Wednesday, February 27, 2013

5 Flames for Along Came Trouble by Ruthie Knox

Synopsis

Ruthie Knox’s Camelot series continues in this sizzling eBook original novel, featuring two headstrong souls who bump heads—and bodies—as temptation and lust bring nothing but delicious trouble.

An accomplished lawyer and driven single mother, Ellen Callahan isn’t looking for any help. She’s doing just fine on her own. So Ellen’s more than a little peeved when her brother, an international pop star, hires a security guard to protect her from a prying press that will stop at nothing to dig up dirt on him. But when the tanned and toned Caleb Clark shows up at her door, Ellen might just have to plead the fifth.

Back home after a deployment in Iraq and looking for work as a civilian, Caleb signs on as Ellen’s bodyguard. After combat in the hot desert sun, this job should be a breeze. But guarding the willful beauty is harder than he imagined—and Caleb can’t resist the temptation to mix business with pleasure. With their desires growing more undeniable by the day, Ellen and Caleb give in to an evening of steamy passion. But will they ever be able to share more than just a one-night stand?





I debated on the rating for this book. Then I realized it had stayed with me for a few days after reading it, and I wanted to read it again. That made it 5 flames for me. As with How to Misbehave, I finished with a smile. If I could describe it in a word, it would be “sweet.” It’s so easy to relate to these characters because they are average and that’s one of many aspects I love about this Camelot series. In How to Misbehave, we met Amber and Tony, a program director and a building contractor. In Along Came Trouble, our main characters are a single mom and a former soldier starting a new security business. They could be your neighbor or relative or a friend.

Ellen Callahan is a single mom. She’s proud of standing on her own two feet after a disastrous marriage. She lives for taking care of her son and her home, which to her represents her recent successes.

“That spring, the first furled shoots of the hosta poked through the mulch, proving that Ellen was not incompetent, as Richard had so often implied. She and the baby were, in fact, perfectly capable of surviving, even thriving, without anyone’s help.”

Her home and gardens are her visual reminders of what she has survived and her touchstone for the future. She’s learned to take care of herself and is proud of it. Then Caleb Clark arrives in her yard, ready to rearrange her life and her lawn for the sake of security.

Caleb is a fifteen year veteran of the military police, returning home to start a new security business. Even as a civilian, he’s still in the caretaker role, helping his parents with their apartment complex, giving his sister a job and a place to stay, and now taking care of Ellen as part of a work contract. Caleb is totally swoon-worthy, not just for his physique, but for the way he takes care of the people in his life, and he’d totally love to be more than just a bodyguard to Ellen.

When Caleb “whoa” Clark comes along, Ellen’s ready to have rekindle her sex life, but is petrified of losing her independence, and therein lies their conflict. You just know the sparks are going to fly, and they do.

Ruthie Knox uses her secondary characters perfectly to move the story along and give us an insider view of these two main characters. While I found the Carly/Jamie storyline a bit of a stretch, I absolutely loved the relationship between Caleb and his sister Katie. Their teasing is good natured and caring, and I can’t wait to find out more about Katie and her situation.

Along Came Trouble manages to be both modern and yet nostalgic at the same time. It’s sweet, sometimes with sly, witty humor and sometimes outright funny with the type of humor that helps you get through the day. There’s great dialogue and realistic internal monologues. I loved how Ellen describes Caleb’s kisses:

“He could kiss like kissing was the only thing on his agenda, and honestly, if you could kiss like this, why put anything else in the day planner? “

I really liked both main characters, and could totally relate to Ellen and her fear of losing her independence. After her marriage, it’s easy to see why she would be gun-shy with any man, especially someone as dominant as Caleb. One of my favorite scenes occurs toward the end of the book, when their roles are reversed and Ellen ends up taking care of him. Sweet!

I would recommend this series, and I look forward to what is coming up next in this series.

Thank you to Netgalley and Loveswept for the galley in exchange for my honest opinion.






Wait for You Cover Release




What do early readers have to say about WAIT FOR YOU?

J. Lynn creates a wonderful cast of characters that will make you laugh, swoon, and cry. Cam stole my heart.” – Cora Carmack, NYTimes and USA TODAY Bestselling Author of LOSING IT

“For the love of all that is Cameron without a shirt on! Wait for You will have you laughing out loud, fanning yourself and anxiously waiting to know what will happen next.” – Molly McAdams, NYTimes and USA TODAY Bestselling Author of FROM ASHES and TAKING CHANCES

“I don't think I have ever read a NA Contemporary novel with as much depth as this one. It really moved me and by the end I was just speechless over how inspirational and uplifting it was as well as being sexy and cute and funny and emotional.” - K Books

“Wait For You is uniquely different from anything else J. Lynn's written but it might possibly be her best work yet.” Jenuine Cupcakes

“For all of you in love with Aiden and Daemon, PREPARE YOURSELVES! Your heart will have to expand a little more for Cam.” Total Bookaholic

“For the love of all things CAM, this book deserves more than 5 stars.” Mundie Moms

“I cannot even begin to explain how much I adored this perfectly crafted contemporary.”Shortie Says

Excited? Ready to see the cover for WAIT FOR YOU?



 


Synopsis
Some things are worth waiting for…
Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing…
Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet…
But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she’s has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?
And some things are worth fighting for…

WAIT FOR YOU is available now!

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 
J. Lynn, also known as Jennifer L. Armentrout, is the USA TODAY Bestselling author of the adult romance Gamble Brothers’ series, the young adult Lux Series and award winning Covenant Series. She pretty much writes everything—contemporary, paranormal, and fantasy. All of her books have one thing in common no matter the name or genre: kissing… and stuff. When she’s not busy writing, which is never, she’s usually hanging out with dog Loki, watching reruns of The Walking Dead, or procrastinating on the Internet.

 You can find out more about Jennifer by visiting the following websites:

Twitter

Facebook

Website
 



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Review: Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha


Synopsis:

All Noelle Cunningham has ever wanted is a life beyond–beyond the walls of Eden, where only the righteous are allowed to remain, and beyond her stiflingly restrictive existence as a councilman’s daughter. But only ruins lie outside the City, remnants of a society destroyed by solar storms decades earlier.

The sectors surrounding Eden house the corrupt, the criminal–men like Jasper McCray, bootlegger and cage fighter. Jas clawed his way up from nothing to stand at the right hand of Sector Four’s ruthless leader, and he’ll defend the O’Kane gang with his life. But no fight ever prepared him for the exiled City girl who falls at his feet.

Her innocence is undeniable, but so is their intense sexual attraction, and soon they’re crossing every boundary Noelle barely knew she had. But if she wants to belong to Jas, first she’ll have to open herself to the gang, to a dangerous world of sex, lust and violence. A world where passion is power, and freedom is found in submission.


I liked this a whole bunch more than I thought I would after just reading the synopsis. From the description you might the story is a series of setups for tawdry sex, (cage fighting, lol)  but it wasn’t like that at all. I was sucked into the story right away, the plot moved forward at a good pace, and the ending left me satisfied and wanting more. I think that’s pretty good.  I’ll even say I was surprised to find this book stuck with me for a day or two.

When Noelle breaks the law, she’s kicked out of Eden where she’s been trained to avoid touch in all forms, among other restrictions. When she’s dumped out in the sectors, Jasper saves her and she ends up part of Dallas O’Kane’s gang/family.  With Lex, Dallas’s woman, to teach her the ropes, and Jasper to protect her, Noelle takes to her new environment with its new rules like a duck to water.

There’s a nice cast of characters, although a little overwhelming at first, but all with something that interested me. There is a truck load of alpha males between these pages, each one with a hint of vulnerability. It’s a buffet of bad boys. Personally, Jasper was the least interesting of all of them. There’s lots of potential here.

The woman are interesting too, and likable for the most part. In this world, they hold their sexual power over the men, since there are so few available women. They are smart too.

As for the plot, there was just the right blend of well-paced action and “action” for me. The alpha pack gets into some minor skirmishes and there isn’t a vanilla sex scene to be found. The erotic scenes were both steamy and fresh. The world building was believable and delivered in small bits to keep my interest without overwhelming me with lots of details. It was hard enough to remember all the characters.

Because of the number of characters, there were places where I found it difficult to discern who’s point of view I was reading. While it didn’t detract too much from the enjoyment of the story, there were a few parts I needed to reread.  

There was a satisfying and believable wrap up to Jasper and Noelle’s storyline.

Favorite quote: “Real forgiveness is damn hard, and you have to be strong to do it.”

So overall, This was a 4 out of 5 book for me. I’m looking forward to book 2, Beyond Control, expected publication: March 19th 2013.  

Thanks to Kit Rocha and Netgalley for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Review: S.E.C.R.E.T. by L. Marie Adeline


Synopsis:

In S.E.C.R.E.T there are…
No judgments. No limits. No shame.

Cassie Robichaud’s life has been filled with regret and loneliness since the death of her husband. She waits tables at the rundown Café Rose in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to her solitary one-bedroom apartment. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman at the café, Cassie’s world is forever changed. The notebook’s stunningly explicit confessions shock and fascinate Cassie, and eventually lead her to S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, most intimate sexual fantasies. Cassie soon immerses herself in an electrifying journey through a series of ten rapturous fantasies with gorgeous men who awaken and satisfy her like never before. As she is set free from her inhibitions, she discovers a new confidence that transforms her, giving her the courage to live passionately. Equal parts enticing, liberating and emotionally powerful, S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T is a world where fantasy becomes reality.


My review and rating: 2.5 flames

Oh my, where do I start with this one?  Throughout the entire read, I wondered how I was going to rate this book. While there was much that annoyed me with this, there were parts of it that weren’t bad.  But really, it was the ending that totally disappointed me and made me want to throw my kindle across the room.

Cassie is a waitress. She’s a widow that hasn’t had sex in five years. Her life is lonely. She’s floating through life, her one pleasure watching restaurant patrons. When one of her customers leaves a diary behind, she reads it and realizes just how much she wants a different life. In walks Matilda, a guide for a SECRET society devoted to helping women on a journey of sexual self discovery.

This SECRET society, which is composed of all women, was my first problem with the story.  Sorry, but I couldn’t believe that women are that sexually benevolent. Women just aren’t that nice to each other. It did not work for me. Sorority or not, I couldn’t believe it.

Next came the “steps” that were supposed to fulfill Cassie’s fantasies. They were relatively tame as erotica goes, but that was reasonable considering Cassie’s circumstances.  The purpose of these steps, self-awareness, learning to accept a one night stand without judgement , that was okay too. But when fantasy guy says, “I could do this to you forever”  that doesn’t sound like a one nighter thing to say, it sounds like a “creep” thing to say. 

The first time she has sex in five years, there is a mere less-than-fifty word paragraph to describe what that’s like. Coming back from a five year drought surely deserves more page time. 

There was very little conflict or tension in this story.  Cassie goes through the steps, learning as she goes along, never really getting into a situation that she can’t or won’t handle.  It was all very safe. I would have liked a little more tension and conflict here. There was very little testing of SECRET’s motto--  No judgements. No limits. No shame.

Even so, I did find Cassie a very likable character.  At first I thought her experiences were good for her.  When she gets to the point where she says,”My head was saying yes, my body was saying now, and my heart was near to bursting with the wonder of it all.”  I cheered that she was going to get her HEA.

Then came the ending...I can’t spoil it for you if you decide to read it. But it was a disappointment.

If you are looking for a book that isn’t very deep, then this might be the book for you. It wasn’t for me.

I’m rating this a 2.5, and rounding down to a 2 because this could have been a much better book with some minor adjustments, like ending the book before that final scene.

Thank you Netgalley and Crown Publishing for a review copy in exchange for an honest review.