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Archive for December, 2010

Act Like We’re in Love by Christi Barth
* I received this ARC free from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Linnea Larson is appalled when a Hollywood hunk is hired to star opposite her at her family’s theatre. Known for playing a superhero onscreen, and a super stud off screen, doesn’t convince her he has what it takes to share her stage. Due to a pact with her best friend, she never dates actors.

Despite his fame, fortune and an endless string of women, Luke is dissatisfied with his picture perfect life. He escapes to his theatrical roots to find wary cast mates, a best friend convinced the show will ruin Luke’s career and an adorable costar who refuses to date him.

Far from Hollywood’s spotlights, can he find happiness in the footlights of a tiny Theatre? Despite Luke dragging her into his paparazzi nightmare, Linnea can’t deny his irresistible charm. Their fling has a guaranteed expiration date. Why risk the inevitable heartbreak? Their job is to act like they’re in love, but will they decide it’s worth the leap to fall in love for real?

Act Like We’re In Love by Christi Barth is such a fun read.  Linnea and Luke are the perfect match for each other but every time things seem to be going their way something happens to knock things off course.

Linnea loves the theater more than anything and she is concerned when her father brings in a ringer for their production of Guys and Dolls to drive up ticket sales.  Times are tough all over and Linnea’s family theater is suffering like everything else.  She has some ideas to help revenue but her father doesn’t want to hear her ideas, he has everything under control.

After taking some time off to care for his mother, things have been “off” for Luke since he came back to the acting world.  It doesn’t hold the appeal it once did for him.  He doesn’t know what’s wrong and wants time to figure out what is bothering him.  He gets his best friend/business manager to book him a stint working at a local theater so he can get back to his roots.

The characters are complex and interesting.  Linnea is a diehard theater actress trying to save her family’s business.  She and her best friend have a pact that they won’t date actors and she is determined to stick to it, even though Luke is very tempting.  She loves her family but feels like her father doesn’t trust her with the theater and won’t listen to her ideas.  Luke comes across as a playboy, love ‘em and leave ‘em type but there is definitely more to him than meets the eye.  The chemistry between Luke and Linnea is instant and the sexual tension is evident from the beginning.

The supporting characters are a hoot.  I love Ingrid and Wes too.  They have great chemistry and play off of each other well.  Ingrid is a free spirit that is just the right medicine to loosen Wes up and he makes her crazy because he doesn’t succumb to her like all her previous boyfriends.  The scenery is fun too.  I love the theater and the descriptions of everything tied to it.  The back story is appropriate; it gives you enough information but doesn’t overload the story with past events.

One of things I loved about this story is that every time Luke and Linnea try to get together, something happens to mess it up, whether it’s a photo op for a politician or a conniving stalker.  One of my favorite scenes was the scene at the ballpark when they are in the box.  It’s the point Linnea realizes that she is falling in love with Luke and is willing to fight for him. 

One thing that distracted me a little, but didn’t really take away from the story was the fact that there is more or less a sub story going on at the same time with Wes.  He and Ingrid are really as much a part of the main story as Luke and Lienna and sometimes it was a little too much going on.  I would like to see what happens to them after he starts his own agency, will she finally loosen him up and get him out of his high dollar suits?

Overall I really enjoyed Act Like We’re in Love and give it 4 flaming hearts.

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Feed the Fire – Memory Grove #3 by Melissa Ecker
* I received this ARC/book free from the author in exchange for an honest review*

After eight years, Olivia Andrews returns to Memory Grove for her best friend’s wedding. She has no intention of becoming involved with sexy fireman, Cade Reilly, but once she finds herself in his bed, there is no turning back. Their casual affair is suddenly complicated when an unexpected visitor shows up on Cade’s doorstep and the demons that Olivia left behind come calling. Will their new found love overcome the obstacles created by their yesterdays or will those revelations drive a wedge between them forever?

Feed the Fire is book three in the Memory Grove series.  We get to visit with characters from previous books because everyone is coming together for a wedding.  Olivia has decided it’s time to return home and begin a new life.

Cade offers to help Livie out of a tight spot and brings her home; little does he realize how his life will be turned upside down.  He is intrigued by her but realizes that she has some demons in her past that she has to work through.

Livie is happy for the first time in a long time and keeps waiting for the other shoe to fall.  She is with a wonderful guy but she is having a hard time adjusting to her new life without looking over her shoulder all the time.

Livie’s character is heartbreaking.  She has suffered through something no woman should ever have to deal with.  She is made to feel inferior and that everything she does wrong is her fault.  Throughout the story, Olivia grows into herself and starts coming out of her shell.  It is a true journey of finding herself and becoming the woman she is meant to be.

Cade is such a kind and giving man, he is the perfect match for her.  He slowly helps her work through her issues and nightmares, while dealing with some of his own.  He doesn’t want someone that is subservient to him, he wants a partner.

Feed the Fire is my favorite book in this series.  The characters have become more complex with each addition to the Memory Grove series.  I definitely recommend this series, they are definitely worth the read.  You can visit Melissa at www.melissaecker.com for more information about this series. 

Overall I give Feed the Fire 4 Flaming Hearts 

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Mr. Postman by A Campbell
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

Selena is waiting for a very special, top-secret package. When the postman arrives with her delivery and seems to know what the box contains, Selena decides to have a little fun. After all, what’s better than a postman who can deliver more than just your mail? 

Mr. Postman is a very short, very sexy story.  Have you ever been so excited about getting something in the mail but are afraid it won’t live up to your expectations?  Well that’s how Selena felt. 

She has been waiting on this special package so she can jump start her weekend.  When she finally sees the postman arrive she is flushed with excitement and it doesn’t go unnoticed.  It seems the package was damaged in shipment and being a good postman, he decides to wait until she checks out the items in the package.

Selena can’t help but check out the postman’s package as she is examining hers.  She is super excited about trying out her new items and she knows just the man for the job.  She makes him an offer he can’t refuse, herself.

I liked this short story a lot.  It was flirty and fun with some hints of dominance in it.  I absolutely loved the ending and didn’t see that twist coming.  It made the story that much better.

I give Mr. Postman 3½ flaming stars. 

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Naughty Can be Nice by Cynthia Selwyn
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

Legal guardian Brenna O’Brien didn’t expect to become a single mom, especially of seven-year-old twins with troubles. What she needs is a good dose of sexual pleasure to swipe all her emotional burdens away.

Kris Kringle, Jr. doesn’t want to fill in for his dad. But when he meets a lovely lady at a Christmas party, he changes his mind; he wouldn’t mind filling her…stocking.

One wish is all it takes for the sexy Santa she met to appear in her living room, wearing nothing but his boots, his red velvet hat and a silver bow. Because at Christmas, all heartfelt wishes can come true. 

 

Naughty Can be Nice is a story about making the ultimate sacrifice for the person you love.  Kris is filling in for his dad, Santa after dad messes up his leg.  He doesn’t usually leave the workshop but he is ready to step in and help his dad, he just doesn’t realize the impact it will have on his life. 

Brenna is raising her twin nieces, Katie and Gracie.  Gracie is disillusioned and doesn’t believe in Santa or Christmas anymore.  Brenna doesn’t know what to do to help her.  Gracie has lost her parents and her sister is dying, she has given up hoping for miracles until Kris enters their lives.

 

This story is a sweet tale of love and sacrifice with just enough spice mixed in to make it enjoyable for adults.  Kris isn’t looking for a wife, he is happy working in the workshop year after year.  He doesn’t understand his instant attraction to Brenna.  She is the first woman that has stirred his emotions.

 

Brenna loves her nieces but she is lonely and has same very kinky ideas of things to do to Kris.  She doesn’t understand why she can’t stop thinking about him, even though she just met him.  Without realizing it, she wishes for Kris and he shows up at her house, very happy to see her.

 

I really enjoyed this short story; it drew me in from the beginning.  It was a touching story that had me cheering for the underdog, while still managing to be sexy.  I was pulling for Kris and Brenna but more importantly I wanted Gracie to regain her belief in the magic of Christmas.

Overall I loved Naughty Can be Nice and give it 4 Flaming Hearts. 

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Dusk Takes Dawn by Celia Sweet & Shirin Dubbin
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

Paranormal peacekeepers, Dawn Maza, the witch with a capital ‘B’, and Duskan Entreri, one helluva beast, are partners and lovers… Actually, they are in love. They’re not lovers yet. Stone separates them, making her a statue at night while he turns to granite by day, and the two have never consummated their love. Instead, they communicate via video and voice mail. That travesty will change tonight. 

Under the advisement of a crone—who may or may not have ulterior motives—the pair must freeze time for a single chance at igniting the All Hallows sky with the fires of their passion.

Dusk and Dawn are up for the task. Halloween is about to get sexy.

Dusk takes Dawn is a modern day story about star crossed lovers.  Dawn is witch by day and a stone statue at night.  Duskan is a gargoyle by night and a stone guardian by day.  They are partners but have to rely on voice mail, videos and email to communicate with each other.  If it makes their job difficult, having a physical relationship is hell.

 

Dusk and Dawn are in love and they are determined to find a way to be together.  They are cursed to forever be on opposite sides of daylight.  They are working together to find a way to grant them time together when they are both alive.  They have fallen in love and leave each other presents and videos every day, it’s the only way they can communicate with each other.

 

The story for the most part follows Dawn through the day on pre All Hallows Eve.  She sets out to obtain the last piece they need to perform the spell to give them time together.  She can’t wait to finally get to see Duskan in the flesh; she has lots of ideas on how to spend their time together.

 

The story provides the reader with sufficient background information that they can understand what is going on between Duskan and Dawn.  Even though we don’t see the two of them together until the end, the authors do an excellent job of portraying the building relationship between them.

 

I really enjoyed this story but I want more!!  I want to know what happens between Duskan and Dawn and if they find a way to get be together forever or if they are doomed to remain star crossed lovers.

 

I give Dusk takes Dawn 3½ Flaming Hearts.

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Just this Night by Juliet Cardin
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

 Genna Cosworth, a five-hundred-year-old witch overcome by loneliness, casts a beauty spell upon herself in an effort to find love—even if it’s just for one night.

Richard Barrentine is a man any woman could fall in love with: tall, dark, and irresistibly handsome. The pair spend a passionate evening together, but when the midnight hour draws near, Genna realizes she cannot live without him.

Desperate, Genna comes to the only conclusion a witch in her position could…she has to freeze time.

But can she live with herself after having brought light and love to her life by plunging the remainder of the world into darkness for an eternity? Perhaps the better question is can Richard give his heart to the woman who, for him, is willing to do just that?

 Just this Night takes place on All Hallows Eve.  Genna has believed for years that she looks like an old Hag.  She only has one mirror in her home but she keeps it covered up.  She comes across a spell that will make her beautiful for one night and it can only be used once every 100 years.  She is determined that she will experience love this night.

Richard has been looking for Gemma for years but she doesn’t realize it.  They have a passionate night together and Gemma doesn’t want to let him go.  She is willing to do just about anything to keep the night from ending, she can’t go back to the life she was living before.

Gemma has been been alone for so long, her only companion is the cat she found last year.  Her story is heartbreaking, just because of one comment she has shut herself off from the world.  Her only happiness came under the cover of a masked encounter that she has never forgotten.

The characters in this story have a lot of depth to them, even though this is a short story.  There is an obvious connection between Gemma and Robert that drew me in and kept me reading.  The flow of the story gives enough history but doesn’t overload the reader with unnecessary details.

I really enjoyed seeing the change in Gemma over the story.  She has lived her life in the shadows because she truly believed that she was an old witch.  All it took was love for her to see her true self. 

I definitely recommend this short story from Breathless Press.  I give Just this Night by Juliet Cardin 4 Flaming Hearts.

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Crux by Moira Rogers
* I received this ARC free from the author in exchange for an honest review*

To find her destiny, she must trust him with her life…and her heart.

Southern Arcana, Book 1

Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn’t crack…until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.

New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn’t explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.

When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.

With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as he struggles to uncover the truth of her past—and her destiny.

Warning: This book contains devious schemes, epic battles, forbidden love between a shapeshifter and a spellcaster, nosy secondary characters, furniture-endangering sex and a woman fighting to choose her own destiny.

Crux is the first book in the Southern Arcana series by Moira Rogers.  The reader is slowly pulled into this new world as the intricate details are revealed.  The story contains intrigue, magic, shifters and love.

Mackenzie has been on the run for the last few months from a psycho that wants her to have his babies.  He turned her world upside and she just wants to get back to a normal life.  She ends up in New Orleans and starts considering a permanent life there.

Jackson agrees to do a favor for Nicki and immediately realizes that the issue is a lot bigger than she suspected.  He is drawn to Mackenzie and wants to help her but she doesn’t trust anyone. 

In the beginning, Mackenzie’s character is very timid; she stays shut within herself and tries not to draw attention to herself.  She is scared to death and has to always look over her shoulder.  She immediately feels at home with Nicki and her friends but doesn’t want anything to happen to them because of her.  She is drawn to Jackson from the first time she sees him talking to Nicki in the bar.  Can he be her knight in shining armor?

Jackson wants Mackenzie and tries really hard to be a gentleman with her, even though she doesn’t make it easy on him.  He wants her trust more than anything and is determined to prove to her that he plans on sticking around.  The sexual tension between these two runs throughout most of the book, making the love scenes well worth the wait.

One of the things I loved about this book was that even though it started out a little slow, it picked up pace and I was done before I knew it.  The world had to be set, that couldn’t be helped but it was handled in such a way that most of it blended right into the story.

The book also had a great cast of characters. I enjoyed meeting them all and can’t wait to see what the future holds for them, especially Mahalia she deserves some happiness.  The cast of secondary characters are interesting and complex, with secrets all their own.

Overall I enjoyed Crux and can’t wait to read the next installment, Crossroads.  I give Crux 3 ½ Flaming Hearts.

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