I find it so hard to put into words how a book makes me feel. Especially if it's been a few weeks since I read/listened to it. So though I've just finished reading/listening to my forty-fourth book of 2015, my review posts have been, well, not as numerous.
I'm going to try to knock out a few of them today in a briefer, roundup version of a review. So in order of when I finished them (newest first), here they are:
Author: Anne Stuart
Release Date: January 1st 2010
Genre: Historical Romance
Blurb: Few outsiders will ever witness the dark misdeeds of the Heavenly Host. And among this secret society, where exiled Georgian aristocrats gather to indulge their carnal desires, fewer still can match the insatiable appetite of their chief provocateur, the mysterious Viscount Rohan.
Pursuit of physical pleasure is both his preferred pastime and his most pressing urge, until he encounters the fascination of a woman who won't be swayed. And while his dark seduction appalls the pure and impoverished Elinor Harriman, she finds herself intrigued...and secretly drawn to the man behind the desire.
I liked a lot about this book. The heroine holds her own against an intimidating Alpha male. She spends the entire book protecting her sister from their mother's bad choices. Because of her selflessness and pluck, I admired Elinor a great deal. I wanted to like Rohan just as much, but this story breaks one of the unwritten (and sometimes written) rules of romance. The hero isn't supposed to have sex with anyone else after he meets the heroine. Rohan does. Several times. To be fair, he and Elinor aren't in a relationship for most of the book. And he hadn't slept with her at that point. Once he does, he doesn't cheat. But the sleeping-together part takes a good three quarters of the book to arrive. That said, the book works anyway...I just can't give it the full 4 or 5 stars because of that.
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Release Date: July 31st 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Blurb: Kitty Norville has been tapped as the keynote speaker for the First International Conference on Paranatural Studies, taking place in London. The conference brings together scientists, activists, protestors, and supernatural beings from all over the world - and Kitty is right in the middle of it. Master vampires from dozens of cities have also gathered in London for a conference of their own, and Kitty gets a glimpse into the power struggle among vampires that has been going on for centuries. But the conference has also attracted some old enemies, who have set their sights on Kitty and her friends. All the world's a stage, and Kitty's just stepped into the spotlight.
I'm actually leaning toward 2.5 stars on this one. Mostly because I'm tired of this series. The first book was tough to get through because of how much of a pushover Kitty is and how abusive the main male is. She redeems herself and grows a lot. She continued to grow through the next few books. Now? Well, I don't think she's done much growing. Now the books feel repetitive. Kitty pisses off someone more powerful than her and somehow manages to talk her way out of it. Usually with the help of someone powerful who she's charmed with her talking. I realize she's a radio host and talking is her thing, but by ten books, I'm kind of done with the whole "just watch, she can talk her way out of anything" resolution of each book. I kept reading because I wanted to see what happened with the bounty hunter/assassin Cormac, but what the author did with him has me gnashing my teeth. I read the blurb on the next book and have no interest in diving in yet again. Maybe in another six months. Maybe never.
Author: Alisha Rai
Release Date: March 1st 2009
Genre: Erotic romance
Blurb: They’re craving something sweet. She likes it spicy.
For Marcus Callahan, a love-’em-and-leave-’em attitude isn’t only a necessary evil of their kink. It’s a protective device. Lately, though, his brother Jace has been making noises about craving something more.
Jace’s dissatisfaction with their lifestyle grows with every glimpse of sweet little Devi. Yet Marcus is too haunted by the pain of their shared past to give love a chance.
Despite their reputation for vanishing with the dawn, they discover one night with Devi isn’t nearly enough. And Devi finds herself falling in love with two very different men.
It’ll take more than explosive sex to light up the shadows surrounding the Callahan brothers’ secrets. But Devi’s never been afraid of the dark…
Devi Malik knows how to heat things up. She does it every night as head chef in her family’s Indian restaurant. Her love life, though, is stuck in the subzero freezer. Now, with a chance to fulfill a secret fantasy with her long-time crush and his brother, it’s time to put her desire on the front two burners.
Warning: This title contains two sizzling men for the price of one, ménage a trois, oral sex, anal sex, fun toys, great food, and creative uses for syrup and dressing rooms.
I'd made a tentative goal/challenge to read more diverse books this year. This is the first one I tried. I didn't really get a diverse feeling from it. The only part of it that counts is that Devi is of Indian-descent. So I'm not sure I can count this. I'm a little disappointed because of that.
But, the book was good. A ménage with some serious hot scenes and two mouth-watering identical, alpha twins, how could it not be good? There was just enough conflict in there to keep my attention. And for those who like a little story with their sex, this will appeal. If you like a lot of plot, you might want to stay away.
Author: Larissa Ione
Release Date: July 23rd 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Blurb: Nicole Martin was only eight years old when the vampire slaves rose up in rebellion and killed her family. Now she devotes her life to finding a vaccine against vampirism, hoping to wipe out her memories--along with every bloodsucker on the planet. But there's one thing she cannot destroy: her searing, undeniable attraction for the one man she should hate and fear the most.
A member of the renegade vampire MoonBound Clan, Riker is haunted by demons of his own. When he recognizes Nicole and remembers how her family enslaved his loved ones, his heart burns for vengeance. But when he kidnaps Nicole and holds her in a secret lair, his mortal enemy becomes his sole obsession, his greatest temptation, and, perhaps, his only salvation--a hot-blooded lover who could heal him with her touch . . . or bury him forever.
Ms. Ione does a slightly different take on vampires in the Moonbound Clan Vampires series. In this, vampires are captured and sold to human families as slaves. The free vampires live in colonies hidden within the forests outside cities. There are different vampire clans that fight amongst themselves on top of trying to stay safe from human poachers and the corporations that want to make money by slaving or experimenting on them. It's an interesting idea and one I enjoyed listening to.
This particular romance features a strong and intelligent heroine who is the CEO of the corporation responsible for the worst vampire treatment (but who doesn't know the extent of how bad it is). The hero is the vampire she believes killed her beloved vampire nanny when she was a kid. And he blames her family for the nanny, his mate's death. They both have some serious chips on their shoulders about one another, which makes their attraction to each other all the more fun to read/listen to.
Author: Chantal Fernando
Release Date: May 12th 2014
Genre: Erotic Romance/Motorcycle Club
Blurb: When I found my boyfriend cheating on me, I did something stupid.
Or should I say, someone?
Because of that mistake, I’m now stuck in a world I don’t belong in.
I’m a law student. They’re criminals. He’s the vice president of a motorcycle club. I’m a good girl with a strict upbringing. He’s my ex-boyfriend’s brother.
And I’m screwed.
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Unfortunately for this author, I read a Joanna Wylde MC book a few weeks ago (Reaper's Legacy), and couldn't help comparing the two. Both feature women who got knocked up and tried to escape and the MC guy who brings them back so he can take care of them.
I hadn't rated the Wylde book that highly (3.5 stars I think?) because the hero was a man whore. This book I won't be rating even that high. The hero Dex is initially a man-whore but does cut it out when he brings the heroine back with him. So at least that's good.
My primary issue with this book was that I didn't like the heroine. She was mouthy and did things I thought a woman in her situation really ought not do. There's not a lot of explanation for why she does any of it either beyond that she says and does the first thing that comes to mind.
There were plenty of times I didn't care for the hero as well. There's one particular ass-hat comment he makes in a fight that would have made me DNF the book if I weren't already 70% of the way through.
The comments about people they've killed put me off as well.
But the unforgivable thing--the thing that brought the rating down the lowest for me--is that the sex scenes did nothing for me. There's not a lot of mention of how the heroine feels during these encounters. There's only explanations of what went where and how. In other words, Telling not Showing is a big, big issue. Actually, it's an issue all through the novel now that I think about it.
So if you like your novels to be stripped of a lot of the sensory details and include mostly dialogue, this might be for you.
Author: Sparrow Beckett
Release Date: July 21st 2015
Genre: Erotic Romance
Blurb: Kate’s fantasies have always featured sexy, dominant, crop-wielding men, but finding one in real life was easier said than done. She’s used to getting what she wants, but the creeps that keep flirting with her aren’t her kink.I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Enter Banner. His intensity scares her—he’s looking for a slave, and Kate doesn’t want to be one. But when he offers to help find the perfect Dom for her, she’s glad to have a matchmaker and protector.
Banner knows he and Kate aren’t sexually compatible, so what better way to get the tasty almost-vanilla girl out of his head than finding her a good Dom? As it becomes clear that Kate has no clue what she wants when it comes to kink, he devises a series of experiments to help her figure things out—a perfect plan, if he could stop himself from training and bedding her. Obsessing about owning a girl who wants to be free isn’t healthy. But when Banner finds the right Dom to collar Kate, how will he hand over the leash?
This book gets 3* because the sex is hot. Very hot. The rest...not so much.
Banner is one of those heroes that's gonna appeal to many as their next book boyfriend. He's just about perfect...except for his taste in women. The heroine Kate has decided she's submissive, yet when confronted with just about every Dom except Banner she's mouthy and doesn't want to let them be in control. She's got some internal dialogue that seemingly explains she's struggling with her upbringing of being self-sufficient to explain it.
And then there's her behavior... *sigh* She uses Banner for sex even though they've both agreed their time together is for learning purposes only. At one point she runs naked around Banner's house after he gives her an ultimatum (submit for real or leave), and he chases her even though he knows he shouldn't. That reaction on her part felt really, really immature. I didn't understand her draw for Banner. She really was the mouthy brat his friend called her earlier in the book.
After both assuming they aren't what the other needs because of various internal issues, these two figure out they're perfect for each other and we get our HEA. Again, I didn't love this because of the heroine, but if you can get past that, it's a decent, sexy read.
Challenge updates:Several of these books counted toward my reading challenges.
- Anne Stuart, Alisha Rai, Chantal Fernando, and Sparrow Beckett were New To Me. That brings me up to a total of ten NTM titles this year.
- I listened to Kitty Steals the Show and Bound by Night on audiobook. That makes six this year (that I've reviewed).
- Glutton for Pleasure, Dragon's Lair, and Finding Master Right bring me to a total of seven erotic romances.
- Ruthless makes six historical romances.
Here are the counts:
New To Me - 10
Audiobook - 6
Erotic romance - 7
Historical romance - 6