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The Scientific Method by Kris Ripper

Book: The Scientific Method

Author: Kris Ripper

Series: The Scientific Method

Format: Kindle

Review by: Judith

Plot: Will Derrie only wants one thing out of sex: to be dominated. Too bad it never works out for him. He and his latest girlfriend have predictably boring and far too vanilla sex until Will can’t take it anymore. But what can he do? He fantasizes and dreams and ultimately hopes that one day someone will figure out that he’s not messed up in the head for wanting something with a bit more kink. Will’s brother finally forces Will into getting what he wants since he knows Will would never do it on his own. He sets Will up on a coffee date with Mistress Lucy, a Dom friend of a friend, and thinks that she can solve all Will’s problems. Or at the very least, beat them out of him. What Will’s brother doesn’t bank on is Lucy bringing along, Hugh Reynolds, a male Dom who intrigues Will far more than he thought possible. As Hugh helps him search inside himself, Will learns that being dominated isn’t so kinky after all…

What you’ll like: this is ultimately a journey of self-discovery that doesn’t start out as pure smut. We see Will transform from a weak, unsatisfied boy into a man who knows what he wants and goes after it. The sex is ho-ho-HOT! And in the end, it’s not about romance or love. It’s about the journey that brought Will into accepting who he is and who he could be through domination and submission. Awesome story-telling from Kris Ripper and an action driven plot. Well, if you use “action” as a euphemism for sexy smut.

What you might hate: some people hate m/m. Some people also hate BDSM. Some people even hate smut. This book has all three. It’s a book where not a whole lot happens and Onni called it a bit clinical at first. (Judith totally disagrees BTW).

Rating: 5/5 The first book was free and I devoured it…and promptly bought the other 7 in the series and really haven’t come up for air in the last week.  So so so deliciously good.

Emancipating Andie by Priscilla Glenn

Book: Emancipating Andie

Author: Priscilla Glenn

Format: ARC

Review by: Judith

Basic story: Andie Weber knows what she wants out of life and she always always plays by the rules. She has the true love of a wonderful man named Colin, a stable job, and dreams of one day becoming a writer (though she keeps that to herself). The only glitch in her otherwise perfect world is Colin’s best friend, Chase – a free spirited and hilariously unfiltered photographer who thinks she is way too uptight for her own good. When they end up driving to Florida together for a wedding, Chase decides to show Andie just what she’s missing out of life by being so rigid. In only 48 hours he manages to rock her to her very foundations and forces her to reevaluate what is most important.  Once the wedding is over however, Chase, Andie, and Colin find themselves back home and each of them must deal with the ramifications of Andie’s awakening.  With all these new ideas of what’s right and wrong, will she choose Chase or Colin? And most importantly, will she be happy with her choice and what the future brings with him?

Why you should read this: She’s done it again! Priscilla Glenn smacks us upside the head with awesome in this book and will make you question why we really love people and what it takes to make us happy in life. She is the master of gorgeous, effortlessly written prose and when you reach the end of this one, you’ll say to yourself, “wha…? It’s over?! ALREADY??? Now I gotta go read sub-par crap again? Wahhhh!” With this book, her characters are fleshed out and described so beautifully that you feel for them as they grow and mature naturally. Like I said above, everything that she writes is effortless. It’s as if her words were a lens and we’re able to see into these people’s lives through it.  It’s an amazing and unique experience.

Chase is undeniably clever and hot. His interactions with Andie will have you laughing out loud and yearning for more simultaneously. He’s everything obnoxious and brash but when we finally learn more about him and hear his whole backstory, we discover that he’s not abrasive just matter of fact. I’m tired of all the Alpha males running around these days and Chase is definitely not one. He lays his cards out there on the table and is just a raw, refreshing character. You will swoon all over him!

What you might hate: Their trip down to Florida was way too short! I wanted to see more of Andie getting out of her comfort zone because what we do get is exhilarating. Priscilla’s books are all very real and in today’s romance world of vampires, humongous packages, and marathon sexy times, some of you may not want to read about things that could actually happen. And this book is all about reality. There’s no explosive action or men with huge muscles fighting over the girl. It’s a very raw look at emotions and the ties that bind us to other people.  A true love story. It’s also a standalone which many people might dislike cause it means they’re investing time and emotion into a story that will end.  Many people love series and this is a wholly contained world. (Personally I loved that!)

Rating: 4.5/5. The writing is gorgeous, the characters are extremely real and likable, the story just flows. This is a love story at its core but also a tale of redemption and maturity where the heroine finds her happily ever after not only in love but also in all the other aspects of life. Read it now!

Bone Deep by Bonnie Dee

Bone Deep by Bonnie DeeBook: Bone Deep

Author: Bonnie Dee

Reviewed by: Judith

Basic Plot: A year after she loses her farmer husband in WWII, Sarah is still grieving for him and the life they might have had. She ekes out a meager existence alone on their farm, oftentimes letting her sadness overwhelm her. When friends convince her to attend a travelling circus, she is immediately drawn to the sad eyes and exotic nature of Tom, the tattooed man she sees in the tent of oddities. The circus moves on the next day and she cannot get him out of her mind. When he turns up unexpectedly on her farm, on the run from sinister forces and in need of someone to finally show him some kindness, Sarah shelters him, looking past his tattooed skin to the man underneath. Tom takes over some of the more difficult jobs on the farm and soon they have an easy companionship which over time, blossoms into something more. Disaster strikes though when a little girl in town goes missing and all fingers point to him. Tom proves he has mysterious access to information about her disappearance which puts his relationship with Sarah in jeopardy.

Why you should read it: Bonnie Dee is a master at writing about the relationships between flawed characters. Sarah and Tom are so different from usual romance heroes/heroines and the evolution of their relationship so beautiful, so believable, and so natural that you will find yourself completely immersed in their story by the end of page 2. Tom’s tattoos are a big draw for a lot of readers but when you learn that he is covered in them from head to toe, you might (like me), find them off-putting. But that’s the point here!  He’s a flawed character disliked by all who is just waiting for someone to see past the outside and love who he is on the inside.  And it is so easy to love him when you see his gentle nature and later when the steamy scenes start. Add to the fact that Bone Deep is very well written and extremely sexy for all of its commentary on the closed mindedness of people, you won’t be able to put this down.

What you might hate: Tom has tattoos everywhere and I do mean, EVERYWHERE.  But it’s part of his character and if you can look past it, it becomes a non-issue.  The problems inherent in Sarah and Tom’s relationship are a little too easily solved (but who cares! The hero is so sweet and sexy that you’re happy for it to be this easy.)

Rating: 5/5! I loved this: well written, sexy, interesting characters, tension filled scenes…GET IT NOW!

The Countess Takes a Lover by Bonnie Dee

Book: The Countess Takes a Lover 

Author: Bonnie Dee

Reviewed by: Judith

Basic Plot: Christopher Whitby is 25 years old and obsessed with becoming a Professor of Botany. His father is understandably concerned about Chris’ lack of interest in anything beyond plants and propositions Meredith, the Countess de Chevalier: if she teaches him the ways of women and courtship, he will back any bill she wants in Parliament. Meredith agrees and approaches Chris under the guise of needing a botanist to revive the flagging gardens of her country estate.  When he accepts and moves to her home in the country, Meredith begins an erotic game of cat and mouse to win over and teach the naive, virginal Chris.  As weeks pass and their relationship deepens, Meredith must make the ultimate decision: keep her lover and lose his father’s support or lose him and also lose her heart in the process.

Why you should read this: Bonnie Dee is an amazing storyteller! The sexy scenes happen a bit more quickly than I would have liked without a lot of tension to make them hotter but her words are like magic. The story flows effortlessly and you truly feel as if Meredith and Chris are real people with personalities, dreams, desires…their dialogue is amazing! And omg, the sex scenes are killer! Bonnie is the queen of drawing out the smut in a way that does not seem tawdry or crass.  Even when characters have dirty mouths it only enhances a scene instead of detracting from it as happens in most books.  Chris as a virgin hero is another big selling point.  He’s naive and eager to please leaving Meredith with all the power.  The role reversal is hot!

What you might hate: uhhh, nothing? Seriously, good read. Perhaps one of the best romances I’ve read in ages. The only negative I took away was that it was too short and the difficulty in their relationship too easily solved. Otherwise, perfection!

Rating: 5/5. Well crafted, wonderfully written, hot sex, and endearing characters. What are you waiting for?!

On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

Book: On Dublin Street

Author: Samantha Young

Reviewed by: Judith

Basic Plot: Jocelyn flees to Scotland, her mother’s homeland, after a series of tragic events leaves her devastated. Without family or friends, she builds a new life for herself in her adopted country and manages to eke out a happy existence over four long years. When her best friend relocates to London, Jocelyn moves in with whimsical Ellie and takes on far more than she bargained for. She and Ellie’s half-brother, Braden Carmichael, who is a constant in their apartment, have a sizzling attraction that Jocelyn tries her hardest to ignore.  But when Braden sets his sights on her, the skittish Jocelyn gives in to the passion but only for 3 months.  Braden must prove to her in that time that they are a perfect fit or risk losing the woman he loves.

Why you should read this: The sexual tension between Jocelyn and Braden is amazing! Holy heat! You can feel their attraction to one another and the constant battle they face in trying to fight it.  When they finally give in, their moments together are intense and oh so sexy leaving you feeling hot and bothered; Braden is one hot male lead: he’s sexy, raunchy, a dirty-talker, doesn’t put up with any of Jocelyn’s crap, is successful, and proves that when he’s dating a woman, he will never cheat on her. All in all, he’s the boyfriend we all want but rarely find; Modern day Scotland is a fun setting and one that is often overlooked in romance. Usually we read about it as a historical setting so it is refreshing to see it in the present. Samantha Young doesn’t make the characters talk in dialect either so the setting doesn’t detract from the characters.

What you might hate: Jocelyn has so many issues that she can drive you batty! She is so self-absorbed that she doesn’t see anything beyond herself and acts like a bratty child.  For example, when Ellie confides in her and basically tells her that she needs to lean on her for support, Jocelyn runs in the other direction instead of rising to the occasion. It’s beyond disappointing in a character.  Plus the way she treats Braden is horrible–acting like he’s a cheap one-night stand again and again starts to grate on the nerves, especially when he’s such a sweet and hunky character.

Rating: 4/5. Hot sexual tension, gorgeous leading man, and a lushly written book. Buy it! The sex scenes alone are worth it and you’ll find yourself rooting for this couple even with all of Jocelyn’s neurotic behavior. And did you get a load of that hot cover? Wowza!

Love Left Behind by S.H. Kolee

Book: Love Left Behind

Author: S.H. Kolee

Reviewed by: Judith

Basic Plot: Emma Mills flees small town Maryland after leaving her fiancee and boyfriend of 10 years practically at the alter. An old family friend puts her in touch with Claire, a wannabe actress living in NYC. Emma moves in with Claire and quickly integrates herself into Claire’s circle of friends, the most likable of which is personal trainer, Jackson. He is the hottest guy she’s ever seen and is also trying his luck at acting. They hit it off immediately and their relationship quickly moves into love territory within the first week of dating. As months go by, Jackson and Emma become inseparable. When she unexpectedly loses her job as an executive assistant and he lands the lead role in a movie, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. They pack up their lives and plan on moving to LA together when tragedy strikes Emma’s ex-fiance. When Emma goes to aid him through a trying time, her relationship with Jackson deteriorates and finally they break it off. Cut to five years later. Emma is once again moving to NYC from Maryland and Jackson is now an international Hollywood heartthrob. She never assumes she will see him again but fate has other plans for this couple that should have been.

Why you should read this: Jackson is sex on a stick! He’s the dreamy boyfriend you always wanted, the sexy Hollywood star who couldn’t let the normal girl go. Emma fulfills one of my biggest fantasies: having a celebrity fall in love with your average woman. Emma is curvy and has a boring, basic job so watching Jackson swoon all over her is magic. The story is set in NYC, particularly the East Village which provides a fantastically gritty backdrop for the story. The writing is decent and the sex scenes steamy.

What you might hate: Jackson starts off relatively perfect and devolves into a needy, whiny, spineless, and stalkerish caricature of his former self. He becomes violent at the drop of a hat and uses sex as a weapon against Emma. It’s so not sexy at times. Then there’s Emma. She calls him out on his abusive ways and STILL lets him sleep with her. Geez. You can’t have it both ways, lady! Either he’s an abusive ex or a potential suitor. Choose one and stop whining but don’t say how much you hate him being forceful with you and then go on to say that you like it.  It doesn’t sit well with the readers! The plot is basic, the villain easily predictable, and all their problems could have been solved very easily if they had just talked to each other which they don’t, of course.

Rating: 2/5. The co-dependency and crazy ways of Jackson really grated on my nerves. Read it for the sexy scenes and not for the plot.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Book: Outlander

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Series: Outlander

Reviewed by: Judith

Basic Plot: Due to the outbreak of WWII, Claire and her husband, Frank, have endured a prolonged separation  Claire is an army nurse and Frank, a historian.  They come together in Scotland at the end of the war to have a honeymoon of sorts and after years spent apart, they spend their days learning to love one another again. While exploring the countryside, Claire chances upon a set of ancient celtic standing stones and is teleported back in time two hundred years.  Once there she must use her medical skills and smarts to help her survive.  But there seem to be pitfalls at every turn: British invaders, Scottish highwaymen, and warring Scottish clans. The only constant in all the upheaval around her is Jamie Fraser, a Scotsman with nothing to lose who ultimately protects Claire by offering himself as her husband.  With two men in different centuries both tearing at her heart, Claire must decide which one she truly loves and whether she is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep that love.

Why you should read this: Two words: Jamie Fraser. This Scotsman will grab you from the moment you read him and he won’t let go.  He is steadfast, loving, sensual, sweet, honest, intelligent, a great fighter, ready to believe in Claire, and the best part of all, he’s a virgin! The exotic setting of 18th century Scotland as viewed by a modern woman is a big draw as well. The setting is realistic and learning about the history of the Scottish clans is fascinating. Even the time travel reads as believable.

What you might hate: the 600+ page length; all the raping, pillaging, and random violence really turn the stomach and the end will simply crush you with its emotional and physical extremes; Claire’s lack of emotion was difficult to stomach at times as well. She obviously cares for Jamie but spends a lot of her time mooning over her husband, Frank.

Rating: 4/5. 

If you love a good time travel romance and don’t mind suspending your belief system and spending a lot of time on the 600 pages that are only the start of a 7 book series, get it! Well researched and the love story is to die for! Jamie makes me swoon just thinking about him!

An Interview with Laura Lee, author of Angel

Hi all! Judith here. Let me set the stage for you. June 2012. Ellen and I were at Book Expo America in NYC for one day only and we had spent the morning stumbling down aisle after aisle of publishers and their wares. All the books were free. That’s right, FREE. My eyes were the size of saucers as I took in all the books and I made grabby hands at everything.

Angel by Laura Lee

Book: Angel

Author: Laura Lee

Reviewed by: Judith

Basic Story: Paul’s beloved wife died a while ago and now he’s just going through the motions.  He ministers to his congregation, sermonizes, interacts with them but never really relates to anyone and feels as if his life is stagnating. He knows he’s depressed but can’t do anything but pray that his life will get better. Then one day, God answers his prayer by sending him an angel. Only Paul is completely mistaken: Ian is definitely not anyone’s idea of an angel. He’s merely a misguided youth who stumbled dead drunk into the church while looking for an AA meeting. When Paul helps him find his way, their brief meeting sets off a chain of events that catapults him out of his depression and makes him realize that love can be found in unusual places and with those we least expect.

Why You Should Read It: the love story between Ian and Paul is so real and vivid that you can’t help rooting for them. They are two lost souls who desperately need someone to love who will love them in return; they also need someone who will allow each to be himself with no limitations. Their tentative forays into friendship and then love are awkward and telling.  They show that any sort of relationship requires time and trust for it to evolve. The fact that the protagonist is a minister who happens to fall in love with another man in no way makes this feel like commentary on the church, religion as a whole, or homosexuality.  In fact the budding romance between minister and gay man humanizes the ministry and gives some understanding into the stress of being the guiding force in a congregation. Ian is a bright spot. He oozes confidence and charm, enjoying the pleasures that life has to offer and forcing Paul to lighten up. He’s also gorgeous and larger than life.

The writing is superb with an easy flowing storyline that reads beautifully and effortlessly. The dialogue is fantastic, especially the religious conversations between the believer, Paul, and Ian who is most definitely searching for answers to the meaning of life.

What You Might Hate: the fact that this story shows a gay relationship between a member of the clergy and another man might be off putting if you have a deep rooted faith. Even if you don’t, a gay relationship in and of itself might turn you off.  The male lead, Paul, is in no way dreamy. He’s a middle aged, balding widow with a lot of stress and a bit of a depression. Ian is a recovering drug addict who can’t stick with anything when the going gets tough. The realism of their relationship might leave you wanting something more upbeat.  Also the cover leaves a lot to be desired.

Rating: 

5/5 stars. I loved this story mainly because it was NOT glossy and perfect. It shows how love can evolve in the most unlikely of places and rarely ends as happily as books/movies/etc make it out to be. Paul and Ian’s relationship takes time and effort to begin and maintain and I love the realism of that.  Also, even though he bats for the other team, Ian sounds like a dreamboat.

About Last Night by Ruthie Knox

Book: About Last Night

By: Ruthie Knox

Series: Loveswept

Reviewed by: Onnica

Basic Story: Cath Talarico is a woman who has made a lot of mistakes in life. She documents them on her body in the form of tattoos so as not to repeat them. Determined to make a fresh start, she leaves her native Chicago behind and heads for London. Eager to shed her former life, she resolves to focus solely on work until one night she meets Nev.

Nev Chamberlain is a banker in the City and she has him all figured out – she thinks. However, beneath the custom-made suits and the vast wealth lies a would-be artist struggling to find independence from his dominant family.

When she wakes up in Nev’s bed after an alcohol-filled night out, she’s convinced she’s made yet another huge mistake. Nev doesn’t share her opinion. The passion is instant but Cath fights her intense feelings for the kind, incredibly sexy Nev, convinced there’s no place for her in his privileged world.

Why you should read it: This book is incredibly smart – Ruthie Knox is a very talented writer and she recreates London beautifully. The love scenes are seriously hot but not gratuitous and the story itself has a lot of heart. For quite a short book, the characters are well-drawn, complex and flawed. Cath’s secrets and vulnerability are often very moving, while Nev’s quiet patience makes him the perfect leading man.

What you might hate: Please don’t let the terrible cover put you off this read. It bears no resemblance to the story beneath it! You may also get a little frustrated with Cath’s attempts to keep Nev at arm’s length and Nev’s inability to stand up to his family.

Rating: 4/5 Ruthie Knox knows how to write engaging characters that you’ll care about. The story is intelligent as well as passionate and I fell hard for Nev. Definitely worth a look!