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Archive for August, 2011

Temptation Island by Lorie O’Clare
* I received a copy of this book from Kensington in exchange for an honest review*

Hawaiian Heat: Ric Karaka knows he can transform the rundown plantation house he’s inherited into a profitable bed-and-breakfast, but he needs money to get things off the ground. Hopefully he can procure the financing from a wealthy old lady who’s coming to Hawaii to meet him for the first time…Tropical Temptation: So it’s a shock when the woman who arrives is not only young but gorgeous and incredibly sexy. Ric figures he’s got nothing to lose by inviting Jenny to come to the plantation and take a look around…Sultry Surrender: Ric knows his future is at stake, but once they’re alone he can’t resist exploring every inch of Jenny’s beautiful body. With each kiss and caress his lust is aroused and together they begin an erotic adventure they’ll never forget…

Jenny is a normal person from a Midwestern town.  She and her Nana won a trip to Hawaii when she they competed on Last Chance for Happiness, her nana’s favorite show.  Nana convinced Jenny to go and have fun but nothing turned out as Jenny had hoped.

On a chance meeting at the airport, Jenny is offered an opportunity of a lifetime.  All she has to do is act as Samantha’s (a rich businesswoman) eyes and ears once she gets to Hawaii.  Samantha has some meetings scheduled in Hawaii but she wants a fresh opinion of the people, including her estranged grandson Ric.

Ric has lived in foster care all his life.  He has found his family in Hawaii and has purchased the old family Banana plantation in hopes of making a Bed & Breakfast out of it.  He is hoping his grandmother will fall in love with his home and want to invest in it.   He hoped to find love and acceptance but he never expected to find it with Samantha’s protégé.

This was such a fun story to read with beautiful scenery.  I loved the final question that Jenny had to answer on the game show, “what monumental event occurred on August 16, 1977?”  My mom is a huge Elvis fan and we happened to be in Memphis, TN the day that he died.  She was upset all the way home; it is a day I always remember.

Jenny is a smart woman but she has led a relatively sheltered life.  She is excited about her trip to Hawaii but she is concerned about leaving her nana home alone.  She doesn’t know what to make of Samantha’s offer but she is willing to give it a shot.  She discovers that she doesn’t like pretending to be someone she’s not. She never expected to find love on her island getaway.

Ric has had a hard life.  He grew up in foster homes and never knew who his real family was.  Now he has discovered his paternal family and has bought the old family plantation.  He has come to love the island and wants to help preserve the history of Lanai.  He is disappointed when his grandmother sends Jenny to meet with him in her stead but quickly changes his opinion as he gets to know Jenny.

The sexual tension between Jenny and Ric is apparent from their first meeting.  They are explosive together.  Both have led fairly lonely lives with little to no family.  Neither one is looking for long term and are blindsided when it sneaks up on them.  They are good for each other.

I loved Jenny’s speech at the ladies luncheon.  She spoke from her heart and her love of the island and its people was obvious.  Jenny’s sudden departure from the island allowed for Ric and Samantha to have their first face to face meeting.  In the end, Jenny and Ric start believing in the possibility of forever.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and will definitely look for other books by this author.  I give Temptation Island 4 Flaming Hearts.  

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Keeping House (Truth or Dare book 1)  by Lee Brazil
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

Mischa knew his brothers were up to something. He didn’t know it would lead him to Donovan Holloway and change his carefree lifestyle forever.

Donovan Holloway, advertising executive, newly made vice president of the company where he’s worked for twenty years, grew up in a free love hippie commune, taking care of the parents who should have been taking care of him. He’s worked hard to put himself through school and achieve the American dream. All he’s ever wanted was a normal family life—house in the suburbs, two cars, two kids, a shaggy dog. A family to come home to—to care for, and to care for him.

Mischa Blake is the green eyed, liberally-pierced, black-haired, Mohawk-wearing spoiled youngest son of a Hollywood producer and his actress wife. Mischa has made a terrible mistake. In a fit of childish pique, he’s accepted a dare from his older brothers. The dare? Live on his own, supporting himself completely for a year without accessing his trust fund. No problem. Except Mischa has never worked a day in his life, hasn’t finished college, and has absolutely no skills that he can bring to the table.

So when he sees Donovan’s ad for a housekeeper/gardener, he has nothing to lose by applying, because really…how hard can it be?

Mischa is a typical trust fund baby.  He has more money than he knows what to do with and goes through it like water.  His brother deposits money into his account monthly because he can’t fully access his trust fund until he is 35.  He enjoys his care free life style and does everything he can to piss his brother’s off.

During the weekly poker game he is tricked into getting a job and supporting himself for a year or paying a penalty to each of his three older brothers.  He has no desire to owe his brother’s so he is determined to win this bet, no matter what.  Getting a job was harder than he thought though.

Donavan is looking for a housekeeper for his new home.  He has always dreamed of owning his own home and having a family to come home to every night.  The home is a wreck and he desperately needs help to get it in order.  When he opened the door to find a skinny kid in Goth attire, he never expected to find his future.

I loved Mischa’s character.  He isn’t as clueless as his brother’s make him out to be, he just isn’t cut out to be what they want him to be.  Through this experience, he has discovered who his true friends are.  He may be young but he has a lot of character.  He is also resourceful, hardworking and not afraid to get his hands dirty, very unusual traits for a trust fund baby.

He and Donavan are great together.  They may be total opposites but they complement each other.  The sexual tension between them was obvious from the beginning but when they finally come together it was sizzling hot.  Not only was it was full of love but it was sexy as hell, love me some piercings.

The story also contains some great secondary characters from his older domineering brothers to the twins and Bella.  They also help to set up other books in this series.  I can’t wait to read about Terry and the twins in the next story.

Overall I really enjoyed Keeping House and give it 3½ Flaming Hearts. 

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Basket of Hope by JM Powers
*I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

Kara harbors a secret love for Machias, but he must choose someone other than a scullery maid as a wife.

All Hallows Eve looms near, and encroaching evil shall have its way if a marriage filled with true love and pure magic does not take place. Machias must choose a witch, something Kara never hopes to be.

Machias’s father will do anything to ensure his son chooses wisely—lies, beatings, and even an attempt to soil Kara’s innocence is not past the man.

Machias’s marriage announcement promises to burn Kara’s hope to cinders…unless something truly magical happens at the All Hallows Eve ball.

When Kara’s mother is a Hag and hated by most of the townspeople.  When the Hag tried to trade Kara to the local tavern owner for a fortnight’s worth of ale, she ran away.  She was found outside the castle gates by Machias, who snuck her some food and begged his mother to find her something to do at the castle. 

Growing up at the castle, Kara has waited for Machias to come home from his trainings.  She has been in love with him ever since he saved her.  It pains her to serve the pure bred witches that are there to earn the favor of Machias but she has no choice, she is just a scullery maid.  She is ignored by most at the castle because they thing her mother is evil.

She is dreading the All Hallows Eve Ball because Machias must choose a bride, a pure bred witch.  She loves him too much to stick around and watch him wed another.  Little does she know that Machias has been plotting with his mother and has a big surprise in store for everyone at the ball, especially his father.

Kara is a unique character.  She has lived her whole life believing that she is not a witch; she doesn’t want to be evil like her mother.  She just basically fades into the woodwork at the castle.  She loves Machias deeply and it pains her to see him with others.  The closer she gets to All Hallows Eve, the more things start to happen because of her that she doesn’t understand.

Machias’ father is a nice addition to the mix.  He is determined that his son will marry a pure blood and will do whatever it takes to make it happen.  He is a man with a lot of pent up frustration and wants his son to do what he couldn’t.  Machias’ mom doesn’t want him to make a choice out of duty like she did; she wants him to marry for love and does what she can to help him accomplish this.

 Overall the story was captivating story that had you cheering at the end.  I give Basket of Hope 3½ Flaming Hearts. 

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Sex-O-Matic by Vee Michaels
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

What happens when you gather one UPS man, one struggling writer, and the Sex-O-Matic? A delightful, sexy day of adventure!

Holly is a struggling writer who does random product testing and reviews to make ends meet. When she faints in front of her sexy UPS guy, Marv, he comes to her rescue. He’s curious about her product testing, and together they open the nondescript brown box containing her latest assignment: the Sex-O-Matic, a machine that guarantees its user multiple orgasms. Being the gentleman he is, Marv naturally offers to help Holly test it. How can she resist?

Holly has been struggling to meet ends meet since she lost her job at the publishing company.  She has been trying to write her book, while picking up jobs as product testers to make ends meet.  Her sexy UPS driver has become the object of her fantasies, not to mention the star of her book.

Marv’s last stop on his route is Holly’s house.  She receives and sends a lot of packages and he wonders what she is up too.  When she passes out in his arms he sees it as his chance to ask her out.  He’s extremely shy and hopes that she will say yes, he thinks she likes him because she is always nice to him.

Holly has been receiving a wide variety of products to test but she was not prepared for what was in the box that Marv opened.  She is shocked when he offers to help her test it, she was even more excited about the thought of spending the afternoon with him.

I love that Holly’s character is a struggling writer.  I know that so many of writers start out that way.  It was fun to see what they go through to make ends meet until they can sell their manuscript.  She is intelligent and funny.  She knows what she wants, if she can just get up the nerve to go after it.

I liked the fact that she and Marv have a history, even if it’s only brief conversations at her door.  He was super sexy but shy and I thought that was sweet.  He was still and alpha male and wanted to protect her and make sure she was ok.  He was more than willing to help her test her new product and offered himself as a sample for comparison.

The test session was so sexy that I didn’t want it to end.  They were so good together that the pages were smoking.  Overall I enjoyed Sex-O-Matic and give it 3½ Flaming Hearts. 

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Turn It Up by Inez Kelley
*I received this ARC free from the author & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Dr. Bastian Talbot and self-proclaimed sex goddess Charlie Pierce heat up the air waves with their flirty banter as radio hosts Dr. Hot and the Honeypot. Off the air, they’re best friends…but Bastian wants to be so much more. He wants Charlie—in bed, and forever.

Problem is, Charlie doesn’t do commitment. Sure, she’s had X-rated fantasies of Bastian, but he was always just a friend—until he impulsively proposes and unleashes the lust they’ve been denying for years. Charlie’s willing to explore where their wild chemistry leads, but she won’t marry him. And he won’t have sex with her until she accepts his proposal, despite her seductive schemes.

Bastian and Charlie have been best friends for years.  They have relied on each other through some hard times and they share a late night talk show at the radio station Charlie works at.  They practically live together whether it’s at her apartment or his house.  Charlie is happy with the way things are going and isn’t prepared for the loop Bastian throws her.  Can she learn to open her heart and let Bastian in?

When Bastian isn’t on the air, he can be found working shifts in the ER.  He is tired of the hours he has to work and the hassles he has to deal with.  His ER days are numbered because he will be joining a group of doctors at an Urgent Care facility in the next few weeks.

Charlie has a bad track record with men and she blames it on her past.  She never had a stable childhood and they moved around a lot.  Bastian is her first true friend and she is afraid that things will change between them if she decides she doesn’t want to marry him.  You see Charlie’s opinion of herself start to change.  She starts to believe that Bastian wants her for more than sex, unlike most men in her past. 

Charlie and Bastian are the best of friends.  They talk about everything and have no secrets from each other, at least that’s what Charlie thought.  I love the fact that their relationship is built on years of ups and downs.  It makes them very solid as a couple because they have gone through so much together.

It was so much fun to watch as the wager (Wed or Bed) between Bastian and Charlie unfold.  I couldn’t wait to see what stunt would be pulled next and who was going to win at the end.  I felt so sorry for Bastian, some of the things Charlie did to him were so wrong.  The surprise that Bastian came up with for her birthday was so sweet and if she wasn’t so scared, I think she would’ve told him yes that night.

I believe that Inez Kelley has hit another home run with this book.  It is a sexy read that also contains humor and love.  There are some really emotional scenes between Bastian and Charlie but also with Bastian and his brother Caz.

Overall I loved everything about this story.  I give Turn It Up 4½ Flaming Hearts. 

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Leo Licked by Tammy Valentine
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

Twelve star signs, four friends, one extraordinary year.  When Izzy lands a job photographing a top rock band, her sexual experiment leads her into uncharted territory—as a groupie. But with a shock in store from the charismatic guitarist, will the future of the Zodiac Club be thrown into question?

Izzy has been on several dates with her chef and is ready to call an end to the Zodiac club, until she has a run in with the paparazzi.  She calls it quits with Quincy J. Lawrence and decides to continue with the project.

Over the last few months, Izzy has learned more about herself, what she likes and how far she is willing to push her limits.  She is more open to new experiences and is getting to meet some interesting people that she may have never talked to before.

Izzy is granted the opportunity of a life time when she is chosen as the event photographer for Sheer Heart Attack.  She isn’t an expert in concert photography but she is excited about the opportunities it could bring her way.  As she photographs each band member, she catches herself going over their “attributes”.  There is something about Shark that draws her in and doesn’t let her go.

After the concert Izzy catches the band playing around after their showers and gets some very “candid” shots of the guys.  Shark invites her to have a private photo session with her; little did she know she was going to literally be the one in the spotlight.

I loved Izzy’s descriptions of each of the band members from a photographer’s perspective.  I love photography and her descriptions were really powerful.  Izzy got to play rock groupie and adoring fan to Shark while she worshipped his body on stage after the concert.  Best part of her interlude with Shark, he’s a Leo.  They can mark that sign off the list and go to the next one, Virgo.

Overall I enjoyed this installment in the Zodiac series and can’t wait for Virgo.  I give Leo Licked 3½ Flaming Hearts. 

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Stroke of Midnight by Bonnie Edwards
* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
 
An unlikely Cinderella…
When hardworking single mom Jaye Sinns meets younger playboy Alexander Carmichael, the sexual chemistry between them is undeniable. So Jaye gives in to temptation and allows him to whisk her away for her first-ever vacation. Two glorious weeks of no inhibitions, no strings and no responsibilities.
 
A charming prince of a guy…
Life with Alex is every woman’s fantasy—sizzling sex in the back of a limo, on a private plane, in exotic settings. But it’s not enough to fulfill a woman like Jaye for long. No matter how hot the sex is.
 
A happy ending?
Alex is soon craving more than Jaye’s body: he wants her love and admiration, too. For the first time in his life, he can’t buy the thing he desires most; and now he must decide if he’s willing to work at being the kind of man that Jaye needs, and give her the happily-ever-after she deserves.

Everyone knows the story of Cinderella and her night at the Ball.  Jaye Sinns is living her own fairy tale and doesn’t want to wake up.  She can’t believe that good looking Alex is interested in her and wants to whisk her away for the duration of her vacation.

Jaye is a single mom from the wrong side of the tracks.  She works as a book keeper for several small businesses in her neighborhood.  When she is not taking working she takes classes at the local community college.  She joins her brother and sister-in-law at a car auction while on her first vacation ever.  Little did she know, that car auction was going to change her life forever?

Alex Carmichael is a international playboy that has more money than he knows what to do with.  The only family he has left is his uncle.  Something is missing in his life but he doesn’t realize what it is until he meets Jaye.  He admires her and what she has accomplished, now if only he can convince her he is serious.

The attraction between Alex and Jaye is instantaneous and very steamy.  They agree to a two week no strings attached vacation but neither one of them realized the strength it would take for them to walk away.  Jaye felt that she didn’t belong in Alex’s world and once the novelty wore off, he would leave her.  She has worked hard for the things she has and doesn’t see Alex committed to anything solid; this bothers her because he doesn’t seem to have a purpose in life.

Every little girl dreams of being Cinderella but I find the premise of the story a little hard to accept.  I know that Jaye’s sister-in-law vouched for Alex and said that he was “one of the good guys” but not many people would pick up and take off with a guy they just met for two weeks of sex.

With the believability aside, I really did enjoy this book.  The characters were compelling and helped draw you into the story.  Jaye is a very strong female lead.  She had to grow up and be a mom when most girls where worried about prom and learning to drive.  She is independent and worked hard to raise her son right.

Alex has had a rough life, so to speak.  Yes he has more money than he knows what to do with but when you don’t have anyone to share it with, it can be really lonely.  A vulnerable side of Alex begins to emerge as he comes to care for Jaye.  There’s just something about a tortured hero that I just love.

I loved the ending, very Officer and Gentlemen like.  The gift he gives Jaye is priceless and better than anything she could’ve asked for.  I was pulling for this couple to make it, even though they come from very different backgrounds.

Overall I enjoyed the story and give Stroke of Midnight 3½ Flaming Hearts.  

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