Requested Review: Ashes and Wine by Taryn Elliott

Format: E-bookashesandwine
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Untitled Series, Book 1
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Hero: Royal James Andreas
Heroine: Tessa Winter
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 28, 2012
Started On: August 14, 2012
Finished On: August 24, 2012

Royal James Andreas is a man who is conflicted with his need to seek the comfort and love that he craves from Tessa Winter, the delectable owner of the store As You Wish and his need to be strong for his father and family that seems to drain every little bit of emotion that he has left to give. 

Tessa cannot figure out the reason why Royal seemed to be so in tune with her when they had first met and changed into a more reserved version of the man since then. Though it hurts her with how much she craves for Royal and his touch, Tessa knows that if he is not willing to meet her halfway, it would never even begin to work out in the first place.

When the overwhelming need to touch and to feel becomes too much for even a man like Royal to deny, it in the end pushes both Tessa and Royal into a new territory in their relationship. The way that Tessa takes charge of the relationship and is there for Royal through those moments when he does need her more than the air he breathes was something to behold. I liked the fact that Tessa didn’t wallow in self-doubt and pity and let what she wanted to do go to waste. She took charge and stuck to what she was dealt with which made me admire her strength and tenacity very much so. And Royal, (dreamy sigh), Royal was just the right touch of alpha and softness that just made me melt in all the right places.

The one thing that struck me was the way Taryn completely surprised me with this story. I found the writing and prose to be poetic, mesmerizing and beautiful and haunting at times even. There were bits when tears sprang to my eyes, when my heart literally ached from all the emotions that Taryn managed to invoke in me as the family struggled to come to terms with the imminent loss in their lives that was about to hit them with the strength of a hurtling freight train. 

Taryn doesn’t cut any corners with the emotional aspect of the novel and it shows, even in the haunting music that Royal plays, which Taryn so vividly brings to life and made it in such a way that I couldn’t help but strain to hear the music that speaks of so much heartache, longing and conflicted emotions. The bits where Royal and his father butt their heads, the conflicting wayward riot of emotions that courses through Royal after each draining encounter made for superb reading and I loved every minute of the story that Taryn has created so remarkably well.

The romance and sensuality aspect of the novel makes for quite a stirring read as well. There were those bits that just made me go “Oh dear God, just do it already you two”, just so that both Royal and Tessa would find relief from the sheer intensity of their need for each other. 

Taryn, you have earned my utmost respect for the sheer emotional wallop you packed with this novel, for the mesmerizing way you have presented the story and for the appealing cast of characters that you have managed create, all of whom are so darn likable that I want to read ALL their stories like right now. And please hurry along with Alaric and Mercy’s story? Because you have managed to give a glimpse into their relationship which just practically makes me itch to read their story.

Poetic, haunting and mesmerizing; Ashes and Wine is a novel not to be missed if you love your stories with enough emotion wallop to tie you up in knots. Beautiful is how I would describe Ashes and Wine, a story that just begs the reader to cry their heart’s out and at the same time rejoice in the beauty that is love, because Taryn Elliott demands nothing less.

Favorite Quotes

The tip of his tongue flicked along the roof of her mouth before sliding along hers possessively. The chain reaction of shivers, followed by a bone-deep burn, only made her want more. 

He kissed her like he’d never get enough of her. Deeper, darker, and with an overwhelming intimacy that left her trembling. The hard crush of his chest trapped her hands between them. Her fingertips dug into whatever she could reach, but it wasn’t enough. She wanted to explore the crinkle of hair beneath his shirt, wanted to feel his skin under the pads of her fingers. She wanted everything.

The first strains of the haunting melody halted conversation. The hollow knock against the body of the guitar was like a heartbeat. Steady and controlled, his long fingers manipulated the strings along the fretboard. A simple instrument shouldn’t have so much power.
Sad and lonely, the song reached inside and carved Tessa’s heart out. No words were needed. 

When he opened his eyes, he found Tessa instantly.
Her bright cap of copper hair was up in a chignon, leaving her elegant neck bare. A soft wool sweater and skirt hugged her curves, complemented by heeled boots. She was beautiful—almost untouchably so, with her creamy skin and dancer’s body. But then she smiled, and he was hers for as long as it lasted.

Her lips found his one more time before she drew away. Their fingers tangled, and he held on for another precious second.
Mistake. This was a mistake.
But she’d be the best mistake he’d ever made.

He rose up and their kisses lost any semblance of finesse. She fisted her hands in his hair and cried out his name. She pressed her cheek to his. Her full body tremor ended with that cracked moan that was quickly becoming addicting. She’d completely steeped herself in him, in their mutual pleasure, and her surrender was sweeter than anything he’d ever known.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Requested ARC Review: Afternoon Rhapsody by Jess Dee

Format: E-bookafternoonrhapsody
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Series: Bandicoot Cove: The Wedding, #1
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd.
Hero: Broderick Evans
Heroine: Bianca Rogers
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 4, 2012
Started On: September 4, 2012
Finished On: September 13, 2012

Afternoon Rhapsody by Jess Dee is a spin off from the Bandicoot series of which I have read and immensely enjoyed a book or two. True to Jess’s style, even though Afternoon Rhapsody is a novella, she manages to take the reader through a lot of emotional  potholes and at the same time delivers erotica as it is meant to be; scorching hot enough to melt your panties off!

Bianca Rogers is attending the wedding of Aidan and Mack and is trying to forget the fact that she has been separated for more than year from the man she had been married to since she was sixteen. For just the duration of her time away from everything strenuous, Bianca would like nothing better than to tumble the sheets with the tall and hot as sin man she stumbles into, a man who basically stuns her with with the immediacy of her physical reaction to him. At the same time Broderick Evans invokes in her, memories of her husband Rick whom she can’t help but remember as events that unfold brings along with it the good and the bad bits of a marriage that is still very much a part of who she is.

Afternoon Rhapsody is a novella with which Jess managed to surprise me, all in a good way of course. Since it would spoil things for those who haven’t read the story, I’d rather keep a lid on exactly what it was that surprised me, but the fact that the story managed to do that makes me remember it at odd moments.

Afternoon Rhapsody is a story that deals with the difficult topic of two people who are on the verge of a divorce, just days away from signing the papers that would signify the end of a relationship that had defined them for such a long time. Ten years of marriage down the tubes, what had worked and what hadn’t worked and what in the end had managed to drive them apart made for an engrossing read for me and echoed with something deep inside of me. I’ve said this always and I’d say this again – marriage is tough business. One just doesn’t sail through the stormy and the not so stormy weather it brings along as the years pass on by. It needs commitment, acceptance, compromise and a whole lot of other ‘sacrifices’ that two people may not be able to make, both at the same time. And somehow Jess manages to drive home the point of what is important, those little and subtle things that at first don’t seem to matter, but then over time fester onto become problems of epic proportions which just doesn’t bode well when it comes to so many years spent together and when the love that they both feel for each other is such a huge part of both of them.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the story deals with all depressing aspects of a relationship. Rather, Jess delivers a scorching hot read that practically had me reaching for my tall iced glass of water, time and yet again to quench the parched throat of mine which seemed to be a never ending one as both Broderick and Bianca practically set my iPad on fire with the heat that they generate together, which could most probably generate enough power to light up a small village. There were moments where I nearly gulped my own tongue inside, moments where my tummy was tied up in knots and then there were those moments that I was amazed at the way Jess handled everything from those emotional minefields to sensuous moments that were all memorable in their own right.

If you are a fan of Jess Dee’s remarkable novels, this is a must read! For those who are new to her talent at melting practically all your clothes off, you need to read this. Broderick would have you panting in no time at all!

Favorite Quotes

Brody’s soft growl changed to a ragged groan when the barrier of his wet boardies proved too annoying, and she slipped her hand beneath the sodden material, taking his hot, pulsing cock in her palm.
Then it wasn’t just Brody groaning. Bianca let out a soft moan, the feel of his hard flesh enough to set fire to her loins.
Satin-covered steel.

Pearls of moisture beaded on the tip of his erection. She stopped breathing. Ran her thumb over the wetness. Moaned.
He tore his lips from hers. “Bee…”
Her name was both a salutation and a plea. His eyes blazed with passion.

With every thrust of those fingers, he touched something inside her, something deep, a knot of nerves that increased her pleasure exponentially. But that wasn’t all he touched. With every plunge, every lick, he touched her soul. Reached a part of her she’d repressed for so long.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Samhain | Reader Store

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Score Sheet Review: Leaving Bluestone by M.J. Fredrick

Format: E-bookleavingbluestone
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Welcome to Bluestone, #3
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Quinn Alden
Heroine: Lily Prater
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 4, 2012
Started On: August 7, 2012
Finished On: August 9, 2012

 

CATEGORY SCORE GRADE
The hero 85 A
The heroine 85 A
Story line 85 A
Emotional Intensity 85 A
Suck me in Factor 85 A
Heat & Sensuality 85 A
Conflicts 85 A
Writing Style 95 A
Quotable Factor 50 A
Ending 80 A
Overall Grade 82 A

Score Sheet Summary

The third and final book in the Welcome to Bluestone series was the story that I most anticipated for when I first read the debut novel of the series. Even though the book didn’t live up to all my expectations, nevertheless MJ Fredrick did a fairly impressive job of tying up all loose ends in the trilogy and delivered a fitting end to a couple who had it going from the very beginning – if only Quinn Alden would let go of his stubborn notions that Lily Prater was not for him.

Ex-military, a bit broody and with one of those tattoos on him that could drive a girl to do crazy things, Quinn was the hero that I drooled over the most in the series. Quinn suffers from survivor’s guilt which makes him turn his back on the searing need that runs through him whenever Lily is around. The bits about the struggle that Quinn goes through to come to terms with his familial ties were ones filled with lump-in-the-throat moments. MJ has a way of bringing that sort of conflict to the forefront & dealing with them that just makes her books that much worthy of indulgence.

Lily is the driving force behind the total turnaround that the sleepy town of Bluestone does. She is like this little ball of energy that never ceases to stop, that never gives up and its her unwavering enthusiasm that is what drew me to her the most. Though at times it was exhausting to even think of all the things Lily gets done, I was impressed and suitably so since I am one of the least energetic people this world has ever had the fortune of seeing.

What I loved most was seeing all the changes that Bluestone sees, thanks to  the collective effort of its citizens, mainly Lily who never falters in her focus on making a name for Bluestone in the grand scale of things. All in all a great addition to the series. Though this is the end to the trilogy, there were characters I met throughout the story that I wouldn’t mind knowing more about – and yes, I am selfish enough to want more books from an author who never fails to deliver.

Recommended for those who love small town romances.

Favorite Quotes

She padded barefoot to the door in her long flannel nightshirt–the nights were chilly already–and opened the door.
Quinn stood there, shoulders tense in his white T-shirt, hands shoved into the pockets of his jeans for the split second before he took them out and grabbed her, dragging her forward, one hand in her hair, the other around her waist. Then his mouth was on hers, hot and hungry, lips firm, almost like he didn’t want to be doing this but had no choice. 

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