Tag Archive | contemporary romance

Book Review: Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Book Review: Bared to You by Sylvia Day (Crossfire #1)

Format: ebook (an ARC provided by NetGalley)

Published:  April 3, 2012

Genre: Erotic Romance, Contemporary Romance

Sensuality Rating: Burning!

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Our journey began in fire… 

Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness—beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily…

Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other’s most private wounds… and desires.

The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn’t tear us apart…

Review: 

I’ve not read any Sylvia Day books before but I have a few on my to-read list and I jumped at the opportunity to read this one. I’m so glad I did.

This book in one word? Hot! From the moment the two main characters meet there’s intense sexual chemistry radiating off the two of them. Their intense magnetism is evident from the start and together they provide some of the sexiest and hottest scenes I’ve ever read. If graphic conversations and bedroom antics (that aren’t confined to the bedroom) aren’t your thing – I’d steer clear of this book. But if they are your thing? I can see this book being a favourite!

Eva Tramell has just moved from San Diego with her best friend, bisexual male model Casey, to start a career at a New York ad agency. After a collision with the fantasy invoking Gideon Cross, Eva can’t seem to stop thinking about him – and the way he makes her feel. Determined to get her career on track she tries to reject his not-so-eloquent offer to satisfy her needs but just how long can anyone hold out on Gideon?

That man… he has such a way with words and he’s not shy. I felt myself blushing many times just reading about how he wanted Eva. I couldn’t work out if I was proud of her for holding out or if I wanted to slap some sense into her and ordering her to jump his bones!

Eventually she folds and succumbs to Gideon’s advances but their relationship is not without it’s drama.

Both of the main characters have issues from their past and their families are less than.. stable? Eva does get slightly irritating with her running and with the exception of the sexual chemistry the couple share it’s not exactly clear why Gideon would want a relationship with her.

But the sex? Oh my… this book has both quality and quantity. I loved the steamy scenes – I’m not sure I’ll be able to ride in a limo again without thinking of Eva and Gideon. Gideon is the alpha male that dreams are made of.

I really enjoyed this book. I’ll definitely be reading more of Sylvia Day’s novels.

 

 

Rating: 

4 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Barnes & Noble (trade paperback) / All Romance Ebooks (mobi, epub, html and pdf formats)

Click here to visit the author’s home page

Book Review: The Goddess Hunt by Aimee Carter

Book Review: The Goddess Hunt by Aimee Carter (Goddess Test #1.5)

Format: ebook

First Published: March 1, 2012

Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, teen romance

Synopsis (from Goodreads)A vacation in Greece sounds like the perfect way for Kate Winters to spend her first sabbatical away from the Underworld…until she gets caught up in an immortal feud going back millennia. Castor and Pollux have been on the run from Zeus and Hades’s wrath for centuries, hiding from the gods who hunt them. The last person they trust is Kate, the new Queen of the Underworld. Nevertheless, she is determined to help their cause. But when it comes to dealing with immortals, Kate still has a lot to learn….

Review: 

Castor and Pollux, the Gemini twins who are now going by the names Casey and Lux, have been fleeing from the wrath of Zeus and Hades for thousands of years. Whilst still on the run, they come across James and Kate who are spending six months holidaying in Greece. When they find out that Kate is the new wife of their biggest enemy, they’re unhappy and with due cause. The Gods have now found them…

This short story served one real purpose. To show that Kate has no idea just how archaic and strict the Gods (including Henry) are. She has a lot to learn before she takes her place on the throne of the Underworld.

I’m not generally a fan of novellas for books in a series. Especially if they are centred around the main characters that a series follow. Why? Because normally they come in an anthology with multiple other stories for series I’m not interested it. Also, they’re often not long enough for me to really get involved with the story and the characters. Whilst this was a single story (and only $0.99!), it was a little too short for me to really get back into Kate and Henry’s world. I did enjoy the pseudo-love triangle that’s developing with James, Kate and Henry but in the end, consider Kate is married to Henry, I don’t see that little flirtation between Kate and James going anywhere.

I think that you could skip this story and not miss out anything important from the series.

Rating: 

2 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Amazon (kindle version)

For my review of Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Test (Goddess Test #1), please click here

Book Review: Wicked Weekend by Gillian Archer

Book Review: Wicked Weekend by Gillian Archer (Pleasure Code #1)

Format: ebook

First Published: March 12th, 2012

Source: an ARC provided by NetGalley

Genre: Romance, Erotic Romance, Contemporary Romance, BDSM

Sensuality Rating: Burning!

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Why did Lauren Vaughn introduce her sister to the man she herself was crazy about? Now Lauren is watching the happy couple at their combined bachelor/bachelorette party—while Lauren sits all alone at the bar. Until she spots a hot stranger with the telltale black handkerchief in his pocket: the signal for “seeks no-strings affair with sexy submissive.” Lauren can’t take her eyes off him. So when he comes over, she kicks her inner good girl to the curb and follows Jamie Forman to his room, where he makes her scream with pleasure all night long.

But Jamie is a complicated man. He can’t handle how desperately he wants her in his bed—and his life. It’s up to Lauren to teach him how to make all night last forever.

Review: 

This [book is] purely about sex. No strings, just hot and naughty sex, nothing else. (quote from the novella)

But it isn’t. There’s more to the story than just bedroom antics – although I thoroughly enjoyed said antics.

I loved the cover. It’s playful and sexy – much like the story itself. I really enjoyed the story. It starts off with Lauren Vaughn being miserable at her sister’s combined bachelor/bachelorette party – jealous that her sister has managed to snag the man of Lauren’s daydreams and not enjoying the company of the other party guests. That is until Lauren spies a stranger with a black handkerchief in his back pocket… and a very fine behind 😉 Lauren’s been researching the dominant/submissive lifestyle online and is more than a little intrigued by handsome dom.Jamie Forman quickly introduces himself to Lauren and quick as can be, they embark in a wicked weekend that will change Lauren’s life (or at least her sex life) forever.

The story is really enjoyable. It’s spicy and addresses some of the issues that I’ve read about the lifestyle in other BDSM novels. I liked that Lauren made sure to call a friend and check in before her night with her handsome stranger (although I would have liked it if Lauren checked his ID too just to make sure he was who he said he was) – as well as getting someone to vouch for Jamie’s character – but it still felt a little too quick for me. They exchange names and before they can discuss anything else they’re involved in a full blown conversation about the lifestyle and how much Lauren knows about it. It just felt… a little too forward? But then again… this is a novella and it is just a fantasy/story. Sometimes I think I can get a little too hung up on the details. Some of the language used wasn’t my cup of tea. I don’t like it when dirty talk is too harsh or too… gritty? With that said, it fit the situation. Lauren was into it 😛

As for the characters? I thought they were really well written. Lauren was slightly socially awkward but really amusing with her inner dialogue. I was really glad to see that she managed to be more comfortable with herself and also managed to find some common ground with her sister. Jamie, the super confident and experienced Dom, endeared himself more to me as the story went on and we got to see that he wasn’t all that he appeared at the start. There was a lot of character growth despite this only being a novella. There were times when I felt that Lauren was being slightly hypocritical but I was glad to see that those issues were addressed before the end of the story.  I really enjoyed Wicked Weekend. Yes, there were some things I wasn’t overly fond of but this was a steamy love story that, all things aside, was a pleasure to read.

Rating: 

3.5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

 Amazon (kindle version) / Carina Press (epub version)

 Visit the Author’s Website by clicking HERE

Book Review: Stuck With You by Trish Jensen

Book Review: Stuck With You by Trish Jensen

Format: ebook

First Published: January 1, 2012

Source: an ARC provided by netgalley

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit

Synopsis (from Goodreads): As lawyers on opposing sides of a messy divorce case, Paige Hart and Ross Bennett ought to have kept matters purely professional, yet Paige and Ross came to loathe each other with an intensity that was strictly
personal. The bad blood between them takes on an unexpected new dimension when the infuriated pair is forced to share a hospital room, when they’re quarantined after being exposed to the rare and highly contagious Tibetan Concupiscence Virus that’s reputed to shift sensual desire into high gear. When symptoms (which a nonmedical person might mistake for pure and simple lust) start showing up way ahead of schedule, the lawyers’ objections to each other are overruled — and they enjoy every minute of it. But, after the doctors declare that the disease has run its course, Paige and Ross are still feverish with a longing for one another that they hope will never be cured. When the verdict comes in, will they be sentenced to life — in love?

Review: 

What happens when the Snake meets the Shrew? An explosion for starters. This is an extremely cute story perfect for a lazy day afternoon or a beach read. Paige Hart and Ross Bennett have intense sexual tension between each other from the beginning which only gets stronger due to a combination of being quarantined together and the possibility of contracting the Tibetan Concupiscence Virus.

This book contains many clichés and it’s characters conform to stereotypes but that doesn’t detract from the story. I admit at times I did get a little frustrated with all the legal terms and lawyer speak that Paige and Ross inserted into conversation whilst they were flirting but I still enjoyed their banter. Paige was a little too shrill and I could picture her stomping her foot when things didn’t go her way. As for Mr Bennett? He was a little too perfect in my eyes. Too handsome, too caring, too everything. I just wanted him to have some flaws. Him being as perfect as he was started to get on my nerves. He needed something to be less than perfect so that he would appeal to me a little more. However, as a match for Paige, I really liked them together.

This book also contained a love story between Paige’s brother, Nick, and her doctor, Rachel. I enjoy reading about characters who have a complicated history together and these two definitely had that. I would have liked to have seen a little more of the two of them. For me they were the more interesting relationship and they had a lot more to sort out together however they were given a lot less face time with the audience. I felt like their story was wrapped up a little too quickly and a little too neatly all things considered.

This book was first published ten years ago and with it’s re-release you can tell that some things have been updated – like Nick’s use of an iPad. There were other things that I felt should have been changed too (like Nick calling the restaurant from Rachel’s home phone instead of a cell/mobile phone). The TV shows that were referenced in the story were all rather old but I found myself liking that. I knew the exact episode of Friends they were watching!

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and learning new sports euphemisms. It’s a book that was fairly predictable but one where it’s not the destination but rather the journey that’s important.

Rating: 

3 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon / FishPond

Book Review: Got Game? by Stephanie Doyle

Book Review: Got Game? by Stephanie Doyle

Format: ebook

First Published: December 11, 2011

Source: an ARC provided by netgalley

Genre: Sports romance, contemporary romance

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Oh Yeah, Game On! The world of professional golf is rocked when the new ranking system allows Reilly Carr – the country’s best female player – to compete with the big boys. Now everyone wants to know if she will or won’t play in golf’s premier event…The American.

But her tough choices are complicated further when Luke Nolan – her on again, off again lover – suddenly decides now is the time to turn their friends-with-benefits set up into a real relationship!

If she’s going to make the cut she’ll need to battle her game, the press and most of all her heart. The stakes have never been higher

Review: 

Reilly Carr is one of the most successful female golfers in history. But lately winning hasn’t felt as good as it used to and Reilly has been slighly discontented. After returning home to Nebraska to visit her grandparents and to recharge before her next tournament, the news breaks that due to a change in the ranking system Reilly has a chance to play on one of golf’s most sacred grounds and take part in the golfing event of the year – The American.

I’m not a very sporty person but I do love reading sports romances. And this one was no exception. Reilly Carr is competitive and good at what she does. But she’s also romantically challenged and has two divorces and a third broken engagement to prove it. Luke Nolan, two-time winner of The American is just as flawed when it comes to marriage – his third divorce just finalized. But together they work. I loved the chemistry between them and the fact that both acknowledge that the other isn’t perfect.

The supporting cast are another highlight of this novel. Kenny, Reilly’s caddy and brother, has his own romantic sub-plot that adds to the novel’s romance. I loved that in many ways Kenny and Reilly’s romantic lives paraellel each other. Despite Kenny being a bit of a playboy and Reilly being extremely good at committing (it’s just staying married she has a problem with), the Carr siblings are a lot alike. The sibling squabbles on the green amused me greatly – no matter how old you may be, there are times when a little petty sibling argument is justified.

There was a lot going on in this novel – the romantic relationships, the golf and the stalker storyline – but Stephanie Doyle managed to tie them altogether nicely. The golf aspect was not overwhelming to a non-golf fan but instead was written in such a way that it just added to the drama and story without being too much. I was enthralled by the sport angle which surprised me greatly. I really enjoyed this novel. I’ll definitely be looking out for novels by Stephanie Doyle in the future.

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

 Amazon

Book Review: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

Book Review: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares (Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants #5)

Format: Hardcover

First Published: June 1, 2011

Genre: Young Adult, Chick Lit

Synopsis (from Goodreads): From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one.

Review: 

Growing up I read the first book in this series and in many ways reading this latest instalment was like welcoming an old friend back into my life. The girls, now women, were true to how I remembered them and yet different.

This novel starts off with Carmen – the youngest of the group. Once an awkward teenager, now a glamorous TV star with a successful fiancé and a gorgeous New York City apartment, Carmen seems to have it all. Lena has embraced her artistic side and is selling her paintings and working at the art college she was attending as a student all those years ago. Bridget is still as impulsive as ever but still with Eric and now living in San Francisco. And Tibby? Well… that seems a bit of a mystery to everyone. Since she moved to Australia two years ago contact has been sporadic at best.

When Tibby gives the other three girls tickets Greece for an impromptu reunion all the women are excited. But what happens on the Grecian island is something that will change their lives forever.

I had some problems with this story. The characters were the same as I remembered and yet different in a way that felt odd to me. I connected so strongly with the girls when I was in my teens. Our struggles were somewhat similar and I could relate to them. But now, they’re facing problems that I haven’t – and hope in many ways that I won’t ever – and whilst I could imagine the things happening to them was right up their alleys, at the same time I didn’t feel the same way with regards to their relationships with me.

This story was in many ways nostalgic but I liked how whilst there were references to the events of the past books, the past wasn’t dwelt upon. The action was in the present. Whilst life hadn’t gone exactly according to plan for all of them, for the most part they weren’t trying to relive their past. I did miss the little letters and emails that prefaced chapters in some of the other books but the quotes before each chapter were fitting.

I felt like Tibby was a little out of character. The message of this book for me is one of friends forever, and as long as you have your sisterhood you’ll never be alone. And yet Tibby embarked on a whole new life without letting the other girls in. It worked in the sense of that mystery was needed to drive the novel to a fitting conclusion but it didn’t sit well for me with regards to the close-knit friendship that the four of them had.

I am a little worried about the sisterhood – Bee in particular. They seem a little too co-dependant. I like the friendship aspect but the ending message that I was left with was that for Bee, she couldn’t exist without the sisterhood and I for me… I’m so very worried about her. I spent the whole novel worrying about her and I hope that the others can help her. (I am aware these are fictional characters.)

This last installment of the Sisterhood was true to the series. In terms of structure and story it closely followed the formula set out by the others – They meet up, they have their seperate adventures and they come together at the end with lessons learnt about life and love. Throw in some overseas travel for good measure. It’s a format that has worked for the other books and worked well for this one too.

It’s an odd thing revisiting the literary friends of your youth and have them grow up without you. I am glad that Ann Brashares wrote a conclusion to the sisterhood’s story.

Rating: 

3 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon FishPond

Book Review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Book Review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (Goddess Test #1)

Format: paperback

First Published: April 19th, 2011

Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, teen romance

Synopsis (from Goodreads)It’s always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won’t live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he’s crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride, and a goddess.

Review: 

I was excited to read this book – I love stories with their basis in mythology and young adult fiction is a guilty pleasure of mine. However this is not the story of Hades and his bride as I’ve ever read it before. Aimee Carter has taken the classic story and cleaned it up a bit – sanitized it for today’s audiences. The gods and goddesses that appear in this novel are far from the raping, incestuous and scandalous beings I’m familiar with. But that’s not altogether a bad thing. Yes, there are so many differences that these characters barely even resymbol their other selves, but I found that I was drawn so far into this story that it didn’t matter to me that it wasn’t what I was expecting.

In many ways this book reminded me of a cross between Lauren Kate’s Fallen series and the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. Girl moves to a new town where she seems to have a legacy she doesn’t quite know the truth behind. And then she sacrifices her freedom for someone she cares about to live in a mansion with a dark and mysterious captor. I had to stop myself from comparing the staff at Henry’s house with the magical enchanted household items that kept the Beast’s castle running in Beauty and the Beast. Despite the similarities, The Goddess Test managed to entertain me and surprise me. There were times when I couldn’t understand Kate’s actions and decisions but I liked her perseverance.

I liked time span of the novel. The romance was not rushed and whirlwind – it progressed at a pace that felt natural and right but at the same time I didn’t feel like anything was dragged out. The only problem I had was with Ava and James being Kate’s best friends after only two weeks… A little rushed but considering Kate’s been a full time carer for the past four years, I’ll forgive her the rushing their friendship.

I’m most interested in the sequel. This novel does stand alone rather well. There are hints at where the series might decide to go but I have to admit I liked how this instalment finished.

 

Rating: 

3.5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon FishPond