Review: Back In The Italian’s Bed by Annie West

Back In The Italian's Bed

No woman walks away from billionaire Fabrizio Armati’s bed. No woman except Jenna MacDonald. Now he’ll stop at nothing to get her back, and keep her there.

It’s love at first sight for Jenna when charismatic hotelier Fabrizio Armati sweeps her off her feet in Venice. That chance encounter sparks a sizzling affair that lasts until she discovers Fabrizio sees her as no more than a convenient, expendable mistress. Then her world falls apart.

Six months later Jenna tells herself she’s moved on. Until Fabrizio walks into a meeting to find her working for his greatest rival. She’s about to discover just how far he’ll go to get her back in his bed.

When revenge turns to passion, will surrender be on his terms, or hers?

This is a – without a doubt – 100% pure Harlequin Presents (HP) style novella. Even the title. And I ate it up, lol. It makes sense – Annie West has written many a Harlequin Presents.

So, you have the basic structure of a category romance: millionaire/billionaire ruthless business tycoon and lots of emotional angst. What made Back in the Italian’s Bed different is that Jenna has a little spunk. Fabrizio swept her off her feet but she left him when she realized he couldn’t [wouldn’t] give her what she needed (love). When the two meet again, she falls back into his bed but is still willing to leave him and make a new life for herself. That’s not the typical HP style – normally the woman would have eaten her heart out over hero.

Back in the Italian’s Bed is a pretty short story/novella – about 65 pages – and that’s the only downside of the book for me. The shortness of the word count didn’t allow for the full range of angst that you get from HP style novels. But don’t get it twisted, Jenna spends much time castigating herself for her attraction to Fabrizio. I have to admit that while HPs aren’t really my thing now, I have fond memories of gobbling them up by the bag-full. I am intrigued to read more of Annie West’s work.

SPA-F: Pale Queen’s Courtyard (Moonlit Cities #1) by Marcin Wrona

Pale Queen's Courtyard

Kamvar, a soldier, has lost his way. Leonine, a thief and sorcerer, has forgotten that he had one to lose.

When the daughter of a High Priest finds herself exiled and hunted across the entirety of conquered Ekka, both men will remember who they are, and the country’s invaders will learn that memories, unlike temples, are not so easily torn down.

Pale Queen’s Courtyard is the first novel by Canadian author Marcin Wrona, and a finalist in SciFiNow’s 2009 War of the Words.

Amount of book completed: less than one chapter

My Impressions: From what I read, I think Marcin Wrona is a fantastic writer. The portion of the book that I completed felt extremely polished and professionally edited. The writing is very lyrical, reminding me of the first time I encountered Jacqueline Carey’s work.

Wrona’s worldbuilding style is one of my favorites: he drops the reader into his colorful and sensual world without explanation. To be honest, while that is my favorite style of worldbuilding, Wrona uses his own created words quite often which was a little confusing.
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Review: Ivan (Her Russian Protector #1) by Roxie Rivera


Desperate to find her sister, Erin goes to the only man in Houston who can help her–Ivan Markovic. The intimidating, tattooed Russian operates one of the most elite mixed-martial arts training centers in the world but it’s his shadowy past and reputed connections with Houston’s underworld that interest her most.

To find her sister, she’ll need the help of her big, scary Russian protector—but asking for help from a man like Ivan carries a steep price, one that might just include her heart.

Short and sexy, this book was a fun read!

Erin has discovered that MMA trainer Ivan Markovic is the only person who can help her find her missing sister. Erin’s sister is a junkie dating (another) junkie who used to train at Ivan’s gym. Erin goes to the gym and asks Ivan to help her find her sister and her sister’s boyfriend because they are in trouble with two different drug running gangs.

Ivan decides to help Erin. He tells her to stay home and wait for his call but she gets a call from her sister and runs after her. When Erin arrives at the location her sister gives her, she finds her sister gone and a drug dealer looking for said sister. Ivan shows up (he had Erin followed) and saves the day.

From there Ivan takes Erin to his house where they have a heavy petting session. I was…surprised that Erin had sexual relations with Ivan so quickly. By this time she had known him for less than a full day and the text tells the reader that Erin isn’t that kind of girl. The heavy petting was…somewhat hot but it read a little…strange, lol.
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Restraint by Charlotte Stein


Mallory is certain that one of her friends – handsome but awkward Artie – hates her guts. The last thing she wants to do is go on a luscious weekend away with him and a few other buddies, to a cabin in the woods. But when she catches Artie doing something very dirty after a night spent listening to her relate some of her sexcapades to everyone, she can’t resist pushing his buttons a little harder. He might seem like a prude, but Mallory suspects he likes a little dirty talk. And Mallory has no problems inciting his long dormant desires.

This was a really weird and uncomfortable story. It details the beginnings of a relationship between Malory and Artie.

Artie is repressed. No, Artie has a red hot poker shoved directly up his ass…where it’s had a chance to marinate. Malory comes across as rather crude and foul mouthed – and being around Artie just brings even more outrageous behavior to the forefront.

Obviously the two don’t get along very well (understatement). Artie and Mallory are forced to spend some extended time together when they go on a group trip with another couple.

And somehow, some way they end up in a budding relationship.
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