Ruined by Tracy Wolff

RuinedBook: Ruined (An Ethan Frost Novel) Loveswept

Author: Tracy Wolff

Release date: January 7 2014

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Chloe Girard is ecstatic to have secured a summer internship at the prestigious Frost Industries – a company so impressive, it could rival Google. It’s unpaid, but thanks to a generous friend she doesn’t have to worry about rent. Keen to get on and make it as an intellectual property lawyer, she’s not about to mess up this opportunity. She’s determined to remain independent, away from her family’s grasp and finally be free. Her first day passes well enough – until she meets an obnoxious smoothie-maker in the lunch room. He’s totally arrogant and is sure that he knows what she’d like. They verbally spar and she makes a quick exit. Little does Chloe know that she’s just met the big boss Ethan Frost – what the hell was he doing posing as a smoothie maker? The man is infuriating!

On their second meeting, Chloe is struck by Ethan’s down to earth nature, his obvious interest in her and his ease with his employees. The attention he gives her does not go unnoticed and before long, Chloe resents the position Ethan’s actions have put her in. Her fellow interns and her boss are set to make life difficult for her. To cap it all, Chloe has to fight her own nature in order to maintain the employee/employer relationship and keep her distance. Her past traumas and vulnerability are never far from the surface and giving herself to Ethan is not something she can do if she’s to keep the demons buried…

Why you should read this: Ok – before you start in on ‘why are you choosing another Fifty Shades knock off?’ – calm down. Yes Ethan is rich – but he’s a millionaire, not a billionaire, so there, he’s practically a pauper! He’s also extremely fun, fairly uncomplicated and so far, not a neanderthal. The dialogue between he and Chloe made me smile and it was very well written. There’s no repetition between their interactions and the action moves on at a steady pace. It’s very sexy and considering this book is set over a period of 2 weeks and very intense.

What you might hate: Had it with broken heroines? Stop reading now. Chloe’s got more issues than my last subscription to Psychologies magazine. Girlfriend has a past that she keeps alluding to but won’t reveal to anyone. I kind of guessed what was up pretty early on, but there were surprises along the way. I guessed the cliffy at the end too – but I was happy to go with it. There is drama aplenty, but at no point did I want to stop reading, as the author took great pains to create a different setting and create a different dynamic between the hero and heroine than the usual alpha, submissive tale. I would have preferred that this story be set over a longer time period – 14 days to fall in love and have this level of drama felt a little fast in my opinion – but that’s just my opinion.

Rating: 3/5 I enjoyed this story – yes a lot of it follows a pattern – a rich alpha trying to woo a younger broken female, but believe me when I say that this is one of the better renditions of a somewhat tired tune.

Ruined is out Jan 7th.

Our Top Three Picks for Holiday Reading!

Yes, that season is upon us yet again and I can hardly believe it. It’s cold outside, fairy lights are just about everywhere and love is all around. Whether you love or hate the Holidays, we thought we’d check out some of the best seasonal reads on offer.

First up is Naughty and Nice – 3 Holiday Treats:

The holy trinity of awesome authors – Ruthie Knox, Molly O’Keefe and Stefanie Sloane all naughtyandniceappearing in the same collection? These three stories could not be more different – they’re all equally heartwarming, panty-melting and full of seasonal cheer. My favourite would have to be Ruthie Knox’s Room at The Inn – the tale of Carson and Julie, college sweethearts who, despite breaking up years before, can’t seem to move on from each other. Then there’s Molly O’Keefe’s All I Want For Christmas is You, a tale of a very young couple going for what they want despite the odds and plunging into marriage. Or if you fancy love in 19th Century England, try One Perfect Christmas, a story about two childhood friends who can’t seem to get their acts together and tell each other how they feel.

Second is a collection of holiday reads with a difference. Loveheating up the holidays romance, minus the schmaltz and toothache? Me too! Heating Up the Holidays is a collection of three very different tales set around Thanksgiving and Christmastime. Lisa Renee Jones, Serena Bell and Mary Ann Rivers are all exceptional writers. Where else would you find an alpha CEO, a night-blind biologist and a couple reconnecting after a quick meeting on New Year’s Eve together in one place?

Lastly, but by no means least, is my favourite as it’s a sequel to New Life by Bonnie Dee – New Yeara book that I reviewed way back in January. New Year picks up a few months down the line for Jason and Anna. Their relationship is going from strength to strength and things could not be going better. It’s the holidays and the pair decide to spend the run up to Christmas with Anna’s family. Tensions are high, as Anna’s family are a clan of over-achievers who clearly value ambition and direction in life. Anna worries that Jason will struggle in the stuffy environment and is not looking forward to the scruting he’ll be subjected to. Jason is happy to go with the flow – as long as he and Anna are together he can put up with the jabs and fake smiles for a few days. Thinking he should make a grand gesture, Jason wonders whether Christmas would be the best time to propose to Anna. Only one way to find out…

Why you should read this: I love Anna and Jason as a couple – they’ve overcome so much over the course of their relationship. Jason had a very bad car accident that left him with memory issues and he’s unable to deal with certain situations well, but together they find ways to deal with it. This was a lovely novella, bringing another slice of the pair and gives the reader a chance to see whether they’ll survive as a couple.

Rating: Easy decision – 4/5 for a short, snappy and very sexy revisiting of a great couple. If you haven’t read New Life, then you must – just to see where and how it all began.

New Year is out now.

Wild Child by Molly O’Keefe

wildchildBook: Wild Child

Author: Molly O’Keefe

Series: Boys Of Bishop #1

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Monica Appleby has been there and done it all. She’s a veteran even though she’s not yet out of her twenties. She’s returned to Bishop Arkansas in order to write a book about her childhood, and in particular, the night her mother shot her father dead. Returning home to the scene of her unhappy childhood is more difficult than she thought it would be, but with her editor breathing down her neck for chapters, she needs to speak to people in town that remember what happened that night.

Jackson Davies is the young mayor of the town and hates his job and the weight of his responsibility. He’s been looking after his teenage sister since she was little and their parents died. Unable to communicate with the sullen teen, he throws himself into saving the town’s dwindling resources. The town is nearing bankruptcy, so when he enters a competition to convince a factory owner to move his operations to Bishop, he’s dedicated to seeing it through and bringing life back to the place. Nothing is going to stand in the way of securing the town’s future, as it’s his way out of the place. Former ‘wild child’ Monica Appleby will not derail his plans to present Bishop as a town with potential. Even if she has a body for sin and her purple-eyed stare calls to him – so what. She spells trouble and her past baggage has the potential to jeopardise his PR campaign.

Why you should read this: I think I fell in love with the town first, then the characters. I could imagine how Bishop looked and smelled so vividly. The characters were real – no exaggerations, no stereotypes. I loved them all. The heat between Jackson and Monica was palpable – their similarities and their cluelessness was so endearing. You’ll really root for them both. There were interesting insights into other characters in the town too – so I’m guessing that we’ll find out more about them in the future. I hope that Shelby gets her own happy ever after.

What you might hate: I honestly don’t see what you would hate about this story. The author didn’t wrap all areas up with a satin bow, and I for one was relieved as there are a lot of deeply hidden grief and heartbreak, which would take a lot of time to resolve. It was a hopeful, realistic read that warmed my heart.

Rating: Easy. 4/5 for an impressive, heartwarming and sexy tale about lost souls finding each other, forgiveness and moving on are also important themes, well thought out. I would love to read more about the inhabitants of Bishop, Arkansas.

Wild Child is out now.

Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters

tearsoftessBook: Tears of Tess

Author: Pepper Winters

Series: Monsters in the Dark #1

Review by: Onnica

Basic Story: Tess Snow is deliriously happy with boyfriend Brax, and when he announces that he’s taking her to Cancun for vacation she can’t believe it. They’ll finally have some time to reconnect with each other without her studies getting in the way and Brax’s work distracting him. She has it all planned out – she’ll seduce him and confess a few of her fantasies. Brax doesn’t know the half of what Tess fantasises about and prefers to cuddle in private rather than show any passion whatsoever. Convinced that the holiday will change all that, Tess isn’t prepared for the series of disastrous events that will follow.

On a daytrip out in Cancun, Tess is kidnapped by traffickers and ripped away from Brax. Not knowing whether he’s alive or dead, she begins a terrifying journey of brutality and self-discovery. Determined not to let her situation break her spirit, she remains defiant and vows to take revenge on her captors. She is finally sold to an enigmatic and dark character named Q. Tess remains unclear on whether he’s the devil or her saviour, but one thing is clear: he’ll stop at nothing to find out just where her breaking point is. Tess is both drawn to and repelled by the myterious Q. She hates what he stands for, yet at the same time she craves what only he can offer her. Can she accept his domination if it means losing her sense of self?

Why you should read this: Even though I have read a few books that dealt with the theme of kidnap, it isn’t a genre that I visit often. Kidnapping is not a fantasy of mine, so I’m usually a little curious and appalled as to why these tales of trafficking are so popular. Having said that – I was pleasantly surprised by this read – there were difficult scenes to read for sure, but the heroine’s underlying strength and determination to get herself out of trouble was what kept me reading. Pepper Winters structured the plot well – there’s no rambling in the storyline, no race to get to the finish either. It’s a very sensual read – which may have you scratching your head as to why you’re rooting for the relationship between Q and Tess – it’s all kinds of messed up, but I will say hang in there. Maybe Q isn’t all that he seems.

What you might hate: Trafficking is a horrid topic – and usually there isn’t a HEA. I’m sure you can imagine all the ways in which this would be a difficult read. Tess is mistreated and at times she seeks out hard treatment from Q for her own gratification. If that is flat out not your bag, then I really don’t think this book is for you. There are a lot of scenes dealing with some pretty dark fantasies and tastes – if you’re familiar with CJ Roberts’ series then know that it’s similar but not as harrowing a read as the Duet In the Dark series.

Rating: For the quality of writing I’ll give it a 4/5. For the plot and the pace of the story, I give it 3.5/5. Perhaps ‘enjoyable’ isn’t really the appropriate word to describe it, but it was an interesting and compelling insight into the lives of those who really live on the edge and crank up the kink and then take it to a whole new level! Q is complex as a character, possibly not as inhuman as he first appears, but he’s not to be underestimated – there’s some pretty heavy stuff going on in that head of his. Tears of Tess is a dark, often uncomfortable read but it’s also compelling and a fine story.

Tears of Tess is out now and Book Two, Quintessentially Q will be out at the end of the year.

Run To You by Charlotte Stein

Run-to-YouBook: Run To You

Author: Charlotte Stein

Publisher: Mischief (Harper Collins)

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Alissa Layton is used to playing it safe. She’s comfortable with her mediocre job, her passionless failed relationships and her unsurprising life in general. If she doesn’t hope, she won’t be disappointed. When her best friend leaves the country for an extended holiday, she’s left to contemplate her dull existence. She comes across her friend’s diary in a bid to shed some light on why she disappeared. There’s nothing untoward in there, except for a monthly entry that says ‘Assignation.’ She prepares to find out exactly what the assignations entail but nothing can prepare her for what she will discover. Her enquiries lead her to The Harrington, an exclusive hotel that caters to particular tastes. She dares to enter the room that her friend reserved but then loses heart. As the door opens, she panics and hides.

Janos Kovacs is a handsome Hungarian businessman, a powerful and commanding individual. He has no use for emotions or relationships and frankly wouldn’t know where to start with one. When he meets Alissa, he is immediately intrigued. Who is this frightened woman who seems to believe she’s invisible? She isn’t polished, confident or sophisticated, but clearly she’s looking for what he can offer her. Neither he nor Alissa are prepared for their erotic journey into the unknown. Slowly, the lines between sex and love become blurred and they must decide whether running away from their feelings is easier than staying the course.

Why you should read this: Be still my beating heart. I loved, loved, loved this book so much. Charlotte Stein has done it again! Alissa is a joy – she’s a frightened mouse but she pushes herself to experience life and she is so cute in many ways. Janos – the ultimate alpha, but lacking the usual run of the mill childhood traumas alphas usually carry around with them. He’s sexy as all get out, wrestling with what he’s used to (feeling nothing) and the unknown territory of giving himself to another human being. Be warned: the book has a lot of sexual encounters and situations – do not read if you have puritanical tendencies! For me, it was a well-crafted, sensual read about letting down your guard and accepting the gift of love even if you don’t fully believe you deserve it.

What you might hate: As I said, you may be uncomfortable with the level of sexual themes running through the book. If this is the case I’m guessing you’re new to Charlotte Stein? I found this book near-perfect, but I will admit to finding our heroine a little exasperating at times. But I loved her all the more for it!

Rating: 5/5 – It set my Sunday and my world on fire! When is an alpha not an alpha? When he’s Janos Kovacs – he strong, intelligent has many, many abilities and I absolutely adored him. I want me a Hungarian…

Unbound by Cara McKenna

UnboundBook: Unbound (Intermix)

Author: Cara McKenna

Format: Kindle book

Basic Story: Merry has been going through some changes lately. She’s lost around 100 pounds, lost some friends along the way who preferred her jolly and fat and her mother has passed away. In an effort to re-evaluate her life, she decides to back pack her way through Scotland, where her mother grew up, and find herself. She manages to make it two-thirds across the terrain before she gets sick. Alone and worried that it’s serious, she makes her way to the solitary cottage up the hill. Its tenant has no option but to take her in.

Rob has lived in solitude for the past two years and likes it that way. His only companion is a little dog he never thought to name. He usually ignores the tourists that pass by his door, but when Merry shows up, with possible concussion and maybe an infection, he can’t very well turn her away. He’s eager to patch her up and send her on her way but it soon becomes clear she’s in no fit state to go anywhere. Looks like the hermit will have to dust off those long-forgotten manners and be sociable for once. Merry is instantly attracted to the surly and curt Rob. He’s closed off but she can tell there’s a kind person underneath it all. It’s just a case of drawing him out. Nothing can prepare her for what she’ll find, but she’s willing to risk it all to see who Rob truly is.

Why you should read this: Cara McKenna writes some of the smartest erotic romance out there at the moment. It’s always fresh, exciting and surprising. I wasn’t expecting what I read and was hooked from the first paragraph. Merry was sweet, open-minded and a really likeable heroine. Rob is a complete mess, with many many problems but he’s also vulnerable and has so many layers. I loved this pair so much. The way their relationship built up over the course of the week Merry stays with Rob is paced really well. They don’t jump into anything, they spend time talking and feeling out the other. The dialogue and the silences between them spoke volumes and that’s why it was such an outstanding read.

What you might hate: If you’re looking for a warm and fuzzy read then this book is not that at all! It gets real and it gets dark – Rob’s in pain from the past and as the story unravels, you see just how bad things have got. I personally don’t see what there is to hate about this book as I loved the story, the writing and the sex scenes were off the charts hot!

Rating: 4/5 for this very modern, very real story. I had it on pre-order forever – it was so worth the wait. I want to see more books like this with the women in charge and not some ingenue who gets used by the dominant male!

Isn’t She Lovely by Lauren Layne

FINAL-Isnt-She-LovelyBook: Isn’t She Lovely

Format: Uncorrected arc

Author: Lauren Layne

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Stephanie Kendrick won a coveted place on a film screenwriting course at NYU. Her decision to stick around in New York instead of dealing with her dad in North Carolina, wasn’t taken lightly. Forced to share the same space with her cheating ex and the girl he cheated on her with, home is definitely a place she doesn’t want to be. Dressed head-to-toe in black, sporting many piercings and generally keeping the world at bay, Stephanie isn’t prepared to be paired up in class with the preppy, blond Ethan Price. He’s charming to a fault, but Stephanie thinks she has his number. Slumming it for the summer instead of sailing some yacht in the Hamptons – he’s vapid and lacking in substance.

Ethan Price has lots of expectations put upon him by his family. He’s taking the summer out to think things through and get away from his cheating ex, his best friend and his domineering mother. Bumping into Stephanie Kendrick only reinforces his insecurities about himself not mixing with people outside his social circle. She’s a scowling mess but underneath all of the eye gunk there is something about her that fascinates him. Working together on a film script the pair decide to go with a Pygmalion theme – life begins to imitate art when Ethan propositions Stephanie to be his fake girlfriend for the summer to get his mother off his back and to save face at social gatherings. Stephanie is doubtful, but there is a free room in it for her – so she doesn’t have to stay with her ex. A few weeks posing as someone she used to be – cake walk…

Why you should read this: Lauren Layne has a great ‘voice’ – she’s able to re-spin a story as old as time and make it into something shiny and new. She references all the past takes on Pygmalion (from My Fair Lady to Pretty Woman) and manages to interweave the plot into a modern-day love story and people from very different worlds. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters – Ethan and Stephanie had depth and both had issues underneath the surface.

What you might hate: There is the inevitable boy loses girl for a bit and that may frustrate you – you need to go with it. Stephanie can be prickly and stubborn but fortunately not all the time – she’s a likeable character and so is Ethan. Does it get a bit cheesy at times? Yes. Will it make you feel good? Yes.

Rating: For a valiant attempt to update a very formulaic story, I give this 3/5. You’ll swoon and laugh and maybe even tear up at certain points. It’s a fun, light read that will make you care about the characters and laugh right along with them.

Giveaway: Romance Grab Bag featuring ‘The Dining Club’ by Marina Anderson

Forever Romance’s first serial novel, THE DINING CLUB by bestselling author Marina Anderson, is now available and the lovely ladies at Forever Romance are having a bumper giveaway, where 3 lucky winners will receive print copies of the following books:

THE DINING CLUB by Marina Anderson

HAVEN OF OBEDIENCE by Marina Anderson

SLOW SURRENDER by Cecilia Tan

THIS MAN by Jodi Ellen Malpas

WUTHERING NIGHTS by I.J. Miller

ALL HE WANTS by C.C. Gibbs

The Giveaway will run from October 23rd until October 30th and is open to US and Canadian residents – over 18s only please. You can enter here.

Desire

The Dining Club is a serialised read and it is guaranteed to heat up these cold winter nights. Here’s an excerpt:

Excerpt:

 ‘Grace, most people keep parts of themselves hidden from the rest of the world. Haven’t you any deep, dark secrets or feelings that you never vocalise?’

‘No, I haven’t. Tell me about this weekend before I get up and walk out of here,’ she retorted, her anxiety rising with every word he spoke.

 His fingers stopped moving against the nape of her neck.

‘This Club isn’t really a dining club. It’s a Club for people with specialised sexual needs and desires. They come here so that they can enjoy themselves safe in the knowledge that they’re surrounded by like-minded people.’

Grace frowned. ‘Why do they need a dining room for that? There are plenty of clubs in

London that cater for all kinds of sexual tastes.’

 ‘True, but sometimes people need a place to bring someone they’re involved with who doesn’t know some of their, shall we say, more unusual sexual needs. This is a safe place for them to find out if that person can ever be happy sharing their world, or if the

relationship is doomed to failure because they can’t.’

Remembering the way her lover’s teeth had closed over her soft inner thighs, causing her moments of genuine pain, Grace began to understand what he meant. ‘Can you explain more about the dining room?’

‘There are four tables, five if you count the top table, but you don’t need to get involved with that. Each table is numbered from one to five. As you noticed, every table seats three people. This is because at every table there are two people like you and me, who are he

re to discover whether they are well suited sexually or not, and either another Club member or one of the staff. Needless to say, all of the staff here have a very wide range of sexual skills.

‘Tonight you and I will sit at table one. If the evening goes well, and you want to come back next month, we’ll sit at table two.’

Buy Links: (Part 1: DESIRE)

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1cSABOp

iTunes– http://bit.ly/1baSCFC

Barnes and Noble – http://bit.ly/1fSJUlp

Everything You Need to Know

Everything you Need to KnowBook: Everything You Need to Know

Author: Helenkay Dimon

Series: Cosmo Red-Hot Reads

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Jordan McAdam is a woman with a mission. Having been laid off from work in the past, she’s determined to set up in business and be her own boss. That means no more kowtowing to sleazy, overbearing bosses who like chasing her around desks. A woman can’t be too careful in Washington DC. That’s where she got the idea for her business, Everything You Need to Know. A dating service where women can share their experiences of the men they’ve dated. The movers and shakers and the city’s playboys are all rated online, whether it’s their bedroom skills or manners, it’s all there. Jordan’s been stung in the past and she’s definitely over love. Then she meets Forest Redder.

Forest is a sharp shooter. He’s direct, demanding and knows where he’s headed in business. If only his personal life were so ordered. When he meets Jordan he becomes intrigued. She’s smart, beautiful and after some digging, it’s clear she isn’t all she seems. He’s determined to get to know her better and when they’re together, that’s when things really heat up…

Why you should read this: This is another fun, quick read that will make you smile. Jordan is whip smart, absolutely clueless about her feelings for Forest and just needs the love of a good guy. Forest is tall, dark and very handsome. He commands a room just by being in it. He’s fair-minded and an all-round perfect partner.

What you might hate: Nothing to hate on here. It’s a quick, light read. No angst, no heartache and it all wraps up neatly at the end. It can be read in one sitting, while you’re trying to decide what to read next.

Rating: 3/5 a refreshing, satisfying read where all’s right with the world by the final sentence. Liked it a lot.

Everything You Need to Know is out on October 15.

A Vintage Affair by Josh Lanyon

Book: A Vintage Affair

Author: Josh Lanyon

Format: Kindle

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Austin Gillespie, renowned wine expert is sent to old-world Georgia in a bid to locate four priceless bottles of wine. If he can find them and verify that they are indeed the real thing, his future will be assured. He’s desperate to step out of the shadow of his family’s success and prove once and for all that his career means something too. Once he arrives at Ballineen, a crumbling antebellum mansion, nothing can prepare him for the eccentric family living within. Carson Cashel, only daughter and last of the Southern belles, Cormac Cashel her brother, sullen and intense and then there’s Aunt Eudie – eccentric and sweet. These characters are a lot to deal with but it is Jefferson Brady who holds his attention.

Convinced that Jeff is involved with Carson, Austin brushes off his initial attraction and sets off to work. But that’s when things go from bad to worse. How’s Austin meant to get any work done when there’s a dead body in the cellar with him? Chaos and intrigue ensue and as he spends more time with the enigmatic Jeff – who intends to remain firmly at the back of the closet – Austin must decide whether his feelings for Jeff are worth the heartache.

Why you should read this: Oh man – I had this book on my Kindle for ages and have only just got around to reading it. I have no idea why I didn’t pick it up sooner. It’s so well written – it’s a novella but the pace is perfect. There’s plenty of action, there’s a mystery to be solved and there’s the romance between Austin and Jeff. It’s not fuelled by angst, which is so refreshing and it’s a simple love story. I fell for Austin’s vulnerability and his sensitivity. There’s plenty of humour too, bordering on farce when Austin has to deflect Cormac’s clumsy advances – it’s so much fun.

What you might hate: Can’t honestly think why you’d hate this – it’s a m/m romance, which may not be for everyone but it’s sexy as all get out. It’s basically a story about making peace with who you are and taking a chance on love, despite the possibility of heartache. It’s also set in the world of fine wine – which I love more than life, so for me I was in literary heaven.

Rating: Easy – 5/5 for keeping the action low-key without making it dull. The writing is exceptional, heartfelt and real. It was sexy without going for pure titillation. I loved it and I want to read more Josh Lanyon!