Review: Because of You (Coming Home, Book 1) by Jessica Scott

because of youReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Book covers can be a great source of titillation, and this one isn’t half bad either as the sight of a hot guy in combat pants showing his tattooed naked back gets the reader right into the story, or at least it did with me.

Shane is a mixed-up guy who serves in the army as a sergeant, but has a bad private life. With a failed marriage, being a bad son and an even worse father, he doesn’t give himself much hope for a good life when he comes back. After several years in the army, he is finally going to Iraq, in charge of his men. He has to look out for their best interests, and it is noticeable from the story that he is under a lot of pressure to perform.

Jen St. James and Shane have a smooch before he goes off to Iraq, hoping that she might be the one for him after only five months being divorced. He feels as though he might not mess this relationship up if she gives him the chance to break the habit of a lifetime. Jen has recently had a mastectomy, and feels uncomfortable in most of her clothes. She is safe after the cancer scare, but it has left her with a complex about how other men view her. She would love to look sexy in clothes again, and doesn’t realize that most people don’t notice she has only one real breast.

In the story Carponti acts as a means of getting Shane to open up when he is at his worst point emotionally. He is upset about the way his wife left him, and the divorce in general, and all he wants to do is get Shane to have a bit of down time where he can have fun and share some special time with his men. This though is the last thing he wants to do, and little does he know who he will find who he can share a special moment with. Carponti is Cupid and does a great job of it too.

The writer has made sure that the two main characters have their own problems to cope with, and that they can help each other out. She could give him a hand with his uncertainty that life will get any better after the divorce, and he can help her with her lack of positive self image. It didn’t help when Jen’s ex boyfriend once announced to everyone in a bar that she only had one breast.

Jessica Scott impresses the readers with her storytelling ability. She gives readers a chance to read a novel that is more than a romance, but a story of the brief lives of Jen and Shane who are two unhappy people who meet in a most unexpected way. They can help each other find love and that love can heal all in many ways. This is something that we can truly feel in this novel as; Because of You is a riveting read.

[Rating:4.5]

Buy: Because of You

Review: Just Remember to Breathe by Charles Sheehan-Miles

Just Remember to BreatheReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Pre-law student, Alex Thompson wants to make something of her life; she studies hard and needs to forget the boy who broke her heart before. Dylan Paris returns from his stint in Afghanistan, hurt and injured and intends to never tell Alex he has even come home. This doesn’t work however, when he and Alex end up on the same work study program, and have to work together, and cope with each other’s foibles.

Review: Professor Allen going on a leave of absence from the work study program is only one problem Alex has to face, for the rest she is on her own – with the past coming back to haunt her. How she treated her former boyfriend back then doesn’t make her proud of what she did, and even though she was drunk at the time, she still remembers the words she said to Dylan. Dylan on the other hand remembers that drink led him to dropping out of school early, and having to get further education later as a disabled war veteran. He also wishes he hadn’t come back home, as there are so many bad memories there. Alex is shocked at seeing him for the first time, but once this initial shock is gone, she has to accept she said a few things she shouldn’t, and Dylan has to accept he did things a little wrong when he ran out of her life so easily. No one is going to admit their failings so easily though, and that is half the fun of reading this story.

Charles writes the book well, as each chapter has a separate title plus a name, so you know who’s thinking what, and who it’s about. He puts the emotions of both characters into the novel: Alex’s regrets over her words before, and her second chance at making a go of their relationship now that he is back in her life. Dylan has seen a lot of pain, death and anguish in the war, and has to learn to enjoy life again away from it, and only one person can help her – the one woman who he never wanted to see again.

I liked the character development in the story, and the fact that Alex has to understand what horrible experiences Dylan had in the war before she can truly help him recover from it.

Extra thoughts: Charles isn’t new to writing books that are gripping and insightful on people who have worked in the military. From Republic, Insurgent, Prayer at Rumayla, two non-fiction books and several short stories, he is quite the authority on this subject when dealing with the harsh reality of war, and the sensuality of love. He uses his knowledge and understanding of the military and disabled veterans and puts it into his writing. He also works doing outreach and public affairs for a law firm which represents disabled veterans.

[Rating:4]

Buy: Just Remember to Breathe

Review: Desert Heat: A Story of Samson & Delilah by Micah Sheehan

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This story starts when Delilah is just a child and a family tragedy occurs. We also see that she kills someone. We first see Samson walking barefoot through the desert in search of a woman who can handle his lust. At this point, Samson and Delilah have not met but their families both want the same thing for them – to get married. The reader will also notice that Samson has quite the sexual appetite.

While reading the first couple of chapters, you wonder if the story was going to be all about Samson and his visits to a brothel. It takes a while before we see Delilah since her mention in chapter 1. Then it’s to see her make a bargain with the devil. The story does not change from the original telling.

According to the publisher it is listed as a historical romance. But to me it’s the Bible story with a lot of erotic material put into it. Violence gets to be a common theme throughout. It is more a work of dark fiction.

The reader relies on the author to paint a picture of what the surroundings and people look like. Micah does a great job with his descriptions. However, that was not enough for me to like this story. I like a good erotic story but thought that the sex scenes just didn’t flow with the telling of Samson and Delilah.

If you are a religious person, this story may offend you. There are also references of God that appear in the story. For others, this story may have you getting your Bible out to see how it was originally written. This story may appeal more to male readers. Women readers may not see the romance.

The title Desert Heat is somewhat misleading. I was hoping that the author would put a different spin on the story – would have liked it more if that had happened.

Spoiler: The story ends the same way as in the Bible. Sorry.

[Rating:2.5]

Buy: Desert Heat

Review: Desert Nights by Kitti Bernetti

by Carla F., guest reviewer

Summary: Sheikh Ashmit bin Sultan al Nashan is sent by his father the King to rescue an English schoolteacher, Russ Edwards, who is being held in the desert by terrorists. When Ashmit finds the chained Englishman in the terrorist camp, he is overcome with lust. This is unacceptable! He is stunned and appalled that he is attracted to a man. His duty has always been to marry the beautiful Ashwarya and have an heir for the throne. Until then, his father has said that he must remain a virgin. Purity “in mind and body is essential to maintain the authenticity of our bloodline.”

Russ cannot believe how beautiful his rescuer is, and he doesn’t understand why he is so cold one moment and definitely not cold at all in the next.

Review: It was fun reading a gay version of the typical Sheikh romance novel. Like those it has the intelligent, handsome, and sometimes arrogant leader/prince of a mythical non-Muslim country falling in love with a foreign commoner. At first I had trouble dealing with the idea that a King would send his heir to the throne out alone to save a foreigner from terrorists, but it fits into this type of story. (Later is it is revealed that the King had a very good reason for wanting his son to do this.)

Ashmit definitely has issues, but it is understandable considering how he was raised to believe in his duty to his father and country. I liked how his plan for dealing with his pending marriage allowed him to fulfill that duty.

Hot scene: There’s a temple in the desert that has some interesting carvings and an alter.

Overall: A quick fun read suited to those who like Sheikh and/or LGBT stories.

[Rating:4]

Buy: Desert Nights, Desert Nights (UK)

Review: Whispers in the Sand by Barbara Erskine

by Master Llama, guest reviewer

Summary: After recently being divorced, Anna Fox, a Londoner in her 30’s decides to cheer herself up by going on a river cruise down the Nile, as her grandmother, Louise, did before her. Anna brings two of her grandmother’s possessions on the boat- an ancient Egyptian scent bottle and her grandmother’s diary. However, what is supposed to be a relaxing Egyptian cruise turns into a chilling mystery, as Anna discovers secrets about her grandmother and Egypt. Not to mention the two men who seem very interested in her grandmother’s scent bottle and diary, and maybe even Anna…

Review: Overall, I enjoyed this book, and thought it was a good summer read. The fact that it was set in Egypt made the book more interesting to me, and I learned a lot about Ancient Egypt. I also enjoyed the romance, although the outcome of it was easy to predict.

What I liked:

  • The Ancient Egyptian History
  • How Louise’s (the diary) and Anna’s stories are interwoven
  • The Characters (except for Andy)

What I didn’t like:

  • The plot involving the scent bottle- it was a little far fetched to me
  • The character of Andy- he was annoying, and you could tell immediately that he was bad, but for some reason Anna couldn’t.

[Rating:3.5] stars, because even though I enjoyed it some of the plot was far fetched, and at almost 500 pages it dragged a little in the middle.

Buy: Whispers in the Sand, Whispers in the Sand (UK)

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