Category Archives: D REVIEWS

Review: Heat Rises by Alice Gaines

Publisher: Avon
Where did you get the book: e-ARC
Release date: Out now

Snowbound in a cabin . . . able to live out all her fantasies . . .

Laura Barber has dreamt of doing unspeakably delicious things with Ethan Gould for years. Now, stuck in a mountain cabin, she just might get her shot. Ethan offers her the chance to live out each and every one of those desires. They may be rivals in the business world, but in the bedroom they’re a perfect match. Knowing they have only a few days, Laura shakes off all her inhibitions. Every secret need, every lust-filled thought . . . it’s all fair game.

*blurb taken from Edelweiss*

Trying to find erotic romance these days without multiple peens is actually quite a feat. So when I saw the short over at Edelweiss, I really liked the sound of the blurb.

Unfortunately, Heat Rises ended up being a miss for me. The character development of Laura and Ethan was non existent, and neither had any personality showing. It was just sex, more sex, and then some more sex. I do expect lots of sex in a erotic romance, but there needs to be emotion and tension alongside it. Laura’s and Ethan’s smexy times at the Cabin was just incredibly clinical. There was no tension strung between the characters to build up the excitement.

Laura wanted her no strings affair with Ethan, and if that’s what she wanted, no problem. But her reasoning was that once she did all the naughty stuff to Ethan, she wanted to forget that she ever did it because she’s not the type of person to do those sort of things. And that’s where I went, huh? Laura’s character I couldn’t understand because I didn’t believe in any of the reasoning for her decisions afterwards when the time with Ethan came to an end. She brushed him off which was incredibly cold and bitchy, and treated Ethan like a piece of meat that she wanted to discard.

This novel was a major miss for me, and I don’t think I would be picking up work by this author again. I give Heat Rises a D.

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Review: Temptation and Twilight by Charlotte Featherstone

Publisher: HQN
Where did you get the book: Netgalley
Release date: Out now

Iain Sinclair, Marquis of Alynwick, is certain there is a special hell for him. An unrepentant rake, he holds nothing sacred – except for beautiful Elizabeth York. For years, Alynwick has tried to forget the woman he loved so well, and treated so badly. A woman who could hold nothing in her heart for him except hatred.

All of society believes Elizabeth, blind daughter of a duke, to be a proper young lady. But no one knows of her wanton affair with Alynwick. When Lizzy learns of her ancestor’s ancient diary – filled with exotic tales – she longs to uncover the identity of the unnamed lover within and hesitantly allows Alynwick, who claims to have knowledge of the “veiled lady,” to help her solve the mystery.

Eager to be Lizzy’s eyes, Alynwick brings the seductive text to life, and each night it takes greater effort for her to forget his betrayal. With each whispered word, her resolve gives way, without her knowing that a centuries-old secret will lead them to a present-day danger.

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

When I read the blurb it caught my attention because I’m a sucker for the ex-lovers trope. It’s also the third in the series, but apart from the overall arc story of the Brethren, I don’t believe I needed to read the other two to follow this romance. Unfortunately, this book didn’t work for me and that was due to the almighty angst-fest that featured throughout the entire novel.

Elizabeth and Iain have a past history when he took her virginity in a lusty affair. Iain left her afterwards with nary a word, and Lizzy has never forgiven him. Iain since then has become a major man-whore with his darkest and deepest desires. In the beginning of the novel, the first page is dedicated to him as being the devil with the blackest of souls. In other non angsting words, his dick enjoys a merry good ole time.

We’re in the present day, and Iain is sleeping with another man’s wife to gain information about Orpheus. He really dislikes her though because she’s skinny and a bitch. But whilst he sleeps with her – and all the other woman for many years – he dreams and thinks of only one in his deepest of hearts, Elizabeth, with her bountiful curves and womanly body. So after he sleeps with Georgina – who happens to be married, and Iain is soon to partake in a duel with her husband — he goes to see Lizzy, and Iain looses all control and becomes a dangerous raving beast when he sees her on the arm of another man. In this scene, I pictured Iain as a caveman, ready to pick Lizzy up and carry her off to his cave to show her that she belongs to him.

And this is pretty much what happens in the entire novel. Iain makes so many moves on Lizzy where in return Lizzy tells Iain how much she hates and despises him, but he still makes her feel all lusty inside. I felt no real emotion between any of them, and because it was so over hyped in the angst stakes that when emotion was tried to be conveyed, it came off as incredibly cheesy and cringeworthy.

Lizzy’s blindness was conveyed well, but I did get a little tired of her complaining that she couldn’t partake in their investigation and discussions anymore. It felt as if she was stamping her foot in a tantrum. It got repetitive when Iain and Lizzy were like this throughout the entire novel with no change in character development. I pretty must lost interest in the Brethren side of things because I couldn’t take it seriously after the antics of Iain.

It seemed that he was stamped with the archetype man-whore emo hero. Lizzy was marginally better, but the fighting between the two just got incredibly tiring. The ending was a love-fest where both proclaimed their love, and again the emotion didn’t feel real to me because of how angsty everything was. I also disliked the stereotypical behaviour she gave to Iain because he was Scottish with his big lusty self and bad temperament.

All in all, this was a big disappointment and it’s very unlikely that I would read a novel by this author again.

I give Temptation and Twilight a D

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Review – Messenger’s Angel by Heather Killough-Walden

Messengers Angel Cover
Publisher: Signet
Publish Date:Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

Since the beginning of time, the archangels have longed to know true love.

When four female angels were created for the four archangels, Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Azrael, a chaos spurred by jealousy erupted, and the archesses were secreted away to Earth. The four favored archangels followed, prompting a search that has lasted millennia…

For hundreds of years, Gabriel has passed himself off as a common Scottish villager. Few know he is the Messenger, a powerful archangel who has secretly scoured the world for the only woman who can complete him. Now, he’s shocked to discover the object of his desire in his own backyard.

Researching her Ph.D. in the Outer Hebrides, Juliette Anderson has always been the rational type—until she looks across a quaint pub into the silver eyes of a stranger. He’s handsome. He’s intense. And he claims her with a searing kiss on the spot.

Every instinct tells her to run. But when a dark force rises, and the truth of her identity is revealed, she must put her faith in the mysterious man who enflames her.
This blurb came from Goodreads.

Back in November I did a joint review with MinnChica on the first book of this series Avenger’s Angel. As I stated in that review I thought the series had potential, so when we were offered a chance to review Messenger’s Angel I went ahead and accepted. Unfortunately this one really didn’t keep my interest.

The three remaining single archangels, now aware that their archesses do exist have hopes that they will encounter them but have not restarted searching. In fact they seemed to just continue their normal existence as they have for thousands of years. They also did not seem to be making any effort towards tracking down the hiding spot of the Adarians even after their experiences with them in Avenger’s Angel. If anything the impression I received of Gabriel was one who was tired of things staying in the same pattern but at the same time not doing anything to change that pattern. On the other hand the Adarians were actively looking for the archesses as well as trying to come up with new ways to rid the world of the archangels. Their leader was certainly evil incarnate and while he had led his men for thousands of years and never actively betrayed any, he had made the decision that it was time to sacrifice the weaker of their number in order to gain a greater advantage over the archangels and therefore the ability to take the archesses for their powers.

Juliette had only recently discovered the fact that she had the ability to do certain things and still really didn’t believe or understand it. While I am sure she was extremely intelligent in her field, outside of that she struck me as not having any common sense and in fact prone to having To Stupid To Live (TSTL) moments which conveniently bring her into the grasp of the Adarians on more then one occasion. She signs a contract with Sam regarding some particular historical research, which brings her to Gabriel’s location. From there she encounters Gabriel, the Adarians, Sam and Lilith. She sways between disbelief, anger and eager acceptance/lust/love. I was not able to buy into her complete switch from anger and hurt at Gabriel’s lies of omission to love/lust during a date that he forced on her. She also had some other strange mental epiphanies that just happened.

I was not very impressed with Gabriel. His method of wooing Juliette consisted of getting personal information that his brother Azrael pulled from her mind and using that to create “perfect dates” etc. Yes he did risk his life for her and tried several times to get her to go to safety, which she didn’t do, but he seemed to be under the impression that he did not need to know who she was as a person or allow her to know him. If he was concerned about what the Adarians were doing and how it would impact not just his archess but those of his brothers’ then he would have made information sharing a priority like they did in the first book.

I found that the things I liked about the first book were sadly lacking in this second installment. Lilith, who played an important role in the first book, appeared to be a shadow of herself without any influence or will of her own. Sam continued manipulating things behind the scenes using his contracts and a few other things but I never had any doubt whose side he was working on. Granted I don’t know his ultimate goal yet but I never had a sense of ambiguity regarding his motives. The interaction between the four brothers outside of fighting the Adarians was extremely limited. The lead-up to the identification of the next archess was extremely obvious from the very first mention of her name. I also noticed some continuity issues for example regarding stolen luggage that then somehow re-appears intact. As a result of the cardboard characters and continuity issues, the potential that I saw in the first book failed to materialize here resulting in a rather disappointing read. While I have hopes that this fell victim to what is referred to at the sophomore slump in a series I have to admit I have my doubts.

I give Messenger’s Angel a D

Links to purchase

Messenger’s Angel: A Novel of the Lost Angels

Review – Hot for Fireman by Jennifer Bernard

Publisher: Avon
Publish Date: Out Now
How I got this book: Edelweiss

 

Ryan Blake got suspended from the San Gabriel firefighters a year and a half ago for a daredevil act that nearly killed someone. Now he’s back in San Gabriel, fighting to return to the force. He takes a job at a local dive, the Hair of the Dog, while he studies for the test that will get him his job back.

But the real test comes in the form of Katie Dane, bar manager. Katie got stuck running the family bar when her father had a heart attack. The place is losing money like crazy and the insurance is about to lapse. Her desperate solution? Burn the place down, collect a million dollars. The only problem–little does she know, her new bartender is actually a firefighter.

Can a professional fireman and a wannabe firebug ever manage to get along? More importantly, can they stay away from each other and/or keep from ruining each other’s careers? Not likely. This is San Gabriel, after all.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

 

I really liked Ryan after reading the first book in the series, so although the blurb had me kinda worried, I decided to take a chance.

Ryan is coming off a year long suspension, and desperately wants his job back as a San Gabriel Firefighter. But in order to get back on the force, he will have to take a test. So in the meantime he takes a job as a bartender at a hole-in-the-wall dive bar only a few blocks from the station. Ryan actual enjoys working at the bar, especially since he can tease his manager Katie all day long.

Katie is helping her folks out by running the family bar. She doesn’t know what she is doing, doesn’t know how to pay the bills, and is at a loss for what to do. When she realizes a fire would pay out their insurance money, she decides that might be the best course of action. But Ryan is there at her every attempt. But despite her fire-starting tendencies, Ryan is attracted to her, and the fire between them heats up to dangerous levels.

I love fireman, but for some reason this book did not work for me. I had a lot of issues with it that only seemed to escalate as the book went on. The biggest problem in this book for me was the whole drama surrounding the bar, and Katie’s desire to torch it. Call me crazy, but I would think MOST people would know that Insurance companies take arson very seriously, and an insurance payout in those cases don’t come easy. In my opinion, Katie thinking she could burn the place down and not only NOT get in trouble, but also get a full insurance payout is just ludicrous. Then the lengths that she goes to, just seemed to ridiculous and over the top to the point that it pulled me out of the little bit of enjoyment the story was holding.

I did like Ryan’s character. I thought we got a great look at his history, what makes him tick and has made him the man he is today. I enjoyed getting to hear more about his father and see him with Brody’s young daughter. Ryan was the one and only reason that I continued to read this book through the finish. Unlike Ryan, I didn’t feel any kind of connection to Katie, while she was sweet in doing a favor for her family, I also felt as if she let them walk all over her, and whined about her situation instead of actually doing something to fix it. I wanted more from her character, and felt as if she was a somewhat hollow character.

In addition to that, I didn’t understand their romance either. It was obviously stated they were attracted to one another, but I never really felt their relationship come through. I never really understood WHY they were attracted to one another, and had a difficult time really becoming invested in their relationship. That being said, there were a few scenes that I did enjoy reading: namely the fireman stripping scene. That was great!

All in all I wasn’t impressed with the second installment of the Bachelor Fireman of San Gabriel series. I thought the whole plot surrounding burning down the bar was poorly done and too over-the-top for me to actually enjoy. Had it not been for my love of Ryan, I would have quit reading in the middle of the book.
I give Hot for Fireman a D

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Review: No Tan Lines by Kate Angell

Publisher: Kensington
Where did you get the book: Review copy from Publisher
Release date: May 29th

There’s a place where the ocean meets the shore, where kicking off your shoes and baring some skin is as natural as sneaking under the boardwalk for an ice cream cone and stolen kisses.

But life isn’t all beach for Shaye Cates, even if her idea of an office is a shady umbrella at the water’s edge, equipped with cell phone and lap top.

Trace Saunders is her upstanding, button-down albeit handsome nemesis. He thinks only of business.

A century-old feud has separated their families. Yet a volleyball tournament and kids’ baseball games draw them together. Beneath the twinkling lights of the ferris wheel, the magic of sea and sand soon sweep away their rivalry.

Suddenly it’s summertime…and the lovin’ is easy.

*blurb taken from author’s official website*

No Tan Lines feels like like a summer read, but I found the story to be very slow with lots of pages of Shaye and Trace antagonizing one another, but with no real tension between them. I just found the characters to be a little predictable with Shaye as the laid back business person, and Trace as the uptight rich owner. I also found it to be too hokey with Shaye’s mood ring turning red with arousal, black when she was moody and so on when she was with Trace. I remember mood rings back when I was a kid where you could get them from cereal packs, and they changed colours due to the warmth that was applied to them from the skin.

I also wasn’t a fan of some secondary characters such as Nicole, who used sex with Trace to get a shop. I wasn’t at all interested in her romance with Shaye’s cousin Kai, and got frustrated with the change in character POV.

There’s no romance in sight long after the halfway point; there’s just lots of talk about the town and the volleyball tournament. Where there is a smexy scene, I didn’t find it to be very emotive or sexy. There was so much going on in the book that that Trace’s and Shaye’s romance suffered.

When Duane, Shaye’s brother arrives, we get his POV also and I find adding a new POV when there’s a quarter of the book to go very strange. So far there’s been Shaye’s, Trace’s, Nicole’s, and Kat’s POV. That is way too many narrators for the length of this book, and I didn’t understand why an editor didn’t pick up on this. And then to start another secondary romance with Duane and Sophie, Trace’s sister, I thought was way too late in the book. With all this happening, there’s hardly any page time with Shaye and Trace.

The secondary storyline with Duane and Sophie was never resolved. Trace’s and Shaye’s romance was quickly sped up at the end with them getting getting married with both families not approving. It’s obvious that Duane and Sophie have been set up for the next book. Overall, I thought the plot was a mess with too many character POV’s. too many secondary storylines, and a very weak romance with Shaye and Trace.

I give No Tan Lines a D.

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Joint Review: Learning from Isaac by Dev Bentham

Publisher: Loose-id
Where did you get the book: e-ARC from author
Release date: Out now

Nathan Kohn has been teaching Aquatic Science at St. Genevieve College for 15 years. It’s not a perfect situation, but he’s resigned to being a gay man in a straight culture, a Jew among Catholics and single in a world of couples. Until the stunningly attractive Isaac Wolf appears in his classroom. Isaac is a few years older than his fellow students, brilliant, self-composed and Jewish. Wouldn’t Nathan’s mother be pleased? Except, of course, relationships between faculty and students are forbidden, especially those not sanctioned by the Church.

Isaac has his own secrets, which Nathan finds out when he visits the racy new club downtown where boys can be bought in the back room. Behind the beaded curtain, the man on his knees turns out to be Isaac. What happens in the club stays there, right? Except Nathan’s mind isn’t the only thing Isaac blows, and Nathan can’t stop thinking about that night. But what kind of future can there be for a college professor and a rent boy?

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

Lou: MinnChica and I didn’t have enough good things to say about Moving in Rhythm. So it’s with sadness that I’m writing this negative review about Learning from Isaac. I first want to say that this author is a very talented writer and has a great author voice, but the plot of Isaac and the character, Nathan, left me with a distasteful feeling which I’ll get to later on in the review. Firstly, there is not much pace in this book. It’s very slow and nothing seems to happen, and it was also weak in character development. Nathan is a 40 year something college professor who keeps fantasising about his student, Isaac, who is in his mid 20’s. Isaac returns Nathan’s attraction, but nothing can happen because they are student and teacher. This is where things turned sour for me because of what happens in the club, when Nathan sees that Isaac is a prostitute. Knowing he’s his professor, Nathan still lets his friend pay for a backroom blowjob with Isaac. And from there, the story went downhill fast for me.

MinnChica: I absolutely adored Moving in Rhythm, everything about it was wonderfully done, so when we got the chance to review Bentham’s newest release, I jumped on the chance to joint review it with Lou. I have to admit I was a little leary based off the blurb. There have been very few books in which theme works for me: professor/student. Maybe it’s just because I had older professors, but there is something about the age gap and the their roles that can occasionally set me off. While I wanted to love this book, it just didn’t work out that way for me. I had a hard time connecting with both Nathan and Isaac, and I had an especially hard time once Isaac’s secret for paying for school was revealed.

Lou: Yes, that’s what my major issue was with the book. How Nathan interacted with Isaac just seemed to be too creepy for my taste. In that club scene, knowing that Isaac was terrified, knowing that he had been beaten black and blue not long ago, knowing that he was selling himself which must have caused Isaac agony, Nathan went and had his encounter with Isaac, and afterwards claimed to his creepy friend, Kenny, that it was the most astonishing encounter of his life. It just left me feeling horrible for Isaac’s behalf, and I didn’t understand what Isaac saw in Nathan.

MinnChica: I agree, that scene was not an easy one to read. For me, adding the fact that Nathan was sooooo adamant about them not having any kind of relationship until Isaac graduated, it seemed sleazy to me. I wanted to be able to cheer these two on, to see them overcome and have a decent relationship, but pretty much from the club scene and forward, I had a really hard time believing in them. Like Lou said, I didn’t know what Isaac saw in Nathan, and I didn’t see how Nathan had or ever would come to grips with Isaac’s past. Especially since it seemed as if they never really dealt with it.

Lou: I kind of felt that Isaac was more mature that Nathan. Isaac kept telling Nathan, are you going to be able to deal with what I did if we’re together. Nathan said yes, it’s your past, you can move on. Then what does Nathan go and do? He goes and throws a tantrum towards Isaac, and is incredibly cruel when people recognise Isaac from the club and makes inappropriate comments. I was like, dude, what’s the matter with you. But Nathan wasn’t the only aspect of the book I didn’t get. Some of the descriptions left me gagging because they were really unsexy. The spit dripping down to the knuckles, lips stained greasy from steak, sour morning breath — and the cucumber scene where Isaac jokes if it breaks in half, Nathan can shit it out…I really really wanted to stop reading there and then.

MinnChica: Yeah, the sexy scenes in this book didn’t really work for me, and thankfully, haven’t stuck with me either. I almost forgot about the cucumber scene until you brought it up (Thanks for nothing…). I think the only thing I did like about this book was Nathan’s mother. She was spunky and loved her son regardless of his faults. She also accepted Isaac with open arms, even after he admitted bits and pieces of his past. She pushed for them to move and start over fresh in someplace where they could both have a clean slate and nothing in their pasts following them. Other than that, this book really just didn’t work very well for me.

Lou: Yeah, Nathan’s mom was pretty cool. I liked how she pushed her son, because it was obvious to see Nathan wasn’t very pro-active. I just didn’t buy their HEA. Nathan apologies to Isaac, and it’s all happy ever after. I didn’t see Isaac coming to terms with what he did because it was obvious in the book that it affected him. I also think the age gap in this novel didn’t work for me. Nathan came off as way too slimy for my liking, and I do think Isaac was taken advantage of in that club scene. Nathan is a college professor, and I find it incredibly hard to believe that he would act like he did without any thought or care about the moral repercussions afterwards. All he thought about was ‘sexy’ Isaac. For me, this novel didn’t work, though I’ll definitely read more novels from this author in future. I give Learning from Isaac a D-

MinnChica: All in all while I wanted to like this book, it really fell short for me. I didn’t like the way that Nathan treated Isaac throughout the course of their friendship and relationship. I felt as if Isaac didn’t stand up for himself enough against Nathan, and that the two just didn’t seem to have a really loving and solid relationship. However, I will definitely be willing to try more books by Bentham in the future, given how incredible Moving in Rhythm was.
I give Learning from Isaac a D+

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