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Donovan's DealDonovan’s Deal (Truth or Dare #6) by Lee Brazil
* I received this ARC free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Mischa Blake needs the relaxation of the Blake brothers’ weekly poker games now more than ever as he feels the pressure of his responsibilities as a parent, partner, and student multiplying. When one of his siblings proposes reviving their game of Truth or Dare, Mischa revolts. Instead, they all agree to share a truth, and Mischa has to decide how much of his domestic situation to share with his family.

The frantic pace of life is overwhelming, and Mischa has begun to let things slide. With the holidays just around the corner, he figures his current situation is a temporary thing. When he misses one of his son’s soccer games that Donovan left work early to attend, time runs out.

Upset by the hurt in their son’s eyes, Donovan decides that something must be done. He’s worried that he’s pushed Mischa into doing things at the wrong time, pushed his dreams on his young lover, just pushed too hard for too much in general.

In a desperate attempt to get Mischa to think about what he wants instead of what Donovan wants, Donovan issues an ultimatum. He sends Mischa away with orders to think about his priorities.

Truth or Dare is one of my favorite series that features m/m romance; the stories are the epitome of what romance is. The characters are compelling and full of depth, while still having flaws that shows that they deserve to be loved too, no matter what sex they are.

I have to admit that Mischa and Donovan’s story in the series has always been my favorite so I was delighted to get a Christmas short story featuring the couple (I know it’s almost June). Mischa showed up on Donovan’s door step answering a job ad, one that he was not qualified for I might add and Donovan took a chance on him and love. Now they have been together for a while and they have settled into a routine but things are far from perfect.

Both of the guys work too hard and things are not good at home. Donovan spends too much time working because he can’t tell his boss no and Mischa is overloading himself to finish school this semester. Their home is neglected but worse than that, they are neglecting each other. Donovan is afraid Mischa is missing out on his youth and decides to set him free, at least for the weekend; if he comes back he’s his to keep – right?

It takes an unfortunate incident for them to realize that they both need to make some changes in their lives and relationship if they are going to make it work. Donovan has to realize that this isn’t the 1960’s and that it’s ok for Mischa to help with the household finances. Mischa needs to quit holding everything in and talk to Donovan when they have issues, not run and hide from the problem because it only gets worse.

Even though this was a short story, it didn’t lack any in content; we got to see the other Blake brother’s that we have grown to love throughout the series. The author is killing me because he left a teaser at the end of the story and I am ready for the next book RIGHT NOW!!!!!

Overall I loved Donovan’s Deal and give it 4 Flaming Hearts.  4 Hearts

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This review is a repost of the first book in the Zodiac Series by Tammy Valentine.  She is currently doing a blog tour for this series.  I love this series and definitely recommond it.  It’s a series of short stories that take Izzy on an adventure through the Zodiac looking for the perfect man for her.  She finds him in the last place she expected.  It ends with Climax, the series conculsion.  The first book is free and the rest range from 1.49 to 2.49 so check them out.

 
foreplayForeplay – The Zodiac Book 1 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. Izzy Morgan is a girl on a mission. When her friend Jessica reveals a remarkable talent for identifying men’s star signs purely from their sexual performance, an intrigued Izzy takes up an exhilarating challenge. With Foreplay, you can enjoy a free taste of Izzy as she begins her journey of sexual discovery through the Zodiac.

Foreplay starts our journey through the Zodiac with Izzy and her friends.  When Izzy left to meet her friends for coffee, she never imagined that her love life would change because of it.

During lunch the girls were sharing stories about their men and Jessica starts predicting the guys zodiac signs.  She is convinced that she can tell you what their sign is just by their sexual performance.  Izzy is skeptical but continues to drink in every word she says.

They share a few stories and Jessica keeps guesses the correct sign for the guy.  The girls convince Izzy that her love life needs an overhaul and she should be the guinea pig for the experiment.

They agree that Izzy will go through a dating agency and she will date a guy from each of the twelve zodiacs and they will compare notes and see if Jessica is right.  The other two girls will make sure everything stays fair.

I loved this short story and wanted to see where this bet was going to take us so I bought the next story Aries Unleashed.  I give Foreplay 4 Flaming Hearts.

You can pick up your copy of Foreplay for FREE from Breathless Press at the link provided.
http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&cPath=8&products_id=175

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new truckToday crept up on me and I forgot today was my day to post because we spent yesterday at the car dealership buying a new car for hubby.

Hubby has been trying to decide if he wanted to trade his truck or not for the last couple of months.  We finally decided to just go down to the dealership and drive the GMC Terrain and everything just moved so fast from that point.  We drove the SVU and then sat down with the saleman and the next thing we know the sales manager is showing hubby the “bottom line” of what his new payment will be and we’ve bought a new SUV.

I think we were both kinda shell shocked because we didn’t even have our trade with us when they cut the deal.  We did have financing but they even beat that.  We did get a really good deal on the SUV and it will be much better on gas mileage but hubby is giving up his truck that he’s had for a few years.   We went back and forth all night about whether we were doing the right thing or not and I don’t think hubby got much sleep.  We took the truck in yesterday and signed the paperwork so we are the new proud owners of a GMC Terrain.

My question to you is do you dread dealing with the dealerships when it comes to buying a new car, is it better to have your financing when you go in, and do you usually buy the extra warranties they offer at the time of the signing?  It was easier to have our financing when we went in and we did end up buying the gap protection but you always wonder if you are doing the right thing.

Happy Sunday everyone and BTW – Ironman was awesome.  That is how we celebrated the new vehicle.

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Risking it AllRisking it All (Truth or Dare #5) by Lee Brazil
* I received this ARC free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

After nearly a year, Bastian Grey is growing discontent with the lack of intimacy in his relationship with Rick Claremont. Can an adopted cat be the key to a real relationship?

Fire fighter Sebastian Grey has finally gotten what he’s wanted since he was sixteen: Rick Claremont in his bed. Only now he wants more. Convincing cautious Rick that loving him is a safe bet seems impossible.

Rick Claremont grew up in a hurry and experienced danger and loss early. He’s not sure risking himself on Sebastian is a viable option. The man is gorgeous and the sex is amazing, but Sebastian’s whole life is about taking chances. He throws himself off mountains for fun and runs into burning buildings for work. How can Rick trust this risk taker with his battered heart?

Will the advent of a cat and a corpse into their relationship give Bastian the entrée to Rick’s heart as well as his bed?

Rick has left a hard life and he carries the burden of his past on his shoulders. He keeps his relationships distant and won’t let anyone close to him. Arden Grey saved his life when she offered him a job and his ife has never been the same since. If he doesn’t figure out how to let Sebastian truly into his life, he may lose him forever.

Sebastian Grey has been in love with Rick since he first saw the 15 year old at Arden’s office. He finally has him where he wants him, in his bed, but he can’t seem to win his heart. With the help of a cat, Sebastian is finally getting a glimpse into Rick’s life.

I loved this story. Rick has so much emotional baggage that he is afraid to get close to anyone. He cares for Sebastian, maybe even loves him but he’s afraid to show him. He keeps their relationship distant and impersonal, they meet at a hotel or at Sebastian’s, never his house and they never spend the night together. He is afraid he is going to lose Sebastian because he is such a daredevil, always risking his life on his extreme sports and job as a firefighter.

Sebastian doesn’t know how to win Rick’ heart and his sister is the only person he will let close to him. He can’t continue like this, he needs more of a commitment from him. He loves him and craves the tenderness that Rick shows each time they are together. He has been thinking about their relationship a lot is about ready to give up on them if something doesn’t change.

When Rick adopts a cat, things start to change between him and Sebastian. He begins to let Sebastian into his life a little at a time. He welcomes him into his bed as well as his home and lets him sleep over. Sebastian soon becomes a fixture in his home as well as his personal life.

The added factor of the murder at the hotel and additional family helps to bring the two of them together. I love how accepting Sebastian is of Rick’s past when he finally confides in him. Rick needs Sebastian as much as Sebastian needs him and they are good for each other. Rick keeps Sebastian grounded while Sebastian helps him realize it’s ok to let loose and have a little fun.

This series is a favorite of mine and I look forward to each book. I wasn’t disappointed one bit with this installment either. Overall I really enjoyed Risking it All, book #5 in the Truth or Dare Series and give it 4 Flaming Hearts.  4 Hearts

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Merry Christmas

With Christmas just 3 days away, I just wanted to wish everyone Happy Holidays.  We are very lucky to have such a wonderful little girl in our lives and we are so thankful for everyday that we spend with her.  She is pure joy.

With everything going on in this world today, as well as in our one lives, we have learned never to take anyone or anything for granted and to live everyday and that’s what we do with our little Angel.

Rather than post a book review, I wanted to do something fun – I want you to share your favorite holiday movie (no matter how cheesy it is), favorite song, or favorite memory with us.

I’ll start – my favorite christmas movie/show is The Year Without a Santa Claus – it always gets to me when the little girl sings Blue Christmas.  My favorite Christmas song of course is Blue Christmas sang by Elvis and anything by Trans Siberian Orchestra or any christmas songs.  My favorite family tradition is going to see TSO at christmas – it’s a family affair.  I think my favorite Christmas memory is of my nephew when he was 3 or 4 – he opened a package and started running around showing everyone “I got a box, I got a box” – you can not fake that.  to this day he is embarrassed when I tell the story (he is teenager now).  The best thing ever is that special smile on a childs face when they get a gift at Christmas before they stop believing.

We have a countdown calendar that has to be moved everyday and our Elf Knowie keeps moving around trying to find the best vantage point.  Christmas this year is going to be so much fun with our little angel and i’m counting down the days myself.

Merry Christmas from all of us.

Lilly 3 yrs 9 mo 49C

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Improper Relations by Juliana Ross
* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

When Hannah’s caught watching her late husband’s cousin debauch the maid in the library, she’s mortified—but also intrigued. An unpaid companion to his aunt, she’s used to being ignored.

The black sheep of the family, Leo has nothing but his good looks and noble birth to recommend him. Hannah ought to be appalled at what she’s witnessed, but there’s something about Leo that draws her to him.

When Leo claims he can prove that women can feel desire as passionately as men, Hannah is incredulous. Her own experiences have been uninspiring. Yet she can’t bring herself to refuse his audacious proposal when he offers to tutor her in the art of lovemaking. As the tantalizing, wicked lessons continue, she begins to fear she’s losing not just her inhibitions, but her heart as well. The poorest of relations, she has nothing to offer Leo but herself. Will it be enough when their erotic education ends?

Hannah is a widow that has been living with her husband’s aunt and helping her because she has no other family.  She leads a simple life with very few needs or desires until she spies her cousin Leo and the maid in the library.  When he offers Hannah a chance to see what has been missing from her life, will she take him up on his offer?

Hannah is shocked when she sees Leo and the maid in fooling around in the library but she can’t look away.  The library has always been her sanctuary and no one ever bothers her there.  Her experiences with her husband were not enjoyable so she doesn’t believe Leo when he tells her women should enjoy sex too.  He sets out tutoring her in the intimacies between men and women.  Along the way she loses her heart to him.

When Augusta confronts her and threatens to disinherit Leo, Hannah does the only thing she can, flee.  She takes the train to a small peaceful town she remembers from her childhood.  She never dreamed Leo would follow her, much less want to marry her.  Her life will never be the same again.

Hannah is a typical female for the time period.  She has been told it’s her “duty” to let her husband seek his pleasure with her, while she just lays there.  She doesn’t have any family other than her in-laws so she is content to live with Aunt Augusta and work for her until Leo opens up a whole new world for her.  She is curious about what she sees in the library and wants to know more, she just can’t believe a woman can also enjoy relations with a man.

Leo is the quintessential bad boy that enjoys the pleasures between men and women.  He is intrigued by Hannah and finds her refreshing.  I love how he takes his time teaching her the ways of pleasure so he won’t scare her off.  He treats her like she is cherished and loved.

This historical romance was a sexy read and I enjoyed it.  I give Improper Relations 3½ Flaming Hearts. 

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2011 has been a fabulous year for the publishing industry.  I was surprised by the number of books or short stories that I have read over the last year (around 195).  It was a lot harder than I thought it would be to pick my top 25 books or series for 2011.  The main criteria I considered was if the book left an impact on me and was the book published in 2011.

So without further ado here is my list – I hope you enjoy!!!

25.  A Vision of Lucy by Margaret Brownley – I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book.  It is a Christian romance set in the 1800’s and is about a young woman name Lucy that wants to be a photographer.  She is constantly getting into scrapes David has to help her out of.  She finds love in his arms despite what the town’s people think of him.

 

 

 

24.  Deep in the Heart of Texas – Anthology featuring Maggie and her two friends.  She is supposed to be writing a story on the Dude Ranch but it isn’t what any of them expected.  Each story is by a different author about a different girl.  They are all tied together nicely but each one could stand on its own.  Melissa Ecker’s story is my favorite.

 

 

 

23.  Spellbound by Kelley Armstrong is book 2 of the final story ARC for this series.  The story continues to follow Savannah and Adam as they to figure out who stole her magic.  Along the way they investigate a “cult” of supernaturals who want to come out and take over the world.  With the help of her family and friends she is safe for now.

 

 

 

22.  Fairy Tales Unleashed series by Naima Simone in this series she takes beloved fairy tales and gives them a modern twist.  Book 1 of the series is Loving the Beast a twist on Beauty and the Beast complete with a disfigured hero.  In book 2 A Perfect Fit she takes on Cinderella, evil step-sister and all.  Both are fun reads and I look forward to more in this series.

 

 

 

21.  In the Cards by Cynthia Selwyn is a fun story.  Alex writes historical fiction and her editor wants her to write a historotica.  She is provided with a box full of stuff to use as inspiration and her sexy best friend is going to play along too.

 

 

 

20.  Blood of the Rose by Kate Pearce – book 2 of the Tudor Vampire Chronicles.  Rosalind and Christopher continue to try and protect King Henry VIII from Vampires in his court.  This time the vampire is his current love interest, Anne Boleyn.  Can they put the feud between their families and defeat their enemies?

 

 

 

19.  Zodiac Series by Tammy Valentine.  The Zodiac club was formed when Izzy and her friends got into a discussion about the specific habits of sign of the zodiac.  Izzy has agreed to go out with someone from every zodiac sign to see if Jessica is correct in her predictions.  So far she has worked her way through Sagittarius.

 

 

 

18.  Dirty Bits shorts from Sapphire Night Books.  I have read a couple of these sexy short stories.  They include The Heels Made Me Do It by KJ Reed where a pair of Red High Heels is involved in a soldier’s coming home celebration.  Spectators by Maggie Wells takes us inside the Spectators Club where elementary school librarian, Grace gets a lesson of her own.

 

 

 

17.  The Gift of Shayla by NJ Walters is an unconvential love story.  Shayla knows something is missing from her husband’s life and that is Alex.  She comes up with the perfect solution that works for all three of them.  They may not have a normal relationship but they are able to maintain the warmth and love they’ve always felt for one another.

 

 

 

16.  IOU Sex by Calista is Fiona’s coming out party.  After catching her sister and finance’ in a compromising position, Fiona is determined to show everyone that she isn’t going to be pushed around any longer.  With Michael’s help Fiona makes sure her sister’s bridal shower will not be forgotten.

 

 

 

 

15.  Embrace the Night by Crystal Jordan is the first book in a new series set in the Magickal community. Chloe is a scientist that is helping to develop a serum that will keep werewolves from changing during the full moon.  Now she is on the run and it’s up to Marek to keep her safe and figure out who killed the other scientist.

 

 

 

14.   Ravished by a Viking by Delilah Devlin is the first book in her Icelandic Viking series.  Dagr is king of the Barbarian’s and his brother has been kidnapped so he sets out on a mission to rescue him.  They end up on Honoria’s ship and Dagr is drawn to her from the beginning.  She was just the middleman in his brother’s capture but he is determined to find him.

 

 

 

13.  Rocky Mountain Heat #1 by Vivian Arend was revised and released by Samhain this year.  Jaxi has been in love with Blake forever but he doesn’t see her as an adult.  When fate intervenes, she ends up staying at the Six Pack Ranch where Blake can no longer run from her.  Now is her chance to show him she is the woman for him.

 

 

 

12.  Seducing Steve by Maggie Wells was such a fun read that will have you laughing out loud.  Sarah has been using her best friend Steve as inspiration to write her romance novels.  She is suffering from writer’s block so she enlists his help for “research” in hopes that she can get him to see her as more than just a friend.  Steve has been in love with Sarah for years, now is his chance to show her.

 

 

 

11.  Royal House of Shadows series with contributions by Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter, Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe, Lord of Wolfyn by Jessica Andersen and Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh.  This is a great series that gives a modern twist to beloved fairy tales.  Each book gets better and better.

 

 

 

 

10.  Pacific Passion series by Vivian Arend is the continuation of Matt and Laurin’s story started in Stormchild.  They journey continues with Stormy Seduction and concludes with Silent Storm.  Matt is the Shaman/doctor for the otter tribes and Laurin has been teaching the children.  She is an air shifter and Matt is a water shifter which has been causing problems with their relationship, among other things along the way.

 

 

9.   Starfire by Kate Douglas is book 3 in the Demonslayer series.  This was my favorite book so far in this series.  Dawson continues to help Dax and Eddy in their battle to save the world from Demons.  One of the warrior women, Selyn is beaten to near death and Dawson saves her life.  From the beginning he is drawn to her and willing to risk his life to help them save Lemuria and the world.

 

 

 

8.  Long Shots series by Christiana D’abo is set around a coffee shop owned by three siblings.  The first in the series is Double Shot which is Sadie and Paul’s story and introduces us to the sex club Mavericks and its owner Josh.  A Shot in the Dark takes us on a journey of discovery with Paige and Carter.  In Pulled Long we finally find out “blue eyes” name when he sets out to convince Ian that he is serious about him.

 

 

 

7.  The McDougal sister’s series by Debra Kayn takes you on an emotional journey with the family as they find out their daddy’s secret.  In Chantilly’s Cowboy she is upset that her father hired someone to help run the ranch – her ranch.  Jack never envisioned falling in love when he answered the ad for ranch foreman. In Val’s Rancher, Sam is back and Val is not happy about it.  He says he’s back for good but she is having trouble believing him now he has to prove he is there for her.

 

 

6.  Truth or Dare series by Lee Brazil is a well written series that follows the Blake brothers.  It starts off with Keeping House, which is Mischa’s story (my favorite one).  Telling the Truth is Terry’s coming of age story and Giving Up shows Brandon that he doesn’t always have to be in control.  All three books are based around the Blake brothers and their weekly poker game that ends in a game of Truth or Dare.

 

 

 

5.  Sex Ed by Myla Jackson is a sexy, sensual story that is worth sharing with your significant other.  Kendall has been in love with Ed forever and she is determined he will see her as an adult.  He promised her brother he would look after her but he doesn’t think giving her “sex ed” lessons was what he was talking about.

 

 

 

4.  Turn it Up by Inez Kelley is a fun, sexy book about Charlie and Sebastian that will never let you look at peaches the same again.  The two of them have a talk show Dr. Hot and the Honeypot where no subject is taboo.  Sebastian wants a lifetime with Charlie but she doesn’t do commitments, who will win the “wed or bed” wager?

 

 

 

3.  Paramour by Margaret Ethridge is a captivating story that draws you in from the very beginning.  Cam returns home after her father’s death to find her childhood companion Frank was still there.  She discovers her new neighbor Brad and wants to get to know him better.  She is torn between Brad, who is here and Frank, who is the ghost tied to her room, which one will she choose?

 

 

2.  Sweet as Sin by Inez Kelley is the best contemporary romance I read in 2011 and I still can’t look at a cupcake in the same way.  John is a tortured hero that writes children’s books to hide from his past.  Livvy owns cupcake shop in town that specializes in erotic confections but she is looking for something to propel her to the next level.  She knows John is not the settling down type but there is something about him that draws her to him.

 

 

1.  Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh is the long awaited story of Hawke and Sienna and the author does not disappoint.  Hawke is attracted to Sienna but thinks they can’t have a future.  Sienna has been in love with him since she first laid eyes on him but she can’t get him to see her as anything other than a young girl.  They are a well matched pair that needs each other to be complete; it just takes them time to work through all of their issues.  This series gets better and better.

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed this look back over my favorite books of 2011.  I want to thank all of the publishers that have provided us with books to review whether it was Breathless Press, Kensington, Turquoise Morning Press and Sapphire Nights, NetGalley, House of Erotica, independent publisher or self-published author – Thank You, you are appreciated.

Now on to the fun stuff, how does your list compare to mine?  Did we have same books on our lists?  What were your favorite books of 2011?  Leave a comment for a chance to win an ARC of Heidi Betts, Must Love Vampires.  You can comment here or at my personal blog – Heather’s Musings https://habrewer.wordpress.com/ or at Everybody Needs a Little Romance before next Sat when Vivian Arend will be joining us and I will draw a winner.

Happy New Year, I hope everyone has a wonderful 2012.

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