Holiday reading – where’s a girl to start?

I don’t know about you, but at the moment my to-be-read list is out of control! It doesn’t help that I follow a LOT of other bloggers too, so am seduced by the words ‘SALE’ or ‘RELEASE DAY!’ on a regular basis. I’m busy reading the stuff I buy and my job is seriously getting in the way of my blogging responsibilities. So I thought I’d be time-efficient: here’s what I actually managed to read during the holiday break and hopefully you’ll see something you like!

Carmen's NY climaxFirst up is a fun quick read by Nikki Sex. Carmen’s New York Climax is currently free (so I thought, nothing ventured…) and I have to say that it’s a hoot! A case of mistaken identity; a disillusioned Dom facing legal troubles with an ex; a chamber maid on the run from her past and chaos ensues. Beware, this story is HEAVY on the dirty loving and I will confess that after a while I did grow a little tired of the monkey sex, but I still want to find out what happens next. A steaming, fun read – 3/5

MonsterSecond is Monster by Julia Sykes – also free at the moment (aren’t I good to you?) It’s book one in a trilogy like the previous read but completely different. It’s exciting, with a tough and dignified heroine trying to come to terms with being kidnapped in order to save the life of a stranger. It’s really well-written and I was glued to the action. What will Claudia do next? And can she ever forget about Sean? An engaging, heart-stopping 4/5.

Ruin meLastly, but by no means least, is Ruin Me by Cara McKenna. If I ever meet Cara, I’m in serious danger of embarrassing myself. She’s one of my favourite authors and she writes a damn good tale! Ruin Me is sexy as hell and should come with a warning. The heroine, Robin, is set to marry Jay but can’t get her friend Patrick out of her mind. She’s a hypocrite but so sympathetic that you’ll love her. Who will she choose? Patrick, the brooding outsider who saved her life, or Jay, the sexy, loyal and besotted boyfriend? I give this 5/5!

I  hope you’re having fun reading or doing whatever for the long weekend – I need to go hit the books! It’s a tough job…XOXO.

London Bound by Nana Malone

London BoundBook: London Bound (Chase Brothers, #1)

Author: Nana Malone

Series: Chase Brothers

Format: Kindle edition

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Abby Nartey has begun to lose sense of who she is. Once spunky and vibrant, she’s become cowed and cautious. Having given in one too many times to a controlling and violent partner and her strict Ghanaian parents, Abbie decides enough is enough. After rejecting the career her parents believed appropriate, she arrives in London, having won a place on a prestigious photography degree. She’s scared, as her parents have cut her off financially, and is unsure of the future, but she has two friends on whom she can rely.

Alexi Chase is young, handsome, rich and bored. Bored of his social circle, bored of living a lie. But there’s no way out. Or so he thinks until Abbie quite literally crashes into him. Despite the mutual attraction, Abbie is determined to stay boyfriend-free in London, as her last relationship was a disaster. Alexi believes he’ll never be able to form a fulfilling relationship due to the childhood secrets that still haunt him and only his brother knows about. So friends it is. Only friends don’t share kisses that literally rock their world…

Why you should read this: I loved this book! It’s not often I get to read a book from a person of colour’s perspective and although it’s not that important to me, (a good story is a good story) can I say what a refreshing change it made! I could totally related to Abbie. She’s a girl’s girl. She’s been through a lot, but she’s a good friend, she isn’t jaded by her previous boyfriend’s controlling ways. She’s determined to start afresh and get on with living. I loved her. The chemistry between Lex and Abbie was also dynamite. Being English, I often have to laugh at characters who are written as British and use terribly outmoded slang or terms out of context. This wasn’t the case here. The vocab and the dialogue flowed well and it rang true. I loved this book so much that I cannot wait to read about Chase brother number two…please don’t make me wait too long!!!

What you might hate: I’m giving it top marks, so I can’t think what you might hate. You might want a bit of closure on her family side of things – what happened there? Will they cut her off indefinitely? I had very little sympathy with her parents – aside from one of her sisters, they were utterly horrendous.

Rating: Easy – 5/5 for a refreshingly sexy, authentic read. I fell in love with these characters and was left wanting more, which is always a good thing.

Sex Love Repeat by Alessandra Torre

Sex, love RepeatBook: Sex Love Repeat

Author: Alessandra Torre

Format: Kindle edition

Review by: Onnica

 

Basic story: Madison Decater is in a relationship with two men. She loves them both and is not willing to give either one up. They both know about the other and for the most part, Madison is able to keep the two lives separate. She loves Paul, her boyfriend, as he would do anything for her and puts her first. And there’s Stewart her lover – his passion and intensity satisfy a need deep within her. He is married to his work and is unable to give her more and that’s fine as she has Paul to have fun with, shop with and build a life with.

Madison knows that this peculiar set up has a shelf life – it won’t be sustainable long-term as one will eventually demand she gives up the other one day. But little does she know that it’s a woman, watching all three of them who will be the catalyst to unravel everything.

Why you should read this: Can I just say, wow! I bought this book on sale and was thoroughly intrigued by the blurb and the premise. This is not a book about cheating, as all parties are aware of what is happening. It is very, very sexy and there’s a lot of sexy times, but it didn’t feel gratuitous – it’s a huge part of the story and goes a long way to explaining why Madison is the way she is. I loved every minute – read it in a day (stayed up way too late for a school night to finish it!) and was completely satisfied by the ending.

What you might hate: Objectively, (which is hard to be as I loved this book) you may have an objection to the subject matter, some of the angst and the drama that happens. The book is a fast, sexy read so there are no repetitive conversations of soul-searching – which I’m grateful for! All in all, not a great deal to hate on here.

Rating: I’m giving this book 4/5 – for a thoroughly engaging, sexy and touching book. I loved every drama-filled moment. I will definitely be reading more from Alessandra Torre.

Flying by Megan Hart

FlyingBook: Flying

Author: Megan Hart

Format: Kindle ARC

Review by: Onnica

 

Basic story: Every few weeks, Stella boards a plane with her free air miles and goes in search of adventure. One night in a different location; an anonymous liaison with a man she knows she’ll never see again. This suits her life and she has no wish for anything more.

Mother to  a surly teenager, Stella fields her way through life’s difficulties and shared custody. Her free weekends keep her grounded, make her feel wanted and desired and she comes to crave them like nicotine. She doesn’t have to be Stella, she can be whomever she likes. When she meets Matthew on a delayed stop in Chicago, she immediately recognises a kindred spirit. She’s not the only one seeking solace elsewhere and running away from a difficult past. She isn’t prepared for him to see her so intimately. She can’t lie to him. And she has to accept that one time only with Matthew may just not be enough.

Why you should read it: I love fluff and feel good as much as the next person, but sometimes I want a sexy read that also has substance. This is why I constantly return to Megan Hart. (Check out my past reviews if you don’t believe me!) This book has it all; heartbreak, finding love and passion after 40 and learning to trust your heart again, despite your instincts telling you otherwise. Stella is a great character – she’s struggling. She tries to be a good mother and gives all she has, but until she can put the past to rest, there’s no hope for her family.

What you might hate: The book is one of Megan’s heavier stories – parts are actually heartbreaking and at times I had no idea how Stella would pick up the pieces. She is isolated and at times you wonder how much of that is actually down to Stella. What did she do? Matthew was a good character and a challenging one, but at times I wanted to slap him. He was so weak and definitely had alcohol issues that didn’t seem to be addressed. Yet I still loved them as a couple and was rooting for them.

Rating: 4/5 for a sensual, gritty and absorbing tale of love, loss and lust. But not necessarily in that order.

Flying is out on May 1st.

Just One Night by Lauren Layne

FINAL-JUST-ONE-NIGHTBook: Just One Night

Author: Lauren Layne

Series: Sex, Love & Stiletto #3

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Riley McKenna loves her job. As a sex writer at Stiletto magazine, she’s gained quite the reputation as an expert in men and having a good time. As the anniversary issue of the magazine approaches, each columnist is asked to write a personal piece that draws on her own experience. Not a problem for a sexpert right? Wrong, Riley may have been giving sex advice very successfully over the years, but her own range of experience is seriously lacking. The reason: Sam Compton. Sam has featured heavily in Riley’s life and her fantasies for the past ten years. The chemistry between them is electric. The only problem is getting him to see her as anything other than his best buddy’s little sister.

Sam Compton is in turmoil – he’s left his highflying career as an investment banker and ploughed his 401(k) into a new distillery venture, making high quality whisky. He’s unsure of himself but knows one thing: he’d do anything for Riley McKenna. She drives him crazy. When she propositions him to help her write her article for the anniversary issue, it takes all he has to refuse. He promised her brother long ago that he wouldn’t go after his little sister and he’s not in a hurry to lose his best friend. But when Riley’s offering just one night to get the sexual tension out of both their systems, will one night be enough?

Why you should read this: If you’ve read and enjoyed After The Kiss and Love The One You’re With then you definitely need to read on to see how some much-loved characters are getting on. Riley, Grace and Julie are a lot of fun and it’s great to catch up with them and their love lives. Riley’s a great character. She’s brave, focused and determined to get her man. Sam is sexy, hopeless and prone to hurt those who love him the most. He screws up – making him a flawed hero. It was a heart-warming and sexy read.

What you might hate: This book had quite a bit more angst than the earlier two. Not a bad thing – it gave it depth, but at times the hero did do the whole ‘I’m not good enough for you, I don’t deserve to be happy’ shtick, which fortunately, didn’t last too long. I don’t have a lot of patience for heroes who sabotage their own happiness! The angst was well balanced by the heroine’s determination to get her man and make him see sense. I’m hoping there will be a fourth book in the series for Emma and Alex – I don’t want it to end…

Rating: While I may not have loved this book as much as Love the One You’re With, it was still an enjoyable, sexy read. I’m giving Just One Night 3.5/5

Just One Night is out on April 22nd.

Her Best Laid Plans by Cara McKenna

Her Best Laid PlansBook: Her Best Laid Plans

Author: Cara McKenna

Series: Cosmo Hot Reads (short stories)

Format: Kindle ARC

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Jamie Webb is newly-dumped and in Ireland on a holiday that was supposed to be taken with her best friend. Alone in the middle of nowhere, Jamie is convinced that the trip will be a bust. The local pub is full of senior citizens and she’d happily drive to the nearest town if she could conquer a stick shift and face driving on the wrong side of the road.

Nursing her pint of Guinness and contemplating her luck, in walks the sexiest bartender she’s ever seen. It doesn’t hurt that he’s the only guy under thirty for miles. Connor Kelleher makes Jamie want to throw caution to the wind and go for it. She deserves a holiday fling. Nine days of flirtation and sex, then back to the real world. Each will be left with a warm memory. Connor is exactly what she is looking for – fun, cocky and he wants exactly the same as she does out of life. A no strings attached fling to turn a good holiday into a great holiday. But the more time the pair spend together, Jamie begins to wonder whether leaving will be that easy…

Why you should read this: If you haven’t read any Cara McKenna before, then you are in for a treat. The woman is super smart and writes male characters really well. She made Connor sizzle – he was the right blend of sexy, shy and cocky – such a great balance. Jamie was a likeable, funny heroine – she gave great banter and was someone we all know. The story is sweet, oh-so very sexy and just so much fun. She writes about Ireland with authority and the dialogue is authentic and spot on. I didn’t want it to end but I finished it with a great sense of satisfaction and a goofy smile on my face. I may have to return to Ireland sooner than I thought, if the male citizens are half this hot!

What you might hate: Absolutely nothing to hate on here – loved it! And yes, I have a huge need to go and buy Ms McKenna’s entire back catalogue!

Rating: Easily 5/5. It made me smile, feel warm and fuzzy when I really needed cheering up. Awesomely hot, hot, hot. Read it!

Her Best Laid Plans is out on April 15th.

Happy Release Day: Forbidden Fruit vol 1

fobidden vol1 finalFINALred copy

We wanted to share this outstanding bargain with our followers. Out today is a ten-story anthology, retailing for just $1.29 (£0.77)!

From some of today’s bestselling authors comes this anthology of ten forbidden love novellas. The anthology comprises:

One Hot Summer by Lisa M Harley, Weakness by Missy Johnson, Try Me by Stacey Lynn, Educate Me by Lexi Buchanan, Inadmissible Attraction by Rebecca Brooke, Secret Obsession by Olivia Linden, Strictly Off Limits by Jessica Hawkins, Lock & Key by RS Grey, The Naughty Au Pair by Janice Baker and In Too Deep by Morgan Jane Mitchell.

Warning: Over 18+ only due to explicit sexual content. Look for Volume 2, due out April 2014. If you have one-clicked yet, what are you waiting for??

Happy reading,

Onnica x

Every Part of You: By Megan Hart

every part of you

Book: Every Part of You (parts 1-5)

Author: Megan Hart

Format: Kindle

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Simone Kahan is a voyeur. For some time now, she’s been checking out the handsome man in the office opposite hers and watching what he and his various female companions get up to after hours. She longs to take the place of one of those women. He seems to know exactly what she would need – if only she were his type. He seems to go for the same tall, blond model-like woman, whereas she is slight, brunette and anything but model-like.

One night they meet in the office elevator and suddenly things will never be the same again. After he initially dismisses Simone as not being worthy of a second look, Elliott Anderson is soon forced to re-evaluate his assessment. She is fun, flirty and bold and nothing like the automatons that Elliott usually prefers. She’s challenging and she could spell disaster for that part of him he insists on keeping locked up. The path to true love never did run smooth and this story will be no exception.

Why you should read it: You follow this blog – you know I’m crazy about Megan Hart. She always gives flawed characters an extra depth of feeling, loss and heartbreak that they need to work through. This story is about opposites. And what you do when you find the right one, but the one doesn’t seem to get it or be on board. I liked Simone’s spunky nature, her willingness to put her heart on the line and take a risk. However, she’s no-one’s fool and when enough is enough, she doesn’t stick around. I have the benefit of having read the whole story at once. So trust me on this – stick with it.

What you might hate: I personally hate serialised books – only because I dislike waiting around for the next episode. If you’re like me, then you may want to wait for all five books to be published so that you can devour them in one sitting. In terms of the story, I didn’t find much to hate – if you don’t get or sympathise with the sado-masochistic world, then you may struggle with Simone’s need for pleasure/pain, but I doubt it.

Rating: I’m giving this series 4/5 as I enjoyed Simone and Elliott’s journey, their ups and downs and their HEA. The pair weren’t perfect – in many ways they balanced each other out and challenged each other. Highly recommend it.

Every Part of You books 1, 2 and 3 are out now. The remaining books will be released in March and April.

Interview with a Master by Jason Luke

masterBook: Interview with a Master

Author: Jason Luke

Format: Kindle

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: When Leticia Fall lands an opportunity to interview successful businessman and bdsm master Jonah Noble, she has a unique opportunity to kick-start her journalistic career. Never before has he opened up to anyone about his lifestyle, so it’s a coup when he accepts to be interviewed by her. Nothing is off limits; he will answer all of her questions, with only one condition: for every session they have together, Leticia must answer one personal question about herself.

Through their sessions together, Leticia gets to know the enigmatic Jonah and finds that he isn’t the typical alpha she was expecting. He’s warm, funny and also lonely. Jonah finds himself more and more attracted to Leticia and her innocence is endearing. He is harbouring a secret however, one that will destroy their fragile relationship once it comes to light.

Why you should read this: I was quite excited by the premise of this story and to read a memoir written by a male novelist was also an exciting prospect. Like Interview with a Vampire, this book structure is a great way to learn more about a character and his interviewer. The writing is strong and there’s a solid story here. It’s very sexy (as you’d expect) and believe me, Jonah doesn’t hold back on the information.

What you might hate: I think hate might be too strong a word here, but I feel as though an opportunity was missed here. There is a lot of in-depth sexual content in the book, which is fine however, I really wanted to find out what made Jonah tick and I felt that the story was dominated by the physical acts, rather than the stuff I wanted to find out about, namely his background, his relationships with others. Then the ending was extremely abrupt – it came out of nowhere and I was left a little bewildered.

Rating: 3/5 – a great premise, nice to read a book from a realistic male pov, but it didn’t answer all my questions and I was left feeling a bit dazed and confused.

Interview with a Master is out now.

New Serial Teaser: Every Part of You by Megan Hart

every part of youToday we’re so lucky to welcome Megan Hart to the blog – she’s launched a five-part series and part one Every Part of You: Tempts Me came out February 2nd. See below for the scheduled releases of the parts 2-5.

Every Part of You: Resists Me, available 2/18/14

Every Part of You: Taunts Me, available 3/4/14

Every Part of You: Denies Me, available 3/18/14

Every Part of You: Takes Me, available 4/1/14

One question I’m always asking my favourite authors is where does the inspiration come from? Here’s what Megan had to say…

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I can’t write without music. I feature playlists for many of my books, and share my favorite artists and songs all over the place. I love music! And, since Every Part of You’s title came directly from the Halestorm song In Your Room, it’s no wonder this five part serial had a lot of musical inspiration while I was writing it.

In Your Room by Halestorm. This bittersweet ballad by the hard rocking band never fails to make me cry. The singer beseeches her lover to “let me in your room” – maybe literally, but certainly metaphorically. And, just as Simone tries to get Elliott to open up to her, the song reminds the object of it that it doesn’t matter what secrets or bad things he might have, she’ll take every part of him.

Use Somebody – Kings of Leon. Wow. What can I say about this song, other than no matter whether or not Elliott would admit it, he’s desperate to find love. He tries to deny his attraction to Simone, forcing himself to pretend he doesn’t need to “use” anybody, but the truth his, she flips his switch in a way nobody else ever has. She’s the one for him, and he can’t get away from her.

Hot and Cold by Katy Perry is also a tongue in cheek tribute to Elliott’s waffling. While Simone has no compunctions about making her desires clear, Elliott not only tries to act like he doesn’t get turned on by giving her the pain she craves, he denies liking it altogether.

Trouble – Cat Stevens. This classic folk song might seem a little out of character for the punk rock Simone or the quiet, staid Elliott, but if you listen to the lyrics, which talk about the singer wanting his lover to set him free, you can see how it fits both characters who are fighting to keep themselves from getting hurt yet aren’t able to let go.

Rev 22-20 by Puscifer is simply one of the best sex songs I know. That’s it. It’s a song made for sexy times. And hair pulling. And hand tying. And pinching. And…you get the picture.

The Fall by Bo Bruce is a song Simone probably wouldn’t like, but it would make her cry. Just like it makes me cry whenever I hear it. If you’ve ever loved someone who simply won’t give you what you want and need…then you understand Simone’s pain. This song perfectly sums it up.

Head Like A Hole, Nine Inch Nails. Well…this is one of those songs that’s not about the lyrics meaning something for the characters. It’s just an awesome song that Simone would totally rock out to while she danced around her apartment in her underwear while Elliott tried to pretend he wasn’t getting turned on. Or that he didn’t like this song, which he really did.

A Thousand Years by Christina Perri.  Love song. The sort of song you dance to with the person who’s stolen your heart and you cry because you’re so happy. That sort of song. When it comes on the radio, Simone has to change the channel because it makes her think of Elliott, that jerk, who won’t admit he’s in love with her! *weeps *

 If you’re reading Every Part of You, take a listen to these songs!

unnamedBlurb for Every Part of You: Resists Me (#2)

 The dance has begun. Simone’s ready to follow all her desires, but reluctant Elliott isn’t ready to take the lead.

After teasing Elliott into going dancing with her, Simone seduces him. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid of asking for it, and Elliott appears to be as eager as she is to see where their passion takes them. The sex is electric, but Elliott is taken aback by his response to her, and when Simone reveals her kink for pain to him, he’s unable to accept it and tells her he doesn’t want to see her again.

 And then they’re both invited to the same party.

Excerpt for Every Part of You: Resists Me (#3)unnamed

 “I like to make you feel good.”

“You did, honey.” The endearment slipped out of her. “Really good. I told you, I like . . .”

“I know what you said.”

“Elliott. Do you think I’m the sort of girl who’d tell you I like something when I don’t?”

“No. I guess not.”

“You’re not used to women who tell you the truth, huh?”

He paused. “It’s not that. I don’t usually ask, that’s all. I don’t see them more than once or twice, remember?”

So he did have a sense of humor. Dry and self-deprecating, but there was nothing wrong with that. In fact, she liked it. A lot.

“I like you,” she told him suddenly. She wanted to tell him she’d liked him for awhile, but as with the scones and everything else, that would mean she’d have to own up to her Peeping Tina tendencies. She waited, but he didn’t say anything. Simone sighed. “Now would be the perfect time to tell me that you like me, too.”

He sighed into the phone with enough force that he’d have ruffled her hair if they’d been together in person rather than talking on the phone. Simone rolled her eyes, trying not to let it hurt her feelings. Reminding herself that he’d called her, and there had to be a reason, if only she could be patient enough to let him get to it.

“I don’t think we should see each other again. That’s all.”

Simone had never been a patient sort of girl. “You woke me up on a Sunday morning to tell me that you don’t think we should see each other again?”

“I wanted to let you know.”

“So you wouldn’t be rude?”

“Yes. That’s part of it,” Elliott said.

Simone chewed the inside of her cheek for a moment. “What’s the other part?”

“I don’t want you coming to my office again.”

Everything inside her went cold. Then hot. Then cold again.

“I see.”

“It’s not you,” Elliott said finally.

“No. It’s you. Definitely you.”

There came a long silence in which she was certain he would disconnect the call. Simone sat with the phone pressed to her ear until he did, without even a good-bye, trying to pretend this didn’t matter. Trying to tell herself it was better to know, no matter how hard it had been to hear.

It was always better to know.

Readers – how important is knowing a story’s soundtrack to you? Comment here to win a copy of Every Part of You: Tempts Me (#1)! (It’s digital only, which means you must be able to get your prize from Amazon.com, BN.com, Kobo.com or iBookstore in the USA) If you already have #1, you’ll be able to choose #2!