Requested ARC Review: Snowbound With The Soldier by Jennifer Faye

Format: E-booksnowboundwiththesoldier
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Hero: Jason Smith
Heroine: Kara Jameson
Sensuality: 2
Date of Publication: October 1, 2013
Started On: September 29, 2013
Finished On: October 5, 2013

Jason Smith returns to his hometown of Pleasant Valley as a scarred man, willing to do whatever it takes to put his family legacy that happens to be the Greene Summit Resort to rights. What he doesn’t count on is to find out that Kara Jameson, the woman he had broken off their engagement with seven years back happens to be none other than the go-to person when it comes to handling things at the resort. And on top of that, the ferocious sexual attraction that had been between them that comes zinging back to life not to be denied is not something he contended on dealing with.

Kara still hasn’t forgotten the way Jason had walked away without a second glance. The way he had broken her heart which had eventually led to the conception of her beautiful daughter Samantha and the hard years that had followed plus the sacrifices that she had made along the way. Its not easy for Kara to trust Jason once more and to put her heart and that of her daughter Samantha’s on the line while the past still continues to haunt both of them over the way things had ended.

While Snowbound with the Solder started out on an upbeat note, I found that the story waned a bit towards the middle and managed to lose its wow factor towards the end. At the beginning the sizzling tension between Jason and Kara was alive, something that I felt every time I turned the pages. But towards the middle the story lost its focus on that aspect and moved towards the familial bit where Jason wins over the heart of the adorable Samantha and in the process manages to rekindle the love that had never been totally lost when it had come to Kara and him.

The secret that Jason holds close to his heart, the bitterness of it all which had led him to break off his engagement and enlist in the military was one that touched me. I don’t know what I would have done under the circumstances but I felt my heart go out to him on the burden that Jason had carried on his shoulders all throughout the years, obliterating whatever happy memories that he had had of his childhood. It takes a lot for Jason to forgive and move on and that was one aspect of the story that I liked.

I wanted to see more of Kara and Jason in terms of their emotional intimacy being built up enough for Kara to trust him once again. Jason does go for the grand gesture towards the end but somehow I felt that there was something missing when it comes to the couple in question. I also would have dearly loved to see the dreams Jason had for his resort materialize but the story ended right before any of that could happen.

All in all I would say not a bad read but this story could have turned out into a wonderful one if closure had come to all facets of the story that unfolded.

Final Verdict: A scarred ex-military hero who returns to his hometown to find that when it comes to love, sometimes people do get second chances.

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo | B&N | Harlequin


Review: Tempting the Bride by Sherry Thomas

Format: E-booktemptingthebride
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Fitzhugh Trilogy #3
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: David Hillsborough, Viscount Hastings
Heroine: Helena Fitzhugh
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: October 2, 2012
Started On: December 14, 2012
Finished On: December 18, 2012

For someone who doesn’t read much of historical romances, Sherry Thomas is one author I’d always continue to make an exception for. Its because of the way she brings her characters to life and makes me fall irrevocably in love with the way she spins a web that continues to enchant me until I turn the very last page, all the while mourning the fact that the story couldn’t have gone on for just a little bit longer that will always have me going back for more.

The third and final book in the Fitzhugh trilogy is the story of Helena Fitzhugh, the youngest of the trio and the one who is considered to be the most ‘unconventional’ and ‘wild’ from the siblings. Viscount Hastings is the thorn in Helena’s side so to say from the tender young age in which they come across each other. Hastings who had fallen head over heels in love with Helena had always hidden behind a wall of obnoxious behavior, just so that Helena would never ever find out the depth of his feelings towards the only woman he has ever loved.

When Helena finds herself in a bit of a situation, which would be putting it mildly, it is Hastings that strides to her rescue which in turn forces her to accept his hand in marriage; not to save herself, but rather to save the shame that it would bring to her brother and sister if she were to do otherwise. Angered and frustrated beyond belief at the turn of events, not to mention the fact that a staggering kiss between her and Hastings that had shaken her to the depths of her very soul continues to taunt her, it would be an understatement to say that Helena does everything she can to show that she would not accept being married to Hastings that easily.

But as fate would have it, through a twisted turn of events, Hastings finds himself with a once in a lifetime opportunity to show Helena the side of him that he has kept hidden from her for far too long, the side of him that yearns to love Helena like there is no tomorrow and make up for his despicable behavior of the past. Though Hastings knows that his past could catch up with him at any moment, the answering glow in Helena’s eyes makes the temptation to carry on an irresistible one. And when the inevitable truth comes knocking on their door, it is only the memories of the new side of Hastings that Helena gets to see and remembers that saves the day for both of them in the end.

Its a thing of impossibility to read a novel by Sherry Thomas and not be invested in the outcome of the story and its characters. Likewise, Tempting the Bride had me salivating over Hastings and the effortless ease with which he seduces the very headstrong Helena. And the plus side was that unlike the previous story, the tables were turned in this one such that it is the hero that has been in love with the heroine for far too long, and it was the vulnerable side of Hastings that I fell in love with, time and yet again as I read along.

Helena is a heroine of one of a kind. She is the type of heroine who dares to cross the boundaries and tests society’s patience during an era when females who were anything less than demure were barely tolerated. And because she stays true to her character, I loved her and the layers of her character that continued to unfold throughout the story.

Though I felt again that the ending was a tad rushed in this story as well, I would still recommend Tempting the Bride for historical romance lovers because missing out on Sherry Thomas’ incredible writing is not something I would ever recommend. 

Favorite Quotes

Not all opportunities are created equal. Some are nothing but steps leading down toward catastrophe.

Their eyes met. Without hesitation he kissed her. His weight was solid. His hair—she didn’t know when her fingers had plunged into his hair—was cool and soft. And the hunger in his kiss…contrary to everything she knew, he made her feel as if he’d never kissed anyone before and never wanted to kiss anyone else.

This time he could no longer hold back his tears. And with them came words that he’d never been able to say to her his entire life. “I love you, Helena. I have always loved you. Wake up and let me prove it to you.”

He meant to do it properly, start slow and soft, and only gradually build toward the wildness that had always characterized their kisses. But the moment he touched his lips to hers, she locked one arm behind his neck, and all thoughts of leisure and gentleness leaped out the window.
He devoured her. And she, her tongue mobile and eager, devoured him in return. He pulled her out of her chair and pushed her against the edge of the vanity. She grabbed his hair and moaned, a sound of stark hunger—and it was all he could do not to push up her nightgown and sink into her then and there.

At her incendiary words, he drove deeper—far deeper—into her, unable to help himself.
“So,” she said, her fingers on his cheek, “now I’ve made you mine.”
He took her fingers in hand and kissed them one by one. “You made me yours long ago, but now you finally claimed me.”

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


Review: Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn

Format: E-booktemptingthebestman
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Gamble Brothers, #1
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Hero: Chase Gamble
Heroine: Madison Daniels
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 23, 2012
Started On: June 9, 2012
Finished On: June 18, 2012

Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn is the type of story that I love to indulge myself in. It was fast paced with enough heat to melt me in the right places and I loved the heady feelings that coursed through me as I read along.

Madison Daniels is the youngest and the only girl in the Daniels family. 28 year old Chase Gamble is the best friend of her only brother Mitch and the love of her life. Though Chase has always kept his distance from Madison except for that one time when he slipped a bit, Madison knows she has to accept the fact that Chase may never reciprocate her feelings towards him.

It is her Mitch’s wedding that brings the whole family together with the 3 Gamble brothers in attendance. When by a quirky twist of fate Chase and Madison are thrown together under the most ‘trying’ circumstances, that legendary control of Chase by which he abides by when it comes to Madison crumbles away, leaving him vulnerable to all those feelings he harbors for Madison which he continues to deny.

The passion that bursts forth between Madison and Chase is of the red-hot variety and of the toe-curling kind and I couldn’t get enough of how Chase goes from assuming that nonchalant facade of his to being almost brought down to his knees in a matter of seconds. There is nothing sexier than a man who is all growly and uber-possessive when it comes to the woman he desires above everything else and Chase was certainly ALL that and more!

Madison’s character was such an appealing one too! She is the type of heroine that you love right from the very start and root for and cheer on, on her quest towards her ultimate happily ever after. Madison’s understanding of Chase’s character and how he views himself doesn’t stop her from staying true to what she believes in. And that was one reason why I loved Madison’s character so much!

Though the ending felt a bit rushed to me, Tempting the Best Man is the kind of story I would recommend for anyone looking for a quick, hot and fun read to curl up with when you really want to indulge and keep the real world at bay for a couple of hours.

Favorite Quotes

Those lips had curved into a knowing half smile that did funny things to her insides. And like a match tossed to gasoline, her body sparked alive and flames licked every inch of her.

His lips hovered over hers.
“No,” he snarled.
Madison wasn’t sure to whom he was talking, but then his mouth was crushing hers, and her world became him—the touch and feel of his lips pressing down, forcing hers to respond. It wasn’t a gentle kiss or a sweet exploration. It was angry and raw, breathtaking and soul burning. Right now, she didn’t want gentle. She wanted hard and fast, him and her, on the floor, even the bear rug, both of them naked and sweating.

She tried to swallow, to take a breath, but her eyes met his, and there was nothing but aching intensity in his gaze. And she was drawn in, swept away.

He dipped his head, placing his mouth to the space below her ear. He nipped her there, just a tiny bite that sent a wave of heat through her veins. And then his lips moved lower, leaving a hot trail behind. “You drive me insane, absolutely freaking insane. Do you know that? I bet you do.”

“Don’t stop,” she whispered. “I want to feel you inside me.”
“I couldn’t stop now, even if I wanted.” He kissed her, marking her with all the passion and yearning she had felt for so long. “I need this. Damn it, I need you.”
And then he plunged into her with one deep stroke.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo


Review: Hot in Here by Sophie Renwick

Format: E-bookhotinhere
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: NAL Trade
Hero: Bryce Ryder
Heroine: Jenna McCabe
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: June 2, 2009
Started On: March 29, 2012
Finished On: March 30, 2012

Hot in Here by Sophie Renwick is a title that has been sitting like forever in my to-be-read pile. Somehow I ended up reading a couple of pages into this romance penned by author Sophie Renwick aka Charlotte Featherstone that managed to grab my attention and hold on to it just because of the hero Bryce Ryder of whom I could not get enough.

27 year old Jenna McCabe who is to turn 28 that very night is a woman on a mission. That is the mission of making the man who has been in her heart for 10 long years fall in love with her. But Jenna knows in her heart Bryce would not be a man who would succumb that easily to happily ever after, given the number the one woman he had trusted had done on him.

Bryce might want to lump Jenna his childhood friend into the category of women he considers as sisters. Even though Bryce would rather die than admit that his attention towards Jenna had veered off course every now and again, Bryce is steadfast in his belief that nothing good would ever come out of tangling with the likes of Jenna who would want much more than he is capable of offering.

What surprises Bryce and Jenna both the night she turns 28 is the way their passion for each other practically sets both of them afire, leaving them both wanting more. But Jenna has a plan, a plan that would draw Bryce towards her and finally accept her as his one and only and it doesn’t include her being available for Bryce at the drop of a hat.

Bryce is confused as to the hows and whys of the way he cannot get enough of his long time friend Jenna. The way her body seems to respond to his every caress and touch drives him crazy and for the first time in 5 long years Bryce considers the prospect of turning his life around and settling down. But the new Jenna that emerges after their night of feasting on each other is one that has no resemblance whatsoever to the woman who appeals to his senses and who owns his heart more than he lets on.

For a woman who professes to have loved Bryce almost half her life, Jenna surely has a funny way of showing it to him. The reason I lowered the book’s rating to 4-stars was because I just couldn’t handle the way Jenna acted towards Bryce for the most part of the book. While Bryce is the person who is portrayed as the guy who loves to sleep around, who doesn’t empathize and doesn’t want to forge a deeper emotional connection with any woman, it is Jenna’s character that seemed shallow to me.

Yes, Bryce might want to indulge and immerse himself in the heady sensation of being thoroughly satisfied in the sack. But that doesn’t mean he is not sensitive towards others. He might be a tad arrogant and pushy but the love he has for the food that he cooks up is just to die for. What I had a problem with was how ready Jenna was to lump him with men who wouldn’t understand or give two cents about her emotions when she has known Bryce for far longer and knows who he really is. If I had been Jenna, I would have grabbed Bryce with both my hands and never ever looked back!

For me, the best thing about the novel was Bryce Ryder. He has that undefinable quality that makes a hero worth your time and the desire that he feels for Jenna is a vivid and all encompassing one that just left me breathless at all times. When Bryce steps into the picture, you know instinctively that you are in for the ride of a lifetime and Sophie Renwick has done such a swell job in bringing his character to life.

As soon as I finished Hot in Here, the question that popped into my mind was what happened to Trey and Sarah who definitely needs their own story. They have got so much pent up desire for each other that I would dearly love to see what Sophie can do with their story.

Recommended for those who love highly sensual and erotic contemporary romances with a hero who can cook up a storm. 

Hot in Here is a sumptuous feast for all your senses. Trust me on that.

Favorite Quotes

She could hardly believe it, not after ten years, but they were finally making out on her couch. And Holy Mother of God, Bryce Ryder could kiss!
He was slow and lazy with his kisses, but masterful. His tongue and fingers were thrusting forward and back, in and out, mimicking sex, winding her up so tight until she was rubbing her pussy against his hand while clutching his hair. More . . . she had to have more.

Parting her sex, he stroked her clitoris with the tip of his forefinger. She moaned and twisted, but he held her in place with one hand on her hip as he penetrated her deep and slow. Over and over he stroked her clit, finding the rhythm she liked, and soon she was riding him hard and wanton, just as he hoped she would.

“Bryce!” Jenna heard the arousal and need in her voice as Bryce thrust into her. His breathing was harsh, and she looked over her shoulder and saw that his gaze was fixed on his c#ck entering her. In that second she knew she’d never see anything as sexy as Bryce taking her like that.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BoB


Review: Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins

Format: E-bookjustoneoftheguys
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Chic-lit
Series: Standalone
Publisher: HQN Books
Hero: Trevor James Meade
Heroine: Chastity Virginia O’Neill
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 1, 2008
Started On: March 22, 2012
Finished On: March 24, 2012

Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins is a book that always ends up in one recommendation list or the other. And the hero Trevor James Meade seems to be a real hit amongst the ladies so much so that I decided to give this book a try because when it comes to Kristan Higgins you are always in for a laugh-fest no matter what.

Chastity Virginia O’Neill is the youngest child and the only daughter in the O’Neill family. She is a plus-sized heroine if there ever was one and a jock to boot, a mark left over as a result of growing up and competing with 4 brothers in the household. After moving back to her hometown of Eaton Falls, Chastity is determined that she would find someone to fall in love with, someone to settle down with and have 2.5 kids with, even if the man who holds the key to her heart remains completely oblivious the ferocity of her feelings towards him.

Trevor James Meade can almost pass off as Chastity’s fifth brother because Trevor is almost like a son to her parents, biology be damned. Chastity falls in love with Trevor during the darkest period of Trevor’s life and she holds her feelings towards Trevor close to her heart, the one time that she and Trevor slept together a memory that she treasures and remembers all too often for her peace of mind.

However Trevor acts as if the thought of her settling down with someone else means nothing to him and goes as far as to encourage her to date and find someone who would provide her with everything her heart desires. And when the sexy new doctor in town notices Chastity and they both start dating, Chastity couldn’t be happier, or so she tells herself until everything starts falling apart around her, forcing Chastity to face the reality of her feelings and move on.

I had a hard time classifying Just One of the Guys as a romance. Chastity and Trevor spends the majority of the book apart from each other even though they live in the same town and run into each other almost every day. There were no romantic interactions between the two except for one very invigorating “nipple” scene that brought to light Trevor’s obvious attraction towards Chastity. I was disappointed because for the whole duration of the novel, Chastity and Trevor both date other people, sleep with other people and Chastity gets ready to even say her I-do’s before she comes to her senses and stops herself from settling for the second best. 

Trevor was delicious, as delicious as everyone raves him to be. And I loved him. I truly did. Kristan managed to do a mighty fine job of bringing him to life through Chastity’s eyes, and I loved how his character turned out to be. But I did want to slap him a time or two because he seemed to stubbornly hold on to his belief that if he and Chastity were ever to get together, he might lose her and that is one moment in time that he doesn’t ever want to face.

The reason why I hesitate to read books written in first person is the fact that the reader misses out a lot on the point of view of the other characters involved in the story. I especially missed having Trevor’s take on things, his feelings or non-feelings towards Chastity and what makes him so hesitant to stake his claim on a woman he seems to look out for in all the little ways that matter.

As always, Kristan gives the reader a healthy amount of laughter, the antics that Chastity gets involved in being moments that still bring a smile to my face. Just One of the Guys is the story of how Chastity as a character grows and becomes more, how she learns to face the truth in the light of the day, regardless of whether she might or might not like what she sees. And I loved the story of how Chastity’s mother moves on, against all odds and against all the stonewalling she receives from both her ex-husband and her children for whom their mother moving on is something of an alien concept.

There were so many emotional moments in the story, some of them rendering me to tears and other times I seriously had a lump the size of an island in my throat. Those were the moments that defined the story for me and I had a hell of an enjoyable time reading Just One of the Guys.

Just One of the Guys is a book that can make you laugh, bawl your eyes out and smile through your tears because Kristan is an author who demands no less, and if you are a fan, I cannot recommend it to you highly enough!

Favorite Quotes

Then before he could break the moment, before he could turn away, I kissed him, and he didn’t stop me. Instead, he pushed my hair out of my face, and he kissed me back, gently, sweetly, his hand slipping behind my head, his lips moving just right against mine, smooth and warm. I gripped his shirt and sighed against his mouth, and knew that as long as I lived, this would be the one perfect kiss that I’d remember forever.

“So you can’t marry Harry, Mom! Not if you still love Daddy!” I sound like a ten-year-old, but I can’t help it. Buttercup comes over to me and puts her head on my lap.
“Love gets used up, Chastity,” Mom says gently, reaching up to smooth my hair. “If it’s not returned, it gets used up.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BoB | Book Depository


ARC Review: How a Cowboy Stole Her Heart by Donna Alward

Format: E-bookhowacowboystoleherheart
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Romance, #4270
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Clay Gregory
Heroine: Megan Briggs
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 1, 2011
Started On: September 21, 2011
Finished On: September 22, 2011

I have identified with the fact that Donna Alward writes romances that practically seeps with bittersweet emotions until towards the very end which of course delivers the reader with a happily ever after that is that much sweeter because of the fact. Though not highly sensual in nature, Donna Alward still manages to deliver sexual tension of the toe curling variety amidst all the deeper and messy emotions she makes her characters confront, and that is one reason why I would continue to read her books.

How a Cowboy Stole Her Heart is deceptive in the way its title and blurb are presented. Deceptive I say because I delved into the story expecting a light and fluffy read which would make me feel on top of the world towards the end. However, from page one, you learn that Megan Briggs (Meg) is a survivor of breast cancer, having had one of her breasts removed because of the ravaging disease. She had left her hometown in Larch Valley behind to pursue her treatment and a year on, she is back home determined that she would put away her silly dreams that features her rugged and sexy cowboy neighbor who happens to be her brother’s best friend.

The last time Clay Gregory had talked to Meg it had ended up in a huge verbal confrontation that had concluded in them going their separate ways; Meg for her treatment and Clay to resume his day-to-day life unable to face the fact that someone he cares deeply about has to go through the very same thing that had killed his father and torn his family apart. Clay is a man who holds true to his belief that love and marriage are facets of life better left untouched and is determined that none of that would ever have a place in his life.

When Clay encounters a recovered Meg, she is so much different from the sweet woman he remembers. This Meg stares at him with eyes full of fire, defiance and the will to live her life on her terms stamped all over her face. And  though Clay feels small stirrings of something akin to desire for Meg the stubborn little chit who had always stuck like glue to him when he was growing up, Clay has no intention of acting on any of those feelings that makes him squirm, that is until Meg does a number on him at his aunt Stacy’s wedding which has Clay rapidly reaching out for his crumbling iron-clad control.

Though Meg tries to crush the tendrils of hope that unfurl whenever she is around Clay, the constant misunderstandings that leap out due to their different attitudes towards life and the stuff that scares them both makes it inevitable that a relationship between herself and Clay would never survive the many a tough times that may come ahead. But with Clay equally determined to prove otherwise, it is a battle of wills these two embark upon which makes their ultimate surrender that much more meaningful.

I have to admit that even though there were parts of the story that worked for me such as the tendrils of sexual tension between Meg and Clay that was delicious and heady as they come, to the side characters such as Jen and Tara who all seem to have quite interesting stories of their own to tell, there were certain elements within the story that didn’t quite make the cut for me. I didn’t quite warm up to either Clay or Meg though there are bits and pieces in their characters that makes them endearing and appealing at times. I can’t quite put my finger on why it was so with Clay but with Meg it was the way she wanted to prevent anything from happening between her and Clay because she didn’t want to put Clay through the emotional turmoil of a remission of the cancer which is always a possibility with cancer survivors. The way she makes the decision for Clay without even contemplating the rapidly changing feelings between them didn’t seem to sit with me quite that well.

Even then, I found myself pulled in with the constant whirlwind of emotions that courses through Meg as she tries and walks ahead into a future that is an uncertain one. But her determination and courage through it all just amazed me and I was rooting for her all the way through those moments. Light hearted and fluffy is certainly not what this romance is about, but engrossing and a good deal of emotion it certainly delivers and I would recommend this one for fans of Donna Alward.

Momentous Scenes

  • The moment Clay lays eyes on the altogether made over Meg whose beauty and lure at that moment just shocks him to the very core! *Sigh!*
  • The first kiss. Sizzling hot!

Favorite Quotes

She unlocked the door, but before she could turn the knob his hand covered hers. She turned and froze.
“Clay,” she warned, but it was too late.
His arm came around her, lifted her feet clear off the floor as he kissed her: hot, demanding, and all encompassing.
His mouth was soft, hot and devastating. Megan let the shock ripple deliciously through her as she clutched his shoulders. There was a small thunk as the house key dropped to the step. Even through the layers of his tuxedo and her coat Meg felt the hardness of his body against her.

ARC Review: Something So Right by Elyse Mady

Format: E-booksomethingsoright.JPG
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Sam Denning
Heroine: Lillian Carver
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 19, 2011
Started On: September 15, 2011
Finished On: September 16, 2011

Something So Right is a novel that is centered around one of my all time favorite tropes in the romance genre. The stories of best friends turning into lovers, the conflict, the sexual tension and their journey towards happily ever after is a theme I would never tire of. That is one reason why I requested for a galley of this title from Netgalley and though I didn’t like some aspects of the story that unfolded, I would still consider this to be an okay read.

30 year old Sam Denning is the hero from the wrong side of town, who grew up with a single mother who barely made ends meet whilst juggling three jobs to provide something better for Sam and his two younger sisters. Now the successful owner of a general contracting business that he builds from ground up, Sam still carries on his shoulder the remnants of his past that makes him feel he is still the little boy from the poor side of town that would never measure up. Though Sam has loved Lily ever since he turned up on her doorstep looking for gardening odd jobs 15 years back, Sam continues to hide his feelings from Lily which becomes harder by the day.

Lillian Carver (Lily) is the owner and operator of the Three Pines Lodge and Resort, an exclusive and wildly successful holiday camp on the shores of Lake Mississing, one of Muskoka’s most sought after holiday destinations. Lily returns home after leaving behind her abusive ex-fiance who does a huge number on her self-esteem and worth as a woman. Shying away from any sort of relationship with the opposite sex is how Lily copes with the trauma of her one serious relationship from the past. And though Lily at times wonders why she and Sam has never gone down the road of finding out whether there could be more to their relationship than just friendship, she stifles those urges as Sam has permanent stamped over his forehead for everyone to see.

When Sam finally takes the chance and plunges their relationship into churning waters filled with uncertainty, it is Lily who comes up with the plan that she and Sam enter into a purely sexual affair and go their separate ways when their two weeks is up. But from the start, Sam’s vulnerability when it comes to Lily pierces through his hard won control and forces Lily to confront the fact that with Sam nothing could ever be casual and that she too is not invulnerable enough to walk away unscathed once their affair runs its course.

Something So Right brings to light the fact that Elyse Mady is an author who definitely has potential in delivering a romance. She writes the sexual tension aspect of the story so well and certainly knows a thing or two when it comes to delivering on that scorching heat generated by her hero and heroine. And she definitely knows her way around a hero who would appeal to the female reading population and in Sam she has seemed to create an all around sexy, charming and endearing hero that makes for a wonderful hero.

My disappointment of the story stems from the heroine Lily whose actions throughout the novel I had a very hard time understanding and relating to. She comes off as selfish and too childish at times, never really understanding the depth of goodness in Sam her best friend for the past fifteeen years. I can totally get on board with the aspects of emotional scars left behind after an abusive relationship, but projecting her ex-fiance’s failures on Sam just rubbed me the wrong way. In the end, I just couldn’t stomach her hot and cold attitude towards their changing relationship and I felt that Lily is a heroine who definitely doesn’t deserve a wonderful man like Sam.

Towards the end I found myself going back and forth between conflicting vibes from the story. There were moments when Lily’s self pity lets her talk about living up to her family’s name, but nowhere in the story did I encounter any reason for her to feel that way about her family.

Though there were many disappointing aspects to the story, I would still give Elyse Mady a go because the tone she sets in her story is one worth delving into. A better heroine who can stand up for the man who has always stood by her side would go a long way into making this one more appealing and I hope Elyse does write a story for Lily’s older sister who seems like she has a story worth telling.

Momentous Scenes

  • The first scorching kiss that Sam and Lily shares. All the ingredients that make up for an out of this world kiss right there!
  • The way Sam comforts the broken Lily when she first leaves her good for nothing ex-fiance behind. Totally sweet and made me fall for Sam’s character like a ton of bricks.

Favorite Quotes

But as the sun slipped even further, his eyes weren’t drawn to the horizon. He watched Lily as she stood on the dock, glorying in the golden ritual, her russet hair slipping free from its ponytail to frame her face with messy abandon.
This is the view I need to be happy, she’d said.
The irony was exquisite. Because that was what he whispered to himself every time he saw her too.
And there wasn’t a damn thing he could ever do about it.

He drew her finger from his mouth, and they simply stood motionless, her small hand in his larger one, their eyes fixed and wide. Then, with a sound that was half grunt, half plea, he hauled her against his ragingly erect body and kissed her.
Kissed her the way he’d kissed her so many times in his dreams.
Only this time it was real. And so much better.

Review: Where There’s Smoke by M. J. Fredrick

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Series: Standalone
Hero: Seth Escamilla
Heroine: Lauren Stokes
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 11, 2008
Started On: August 4, 2011
Finished On: August 5, 2011

Where There’s Smoke is MJ Fredrick’s first published title and is of the friends-to-lovers trope that I adore. Combining together the complications that arise when two people who have always been friends find themselves in unchartered territory together with the added complications of two families who have been friends and much more through the years finds betrayal of the worst kind lurking right amongst them, Where There’s Smoke is a contemporary romance that delivers a lot of emotional angst which I absolutely reveled in.

26 year old Lauren Stokes is an only child whose parents have never been overly demonstrative with each other or with their daughter. Lauren had always got her fix of coddling from her best friend Seth Escamilla’s mother with the two families going a long way back with both their fathers being best friends and working at the same fire house.

Seth who is a fireman himself works under Lauren’s father and has always followed his own father’s footsteps all his life. The one secret that he knows about his father puts a severe strain on their relationship and it definitely does a number on his confidence about his ability to remain faithful to one woman for a long period of time.

When Seth starts noticing the little details about his best friend Lauren like how wonderful her hair smells and how much of a bliss it would be to have her long legs wrapped around him in a lover’s embrace, Seth knows that he should keep his distance and forget that he ever thinks of getting hot and heavy with the last person in the world he would want to hurt.

Lauren doesn’t know exactly when her feelings for Seth started to change but she has been living with the fact that a drop-dead gorgeous specimen of a man like Seth would never settle for a woman like her and has resigned herself to being his friend for the rest of her life until Seth’s  changing feelings towards her puts things in a whole new perspective.

Suddenly, it is all Lauren and Seth can do to keep their hands off each other and when they stop trying to resist the pull that is between them, boy do the sparks fly then. Seth brings such a wicked quality to the sensual journey that they both take together and there were times when I wanted to call up the fire department because of the high level of steam these two generate in the bedroom. And that dancing scene at the wedding reception; I swear my insides were still sizzling even two hours afterwards!

But of course, things hardly remain the same when sex enters the equation of a life-long friendship and it is these changes that are hard for Seth to take in as he starts to doubt his ability to be good enough for someone like Lauren. The easy camaraderie that has always existed between them starts to wan as Seth pulls away from their relationship, wanting to spare Lauren the hurt of his betrayal when he ends up doing just the opposite.

Filled with family drama that tends to put more strain on their “relationship”, it is a tough road that both Lauren and Seth takes towards their happily ever after, especially for Seth who does a lot of soul searching to finally accept who he is in reality.

Where There’s Smoke is a novel that brings home the fact that no matter how old you might be, the skirmishes between your parents can always inevitably hurt you, no matter how much they might try to spare you the pain. It also brings to light just how painful a betrayal it would be to find out that the person who has shared your life for so long is not the person you really thought they were and it just hurt a place deep inside of me to read about it.

Where There’s Smoke is not just simply a romance novel that tells of how one day Seth and Lauren finds themselves undeniably in lust with one another and things proceed from lust to love in zero seconds flat. Rather than that, MJ Fredrick puts forth the complexities involved in the change of dynamics from a life-long friendship to something much more and how eventually these two work things out.

The only reason that this one doesn’t get a five-star rating is because I would have definitely loved a bit more grovelling on Seth’s part before Lauren had given in to his declaration of love in the end. And would have dearly loved an epilogue to show how life fares for those left behind in the wake of all the drama that unfolded in the story which would have made this a more satisfying read all around.

Favorite Quotes

Lauren opened the door. No high-heeled boots today. She looked fresh out of bed, rumpled, messy in a sweatshirt and plaid flannel pants, fluffy slippers. His Lauren.
And instead of being relieved, he stepped inside, cupped her face in both his hands, and kissed her.
Oh, man. She was minty and soft, and her lips parted in surprise under his. He had enough wits to give her a couple of seconds before he tilted her head and took the kiss deeper. She made a sound that might have been protest, and he started to pull back, but then she wound her arms around his neck and brushed her tongue over his lower lip. He accepted the invitation.

Her voice had dropped, soft and low, and curled through his blood, which traveled south in response. He took a step closer, trailing his fingers up the collar of the jacket to her throat. Her lips parted in surprise, in unquestioning invitation, his own tingled in anticipation.

He opened his eyes to see her rise over him, drag her teeth over her bottom lip. He’d never seen anything so sexy. He gripped her hips and lifted his own, thrusting into her body once, twice, three times before shattering, completely losing himself, his mind and soul fragmenting, his body melting into the mattress.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble


I-Review: Satisfaction Guaranteed by Tori Scott

Format: E-booksatisfactionguaranteed1
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self Published
Series: Satisfaction, Book 1
Hero: Grayson Montgomery
Heroine: Caramia Kensington
Sensuality: 3
Published On: July 13, 2011
Started On: July 31, 2011
Finished On: July 31, 2011

Visitor: What made you pick up Satisfaction Guaranteed by Tori Scott?

MBR: It was quite by chance that I stumbled upon Satisfaction Guaranteed by Tori Scott. I follow author MJ Fredrick on Twitter and it was she who tweeted about this novella which caught my eye, and seeing that it was for just 0.99 $, of course me being me, I just had to buy it.

Visitor: Tell us a little bit about the hero Grayson Montgomery.

MBR: Successful in his own right, Grayson has just turned 30 years old and is biding his time until the woman he loves turns 30 so that he can take her up on the promise that she made to him 15 years ago, before she left town and broke his heart.

Visitor: Now tell us a little bit about the heroine Caramia Kensington.

MBR: Caramia is the owner of Satisfaction Guaranteed and is going to turn 30 years old when the clock strikes the midnight hour. She is ambitious and always had been and had turnd her back on what Grayson had offered when they were fifteen years old because her ambitions didn’t feature her married, pregnant and barefoot before her teens were through.

Visitor: How does Caramia and Grayson meet for the first time?

MBR: Caramia and Grayson both grow up together going to the same school. There is no particular mention in the book of how they meet for the first time.

Visitor: What was it that drew you into the story with Satisfaction Guaranteed?

MBR: I found myself really fascinated with the secondary story that was taking place as I read along. The desire that the poor preacher’s daughter feels for the rich man whose childhood had been far from ideal makes for a very interesting premise and I couldn’t get enough of both Regina Baker and Sam Hyatt as I delved deeper into the story.

Visitor: What was it that you liked about Satisfaction Guaranteed?

MBR: I liked the fact that Tori Scott did a pretty decent job of developing her characters and built up the sensual vibe between Grayson and Caramia before plunging them both into the physical aspect of their relationship. It made the connection between them more endearing and realistic to me.

And of course, I absolutely loved the tidbits of Sam and Regina’s shared childhood that were brought into the story. They definitely have a story that is worth telling and am glad that the sequel to this entitled Perfectly Satisfied is going to quench my thirst for their story.

Visitor: Is there anything you would want done differently in Satisfaction Guaranteed?

MBR: Not really. I felt that Tori Scott has done a fairly good job out of telling a well rounded story in such a limited number of pages and it worked for me.

Visitor: Any memorable quotes/scenes from the story you would like to share?

MBR: I liked the bits where Grayson seemed totally in tune with Caramia so much that he knows exactly the stuff she’s made out of and gently draws her into his circle of love that in the end Caramia found as irresistible as I found it to be.

Visitor: Who would you recommend Satisfaction Guaranteed to?

MBR: Satisfaction Guaranteed is great for a quick read in between those emotionally draining novels. A novella that flows smoothly and leaves you begging for more. Recommended for fans of novellas and fans of reunion romances.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Smashwords


Review: Grace Under Pressure by Melissa Schroeder

Format: E-bookgraceunderpressure
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Hero: Renaldo Morello
Heroine: Grace Beatrice Michael
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: February 1, 2007
Started On: June 19, 2011
Finished On: June 19, 2011

I am someone who always loves a good romance between a warm, sexy and accident prone heroine with a bit of an aloof and controlled hero who finds his hard earned control shattered all around him. As I read Grace Under Pressure, I couldn’t help but think to myself that I have read this earlier in my pre-review phase. Even if that were the case, I am really glad that I picked this up and enjoyed it, a story that left me wanting more of all the characters that cropped up as it unfolded.

33 year old Grace Michaels lives in the small town of Cannon, Texas and is a history professor at the local college. Accident-prone by nature, her first encounter with the town’s new and sexy as hell Chief of Police Ren Morello happens with her ass up in the air stirring up Ren’s amusement and his libido as well in the process.

Ren is a man who has closed and bolted the door on any sort of relationship with the opposite sex that requires his commitment ever since his divorce from the wife from hell. When Grace comes into the picture, even though his over-active libido begs him to bury himself deep within her, his emotions that are a bit more in control than his libido warn him to run the other way and never look back.

When Grace’s home is ransacked and it is clear that her life is in danger, all protective instincts that Ren harbors deep inside comes out demanding that he keep Grace safe at any cost. Being at such close proximity to a woman whose mere existence befuddles his thinking cells plays havoc with the rigid control that Ren exerts on his baser emotions until it all explodes in his face in the most sinfuly delicious ways possible.

Neatly tying in with the main story is the story of Julia, Grace’s best friend and that of her brother Gabriel that served as an equally interesting romantic interlude in this wickedly good romantic suspense of the erotic variety. Though the scenes of passion are erotic in nature, there is none of the overly kinky stuff taking place in the story. Grace Under Pressure is a hot little addition for your TBR pile if you love a steamy romantic suspense in a small town setting with all the antics that go along with small town life. Loved every single minute of this delectable story and I am definitely going to wade through Ms. Schroeder’s back list and see what I can come up with to keep me entertained in the future.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Samhain