Friday, May 31, 2013

Fire Inside by Kristen Ashley

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley. Of course, I had to read it immediately.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Lanie Heron isn’t looking for love—no surprise, considering her last serious relationship nearly got her killed. So when Lanie propositions Hop Kincaid, all she wants is one wild night with the hot-as-hell biker who patrols with the Chaos Motorcycle Club...

For Hop, Lanie has always been untouchable. She’s too polished and too classy for his tastes. But when she gives Hop the once-over with her bedroom eyes and offers him a night in paradise, he can’t say no. And he doesn’t regret it when he finds that Lanie is the best thing that’s ever happened to him—in or out of bed. Now the trick will be to convince her of that.

What worked for me (and what didn't): Hop. Hop worked for me. Big time.
“Yeah, I liked skank,” he bit off. “Liked the taste. Wild, free, and easy. Went back for more. Repeatedly. But that was before I had my mouth between the legs of a lady. You get that, you don’t go back.”
Tack is still my favourite but Hop is next in line from the Dream Man/Chaos series so far.  He was most sighworthy.  As much as I enjoyed Shy and Tabby in Own The Wind, I preferred this book.  I guess in part, this was because Lanie's backstory was caught up in Motorcycle Man (Tack!).  But the rest, kind of surprised me.  I hadn't seen Hop that way before.  In fact, in Motorcycle Man, he is a bit of a cheating cheatypants.  In this book, there is an explanation which is much better than Ross Geller's even if there was something a little reminiscent of it.
“Fuck me, babe, seriously?” he ground out then threw a hand toward the bed. “You knocked yourself out to make me wild. You told me your fuckin’ self. Why, Lanie? Why the fuck would you pull out all the fuckin’ stops to make a man already drunk on you drunker?”
I like that Ashley mainly writes older heroes and heroines, even though I didn't have any trouble relating to Tabby and Shy and I don't feel like I enjoyed Own The Wind less because they were younger.  Still, I can't deny that I do enjoy the older protagonists here - it is still quite rare in romance I think to have a hero who's 40 and a heroine who's 39.

As is usual for me with a Kristen Ashley book, I went mad with the highlighter, there are so many excellent lines in there. Believe it or not, the quotes in this review aren't even all of them.

Hop is much more than expected.  He's a good dad, he sings (dude, he's a rock star!) and he's hot, hot, hot.  His moral code is strong and he sticks to it.  There are things in his life he's not proud of but he's proud he helped Chaos get out of "bad shit" it was into before Tack took over the club.
“Every step, every breath, every second I lived on this earth, I’m thankful for, no matter how fucked up or whacked or hard or good, ’cause all that shit led me to you.”
Lanie is still suffering from tremendous guilt over the events at the end of Motorcycle Man.  Even though it is clear that neither Tack nor Tyra hold her responsible, she does.   I liked that it is not just the power of lurrrve which heals her and it is not Hop's MIGHTY wang of lovin' either.  That certainly helps (why wouldn't it?) but it is not a cure and Lanie has things to do to move on and Hop and Tyra both help Lanie with that.
“That’s the point I’m tryin’ to make. If you don’t know shit, you don’t feel shit. You breathe easy if you take a chance on me. What I do, I do. What the Club does, it does. You’ll learn to trust me, the brothers, Tack. I don’t use you as a shield. I am the goddamn shield, and I’m not talkin’ about bullets because shit like that does not touch old ladies. Ever. I’m talkin’ about assholes with monster trucks. I’m talkin’ about Club business, life, every second you live, every breath you take. You take a chance on me, your biggest worry is your 7Up fizzing over.”
Lanie also has been treated badly by the men in her life in general and so, when Hopper comes along, she can tell he's special.
Hop was good-looking, smart, confident, and charismatic. What he wasn’t was a man who hid that he liked what he saw.
He could act the player. He could pretend he could take it or leave it. He could hide his attraction to me in order to gain the upper hand. He could even begin to lay the groundwork of tearing me down, making me feel less than I was, trying to make me feel lucky I had in my bed all that was him and, in doing that, embarking on a campaign that was usually scary successful not to mention swift, to make me feel like I was nothing.
He didn’t.
Tack, once again, has a pivotal scene where he again proves (to me) that he is the hero to aspire to in this series, even as much as I came to adore Hop.  And, really, why wouldn't I adore Hop?
I took two steps into the room, stopped and said quietly but firmly, “I don’t have the energy to spar with you tonight. I’ve been working for five hours and although not physically taxing, it’s been mentally draining. I just want a quiet night.” I shook my head and amended, “No, I need a quiet night.”
“Then it’s good we’re just gonna watch TV. And when I fuck you later, you’re golden. I’ll do all the work.”
See? He's ALL CLASS. Plus, I do love a man who knows how to apologise.
“I fucked up, jumped to conclusions, said somethin’ stupid and you were right to get pissed,”...
 And, for extra bonus points, he's careful of his lady.
“Do we have to go upstairs to fuck?”
He dipped his face closer and answered, “In the mood to dominate, babe, and not big on givin’ my old lady carpet burns.”
Like I said. CLASS.

I felt that this book was sexier than the others I've read (no complaints about that by the way).
...he groaned before his tongue slid into my mouth, his thumb executing a maneuver that should be patented. My second orgasm seared through me so deep, it had to have left an internal scar and I whimpered down his throat.

Hop is confident in his abilities (and, according to Lanie, rightly so).
Something else hit me and I felt my brows shoot together. “Was that a test?”
“No. Don’t play games,” he announced. “Don’t wanna know what kind of men you’ve had in your bed before me outside of the one I do know so, since I know about him, you gotta know, I get it. No offense to the dead but unless he had Superman under all that geek, babe, I know whatever you got from him you liked but it wasn’t what you get from me.”
In terms of criticism, it is much the same as my (mild) complaint of Own The Wind.  The book takes place over basically the same time period.  There is more backstory about Benito the drug dealer and the problem Chaos has with him, but the grand finale is not found here.  So, in terms of the suspense-y side of the story, that was a little flat for me.  That said, I found that the focus of the book wasn't really on the Benito thing so I was able to put that niggle aside very easily.

I do think that the next book in the series will have some extra excitement involving the culmination of these events and I'm looking forward to what happens there.

Even though the book takes place at the same time as much of Tabby and Shy's story, there isn't a lot of cross over so I didn't feel at all like I was getting the same story.  And, what there was felt like extra and a different perspective so it worked really well for me.  Even so, I would have liked a little more about how Hop and Shy patched things up.

Hop and Lanie are compelling and sexy and so good together.  They fight and they work things out - (sometimes it takes some time).  Lanie is known for her drama and Hop isn't fussed at all about this - he's happy for her to be her, drama and all.
“This ends this morning,” I declared to which, immediately, he threw his handsome, stubble-jawed head back and burst out laughing so hard it shook me and the bed.
“Do you find something amusing?” I asked irately through his laughter.
Also through his laughter he focused on me and spoke. “Yeah, honey. The clue is me laughing.”

What else?  I predict sales of Bob Seger songs will spike around release day. Definitely You Tube will be getting a workout.
“And you aren’t gonna feel better for a while, Lanie,” he told me flat out. “You go into battle, it fucks you up. Then you come out a winner, you’re just that, a winner.”
“Okay, that’s nice and all but, I have to admit, now I really don’t feel better. I’m not big on being fucked up,” I told him and he grinned.
Then he asked, “Where am I?”
I didn’t understand the question so I asked back, “What?”
“Where am I?” he repeated and when I still looked confused, he went on, “Right now, Lanie, where am I standing?”
It sifted through me what he meant and left warmth in its wake.
“At my back,” I answered softly.
“At your back, baby, now and always,” he replied, kissed my shoulder again, gave me a squeeze and another sexy grin. Then he let me go and walked away.
I looked at myself in the mirror.
And I felt better.

Grade: B+

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tangled by Emma Chase

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Drew Evans is a winner. Handsome and arrogant, he makes multimillion dollar business deals and seduces New York’s most beautiful women with just a smile. He has loyal friends and an indulgent family. So why has he been shuttered in his apartment for seven days, miserable and depressed?

He’ll tell you he has the flu.

But we all know that’s not really true.

Katherine Brooks is brilliant, beautiful and ambitious. She refuses to let anything - or anyone - derail her path to success. When Kate is hired as the new associate at Drew’s father’s investment banking firm, every aspect of the dashing playboy’s life is thrown into a tailspin. The professional competition she brings is unnerving, his attraction to her is distracting, his failure to entice her into his bed is exasperating.

Then, just when Drew is on the cusp of having everything he wants, his overblown confidence threatens to ruin it all. Will he be able untangle his feelings of lust and tenderness, frustration and fulfillment? Will he rise to the most important challenge of his life?

Can Drew Evans win at love?

Tangled is not your mother’s romance novel. It is an outrageous, passionate, witty narrative about a man who knows a lot about women…just not as much as he thinks he knows. As he tells his story, Drew learns the one thing he never wanted in life, is the only thing he can’t live without.

What worked for me (and what didn't): I am a hero-centric reader so stories told from the hero POV are always ones which pique my interest. I knew going in that Drew was an asshat.  And he REALLY is.  For most of the book (and in some areas, all of it - more on that later), he is a COMPLETE jerk.  What saved him (mostly) for me was that he got his comeuppance  (brought low by true lurrve (TM) don't ya know?) and that (and he) was (often) very funny. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Grover Gardner

Why I listened to it:  I decided to sneak in one of my own listens between review audios.  This isn't a romance but I love the Vorkosigan world so the series is one of my rare exceptions.

What it's about: (from Goodreads) Miles Vorkosigan is the leader of a fast growing mercenary force and the hero of an all-out space battle. At the end of the conflict, he heads a fleet of 19 ships and 3,000 troops. The only problem is, it is treason--as in, a hanging offense--to command a private army.

Warning: **Mild series spoilers for Shards of Honor/ Barrayar**

What worked for me (and what didn't): When I last left Miles Vorkosigan at the end of Barrayar, he was a rambunctious 5 year old, getting into mischief even while breaking bones all the time due to his medical condition.  The series picks up here, with Miles at age 17, trying out for the Barrayaran Military Academy.  Aral (Miles' dad)  is now the Prime Minister, Gregor having ascended to the throne on his majority.

Due to Saltoxin poisoning when he was in utero, Miles is short of stature (just under 5 feet so far) and has very brittle bones.  A mishap on the obstacle course means his hopes of becoming an Officer are dashed.

Miles has a huge crush on Elena Borthari, now 18, and, to try and woo her, he agrees to help her discover information about her mother.  Miles, Elena and Sgt. Borthari travel to Beta Colony ostensibly to visit his grandmother, but Miles has a secret plan to stop at Escobar and see what he can find out about the mysterious woman who is the other half of Elena's DNA.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Gentleman Undone by Cecilia Grant

Why I read it:  I've had this on my TBR for ages - I bought it and planned to read it as a special treat and as often happens, I kind of forgot about it.  When I got Ms. Grant's new book A Woman Entangled I was reminded I hadn't read A Gentleman Undone yet and I like to read in order so...

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  A seductive beauty turns the tables on a gentleman gaming for the guiltiest of pleasures in this rich and sensual Regency romance from beloved newcomer Cecilia Grant.

Lydia Slaughter understands the games men play—both in and out of the bedroom. Not afraid to bend the rules to suit her needs, she fleeces Will Blackshear outright. The Waterloo hero had his own daring agenda for the gaming tables of London's gentlemen's clubs. But now he antes up for a wager of wits and desire with Lydia, the streetwise temptress who keeps him at arm's length.

A kept woman in desperate straits, Lydia has a sharp mind with a head for numbers. She gambles on the sly, hoping to win enough to claim her independence. An alliance with Will at the tables may be a winning proposition for them both. But the arrangement involves dicey odds with rising stakes, sweetened with unspoken promise of fleshly delights. And any sleight of hand could find their hearts betting on something neither can afford to risk: love.

What worked for me (and what didn't): Cecilia Grant has a way with words.  Her style immerses me in the atmosphere of the novel and I have great appreciation for the way the words are crafted to create beauty and lyricism.  That's not enough of course. For a romance novel to work it has to be more than poetic words - the characters have to attract me in some way and I have to buy into the love story.  Here, I did find a lot to like in the characters and I was invested in their love story, but there was something missing in the final stages which stopped this from being the perfect read.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.  Also: Kristen Ashley.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Too hot to handle...

Tabitha Allen grew up in the thick of Chaos--the Chaos Motorcycle Club, that is. Her father is Chaos' leader, and the club has always had her back. But one rider was different from the start. When Tabby was running wild, Shy Cage was there. When tragedy tore her life apart, he helped her piece it back together. And now, Tabby's thinking about much more than friendship...

Tabby is everything Shy's ever wanted, but everything he thinks he can't have. She's beautiful, smart, and as his friend's daughter, untouchable. Shy never expected more than friendship, so when Tabby indicates she wants more--much more--he feels like the luckiest man alive. But even lucky men can crash and burn...

What worked for me (and what didn't): This is the first book by Ashley published through Grand Central with Amy Pierpont editing. It is a much tighter book than those I've read previously and there is less of the run on sentences (which I kind of missed actually). All of the sentences made sense and the copy editing was very clean.  The book fell down for me a little at the end but that was about plot rather than anything else - it kind of fizzled for me rather than ending with a grand finale.  I did love Shy and Tabby together and their interactions were the best parts of the book.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Why I read it: I picked this one up from NetGalley.  I loved Pushing the Limits last year and was so looking forward to where this author would take Beth... and Isaiah.  I had read the first chapter in the back of Pushing the Limits so I had a fair idea that Isaiah wasn't the hero.  He's the hero in the next book.  Cannot Wait.

What it's about (from Goodreads):  "I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....

What worked for me (and what didn't): I loved this.  On Goodreads, it says the book is just over 300 pages but on my reader it was showing up at just over 600.  Who knows why.  But regardless of the actual length, the book was a pleasure to read.  I really like Ms. McGarry's writing style.  I like the alternating POV chapters, from both Beth's and then Ryan's perspectives.   The present tense fit the immediacy of the book too. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I'm over at All About Romance...

I have three reviews up at the Speaking of Audiobooks column - plus there are reviews from other regulars.  Come and say hi! :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Never a Hero by Marie Sexton

Why I read it:  I received an ARC from NetGalley.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Everyone deserves a hero.

Owen Meade is desperately in need of a hero. Raised by a mother who made him ashamed of his stutter, his sexual orientation, and his congenitally amputated arm, Owen lives like a hermit in his Tucker Springs apartment. But then hunky veterinarian Nick Reynolds moves in downstairs.

Nick is sexy and confident, and makes Owen comfortable with himself in a way nobody ever has. He also introduces Owen to his firecracker of a little sister, who was born with a similar congenital amputation but never let it stand in her way. When she signs the two of them up for piano lessons—and insists that they play together in a recital—Owen can’t find a way to say no. Especially since it gives him a good excuse to spend more time with Nick.  

Owen knows he’s falling hard for his neighbor, but every time he gets close, Nick inexplicably pulls away. Battling his mother’s scorn and Nick’s secrets, Owen soon realizes that instead of waiting for a hero, it’s time to be one—for himself
and for Nick.

What worked for me (and what didn't):  Let's start with what I liked.  I thought (with the exception of Owen's mother) that issues of disability were well handled in the novel.  Owen has a congenital amputation of his left arm below the elbow.  Because of how he was raised (more on that later) he is very sensitive about it and is basically a shut in.  After he meets Nick and also Nick's sister June (who has a congenital amputation of her right arm), he is shown a new-to-him way of dealing with his disability and Nick's direct speech opens Owen's eyes as to why many people seem uncomfortable - not that they think he's a freak but they're not sure what to do and default to ignoring it rather than risk offence.    Through his relationship with Nick, Owen finds his world has opened up and his focus changes.  I'm no expert, but it seemed to me to that disability was handled pretty well in the book.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Untamed by Anna Cowan

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.  It's been on my radar for a while now.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  Outspoken and opinionated, Katherine Sutherland is ill at ease amongst the fine ladies of Regency London. She is more familiar with farmers and her blunt opinions and rough manners offend polite society. Yet when she hears the scandalous rumours involving her sister and the seductive Duke of Darlington, the fiercely loyal Katherine vows to save her sister's marriage – whatever the cost.

Intrigued by Katherine's interference in his affairs, the manipulative Duke is soon fascinated. He engages in a daring deception and follows her back to her country home. Here, their intense connection shocks them both. But the Duke's games have dangerous consequences, and the potential to throw both their lives into chaos…

What worked for me (and what didn't): Have you ever had the experience of seeing something in your peripheral vision more clearly than when you look straight on?  I had that a few times when reading this book.  That sense of something just outside my grasp. 

While I had some problems with the story, there is also a lot to like. There is some lovely poetry in the writing.
This was the piano as she hadn’t even known it could be played – subdued passion that she was fairly sure wouldn’t be allowed in public. One melody tripped lightly ahead of the other, follow me. The second was slow; it would never catch the first but ran under it, as deep as an ocean.

She had never heard anything so beautiful.
There is also subtlety and cryptic phraseology from time to time.  There are multiple and carefully woven plot threads. A little here, a little there.  I felt, for most of the book, like I was playing a particularly elaborate game of cat's cradle - it had the potential to be anywhere on the scale from a beautiful and magnificent creation to a crazy tangled mess.

I'm over at AudioGals...

with a review of Every Breath You Take by Judith McNaught, narrated by Susan Denaker.

The narration saved the experience for me.  Come see why, here.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

True by Erin McCarthy

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost…

What worked for me (and what didn't): I have mixed feelings about this book. There were parts of it that resonated with me, parts which infuriated me and all manner of things in between.  The writing is engaging and eminently readable.  On the other hand, I thought the characterisations were sometimes thin and some plot threads didn't really go anywhere.  I'm finding this one hard to grade, I hope to have reached a decision by the time I finish writing the review.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Deconstructing my favourite sex scene

Regular readers of the blog will know that I like a good hot sex scene. I read Alisha Rai's Play With Me recently - very hot.  KA Mitchell's No Souvenirs and Regularly Scheduled Life (scroll down a little for a brief review), Heidi Cullinan's Special Delivery and Double Blind,  Cara McKenna's Willing Victim, most everything by Charlotte Stein - all feature very hot scenes which, for the most part, advance the story and reveal the characters (and not just because they're naked).  In fact, I wrote a post a while back saying that I don't like fade to black (except when I do) and why.  So you might be surprised then, to know that my favourite sex scene ever, is not at all sexy. Not the least bit hot.  But I love it. When I need a comfort read and I have a spare 20 minutes, I open the book up just before the scene starts and within seconds sighing in pleasure (er, not that kind of pleasure).   In fact, it has happened that those spare 20 minutes have turned into numerous complete re-reads, but I digress.

Sadly, it is out of print, but I hope it will be available digitally one day soon. I paid a hideous amount for it on eBay five or so years ago and have never regretted a single cent.

It is a book I don't think I can be entirely rational about.  It is my favourite Mary Balogh, a definite Desert Island Keeper and in my top 5 books of all time (don't ask me to name the other 4 - it's too hard).  I'm sure the book has flaws.  I don't care. I love it.  And, I'd like to share with you one of the (many) reasons why.

Here's the blurb (from Goodreads)  Life has taught Lucas Kendrick, Duke of Harndon, that a heart is a decided liability. Betrayed by his brother, rejected by his fiancĂ©e, Luke fled to Paris, where he became the most sought-after bachelor in fashionable society.

Ten years later, fate has brought him back home, to the rescue of the very people who had once shunned him. Luke is amused by the advice that a wife will make his takeover of both the title and the family estate smoother, but amusement turns to desire once he sets eyes upon Lady Anna Marlowe.

Unbeknownst to Luke, Anna is also no stranger to pain, but her suffering can't be so easily overcome, not when her tormentor stalks her to the very doors of Bowden Abbey. Luke and Anna, each made fragile by the past, must learn to trust both each other and their love if they are to have any chance for a future together.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bad Attitude by KA Mitchell

Why I read it:  I'm a fan of KA Mitchell's work and I bought this soonest after release.

What it's about: (from Goodreads):  When did save a life become change a life?

As the openly gay middle son of the most powerful family between Manhattan and Miami, Gavin Montgomery knows his role—look good in a tuxedo and don’t make waves.

Waves are the least of his worries when he tries and fails to keep a friend from jumping off a high bridge. His last thought as he falls in too is that someone else will have to take over as family disappointment…until he’s pulled from the water by a man with an iron grip, a sexy mouth and a chip on his shoulder the size of the national deficit.

Police rescue diver Jamie Donnigan finally has life the way he wants it. Okay, he could have done without losing his father, quitting smoking and watching his friends drift into couplehood. At least he’s managed to escape that particular trap.

When Gavin’s father turns Jamie’s routine rescue into a media circus, he figures if he’s going to suffer for his good deed, he might as well enjoy a roll in the sack. But Jamie’s not immune to Gavin’s cultivated charm…and all the risks that come along with giving in to it. 

What worked for me (and what didn't): I'm sorry to say I was disappointed in this book.  Gavin and Jamie mainly converse in snark and I didn't see enough of not-snark and general relationship development to believe completely in the romance.  I felt like the story was just getting started when, rather abruptly, the story ended.   Told in alternating third person POV, the reader is able to get in the heads of both men.  So I felt like I knew what they were thinking.  But they didn't seem to really talk about those things with each other, so I didn't feel like they knew each other that well.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Undeclared by Jen Frederick

Why I read it:  I was provided with a review copy by the author.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  For four years, Grace Sullivan wrote to a Marine she never met, and fell in love. But when his deployment ended, so did the letters. Ever since that day, Grace has been coasting, academically and emotionally. The one thing she’s decided? No way is Noah Jackson — or any man — ever going to break her heart again.

Noah has always known exactly what he wants out of life. Success. Stability. Control. That’s why he joined the Marines and that’s why he’s fighting his way — literally — through college. Now that he’s got the rest of his life on track, he has one last conquest: Grace Sullivan. But since he was the one who stopped writing, he knows that winning her back will be his biggest battle yet.

What worked for me (and what didn't): When the author approached me regarding a review, I read the blurb and then went to her website and read the two excerpts available.  I liked the premise and I liked the excerpts, particularly the one from Noah's POV, so I said yes.  I'm glad I did but the experience wasn't wholly successful for me

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Country Mouse & City Mouse by Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov

Why I read it: I received a review copy from the publisher so I'd understand the second book (which I got via NetGalley).

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Owen may be a bit of a country mouse, but he's loving his vacation in London. After a long day playing tourist, he's on the hunt for some cheap beer and a good burger. Instead he finds a man hunting him, an arrogant prick with only one thing on the brain: the kind of meat that doesn't come on a bun.

Eighty-hour weeks at a trading desk don't leave Malcolm Kavanagh much time for meaningful relationships. Besides, in his world, everything's a competition-even sex. When his newest one-night-sub fails to show, Malcolm sets his sights on the pretty young Yank on the bar stool beside him.

Owen's all for an adventure with a native, but he's not the pushover Malcolm thinks he is, and Malcolm's not as shallow as he tries to be. They both soon learn that nothing's too intimate to share with a stranger, and the strangest things happen when two people share the most important pieces of their hearts.

What worked for me (and what didn't):
I write this having finished Country Mouse and not having started City Mouse.  This novella, clocking in at just under 80 pages, tells the story of the initial meeting and first weekend together of Owen and Malcolm.  It ends in a hopeful HFN because, as can be expected, they really don't know each other well enough for a believable HEA.   I think in some ways the blurb and the title worked against me.  I didn't see Owen as particularly 'country'.  He was an American new to London but he didn't react with fear to the big city.  It's not like he'd never seen traffic or high rise buildings.  His own self reference as 'a bit of a country mouse' didn't sit right to the way I saw him.  And Malcolm isn't the Dom the blurb led me to expect.  Taking out those two items which did throw me off the scent a bit, I did enjoy this story.  Once Malcolm and Owen had made it back to Malcolm's penthouse, the characters started to shine and I began to get a handle on who these men are and why they could be so good together. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

April Round Up

on Paper/eBook

Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley - B/B+  I have recently discovered the reading crack* that is Kristen Ashley.  Her writing is not for everyone.  There are very long run-on sentences (some of which don’t make sense), some abuse of tenses and apostrophes… but.  But.  The stories are strong and if you like the alpha protector type who likes dirty talk and laugh out loud funny heroines (and heroes for that matter), an authentic girl posse who drinks cosmopolitans and eat cookie dough and other fattening things, this might be for you.

Mystery Man is the first book in the Dream Man series (but I started with book 4, Motorcycle Man because I’d heard that is the “gateway drug” – I’d heard right by the way). 
Gwendolyn Kidd has been having the strangest relationship – 18 months earlier she met a hot sexy guy in a bar and with very (and I mean very) few words, found herself having the best sex of her life with him. They don’t exchange names or conversation.  And he keeps turning up, every few days for more hot sex, in the middle of the night, then he says “Later, babe” and leaves.  Matters come to a head when Gwen’s sister Ginger gets in a lot of trouble with a lot of bad people.  Her Mystery Man, Cabe “Hawk” Delgado is a commando type and rides to the rescue.  

I'm over at AudioGals today...

with a review of Sophie Kinsella's I've Got Your Number, narrated by the brilliant Jayne Entwistle.  This was made of win for me.  See why here.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Kaetrin's Musings - Now on Facebook!

So, I've been blogging a bit more lately and I decided I wanted to do more stuff.  Lots of my favourite blogs have a Facebook page and I decided to make one too.  Also, learning about how to make things like blogs and FB pages is kind of fun even though there was a bit of swearing involved last night... ahem. Moving on! 

My page is a bit Nigel-no-friends at present, only 2 people "like" me (and one of them is me! LOLOLOL).  I'd promise you a puppy if you "like" my page but I don't think puppies do well with Australia Post so maybe I'll just say, if you are on FB and are so inclined, please head here to like my page and make me feel the love and acclaim of Romance Stadium.

This is just a random pic I took when we went to the Flinders Ranges last year.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I have a review up at ARRA today...

My review of Diana Gabaldon's anthology in the Outlander universe, Trail of Fire, is up over at the ARRA blog.  Come say hi :)