M/M Challenge Review: Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels

New York City Vice Detective Evan Cerelli has lost his wife, the only person he ever loved and slept with. He's trying to get on with his life, build a life for his children. Former Homicide Detective Matt Haight is a ladies’ man, all sex/no commitment. He's depressed, having a midlife crisis, and not sure where his life is headed.

The two find friendship in the bottom of a shared bottle. When the friendship turns to love, it shakes two straight men to the core and flips their lives inside out. Kids, families, careers that are not gay-friendly -- can all the love in the world overcome the obstacles to faith and fidelity? 

The story begins with Evan and his devastation directly after his wife's death but the story quickly moves us to approximately 1 year later.  Evan is still just as crushed as he was and is not doing well.  At a retirement party for a fellow cop Evan meets Matt.  Matt was on the NY police force but at one point had turned in dirty cops.  This had been the beginning of the end for Matt as he went from an NYPD Homicide Detective to a beat cop on Staten Island.  He was currently working for a coporate security firm and hating every minute of his life.  He was miserable in his job choice and his personal life.  When Even reaches out a friendly hand to him at his old partner's retirement party Matt more or less grabs on and doesn't let go.  But it turns out to be a mutual lifeline for both men.

Matt and Evan start meeting at a bar to drown their sorrows and speak to each other about things they had never spoken to anyone before.  Matt about how he misses being on the force and the changes in his life and Evan about his wife Sherri and all he missed about her.  Not necessarily a healthy relationship between the two men but something they both really needed at the time.  Things are going along fine until Matt starts having erotic dreams about Evan.  He's not quite sure how to handle things and is afraid he'll show his feelings and lose Evan's friendship.  But when Matt does admit his growing feelings he finds that Evan's feeling the same way.  

The relationship between the two men changes from a friendship to a friendship as well as a sexual relationship.  The sex between the two is hot and steamy but since this is all new territory for them it's a bit awkward as well.  It actually made for very tender moments between the two men.  But there are other issues that have to be dealt with in this new relationship.  Evan's job, his in-laws, his 4 children and the men's relationship takes a huge hit.

I won't tell you any more because I just don't want to give anything else away if you haven't already read the story.  It was a very emotional read for me in so many ways.  The dynamic between the two men was wonderful as much as it was heart wrenching.  Matt's relationship with Evan's kids was lovely to see and something that I was very glad was a focus in the book.  The only thing that bothered me, I think, was the fact that Evan focused at one point about his in-laws and how they would react to him being with another man - especially since they weren't real thrilled with him after their daughters death.  But in the end I don't think that was dealt with to my satisfaction.  The book showed us Evan dealing/talking with his kids and his sister-in-law, but not his m-i-l and f-i-l.  I have to say that was my only issue with the story.

Overall a wonderful book about new love, new life and all of the ups and downs, ins and out that it brings.  I highly recommend this story to any who haven't already read it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 

DIK Reading Challenge Review: Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

I decided to read Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts this month for my DIK Challenge read.  Amanda has it on her list and since I'd already planned to read it and it was already loaded on my ereader there just wasn't much reason to not read it. :)

Since she was a little girl, Emma Grant has always loved romance. So it's really no surprise that she has found her calling as a wedding florist. She gets to play with flowers every day and work with her three best friends in the process. She couldn't ask for a better job.

And on the surface, Emma's love life seems to be thriving. Slim and sultry, she brings color into every room she enters, just like the arrangements she creates. Men swarm around her, yet she still hasn't found Mr. Right. And the last place she's looking is right under her nose.

But that's just where Jack Cooke is. He's been best friends with Parker's brother for years, which makes him practically family. The architect has begun to admit to himself that his feelings for Emma have developed into much more than friendship. And when Emma returns his passion - kiss for blistering kiss - things start to get complicated at Vows.

Jack has never been big on commitment. Emma yearns for a lifelong love affair. If the two are to find common ground, they must trust in their history - and in their hearts...


Though Emma never wants for dates she's finding that lately the men look good but they rate nothing on the sizzle scale.  Until Jack, her longtime friend, kisses her and the scale hits red alert.  She can't stop thinking about Jack - especially because she's had a thing for him since she first met him.

For Jack's part he's wanted Emma since he met her in college.  He finally kisses her and the sparks fly.  He wants more but both he and Emma are leery to let things go further.  They finally give in to their desires and decide to give it a try - but insist that no matter what happens they will always be friends.  After 3 months together Emma decides to take their relationship to the next level and tell Jack that she loves him, but it doesn't work out the way she plans.

This was a very sweet book.  For the most part the story left a really great smile on my face while I was reading.  Between the emails that they pass between them and the witty banter that they shared it was just a  romantic read.  Jack and Emma seemed really great together and having known each other for so long they were very comfortable with each other.  Yes they learned new things about each other but the relationship just seemed to flow.  Until...near the end.  Now the ending was still very romantic but Emma took a turn in the book that I really didn't appreciate.

Emma wanted to do something nice to Jack - just because.  That's totally ok by me - even while I was anticipating Jack going a little nutty over it but that's not what happened.  What Emma did was completely fly off the handle on Jack.  Went a little ballistic in my opinion and it just left a bad taste in my mouth.  Did she have valid points about Jack and his lack of, for lack of a better word, acceptance of Emma into his life?  Absolutely.  Did he make mistakes?  Certainly.  But she took a bad situation and made it worse.  She flew off the handle and then ran out without really giving him a chance to gets his thoughts straight after being attacked and talking like adults.  I actually was on Jack's side in the argument which was kind of strange! lol

Besides that one issue I really liked the book and am looking forward to the next installment in the Quartet series, Savor the Moment, that comes out on April 27th.

Rating: 4 out of 5

What I Read Last Week

Happy Monday!

It’s been a crazy week at my house. Hubby is still recuperating and I’m still taking care of him. My youngest then got sick on Saturday with a high fever, vomiting and a bad cold. Oy. I think I need a caretaker for the caretaker. lol Other than that life is good. I got a lot of reading done this week…especially this weekend taking care of my youngest. She just wanted me to hold her while she stared at the wall so I read. Poor thing.

At one point this week I was trying to think of the name of a book. I had to go back through my blog to find it since I could remember the premise but not the character names. I found the book but discovered that I really have been slacking on the book descriptions and just telling how I felt about the book. I will endeavor to do better with this. If I start slacking off you can give me a cyber slap. :)

Book Giveaway winner!  I used my high tech name generator (aka put names in a basket and have my friend Shannon draw one out) and the winner of Catch Me If You Can by LB Gregg is:

 Joder

Congrats Joder!  I have the email address that you left on my blog when you entered.  I will send you Catch Me to you on March 2nd! 

Now – on to what I read:

First up for the week was The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries. This is book one in the Hellions of Halstead Hall series about 5 siblings who were more or less raised by their grandmother. Said grandmother, who is a wealthy woman due to her husband’s brewery has said that all of the siblings must marry within a year or they will receive no money. Since none of them are flush by any means and depend on her they are not happy about this turn of events. The Marquess of Stoneville – the oldest son – decides to thwart his grandmother by bringing home the most unacceptable bride he can find…one straight from a brothel. Except he runs into Maria Butterfield and due to crazy circumstances pretty much bribes her into being his pretend bride. They of course fall in love cuz this is a romance, after all. I really liked this book a lot. I thought Maria and Oliver played off each other very nicely and it just gave me the warm fuzzies. lol 4.25 out of 5


The next book was Trouble in Mudbug by Jana Deleon. This was a recommendation from the lady at New and Recycled Romance but I just couldn’t get into it. I may go back and finish it sometime but IDK. I got about 100 pages into the story – a botanist in Louisiana who was being investigated, but we don’t know why – and she inherits an entire preserve from her dead m-i-l who in life hated her - Oh, and said m-i-l is now haunting her and she’s the only one who can see her ghost – and I just couldn’t read any further. When the heroine of the story kept saying that she was doing things that she would never in a million years do…like breaking and entering…I just couldn’t keep reading. DNF

The Bliss Factor by Penny McCall was next and again I had to put the book down for lack of interest. Again, got about 125 pages in and had to put it down. A woman is asked by her hippie-like parents to “watch” a friend of theirs. Only the man was hit on the head and since he was working the renaissance fair he thinks that’s his time period and doesn’t understand this strange new world. Not my thing, unfortunately. DNF

 
Next up was Bareback by Chris Owen. I read this one for my m/m challenge. I really liked it. You can read my review here. 4 out of 5









Remember I said that I had a lot of books to read for The Book Binge? Well, I tried to get through a bunch of the ebooks this week. All but two were novellas so it made for fast reading. It looks like I read a lot but really when you think about it the 3 novellas and 1 short equal 1 full length novel. :) 



1) The first was Hidden Desires by Elizabeth Lapthorne. A woman goes to Mardi Gras in New Orleans and not only picks up a magical mask but meets the man of her dreams. 3.25 out of 5 Review here
2) The next was Mardi Gras by Lacey Alexander. The story of a woman who is crazy about her boss that she’s known since she was about 12. She puts on a costume during Mardi Gras so she can finally do him like she wants because she knows she can never have his heart. Things don’t always work out as planned though. 4 out of 5. Review here
3) Pet Me by Amarinda Jones. Drusilla goes to a pet store to find a replacement fish for the one she’s accidentally killed. She meets Cormack who’s fighting her for the fish and they find instant lust and eventually love. A very funny novella that I enjoyed. 4.25 out of 5. I’ll let you know when my review posts.
4) Heart of Gold by Riley Ashford. This is the story of a woman who buys an abandoned, supposedly haunted plantation in the south. She meets ghosts, learns its history and meets a very alive descendant that turns her heart and her body upside down. 3.75 out of 5. I’ll let you know when my review posts.
5) Master of Fire by Angela Knight. This is book 11 in the Mageverse series. I’ve been waiting impatiently for another addition to this series for about 2 years. It was a good one. Arthur and Gwen’s son Logan is being targeted by an assassin so they send a witch to guard him with strict instructions not to tell Logan what she is and definitely not sleep with him (doing so 3 times will turn him to a vamp). Yeah, things don’t always go as planned – with the relationship or the assassin. 4 out of 5. I’ll let you know when my review posts.

Next was the book for my DIK Reading Challenge. I chose Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts for this month’s read. The story of Emma and Jack and their friendship turning into much, much more. You can read my review on Wednesday. 4.25 out of 5



Lift Me Up by Rayne Auster was the following read. This novella is the story of Avery who has a heart wrenching experience in the elevator of his apartment building. He is so distraught he can’t quite make it into his apartment. His new neighbor, Dylan, accidentally trips over him and it’s a match made in heaven. Well, almost. It was a cute story. The telling in first person was a little odd at times but it was good. 3.25 out of 5

And last but not least was my Tracy’s TBR Challenge read (actually 3 of the books I read this week I’ve had for more than 3 months, but who’s counting?) was It’s In His Kiss by Julia Quinn. I had read the first 6 Bridgerton books fairly quickly but I think I’d gotten a little burned out on them. This is book 7 and follows Hyacinth who is helping Gareth St. Clair interpret his paternal grandmother’s diary. This leads them to spending more time together but also to start looking for some diamonds that are supposedly hidden in the St. Clair home. It’s a very cute love story that I very much enjoyed reading. Hyacinth had kind of bugged me in previous books but she really didn’t in this one which I was really surprised about. I liked her spunk in this book where in previous books her mouth just annoyed me. 4.25 out of 5

Happy Reading!

M/M Challenge Review: Bareback by Chris Owen

Jake Taggart's life was almost perfect He'd worked hard to overcome his past, and he loved his job as foreman on a ranch in Arkansas. The only thorn in his side was a dark eyed cowboy named Tornado whose stubborn attitude brought frustration and confusion to Jake's mostly happy existence. A late spring rainstorm brings out hidden passions and unleashes a chain of events neither of them expected--and eventually brings about events that threaten to destroy them and what they worked to create. Strong wills and forceful personalities make for intense encounters...but is it enough to keep love alive?

Foreman Jake Taggart is quite annoyed with ranch hand Tornado. He feels that Tornado is just too combustible and annoys the crap outta Jake at least twice a week. That doesn’t stop Jake from lusting after Tor, though. One rainy night they take their aggressions out on each other as well as their lust. This begins a relationship that they both thoroughly enjoy.

They work the ranch together and eventually move into the same room in the bunkhouse together. They have their arguments but they always come back to each other. They also like to play with other men together, but again, always end up with just the two of them. This continues for 4 years – living and loving. Until Jake discovers Tor loving someone else and all hell breaks loose.

This was a very intense read. I really liked the set up of this book as it didn’t follow the men on a daily basis but really went by the seasons. It managed to cover almost 5 years of Tor and Jake’s lives without covering the menial every day details but letting us get to know Tor and Jake pretty well.

The first part of the book covered Jake and Tor’s coming together as a couple and their transition into exclusivity. They were very much committed to each other and though there was a ton of sex that’s how they expressed themselves. The first part also covered Jake’s past and him coming to terms with it as well as Jake’s family finding him after they thought he was dead and the building of those relationships. I loved his family support even if they weren’t all overjoyed with the fact that he was gay.

The second part of the book was incredibly intense. Jake finds Tor with another man and more or less goes into shock and depression. He can’t eat, can’t sleep and of course kicks Tor out of his room and their relationship. The betrayal of Tor just got me right in the heart. Jake was just so devastated. I think Tor was in his own way as well but since he’s the one who cheated I just didn’t have as much sympathy for him. After many months and an incident with the two men Tor leaves the ranch. But Jake realizes, with a little help from his friends, that maybe he needs to look at himself a little more closely and how he and Tor handled issues in the past.

I have to say I really liked this book. As much as I liked the book at first I was getting tired of the fact that there was so much sex. But that led straight into the fact that the lack of sex was one of the indicators that there was something wrong in the men’s relationship. The second half of the book was incredibly emotional and I have to say made me cry more than once. Jake was just so torn up about the break up but was trying to go about his life as best he could. One of the major kudos I have for this book was the resolution near the end of the book. The conclusions that Jake came to about fixing his and Tor’s relationship were spot on for real life: Communication. I personally believe that this is one of the most important factors in any relationship. You can love somebody to death but if you don’t communicate the relationship is sadly lacking.

Overall a very good book that I would recommend. Remember – an intense book with some very sad moments – but with some incredibly happy moments as well.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Book Giveaway: Catch Me If You Can by LB Gregg


I'm so excited that LB Gregg's Catch Me If You Can is coming out on March 2nd (with Samhain Publishing)!!!  I'm doin' the happy dance! I'm looking forward to its release so anxiously that I've decided to share my excitement and have a giveaway! 

I'm giving away 1 copy of Catch Me If You Can to be delivered electronically to the winner on March 2nd!

Leave a comment here no later than February 21st at 11:59pm (pacific) and you will be in the drawing! 

Here's a little bit about the book...and read farther on to get a totally steamy excerpt.


Romano and Albright, Book 1

Lowly art gallery assistant Caesar Romano is freely out of the closet. Now he’d just like to get out of his Nana’s guest room. Everything—his reputation and his financial freedom—is riding on the success of tonight’s gallery opening. If only he could shake free of the past so easily.

A mysterious gatecrasher, Dan Green, looks like a promising addition to his pending new life—until Caesar’s ex shows up and suddenly the opening disintegrates into a half-naked dance melee. When the glitter settles, a missing sculpture of Justin Timberlake has Caesar up to his eyebrows in extortion, intrigue and a wild sexual adventure underneath, inside, and on top of a variety of furnishings.

As the cast of suspects piles up, so do the questions. Like who’s really blackmailing whom? And what does a stolen paint-by-numbers clown matter when Dan is so outrageously capable of blowing Caesar’s resistance to smithereens? 

Excerpt:

“Hey. Take a look at this.”
Dan was in the second bedroom, a guestroom as beautiful as the rest of the place. A four-poster king-sized bed took up most of the room.
“What?” I grouched.
The front door rattled and, horrified, I grabbed Dan by the jacket. “I knew this would happen.”
I dragged him toward the closet, but it was overflowing with neatly hung clothing and stacks of shoeboxes. I gaped in shock. “Ferragamo?”
Dan nodded toward the armoire. I shook my head.
We both stared at the bed.
There was a lot of clearance, given the thing had stairs. I lifted the bed skirt. “Slide under.”
The front door opened to the sound of Shep’s charming, lackadaisical voice as we scurried under the bed like the fearful intruders we were. I flipped the bed skirt down. There was barely three inches of space to see. Dan lay flat to better watch the hall, although what we would do if we were discovered wasn’t clear to me. I just closed my eyes and concentrated on not hyperventilating.
“Calm down, Romano.”
I peeked and Dan wasn’t paying attention to the crack of daylight. He watched me. I swear he was laughing. I nodded stiffly. I’d have to accept that I was a source of entertainment for the demented detective.
Shep’s voice got weaker momentarily—perhaps he’d gone into the bathroom or the kitchen, and another voice, this one female, filled the apartment.
“That’s Estelle. His agent,” I whispered.
She was loud. “I don’t care. You need to do as you’re told or this thing is going to fall through and this is a huge opportunity. You signed a contract, Mac.”
“I know. I don’t think anyone knows.”
“Everyone knows. You could have warned me last night. I had to listen to him rant for half an hour. That bastard will sue us both. Don’t fuck this up.”
They were in the living room. The sound of feet on the wood flooring came nearer. Unless Estelle wore fancy man shoes, that had to be Shep. He went into the room next to us. A door opened. He was changing maybe.
“I’ll deal with it. Caesar isn’t going to tell anyone. He hasn’t yet. And his family doesn’t care. No one else knows. I was circumspect. It was just a stupid thing I did in college. It was years ago. It didn’t mean anything.”
I nearly popped out from under the bed. Dan grabbed hold of my wrist. “Be still.”
Shep went on, “He was pretty insistent. I slept with him a few times, that’s it.”
I opened my mouth, and Dan’s hand slapped down to shut it. “Shh.” I nodded and his hand slowly slid away, his fingertips trailing my chin. Was he petting me?
The click of Estelle’s heels faded, as did Shep’s plodding, well-clad feet.
She snapped, “Who knew back then, Mac?”
“No one. No one except my cousin, Poppy. That’s it. And Ce’s family. That’s all.”
“No one since then, right? I need you to think about your answer because I’d rather be prepared to handle some kind of PR situation than get blindsided. A good offense is the best defense. I want full disclosure. You understand?”
“I…” Shep’s voice wavered, and my breath froze as hope reared itself. Would he do it? Could he? And then that spineless dick lied again. “No one. I’m not…I’m not gay, Estelle.”
Dan snorted quietly next to me. “She’s an idiot if she buys that.”
“As long as we’re clear,” Estelle said and then a door shut. Locks spun.
I lay under the bed, in the sweating darkness, royally pissed. Dan faced me, but his eyes were rolled up—he was listening while I was fuming and embarrassed.
“I think they’re both gone.”
I tried to scurry out from under the bed skirt. Dan grabbed my belt. “Wait. He may still be here.”
I nodded and eased back onto the floor. Dan’s eyes darkened, if that was possible. His frown line had reappeared. His voice turned serious. “How long were you two together?”
“Three years.”
“Man. You sure know how to pick ’em. What a dickhead.”
“It was just a stupid thing I did in college.” My joke was undermined by the depth of Shep’s betrayal. You’d think I’d have grown immune by now. At this point every one of my secrets had been laid bare to the good detective. There was nothing left to hide—which was actually kind of liberating.
We lay still, listening to the hall clock. I wanted to go home and forget this entire day. No. That was a lie. What I really wanted to do was take a hatchet to Shep’s apartment and bust that mother up. Maybe Dan would turn a blind eye?
It was close under the bed. Naturally, there wasn’t a speck of dust, only gleaming floor. It smelled of lemon and Dan’s leather jacket. I hadn’t noticed before, but his cologne was spicy—like cardamom. Sultry and tangy. His beard was filling in, a true five o’clock shadow that framed full and soft lips—the top one less plump than the bottom. A tiny scar marred the right side.
Dan stared intently back at me. He seemed as curiously interested in my mouth as I was his. Before I could catch myself, I licked my lips. His mouth lifted into a slow, hot, sexy smile. I bit my lip, waiting to see where we were going. Tension crackled between us.
He moved closer, taking up most of the space. It grew even warmer under the bed. “You know what I think? I think you’re a smart guy and you dumped him for being a pussy. He’s still pissed.”
“Probably you’re right.”
Dan’s mouth was very nice. Masculine and broad. Why hadn’t I noticed that before? I had no idea what Dan’s story was, if he was into guys or bi or yet another straight guy willing to fool around, but suddenly, I didn’t care. I was pissed. Why that turned me on, I couldn’t fathom. Dan didn’t seem to be in any hurry to move away from me. Quite the contrary. He challenged me with his nearness.
I moved and his gaze went from my mouth to my eyes. Heat curled in my groin. Dan’s eyes filled with interest, and something else. Amusement.
“Don’t say a word,” I grumbled.
“Who me?” The grinning bastard. “I won’t say a thing.”
I inched forward, scooting close enough to seal myself against him from groin to chest, letting our bodies align. Waiting to see what he’d do. His breath caressed my skin, and the moment drew out long. The clock ticked in the hall. His smug smile deepened, charming me despite how infuriatingly cocky he was. Strong thighs pressed into mine, and he waggled his brows like a fool. But he was hardening against my crotch and…that was a surprise. He found me more than amusing—he was attracted to me. Aroused by me. Or he was into the getting-caught vibe. Maybe a bit of both.
His dick nestled into mine, and his neck flushed a deep, telling red. With the space between us gone, in the sweltering darkness, I found a reason to lay my mouth on his, gently, finding those lips deliciously moist and minty. I licked them. His taste was sweet, maybe a hint of nicotine and coffee, but mostly he tasted of that gum he liked to share.
Dan laughed against my mouth. “You going to do something interesting, Romano? Or just nibble on me?” He thought he was so funny.
“If you’d shut up for half a second, I’ll show you.” I gripped him by the belt with one hand, and kissed him, my mouth sliding over his, my fingertips digging right into his pants. I tickled the head of his cock. Why not? I knew what I liked. I figured he liked it too, because he groaned in surprise. His lips parted, and his hips snuggled back. The big lug. I tongued him wantonly, feeling him give, his mouth opening wide to welcome me. A tingle ripped down my spine at this unexpected pleasure. He was delicious. Sliding my hips against his, all thought of Shep and Justin Timberlake and missing clowns disappeared as I did my very best to wipe that fucking grin off Detective Dan Green’s face.
I suckled his tongue, rocking my whole body, working to make him harder. He had a nice, fat dick, long and broad, his bush wiry and wild. Sticky come pearled up. Yeah. He was right where I wanted him. I curved my fingers to stroke him in a firm grip that let him know I’d jerk him off and he’d never forget it, and he groaned again. Deeper this time.
And then that bastard flipped me over on my back with a fast move, trapping my hand in his pants and forcing the air from my lungs. “I see where you think this is going, Romano. You’re used to leading guys around by their dicks, right? Like that pussy, McNamara. Guess again.”
Holy shit. A blazing mix of shock and lust fried me as he rammed me into the floor, his mouth stealing the very air from my lungs.
  

What I Read Last Week

Happy Monday!

I want to start off by telling everyone thank you once again for all of your support this past week.  Between comments from the blog and personal emails it's been amazing and made me cry on more than one occasion.  You guys are the best.

My hubby is now home! Yay!  He had surgery on Thursday to correct the collapsed lung.  The surgeon told us that he couldn't find the weak point in his lung which is a bummer but he cleaned things up and did a procedure that will make the likelihood of it happening again less. The surgeon was so nice to give us pictures of his lung - ew!  I love you all and will not be sharing those with you.  Believe me, you'd thank me. Hubby's in a lot of pain but he's moving around some which is good.  He's young and otherwise healthy so they think his recuperation will be relatively fast.  I say it's just really good to have him home!  The girls are doing really well with him and trying to help as much as they can.  They might drive me bat shit crazy some of the time but they're good kids, I have to say. :)

I read quite a bit this week just hanging at the hospital.  For such a busy place it was incredibly quiet. lol

Strangely enough I was sick this past Monday  - thank heavens that had gone away by the time hubby went in or I wouldn't have been able to see him.  I got two books read that day - both for The Book Binge.  The first book was Gentlemen Prefer Succubi by Jill Myles.  A cute paranormal story about a woman, Jackie, who gets turned into a Succubus by a vampire and a Serim (fallen angel).  You can read my review here3.75 out of 5

The next one I read that day was Succubi Like it Hot by Jill Myles.  This is the next story in the Succubus Diaries series and follows Jackie as she gets used to being a succubus.  She's formed a relationship with both her fallen angel sires, Noah, and her vampire sire, Zane.  I love both men but Zane is one hot vamp lemme tell ya. Wow. :)  Anyway, once again a cute story - there's humor and sex and romance...as well as some ass kicking in both of these books.  You can read my review here4 out of 5


Next up was Close Contact by Rebecca Airies.  I read this one for The Book Binge as well.  It was a novella about a woman who is cursed but doesn't know by whom or why.  She's in horrible pain if she's away from her mate - that she just met - who happens to be a werewolf.  The book really wasn't really my thing, unfortunately.  I'll let you know when my review posts. 2.5 out of 5

Next up was The More I See You by Lynn Kurland. The funny thing about me reading this book: I've started buying the De Piaget series from book 1. Have I read book 1?  No.  Why read book 7 then, you may ask?  Who freakin knows?  Actually it was a grab and go when I was running out the door to the hospital so that might explain it - at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)  Anyway, I really liked the book.  Jessica is in England and wishing on a star that she'd find a gallant, chivalrous man and next thing you know she's in 13th century England.  She gets attached to Richard de Galtres who is a Knight but one who's trying desperately to forget his childhood.  He's gruff and surly and I have to say it made him all the more adorable in my eyes - in Jessica's as well.  4 out of 5

The next book was not intended as a Tracy's TBR Challenge read but I discovered it was just easier to have my ereader with me this week rather than books. And then I discovered that I'd had the book since last June!  Fitting that the name of the book was Discovery. lol  I started book 5 in Jet Mykles' Dark Elves series - Discovery.  This was an interesting story as it didn't deal mostly with the Dark Elves.  They were in the beginning and the end of the book but not a lot in the middle.  A young human bard goes to live with the elves for a couple of years to gain information that he can then share with the humans - possibly making their lives more interesting to the humans and more woman would want to live with them as the elves numbers are dwindling.  Though Kinig falls desperately in love with Fallil he knows he has to leave him to spread his message.  Nine years later he gets captured by an evil elf from a different race but is taken care of by Nialdlye, yet another elf from another race, and eventually saved.  This was a great step in the continuing story of the dark elves.  I would have liked to have seen more interaction with the dark elves themselves but Mykles has a great way of bringing everything together in a fashion that sometimes you just don't expect. 3.75 out of 5 (m/m, m/f)

Next was Dark Elves VI: Awakening by Jet Mykles.  This is, for now, the final book in the Dark Elves series  This follows the offspring of the couples that we read about in the first few books.  They've grown and are becoming warriors and sorcerers in their own right.  Savous and Irin's daughter, Eryhaen, has massive amounts of power but doesn't have a clue how to control it and she herself is a selfish, out of control woman.  Radin is back in the picture but in a comatose like state.  Eryhaen is sure that he is her true mate and will do anything to get her way and her way wants Radin.  She's just not fully aware of the people that she is hurting in the process.  This was a good but sometimes sad story of friendship, loyalty and love.  I hope, in the future, that Mykles decides to write more about the elves. 4 out of 5 (m/f, m/m, m/m/f, f/f, m/m/m/f)

And last but not least was yet another one for The Book Binge (seriously, I have so many books to read for TBB I might have to read nothing but BB books for a week straight just to get it down to a manageable sized pile.  What?  I just can't say no when they sound really good!).  This one was Don't Kill The Messenger by Eileen Rendahl.  An UF book that I really liked. The girl is a Messenger who passes messages and items, etc. around to different paranormal groups that don't get along.  A very good book that I think a lot of you will like.  I'll let you know when my review posts. 4 out of 5


FYI - my review for Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh went up over at The Book Binge.  You can read it here.


Happy Reading!

My Husband and My Guest Review

So my hubby's in the hospital. On Tuesday night he had what they call a spontaneous pneumothorax which in layman's terms is a partially collapsed lung and it's about 40% collapsed.  He had the same thing happen about 4 years ago but this one's a little worse. Apparently he has the body type for it - they say tall and thin.  He's not all that tall at 5'10 1/2" but that's what they said.

Today they'll be doing a surgery that will fix the current collapse and hopefully make the likelihood of this happening again much smaller. He's doing well and so am I and the kids.  The girls were a little anxious when the paramedics, firemen and ambulance guys showed up (Why does an entire fire truck full of firefighters show up when you call the paramedics/ambulance?) but they've calmed and are dealing with it well.  They saw him last night and that was good.  I'll keep you posted on how things go.

And in reading news...my guest review for Gentlemen Prefer Succubi by Jill Myles has posted over at The Book Binge.

Who knew an angel could get a girl in so much devilish trouble?

Jackie Brighton woke up in a dumpster this morning, and her day has only gotten weirder. Her breasts grew overnight, her sex drive is insatiable, and apparently she had her first one-night stand ever . . . with a fallen angel.

Of course, she only remembers gorgeous Noah’s enormous, er, package. And their steamy shower sex. Hmm . . . and the dark stranger whose bite transformed her into an immortal siren with a seductive Itch.

With help from Noah and fellow succubus Remy Summore, Jackie adapts to her new lifestyle—until she accidentally strikes a deal that sends her lover into the deadly clutches of the vampire queen and lands Jackie, Remy, and the queen’s wickedly hot right-hand man into the middle of a fierce battle for an ancient halo.

But how’s a girl supposed to save the world when the enemy’s so hard to resist?

Jackie is a succubus. In order to become one she was drained dry by a vamp then thoroughly sexed by a Serim (fallen angel) and she's now immortal and wanting sex every 48 hours! It's a bit of a shock and she doesn't want to believe but soon enough she's convinced. Unfortunately Jackie has gotten herself into a bit of trouble with what her succubus friend, Remy, calls a dealer. He's an angel who has asked for a favor and in return given her something like a spell that makes the sexual cravings go away. All she has to do is get information for him from the vampires. Jackie agrees but she truly doesn't have clue as to what she's doing and only proceeds to get herself into more trouble.  Read more------->

Review: The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Filled with stunning parallels to today's world, The Postmistress is a sweeping novel about the loss of innocence of two extraordinary women-and of two countries torn apart by war. 

On the eve of the United States's entrance into World War II in 1940, Iris James, the postmistress of Franklin, a small town on Cape Cod, does the unthinkable: She doesn't deliver a letter. In London, American radio gal Frankie Bard is working with Edward R. Murrow, reporting on the Blitz. One night in a bomb shelter, she meets a doctor from Cape Cod with a letter in his pocket, a letter Frankie vows to deliver when she returns from Germany and France, where she is to record the stories of war refugees desperately trying to escape. 

The residents of Franklin think the war can't touch them- but as Frankie's radio broadcasts air, some know that the war is indeed coming. And when Frankie arrives at their doorstep, the two stories collide in a way no one could have foreseen. The Postmistress is an unforgettable tale of the secrets we must bear, or bury. It is about what happens to love during wartime, when those we cherish leave. And how every story-of love or war-is about looking left when we should have been looking right.

The Postmistress as it says in the blurb is the story of really 3 women and their stories coming together in a tragic and unforeseen way.  Franki Bard, the American who is reporting the news from London, Emma Fitch who is a new wife to the doctor in Franklin and Iris James who is the local Postmaster…or as they say in England, Postmistress.

While The Postmistress is a beautifully told story with incredible imagery, passion in the prose and wonderfully well written, it is definitely not a happy story.  It brought to vivid life the horrors of WWII and at points it was difficult to read.   

If you are a fan of history than I believe you will very much enjoy this book.


Rating: 4 out of 5

What I Read Last Week

Last week started off with a bang.  I got a cold and felt like I was going to die - and frankly at some points I really wanted to! lol  However I made it through and got to the weekend - which was really the highlight of the week.

Lisabea
came to California to visit with her hubby and I went down to Orange County to spend the weekend with her and Rosie and her hubby.  We had so much fun!  We talked and talked and talked and ate and drank and talked some more.  I just adore those ladies.  If that wasn't wonderful enough we planned a So Cal Blogger get together.  This was 6 hours of uber fun, lemme tell ya.  And not only was it the regular SCB's but we had a couple of new ones join us as well as more than a few authors!  Yes, I know, we're so popular. lol Unfortunately the group was so big that I didn't get a chance to talk to everyone which was a bummer but everyone new that I met was really nice. Bloggers who were there: Lisabea, Wendy, Lori, Nikki, Rosie, Renee, Rowena, Holly, KC and Kristin.  Then authors: Danielle Yockman, KB Alan, Tessa Dare, Vivienne Westlake, Rachel Jameson, Helen Kay Dimon, Eden Bradley and Sabrina Darby.  We had lunch at The Yard House in Costa Mesa then headed down the street to New and Recycled Romance (which I adore and wish it wasn't so far away) and then did a book swap that lasted for about 2.5 hours! lol  Hopefully everyone as as much fun as I did!  Here we are in all our glory:



I'm continuing my love/hate relationship with Bloggers "new" editor.  On one hand I absolutely love adding all of my pictures into the queue and having them there ready and waiting for me...and then having them pop into my post right where my cursor is, without having to drag them all over.  On the other hand the editor does some funky things.  I went to delete a word the other day and it deleted my entire sentence.  Talk about frustrating.  Of course I know part of this is operator error so hopefully I'll figure it out soon. :)

So on to what I read this week:

First up was Moon Craving by Lucy Monroe.  This is book 2 in her Children of the Moon series.  You can read my review








Next up was Surrender of a Siren by Tessa Dare.  A wonderful book that I really enjoyed reading.  I apparently was on the review bandwagon this past week so you can read my review here.








My Tracy's TBR Challenge Read for the week was Finding Hope by Katie Reus.  I won this book at was so excited to read it but for some reason it got lost in the shuffle (sorry Katie).  Anyway, it was the story of Hope who may or may not be the missing daughter of some wealthy Cubans.  It's a story of tragedy, discovery, love and hope.    3.75 out of 5




Finding Utopia by KZ Snow (Utopia X book 4) was my next read.  This is the final book in the series and it was a good one.  My review is here.


My brain is gone!  I even wrote this down and still forgot to post about it!  I also read Noodle Shop Affair by CJ Michalski (yaoi manga).  It was an interesting story about a mob guy falling in love with the noodle shop boy and trying to save him from other mob guys.  Lots of blood in this one.   Not bad - the noodle shop boy just looked like he was 12.  Obviously he was older since he was running the shop by himself but he looked like he was in elementary school. 3 out of 5



Last but not least was The Postmistress by Sarah Blake.  This was a book that was sent to me by the publisher, Amy Einhorn/Penguin Group, and I'll be reviewing it this week.




Happy Reading!

M/M Challenge Review: Finding Utopia by K.Z. Snow

When demon-angel-human hybrids fall in love, it makes them a little crazy. That's not the worst of it for Regenerie's Coven of Three. Now that Win, Tole, and Zee are involved in passionate relationships, they can't generate enough sex-energy with each other to activate their indispensable oracle, the Celestine.

The Dark Elves of Bildezir couldn't have picked a better time to attempt a takeover of the Utopian Metroplex. Regenerie’s leaders have gone off to seek a solution to their quandary. Their employee Pablo, left behind, decides to party -- a little too hard. There's ample evidence he's committed a serious indiscretion. Both the Coven's headquarters and Pablo's bond with Win end up in shambles.

And here come the elvish warriors.

Kicked to the curb, Pablo has his hands full. He must prove he didn't betray Win during his night of drunken revelry. And he must figure out how to save both the Coven and the metroplex from a power-hungry, sexually ruthless enemy armed with magic. 

What does Pablo have, aside from his love and devotion? A twink named Skeep, a horny mongrel humanoid, and a big blue orb. Good luck.

Zee, Tole and Win are off to figure out how they can keep on with their Triumvirate duties when none of them can be sexually active with each other.  Usually sex is the key to getting the Celestine Orb to work.  But now that the 3 men have found 3 other men that they want to be with and stay faithful to, how will the C-orb work.  They head off to talk to the powers that be to try to discuss things.

Pablo, Win's man, and the Triumvirate's employee, heads off to the Overcity to meet up with his Giver friends and his friend Lily to do some dancing and just have some fun. But the next morning Pablo is awoken by Win who is furious and fires Pablo and kicks him out of the house.  The evidence shows that Pablo had a night of passion...but not with Win.  Pablo can't remember a damn thing but is determined to find out what happened while he was passed out.  Win, Tole and Zee are trying to figure out who ransacked their house..at the same time trying to activate the C-Orb to find out what's happening in Regenerie.  Only Win is so distraught over Pablo's supposed betrayal and the loss of his love he can't participate.

In the meantime there are Dark Elves who are determined to take over Regenerie.  The head Elf, Ormegen, used to be Tole's fuck buddy and he's gotten two other elves to help him investigate the Coven's home to see if they can find out if they are indeed the Triumvirate. 

Win, Tole and Zee get trapped by the Dark Elves and it's left up to Pablo, the neighbor Skeep and an elf/fae/human to try and do their part to help the three men in their fight against the Dark Elves.  They do a pretty darned good job at it too.

This is the fourth and final book in the Utopia X series and it's a good one.  Ms. Snow has once again brought her characters to life in a way that had me fighting for all of them.  I wanted the Triumvirate to get what they wanted and needed - which was to have their chosen mates as well as continue their Tri duties.  I ached for both Win and Pablo when  they had their falling out and the possibility was there that they would no longer be together.  

What I enjoy most about the men in these books is that their just regular men.  Yes, their human/angel/demon hybrids with boatloads of power but when it comes down to who they really are inside they're just like any average human with emotions and problems just like the rest of us.  They just deal with them differently. :)

So if you've been reading the Utopia X series don't miss out on this last story.  It's well worth the read.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

 

Review: Surrender of a Siren by Tessa Dare

Desperate to escape a loveless marriage and society’s constraints, pampered heiress Sophia Hathaway jilts her groom, packs up her paints and sketchbook, and assumes a new identity, posing as a governess to secure passage on the Aphrodite. She wants a life of her own: unsheltered, unconventional, uninhibited. But it’s one thing to sketch her most wanton fantasies, and quite another to face the dangerously handsome libertine who would steal both her virtue and her gold.


To any well-bred lady, Benedict “Gray” Grayson is trouble in snug-fitting boots. A conscienceless scoundrel who sails the seas for pleasure and profit, Gray lives for conquest–until Sophia’s perception and artistry stir his heart. Suddenly he’ll brave sharks, fire, storm, and sea just to keep her at his side. She’s beautiful, refined, and ripe for seduction. Could this counterfeit governess be a rogue’s redemption? Or will the runaway heiress’s secrets destroy their only chance at love?

Sophia is all that is prim and proper – at least on the outside. Her parents want a good match and aren’t interested in Sophia marrying for love. She gets engaged to Sir Toby Aldridge and while he’s handsome and nice he really doesn’t float her boat. Sure he’s handsome but he doesn’t excite the passion that lays dormant inside Sophia. She decides that she just can’t marry Toby and in a burst of brilliance boards a ship to Tortola (West Indies). She makes the captain, as well as the ships owner, Mr. Grayson, believe that she is on her way to Tortola to take a governess position.

From the moment that Gray meets Sophia (who in her incognito state goes by Jane) he is somewhat smitten with her. As the voyage drags on he finds he wants her more and more – only he’s promised his brother Joss, the Captain, that he will keep his hands to himself and not even kiss her. This is the worst torture ever! He’s not only attracted to Sophia’s beauty, but by her personality, the sketches she makes of the crew members and the paintings she creates – and the feelings they incite in him.

Gray – ah, Gray. Could I have him delivered to my door, please? He was one hot hero. But it wasn’t just his looks – which were fine – but also who he was deep down. He had been a rogue and a scoundrel his whole life but was bent on becoming legit. He just didn’t plan on Sophia making things so difficult for him. He wanted so badly to do the right thing but he wanted her so badly he kind of lost himself a time or two. One of those times was an incredibly sensual and erotic scene where he tells Sophia what he wants to do to her and since he can’t touch her he has her touch herself. It was heady stuff. Very nicely done. Gray was just a great all around man and a family man at heart. On top of that I found him quite humorous. At one point after an incident when Gray and Sophia almost get pulled overboard by a shark Gray is in his berth thinking about Sophia:


Ah, but it wasn’t just her lovely face that haunted him. Nor the soft, lush body he was increasingly desperate to see liberated from that woolen cocoon. It was the way she’d so willingly owned up to the truth. The way her spirit had sparked when he’d told her to put aside her art. The way she’d practically made sweet, innocent love to him with her eyes when he’d said he cared if she lived or died.

Good Lord. The laughable irony of it. He’d wasted weeks of his adolescence memorizing sonnets, spent years perfecting little murmured innuendos. Only to learn that the most seductive phrase in the English language was something akin to: All things being equal, I’d rather not see you mauled by a shark.
For all Gray’s resistance events come to a head and Sophia and Gray find a common ground with each other – but what will happen with their relationship once they get to Tortola? Sophia has lied to Gray about who she is and why she’s traveling, while Gray has opened up with her like no one before.

This was a wonderful book. I picked it up in the morning and even with having to work all day I managed to get it read in a day. I just couldn’t put it down. Gray and Sophia were so good together but even the times when they were with others I was completely involved in them. It’s definitely a testament to Ms. Dare’s writing that she can create such incredibly personable and likable characters – and let me tell you, I really wasn’t prepared to like Sophia. In book 1, Goddess of the Hunt, Sophia showed herself as a somewhat different person and I wasn’t sold on the idea that she could carry her own book as the heroine. But that was one of the main issues in the story. Sophia felt that she was never seen as she truly was – people only saw what they wanted to see. In truth, they were seeing exactly what Sophia was willing to show them. Coming to terms with who she really was added a depth to Sophia that really made me like her all the more. Sure, she had fantasies about adventure and passion but what was she willing to do in her life to achieve her goals?

If you haven’t read this book – or series I’d recommend it. I still haven’t read book 3 but I’m thinking it will be just as good as the first two.


Rating 4.5 out of 5