Sunday, August 30, 2015

Review: Wicked Lies

Wicked Lies Wicked Lies by Lora Leigh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"They knew she was here now. They knew, and they wouldn't stop until they killed her, just as they had killed her mother and her uncle. And she still hadn't figured out who it was or why they wanted her dead."

FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this book and it is good for readers who want a very hot read. I especially liked the relationship between Jazz and Kenni. Kenni is strong and able to take care of herself. Despite her troubles, she is a survivor and no shrinking violet. The book was emotional because Jazz had loved Kenni for so long and had been grieving for her.

THE STORY: Jazz Lacing had loved Kenni Maddox even when she was too young for him. Then she was gone, killed in a fire with her mother. In the decade since, Jazz has grieved the spunky, determined young woman. He had begun to think about the new Kindergarten teacher, Annie Mayes, however. Jazz knows that something is off about Annie and he is determined to uncover her secrets. What he finds out, however, is that Annie is really Kenni in disguise. She has been on the run for ten years trying to hide from those who are determined to kill her. Jazz knows that he won't let Kenni go again and he will make her stop running and start trusting.

OPINION: I liked this book much better than the first in the series. The relationship between Jazz and Kenni is very sexy and very emotional. Jazz is an extremely strong and confident man but it is clear from the beginning that he is completely committed to Kenni. Their story when she was sixteen is incredibly sweet, but that sweetness becomes hot and sexy and adult very quickly when the secret of Kenni's identity comes out.

Kenni's character is especially strong. She is frightened and uncertain, but she is not helpless. She knows how to take care of herself and she is a perfect match for Jazz. She refuses to succumb to his demands. She insists that she deserves the right to make her own decisions and not to wait to be saved. I liked her spunky personality as it came out as she reclaims her own identity.

There is an interesting plot regarding who is out to kill Kenni. I figured out the culprit early on but that was okay. What I didn't like was that the resolution was really rushed. I never got an identity from the villain and that made it hard to be satisfied in the ending. I also kept wondering in the beginning what is the Kin? It doesn't get defined until well in the story and it kept interrupting the flow of the story when the reference appeared.

WORTH MENTIONING: I can guess who the next couple is and I can't wait.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WICKED LIES is the second book in The Men of Summer series. It has overlapping characters but this book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.75 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: Pursued by the Devil

Pursued by the Devil Pursued by the Devil by Carole Mortimer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Short, Sexy Novella About Alpha Male and The Woman Who Can't Resist Him

FINAL DECISION: This novella is short and sexy with a protective alpha male and the woman who is being stalked. The length of the story doesn't allow for much character development, but the chemistry between the hero and heroine makes this story a good read.

THE STORY: Lindsey Carlisle is a career woman. A lawyer, she is representing a company opposing a corporate takeover by Mikhail Lysenko. Mikhail is a Russian billionaire, alpha male and intensely attracted to Lindsey. Lindsey is attracted to Mikhail as well but knows that professional responsibilities mean that she cannot become involved in Mikhail. When Lindsey begins receiving mysterious black roses, Mikhail insists on protecting her from her stalker. The mystery of who is threatening Lindsey and the sexy romance between Mikhail and Lindsey are the focus of the story.

OPINION: This novella is short and as a result, there is not as much character development and I would like. The attraction between Lindsey and Mikhail is immediate and it would have been nice to understand more what Mikhail sees in Lindsey that makes him want to immediately toss aside everything that is important to him in order to pursue her.

I did very much enjoy the chemistry between Lindsey and Mikhail and he is so completely devoted to her that it was impossible for me not to like him. The story is simple, but effective.

I thought that Mikhail especially was a very interested character and I would have liked to get to know him better as a character. He does have very good qualities, however. His determination, protectiveness and single minded pursuit of Lindsey are attractive. He is a definite alpha male but Lindsey can handle him.

WORTH MENTIONING: Mikhail identifies strongly with the bear. I wish the title would have reflected that rather than using "devil" which doesn't really have any connection with the story.

CONNECTED BOOKS: PURSUED BY THE DEVIL is part of the International Bad Boys series. These books are loosely connected only by theme and concept without overlapping characters. Therefore, this book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions herein are my own.

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Review: If You Only Knew

If You Only Knew If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Story About Love, Loss, Anger and Forgiveness

Jenny: “Today is one of those days when I realize that staying friends with my ex-husband was a huge mistake.”

Rachel: “I don’t want things to change. Please, God, don’t let Adam be cheating.”

FINAL DECISION: The story of two sisters confronting love, marriage, divorce, and personal identity in the modern world, IF YOU ONLY KNEW is heartbreaking and redeeming. Although it is not a traditional romance, this book investigates what it means to love – to love someone else and yourself.

THE STORY: IF YOU ONLY KNEW is the story of two sisters confronting difficulties in love and marriage. Jenny Tate, a wedding dress designer, struggles with her life after her marriage to the doctor that everyone loves fell apart. He has moved on and found a wonderful new wife and has a new baby. They are still friends but Jenny wonders what life has for her when she meets Leo Killian, a piano teacher.

Jenny’s sister Rachel is struggling with her own marriage. Rachel was finally happy with her life as a stay at home mom with three wonderful triple daughters when she finds out her husband has cheated on her. She loves her husband and her life but doesn’t know what to do with her anger at his infidelity.

The story of two sisters who help one another through their struggles, IF YOU ONLY KNEW is about love and forgiveness and the strength that comes from sisters who understand one another’s pain and joy.

OPINION: Honestly, when I read the description for this book, I didn’t expect to like it. I prefer traditional romance books and I was sad to realize that Higgins that turned toward “chick lit” or “women’s fiction” rather than writing a traditional romance as she has done in the past. Despite this, however, I decided to read this book and I am glad I did.

IF YOU ONLY KNEW is not a traditional romance with a focus on a romance and a happy ending but it is a thoughtful examination of the complexity of modern relationships. There are various relationships at issue here such as husband/wife, sister/sister, mother/daughter, friend/friend, ex-spouses.

This book thoughtfully examines the endings of relationships. Both sisters have to come to terms with what happens when trouble comes to relationships. Jenny still has feelings for her ex-husband and allows herself to be drawn into his new relationship in unhealthy ways because she is still clinging to the past. During the course of the book, she finally begins to recognize that her marriage was not perfect, that her ex-husband was not perfect and that she can move to build a new life. Rachel also has to confront an imperfect husband and has to decide whether her marriage is worth trying to save after his infidelity. Rachel has managed to devote herself to her marriage and her children to the detriment of her own identity. Her husband infidelity makes Rachel question who she really is and what her personal identity will be.

While some descriptions of this book depict it as a story of the relationship between these two sisters, I disagree. While the relationship between the sisters is certainly a part of the story, to me this story is really about what the meaning of love, fidelity and relationship is. Both Jenny and Rachel are struggling with their own identity in relation to marriage.

Told in first person by each of the sisters, the book alternates chapters between their viewpoints. The book delves deeply into the emotions of the sisters including bewilderment, anger, fear, affection and love. I loved the honesty and difficulties depicted in the book. It felt fresh and new and real.

For those romance fans, I assure you that there is romance in this book. Perhaps not in expected ways, but this is not a downer of a book. It ultimately has sadness and acceptance, but also joy and the possibility for more happiness.

WORTH MENTIONING: IF YOU ONLY KNEW is not a traditional romance book. It is women’s fiction and the focus is on the struggles of these two sisters and their relationship with one another. I did find the romance in this book satisfying in its own way.

CONNECTED BOOKS: IF YOU ONLY KNEW is a standalone book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.25 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.


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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Review: Wildest Dreams

Wildest Dreams Wildest Dreams by Robyn Carr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Strong Story of Two Survivors

“Lin Su was proud, gentle, as strong as steel, as soft as a cloud, stubborn as an ox.”

FINAL DECISION: Realistic story of two survivors. The story of how those with pasts filled with disappointments can learn to open themselves up to the possibility of love. The heroine is closed off and takes some time to understand, but a mature, devoted hero is a highlight. This book doesn’t require reading the others in the series, but fans will get some happy updates.

THE STORY: Blake Smiley has come to Thunder Point to put down roots and make a home for himself. A professional triathlete, Blake is at a cross-roads in his professional life. He is getting older and knows that his time competing in elite competitions is coming to an end. But his end has not come let and Blake hopes to train without distractions in his new home. It is, of course, at this moment that Blake meets Lin Su Simmons and her teenage son Charlie.

Lin Su has had to rely on herself for a long time. Her Vietnamese birth mother put her up for adoption when Lin Su was three years old. Her adoptive parents wanted the perfect Asian genius for a daughter. When Lin Su ended up pregnant instead of at Harvard, her adoptive parents abandoned her. Lin Su has learned to rely on no one except herself.

Coming to Thunder Point has threatened Lin Su’s isolation as the people in town – and especially Blake – want to draw Lin Su into relationship with them and show her the benefits of being able to rely on other people.

OPINION: Blake is definitely a wonderful hero. Patient, successful, dedicated and reasonable, Blake is someone who has emerged from the hell that was his childhood a strong person. At the time readers meet Blake, he has conquered his demons and is in a good place in his life. He is ready for a serious relationship.

Blake’s maturity and openness is a counterbalance to Lin Su who has survived her childhood as well, but has done so by relying only on herself and distrusting the effort of others to help her. Lin Su is strong and self-reliant, but she is also afraid and stubborn. So many people have hurt and disappointed her that she doesn’t want to open herself up to the possibility of relying on other people.

Lin Su’s stubbornness makes her more difficult to get close to – not only for Blake, but also for the reader. She was a difficult heroine to get to know and care about. As she opens herself up to those around her in Thunder Point, however, her motivations become clearer. Her fear of being vulnerable is close to the surface throughout the book.
Lin Su’s son Charlie is also a wonderful part of the story. His relationship with his mother gives a window to get to know Lin Su. Through him and Lin Su’s work, readers can see that Lin Su gives a lot to other people but doesn’t know how to accept the generosity and caring of others.

This romance takes some time to get going. A slow burning romance is not a problem and for these characters – especially Lin Su – the amount of time that is needed until the romance takes off seems appropriate. Lin Su and Blake get to know one another in a platonic fashion before the romance takes off. Unfortunately, because of the length of the book, the romance is missing a little bit once Blake and Lin Su get together because of all the plot threads that need to be tied up.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book has a great amount of realistic detail in it that elevates it and makes it feel real with people that it would be possible to meet and know.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WILDEST DREAM is the ninth book in the Thunder Point series. It can be read as a standalone. I have not read the other books in the series, but enjoyed this one without any of the information from those books. There are updates about prior couples from the series, but this can be enjoyed without knowing the backstories.

STAR RATING: I give WILDEST DREAMS 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed herein are my own.


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Friday, August 21, 2015

Review: Not Always a Saint

Not Always a Saint Not Always a Saint by Mary Jo Putney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wicked Woman Tempts Saintly Man

“I don’t belong with a man who is almost a saint!”
“I am no saint.”

FINAL DECISION: Complex, mature characters (and a woman with a shady past) enliven the story of two people who on the surface are completely wrong for one another and yet fit together perfectly. I love stories where the characters talk and manage their relationship as adults and this one fits the bill. Twists and turns in the plot kept me guessing as to what the ultimate outcome would be.

THE STORY:
“Inheriting wealth, influence, and a seat in the House of Lords is enough to drive any man to despair.”
Daniel Herbert unexpectedly inherits a title and an estate and fears that it will destroy his life. He is devoted to his medical work after the death of his sweetheart, but reluctantly enters society to seek a wife to secure his obligations. He is seeking a wife who is more mature (perhaps a widow), able to manage his estates allowing him to continue with his medical work, and not a beauty.

Then he meets Lady Kelham who simply takes his breath away because of her beauty.

Jessie Kelham is known as the Black Widow. Her elderly husband has recently died and she is forced to find a husband in order to protect their young daughter from her nephew who seeks to control her daughter’s inheritance. She wants a man who is “old and unhandsome” and will be kind to her and her daughter.

She is attracted to Daniel but he doesn’t meet her requirements for a husband. Even worse, she has met Daniel before even though he doesn’t remember her. She has dark secrets and is afraid that Daniel will remember her and expose her.

Even though Jessie doesn’t meet his requirement for a wife, Daniel knows that something special is between them and is determined to court Jessie.

OPINION: NOT ALWAYS A SAINT is filled with complex, multifaceted characters. The saint and sinner dichotomy is explored here in a thoughtful way where the choices and challenges of life have helped shape these characters.

Daniel is responsible, dedicated and kind. Readers and Jessie first see him as almost saintly as a dedicated doctor and ordained vicar, but he is not moralistic or condemning. His characters is contrasted with that of Jessie’s vicar father. Daniel has seen a lot as a doctor and has a more nuanced view of the foibles of people than might be expected. Jessie doesn’t expect the acceptance she receives from Daniel.

Jessie is a survivor. She has been an abuse victim and has managed to create a good life for herself. Vicar’s daughter, runaway bride, abuse victim, actress, mistress, dedicated wife and mother, widow. Jessie’s life might brand her a wicked woman to others – and perhaps to herself as well. Daniel recognizes in Jessie strength and loyalty and determination and the ability to survive and make the most of what she has been given in life. From Daniel, Jessie receives acceptance and the strength to confront the demons of her past.

The love between these two is adult and mature and responsible even while they have an incredible sexual attraction. I love that these two discuss their problems and manage their lives together. I am fan of couples who work together and build a partnership where they can discuss problems and fears and where the story doesn’t depend solely on dramatics in the story. By the end of the book, I had no question that Jessie and Daniel had built a relationship that would bring happiness for the rest of their lives.

The intriguing story of the threatening nephew and the secrets from Jessie’s past lend intrigue and drama to the story without overwhelming the relationship. This book is filled with historical details and intriguing twists based on real historical events that might surprise readers because of its reality. (Putney has an afterword which gives some real historical information).

Readers who are looking for complex characters who deny easy characterizations and who enjoy relationships built on respect and understanding rather than mere drama will enjoy this book.

WORTH MENTIONING: One of the secondary characters Gordon is one of the schoolmates of Daniel and the other men in the series. He seems to have an interesting story that I hope will be explored in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: NOT ALWAYS A SAINT is the seventh book in the Lost Lords series. This book can be read as a standalone. I have not read the prior books in the series and did not feel that I missed anything although the book made me interested to read the other couples’ stories.

STAR RATING: I give NOT ALWAYS A SAINT 4.25 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book from the author and Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

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Review: Miss Greenhorn

Miss Greenhorn Miss Greenhorn by Diana Palmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sweet Story, Likeable Characters

"It was pure bad luck that the Hokokam ruin the professor was interested in was on property owned by Nathanial Lang, who seemed to hate science, modern people, and Christine with a passion."

FINAL DECISION: The typical experienced hero, virginal heroine story is elevated by revelations the defy expectations and a hero who at first appears to be heartless but ends up being incredibly sweet.

THE STORY: Christiana "Christy" Haley is a teacher from the east who joins an archeological excavation as part of her summer vacation and recent makeover. She meets ornery ranch owner Nate Long who is a westerner and who believes that the clumsy accidents that follow Christy are her way of trying to attract him. Christy is old fashioned and barely out of her shy, awkward stage. She finds she likes Nate but his misunderstandings about her push her too far too fast.

OPINION: This is a sweet gentle romance between two people that seem to be opposite. Christy is a woman who looks beautiful, but inside is shy and awkward. She is being noticed by men for the first time and doesn't quite know how to handle herself. Nate is a confident sexy cowboy and much more sophisticated that Christy -- or so she thinks. What is revealed through the story is that both Christy and Nate have mistaken impressions about one another.

This story is elevated by the fact that Nate recognizes his mistaken impression of Christy and is then conflicted because he likes this woman but doesn't want to be hurt by her -- or to hurt her. I felt that Nate is a sweet hero.

The end of the story (no spoilers) was simply adorable.

WORTH MENTIONING: As with many Palmer heroes, Nate mistakes Christy for an experienced woman and attempts to engage in a sexual relationship with her. Here, however, Nate is much more a gentleman that some Palmer heroes.

CONNECTED BOOKS: MiSS GREENHORN is a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Review: Forbidden

Forbidden Forbidden by Jess Michaels
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"For years he had born a secret. And with each passing day, it weighed more heavily on him."

THE STORY: Lady Audrey Woodley has been fascinated with Jude Samson for years. The friend and man of business of her older brother, the Marquis of Woodley. Although born of a good family, Jude and his mother were shunned by his father's family after his death and Jude has had to make his own way in the world. Although Jude has strong feelings for Audrey, he knows that they have no future together. He believes that his status as an employee disqualifies him from having a relationship with Audrey. Even worse, Jude has been keeping secrets that he knows that will make Audrey hate him if she knew. When the two end up unchaperoned at the family's country estate, Jude and Audrey cannot contain the passion that bursts between them. Jude knows that when his secrets are discovered that Audrey will never forgive him and he risks losing the family he loves.

OPINION: Michaels introduces readers to a fun, intriguing, sexy family that have enough secrets to justify the series that this books kicks off.

The Woodleys siblings are comprised of Edward (the Marquis), Evan, Gabriel, Claire and Audrey. Edward is newly married (A MARQUIS FOR MARY). The older sister has disappeared after running off to marry a man who turned out to be a scoundrel. Claire's disappearance negatively effects all the members of the family -- most especially Audrey who now fears passion as a result. Audrey is supposed to be hunting for a husband, but has lost interest because she worries about allowing her passions to lead her astray.

To give Audrey a break from the Season, her mother and she travel to the family’s country house that is being remodeled. Edward sends an unhappy Jude along to handle the business issues. Their seclusion allows the longtime friendship between Jude and Audrey to blossom into passion and love. Audrey and Jude do not plan on a longtime relationship even though each is attached to the other. Their passionate relationship begins on the excuse of showing Audrey that she doesn’t have to fear passion, but both clearly know that it is only an excuse and the trust is that Jude and Audrey have wanted one another for years.

The characters here are fresh and fun. Like the Flynn series, the Woodleys are not stuffy, staid typical ton. This is a family and they have deep connections to one another and their missing sibling has left a hole in their lives. Each of the siblings experiences that differently and Michael has managed to distinguish each of the Woodley siblings through their response to their loss.

Audrey is the more reasonable daughter. After what happened to Claire, Audrey fears and yet yearns for passion and love. She is not bound by convention and doesn’t allow expectations to interfere with her desire for Jude.

Jude has wanted a family like the Woodleys. Although they consider him a part of the family, Jude has been damaged by the rejection of his own family and cannot help but expect for the Woodleys to ultimately reject him as well. He knows that his affair with Audrey will ultimately separate him from the only family he has ever known but he cannot resist her. He wants the chance to love her and to show her that she doesn’t have to fear her passions. Jude has made poor decisions in the past and believes that Audrey will never forgive him. He is filled with guilt and yet continues to do what he feels best even if it means lying to Audrey.

I love these books where there are conflicts arising over the stations of the characters and Michaels does a great job reversing the usual trope of the woman being of a lower working class. (Michaels has a similar cross-station story in the excellent NO GENTLEMAN FOR GEORGINA). This book doesn’t shy from confronting the inadequacy that Jude feels because he is employed by Audrey’s brother.

What is also wonderful is the strong love that the Woodleys have for one another – and also for Jude even though he insists on not accepting that the Woodleys really do see him as family.

Finally, this book is really hot. Michaels has built on a true emotional relationship to make the sexual relationship between these characters not only hot and sexy, but also emotionally engaging. Michaels does a great job in writing hot sex scenes and her most recent books have also created fully developed engaging characters. Her characters are likeable people and it makes it easier to root for their happy endings.

WORTH MENTIONING: There is a fascinating story regarding the missing sister Claire that I look forward to discovering more about in future books. Her story appears to be an ongoing dilemma for the family that will cover several books.

FINAL DECISION: Likeable characters, sexy romance and secrets that threaten to tear them apart, FORBIDDEN is definitely a book I recommend. I can't wait to read the next book in the series to find out more about these Woodleys.

CONNECTED BOOKS: FORBIDDEN is the first book in the Wicked Woodley's series. There is a prequel story about the oldest brother called A Marquis for Mary. That novella is not necessary to read to enjoy this book, but I recommend reading it first anyway because it introduces the Woodley family.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.


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Monday, August 17, 2015

Review: A Virgin River Christmas

A Virgin River Christmas A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

"Ian had saved Bobby's life. He didn't make it out whole, but still -- Ian had braved death to carry Bobby to safety. And then he'd disappeared."

THE STORY: Marcie Sullivan is a widow at the age of 27 after her husband came back from Iraq severely injured. He survived for several more years and his injuries were devastating. Now that he has died, Marcie is on a quest to find and thank the man who saved her husband's life in Iraq. Ian Buchanan was emotionally wounded by the event in Iraq and has dropped out of civilized society. Marcie's search has brought her to Virgin River. When she finds Ian, she discovers a man both deeply wounded by his past but also surviving very well on his own. When the two are forced together, they begin to build a relationship that helps both let go of the past.

OPINION: A book about grief, pain and letting go of the past, this book is incredibly sweet and also filled with pain and rejection and determination. Both Marcie and Ian are determined to live their own lives despite the wishes of those around them. I especially liked their combined stubborn natures and how they interact with one another. Ian ends up being one of the sweetest heroes even as he is a tough customer. Marcie is gentle and yet strong and determined. The combination of character works to build depth to the story. Although billed as a Christmas story, this is definitely a fully developed novel that does not overly rely on the Christmas theme but rather uses it to give additional depth to the story and gives readers a view into a Virgin River Christmas.


WORTH MENTIONING: This book is more self-contained than others in the series. There is less information about the town although significant people such as Mel and Jack make appearances. The events of this story take place during WHISPERING ROCK.

FINAL DECISION: A book about finding a new path after loss, this book is sweet and yet also strong and redemptive.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A VIRGIN RIVER CHRISTMAS is book 4 of the Virgin River series. This book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.25 stars.

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Review: Sacrifice

Sacrifice Sacrifice by Lora Leigh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THE STORY: Kimberly Madison has been hiding from her feelings for Jared Raddington for a year. The two are techically step-siblings, but since their parents married when they were adults, they did not grow up together. Kimberly's father, however, seriously disapproves of Jared and the sexual lifestyle he leads which includes menages and other extreme sexual activities. Kimberly's inheritance requires her to be a virgin and she is subjected to regular exams to confirm her virginity. Kimberly has no intention of getting involved with Jared when she knows that they have no future. Jared has wanted Kimberly for a long time and is done with waiting.

OPINION: This book is one of the most sexually adventurous of the series and includes Kimberly having sex with another man opening the book and includes the almost required menage. The story is frank and explicit and focuses on the sexual relationship. Because "typical" sex is off limits, this leads to more creative sexual experiences. It also leads the characters to talk more and develop their relationship in different ways. My complaint is that the situation itself felt somewhat contrived with too many obstacles in the couple's path. I did like the resolution to the problem and felt that it really showed more character development than I had expected.

WORTH MENTIONING: The book opens with the heroine having sex with a man NOT the hero and also contains a MMF menage.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SACRIFICE is the fifth book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

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Review: Wicked Intent (Bound Hearts, #4)

Wicked Intent (Bound Hearts, #4) Wicked Intent (Bound Hearts, #4) by Lora Leigh
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

THE STORY: Tally Raines is a smart mouthed secretary with an adventurous sexual side. One person she doesn't like, however, is her new boss Lucian Conover. The two strike sparks off of one another immediately. Lucian, however, has had his eye on the sexy Tally for a year and has been maneuvering his way into her life. Lucian and his fraternal twin Devril have plans for Tally. Truthfully, Tally cannot resist the two brothers so different in looks but bound together by complicated sexual needs.

OPINION: This is my favorite of the series so far. Menage relationships are difficult because often there is a stronger connection between one pair. Here, Lucian and Devril are two sides of the same coin and yet have distinct personalities that make them compelling and makes the relationship work between these three. Both Lucian and Devril have different relationships with Tally and that helps with balancing the complicated relationship. This book is erotica and it is hot, but the relationships and characters always have priority here.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a true MMF menage relationship.

FINAL DECISION: The complex and well balanced relationship between the characters makes this my favorite of the series so far.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WICKED INTENT is the fourth book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.25 stars.

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Review: Seduction

Seduction Seduction by Lora Leigh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THE STORY: Jesse Wyman has wanted Terrie for a long time. The widow of his younger brother, Terrie was almost destroyed by her miserable marriage. Her husband, knowing that she had feelings for Jesse, tormented her with the idea that she was not woman enough for any man especially alpha male Jesse. Since his death, Jesse has tried to be a friend to Terrie, but he has finally reached the end of his patience. Jesse challenges Terrie to seduce him hoping that it will break her out of her cycle of fear.

OPINION: The relationship between Jesse and Terrie is the focus here. Although Jesse has a dominating sexual side, he is also kind and sweet to Terrie. That mixture is especially appealing here. Although the focus of the relationship between Jesse and Terrie is their sexual relationship, it is through this relationship that Terrie is healed of her self-doubt and the fears her husband imposed upon her.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book contains not one but two menage scenes -- one FFM and one MMF.

FINAL DECISION: This book's focus on the tenderness in the relationship between Jesse and Terrie makes it more than a hot sex book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SEDUCTION is the third book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

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Review: Secret Pleasure

Secret Pleasure Secret Pleasure by Lora Leigh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"They were bound. She couldn't break that bond, couldn't escape it, now matter how she tried when her conscious mind ruled her."

THE STORY: At age 18, Alyssa Hampstead is trying to get away from her overbearing mother and her political aspirations of her father. One night she meets Sebastian De Loren and his cousin Shane Conner. There is an instant connection between the three although Alyssa has no intention of getting involved with these two heartthrobs. The cousins want the beautiful young woman but know that they cannot hope to begin a relationship with her under the eyes of her parents. Instead, they plan on meeting up with her in Spain without her knowledge. The three begin an intense relationship that seems to be satisfying for all three of them, but one day they are torn apart by blackmail and threats. It is not until eight years later that the three come together again. The danger still remains, however, and this time someone may not survive.

OPINION: I liked the mystery in this story more than the romance. I was intrigued by the dangers that continued to threaten this trio. I also really liked the connection between the characters. It is not always easy to write a three sided relationship but Leigh has done this several times already. I didn't feel that Alyssa's connection with Shane was as well developed as her relationship with Sebastian. That diminished my enjoyment of this story because part of the trio didn't seem as understandable. I did really enjoy the protectiveness that the cousins show Alyssa. The pain that all three of these characters endure because of their separation was well described and simply heartbreaking. This story is also pretty hot although I have read better ones by Leigh. Overall a good read but not the best of the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: Readers should be aware that this book features a MMF menage relationship.

FINAL DECISION: This was one of the Bound Heart series where the story was definitely more interesting than I expected. The mystery of who was threatening Alyssa kept the story moving. I didn't find the relationships in this book as well developed.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BOUND HEARTS is the thirteenth book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone. Although I have read the first couple books in the series, I have not yet completed the rest and did not feel that I missed anything.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.75 stars.

NOTE: I recieved an ARC of this book from Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to provide a positive review and all opinions contained herein are my own.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Review: Brown-Eyed Girl

Brown-Eyed Girl Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finally! the Conclusion to the Travis Family Series

THE STORY: Avery Crosslin is a wedding coordinator who believes in happy endings for others but not herself. After being left at the altar by her fiance, Avery has shut herself off from the possibility of love. Three years after her world collapsed, things are changing for Avery. The company that she is building with her half-sister is about to take off with the wedding of the year. She may have the opportunity to return to New York to be the star of a new reality wedding show. And sexy Joe Travis has come into her life.

Joe Travis is entranced by the competent sparkling Avery from the moment he meets her. What he doesn't understand, however, is why Avery rejects him at every turn. An intrigued Travis doesn't give up easily and is determined to get behind the wary walls that Avery clings to.

OPINION: There is much to like in this story.

Joe Travis is steady and gentle and determined and sexy. He is determined to pull Avery to his side and yet he will not stand in her way when she thinks of leaving him. I found that behavior to be adult and incredibly supportive. If there are any complaints it is that Joe is almost too good to be true.

Avery is professional and adult and incredibly hurt and wary. She is the impediment to a relationship with Joe. Her fears are understandable and she has to work through them...but at times her determination to cling to her fears are infuriating. I really liked how Avery is a moral person even to her own detriment and how she eventually recognizes what a wonderful thing she has with Joe.

The book also has a secondary romance that is sweet and gives a nice boost to the romance in the book.

For me, the weakness in the story is the plot line involving the wedding that Avery is coordinating. I guessed the plot turn early on and I didn't think that story added any drama or depth to the novel. As a result, although I liked this book, I just didn't find it as compelling as the others in the series (especially the superlative BLUE-EYED DEVIL).

I did like the cameos by the characters from the series, but I wish there had been more about the family and less about the new characters involved in the wedding drama.

This book completes the Travis family series and for fans of the series, it gives closure.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book takes place several years after the events of the third book in the series SMOOTH TALKING STRANGER.

FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this book, but it lacked some of the vitality and depth of the other books in the series. Nevertheless, I recommend the book especially for fans of the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BROWN-EYED GIRL is the fourth and final book in the Travis Family series. Although there are cameo appearances by other members of the family, this book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give BROWN-EYED GIRL 4 stars.

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