo


“What should we name her?” she asked.

Chris and Dag both laughed. “Her?” they said.

She grinned. “It could be a girl.”

“You want a girl, babe?” Dag laid his palm on her stomach.

“I’m supposed to say I just want a healthy baby, but I kind of do want a little girl.”

“A little girl would be awesome.”

“But I really do just want a healthy baby,” she added. “Boys can be fun too, and since he’ll have two dads, I won’t have to worry that I don’t know how to entertain him.”

“We’ll take him to strip clubs,” Dag said. “And teach him how to shoot tequila.”

Kassidy giggled and gave him a little punch. “Right.”

“Hey,” he said. “Those are important things in a man’s life. Along with hookers, fast cars and guns.”

Kassidy stared at him in horror. “Hookers?” Her forehead tightened. “You’ve never gone to a hooker, have you?”

“Fuck no. I’m kidding, babe. About the guns too. Fast cars, maybe not.”

“Oh. For a minute there I was having second thoughts about this.”

Dag nuzzled her neck and Chris laughed. “You know he’s full of shit.”

“November.” Dag sighed. “That’s not far.”

“About nine months,” Kassidy said, trying not to smile, and earned herself a tickle.

“Can we have sex?” Chris asked.

“Right this minute?”

His lips twitched. “I meant for the next nine months.”

“Christ,” Dag said. “Please say yes.”

“God yes,” Kassidy said. “But even if we couldn’t, you two still could with each other. Major benefit of a poly relationship. However, I’ve already Googled it and learned all about sex while pregnant. Apparently there’s increased blood flow to your pelvic area during pregnancy, which can make your genitals swell and heighten sexual sensation.”

Dag blanched. “My genitals are gonna swell?”

Kassidy giggled. “I certainly hope so. But no more than usual. Come on, follow along here. My genitals may swell.”

“Christ,” Chris said.

“However, some women report they can’t orgasm as easily.”

“We’ll just have to try harder,” Dag vowed.

“Thank you,” she said demurely. “I appreciate that. Apparently, many couples find they feel more pleasure from foreplay, oral sex or masturbation than intercourse. So lots of foreplay would be good.”

The two guys gave each other evil grins.

“Assuming I don’t have morning sickness,” she continued. “Because barfing during sex is not, well, sexy.”


“But it’s supposedly important to keep some level of intimacy going throughout pregnancy, to keep the relationship healthy but also to prevent sexual problems after the baby is born.”

Chris frowned. “Why would we have sexual problems after the baby is born?”

“Possibly because after I give birth I will not want you to touch me ever again.”

Both guys’ jaws dropped.

“Kidding! Sort of. Seriously, it might take a while after the baby’s born before I’m ready to have sex again—with one man, never mind two! You two could get antsy. But then again, you have each other, which takes some pressure off me.” She beamed at them. “This is going to work out great. Not only that—three of us to take turns with diapers and middle of the night feedings.”

“Diapers. Ugh.” The corners of Dag’s mouth turned down.

“You’ll be changing your fair share,” Kassidy said with a little smack to his shoulder. “Don’t even think otherwise.”

He groaned, but she caught the soft look in his eyes.

“I’m scared too,” she whispered. “This is a big deal, you guys.”

“Babe.” Dag curled his hand around the back of her neck. “You’re amazing. You’re gonna be a great mom. The best. Love you so much.”

“I love you too, Kass.” Chris nuzzled her ear. “He’s right. And we’re right here with you all the way.”

“Th-thanks.” She swallowed. She didn’t feel much different. Her breasts were a little tender, like around the time of her period. Luckily she didn’t feel sick at all. She hoped that continued.

“Speaking of sex…” Dag rose and pulled her by one hand to stand. “Let’s go celebrate.”

The Rule Of Three series by Kelly Jamieson

Rule of Three: GR // Amazon // Kobo // Barnes and Noble

Rhythm of Three: GR // Amazon // Kobo // Barnes and Noble

About Kelly Jamieson:

Kelly Jamieson

Kelly Jamieson writes romances with heat that’s sweet. Her writing has been described as “emotionally complex”, “sweet and satisfying” and “blisteringly sexy”. If she can stop herself from reading or writing, she loves to cook. She has shelves of cookbooks that she reads at length. She also enjoys gardening in the summer, and in the winter she likes to read gardening magazines and seed catalogues (there might be a theme here…) She also loves shopping, especially for clothes and shoes. But her family takes precedence over everything else (yes, even writing). She has two teenage children who are the best kids in the world, not that she’s biased, and a wonderful husband who does loads of laundry while she plays on the computer writing stories.

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Review: Straddling the Line by Jaci Burton

Straddling the Line (Play by Play, #8)Straddling the Line by Jaci Burton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Seductive Musings.

STRADDLING THE LINE is the eighth book in Jaci Burton’s popular Play By Play sports romance series, featuring a hero and heroine who briefly appeared as supporting characters in MELTING THE ICE, the story which takes place immediately before this one. Our hero, Trevor Shay, is a college buddy of other characters in the previous books. His heroine, Haven Briscoe, is the daughter of their beloved mentor who has recently died from liver cancer, leaving family and friends bereft.

When Trevor discovers that Haven is going to abandon her new job as a national sports broadcaster after the death of her father, he vows to do whatever it takes to stop her from making such a huge mistake. Haven is surprised to find herself chosen by Trevor as the first person allowed into his daily life to document how he succeeds at playing both professional baseball and football, not realizing his hidden agenda to keep her from throwing away her career before it’s begun. But when Haven’s college crush on Trevor flares into a shared passion, it’s only a matter of time before she gets too close to what he’s kept from nearly everyone in his life. As much as Trevor may need Haven, he needs to protect his secret more, even if it means pushing her away completely. And now it’s Haven who needs to save Trevor from himself and a future without love.

For me, STRADDLING THE LINE clearly established its own identity in the Play By Play series without straying from its established sports romance formula, We got to see how professional baseball differs from professional football beyond what’s already obvious, and how their competing interests were a constant issue for Trevor, even as he continued to excel in both fields. Keeping both teams happy would be an herculean effort for anyone, yet the added strain of Trevor’s big secret didn’t appear to be as much of a problem as I would have expected under the circumstances. For yes, I did figure out what he was hiding fairly quickly, but that’s only because I’ve read a few other romances recently with the same plot twist, including one featuring another baseball player hero. Once I’d guessed Trevor’s secret, all the signs were there like big red flags, and although I tried not to hold it against the book for making it so obvious by the time of Trevor’s big reveal, I did find it all too convenient that Haven was uniquely qualified to help him not only face his problem but also work to help others in a similar situation. But with such an otherwise appealing hero and heroine, and all the familiar characters from the previous books making an appearance to help this latest couple along toward their own HEA, how could I not enjoy how it turned out in the end? It was also great to meet the new family of sports heroes who will be featured in future Play By Play books. This is a series that continues to prove itself worthy with every new installment, and STRADDLING THE LINE is no exception.


Overall: 4
Sensuality level: 3

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