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Review: The Best Kind of Trouble (Hurley Brothers, #1) by Lauren Dane

The Best Kind of Trouble

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She has complete control…and he’s determined to take it away

A librarian in the small town of Hood River, Natalie Clayton’s world is very nearly perfect. After a turbulent childhood and her once-wild ways, life is now under control. But trouble has a way of turning up unexpectedly–especially in the tall, charismatically sexy form of Paddy Hurley….

And Paddy is the kind of trouble that Natalie has a taste for.

Even after years of the rock-and-roll lifestyle, Paddy never forgot the two wickedly hot weeks he once shared with Natalie. Now he wants more…even if it means tempting Natalie and her iron-grip control. But there’s a fine line between well-behaved and misbehaved–and the only compromise is between the sheets!

I loved this book. LOVED.

I can’t put my finger on exactly what touched me so much about The Best Kind of Trouble. Like Mary Poppins, it was practically perfect in every way. The Best Kind of Trouble is a reunited lovers story – the best kind, at that. Natalie and Paddy didn’t break up on a sour note and they shared great times together. The Best Kind of Trouble is a rockstar story – which I normally avoid – but the story takes place in a small town that shelters the group from the constant attention of the paparazzi. The Best Kind of Trouble (and the entire Hurley Boys series) follow a rock group…but the series seems to be more about family than about stardom. OMFG. LOVE.
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Review: Enticed (Pregnancy & Passion, #1) by Maya Banks

Enticed

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Bryony Morgan has come to New York for answers–and she won’t accept a brush-off from the father of her unborn child. She fell for wealthy hotelier Rafael de Luca when he courted her for her beachfront real estate. Then he disappeared. That’s because a crash has left Rafe with selective amnesia. But how could he ever forget a combustible beauty like Bryony? His solution to their stalemate: return to the island where they met, and relive the unforgettable nights in question–until he remembers everything….

“Top Pick! […] An extraordinarily moving romance with wonderfully charismatic protagonists.”
–RT Book Reviews on The Tycoon’s Secret Affair

ENTICED was originally published as Enticed by His Forgotten Lover

 
Enticed is the first category romance that I have read by Maya Banks. Strangely enough, Maya Banks wrote the very first menage book that I read. I guess you can say that she helped to break me into reading erotica. So when I saw Maya Banks’ name on a HQN category romance, I had to grab it.

Enticed is – at first glance – a pretty typical Harlequin Presents story: ruthless business tycoon hero and innocent, financially needy heroine. At first glance.

The biggest differences – to me – was the general lack of angst, lack of conflict and the hero’s grovelling. Which greatly changed the tone of the book for me.

Enticed begins with the hero, Luca, at a public event and suffering from amnesia. He sees a woman glaring at him so he goes to speak to her and she informs him that not only had the two been in a relationship but that he’s going to be a father. The rest of the majority of the book revolves around Luca and Bryony trying to recover Luca’s memory.

There is very little angst in Enticed until the end of the book. There is little to no conflict in the book. I have to admit that the lack of angst and conflict really…made the book slow and boring for me. I was never emotionally invested in Enticed and I can barely remember the MCs names.

Although I found Enticed boring and slow, Maya Banks’s writing is still very polished and a pleasure to read.

Box of 1Night Stands Anthology Review: Liz Crow, Becca Dale & Sara Daniel

Box of 1Night Stands

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Decadent Publishing presents some of the very best of the 1Night Stand series featuring NYT and USA Today Bestselling authors Jennifer Probst, Jen McLaughlin (writing as Diane Alberts) and J.M. Madden, along with 18 other trendsetting authors such as HOLT Medallion winner Desiree Holt. When Madame Eve arranges a date, you are guaranteed more than you’ll ever expect. More heat, more heart, more SIZZLE…

Caught Offside – Liz Crowe
A love of soccer may unite former international star Ramon Castillo and casino catering manager Gillian Winter, but their deep personal wounds won’t allow for a real connection until Madame Eve works her magic.

Erotic Healing – Becca Dale
“Together we will convert your discomfort to pleasure…before the sun rises, you will know exquisite satisfaction.”

One Night With the Bride – Sara Daniel
Can a 1Night Stand reunite Caroline with her first love, Javier, or will he see only her deception, leading one night with the bride to sever their ties forever?

Recap from the first review:

Box of 1Night Stands contains 21 stories by 21 different authors. Each story is roughly connected to each other by the framework of a dating service named “1Night Stand” run by Madam Evangeline. The dating service allows people to pay absurd amounts of money to be hooked up with someone “suitable” and willing to have a night of sex. The service includes reservations to a fabulous hotel, the Castillo hotels and resorts (owned and run by one of satisfied 1Night Stand clients). Madam Evangeline seems to be the world’s best match-maker as all of her single night stands turn into committed relationships.

Thus far the included stories are all either vignettes or very short shorts. Most seem to be between 3-5 chapters long as well.

Caught Offside by Liz Crowe (3 stars)
This was cute but forgettable. Two former pro athletes are united via Madam Eve and their love of Futbol/Soccer.

Erotic Healing by Becca Dale (2.5 stars)
I really wasn’t a fan of this one. At all. So I have a problem with deception and I especially have a problem with deception when used in context with BDSM. I feel that BDSM requires honesty and so for me this was a FAIL.

One Night With the Bride by Sara Daniel (2 stars)
This one felt very much like a Harlequin Presents book. I didn’t feel like I got a good feeling for either main character – they felt more like outlines than complete people. I’ve never been a big fan of those books where one of the main characters are in a committed relationship…but the H/h show them what real love is. Ugh. It’s like the boiler-plate language for Cheating 101.

Review: Good Girl Gone Plaid (The McLaughlins #1) by Shelli Stevens *light spoilers*

Good Girl Gone Plaid

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Falling for the bad boy is even more dangerous the second time around.

In high school Sarah fell for her best friend’s older brother—one of the sexy, Scottish McLaughlin boys. But a painful betrayal showed her she’d been a fool to give her heart to a bad boy. At least it made it easier to leave him and move halfway around the world when her Navy dad got stationed in Japan.

Eleven years later, the death of her grandmother has forced Sarah back to Whidbey Island for a month. It’s the length of time she must stay in her inherited house before she’s allowed to sell it, take the money and run. But when she sees Ian, bad as ever and still looking like sin on a stick, she can’t keep her mouth from watering.

One look at Sarah stirs up the regret lingering in Ian’s heart—and never-forgotten desire lingering in his body. He should walk away, especially since divorced single mothers aren’t his style. But when she starts showing up at his family’s pub, he can’t resist a little casual seduction for old time’s sake.

One thing quickly becomes clear, though. The heat between them is causing an avalanche of secrets and betrayal and nothing will ever be the same.

Product Warnings
A bad-boy hero who’s good with his hands, a heroine who’s trying to be good. Contains liberal consumption of Scotch whisky, a Highland Games competition, men in kilts wielding large poles, and a potential Sarah McLaughlin of the non-musical kind.

I…don’t know what to say about this one.

It is not my favorite.

The writing is fine – good, even. The characterizations, etc all worked well. I can’t say that I met a lot of cut-out characters….

But come the fuck on. There’s suspension of disbelief and then there’s taking disbelief into the back shed and shooting it.

Good Girl Gone Plaid has two of my hated tropes: a secret baby and revisionist history. Revisionist history is technically “the reinterpretation of orthodox views on evidence, motivations, and decision-making processes surrounding a historical event.” What I mean in this specific situation is that the text takes events that are known by all parties and then changes the understanding of that history based on newly received information. Work with me here…

When Good Girl Gone Plaid started I was enjoying myself, for the most part. I could tell the author wanted to take me on a more angsty ride than I was looking for but the angst made me roll my eyes more than get the feels. So I kept reading. As I read I kept thinking…these two people are really tripping considering that they were only dating a short period of time. As the book continued and I learned why the couple broke up (in high school), I still thought they were taking their issues farther than expected. Then the secret baby showed up. And I rolled my eyes.

I hate secret babies because I do not feel that there is any real justification for keeping a parent and child separate. I mean, life and safety are the only real reasons to do so…and the heroine in this book did NOT have those reasons. So it pissed me off something fierce.
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Mastered Anthology Review: Ink Reunited (Montgomery Ink 0.6) by Carrie Ann Ryan

Mastered: 10 Tales of Sensual Surrender

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From the streets of New Orleans and the heat of Midnight Ink, comes the happy ever after for a character whose story was begged to be told.

Sassy Bordeaux is the Midnight Ink receptionist, honorary godmother, best friend to many, and matchmaker expert. In the past two months, she’s watched eight couples fall in love, make mistakes, and find their happy endings. Though she might have had hand in each of those, she’s yet to find the peace she’s desired. When the men from her past come into Midnight Ink, she’s forced to face what she left behind and what could happen if she lets go of her pain and finds a future she deserves.Ink Reunited

Rafe Chavez and Ian Steele remember their time with Sassy like it was yesterday, yet have worked hard to move on. Or at least try to. Now they’re both back in New Orleans for the woman they loved and for the connection they shared with each other. It will take more than the usual groveling, pleading and begging for these three to overcome their history, but once they take that step, the streets of New Orleans will never be the same.

I’m not sure how I feel about this one. Ink Reunited is the second or third book I read in the Mastered anthology and…I feel two ways about it. I enjoyed it but…it wasn’t emotionally satisfying.

When reading Ink Reunited…I had this feeling that…I had been dropped in medias res. I didn’t…feel like I was getting the full story. Everything in the book sorta reminded me that there was a lot of information about the heroine, Sassy, that I just didn’t have access to. I realize that Ink Reunited is a part of a series but it felt like a part of a series that could not stand alone. Other reviews talk about how excited they are about reading Sassy’s story…so I’m almost positive that I would have enjoyed it more if I had read the other stories set in the Midnight Ink world.
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Review: Bone Rider by J. Fally *light spoilers*

Bone Rider

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Riley Cooper is on the run. Misha Tokarev, the love of his life, turned out to be an assassin for the Russian mob, and when it comes to character flaws, Riley draws the line at premeditated murder. Alien armor system McClane is also on the run, for reasons that include accidentally crashing a space ship into Earth and evading U.S. military custody. A failed prototype, McClane was scheduled for destruction. Sabotaging the ship put an end to that, but McClane is dubbed a bone rider for good reason—he can’t live without a host body. That’s why he first stows away in Riley’s truck and then in Riley himself. Their reluctant partnership soon evolves into something much more powerful—and personal—than either of them could have imagined.

Together, they embark on a road trip from hell, made all the more exciting by the government troops and mob enforcers hot on their trail. Misha is determined to win Riley back and willing to do whatever it takes to keep him safe. When hitman and alien join forces, they discover their impressive combined potential for death and destruction. It will take everything Riley has to steer them through the mess they create.

“A cowboy, an alien, and three hit men walk into a bar…”

O.M.G!

This was one wild ride and I love every single second of it!

This review is almost impossible to write, I just enjoyed it so much that my thoughts are just a jumble of squees, lol.

WOW. This book is crazy. It’s amazing. It’s got so much action and explosions in it that I could see it as a movie. It’s an m/m romance sci-fi action shoot-em-up mobster military flick…book. O_O And one of the most gripping books I’ve read all year – I spent most of the read on the edge of my seat…

From the very first chapter I could barely put Bone Rider down. I was instantly hooked as I met System Six – a prototype symbiotic intelligent armor and weapons system – while he discovered that he was considered a failure and possibly scheduled for dismantling. System Six was panicked – he hated his disgusting host with a passion and he didn’t want to die – he had no clue how the other prototypes felt or if they were even sentient at all. Desperate, System Six looked for a way to buy himself time so that he could locate a new host. Sadly, he accidentally crashed the space ship into Earth. This accident kills almost everyone aboard the ship. The following accident – causing the death of the remaining ship members – is caused when the US Army stumbles upon the wreckage and (in fear of aliens) shoots [first] at the survivors. All of the aliens are killed with the exception of System Six who manages to get away. Just our friendly little way of making First Contact. ^.^
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Review: Exclusively Yours (The Kowalski Family #1) by Shannon Stacey

Exclusively Yours

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When Keri Daniels’ editor finds out she has previous carnal knowledge of reclusive bestselling author Joe Kowalski, she gives Keri a choice: get an interview or get a new job.

Joe’s never forgotten the first girl to break his heart, so he’s intrigued to hear Keri’s back in town–and looking for him. Despite his intense need for privacy, he’ll grant Keri an interview if it means a chance to finish what they started in high school.

He proposes an outrageous plan–for every day she survives with his family on their annual camping and four-wheeling trip, Keri can ask one question. Keri agrees; she’s worked too hard to walk away from her career.

But the chemistry between them is still as potent as the bug spray, Joe’s sister is out to avenge his broken heart and Keri hasn’t ridden an ATV since she was ten. Who knew a little blackmail, a whole lot of family and some sizzling romantic interludes could make Keri reconsider the old dream of Keri & Joe 2gether 4ever.

This book has been an interesting experience for me. There was a lot of negative impressions/views about Keri (the heroine) at the beginning of the book and those negative views were not initially tempered by Keri’s own voice. Other than the basic character introduction and [plot] motivation, the reader is told about Keri from the view of Joe (the scorned ex) and his twin sister Lisa (the scorned ex-best friend). Not to beat about the bush, the initial view of Keri is…pretty atrocious. Seriously. The reader learns that Keri dropped Lisa – her best friend – in high school when she became popular and that Keri dropped Joe – her high school sweetheart – as soon as the diploma hit her hot little hands. Then Keri leaves town and doesn’t see or speak to them again…for almost 20 years. The reader learns that Lisa was really hurt by Keri’s actions and that Joe was devastated: he withdraws from his family and friends and becomes an alcoholic.

Let’s be honest, Keri sounded like a bitch and I have a hard time rooting for bitches. I was about five seconds from DNF’ing this book at chapter one…until I thought about something: Keri was 18 when she moved away…Joe became an alcoholic at 18?! WTF, yo! That’s…a bit much to try to put on a kid’s shoulders. Having that thought really was the only thing that kept me from tossing this one.
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