Slow Summer Burn by Elisabeth Barrett

Slow Summer BurnBook: Slow Summer Burn

Author: Elisabeth Barrett

Series: Star Harbor #4

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Val Grayson, eldest of the Grayson clan and all-round good-guy, has spent most of his adult life getting things done. Keeping his brothers out of trouble following the deaths of their parents, seeing them through school and working hard meant that there there was very little time for anything other than work. At thirty-five, Val sees all of his brothers settling down and he realises his life is empty. No significant other to come home to, all he has to focus on is his work. Trying to solve the case of who is behind the drugs being imported to the Harbor is consuming most of his time, but when he meets Cameron Stahl, he knows everything is about to change.

Cameron Stahl is a Boston socialite and local businesswoman. She works hard, much to the chagrin of her mother, who wants her to be a society wife, busy with charity work and social functions like her. Cameron once accepted that life, but as she spends more time away from Boston, away from her controlling parents, the more free she becomes. Meeting Val at a social event, she immediately feels drawn to him. He’s not her social equal but she doesn’t care. She wants to escape the confines of the middle-class prison she was groomed for and discover who she is without the trappings of wealth and privilege. Her family is sure to disapprove, but for once Cameron is determined to take the plunge and put her happiness first. Val’s the man for her and she has no intention of letting him go. When a close friend of Cameron’s family are implicated in a case Val is working on, Cameron begins to question Val’s motives for getting close to her – surely he can’t have been using her. Knowing what they have is real, she is determined to prove her love for him, even if that means putting herself in the firing line.

Why you should read this: If you’ve been following the Star Harbor series and followed the Grayson brothers’ ups and downs, then you’ll absolutely adore the end to the series and enjoy getting to know Cameron and Val. Cameron is by far the best of the heroines so far – she’s sweet, unsure of herself but truly likeable. Her journey to find out who she is was an interesting one and I really enjoyed the chemistry between her and Val.

What you might hate: It’s the end of the road for the Star Harbor series! – there’s drama aplenty happening in the Cape, with plots and intrigue. I really enjoyed the mystery subplot and it gave the book depth – it wasn’t just a sexy read – it concluded the series nicely.

Rating: 4/5 for a fun, exciting and sexy read. Val is a sensitive and attractive hero – I enjoyed him finally finding happiness.

Slow Summer Burn is out 12 August.

Claimed by Stacey Kennedy

ClaimedBook: Claimed

Author: Stacey Kennedy

Series: Club Sin #1

Format: Netgalley ARC

Review by: Onnica

Basic Story: Presley Flynn is curious about an alternative lifestyle. When her roommate and friend Cora invites her to Club Sin, she’s nervous yet excited by the prospect of making her fantasies into a reality. When she meets the leader of the club Dmiti Pratt, she’s keen that he be the one to train her in how to be the perfect submissive.

Dmitri is at first amused by the innocent Presley and wonders what brought her to his door. She can barely talk about sex let alone become an exhibitionist in front of others. Simple curiosity converts to genuine affection for her and he’s determined to make her the perfect sub. His sub.

Presley enters a world that is completely different to her own. She finds acceptance for the things she wants in life and starts to build up her self-esteem. Dmitri is a strict yet considerate dom and she wanders whether they could ever be more…

Why you should read this: If you like the whole bdsm vibe but like it mainstream, then you will probably enjoy this book. It’s fun, it’s very smutty and there’s a story there too. Dmitri is a good guy with very particular tastes. He’s successful, strong, fair-minded with a heart. He doesn’t appear to be damaged or messed up in the head, which is a relief! Presley is a good girl who finds she needs to be dominated in order to feel fulfilled. Together they try to see whether they can take things further.

What you might hate: I expected there to be more of a story there. I don’t know, some of the interactions between Presley and Dmitri were a little cliché and at times I did skim over passages to get to the ‘plot’. There was no hook but it was a tale about a girl being trained in the art of being the perfect sub. Don’t expect too much and it’s an enjoyable read.

Rating: 2.5/5 for a pleasantly hot and steamy read set in an alternative lifestyle. I know I complain about too much drama but there wasn’t enough in my opinion. Just plenty of kink.

Claimed is out on 5 August.

Complete Me by J. Kenner

Complete-MeBook: Complete Me

Series: The Stark Trilogy #3

Author: J. Kenner

Format: Uncorrected ARC

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Nikki Fairchild and Damien Stark are back in this final instalment. Damien’s in trouble – he’s been ordered to appear in court in Germany, facing charges of the murder of his former coach and abuser, Richter. Nikki has rushed to Damien’s side, knowing that he cannot face the trial without her support, despite his trying to break up with her before he left. Facing an uncertain future, the pair are desperate to spend each and every moment together (usually horizontally) and they explore their submissive-dominant relationship in greater depth. As the case draws to a close, Nikki and Damien face even greater challenges. No sooner has one problem been solved but another seems to spring up in its place. This time, Nikki is the one in the firing line. Damien is determined to protect her but what if the only way for them both to survive is apart?

Why you should read it: if you’ve been on board this train since Release Me and Claim Me, then you owe it to yourself to find out what happened next for team Damikki – as the ups and downs of their relationship come to a satisfying conclusion.

What you might hate: OK – I know this is erotica, you know that it’s erotica and having read the last two books you know what you’re getting. HOWEVER, two thirds of the book were just plain old nasty monkey sex, which got a little exhausting if I’m honest. I’m not complaining, but when they actually came up for air, I was actually interested in the twist near the end as we found out who Nikki’s persecutor actually was. It was a pretty nifty plot – it would have been nice to see more of that creativity earlier in the book.

Rating: Difficult – I was wavering, but I give it a generous 3/5, due mainly to the plot device near the end which was surprising and the fact that Damien’s a pretty decent, sexy chap. (We won’t dwell on the fact that they’re incapable of breathing without each other…) Complete Me is out on 30th July.

Lick by Kylie Scott

LickBook: Lick

Series: Stage Dive #1

Author: Kylie Scott

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: When Evelyn Thomas turned twenty-one, she was determined to let her hair down for a change. Little did she realise how far-reaching the consequences of too much tequila would be. The day after she wakes up in a hotel room, sick as a dog, wearing a ring on her finger the size of the Hope Diamond with a strange man holding her hair back while she’s sick. There’s also the case of the strange tattoo on her posterior with an even stranger name – who the hell is David?

Not remembering anything about the night before and clearly not recognising her new husband, Evelyn is panicked and quick to point out that it has all been a huge mistake. David – hurt and angry agrees to take of it and will have his people arrange an annulment. Ev flees the scene with her best friend and resolves to pretend like it never happened. That is until the paparazzi descend on her at the airport asking whether the rumours about having married Dave Ferris, guitarist with the band Stage Dive, were true. Suddenly it all becomes clear to Ev that she won’t be able to pretend this situation away. And then there’s the small matter of dealing with her parents! Chaos ensues and Ev and David decide that it’s best she stay with him until their situation is resolved, away from the prying eyes of the media. Evelyn is sure that an annulment and putting things back the way they were before she met the charismatic guitarist would be the best option. She has a life to live and LA is not her thing. However, as she spends more time with her husband, the idea of separation is no longer such a viable one…

Why you should read this: Like stories about rock stars? Tattooed rock stars? Like believable and likeable characters? Then this book is a no-brainer. The story is fun, touching, humorous and sexy as all get out. Seriously – it will make your toes curl (in a good way). Dave Ferris is hot, sexy and demanding – but not in an over the top alpha way. He’s sensitive and attentive and all you could possibly want in a hero. Evelyn is sweet, mature and her internal monologue is very entertaining. I loved her.

What you might hate: not much to hate about this book – you know I’m a tough critic and if an author adds in complications to the plot just to create drama then I’ll be honest about it and criticise – but this wasn’t the case here. There are misunderstandings aplenty, but they don’t create huge scenes with the hero and heroine fighting back and forth endlessly. Maybe you like your reads with slightly less graphic smut…for me it wasn’t a problem – but look, he’s a rock star, it’s what they do! (I’ve heard…)

Rating: 4/5 for me – a hugely enjoyable, hugely sexy read. I’m also really happy that David and Evelyn’s story was wrapped up in a single book rather than dragged out in a sequel. My prediction is that subsequent books will concentrate on other members of the band. I will certainly be reading more.

The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers

The Story GuyBook: The Story Guy

Author: Mary Ann Rivers

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Carrie West is a librarian – single and happy with life. Well, that’s her story and she’s sticking to it. Hobbies include socialising and browsing the classified ads for fun. Never taking the ads seriously, she likes to imagine the people behind the profiles. One day she sees an ad that grabs her attention. He wants to meet on wednesdays, kissing only. For some reason Carrie can’t get the guy out of her head, but surely contacting a random stranger for a make out session would be crazy, right?

Deciding to take the plunge, (after all he seems nice from his profile pic) Carrie meets Brian, an attorney, who is keen to give no personal details away. Can she be satisfied with a very narrow relationship that consists of weekly appointments, but no emotional intimacy? Despite the rules, Carrie determines to draw Brian out and find out the reasons behind his self-imposed restrictions. She finds out more than she bargained for – Brian could be the one for her, but how will she convince him?

Why you should read this: this novella is so sweet, funny and intelligent. The characters are well drawn considering it’s a novella and I read it so quickly in order to find out what Brian’s deal was. The novella should receive an award for its descriptions of a kiss – it was so HOT! The development of their relationship had me pulling for them and I guarantee you will too. Brian is lovely. He’s not your typical hero – he’s a glasses-wearing, bike-riding attorney, which is why he’s just so damn sexy. The telephone scene is a must-read – that’s all I’m saying!

What you might hate: it’s a novella and I know they’re not for everyone, but this story will give you a rosy glow all over – it’s worth a look.

Rating: 5/5 for me – a perfect, short and snappy read with loveable characters and a lot of heart. It’s intelligent and has some great dialogue. Get your copy now.

Making it Last by Ruthie Knox

Making it LastBook: Making it Last

Author: Ruthie Knox

Series: The Camelot series

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Amber and Tony Mazzara have been married for ten years. Three kids later they are exhausted; plagued with money worries and Tony is working around the click hoping that the house-building business will pick up and withstand the economic climate.

Amber is busy taking care of the three energetic boys and is starting to lose herself. Slowly but surely she’s disappearing, ceasing to be anything other than wife and mother. On holiday in the Caribbean for her brother’s wedding and surrounded by new couples, she longs for how things were before the children and before the bottom fell out of the market, when she and Tony actually ‘saw’ each other. Noticing his wife’s misery, Tony (with the help of Amber’s aunt and mother) insists that Amber stays on in Jamaica for a few more days to relax and have the holiday she wanted. However, it soon becomes clear that a few days to herself aren’t going to fix the cracks in their marriage. After a confrontation with his formidable mother-in-law, Tony determines to get back to Jamaica and get back to how things were when they talked and laughed and understood each other. He’s ready to try anything – even if that means role-playing and pretending to be someone shiny and new…

 Why you should read this: We first got to know Amber and Tony in How to Misbehave (set 13 years earlier) and now we get to see what happened following their happily ever after. The realism of this novella was striking – a story where the family are struggling in the economic climate trying to keep going, was so honest and refreshing. I could really empathise with Amber’s character, her sense of isolation and the longing she had for Tony. Tony loves his family and would do anything for them, even if that means he has no time to spend with them – working all hours. His sense of failure because he’s not able to give Amber and the children everything he wants for them was touching. These characters are as real as you can get and the challenges of marriage and beyond were handled so well.

What you might hate: In my humble opinion, there isn’t a whole lot to hate about this novella – it’s not exactly an escapist read, so if you’re looking for something far-removed from your life, then ok, maybe not for you.

Rating: 4/5 – Amber and Tony are good people. I rooted for them from start to finish and wanted them to find each other again. Well-written, honest and humorous – it’s classic Ruthie. Making it Last is out on 15 July.

Inevitable by Angela Graham

InevitableBook: Inevitable

Series: Harmony #1

Author: Angela Graham

Review by: Onnica

Basic Story: Cassandra Clarke has been single for a year following a very upsetting and humiliating breakup with the love of her life. After finding her boyfriend with the town tramp, she walked out and never looked back. Now one year on, she’s found her feet and is about to begin her career in teaching. Living in small town Harmony, Cassie lives in an isolated but idyllic part of the town. However, when the old estate near her sells, things get interesting. The new buyer arrives in town like a hurricane – moving trucks nearly knock Cassie off her feet, but it’s only when she catches a glimpse of the owner does her heart nearly stop.

Logan West is new to town, although he was born in Harmony and it’s immediately clear to Cassandra that he is T-R-O-U-B-L-E. He’s far too good looking, charming and makes no secret that he’s checking her out. Also he has a reputation – his sister makes that clear by warning her off him. Logan needs to settle in town and concentrate on raising his son. Cassandra has no intention of starting anything with her next door neighbour, but when she finds his little boy in her tree house and likes him a lot, keeping a safe distance from Logan will prove difficult.

Logan is a playboy – the ladies love him and he has no problem accepting the attention. He’s a devoted single father with no time for relationships especially after how things ended with his son’s mother. Meeting Cassie cannot prepare him for what lies ahead – the possibility of more. But can he offer her more than a casual hook up? Can two people so clearly attracted to one another be just good friends?

Why you should read this: this story took me by surprise – the characters are well-drawn, I have a clear picture of Harmony and its inhabitants and the heroine was so likeable. That’s a really important factor for me at the moment. She’s slightly insecure at times (as we all are) but not to the extent that she’s whiny or a complete pushover. I could really get behind her and enjoy the journey. Logan is a womaniser but likeable and it soon becomes clear that there’s more to him than meets the eye. I really enjoyed the slow burning chemistry between them. The pace was just right. No insta-love here! Their friendship felt real as it was allowed to develop over time and Logan’s little boy Oliver was great too. There was no syrupy sweetness there thankfully.

What you might hate: Well, you’ll have to wait until October 2013 to find out what happened next – the ending was very dramatic and I loved the high drama. Despite Logan’s development through the book, he does something monumentally stupid that may have you tearing your hair out – but I’m sure all will be well in the end!

Rating: I give this 4/5 – I was really impressed by the story and how it developed – I’m rooting for Cassandra and Logan. They’re not perfect, nor would I want them to be. Roll on October.

Cover Reveal – Come Together by Jessica Hawkins

Hi all! Onnica here.

So I jumped the gun yesterday and already shared Jessica Hawkins’ new book cover on Facebook and Twitter. I was just so excited! There are so many great books being released at the moment and I feel so grateful when people I admire ask us to spread the news. Due for release on 19th September, Come Together will conclude the Cityscape series and we’ll finally find out what’s in store for Olivia, David and Bill. So what’s book 3 about? Here’s the synopsis and the cover – which is my favourite so far:

Come Together on GoodreadsPhoto: © iStockphoto.com/VikaValter

Come Together is the third and final instalment of The Cityscape Series.

With a single decision, Olivia Germaine’s fantasy has become a reality. Now she is faced with two commitments: one she must make and one she must break. But in order to accept a love she never thought possible, Olivia will have to let go of the broken past that defines her – and of deeply-rooted fears that could ruin everything.

Everything is what David Dylan wants to give her, and it’s what he wants in return. He must prove to Olivia that despite his playboy ways, he’s worth leaving behind the stable future her husband can offer her. David is a man who always gets what he wants . . . but this time he may be fighting for something unattainable.

Can Olivia escape the past that threatens to consume her?
And can David break through to her before it does?

Fancy a copy of Come Together? Head on over to Jessica Hawkins’ blog and enter the rafflecopter competition.

Cover Reveal – Just Human by Kerry Heavens

Hi Everyone, Onnica here. I know you’re all drowning in books at the moment – I certainly am, but I’m a sucker for misunderstandings and second-chance love stories. So, when I was asked to share a new release with you all, how could I refuse?

Just Human is Kerry Heavens’ debut novel and here is the cover:

Just Human on GoodreadsSynopsis:

Meet Liv and Danny…

 
Liv loves Danny. She knows she loves him more than he loves her, so she lets him go without a fight when his parents make him move back to America. She knows she will never love anyone like she loved him, but she has to move on.
 
Danny loves Liv. He knows he loves her more than she loves him, because she does nothing to get him to stay, so he goes quietly when his parents leave the UK. He knows he will never love anyone like he loved her, but he has to move on.
 
Twelve years on, they have made a good job of pretending, they may have almost forgotten. But when they get in touch via Facebook, it seems that it is all still there. They quickly find that they are intensely compatible in ways they hadn’t even begun to explore before they were forced apart. 
 
Can they put aside their fears and give it a go? Or will deep rooted doubts and insecurities tear them apart?
Just Human is out on July 22nd. Click here to add to your Goodreads list.