Rush (Breathless #1)

Rush

Author: Maya Banks                                                                                                     Published: February 5, 2013                                                                                                   Pages: 396

Stars: 5 out of 5

Synopsis:

Gabe, Jace, and Ash: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Gabe, it’s making one particular fantasy come true with a woman who was forbidden fruit. Now she’s ripe for the picking…When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.

Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected.

Review:

Wow!! This book was absolutely amazing!! If you are looking for a book with lots of sex in it, then here you are. Maya Banks did an amazing job creating a story that is full of passion, sex, and yet still kept a good story plot. The sex in this book is not your traditional vanilla sex. If you aren’t intrigued by or into BDSD, you might not be to interested in this book. But I swear, Maya Banks opens a world of sexual fantasies that I doubt there are few who would not be turned on by this book. The main characters in this book is Gabe and Mia. Gabe takes on the dominant role in and outside of the bedroom. Although Mia plays the act of a submissive, she stands up for herself and doesn’t let Gabe complelty walk all over her. I really enjoyed this book!

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)

fifty shades

Author: E.L. James                                                                                                       Published: May 25, 2011                                                                                                        Pages: 356

Stars: 4 out of 5

Synapsis:

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

Review:

This is the second time reading the book and I feel like I have a better understanding. The first time around, it was difficult to separate myself from the emotional roller coaster of the characters. Fifty shades is well written and I love the email banter between Anna and Christian. But the emotional unsteadiness of both characters at times is disturbing.
Christian was sexually abused around 14 I believe. But the disturbing part is he feels his sexual relationship with Mrs. Robinson saved him. Taking that into account with his traumatic youth and his negative self image- the author nailed it when Christian claims he is 50 shades of messed up.

Anna, I also feel like she is a bit unstable with how emotionally thrown she is by Christian. She could possibly be this way because Christian is her first everything. But I feel like her feelings for and actions towards Christian are borderline obsessive.

Both characters try to change each other and not only is that unrealistic but it doesn’t happen in a real relationship. At least not the big things. But I feel like that is an underlining message with this book- it’s possible to change people.

Overall, this book is any psychologist dream book. It provides an insight, if not 100% accurate, into BDSM relationships.

Naked (Body & Soul #1)

Book Naked

Author: Gina Gordon                                                                                                    Published: January 26, 2016                                                                                              Pages: 334

Stars: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: 

Violet Walker has been hiding. Withdrawn after a terrible car accident, she is worried about going back to her high-pressure job, where she’s expected to project confidence and sleek refinement. Allowing herself a distraction, she’s been watching her sexy neighbor work on his house. But when the shirtless, grinning hunk catches her in the act, Violet is struck by the unmistakable jolt of physical chemistry, a sensation that’s both thrilling and terrifying.

Noah Young is used to moving from one construction job to another, never laying a firm foundation. The same goes for the women in his life—until Violet changes all that. His beautiful voyeur embraces his rough edges and shows him a hint of real love. But even Noah can tell that she’s holding back, hiding her body and her heart from what they both truly want. If only he could get a little help convincing Violet to see herself as he sees her: perfect in every way.

Review:

This book was amazing if not a little cheesy. But who doesn’t love reading a helpless romantic book every now and then. This book was well written and the plot was well developed.

Violet’s character really resonated with me. She is a person who has worked hard her entire life but all everyone sees is the privileged beauty. When her ‘beauty’ is taken from her, she struggles to find who she is. Then she meets Noah, who not only helps her discover her repressed sexuality but also helps her rediscover herself. Noah is the bad boy image wrapped up with a heart of gold.

The only thing that bothered me about this book was the constant hang up Violet had about her scars. For two thirds of the book, I completely understood and sympathized with her character. But then it just kind of got on my nerves.

Overall, I loved the book. It is definitely one of my favorites. If you are looking for a steamy romance with some risky sex scenes, this book is for you. The characters are easy to relate to and the underlying feminist tones make the book a fun read.

Laid Out (Worth the Fight #4)

Laid Out

Author: Sidney Halston
Published: August 18, 2015
Pages: 302

Stars: 5 out of 5

Synopsis:

Growing up an Army brat, Violet Channing could never meet her dad’s high expectations. But in the eyes of her best friend, she could do no wrong. He even insisted that he should be her first kiss. Now Cain Sorensen is all grown up, hardened by years in special ops and always looking for a good fight. Tall, with striking blue eyes and impossibly blond hair, he’s a modern-day Viking warrior. Of course, Violet’s all grown up, too, and she’s ready to surrender to his every command.

Cain knows he’s bad for Violet. His work is dangerous, and his hobbies are downright deadly. As a private mercenary and a mixed martial arts fighter, he could never let such an innocent soul into his world. And yet his most grueling combat training is no match for Violet’s killer curves, hot touch, and suggestive glances. Now all of Cain’s most explosive fantasies are coming true—but once they cross the line between friends and lovers, there’s no turning back.

Review:

This book is interesting, at times intense, and pulls at your emotions. The story is about best friends, love, guilt, and the struggle to forgive yourself and allow yourself to love/be loved. Not at all what I was expecting from this book. I haven’t read any of the books prior to this one in the series and I’m sad I missed out. Although this book is a great stand alone, I would recommend reading the first three books since the characters build within each book.

Violet’s character is completely lovely. She loves with all her heart, she is the perfect best friend, and guys would be lucky to have her as their girlfriend. Her only flaw, if you can even call it that, is she forgives to easily.

Cain’s character is intense with all the emotions he has suppressed. He is an alpha, brooding, baggage caring, fool of a man. But oh can he be hot! And that mouth of his, yes please. This book is unique in the reasons behind why Cain stays away from Violet. That being there is actually legitimate reasons, not the typical ignore or run away from what’s in front of you.

This book is powerful and a great read! And the ending, oh the ending!! By the end of the book, my heart was broken but full and excited. This is a book that is full of emotion and one you think back to weeks after you finished reading it. I really enjoyed this book and plan to read it again!!

Embrace (The Affair #2)

Embrace

Author: Stacey lynn                                                                                                     Published: May 10, 2015                                                                                                     Pages: 256

Stars: 3 out of 5

Synopsis:

Liam Parker crash landed into Laurie’s life when everything else was crumbling all around her. Her marriage and career were in pieces and her mind was left spinning.
But one touch from Liam, and Laurie could forget everything else around her.
She thought she had it all figured out. As Laurie lost herself in Liam’s warm caresses and his commanding blue eyes, her husband refused to go quietly into the night. While Laurie fought to move on, it was James who was working his way back into her life, fighting for the marriage they had once held dear.
Forced to make choices she never imagined having to make, Laurie finally found herself on firm footing, knowing which way she was going to turn. But then life threw her another curveball. And when she once again began picking up the pieces, learning how to survive and rebuild after everything exploded, there was only one man still there, one man who remained by her side, showing her that sometimes life isn’t about learning how to survive…

Review:

This story is something else. This book is full of drama, betrayal, and hurt pride. I know James cheated on Laurie and to be honest, I’m not sure If something like this actually happened to me that I could forgive and forget. But my heart hurts for James!

Laurie’s character really frustrated me in this book. Part of me wants to shake Laurie and tell her to stop toying with the men in her life. But another part understands why she is hesitant. She says she wants one thing, but when that one thing is looking her in the eye, she doesn’t want it. Ugh, talk about emotional whiplash!

The part of the story that had me throwing my hands up and almost walking away from the book is when Laurie walks in on James masturbating to porn and completely freaks out. She acts as though James cheated on her and what he was doing was wrong. There is nothing wrong about masturbation and I feel like the author is sending a bad message that there is. Laurie’s expectations aren’t realistic.

Luckily, Laurie gets herself together by the end of the book and I am happy to say I love the ending! It was touch and go there and an emotional roller coaster.

Entice (The Affair #1)

Entice

Author: Stacey Lynn                                                                                                    Published: April 14, 2015                                                                                                    Pages: 248

Stars: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

When the most difficult decision of Laurie Baker’s life needed to be made, she took off for a weekend alone to weigh her pros and cons and consider all her options. What she didn’t expect was to run face first into one more complication her life didn’t need. Distracting, sexy, and British, Liam Parker offered Laurie exactly what she needed when she was desperate for attention.

One night of pleasure.

She wanted it.
She craved it.
She took it.

And when the sunlight dawned and the lusty haze of one night of passion disappeared and reality revealed itself… Laurie returned home knowing that everything she had once believed, everything she had once loved and desired, was about to be tossed upside down and shaken in a way she could never imagine.

Review:

The book opens with headache and betrayal. The main character Laurie is needing space from the guy she has loved since she was 14- James. Even after the affair came to light, James still works closely and employs his secretary, Lauries best friend or used to be. Ouch! Laurie struggles with the hurt of James betrayal and the love she still feels for him. All the while Laurie is trying to leave so she can figure out what to do, James is begging her to come back to him. Reading this leaves my stomach in knots, it’s so heartbreaking.

After heading off to a conference in Chicago, Laurie runs into the handsome Liam. Although Laurie is forthcoming about being married, neither one of them seems able to restrain their attraction to each other. As the love affair develops, it’s easy to get lost in the lust filled pages, forgetting and only thinking about Laurie and Liam. But then the author brings reality back with a text message from James. And the reader is left feeling guilty wishing the story was about finding love and not one about betrayal and dishonesty. Laurie’s world is thrown into more chaos when she finds out Liam is also her new boss.

The entire book is full of sadness, chaos, and betrayal. The saying two wrongs don’t make a right should be applied to this book. By the end of the book, I am left with conflicting emotions. I feel bad for James, but he did cheat on Laurie. And then there is Liam who is full of secrets and can be the coldest person. Th wending was great and I can’t wait to read the next installment in the series.

 

Breach (Breach #1)

Breach

Author: K.I. Lynn
Published: December 31, 2013
Pages: 270

Stars: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

Delilah Palmer has always maintained control of her life and outward personality, blocking the truth that’s just below the surface. Using a façade meant to be normal and hide the scars of her childhood, she’s made a good life for herself. Becoming a successful lawyer, she is finally free from the tortured past that haunts her daily. Until he comes along and breaks open the cracks.

Nathan Thorne has a haunted past of his own. On the surface, he is personable, extroverted, and loved by everyone; everything Delilah isn’t. However, hidden beneath his charming smile is a dark and tormented man that only Delilah has the power to unveil.

Forced into a small office together, they begin to see through each other’s masks, and the magnetic attraction ignites an explosive relationship. Their firm, Holloway and Holloway Law, has a strict non-fraternization policy, forcing them to conceal their breach. But despite their efforts, separation becomes impossible, deceptions escalate, and Nathan begins to teeter on the edge of being overtaken by his past demons.

What dark secrets does Nathan harbor that stop him from giving in, and what is it that keeps him from healing and moving forward? And more importantly, where does Delilah fit into his turmoil? Will they be able to accept love and deal with all the trials that develop as their secrets are exposed, or will they fall through the cracks of their pasts and be consumed by all that haunts them?

Review:

Delilah is a workaholic at a law firm. After her last partner, she thought no one could be worse. But once she meets Nathan, she discovers how painfully wrong she is. Even with the firms non-fraternization policy, women in the office are throwing themselves at Nathan. Delilah doesn’t think things could get worse, but what kind of book would this be if they didn’t? Delilah soon discovers Nathan lives in the same condo complex as she does and goes to the same dive bar. This all sounds like a fantastic read but what the writing style is lacking is ‘show don’t tell’ me everything. The author tells the reader of Delilah’s discontent with Nathan but doesn’t really show it through examples of witty banter, disagreements, or really any concrete evidence. By the second half of the book, the writing gets more descriptive and the author ‘shows’ the reader instead of staring.

The entire time you are reading this book, you feel like you are on train that’s about ready to crash any minute. The chaos and disfunction in this book is at times intense, overwhelming, sad, and an overall of feeling WTF!! The bedroom talk in this book can be steamy at times but mostly this kind of dirty talk/forplay isn’t my thing. What really drew me into the book was the emotion and again chaos. It was so intense, I didn’t want to put the book down.

Delilah’s character is full of self loathing. To say she has low self esteem is an understatement. She is also an odd, depressing person. Instead of going out with her friend, she turns her down so she can go to a bar, drink by herself, get completely wasted, and stumble home into bed. She does this enough that she has become one of the regulars at the bar, the bar tender knows her by name, and knows her drink. Delilah has hidden demons and is a weak sad character that isn’t very much fun to read about. But sometimes those characters end up being the best and there story needing to be told.

Nathan looks like a typical attractive guy. It’s almost comical if not an over the top way to describe how attractive Nathan is when his ‘boob squad’ fan club was introduced in the book. But Nathan is a very aggressive guy- physically. His mood swings are disarming, if not down right scary. And his way of dealing with anger is to start punching walls and braking things. Like Delilah, he to is broken and stuck in a world full of demons.

Overall, the book didn’t start out the greatest but made up for it by the end.

How to Seduce a Billionaire

How to Seduce

Author: Portia Costa                                                                                                    Published: September 15, 2015                                                                                          Pages: 393

Stars: 1 out of 5

Synopsis:

Twenty-nine year old virgin Jess Lockhart has had to put her life on hold due to family commitments, but now it’s time to break out and start enjoying sex and love. Trickily for her, years of artistic dreaming and fantasising about her first ever lover have given her impossibly high standards where men are concerned. She’s not about to do the deed with just any old male that crosses her path. He has to be Mr Right, or at the very least Mr Sex, right for now, and a super special, superior example of his gender. Nothing less will do…

Ellis McKenna has all the credentials to be Jess’s ‘Dream Lover’. He’s gorgeous, accomplished, capable and a fabulous lover, and he also just happens to be the scion of a family whose international assets can be counted in the billions. He’s perfect Mr Right material, apart from one thing… the thing that makes him Mr Wrong for any woman wanting a relationship. Ellis is a grieving widower who’s sworn never to love again. He wants sex, yes, and plenty of it, as a way to forget his pain… but his deeper heart is locked away by regret and sorrow.

Can this unusual couple put aside their issues and enjoy a simple seduction? Or will life’s complexities put a spanner in the works?

Review: 

This book is about taking a chance- with love, opening yourself up, and showing vulnerability.

Jess is a 29 year old virgin who masterbates to an imaginary person who she calls ‘dream lover’. Not only that but she fantasizes about this imaginary person. Comparing ‘him’ to all the imperfect men in the world because of course this imaginary man is perfect. Luck as it may be, Jess ends up running into a real perfect man who also happens to be the billionaire who runs the insurance company she works at.

Ellis McKenna is not the typical alpha, strong, and overpowering male. He seems more like someone who is lost and looking for something but isnt sure what that something is exactly. Ellis lost his wife and daughters in a tragic accident and because of this, he only has what he calls ‘four weekers’ with women. That is until Jess comes along.

Jess’s inner monologue in this book is far to slow and not only drags on and on but it’s also the kind of thoughts a young adolescent may have about Prince Charming. The kind of sappy idealism that makes your stomach turn. Not, might I point out, the thoughts of a 29 year. Almost nothing about her screams she is older than a young teenager. For instance, when she is having a conversation with her new boss, she says this to him: “I mean, your like the super duper boss of me”. I found myself wanting to skip her inner monologue, hoping the story will speed up more.

The first part of the book is awkward and ridiculous. It’s obvious from Jess’s inner monologue that she is infatuated with her new boss. But when he approaches her, she lies and is rather rude to him. I guess you can’t really expect to much from a person who would rather fantasize about an imaginary person than accept the advances of a real one. And then she yells out that her secret about being special is that she is a virgin. I’m not sure I would be comfortable telling a stranger, let alone my boss, something that personal. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

Overall, the book was ok. Although it did get better, I just wasn’t able to get into it. Jess’s character was far to immature, annoying, and awkward. I’m sorry, this book just wasn’t for me.

Playing Dirty (Monkey Business #1)

Playing Dirty

Author: C.L. Parker
Published: May 12, 2015
Pages: 310

Stars: 5 out of 5

Synopsis:

Shaw Matthews plays to win, and he intends to snag a coveted partnership at San Diego’s hottest sports agency by signing America’s top athlete. Only one woman stands in his way: rival agent Cassidy Whalen. But eliminating the competition will be Shaw’s pleasure when he concocts an ingenious plan to seduce Cassidy and show the beautiful ballbreaker who’s the better man for the job. That is, until Cassidy turns the tables—and their steamy encounters start breaking all the rules.

Cassidy has worked hard to make it in a man’s cutthroat arena, and she isn’t going down without a fight, not even against the six-two alpha hunk whose rock-hard body awakens desires she’s never known before. As Cassidy shares night after night of unending passion with Shaw, the game begins to change. Now Cassidy stands to lose everything—unless a fiery contest of wills can become a winning proposition for two people who keep raising the stakes.

Review:

This story is about seduction and the power behind it. The two dueling characters, Shaw and Cassidy, both work at Striker and are in a fierce competition to sign San Diego’s star quarterback. And whoever does gets promoted and becomes the other persons boss. No pressure right? Both characters decide the best way to outwit and throw each other off there game is to seduce and concur. The basis of this book is almost comical if not fully entertaining. The writing is fantastic, keeping the reader slightly blushing but always wanting more. And the ending, was genius but oh so cruel. I am definitely left wanting more and wishing the second book was already out.

Shaw’s character comes across as a chauvinist pig. Although confident, his sense of humor can lean on the side of offensive. He rationalizes Cassidy’s ability to do well at her job (seeing as she is a female in a males job), not gossip around the water cooler, and not tied to a male is based on her being and I quote “a black widow, sucking the life out of the men who dared get near her”. I couldn’t help but chuckle at his inner monologue and how he rationalizes what he wants. It is obvious he has wanted to get Cassidy in bed for a while but instead of admitting and just doing it, he justifies going after her as a means take her out of the competition.

Cassidy’s character comes off as confident and strong but on the inside she stumbles around just like the rest of us. The only thing different is she is better at hiding it than the average person. Throughout the book, it becomes clear she is actually very similar to Shaw in his chauvinist mannerisms but with males. It also becomes clear that although she comes across as prim and proper, in regards to sex she discovers she wants anything but. “Maybe it was then that I realized I wasn’t the typical woman. Romance and niceties didn’t do it for me. I wanted a gentleman with a firm hand…”

Normally I don’t really care for books that have dual POV because most authors struggle with creating individual “voices” for each character. But Parker did a great job and stayed consistent and true in regards to the characters voice. This was a fantastic read!

Bound by Honor (Born in Blood Mafia #1)

Bound by honor

Author: Cora Reilly                                                                                                      Published: December 14, 2014                                                                                           Pages: 323

Stars: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

Born into one of the leading Mob families in Chicago, Aria Scuderi struggles to find her own path in a world where no choices are given. Aria was only fifteen when her parents betrothed her to Luca – The Vice – Vitiello, the oldest son of the head of the New York Cosa Nostra to ensure peace between the two families. Now at eighteen, the day Aria has been dreading for years is looming dangerously: her wedding to Luca.

Aria is terrified of marrying a man she hardly knows, especially someone like Luca who got his nickname ‘the Vice’ for crushing a man’s throat with his bare hands. Luca might be one of the most sought after men in New York thanks to his good looks, wealth and predator-like charisma that radiates power, but the society girls throwing themselves at him don’t know what Aria does: that the bad boy aura isn’t just a game; blood and death lurk beneath Luca’s striking gray eyes and arrogant smile.

In her world a handsome exterior often hides the monster within; a monster who can just as easily kill as kiss you. The only way to escape the marriage to Luca would be to run away and leave everything she’s ever known behind but Aria can’t bear the thought of never seeing her family again. Despite her fear, she decides to go through with the marriage; Aria has grown up among predators like Luca and knows that even most cold-hearted bastards have a heart and she has every intention of working her way into Luca’s.

Review:

I couldn’t decide if the book was a three star or four. This book was captivating and the author did a great job capturing the readers attending right from the beginning. This book is about love, hate, loss, and sacrifice. It was however difficult for me to remember whose perspective the story was coming from. Some of the things that happened in the book were appalling and if I was Aria I would not have caved so easily.

This story is about the mafia and women’s roles within there culture. Aria is promised to Luca to bridge two mafia families in order to unite against a common enemy. Throughout there marriage, Luca learns what it means to be a good husband and how to love. And Aria comes to terms with what it means to be the wife of someone in the mafia.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and read it within a day. It was difficult to put down. But I’m not sure I am interested in the second book in this series. However, I am very interested in the third book!