Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One Grave at a Time (Night Huntress, #6)One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was really good -- I'd say 3 1/2 stars out of 5. Because this series has the same main characters in all books, I was a little concerned about jumping into the 6th book, and while I do think it would have been more enjoyable to have read the previous books, I was able to follow what was going on pretty easily and it kept my attention.

There was a lot of action (and even more planning for action) in this installment and not a whole lot of romance. I'd call this paranormal fiction with a little romance. There was one chapter with some really nice romance between Cat & Bones, but it sort of felt like an afterthought & while it didn't do much for me, I did appreciate that you could feel their unwavering love and devotion to each other throughout the book.

I definitely want to go back and read the series in order, because after reading just this one, I can see why it's so popular.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Pleasure MePleasure Me by Monica Burns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewed for TwoLips Reviews

4/5 kisses

2 peppers (light bondage, oral sex)

Lady Ruth Attwood was dumped for a younger mistress. At forty-one, she fears she's washed up. As a courtesan, youth is critical for finding a new protector. Baron Garrick Stratfield has a physical issue that shames him and has brought him humiliation in the past. He can’t allow himself to become intimate with a woman, so he never plans to marry. He had a pseudo mistress for the sake of appearances, but she’s getting married and he needs to do something to avoid any nasty rumors about his sexual preferences. He considers approaching Ruth with a proposition, but he’s so attracted to her that he knows it would never work. He can’t allow himself to surrender to his desire for her, because it would expose his defect. He's afraid his physical anomaly will repulse her and he'll be humiliated. After they give in to the temptation of a physical relationship, she's afraid he'll leave her once he gains some confidence in the bedroom skills she's teaching him, or because of her age he'll get tired of her. They both assume they're going to be dumped so they try not to let themselves get too invested in the relationship.

What I didn’t like about Pleasure Me by Monica Burns: The main characters’ lack of trust in each other and their inability to see their own worth is appalling and frustrating. Ruth is more concerned with her own vanity and fear of humiliation and abandonment and what others think than she is for Garrick’s feelings. She would rather hurt him than let him know she loves him. It didn’t make me like her. I get very frustrated with characters who persist in pushing away happiness.

What I liked about the book: This is truly an excellent story, and one I’d recommend to friends. Ruth and Garrick have excellent chemistry, and their emotions are believable. It’s brimming with passion and compassion. Plus there’s some very hot sex, which for me is always a big plus. And a virgin hero, no less! Yum. Really, even the things that bothered me about the characters’ actions really do make for a good, passionate story, even if I did want to thump them both for being idiots. This was one of the best “cougar” stories I’ve ever read.

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Mark of the Rose (Tudor Vampire Chronicles, #3)Mark of the Rose by Kate Pearce

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reviewed for TwoLips Reviews

5 out of 5 kisses

2 peppers (oral sex, public sex)

I’ve been looking forward to Rhys's story since the first book in the series, and my anticipation was definitely warranted because he’s a fantastic hero. Verity Llewellyn, vampire hunter, believes there’s a plot to harm King Henry's wife, Queen Jane, and she has requested help in investigating. Sir Rhys Williams goes to court at the request of his best friend and Verity's cousin, Rosalind. He dismisses Verity's ability to handle the situation because he thinks she's untrained in vampire slaying. Of course she's furious at his dismissal.

Fortunately, Rhys is an intelligent man and he recognizes the fact that he does need her help in order to get close access to the king and queen. So he'll have to charm his way back into beautiful Verity's good graces. Verity has known Rhys all her life and also knows he was in love with Rosalind, and that knowledge is a barrier to their budding relationship throughout the story. But duty is paramount, so Rhys trains her and they team up to uncover the plot against the queen.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot because I know readers will enjoy unfolding it themselves. It’s brilliantly twisty and complex, and it was a joy to read. I especially liked that the villain’s identity isn’t obvious, so there’s a delicious element of suspense. Unlike the knowledge that romances will always have a happy ending (if they’re a good romance, that is), I like it when I’m kept guessing about the suspense and mystery elements in a book.

Mark of the Rose can be read and thoroughly enjoyed as a standalone book but I really think it’s better if you read the books in the series in order.

Kate Pearce weaves a tale with a brilliant merging of familiar Tudor history and dark paranormal intrigue. This series is fresh and addictive. The first two books in the series were great, and this one was outstanding. It’s my favorite so far. I’m hopeful Elias Warner will get his own book in this series. Having gotten to know him in the first two books and even more in this latest installment, I think he would make a fantastic hero. I also hope Christopher’s half sister, Olivia, will get her own book.

One final note that I think (hope) readers will appreciate knowing ahead of time: Mark of the Rose ends in a cliffhanger, so be prepared!

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Pleasure's EdgePleasure's Edge by Eden Bradley , Eve Berlin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Intensely sexual, phenomenal chemistry between Dylan and Alec (delicious dom), and overall a really great book. I'm a little tired of the old "I love you so I'm going to push you away" thing, but at least I sort of understood where the characters were coming from enough to appreciate the realism of it. Great BDSM for anyone with an interest; not so heavy that it makes you squirm with discomfort but not bubblegum either.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Raw DesireRaw Desire by Kate Pearce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewed for TwoLips Reviews
4 kisses, 2 peppers (threesome, dominance & submission, double penetration, anal sex, M/F/M, M/M/F, M/M)

Ally Kendal and Rob Ward share a bad history. She cheated on him years ago with his best friend, Jackson Smith, and then she left town. Now she's back to fix up and sell her deceased mother’s house. Jackson's girlfriend at the time, Susan, found them in bed together and supposedly committed suicide. Now sheriff of the small town, Rob doesn’t believe she killed herself; he thinks it was murder, and he wonders if maybe Ally’s mother was involved somehow. She was dealing drugs and hanging out with a lot of unsavory characters at the time. He feels a need to investigate, but he doesn’t want Ally to know.

I have to admit, neither Ally nor Rob was very likeable at first. He’s dominant and he’s sure his sexual intensity and demands were what scared her away and into Jackson’s arms all those years ago. They were really all too young to know what they wanted, and despite the passing of years, they still question their own sexual desires and preferences.

In my opinion, Jackson is by far the nicest person in the whole story. He’s patient, caring, and he almost acts as a buffer between Rob and Ally.

Because Kate Pearce is a master of erotic romance (and one of my favorite authors of all time), the sex scenes with Rob and Ally are lava hot, and the intimacy between Rob and Jackson will likely melt your panties. 'Raw Desire' is packed with very complex emotions, and it’s a definite page-turner. I felt compelled to keep reading way past my bedtime just to see what would happen next. It’s angsty and edgy. It’s intensely sexual, even when the characters aren’t very happy with each other.

Rob, Ally, and Jackson are trying to reconcile a lot of past hurts and at first they don’t really know what they want from each other. When they start to realize what they do want, what they can barely admit to themselves, they can’t admit to each other until the time is right. I thought it was very interesting to see the relationship rebuilding between dominant Rob, independent, spirited Ally, and borderline dominant but more grounded Jackson. In many instances, misunderstandings and anger replace honest communication, but I think that keeps the book honest and true to how these characters would act and react. Readers who enjoy dramatic and edgy erotic contemporary romance with lots of angst and some suspense should really enjoy this book.

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