Review: Chasing Trouble by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookchasingtrouble
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: James Michael Diamond
Heroine: Sarah “Sally” Gallimard MacArthur
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 1, 1991
Started On: February 14, 2015
Finished On: March 15, 2015

Chasing Trouble by Anne Stuart is one of her oldies and nevertheless an enjoyable one at that. By the time I finished reading, I was sighing over the book, typical reaction to having read an Anne Stuart romance. My life undergoing a bit of a change right now means that I don’t have as much time as I used to, to read for fun. And when I do, I want the book to sweep me away on a journey, just as if I was discovering the wonderful genre of romance anew. Anne Stuart books have a way of surprising you with just that and Chasing Trouble is one of those stories that had me pleasantly surprised and of course giddy with the whole effect of it when I was done.

Sarah “Sally” Gallimard MacArthur is looking for a private investigator and an “unsavory one” at that, one who would ask less questions and help her find her sister. While James Michael Diamond fits the mold that she is looking for, James proves to be a tougher nut to crack than she imagined he would be. James would like nothing more than to forget the classy Sally that walked into his office, trying to convince him to find her sister. But then Sally proves to be a difficult woman to forget, before long, James finds himself saddled with a woman who talks too much and still manages to drive him crazy with the secrets that she harbors close to her heart.

Chasing Trouble is a story that manages to deliver the great stuff that the romance genre is legendary for, and yet the stories of the present seem to quite not be able to deliver. It does not present a mystery that makes your heart pound. But what it does is present two complex characters that the reader would like to peel the layers off to find what lies beneath.

James is the sort of cynical detective, whose life as a cop and his failed marriage has helped shape him to who he has become. Sally, while she might have led a privileged life, suffers from issues of her own which you become privy to as you read along. Both are reluctant to let other people close enough to trust the other with their heart, but eventually its a losing battle they fight when you factor in the sizzling hot attraction that makes the whole body hum.

Anne Stuart is legendary for the types of heroes that she manages to create for her stories. While James is a tamped down version of the caliber of heroes that Anne Stuart is ever famous for, his impact is no lesser. The control that he exerts on himself was one that I wanted to break down under the onslaught that his senses were being subjected to by Sally. I loved the witty banter which is of course another trademark of Anne Stuart novels. This one has got a lot of that going down and boy, do the sparks fly! The “mystery” aspect of the novel has little bit of twists to throw your way and I think everything worked out just wonderfully in the end.

Final Verdict: An enjoyable romp between two opposites. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

She would have been able to resist an attempt to overwhelm her. Men had tried it often enough, and she had simply shoved them away. She would have been able to resist a polite brushing of his lips against hers. That was usually all she allowed. But she couldn’t resist the slow, sensuous nibbling of her lips, the way he drew her lower lip into his mouth and sucked lightly, the way his tongue moved against hers, the way his fingers stroked her breast into pebbled hardness, feeding the fire that was burning in the pit of her stomach.

He was almost frighteningly efficient about it. He seemed to know just what to do, just where to touch her, how hard, how soft, to elicit the response he wanted. She hadn’t known her breasts were so sensitive, but beneath his hands, his mouth, her reactions were astonishingly strong. She lay beside him on the bed, squirming, whimpering, straining to get closer to him as he quickly, cleverly brought her to the edge of explosion, all without letting her touch him.

She wanted to keep that response from him. She wanted to argue, to force him to break through that control, but the words wouldn’t come, her hands could only clutch his sweat-slick shoulder, her body could only move with his, reaching for him, clenching around him in a sudden shower of stars.
She remembered being almost surprised that he followed her, his body going rigid in her arms, his eyes closed tight, his mouth clamped shut as he gave her the one thing he couldn’t withhold.

“Sally, ” James said, his voice tight with regret, “I’m not the man for you. “
“Yeah, I know. You’re too old, too broke and too mean. Don’t worry about it. I’ll get older, I’ll give away my money and I’ll work on being just as sour as you. “
“Sally. . . “
She put her lips against his and he had to kiss her. There was no way he could stop himself. ”Don’t argue now, Diamond. Once we’re back in San Francisco and my sister’s safe, you can give me the brush-off. Or you can try, ” she added, as if honesty compelled her to. “But for now, just shut up and kiss me.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N


Review: The Duality Principle by Rebecca Grace Allen

Format: E-bookthedualityprinciple
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Portland Rebels, #1
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Hero: Connor Starks
Heroine: Gabriella Evans
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 11, 2014
Started On: February 20, 2015
Finished On: March 3, 2015

“A rose represents promises and hope, but its beauty is bonded with thorns. It embodies pain and loss. Combined together, they are in perfect harmony, equal parts beautiful and strong.”

I have somehow forgotten how I stumbled across this book, but I bet there is a good story behind it. The Duality Principle by Rebecca Grace Allen is a contemporary romance that is based on quite the “brainy” principle of duality. The heroine Gabriella Evans is doing her PhD in disproving the duality principle which states that “if a theorem is true, it remains true if each object and operation is replaced by its dual.” Gabriella is not just super intelligent, she is also someone who is tired of hiding her true nature from the men she had accepted into her life up till now. The fact that every single one of them had left her feeling like she is doing something wrong by wanting more from the physical aspect of their relationships had left its scar on her.

Gabriella comes to Portland, Maine to not only sort her thoughts out and work on her thesis, but to say goodbye to the home that had been her grandmother’s, a home that holds sentimental value to her and she is having a hard time letting go of. Her relationships with her parents is a tension filled one at best, and Gabriella comes seeking the solitude which she has always found at her grandmother’s place. When her best friend suggests that she go on a blind date with a friend of hers, Gabriella goes along with it, not thinking that anything much would come out of it. However, when Connor Starks shows up, there is something about him that makes her want to know more, that makes her senses go on red alert, and makes her want to climb, lick, kiss and suck every single inch of him. The fact that Connor seems to present two very contrasting sides of his character to her confuses her more and makes her want to unravel what it is that Connor is “hiding”.

Connor is the bad boy who has worked hard to walk the right path. The fact that Gabriella interests him on a level that no other woman has ever interested him before makes Connor fidgety about the fact that being true to his seductive nature could spell out trouble for him where his long term plans with Gabriella are concerned. But then again, the best laid plans always have a tendency of going awry, and time and yet again, Connor finds himself literally being driven crazy by the desire that makes him feel absolutely primal with wanting when it comes to Gabriella.

What made this book a fun read is the scorching hot sexual tension that sizzles through the pages, practically making me melt, on the spot. Connor is someone who turns up the heat, just like that, and there is nothing anyone can do but go along for the ride. The fact that Connor is the one who holds back, trying to do what is right as per his twisted logic when it comes to Gabriella is what lends the story the interesting tangent of angst that made this worth reading.

While most romance writers tend to shy away from writing brainy heroines of Gabriel’s nature, I found Gabriel to be an interesting mix. The duality that lives within her character, that is constantly at war with one another until Connor comes along and proves to her that he is man enough to handle both was quite compelling. The fact that I learned of a completely new-to-me nerd fact was the icing on the cake when it came to this book.

Recommended for those who love stories featuring sexy as sin, reformed bad boys who just can’t help but be bad with the right woman!

Final Verdict: Loved it!

Favorite Quotes

“You sure you don’t want any more?” he asked.
“I might want more.” But she didn’t mean the ice cream.
“You should. It tastes really good.”
He took the cone from her hand and slowly, purposefully gathered some ice cream onto the tip of his tongue. Closing the distance between them, he bent down to brush his lips against hers. For a moment, all she felt was hot breath and cold lips, and then his kiss washed over her. Gabriella melted into the feeling, drinking the ice cream that spilled from his mouth into hers.
Connor pulled back to take a breath and threw the cone to the ground.
“You taste better.” He roughly clasped her neck, cleaving her to him for another dizzying kiss. “Goddamn, you taste so good.”

Make an island of yourself, make yourself your refuge. There is no other refuge. Make truth your island. Make truth your refuge.

Connor slipped his hands to her bottom, and her hard exhale was as loud as his hiss when he squeezed. His lips brushed hers in an open-mouthed tease. “Am I hot yet?”
“Almost.” She reached back and drew one of his hands around to her belly. “Other side.”
Connor groaned and pulled her to him with the hand still grabbing her ass. He fell back against a nearby tree, leaning on it for support, and Gabriella licked the shell of his ear. Reveling in his shudder, she bit down on his earlobe and brought his hand down toward the waistband of her shorts. She popped the first button open for him, and Connor’s hand slipped inside.
“Now you’re burning up,” she told him.
“Fuck,” he said, his breathing hard and fast. When his fingers stroked over the damp fabric covering her slit, he seemed to completely forget about his quest. Instead, he simply snapped.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe | Samhain


Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Format: E-bookthegirlonthetrain
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Hero: NA
Heroine: Rachel
Sensuality: NA
Date of Publication: January 15, 2015
Started On: March 16, 2015
Finished On: March 24, 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is one of those debut novels that has received rave reviews practically everywhere. This book first came to my attention through my sister, who is particularly choosy when it comes to reading. The next time happened to be when I walked into a bookstore here; I just had to pick it up from the prominent display right at the entrance and then I just had to get a copy after reading the blurb. Well, you know how that goes.

The Girl on the Train has an interesting premise, one that perhaps observant commuters who travel back and forth to work or anywhere for that matter, can relate to. Rachel is the woman who commutes to London to work everyday and back, a journey that takes almost an hour of her time in the mornings and evenings. What Rachel does to while away the time is to watch the view beyond the windows of the train. The one thing Rachel does focus on everyday is the couple that she has come to call Jess and Jason, a couple that she believes to be in love, a couple who has got it all, unlike her failed marriage to Tom, the man with whom she shared the house just a couple feet away from the house her Jess and Jason occupy.

When Rachel sees something she would rather not on one of those long commutes and it suddenly comes to light that the woman she has started calling Jess in her mind has gone missing, Rachel does the one thing any civic minded woman would do. She goes to the police to tell them of what she knows.

Thus starts a tale that keeps the reader guessing, that tells the story of a woman who continues to live her life as an alcohol addict, who has a difficult time letting go of the husband who had divorced her for another woman. Rachel finds herself in the midst of a circle of distrust, both from the police as well as the spouse of the woman that has gone missing. The rampant circle of distrust becomes more corrosive driven by the fact that Rachel has a hard time trusting her own memory when it comes to her alcohol riddled mind.

Ms. Paula Hawkins takes the reader through a journey of the impact of emotional and physical abuse, and how debilitating that the former as well as the latter can be when it comes the self confidence of a person. The truth emerges slowly and painfully, at least for Rachel and gives the reader a chance to delve deep into the psychology that drives Rachel to seek out what had actually happened the night “Jess” had disappeared.

While I had my finger on who the villain would turn out to be, The Girl on the Train nevertheless proved to be a story that kept the pages turning, because there is a quality to the voice of it all that is just compelling. While I am not one to stray into genres that do not contain any elements of romance in it, I found myself the least bit bothered with the lack of it because Paula Hawkins delivers a damn good story! Recommended!

Final Verdict: Makes for compulsive, addictive reading!

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | eBookMall | iTunes


ARC Review: Bang by Ruby McNally

Format: E-bookbang
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Lights and Sirens, #3
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd
Hero: Jackson Ford
Heroine: Marisol de la Espada
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: March 3, 2015
Started On: January 22, 2015
Finished On: February 20, 2015

Bang by Ruby McNally is the 3rd book in the author’s Lights & Sirens series & my experience in reading this author. While the story worked for me on certain levels, there were bits and pieces that I had slight problems with which however when it came down to it still managed to deliver a good read.

The story begins 4 months after Jackson Ford returns to duty after being shot and fighting the long, tough and hard battle of recovery. While physically Jackson seems to have recovered, as the story goes on, it is evident that Jackson suffers from post traumatic stress disorder owing to what he has gone through.

Jackson’s partner Marisol de la Espada, the woman he has loved for almost as long as they’d known each other has a tough time dealing with what happened to Jackson. So much so that she had completely avoided going to see Jackson while he had lain on hospital, playing a waiting game to see when she’d walk through the doors of his hospital room.

What makes it extra hard for Jackson and Marisol to get back into their groove is the fact that their relationship had progressed to a stage that had ended in a disastrous lovemaking session which needless to say makes things pretty much awkward.

What struck me the most in this story is the fact that how realistic Ruby creates her characters. Jackson and Marisol aren’t perfect in anyway. Yes, Jackson is handsome, strong and endowed in the way most heroes in romances are. While Marisol is the dream woman for Jackson, she suffers from her own insecurities with her physical appearance after having given birth & a lot of doubts when it comes to whether she and Jackson would ever be able to make it work.

Marisol having never turned up to see Jackson through the long hard months of recovery that had followed surpasses the usual survivor’s guilt. While most would question why she never did manage to work up her courage to go see him, I kind of understood where Marisol was coming from. Sometimes, fear & insecurities coupled with of course the survivor’s guilt that Marisol was experiencing has a way of preventing you from doing what’s right. And the longer you put it off, the harder it tends to become to take that step and that’s one other reason why I say that when it comes to flawed characters and putting that message across, Ruby McNally has done a bang up job.

Like most cops, Jackson has a hard time coming to terms with his PTSD. But he does eventually get there through a lot of misunderstandings that takes place between him and Marisol. I admired Marisol for taking that difficult step in nudging Jackson in the right direction and I was equally glad that Jackson took the bait because otherwise their story would’ve become more messed up than it already was.

While the sex was hot & the romance good enough to make it worthwhile, I felt that the story lacked the emotional wallop it’d have packed if it had included more details on the shared past of Marisol and Jackson. The past that is just barely skimmed through when it comes to Jackson and Marisol. While it does the required job to lay down the groundwork for the characters, I’d have loved if it had been just a little bit more. The missed chances, the heavy longing on each side, the realization that had led to the breakdown of Marisol’s marriage etc. would have brought with it a huge emotional impact to the story.

The one other problem I had with the story was the tense it was written it. I can’t exactly put my finger on which tense it exactly is, but I can definitely say that it made getting into the story a tad harder for me.

Recommended for those who love stories involving law enforcement officers & friends to lovers trope.

Final Verdict: Messed up in a way that delivers a good romp!

Favorite Quotes

“Jack—” Mari says again, warning this time, wanting to let him know how hard she’s going to lose it. “Oh my God, Jack, I’m—”
“Shit,” Jack hisses, hips jerking, and she realizes a second too late that he’s trying to get away from her, pull out, but by then she’s already coming and coming, one leg wound around his and this feeling like there was a missed stitch in her someplace and he tugged it, like she’s unraveling everywhere.

Jackson seems to be considering it. Then he shakes his head. “Nah,” he says, undoing the belt and letting it drop to the floor with a thunk. “Don’t think so.” He unzips his fly and pulls his cock out without even unbuttoning, the tip already shiny. It looks lewd and obvious against his dark blue pants.
Mari swallows. The instinct to spread her legs hits right in the bottom of her belly. “Jack,” she murmurs, shifting. “I’m gonna mess up your—”
But Jack nods. “I know,” he says, hooking both hands underneath her knees and yanking her hips to the edge of the bed. When he leans over his nameplate is right in her face, Officer Ford in stitched white thread. “Gonna have you all over my zipper.”

“Fuck, Mari, hurry up and come.” His voice is strangled.
Mari shivers. “Make me.”
Jackson looks at her. Then he reaches up with one forearm and puts all his weight against her bent knees, practically folding her in half. “Is this it?” His thrusts click up another gear, the teeth of his zipper biting into Mari’s flesh. One of them catches and she yelps, but that feels good too, all rolled into everything. “Is that how you like it?”
That is.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Samhain | ARe | iTunes


Review: Rebel by Kristina Douglas

Format: E-bookrebel
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: The Fallen, #4
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Cain
Heroine: Martha
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: March 26, 2013
Started On: February 8, 2015
Finished On: February 10, 2015

Rebel is the last published book in the Fallen series by Kristina Douglas. Rebel tells of the fallen angel Cain, who returns to Sheol after a long period of time, nursing the need vengeance and revenge that has been haunting him for a long time. Cain is the hell raiser, the angel that everyone at Sheol has a hard time trusting given his penchant for causing trouble and leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. When Martha, the seer of the Fallen “sees” the arrival of Cain, Martha would like nothing more than for her this very vision to be proved wrong.

From the minute Cain arrives in Sheol engulfed in a ball of fire, everyone is shocked and apprehensive of his presence at the same time. Martha more so because of the wicked variety of dreams that had been haunting her for a while now, dreams of Cain and herself getting down and dirty in a way that she and her now dead husband had never engaged before. Nothing scares Martha more than opening herself up to the vulnerability that would be sure to follow if she allows Cain in and Cain certainly makes it hard for her to trust him with her heart when it comes to him.

Cain believes that nothing but boredom makes him seek out Martha. That her dull character would soon bore him and he would be able to move on without much trouble. That Martha is nothing but just one step he needs to cross in order to execute his plan of making the Fallen bleed a success. What he doesn’t bet on is for Martha to show him a side of her that proves to be alluring both physically and emotionally, for her to reach into a side of him that makes him want to lash out and he does, in ways that will exasperate the reader and then some.

While all of the Fallen stories follow a similar pattern, it is Cain’s arrival that heralds a belief change in the entire group that stirs things up in a manner that the occupants of Sheol has never faced before. Martha whose character appears to be a bit of a lackluster one in the previous novels proves to be the most surprising element to the story when she reveals her backbone of steel that has seen and being through a lot in her life. She is the usual no nonsense variety of heroines that Anne Stuart loves to write and she writes them well.

While I totally was on board with the angst that was delivered to the story through Cain’s reluctance to put a label on his feelings where Martha was concerned, I felt that Cain didn’t really have to work for it when it came to winning Martha over. I would definitely have loved to see Cain grovel a bit, so that it would have given readers a more well rounded ending to their story.

While there is no mention anywhere on the continuation of this series, I would like to think that somewhere along the way Anne Stuart would put pen to paper and give the series an ending that readers would love. Lucifer is the fallen angel that is left and the angel which I believe as per how things were proceeding would end up turning things around not just for the Fallen, but for the entire world.

Recommended! And one more thing; the dream sex – totally hot!

Final Verdict: A hell raising angel and a seer whose visions never seem just quite right. Love definitely is a game changer.

Favorite Quotes

He moved then, and his breath was hot against my skin, his long hair drifting against me, his hands on my arms, holding me still. And then his mouth touched my skin, and I wanted to weep.
It was no erotic kiss, no arousing tease of my suddenly tight breasts. It was a soft, sweet kiss against the place where the claws had bitten deep into my flesh, where the scar puckered in such an ugly way. A kiss, a benediction, followed by another, and then another, as his mouth traced the brutal line of scarring, then moved on to the next one, and I was weeping beneath my tightly closed lids.
He said nothing, but I heard his thoughts anyway. You shouldn’t be ashamed of these scars, his voice said in my dream. They’re a badge of honor.

“More.” I didn’t recognize the raw, needy whisper, but I could feel the strange delight of his laugh against my clitoris, and then his teeth, delicately, as he withdrew his long finger and then pushed two inside.
I shattered immediately, my voice hoarse as I cried out. “Don’t . . .
“Don’t . . . stop.”
He didn’t, pushing me over that hill and then dragging me up another, higher, steeper, and I knew the plummet into darkness would be terrifying, and I knew I couldn’t—wouldn’t—fight him. I wanted this. In the private darkness of my dreams, I wanted everything, because nothing was real.

“Take me,” I whispered, my voice hoarse. “Take all of me.” And I moved, baring my neck to him.
He thrust, so deep and hard that it was a kind of pleasure-pain that had me teetering on the very edge. And when I felt his bite sink deep into my throat, I went over, lost in the pulsing of my blood into his mouth, the pulsing of his semen inside me. Lost, forever, until, as I wanted, there was nothing left.

“It doesn’t. It’s just me asking. Come here, Martha. Or turn your back on me. It’s your choice. It always has been.”
I stared at him. “And it doesn’t matter which one I choose?”
His smile was rueful. “Of course it does. I’m ready to explode from wanting you. You’re making me crazy—I can’t concentrate on why I’m here; all I can think about is getting inside you, and each dream only makes it worse instead of taking the edge off. I’m drowning in you, in your scent and your touch and your taste. Come to me, goddamn it.” His voice was ragged at the end of this, and I was hot, trembling.
“No,” I said. Just to see the darkness flood his face. “You come to me.”

I felt the wall against my back, hard, and his hands were up under the shift, on my hips, ripping away the scrap of underwear I wore. He braced me against the wall as I felt his fingers between my legs, testing me, slipping in the wetness of my arousal, and then he fumbled with his jeans. I heard the rasp of a zipper in the darkness, and a moment later he was pressed against me, large and hot and real, and there was no sweetness, no gentle persuasion, there was only the hard thrust of him, pushing in, deep, so deep that I wanted to cry out in sudden satisfaction. Wanted to cry out for more.

“I want you to feel this,” he whispered against my ear. “I want you to be so caught up in you and me that there isn’t room for anything else. Not doubt, not control, not trust or Thomas or any of the thousands of reasons you don’t want this. I want you to think only about why you do. Why you want me inside you. Why it feels like you’d die if you didn’t feel me inside you. And then you’ll understand what I’ve been feeling for the past week, every time I look at you.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | eBookMall | iTunes