Review: Besotted (The Billionaire Banker, Book 3) by Georgia Le Carre

besottedReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Back in the previous novel, Lana had the chance to make things better for her and her baby by going back to Blake. We knew it wasn’t going to be great for her, but she somehow managed to put things right with him aftert he had originally thought she was using him for his money. It took her a while to get him to see her for what she was, a woman who wanted a second chance to win him back, hoping he would see what she did as a mistake, an error on her part, but now that she has the man she grew to love, she wants answers to the questions that are most on her mind.

Review: Lana made an impact on Blake as he intends to marry her. She has her eye on Billie and Julie to be her bridesmaids , but there is a problem about Victoria, Blake’s troublesome ex as she feels she might make an unwelcome visit on them as their big day gets under way. In the meantime, The couple have their usual ups and downs. He is worried for his life as being a billionaire, he could be dead tomorrow and he wants Lana to be safe from harm with their child. She shares his paranoia and doesn’t want him to leave her side. As you can tell, this makes life difficult for the both of them and another thing that proves to be a problem, is Victoria, who still has a thing for him.

Good Bits:

  • It has a sensual cover
  • The love between Lana and Blake is stronger than ever in this third book
  • Victoria and Marcus could come between them, but not if Blake has anything to do with it!

Summary: As there are the subjects of sex and BDSM as themes in this novel, there is the issue of Lana being submissive to him, and she takes it well as there are women across the country who would run a mile at the mere suggestion. Baby Sorab adds some cuteness to what would otherwise be a very sensual and sexual book, so Georgia caters to all; the ones who like the sex, the erotica and the thought that the characters exhibit some kind of normality even though they are filthy rich.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Besotted (Billionaire Banker Series Book 3)

Review: Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion

grand centralReviewed by Karin

Blurb

A war bride awaits the arrival of her GI husband at the platform…

A Holocaust survivor works at the Oyster Bar, where a customer reminds him of his late mother…

A Hollywood hopeful anticipates her first screen test and a chance at stardom in the Kissing Room…

On any particular day, thousands upon thousands of people pass through New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, through the whispering gallery, beneath the ceiling of stars, and past the information booth and its beckoning four-faced clock, to whatever destination is calling them. It is a place where people come to say hello and good-bye. And each person has a story to tell.

Now, ten bestselling authors inspired by this iconic landmark have created their own stories, set on the same day, just after the end of World War II, in a time of hope, uncertainty, change, and renewal….

Very touching and evocative. This book features original stories by best selling authors. Much of it has to do with Jewish refugees — and also Jews who had left Europe for America, at least one had been in concentration camps. It gives a glimpse into what it must have been like to live those early years post war.

My father served in the air force in Europe, so it holds a special poignancy for me.

While there are possibilities — and even love — it is not an easy life or an easy read. It is a world very far removed from where we are now, but not far enough to be in the way distant past. It holds too many memories.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion

Review: Power Play (Clear Message, Book 1) by Kali Cross

power playReviewed by Cara Lynn

Blurb:

Jack’s up against a master of manipulation—staying one step ahead of his ex-fiancée requires some swift maneuvers. But when Alexandra Simpson enters his life…well, she is a game changer. Dangerous secrets, office intrigue, and sizzling passion will keep you turning the pages of Power Play, Book 1 of Kali Cross’ new romance series, Clear Message.

Jack Schmidt is getting screwed by his fiancée, Vanessa, in more ways than one. After catching her in bed with her trainer, Jack wants her out of his life. Too bad it’s not that easy. As his employee, she parlayed his attraction to the level of fiancée in a matter of months, and in just a few weeks, she’ll own a 20% stake in his firm—and she won’t give it up without a fight. Vanessa thinks she has him by the balls, but Jack’s done being played. He orders a new manager to review all the accounts, suspecting that all Vanessa’s late nights working were spent stroking his clients…and not just their egos.

New manager Alexandra Simpson is the perfect candidate for the job. She’s sharp, loyal to the firm, and doesn’t intimidate easily. Unfortunately, she also intrigues Jack, but getting involved with another employee would be the definition of insanity. Jack wonders if she’s like Vanessa, ready to climb over anyone who gets in her way. But something about Alex forces him to believe otherwise.

After a disagreement over a client leads to a searing kiss, Jack wants nothing more than to lock the door and spend the rest of the day getting to know every inch of Alexandra Simpson. But when Alex hears that he’s engaged to Vanessa, she lets him know in no uncertain terms that she isn’t interested in being the other woman…not again. Not again? Now Jack must go up against Alex’s past, and the result could be deadly for both of them.

Review:

Good story. Interesting characters, well developed.

Hot sex. (I got tired of it.) Light bondage (are these now the obligatory scenes?) (Not into this!) and light, playful subservience and acting.

Scary scenes at the end, but all turns out OK (which is the power of romantic suspense, you know it will turn out OK.)

I did my usual reading the end after I was about half way through, even though it was an e-book so not as easy to do.

This book was given to me by LRP to read and review, though it did not affect my feelings about the book. I wanted to know who-dun-it. I suspected the wrong character (and I’m glad.)

Jumped into sex too fast for me.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Power Play (Clear Message Book 1)

Review: Love Bites: A Collection of Short Stories by Valeria Kogan

love bitesReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: This is Valeria Kogan’s debut collection of short stories which all centre on love, from heartbreak to redemption, this is what love is all about whether the people in the stories love each other at all, or start out that way and grow apart later on. There are many elements to love and these stories deal with them; secrets, guilt, jealousy, deception and mistrust. As the stories are written in a no nonsense way, this is a collection of shorts for a real modern woman.

Review: In all there are eleven stories where no one knows how a love affair will end. Valeria was born in Russia and has since moved to the UK where she learned to appreciate art and literature. Other than Love Bites, she is working on her new novel, ‘Bi-Pole-Ar’ which is a semi-biographical look at mental health issues and how other people see us. Valeria thinks that by writing a series of short works, she was also writing her first novel and she would be right. Every author has created small tasters to get potential readers use to their style of writing, and Valeria’s style can easily be seen here. Valeria saw the need to create several different narratives with outcomes that could never be predictable. She wanted do see what would happen if she had no pre conceive idea of how the stories would evolve. Love means different things to different people. In Silent, Carla has a husband, evolving around him as a full grown woman who bears children, but calamity strikes the family causing the silence she has come to expect. Nip & Tuck has a man telling his story of how he wanted to change his wife’s looks, her body by using cosmetic surgery as a beautifying tool, eventually coming to regret his decision. Mute is about a woman who was struck dumb when she first met a man and her intoxication with him that urges her to get his name tattooed on her skin. Tonight has a woman who decides that tonight will be the last time she will act as a prostitute, but the fact that she is dreading it tells you something about the person. Matrimony has Tessa wondering what sort of wedding she wants with the man in her life. Each story is matter-of-fact, and honest showing these diverse women and men of what they think love is and the trouble they have getting into the stereotypical woman/man role in society and the result of it.

Good Bits:

  • Silent is beauty stricken with tragedy.
  • Nip & Tuck is a case of never gilding a lily.
  • Mute is part prose, part poetry and all heart!

Summary: Love Bites: A Collection of Short Stories is an interesting look at the lives of eleven people who are each as different as the rest. They all appreciate men and women in their own way, or have been spurned by them in the past. The stories tell of their partners and lovers with me thing that the best ones were Nip & Tuck, Mute, Tonight and Matrimony. The cover art is of a beautiful woman, bound and with her eyes covered ready to cut the red thread of time with her latex gloved hands. It is a deceptive cover in that it looks like the sort that would grace a slipstream horror novel, and there is nothing horrific about the stories in here.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Love Bites: A Collection of Short Stories

Review: The Vampire Hunter (In the Company of Vampires, Book 2) by Michelle Hauf

vampire hunterReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: It’s Kasper’s (Kaz) sixteenth birthday and his only present is a wild, fanged beast trying to kill him – in his panic, he stakes him, killing him outright, though it takes another man, Tor to tell him that the beast he just took out was a vampire and even though he bit him, as he killed it – he would not become like him. He got lucky and, though Tor can’t offer him a place to stay as he’s also homeless, he tells him he can become one of the Knights of the Stake who live to protect the humans who walk the streets of gay Paris.

Review: Kaz has changed from what we saw in the prologue. In chapter one and onward he is a grown man who has developed martial arts skills to be able to look after himself, but the ability to be fast still evades him. Meeting Zoe in the cemetery was a chance he never thought possible, but she needed help and he as after three more vampires, longtooth they are known as, and they could have done a lot of damage to a woman like her if they had caught her. The difference is Zoe isn’t like other women he’s met she’s a witch and being with her would go against his code of ethics.

After kissing Zoe once, he wishes he could kiss her again. Strange thing is he feels drawn to her, like they are meant to be together even though he has never met her before. Kaz, like most heroes in romantic fiction is a man on a quest – to find the single-toothed vampire who killed his friends Robert and Ellen Horst. They had been on their honeymoon when the crazed vamp had a burning desire for the diamonds his wife wore that night. Rumour has it there is a new drug going around called Magic Dust and if vampires take it, it makes them crave shiny things. Other than Kaz’s need to find the killer, he wants to find the one who is creating and distributing the drug – but it he does, he might not like who it is.

Good Bits:

  • The fight Kaz has in the cemetery at the beginning.
  • The ever mysterious Vaillant.
  • The naughty things Faeries can do during sex with vampires!

Summary: Michelle tackles the subject of Faerie and other supernatural creatures living in a sort of harmony in this novel. Vampires have the sort of needs we never pondered before and are far from the Gothic, fanged predators we took them for. They have weaknesses and the Faerie tend to exploit them for their own gain. Kaz is a strong character and Zoe is equally as strong but in different ways. I liked that this story was based in Paris and had a lot of fast-paced moments, emotions and humorous moments too.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Vampire Hunter (In the Company of Vampires Book 2)

Review: Forty2 Days (The Billionaire Banker, Book 2) by Georgia Le Carre

forty2Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: In the first novel, Lana Bloom caught the eye of billionaire Blake Law Barrington, but used him for his immense wealth, never thinking that she would ever fall for him – she was out to protect her mother, getting her the money she needed for her expensive treatment, yet when she ran away from him and the amazing lifestyle she never thought she would grow accustomed to, and hurt Blake terribly. Now that she is back in his troubled life, he wants her to feel the hurt and disappointment he felt at losing her and does the only thing he can – he makes her suffer – in bed!

Review: Love conquers all…or at least that is what Lana has always thought, but Blake Law Barrington might take more convincing that she really loves him. A lot has happened since the first novel, and what we discover is quite surprising. Lana, since she has run from Blake has had a child to him, Sorab, and so far has kept that truth from him as if he finds out, he might want to take him from her. As she has come back to continue her life in the place she has grown accustomed to, it is only a matter of time before she runs into the heart-stopping Blake Law Barrington. Though Blake sees that Lana had done wrong, he still has a special part of his heart for her despite Victoria ruining everything by trying to come between them.

Wealth isn’t all it is cracked up to be and Lana wants Blake to see the truth of being powerful, handsome and wealthy – even he couldn’t have everything he wanted, not with her at first, but things can change…but not until she also sees the error of her ways. Blake wants to punish her, make her his again, but can he trust her not to run away again – this time with his child? He believes that she left him due to having the money she wanted, so he feels she didn’t love him at all, but was another money-grabbing woman. The sort he knew existed most of the time. He does, however have her keep her end of the bargain and have her stay with him for the rest of the 42 days as per the contract she signed with him – so he can make her feel all the pain he did when she left. Blake feels every kind of pain imaginable too as over the past year of her absence he has grown cruel and sceptical that love even exists.

Good Bits:

  • The sexual interplay between the characters is great
  • Lana trying to convince Blake she actually loves him.
  • You’ll love the last few chapters!

Summary: Most romance stories don’t have the mystery and intrigue that this one seems to have running through it. I was surprised at the darkness of the interplay between both Lana and Blake as they think only they exist in this world of love, even though at first it isn’t romantic love, it’s more like grudge sex and how Blake makes her feel unworthy of his affections even though deep down he loves her very much and wants her in his life, even giving her a second chance at being his lover.
There is a cliff-hanger ending to this one, which is in keeping with the first novel and how it plays out is anyone’s guess. Keep your eyes peeled for the third instalment is all I will say.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Forty 2 Days (Billionaire Banker Series)

Audio Review: Snow Falling on Bluegrass (Bluegrass, Book 3) by Molly Harper

molly harper snow falling bluegrassSummary: Snowed-in at a lodge on a work retreat, Kelsey will not only have to organize her work colleagues, but also her love life. First Darrell, her ex, makes her life miserable by handing her credit card debt she didn’t sign up for or enjoy. Then the cute statistician at the office, Charlie, flashes hot and cold with her. Is he interested or not? And then there’s Luke, who is running the lodge in the absence of other employees and he’s a Ranger. He’s definitely interested in her. Maybe being snowed-in isn’t such a disaster after all!

Review: Molly Harper is funny, which is no surprise as she’s a former humor columnist. It’s even funnier to hear the narrator, Amanda Ronconi, say and act some of these lines. Kelsey is a smart, funny, high energy person. She’s got a sense of humor and is willing to crack jokes at herself. You have to wonder how a girl like her stuck it out with Darrell for as long as she did. Molly does explain and it is plausible but the backstory made me feel more like I was missing a key element than filling in the blanks. Perhaps this was more readily apparent in a previous book in the series. Both of Kelsey’s crushes are good guys. I would happily see her wind up with either one of them, which is very rare for me to say so. And I would definitely read about the one who didn’t win Kelsey’s heart.

Narrator: I recently listened to Amanda Ronconi in another audio book. She did a great job then and she did a great job this time. When I first heard her speak I couldn’t place the previous audio book I had heard her narrate. I think that means she did an excellent job adapting to the character profiles and accents. I’d listen to her again. She’s definitely a great listen for contemporary romances.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Snow Falling on Bluegrass, Snow Falling on Bluegrass (Audiobook)

Review: Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon (Billionaire Romance, Book 2) by Jennifer St. George

tempted by the billionaire tycoonSummary: Nic Capitini is about to take his luxury spa resort company public. He needs the launch to be successful not just for business but because he plans to use its success to prove to his mother and sister they can rely on him to be strong enough to protect them from his father (a ruthless man who runs the island Nic is from with casinos and prostitutes.)

The only fly in his ointment is the poor showing of his English spa where a series of strange incidents spells certain failure for his launch. He goes undercover to ferret out the resort’s manager and fire her for poor performance. Only Nic has a hard time finding anything wrong that Poppy Bradford. Everything he could complain about she fixes or has a reason for doing (like ensuring the safety of the guests). He finds himself falling for her instead.

Review: A quick and fun read. There are a lot of suspects who could be behind the sabotages at the Sirona resort. Is it the manager? The assistant manager? An employee who was fired for drugs? A male client stalking the manager? I like Poppy who was capable and strong. She was a smart manager and was doing everything she could think of to make the resort a success and minimize future incidents. She even figures out Nic quick enough and calls him on it. She proposes a deal – let her prove she’s worth not only keeping but promoting and he takes her up on it. The dialogue was fun and snappy. I had a few concerns about her sister’s sudden turn around in behavior but it didn’t pan out to be anything.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Tempted by the Billionaire Tycoon: Billionaire Romance Book 2