Happy Halloween!

I hope you and your children (if you've got em) have a wonderful and safe Halloween!

Review: Once She Was Tempted by Anne Barton

Portrait of a Lady

…or is it? The risqué painting owned by Benjamin Elliot, the earl of Foxburn, features a stunning beauty with sapphire eyes, golden hair, and creamy skin. Ben recognizes this particular English rose the instant he meets her—though she's wearing considerably more clothing. In person, the demure debutante is even more irresistible…

In desperate need of money for her sick mother, Daphne Honeycote had posed for two scandalous portraits. Now she must hide her secret to save the Honeycote family name. Ben's possession of one painting makes him an insufferable thorn in her side—and yet he may be her best chance at finding the canvas's companion. As she becomes drawn to the dark-tempered earl, can Daphne risk laying bare the secrets of her heart


Daphne Honeycote once sat for two portraits that her friend Thomas painted. One of his clients commissioned the portraits and they were never supposed to leave their remote home in the country. She benefitted by earning some coins that went to pay down some of her family’s debts. When Benjamin, the Earl of Foxburn tells Daphne that he owns one of the paintings, so therefore the other one may be out there, Daphne is mortified. She never worried about the consequences of her actions when sitting for the paintings – she would do it again if it saved someone she loved – but she was living in St. Giles at the time and never dreamed she’d be going to balls and getting to know the ton.

Benjamin – despite his crusty outer shell - has a thing for Daphne. He SO doesn’t want to admit it and even when he does he chooses to ignore it, but he offers to help her find the second painting. As they work together to find the painting – an attend a house party together – they have their ups and downs but they get to know each other and soon find themselves falling in love. The painting, however, is out of their grasp and it just might ruin Daphne in the end.

Oh this was such a cute book. I think it had me laughing and sighing and smiling throughout most of it. I think the main reason for that was Ben. Ben was a man who had been in the war and lost his best friend AND gotten shot in the thigh. He is in almost constant pain and he’s just miserable. His emotions are all over the place because he thinks himself as pretty worthless. On top of that he’s not one to keep his mouth shut just to spare someone’s feelings. He tells it like it is. He sounds like a jerk but he was really very kind and I wanted him to find love with Daphne if only for him to drag himself up from the emotional pit he was in. I was pulling for him and Daphne from word one and that didn’t stop throughout the book.

Daphne was a pretty great character as well. She could so easily have run to her new brother in law, the duke, and spilled her tale of woe and easily gotten out of her predicament but she saw the merit in taking care of it herself, with Ben’s help. This also put her in close and constant contact with Ben so that was an extra plus. At the end of the book Daphne is even more wonderful when she owns up to what she’s done and I admired her even more.

The story wasn’t too terribly intricate nor filled with spies, kidnappings and damsels in physical distress. What it was was just a wonderful love story about two people who were meant for each other and the road they took to find love. It was simply romantic and I loved that about it.


Rating: 4 out of 5


Anne Barton

What I Read Last Week

Hey Ya’ll!

Sorry this is late. We’ve been having a little boyfriend drama at my house so I’ve been dealing with real life instead of my pretend one here. ;) My oldest’s boyfriend of 6 weeks broke up with her and after having her cry all weekend (and I do mean all weekend) he’s now saying they were on a break but not broken up. OMG I just can’t stop thinking about Friend with Ross and Rachel! Too funny. Anyway, they’re talking calmly now and we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. I’ll keep you posted. :)




Other than that nothing much happened this past week so on to what I read:

I started off with The Wrong Billionaire’s Bed by Jessica Clare. A great book about a woman who thinks herself in love with her childhood friend but when she meets his friend she’s nothing but confused – and more. You can read my full review of the book here. 4 out of 5

Archangel’s Legion by Nalini Singh was up next and Oh. My. God. This was just an amazingly fabulous book that I just couldn’t put down once I picked it up. The story has Raphael and Elena back as the main couple and holy shnykies they are wonderful together. I thought so in book 1 and have continued to think so over the course of the series but this just absolutely cemented it for me. They’re fighting together to keep what they’ve built and I loved it. 5 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

The Virgin: Revenge by J. Dallas was the first novella in a serial having to do with Shannon seeking revenge against Drake who she fell in love with when she was 17. Now it’s 10 years later and she’s applying for a position as his assistant thinking he won’t recognize her. The story was ok but there were too many things alluded to that were never fleshed out. I understand this is a serial but I needed something to make me want to read the next one and I didn’t feel like I got it. 2.5 out of 5 (read for Book Binge – review will post on the 30th if you’re interested in reading more of my thoughts)

Sweet by Erin McCarthy was a great book in the True Believers series. It has Riley and Jessica living together for a week and finding that they don’t dislike each other half as much as they believed they did. The story was really good and I can’t wait to read book 3. You can read my full review here 4 out of 5

Last for the week was Throwing Heat by Jennifer Seasons. The story is about a baseball player who’s got the hots for a fellow players sister. They almost have a night together but then he stops and she’s rejected. Now it’s 3 years later and he wants another chance and she’s not about to give it to him. I read about 60% of this book and stopped. I think the problem for me was that there was a boatload of introspection but not a ton of dialogue and when I found myself skimming I put the book down. I’m an every word reader 99% of the time so when I start skimming that’s a bad sign. I may go back to this eventually but for now it’s a DNF.

 

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
*crickets*


Happy Reading!

Review: Sweet by Erin McCarthy

Jessica Sweet thought going away to college would finally make her free of her parents’ constant judgments and insistence she play chastity club role model for their church events, but if anything, the freedom has made her realize she can’t go home and be a hypocrite anymore. Tired of dodging their questions, she stays at school over the summer and lands in an unexpected crash pad: Riley Mann’s house.

Sarcastic, cocky, and full of opinions, Riley is also sexy personified with tattoos and biceps earned from working as a roofer all day. Not the right guy for her even if Jessica was looking for a relationship, which she is definitely not. But Jessica knows that Riley hides the burden of having to raise his younger brothers behind that grin and as she helps him get his house in order for a custody hearing, they begin to fall hard for each other, and she is forced to question what she’s hiding herself.

Jessica has never had a problem getting naked with a guy, but when it comes to showing Riley how she truly feels inside, her fear of rejection may just ruin the best thing—the best guy—to ever happen to her… 


Jessica's father is a preacher of a large church and she was raised in the church. She was also raised to be pure (sexually), follow the rules and restrictions that are set out. She wants none of it. Not that she doesn't believe in God, she does, but she's so busy following the rules the way they've been laid out for her she has no idea who she is or what she truly wants out of life. Her parents sent her to college but will only pay for it if she completes the course of study they want. The ultimate goal is to have her finish college, go home and marry a man that her parents have picked out so she can then be the perfect little socialite wife. Ug.

This particular summer – I believe it's the summer after her sophomore year – she doesn't want to go home. She can't stand another summer of being told what to do. She tells her parents that she's in West Virginia with a mission group building houses when she actually stays in Cincinnati and works as a waitress. She's sublet a room at an apartment but there's a week in between when she can move in and when she has to be out of her dorm room. She asks her occasional hookup, Bill, if she can stay with him but he says no. She's surprised and now stuck with no place to live for a week. That's until Tyler, her roommate Rory's boyfriend, offers his house. Rory, Tyler, and Tyler's younger brothers are going for a week to Rory's fathers house so the only one who will be there will be Tyler's older brother Riley. Riley reluctantly agrees and Jessica moves in.

Jessica and Riley have never really gotten along but through a few events during the week they actually come to like each other and Riley wants more from Jessica. But Jessica is confused. She's avoided relationships because she's not sure how to handle them – how to have a healthy one. The couple have their arguments and Jess's parents do eventually find out the truth about her summer but Riley and Jess find that their love for each other is strong enough to see it all through. 

This was a great book. I really liked True (book 1) a lot so I was a bit worried that this story wouldn't be as good but I was completely wrong. Riley is the kind of hero I really like. He has played around in the past but he's now more responsible and doesn't want to jump into anything lightly. He's never had a one night stand and doesn't want to start with Jessica. She hasn't slept with too many men but she's never done more than have a hookup or two. She doesn't quite grasp that Riley doesn't want to sleep with her right away and believes that because of this that he doesn't want her when in reality he just wants to get to know her better before they sleep together...and I loved it. Yes, there are plenty of books where the couple finds love after they've slept together but I really liked the fact that Riley wanted to have the sex be what came after they fell in love. It was just so damned sweet and not something I would have expected of the guy.


Jessica was screwed up because of her upbringing and that was understood. She wasn't a stupid woman but just didn't understand the intricacies of relationships. I loved that Riley could show those to her and help her to realize who she was and what she wanted out of life.

The story also had the issue of Riley and his custody issues with his youngest brother, Easton, and that brought a wonderful family feeling to the book as well. Riley loved all of his brothers and though he didn't always know how to be the appropriate authority figure he did his best and always showed his love. I adored the whole aspect of it.

I've enjoyed this series so far and after reading the excerpt of the next book I'm looking forward to reading more about this wonderful group of people.


Rating: 4 out of 5



Erin McCarthy

Review: The Wrong Billionaire's Bed by Jessica Clare

The Billionaire Boys Club is a secret society of six men who have vowed success--at any cost. Not all of them are old money, but all of them are incredibly wealthy. They're just not always as successful when it comes to love...

Audrey Successful, Petty's always been the responsible one. The good twin. dependable, and trustworthy--that's Audrey. She'd be the perfect girlfriend for her childhood crush, billionaire Cade Archer...except that she's pretty sure she's not even on his radar. But when fate (and her chaotic twin) come together, Audrey finds out that she'll be spending the next month with Cade at his remote cabin retreat. It's a dream come true...

Until she meets her worst nightmare.

Billionaire playboy Reese Durham is used to seducing women to get what he wants. But when stiff, too-proper Audrey bursts into the private mountain lodge and scares his companion out the door, it's time for a little revenge. It's clear that Audrey's in love with his buddy, Cade...and it's clear to Reese that blackmailing Audrey with this information can get her to agree to just about anything. Like furtive kisses in the dark, or a secret rendezvous in the woods. Audrey may think she knows what she wants, but Reese is determined to show her what she needs.

And as Reese discovers the volatile minx behind the buttoned-up exterior, he starts to think maybe she's just what he needs, too.


Audrey Petty has been the “good” twin almost all of her life. She’s kind and thoughtful. She’s always ready to help out in a pinch and she’s the backbone of her family. Her twin on the other hand is kind of a nightmare. Daphne’s a singer and has crashed and burned so badly that Audrey may not be able to get back the twin she once knew. Daphne asks Audrey for help and she agrees. They end up at their lifetime friend’s cabin with the purpose of getting Daphne free from drugs and alcohol.

Cade is a billionaire and one of the members of the Billionaire Boys Club. He came from nothing but has built up a huge company and obviously has money. He’s more than happy to off his mountain getaway to his friends Daphne and Audrey and even meets them there to offer his assistance. This is wonderful for Audrey since she’s been in love with Cade most of her life. Yes, she knows that her main focus will be Daphne but spending some alone time with Cade will be a bonus and something she’s looking forward to.

Life, of course, does not go as planned and when the girls show up at the cabin they find Cade’s friend, and fellow Billionaire’s Boys Club member, Reese Durham in the hot tub with his latest woman. When Audrey asks them to leave and they don’t she starts taking pictures which freaks the woman out and amuses Reese. Woman takes off and Reese is left at the cabin. He decides to stay even though Audrey wants him gone. The pair of them fight like cats and dogs but Audrey soon finds that she likes the way that Reese fires her up.

Daphne ends up spending more and more time with Cade which leaves Reese and Audrey to fight and love. Neither really thinks that they’re falling for the other but when it comes down to choosing who they want to be with things get a bit sticky.

This was another great BBC book. I really like the men in this series as they are all friends and yes, rich, but they all have very distinct personalities which makes each book unique. In this book Reese is such an egotistical bastard – at least that’s how he appears. I think under all the charm he’s got a much softer inner man that finds something he needs in Audrey.

Audrey’s crush for Cade has been such a long-standing thing that even Audrey didn’t know that it didn’t exist any longer. Once she actually goes out with him she finds that she just likes him as a friend and nothing more. She needs the fire that Reese brings out in her to make herself feel like she’s a whole person – not just someone that’s there for everyone else. She can be herself around Reese and he still loves her.

Spoiler Alert:




Anyway, overall a good story. I loved the family loyalty, the friendships, the fights and the lovin – it made for a great read.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Jessica Clare

Review: The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn

Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she's long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.

Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought that nearly destroyed her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn't matter. She doesn't care that his leg is less than perfect, it's his personality she can't abide. But forced to spend a week in close company they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three, and four, the mathematician may lose count, and the lady may, for the first time, find herself speechless ...


Three years ago Hugh Prentice was drunk – so drunk he accused his good friend Daniel of cheating at cards and challenged him to a duel. Things didn’t work out like either of them planned - being drunk and going into a duel on no sleep doesn’t make for a good outcome. And it wasn’t. Hugh got shot in the leg and had months of recovery but was able to teach himself to walk again. Daniel was shot in the shoulder but worse than that was Hugh’s ass of a father who threatened Daniel and ran him out of England in fear for his life. Hugh managed to finally convince his father to let Daniel be and all’s well that ends well, right? We read in the last Smythe-Smith book that Daniel met and was marrying Ms. Wynter so his life is moving on.
 

Then we have Lady Sarah Pleinsworth, a Smythe-Smith cousin who completely blames Hugh for her unmarried state. She certainly hasn’t been one to keep those thoughts to herself and has told Hugh exactly how she felt about him. You see, Sarah was due to have her first Season the year of the duel and because of the scandal was forced to wait a year. In the year that she didn't come out no less than 14 bachelors got married! One of them could have married her! But no, it was all Hugh’s fault!

Hugh doesn’t care for Sarah any more than she cares for him but when they find themselves at the wedding of Honoria and Hugh’s friend Marcus, Honoria asks Sarah to companion with Hugh – not knowing the animosity between the two. The companionship was, at first, torture, to put it mildly. But as the pair spent more time together they find that they actually got along quite well and ended up falling in love. There is always a hitch to these things and in this case it was A) the deal that Hugh made with his father to stop him from going after Daniel and B) the fact that Hugh’s father is certifiably nuts. Though their love wasn’t an easy road to travel the two make it work.

This was a wonderfully charming novel, just as Quinn’s always are. I loved how Hugh and Sarah hated each other at first but were thrown together. The sniping at each other and digs they got in cracked me up and I loved the humor that Quinn inserted into this novel. She has such a quirky way with her characters and I just love each of their characteristics.

Hugh was so damaged – both physically and emotionally – because of the duel and he regretted his actions almost immediately but couldn’t call off the duel. He had no intention of hitting Daniel but life doesn’t always work out the way it’s planned.

Sarah was so anxious to get married but she wasn’t a bubble head about it and willing to just marry anyone. She really was looking for love and I adored the fact that she saw past Hugh’s gruff exterior and saw him for the man he was.

Overall a great novel and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I can’t wait to see what’s next for the Smythe-Smith clan.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Julia Quinn

Review: Finding It by Cora Carmack

Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find where you truly belong...

Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She's having the time of her life . . . or that's what she keeps telling herself.

It's a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you're afraid you won't like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey's loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey's mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.


Kelsey Summers thinks that a European vacation – paid for by her wealthy father. She feels like she deserves to get out and have some fun after college and before she’s forced by her parents to attend charity balls and act like the perfect daughter for her perfect family. Yuck.

She’s having some fun but deep down she knows that it’s all an act. She has some deep seeded issues and she’s pushed them down for so long she doesn’t really know who she is any longer. So, she just parties and meets new people and acts like the world is at her feet…until she meets Jackson Hunt. Jackson is adorable and sexy and she loves looking at him. Kelsey meets him one night in a club and they kind of hit it off. Well, she embarrasses herself and he seems to just follow her home. Despite trying to forget about Hunt after that she just can’t. When she decides to go to Prague and Hunt happens to be on the same train they make a deal. Hunt gets one week to show Kelsey an adventure before she goes home, one that doesn’t include the club scene. Kelsey agrees but ends up getting involved deeply with Hunt and when she finds out the very large secret he’s hiding it may be the end of it for them.

Finding it was a deeply emotional book. While it seemed that Kelsey was just the party girl – as that who she wanted everyone to see – she was deeply troubled. She’s had horrible experiences in her life and had her parents brush them under the table. The emotional wounds had stayed with her for the rest of her life and it’s not until Jackson starts to bring out the non-party side of Kelsey that she starts to face them. She was the perfect heroine for Jackson and he for her. I thought they fit so nicely together and played off of each other well.

Jackson made Kelsey look at parts of herself she’d stuffed down a long time ago and while that wasn’t his intention it happened because he wanted to know who Kelsey really was. The secret that Jackson was hiding was something that I knew almost from the first time he stopped himself from kissing Kelsey. Did I doubt my thoughts a time or two? Yes, but when the secret was revealed I wasn’t too shocked – ok, not shocked at all. That didn’t make the impact of it all any less emotional which was a good thing.

In the end I found that I really enjoyed the book. It was fun, funny, sexy, heartbreaking, emotional and romantic – what more could I ask for?


Rating: 4 out of 5



Cora Carmack

Book Spotlight: Waiting for Wren by Cate Beauman

Cate Beauman’s newest release is available now through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Visit www.catebeauman.com for more information and to read excerpts from her best selling series The Bodyguards of L.A. County.

When the past and present collide…

Wren Cooke has everything she’s ever wanted—a thriving career as one of LA’s top interior designers and a home she loves. Business trips, mockups, and her demanding clientele keep her busy, almost too busy to notice Ethan Cooke Security’s gorgeous Close Protection Agent, Tucker Campbell.

Jaded by love and relationships in general, Wren wants nothing to do with the hazel-eyed stunner and his heart-stopping grins, but Tucker is always in her way. When Wren suddenly finds herself bombarded by a mysterious man’s unwanted affections, she’s forced to turn to Tucker for help.

As Wren’s case turns from disturbing to deadly, Tucker whisks her away to his mountain home in Utah. Haunted by memories and long-ago tragedies, Tucker soon realizes his past and Wren’s present are colliding. With a killer on the loose and time running out, Tucker must discover a madman’s motives before Wren becomes his next victim.


The Unofficial Waiting For Wren Soundtrack

As I have discussed with previous book launches, music plays a huge part in my writing process. I typically listen to Pandora or YouTube and compile a collection of songs that I feel represent my characters or the situations they face as the novel unfolds. Here are a few of the songs that I had on “repeat” while I created Tucker and Wren’s story!

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Waiting For Wren:

· Gone, Gone, Gone by Phillip Phillips
· Lego House by Ed Sheeran
· Wanted by Hunter Hayes
· What Would Happen If We Kissed by Meredith Brooks
· Trying Not to Love You by Nickelback
· Beneath Your Beautiful by Labrinth Ft. Emeli Sande
· I Hate How Much I Love You by Rhianna Ft. NeYo
· Be Still by The Fray
· All Along by Remedy Drive
· Clarity by Zedd
· Mirrors by Justin Timberlake
· To Build A Home by Cinematic Orchestra

Read an excerpt from Waiting for Wren:

She pulled in her drive, dropped her phone, and gripped the wheel with trembling hands as heat from the vents rushed over her. She stared at her darkened front steps in the shadows cast about from the neighbors’ tall trees. What if he was here? His texts weren’t threatening, and technically neither were the flowers, but Rex wasn’t healthy. In the two years she’d owned her home, she’d never been terrified to get out of her car and go inside like she was now.

This is what he wants. He wants you to be afraid while he plays his games. Steeling herself, she grabbed her phone and got out with her key fob clutched in her unsteady hand. The cool rush of wind tossed her hair in her face, and she swiped wavy locks behind her ear as she strained to hear over the rustling leaves. She walked quickly, her eyes darting everywhere.

She just had to get to the door and step inside. The panic button was in the entryway if she needed it. The police would come help her, along with whoever was fielding calls at Ethan’s company tonight. “I’m almost there. I’m almost there,” she whispered, flinching, blinking, startled as the sensor lights flashed on to brighten the walkway. The security lights. It was just the security lights. She forgot she reactivated the feature the night of the gala. She took another step forward and saw the blood by the pretty pot of red mums. “Oh my god. Oh my god.” A black cat lay on her step, decapitated and bloated in a pool of dark, congealed crimson. “Oh my…”

Her breath rushed in and out as she stumbled back. The cellphone in her clammy hand rang, and she screamed. Blindly, she pressed “talk.” “Hell—hello?”

“Do you like it?” someone whispered.

She whirled, scanning, searching for Rex. He was here, somewhere. He had to be.

“Why won’t you call me?” The whisper turned into a pathetic whine. “Why won’t you call me, Wren?”

“Stop,” she shuddered out as she hurried to her car, looking over her shoulder from time to time, sure he was waiting to pounce. “Stop doing this. I’m calling the police.”

The whining stopped abruptly and turned into mad, riotous laughter. “They won’t believe you! They won’t believe you!”

“Leave me alone!” She hung up, gasping for air. Tears poured down her cheeks, and her hand shook as she opened her door, took her seat, and locked herself in. She had to get out of here. She had to get away. It took her two tries to shove the key in the ignition as she glanced at the bloodstained step once more and backed out with a squeal of tires. She sped off, heading toward Ethan’s until she remembered he was gone and a quarter of his house had been gutted for the new edition. All of them were gone—Ethan, Hunter, and Austin. She pressed ‘one’ on her speed dial, listening to the repetitive ringing. Ethan’s smooth voice told her to leave a message, but she hung up instead. She turned down another street, taking her farther from her home, and punched in Ethan Cooke Security’s twenty-four hour assistance line.

“Ethan Cooke Security. This is Mia.”

“Mia, it’s Wren.”

“Wren, are you okay?”

“Yes.” Her voice broke, and she shook her head as she clutched the wheel with one hand. “No. No, I’m not. There’s a dead cat on my porch.”

“Oh.”

That didn’t exactly describe the horror she’d just backed away from. “Someone killed a cat and left it on my front step.”

“Oh my god. Where are you?”

“In my car.” She sniffed. “Driving around. I don’t want to go back to my house alone.”

“Of course not. Let me patch you through to Tucker Campbell. He’s on call.”

Tucker? “No, wait—” But it was too late. Soothing music played in her ear.

“Wren?” Tucker’s deep voice hummed with concern.

Her lip wobbled, and tears began to fall again. “Yeah, I’m here.”

“What’s going on? Mia said something about a dead cat?”

“Someone chopped some sweet cat’s head off and put the body on my front step.”

He muttered a swear. “Are you there now?”

“No, I’m in my car, driving around. It freaked me out. I don’t want to be at the house by myself.”

“I don’t want you there either. Come to my place until we get this figured out.”

If choking fingers of terror didn’t have her by the throat, she would’ve refused, but Tucker was offering his help. She needed help. “I don’t—I don’t know where you live.”

“Ocean View Apartments, off Highway One.”

“What if he follows me? He might be following me right now.” She glanced in the rearview mirror and cringed as headlights trailed behind her.

“Who?”

“Rex.”

“Who the hell is Rex?”

“The crazy bastard who left the dead cat on my porch.”

“Son of a bitch, Cooke. Don’t stop. Don’t’ pull over. Drive on a flat tire if you have to. Just get here. I’ll be waiting outside.”

“Okay,” she sniffed, too afraid to be prideful. “I’m about ten minutes away.”


Did you enjoy the excerpt? You can read the first three chapters on my website, www.catebeauman.com.


About the author: 


Cate currently lives in Tennessee with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernard, Bear. She is the author of the best selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.

“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, two years later, I’m working on my sixth novel and I’m an Amazon best selling author. I’m very grateful for the support and success I have had. - Cate “


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Contact Cate

Amazon Author Page
http://www.amazon.com/Cate-Beauman/e/B00A05KHVM/

Social links:
www.catebeauman.com
www.facebook.com/CateBeauman
www.goodreads.com/catebeauman



Review: Anything for a Dollar edited by Todd Gregory

What would you do to make a buck?

They are the objects of desire—dancing on the bar or on boxes at circuit parties, performing for either the video camera or their own webcams, or coming to you for a night of passion at a price.

But they aren’t gods. They are men with needs and desires of their own, fantasy men with fantasies of their own. Some of today’s top writers of gay erotica take on the notion of using your body to make a living—and the result is a collection of erotica so steamy it might burn your hands.

Handle with care!


This is anthology of short stories that tell us about men who would do, as the title says, anything for a dollar. Most of the stories include men who NEED the money rather than doing it because they want to – although they do end up enjoying themselves. These “jobs” ranged from modeling to prostitution to stripping to a man who is forced while in debtors prison.

The stories range from erotic/artistic that were interesting and made me want more to sloppy sex with purposely rude language that I think the reader was supposed to find titillating which I didn’t. There were a couple I didn’t enjoy at all but that may be just my preferences.

A couple of my favorites were:

In the Studio by Max Reynolds.
This story had a guy in art college pulling an ad off of the bulletin board that asked for a model for a “theatrical short.” He wasn’t sure what he was getting in to but when he got there it ended up being more than he expected. It was a very erotic story but told so well it was highly artistic and lovely while still being sad at the same time.

Penthouse by Jeff Mann
This was a cute and sexy story that showed us Jaime who is a mountain man/bit of a redneck. He has landed modeling jobs but he’s southern to the core. Jaime met Bjorn several years earlier and they have since carried on a relationship whenever Bjorn can arrange it (he’s married with a daughter). Bjorn is Jaime’s sugar daddy but the feelings between them are strong. This time it’s Jaime’s birthday and Bjorn gives him a wonderful gift – himself, permanently. A fun story that was humorous and down to earth.

The Conductor by Luke Oliver
This was another great story. A man falls asleep while working late and has a wonderful dream about doing all the actors from all the Batman movies. (hilarious scenario) Unfortunately he almost misses his train but manages to make it on board. The conductor comes by but his monthly pass is expired and he left his money at work. The conductor offers to have him “work off” the money which the man agrees to. They soon find they’re both huge comic book fans and this definitely plays into their sexual encounter. This story had me laughing out loud more than once and I thought it was great.

Overall it was a decent anthology. I could have done without some of the stories and others I wanted to keep going – while still others I thought were just the right length. It was an enjoyable read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5



edited by Todd Gregory

What I Read Last Week

Well it was a pretty normal week here. My reading didn’t really pick up but I think my life has settled down a bit and thing will get back to normal.

My oldest daughter joined the youth bell choir (there are a couple of adults in it too because there are so many bells to play) about 6 weeks ago and they’ve been practicing once a week since then. They’re actually much better than I thought they’d be and they made their first appearance this past Sunday. They played 2 short pieces and then played a much more complicated piece near the end of the service. I got it on video as you can see. Because of my location and where I was sitting you can hear the higher bells better than you can the lower bells but you can still get a good feel for the song (and yes that's my blonde daughter right there). They missed their ending a bit but I was still very proud of them.

 


Anyway, on to what I read:

Targeted by Katie Reus was the story of a reunion between childhood lovers but the hero of the book supposedly died at one point. He didn’t and got a new face and a new name. Now Jack is protecting Sophie and she thinks she’s going nuts that Jack reminds her so much of Sam. You can read more about the book and my review of it here. 4 out of 5

Anything for a Dollar edited by Todd Gregory is a compilation of short stories that all have to do with men and what they will do for a dollar – with other men. Some of the stories were good, some not to my liking but overall a good read. I really read this book over a week and just picked it up and read in between novels. 3.5 out of 5

Finding It by Cora Carmack is the story of Kelsey who is in Europe on a trip after finishing college but she’s really trying to spite her father who cares nothing for her and to get away from herself. It’s not exactly working. She really wants an adventure and to forget some awful things in the past and to have a purpose in life, which she feels she doesn’t. Then along comes Jackson and he’s taking her on an adventure but he’s got a big secret and it may make their relationship impossible. I’ll post my review of this one later this week. 4 out of 5

Last for the week was The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn. Sarah does NOT like Hugh Prentice. She feels he is directly responsible for her current state of “single.” She wants to be married! He gets stuck with Sarah as a companion during a wedding and while they thought they hated each other they find that they actually…don’t. This was another great story from Quinn that I really liked. I’ll post my review of it next week. 4 out of 5



 


My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
The Captain’s Promise by Susanne Matthews
Heart’s Truth by Tamsin Baker

Happy Reading!

Review: Targeted by Katie Reus

Hidden in plain sight…

Former Marine sniper and current NSA agent Jack Stone has a new face to go with his new identity. But he still has the same tortured memories—which include the woman he let get away years ago, when they were teenagers. Now his new assignment in Miami will put him so close to the woman he’s never been able to forget, he could reach out and touch her—if only she weren’t under suspicion.

When Sophie Moreno uncovers evidence linking the medical supply company she works for with arms smuggling—and worse—she doesn’t know who to turn to. After a shocking betrayal, she realizes the only person she can trust is a mysterious new person in the company—a man with hauntingly familiar eyes.

As Sophie questions her intense attraction to this man and Jack struggles not to blow his cover, the two of them must race against the clock to stop terrorists from killing scores of people—starting with them.


Sam Kelly was a Marine and a damned good one but he was looking for a change when he was approached by the NSA. He was offered a position as a black ops group but Sam had to die in order for Jack Stone to be born. Now it’s years later and Jack is assigned to get close to a woman who works in an office with a man who the NSA is watching. The problem is that Jack is assigned because he knows Sophie Moreno as she used to be his love. Unfortunately when he was 18 things ended badly and he never heard from her again. Now he has to act like he only knows her from her file and keep his feelings out of it – easier said than done. When Sophie is shot at, and Jack is with her, he takes her into hiding until the op is finished. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, this puts Jack and Sophie in close quarters and the attraction and feelings they once felt for each other is back. For Sophie this is confusing as she’s never felt that way about anyone but Sam and Jack reminds her of Sam so very much. For Jack it’s frustrating as he wants Sophie with a passion but knows he has to remain professional.

Another great book from Katie Reus. The story was a simple one but Reus wrote it so that it didn’t seem simple at all. NSA watching people for gun-running, etc. and they want their man. There was nothing basic about this story. It took us into Jack’s life and the crazy things he did – or could do – to get his man, so to speak.

The relationship with Sophie and Jack was a bit more complicated. I loved Jack to pieces and could have read about him for days. Sadly I didn’t feel quite as strongly for Sophie. Her actions and reactions were sometimes so odd that I wasn’t quite sure what to make of her. On one hand she seemed so mature and then she’d say, think or do something that made me envision her as a teenager. IDK, she just didn’t click with me. That being said I had a love/hate relationship with Jack and Sophie being together. I loved that Jack would do anything for her – even put his job and life on the line, but then disliked that it was Sophie he was doing it for. Do you see my conundrum? lol

Despite my issue with the heroine I really liked the book. It was engaging, suspenseful, and extremely readable and that gives it high marks in my book. Definitely one to read.

Rating: 4 out of 5


 

Katie Reus

Saturday Song

In preparation for Halloween here's Thriller by Michael Jackson.  Enjoy!

 

Review: Rumors That Ruined a Lady by Marguerite Kaye

Amongst the gossip-hungry ton, no name has become more synonymous with sin than that of Lady Caroline Rider, cast out by her husband and disowned by her family. Rumor has it that the infamous Caro is now seeking oblivion in the opium dens of London!

There's only one man who can save her: notorious rake Sebastian Conway, Marquis of Ardhallow. Soon Caro is installed in his country home, warming his bed, but their passion may not be enough to protect them once news of their scandalous arrangement breaks out.


Lady Caroline “Caro” isn’t in the best place when Sebastian Conway finds her. In fact she’s ingested opium and is at death’s door. Despite the fact that Sebastian tells himself that it’s a bad idea to get involved he still saves her and takes her back to his country home to recuperate.

Caro and Sebastian have a tumultuous relationship that started 10 years earlier when Carol was just 16. They met a time or two over the years and there was always an attraction and to me, an intimate tension that neither knew what to do with. Two years before current times they had met yet again – after Sebastian had been gone to the Continent for 4 years. This time the sexual tension was palpable and they ended up having sex. Needless to say when Sebastian found out that Caro was married and had been for 3 years he was pissed at not being told. They parted with bad words and planned to never see each other again.

Now Caro is at his home and they find that they can eventually forgive each other and become friends. Caro’s husband has spread rumors about her which aren’t true just because she left him. Caro left him because she felt trapped in a horrible relationship – one where her husband physically abused her. Sebastian isn’t about to let her return to her husband but Caro can’t see how she can stay as a guest at Sebastian’s house without creating more rumors. Caro’s father has disowned her and she sees no help in removing herself from the situation with her husband, but she refuses to go back to him. When Caro and Sebastian finally realize they love each other it’s a wonderful thing but Caro’s husband still refuses to divorce her. They can’t live together but how can they live without each other?

I have to say that you just never know what you’re going to get when you open a book. This was indeed true about Rumors That Ruined a Lady. When I read the blurb I thought for sure that rumors would be spread, rumors would be found out not to be true and then all would live happily ever after – in the end, a fun read. Wow, I couldn’t have been more wrong. This story was much darker than I expected but much better as well. Not that I expected a bad book but I was moved more by the story than expected

The past story between Sebastian and Caro was a slowly unfolding one that I found myself anticipating the next meeting between the two. The relationship took turns that I was surprised at at times but it was all so good. Sebastian was a bit too easily angered at times but he finally dealt with all of his demons and that smoothed everything out. Caro had so very many issues to deal with and while it would have been easier to ignore them forever I admired her for deciding to finally face them. The resolution of the issues - and those that were not resolved – was something I never would have seen coming. The ending could have been a pat and boring one but it SO wasn’t. I definitely commend Ms. Kaye on her decision to write the story as it truly would have happened rather than making it a storybook ending.

Rumors That Ruined a Lady was a great read. This is my first read by this author but I don’t think it will be my last.

Rating: 4 out of 5 

 
Maguerite Kaye

Review: The Inheritance by Olivia Mayfield - Part 1: The Will

Maggie Willings knew that returning home for her estranged grandfather’s funeral would not be easy, but she never expected the reading of his will to be the most difficult part. The four people named in the will—Maggie, her brother Robert, her ex-boyfriend Andrew, and her grandfather’s far-too-young girlfriend Bethany—are given a challenge: find out the truth about what happened to Maggie’s younger sister Cassandra, who vanished over eight years ago, and win the entirety of the estate.

Maggie is thrown by the strange request, reluctant to drag up painful memories of her sister’s disappearance, and bothered by her lingering attraction to Andrew, who wants to team up to solve the mystery. But there are ten million dollars on the line and Maggie has no idea where to start—or who she’ll be able to trust.


Cassandra Willings disappeared from a party eight years ago. Neither PI’s nor the police could ever find out where she went or what her fate was but apparently her grandfather thinks that her friends and family CAN find out.

Maggie Willings, her brother Robert, her ex-boyfriend Andrew and her grandfather’s girlfriend Bethany (who used to be Maggie’s best friend) are all present at the reading of Maggie’s grandfather’s will. They are all tasked in finding out what happened to Cassandra. Whoever finds out what really happened gets the man’s money – which totals in the millions. If none of them find out what happened to her the money goes to charity.

Now Maggie has nothing against charity and she doesn’t come off as a money grubbing woman but she’d really like to keep the money in her family and out of the hands of Bethany. When Maggie hears the terms of the will she’s confused but hurt as well. She sure her grandfather knew that bringing up the details of Cassandra’s disappearance would wreak havoc on not only her emotions but those of her parents as well but apparently that was put by the wayside. Maggie asks Robert if he’d like to work together but he refuses. Maggie decides that she’s going to do her best to find out what happened but she’s not holding out too much hope for a answer.

This is the first story in a serial having to do with finding Cassandra and in the end getting The Inheritance. I’m not sure what I expected from this story but I did expect more of a hook. I guess since it’s the first book I wanted there to be something that had me clamoring for more and unfortunately that didn’t happen. The story was told and some things were interesting about it but nothing jumped out at me to say, “you want to read more of me, don’t you?” I will read the next part of the serial to see if things pick up. I’ve already got a good idea of someone who’s involved and I want to see if my thought pans out at all. Hopefully part 2 will be more eventful.

Rating: 3 out of 5


Olivia Mayfield

Review: Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt

WHEN A MASKED MAN . . .

Twenty years ago Maximus Batten witnessed the brutal murders of his parents. Now the autocratic Duke of Wakefield, he spends his days ruling Parliament. But by night, disguised as the Ghost of St. Giles, he prowls the grim alleys of St. Giles, ever on the hunt for the murderer. One night he finds a fiery woman who meets him toe-to-toe-and won't back down . . .

MEETS HIS MATCH . . .

Artemis Greaves toils as a lady's companion, but hiding beneath the plain brown serge of her dress is the heart of a huntress. When the Ghost of St. Giles rescues her from footpads, she recognizes a kindred spirit-and is intrigued. She's even more intrigued when she realizes who exactly the notorious Ghost is by day . . .

DESIRE IGNITES A DANGEROUS PASSION

Artemis makes a bold move: she demands that Maximus use his influence to free her imprisoned brother-or she will expose him as the Ghost. But blackmailing a powerful duke isn't without risks. Now that she has the tiger by the tail, can she withstand his ire-or the temptation of his embrace?


Artemis Greaves is a woman who is dependent for almost everything. She is the companion to her distant cousin, Penelope. Penelope’s family took her in when her parents died and her twin brother was accused of murdering 3 men. Penelope’s father managed to get Apollo admitted to Bedlam instead of facing the hangman’s noose. Because she’s is “just” a companion she must do whatever Penelope asks of her and one night it is to go into St. Giles and drink a glass of gin. To say St. Giles is dangerous would be putting it mildly. The women, of course, are set upon by thieves but are saved by a man in a Harlequin who is named the Ghost of St. Giles. Artemis watches the Ghost battle three men and wins - after that she can’t stop thinking about him.

Because the Duke of Wakefield is courting Penelope Artemis gets to spend a fair amount of time with the man. When the women head to a House Party at the Duke’s country home Artemis gets to know Maximus even better as she likes to take early morning walks and so does he. They start a sort of friendship but Artemis finds herself falling for Maximus. Maximus too finds himself more than intrigued by this woman who is different from any other he’s ever met.

When Artemis figures out that Maximus is the Ghost of St. Giles she finally figures out how to get her brother out of Bedlam – by blackmailing Maximus with his secret. While Artemis and Maximus start an affair in bed it soon turns into an affair of the heart for both of them as well, but Maximus refuses to marry anyone but the finest bloodline in honor of his father. Artemis isn’t about to put her heart on the chopping block but Maximus doesn’t want to let her go.

I love the Maiden Lane series and always expect wonderful things when I read one of Hoyt’s books. This one was no different. While this one had a slightly darker undertone with the Duke searching for his parents murderer and Artemis’s brother in Bedlam it was still a great romance.

Maximus was a man who was devoted to his mission – that of finding his man who murdered his parents one night in St. Giles. By becoming the Ghost of St. Giles this allowed him to keep an eye out for the murderer. This had its high and low points but it also made him a vigilante of sorts. He was actually kind of a historical Batman. No, really! lol He had an underground cave type thing where he exercised, he could get in from a hidden tunnel, he had a cape, his valet was the only one who knew about the Ghost, his parents were killed, and in front of him. I mean, wow, that’s pretty damn close to being Batman. I love Batman though so these things were kind of fun to read about. Anyway, Maximus was tortured. He’d led his life as he thought his father would have wanted him to so when it came to Artemis he wanted to “keep” her but he wasn’t willing to marry her. This made him fall down several rungs on the ladder of my fine opinion of him. He did try to help Apollo which was wonderful but he just held out a bit too long for my liking when it came to accepting Artemis for who she was.

Now Artemis was a woman with the strength of Hercules, imho. She’d led an idyllic life for the most part until her father died and then her mother passed not long after. Her twin was then found alive surrounded by 3 of his friends who were dead. He was accused of murder and put into Bedlam. Her twin, Apollo, is strong as he’s not gone crazy just from being in a loony bin when he isn’t loony. Artemis then gets taken in by distant cousins and pretty much ordered around. Not like a maid but not far from one. I mean, I know she’s a companion but she owns like three dresses. Come on! The family is definitely rich enough to provide a few more but she’s more of an afterthought. Just living that way and having to visit Apollo in secret as her cousins want her to have nothing to do with him would take a huge emotional toll on anyone but Artemis handles it all with grace and I had to admire her for that. I think when it came to Maximus that she handled things well and exactly how considering his attitude toward their relationship. I can’t say I’d have been quite as strong when faced with the same situation as Artemis and I loved the way she dealt with it all in the end.

Overall this was another winner from Hoyt. I can’t imagine where we’ll go next in Maiden Lane but I can’t wait to get there!

Rating: 4 out of 5



Elizabeth Hoyt

What I Read Last Week

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a nice weekend. Mine was busy but good. The church that I work at and attend had its 50th Anniversary celebrations this weekend which were great. There was a dinner on Saturday night where one of the founding members of the church talked about how it all began and the early years of the church. It was wonderful to hear the stories – some were quite humorous – and see the fabulous media presentation that was constructed. Then on Sunday we had a great service where my old boss preached and it was exciting to have her there once again. As much as I like my new boss I miss my old one terribly. *sigh* Oh well. :) Anyway, between this weekends activities and driving my kids around hither and yon I read very little this week – I think I’m starting to go through withdrawals! lol

Here’s what I did manage to read:


First up was Torn by Kim Karr. This is book 2 in the Connections series and continued the story of River and Dahlia. I can’t tell you really anything without giving away huge spoilers, especially if you plan on reading book 1 and haven’t yet, but I will say it had both its good and bad moment. 3.75 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)


Next up was a short story called Bewitching the Werewolf by Caroline Hanson. The story was about Rachel who is hired by an Alpha werewolf to cast a spell to find his mate. The pack is giving him grief because he hasn’t found his mate yet and so he plans on hurrying things up. Of course Rachel is his actual mate (saw that coming from a mile away) and they all live HEA. This was my first read by this author and I must say I really liked her style. Her writing was engaging and humorous and I was loving the story but then it just ended. It’s like they had sex and that meant everything was A-ok, even though Rachel had said she had issues and wasn’t interested in a relationship. I understand this was a free read but I still would have liked a little more. This won’t stop me from reading more by this author but I must say that was a bit frustrating. 3 out of 5

How to Wed an Earl by Ivory Lei is the story about Lucas, the Earl of Ravenstone, who must finally claim his bride – a woman he’s been engaged to for 22 years and has never met – just so he can receive his inheritance from his father. Penelope is not thrilled to have Lucas show up. She had pinned her hopes and dreams on him just to be disappointed when she was ignored. Now she wants something different but falls in love with Lucas anyway. To say the least she’s not happy when she finds out WHY Lucas finally claimed her. It was a decent read and had some really great parts to it. 3.75 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

Another short story was A Bit of Bite by Cynthia Eden. This had police officer/special paranormal investigator Ava looking into murders that are made to look like the werewolves are the guilty parties. Alpha Julian and Ava once spent a hot night together and neither can forget it. When it looks like Ava is in danger Julian steps up to protect her. It was a cute story that I enjoyed – I always like Eden’s writing. 3 out of 5

Last for the week was the first in a serial called The Inheritance by Olivia Mayfield. The first book The Inheritance: The Will is about Maggie who has attended her very rich grandfather’s funeral and now comes the reading of the will. Maggie, her brother Robert, he ex-best friend who was her grandfather’s girlfriend (by the looks of it), Bethany and Maggie’s ex-boyfriend Andrew are all present. They must find out what happened to Maggie and Robert’s sister, Cassandra, who disappeared one night 8 years earlier. I’ll post my review of this one later this week.

My Book Binge reviews that posted this week:
All of You by Christina Lee


Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

For this week we have One Republic with Counting Stars - a song that I can't seem to get out of my head this week!  Enjoy!

 

I want Halloween/Costume Party reads - help!



One of my favorite types of books - especially in October - are Halloween romance stories.  If there's a costume party involved?  I love that even more.  Unfortunately it seems that there aren't all that many around lately that are actually worth reading!  I find it harder and harder to find good stories - whether they're short, novella length or full length novels.  


Do you have any you can recommend?  If you've read any recently, or even in the past, please give me your contemporary, paranormal or historical recommendations! 

Book Spotlight: Sweet by Erin McCarthy

Sweet, the sexy and emotional second book in Erin McCarthy’s True Believers series releases on October 15th. Check out the book and visit Erin along her blog tour this month.

A New Adult novel from Erin McCarthy, the USA Today bestselling author of True.
Jessica Sweet thought going away to college would finally make her free of her parents’ constant judgments and insistence she play chastity club role model for their church events, but if anything, the freedom has made her realize she can’t go home and be a hypocrite anymore. Tired of dodging their questions, she stays at school over the summer and lands in an unexpected crash pad: Riley Mann’s house.

Sarcastic, cocky, and full of opinions, Riley is also sexy personified with tattoos and biceps earned from working as a roofer all day. Not the right guy for her even if Jessica was looking for a relationship, which she is definitely not. But Jessica knows that Riley hides the burden of having to raise his younger brothers behind that grin and as she helps him get his house in order for a custody hearing, they begin to fall hard for each other, and she is forced to question what she’s hiding herself.

Jessica has never had a problem getting naked with a guy, but when it comes to showing Riley how she truly feels inside, her fear of rejection may just ruin the best thing—the best guy—to ever happen to her…

Erin McCarthy is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 40 novels and novellas in the paranormal, contemporary romance, young adult, and new adult genres. The author is a RITA award finalist and an American Library Association winner of the Reluctant Young Reader award. She lives with her family in Ohio.

Website: www.erinmccarthy.net/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/authorerin
Facebook: www.facebook.com/erinmccarthybooks
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7941.Erin_McCarthy

Review: The Christmas He Loved Her by Juliana Stone

All he wants this Christmas is her.

In the small town of Crystal Lake, Christmas is a time for sledding, hot chocolate, and cozying up to the fire with those you love. For Jake Edwards, it’s also time to come home and face his past. He thought there would never be anything harder than losing his brother. Turns out there is: falling in love with his brother’s widow, Raine.

Ever since they were little, Jesse was the Edwards brother who was always there for her, and Jake was the one who knew just how to push her buttons. Raine can’t imagine a life without them, which is why it was doubly decimating when Jake left town after his brother’s sudden death. Now he’s back and she doesn’t know whether to be mad or thrilled. Maybe both. Maybe it will be the perfect chance for both of them to finally find happiness again.


Since Jake was about 17, hanging out with his friends, he’s wanted Raine to be his. Unfortunately for him his twin brother Jesse laid claim to Raine and Jake was left to pine for her. Jump to years later and life has taken some major turns. Both Jesse and Jake entered the military and Jesse gets killed in Afghanistan. Not long after Jesse’s funeral we learn that Jake couldn’t handle being in his hometown and takes off to parts unknown.

Our story starts when it’s been about 18 months since Jesse’s funeral and Jake’s subsequent bug out. He’s still not dealing well with Jesse’s death and his feelings for Raine. Raine is in a deep depression for a multitude of reasons having to do with both Jesse and Jake and neither one of them knows how to handle what their going through.

This story was much more somber and intense than I thought it would be. With Raine being in a depression and just sleeping for days on end, not being able to get up and function it was just so sad. She tried to function but she really just wanted to crawl into a hole. Yes, she had friends and she had Jesse’s family but to her way of thinking she just didn’t matter anymore. It made my heart ache for what she was going through.

For Jake it was his guilt over the day Jesse died and how he felt he should have done something different in order to cause a different outcome. Of course there was nothing he could have done but that’s not what he believed. He also was torn about his feelings for Raine. He’d always loved her but felt he shouldn’t show those feelings just because his brother was dead. It was really a rock/hard place situation for him. Raine would make him happy but the guilt over Jesse would make him miserable. I couldn’t imagine what he was going through but Ms. Stone did a great job of getting me into Jake’s head and helping me feel what he was feeling.

Then there were Jake and Jesse’s parents. They were just fantastic and a wonderful addition to the story. I’m not sure this book would have been as good without their presence. They added an element to the story that was quite moving and I loved it.

Overall this was a very emotional read. Don’t pick this one up if you want fun and light – that’s not what you’ll get. What you will get is love and the trials two people live through before they can be together.

Rating: 3.75/4 out of 5


Juliana Stone

What I Read Last Week

Greetings my friends. How the heck are ya?

Things here are good. The kids are on Fall break at the moment (all week for the youngest and just Mon. & Tues. for the oldest) so I’m trying to find activities to keep them occupied. I don’t get the week off so that makes it a bit difficult.

My youngest daughter had her first promotion test in her quest for her 2nd Dan in Taekwondo. She did great, of course. She doesn’t actually get a different belt, just a white star that gets sewn onto her black uniform. I’m not sure how many stars she needs before she can test for her 2nd Dan but I’m sure it’s a boatload. :) Here’s a vid that I put together of the various parts of her test. There were a couple of things I left out because people were blocking my taping. WE know what they are but everyone else would have looked at it and said, “what the hell is that?” lol



At my church this weekend we had the Blessing of the Animals service. We had church in the courtyard instead of indoors and there were lots of cats and dogs, a bunny and a bearded dragon. Very cool. Our cat, Echo, is not really a people person. She loves HER people but when a visitor comes over she’ll run and hide and stay there for hours until the person leaves. She also loves to look out the windows in our house but doesn’t like it when we take her outside - she also doesn’t like her carrier so taking her to the blessing was interesting. She was very vocal on her way to church and when I told my daughter to take her out of the carrier for the blessing she didn’t want to for fear that Echo would jump out of her arms and run away. She didn’t – yay! and was actually pretty darned calm. She was still meowing pretty loudly when we took her to the blessing but other than that she did wonderfully. She even let people come up and pet her! I kept trying to take a picture of her and every time I did she’d hide her face. OMG it was hilarious. So, this is what I got…shy kitty. Yes, that's Echo's face hiding in my daughter's armpit lol



Giveaways!  (Yikes, almost forgot completely!)
Winner of the Steam Bath: Sweaty Gay Erotica giveaway is ELF.
Winner of My 2013 5 Star Reads (so far) giveaway is Timitra.

Congrats to both of you!

Anyway, on to what I read this past week:

First for the week was The Christmas He Loved Her by Juliana Stone. The story is about a man and woman who have been friends forever but she was once married to his twin who has since died. He’s been in love with the woman for forever but obviously never acted on those feelings since she was unavailable. The couple deals with their feelings for each other as well as guilt and depression. I’ll post my review for this one later this week.

Next up was Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha (aka Moira Rogers) that I picked at All Romance eBooks as a freebee recently. The story is set in dystopian world where there are sectors outside of the city, i.e. rebels and/or those that got kicked out of the city for one thing or another. Noelle is a councilman’s daughter but after two arrest – 1 for drinking and 1 for fornication she’s kicked out of the city. She gets taken in by the O’Kane gang who runs Sector 4. There she meets Jasper and has to learn to get past the shame of enjoying those things that she’s been told all her life are wrong. This was a really good book. I very much liked the story and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. This is an erotic novel so there was an abundance of sex but I thought it worked in well with the story. 4 out of 5

Next up was Long Shot by Hanna Martine. This is a friends to lovers/reunited love kind of story. Jen used to spend every summer in Breann, New Hampshire starting at 8 years old. That summer she met Leith and they continued to be friends every summer she arrived from Iowa. When she was 18 she showed up and their friendship became much more. Leith asked her to stay with him but she was off to college. Now it’s 10 years later and Jen is back in Breann to help plan their Highland Games for them. Jen and Leith meet once and they soon discover that the passion they shared hasn’t died with a 10 year separation. The story was really good and I loved so many things about this book. 4 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)


Taming the Alpha by Adriana Hunter was the story of Nikki who is a stripper and meets Jax when he is desperate to find a mate (he’s a werewolf) and decides to hit the strip joint. They have a connection and hit it off but he’s not sure how the pack will accept her. To say he was ashamed of her would be putting it mildly as he never introduced her to anyone the entire book. He doesn’t even tell her he’s a werewolf until the last few pages and then she’s all, “I don’t care, I love you!” Ahem. Yeah, ok. Then there’s his strange reaction to her best friend (and we never find out why) and the completely unsolved murders that occur in the book. The novella was just the first part of the series but I felt like I should have gotten a whole lot more info by the end of the book. 2 out of 5 

Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt was last for the week and it was a good one. The story is the love story between the Duke of Wakefield and the companion of the woman he’s courting. Messed up much? Artemis is actually a wonderful character with just not much going for her in life. She has a brother in Bedlam who was accused of murder and has barely a penny to her name, not to mention her love of a Duke who refuses to marry her. *sigh* I’ll post my review of this one next week. 4 out of 5

 

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
*crickets*

Happy Reading!