Review: Just a Taste by Bronwyn Jameson

Format: E-book
Opens with: Stanza
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Silhouette
Series: Dynasties: The Ashtons, Book 4
Hero: Seth Benndict
Heroine: Jillian Ashton
Date of Publication: April 1, 2005
Started On: November 26, 2009
Finished On: November 28, 2009

This is the next book in line in The Ashtons series. The story of Jillian and Seth, and the background story of the deceptions of Spencer Ashton, and how his children from different mothers come together and find love and acceptance with one another, something Spencer Ashton has been too selfish and self-centered to provide for any of his children.

Jillian and Seth has been in-laws in the past, til Jillian’s husband Jason Benndict and Seth’s wife Karen, both died in a car crash, leaving Seth with his young daughter Rachel and the secret that he has kept from Jillian till now, the fact that Karen and Jason had been having an affair with one another when death came calling.

This whole series focuses on the wine making business that The Ashtons family is in and Jillian too involved in the wine tasting aspect of the business, hires Seth to remodel their wine tasting cellar, despite the misgivings she has on the intense feelings that Seth has always been able to arouse in her. Seth, wanting a  taste of Jillian ever since the day he met her as Jason’s wife, never acts on this impulse knowing that just a taste would never be enough to satisfy the hunger and craving he has to be with Jillian.

In the end, they get together, the secret is out, and yes Jillian finally meets the father who abandoned them as children, and finds out for herself, just how much of a cold and unfeeling person Spencer Ashton is. I believe that this story would have been much better if snippets from Seth’s and Jillian’s past had been included in the story, so that the simmering tension between the couple would have been a bit more believable. And I sometimes felt that some areas of the story was dragged on, when more exciting stuff could have been happening *winks*.

Anyhow, the story wasn’t half bad and a gal has always gotta love a happy ending!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=2.5/5]

Caliber Seal: FAIR READ!

Review: Society-Page Seduction by Maureen Child

Format: E-book
Read with: Stanza
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Dynasties: The Ashtons, Book 3
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Simon Pearce
Heroine: Megan Ashton
Date of Publication: March 1, 2005
Started On: November 23, 2009
Finished On: November 26, 2009

After reading the last book that I reviewed, Condition of Marriage by Emilie Rose I found myself interested in knowing more about the Ashton family which according to the series tag line says “The Ashtons — A family built on lies…brought together by dark, passionate secrets.”

Condition of Marriage  being the first book of this series that I read was actually the 9th book in this 12 book series. The story of Simon Pearce and Megan Ashton is the 3rd book in the series, and this was the book in which all the ugly secrets of Spencer Ashton, the father whose cruelty, lies and deception which is the underlying theme of this series, all start to unravel.

Spencer is married to Megan’s mother which as I mentioned in my previous review, turns out not to be a valid marriage since Spencer never really divorced his first wife. All these secrets and more start to come out of the closet in Megan and Simon’s story.

All her life, all Megan had wanted was her father’s approval, though he never had a word of encouragement or praise for either of his children. Megan works as a wedding planner and this is how she meets Simon Pearce, whilst planning his wedding to a bride who jilts him on the day of their wedding. Simon who was marrying for practical purposes, no mushy emotions involved thank-you very much, quickly proposes that Megan goes through the marriage with him, for a period of one year in order for him to expand his business with those whom seem to think that an unmarried man is not one to be trusted in the business world.

Megan, having her own reasons, which includes the fact her father is readying to marry her off to the Senator’s son, so that he would gain more power over government channels when running his business, decides to marry him on the spur and thus begins Megan’s and Simon’s story. Although this story wasn’t as sweet and beautiful as Jared and Mercede’s story, there was enough depth to the characters and plot line to make this an interesting read.

I guess most probably I would end up reading the stories in The Ashton’s series with the most interesting plot lines. Right now I am dead set on reading Name Your Price By Barbara McCauley and Just a Taste by Brownyn Jameson. And who knows, I might just end up reading the whole 12 books in the series, to quench my curiosity on who was ballsy enough  to kill Spencer Ashton!

Purchase Links: Amazon 

[xrr rating=2.5/5]

Caliber Seal: FAIR READ!

Review: Condition of Marriage by Emilie Rose

Format: E-book
Read with: Stanza

Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Dynasties: The Ashtons, Book 9
Publisher: Silhouette 

Hero: Jared Maxwell
Heroine: Mercedes Ashton
Date of Publication: September 1, 2005
Started On: November 21, 2009
Finished On: November 22, 2009

This I think is the first multi-author series that I have ever tried and the first book by this author that I have ever read. This was a really beautiful love story and of course, it didn’t hurt that this romance was that of my favorite theme, where best of friends find true love with one another.

The Ashton family’s history explained in snatches here and there throughout the novel is focused on Ashley’s father Spencer Ashton who is this huge multi-millionaire who is portrayed as a man who never cared for anyone but himself. He has children from three ‘wives’, only one of them to whom he was actually legally married to and never divorced from, rendering his other two marriages unlawful and thus the children classified as bastards in the society. This whole series revolves around his mysterious murder, and how children from all his three wives come to terms with the legacy that their father had left them with, together with on how each find everlasting love with their meant to be’s.

Mercedes and Jared’s story is the ninth book of the series. Mercedes and Jared has been the best of friends ever since Chloe, Jared’s wife and Mercedes’s best friend since college died of a car crash together with the baby Jared and Chloe were about to have. Their story begins when Mercedes finds out she is pregnant with the father of the baby (Craig) wanting nothing more from her than an abortion to get rid of the baby.

Jared has his own demons to fight on top of the forbidden bouts of desire he starts to feel for Mercedes all of a sudden. Mercedes battles with the same desire, blaming them on her over zealous pregnant hormones. Craig all of a sudden comes back into Mercedes’s life, demands that she marry him so that he can reap off the millions that Mercedes might supposedly inherit from her father’s assets. Jared offers a way out by offering to marry Mercedes, and the moving journey that takes place after their marriage made for a really wonderful read.

I do not know whether all the other stories in the series are as good as this one, but I have got the mind to try them out since this is one of the most beautiful love stories that I have read in a long time. Truly satisfying read and of course Mr. Hotness himself didn’t make it any harder to fall in love with this story.

Purchase Links: Amazon

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Review: Kill Me Twice by Roxanne St. Claire

Format: E-bookn167206
Read with: Stanza
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: The Bullet Catchers, Book 1
Publisher: Pocket Books

Hero: Alex Romero
Heroine: Jasmine Adams
Date of Publication: September 7, 2005
Started On: November 12, 2009
Finished On: November 16, 2009

I found about Roxanne St. Claire whilst browsing through books on Amazon.com. I was surprised to see that her Bullet Catchers series has been quite well received by readers, in fact all her books in this series has got a reader rating of at least 4 or 4.5 stars. So I decided to check out this series that has got such a good reaction from readers of romantic suspense and I would have to say that Roxanne St. Claire does spin a good tale.

This introductory book in the series stars Alex Romero as the bullet catcher with side characters Max who is the lead in the next book of this series and Dan. With Lucy Sharpe as  the owner of this elite team of body guards who serve ultra-rich clients, Alex is handed an assignment which he considers to be in league with baby sitting when he has to protect Jessica Adams, a famous news reporter in Miami who reportedly has a stalker after her.

Alex turns up at Jessica’s place and is surprised to find himself with Jasmine, Jessica’s identical twin sister, from whom Jessica has asked to cover for her whilst Jessica pursues a hot lead in a story which will propel her career to the national fronts. Jasmine or rather Jazz, being fiercely independent resents the presence of Alex at first, but quickly comes to realize that Jessica may in fact be in danger and with everyone of Jessica’s acquaintances acting weirder by the moment.

The story is good, the romance between Alex and Jazz sizzles and the twists in the novel surprised me at the end and although I finished this book in 4 days time due to lack of available time to read it, this is the kinda book you can read in one sitting.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=2.75/5]

Caliber Seal: AVERAGE READ!

Review: Cry No More by Linda Howard

Format: E-bookCry no More
Read with: Stanza
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Piatkus

Hero: James Alejandro Xavier Diaz
Heroine: Milla Edge
Date of Publication: November 4, 2003
Started On: November 9, 2009
Finished On: November 12, 2009

This powerful story by Linda Howard is one of her most outstanding pieces of work. Both Milla and James are two wonderful characters and their story is one I guarantee that no one can really put down without seeing it through.

The story starts with Milla married to Dr. David Boone, a surgeon who with a group of other doctors opens up a free clinic in Mexico for a year. Milla gives birth to their son Justin whilst in Mexico, who is snatched away from Milla whilst she is left bleeding to death from the attack. In the midst of it all, Milla however manages to leave her mark on one of her attackers, finding the man with the scar becoming her life goal once she recovers enough to look for her son.

Ten years on, divorced from David, Milla runs an organization known as Finders that deploy volunteers who help in missing children/adult cases.Through all that time, Milla has never once given up hope that one day she would find her son and her resolve to do this finally leads her to James Diaz, whom at first Milla thinks to be involved with the kidnapping of Justin.

To Milla’s surprise, James turns out to be the only one who can find the answers to all the questions Milla has been asking all those years. What Milla doesn’t know is that it is those that she is closest to who have ulterior motives, who do not want her to find out the truth related to the disappearance of her son. And once Milla does find Justin, the sheer act of bravery that she performs would forever be etched onto my heart because I do not know of anyone who could have done what she did for her son.

Cry No More is a book that has found a permanent place on my favorites and keepers shelf. Whenever I need myself a Linda Howard fix, which is often, I find myself craving some James Diaz for some reason and I always end up either skimming through the delicious parts or just re-reading the whole thing all over again. Cry No More is a book that deals with a heartbreaking issue, the raw pain that Milla goes through towards the end just reaches something deep inside of you until you are ready to howl from the sheer agony of it all.

And through the stormy days that follows, James proves his unwavering love for a woman whom he considers his in every way. The way he completely takes care of Milla’s every single need makes you want to lay yourself down somewhere and offer yourself to James to do as he pleases. He is the strong, silent and lethal warrior type of hero who would have zero qualms about killing when it comes to protecting the ones he loves. His utter focus and the dangerous vibe that always surrounds him is what draws me to his character every.single.time. that I read this book. And I am sure I would keep coming back for more of him in the near & foreseeable future!

If I could give this book more than 5-stars, I definitely would. Because Cry No More is a jewel of a novel, that indeed deserves high praise for  the masterpiece that Linda Howard seems to have spun with this one. Very highly recommended!

Memorable Quotes

He unsnapped her jeans and said, “I want you just like this.” Then he kissed her.
There was nothing romantic about Diaz, no murmured sweet things, no gallant gestures, just this kiss that went on and on, deep and voracious. She’d never been kissed like this before, with an intensity that stripped everything down to the simplest components: male, female. He held her with his hand burrowed into her hair, her skull gripped in his palm, her head tilted back while he fed from her mouth. That was what it felt like, a taking. And yet he gave, too. He gave pleasure. She burned with it, the flames fueled by nothing more than his mouth and tongue.

Milla put her hands on his ribs, holding on as he braced his weight on one arm while with his other hand he guided his penis to her and in the same rough motion pushed deep inside.
He froze in place, his breath panting between his parted lips as they stared at each other. She couldn’t move; the feel of him inside her was too sharp, almost painful in its intensity. Their gazes met in the mellow lamplight, and she was mesmerized by the tension in his face, the way his steely muscles were locked as if he didn’t dare move. It built and built, that clawing need, and yet she remained poised on the razor’s edge of something she knew she couldn’t control. His chest suddenly heaved on a convulsive breath, and he moved in a long, deep stroke that took him all the way to the hilt.
By morning, she was raw and sore, and knew walking would be an effort. By morning, she could barely remember what it had been like to not know his body, not to have felt him inside her and held him in her arms and absorbed the power of his thrusts as he came.
By morning, she was his.

He whirled her against the refrigerator, his hands hard on her waist. Startled, she dropped her purse and keys to the floor and looked up at his set face and narrowed savage eyes. “Don’t ever do that to me again,” he said with clenched teeth.
She didn’t have to ask what he meant. Those moments when Pavón’s pistol had been trained directly at her head had been long and terrifying.
“I stayed in the—” she began, but he cut her off with a kiss that was wild and hungry and deep. He lifted her onto her toes and pressed in hard against her, grinding his erection into the softness of her mound.
She yielded immediately to that outraged male aggression, wrapping her arms around him and transforming it into sheer lust.

Milla was always aware, on the dimmest edge of her consciousness that Diaz constantly watched her.
She also knew that he was a man who never gave up, who never lost sight of his goal. Exactly what his goal was wasn’t always clear to her, but she had no doubt he was perfectly clear in his own mind what he wanted.
He wanted her. She knew it, and yet she couldn’t imagine how they could ever be together again. The rift between them, to her, was final and absolute. He’d betrayed her in the most wounding way possible, and forgiveness evidently wasn’t her strong suit. She had found that grudges weren’t heavy at all; she could carry them for a very long time.
Diaz wasn’t taking care of her out of the goodness of his heart. He was taking care of her the way a wolf cared for its wounded mate.

She felt both relaxed and protected with him, at least from outside forces. Nothing, it seemed, could protect her from him, and tonight she wasn’t even certain she wanted to be. Claimed, and mated. She was his, but was he hers? And if he was, what in hell did they do about it?
“I don’t even know what you want,” she said fretfully, beginning to lose herself in rising sensation.
“This,” he muttered in a dark, rough tone. “You.
Everything.”
Just as he’d done to her, she slowly moved up and down, caressing him with her body, drawing out his response. He ground his teeth together, fighting not to come when she was just as determined he would.
Frustrated, she wondered why he was holding back—until she heard herself moan, and realized the friction was working on her, too.
The battle there in the shower was in close-combat conditions. With the clinging grip of her body she tried to wring a climax from him, locking her legs around him and pumping hard. He slowed her down with that one arm around her hips, grinding her against him and sending her response rocketing.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Review: The Year of Living Shamelessly by Susanna Carr

Format: E-bookThe Year of Living Shamelessly
Read with: Stanza
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: NAL Trade
Hero: Ryder Scott
Heroine: Katie
Date of Publication: October 6, 2009
Started On: November 7, 2009
Finished On: November 7, 2009

Being the first book that I tried of this author and I would have to say I absolutely loved every bit of this book.

Katie has been in love with Ryder ever since like in forever. Ryder is best friends with Katie’s brother and has always been an integral part of Katie’s family. Being abandoned by his mother when he was quite young, Ryder feels that he is unlovable and although he desires for Katie, Ryder believes that once Katie really gets to know him, she too wouldn’t want anything to do with him.

Katie tries on many unsuccessful attempts to make Ryder notice her as a woman so that they could both embark on the journey of their lives together. However, Ryder proves a tough nut to crack. Embarking upon this journey together with Katie are her two likable best friends Melissa and Hailie and their many attempts together makes for a laughable rendezvous.

Ultimately, Ryder makes plans to move to Dubai and leave everyone of his hometown behind, because Katie seems to grow more desirable every day and Ryder doesn’t want to ever break the promise he made to himself in that he would never take what Katie is offering ever.

So in comes Katie with all the kinky stuff that she can find, persuaded by Ryder’s ex-lovers that that’s what he is into. And I  had so much fun finding out that Katie goes through all those painstaking hours of research for nothing, when it turns out, Ryder just wants Katie as she is.

This book is a great romance with hot and steamy interludes between Katie and Ryder with a lot of laugh aloud moments which I am sure any reader of romance books would appreciate.

This book does open up the possibility of a good romance novel between Hailie and Katie’s brother and I really do hope that Susanna Carr writes up as good a romance for those two as she had done for Katie and Ryder.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!

Review: The Mercenary by Cherry Adair

Format: E-book
Read with: Stanza
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: T-FLAC, Book 1
Publisher: Harlequin

Hero: Marc Savin
Heroine: Victoria Jones
Date of Publication: February 1, 2008
Started On:  November 2, 2009
Finished On: November 7, 2009

This was my favorite kind of romance novel. Throw in a strong alpha hero, a heroine who doesn’t get on the reader’s nerves and a bunch of bad guys who could just topple everything over for the blossoming romance between the hero and heroine, I would say that makes for a pretty good read.

Previously I have read other books in this author’s T-FLAC series and I would have to say this would have to be one of the best novels in the series. Victoria Jones leads a spinsterish life when her twin brother Alex, who is a T-FLAC agent goes missing during a mission and is declared dead by the T-FLAC organization.

Marc Savin, who brought Alex into the organization, trained him and was his partner for a couple of years, now lives a secluded life on a ranch looking after horses in Mexico. Betrayed by the woman he loved once who turned out to be working for one of the terrorist organizations that they were investigating, Marc doesn’t trust any woman to get close to him.

Victoria and Alex share a telepathic bond which allows her to know that her brother is not dead, but being held captive by one of the terrorist organizations that the T-FLAC was investigating, and seeks Marc’s help to bring her brother back to safety. Astounded at first to know that Alex even has a twin, and reluctant to believe anything Victoria was saying, Marc decides to drag Victoria along to find Alex and bring him back home.

Hiding in a cave in an island controlled by terrorists, Marc finds that he is not immune at all to the lady by his side. The romance and the exciting adventure that unfolds makes for a great read. Of course, happy endings always makes a book worth reading especially when a hero has to grovel his way back into the heroine’s graces, which is hard to come across in novels these days.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to readers who love a good romance novel with a bit of adventure tossed right into it.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!