Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: Beautiful Obsession by Juniper Bell

Beautiful Obsession by Juniper Bell
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance (with m/m/f/m ménage) Beautiful Obsession Cover
ISBN: 9781419937934
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Clare, Luc and Rob have been best friends since childhood – and something more, once they were of age. They’re practically inseparable, even now that they’re in college. But lately there’s been a shift in each of them and Clare finds herself wanting more. And “more” comes in the form of Resident Advisor Jack Cartwright.

Jack is completely and utterly focused on finishing his graduate thesis. Or so he tells himself. He’s relegated his wild sexual side to the past and he will NOT be tempted by the three gorgeous, erotic students whose suite is next to his. Then Jack accidentally catches the threesome in bed and soon he finds himself obsessed with the idea of taking the trio up on what they’re offering him. And once Clare opens up to him, Jack can no longer resist temptation...

BEAUTIFUL OBSESSION is one wildly erotic read! The sensual heat between Jack, Clare, Luc and Rob is matched only by the emotional warmth in BEAUTIFUL OBSESSION. Author Juniper Bell does an incredible job of bringing all four characters to life, and the friendship between Clare, Luc and Rob is just as important to BEAUTIFUL OBSESSION as the burgeoning relationship between Clare and Jack. I loved that Ms. Bell devoted as much to the trio’s “unconventional” friendship as she did to the romance. Without that solid foundation, BEAUTIFUL OBSESSION would simply have been erotica rather than an all-around satisfying story.

In BEAUTIFUL OBSESSION, Ms. Bell gives readers endearing characters, red-hot erotic scenes and traces of BDSM. I hope Ms. Bell writes stories for Luc and Rob, but even if she doesn’t, BEAUTIFUL OBESSION is a fantastic standalone novella. BEAUTIFUL OBSESSION is the first book of Ms. Bell’s that I’ve read and – given her talent for blending extreme heat with heart – I can definitely say that it won’t be the last!

Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Delusion in Death by J.D. Robb

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I flat-out LOVE the In Death series. It's been my favorite series for quite some time (heck, I don't go fangirl but I love this series enough that I named my cat for the hero, Roarke), so of course I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for Delusion in Death. Plus the case in Delusion in Death sounds awesome :)

Delusion in Death Cover Title: Delusion in Death
Series: In Death, Book 35
Author: J.D. Robb
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Release Date: September 11, 2012

Book Description (from

It was just another after-work happy-hour bar downtown, where business professionals unwound with a few drinks...until something went terribly wrong. And after twelve minutes of chaos and violence, eighty people lay dead.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is trying to sort out the inexplicable events. Surviving witnesses talk about seeing things—monsters and swarms of bees. They describe sudden, overwhelming feelings of fear and rage and paranoia. When forensics gives its report, the mass delusions make more sense: It appears the bar patrons were exposed to a cocktail of chemicals and illegal drugs that could drive anyone to temporary insanity—if not kill them outright.

But that doesn’t explain who would unleash such horror—or why. And if Eve can’t figure it out fast, it could happen again, anytime, anywhere. Because it’s airborne...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Review: At Last by Jill Shalvis

At Last by Jill Shalvis
Series: Lucky Harbor, Book 5
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance At Last Cover
Release Date: June 26, 2012
ISBN: 9781455503742
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

Amy Michaels came to Lucky Harbor, WA looking for the three things her grandmother found in the small town: hope, peace, and heart. One day, Amy takes her grandmother's journal and sets off on a hike in search of those elusive feelings and instead winds up lost in the woods. And it so happens that her rescuer is none other than forest ranger Matt Bowers, aka "Ranger Hot Buns." Sparks have always flown between Amy and Matt, but each has their own reasons for avoiding getting in too deep. But their time on the mountain starts them on the path to falling in love. Both Amy and Matt will have to leave the past behind if their newfound relationship has a chance to survive. With a little help from their friends in Lucky Harbor, Amy and Matt will at last find the three things they need the most: hope, peace, and heart.

At Last sparkles with genuine warmth and humor. Author Jill Shalvis has outdone herself with the Lucky Harbor books and At Last is a strong addition to a consistently fantastic series.

Amy's a tough-as-nails survivor, one whose past issues come to the forefront when she helps a young homeless teenager named Riley. You can't help but love and respect Amy. Her generous heart, good humor, and strength make her a fantastic heroine. Matt, in turn, is so much more than his "Ranger Hot Buns" moniker. He too has been scarred by past events and it makes him wary of getting too close to Amy. I loved watching these two unwittingly break down each other's walls in At Last. It isn't an easy road to happily ever after for Amy and Matt, but it's a journey well worth taking.

Despite the serious issues at play, At Last is a sexy, lighthearted book for the most part. Amy and Matt are a red-hot couple who can steam up the pages like nobody's business. And their fellow Lucky Harbor residents are simply too much fun for any part of the book to be dragged down. I love how Ms. Shalvis skillfully blends the light and dark elements of At Last. It reminds you that there's joy to be found even when dealing with difficult reminders of the past.

At Last is the fifth book in the Lucky Harbor series, but it can be read as a standalone. Of course, Amy and Matt's best friends, Mallory and Ty (from Lucky in Love), and Grace and Josh (from the upcoming Forever and a Day) all play strong supporting roles. Not to mention many of readers' favorite Lucky Harbor characters —including Facebook-loving Lucille — do appear in At Last. I'm sure readers new to the series will be glomming up the first four Lucky Harbor books (Simply Irresistible, The Sweetest Thing, Head Over Heels, and Lucky in Love) after reading At Last.

At Last was a joy to read from beginning to end. I absolutely adore Amy and Matt and I cannot wait to revisit their romance over and over and over again!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday in Review

It’s update time :)

Below are the newest reviews I’ve written here and on Joyfully Reviewed. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- How to Be a Proper Lady (Falcon Club, Book 2) by Katharine Ashe (available 6/26/12)
- Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane Series, Book 4) by Elizabeth Hoyt (available 6/26/12)

All other new reviews:
- Temptation & Twilight (The Brethren Guardians, Book 3) by Charlotte Featherstone
- Just One Kiss (Friends with Benefits, Book 1) by Isabel Sharpe
- Somebody Like You (Sugar Shack, Book 3) by Candis Terry

Upcoming reviews:
- Good Cop, Bad Cop by Jenna Byrnes and Jude Mason
- Hex Appeal anthology
- How a Lady Weds a Rogue (Falcon Club, Book 3) by Katharine Ashe
- Beautiful Obsession by Juniper Bell
- Aloha Kaua by Jenna Byrnes
- Blame It On Texas (Hotter in Texas, Book 2) by Christie Craig
- A Perfect Storm Rising by Cameron Dane
- Elliot’s War by Kim Dare
- Trust, Love, Submit by Kim Dare
- How to Ravish a Rake (How To Series, Book 3) by Vicky Dreiling
- Too Hot to Touch (Rising Star Chef, Book 1) by Louisa Edwards
- Some Like It Hot (Rising Star Chef, Book 2) by Louisa Edwards
- Hot Under Pressure (Rising Star Chef, Book 3) by Louisa Edwards
- A Very Personal Trainer by Justine Elyot
- A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch
- Screw Santa (Who Needs Christmas?, Book 1) by Joyee Flynn
- Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood
- Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, Book 3) by Laura Lee Guhrke
- Intimate Beings (The Being Trilogy, Book 2) by Jessica Inclan
- Straight Cowboy by Jan Irving
- The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James
- After the Abduction (Swanlea Spinsters, Book 3) by Sabrina Jeffries
- If You Give a Girl a Viscount (Impossible Bachelors, Book 4) by Kieran Kramer
- The Way to a Duke’s Heart (The Truth About the Duke, Book 3) by Caroline Linden
- The Sure Thing by Claire Matthews
- Secret Light by Z.A. Maxfield
- Blood Persuasion (Immortal Jane Austen, Book 2) by Janet Mullany
- Keeping Faith by Kris Norris
- Strangers in the Night by Brynn Paulin
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Alien Sex 102 by Allie Ritch
- Delusion in Death (In Death, Book 35) by J.D. Robb
- Night of Fire (The Ether Chronicles, Book 2) by Nico Rosso
- At Last (Lucky Harbor, Book 5) by Jill Shalvis
- Forever and a Day (Lucky Harbor, Book 6) by Jill Shalvis
- Carrie’s Answer (Corporate Affairs, Book 1) by Sierra and V.J. Summers
- Meredith’s Awakening (Corporate Affairs, Book 2) by Sierra and V.J. Summers
- The Virgin’s Revenge (Rancho Del Cielo, Book 4) by Dee Tenorio
- Primal Law (Alpha Pack, Book 1) by J.D. Tyler
- Taxes and TARDIS by N.R. Walker

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I saw this on other people's WOWs posts in the past and I'm intrigued :)

Title: Something Strange and Deadly
Series: Something Strange and Deadly, Book 1
Author: Susan Dennard
Genre: Steampunk YA
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: August 28, 2012

Book Description (from Goodreads):

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: Temptation and Twilight by Charlotte Featherstone

Temptation & Twilight by Charlotte Featherstone
Series: The Brethren Guardians, Book 3
Publisher: HQN
Genre: Historical Romance Temptation and Twilight Cover
ISBN: 9780373776627
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Iain Sinclair, Marquis of Alynwick and laird of the Sinclair clan, is sure there’s a spot in Hell reserved for a devil such as he. That doesn’t stop him from lusting after an angel, though. Elizabeth York is the woman Iain loved and cast away, but even more than a decade later he cannot put her out of his mind. Then, two things happen: Iain is nearly killed in a duel and a handsome earl starts courting Elizabeth, not caring that she’s blind or a spinster. Iain knows he cannot lose Elizabeth and thus the battle for her affections begins. Iain will use every weapon in his arsenal, from seduction to a story involving the diary of one of Elizabeth’s ancestors, to win back the woman he loves. But Elizabeth isn’t about to fall into his arms. Iain’s got his work cut out for him, but nothing can stop him on his quest…except, perhaps, a mysterious killer targeting Elizabeth’s family.

I must begin with an admission: I wanted to love Temptation & Twilight. I adored Lizzy and Iain in the previous Brethren Guardians book, Pride & Passion, so it was with great eagerness I began reading their book. Unfortunately, right from the start Temptation & Twilight was rife with problems. What put me off in the beginning was author Charlotte Featherstone’s rather florid prose. I understand melodramatic heroes, but there were points in Temptation & Twilight — particularly in the first few chapters — when my reading experience was equivalent to drowning in perfume. Not all the pages of Temptation & Twilight were splattered with purple, however, so I read on, hoping the book would improve.

It did not.

Lizzy, who so delighted me in Pride & Passion, got on my nerves. Where in the previous story I’d admired her strength, courage, and determination to live as independent a life as possible for a handicapped woman in Victorian-era England, her positive attributes were overshadowed by the negative ones in Temptation & Twilight. I had a lot of sympathy for Lizzy in the beginning of the story. Iain broke her heart and I understand not wanting to forgive him. But after a while, Lizzy’s verbal abuse of Iain wore thin. Yes, he was an immature jerk in the past. However, it was clear to me that Iain grows as a character over the course of the book and her refusal to even acknowledge that he isn’t the boy he was well over a decade ago bordered on ridiculous. Equally tiring were Lizzy’s tantrums over not being allowed to run headfirst into danger against an enemy attacking her family when she has to realize that she is at a disadvantage that could endanger herself and others.

Iain, in turn, starts out Temptation & Twilight as a bit of a jerk. But the one thing I liked about Temptation & Twilight was watching his journey from dissolute, hopeless aristocrat to a hero worth rooting for. The downside of that is I felt bad for him when Lizzy verbally abused him. Though, to be fair to her, he didn’t always explain himself well. After the beginning of the book, where he acts like an ass and is far too fond of thinking in purplish prose, Iain was the bright spot of Temptation & Twilight (though I admit to being baffled by his ever-changing accent that switched from English to Scottish with no logical pattern to be found). I wanted Iain to find happiness, which is why I stuck with Temptation & Twilight.

While Temptation & Twilight is the third Brethren Guardian book, the overarching storyline of the series is in the background and thus Lizzy and Iain’s story can easily be read as a standalone. That being said, the entire base plot for the series was largely forgotten — something I find annoying in the final book of the series. Indeed, the book dragged on for a very long time with not much happening (Iain and Lizzy’s story might have been more satisfying as a novella), only for Ms. Featherstone to cram everything of interest into the last few pages. The battle against the not-so-mysterious villain of the series was incredibly anticlimactic and I had to read the scant few pages devoted to said battle a few times because I honestly couldn’t believe that was all there was.

As I said near the beginning of the review, I wanted to like Temptation & Twilight. I really did. However, the characters, romance, storylines, and even Ms. Featherstone’s writing were a disappointment to me. Readers who enjoyed the first two Brethren Guardian books (Scandal & Seduction and Pride & Passion) might enjoy Temptation & Twilight more than I. I’m sorry to say the Brethren Guardian series was simply not for me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Blame It On Texas by Christie Craig

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I've loved Christie Craig's books since I picked up Weddings Can Be Murder on a whim, so it's no surprise that I'm looking forward to her upcoming Hotter In Texas book, Blame It On Texas. I'm actually re-reading the first Hotter In Texas book, Don't Mess With Texas. If you like humorous romantic comedies, I highly recommend Ms. Craig's books.

Also, if you're a fan of paranormal YA books, Ms. Craig writes those under the pen name C. C. Hunter :)

Blame It On Texas Cover Title: Blame It On Texas
Series: Hotter In Texas, Book 2
Author: Christie Craig
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: August 28, 2012

Book Description (from Goodreads):

Zoe Adams has always been content with her quiet nights at home, watching TV alone-until her life turns into a real-life episode of Unsolved Mystery Hunters. The story of a kidnapped girl triggers unexplained memories, and Zoe is dead-set on figuring out why. Her search leads her to one of the Lone Star State's richest families-and to sexy PI Tyler Lopez.

Tyler has sworn off women, especially redheads with killer curves who poke their noses into his clients' private lives. Still, he can't deny the attraction any more than he can deny that some of Zoe's crazy story makes sense. But when she becomes a hit man's target, this cold case starts heating up. Suddenly, Tyler will do anything to protect Zoe-even risk his heart.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Review: Just One Kiss by Isabel Sharpe

Just One Kiss by Isabel Sharpe
Series: Friends with Benefits, Book 1
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Genre: Contemporary Romance Just One Kiss Cover
ISBN: 9780373796803
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Daniel Flynn made one promise to his dying fiancée: he won’t date other women until after the day they would have been married. It’s been a year and a half, and Daniel still has six months to go before he can even consider looking at another woman. But temptation becomes almost too hard to resist when he meets beautiful baker Angela Loukas. Angela makes Daniel feel more alive than he has in years. But can he remain “just friends” with Angela for six more months when both of them are falling head over heels in love?

Just One Kiss is as sweet as the cookies Angela bakes. Angela is a bright, talented woman who knows how to take charge with a gentle hand. She’s easy to like, even though she can be more than a bit stubborn at times. Daniel is a good man — perhaps too good. While I understand mourning your dead fiancée, author Isabel Sharpe makes it clear that his fiancée manipulated Daniel constantly and the vow he made to her was truly an attempt by her to control him from beyond the grave. Because of that, I wanted to see Daniel break his promise. Angela is perfect for him. From the very beginning she sees who Daniel truly is and I loved that about her. They’re an ideal pair because when they’re together they are the best versions of themselves. Add in some mouth-watering baking details and equally mouth-watering love scenes, and you’ve got one delicious book!

Just One Kiss is Ms. Sharpe’s first Friends with Benefits book and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series. Angela’s friends are all intriguing characters and the relationship between two of them in particular has me eager to read their book. All in all, I found Just One Kiss to be a sensual, highly entertaining story and I look forward to reading more of Ms. Sharpe’s work.