Review: Reluctant Protector (Protectors Series, Book 1) by Nana Malone

Reluctant Protector Nana MaloneReviewed by Karin of Savvy Thinker

Cassie Reeser’s brother has engineered her to be a genetically altered person, and not only herself, but others also. She has been virtually kept prisoner, though she has tried to escape. This time, she makes it out in the trunk of a car belonging to Seth Adams, a former war correspondent. When she tells him her tale, he hardly believes her, but soon they are running for their lives, against the ruthlessness of her brother.

Cassie must protect Seth, because he has no idea what he is up against. And she has promised to free the others held by her brother. This is Cassie’s one chance to experience life outside of a laboratory. Cassie and Seth make a good pair – and the sex is hot. Moved a little fast for me, but on the other hand if the alternative is death, well, move fast indeed!

A solid read. Very enjoyable.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Reluctant Protector (Protectors Series #1)

Review: Compromising Positions by Erin Delany and Jenny Gardiner

Compromising Positions by Erin Delany and Jenny GardinerReviewed by Karin

It’s a toss up whether this is a story to which hot sex can be added, or if it is only about hot sex and the story is just an add-on.

Mercedes gets her dream job, but she quickly realizes it comes with the Washington cliché, when her immediate boss (the press secretary) lets her know that she only got the job, because the senator, who really is beyond creepy, he is a sex addict, wants her hired, because he wants to have sex with her. Oh boy.

Mercedes feels she can handle herself, and she can. She is clever in the way she does it. Along the way, her boss realizes she is qualified for the job; she falls in love with her boss and he with her; and they uncover a bigger problem.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: COMPROMISING POSITIONS

Review: The Marrying Kind by Ken O’Neill

marrying kindReviewed by Carla F.

Summary: Wedding Planner Adam More has had enough! He is sick and tired of planning weddings for other people when he cannot get married to his partner Steven Worth. He spray paints “No Weddings” in red on his office door. He also convinces Steven to write a series of columns in his job at The Gay New York Times to encourage other gays in the wedding industry to cease and desist.

Steven is thrilled that Adam is taking up this cause. After all, he and Adam just received a wedding invitation from one of Adam’s cousins addressed to “Adam More and guest.” He and Adam have been together for six years! He sarcastically suggests that they should not attend anymore weddings. Adam enthusiastically embraces the idea.

Then Adam and Steven find out that Adam’s sister has at last accepted Steven’s brother proposal. Of course, they want Adam to plan the wedding and for both of them to be in it.

Review: This book is more of a romantic-comedy rather than what I would define as a romance because the emphasis is not so much on the couple (for example, the sex is left at the bedroom door) but rather their interactions with family and friends once Adam decides to fight for same sex marriage. That said the book is hilarious.

It is told from Steven’s point of view, and his observations about himself and those in the world around him are one of the things that makes is so funny. For instance, Steven’s boss, Brad, meets a much younger man at one of the weddings and decides he wants to try to act younger which results in this conversation with Steven:

Brad beamed. “I really want the two of you to hang.”

Prior to this conversation, the Brad I know would never have made that statement unless he was actually hoping that Charlie and I would be executed.

“Charlie’s great. Tonight I’m meeting his peeps.”

Prior to this conversation, the Brad I know would never have made that statement unless he was actually being introduced to a box of Easter candy.

One other thing that is funny is the wonderful cast of family and friends of both Steven and Adam in particular Steven’s mother. She loves the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon and when Steven was a child she made him watch twelve hours of it every year. She would then sing along with all the songs. She is of Macedonian-Romanian American and believes in the old ways including to spit on someone when they have gotten the “evil eye.”

You will love this couple and their family. Marriage equality and the sense of family and responsibility are serious issues, but O’Neil tackles them in a way to make a very enjoyable read.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Marrying Kind

Review: C.J. Hawke on Assignment: Mexican Flames by C.J. Hawke

Reviewed by Cara Lynn

This book was long on sex, maybe short on story.  I finished it a while back and can’t say I particularly liked it.  I felt more neutral, so I put off writing a review. I read the PDF provided by LRP on my iPad.

What I liked: I liked the colored pictures in the text, though at times I felt she looked very young.  Does that let you know how old I am?

I liked that she was a journalist/reporter which is an interesting twist on a romantic suspense.

What I didn’t like: I didn’t like the idea that a professional journalist/reporter would sleep her way through her assignments.  Somehow that seemed like a setback for women, not progress.

The sex: Yes, it’s hot.  And with two men, at different times.  And which of them turns out to be the criminal?

But it doesn’t seem like the real dilemma that Janet Evanovich poses between Ranger and Morelli.

My feeling: I suspect that there are other books in the series, or at least planned for the series.  I would likely read another one to see if I still felt the same.

And I suspect she will sleep her way through the next assignment too. And that bothers me.  As a character, she seems too immature for the level of assignment and for her naivete about dangers, both real and perceived.

But the sex is hot.

Most other romantic suspense that I read has a more believable main character who actually falls in love with the man she is with, who also falls in love with her.  It is not gratuitous.  Ultimately it keeps them both safe.  That last sentence could be said about this book too.  But somehow it wasn’t as believable, at least for me.

Have you read it?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: C.J. Hawke on Assignment: Mexican Flames

Review: Off the Record (Love on the Line, Book One) by Camryn Rhys

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Katrina Parker is a chef at a new restaurant. Because of a mix-up, she’s seen buying some food at the local supermarket. There she gets a nice surprise by meeting Emily Reed. Emily’s son Ben seems fascinated by Kit’s coat. Kit is fascinated by Emily but she’s not sure if Emily feels the same.

They meet later when Emily shows up at Kit’s restaurant. Both women give off mixed messages which just confuses the other. Camryn gives us some indication in how Emily feels by giving us glimpses of her fantasies. You’ll just have to read to see if any of Emily’s fantasies come true.

Kit wants redemption for a less than stellar food critic review so she cooks a meal for Emily and a co-worker. We get to see the connection between the two women blossom. I like how Camryn keeps the story real by showing how prejudice still exists. But those prejudices don’t stop the women from forming a relationship.

Camryn also leaves the reader wondering what life has in store for Emily and Kit. But what happens to Ben? Does Kit’s restaurant become a success? What better way to end a story, where one of the characters is a chef, but with a delicious sounding recipe.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Off the Record (Love on the Line)

Review: Risking Trust (Private Protectors, Book 3) by Adrienne Giordano

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

As part of the Private Protectors series released by Carina Press, Roxanne Thorgesson has never felt life like she has now—where she is so out of control she might risk everything to make it all seem worthwhile. Having to take over the business after her father has had a near fatal heart attack; her task is to take on his firm of the second largest newspaper in Chicago.

It isn’t easy, and she didn’t expect it to be either, but the heat is turned up when former boyfriend, Michael comes around wanting a favour from her. She has an idea he will spell trouble for her, but she can’t say no, especially when he is a part of a scandal that won’t go away.

She didn’t expect an exclusive story like his would come up, but she indulges his every word as it is important to him, as much as it is to her. Michael left her once and offered no reason as to why. It is now that she can send him away, or use him to get her one big story from him. Only this story is bigger than the both of them – his wife has been murdered, and he is high on the list of main suspects. He tells her he didn’t do it, but why should she believe him?

There are many things that the reader will find from the characters in this story, and one of them is that Michael isn’t the sort of person who would murder his wife; she was the only woman he ever loved as much as he hated her.

Even in their darkest times of arguing, which was most of the time, he had never thought of ending her life – he was a very wealthy man and as far as he was concerned, he could have ended their arguments easily enough, and he did for a time when they were going through a rather lengthy divorce settlement.

His wife had gone from being a loving and caring woman to becoming a money-grabbing bitch, something he watched happen through the course of their marriage. As it was common knowledge that it was a rocky one, Michael is thought of as the prime suspect in her murder even when there is someone else lurking out in the shadows who is actually responsible.

This is a story that is easy to get into, and you won’t help but keep turning the pages to find out more.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Risking Trust

Review: A Tale of Two Lovers by Maya Rodale

A Tale of Two Lovers is the second Writing Girls novel by Maya Rodale. Don’t you just love the cover?

The Situation: A pair of lovers is caught in a compromising situation. Soon all of London knows. There’s just one problem – it wasn’t quite what it looked like!

The Heroine: Lady Julianna Somerset is a widow and a Writing Girl for the London Weekly. Gossip is her thing and she loves secrets, as long as she knows them. The ton suspects she’s the London Weekly’s Lady of Distinction but they have no proof. When she comes across a piece of gossip so juicy she’s ecstatic because she knows her rival at the other newspaper, the Man About Town, hasn’t a clue, and she’ll be the one to break the scandal.

The Hero: Lord Simon Roxbury is not happy. First his father gives him an ultimatum to get married with a short time limit or he’ll be cut off from his allowance. Then the Lady of Distinction insinuates that he was intimate with a man, ensuring that no respectable woman would talk to him let alone marry him. He’s determined to get the gossipy she-devil to recant and hopefully get his old life back.

Review: The public and private battle for control was predictable but cute. They both do stupid things that kind of make you roll your eyes. The heroine wants to eek out as much juice from her Roxbury scandal as possible and plays every situation in such as way as to continually cast doubt on the man’s sexual preferences. The hero causes such a huge ruckus that the ensuing scandal embroils both that can only be fixed by a marriage of convenience. If you’re looking for a romp this is the book for you. :)

The Writing Girls:

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: A Tale of Two Lovers (Writing Girls)

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Review: Snowball in Hell by Josh Lanyon

by Sharon S., guest reviewer

Snowball in Hell was previously published in I’ll Be Dead For Christmas, Partners in Crime #2.

Consistent. That’s the word I would choose to describe Josh Lanyon’s stories, as in consistently great <G>. He knows how to tell a story and tell it well. His characters are emotionally satisfying.

This story is set in the 1940’s and the world views on gay men were quite different than they are now. I think Josh showed this well. It must have been lonely and scary to be a gay man at this time. Nathan Doyle’s situation broke my heart. Not only is he plagued by nightmares from the war, all he wants is to love and be loved, but he has given up on that dream. Until, Matthew Spain comes into his life. Spain recently lost his wife to cancer.

I am surprised at how easily Spain is able to accept his feelings for Doyle. It was a little to quick for me. There wasn’t much lead up to them expressing their feeling to each other. This story focuses more on the relationship, not the sexual parts. There is also a great murder mystery in there too <G>. That is the beauty of Josh Lanyon’s stories. They are all that and the bag of chips.

Rating: ★★★★☆ (would have been 5, but the relationship happened too fast for me.)

Buy: Snowball in Hell