Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: Lover Enslaved - Jodi Redford

Title: Lover Enslaved
Author: Jodi Redford
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Length: 280 pages
Release Date: July 28, 2009

Blurb: Mara Sheppard has no love for the Fae, but to free her brother from prison, she’ll do whatever the treacherous Queen Nalia asks. Even kidnap Dashael Rhyder, a womanizing thief.

She should have known the deal would go sour.

It’s almost too easy to bait and trap Dashael. Resisting his potent Fae allure isn’t. Especially since Nalia’s unexpected demand for a missing magical rune means Mara will have to hold strong far longer than she’d planned.

Dashael’s best shot at escaping? Seduce her. If he can survive a few dozen of his closest enemies out for blood and the queen’s scheme to make him her personal stud…he might just make it.

Then his game of seduction trips over a snag named Mara, and he falls. Hard. For a commitment-phobic thief, love might as well be a prison sentence. Yet the idea of losing her makes him miserable.

Mara can’t deny that her enemy has stolen her heart. But their love is about to be tested by a lifetime of secrets. The risk may not be worth it. Especially if a life together means death for one of them.

Review: I went into this book wanting a lighthearted read and that was definitely what I got.  This was sexy and fun, definitely a good way to spend a few hours of your time.  That's not to say it wasn't without its problems, however.  It's definitely a book that you're meant to read for pure fun and you're not meant to look under the surface. And it works, for that.  I almost didn't even want to review this, because I didn't want to ruin the fun.  But, I'm going to anyways so...sorry, book.

Though this is advertised as a paranormal romance, there's not as much paranormal as there could be.  Are there little sprites flying around?  Yes.  Is there a jewel that grants wishes?  Mark that for yes, too.  However, that's basically it.  The male lead is a powerful faerie, but he spends more than half of the book without his powers and, even when he does have them, he doesn't use them much.  I'm honestly not even certain what they do.  The female lead is a human and the main villain is without her powers.  We don't even really get to see the deadly creatures that the characters talk about time and again.  There definitely needed to be more there.

Another sticking point: it seems to me that this is meant to be an erotic romance.  It's not.  I myself really did expect erotic romance.  Not only is it Samhain, which usually publishes erotic romance, but the blurb just kind of makes it sound like it, doesn't it?  It at least makes it sound like there's a lot of sexy times in store for all.  Sure, sex is thought about a bit, there's a few makeout scenes, but how many times do the main couple have sex?  Once.  And it's towards the end.  Yeah, it's hot, but one sex scene does not make an erotic romance.  It's fine that it's not but, please, don't make me think it is one when it isn't.

Still, this book was fun and that's all it was meant to be, so I'm not sure I can fault it so much for what I disliked about it.  I'll still read the newly released sequel to this and I'm sure I'll enjoy it just as much.

Rating: 3.5/5

Purchase: Amazon

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: Caught Up In You - Roni Loren

Title: Caught Up In You
Author: Roni Loren
Genre: Erotic Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Length: 352 pages
Release Date: August 6, 2013

Blurb: After a shaky past, Kelsey LeBreck's future is looking good. She's been saving money for culinary school with her earnings from The Ranch, a private BDSM resort. Even better, she's landed a day job where she can practice baking and flirt with her favorite customer. However, having secret fantasies about Wyatt Austin is where it has to end. If there's one thing Kelsey knows can derail her, it's a relationship. But when a danger from her past threatens to steal her fresh start, the intense executive may be the only one who can help her.

Wyatt doesn't have room on his agenda for dating, but something about the pretty young waitress stirs desires he thought were long buried. So when he needs someone to pose as his girlfriend at an important business retreat and finds out Kelsey needs to go off the grid for a while, he can't resist making her an offer. Soon, Kelsey learns that Wyatt's power in the boardroom is no match for his power in the bedroom, and she wonders if her heart will survive. Because Wyatt Austin is a man who gets what he wants, and now he wants her.

Review: Yet another great, great book from Roni Loren.  I honestly loved this book from start to finish.  We've met both characters before (Wyatt is the brother of Jace from Melt Into You, and Kelsey is the sister of Brynn from Crash Into You) and I absolutely loved getting to know Wyatt and Kelsey better and watching them fall in love.  From prior books, we know what a hard life Kelsey's had and I loved seeing her overcome her fears and anxieties and embrace the fact that she's good enough to have love in her future.

This book is also hot, hot, hot.  Though Kelsey is a submissive, she does some Domme work on the side, as well.  I thought that she might have some problems submitting to Wyatt completely, but when Wyatt turned it on, Kelsey melted (as did I, let's face it).  The internal struggles that Wyatt and Kelsey have with themselves are really great and bring just the right amount of drama to this story.  My one complaint is that I felt the story seemed really short.  I would've loved to have some more scenes of Kelsey and Wyatt on the island or maybe even an extended Domme scene with Kelsey.  There's one Domme scene in particular that's mentioned in passing later on in the book that I would've loved to be able to read.  Missed opportunity, I say!

Though you could read this as a stand-alone, I certainly wouldn't recommend it.  Besides, all of the books in this series are great, so if you haven't read them, you're seriously missing out.  I, for one, can't wait until the next book in the series.  Mama needs some Kade time (FINALLY!).  Is it 2014 yet?

Rating: 5/5

Purchase: Amazon

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Burn - Maya Banks

Title: Burn
Author: Maya Banks
Genre: Erotic Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Length: 368 pages
Release Date: August 6, 2013

Blurb: Ash, Jace, and Gabe: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Ash, it’s the woman who changes everything he’s ever known about dominance and desire...

When it comes to sex, Ash McIntyre has always explored his wilder side—extreme and uncompromising. He demands control. And he prefers women who want it like that. Even the women he’s shared with his best friend, Jace.

But Jace is involved with a woman he has no intention of sharing. And now even Gabe has settled into a relationship with a woman who gives him everything he needs, leaving Ash feeling restless and unfulfilled.

Then Ash meets Josie, who seems immune to his charms and his wealth. Intrigued, he begins a relentless pursuit, determined she won’t be the one who got away. He never imagined the one woman to tell him no would be the only woman who’d ever drive him to the edge of desire.

Review: This is probably my least favorite book in the Breathless Trilogy.  I can't even particularly put my finger on why I didn't really care for it much.  It could have come from the predictability.  You can see almost from the first what the big conflict between Ash and Josie is going to be.  Sure, there's another twist thrown in at the end, but I felt like it was something that was added last minute to give the story a little more drama.  I also got the sense that the story just skims over the surface of everything.  I don't feel like we really got to know Ash and Josie and the last half of the book seemed to be more of a focus on Josie's friendship with Mia and Bethany. 

That isn't to say I hated the story completely.  Josie and Ash definitely had the chemistry, even if I thought their relationship moved at hyperspeed.  I also enjoyed getting to know Ash's sister a little bit, though I wish that she would've gotten her own story instead of her story being included (sort of) in this.  I'm excited to see what Maya's going to do next, though, and hope that whatever new series she's starting is a little bit more like her older stuff.  While I liked the Breathless Trilogy, I thought it was a little tamer, a little more mainstream than a lot of her previous stuff.  I just like my erotic romances with a little more kink.

Rating: 3/5

Purchase: Amazon

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review: Wicked Beat - Olivia Cunning

Title: Wicked Beat
Author: Olivia Cunning
Genre: Erotic Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length: 417 pages
Release Date: August 6, 2013

Blurb: From the moment he lays eyes on Sinners' new front of house soundboard operator, drummer Eric Sticks knows he has to make Rebekah his. Unfortunately, she's too busy trying to seduce guitarist Trey Mills to pay him much attention. Rebekah never planned to fall for the tall, goofy drummer with the weird sense of humor and a heart the size of the galaxy, but Eric makes her laugh and his constant attention makes her feel sexy and irresistible–exactly what she needs after the things her last lover said to her. A woman who gives as much as she takes, Rebekah makes Eric feel like a total stud–exactly what he needs after surviving a decade of watching the incredibly talented members of Sinners from the wings.

Review: Olivia Cunning does it again.  I have to admit, I was as disappointed as the next person when it was decided that the Sinners series would be released out of order.  I, of course, couldn't help but read Trey's book when it came out, even though I knew that it was the last book in the series.  Because I did read Trey's book, I was already well acquainted with Rebekah and her relationship with Eric.  While, yes, it would've been nice to have actually been able to read the books in order, I really don't think it took away from this book at all.  If anything, I now want to go right back and read Trey's book, Double Time, again (and I might just have to!)

Eric and Reb together alternate between being hot, hot, hot (so hot!) and being unbelievably adorable and sweet.  It's obvious that these two were made for each other and, while there were bumps in the road for sure, it never diminished the obvious love these two have for each other.  Olivia is great at making her characters really come to life and I honestly think that Rebekah just might be one of my favorite characters of hers.  She's playful, feisty and honest, she dotes on Eric and she's not afraid to be herself.  What's not not to like?

I can't wait to see what Olivia Cunning does next and I've got my fingers crossed for an Exodus End series.  If only to get a chance to see the Sinners I love so blissfully happy.  And the sexytimes.  Let's not forget the sexytimes.

Rating: 5/5

Purchase: Amazon

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Review: The Darkest Craving - Gena Showalter

Title: The Darkest Craving
Author: Gena Showalter
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Length: 480 pages
Release Date: July 30, 2013

Blurb: Having endured weeks of torture in the bowels of hell, Kane wants nothing to do with his beautiful rescuer, Josephina Aisling. The half-Fae female threatens to awaken the demon of Disaster inside him—a beast he's determined to kill, no matter the price.

Josephina is hunted by a brutal enemy—her royal family—and Kane is her only source of protection. He's also the only male to ever set her aflame, and even he succumbs to the heat. But as they navigate the treacherous world of the Fae, they are forced to make a choice: live apart…or die together.

Review: Once upon a time, Gena Showalter was one of my go-to authors for paranormal romance.  I've loved a lot of her paranormal series and, when it started, I was one of the LOTU series's biggest fans.  Lately, though, my love for this series has started to diminish, just a bit.  It's not that I don't love the characters, I do.  I think my problem stems from the fact that there's just too many of them.  This is the 12th book of the series and, at this point, I honestly think that some of the Lords are so interchangeable that I'm unsure who's had a book and who hasn't.  Add to that the fact that we have phoenixes and fae and horseman and demons and angels running around and you've got a really confused reader.  It's all too much to take in and I really hope Gena takes a step back in her future books and just focuses on a few characters instead of all of them.  I don't need to see or hear about every character in every book.  Main characters, of course.  A little setup for future books, sure, that's fine.  But needing most characters to show up at least once just seems like overkill.

I also had some problems with some plot points in this one, mainly that Kane was so intent on killing his demon and tried doing so by ignoring it.  How does one ignore a demon that does nothing but cause chaos around you?  It's something that's kind of glossed over and I didn't buy it.  I also disliked the fact that there were so many enemies running around, but no really big one.  Instead of having 5+ enemies, why not pick one big bad enemy and stick with it?  And why have enemies that were attacking the main characters one minute, but then nice and polite the next?  There was really no big bad, just a lot of mini-bads.

Despite my complaints, I was still entertained by this story.  I'll still continue to read Gena and hope for some improvement in later books.  And, if not, well I can always count on some laughs and a good time.


Purchase: Amazon

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review: The Mistress - Tiffany Reisz

Title: The Mistress
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Genre: Erotic Romance
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Length: 464 pages
Release Date: July 30, 2013

Blurb: There's punishment—and then there's vengeance.

Nora Sutherlin is in handcuffs, held captive by two men. . Under different circumstances, she would enjoy the situation immensely, but her captors aren't interested in play. Or pity.

As the reality of her impending peril unfolds, Nora becomes Scheherazade, buying each hour of her life with stories—sensual tales of Søren, Kingsley and Wesley, each of whom has tempted and tested and tortured her in his own way. This, Nora realizes, is her life: nothing so simple, so vanilla, as a mere love triangle for her. It's a knot in a silken cord, a tangled mass of longings of the body and the heart and the mind. And it may unravel at any moment.

But in Nora's world, no one is ever truly powerless—a cadre of her friends, protectors and lovers stands ready to do anything to save her, even when the only certainty seems to be sacrifice and heartbreak….

Review: Tiffany Reisz is a master of the craft.  I do have to admit, I was a little late getting into this series.  I didn't pick up the first book, The Siren, until January of this year.  And, once I picked it up, I wondered why I had waited so long.  I think what sets Ms. Reisz's books apart, besides some serious talent, are her characters.  You don't see characters like this anywhere.  You don't see characters that love one person, but still feel free to sleep with whoever their hearts desire.  Or, well, if you do see them, that person is labeled a whore or an asshole and they're immediately shunned.  I do have to admit, when reading the prior books in this series, I wasn't sure I believed it.  We're all always taught that once we fall in love for one person, that's it.  That person is all you have, unless you someday decide to divorce, or, God forbid, your loved one dies.  If you decide to cheat, it's a betrayal of your marriage and good luck getting the other party to ever forgive you.  So when I was suddenly given these people who loved multiple people equally and slept around at their hearts content, while I found it entertaining, I'm not sure I really believed that these characters could be real.

With this book, I have to say that I'm a believer.  Love is complicated.  It certainly doesn't listen to reason.  If any of us are lucky enough to find love with two people, why would we choose one love and kill the other?  Why not cherish both?  While this book doesn't have a lot of the surprise twist and turns that made me love the prior books so much, the emotions this book gifts to the reader, the thought that seems to go into almost every word deserves to be applauded.  In the end, almost all of our loose ends were tied together.  Problems were solved, choices were made, change was on the horizon.  As much as I'd love to keep moving forward with these characters, I know we have to say goodbye someday.  And it's not goodbye, not really, not with a prequel series headed our way next year.  I can't wait to fall in love with these characters all over again.

Rating: 5/5