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Archive for October, 2010

A Demon’s Kiss by Sable Grey
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

Patricia Weaver has always loved Jack Avery, but when she finds out he’s a soul-collecting demon, everything changes. Drawn to him despite the darkness that surrounds who and what he is, Patricia finds herself swept away by his sexual heat but in the end must decide if she can accept and love him…talons and all.

In A Demon’s Kiss you get a glimpse of a typical shy female that has been having fantasies about a local merchant.  Jack Avery was the first friend that Patricia and her father made when they moved to town and over the years, Patricia has fallen in love with him.

She stumbles upon him in Demon form and is terrified but fascinated by his beauty.  He chases after her because he wants her to understand that he is not evil but he can make her forget what she saw.  Patricia decides to take a chance with Jack.

This is a great short story by Sable Grey.  She provides us with some background on how the couple met and some of what Jack has been through.  We don’t find out a lot about Patricia but enough for the story to flow.  There is chemistry between Patricia and Jack, along with some comical moments.

I enjoyed A Demon’s Kiss and would love to see more stories in this series.  I give it 3½ Flaming Hearts 

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Please Welcome Lynn Raye Harris, USA Today bestselling author to Everybody Needs a Little Romance.  I first met Lynn through her blog in the Fall of 2009.  She was giving away a copy of her 1st book Spanish Magnate, Red-Hot Revenge, which won the Harlequin Presents Instant Seduction Contest, and I won!!!  I fell in love with her books and started following her blog and twitters.  While preparing for her blog I found out that she is also a fellow Arkansan by birth and lived her through most of her childhood.  It’s amazing how small the world really is. 

Please welcome Lynn!!

 I’m so thrilled to be invited here today!  Thanks for having me.  🙂  And I can hardly believe it’s almost November, y’all!  Seems as if I was in Orlando at the RWA conference only a month ago – though of course that was in July.  Part of what is making me think it’s summer is the weather, I’m sure.  We’re still in the 80s here in northern Alabama – and I don’t really mind it a bit.

But the leaves are falling and I know it’s going to get cold soon.  I’m not a cold loving girl, I assure you.  Brr!  Last year at this time, I was writing a novella (and a full length book too, but that’s another story).  And though my editor asked me for a sheikh, the setting was still up to me.  He could have just as easily have been an urban businessman in New York.  But I chose the desert. 

Maybe I chose it because it was getting cold and I wanted the psychological heat of the warm setting.  Or maybe I just wanted to write about sand. *g*  Whatever the reason, I wrote about a hot, dusty, dry place while the leaves were turning and the temperature was dropping at home.  It’s a year later, and I get to revisit that lovely warm place now that the story is available in stores. 🙂

King Zafir bin Rashid al-Khalifa, the hero of “Kept for the Sheikh’s Pleasure,” (Chosen by the Sheikh, Harlequin Presents 2-in-1, November 2010) is my first sheikh.  He’s as gorgeous and ruthless as you would expect a sheikh to be.  But he’s also deeply emotional, and he’s been hurt before.  When his ex-lover crashes into his life after ten years, he finds that he can’t quite let her go.  Not without tasting her one more time.

Dr. Geneva Gray is an archaeologist who once loved a prince of the desert, but who walked away when she realized they could never be together in the way she wanted.  Now, she’s been captured and given to Zafir as a gift—and the feelings she once pushed away are demanding to be dealt with before she can leave him a second time. 

Naturally, nothing is as simple as either of them hope it will be. 

I love reunion romances.  I love the intense emotion and passion that are in that backstory, and I love watching the characters work it all out in the present.  Harlequin Presents novels are short intense reads anyway.  But a Presents novella has to be doubly so.

Putting on the writerly hat for a moment, because I know there are writers visiting too, the best way I’ve found to pack all that deep internal conflict into a novella is to make it a reunion.  That won’t be true for all lines, naturally, but for Presents, where it has to be intense, choosing to give my characters a history really worked for the story.

There are always certain themes that pop up in Presents stories.  Revenge, reunions, blackmail, marriages of convenience, transformations (Cinderella), secret babies, etc.  I love them all to one degree or another.  But I am very fond of a reunion.  My first and second books were reunions.  This story is a reunion.  The next book out in North America (April 2011) is a reunion.  See, I have quite a fondness for reunions. 🙂

What’s your favorite theme?  Why?  If you’re a writer, do you find yourself writing that kind of story a lot?  If you’re a reader, do you always pick up certain types of books first?  I’m interested to hear about it!  And I’ll pick one winner from the comments to receive a signed copy of Chosen by the Sheikh!

 

Lynn Raye Harris is a USA Today bestselling author who read her first Harlequin romance when her grandmother carted home a box of books from a yard sale. She didn’t know she wanted to be a writer then, but she definitely knew she wanted to marry a sheikh or a prince and live the glamorous life she read about in the pages. Instead, she married a military man and moved around the world. She’s been inside the Kremlin, hiked up a Korean mountain, floated on a gondola in Venice, and stood inside volcanoes at opposite ends of the world.

These days Lynn lives in Alabama with her handsome husband and two crazy cats. Since her debut novel came out in August 2008, Lynn’s books have appeared on the USA Today, Borders, and Nielsen Bookscan bestseller lists.  You can visit her at www.LynnRayeHarris.com to learn more about her books, read her sporadically updated blog, or just drop her a note.

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Loving Lydia by Berengaria Brown
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

Tammy’s sights are set and goals targeted. With one thing on her mind – Lydia – she will stop at nothing to satisfy every craving her body has for the seductive female, including showing up at the same gym for a chance encounter.

Lydia’s career is in her pocket. Successful, motivated, and driven, Lydia realizes she wants more out of life than just her job. Aware of Tammy’s intentions, Lydia decides to play along, at least until a cup of steaming hot coffee turns into a passionate night. Can she split her life between her career and Tammy?

Will Tammy be able to quench her thirst for Lydia with one night of hot sex, or will she be left wanting more?

In Loving Lydia you have two characters that are as different as night and day.  You have Lydia who is very detail oriented, has a good career and is sure of her position in life.  Tammy is more of a free spirit.  She works as a nurse but doesn’t plan out her day but she does make time to be at the gym when Lydia is there.

These two have struck up a friendship over the last few months.  Tammy is in love with Lydia but doesn’t know how she will react if she asks her out.  She is taken by surprise when Lydia mentions them grabbing coffee together.

While talking at the coffee shop, things heat up and they end up taking the conversation elsewhere.  They both realize that their steamy encounter may lead to something pretty special. 

Although this is a short story, the author was able to show us who these two women are.  They are both mature women who know what they want out of life, even though they have very different ways of achieving it.  The old adage opposites attract is never more evident than in this story.

The women have known each other awhile before they end up together and things seem rushed between them, it lacked tenderness.  Overall the story was good and I give it 3 flaming hearts.   

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Sweet Release by Carrie Pulkinen
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

The day Miranda Billings dies isn’t the worst day of her life—but it’s close. Miranda dreams of adventure and escaping her boring existence, but death might be too much of an escape. With the help of Andre the demon slayer, she discovers the excitement she craves. If only he’d let her share his quest as well as his bed.

When Andre, the half-demon EMT, finds the woman he loves crushed by a bus, he reawakens her soul with his magic and his blood. Now, Andre must decide if he’s willing to let her join him in his perilous quest to slay demons and save humans. He almost lost her once. Is he willing to risk losing her forever?

What would you do if you had just lost your job and your boyfriend broke up with you?  That’s what Miranda is facing in Sweet Release.  She is a nurse at a local hospital and is unsettled with her life.  She is in a relationship that is boring and dull.  The only highlight is when she gets to spend a few minutes a night talking to Andre the local EMT.

She didn’t know what she was going to do now that she was jobless and homeless but circumstances took that decision out of her hands.  Andre stepped in and literally breathed new life into her.  She is now facing an exciting future, just what the Doctor ordered.

The characters have known each other for about six months and have fallen in love with each other.  Andre wants her but doesn’t feel like he can do anything about it because of the life he leads.  He’s a half demon, on the run, and trying to rid the world of evil.  He doesn’t want to subject her to that kind of life.

 In Sweet Release, it seems the story is more about Miranda being released from the boring life she’s been living to enjoy the new life Andre is able to show her.  Miranda and Andre have chemistry right from the beginning.  This is a short story so there isn’t a lot of room for character development, instead, the author uses the story to give us clues so we can learn more about them. 

This story could easily be expanded to provide us with more background on the characters and a look at the future as Miranda and Andre help rid the world of demons.  Overall I enjoyed this short story and look forward to more from this author.  I give Sweet Release 3 1/2 flaming hearts

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Harley Afternoon Delight by Molly Diamond
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

Sherman’s next-door-neighbor, Carla, is driving him insane, and he wants her as his woman. Carla is beautiful, voluptuous, and her Italian heritage makes her twice as desirable. He’s made every excuse he can to get close to her, but one day, as she’s mowing grass, two guys in a pickup stop by. They ask for directions and hint at trouble. Sherman intercedes, but when Carla makes her appreciation obvious, is it because she only wants to thank him and is drawn to his kick-ass Harley Davidson—or is Carla really smitten with Sherman? 

Harley Afternoon Delight is a short story about an afternoon of fun, sex and a Harley.  Sherman has been in love with his neighbor for awhile.  She likes to mow the grass in her bikini and it is driving him insane.  He is determined to make her his.

Carla is approached by a couple of guys that are trouble; Sherman comes to her aide and invites her over for a beer.  She has other ideas on how to repay him for his help and they involve his Harley.

This story is a very quick, HOT read that is about an afternoon of letting go and having fun.  The character development is minimal based on the length of the story but we learn that Carla can be aggressive and go after what she wants.  We also know that they have been neighbors for awhile and hope this encounter will lead to the relationship they both seem to want.

I enjoyed this short story and would love to see more of Sherman and Carla.  I give Harley Afternoon Delight 3 ½ Flaming Hearts.

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Do Over by Mari Carr
* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Sometimes once is not enough…

After twenty-five years of marriage, Faith Wainwright wonders what she’ll do next. Her kids have moved out and sometimes she feels so distant from her husband, Troy.

Right before their anniversary, Troy gives Faith an unexpected gift: a journey through their hometown to reenact all their “firsts.” Their first date. Their first kiss. And especially the first time they made love—only better.

Each stop on their tour becomes an opportunity for Faith and Troy to rediscover how explosive their passion can be. Now Faith knows exactly what she’s going to do—Troy, over and over again…

What would you do if your kids were grown and your husband worked all the time, how would you fill your days?  In Do Over, Faith is facing this question herself.  She doesn’t know what she is going to do to fill her days now.  She has been an emotional wreck since they packed their daughter up for college.  She loves her husband but their relationship has become complacent, routine and comfortable. 

Her husband Troy is steadfast and always there for her.  He is her rock and she is shocked to realize after all this time she really doesn’t know him.  He surprises her with a weekend visit to their home town to visit friends and family, hoping to cheer her up.  What she doesn’t know is that he has set up a special weekend for them to “do over” some of the more special moments in their relationship.

This story touched me more than any other book I’ve read this year.  It hit home because it reminded me so much of my relationship with my husband.  We’ve been together so long that we have become “comfortable” with each other and are the best of friends, just like Faith and Troy. 

The trip down memory lane was tender, funny and very special.  I enjoyed sharing the special moments with them and seeing them rekindle that fire they once had.  The characters had depth and were engaging.  The descriptions of the places they visited had me wanting to be there too.  The story’s primary focus though is on rediscovering love and each other. 

I loved this story and recommend it.  I give Do Over 4 flaming hearts.

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Four Play by Maya Banks and Shayla Black
* I received this ARC free from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Two sizzling-hot authors. One incendiary volume. Four can play at this game…

In Pillow Talk by Maya Banks, Zoe is a woman in a committed relationship with her boyfriend Chase. Then one night, Chase reveals his number-one fantasy, which involves his two best buddies. Is Zoe game? She sure is, because it opens the door for a secret fantasy all her own. In Shayla Black’s Her Fantasy Men, a girly-girl named Kelsey plays football, craves action movies, and loves knocking back a cold beer with her three best friends-all male. Yet she’s never seemed sexually interested in any one of these hot guys. So what does Kelsey want? A fantasy come true for all four of them.

This was a great pairing of two fantastic authors of erotic fiction.  Both stories center around a group of four friends, 3 male and 1 female and their exploration into the unknown.

In Pillow Talk Zoe and Chase share their secret fantasies with each other.  As they embark on a quest to fulfill each other’s fantasies, one will take it too far and jeopardize the budding relationship that has begun.

Zoe and Chase have been together for several years and each is secure in their relationship.  They live with their best friends Brody and Tate, who are also secretly in love with Zoe.  Zoe is comfortable with her body and wants to please Chase so she enlists the help of their roommates to fulfill Chase’s fantasy.  He is stunned to realize that his girlfriend would actually consider his fantasy and wants to give her something in return.  Zoe is excited when she realizes her most secret fantasy is about to come true. 

Zoe is extremely worried about how their roommates will react the next day though, but things seem normal, even better.  Things get complicated when another is added to the mix and feelings get hurt.  Chase realizes that some things are better left in the bedroom between him and Zoe.

Zoe loves Chase and knows that their relationship is secure but she also cares very deeply for their roommates, Brody and Tate.  Their situation is complex because it’s not the standard relationship.  They have needs that can only be met when the four of them come together.  The story flows well and the build up to the fantasy is well worth the wait.  I think the scenes with the four of them were beautifully written and extremely HOT.  I enjoyed this story a lot.

In Her Fantasy Men Kelsey has been enjoying a nightly fantasy featuring her best friend, her boss and her neighbor.  When she has the opportunity to make that fantasy a reality she doesn’t know what to think, she knows her men and worries that she is making the biggest mistake of her life.  She can’t turn down the chance of being with all three of them at once but she knows her men and knows they don’t share well.  She loves them all and can’t choose between them.

Tucker is her best friend and confident.  They have been friends forever and she has loved him since they were kids.  Jeremy is her boss and is a dominant.  When he dominates her at work, it makes her Hot.  She never knew she needed to be dominated before she met Jeremy.  Rhys is her neighbor and savior when something breaks.  They watch football together and he makes her laugh.  She has fallen in love with each one of them and when she realizes they love her, she knows that she can’t choose between them.

They come up with a plan to try and make things work but all it does is make everyone miserable.  Kelsey can’t stand hurting any of them so she takes off.  Everyone is miserable, including her.  She finds out something that could shatter their world and plans to see them once last time to share her news.  They surprise her with a solution to the problem that will make everyone happy.

Kelsey is a strong character that has taken care of herself.  She is not used to bouts of crying and that’s all she’s done since she slept with her men.  She wants them all badly and she wants them all at the same time, this is her ultimate fantasy.  Once that happens, she can never go back.

This is a story about discovering who you are and learning give and take when the issue is important.  Rhys, Jeremy and Tucker have to learn to check their egos at the door where Kelsey is concerned.  She needs something from each of them to make her complete.

Overall I enjoyed this book and give it 4 flaming hearts.

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