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. 

The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male by Jessica Clare

The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male 

I first read the Care and Feeding of An Alpha Male by Jessica Clare in October of 2012. It's book 2 in Jessica Clare's Bluebonnet Series and it is deliciously saucy! 

I was a little concerned about the book when I started reading it. Jessica' Clares heroine, Beth Ann comes across as a little spoiled, a little bit immature. But as you get to know her, she morphs into an intelligent, caring and funny woman who just wants everyone to see her for who she really is: a strong, capable woman who knows her own mind. Colt, the hero, in the beginning, comes across as a total jerk. He's rude, inconsiderate and has a really low opinion of Beth Ann, someone he really doesn't know all that well. But as he gets to know Beth Ann, the respect, love and admiration he grows for her is obvious to see. I love how organic the shift is between Beth Ann and Colt. Though it happens quite early in the book, it doesn't seem forced and both the characters grow within the relationship over time, making what is essentially a short period of time, seem like a more realistic experience. And the sex scenes between the two...well, lets just say that you should definitely keep an ice-cold drink next to you at all times while reading this book! And possibly a fire extinguisher as well!

The other characters in the book are vivid and hillarious. The interaction and dialogue within the book is truly fantastic and really comes across as credible and realistic. The story flows well and is very well paced, which is an incredibly difficult thing to do in a romance novel.

Overall, I recommend this book for anyone who is look for a fabulous and saucy romance book, with hillarious and awesome dialogue, fantastic and realistic characters, and plenty of chemistry and smokin' sex scenes. 

Release Date: 2 October 2012
Rating: 4/5 
Sex Scenes: Saucy and Passionate
Plot: Fun and Engaging and a Little Silly
Characters: Great Chemistry, Fun and Bold
Dialogue: Fun and Well Suited to the story.

Books, Glorious Books!

My Passion

Growing up, I was surrounded by the, theatre, tv and movies, dance and books. Some of my most loved memories are of my sister and my mum and I pushing aside all the chairs in the lounge-room and rocking-out to some song like we were holding stage at Woodstock, or standing on a chair, hair-brush microphone in hand, belting out a rock ballad after some teenage angst rocked my world off its axis, or finding a quiet moment in the chaos that was my family home, to sit and sink into the rich world of a well-written book. Those memories, that love of the arts, has shaped my life and has gotten me through some of the darkest times in my life. Even now, the release dates of my favourite authors new books gets jotted down in my planner next to doctors appointments, assessment due dates and friends birthdays, because books fuel my soul like few others things do. 

Over the last few years, my love of books has shifted from fantasy and sci-fi to life-affirming, bone-meltingly intense romance books. Books that are set in a world that you can sink into and never want to leave, with vibrant characters, witty and hillarious dialogue and singing sex scenes. Books by authors such as Kristen Ashley, Jill Shalvis, Roxie Rivera, Rebecca Zannetti, Jennifer Ashley, Tessa Bailey, Elle Kennedy, Vivian Arend, Lorelei James, Suzanne Wright and Jessica Clare (just to name a few!). In this blog, I'll be reviewing books from all of these authors, plus plenty more! 

I have reviewed books for many years on Amazon, but have never written them down in an independent forum. This blog is going to be an outlet for my most favourite of hobbies...reading!!!