Requested ARC Review: Behind Closed Doors by Sherri Hayes

Format: E-bookbehindcloseddoors
Read with: Adobe Reader for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Daniel Brothers, Book 1
Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop
Hero: Christopher Allen Daniels
Heroine: Elizabeth Marshall
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 9, 2012
Started On: February 3, 2012
Finished On: February 3, 2012

27 year old Elizabeth Marshall is finally free from the shackles that has bound her when she had been married to Jared, the man who had slowly and surely chipped away any self-confidence or feeling self-worth she might have had before she had married him. To start over afresh, Elizabeth makes her way towards Springfield, Ohio where she gets more than she bargained for when she meets the larger than life Christopher Allen Daniels.

32 year old Christoper is a cynic when it comes to women. The ultimate betrayal at the hands of his ex-wife Carol leaves Chris with a bad taste in his mouth when it comes to getting close to any woman, even though he is tempted to from time to time. But none has tested his resolve to stay away from the fairer sex as much as his new housemate Elizabeth, who from the very first encounter he desires with everything that is primal deep inside of him.

Though Chris is determined to ignore Elizabeth and the effect she has on his control and baser emotions, all his best laid plans somehow fly out the window when circumstances find both of them spending time with each other. Little by little Chris starts to see that Elizabeth is nothing like his ex-wife though his insecurities remain and Elizabeth starts to feel safe and secure in the fact that she is all woman and more than enough when it comes to Chris.

But somehow the fragile connection that is forged between these two is tested when someone starts threatening Elizabeth, somebody out to settle a score and out for Elizabeth’s blood. Chris is surprised at the ferocity of all the protective instincts that flare to life deep inside of him and from then on there is no turning back for either Chris or Elizabeth as their relationship grows and fosters and is tested against all the hurdles that they face along the way.

It would be an understatement to say that I loved the 1st installment of the Daniel Brothers series. Chris the hero was just ultra-yummy. Brooding, tortured and a hot mess of a man who just made me go weak at the knees with his carnal thoughts about a woman who brings forth too much emotion from him right from the start. Chris doesn’t want or need any complications in his life, and he certainly doesn’t want that off-kilter feeling that strikes him whenever Elizabeth is around. But, when push comes to shove, there is none like Chris, his protective nature which just set off all the right emotions deep inside of me and I couldn’t have asked for more from him, a hero I adored on all counts.

Elizabeth was just plain wonderful. I love heroines who are dainty, feminine and are not trying to prove every second of the day that they are as strong as or stronger than men. I especially loved how Sherri handled the abuse that Elizabeth had gone through and how Sherri portrayed the journey of self-discovery Elizabeth goes through and how she emerges that much stronger because of what she had been through. Her need for a man who is as crazy about her, maybe even more so, and the way Chris manages to chase away those shadows of self-doubt that continue to linger long after was one of the best parts of the story. I loved that it wasn’t just Chris who was the giver in their relationship. Rather Elizabeth too acts as the soothing balm that soothes the tattered and frayed edges of Chris’s heart and shatters down the walls of reserve that has held his emotion intact until Elizabeth turns up in his life.

Though the villain was easy to figure out more than half way into the story, the element of suspense in the novel proved to make this already well-rounded tale of romance that much more enticing. For me, the Daniel brothers and the whole family signifies a family as it should be. Relationships of the believable and heartwarming kind is what you find here and those bits certainly added towards making the story a well developed tale in all aspects. I am so looking forward to the story of each and every brother in the family, and up next is Gage’s story, the playboy and the pro-football player and I will continue to wonder what Sherri has got in store for him. Winter 2013 seems so far away right now and the wait seems like an endless one.

For fans of tortured heroes, abused heroines who together finds the beauty that is love as it heals all scars and wounds on the surface and on the inside; this one’s for you!

Purchase Links: Writer’s Coffee Shop


Review: Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James

Format: E-bookfiftyshadesdarker
Read with: Adobe Reader for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Fifty Shades, Book 2
Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop
Hero: Christian Grey
Heroine: Anastasia Rose Steele
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 15, 2011
Started On: January 14, 2012
Finished On: January 15, 2012

Fifty Shades Darker, book 2 in the Fifty Shades series begins right where book 1 ended. Fifty Shades of Grey ended on a bittersweet note, with Anastasia (Ana) walking out on Christian and their arrangement because she cannot accept the much darker needs that arises in Christian.

But the one thing that Ana doesn’t count on is just how much she misses Christian though their affair might have been a doomed one from the start. She doesn’t envisage that the calm, cool and always in control Christian might miss her on the same level, that her beautiful lover might be brought to his very knees because of her. And once again, Christian enters into her life, this time with an altogether different proposition, one that allows both Ana and Christian to find their way in the uncharted waters that is their relationship.

I absolutely loved the second installment of the Fifty Shades series. The first book found me a bit apprehensive about Christian’s character, but nevertheless I was drawn towards his tortured soul, one that is so tormented by his past that I was practically itching with my need to find more about him. And with the opening prologue itself, E.L. James delivered a glimpse into the darkness that had been Christian’s life as a child, a past that still continues to haunt him, a battle that he continues to fight in earnest to be someone worthy of Ana’s love.

Ana has her work cut out for her when it comes to Christian. With all her insecurities about not being enough for Christian, she has to take in stride the women from Christian’s past who makes their presence known and felt, some in more disturbing ways than others. But the one thing that rights true and constant throughout the story that unfolds is the love that grows exponentially between Ana and Christian, their need for one another a thing of beauty in my opinion.

Its sheer wonder to be part of the journey that Christian seems to be taking towards freedom; freedom from the shackles that seems to hold him back from embracing a life that is worthy of a man like him. He thinks so lowly of himself though Christian is the stuff heroes are made out of. Seen through Ana’s eyes, I cannot help but sigh and moon over him, the way he seduces and in turn gets seduced by the woman he loves something to savor through each and every well done encounter.

There were moments in the story when I thought that Christian and his lethal brand of seduction and the sexual tension that he creates merely by looking at Ana in a certain way would certainly be the death of me. But, oh dear God, how I loved each and every encounter that E.L. James creates and brings so vividly to life, nothing tacky or icky about any of the scenes; just pure sexual heat together with emotions of the more tender variety to make things that much more sigh worthy!

I am absolutely on tenterhooks now awaiting the arrival of the 19th of this month when the last and final book in the trilogy will be released, where my Fifty Shades would finally become free from the past that continues to haunt him. I am definitely rooting for a happily ever after that would rock me to my very soul when it comes to Ana and Christian.

Highly recommended for fans of the series and fans of tortured and tormented heroes.

Favorite Quotes

I gasp, and his mouth swoops down. He’s kissing me, violently. Briefly our teeth clash, then his tongue is in my mouth. 
Desire explodes like the Fourth of July throughout my body, and I’m kissing him back, matching his fervor, my hands knotting in his hair, pulling it, hard. He groans, a low sexy sound in the back of his throat that reverberates through me, and his hand moves down my body to the top of my thigh, his fingers digging into my flesh through the plum dress. 
I pour all the angst and heartbreak of the last few days into our kiss, binding him to me, and it hits me—in this moment of blinding passion—he’s doing the same, he feels the same.

“Cold?” Christian asks softly and bends to lick and suckle all the ice cream off me once more, his mouth hot compared to the cool of the ice. 
Oh my. It’s torture. As it starts to melt, the ice cream runs off me in rivulets on to the bed. His lips continue their slow torture, sucking hard, nuzzling, softly—Oh please!—I’m panting. 
“Want some?” And before I can confirm or deny his offer, his tongue is in my mouth, and it’s cold and skilled and tastes of Christian and vanilla. Delicious.

“This way,” he murmurs and abruptly is inside me once more, but he doesn’t start his usual punishing rhythm straight away. He leans over, releases my hands, and pulls me upright so I am practically sitting on him. His hands move up to my breasts, and he palms them both, tugging gently on my nipples. I groan, tossing my head back against his shoulder. He nuzzles my neck, biting down, as he flexes his hips, deliciously slowly, filling me again and again. 
“Do you know how much you mean to me?” he breathes against my ear. 
“No,” I gasp.
He smiles against my neck, and his fingers curl around my jaw and throat, holding me fast for a moment. “Yes, you do. I’m not going to let you go.” I groan as he picks up speed. “You are mine, Anastasia.” “Yes, yours,” I pant. “I take care of what’s mine,” he hisses and bites my ear.

“I want you, Anastasia,” he murmurs. “I love and I hate, and I love arguing with you. It’s very new. I need to know that we’re okay. It’s the only way I know how.” 
“My feelings for you haven’t changed,” I whisper. 
His proximity is overwhelming, exhilarating. The familiar pull is there, all my synapses goading me toward him, my inner goddess at her most libidinous. Staring at the patch of hair in the V of his shirt, I bite my lip, helpless, driven by desire—I want to taste him there. 
He’s so close, but he doesn’t touch me. His heat is warming my skin. 
“I’m not going to touch you until you say yes,” he says softly. “But right now, after a really shitty morning, I want to bury myself in you and just forget everything but us.”

“You love strapping me in, don’t you?” 
“In any form,” he says, a wicked grin playing on his lips. 
“You are a pervert.”
 “I know.” He raises his eyebrows and his grin broadens. 
“My pervert,” I whisper. 
“Yes, yours.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Writer’s Coffee Shop


Review: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Format: E-bookfiftyshadesofgrey
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Fifty Shades, Book 1
Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop
Hero: Christian Grey
Heroine: Anastasia Rose Steele
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: May 26, 2011
Started On: January 11, 2012
Finished On: January 13, 2012

Whenever there is too much buzz about a book, it is always worth checking out. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James is a book that landed in my pile of books to read because of that reason alone, time and yet to be bumped up again until I decided to take the plunge and see what the hype was all about.

27 year old Christian Grey is the CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc. and a very private person at that. 21 year old Anastasia Rose Steele (Ana) is about to sit for her last college exams and as a favor to her best friend Katherine Kavanagh (Kate), Ana agrees to go to the interview Kate has lined up with Christian for the student paper in her stead. 

Ana is almost a total innocent when it comes to men, someone who would rather stand in the shadows than stand out. So it is a reluctant Ana at best that presents herself to the impressive, attractive and commanding force that is Christian Grey. Ana doesn’t know what hits her when she meets the swirling depths of grey that is Christian’s eyes, and in her perspective, the interview goes totally downhill from the moment she stumbles into Christian’s office.

When Christian turns up at the hardware store where Ana works part-time, Ana cannot believe in the fact that Christian is interested in her plain and shy self. And when Ana gets a glimpse into the darkness that swirls in the depths of Christian’s soul and the sort of relationship that he wants to indulge in with her, the naive and innocent woman deep inside of her wants to run screaming to the other end of the world. But her inner goddess that awakens at Christian’s merest touch and the fire that burns in his eyes whenever their eyes happen to meet has Ana agreeing to be part of one of the strangest forms of courting I have come across in a novel so far.

Rather than taking place through a period of time, E.L. James takes the reader across the first couple of crucial weeks that makes up the beginning of the relationship that is between the misfits that are Christian and Ana. Combining elements of BDSM with the already scorching hot sex that is part of the relationship that Christian and Ana embarks upon, E.L. James tells a mesmerizing tale that is hard to put down, that compels you to keep on reading, a story that makes you want to be a part of the journey that Christian and Ana takes towards their happily ever after.

First of all, everyone who knows me and my reading tastes know that I am not much of a fan of either BDSM or books written in the first person. But in spite of all that, the fact that this story worked for me amazingly well is the reason why I am elbow deep in the 2nd book of the series even as I write my review. There is just something about the characters, the setting, the off-the-charts kinky and scorching hot sex together with the deeper and darker emotions that makes up the story that I just cannot turn myself away from.

Christian’s character is a mesmerizing one. I loved and wanted to slap him upside down in equal amounts and that was reason enough for me to continue reading. The fact that I had to gauge his reactions towards Ana, his developing feelings towards the woman who confuses, astounds and arouses him in a way he has never been before, through Ana’s point of view alone was frustrating and exhilarating at the same time. Christian is literally a closed book when it comes to his past, his emotions and his vulnerability when it comes to Ana. But the one thing he cannot deny is his need for Ana that grows exponentially through each of their encounters to the point he is practically obsessed with her.

Christian’s approach to what he wants from Ana was one I had a hard time taking in. Maybe because BDSM is a concept that is hard for me to take in because for me a satisfying relationship between two partners is one where they are equal in the giving, receiving and sharings. But when it comes to one partner being dominant over the other to the point that the submissive can only even look at the dominant with his/her permission; needless to say my skin practically itches from the need to just shake it all away. But somehow, the elements of BDSM in the relationship between Ana and Christian didn’t reach that scale because by nature, Ana is not the submissive that Christian thinks her to be. She challenges him in the bedroom and out of it, and though she might be willing to go beyond the boundaries that is uncomfortable for her, her inner self doesn’t allow herself to just practically mould herself into what Christian wants and needs from her with no questions asked.

Ana is a woman who has landed herself with a man who has issues with a capital I. The fact that Christian never allows her to touch him as she wants to and because he has such a vast amount of experience when it comes to carnal desires and because he is richer than one man alone should ever be makes her think that she is not worthy of a man like Christian whose mesmerizing good looks alone means he could have any woman he wants. But the fact that Christian drives home through the entire story is that from all the women in the world, Ana is the woman he wants by his side because when it comes to being vulnerable in the relationship that develops between them, Ana is not the only one.

I am so glad that the final book in this trilogy would be out on the 19th of this month because I don’t think I would have the patience to wait around much after finishing up the 2nd book. 

For those who think that this book might not work for you because of the BDSM elements in the story, I suggest you give this a try because a lot of people like myself have read and enjoyed this book a whole lot more than they would have ever thought. Because the way E.L. James brings Christian to life through Ana’s eyes is one that continues to bewitch me, I am going to say adios for now and continue with my reading.

Highly recommended for fans of contemporary romances, especially for those who would like to try something different, just to step outside your comfort zone in the world of romance you so much love and indulge in.

Favorite Quotes

His head turns fractionally toward me, his eyes darkest slate. I bite my lip.
“Oh, fuck the paperwork,” he growls. He lunges at me, pushing me against the wall of the elevator. Before I know it, he’s got both of my hands in one of his in a vice-like grip above my head, and he’s pinning me to the wall using his hips. Holy shit. His other hand grabs my ponytail and yanks down, bringing my face up, and his lips are on mine. It’s only just not painful. I moan into his mouth, giving his tongue an opening. He takes full advantage, his tongue expertly exploring my mouth. I have never been kissed like this.

[Ana] “You’re a sadist?”
“I’m a Dominant.” His eyes are a scorching gray, intense.
“What does that mean?” I whisper.
“It means I want you to willingly surrender yourself to me, in all things.”
I frown at him as I try to assimilate this idea.
“Why would I do that?”
“To please me,” he whispers as he cocks his head to one side, and I see a ghost of a smile.
Please him! He wants me to please him! I think my mouth drops open. Please Christian Grey. And I realize, in that moment, that yes, that’s exactly what I want to do. I want him to be damned delighted with me. It’s a revelation.

“Why don’t you like to be touched” Ana whispered, staring up into soft grey eyes. 
“Because I’m fifty shades of fucked-up, Anastasia” 

He grabs me suddenly and yanks me up against him, one hand at my back holding me to him and the other fisting in my hair. 
“You’re one challenging woman,” He kisses me, forcing my lips apart with his tongue, taking no prisoners. 
“It’s taking all my self-control not to fuck you on the hood of this car, just to show you that you’re mine, and if I want to buy you a fucking car, I’ll buy you a fucking car,” he growls.

This is a man in need. His fear is naked and obvious, but he’s lost. . . Somewhere in his darkness. 
His eyes wide and bleak and tortured. I can soothe him. Join him briefly in the darkness and bring him into the light. 

He’s naked except for those soft ripped jeans, top button casually undone. Jeez, he looks so freaking hot. My subconscious is frantically fanning herself, and my inner goddess is swaying and writhing to some primal carnal rhythm. 

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Writer’s Coffee Shop


Requested Review: Hidden Threat by Sherri Hayes

Format: E-bookhiddenthreat
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop
Hero: Matthew Andersen
Heroine: Cali Stanton
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 3, 2010
Started On: November 6, 2011
Finished On: November 7, 2011

Hidden Threat by Sherri Hayes is my very first novel by the author and one that I immensely enjoyed reading. 28 year old Cali Stanton, heiress to the multi-million dollar Stanton Enterprises is summoned by her father back to the States whilst on one of her tours to Africa with her team of Doctors Without Borders. Cali rushes back home though finances and dealing with the day-to-day management of a company is the furthest thing she wants to be doing.

Cali’s first day at work turns out to be one filled with surprises from her gut deep reaction towards the 31 year old Matthew Andersen who manages the security aspect of the building and the company to the shocking news that Matthew imparts that leaves Cali reeling. The news that her father has been personally receiving threats which had escalated in nature oft late and that those vicious threats may now be targeted towards her is totally not what Cali had been looking forward to.

Matthew is shell shocked by his visceral reaction towards the daughter of his boss who in turn is going to be acting as his boss for the next three months. Matthew thrives on control and order in his life and he is not at all pleased to find that the mere presence of Cali puts all his emotions on a wild roller coaster ride which he resists with every fiber of his being.

The sexual attraction and the sizzle that lingers between Cali and Matthew takes the centre-stage of this story as both of them try to brush aside their attraction towards each other as anything else but that. But when the danger escalates throwing Cali right in the midst of it  all, there is no stopping Matthew from taking charge of her life, vowing to keep her safe until the hidden threat is neutralized once and for all.

Sharing living quarters with the woman who has been playing centrefold in his dreams ever since she entered his life seems to chip away at the last bit of resistance that Matthew has got. Though Matthew knows that for him, Cali is just more than a simple affair, there is no moving forward in their relationship until the villain is caught, who seems to be working more closely in their organization than any of them foresaw.

Though I am not much of a fan of rehashing events in novels, somehow that works in this story bringing to light just how far and deep Cali and Matthews’ attraction runs for each other. Sherri has the reader practically squirming before delivering on all that fabulous sexual tension which was one of the best aspects of the novel.

Matthew has a control on his emotions and behavior that is a bit daunting as nothing fazes him and ceretainly no female has ever had him in a twist, that is until Cali enters his otherwise mundane and well ordered life and makes him lose every shred of that control that is legendary amongst those who knows him. Its the way Sherri brings his character to life, showing just how much his sort of forbidden attraction towards Cali affects him that makes this such a compelling read.

Cali’s character is an endearing one as well, one who doesn’t hide behind pretenses and secrets but rather takes what she can get with Matthew even when she knows that by the end of the affair, her heart might just shatter into pieces. And though she lets Matthew control aspects of her life due to danger that surrounds her, I admired her because she is no pushover though she loves Matthew to pieces and would lay down her very life for him.

Worthy of a mention is the secondary romance that takes place between Jason, Matthews’ older brother and Cali’s assistant Lisa that continues throughout the story.

Hidden Threat is a novel that compels you to keep on turning one page after the other, just so that you can spend a few more minutes immersed in the magic that is Cali and Matthew.

Recommended for fans of romantic suspense strong in the romance element, with sizzling sensuality that works its magic all the way!

Favorite Quotes

He took her face in his hands and claimed her mouth with his. It felt like he had been drowning, and she was his life raft. This was not a soft, sensual kiss. This was a kiss of desperation. A kiss of need, not want. And Cali needed it just as much as Matthew.