The Widow's Auction by Sabrina Jeffries
Published by Berkley Intermix on August 16, 2016
“She and Lord Warbrooke together? The very idea was absurd, impossible…Entrancing.”
FINAL DECISION: I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. The story is very compact and tight and thus it works well. I enjoyed the characters interaction which covers a lot of ground for such a short story.
THE STORY: Isobel, Lady Kingsley is a widow who has dedicated herself to charitable causes. Her nemesis is Justin, Lord Warbrooke. The two strike sparks off of one another as they take opposite sides. Isobel, however, also has several secrets. One of them is that she found the marriage bed unsatisfying with her deceased husband. Convinced by her dear friend to participate in the notorious Widow’s Auction, Isobel hopes to find some passion. Isobel is shocked when Lord Warbrooke purchases her favors for the night. Although masked, Isobel worries about Justin discovering her identity. Then as the two discover something special together, Isobel knows that her secrets prevent any chance of happiness between them. What she doesn’t know is that Justin already knows who she is.
OPINION: This is a short novella so it doesn’t have the complexity or depth of a full length work. Despite that, however, this story really worked for me. I liked Isobel and Justin who clearly have an attraction to one another from the beginning. The majority of the story is spent on how they discover the real person beyond the one they thought they knew. For a story about purchasing a night of sex, these two quickly enter a personal emotional intimacy with one another which culminates in sex rather than just being about sex. (Not that the sex isn’t hot as well).
I also liked Justin a great deal because he always treats Isobel with respect. In fact, the purchases the night with her because he respects her (and he doesn’t want anyone else to have her). I liked that these two have passions in common and an ability to recognize the good in one another.
Many times I wish than a novella had been written as a full length novel. This story, I think is good as it is.
WORTH MENTIONING: THE WIDOW’S AUCTION was previously published in FANTASY.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE WIDOW’S AUCTION is a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this novella 4.5 stars.
Beauty and the Billionaire (Billionaire Boys Club, #2) by Jessica Clare
Series: Billionaire Boys Club #2
Published by Berkley Intermix on July 16th 2013
FINAL DECISION: Disappointing because I did not find the story interesting beyond the concept and I felt no connection between the hero and heroine.
THE STORY: Hunter Buchanan lives alone with his scarred face and body. When he sees Gretchen Petty, he wants to find a way to get her into his life so he arranges for her to be offered a book deal that requires her to live in his mansion for a month. Gretchen needs money and some space so she accepts the job. Things go wrong when she meets Hunter for the first time when he is in the nude. As Gretchen tries to convince Hunter that she is interested in him, she has to overcome his aloneness and his mistrust.
OPINION: I love Beauty and the Beast stories and this one had an interesting concept. Unfortunately, I didn’t like much else about the book. I found the heroine annoying, self-absorbed and pretty thoughtless. For two people who lived together for a month, there didn’t seem to be much between them except sex and frankly that wasn’t that exciting either.
I was bored by the entire plot of the book and couldn’t wait for it to end. For me, I just felt that Hunter would realize that there are better women out there once he got some experience and opened himself up to other people. It’s not a good sign when I hope the couple doesn’t get together.
WORTH MENTIONING: Virgin hero.
CONNECTED BOOKS: BEAUTY AND THE BILLIONAIRE is the second book in the Billionaire Boys Club series. It can be read as a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 1.5 stars.
Visions of Heat (Psy-Changeling, #2) by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling #2
Published by Berkley Intermix on March 1, 2007
Fabulous Entry in the Psy-Changeling Series
The story of a woman isolated from the world and the man who draws her to discover more about herself than she could imagine. Singh’s Psy-Changeling series is a paranormal romance series where the Psy are a race that has eliminated emotion from their people. They coexist with humans and changelings (half human, half animal).
THE STORY: Faith NightStar is an F-Psy. She foresees the future for the business interests of her family and the Psy. She has been isolated since she was three years old. Something has changed and she foresees a murder. Faith begins to have questions. In her investigations, she runs into Vaughn D’Angelo, a jaguar changeling who is a sentinel with the DarkRiver leopards. Faith and Vaughn are drawn together again and again. They end up hunting another Psy murderer who seems to be threatening Faith in her mind.
OPINION: VISIONS OF HEAT is a compelling book. The combination of the cold, emotionless Psy and the sensual, emotional Changelings make a great deal of tension. This disparity in how the characters see the world make this a true different worlds story. I loved the character of Faith. For a woman who has been isolated her entire life, she is not weak. She grows and stretches throughout the story and I appreciated that. I also really liked that Vaughn knows that she is a strong woman even when Faith doesn’t. One of my favorite scenes is where Faith is fighting the evil that surrounds her and sees that Vaughn has watched over her but not interfered. When she asks why, he says that he knew that she could handle it. Although admittedly dominating and possessive, Vaughn is empowering in surprising ways. The plot of the story develops the overarching story of the series, but is also self-contained and doesn’t require that a reader be familiar with prior book in the series. Finally, I love the very sensual, lush way that Singh writes in this book without being purple prose. It reflects the life of the changelings and I really appreciate how she changes in tone depending on what part of the world is being discussed.
WORTH MENTIONING: Fans of SLAVE TO SENSATION will be happy to know that Sascha and Lucas play important roles in this book.
FINAL DECISION: I have been very impressed with this series. The writing, characters and plot have been excellent and I recommend it.
CONNECTED BOOKS: VISIONS OF HEAT is the second book in the Psy-Changeling series. I reader does not have to read the first book in the series, although the story will be better appreciated with the background of that book.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.