Review: Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-Bookfixherup.png
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hot & Bothered, #1
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Travis Ford
Heroine: Georgette Castle
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 11, 2019
Started On: June 12, 2019
Finished On: June 19, 2019

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey is the first installment in her Hot and Hammered series. I had been on tenterhooks ever since I knew of its impending release towards the mid of this year. The cover and the blurb seemed to hint at a slight deviation from what Ms. Bailey normally writes – this sounded like chic lit, with of course a healthy dose of smexiness thrown into the mix. Because one cannot read a Tessa Bailey novel without encountering some panty-melting scenes that scorches through the pages of your book and/or e-reader.

Georgette Castle (Georgie) as she is known, is the youngest child of the family, having always felt undermined in many ways. The love of her life, Travis Ford, turns out to be none other than her brother’s best friend, and the town’s baseball phenomenon. Travis had gone onto live the high life that comes from being a hotshot baseball player, until he is forced into early retirement at 28 years, from an injury that no one had seen coming.

Giving up is basically what Travis does and no one seems to get through to the despondency that surrounds him and the way he tries to drown out everything that he wants to avoid, which includes facing his past, present, and future, all at the same time. Finally, it is Georgie who intervenes, basically forcing him to toughen up, let go, and move on.

In the process, the famous playboy that Travis had been up till the abrupt termination of his career, finds himself in one of the most complex situations of his life; falling in love with his best friend’s virgin sister. The slide into lust and then love is a journey that Travis had been unprepared for, even if that ship had sailed for Georgie a long time ago.

As with what happens in most first books in a series, this too was used to outline the rest of the characters that would probably end up getting stories of their own somewhere along the way. One of the characters, Rosie, who is already married to her high school sweetheart, is the type of couple that Tessa loves to write about; intense, living in a world of their own kind that she has already done a fair deal of already if you ask me.

I guess one of the biggest problems I had with the story were my heightened expectations being unmet. I thought the book would have a slow build-up (to drive us readers crazy of course), with a healthy dose of smut thrown into the mix. The smut of course did materialize; after all, this is a Tessa Bailey who is renowned for her flair in delivery of dirty talk and scenes that live up to that talk. But the minute Travis started going all “baby girl” on Goergie, I cringed – I guess I have never quite got the hang of enjoying that particular form of endearment, in bed or out of it, especially when it seems to come out of nowhere.

The rest of my problems with the story stemmed from the fact that the plot sounded so cliched – it felt like a novel that had bits and pieces from every other story I have read and enjoyed from the author. Like the grand grovelling scene that is thrown into every book; perhaps in a bid to up the angst factor. You don’t need a grand grovelling scene in every book – some books deserve them more than others. We readers would be happy with an epilogue with the right touch, if the story does not really deserve one.

The secondary character Rosie whom I mentioned earlier, reminded me of books like Too Beautiful to Break, the main protagonists of which basically made readers salivate with the need to read their story. I have a feeling I might skip the second installment in the series set to come out in January of next year, which turns out to be their story. Sometimes I feel like none of these books live up to my lofty expectations anymore, but I certainly wish they would!

I could not fully understand Georgie’s brother Stephen and his wife either. They just seemed strange and Stephen’s need to go above and beyond and play doormat to his wife was kind of unnerving if you ask me. I also felt like the issues Georgie had been having with her family were just resolved too easily. There just seemed to be more to it than what actually materialized.

The only thing I enjoyed? With the exception of Travis using an irksome form of endearment, the sex scenes were pretty good. But neither Travis nor Georgie inspired much emotion from me otherwise.

Recommended for fans of Tessa Bailey.

Final Verdict: Fix Her Up is a novel that needs a lot of fixing. The story fell short of my expectations, leaving me with a hollow feeling.

Favorite Quotes

“We wouldn’t actually be . . . you know.” She shifted. “Doing it. Obviously.”
Travis scoffed. “You’d be the first to want to date Travis Ford without the perks.”
Her eyelids fell to half-mast. “It didn’t sound like you were offering them.”
He moved into her personal space, his voice emerging harsh. “I’m not.”
“Fine,” she said, so low he almost didn’t hear. “I wouldn’t know how to take full advantage of them anyway.”
Virgin. Alarm bells went off, but he stayed right where he was, listening to their rapid breaths. Reminding himself she was his best friend’s little sister didn’t help when she was this near, close enough to touch. To taste. He could no more move away from the approach of Georgie’s lips than he could take on a thousand-man army. If he didn’t kiss her, someone else would claim that first kiss. No. No, he didn’t want that. Fuck. That.
Their mouths met.
Parted for two surprised beats.
And melded back together.

Travis broke the kiss, his harsh pants leaving condensation on her mouth. “Let’s slow down some, baby girl. We didn’t, uh . . . fuck.” He sunk his teeth into his bottom lip and eyed her mouth, shaking his head. “I think there’s supposed to be more buildup to what we just did.”
“You think?” Sweet Lord, his body heat was like being wrapped in warmed cashmere in front of a roaring fire. “You’re supposed to be the expert.”
He puffed a humorless laugh. “Not on kissing.”

When his flesh slapped down between her cheeks, Georgie’s mouth fell open, her hands twisting in the comforter. Hot air puffed from his mouth into the cradle of her neck, followed by a long groan as his hips began to roll. The movements started off as seeking, testing drives, but they didn’t stay that way for long. Soon enough, Travis’s hands sank into the bedclothes right alongside hers, his erection tunneling up and back through the split of her backside in rough grinds. Every drive of his hips was accompanied by a guttural sound that became Georgie’s reason for living on the spot. She opened her thighs wide as she could and offered herself up like a sacrifice.
And Travis accepted it. Unapologetically.

“Pool house or garage, Georgie?”
There was no question as to why Travis was seeking a private location, and it made her blood burn hotter. Although, since she was upside down, a lot of that hot blood raced to her head and made her dizzy. So be it. She’d just voiced her opinion at a family gathering and now Travis wanted to kiss her. If that wasn’t cause for a head rush, she didn’t know what was. “I, um—pool house, I guess?”
They crossed the threshold of the tiny changing hut a few seconds later. The door smacked shut behind them and they were enclosed in darkness. And move over, Mark and Reese, because she’d never been so poised to combust in her life.

“Fuck, Georgie,” he growled. “Open your thighs for more. You’re getting more.”
Georgie’s back arched, her right knee extended out from the couch, giving him extra room to bear down, to angle his hips, and they descended into what felt like madness. Georgie whined and lifted her hips to meet his drives, her inner walls beginning a slow, tight milking of his cock. Travis almost couldn’t even look at her, worried the unchained sexuality breaking free beneath him might ruin everything, might make him come before her. In the end, though, keeping his eyes off her, keeping his skin off her, proved impossible. He was coming. Soon. Now. It was happening.

Their mouths met and gorged, Georgie’s hands slapping down on his ass to yank him deeper, urge him faster, and he didn’t have to think, didn’t have any option but to dip his head. Drop his panting mouth over her bouncing tits. Suction his mouth around her right nipple with a groan as come blazed a path up his throbbing dick, filling Georgie up as he continued to pump like a fiend.
“Shit. Too soon. No, no . . . baby—”
Her body went still, before quaking violently underneath him in climax—thank God—her pussy squeezing so tight, he shouted his victory into the crook of her neck, yanking her legs up and fucking into the storm for everything he was worth.

“Up,” Travis shouted, jerking Georgie to her feet. He ripped the shirt over her head, desperate hands shoving the sports bra up to her neck. Their panting mouths met and molded as he fell onto the bench, ripping a condom from his sagging pocket and rolling it down his arousal. He grabbed Georgie’s bottom and urged her onto his lap, shooting forward to take one of her nipples into his mouth. “Fuck me. Ride me.” His right hand came down and delivered a mean slap to her backside. “Do it now.”

“I don’t know if I can . . .” She broke off in a whimper when Travis began kneading her bottom, coaxing her into a slick, erotic rhythm, her sex riding up and down his length. God, it felt so good, the give and take of soaked flesh, their shallow breaths mingling with the pelting rain, his chest hair abrading her nipples. But her mind wouldn’t turn off the way it did when Travis was on top. She wanted him to hold the reins. “I don’t think I can . . . like this.”
“The hell you can’t.” Travis sat up straight, yanking her hips closer. He took her face in his hands, breathing heavy against her mouth. “You might be on top, but I’m still in charge, aren’t I?” He kissed her long and hard while those words sunk in. “If I wanted to flip you onto your back on this bench and break you off, I wouldn’t ask permission.”

Georgie pressed her naked breasts to Travis’s heaving chest, letting her mouth linger a breath away from his. Lapping at him once. “I want to make you come so hard.”
“Motherfuck.” Travis’s grip returned to her backside, supporting it as he lunged to his feet—and he proceeded to bounce her like a puppet with no strings on his rigid arousal. Sweat slid down one side of his face, their lower bodies slapping together while the rain hammered home on top of the dugout. “You make me so fucking crazy. I can’t take it. My God.”

Without warning, her hips were jerked high onto Travis’s thighs, his erection huge where it prodded the split of her backside. “Look at what it did.” He yanked Georgie’s hips higher in his lap, swiping her earlobe with a flick of his tongue. “Look at what you did. You’re not the least bit sorry about it, either, are you? If you are, it’s not stopping you from pressing back on that dick you tortured. Rubbing on it like a hungry little cat.”
“Sorry,” Georgie breathed, ceasing the movements she hadn’t even been aware of. The apology was only halfway out of her mouth when Travis wrapped her hair in a skilled fist, easing her head back. All the way back until their eyes locked. “I didn’t say to stop.”

“You know why I haven’t put my dick inside you from behind yet?”
She let out a shaking breath against the leather, her heart hammering. “Why?”
Travis rammed himself home and Georgie’s scream filled the limousine. “Because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to control myself once I got you on hands and knees. With your ass smacking off my belly, I worried I’d cross that line into disrespectful—and some part of me still thought of you as my friend’s little sister.” He made a choked sound, falling on top of her, thrusting with a groan. “Not anymore. You’re all mine now. I’ll take you how I want.”

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

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Review: To Desire a Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-booktodesireadevil
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Legend of the Four Soldiers, #4
Publisher: Vision
Hero: Reynaud St. Aubyn
Heroine: Beatrice Corning
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 1, 2009
Started On: August 25, 2016
Finished On: August 30, 2016

To Desire a Devil, the last book in the Legend of the Four Soldiers series by Elizabeth Hoyt is a hard book to rate. This book had so much potential; after all, all the preceding stories had pretty much delivered on all fronts. Yet, this book sort of fell flat where every other book shined, and I could not muster enough enthusiasm for the main protagonists in the story either.

Reynaud St. Aubyn, the Viscount of Hope, returns home to a shocked household, who had all presumed him dead for seven long years. Held captive by Indians, Reynaud had not survived the hand that he had been dealt with, to walk away now from the challenge of proving himself to be who he says he is. To complicate matters, his reaction towards Beatrice Corning, niece of the present Earl who resides at his home is one that he does not particularly need or want. However, life has a way throwing the unexpected along your way, and even though Reynaud might not want the added complication, it is one that tempts him on every level.

While the accounts of what Reynaud had gone through made for interesting reading, the rest of the story pretty much did fall flat. I keep trying to put my finger on exactly what went wrong, and yet I cannot. Perhaps it is a mix of factors that led to the whole thing. Either way, this would have to be my least favorite book by Hoyt.

Recommended for fans of the series.

Favorite Quotes

Then he leaned down and kissed her forehead. “Are you sure?”
And that small bit of tenderness decided her. “Yes.”
He wasn’t gentle. He didn’t try to go slowly. He thrust himself inside her, quickly and violently, and her entire body arched with the pain. Burning. Tearing. Something wasn’t right.
She pressed her palms against his chest. “No.”
He looked down at her, his face drawn, the tattooed birds flying about his eye, wild and savage, and he no longer looked tender. He looked like a conqueror. “Too late. You’re mine now.”

He pushed the odd thought aside as he shoved the rest of his length into her. He grasped the headboard on either side of her arms and enclosed her within his embrace. She shivered, and somehow that little movement was the final straw. He began thrusting, hard and fast, the feel of her slippery flesh around him, holding him so tightly, sending him completely out of control. She arched her hips, pushing back at him, and he leaned forward, biting her nape to keep her steady. She gave a cry, high and helpless, and then her cunny was flexing about him, milking his cock as she came.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo | eBookMall | iTunes

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ARC Review: My Fair Princess by Vanessa Kelly

Format: E-bookmyfairprincess
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Improper Princesses, #1
Publisher: Zebra
Hero: Charles Valentine Penley
Heroine: Gillian Dryden
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 30, 216
Started On: August 11, 2016
Finished On: August 12, 2016

Vanessa Kelly became an author that I liked to look out for whenever possible after reading her Renegade Royals series. Her stories had most of the essential ingredients that makes for a good historical romance. The Improper Princess seems to be a spinoff of the Renegade Royals, bringing to us as the debut book in the series, the story of Griffin Steele’s sister, and an illegitimate one to boot, Gillian Dryden.

Hellbent on seeking revenge, Gillian is on the hunt for the man who killed her stepfather. Her path crosses that of Charles Valentine Penley, the Sixth Duke of Leverton when her grandmother seeks his service in order to mold Gillian into a proper English lady who wouldn’t shock everyone with her improper attitude and brash nature as she is want to do. Charles though reluctant to get into the middle of something he knows would be more trouble than what’s worth, finally gets coerced into taking Gillian on, only to find himself properly intrigued by every facet of her character.

Overall, I found the story an okay read, and believe it could have been much much better. There was just too much talking between characters, dialogues that the book could have totally done away with, things that could have been brought to the readers in a different way. There is conversation and lively banter and then there is this. Plucking through all the elongated conversations was exhausting, and Gillian was the sort of heroine that just got on my nerves. Looking through some reviews up on Goodreads, I believe I am not the only one who feels that way about her.

Towards the ending, her behavior moved beyond the point of ridiculous and I just couldn’t muster up enough enthusiasm to be bothered anymore. Cumbersome to plod through at certain points, My Fair Princess made me realize just how exceptionally plotted books by authors such as Elizabeth Hoyt are when it comes to the genre. Vanessa Kelly is not a bad author. My Fair Princess just seems to be a bad egg in place of all the good books that have been published in the author’s name.

Recommended for fans of Vanessa Kelly.

Favorite Quotes

Gillian was now using her grip on his coat to pull herself up. She clamped one hand around the back of his neck to hold him steady as she kissed him back with an enthusiasm that almost sent his eyes rolling to the back of his head.
Good God.
For a girl who’d been tearing a strip off him just moments ago, she’d certainly gotten into the spirit of things, turning his mind to mush in the process. Her sweet lips wandered over him, teasing and tasting with dainty licks that felt like flickers of fire. When Gillian rubbed her gentle curves against him, Charles felt his knees start to buckle. Every point of contact between them heated to unbearable levels.

He was rewarded with the most beautiful sight he’d ever seen. Gillian, half-naked, her shirt pooled up around her shoulders as her body arched in a lithe curve, breasts pushed high, nipples flushed and full. Her eyes were closed, her expression fierce with passion as she approached her climax. She was so sweet, so bloody natural, hiding nothing of herself and ready to give him everything. Just looking at her made something inside him explode like a powder keg, almost knocking him flat. He’d never felt anything like it before.
Because she’s mine.

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

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Review: Temporary Fiancée by Judy Rogers

Format: E-booktemporaryfiancee
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Andrew “Rand” McNeill
Heroine: Haley Marchand
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 25, 2013
Started On: January 28, 2016
Finished On: January 29, 2016

This was a recommendation I picked up, wanting to read a romance featuring a bubbly/klutzy heroine who could move a stoic and seemingly unfeeling hero to fall in love and move past the shroud of loneliness and isolation that he surrounds himself with. Temporary Fiancée features a heroine somewhat similar to what I was looking for and a hero who remains a bit embittered by the past and not ready to move on.

Andrew “Rand” McNeill, the computer wonder kid turned rich and eligible is looking for someone who would stand in as a temporary fiancée so that he can save face during the upcoming negotiations to be held with his ex-fiancée and her father. When Rand contacts the temp hiring agency looking for a secretary to fill in, one who would have no objections to acting as a fiancée, he didn’t have someone like Haley Marchand in mind. Haley is the furthest thing from what Rand conjures to be the perfect someone that would fool everyone into thinking that he had moved on.

Somehow, Haley ends up convincing Rand that she would be able to carry it off and these two find themselves contending with the attraction that springs forth between them. For Haley, the attraction is an unwanted one because Rand behaves like an ass at times, and for Rand, he can’t wrap his head around getting together with someone who is as different from him, someone like Haley who believes that the dog she looks after on occasion is a reincarnated version of some royalty from eons ago.

While Temporary Fiancée is a book that had immense potential and had everything going for it, it fell short of what I expected it to be. The writing appeared to be choppy and a tad juvenile at times. There were moments I felt like rolling my eyes in disbelief over what was happening. The first 3 chapters were really good – I was really hopeful that I was immersing myself in a read that would deliver on all fronts. But from then on, things went downhill and there were times when I wanted to DNF, but I trudged on because of the possibilities the premise presented.

I think the author tried too hard to make Andy and Haley both conform to the stereotypical image of a reserved hero who’d been betrayed once and is bitter about it, and the bubbly, fix it version of a heroine that has got it bad. There’s bubbly and being a fix it and then there’s Haley. She goes way beyond the mark in all three and from a certain point onwards, I was just reading the book for the laughs alone.

Both Haley and Rand came off as childish and petulant rather than the grown ups they should be. Haley, the one who wants to talk everyone’s ears off couldn’t find it in herself to talk about the “great misunderstanding” that occurs in the story. Needless heartache in my opinion. But then again, Rand acts like a jerk most of the time, all owing to how he had been betrayed before. Somehow, rather than finding it all sensual, I found Rand’s attempts to get Haley in bed kind of devious. While the premise was that he couldn’t help himself, but knowing he doesn’t want additional commitment to go with it, he still plays every dirty trick in his book to get Haley into bed knowing fully that she is more vulnerable than he is where they are concerned.

One of the major points of the story that I failed to see was how the involvement of the dog or Phyllis for that matter, added to the plot line except for making it appear more crazy than ever. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the silliness that revolved around those two characters in the story.

Final Verdict: Temporary Fiancée is a book that had so much potential and fell short.

Favorite Quotes

She opened her mouth to catch a breath, and he thrust his tongue in, searching for hers. Hot and wet, their tongues dueled in an erotic mating dance. Cursing softly, he lifted her to fit against his growing erection, and they rocked together in a motion so sensual, Haley thought she’d faint from the sheer power of it.
Moving from her lips, Rand’s mouth slid up her neck with gentle, sucking kisses leaving her gasping for breath. Then his tongue swirled against her ear lobe, causing a delicious languor and turning her muscles to jelly. Nothing had ever felt so good.

“I’m hurting you. I’ll stop. Just give me a minute. Don’t move.”
“You are not stopping,” she said, as she levered up then pressed downward on him, rocking her hips.
He whispered a ragged apology, then locked his arms around her waist as he drove himself into her again and again. Once more Haley was filled with a desperate aching need that urged her to move with him.
“Ride, sweetheart,” he urged in a hoarse whisper, cupping her buttocks in his hands. “Ride till you come again.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Requested Review: Petals and Thorns by Jeffe Kennedy

Format: E-bookpetalsandthorns.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Roland
Heroine: Amarantha
Sensuality: 5
Date of Publication: July 13, 2010
Started On: May 20, 2015
Finished On: May 20, 2015

Petals and Thorns is a novella based on the Beauty and Beast theme interwoven with strong elements of BDSM. Amarantha the heroine finds herself married off to someone known as the Beast, a man too hideous to be seen out in public, who shrouds himself under a cloak, whose voice from the get go has a hypnotic effect on the reluctant Amarantha. All that Amarantha has to do is “suffer” through seven days with the Beast, her husband, and leave with her virginity intact in order for their family to be saved. And while the Beast had agreed to not force her to give up her maidenhood, everything else remains fair game.

Beauty & the Beast is one of my favorite cartoons of all time, the Disney version of course. There is a timeless love story if ever there was one and my interest was piqued enough to give this a go because I wanted to see how the author would interweave BDSM elements into the story.

While the flow of the story was pretty much okay, I found that the Amarantha didn’t pretty much have a choice when it came to the Beast and his command over her body. A virgin without any experience whatsoever to guide her, Amarantha was at a disadvantage from the beginning of their marriage and I found the Beast to be a bit cruel at times in his attempts to make her bow to his will.

While I have read novels whose main theme has been BDSM, I have never remained emotionally hollowed out by any of it and yet I guess Petals and Thorns is going to be the first of its kind for me. One thing I think that led to the fact was that the story while its quite short with just 80+ pages to it, didn’t contain any elements from the Beast’s point of view. I guess that in itself leads the reader to draw the conclusion that the Beast’s ministrations on his wife was a tad cruel. Towards the latter part of the story, that tension eased a bit as readers are able to see that the Beast isn’t as much in control of his emotions & reaction towards Amarantha as he’d like her to believe.

I felt that the Beast and Amarantha, though seemed to be well matched in their desire for one another towards the end, seemed mismatched in other ways. While the Beast appeared to be well read with varied interests in other aspects of life as well, Amarantha didn’t seem as in tune with him in this aspect. I guess it was the lack of her exposure to much in life that made her the innocent she was.

Recommended for those that love hardcore BDSM themed romances.

Final Verdict: Jeffe Kennedy brings to readers the beauty and the beast, BDSM style!

Favorite Quotes

She forced herself to look at him. “I must tell you, I don‘t see how I can ever be your wife in truth. I cannot imagine asking you to—“
“To take your maidenhead? To rend you with my cock so that you scream in agonized pleasure?”
The shock drained Amarantha‘s cheeks of color. Even as the image somehow stirred her.
“Sir Beast, you cannot say such things to me.”
“It seems, my bride, that we must stretch your imagination as well. The only thing I may not do is take you by force. Everything else is open to me.”

“Amarantha…”
She heard the warning in his voice and inched up her skirts, just high enough to slip her hand under. He knew she wore no underthings, and she blushed at it. Amarantha dipped a hesitant finger into her private area, finding it slick and swollen. She nearly hummed at the sensation.
“Now show me.”
If possible, she flushed more deeply, that he might have thought she lingered. She held out a trembling hand for him. It gleamed slick in the sun. The Beast bent over. She felt his hot breath whuffing over her hand.
“You move me, Amarantha,” he finally murmured, his voice rough.

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

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Requested ARC Review: Fatal Hearts by Norah Wilson

Format: E-bookfatalhearts
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Hero: Boyd McBride
Heroine: Hayden Walsh
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 19, 2014
Started On: August 26, 2014
Finished On: September 4, 2014

Boyd McBride turns up in Fredericton to solve the mystery behind the sudden death of his twin Josh who had been pursuing the truth behind their adoption years ago, which seemed to have been carried out seemingly under the most shadiest of circumstances. Boyd doesn’t accept that Josh died of natural causes like everyone else is inclined to believe. Digging into the everyday life that Josh had led brings Boyd up close and personal with Dr. Hayden Walsh, Josh’s best friend.

Given that they were identical twins, Hayden would never have thought that she would respond to Boyd McBride on an intrinsic level that she had never responded to when it had come to Josh. Though Hayden tries to hide behind her walls of self preservation, she has a hard time sticking to her guns when it comes to Boyd and the grief that they share over Josh whom they both had loved so much. As Boyd starts digging and begins to uncover clues that would lead him to the eventual truth, Hayden realizes that there is more to the no strings attached affair that she and Boyd embarks on after giving into the tumultuous desire between them.

Norah Wilson is an author that has always worked for me. Her books always have a lot of heart, depth and emotion, not to mention the heart thumping variety of heroes that you can never get enough of. Her books like The Mezeretti Effect and Lauren’s Eyes, later published under Montlake as Every Breathe She Takes testifies towards the immense amount of talent she has. And it pains me to say that Fatal Hearts didn’t do it for me.

At first, when Boyd walked into the book with his brood and heart stopping good looks, well you can imagine what I would have gone through. But as the story progressed, I felt that Boyd didn’t live up to his potential, perhaps the reason being the narrative was a bit too dry and procedural in the story. I love books that go into depth with the crime solving aspect but I felt that this book could’ve removed a 100 plus pages and still would’ve managed to tell the same story.

I don’t like writing reviews that sound negative, but as a reviewer it is my duty to be honest about how I feel about a book. I believe with my whole heart that Fatal Hearts had the ingredients that would’ve made a helluva romantic suspense. Boyd could’ve turned into the hero that could’ve made me weep for thousands of reasons and Hayden though I did love her as she was, I felt she too could’ve shined just a tad more. While the mystery aspect was predictable, that still gave the story a bit of an edge that kept the pages turning.

Having felt all out of sorts after reading Fatal Hearts, I did look up a couple of reviews on Goodreads to see how other readers have felt. Surprisingly, a lot of them have given Fatal Hearts 5 stars though a couple of readers like myself have stated feeling the same way I felt when I read the story. In the end I would have to say that it was my love for Norah as an author and the warm, beautiful person behind the name I’d gotten to know through social media, is the reason I gave my every effort to finish the book.

Honestly, if this is where you aim to sample Norah Wilson, I would caution you to stop right there. Pick up any other book, preferably either The Mezeretti Effect or Every Breath She Takes. Those are the stories that would blow you away and make you fall in love with Norah’s ability to spin a wondrous tale that entertains and excites and that’s what you should be reading.

Final Verdict: For those who love reading procedural romantic suspense.

Favorite Quotes

There was the slightest hesitation on his part, long enough for her to wonder if she’d made a horrible mistake. Before she could retreat, he lifted his hands to her head, holding her in place as his mouth crashed down onto hers.
The thrill that forked through her was almost painful, leaving her nerve endings feeling singed. Her heart thumped so hard, she could feel her pulse throbbing in her fingertips.

“Touch me,” she commanded.
He didn’t need any more encouragement. Or a road map. He released her hair and dropped that hand to clasp one of her breasts. His thumb found the stiffened peak through the thin fabric of her bra and T-shirt, and she gasped softly.
Then his lips were on hers again, as though he wanted to take the sound into him.

She moved with him, meeting his every thrust. He felt the tension rising in her as the tempo increased. Going down on one elbow, he reached between them to part her folds wider, moving higher to hopefully give her more friction. That tipped her over the edge she’d been striving for. Her words were broken, sobbed out of her, as her orgasm rose, peaked, and rolled over her. It was all he could do to hold on and let her ride it out before his own need took over.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Review: Never a Gentleman by Eileen Dreyer

Format: E-bookneveragentleman
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Drake’s Rakes, #2
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Richard William Price Manners Hilliard
Heroine: Grace Georgianna Fairchild
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 1, 2011
Started On: December 2, 2013
Finished On: December 3, 2013

Everyone who knows my reading tastes know that I am someone who loves an angst ridden romance. Never a Gentleman, book 2 in the Drake’s Rakes series landed in my TBR pile because I kept getting recommendations of the fact that this is a  book that offers a healthy dose of just that. Since I was already on a historical romance reading binge the last couple of reads, I decided to finally take the plunge and see what the fuss was all about.

Having never read an Eileen Dreyer before I didn’t know what to expect when I first delved into the story. Eileen tends to set an adequate pace for the story though I found the flow a bit tedious at times, perhaps because I have been spoilt rotten by the likes of authors such as Sherry Thomas and Courtney Milan whose beautiful prose alone makes me want to sink myself into the story and never come up for air.

My first disadvantage I believe was the fact that I didn’t read the first book in the series. I think I did miss out on the beginning of the “relationship” that blossoms between Diccan and Grace, a pair that is as different from each other as night and day. While Diccan is heralded for his uber good looks, his suave charm and the beautiful women he beds with, Diccan is a man whose diplomatic career looks to be promising as long as he carries out his duties perfectly in order to save the country and the Queen. Meanwhile, Grace is the spinster daughter of an army general, who dies a while back, leaving her alone to pursue her dreams for the first time in her life. Grace is plain looking, doesn’t seem to have anything striking about her features that would make people notice her except for the fact that she limps when she walks, which Grace would rather people never notice.

When Grace and Diccan are “forced” into entering a marriage of convenience, Diccan in the “noble” reason of saving Grace’s virtue while Grace does so to save Diccan’s reputation which is a necessity for his career; only Grace enters the marriage with hope unfurling in her heart that if she tries hard enough, she would able to win the affections of her husband.

Diccan who never thought he would feel anything for his plain and mousy looking wife is first appalled and then taken aback when he finds himself enamored by the woman he has married, the spell that she weaves on him one that is seemingly hard for him to turn away from. But then alas, duty calls, for which philandering seems to be a requirement, infidelity that would in return save England, his duty being to the country which would always come first.

I tried so hard to find any redemptive qualities to Diccan and came up short except for the time that Diccan refused to leave Grace’s side when she falls violently ill towards the latter part of the story. Even then, I couldn’t find it in me to like him much and neither did I like Grace for putting up with a lot of things that went on in her marriage. True to Grace’s character, her patience is the noblest of its kind, the lengths to which Grace goes in order to fit into the life that Diccan leads, even accepting his dalliances by demanding that he give her the same kind of pleasure that she actually witnesses being bestowed upon Diccan’s mistress.

Believe me, I am someone who loves dark heroes and by dark I mean the type that most readers tend to shy away from because they don’t fit into the feminist agenda that most readers of romance have these days. If I am being blunt, I found Grace to be a doormat heroine throughout most of the story, hiding her true passion and the fire inside of her for a man who pretty much neglects her as soon as she starts to mean something to him; all of course in the name of saving the country.

I found Diccan to be a tiresome hero at best. I just didn’t find him to be an alpha hero; I tend to call a hero alpha when he is decisive and able to take things in stride and do what is needed without petty excuses to make himself feel better. And while I can take cheating in a romance as long as there is even a dim light at the end of the tunnel which paves the way for redemption on the hero’s part, I am all for it. But the excuses that seemed to focus around Diccan being the savior of the country making him the kind of neglectful hero he was made him a complete turn off for me in most of the ways.

While certain readers seem to have fallen in love with the story, I would say that this could have definitely done much, much better! Dark heroes I am all for it, alpha asshole heroes; I can definitely live with them, but the kind of excuse of a hero Diccan turned out to be? I just don’t think I would ever be able to love someone like him.

If you are planning on reading Never a Gentleman, I would caution you to read book 1 first. Perhaps then Grace and Diccan’s character might make the impression that the author was going for on you.

Recommended for fans of the author.

Favorite Quotes

Not a kind word. Not a caress. His eyes were closed and his hands were fisted in her hair. She swore he was growling, and the sound reverberated in her chest. She felt impaled, split, the pressure of him inside her unbearable. Yet her body tightened, seeking him, reveling in his loss of control. She lifted up, arching to fit him inside of her. She closed her eyes, all her focus on the unbearable fullness, the sliding, searing pleasure of him as he pumped into her, the abrasion of cloth and buttons and stays as he took her on the hard wood floor.

He never asked. She never begged. He simply shifted and she spread her legs to welcome him home. He kissed her again, long and deep and wicked, and then he drove into her, and she forgot everything else. She forgot needing or belonging or having. She forgot pride and self-respect and a lonely woman’s despair. For these moments he was hers, and she let him be.

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

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Review: The Way Home by Dallas Schulze

Format: Paperbackthewayhomeds
Read with: NA
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Tyler Douglas McKendrick
Heroine: Meg Harper
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 1, 1994
Started On: November 16, 2013
Finished On: November 18, 2013

Margaret Harper or Meg is the heroine from the wrong side of town. Hailing from the small town of Regret in Iowa, Meg is four or five years old when her path crosses that of 14 year old Tyler McKendrick, his kindness alone during that fateful day earning him a place in her heart forever.

Tyler might not even remember the day that he had encountered Meg, but time and yet again their paths cross until for the last time when Tyler is home recuperating from an injury and runs across the altogether too beautiful, now 17 year old Meg.

Meg knows it’s too good to be true to even contemplate thinking that Tyler would be interested in her in the way that she daydreams about him. Her mother warns her of the consequences, but Meg’s heart knows no limits as such when it comes to Tyler and wanting him.

Their friendship was supposed to only last until the summer was over, but then fate had other plans in place when Tyler finds Meg on his doorstep, broken in a way that makes his blood run hot and cold with rage towards the man who dared to do that to her. Consequentially, Tyler finds himself and Meg entering a marriage of convenience which might’ve worked if his young wife wasn’t appealing enough to drive him slowly insane.

One thing leads to another and Meg and Tyler finds themselves traversing through the ups and downs of their marriage, through the good and the bad, making sacrifices along the way which ultimately brings closure to all aspects of the story but one, the secondary romance that takes place between Tyler’s best friend Jack and Meg’s sister Patsy.

The Way Home by Dallas Schulze could’ve turned into a swell read if not for the fact that the story became too bogged down with unnecessary details that made going through certain parts of the story a bit of a challenge. I managed to skim read through the bits that didn’t work for me and I think I still managed to get the gist of the story quite well. In my opinion there were parts of the story that could’ve totally being eliminated and perhaps the story would’ve been much more of a hit then.

Like most romance readers, I’m someone who loves a good marriage of convenience themed romance. I liked the subtle sexual tension that existed between Tyler and the virginal Meg and I think that is one aspect of the story that the author could’ve explored a bit more. Somehow the buildup to it all seemed to be missing in action when the actual deed happened, perhaps owing to Tyler’s super sensitive nature and Meg’s inexperience in the area.

Subtract some of the mundane details, zap the romance with a bit of heat and meanwhile if Meg could grow a spine or two in certain parts of the story, this could’ve turned into a memorable read indeed. The way things ended in the secondary romance that was partly the focus of the story makes me wonder whether Dallas came up with Jack and Patsy’s story. I bet that could prove to be an explosive read if the author manages to get all the elements right.

Recommended for fans of the author & fans of romances of the trope marriages of convenience.

Favorite Quotes

He ignored the voice that warned him he was stepping over the line he himself had drawn. One kids, he told himself. A simple kiss. What possible harm could it do?
Her mouth was just as soft as he’d imagined it to be, soft and yielding and his. He threaded his fingers deeper into her hair, cupping the back of her head to tilt her face up to his, deepening the pressure of his mouth on hers.

He felt the shudder that ran through her as his mouth touched hers. Five years, he thought. Five years and she still tasted of sunshine and mint. And then he stopped thinking at all but only felt. Felt the half-forgotten fire race through his veins, felt the familiar pressure of her body against his as she melted into his embrace.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks

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Review: Skin Dive by Ava Gray

Format: E-bookskindive
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Skin, #4
Publisher: Berkley Books
Hero: Taye
Heroine: Gillie Flynn
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 5, 2011
Started On: October 24, 2013
Finished On: November 13, 2013

The Skin series by Ava Gray which comprises of 4 books in total started out so great. And by great I mean like the type of books that keeps you riveted and at the edge of your seat mixed with so much passion and heart thumping variety of alpha heroes that totally makes one swoon. And after I finally painstakingly managed to finish the last and final book which happens to be this one, I’m left with the question; what the hell happened?!

We meet Taye and Gillie, if I am not mistaken in book 2 of the series. Even then my interest was at an all time high to read about the mysterious Taye with the ability to control electric power and magnetic elements and of course his obsession with the woman who holds his undivided attention with whom he escapes from the prison in which they had both been subjected to various tests and experimentation, not to mention torture. And in Skin Dive we finally get their story, their journey of trying to find their own footing in a world that is still riddled with danger as their captors never cease in their attempts to look for both of them.

Gillie is a healer who bears the scars left behind by every person she had been forced to test her abilities on. She would rather she never have to use her abilities, but that doesn’t mean she is not going to stand up on her own two feet and test her boundaries and the sense of freedom that comes from leaving behind her days of captivity. Her need for Taye starts out as a slow burn that grows into an inferno of wanton desire, something Taye seems quite adapt at turning his back on though Gillie comes to realize later on just at how much of a cost he does it.

Skin Dive had all the elements that would have actually made this a wonderful read. Taye is a hero who has that brooding thing down to perfection. He has no memory of his past apart from fragments of disjointed nightmares that makes him believe that he is no good for someone pure like Gillie. The heroine Gillie sometimes made me question her abilities into truly seeing into the person Taye is. Taye hides from Gillie the price his “gift” takes on him, just how much of himself is withering away and dying every time he makes use of his powers to fight with their captors.

Then came a period of separation, which I’m all for if it adds on to the angst factor of two people supposedly so much in love with each other. Taye loves Gillie more than life itself and wants the best for her which is one reason he keeps out of her life, leaving her to make her own way. And though it did add a bit of angst to the story, I just somehow came up feeling empty rather than fulfilled when these two eventually make their way together again. Perhaps it had something to do with Taye’s feelings during the separation being kept under lock and key while Gillie’s were explained in depth.

Towards the latter part of the book, I just skimmed through the pages which seemed to bring to an end the organization that had been responsible for keeping people like Taye and Gillie as their own test subjects under captivity. And one other aspect of disappointment turned out to be how Tanager, the girl with an attitude a mile wide had her happily ever after crushed right in front of her which just made me sigh out in unhappiness and disappointment though I know that that is how life works out for most of the time.

I would recommend for those interested to read up to book 3. I loved those three books and would definitely recommend them. This one? Not so much.

Favorite Quotes

She had kissed him before, a clumsy caress that left him reeling with pleasure. He’d kissed her at McGinty’s to get the bastards to leave her alone. This time it would be different. He snared her hand and spun her into his arms. Lowering his head, he claimed her lips with fierce longing; he parted them with a single movement and then touched his tongue to hers. She whimpered, a sound full of innocence and curiosity. It set him on fire.

With such casual friendliness, he smiled like it hadn’t broken her heart to say good-bye to him, as if he’d never made love to her with his mouth, and she didn’t know what his face looked like when he came.

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

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Review: Cowgirl Up and Ride by Lorelei James

Format: E-bookcowgirlupandride
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Rough Riders, Book 3
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd.
Hero: Cord West McKay
Heroine: Amy Jo Foster
Sensuality: 4.5
Date of Publication: March 18, 2008
Started On: March 18, 2011
Finished On: March 19, 2011

Book 3 of the Rough Riders series seems to be a favorite amongst many of its die hard fans. I was one who was initiated into the series a little bit later than everyone else. My introduction to the series came with Keely’s story All Jacked Up which hooked me to Lorelei James’ writing style and her way of writing the most combustive scenes ever. And since then, I have read and loved each of the books in the series that has been published afterwards. But, I have always been a trifle bit reluctant to go back and read the rest of the books in the series that I have missed out because frankly put, I am not much of a fan of raunchy sex which involves more than one guy and one girl. However, as my friends on Goodreads advised, I could always skip those scenes and still enjoy the stories that were published before and so I decided to take the plunge and find out the reason why fans seems to love this book so much.

This is the story of 35 year old Cord West McKay who is the eldest son and the one on whose shoulders most of the responsibilities of the day-to-day running of the vast McKay ranch falls on. Marital bliss is not something that has worked out for Cord since his wife Marla, a floozy from West Coast that he married during his time in Seattle didn’t see it fit to share his life with him for better or for worse. Marla was never suited for the life of a rancher’s wife and six months after their son Ky was  born, Marla had hightailed it out of their lives needing a period of separation from her husband. How things work out afterwards is what propelled Cord to file for divorce and full custody of his son. Cord is a man who tests positive for the adage “once bitten, twice shy”. Since Cord prefers not to acknowledge the fact that he is lonely and needs a woman to share his life with he refuses to do anything about it until sweet Amy Jo Foster decides to grow up on him and drive him mad with desire.

13 years younger than Cord, Amy had fallen in love with him and what he stands for when she had been 5 years old. Amy has waited a long time for Cord to notice that she is not a little girl anymore and she refuses to stand on the sidelines and just continue to be ignored by the man she loves and compares every man that she meets with. Amy decides to heat things up and approach Cord the only way she would be able to have him & thus asks him to initiate her into the world of sex and sensual desires, covering up her need for Cord that runs much deeper than a physical ache.

Cord doesn’t want anyone else knowing about what goes on between him and Amy behind closed doors. But what Cord does not expect to happen is to have Amy reach into a place he has closed off after his wife left him, and for him to come to care about Amy in a way that goes beyond what they promised each other. But before they both can embrace their happily ever after, Cord has to face the true nature of his feelings for Amy and find the courage to lay his heart open to the woman he loves hoping that she would accept him before he goes mad with loneliness and the perpetual ache in his heart that refuses to go away without Amy in his life.

For me, Cowgirl Up and Ride did not turn out to be that swell a read. Maybe because I have experienced Lorelei James’ later books which deliver so much more on emotional and character development along with the good smut that made those reads my favorites. I just couldn’t connect much with either Amy or Cord and the way he calls Amy “baby girl” sort of got on my nerves. Yikes!! I am all for dominance and sexual prowess of the alpha male in the bedroom but somehow the way Cord treats Amy most of the time set my teeth on edge which only improved towards the latter part of the book.

Though this doesn’t rate as a 5 star read for me, there were a couple of things that I loved towards the end. I loved how Cord woos Amy back into his life and how their 4 month separation brings them together emotionally and lets them build a healthier relationship that wasn’t just based on sex towards the end. I always love it when a hero gets the groveling thing down to a pat and Cord seems to have passed that with flying colors. And though I admit I skipped over some of the sexual content of the book, I found myself enjoying the latter scenes in the book involving Cord and Amy, the time Cord invites Amy over after Ky is back home although even then he doesn’t want to admit just how much he has fallen for the woman who is his match made in heaven.

Recommended for the fans of the series.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo | Samhain

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