Audio Review: The Duke Next Door (Heiress Brides, Book 2) by Celeste Bradley

thedukenextdoorHeroine: One of three girl cousins, gorgeous Deirdre Cantor is in the running to inherit her grandfather’s fortune. In order to be the heiress though, she needs to wed a duke and she knows just the future-duke to wed! He’s a man she’s admired from afar. Originally, he was engaged to one of her cousins, but then was jilted for the younger brother prior to the wedding. This gives her the perfect opportunity to propose the match to him.

Hero: Calder Marbrook, the Marquis of Brookhaven and future Duke of Brookmoor, needs a wife… but mostly because he needs a permanent mother figure for his young woefully misbehaved daughter. (The child comes as a shock to the heroine after they wed… even though she saved news clippings on him for years.)

Review: This book did not work well for me as an audiobook. The narrator, Susan Ericksen, was fine, but the problems with the book are exasperated in audio format. The hero treats the heroine like a misbehaving child within seconds of reaching his country estate. If she doesn’t become the wife/governess he needs her to be for his daughter, he’ll not pay for dresses and won’t let her attend parties or go to London for the society… Apparently, he’s too distracted by his wife’s breasts to take his foot out of his mouth. How can this autocratic alpha bully not handle the nurses and governesses taking care of his child… or even his willful child? The secondary character romance and the setup for the next book’s romance were distracting, and for me, unwanted. Also, how can Diedre think that the best revenge on her husband is to actually do as he says and take his daughter in hand? That doesn’t make sense. Although, I did like the stepmother/stepdaughter relationship.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

The Duke Next Door (Heiress Brides), Audible Audiobook

Review: Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, Book 1) by E.L. James

fifty shadesDisclaimer: I read parts of the story as a fanfic called Master of the Universe. It was okay, but nothing special. Still when a fanfic becomes a mainstream published novel I expect the flaws to be fixed and the glaring irregularities to be corrected. I expect someone to say to the author, “Hey you, what were you thinking, this makes no sense” or… “There is no way on the face of this planet a guy like your hero would ever say or do….” So the fact that I didn’t see any of that irks me and my review reflects that. If you loved these books stop now. Here is what I hated:

It relied heavily on readers already knowing the dynamic and personality and characteristics of the Twilight characters, especially Edward and Bella. If you hadn’t read Twilight and fallen for the romantic pair’s unique story, going into the BDSM relationship of this book is going to send up red flags. Allow me to explain in detail…

Ana is a novice when it comes to men, dating, sex, and submission. So if you didn’t know Ana and Christian were fated for each other and that it was true love, you would tell this girl to run as far and as fast in the other direction as possible.

Who would want to be with a guy that says to you, “I love hurting you and I need to hurt you to be turned on around you?” When you (and I am really speaking for Ana here, not someone into BDSM) wants Christian to want her in a vanilla relationship? There are some screws loose. All the sex scenes read like sex for sex sake and not as a spicy hot romance story. Lots of telling about feelings, and little showing.

Then there was inner monologue hoo-hah that had me cringe in the fanfic that managed to make it to the final draft. Did anybody read all that inner goddess crap and actually like it? Seriously—it’s crap, trying to be cute. Ana has multiple personality disorder and is oft times schizophrenic. That’s not sexy.

After the inner monologue, comes the real dialogue. Can we say, awful? Not to mention quite painful to read sometimes. Christian Grey’s “Laters, Baby” comes to mind right away. Shoot me now. There is no way this guy would say that because he is a stoic, uptight, always-in-control billionaire making 100K an hour. So no, I don’t buy it—the poor grammar, or the stupid nickname. He’d call her something else or leave it at just plain old Anastasia.

That’s just a few of the reasons I don’t like this story. Have you read it? What do you think?

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

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Buy: Fifty Shades Trilogy Bundle: Fifty Shades of Grey; Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed

Review: The Billionaire Boss’ Innocent Bride by Lindsay Armstrong

Heroine: 21 year old Alex Hill works as an interpreter. Between 17 and 21 she lived in a convent after her parents died because the mother superior was related to her (aunt). She has an irrational dislike (fear) of elevators.

Hero: Playboy Max Goodwin is a mining magnate in his mid 30s. He needs an interpreter for several weeks while he woos a new Japanese client. When they first meet he’s unimpressed but after a makeover this confirmed bachelor wants her in his bed.

Sour Grapes: Max demands Alex get a makeover to make her presentable for being around the events he’s meeting his client in to which she accepts with a lot of grace (though she quibbles over who will pay for the makeover) considering how insulting he was. Then immediately following her makeover he makes a scene with a comment demanding to know what had been done to her in a makeover. Now she was too pretty? WTF, jerk.

Review: The constant switching in thoughts from one paragraph to the next. It was a mental tennis match. The switches were too obvious and too immediate, sharing what one thinks or the other thinks about a situation instead of letting the narrative progress. It was distracting and ruined the reading experience of interpreting information. This book is an example why for so long getting into the hero’s head wasn’t on the table or until the end of the book for his “Oh crap – I’ve got to grovel now or lose her forever!” moment. The dialogue between them was so full of cheese that I rolled my eyes until I got dizzy.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Buy: The Billionaire Boss’s Innocent Bride (Harlequin Presents Extra)

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Review: To Marry for Duty (The Husband Fund, Book 3) by Rebecca Winters

This is the last book in the The Husband Fund trilogy.

Heroine: Piper Duchess is the last remaining single Duchess triplet and she’s feeling it. At the advice of her shrink she bucks up and firmly places her feelings of abandonment and loneliness behind her and dives headlong into her commercial art business. She gets a partner and expands it globally, proving once and for all that she didn’t need a man and she especially did not need Italian aristocrat Nic de Pastrana.

Hero: Nic de Pastrana has wanted Piper from the first time he saw her, but circumstances made it so he could not and he had to be cruel to get the message across. Now free of his year long formal mourning for his late fiance, Nic is determined to win back her trust and love and prove to her that she does need a man — him! Like his cousins, he plans to trick her with partial truths to get her to come to him. And a little marriage of convenience wouldn’t hurt his chances either.

Review: The story was too wrapped up in details from previous books of the series and I felt a lot of good to know background for Piper and Nic was missing. Readers were suppose to recognize and have knowledge of conversations/scenes the two shared previously and while they were briefly elaborated on it was dismissively instead of extensively. The excuse for the MOC was just that an excuse and overall the story was pretty flat. There was little chemistry between hero and heroine.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Buy: To Marry for Duty: The Husband Fund (Harlequin Romance)

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Review: Long Hard Ride (Rough Riders) by Lorelei James

Story: Channing Kinkaid’s western adventure is turning out to be a big flop because the cowboy she hitched herself too is a real possessive jerk… and married?! Appalled she’s determined to get the hell out of Dodge until professional cowboy Colby McKay propositions her with a threesome/moresome sexual adventure a girl would be foolish to pass up. The rules are simple – she’s there for them whenever they want her and she can’t question them about the pleasures they plan to bring her.

Review (Spoilers): I can’t decide if I want to give props and hose the fact that Channing and Colby wind up together sans Colby’s partners. It’s certainly original for this erotica subgenre, but I felt Colby was acting ridiculous at times. He does threesomes all the time and then because Channing’s involved it’s not nearly so palpable for him? On one hand it’s realistic but on the other hand what makes Channing the one to inspire the green monster?

I also felt bad for the “third” rodeo partner who was gay and participated in getting a blowjob from Channing because Colby told him too instead of just coming out and saying he was gay and wasn’t interested in her. I thought that was degrading especially since it is clear later in the book that Colby knew the guy was gay. The second partner is bisexual and likes being with women and with the third partner adding extra drama.

Finally, the first half of the novel didn’t do much for me for two reasons. The first is that Channing is introduced feeling insecure about her rather large breast size (which never comes up again after she wins a random wet T-shirt contest) and kind of introverted because of her meek behavior with her parents and then she becomes an expert sexy woman with no qualms telling them what she wants and talking dirty which is so at odds to the mental image I had from the first little bit and secondly because I didn’t feel there was any emotion involved other than the need to do it. The second half did have the emotion as it became more traditional romance with spicy erotica elements due to Colby’s jealousy and desire to make Channing “just his.” I think perhaps that should have been the focus all along.

The sex was certainly steamy, hot!

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Buy: Long Hard Ride: Rough Riders, Book 1

Review: Wolf Bait by Sienna Mynx

by Carla F., guest reviewer

Summary: While backpacking across Scotland, Dillion and his cousin Peter are attacked by a big, hairy, ugly, vicious beast. Peter is killed in the attack. Dillion is seriously injured, and he becomes infected with the virus that the wolf/human/demon carried. He is able to control the urge to turn into a beast at the full moon by taking drugs. Over time those drugs are losing their effectiveness.

Now Dillion’s mission is to find the thing that killed his cousin. Besides taking revenge, he believes that killing the beast will free himself and all the other humans that have been infected by it. In his search, he kills other werewolves and becomes known to the werewolf world as someone who kills his own kind.

After a few years, he tracks the killer to the club, Wolf Bait. However, while there he runs into the beautiful, mysterious werewolf, Namina, a singer. She seduces him first with her singing and performance and then later with her body.

Review: Peter’s death is a gruesome one, and the world that Dillion inhabits is bleak. I was confused about Dillion’s role at the end of the story and not sure if I buy the reason that the beast let Dillion live.

I really had trouble enjoying this one. I might have felt differently if I would have realized that it was more erotica than romance sooner.

Overall: Definitely not my cup of tea. However, if you love your erotica joined with the paranormal you might like this quick read.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Buy:
http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/wolfbait.htm

Review: Corporate Seduction by Bridget Midway

Corporate Seduction is a highly erotic interracial romance set in the workplace with a white male boss and a black female secretary.

Winston Biggers is a jerk. He’s rude, mean, unfeeling and Maybelline, his secretary, is certain he’s keeping her from advancing. He won’t even give her a raise after all she’s put up with over the years. To cover the gap in her salary, May takes a second job at the Oh Club, a exclusive club that caters to a BDSM clientele, as a Dominatrix.

When a masked Winston wanders inside he’s immediately drawn to Mistress Mayai (pronounced “May I/Eye”) as she reminds him of his secretary, a woman he’s been attracted to from the beginning of their working relationship, but was unable to do anything about do to company policy.

When they learn of their real identities the game changes. Win will get to be the Dom during the day at work and have May submit to him. At night, May will continue to be Dom. This setup lets them remain in lust with each other while also allowing them to take full control.

Winston and Maybelline are not perfect characters. They each do things that aren’t very likeable. For instance, Maybelline does something incredibly cruel and stupid in the beginning to Winston in retaliation to ill treatment. She sends his current girlfriend a very mushy note with an overly sentimental and romantic bouquet when he requested something very benign as he was leaning toward breaking up with the woman. I felt so bad for the soon-to-be-ex.  On the other hand, Winston is a true cad. He knows Maybelline deserves the raise she requested and to be promoted but he keeps her where she is because it suits him. It’s hard to like a story when you don’t like the main characters.

Some other things that bugged me – May never interacting with her grandmother for whom she was taking the moonlight job for and Princess/Mistress Payne the sadist side character.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Buy: Corporate Seduction

Movie Review: Love and Other Drugs starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal

I did not like Love and Other Drugs. The movie is based on Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman by Jamie Reidy, a former Pfizer rep. Loosely, I believe, because the book lacks any love interest… It was a starting point at least. The movie took a very negative view of doctors and the pharmaceutical industry.

I had issues with the morality of many of the characters. One of the questions I overheard in the theater was ‘what was the difference between the movie and a porno?’ It was meant as a joke but there was a ton of nudity and frankly I don’t understand why Anne Hathaway had to bare skin in the film at all. I didn’t think there was much difference between Anne showing darn near everything and the girl who was on screen for two minutes allowing Josh Gad’s character to hump her in a parody of sex.

(Why did Josh’s character exist at all, really? Incidentally the character’s name is Josh too.)

I was unaware of the Parkinson’s Disease side of the story because I went off the theatrical trailer only and didn’t bother to check anything out before going to the theaters. I think Anne Hathaway acted really well. It was very hard/uncomfortable to watch her hands jitter and her bad days. It was a very depressing side to the story.

Actually I felt the movie couldn’t decide if it was a comedy or a drama. There were some light moments but everything happy was overshadowed by a lot of negatives.

Minor Spoiler: The best part of the movie? Listening to Hank Azaria explain as Dr. Stan Knight why he wanted to be a doctor in the first place. It came across heartfelt and well received. I called Jake Gyllenhaal’s character going back to school from this scene alone… well that and he’s desperate for a cure for Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway).

It ends on a happy for now note which is a good thing otherwise the whole experience would have been pointless.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Sign Up: Love and Other Drugs

Buy: Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman

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