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Review: Parlor Games Anthology – Fallen Angel by Jess Michaels

Parlor Games

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Do you dare open the door and enter a place like no other?

In these three historical tales of sensual awakening, nothing that stimulates and titillates is taboo, ecstasy comes in many sizes, and pleasure is its own reward . . . a world of seduction and sensation, where inhibitions are unlaced and desires long corseted are gloriously freed. . . .

Fallen Angel – Jess Michaels

London’s greatest beauty and most notorious madam employs the services of a disgraced Bow Street Runner to keep her safe from a stalker . . . and satisfied after dark.

 

 
Meh. Really, really meh.

Parlor Games was the third book I read using my Scribd trial. Scribd introduced me to Jess Michaels via the book Everything Forbidden – and suggested this title since I read Everything Forbidden. As of today this book is on sale at Kobo for $9.99. Since this story is part of an anthology I that already priced – I’m still counting this as book 3.

The heroine, Arabella, is being threatened. After receiving multiple written threats and surviving several attempts on her life, Arabella calls on Valentine, former Bow Street Runner, to protect her and pretend to be her lover.

Most of the short story focused on the sexual power plays between Arabella and Valentine – they both have been hurt by relationships – but these sections felt a little forced. To be honest, the entire story felt a little forced – especially the HEA. I did not believe in the HEA and I really didn’t enjoy [the story] that much.

I was able to figure out the antagonist from the first moment they were introduced on page. Meh.
 

 
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Review: Kiss at Your Own Risk (Soulfire #1) by Stephanie Rowe *spoilers*

Kiss at Your Own Risk

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He needed a killer woman…
Blaine Underhill is one lucky man after having recently escaped a century and a half of imprisonment at the hands of an evil witch. Now he’s determined to save his still-enslaved friend, but in order to do so, he’ll need the help of one of the world’s most lethal women.

She was drop dead gorgeous, literally…
Trinity Harpswell is sick and tired of being a Black Widow. Having managed to go three years without accidentally killing anyone she loves, she’s one short week away from freeing herself from this killer curse forever.

When Blaine tracks her down and convinces her to help him, little does Trinity know that the next seven days are going to be murder!

 
Kiss at Your Own Risk is the tenth (10) book I’ve read using the Scribd service and the first book in the Soulfire series. This book is currently on sale at Kobo for $5.79. Stephanie Rowe is a new to me (NTM) author that I discovered using the Scribd recommendation engine.

I don’t know what to say…this wasn’t what I expected it to be. At all.

Let’s start with worldbuilding: it didn’t exist. That’s not completely fair – the world building existed but it was not explained to the reader in any way. You really just have to go with the flow for this one…and my extensive experience with reading paranormal romance (PNR) tells me that the author’s world in this series is one in which magic in all its PNR shapes and sizes are run of the mill, everyday activities. Ok. So let’s walk into the book with that assumption.
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DNF Review: Dangerous Secrets (Dangerous #2) by Lisa Marie Rice

Dangerous Secrets

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Small-town librarian Charity Prewitt never dreamed she’d meet and fall in love with a man like Nicholas Ames. The handsome, rich, charming, sexy-as-hell millionaire blew into tiny Parker’s Ridge, Vermont, and immediately rocked her world. Powerful, sensual, the perfect man, Nick knows all the right words—and all the right spots to touch, sending her soaring to dizzying new heights of ecstatic abandon. Never before has prim and proper Charity leapt into bed with a perfect stranger—and now that she’s there with him, nothing is going to drag her away!

But Nick Ames is not who he claims to be. In truth, he is Nicholas Ireland—the one they call “Iceman.” A former Delta Force operator, now a high-level undercover agent, he will do whatever his government asks of him—lie, seduce, betray . . . even kill, if necessary—for the sake of the mission. And this time his mission is Charity Prewitt.

Suddenly one woman has broken down his chilly restraint and ignited his passions completely. And before the erotic dream turns into a nightmare, will Charity be able to melt the Iceman’s cold, cold heart?

Dangerous Secrets is the ninth (9) book I’ve read using the Scribd service and the second book in the Dangerous series. This book is currently on sale at Kobo for $9.99. I was already aware of the author and the series prior to joining Scribd.

I had to stop around 25% and then I skimmed the rest. This one was really hard for me because it included a trope I despise and it had a bad guy with an extremely compelling and sad backstory.

The bad guy in Dangerous Secrets, Vassily, is a broken man. He was a young, famous and idealistic writer in Russia directly after the fall of the Soviet Union. He and his beloved, a beautiful poet named Katya, were at home in bed when they were arrested by the secret police for no reason and given no trial.
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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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Review: Tempting Tamera (Circle of Three #1) by Brynn Paulin

Tempting Tamera

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A new job, a new home, a new lifestyle… When teacher Tamera moved to Cranston to teach, she knew the lifestyle she’d encounter would take some getting used to. Though she was raised in an open-minded household she doesn’t have experience with menage relationships therefore her attraction to her fellow teachers, Kai and Brian, takes her by surprise.

When the trio is stranded together during a freak snowstorm, Tamera discovers her attraction isn’t one sided. In fact, the men have been waiting for the opportunity to show her how perfect three can be.

 

 

Tempting Tamara is the fourth book I’ve read using the Scribd service and the first book in the Circle of Three series. This book is currently on sale at Kobo for $2.50. I located this book using Scribd’s search but I was doing a specific search for Brynn Paulin at the time. The book I was looking for is not available on Scribd.

So. This book. I was looking for something else by this author and settled on this book instead.

Tempting Tamera is short. Very short. And like most shorts – there are serious pacing issues due to the shortness of the story.

Short stories are really hard to write – the format is pretty unforgiving. I also tend to “grade” shorts harder than full length novels simply because the flaws are glaring in a short that would get glossed over in a full length.

So. Tempting Tamera. Uuuugh. The dialogue is quite often painful! And the plot is…hard to digest in such a short period of time. The story starts with the heroine and hero(es) having known each other for about…3 months or so. Even knowing that – the quick jump from making eyes at someone to being “in love” happened waaaaaay to fast for me. I was rolling my eyes most of the read.

Another issue I had was the introduction and plotline of the heroine’s….pre-arranged boyfriend? Not quite sure what to call him, to be honest. The whole situation was BS and caused additional eye rolling. Don’t get me wrong, I love a little menage and the plot (except Andy) all probably would work better in a longer format. The longer format just gives more time for character and plot building.

At the end of the day, this was an easy way to burn through 20 minutes or so.
 
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Review: The CarbLovers Diet by Ellen Kunes & Frances Largeman-Roth

The CarbLovers Diet

PhotobucketThe editors of Health Magazine (and top nutrition scientists) have big news: Eating carbs is the best way to get and stay slim. Breakthrough research revealed in this book shows how certain carb-rich foods-especially those with the amazing natural ingredient called Resistant Starch-act as powerful metabolism boosters and appetite suppressants. Rather than making you fat and bloated, as decades of low-carb diet gurus claimed, CARBS make you thin. They shrink fat cells, especially in your belly; boost fat burning; increase muscle mass; curb cravings; keep you feeling full longer than other foods; control blood sugar, and lower cholesterol and triglycerides!

Health Magazine, the expert when it comes to healthy living, takes this revolutionary new science and turns it into an easy-to-follow, real women-tested, dietitian-approved road map proven to melt off 10, 35, even 100 plus pounds forever. Our test kitchen chefs and registered dietitians also developed 85 delicious, simple recipes and foolproof meal plans that help you lose weight while you enjoy the foods you’ve craved for years.

I love carbs. LOVE. CARBS.

I love breads, cakes, flaky pies, potatoes, muffins, pasta… I could go on for days. Especially pasta…and bread…and cakes. Especially those carbs.

My conundrum is that I also love to work out, lift weights and look sexy.

And just about EVERYBODY tells you that there is no way to both love (and enjoy) carbs and look sexy at the same time. No matter what diet and no matter what exercise program – just about all of them tell you to avoid carbs.

This gives me the sads. 😦

So when I stumbled upon The CarbLovers Diet I had to check it out. The cover is a bright and happy pink with a picture of a fork full of pasta. Yum! The back cover mentions “revolutionary new science about carb-rich foods” and promises that the reader will have “pasta for dinner and chocolate torte for dessert.” Come on! Who doesn’t want that??
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Review: Midnight Indulgences by Alexis Ke

midnight indulgences

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It’s time for Lucia Waters to relocate. She wanted to start new. The last thing she expected was Fredrick Simms to change those much awaited plans. He’ll do anything to get her to resend her resignation and he has eight hours to do it. As the full moon rises, will he be able to pull out all the stops and convince her to stay. The clock is ticking.

 

 

 

 

Midnight Indulgences by Alexis Ke is the story of Lucia and Frederick. Lucia is the night shift Emergency Room head nurse at a local hospital. She has been working there for five years and has decided to move in order to make a change in her life. She is bored with the town and at loose ends since the break-up of her last relationship. Lucia has come to work to complete her shift and to turn in her two week resignation. Frederick is the security supervisor at the same hospital that Lucia works at. He has been infatuated with Lucia for over a year but never had the nerve to ask her out. When he finds out that she plans to resign he decides to do everything he can to change her mind.
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