Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Book Review: Real by Katy Evans

Title: Real
Series: Real #1
Author: Katy Evans
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Self-published: 04/08/2013
Republished: 05/28/2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre(s): Contemporary Erotic Romance

DESCRIPTION

"A fallen boxer.
A woman with a broken dream.
A competition…

He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting…

Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life.

He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. And now it’s my job to keep his body working like a perfect machine, his taut muscles primed and ready to break the bones of his next opponents . . .

But the one he’s most threatening to, now, is me.

I want him. I want him without fear. Without reservations.

If only I knew for sure what it is that he wants from me?"


MY THOUGHTS (Short and 'Squeet')

*language, sexual content, and minor(?) spoilers contained herein*

Well, CRAP! I have succumbed like so many others. I didn't expect to think that Remington was "all that" but dammit he IS!!! Even with the graphic championship fight description, which left me feeling queasy, I LOVED this book! I had scanned some reader comments, before committing to read Real, mentioning a deficit in dialogue, an excess amount of talk about muscles and hormones, and an inaccurate description of bipolarism. GAH! I don't care about all that. I loved Brooke's narration, how protective Remy's team was of him, and how primal Remy and Brooke were. RAWR!

GAH...AGAIN! I gotta wait for Mine and it's gonna feel like FOR-EV-ER!


HIGHLIGHTS

“By the time those electric blue eyes seek me out in the stands, my heart throbs fiercely in my temples, and my insides bubble with emotion when he spots me. He stares straight into my eyes, and his eyes are only mine, and his smile is only mine, and for this fraction of an instant, nothing else matters but us.” ~ Brooke

~*~

"'It's because of this woman I'm still fighting!' A sudden silence falls across the crowd, and Remington's hard, enraged voice continues telling them, 'Next time I'm on the ring, I'm going to fucking win for her, and I want all of you who hurt her tonight to bring her a red rose and tell her it's from me.'" ~ Remington

~*~

“Why’d you want to have sex with me? To have a fucking adventure? What was I supposed to be? Your one-night-fucking stand? I’m every woman’s adventure, damn you, and I don’t want to be yours. I want to be your fucking REAL. You get that? If I fuck you, I want you to belong to me. To be mine. I want you to give yourself to me—not Riptide!”  ~ Remington

~*~ 

“You're all I think about, dream about. I get high and low and it's all about you now, it's not even about me anymore. I can't sleep, can't think, can't concentrate worth shit anymore and it's all because I want to be the fucking 'one' for you and as soon as you realize what I am, all I'll be is a fucking mistake!” ~ Remington


The "Real" Playlist

Iris by Goo Goo Dolls
I Love You by Avril Lavigne
That's When I Knew by Alicia Keys
Love Bites by Def Leppard
High on You by Survivor
Love Song by Sara Bareilles
In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel
Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran
Come Away With Me by Norah Jones
All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You by Heart
Anyway You Want It by Journey
I Love You Like A Love Song by Selena Gomez
My Life Would Suck Without You by Kelly Clarkson
Flaws and All by Beyonce
The Fighter by Gym Class Heroes

Thankfully I have most of these already, but will most assuredly be getting the rest! Music was very important to Remy, Brooke, and the story.


Authorgraph: Katy Evans - Real
I received my Authorgraph from Katy Evans on 07/31/2013!!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Review: Claim Me by J. Kenner

Title: Claim Me
Series: Stark Trilogy #2
Author: J. Kenner
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Published: 04/23/2013
Publisher: Bantam
Genre(s): Contemporary Erotic Romance

DESCRIPTION

"For fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You comes the second novel in the erotic, fast-paced trilogy that started with Release Me. This sexy, emotionally charged romance continues the story of Damien Stark, the powerful multimillionaire who’s never had to take “no” for an answer, and Nikki Fairchild, the Southern belle who only says “yes” on her own terms.

For Damien, our obsession is a game. For me, it is fiercely, blindingly, real.

Damien Stark’s need is palpable—his need for pleasure, his need for control, his need for me. Beautiful and brilliant yet tortured at his core, he is in every way my match.

I have agreed to be his alone, and now I want him to be fully mine. I want us to possess each other beyond the sweetest edge of our ecstasy, into the deepest desires of our souls. To let the fire that burns between us consume us both.

But there are dark places within Damien that not even our wildest passion can touch. I yearn to know his secrets, yearn for him to surrender to me as I have surrendered to him. But our troubled pasts will either bind us close . . . or shatter us completely.

Claim Me is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences."

 MY THOUGHTS
 
*minor spoilers contained herein*

It is said that good things come to those who wait. When you're a reader waiting for THE next book in a series the wait can feel interminable. When that next book is not only good , but exceeds all those anticipatory feelings you've held onto FOREVER...it's BLISSFUL! Such is the case with the second book in the Stark Trilogy by J. Kenner. I devoured Release Me in January and, at that time, thought I would have to wait until July to read Claim Me. Then...relief. The release date was moved up to April 23. Hallelujah! But, still, FOUR MONTHS?! I had to wait FOUR WHOLE MONTHS! It.Was.So.Worth.It! ::::::squee::::::

"I think I understand what Damien needs. Not the pain but the control. He needs to claim me."

I don't read full reviews until after I've read and said what I have to say about a book. However, I had noticed a couple of comments by some readers of Advance Reader Copies saying not much happened in the first half or so of Claim Me. Let me just say this about that—I did not feel that way at all! I re-read Release Me immediately before starting this book, so I was already feeling immersed in Damien and Nikki's story—almost like that four month wait never existed...

Claim Me began just as the portrait of Nikki was being completed (in two weeks instead of the allotted one) and Nikki's agreement ("game") with Damien was due to end as well. Right from the start the sizzling connection that Julie Kenner created for Damien and Nikki was there...

"...And I don't need to see him to know that the tension in his tone isn't tied to the thrill of chasing a business deal. It's about me, and that simple fact is as intoxicating as champagne on an empty stomach. An entire empire needing his attention, and yet in that moment, I am his whole world."

However sizzling their sexual chemistry was, their relationship was comprised of so much more...all that "more" was what makes this couple so dynamic and alluring!

For me, Damien Stark has the most seductive voice of all the recent erotic romance heroes. His words, although sometimes too explicit for my tastes, in regards to Nikki are swoon-worthy instead of cringe-worthy. About some topics he remained evasive. He continued to withhold secrets about his life from Nikki, but he did not hold his emotions in check when it came to her...

"Do you have any idea how much you mean to me?"

"'There is nothing about you that I could ever forget,' he says. 'You are burned into my memory. Your hair glittering in the candlelight. Your skin, dewy and soft, as you step out of the shower. The way you move beneath me when we make love. And the way you look at me, as if there is nothing you could see inside me that would make you want to turn away.'"

"Just one more thing. When I said you could stay? What I meant to say was I love you."

And then there was the way he said good-bye to Nikki in text messages and an email...

"Until later, imagine me, touching you."

Okay, so if those lovely words weren't enough, they also rock when it comes to playful teasing and sexy talk...

Nikki: "'Should I alert the financial papers?' I'd teased. 'Doesn't it affect the market when Damien Stark takes a day off work?'"

Damien: "'I'm willing to risk global economic collapse if it means a few hours with you.' He drew my hand up and kissed the tip of each finger. 'Of course, the more shopping we do, the more we support the economy.' His voice was low and sultry and full of enticing promises. 'Or maybe we should go back to the apartment. I can think of several interesting ways to spend the afternoon that have no fiscal impact whatsoever.'"

Nikki: "'Tempting.' I'd retorted. 'But I don't think that I could stand the guilt knowing that I traded an orgasm for fiscal ruin.'"

Damien: "Trust me, baby. It would be more than one orgasm."

Believe me there are plenty more playful and clever exchanges where that came from, 'cause this book is full of them. GOODY!!! Honestly, I got a whole Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man movies) vibe during these flirtatious interchanges. Updated and more risqué, but definitely a modern day twist on the classic couple. (No disrespect to the Charles' intended because not only do I adore them; so do Damien and Nikki!)

Then, after Damien treated Nikki to some delectable desserts—using his hands to feed her and do some other yummy things, he said:

"'So tell me, Nikki, his voice soft and seductive. 'Did you enjoy your dessert?'"  - Holy moly, what a sexy double entendre that was!!!

However, along with all the clever conversations, playful teasing, and hot sex, there was also unpleasantness: loss of privacy, job related problems, legal issues, pernicious parents, strained friendships, and devastating emotional turmoil.

Several disturbing events caused Nikki to feel overwhelmingly distressed. They left her in need of the "soothing" and "centering" she used to find in a self-destructive act. An act that she feels Damien may have replaced, which concerns her immensely. Her struggle during those dark times was painfully apparent and very sad. She showed strength though, which had me offering her "ata girls!"

I tell ya if there were any more WTF!, OMG!, erotic, or swoony moments I'd have needed to be resuscitated!!! thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump

Most of the OH NO! moments happened toward the end, thank goodness, because I was a wreck! It was late, I was tired, and I was worried about Damien and Nikki. Even with all of those things freaking me out I thought the end wasn't completely devastating and the cliffhanger ending wasn't too abrupt. Whew!

The final book in the trilogy, Complete Me, is expected July 30. Only a three month wait this time. *sigh*

HIGHLIGHTS

Damien: "I find that it's a social faux pas to host a party with a permanent hard-on."

Nikki: "Well, then, perhaps you should have planned to hang the painting in the bedroom."

Damien: "I don't need the image in my bedroom. Not when I have the real thing."

Nikki: "'And you do,' I say, my tone teasing. 'Bought and paid for. At least until midnight when I turn into a pumpkin.'"

~*~

Damien: "...I attribute much of my success to my ability to extract as much value as possible from every monetary transaction."

Nikki: "I lick my lips. 'And I'm a monetary transaction?'"

Damien: "You are indeed."

Nikki: "I see. And how do you intend to extract value?"

Damien:  "'I already told you,' he says. "If you're not going to pay attention..."

Nikki: "you said you were going to make me come."

~*~

Nikki: "What are you doing?"

Jamie: "Checking for fever. Are you ill? I thought that all Damien had to do was crook his finger and you'd come."

Nikki: "'I told him we were hanging out tonight,' I say. And then, because I just can't resist, I add, 'And for the record, you're right. He crooks his finger, and I most definitely come.'"

~*~

I have most certainly been "Damienized" but am still smitten with Christian, Gideon, Ethan and Gabriel! :)


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Book Review: Wait for You by J. Lynn

Title: Wait for You
Series: Wait for You #1
Author: Jennifer Armentrout writing as J. Lynn
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Published: 04/02/2013
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre(s): Contemporary New Adult

DESCRIPTION

"Some things are worth waiting for . . .

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at that fateful Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. What she never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she's building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing . . .

Cameron Hamilton is six feet, three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, com-plete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make Avery want things she believed had been irrevocably stolen from her. Getting involved with him is dangerous. Yet ignoring the simmering tension that sparks between them—and brings out a side of her she never knew existed—is impossible.

Some things shouldn't be kept quiet . . .

But when Avery starts receiving threatening e-mails and phone calls, she's forced to face a past she wants to keep buried and acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. If the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface with one less scar? And will Cam be there to help her?

And some things are worth fighting for . . ."

MY THOUGHTS

When beginning any book for the first time I don't think we can help but to have some expectations. Starting a book by a previously unread author also throws a feeling of unfamiliarity into the mix. Even for those of us who read samples before we "click" our way to a new book on our devices.

I'm not a big reader of paranormal romance. In fact I rarely read any, so I wasn't familiar with Jennifer L. Armentrout, who has written a number of successful novels in that genre. Apparently, the pseudonym, J. Lynn, is reserved for her new adult and adult romances. At this point, having finished Wait for You just a short time ago, I'm extremely thankful to the source that sent me to check out this book—even if I can't recall for the life of me who it was.

From the dreamy cover to the last sentence this book WOWED me! Wanting to know what the characters would say next...what would happen next—kept me intently tapping to the next digital page. I don't know about you, but one of the elements I crave most in a novel is a lot of dialogue. If an author writes dialogue I can "feel" then they've almost assuredly gained a devoted reader in me. There are several things I consistently highlight, and passages that offer keen insight into the characters or the author's writing skills are often the most difficult to single out. That was definitely not the case with this book! Looking at all the passages I felt deserved emphasizing is proof of how much I loved what was written.

The book's description sets the basis of the story up well, so there's no need to go into detail on that. What is worth mentioning is how the author created characters I was eager to get to know—not only in Avery and Cameron, but in their friends and his family. Avery and Cameron have each suffered the effects of traumatic events in their young lives; one solely as a victim and the other, who was considered an offender. Avery was plagued by her fears, but they did not keep her from moving far from the familiar—home in Texas to college in West Virginia. She knew she needed friends, and she found two of the best in Brittany and Jacob. She also literally crashed into the best possible boyfriend ever in Cameron. He was as close to perfect as is fictionally possible. And that's based more on his actions than his looks. No, really. He was confident, charming, and had a playful sense of humor. He had excellent people skills, loved his parents and sister, and had maintained long-lasting friendships. He was very special, and although Avery knew this, she still could not entrust him with her secret. That caused the only real tension between them. He exhibited more patience with Avery than is really believable. However, that is one of the things that is so wonderful about "book boyfriends" they can be adored no matter how unbelievable they are! ;)

Then, there are Jacob and Brit, two of the most amazing fictional friends ever! I enjoyed their characters so much! Jacob, with his unabashedly humorous take on almost every situation, and although he may have appeared to joke about everything, he had no trouble exhibiting compassion. Which, honestly, could also be said of Brittany. She said some pretty outrageous things and cracked me up many times, but she was very supportive of Avery.

I very much appreciated the way the author incorporated glimpses of what atrocities Avery had endured; always as an interior monologue, because she did not speak of what befell her to anyone until far into the book. Cameron knew that something horrible had happened to her and did everything he could to get her to open up to him. She eventually did, and I thought the author wrote Avery's revelation and Cam's reception quite sympathetically.

Cam had told Avery of his wrongdoing to show her he trusted her, and to make sure she heard of it from him first. (He was very thoughtful in just about every situation.)

There were so many instances of clever metaphors, and one, especially, will have me thinking of a whole 'nother thing when I next read about COOKIES!!! :)

I would say the majority of the book was deliciously entertaining because of the humor, playful teasing, demonstrations of friendship, and the developing romance between Avery and Cam. I felt the events that could be considered negative in no way made the story a downer. I did much chuckling, no crying, and a lot of swooning over Cam!

It appears that Wait for Me is the first in a trilogy or series, with the second book, Be With Me, expected later in the year. I wonder if it will feature Brittany, and Cam's friend, Ollie? Hmm, I will so be there on release day "clicking" my way to what will surely be another awesome read!


HIGHLIGHTS
 
“I can see that you don’t believe me. Maybe it was the cookie? Well, you refused to taste my cookies last night and honestly, I was going to eat the other cookie, but you looked so tired and sad sitting there, I figured you needed the cookie more than I did.” ~ Cam

~*~

Brittany: “'You don’t have to want to be in a relationship for a little bow-chicka-bow-wow."
Jacob: "Did you really just say that?"
Brittany: “I did. And I owned it. Gonna make me a shirt that says that.”

~*~ 

Cam: “Well, to be honest, I was planning to woo you with my banana nut bread, but that shit ain’t happening now. So all I have left is my delicious eggs.”
Avery: “It is really good, but you’re not wooing me.”
Cam: “Oh, I’m wooing … It’s just all about the stealth. You don’t realize it yet.”

~*~ 

"What are you up to?" [Avery]
"'Oh, you know, mischief and mayhem,' he [Jacob] replied."
"That so reminds me of Harry Potter," Brit said, sighing.  'I need a re-read.'"

~*~

“People got out of the way for Cam. He was like a hot Moses, parting a sea of drunk college students.” ~ Avery

~*~

“I would be clapping like a seal right now if I weren't so fucking hungover, just so you know. Inside I am doing happy jumping jacks for you with glittery pom poms.” ~ Jacob

~*~

Avery: “You’re a good guy, Cam.”
Cam: “'No, I’m not.' He exhaled deeply and his breath was warm against my cheek. 'I’m only good with you.'”

~*~

Avery: “Thank you.”
Cam: His lips curved up on one side. “For what?”
Avery: “For waiting for me.”


Autograph from the Richmond Author Event on 12/14/2013


Monday, April 1, 2013

Book Review: Rules of Entanglement by Gina L. Maxwell

Title: Rules of Entanglement
Series: Fighting for Love #2
Author: Gina L. Maxwell
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Published: 03/31/2013
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Genre(s): Contemporary Erotic Romance

DESCRIPTION

"Seven days. And seven rules to break...

District Attorney Vanessa McGregor firmly believes that structure and order are the stuff that dreams are made of. Happiness can be planned - and it starts with seven rules she's laid out for her future. But as she's organizing her best friend's wedding in Hawaii, all of Vanessa's best-laid plans are about to meet their match in a wickedly hot MMA fighter...

Jackson "Jax" Maris is focused on surfing, training and fighting. That is, until he opens up his big mouth, and finds himself having to pretend he's engaged to his little sister's best friend, Vanessa. When they're force to share a romantic bungalow, however, their little charade suddenly takes a turn for the seriously sexy. And while Jax is definitely not part of Vanessa's long-term plan, he has seven days - and seven naughty nights - to turn her seven-rule plan upside down."

 MY THOUGHTS (Short and Sweet)

I've read and enjoyed a fair number of "new adult" books over the last year, but this, ahem, "old adult" sure appreciated the more mature characters in this 'smexy' book! There is tons of sexual chemistry between Jackson and Vanessa, but the banter?! I LOVE their verbal volleys BIG TIME! Vanessa has a sharp mind and a sharp tongue to match. Jackson is no slouch when it comes to thinking on his feet and delivering power-packed responses to the "Red Viper."

I read Seducing Cinderella last October, and had this second book in the Fighting for Love Series on my watch list from the beginning. I snagged it first thing on its release day yesterday, and hated having to put it down til I finished a few hours later.

I'm a happily-ever-after addict, and the epilogue in Rules of Entanglement was the perfect one for Jax and V!

Fighting Irish, the third book in the series, is due out in the fall.

HIGHLIGHTS

"Did Hawaiians have the saying 'Save a surfboard, ride a surfer?' If not, she was totally starting it."

~*~

"What was wrong with this guy? He should be backing down, talking her down, or at the very least, toning it down. One of those downs."

~*~

Jackson: "You know, as your personal host, I feel I'd be shirking my responsibilities if I allowed a bunch of jerks to circle you like sharks around chum."
Vanessa: "'I'm sorry,' she said with a look of disbelief, 'did you just refer to me as fish guts?'"
Jackson: "'You are a lawyer.' Wink. Drink."

~*~

"Besides that, her dating pool had dwindled down to more like a dating puddle, and even that was drying up."

~*~

Vanessa: "I thought you said there wouldn't be any removal of clothing."
Jackson: "No, I said the loser wouldn't be required to remove any clothing. However, the winner can remove anything that gets into the way of him doing a shot in the location of his choosing."
Vanessa: "'Holy shit,' she said with wide eyes. 'You lawyer loopholed me.'"