Sunday, 9 June 2013

Officer Off Limits by Tessa Bailey

Favourite Quote: "“I don’t feel like you’re grasping the urgency
behind my karaoke idea.”(Page 76) “Karaoke.” Jack cringed. “What a godawful
pastime." Story laughed, glad the mood had shifted back to normal. “See, right now in the light of day, I can agree with you. But last night after a few drinks, it
represented immortality.”"(Page 122). 

Notes: I received an ARC of Officer Off Limits from Tessa Bailey with the request to write an honest review on my blog and Amazon. However, I have also ordered a copy of the book (it was just that good!). 

Officer Off Limits is the third book in Tessa Bailey’s A Line of Duty series and features the sweetly naughty Story Brooks and the erotic playboy Daniel Chase. 

Now, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am ridiculously in love with Tessa Bailey’s books. They’re sinfully erotic, extremely well paced with realistic and engaging plots and each of the characters has a voice and style of dialogue that is completely unique to each specific character. Officer off limits had all of those same wonderful qualities, but it also stands apart from the rest of the books in the series in way that really blew my mind. Daniel Chase is big, bad and very in control in a way that is so utterly delicious; it’s amazing that my computer didn’t burst into flames. However, he’s also incredibly vulnerable and achingly sweet in a way that was so organic and natural that it just about broke my heart. I guarantee that you’ll not only fall in love with Daniel for his totally badass moves in the bedroom (and other places…I won’t ruin the surprise) but also for his obviously huge and wounded heart. 

So, on with the review! Story Brooks is a kindergarten teacher from California who flies to New York to be with her father, who is in hospital after suffering from a heart attack. She’s just been dumped by her fiancé two weeks before the wedding, but she can’t seem to muster up any real feelings about the situation. Daniel Chase is a hostage negotiator in New York and is the protégée of Story’s father. They meet by chance in the hospital but sparks fly and the attraction and tension between the two of them simmers off the pages.
The plot of Officer Off Limits flows extremely well, but is much more in-depth than Tessa’s earlier books. There are a lot of key plot points that are established early on that seem inconsequential, but later, become a large part of the overarching story which was really terrific! It’s realistic and fast paced, and each of the subplots felt organic and really helped to build up the very natural flow of the book.  

The characters in Officer Off Limits are so rich, so inviting that you honestly feel like you’re in their world, experiencing the highs and lows of trying to get to know a deliciously sexy alpha male! As always, the background characters are a huge part of the story which lends realism to the plot that many other books are lacking. I absolutely adored Story’s best friend Hayden and the sisterhood solidarity in this book was AWESOME!! Each of the characters showed a depth and growth throughout the book that really enables the reader to engage with the characters. The dialogue, as always, is amazing! Tessa has a fabulous ability to create dialogue that has a cadence and style that is unique to each character, something that makes the characters so realistic it gives you Goosebumps!

And this time, I saved the best for last….the sex scenes. Holy moly guacamole!!! It’s like Tessa turned the heat up to super-max.  I recommend that you read this book in the presence of an extremely large glass of something yummy and icey. Trust me, you’ll need it. You may also want to stock up on batteries, because, well, again, you’ll need it! Tessa Bailey is known for writing dirty-talkin’ alpha males, but Daniel Chase takes that definition and blows it sky high. He’s erotic and dirty and mind-blowingly sexy and you wouldn’t think a kindergarten teacher would be a good fit for such a darkly erotic bad boy, but she gives just as good as she gets and as it turns out, has a penchant for being extremely naughty! There are scenes in this book that I will be dreaming about for years to come! But while they are very erotic, there are also elements of sweetness to them, with Daniel treating Story like her pleasure is his only reason for being…which is both goosebump- inducing and heart-melting.  Tessa Bailey has really outdone herself this time and she’s going to have to work very hard to top the yumminess that is the connection and chemistry between Daniel and Story. 

Officer Off Limits manages to be a multitude of things, achingly sweet, erotically sexy, passionately dirty and extremely well paced, and yet it’s cohesive and realistic in a way that only Tessa Bailey is able to accomplish. I’d recommend it to all and sundry and I’d be happy to shout it from the rooftops! 

Release Date: 10 June 2013
Rating: 5/5
Sex Scenes: Deeply Erotic, Playful and Sexily Naughty
Plot: Deep, Intriguing with Surprising Plot Points, Very Well Paced
Characters: Rich, Vibrant, Engaging and Hilarious
Dialogue: Authentic, Creative and Well Suited To Each Character

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Twisted (Dark Protectors) by Rebecca Zanetti


Notes: I reviewed this book for Kensington Books via NetGalley.

Twisted is a novella (book 5.5) in Rebecca Zanetti's Dark Protector Series and features Terrent Vilks and Maggie Malone.  

Now, I'm very familiar (and a little in love) with Rebecca Zanetti's work, having read her contemporary romance books Against the Wall and Under the Covers, which I'll be reviewing on my blog shortly for Brazen Entangled Publishing. But I've never read her Dark Protector series so I was a little out of my element and in the dark when I first started reading Twisted, however, key elements of the story that had obviously been established in the earlier books were recapped and explained, so it was reasonably easy to understand the world that Rebecca has created for the Dark Protector Series. Having said that, I wouldn’t recommend reading Twisted as a standalone book.

Twisted, inspite of being a novella, has extremely well-developed characters that have a great deal of depth. It's a book about longing and finding where you truly belong and Rebecca has created her characters in a way that you can feel that longing bursting from every page. Maggie longs to remember her past, to find out where she came from and where she belongs and Terrent longs for Maggie to remember him and what they had and to find a home and family. And honestly, there is something just so sexy about a big-bad alpha like Terrent craving his mate in such a raw and emotional way. Each of the characters have a unique voice, with dialogue and attitude that is as individual as their personalities are. The plot is, given that it involves werewolves and vampires, fairly realistic and the dialogue suits it perfectly. Twisted flows well and has a depth and a dyanamic edge that really sets it apart from other novellas, and definitely from other paranormal romances.

The sex scenes as incredibly sexy, very erotic and a little dirty. But they're well developed, fit extremely well within the plot and flow beautifully with the story. It's amazing that the sex scenes appear to develop and grow as the characters do, which is not something I've ever seen in a novella. Rebecca Zanetti has created a unique, sexy masterpiece and that definitely makes me want to read the entirety of the series!

Release Date: 28 May 2013
Sex Scenes: Sexy, Dirty and Natural
Plot: Well Paced, Intriguing and Very Well Developed for a Novella
Characters: Realistic, Deep and Interesting
Dialogue: Funny and Unique to Each Character

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Playing the Part by Robin Covington

 Playing the Part

Favourite Quote: “I’m scared,” she whispered. “I know. That just means it’s something worth taking a chance on.” He nudged her with his elbow. “The best stuff always is."

Notes: I recieved an Advanced Reader Copy of Playing the Part from Entangled Publishing under the condition that I give a completely honest review of the book on my blog and Amazon.

Playing the Part by Robin Covington features recovering-from-heartbreak romance author Piper James and sexy-as-sin playboy actor Mick Blackwell.

Having not read any of Robin Covington's previous books, I came into reading Playing the Part completely fresh and free from expectations. But after reading it, I can guarantee that I'll be picking up all of her books as soon as I can get my greedy little hands on them! It was playful, erotic and sweet and managed to touch on some pretty nasty stuff in a way that came across as organic and real. 

The premise of the book is that Mick Blackwell is staring in the film adaptation of Piper James's romance book. Mick is struggling with convincingly showing the camera he's in love, and Piper is brought in to help him connect with the male lead character in the book.  There was a lot going on with the plot, and quite a few twists and turns that made it engaging and entertaining and I loved reading a romance book about a romance author! There was one particular plot twist that was so realistic, I could feel the tension, the pain of the characters coming off the pages. It almost took my breath away it was so visceral! And I LOVED the realistic and natural way the characters dealt with the issues that were being thrown at them. It made you want to cheer for them at the end of every page! 

The thing I loved most about this book was the characters. Each one of them was so vibrant and engaging, it was like you could really feel what they were feeling as you read along. Even the supporting characters were great, particularly Piper's best friend Chris. The love between them was very clear and it practically jumped off the page! Piper had experienced so much pain in the short time before the book was set, and yet she was strong, knew exactly what she wanted and didn't let that fear keep her down. Mick was clearly a product of his past, having grown up with an actor father who played the field as much as he could, he passed those same lessons onto his son, but he was so sweet to Piper and it was clear how much he wanted to look after. The characters develop throughout the book in a way that is really beautiful to see, but was done in a completely cheese-free way. The dialogue was playful and sexy and had a huge dose of humour but was still very appropriate for the more serious plot scenes.

Now, I don't want to ruin the surprise, but there was a specific sex scene that well...I haven't seen a scene like that in a contemporary, mainstream romance book before! It was done in an extremely classy way and managaged to be sexy, and hot and very, very intimate rather than cheap or cringe-worthy. Actually, all the sex scenes managed to have a whole lot of naughtiness mixed with class and playfullness, which can be a difficult thing to achieve when you write fairly raw and erotic scenes.

My only real complaint about the book was that  we didn't get to find out more about the mysterious Lincoln, Mick's best friend! 

Overall the book was fantastic,  the ending took my breath away and the growth of the characters was organic and really entertaining to read. It was very well paced with great dialogue and even better sex scenes!

Release Date: 10 June 2013
Rating: 4.5/5
Sex Scenes: Playful, Erotic and Classy
Plot: Fun, Engaging, with Some Interesting Twists
Characters: Sweet, Strong and Entertaining
Dialogue: Hillarious and a Little Naughty

Friday, 31 May 2013

His Risk To Take by Tessa Bailey

His Risk To Take

Favourite Quote: “Troy smiled, took her hands, and held them over her head as his rhythm increased. “Now. We’re going to stay in this bed until I get tired of hearing you say you’re mine. It’s the only thing allowed out of your mouth for the next several hours. Is that clear?”” 

His Risk to Take is the second book in Tessa Bailey’s hotter than hot His Line of Duty series. His Risk to take features Troy Bennett, a badass homicide cop and Ruby Elliott, a sassy pool hustler.  

I read His Risk to take right after reading Tessa’s first book, Protecting What’s His, so I had certain expectations. Expectations for a sinfully hot alpha male who says exactly what’s on his mind in the naughtiest way possible, a sassy, attitude-filled but sweetly vulnerable heroine, some goose-bump inducing dirty dialogue and intensely erotic sex scenes. Troy and Ruby blew those expectations to the moon! 

Troy is a homicide cop from Chicago who has just transferred to New York after losing his best friend during a case. He’s strong, in charge, knows exactly what he wants and how he wants it and is very, very self-controlled. Well, that is, he’s self-controlled until he meets Ruby! She’s sassy, head-strong and tests all his limits. They’re intensely drawn to each other and the tension and chemistry between the two bounces off the pages in a way that comes across as very organic, rather than forced and silly. 

I will admit, part of the draw for Tessa Bailey’s books is the promise that there is going to be some intense, dirty and erotic sex scenes. But His Risk to Take was so much more than simple erotica. It has an excellent plot that flows well, makes sense and comes across as realistic rather than convoluted and silly. There’s enough intrigue from events in the book and character development to keep the story-line interesting and engaging in between the yummy sex scenes. The dialogue is rich and engaging and is written in a way that you can practically hear each character spouting the lines. 

Now, on to the juicy stuff! The sex scenes are…scorching. There’s no other word for it. I had goose bumps reading them! They are deeply erotic with strong elements of control and teasing and I definitely recommend keeping an icy-cold drink next to you while you read them. Sex scenes like that can come across as cheesy and silly, but Tessa created chemistry and tension between the characters that make the scenes seem very organic and real. While they are extremely erotic, there’s also a sense of sweetness to them,  especially as they grow to trust each other, that will leave you feeling both hot and a little bit dreamy! 

My only complaint about the book is that it is quite short. The storyline is well paced but the ending does come quite quickly and I wish there could have been just a few more scenes, maybe an epilogue to finish up the story. Overall, Tessa has created a rich world where you’re driven to get to know every one of the characters, including Troy’s incredibly sexy sounding partners, Brent and  Daniel, and Ruby’s good friend Bowen and leaves you begging for more (quite literally!). 

Release Date: 13 May 2013
Rating: 4.5/5  
Sex Scenes: Erotic, Intense and oh so sexy with a little bit of sweet mixed in
Plot: Engaging, Intriguing and Fast Paced
Characters: Sexy, Engaging and Very Realistic
Dialogue: Hot, Authentic
and Well Suited to the Characters and the Plot

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Rocky Mountain Rebel by Vivian Arend

Rocky Mountain Rebel

Favourite Quote: "A long, low rumble issued out, his chest moving slightly as he spoke. “You might not be breakable, but I already said it. This is worthwhile doing right.”"  

Rocky Mountain Rebel is Vivian Arend's fifth book from her Six Pack Ranch series, featuring the youngest of the Six Pack Ranch Clan, Joel Coleman and the falsely accused bad-girl, Vicki Hansol.

I've read the entirety of the Six Pack Ranch series and have always loved the way that Vivian Arend manages to weave a story that not only includes the trials and tribulations of the main couple in each story, but also encorporates the continuing stories of the their surrounding family. Vivian Arend's Six Pack Ranch stories are first and foremost about loyalty, trust, family and a deep love that transcends all issues and Rocky Mountain Rebel is no exception to that rule. However, it does manage to be both a deeper and sweeter story than those that proceeded it (which is saying a lot, because Rocky Mountain Haven was an achingly sweet book).

Now, don't get me wrong when I said that Rocky Mountain Rebel is sweet, it still manages to be extremely erotic and sexy. But when Joel Coleman agrees to help out Vicki Hansol (which is the main plot of the story) he goes from being the naughty bad boy we've seen in the previous books and becomes a sweet protector and friend who wants to do everything he can to be their for Vicki. Both Vicki and Joel are on a mission to prove that they are not the people that the town and their families think they are and they're doing it as a team.

Rocky Mountain Rebel was a slight departure from the other books, in that both the main protagonists are very young (around 21 years old) whereas all the other couples in the previous books were in their 30s. Vivian Arend just a really great job of encorporating youthful language that seems authentic and real, rather forced and silly. The discrimination that the couple face comes across as very realistic and authentic and I honestly felt the pain and isolation that Vicki was going through. The plot was very well paced and very easy to sink into.

Without ruining the surprise twist in the book...I will say that the sex scenes are a delight! They start of slow, but are incredibly erotic right from the start. Vicki and Joel's first kiss knocked my socks off and each added scene managed to be steamier and hotter than the last! It all seemed very natural and, though the ending was a little abrupt, it also made me a little swoony!

There were some editing issues (spelling mistakes, missing words etc) with the ebook version of Rocky Mountain rebel, but the story was so inviting that they didn't detract from Vivian Arend's ability to weave an engaging and beautiful story that kept me captivated from the first page right through to the last. And I definitely can't wait to get my hands on the next book! 

Release Date:21 May 2013
Rating: 4.5/5  
Sex Scenes: Sweet and Erotic with Slow Building Heat
Plot: Realistic and Well Paced
Characters: Realistic, Engaging and Addictive
Dialogue: Authentic and Engaging 

Training Their Mate: Pack Wars Book 1 by Vella Day

Training Their Mate

Training Their Mate is the first book in Vella Day's new Pack Wars series. I reviewed this book for NetGalley.

I have a confession to make...I ADORE alpha male characters, but as a rule I'm not usually drawn to shifter/werewolf style romances and it takes a very special book from that genre to reel me in and keep me interested. When I read the synopsis I thought to myself, "Stacey, why not give it a go...I mean, there are TWO alpha males in this book. That's double the alpha-awesomeness!" So I jumped into it with an open mind and I have to say that I was really disappointed. The book had all the ingredients for a smokin' hot romance but there was just no spark at all. The storyline came across as a little convoluted and silly, and it covers some very harsh topics but no real angst or pain manages to break through. The relationship between the three main characters, Liz Wharton and Trax and Dante came across as very forced. The dialogue was appropriate, but there wasn't really any oomph or sizzle behind it. 

Now, most of that could have been forgiven if the characters were relatable but honestly, they really weren’t, and not just because two of them were werewolves! Liz Wharton has this grand plan of revenge, she’s meant to be strong and empowered but she comes across as weak-willed, silly and contrived. I mean, at the start she's all gung-ho to kill Harvey Couch, she's attacked and then isn't even a little suspicious when two men essentially kidnap her and sequester her away, and then she just gives up on her plans for revenge and wallows in Trax and Dante's dominance? Really? And then there’s Dante and Trax. It appears that all they think about is sex and there isn’t really any substance to them at all. 

Now, the sex scenes. Training Their Mate has a reasonable amount of BDSM (Master/sub) related sex.  If this is done well, it’s usually very sexy. But there’s no real lead up to them all jumping into bed, and because of that, there’s very little chemistry or tension between the characters. And this lack of a lead up, and the aforementioned silliness with the heroine just jumping into bed with two guys who have kidnapped her, really doesn’t come off all that well. Having said that, the sex scenes are descriptive enough to be entertaining.

Release Date: January 28 2013
Rating: 2/5
Sex Scenes: Descriptive, BDSM elements, not very well developed
Plot: Slightly contrived and convoluted
Characters: Un-relatable and silly
Dialogue: Suitable for the story, but lacking in enough emotion to portray the intense subject matter.  

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Exciting News!

I have joined the wonderful NetGalley to not only broaden my exposure to new and wonderful authors and books, but to help give feedback about the books I have read. NetGalley is a wonderful resource that I'd recommend to any reader who loves to share about the books they read and I'm delighted to be a part of their awesome community.

Fire Inside by Kristen Ashley

Fire Inside
Favourite Quote: "I felt his lips hit mine, where he said, "every step, every breath, every second I lived on this earth, I'm thankful for, no matter how fuc*ed up or whacked or hard or cood, 'cause all that sh*t led me to you". 

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of the second book in Kristen Ashley’s Chaos series, Fire Inside. I read Fire Inside cover-to-cover without taking a break because it was so utterly beautiful that it deserved my full attention. It was intense, breathtaking, heart-wrenching and absolutely glorious from the very first page to the very last page. And Hop is currently topping my list of favourite Kristen Ashley alpha male heroes (and trust me, that is a very, very long, delicious list! Kristen Ashley knows how to write Alpha Males!). 

Fire Inside is the story of Lainey Heron and Hopper ‘Hop’ Kincaid who we met in Motorcycle Man. On the surface, they’re a couple that shouldn’t work. Lainey is sophisticated, stylish and full of drama. Hop is a rough, messy, biker who doesn’t care what people think of him. Lainey has a brutal history that rocked her world off its axis and nearly took her life, but with the support of Chaos, she’s finding her way back to living. Hop has a rough history too, but instead of just existing in life, he lives it and sucks all he can get out of it. They’re so completely different and yet they so totally work together, they fit in a way that goes so far beyond the insanely-intense sex scenes and makes perfect sense. 

The plot is engaging and fits really well with events that happen in Own The Wind (but recaps events well enough that Fire Inside can be read as a standalone book) and is realistic enough to keep you hooked, but it’s the characters that make Kristen Ashley’s book so incredible.The conflicts in Fire Inside were brutal and so intense, there were times that I honestly didn’t think that Lainey and Hop would get through it, but they were so beautiful together, I was rooting for them the whole way. With each chapter, you learn more and more about the two characters and each new bit of information just makes you fall more in love with them. And even though I know Lainey is fictional, her strength humbles me in a very real way. To call her incredible is nothing short of the absolute truth! And Hop is so drop-dead sexy in a totally badass alpha male way, that the scenes he has with his kids are breath takingly gorgeous. The path the characters take during the course of the book is hard to read, but each time they come through a hurdle, Kristen Ashley makes those nail-biting moments 100% worth it!

Fire Inside is a wild ride, with sex scenes so hot I’m amazed that I didn’t light on fire just reading them! The love and passion between the characters is clear, without seeming forced or cheesy. The dialogue is unique, hillarious and so perfect for the story, and the plot flows effortlessly. Kristen Ashley has created a world that makes you want to sink into it and never come up for air, because the characters, even the peripheral ones, are so engaging and vibrant that you can’t help but fall in love with them. Fire Inside is worth every breath-stealing, heart-throbbing moment! 

Release Date: June 4 2013
Rating: 5/5 (I'd give it 10/5 if I could!)
Sex Scenes: Smokin' Hot, Super Erotic and Very Sexy!
Plot: Fluid and Intense
Characters: Vibrant, Realistic and Addictive! 
Dialogue: Unique, Hillarious and Well Suited to the story.