Review: Traitor by Julia Sykes

Format: E-booktraitor
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Series: Impossible #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Sean Reynolds
Heroine: Claudia Ellers
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 12, 2013
Started On: April 22, 2013
Finished On: April 23, 2013

Hero: Sean Reynolds, the man who sends my pulse skyrocketing every single time he enters the picture. To reveal his character here would be spoiling the story for those who would love to get their hands on this delicious trilogy.

Heroine: Dr. Claudia Ellers, pediatrician who is kidnapped at gunpoint in the first book which sets the ball rolling; changing the woman she is and the things she had believed in, once and for all.

Storyline: Traitor is book 2 in this delectable series by Julia Sykes. Book 2 continues where book 1 ended on a cliffhanger. Claudia decides to go undercover, all the while telling herself that it is for the good of the man she has come to care so deeply about in such a surprisingly short span of time.

Time Period: Traitor has a contemporary setting and is told in first person in Claudia’s point of view.

Likes: I am not a patient person. Everyone who knows me well knows this. And I am someone who cannot stand it when I have to wait for such a long time to read a book, especially from an author who is dear to me. And yes, even with the one book that I have read by Julia, I have turned into a fan and would be on the lookout for more of her books. Back to the point, Traitor being out already proved to be a blessing for me when I finished Monster. Where seldom most books hold little interest for me these days, Julia Sykes changed that and it has been a while since I have anticipated a book so much I am even willing to read it while waiting for the bus. That tells a story in itself.

Sean proved to be as delicious as he was in the first book, maybe even more so because as Sean’s character slowly comes to light through Claudia’s eyes, it invoked a lot of mixed reactions deep within me; all of them which were good I should point out. There is that dark edge to him no doubt and I would love nothing more than to finally read about the man who Sean is and the things he had gone through in his life. He is a mix of tenderness, ruthlessness and darkness; all very contrasting characteristics for a single person to hold. But he blends them well and that dominating nature of his is enough to turn even a BDSM skeptic like me into a believer. Oh well, lets not get carried away and say that Julia Sykes does a brilliant job out of it and managed to invoke a lot of seat squirming moments for me! The thing I loved most about the BDSM aspect was that even though Sean may think he is in the driving seat and he is pretty ruthless in his attempt to drive home that point;but its apparent that Claudia holds just the same amount of power or rather should I say even a stronger hold on the man who is Sean? Well, the 3rd and final book will tell I am hoping.

Traitor did threw me to a loop by delving into the relationship that fosters between Claudia and Agent Clayton Vaughn. One second I start believing that Sean is not the one for her and that she would be better off with a man like Clayton who is totally alpha in his own way with a tenderness that beckons Claudia to divulge all her deepest innermost secrets. He provides her with a source to dump all her worries, to cleanse her mind of all the worries and that dark pain that she keeps ruthlessly stamped down. And in the next minute, I start second guessing his intentions and motives for being who he is. Nevertheless to say, it speaks of the impressive talent an author has when she can make a reader go through all that and that too just by projecting only a single character’s point of view in the story.

I should mention that I loved the fact that Claudia is woman enough not to want Sean to treat her as fragile piece of glass that requires delicate handling. I love it that Claudia can see through to Sean, and that she believes in him and wants the best for him though she may not be traversing down the path that everyone might believe to be the most fitting. Nevertheless, I know Claudia’s heart is in the right place and the inner war she wages with her conscience day in and out tells the story far better than I ever could.

Dislikes: None.

Recommended for: Fans of Julia Sykes. Fans of BDSM-themed romances and for fans of ruthless, dark & edgy heroes and the heroines who are women enough to handle them as they are.

Final Verdict: The Impossible trilogy just gets better. Volatile, intense and gritty; I loved it.

Favorite Quotes

His hands were suddenly gripping my waist, jerking me up with him so that we were standing. I twined my arms around the back of his neck, holding him to me so that he couldn’t break the kiss. His hands were fumbling at the buttons of my blouse, trying to expose me for for him. But he wasn’t satisfied with his progress. His low growl rumbled through me as his hands fisted in my shirt. With a jerk of his powerful arms, he ripped it open, the buttons flying free, making small popping noises as they bounced against the hardwood floor.

I could feel him hardening impossibly further, his need for release mounting even as I was pushed towards the precipice. As I felt him jerk inside of me, his fingers found my clit, pinching hard. At the same time, his grip on my throat eased, and blood rushed to my head. The high was incredible. I was shoved over the edge, falling into a bliss-filled haze. Sean was the only real thing in the world as I flew out into the abyss, pleasure consuming me. I didn’t recognize the strangled cry that echoed around the room as my own.

He was pulling almost all the way out of me now, taking me harder and faster. My hips began to move against him, meeting his thrusts.
“You’re mind now, Claudia,” he growled as he drove into me harshly. “Mine!”
“Yes!” I wanted to say, but it came out as an unintelligible groan. Even if I hadn’t been gagged, I wouldn’t have been able to speak; I seemed to have lost control of my tongue. The only movement I could manage was rocking my body back against him, and even that was pure instinct rather than an action I controlled.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: Monster by Julia Sykes

Format: E-bookGolden Portrait
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Series: Impossible #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Sean Reynolds
Heroine: Claudia Ellers
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: March 29, 2013
Started On: April 20, 2013
Finished On: April 22, 2013

Hero: Sean Reynolds; an enigma that if I describe would spoil the book for those who would love to get their hands on this one.

Heroine: Dr. Claudia Ellers, a pediatrician whose life goal has been to take care of kids, who puts up emotional walls so high to keep herself disconnected from the rest of the world as a way to keep herself from getting hurt.

Storyline: Claudia finds herself kidnapped at gunpoint and escorted to the premises where Sean Reynolds is in need of treatment from a gunshot wound. Secrecy surrounds the man known as Sean, a man who tempts Claudia beyond reason even under the most bizarre circumstances that life has dealt her with yet.

Time period: Book 1 in the Impossible series has a contemporary setting and is told in first person from Claudia’s point of view.

Likes: It was quite by chance that I came across this novel for free on Amazon for the day and the blurb convinced me to add it to my pile of reads. I am someone who always loves it when an author delivers something different, a hero that is not putty in the heroine’s hands from chapter one of the story. Perhaps its because my love for romances began with stories that tended to have heroes who can be assholes to quite a degree, but when they fall, it makes me more appreciative of the men they are. And Monster seemed like a good story to focus my attention on when authors hardly deliver those kinds of heroes anymore; not surprising when feminists can give reviews that can practically break a book in half and perhaps end the writing career of an author just as she begins to get started.

Hence to my amazement, I found Sean to be a hero having that perfect balance of charm and a wealth of secrets in his eyes and the kind of arrogance that lets you know that he has truly earned the right to be arrogant where women are concerned; if you know what I mean. And then there is that dark and edgy vibe to him that made me practically squirm in my seat right along with Claudia herself who is helplessly ensnared in the depth of hidden pain that lurks in the shadows of those beautiful green eyes of his.

Being just the debut novel of this series entitled “Impossible”, the book ends on a cliffhanger and provides those tidbits that makes it hard to not buy the second book in the series which I did so immediately after I finished Monster last night.

There is a certain degree of darkness in the book, a little bit of BDSM which lends this book the right mix of scorching heat which just made Sean more appealing in my eyes. And then there is Claudia. She is dedicated, loyal and has been hurt so badly in the past that she locks the warm, giving and sensual woman she is deep inside and seldom lets that part of herself come out. But when Sean comes into the picture, regardless of all the advice that she gives herself, she finds that she is unable to say no to the answering fire that blazes to life in Sean’s eyes as they are both caught in the web of desire that refuses to let go!

I loved every bit of their reluctant yet scorching hot attraction towards each other which just blazed across the pages and made the read that much more unforgettable.

Dislikes: It is always a facet that irks me when authors choose to write in first person and tell the story from just character’s point of view because I feel that I miss out on the other character’s feelings and reactions. But somehow Julia Sykes makes this series work, if the 1st book is anything to judge it by. I’m just going to hold my tongue for now and see where Julia leads me as the 3rd & final book in the series is to come out early next month!

Recommended for: If you love a romance with a sexy alpha hero with a bit of a dark edge, Monster is the place to start. If light BDSM doesn’t turn you off, I recommend that you try. I certainly couldn’t get enough!

Final Verdict: Intense & thought provoking, Monster is definitely an appetite whetter!

Favorite Quotes

For a moment, his mouth was still against mine. My only warning was a low, rumbling growl. His hand left my face to tangle itself in my long hair, fisting at the nape of my neck. He pulled sharply, and I drew in a shocked breath at the slight pain as my head dropped back in response. Only when my lips were offered up to him in the way that he wanted did he finally take my mouth.

I let out a small whimper at the overwhelming intensity of his dominant gaze, but it turned into a shocked, delighted cry as he abruptly drove into me in one long, swift thrust. My arms jerked against his grip as I writhed beneath him, trying to adjust to the sudden large intrusion that stretched me so ruthlessly after years of emptiness. But he held me fast, his steely grip and his hard cock pinning me in place. He stayed utterly still for a moment, his face contorted with the effort of holding himself back.

He stared down at me forbiddingly, the ferocity of his expression instantly stilling my efforts. “What did I just tell you?” He asked harshly. “Who controls this fuck, Claudia?”
I quelled under him, my body trembling as I felt myself submit to him completely, ceding to his will. “You do,” I whispered.
[…] “Your pussy is mine now, Claudia,” he said roughly, driving home his possessive words with another harsh thrust. “Isn’t it?” Another demanding thrust. “Tell me,” he growled.
“Yes,” I said breathlessly, almost delirious from the pleasure he was giving me. “I’m yours, Sean.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

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ARC Review: Lover Undercover by Samanthe Beck

Format: E-bookloverundercover
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Hero: Trevor McCade
Heroine: Kylie Roberts
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 22, 2013
Started On: April 17, 2013
Finished On: April 20, 2013

Hero: Trevor McCade, 30 years old, and a cop for nine years out of which the last three had been spent in homicide.

Heroine: Kylie Roberts, yoga instructor who dreams of owning her own yoga studio in the fine city of LA one day.

Storyline: Kylie’s identical twin sister Stacy breaks her leg from a nasty fall at the exotic dance club where she works. When Kylie agrees amidst all misgivings & reluctance to step in for her, Kylie accidentally stumbles across the body of a murdered man who turns out to be one of Stacy’s regular clients. Going undercover with the sexy Trevor turns out to be a deal and rule breaker for Kylie, someone who has always being on the straight and narrow where life is concerned. For Trevor whose mantra has always been to focus on the job at hand, Kylie proves to be just the right and very tempting sort of distraction he needs. And as sparks fly in every direction & every opportunity available, both Trevor & Kylie brace themselves for the sort of emotional roller coaster ride that would change them both forever.

Time period: Lover Undercover has a contemporary setting and is told from both the point of views of the hero and heroine.

Likes: This was my very first Samantha Beck and boy, am I glad that the blurb convinced me to kick all caution aside and request for this title on Netgalley. From the first chapter itself which introduces us to a nervous Kylie berating herself for agreeing to step in for sister and to the moment she lays eyes on Trevor, I knew I had made the right choice and I let all my reservations go and just buckled up for what turned out to be one hell of a ride.

I loved Samantha’s style of writing, the way she brought out pertinent details about the characters that lent the story a well rounded edge. And the one thing that struck me was how Lover Undercover continually surprised me with how non-cliche it turned out to be. I expected certain scenes to turn out in the most usual and likely way possible and Samantha continued to surprise me by taking the lesser traveled road where romance authors are concerned. For that Samantha Beck earns my whole hearted approval.

And Trevor, oh sweet Lord Trevor. I can’t even say his name without a small tremor invading my body. Trevor is the sweetest sin any heterosexual woman could indulge in. And boy, does he prove time and yet again that he is more than capable of indulging in sinful behavior every chance he got that certainly left me begging for more. Tasteful and yet so very erotic, each and every scene had my blood pumping in all the right directions and thats all I’m going to divulge here for my readers. And let me tell you, those private dance scenes were over the charts hot!

I loved Kylie too. Kylie’s character is very well rounded and her vulnerability together with that determination to succeed truly had me where it matters. I rooted for her and loved the way she couldn’t turn away from the need that echoes in Trevor’s eyes and the way that they both are so in tune with each other’s emotional as well as physical needs just made me one happy reader all around.

On a side note, I enjoyed this so much that I went right ahead and purchased Private Practice by the author right after I finished reading Lover Undercover because I think with just one book Samantha has managed to shoot right up to my list of auto-buy authors.

Dislikes: None

Final Verdict: Hot and sinfully brazen with just the right amount of suspense. I want my very own Trevor right now!

Recommended for: Fans of the Brazen line from Entangled Publishing, fans of Samantha Beck and of course for readers like myself who love a good hot scorching read with a hero that will leave you with heat flashes long afterwards. Definitely recommended!

Favorite Quotes

Head back and teeth clenched, her entire body tightened against his. Her free hand clenched his shirtfront while the busy hand between her legs stilled. She sucked in a quick breath—as if she’d just walked into the biggest surprise of her life—and then came with a long, shattering cry.
In that moment, Trevor knew that he was completely and utterly fucked.

Such a simple thing, really—just lips against lips—but oh, she felt the magical electricity of it all the way to her toes. Rather than sate her hunger, the gentle kiss was like a taste of chocolate to a starving woman. She wanted, needed, couldn’t deny herself more.
She parted her thighs, so her soft, yielding parts aligned intimately with the hard ridge straining the fly of his gray trousers.
A subtle tightening of his hand on her butt lifted her higher. The blunt head of his erection found and pressed a pleasure button she barely knew she possessed.
She practically crawled up his body, curling her arm around his neck, wrapping her leg around his hip, arching and opening so the place he’d discovered was his for the taking.

“Christ, don’t move,” he growled. Leaning in, he pressed his chest against her back, pushing her forward. Grappling for balance, she gripped his knees, twined her legs around his firmly planted calves, and scooted her hips back hard and fast until the only thing she could feel—the only thing she could think about—was the blunt, unforgiving thrust of his erection against her quivering sex. Just when she feared she’d cry out from a combination of agony and need, Trevor choked out a strangled curse, shuddered, and exhaled a long, rough groan.
She gripped him hard, and drew her clenched fist slowly up his shaft, wringing an agonized curse from him.
“Let me,” she whispered, more a demand than a request. “Tell me what you want.”
He wanted to tell her to stop; needed to tell her to stop. Instead, he grabbed her waist, buried his face in the warm, fragrant curve of her neck, and begged. “Christ, do that again. A little faster.”

She leaned in, closed her lips around his earlobe, and bit down. Bright light flashed behind his clenched eyelids, the few brain cells he had left imploded, and he came with a strangled groan.

Hands tangled as he helped her unhook his belt and open his fly. Reaching in, she found him straining toward her invading fingers with an enthusiasm that matched her own. Shoving his clothing away, she closed her hand around him. Dear heaven…all of him.

For one suspended moment, their eyes met. His lips moved and she heard his rough, shocked, “Jesus, Stacy.” Then sensations blasted through her like a shock wave. Eyes closed, head thrown back, she spasmed helplessly, endlessly. With a low, tortured sound, he plunged again, and she shattered in his arms.

 

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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Review: Jackson Rule by Dinah McCall

Format: E-bookjacksonrule
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harper Collins
Hero: Andrew Jackson Rule
Heroine: Rebecca Ruth Hill
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 13, 2009
Started On: April 1, 2013
Finished On: April 6, 2013

I’ve been meaning to read Jackson Rule by Dinah McCall for quite a while now; perhaps its being more than a year or so since it landed in my ever growing pile of books that I want to read and never find the time for. Finally, the urge to read a book that would captivate me, and also the fact that something kept nagging me to pick this up for my next read had me finally brushing away the e-dust and turning one page after the other until I was fully immersed in a book that contains a mix of some of my favorite tropes all in one.

Jackson Rule walks out of prison 15 years since he was convicted and sentenced for a crime deemed unforgivable by society at large. Now 31 years old and looking for a way to find a place for himself in the society, it is by a quirky sequence of events that Jackson finds himself at the doorstep of the shop owned by none other than Rebecca Ruth Hill in his attempt to find a job.

Rebecca hires Jackson against her better judgement and amidst the misgivings of her closest friend as well as her preacher father. But Rebecca who is willing to give Jackson the chance that no one is willing to offer somehow reaches into the tightly ensconced heart of Jackson, a heart that Jackson didn’t even know was up for grabs.

As the days go by, Rebecca finds in Jackson more and more reasons for her to abandon all caution aside and finally surrender to the wild desire that courses through her and is mirrored in Jackson’s eyes. But the past would have to be laid to rest if Jackson ever were to find happiness of the kind that he is more than deserving.

I loved Jackson Rule though there were bits that felt too drawn out at certain intervals. But overall I would say the story that unfolds is one that captivates and touches the heart at its very core. Jackson’s character reaches out to you, not because he is wickedly handsome, rides a Harley and has a body that would make a woman self-combust from all the heat that he generates just by walking into a room. Though that bit certainly helps things along, its got more to do with the fact that Jackson is a man who believes himself unworthy of a woman like Rebecca because of a childhood that had been more nightmarish than anything else.

If I were to talk about the reasons why Jackson is a character that invaded my heart right from the start, I’d most probably end up giving away spoilers which would ruin the story for someone who would love to read the book. All in all let me just say that both Rebecca and Jackson makes for two beautiful characters, who finds each other against all odds and finds in the other a love worth fighting every single obstacle that stands in their way from attaining ultimate happiness.

Recommended.

Favorite Quotes

As she took a step closer, her breasts brushed against his chest in a taunt he could not ignore.
“Be careful, lady.” His voice was harsh as his hands raked through her wet, tangled hair, bringing her face closer to his own.
“Of what?” She slid her arms around his waist, moving her body into perfect alignment with his.
Instinctively he braced himself and pulled her close, rocking gently against her in an age-old rhythm.
“Of this.” He cupped her hips with his hands and lifted her off of her feet. “Of that.” His groin had swelled in one huge ache and was pressing into her flesh. “Of me.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Short & Sweet Review: Risk the Night by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookriskthenight
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Constantine
Heroine: Madison Mary Banks
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: January 13, 2013
Started On: April 16, 2013
Finished On: April 16, 2013

Hero: A man who calls himself Constantine, a termination specialist or otherwise known as an assassin.

Heroine: Madison Mary Banks, a reporter whose looking to do a story on men who lead lives as the one Constantine does.

Storyline: Its Madison’s need to seek the story that she wants to do on assassins that brings these two together. The attraction they have for eachother is immediate, fierce and undeniable.

Time period: Risk the Night has a contemporary setting and is told from both the hero and heroine’s points of view.

Likes: The fact that Risk the Night is a novella by my favorite author Anne Stuart is reason enough for a cause to celebrate. I loved Constantine, whose real identity is revealed close to the very end of the story; not that it makes much of a difference to the man he is. Constantine is lean, sexy and lethal and utterly too gorgeous for a woman like Madison to attract, or so she thinks. But the story that unfolds as a result of that burning need to possess & be possessed is one worth delving into.

And on a side note, all the while I was reading this book, the song Assassin by John Mayer, one of my favorites by him, kept repeating on a loop inside of my head. And it made the read all that much more enjoyable.

Dislikes: The only qualm I had with the story is that it was short. But then again Anne Stuart does a remarkable job in giving just enough tidbits for a book of this length to be enjoyable.

Recommended for: Fans of Anne Stuart who like myself cannot get enough of her books and her ruthless heroes.

Final Verdict: Lethal, hot and potent. Left me begging for more!

Favorite Quotes

And when she opened them he stood there, on the narrow little balcony. He was soaking wet, the rain running down his stark, beautiful face in rivulets, plastering his white shirt to his chest. He was there, as she somehow knew he would be.
He was everything she hungered for, everything that was wrong. She looked into his eyes, and her body convulsed in a tiny, shocking climax.
She was in deep trouble.
He pulled her, and she didn’t fight him. Pulled her out onto that narrow sliver of a balcony, out into the driving rain, and kissed her, his mouth hot and heavy on hers, wet, demanding. It was a lover’s kiss. The kiss of man who was ready to climax, and her hands, the ones that should have pushed him away, clutched his shoulders, holding on, as she surrendered to him.

“Let go,” he said, his voice a mere whisper. “Don’t fight it. Take it. Take me.” He bit her earlobe again, hard, and she cried out, sliding to a darker level of hell, shuddering in the final, building response that made no sense, she had come already, too many times, she didn’t want this, she was afraid …
And then the last barrier fell, and she tried to scream, but no sound came out as she tumbled into the darkness, free falling, her entire body shaking apart. She clawed for something to hold onto, but he fell with her, his silent, choked gasp echoing in her ears as everything went black.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Smashwords | Kobo

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