Requested Review: Bella’s Point by Elizabeth Seckman

Format: E-bookbellaspoint
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Western Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Jack Owen Byron
Heroine: Isabella Francine Troy Stanley
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 9, 2014
Started On: December 13, 2014
Finished On: December 14, 2014

Bella’s Point by Elizabeth Seckman is a story that takes place in the post civil war era. Isabella Francine Troy Stanley (Bella) comes from a rich family until the war had practically taken everything from her. Life is dangerous for a woman who lives with just her mammy and a young boy on the frontier where anyone and everyone is willing to take advantage of them. And Bella with her “scandalous” past owing to the fact that she had divorced her husband, the difficulties are more so.

The story starts off with a determined Bella, visiting the prison to buy herself a husband. A husband none other than Jack Owen Byron, the man who had been her childhood crush and the star of her fantasies. Even when everyone else disagrees with her plan, Bella is of the mind that she and Jack together can make a home for themselves. However, things are far from that simple as Bella finds out with everyday that comes.

Elizabeth Seckman whips up a story with quite the interesting elements in Bella’s Point. There is Bella, the woman who had grown up the pampered daughter, who had practically everything she wanted or desired for. And then came her marriage, which had nearly destroyed her very soul. At first I was irked by the fact that Bella seemed to break down and cry often, even with that indomitable front that she puts up. But then as I dug into the story and found out what exactly Bella had suffered through, I thought to myself, its a wonder that she is able to be as spirited as she tended to be. Given that back then, no one would have talked about mental issues like depression, I believe that Bella was entitled to her crying sessions, until she had finally gotten the closure that she craved.

Every time I pick up a novel based in the post civil war era, I am hit by the thoughts of just how cruel life had been for people, especially for women and the colored, who had ended up bearing the brunt of societies many cruelties. I can’t help but thank God that I wasn’t born to be a witness to humanity’s vile evilness towards the fellow humans, but then I guess if one were to really look at the society we live in today, we aren’t doing that much better off. Just that we are more “civilized” in our cruelty now.

Jack turned out to be a sweetly wonderful hero. His reluctance to get married to Bella was an understandable one given that he had grown up in a world where there had always been distinct lines between different levels in society. Though I had a bit of an issue with just how suddenly Jack found himself proclaiming his love for Bella, I still thought that the way he took care of Bella, her fears regarding physical intimacy and the rest was really sweet. The one aspect of the story that I think was dragged out a bit more than necessary was Bella’s past and the fate of her ex-husband. I just felt that that aspect of the story could’ve been done and over with a lot sooner and with a fewer pages than was dedicated for it.

Loved the sweet ending to the story. Recommended for fans of Western themed historical romances!

Final Verdict: Ms. Seckman spins a Western themed romance with enjoyable elements!

Favorite Quotes

His body moved slowly in hers in a deliberate deep grind until he felt her body respond. He heard her gasp, her hands digging into his biceps. His rhythm increased until he felt her tighten around him, her body stiffened under him, her thighs squeezed his hips as she held on as his body responded to hers moving in harmony until they had reached that place of peace collapsing together. Neither spoke, neither moved an inch. They lay together, still locked in an embrace. Neither wasted the breath to speak.

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

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Review: Cowboy Casanova by Lorelei James

Format: E-bookcowboycasanova
Read with: iBooks for iPad/iPhone
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Series: Rough Rides, Book 12
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd.
Hero: Bennett Andrew McKay
Heroine: Ainsley Hamilton
Sensuality: 4.9
Date of Publication: December 6, 2011
Started On: December 6, 2011
Finished On: December 7, 2011

No matter how hard you try to stick to a schedule when it comes to reading and reviewing, some books are those that you have to make time for. And for me, books from the Rough Riders series by Lorelei James are books that fall into that category. There is none who writes western contemporaries like Lorelei James does, a mix of out of this world scorching sensuality together with what its like in the West and the day to day grind of being a cowboy and part of a big family.

So, if you are a fan of the Rough Riders series like myself, you would have already read Chasin’ Eight which happens to be the previous book. And when Ben’s character came up during Chasin’ Eight there wasn’t even one inch of me that didn’t clamor to read his story. And with Cowboy Casanova with its beautiful glossy man titty cover, Lorelei James delivers the anticipatory fans with Bennett McKay’s story which turned out to be a great romance filled with a whole lot of kink.

32 year old Ben McKay is the middle child, the one who falls between Quinn McKay and Chase McKay. He is a rancher during the week, and when the weekend arrives, he is a member of the Rawhide Club, a club that exists and guarantees to provide its patrons with a place for no-strings attached, safe and consensual sex. And in that club, the quiet, brooding Ben McKay turns into Bennett McKay, a Dom who is that much more dangerous and alluring. 

37 year old Ainsley Hamilton is the president of the new bank that opens up in Sundance Wyoming. She is also divorced from her husband of almost five years because along the way, Ainsley had discovered that they were just too incompatible in their sexual preferences. From what had started out as a wonderful partnership, things had started going downhill the minute Ainsley had wanted more, things deteriorating so fast that its a wonder she has any self-confidence left after her marriage bites the dust.

When Ainsley’s friend Layla convinces her to give the Rawhide Club a go, she has no idea what she is putting herself into, except for the fact that something deep inside of her yearns to be dominated sexually and the man who stares at her from across the room seems like the real deal when with one searing glance she is all but putty in his hands.

When Ben discovers the woman with whom he had the most satisfying and blood heating sexual encounter with in ages is none other than the new bank president, he comes up with the plan that they both enter into a Dom/sub sexual relationship which would end within one month’s time during which Ben is certain he can make Ainsley embrace her submissive nature when it comes to sex.

I loved how different this book turned out to be from the rest of the books in the series. Concentrating on totally the BDSM aspect of erotica, Lorelei James delivers readers with a lot of kink, and the book does come with the warning it is so. Though I am someone who rarely reads books with BDSM themes because I am not someone who totally likes or gets that sort of sexual pleasure, this book proved to be quite informative on the subject. Without reading like an instruction manual, Ms. James sheds light onto the many varieties and aspects of the Dom/sub relationship and delivers a scorching and over the top kinky variety of sex to go with the story.

Ben’s character is one that is full of contrasts. On the one hand he is Bennett, the sexual Dom, who demands from and caters to every whim of his Sub in his sexual conquests. To the rest of the world he is Ben McKay, just an ordinary rancher who fades to the background, who once ran away from home when he was eight and returned to find out that no one had even known the fact. There is such a wealth of desolation deep inside of Ben though one wouldn’t know it by seeing him. But with Ainsley he is like an open book, his fears that people would never accept him the way he is which plays a major role in why Ben lives the way he does.

I loved Ben in both his modes. The caring and sweet Ben who prefers to be labled as an ordinary rancher but is creative in his own quiet way and the dominant figure he turns into during each and every sexual encounter that just makes him so very appealing. From the very first scene, his character is one that I couldn’t help but be drawn towards though the life of a sexual dominant is one I won’t even pretend to understand, there is a certain allure to the rough and terse commands that he issues that just makes one want to lie down and let him do whatever he wants with you.

Ainsely’s character was so much fun to get to know as well. She is a leader, a dominant in her day to day life, but craves to know what it would be like to submit herself to the demands of someone who would know exactly which spots to stroke to throw her into a frenzy of need. The one thing that I loved about her character was the fact that she is no stick thin woman with model good looks but a woman who most female readers can definitely relate to. Her fear that people would never understand the fact that she loves being a sub in her sexual life leads her to make the biggest mistake of her life, one which she totally makes up for towards the end. She is independent and intuitive, the one who is able to draw both sides of Ben’s character to embrace the existence of each other.

And it is always a plus point to revisit the McKay bunch, to learn tidbits on how the rest of them are doing and also see how Ms. James brings to Sundance Wyoming those characters that just beg for their own stories to be told.

Recommended for fans of Lorelie James, for fans of BDSM themed erotica and for those who love over the top hot and kinky cowboy romances.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Sony | Samhain

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Review: Sunrise Over Texas by M. J. Fredrick

Format: E-booksunriseovertexas
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Series: Standalone
Hero: George Trace Watson
Heroine: Katherine Barclay
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 6, 2010
Started On: August 2, 2011
Finished On: August 2, 2011

This week’s Tuesday started like any other day except for the fact that I had this sudden urge or should I say craving?, to read Sunrise Over Texas by MJ Fredrick. I don’t know how or why, and I am not even going to question the urge to do so because Sunrise Over Texas turned out to be wonderful in all the ways that counts.

Taking place in the Texas frontier in 1826, Sunrise Over Texas tells the story of the remarkable Katherine Barclay (Kit) who fights for survival every minute of the day as the only one left behind along with her mother-in-law Agnes and sister-in-law Mary at the garrison standing guard between the Karankawa tribe and Stephen Austin’s colony of San Felipe. With the food supply depleting with each meal, Kit struggles to keep things going, no mean feat when her in-laws have always lived in the lap of luxury and are not much of a help when it comes to practicalities. Mourning for the death of her husband followed by that of her young son Daniel, the last thing Kit wants is for a stranger to ride up to their “safe” haven and for her to take on the responsibility of nursing him back to health.

George Trace Watson left home to get away from the memories of his dead wife and his stillborn child. When he finds himself raging with fever and nursed back to health by Kit, the first thing he notices about her is her sheer determination to go on against all odds. Though Trace doesn’t want to get involved, much less be responsible for the safety of three women, the honorable man inside of him refuses to turn his back on them, especially when Kit herself stirs up longings that he thought he had buried with his wife.

Though guilt-ridden by the fact that he feels things for Kit he should not, even that doesn’t stop him from embracing the desire that unfurls between them right from the very start. Kit whose take-charge attitude in life also extends to the bedroom makes for very interesting and provocative scenes of passion with a much laid-back Trace who fits her quirks in the bedroom and out of it in every way.

Towards the end of the book, I had a knot the size of Texas in my throat from all the emotions that coursed through me as Kit faced one hurdle after the other and came out winning and stronger than ever only to nearly be turned away by the man who owns her heart because of the fear that rules over his emotions of ever being too vulnerable again.

For me, Kit is the best thing about this western romance. Although I loved Trace to bits, his gentle and giving nature making it hard not to, it is Kit whose inner strength that drew me like a moth to flame, because her character demands nothing less. Its not easy for an author to write a heroine who manages to outshine the hero when majority of readers like us swoon over the hero just because he merely breathes and I can’t help but send high praise MJ Fredrick’s way for being able to do just that without making me feel cheated out on any aspect of the story.

Its hard to believe that this is her first historical because the story flows smoothly and the characters just tug at your heartstrings, making Sunrise Over Texas a wonderful western romance to sink into.

Highly recommended for fans of the genre and fans of MJ Fredrick.

As soon as I post this, I am scurrying off to acquire every available e-book by MJ Fredrick because I find myself with no will left to resist the lure of her books at this moment.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Carina Press

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Review: Loving Luke by Jenny Andersen

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Hero: Luke Stone
Heroine: Hannah Bluefield
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 17, 2009
Started On: March 23, 2011
Finished On: March 25, 2011

Romances featuring ex-convict heroes are one of my favorite types to read. I got this title off a discussion thread on Amazon and the promising blurb had me acquiring this book into my to-be-read pile. Eons later I suppose, I finally took the plunge and read Loving Luke, and while there were things that could have made this book a better read all around, I still enjoyed reading about Luke’s journey to happily ever after with Hannah.

The story kicks off with Hannah Bluefield going to visit Luke Stone at Deep Mountain Prison to offer the man she has loved all her life who is up for parole a job at her ranch. Hannah dreads finding a miserable and hopeless Luke and instead finds a bleak and hard version of the Luke who had taken over the reins of his family ranch to skyrocket it from thriving to mega successful in a few years. Sentenced to prison for the murder of his wife Chrissy, Luke had been one of the most successful horse trainers in the country before his arrest.

Luke grabs the lifeline that his childhood friend Hannah throws at him though marriage to any woman or giving up his heart once again to be trampled all over is not on his agenda. Luke is determined to remain celibate throughout their marriage, until he can prove his innocence and walk out of Stone Crossing for good, forever. Hannah dreams of finally achieving her dreams of having Luke in her arms and her life for good when Luke doesn’t even remember what took place between them 12 years back, the night she had given up her virginity to the only man she has ever loved.

Life is far from idyllic when the one man who pursued the avenue of Luke doing time for murder is now the new mayor of Stone Crossing and is determined to send Luke back to where he rightfully belongs. However in Hannah he finds a worthy opponent, who would do anything to keep the man who is her only from going back to prison, even if it means that he would walk out on her once his name is cleared.

A fresh murder in Stone Crossing, similar in M.O. to Chrissy’s have the local police hounding on Hannah’s doorstep making Luke fear that his freedom is going to be a short lived one. Though Luke starts depending on Hannah and considers her his lifeline, Luke has trouble letting go of his past, how he was duped before into loving a woman more than his last breath and continues to reject all his emotions where Hannah is concerned until the very last minute when the turn of events towards the end makes him realize that what he has yearned for since his prison cell door slammed on him 10 years back is right in front of him.

I liked the premise of the story well enough and Luke is a yummy hero to dream about. The horse training business that serves as the backdrop was an interesting one and proves to be something that both Hannah and Luke have an immense talent for. I liked Hannah well enough and considered her mother-tiger-protecting-the-cub routine when it comes Luke an endearing one. Though she wears her heart on the sleeve and would love nothing more than for Luke to return her feelings, that doesn’t stop her from trying to ease Luke’s pain and make him see that if he wants, they could have a wonderful life together. And I reveled in the simmering tension between Hannah and Luke which was of the toe-curling variety and lent the story the spice it so rightfully deserves.

However, even with all those things that I liked, there were a certain things that didn’t work for me in the story. I wanted glimpses of Hannah and Luke’s past which Hannah seems to think about a lot. I wanted to know how she fell in love with him, and I wanted Luke’s fascination with Hannah which had started when he was 20 years old to come to the spotlight as well. These issues were just skimmed over, the momentous night in which Hannah gave herself up to Luke all but forgotten and his proposal to Chrissy the very next day just mentioned. The emotions both Hannah and Luke had felt would have made this story a much better read with insights into their shared past lending the story what it needs to make this a 5-star read.  But nevertheless, Loving Luke is a good read, recommended for fans of western romances in a contemporary setting.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo | Wild Rose Press

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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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Review: All Jacked Up by Lorelei James

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Rough Riders, Book 8
Publisher: Samhain
Hero: Jack Donohue
Heroine: Keely McKay
Date of Publication: November 3, 2009
Started On: January 5, 2010
Finished On: January 7, 2010

This is the first book ever that I tried out of this author. This book is one sure red hot read that the author pulls off quite nicely. I think this is the last book released of the rough riders series and features the lone girl in the McKay family. Keely who wants to earn her own place in their close knit society rather than been remembered as a hell raiser when she was younger.

Jack, best friend of one of Keely’s brother, had always seemed to rub her the wrong way. Whenever Jack and Keely are in the same room, they manage to insult one another to no end. One hot kiss that Jack and Keely shared at one of her brother’s weddings didn’t seem to make things any better.

Now two years later, Keely needs Jack’s help in finalizing her efforts to start her own rehabilitative clinic and Jack needs Keely to act as his fiancé to pull off a business deal which Jack wants so badly, bad enough to want to pretend to be engaged to Keely and take on being part of the McKay clan.

Although their passion could singe away the bedsheets, out of the bedroom they tend to be as divided as ever. And both of them do not realize that with each moment they spend together inevitably leads them to fall in love with another, a love which they both need to realize is way more important than anything else in their lives.

A very hot read guaranteed to sizzle up your insides ladies!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Half.com | Barnes&Noble

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