Category: 3/5 Stars

Taken by Kelli Maine

TakenBook: Taken

Series: Give and Take

Author: Kelli Maine

Reviewed by: Onnica

Basic Story: Rachael DeSalvo has let her dream job and her bright future go – all because of a sense of duty towards her controlling mother. One night after her roommate ditches her at a club, she meets a handsome stranger. He offers her a drink and then blackout.
She wakes up tied to a bed and has no recollection of how she got there. Her captor – Merrick Rocha, billionaire tycoon soon explains why she’s there. Having turned down the job he offered her to manage the island development and seeing for himself how much it meant to her, Merrick is convinced that she needs to be there, whether she agrees or not. Shocked and furious at being drugged and kidnapped, Rachael will do whatever she can to escape. However, that’s easier said than done on an island only accessible via helicopter when no-one knows you’re missing.
Gradually, the charismatic billionaire reveals facets of his troubled character and tries to explain his ill-thought out plans to her. Their attraction to one another confuses Rachael and she’s eager to distance herself from Merrick. Attraction is one thing, but forgiving him for taking away her free will and putting her in this situation is another.

Why you should read it: The book is written in quite an original style – from Rachael’s point of view, as if she’s writing to Merrick. For me, this kept the story (however you feel about it) interesting. She observes the world around her and builds up a picture of her captor-turned-potential lover. Her description of Merrick, paired with her conflicting feelings heightens the tension between them and moves the story along. The sexual situations were very hot – and her reluctance to give herself to him really does keep that tension going.

What you might hate: Ok, so how did you meet your other half? I’m guessing he didn’t roofie your drink at a club and ‘whisk’ you away to a secluded island so that you could project manage a redevelopment? The taking advantage of Rachael may completely alienate readers – and I totally understand why that might be the case. I didn’t read this book immediately for that very reason. The premise is pretty messed up and Stockholm syndrome may be going through your mind; but somehow, the author succeeds in keeping the story on an even keel. Rachael’s no fool and Merrick’s no monster. You may also be over stories about poor post-graduates being picked up by rich billionaires…

Rating: I’m going to give this 3/5 – I found the story engaging and Rachael was a good heroine. I’m still wondering why I liked it so much, as it’s a pretty awful way to start a romance, but I wanted to stick with it and I’m glad I did. Do look out for the follow-up novella No Take-Backs, too.

In Flight by R.K. Lilley

In FlightBook: In Flight

Author: R.K. Lilley

Series: Up in the Air

Reviewed by: Onnica

Basic Story: Flight attendant Bianca Karlsson’s simple life is turned upside down at 10,000 ft while serving customers in the first-class cabin. The moment her eyes lock onto those of James Cavendish, twenty-something billionaire, her self-assured, capable manner abandons her. There’s something about him she can’t quite fathom. With just one look, she knows he wants her, and she suspects that he won’t be taking ‘no’ for an answer any time soon.

There’s only one problem: Bianca doesn’t date. She has long since given up on letting anyone into her life, let alone her heart. Her one confidante is her best friend Stephan. Having known each other since the age of fourteen, they are everything to each other and both share a troubled past that binds them forever.

Little by little, Bianca is drawn in by James’s kindness, his demanding nature and his insatiable need for her. She is wary of him and his contradictions, but his determination slowly breaks down her barriers and she slowly contemplates the possibility of pursuing more with James. But things are never what they seem…

Why you should read this: We all seem to be enjoying the whole alpha male vibe at the moment – Fifty Shades has a lot to answer for. When I picked up this book I initially thought this was a FsoG/Bared to You knock off. That’s unfair – it’s actually very well written and builds suspense, sex (LOADS of it) and I actually really liked the heroine. She isn’t whiney; she doesn’t sit around being a victim and feeling sorry for herself. James is a complete alpha who doesn’t become a complete asshat when his feelings grow for Bianca.

What you might hate: If you’re tired of the BDSM-lite world of Fifty Shades, Bared to You and the Fade series, then you may hesitate with this book. There are the inevitable parallels I could draw with them – the need for safe words, the playroom and the vast wealth of the hero (clearly, poor men can’t afford to indulge in ropes and swings).

Rating: I’m giving this a 3/5 stars – which surprises me as when I first started reading the book, I thought it was derivative. The book has deeper issues and I kept wanting to read to find out their secrets – I’m about to buy the next book Mile High, just to get closure. Read it – Bianca’s a great heroine and the backdrop is first-class travel – what’s not to like about that?

All In by Raine Miller

All InBook: All In

Series: (The Blackstone Affair, part 2)

Author: Raine Miller

Review by: Onnica

Basic Story: All In picks up immediately where Naked left off. A distraught Ethan Blackstone has just watched the love of his life walk out and he is powerless to stop her. Desperate not to crowd her, he formulates a plan to win her back. He resolves to tell her the full extent of what he knows about her past; no matter how painful that may end up being for them both.

When Brynne’s safety is threatened, Ethan finally has the chance to prove his feelings go way beyond doing her father a favour. He is a transformed man, eager to show her how much he loves her, but do Brynne’s feelings run as deep? Being in a relationship is new territory for Ethan and he soon finds that saying I love you is just the beginning. Soon he is dealing with potential rivals for Brynne’s affections – jealousy and insecurity rearing their heads – leaving the normally controlled, calculating Ethan Blackstone totally out of his depth.

Why you should read this: I normally loathe making comparisons between books, but if you enjoyed Fifty Shades and Sylvia Day’s Bared to You series, then this is the book for you. The elements are there: the dominant male bachelor, captivated by the either virginal/damaged younger woman. You know the format, you know how it’ll end up too but the journey is the fun part. The author also hasn’t skimped on the sexy bits – which are hot, don’t get me wrong, but don’t always move the story along. There are also some nice scenes where Ethan’s getting to grips with the pitfalls of a new relationship and the inner workings of a woman.

What you might hate: Unlike FSoG and the Bared/Reflected/Entwined series, Ethan is dare I say a bit girly? He’s constantly thinking about ‘his girl’ and how no-one better be looking at her and then he’s analysing her text messages and their meaning – we’ve all been there, right? But honestly, I like my alpha males a bit less navel-gazing – and a lot more well, dominant! Just saying!

Also the language – being English, I have to say that some of the English slang was a bit unfortunate – shagging really IS more vulgar than I think some people realise (I blame Austin Powers) and calling lady parts ‘fanny’ – well, people over the age of 14 don’t really do that! It just seemed a bit clunky paired with the more US ‘voice’ of the book.

Rating: difficult – as in some ways, you’ve read this story before in many different guises, but then again there were bits that made me chuckle and fancy Ethan to bits. As an incurable romantic, I do find myself rooting for Ethan and Brynne, despite everything. So for that, I give it 3/5.

Naked by Raine Miller

NakedBook: Naked

Series: (The Blackstone Affair, part 1)

Author: Raine Miller

Reviewed by: Onnica

Basic Story: When Ethan Blackstone, Head of Security receives an e-mail from Tom Bennett, asking him to look after his daughter, he has no idea his life is about to change beyond all recognition. He’s busy planning security in London for the Olympics and has no time to grant a personal favour, no matter how much he likes his friend. Then he sees her picture and everything changes.

Brynne Bennett, young, beautiful and talented has moved to London to escape past trauma. As well as her studies in conserving masterpieces, she poses as a nude model. The night she meets Ethan Blackstone at an art show, she has no reason to think it more than a chance encounter. However, Ethan has bought an intimate picture of her in the gallery and is determined to have the photograph’s subject in his bed as soon as possible.

After that night Ethan leads a charm offensive, leaving Brynne in no doubt of his intentions. His natural dominance shines through and it’s clear that he is used to getting his own way. A passionate liaison quickly develops into the beginnings of a relationship, but can past secrets buried? Will a fledging love affair be enough to erase the scars of the past?

Why you should read this: There’s a strong alpha male in Ethan Blackstone. Hot – check. Confident – check. Wealthy – check. Wounded – check. The sex is explosive – he likes to talk dirty – a lot! It’s a novella, so it’s a quick read you can get through on a quiet rainy afternoon. It’s also a trilogy – which seems to be so popular now. Look out for All In and Eyes Wide Open, which will be out in the near future.

What you might hate: This book has a very similar outline to many other books on the market at the moment – the setting may be different, but you know what you’re in for.

Rating: I’m a sucker for the thrill of the chase – the point in a book before the couple gets together, where the alpha is being a bit stalkerish, but it’s ok because it’s in a book? So for that I’ll give it 3/5 – because despite their obvious issues, I do genuinely like these characters.

The Proposition by Katie Ashley

The PropositionBook: The Proposition

Author: Katie Ashley

Reviewed by: Onnica

Basic story: Emma Harrison is turning thirty and her need for a baby is intensifying. The only problem is she’s single and her best friend Connor has backed out of his offer to become her sperm donor. She’s lived through the loss of her parents and fiancé but she believes a baby will complete her.

Enter Aidan Fitzgerald. He’s been determined to score with Emma ever since she turned him down at the office Christmas party. He’s known as a player but he’s prepared to make a deal with Emma. He’ll happily father her child on one condition: they conceive it the old-fashioned way, for as long as it takes. He has no interest in being involved otherwise so it’s a win-win situation.

Emma agrees to Aidan’s terms and before long, they’re on the baby-making trail. However, Emma finds that there’s more to Aidan than his bad reputation; his kindness and generosity have her re-thinking her initial assessment of him. Before long Emma is contemplating a future with him – but how can it work with a man who doesn’t want a family or ties of any description? Will Aidan be able to deal with his past demons and give her what she deserves?

Why you should read this: I was initially sceptical about this plot during the early chapters – a man who volunteers to get his colleague pregnant just to make her happy and so he can finally claim her as a conquest? Hmm, doubtful. However, as the book developed, the dynamic between the pair is believable. The love scenes are super steamy and very well-written. Aidan is basically a sex-god in a suit.

What you might hate: As I mentioned earlier, I really had to suspend my belief at the beginning of the book. I wasn’t sold on the premise of the story, but I was won around as the characters are well-developed and I engaged with them. I heard from the author that Book Two The Proposal will be out in January 2013, so there’s no closure for Emma and Aidan just yet unfortunately!

Rating: 3/5 – a good, fun read with likeable engaging characters. I was pleasantly surprised.

Seduction and Snacks

Book: Seduction and Snacks

Author: Tara Sivec

Series: Chocolate Lovers

Reviewed by: Onnica

Basic story: Claire always wanted to do something with her life and get out of small town Butler. For her that meant finishing college. That was the plan anyway – until that night she met a boy at a frat party.

Following their one and only night together, she soon has to re-adjust her life plan as she’s pregnant. Fast-forward a few years and Claire is looking after her 4 year old son Gavin, while working at the neighbourhood bar. She still thinks of the boy she snuck out on in the middle of the night. The boy whose name she doesn’t even know.

Carter gets a work transfer back to Butler following the end of his relationship. He can’t quite forget the girl from that night years ago; who smelt like chocolate and shared his love of the movie Heathers. When their paths finally do cross, Claire is forced to face up to telling Carter that she is that girl and that he is a father. Can they do things right the second time around?

Why you should read it:

It may not sound like it from the synopsis, but this book is actually a romantic comedy in book form. The plot runs a mile a minute and there are jokes and embarrassing situations throughout. Gavin, the four year old is potty-mouthed (foul-mouthed children are funny on paper only!) and in my opinion is one of the best characters.

What you may hate:

If you don’t enjoy cursing in books, then this book is definitely not for you! I have nothing against bad language, but the book is littered with  f-bombs; so much so that I wondered whether the characters had Tourettes – it was a little much.

I found the plot enjoyable, but the pace I mentioned earlier is a little frenetic, making me feel that the author was trying a little too hard to be funny all the time. The story doesn’t take a breath and for that, I wasn’t always able to relate to the characters or engage with the plot.


I give this book a solid 3/5. It’s fun, silly and very crass but if that doesn’t put you off then look out for the sequel, Futures and Frosting – what happens after the happily ever after.

Bared to You (A Crossfire Novel) by Sylvia Day

Book: Bared to You (A Crossfire Novel)

Author: Sylvia Day

Basic Story: Eva is that sort of wealthy socialite who thinks she has to make her way in the world without a lot of help from her parents. After taking a lowly job at an advertising agency in NYC’s Crossfire building, she is literally knocked down by the building’s owner, the enigmatic, wealthy, and extremely hot Gideon Cross. Their instant burning attraction cannot be denied and the two begin a passion fueled relationship that helps fill in the gaps all their respective relationships used to have.  Gideon and Eva are both abuse survivors and their ability to trust one another is severely hampered even in light of the really good sex.  Eventually their pasts and their own ghosts catch up with them and each of them must choose to release the demons within in order to take their relationship to the next level.

Why You Should Read It: Gideon Cross is every woman’s dream man: wealthy, gorgeous, sympathetic, caring, loving, fantastic in bed, willing to sacrifice himself for the woman he loves; there’s a LOT of gratuitous sex; the backdrop of their romance is set in opulent and aristocratic NYC so we’re shown a forbidden glimpse of Manhattan’s elite; nice cover.

What You Might Hate: Did you see what we said about Gideon Cross? God! How annoyingly perfect can one man be? Geez; Eva acts like a high school girl, getting angry and walking out on Gideon over and over for having past relationships and for maintaining platonic friendships with some of his former lovers; there’s a LOT of gratuitous sex that just seems to act as filler when the author can’t think of anything else to help the plot along; there’s really no story and we never learn much about either character.

Our rating3/5. There’s nothing new here and it reads like the only slightly amoral man’s version of Fifty Shades of Grey. Read it for the hot love scenes and not for the plot. Buy it for that fab cover though!

Hollywood Ever After by Sasha Summers

Book: Hollywood Ever After

Author: Sasha Summers

Basic story: Claire has an abusive ex who just won’t let go. When she goes for some much needed R&R in LA, she literally falls into newest Hollywood heartthrob, Josh Wiley. When passion explodes between them, neither is ready to let go even when Claire’s dangerous ex enters the picture ready to make Claire his wife again no matter the cost.

Why You Should Read It: great writing; tons of Hollywood heartthrobs and glamorous star studded parties; some steamy sex scenes; the chance at love with a celebrity even after a messy divorce and bearing two children; romance between a younger virile man and a middle aged woman.

What You Might Hate: how gloomy the book is–deranged exes, physical and verbal abuse, and depressing scenes are rampant; the Hollywood heartthrob is British(!); how quickly the hero falls in love with the heroine; how neat and pat the ending is.

Our rating: 3/5 stars. Not fantastic, not bad either, just a solid okay.