Katiebabs is a self-proclaimed present day bluestocking with her head always in a book. She runs her own book blog called Babbling about Books and More!
The first chapter of Managed (VIP #2) by Kristen Callihan is riveting, much like the first chapter of Idol, the first book in this series. The way the heroine and hero are introduced is very inventive. The heroine Sophie is very unique and an original, while the hero Gabriel aka Scottie is swoonworthy. We first met Scottie in Idol, and he made quite his mark there. He's a hotter than hot Brit who has personal issues such as having trouble sleeping at night, and is estranged from his parents. Sophie is like a breath of fresh air for Gabriel who soaks up her sunshine. These two are complete opposites but their attraction for another is obvious from their first meeting on a plane, which consists of teasing and some insults, but nothing too damaging.
Most will enjoy how Gabriel and Sophie get together, especially when it comes to light how tortured Gabriel is, and how Sophie heals him. They take their relationship slowly in terms of sex, using their time getting to know one another wisely by sleeping together, but not becoming intimate. Also the on the road environment helps them bond and connect. Gabriel may not be a member of the band, but he's in charge. Sophie is in a way his subordinate, but he won't allow the power to go to his head, especially when he wants her to do what he wants.
For the most part Managed is a typical contemporary romance with a rock star appeal. But there is something missing here. On the surface, Managed has a lot going for it, but the "meat" is missing. There isn't much depth here when it comes to Sophie, who is a borderline Mary Sue, and of Gabriel who fits a stereotype that has become the norm, with a been there, done that feel. His romance with Sophie is too one-dimensional, relying on too much snark and bantering to make these two more rounded and deeper with their personalities. Because the angst factor is low here, including a big lack of drama, things start to move at a snail's pace half way through. Most readers won't care, especially if they are enjoying Sophie and Gabriel's non-stop flirty banter.
I was hoping for more "pow" or fireworks, but things fizzled for me around the time Sophie and Gabriel become intimate. As soon as they became a couple, some sudden troublesome things are thrown at them to cause them both heartache, which felt empty in the end.
If Managed had kept the pace and dialogue from the first chapter throughout the entire story, then this would have been a winner. But unfortunately, the plot loses steam with stereotypical device tropes and the action of the characters
A so-so romance that had me wishing for more.
Heartthrob (Hollywood Hearts #1) by Belinda Williams is your typical contemporary romance set in Hollywood with a down to earth heroine who is romanced by a “heartthrob” actor; the ultimate Prince Charming. Jacob Swan, the actor love interest has a name I can’t stop thinking about because Jacob and Swan reminds me of the book, Twilight. But that’s just me. who may have this issue The first half of Heartthrob is engaging as the heroine, Ally gets to know Jacob. But then it becomes stale because of a tacked on stalker, as well as Ally and Jacob going from a PG romance to a more R-Rated one with a very point A to point B type love scenes that have a been, there, done that feel. The sensuality factor of the love scenes took away from the cuteness of the story and really were out of place.
Ally comes to California to stay with her best friend Lena, a high profile actress. Ally will design Lena’s dresses for all the upcoming movie award shows of the season. Lena is pretty much the same type of person Ally grew up with, although she has gone through a somewhat bad divorced with a big time producer who found Lena, and is 25 years her senior. But overall Lena is doing pretty well for herself. Ally feels like a duck out of water because she has always stayed closed to home, giving up her fashion design career to help her parents. But this is her shot to make a name for herself, and stretch her wings. Then she meets Jacob Swan, Hollywood’s current heartthrob. Jacob is a sweetheart who goes out of his way to help Ally get situated and comfortable with the Hollywood lifestyle. They start out as friends, and then venture into dating territory, which then turns into something more. They become lovers. But then Ally is targeted by someone who isn’t happy she’s either dating with Jacob or designing dresses for Lena. Now she has to be on guard because it looks like she may be the target of some disturbed individual who wants her out of the picture.
Heartthrob should appeal to those that like romances set in Hollywood with a down to earth girl who catches her dream man, aka a big time actor who has a heart of gold. Other than the stalker element, there isn’t much tension here. Everything for Ally runs smoothly, perhaps too smoothly. Even when she and Jacob become lovers, it doesn’t really add any wow to the story. And as I mentioned above, the love scenes are very underwhelming and out of place because of the sensuality factor. They felt tacked on to keep the reader’s interest or for those who want hot sex in their romance, even though this romance had a more sweet feel to it. Once the descriptive sex was added, Heartthrob lost it’s appeal to me.
The ending is pretty much a stereotypical one with it’s HEA. All’s well that ends well for Ally and Jacob. Overall a tepid read that leaves you with a ho-hum feel.
Now available to purchase, a Lesbian Women's Fiction with a side of small town romance (with many mentions of coffee and hot chocolate!)
(Lesbian Women's Fiction/Romance)
Available for $2.99:
Kobo (Coming Soon)
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Cassie Slazak has been living a lie for a decade.
As the secret lover of Bianca Durand, the daughter of Massachusetts’ newly elected governor, Cassie wants Bianca to tell the world about their long term affair. But when Bianca gets engaged to a respected lawyer, who’s admired by both of Bianca’s parents, Cassie’s dreams are crushed. She not only rejected her high school sweetheart, and her small town life she adored, but her Catholic faith for a woman who has controlled her for too long.
When Cassie’s grandmother has fallen gravely ill, she returns to Delpoint, Pennsylvania to pay her last respects to the woman who raised her. Not only will she confront her past, but Freddie Koeman, the woman Cassie once betrayed for a possible future with Bianca. To her surprise, Freddie has forgiven Cassie, but Cassie’s guilt keeps Freddie at a distance.
Bianca refuses to let Cassie leave her, using threats and emotional blackmail to keep Cassie under her thumb. But Cassie is finished with Bianca’s deceit, turning to her family and God to give her the strength to move on, and perhaps find salvation in Freddie’s arms, who is more than willing to share all her love.
A loud beeping woke me up. I tried opening my eyes, but I was as comfortable, as one could be on a couch, half lying on someone. I was covered in a blanket, my entire body cocooned in its warmth, and my arms and legs twined with another’s—Freddie’s.
As awareness took over, I blinked away the sleep and drew the blanket down from my head. Freddie still slept, her mouth open, snoring softly. There was a milk stain in a corner of her lips from the ice cream we’d shared. We’d sat on the couch, eating bowls of ice cream, and talked late into the night. I fell asleep on her in the literal sense.
The intrusive beeping, followed by a squeal of tires and voices outside the window broke the silence. Freddie groaned and lifted her arm over her head, a loud yawn escaping her mouth.
I giggled and grabbed the top of the sofa to move off the sleeping beauty. But her hand on my back pressed down. She opened her eyes and studied me with a drowsy stare.
Hey, you.” Her hand slipped up to play with the back of my head.
I lowered my gaze, inspecting the middle of her throat and the lovely indentation that nudged me to kiss or lick. I also wouldn’t have minded licking away the leftover chocolate on her lips.
What time is it?” I blocked a yawn with the side of my hand so I didn’t blast her with my stale chocolate breath.
“Around seven-thirty based on the garbage truck I heard.” She swiped her finger down the bridge of my nose, leaving a pleasant prickling behind.
“Don’t you have to open the café?” I rested my cheek on the sofa cushion.
“Glory opens the café on Mondays. I’m not due until noon. We have the whole morning to ourselves.” The drowsy look in her eyes vanished and a warm look aimed at me appeared.
“I should call Aunt Lorraine and tell her I’m here. I forgot to last night. She must be worried.” Suddenly shy, I moved to sit up.
“Hmm.…” She stretched her arms over her head, and the middle of her throat I had become obsessed with mocked me.
“I can’t help it,” I whispered. When she said my name and clutched my shoulders, I shifted over to set my lips on that section of skin I’d wanted to taste ever since I woke up.
She arched back and lowered her right leg to the floor, allowing me to sink into her soft body. When she said my name again, I flicked the tip of my tongue along the top of her chest uncovered by her shirt. Her fingers tightened in my hair.
“I want you to kiss me,” she commanded.
“That’s what I’m doing,” I teased and licked further.
She brought my mouth to hers, sealing our lips in a tight suction. I sighed, and her tongue slipped inside my mouth to play with mine. Our chocolate breaths mingled, and we swallowed our moans while we kissed hello, becoming reacquainted again. Her arms came around my head in a protective clasp. I returned the favor by capturing her face in my palms and rocking forward, enjoying her gasp of pleasure.
With our mouths still fused together, Freddie turned on her side, taking my leg and wrapping it around her hip. I murmured some type of approval, encouragement, hoping she would take the lead so I wouldn’t have to.
Kate gave up her career as lawyer to be a director to a food bank. She loves her job, but it’s hard for her because so many families need essentials, such as food and clothes. She decides to go on television during a news broadcast to raise awareness, and to hopefully receive donations for the food bank. Soon after an anonymous individual leaves a thousand dollars in cash in an envelope at the food bank. This continues to happen, and Kate is anxious to find out who her generous benefactor is. One night she catches the generous soul leaving the cash. His name is Ian, and because he saw Kate on TV, he wanted to help. But he also has an ulterior motive. He wants to get to know Kate because he finds her attractive. Kate isn’t so sure about Ian, who won’t give her his last name, but there’s something about him she finds appealing.
Ian is tenacious when it comes to getting Kate to agree to date him. He finds her at her favorite local café because he followed her purchases on-line. Sounds like a stalker, right? But the way Ian explains his hacking sounds normal. He has his own on-line business, and does undercover hacking work for the FBI, but he’s still mysterious to Kate. Ian thinks of himself as a Robin Hood type figure who tries to help those less fortunate, such as giving money to Kate’s food bank. There’s just something about Ian that’s very appealing to Kate, so she gives him a shot. They go out on dates, and the like. Soon they can’t stop seeing and texting one another. Ian let’s Kate into his life, and opens up to her, even though he’ll disappear for days at a time because of his work with the government.
Soon Ian and Kate are heads over heels in love. Kate believes Ian is THE ONE, and wants forever with him. But something tragic happens that may destroy her happiness with Ian, leaving her with a broken heart.
Heart-Shaped Hack (Kate and Ian #1) by Tracey Garvis Graves has a hero and heroine who have hearts of gold. They are both so selfless and sacrifice in order to help others who need it. Ian has a great personality right off the bat, so it’s understandable why Kate would fall for hi. Kate is also well written. These two have great chemistry. Their love scenes are sensual and steamy. The overall plot kept my interested until the very end, even with the big shocking twist toward the end.
Tracey Garvis-Graves has a great storytelling skill, especially when it comes to contemporary fiction and romance. This is one book with a great couple and story I would recommend anyone read.
Rookie Move (Brooklyn Brusiers #1) by Sarina Bowen is a lovers reunited/ sports romance with one of the best heroes I’ve read all year. I really enjoyed the hockey culture set in Brooklyn, NY, and the main couple who are adorable together, especially the aw shucks, completely loyal to the heroine hero, who loves calling the heroine, “my girl” even though they were high school sweethearts who broke up before college.
Georgia works for the Brooklyn Bruisers, a renamed hockey team that was bought by a billionaire. Her father is their new coach, and she does most of the PR, hoping for the top publicist spot. She loves her job, but it becomes a lot harder for her when her former high school sweetheart, Leo is brought on the team. He’s the new rookie who has his work cut out for him. Not only does he have to show how talented he is so he doesn’t get cut or traded, but deal with a coach who hates his guts, and Georgia, his one true love. She was the girl who got away. He wanted to marry her even back in high school, but when she’s raped her senior year, she ends up breaking up with him. Now that he’s back, he’s going to fight for them because they deserve to be together.
Georgia is under a lot of stress because not only does she have to prove herself (much like Leo does), she has to be the buffer between her father and Leo. Her father can’t stand Leo, for reasons that are explained toward the end of the story, but she is trying to keep Leo at arm’s length. It’s obvious he wants her back, and will pull out all the stops to show her how much he still loves her. She wants to keep it professional because she doesn’t date hockey players, especially ones for the team she works for, but Leo breaks down her defenses.
Soon these two can’t keep their hands off of one another, but they have to keep their second chance at love affair a secret until the trade deadline passes, and keep Georgia’s father in the dark, who blames Leo for leaving Georgia after her assault without a care.
Rookie Move is the perfect romance for hockey fans ala romance author, Rachel Gibson. Leo is the type of hero you want to put in your pocket and hold close because he’s so cute, sweet, and beyond smitten with Georgia. She can’t help herself but fall in his arms because he’s so wonderful. Leo straddles the middle between a beta and an alpha. When these two hit the sheets, it’s scorching. No complaints there.
The only issue I had is that Georgie’s rape in high school is glossed over. It’s mention a few times, but feels unresolved. All we know is that she went away for some sort of camp on a college campus one weekend and was raped. It’s the catalyst that tears her and Leo apart, but it felt tacked on just to give a reason why these two broke up. I wanted more of a resolution on Georgia’s trauma, and why her father seems to hate Leo, as if he was the reason for Georgia’s attack.
Rookie Move is a solid romance with a loveable hero who I couldn’t get enough of. This is a great start to a sports hockey series I can’t wait to continuing reading.
Your hands easy
weight, teasing the bees
hived in my hair, your smile at the
slope of my cheek.
occasion, you press
above me, glowing, spouting
readiness, mystery rapes
When you have withdrawn
your self and the magic, when
only the smell of your
love lingers between
my breasts, then, only
then, can I greedily consume
Interference by Amélie Antoine is a top quality mystery suspense with one, OMG no that didn’t happen twist ending. This book will appeal to those who enjoyed Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. The main protagonist, Chloe is a real piece of work. The question throughout more than half the novel is whether she’s dead or not. When you find that out, and what happens after, it throws you for a loop. Also, her beloved husband Gabriel suffers horribly that you want to hug him close and tell him everything will be okay. And everything will be okay one he takes matters into his own hands.
Gabriel and Chloe are a dedicated couple, still in love, and extremely happy after five years of marriage. One morning when Gabriel goes to work, he has no clue that his life is going to be torn apart. Something has happened to Chloe. She has drowned, and Gabriel is destroyed. Around the same time of Chloe’s death, Emma arrives. She’s a photographer who is trying to figure out what she wants in life. She meets Gabriel, and soon they become friends. In less than six months they’re lovers, and Gabriel is thinking of moving on from losing Chloe and giving Emma a shot. But then something so shocking and disturbing happens regarding Chloe’s death, and the entire story behind it will turn Gabriel’s life upside down once again.
Interference had my jaw dropping as I read. I can’t saw why because it would give away the ultimate spoiler on why this book is so good. Gabriel is the ultimate victim here. The whys and how’s of Chloe’s death is disgusting and appalling, including Emma’s possible role in it. When everything is revealed, the story goes in another direction regarding Gabriel. How he reacts, and the decision he makes with Chloe is a true shocker. The last chapter is one of the best numbing and chilling endings I’ve read in a long time. The person who does this last final deed as a form of revenge is one you may cheer for because of the emotional manipulation they have undergone on behalf of an individual who ends up losing it all because of greed.
Interference is one of the best books I’ve read in 2016. It kept me on my toes and made my mind spin because of the final outcome that again is one humdinger of an ending that will make you gasp in shock, or perhaps stand up in cheer. A must read!
Anything but Minor(Balls in Play #1) by Kate Stewart should have been a hilarious contemporary romance set in the world of baseball. Unfortunately for this reader it didn’t work at all. The heroine Alice is over the top quirky (not in a good way) and almost a Mary Sue, but she did have an interesting job as flight instructor. She’s a duck out of water after moving far away from a stifling, overbearing mother. But Alice is ready to take on the world, using her addiction to 80’s movies to help build her confidence and meet new people. For some reason, total strangers love Alice. But there’s an exception with Rake, the popular minor league baseball player about to move up to the majors. These two are like oil and water in the beginning. but eventually they bond and connect leading to a sexual relationship that hits all of Alice’s buttons.
Rafe has wanted Alice as soon as he met her, or I should say he just wants to screw her silly. Alice is very awkward around him, as in she acts immature. She comes across more as teenager than a twenty-something who can stand up to middle aged men as her students who think she shouldn’t be teaching because she’s a woman. Alice can’t seem to control her body around Rafe, as in one scene that just turned me off from the rest of the book. Rafe takes Alice parasailing. She’s so nervous that she literally pisses herself, and Rafe is caught in the crossfire. How is that funny or cute?
Alice doesn’t seem to have control of herself around Rafe, but he doesn’t mind. He wants her in his bed even though Alice says she only wants for be friends. But we know where this is going, and Rafe breaks her down, giving her so much sex and many “O’s”. Alice is very honest with Rafe, which I guess is a plus since there is no annoying
miscommunication between the two. But the way Alice reacts to Rafe and the world around her is not endearing. She comes across as one-dimensional, even thought we’re in her head most of the time. She’s written too cartoonish and almost as if she is putting on an act. I felt her portrayal was too fake, or the author was trying too hard to make Alice lovable, but in a nerdy and loveable awkward type of way. I just couldn’t connect with her, and all her eye raising quirks and too many mentions of body fluids and functions such as peeing on one’s self.
Rafe is more of a wallpaper type of hero. He’s okay, but a little on the bland side. He’s written with more spark to his personality than Alice.
Anything But Minor would have been a solid “B” grade romance but because of Alice’s one-dimensional personality and Mary Sue traits, including her lack of authenticity I want in my heroines, I would say this is the type of read you would borrow and not buy.
Apprentice in Death (In Death #43) by JD Robb is another great installment in this series, specifically because it centralizes on a very shocking and disturbing crime with a former police officer, and his 15 year old daughter who are assassinating certain people in NYC as a form or revenge. They have targeted these victims by shooting them out in the open at an ice skating rink, in Times Square, and at Madison Square Garden. There is also collateral damage, innocent people caught in the crossfire.
Eve is in charge of this case that has her, and the entire city on edge. As she investigates those close to this murdering father and daughter duo, Eve is against the clock to stop more innocent people from dying. Along with her fellow officers, including her husband, Roarke, they will work together to find these killers before they escape or end things on their terms by even killing their loved ones, which consists of a mother, her husband and a young boy.
Apprentice in Death will keep you on the edge of your seat as Eve tries to stop evil. The hardest part in reading is finding out why a 15 year old girl has become a heartless killer who even enjoys breaking her younger brother’s puppy’s neck and tossing it out a window. She is a chilling portrayal of a cold blooded killer, a serial killer in the making for no real reason other than her father manipulating her at a young age because he wanted revenge. Joining Eve on this journey as she puts together the pieces is great reading, and very researched. It’s always a pleasure to see Eve and Roarke interact together, especially during those down times. There’s very little private time of them together outside them working on this case, so you always want more, especially toward the end when they go to a their friend Mavis’s one-year old daughter’s birthday. I like those softer and sweeter moments to counteract the ugliness Eve works with everyday.
Another excellent crowd pleaser from JD Robb. I’m already anxious for the next book in one of the best futuristic fiction series I ever read.
Billionaire on the Loose (Billionaires and Bridesmaids #5) Jessica Clare is a fluffy and fun romance that will make you chuckle because of the actions of the heroine and the hero who are the least likely of people to fall in love. How can you not enjoy a nerdy, techie computer obsessed heroine, and a dashing prince from a far off land who falls head first in lust with the heroine just because she’s unlike any women he knows, and a true original?
Taylor is pretty much a hermit in her apartment. She is a remote IT person who loves playing on-line role games. Because she became too involved in this virtual reality, she has picked up an admirer who is now stalking her, and going as far as to threatening to kill himself if Taylor isn’t on-line all the time talking with him. Instead of contacting the authorities or blocking him, mainly because of guilt, she gives in to him, almost making her lose her job and her sanity. But as this is all going on, one of her girl friends asks for a favor. This guy Loch from out of town needs a tour guide. Taylor accepts because she realizes she needs to take a break from the computer. An added bonus is that Loch is very handsome, friendly and has a sweet accent. They hit it off right away even though their personalities are as different as night and day.
Loch has come to the US, where it’s expected he’ll stay for 2-3 years. He’s an actual prince who live a playboy lifestyle of luxury because he’s worth billionaires. He’s pretty bored with life in general, until he meets Taylor. He thinks she’s adorable, and he loves hanging out with her. Soon his life changes to lust, and he wants her in his bed. Taylor jumps at the chance with Loch and soon they are having a very hot and heavy sexual affair. Taylor still has to be on guard because her obsessed on-line suitor is watching, and may go off the deep end if he finds out about Loch. But then Taylor is in a bad accident.
Loch wants to help her recover, installing her in a fancy hotel room that is easy for him to pay for because of his fortune, which Taylor doesn’t know about. She has no idea he’s a prince, and the sudden idea he has to keep Taylor close, as well as letting him go home.
Billionaire on Loose is the type of romance that will make you smile. I loved the opposites attracting trope between Loch and Taylor, and it worked extremely well here because of the way Jessica has written these two characters. They’re both so lovable and easy going, even with Taylor’s seemingly dangerous stalker. As for that plot, it falters toward the end, especially when we find out who he is and why he has targeted Taylor. I didn’t buy it or the reason Taylor let it go on for so long, and didn’t contact the authorities. She became very worried that this individual may hurt her, or go off the deep end. Loch figures things out pretty quickly, unlike Taylor who is given the shock of her life about who Loch really is and what his plans are for her. Its deceitful and may make you change your mind about Loch, but it’s something that has been done in romance before. The groveling or forgiveness factor from Taylor is stereotypical, and allows for a satisfactory HEA.
The sex here is borderline erotic. A few times my eyebrows darted up because of how aggressive Taylor is from what she wants from Loch. These two have some major naked fun times together, especially during one of the virtual reality computer game conferences Taylor takes Lock to. They end up in a room that looks like a forest and end up having some risqué lovemaking on a mushroom. You have to read it in order to believe it. We’re talking R-Rated here.
Billionaire on the Loose is the type of book that will brighten you day if you’re looking for some fun time reading. The gamer chick heroine and her sexual hijinks with her Prince Charming makes for a good time.
Arcana Rising, the fourth book in the Arcana Chronicle by Kresley Cole is another great installment to this magical, end of days, post-apocalyptic world featuring zombies, cannibals, and a groups of humans with super powers that battle each other to be the last one standing, ala Highlander (1986 movie). The book to prior to this ended on a major cliffhanger. Evie, the main protagonist of this tale is not even eighteen, but has so much weight on her shoulders. Not only is she still trying to understand her powers, but searching for her beloved grandmother, who may not even be alive. Then there is the two men in her life who want her as their own. There’s Jack, the Cajun boy she knew before the flash who is her first love, and would have been her husband. Then there is Aric, aka Death who has followed her through the centuries and past lives. He’s her soul mate, but also her biggest competitor in ruling this new world of destruction and death. Evie is caught in a love triangle with these two men, but like Highlander, there can only be one. She can only be with one of them, but her HEA is uncertain, especially if she has to battle Death for the ultimate prize- her life.
Arcana Rising isn’t as heavy on the action and fighting scenes as in the past books. This installment is more dialogue heavy and interaction with specific characters as they make plans for the next battle between the Arcana. The first half features Evie recovering not only from a horrendous physical attack that almost killed her, but the loss of someone very special to her, who she adored and loved. Evie is very much a survivor, growing stronger each day. She does have a great support system for the moment because these who she made an alliance with may turn on her because of the rules of this war that has been set for centuries.
Arcana Rising is a more adult novel with some cursing and a few sex scenes. What started out a young adult series is now more of an adult one. Some would say New Adult because of the age of Evie, but based on her experiences, she is more mature than her age. Even with the adult type atmosphere, adult and teens will be entertained. Evie continues to astound with her abilities, and even her introspective on Jack and Aric. One of these men will lose, and lose big because Evie can’t be with both of them.
There are many things that occur here I can’t mention because they are major spoilage territory. Something big time shocking happens with Evie that will now change her path with one of the two men who are vying for her heart. If you’re on a certain team, you won’t be disappointed in what Evie does, and with whom. There are also some twists regarding characters missing or believed to be dead. Readers will be gnawing on their nails to find out what happens with these characters, and what their futures will be.
Kresley is a queen at writing a cliffhanger you want to shake your fist at. The last page, including the last sentence is another big, OMG she did not moment in this series that will yet again change Evie in ways you would have never expected. I actually gasped at the last sentence. An evil move on part of Kresely, but one I can’t wait to read and see how it will unfold.
Arcana Rising kept my interest and continues to awe me with the world building, including the romance element with Evie. I look forward to the next book in this series that has me salivating for more.
The Darkest Torment (Lords of the Underworld #12) by Gena Showalter is a wild ride that doesn’t just emphasizes the hero and heroine, but this ever growing world, and multitude of characters Gena has created. Fans of this series will like Baden, a trademark Showalter hero. He’s tortured, angry, full of mistrust and very alpha. It takes a while for him to warm up to his friends because of the abuse he has endured from Hades, the ruler of the Underworld, who is at war to keep control. He controls Baden by promising him salvation, which Baden doesn’t believe. But there’s a glimmer of hope he can survive and become his own man, and lose the demon of Distrust inside of him. His salvation comes in the form of Katarina.
Katarina is a human who adores dogs. She trains them, and other abused dogs. She’s being blackmailed into marrying a nasty dude who got her brother addicted to drugs. Her soon-to-be-husband kidnapped her two dogs and threatened to kill them if she didn’t marry him. Why he wants her for his wife, she has no clue because she’s nothing spectacular. During her wedding ceremony, Baden and a few of his Underworld Lord Scooby Gang stop the wedding. Hades wants a coin Kat’s husband owns. Baden plans to get it, but ends up taking Katarina to force her husband to give up the coin. Baden assumes Kat is a money grubbing hussy obsessed with power and the allure of bad men who hurt people.
Kat thinks Baden is a jerk, but then when she figures out he’s not human, and neither is her nasty husband, things begin to change for her. Baden finds out the reason why Kat had to marry, and that she’s really very kind and gentle, especially when it comes to animals. He even lets her take in two stray puppies who follow them wherever they go. Now he wants to protect her, and installs her in the fortress along with his brother in arms and their wives. Baden also starts to lust for Kat very very badly. She does also, but since he’s so tortured, he refuses her, or her touches and kisses. Eventually he weakens, and you can assume what happens next between these two.
The Darkest Torment is chock full of torment all around, and not just from Baden. Fans of William, and the just turned eighteen Gilly will shake their fist at Gena because she creates a major roadblock in stopping any or all courtship or romantic relationship between the two. It’s no longer about Gilly’s age or her human status, including William’s man-ho ways that cause them such angst. There is a new man on the scene who claims Gilly in a way that is inventive, and yet hair pulling. We know William and Gilly will be together in the future eventually, but it will take much longer now. Gilly still has to mature and age in order for her and William to get their HEA. Right now these two are not ready to walk down the aisle together because there is a little bit of the ick factor, mainly because Gilly is still a teenager even though she just turned eighteen, which is considered legal. William is Hades’s son and embodies every vice imaginable. But when it comes to Gilly, he shows the goodness he has inside because he’s so enamored of her. I look forward to more with these two, and the new man in Gilly’s life who gave William a big smack down in his plans for Gilly.
Cameo also has her moments here, especially her search for happiness, and the one man who may heal her. I have a feeling her book may be next. Also many past characters show up, some of which who have yet to get their HEAs. The plot is fast paced, the dialogue crisp and entertaining, including some moments of humor. The sex here between Baden and Kat is hotter than hot. That doesn’t disappoint, especially when Baden realizes Kat is THE ONE for him. He falls for her first, and hard. There’s also a big twist regarding Kat and her dog whispering ways that comes as a pleasant surprise.
The Darkest Torment is part of one of the few paranormal romance series I can’t get enough of. As soon as I finish reading, I want the next book ASAP.
Body Shot(Last Shot #1) by Kelly Jamieson has the makings of a great romance novel, and for all purposes it appears to be, but there’s something missing here that left me disappointed. The hero Beck is awesome and yummy, and really made Body Shot shine, but I found the heroine Hayden lacking. The chemistry between these two at times seemed forced, plus the writing had some editing issues. There were more passive words or actions than active, and I noticed the use of the same word on the same page multiple times. I think another round of editing could have helped make this read much crisper and more enjoyable, including toning down Hayden’s seemingly Mary Sue goody-goody personality. Because Beck was more of an original with his characteristics and personality, Hayden disappeared into the background. At certain points I wondered what Beck liked about Hayden or was attracted to because she was more one-dimensional.
Beck is a former SEAL who owns a bar right near that specializes in tequila. Beck also comes from money. He’s not friendly with his parents because they want him to be this buttoned up executive for the family’s business. But because of his grandparents, Beck is very rich from the money they left him. So to help his two buddies with their dreams, Beck invests his fortune in the bar, which he loves running. Beck is also an adrenaline junkie who sky dives and jumps from planes. One night the bar has a tequila tasting, and that’s where he meets Hayden. At first Hayden wasn’t planning on going to the bar, but her good friend convinces her. Hayden is stressed and running on fumes, trying to keep her company afloat and receive funding, which would be millions of dollars. Hayden is a very intelligent but a book smart woman who barely goes out or has fun. Her life is about to change when she meets Beck.
Hayden does something so naughty and unlike her. Within a few hours of meeting Beck, she has hot sex with him in his office. They rock both their worlds. From them on Beck wants to date Hayden, but Hayden is just too busy. Beck tries to get Hayden to let down her hair, so to speak.
Body Shot is basically Hayden and Beck going on dates, eating, going to the beach and having a lot of steamy and hot sex. There isn’t a lot of angst or drama here, other than Beck’s issues with his family, and where he comes from. Hayden is worried about having too much fun with Beck, which may make her work suffer. These two are opposites in the way they think and live their lives, so will they get their HEA?
Body Shot is an okay romance, and Kelly can sure write great love scenes. Beck may seems like an alpha hero because of his former career as a SEAL, including his take charge personality, but when it comes to Hayden, he’s a gentleman (behind closed doors he’s very different). Hayden is a typical type of heroine, but she comes across as wishy-washy at times that grew tedious. Also I just couldn’t see what attracted Beck to her. She’s nice, hardworking and dedicated to her career and friends, but she didn’t wow me like I wanted her to. Beck is the reason to read Body Shot, while Hayden just fades away.
Body Shot should appeal to fans who like some spicy sensuality and sizzle in their contemporary romance. If you can put aside Hayden’s underwhelming personality and some editing issues regarding the passive verbs and actions, then you’ll probably enjoy Body Shot.
Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale starts during a funeral, which should have been a wedding. The wedding was supposed to be Amiee’s to her childhood sweetheart, James. But it’s his funeral. He was found dead on a business trip to Mexico. Amiee is inconsolable because James was her soul mate, her everything. Not the $200,000 plus dollars Thomas, James’s older brother (money that would have been Amiee’s if she married James) gives her can help her recover from the loss. Also her parents sold their restaurant Amiee expected to run when her parents retired. Amiee always dreamed of opening her own restaurant, while James would open his own art gallery. James always loved to paint, even though he had to hide it from his parents who had plans for him to run his family’s company. Then there is James’s cousin Phil, who makes Amiee very uncomfortable, not just because James never liked him and tried to steal Amiee from James, but something he did to Amiee that almost scarred her for life.
Amiee is having a hard time adjusting at losing James. It because worse when she’s approached by a female psychic who says James may still be alive. That really throws Amiee for a loop because if he’s alive, where is he and why wouldn’t he come back to her? Everyone around her she trusts says James is dead, so why would they lie to her. Eventually Amiee moves on with her life, even opening her own cafe. She meets an artist named Ian, who is fine with being friends with her, but she has a small attraction toward him. Even though James is dead, she is faithful to his memory, still wearing her engagement ring, and keeping all his clothes and things over a year later. But then strange things begin to happen. Some of James’s painting have gone missing, Thomas acts very strange, and the physic lurks around leaving postcards of paintings in James’s style around. Aimee feels like she is going crazy, so the only thing she can do to prove to herself is that James is indeed dead. She’ll go to Mexico and to the town he was last seen at alive.
Everything We Keep reads like women’s fiction with a mystery element because of the situation surrounding James’s death. The first half of the story is Aimee trying to move on from her deep loss. Through flashbacks we see how Aimee and James met as children, and then their friendship, which also includes James’s problems with his parents, and that of his cousin Phil who pops up to cause problems. The second half is Aimee solving the mystery of James’s disappearance. What she finds in Mexico should keep reader riveted, but it becomes one big soap opera of implausibility and convoluted storytelling. As Aimee investigate furthers, things become trippy regarding the outcome of James.
To explain what happened to James, and the why’s is a big spoiler and a twist, but not a good one. it comes down to deception, blackmail and possible murder that just doesn’t fit with the tone of the book. The reasons for things are eyebrow arching, as in, what in the world is going on? Aimee suffers because of it and doesn’t need to. We do feel her pain, but the answers and solutions given are weak and poorly executed. The character of Phil is meant to disgust and appall, but he’s a one-dimensional wallpaper mustache twirling caricature that will make you roll your eyes.
I did have a soft spot for Aimee, and her supportive friends. Even the men in her life, both James and Ian are well written. Unfortunately the plot and mystery of James and his death is laughable. Also the “prologue” leaves things open ended in a way that is a big if a manipulation to keep the reader interested in a second book, if there is indeed one.
Everything We Keep should have concentrated on a woman’s loss of a love one, and her emotional recovery, and then become empowered because of it. Instead we get a weak suspense mystery type chick lit novel that failed for this reader.