Review: Twist

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: TwistTwist by Kylie Scott
Series: Dive Bar #2
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 11th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: A wonderful quirky romance between two flawed humans.  Kylie Scott never disappoints in making her characters feel real and honest and TWIST is no exception.  Loved the characters!

THE STORY:  Joe Collins has always been the good brother.  When his younger brother Eric wants to sign up for an online dating service, Joe helps him but ends up connecting with one of his brother’s matches.  Under the identity of his brother, Joe corresponds with Alex Parks for months until Alex decides to surprise Eric on his birthday.

OPINION:  Twist features such wonderful characters that I loved every moment of the book.  Joe is a genuine good guy who makes the “mistake” of adopting his brother’s persona to email a woman who catches his interest.  I liked how Joe falls into doing something that is completely against his nature — but the truth is that it might have been the right thing to do ultimately.

Joe is so wonderful a man. A bartender, a builder, someone who has done his best even when taken advantage of by those he cares for.  He cares for Alex even when she is angry with him and takes on so much onto himself for everyone around him.  I liked how considerate he is and how he is able to accept all of Alex’s neuroses with equanimity.

Alex is a woman of incredible contradictions — as are we all.  Talented as a graphic artist, she has trouble with social interactions.  Her fears make her veer away from the possibility of being hurt.  She has meaningless sexual relationships as a way of placing distance between herself and others. Joe challenges her at every turn.

I especially liked in this book how Joe and Alex have a funny and sweet relationship that becomes incredibly hot and intense.  How can you not love a guy who takes care of a woman who is at her absolute worst. Joe works to help Alex become the best she can be which means challenging herself.  Joe needs help as well.  These two nicely balance one another.

This book was almost a 5 star book, but the end of the book has a crisis which disrupts Joe to an incredible extent.  Both Alex and Joe relapse into their comfort zones a bit.  That causes a problem in their relationship which is resolved too quickly and easily for my tastes.  Too much of a serious situation is resolved off stage for me.  Even with that caveat, I loved this book and recommend it.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Mal!

CONNECTED BOOKS:  TWIST is the second book in the Dive Bar series.  The book can be read as a standalone although a lot of characters appear in the prior book so you might enjoy it more knowing more about the interrelationships.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: The Billionaires

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The BillionairesThe Billionaires by Calista Fox
Series: Lover's Triangle #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 336
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I liked this book, but I didn’t want to read more.  It was enough to read it once.  The story set up was good, but I didn’t think that the book truly developed and dealt the complexity of the relationship. I ended the book wondering if this relationship can last.

THE STORY:  Jewel Catalano, Rogen Angelini and Vin D’Angelo were childhood friends.  Rogen was Jewel’s first love until the two ended up in a Romeo and Juliet situation with feuding Wine country families.  Jewel turned to Vin but that also went wrong.  Now Jewel has returned and she still can’t seem to resist either man — and maybe she doesn’t want to.

OPINION:  I wanted to like this book more. I liked the interaction between the characters and the complexity of menage relationship, but I thought that the story did not truly work through the issues with these characters.  Instead, there was a lot of sexual scenes that did not advance the problems these characters have with their relationship.

I liked that there was real tension between these characters including jealously and worries about being the third wheel.  At times those issues were addressed in this book…my complaint is that it wasn’t addressed to the extent that the problem demanded.

I really had a problem with the history of the relationship between Jewel and Vin because the two managed to lie by omission to Rogen.  I just couldn’t respect Vin for taking up with his best friend’s girl when they were teenagers.  The supposedly close friendship and relationship between the characters seems false in light of the lies in the past.

I did think that the actual plot of the book where Jewel is working toward getting a piece of property in order to build an inn was more successful.  I liked how the three traveled around putting together the deal and also having sexy adventures.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a true menage story with emotional connections between the parties.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE BILLIONAIRES is the first book in the Lover’s Triangle series.

STAR RATING:   I give this book 3 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

three-stars

Review: Dangerous Pleasure

Review: Dangerous PleasureDangerous Pleasure (Bound Hearts, #12) by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #12
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on July 5th 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 293
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: Enjoyable read with a lot of suspense, this menage book isn’t as strong as others in the series in the emotional aspects.

THE STORY:  Abram Mustafa has wanted Paige Galbraith for years. After the murder of his wife, Abram has held himself apart in order to protect those he might care about — including Paige. Now Paige has been kidnapped by Abram’s father and Abram must protect her while he also gives in to the intense passion between them.

OPINION: This book has yet another twist on the menages in Bound Hearts. In this one Abram has his cousin for a third.  He tries to get Paige and his cousin to form an emotional connection, but it is clear that Paige will only want and love him. Paige, therefore, wants more emotional connection than Abram wants to give.

This book has less sex than the previous books in the series (not that there isn’t a lot of hot sex).  There is a more traditional romantic suspense story.  The emphasis in the story is on the immediate events, thus we learn less about these characters apart from their relationship and the adventures they are engaged in.

My biggest problem with the story is that I didn’t really buy into the reasons that Abram stayed away from Paige. His past is explained too much and there wasn’t really an emotional component with his pain in the past.  As a result, I could understand his reluctance to get involved with Paige because of his concern with his brother’s reaction.  What I didn’t get was his turning Paige away after they were already sexually involved.

While I enjoyed the story overall, I wish there was more about the emotional life of these characters to intrigue me.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book has a MMF menage that is rooted in a MF relationship.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  DANGEROUS PLEASURE is the twelfth book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone although it is closely connected with book 11, GUILTY PLEASURE. It continues the story started in that book.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Forbidden Pleasure

Review: Forbidden PleasureForbidden Pleasure (Bound Hearts, #8) by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #8
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on December 28th 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 352
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  The Bound Hearts turns in a different direction with married characters bringing another man into their marriage for the first time.  This book also has a suspense element that works to move the story along.

THE STORY: John “Mac” McCoy was a member of The Club, a place for men to find like minded souls to engage in menage relationships.  He gave that up when he married Keiley Hardin three years ago.  Mac knew that Keiley was too innocent to be involved in Mac’s sexual excesses.  Three years have changed their relationship, however.  Mac sees that Keiley is more sexually secure and more reluctantly intrigued by Mac’s sexual past.  He decides to invites his best friend and usual menage partner Jethro Riggs to be the third person in his relationship with Keiley.

OPINION:  This book has a different premise than the previous ones in this series.  Keiley is not looking for a menage.  She married her husband and expected a traditional relationship.  Even more, Mac and Keiley have been married for three years. Now things are changing.

In this book, Keiley has to be persuaded into the lifestyle that Mac enjoys. Then both Keiley and Jethro have to be convinced that it is okay to have a relationship of emotional connection and not just sex.

This story has a more complicated menage relationship because there is more than sex involved. In truth, this book is partly about the romance between Keiley and Jethro. There are feelings of love and betrayal and fear that are explored here rather than mere sexual experiences.  I found the book more emotionally challenging than others in the series.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book is about a menage relationship that is emotional as well as sexual.  These three end up as a family unit.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  FORBIDDEN PLEASURE is book eight of the Bound Hearts series.  This book can be read as a standalone because the characters are only tangentially connected to the ones at The Club which dominates the rest of the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: For Maggie’s Sake

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: For Maggie’s SakeFor Maggie's Sake by Lora Leigh
Series: Tempting SEALS #3
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on December 13th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  This is a very hot story about a second chance at love.  The story has a lot of heat and some angst and drama as the main characters have to confront their past.

THE STORY:  Maggie Samuels is a recent widow who is suspected of participating in the rape and drug crimes of her late husband.  Joe Merino was Maggie’s husband’s best friend — or at least he thought he was.  It turned out he did not know his best friend at all.  Maggie’s husband held jealous feelings toward Joe and part of that was convincing Maggie to marry him after her breakup with Joe.  Now Joe is determined to find out the truth about Maggie’s involvement.

OPINION:  This novella focuses intensely on Joe and Maggie which is good thing considering the length.  Most of the story takes place with the two of them alone. I thought the sexual attraction between them worked and also I did feel their remaining problems were well resolved here.

The story was short and uncomplicated and was resolved as might be expected, but in a short novella that is a good thing. The focus is on the relationship between Joe and Maggie.  My only slight disappointment is that things are really quickly resolved between them as to the past.  Most of the story is about the lingering mistrust that Maggie feels.

I really enjoy these two characters and their journey together. This novella was good enough that I’d really like to read more of the series because I liked the characters.

WORTH MENTIONING:  FOR MAGGIE’S SAKE was previously published in the REAL MEN DO IT BETTER anthology.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  FOR MAGGIE’S SAKE is the third book in the Tempting SEALS series.  This book can be read as a standalone even though it clearly refers to events in other books.  I haven’t read any of the rest of the series but I understood and enjoyed this novella.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

three-half-stars

Review: Only Pleasure: Part Three

Review: Only Pleasure: Part ThreeOnly Pleasure: Part 3 by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #10
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on November 15th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Great conclusion to the book.  I would recommend just buying the novel in one whole, but if buying in parts gets you to read this book, then go ahead.

THE STORY:  Chase and Ria have reached a crisis point.  Chase realizes that he wants more than mere sex from Ria, but Ria now doesn’t trust in their relationship.  As this part begins, Chase is trying to press his case while dangers from the past threaten them both.

OPINION:  This section of the novel pulls both the relationship and the suspense story together to an exciting conclusion.  I liked how the emotional relationship between Ria and Chase has changed.  As they reach the end of the book, it is obvious how their relationship has changed.  Chase has opened himself up to Ria and now they have an emotional connection as well as a sexual one.  A reprise of the menage demonstrates how their relationship has changed.  It is a nice closure to the book and gives perspective.

As a whole, I enjoyed this book.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book also at the end introduces the next book in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This is the final part of the novel.  It should only be read after the first two parts of the book.  ONLY PLEASURE is book 10 of the Bound Hearts series.  The book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Only Pleasure: Part Two

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Only Pleasure: Part TwoOnly Pleasure: Part 2 by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #10
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on November 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  After the developments of the first part of this novel where the sexual relationship between Kia and Chase began, this book is about the emotional connection developing between them.  I feel that this book is the guts of Chase’s emotional journey but you have to read the last part to know what happens.

THE STORY:  Kia and Chase have entered into a sexual relationship that involves a third person.  Kia has decided that merely being involved with Chase sexually is not enough for her and demands that if he wants to see her, they must have something more than sex.  Chase who has spent years distancing himself from intimacy doesn’t know how to respond when he thinks he should stay away from Kia but can’t resist her.

OPINION:  I liked this portion of the book because Chase is really beginning to be challenged here.  He thinks that he has everything figured out but he can’t seem to get Kia out of his mind.  Kia also begins to change here.  She is done being a doormat and instead demands what she wants.  This portion is Kia’s empowerment and Chase’s downfall.  Just as he begins to want her more than he expected, he is now afraid that he needs her more than she needs him.

I like these characters as they are developing their relationship both in the bedroom and out.  This portion of the book also pushes forward the suspense story as Kia is in danger.  The question is who is trying to hurt her and why.

By the time this part finished, I was certainly read to read part three to find out what happens.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Please read my review of part one before reading this review.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This is the second part of the full novel which has been divided into three parts and thus must be read together.  The book ONLY PLEASURE is book 10 in the Bound Hearts series.  This book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Only Pleasure: Part One

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Only Pleasure: Part OneOnly Pleasure: Part 1 by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #10
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on November 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  This is a good start to the book.  I know that this book was not originally intended to be broken up into three parts so the story is incomplete here, but I enjoyed the relationship developing between Chase and Kia.

THE STORY:  Two years ago, Kia Rutherford’s life was shattered when her husband tried to force her into a threesome.  Now things have changed as Kia meets up with Chase Falladay, the man she has thought about for years.  When Chase and his friend Khalid take her on a car ride, she finds herself in the middle of a threesome that she had rejected with her ex-husband.  But the truth is that Kia has always had feelings for Chase but she fears that he only wants the sexual relationship from her while she wants something more.

OPINION:  This portion of the book focuses on the beginning of the relationship between Chase and Kia.  While Khalid is part of the menage, the emotional relationship is clearly between Kia and Chase.  The two begin their sexual relationship in this portion of the book.  As this portion reaches its conclusion, the question is whether or not their relationship will be something other than sexual pleasure.

As the book begins, Chase is a man who doesn’t want attachments after he was betrayed by a woman.  While he cannot stay away from Kia, he tries to convince himself that he is only interested in the sexual relationship.  Yet Chase cannot help but be possessive of Kia.

Kia is a woman who was shattered and has kept herself away from others for two years.  Her intense relationship with Chase begins to thaw her emotions.  She begins to try and take back her life after the destruction her ex-husband wrought.

There are two dramatic plot stories also involved in this book.  There is the continued stalking done by Kia’s ex-husband.  There is also the revenge related to the death of the woman that betrayed Chase.

This short portion gives readers a good taste of the Bound Hearts series, but it needs to be read as part of the whole book.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book, like the Bound Hearts series, contains a MMF menage.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This is part one of a three part division of the original novel. The novel is book 10 in the Bound Hearts series.  This book can be read as a standalone although there are overlapping characters.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Secret Pleasure

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Secret PleasureSecret Pleasure by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #13
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on August 18th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 368
Goodreads
three-half-stars

“They were bound. She couldn’t break that bond, couldn’t escape it, now matter how she tried when her conscious mind ruled her.”

THE STORY: At age 18, Alyssa Hampstead is trying to get away from her overbearing mother and her political aspirations of her father. One night she meets Sebastian De Loren and his cousin Shane Conner. There is an instant connection between the three although Alyssa has no intention of getting involved with these two heartthrobs. The cousins want the beautiful young woman but know that they cannot hope to begin a relationship with her under the eyes of her parents. Instead, they plan on meeting up with her in Spain without her knowledge. The three begin an intense relationship that seems to be satisfying for all three of them, but one day they are torn apart by blackmail and threats. It is not until eight years later that the three come together again. The danger still remains, however, and this time someone may not survive.

OPINION: I liked the mystery in this story more than the romance. I was intrigued by the dangers that continued to threaten this trio. I also really liked the connection between the characters. It is not always easy to write a three sided relationship but Leigh has done this several times already. I didn’t feel that Alyssa’s connection with Shane was as well developed as her relationship with Sebastian. That diminished my enjoyment of this story because part of the trio didn’t seem as understandable. I did really enjoy the protectiveness that the cousins show Alyssa. The pain that all three of these characters endure because of their separation was well described and simply heartbreaking. This story is also pretty hot although I have read better ones by Leigh. Overall a good read but not the best of the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: Readers should be aware that this book features a MMF menage relationship.

FINAL DECISION: This was one of the Bound Heart series where the story was definitely more interesting than I expected. The mystery of who was threatening Alyssa kept the story moving. I didn’t find the relationships in this book as well developed.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BOUND HEARTS is the thirteenth book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone. Although I have read the first couple books in the series, I have not yet completed the rest and did not feel that I missed anything.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

NOTE: I recieved an ARC of this book from Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to provide a positive review and all opinions contained herein are my own.

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three-half-stars