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Archive for August, 2010

The Grass is Always Greener by Brindle Chase
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

Susan’s next-door neighbor, Jim, is Mr. Perfect. Environmentally conscious, tall, strong, and healthy—a good-guy all the way around. Susan should know; she’s been watching him from her side of the fence for months. She’s done with bad boys, and it’s been a year since her divorce and Jim’s wife’s death. Today, she’s decided to do something about the loneliness plaguing them both. It’s time to risk their friendship on the chance they can love again.

The Grass is Always Greener is a story about neighbors that share a bond of loneliness.  It’s short, to the point but with plenty of character development.

Susan has been divorced for a year and is tired of being alone.  She is attracted to her neighbor Jim but he is the total opposite from the guys she has been dating.  She is ready to move forward with her life and hopes that Jim is too.

Jim is an environmentalist that bikes to work and has solar panels in his yard.  He spends a lot of time working in his yard.  It’s been a year since he lost his wife in an accident; he wants to move forward but doesn’t know if he can.

Susan is tired of just watching Jim from her side of the fence and is determined to do something about it.  He comes over to help her get started with solar panels but gets a surprise.  She is offering him a chance at happiness again. 

Both characters are well developed, we find out a lot about them and their history.  There is adequate build up to the ultimate reward without the story just being about their encounter.  The author did an excellent job telling this story with just the right amount of detail.  I enjoyed this short story a lot.  I give The Grass is Always Greener 3½ Flaming Hearts.

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Coming Clean by Inez Kelley
* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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?

Coming Clean by Inez Kelley is my favorite book in the Dirty Laundry series from Carina Press.  This story is not just about a husband wanting to fulfill his wife’s fantasies, it’s about crossing lines that once crossed, you can’t go back.  It’s about friendship, love and a much deeper connection.

Grant and Vivi are so much in love that they are secure in their relationship and not afraid to share their deepest desires.  Grant has been all for fulfilling Vivi’s fantasies until she asks for the ultimate fantasy, a ménage’ with Cade.  He is immediately turned on by the idea of seeing Vivi and Cade together but doesn’t know if he can join in and enjoy Cade too.  He has housed a secret desire for Cade since they were teenagers but he is straight and is confused by these feelings he is having.

Cade and Vivi used to be dancing partners and they have always felt a connection when they danced.  They have a special bond just like Cade and Grant but Cade would never cross those boundaries.  He is stunned but elated when Cade brings up the subject with him.  He desires what Grant and Vivi have; he loves them both and doesn’t want to do anything that could cause problems with their friendship.

When Grant takes the final step, Cade is gentle and loving with him.  He wants to show Grant that what they have is just as special as what he and Vivi have.  There is such tenderness and love in the scenes that you realize that this relationship goes much deeper than sex.  When Vivi joins in, she has her doubts when she sees Grant and Cade together.  She is insecure and afraid that Grant doesn’t need her anymore, until she realizes that they both need her as much as they need each other.

This is a story about discovering not only yourself, but each other.  The three of them have taken their friendship to the most intimate level. They realize that Cade is just as important to their relationship as each other.  Inez Kelley has done a wonderful job of showing that sex can be so much more.  Be warned that there are m/m/f scenes in this story but they are beautifully written and are very HOT!!!  Overall I give Coming Clean 4 Flaming Hearts. 

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Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong
*won the ARC from Literary Escapism blog – in exchange for an honest review

The orphaned daughter of a sorcerer and a half-demon, Savannah is a terrifyingly powerful young witch who has never been able to resist the chance to throw her magical weight around. But at 21 she knows she needs to grow up and prove to her guardians, Paige and Lucas, that she can be a responsible member of their supernatural detective agency. So she jumps at the chance to fly solo, investigating the mysterious deaths of three young women in a nearby factory town as a favour to one of the agency’s associates. At first glance, the murders look garden-variety human, but on closer inspection signs point to otherworldly stakes.

Soon Savannah is in over her head. She’s run off the road and nearly killed, haunted by a mystery stalker, and freaked out when the brother of one of the dead women is murdered when he tries to investigate the crime. To complicate things, something weird is happening to her powers. Pitted against shamans, demons, a voodoo-inflected cult and garden-variety goons, Savannah has to fight to ensure her first case isn’t her last. And she also has to ask for help, perhaps the hardest lesson she’s ever had to learn.

Waking the Witch is the newest installment in the Women of Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong.  It follows Savannah Levine, who is all grown up now.  She has been working with Paige and Lucas since she graduated high school.  She is ready to show them that she is not the same spoiled little girl she used to be.  The perfect opportunity knocks while Paige and Lucas are on vacation in Hawaii.

Jesse Aanes shows up at the office with an offer Savannah can’t refuse.  He has been hired to investigate the murders of three young women in a small factory town north of Portland.  There are signs that the murders may have been part of an occult ritual.  Adam is at a conference, so that just leaves Savannah. 

She is excited for the opportunity to spread her wings, with Adam acting as backup she takes off for the town.  She encounters a lot of road blocks along the way and the bodies keep piling up.  As the story progresses there are several underlying events taking place that eventually come to a conclusion.  There are twists and turns in the story that kept me guessing for awhile.  I had figured out who was the “bad” guy toward the end but the left turn caught me off guard.  The ending was great but I HATE cliffhangers in books.  I want the next book NOW!!!!

I really enjoyed Savannah’s book and seeing her grown up.  I have liked Savannah since she was introduced in Stolen.  I like the werewolves in this series but unlike most people, I actually enjoy the witch stories just as much.  Savannah has had to deal with a lot in her young life and she is finally realizing that she needs to take responsibility for who she is.  She lost both her mother and father at an early age but she has had Paige as a stable role model growing up.  You see that influence on her as she struggles to do the right thing even when she wants to give in to her darker side.

The story is a little slow building up but about midway through it picks up.  I was not happy with the way things turned out with Michael, Claire’s brother but understand it was part of the story.  I think he was good for Savannah and helped bring out a little softness in her.  She is used to taking care of herself and doing things her way that she had to learn give and take when working with him.   Their verbal sparring sessions were very entertaining.

I love Adam’s character and how he has a soft spot for Savannah.  They are best friends, even though she wants more.  I think Adam has a hard time getting past the age thing with Savannah and seeing her as a young woman.  His reaction whenever anyone does something to hurt her says he cares for more for her than just a friend.  I hope he has a bigger role in the next book and we can see if things progress between the two of them.

Overall it’s not the best book in the Otherworld series but I enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next book to continue Savannah’s story.  If you are a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series, I definitely recommend it.  If you have not read any of the series, I would start at the beginning and read them in order.  I give Waking the Witch 3 Flaming Hearts. 

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Overnight by E.C. Sheedy

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Deanne jumps into relationships heart-first.

Eager to start fresh after her nasty divorce, Deanne Moore adopts a stray dog and begins the healing process. She has learned-the hard way-to take chances and just enjoy life. The one thing she isn’t expecting, though, is to get a second chance with her first crush.

Julius won’t let lust burn away the last of his brain cells.

After losing his entire family in one blinding instant, Julius Zern has learned to steer clear of happily-ever-after scenarios. Meeting Deanne stirs something tender within him. So he stays. Overnight. And falls…hard.

But just as he begins to follow his instincts-and his desire for Deanne-trouble arrives and threatens to destroy their fragile bond.

Not many people get a second chance with their first love but that’s what Deanne gets when meets up with Julius again.  She is working with Clancy to promote his first art how.  She contacts Julius Zern for a private showing; if he likes them it will boost Clancy’s credibility as an artist. 

Julius got more than he bargained for when showed up at Deanne’s house.  He can’t stop thinking about her so he decides to ask her to dinner.  He doesn’t believe in long term and he never stays overnight when he dates.  Deanne changes all the rules and he doesn’t know what to do her.

Deanne is a strong character, she has survived a loveless marriage and a demanding mother to finally be her own person.  It took many years of therapy but now she has a new life, a new dog, and a new beginning. She is willing to give this new relationship with Julius a chance but will he.

Both Deanne and Julius feel a responsible for what happened to his family all those years ago.  It took Julius many years to get over their deaths and he vowed to never fall in love again.  He is a giving person, donates to several charities, took over his father’s business and inherited his mother’s love of art.

The story caught grabbed my attention right from the start.  There is an air of mystery and intrigue because you know that there is going to be trouble with Kurt and his friends.   As the story progresses and Julius spends the night with Deanne, you start to hope he will be her knight in shining armor.  I loved the ending and was surprised by the turn of events. 

Overall I enjoyed Overnight and give it 3½ Flaming Hearts.  

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Sinful Intentions by Amy Redwood

*Won this book from Author’s blog

 A jilted bride, a wolfishly sexy stranger, one sinful attraction under New Zealand’s sun.

 When Katherine finds out her fiancé cheated on her, her heart is bruised. With a mission to get her life back on track, she takes the first flight to Auckland, New Zealand. And bumps heads with a sexy stranger.

 Their attraction is instant, powerful and undeniable. Taking a vacation from being a good girl, she succumbs to this sinful stranger who pushes the limits of her sexual needs as he explores every inch of her body. No strings of course.

 Trent seduces her…in a bed, at the beach, in a truck, against the wall…until the wolf within him lifts its head and pays attention. Suddenly, after a tiny bite, it’s everything but no-strings.

 Katherine has aspirations of being more than just an employee in her finance’s law firm.  When she finds out he cheated on her she heads to New Zealand to take care of some family business.  She plans to sell her childhood home and open her own law firm.

 At the airport, she ends up sharing a cab with a stranger who later convinces her to leave her good girl image behind.  After she has a one night stand with Trent, she feels relieved but also guilty.  She let herself enjoy the experience because she was never going to see Trent again, or so she thought.  I love the reaction she has to Trent when she sees him walking out of his Aunt’s house.  She is genuinely shocked but secretly pleased.

 I loved Trent’s character.  He is an alpha wolf in all ways but one, the heart.  He is so afraid to love someone that is not a shifter that he almost lets Kat slip through his fingers.  He is trying to protect not only himself but them too.  He doesn’t want to take the chance on losing the baby or the mother during labor if she is a human.  He is super sexy and confident almost to the point of being cocky.

 The interactions between the two are perfect.  They butt heads because they are both stubborn and the sexual tension is there for everyone to see.  The actual sex scenes are HOT!!  The author does an excellent job of telling the story and describing the amazing scenery.  The beach scenes were my favorites.  I could see myself on that beach, lying in the sand and playing in the water.

 Over all I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the other books on Amy Redwood’s backlist.  I give Sinful Intentions 3 1/2 flaming hearts. 

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The Price of Freedom by Jenny Schwartz
* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Duty will bring them together-and tear them apart!

As a guardian angel, Mischa must protect the one man who may be able to bring about lasting peace to the Middle East. As a djinni, Rafe must fulfill the wishes of a terrorist leader. Their duties colliding, Mischa and Rafe become foes, but the heat between them is undeniable.

When the terrorist learns that a guardian angel stands between him and his greatest wish, he orders his djinni to remove her. Taking creative license, Rafe spirits her away to his private oasis, where she will be unable to protect the peacemaker.

Beyond their mutual desire, they find common ground in honor and loneliness. Passion quickly grows into love. But it’s soon clear to Rafe that love cannot be bound, and Mischa must be true to her life’s purpose. Even if Rafe must sacrifice his own taste of freedom to grant hers…

I reviewed The Price of Freedom for NetGalley.  It’s a story about the choices we make and the consequences of free will.  Mischa is a guardian angel who is charged with protecting human kind.  Rafe is a djinni commanded to kill Mischa because she kept him from killing Ilias, the one man that can bring peace to the Middle East.

Rafe has been alone all his life, tied to his bottle.  He has served hundreds of “masters” but over the years he has learned how to manipulate his masters so the consequences of their actions are diminished.  He is commanded to kill Mischa but instead he whisks her away to his desert oasis to keep her for himself.  He is tired of being alone and wants someone to love him, for who he is, not what wishes he can grant. 

During their time in the Oasis he realizes that even though Mischa loves him and enjoys being with him, something in her life is missing.  He uses his talent as a Djinni to get her to make him a promise that will let her go about her guardian duties but still keep he safe.  What she doesn’t realize is that promise will cost her Rafe.

Rafe made the decision to set her free because of his love for her.  He knew what the consequences would be for that decision.  As the story progresses, it is up to Mischa to keep that promise, no matter how hard it is for her.  She cannot interfere in Ilias life, even though he ends up with Rafe’s bottle.

In the end because of the choices they made and the things they gave up because of those choices, true love prevailed.  I give this book 3½ flaming hearts.  

 

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Whirlpool by Vivian Arend
* I received this ARC free from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Soft shoulders and dangerous curves-

Forces of Nature, Book 2

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.

Whirlpool is the second book in the Forces of Nature series that centers around the small town of Jaffrey’s Cove.  In the second installment things have heated up for the sheriff on both a personal and professional level.  Strange incidents are occurring all over the cove that require his attention along with his duties as acting leader of the pod.

Alexia has hired Jamie to catalog all of the collectibles sitting around her house.  He shows up while she is gone and is instantly attracted to Chelsea.  Jamie is very curious about everything.  He has a photographic memory when it comes to cataloging items but he can’t keep up with a set of keys to save his life.  He knows that there is something going on between Braden and Chelsea but he keeps having erotic dreams about the three of them together.  He genuinely likes them both and doesn’t know what to do about his growing feelings for them.

Chelsea has been in love with Braden for as long as she can remember.  He is her protector and wants her to be able to experience life.  He doesn’t realize that he is controlling who she dates or even has contact with until it’s pointed out to him.  He wants her but he doesn’t want her to regret staying in Jaffrey’s Cove just for him.  The sexual tension between these two is so thick it is ready to spontaneously combust.  Jamie offers his assistance with the situation but things get out of hand leaving him wanting more when Braden and Chelsea finally come together.  He becomes the voyeur.

I love how the characters feelings are clear from the beginning.  You know that in the pod, two males and a female together is not uncommon.  Throughout the story you get glimpses of  Braden checking out Jamie and vice versa.  There is something there but the anticipation of whether they will act or not is what kept me reading on.  The ménage scenes actually start out pretty light with the focus being on Chelsea but then at one point the focus shifts to Jamie and Braden.  That scene is so well written that even if someone has a hot button issue, I don’t think they would be uncomfortable.  The true connections and love are what come out of the scene for me. 

I liked the first book in the series but this one is my favorite so far.  The story is awesome, the character development is right on track for the length of the story and the sex scenes are HOT!!!  Jamie’s acceptance was also believable based on his past experiences.  One of my favorite scenes occurred after their first ménage when Braden and Chelsea were standing in the kitchen and Jamie walks in.  There are many humorous moments in the  book.

Overall I thoroughly loved this book and give it 4 flaming hearts and suggest you pick up a copy of it (and Tidal Wave) when it comes out Tuesday, August 10th. 

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