Review: Breaking Nova (Nova, Book 1) by Jessica Sorensen

breaking novaReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: We all have dreams, but for Nova Reed, they can be all you have. Nova wants to be a famous drummer and get wedded to her lover, but now she sees this as an impossible dream which turns into nothing more than a nightmare – that is until she meets Quinton Carter.

Quinton sees Nova as a way of getting his life back, of thinking that he could be happy again, but his dark past could come back to haunt them both. Quinton has done things in his past he is not proud of and he’s got the tattoos to prove it, but with Nova in his life, is he worthy of a second chance or will Nova not accept him and his chequered past?

Review: Breaking Nova’s chapters have the names of the characters above showing who is thinking or speaking at any given time. As it is written from the first person perspective, readers get to know what lies deep inside the hearts of these different people. Both Nova and Quinton have had similar experiences, Nova’s former boyfriend died and she feels sadness from it while Quinton feels he had caused the deaths of two of his friends, something he can never get over until he meets Nova. After his parents disown him, he boards with Tristan and his friends – this is when he first meets Nova. Nova has felt the despair of having someone then losing them, and the feeling of loneliness. Her finding another man is the last thing on her mind, she never wants another relationship to have the same kind of loss again. Talking to him for the first time has her see her former lover in him and something click inside her that passes for affection. As Quinton intends to only get himself right, get a job, be able to pay the rent and get his life back together after throwing it all away on drug binges, he has another chance with Nova.

Good Bits:

  • A short excerpt of the second book in the series: Saving Quinton
  • Quinton thinks Nova must be a car while high
  • Nova and Quinton are perfect for each other
  • This book is ideal for older teen to adults as it concerns these themes

Summary: Sorensen cleverly eases the reader into the story, introducing her characters then working her magic giving us the pieces to put back together. This is the tale of love that brings two unlikely people together who never intended to find true love again after the pain of loss. There is a lot of drug use in this novel, but it ties in with the idea that the both of them act as delinquents at the beginning. Jessica Sorensen has written three different series of novels; The Ella and Micha series, The Callie and Kayden series and the Breaking Nova series. I look forward to reading the rest in the series to find out more on these intriguing characters.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Breaking Nova

Review: Striking a Chord (Backstage Pass, Book 3) by Dani Wade

Striking a ChordReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Sean changed his life for the better after ignoring his friend’s father who said he shouldn’t decide to make his mark as a musician – as he has got this far as a US rock star, he only needs to find the woman of his dreams, but Meghan is the sort of woman he can’t ever have – or can he?

Review: The tattooed lover boy on the front says it all – a career in music is all sex, drugs and rock and roll, but the fact that it looks like she’s two steps away from giving him full fellatio tells us all we need to know. Meghan is a stunner, even if he has only spent months on the phone with her that have ended with him getting a hard-on, he’s yet to meet her and he’s anticipating seeing her. Whether it’s good or bad, he doesn’t know, but his need to see her, to bed her comes before anything else. Sean only knows a few facts about her, she’s mid-twenties, divorced and has an upper level degree in education, but this is as much as he knows. Meghan has issues about whether he will like the look of her once they meet, and whether she will be the rock chick he is used to seeing everywhere he goes. She isn’t the size 8 that she might have wanted to be, but that doesn’t matter to Sean as she has a hourglass figure he’d like to get his hands on. Hearing her on the phone every night for three months seems like a form of harsh, teasing foreplay for Sean, and once he meets her, he wants her no matter what.

As his assistant, Meghan is used to opening Sean’s mail and when one letter is from Sean’s brother Kieran, she has to bring him to see Sean as there is something he needs to know – his father is dying of liver disease and wants his family around him before he meets his maker. When he sees Kieran, all his childhood memories flood back. He was hoping for the time of his life – he would be finally meeting the woman of his dreams, the woman who made him wet just from talking to her, but to bring his brother along too is a taboo even he didn’t think she would make. It doesn’t take her long to find out that Sean has a dark past and a dark secret his brother knows, and she realises she might have made a mistake coming to see him.

Good Bits:

  • The cover – it rocks!
  • I wonder why she’s called Meghan the Mouth?
  • Sean’s brother Kieran

Summary: Dani Wade is the author of several novels, Finding Her Rhythm (Backstage Pass #1), His by Design, Snow Bound, Maximo Placer and A Bride’s Tangled Vows and knows what her readers want to discover. One of the first things I will say about this is that l liked it being about a plus size woman rather than the usual slender maiden in contemporary romance novels. Meghan is a big girl and once she has got with her new boss, Sean and he loves it. So much so he can’t resist spanking that desirable behind of hers – especially when she’s been very naughty and I would say bringing over his brother was naughty, wouldn’t you? Her bringing over Kieran is the conflict in the story we are looking for and if she is as irresistible as he thought, then he could be in for a very interesting relationship. The characters from the first two in the Backstage Pass series are connected while this one takes an intriguing turn as different and being set in Ireland. Judging by this one alone, I would like to read more from Dani Wade. Who knows who her characters will be spanking next!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Striking A Chord: Backstage Pass Book 3

The Appeal of Romance Novels to the Committed and Not Dim-Witted


lovinglink-5Guest Blog by T.D. Hassett, author of Loving Link

I was recently reading the resurgence of the Quilliam study on the evils of romance novel reading. I admit it, as a fan of the genre and an author; I got pissed at her conclusions.

For those of you who don’t follow research on romance novels I will summarize it. Basically a British Psychologist, Susan Quilliam, did a study that looked at 78 romance novels written between 1981 and 1996 and determined that reading those novels could lead women to be less careful about condom usage in their own relationships and gave them unrealistic relationship expectations.

Apparently many of the books written during that time period skimmed over using condoms. However, the findings concerning lack of rubbers in fiction and actual modern practices just seemed to be too much of a leap for me to accept since the novels were written prior to HIV/AIDs receiving the attention is does now. If she had selected novels written in the last ten years there would have been extensive mention of condoms and concerns about sexual health in the story line. Presumably reading about sexually responsible couples would send a more positive message about prophylactics.

However, how the hero wraps his “sword” wasn’t the only thing that got my ire up. Romance readers have long been stereotyped as lonely, desperate women with too many cats and a low IQ. But the exact opposite is a more accurate a description of the genre’s fans. Readers are more likely to be in a serious and committed relationship than non-readers and the number of romance authors with Ph.Ds. from Ivy League colleges is quite long. Just think Bly, Quinn and Gimpel for example. I have a master’s degree in clinical psychology and 72 postgraduate credits in educational psychology yet still spend my evenings writing and reading romance novels.

Does this all jive with Quilliam’s assertion that heavy readers of the romance genre may develop unrealistic or idealized notions of what a relationship should be? Her report has many unproven contentions such as, “It might mean – in the wake of such panic –judging that if romance has died then so has love, and that rather than working at her relationship she should be hitching her star to a new romance.” (Quilliam, 2000). Hmm, we are all flighty women who don’t know what a real relationship should be like? I don’t think so.

To put it simply, smart women read and write these novels, report higher levels of satisfaction in their relationships and enjoy the escape to a world where women characters are the center of the story. The modern romance novel features independent career women who refuse to settle for less. They are determined to tackle life on their own terms. It is the men who need to change in order to find happiness and fully self-actualize. And by the way, if you are still questioning how romance novels compare in terms of language use and vocabulary try pasting in a few pages of a Susan Johnson novel and comparing it to the readability score of say a Clive Cussler adventure book just for fun. I had a few minutes and did just that only to determine that both score about a 1100 Lexile level – about the 11th grade in terms of reading level. Awfully close. Perhaps the stereotype has more to do with the inclusion of sex in the storyline than any other factor.

While the naysayers will say reading romance is hazardous to your health I will keep on reading, writing and enjoying! After all, the establishment once believed that women reading much of anything could be detrimental to their ability to successfully have a baby. Holy bunk.

Loving Link blurb:

Can two artists salvage true love out of the unexpected consequences of one night of passion?

A young tattoo artist. A seasoned rock star. Both focused on their careers. What harm can there be in giving in to their desires for just one night? They’re about to find out as their scandalous relationship sweeps the internet. Will they stand together to face the world? Or will their emotional scars tear them apart? T.D. Hassett takes you to the heights of passion in Loving Link, Book 2 of her hot, sexy series Love and Music.

Link Jacks is done with women and determined to focus solely on music and rock-band Becket’s upcoming album. He’s been living as a marketing-prop bad-boy rock star for so long he doesn’t remember who he really is anymore. Not until he meets Madison, the emotionally guarded and theoretically off-limits younger sister of his best friend’s wife.

Madison just wants to get her fledgling tattoo career off the ground and stop relying on the generous charity of her wealthy brother-in-law to get by. She knows she should never get involved with the likes of Link but his presence is downright intoxicating. Her indiscretion will lead to Internet sex video and media frenzy. Their one wild night of passion will have scandalous repercussions and force each of them to confront their inner fears and emotional demons.

Buy: Loving Link (Love and Music, Book 2)

Excerpt:

Madison had just finished up with her second to last client and was tired. She thanked him for trusting her to do such an involved and powerful tattoo.

“No, thank you Madison. You’ve no idea how much this means to me. It’s absolutely beautiful.” the young private explained quietly, and then surprised her by wrapping her in a big hug and kissing the side of her head. It seemed to be an impulsive gesture and it took her off guard. For perhaps the first time she understood how important body art could be to somebody, how it truly was more than just something inked. She broke free of the embrace as her boss, Lori, came into the room. Madison froze in place seeing Link Jacks standing behind her boss and scowling. The private slipped her his card and was forced to squeeze by Link, who stood with his arms crossed, practically blocking the door.

Lori interrupted the awkward silence. “Madison, you might know Link Jacks through your brother-in-law. He’s been having a dragon done over the last couple of months and I’m thinking you’re the perfect person to do some of the scale work. I’ve seen you do some mythological pieces where the coloring is almost luminescent. That would be perfect for this piece. I’ve done all the lines and a good chunk of the fill but think if you wrapped up the scales it would be American Tats Magazine worthy.” Lori stated in her no-nonsense way.

Crap, there’s really no way to just say no, especially if Lori was thinking of putting the work on display. She had one more customer left for the day and was looking forward to a quiet night back at the apartment. She and Darling would probably just order pizza and watch a movie.

Maddie’s befuddled brain flashed back to the spiel Lori had given her about no drama and she braced herself for whatever this could mean. I just need to keep my focus on the work.

“Sure, as long as Link is comfortable with me doing the work. I’ve got one more customer tonight but I’d be happy to make him an appointment,” replied Madison.

Link’s icy expression slipped. He smiled at her and gave her a little wink, suggesting her stall tactic wasn’t going to work.

“No need, I’ve switched your last appointment to someone else so that you could have time to work on this piece now,” Lori smoothly added.

So much for putting this off until a later day. Lori walked away, leaving Link and Madison alone. Great, this would be a nightmare after what had transpired between them last week. She was already anxious around him and now she’d be spending hours touching his half-naked body. How did Monet ever paint those incredible nudes with such beauty just within reach?

Madison busied herself getting out sterile gloves and new needles. She focused her head on how best to color in the scales that she recalled so clearly from running her hands up his chest and arms. His low voice startled her when he asked what to do.

“Should I take my shirt off now and lie down, or just stand here feeling stupid?” Link questioned.

“Sorry, go ahead and lie down and you know, take off your clothes. I mean shirt.” Maddie blurted out awkwardly. She finished assembling her things on the tray and turned around in time to see him pull his tight black shirt up over his head exposing a broad, well-muscled chest that her fingers ached to touch. It was going to be torture to put needle to skin, to have her hands running over his washboard abs and strong arms, yet the full sensation would be blocked by the latex of her gloves. She studied the work already done on the tattoo. It was a masterpiece in the making. She’d never seen such a large, detailed mythological piece and couldn’t stop herself from tracing the line of the dragon’s tail from the waistband of his jeans up and across his chest and over his shoulder to where it ended on his back. The dragon’s head looked across his shoulders, its eyes done so realistically you felt like the beast was watching. She could see the mix of colors and shading she’d need to complete the work. The artist in her was clamoring to get started but the woman was afraid to keep touching him lest she lose her head again. She looked up from his skin to notice his eyes had been watching her with an expression of longing. His hand was clenched tightly against the arm of the chair and she noticed the telltale bulge in his pants. Memories of him pulsing in her sent a wave of moisture to her core.

She needed to put aside the tantalizing images flashing through her head. He was just a man who could only hurt her if she let him. Isabel had shared stories about Links escapades with women while on tour. It seemed everyone in the band but Link had settled down, so they all laughed at his adventures. Now that Madison had been one of his conquests, she hated every other woman who had ever looked at him and she hated herself even more for feeling that way.

“Okay, I’ll get started but as you probably know, work around the ribs and other bony areas can get pretty painful, so let me know when you need a break. Any questions?” Maddie was proud of how calm her voice was despite the rolling pit of emotions swirling around her belly.

“No questions. Baby, I’m ready for whatever you want to do to my body; bring it on.” Link answered with a cocky smile.

Damn him, he had to make this extra difficult. She’d made a mistake in what she did with him; she’d just been too curious a cat and she’d gotten her heart involved. But there was no way she would put that tail out there again for him to play with. Maddie had seen what heartbreak did to her mother and she knew better than to get involved with anyone who could do that kind of damage to her. Besides if Isabel ever found out what she’d gotten up to with Link she’d probably lecture her to death. And Thomas would probably kill Link; after all he had become quite the protective big brother to her after he and Isabel met.

Madison needed to focus on the task at hand and stop ogling him like … well, like some kind of groupie. She prepped a gun and tested the foot pedal, and then dipped her color, steadied her hand, and pressed needle to skin. The gentle vibration of the gun hummed to her as she worked a lower portion of the design over his right ribcage. She peaked across his chest, noticed another tattoo under his heart, and jabbed the needle in too hard.

Buy: Loving Link (Love and Music, Book 2)

TDPhotoAuthor Biography:

T.D. Hassett grew up reading the romance greats—Jackie Collins, Julie Garwood, and Judith McNaught. She was certain that life should be like a romance novel, with lots of passion, some incredible adventures, and a guaranteed happily ever after. She attended college in New England, earning a B.A. in History and an M.S. in Clinical Psychology before changing her mind again and studying education. Currently Ms. Hassett lives in Connecticut with her very patient husband and two young children. Her rambunctious family shares their home with three crazy cats and a darling golden retriever named Delilah. Her eccentric relatives and their quest to make her feel like the only normal nut in the family tree inspire her writing.

Visit her at http://tdhassett.wordpress.com

This post was written by…

– who has written 422 posts on Love Romance Passion.

Guest Bloggers featured at Love Romance Passion are romance authors, various industry personnel, and readers just like you!

Review: While You’re Away (Part I) by Jessa Holbrook

while-youre-away-1-jessa-holbrookReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Tricia Patten is having a party. Sarah Westlake and her boyfriend Dave Echols are the entertainment. If you want to be part of the party, put on some of your favorite music. You’ll find it to be very interesting. It had me thinking “Animal House” that includes have a senior hottie, Will Spencer. What’s a young woman supposed to do?

The reader is let into Sarah’s life. She’s a musician but also a young woman who doesn’t know what she wants to do. But in order to find that out, you will need to read part two. This seems to be like a soap opera for teenagers. I thought this first part was very sweet and if you like your YA’s sweet, you will want to make sure to read this one. Especially if you want to know where Jessa plans on taking her readers next.

Having a book as a serial is a great idea. People’s lives are so busy now a days that most of us only have a little time in order to read. If you can spare an hour or two at a time why not spend that time reading Jessa’s book. Adults like young adult books too so if you read this you may find yourself reminiscing. If you talk to your teenage daughter about what you read just remember they never seem to think that we were ever their age and going to a party? – mom!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: While You’re Away Part I: Our First Encounter

Get into Bed with Pamela Sherwood (Author Interview)

SongAtTwilightKeira: What do you feel is the most important aspect to a successful romance novel?

Pamela Sherwood: The emotional connection between the hero and heroine! You have to feel that their minds and hearts are in sync, not just their bodies.

Keira: How is Sophie, that heroine of A Song at Twilight, the toast of the ton? How did she get there

Pamela: Sophie is a rising star of the concert and opera stage, a gorgeous lyric soprano whose voice and stage presence have taken London and the Continent by storm. She was always musical, but she’s also studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music for several years before embarking upon her career.

Keira: Robin is one of my favorite names and is the name for your hero in A Song at Twilight. What made you choose it?

Pamela: Robin is usually a diminutive of Robert, but no one calls my hero that! I chose Robin because it reminds me of the dashing Robin Hood, the merry Robin Goodfellow (another name for Puck), and Robin Ellis, who played the lead in Poldark, a British television miniseries based on Winston Graham’s historical novels of 18th and 19th century Cornwall.

Keira: Robin left Sophie once before due to mysterious reasons. Was it because a singer can never be considered respectable marriage material by the ton?

Pamela: Quite the opposite, actually. Robin encouraged Sophie to become a singer, because he knew she had an exceptional talent that would take her far, if she chose to use it. So he’d be pretty hypocritical if he rejected her for that reason! And of all performing artists, singers probably received the most acceptance from polite society. Opera stars like Jenny Lind and Nellie Melba commanded respect as well as desire, and several singers married advantageously, though they often retired afterwards. No, Robin’s reasons for leaving Sophie have everything to do with him–and his determination not to see her dragged down by the shadows in his past.

Keira: You say in your author bio that historical romances are like virtual time travel. If you could actually time travel when and where would you go? Let’s hypothesize and say it was permanent and then if it was only a two week vacation.

Pamela: For a vacation, I’d like to visit the 1920s, explore the fascinating new developments in the arts, sciences, technology, sample the exhilarating new freedoms available to women, and learn to dance the Charleston!

Permanent … that’s harder because while the past is an attractive place to visit, would we really want to live there, knowing how things turn out? I suppose the closest I can come to choosing a permanent time travel destination would be to relive a recent era that perhaps was not as appreciated as it should have been. Like the 1990s, which had its ups and downs, but which seems almost idyllic in comparison to the post 9/11 years.

Keira: What is the most interesting thing you discovered while researching for A Song at Twilight?

Pamela: How prevalent music was in Victorian society. Seriously, it was everywhere–from the classical operas of Verdi and Wagner to the humble music halls and burlesques–music was an entertainment form accessible to all walks of life.

Keira: How do you define love? Does your definition change if we talk fiction versus reality?

Pamela: Bruce Lee is credited with saying, “Love is like a friendship caught on fire.” I’d say that comes close to my own definition of love. But I think fiction tends to emphasize the fire over the friendship, while in reality, both are necessary to sustain any kind of relationship. You have to like each other and be good companions as well as physically attracted.

It’s rare for a fire to burn at the same level of intensity over the years, so the friendship, the emotional and mental compatibility, is all the more important because that’s what keeps love alive when the fires are burning low.

Keira: What makes second chance romances great in your opinion? What sets them apart from the rest of the genre?

Pamela: I suspect all of us have our share of regrets about the past, things we’d do differently if we were given the opportunity. The job we’d take that we previously turned down, the guy we never quite got out of our system, all the roads not taken. Second chance romances are the ultimate do-over when it comes to love. Readers who ask themselves “What if?” can live vicariously through the characters, and see if greater maturity, more life experience, or even a different set of circumstances can result in a happy ending this time around. Second chance romances also acknowledge that people can make mistakes in love, but also move on from them.

Keira: What’s percolating on your back burner now? What can we expect from you next?

Pamela: At the moment, I’m working on a novella featuring Thomas Sheridan and Amy Newbold, the secondary couple from my first novel, Waltz With a Stranger. He’s a slightly rakish artist, she’s a pragmatic American heiress, and together they find romance and danger when they travel to Newport, Rhode Island for the summer season. And I’m plotting a book about Sophie’s older brother Harry who falls for the mysterious beauty who’s renting a summer cottage owned by his family.

Thank you for hosting me today on Love Romance Passion!

AUTHOR BIO AND LINKS

Pamela Sherwood grew up in a family of teachers and taught college-level literature and writing courses for several years before turning to writing full time. She holds a doctorate in English literature, specializing in the Romantic and Victorian periods, eras that continue to fascinate her and provide her with countless opportunities for virtual time travel. She lives in Southern California where she continues to write the kind of books she loves to read.

Website: www.pamelasherwood.com
Blog: www.pamelasherwood.com/post
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PamelaSherwoodAuthor
Twitter: twitter.com/#!/pamela_sherwood
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5763255.Pamela_Sherwood

Buy: A Song at Twilight

Time Travel: Impossible, Not to Love!

blue luteGuest Blog by Eryn LaPlant Rask, author of The Blue Lute

Time travel – yep, it’s impossible but who doesn’t love a good era-jumping story? Throw in some smoochin’ and lovin’ and you have a more than fantastic romance. We all know we can’t fall in love with knights of old, be ravished by eleventh century Vikings* or in The Blue Lute’s case, romanced by a debonair speakeasy musician from the Jazz Age.

The first time travel romance I read was Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor and from that moment I’ve loved the idea of crossed souls moving through time. Men were different back then, weren’t they? They were mannerly, polite and eloquent when they spoke. In fact, I was just talking about this in my Romance Writer’s of America chapter meeting this month. We were saying that in this day and age locker room talk might be something like, “Hey, dude, are you gonna hit that?” (or something far worse). But back in the other eras the bawdy talk might have gone something like this, “Her heaving bosoms call to me. I must make her mine tonight.”

Any way you say it, it’s still guys being guys, but somehow it sounds a little better coming from the gents of the past. In my personal opinion, I think this is why women like reading romances, especially ones that venture back to the past. We want our book boyfriends to be something we don’t have in this day in age. And with what very early reviews I’ve received from The Blue Lute, my theory has been proven with my dear Brandon Crowley.

Brandon is a suave, stand-up bass player who was whisked away from 1928 to the next century. He’s devilishly handsome and definitely has that proper air about him. You know…one of those bow-at-the-waist, kiss-your-hand kind of guys and when he meets Lilly Charles, a lowly doctoral history student, she is melted by his charm. No one Lilly has met in her generation is like Brandon. Their pants hang below the belt line, they let doors fly back in her face and hardly even use proper grammar. Her eyes are opened to Brandon and his polished demeanor. Just like the women who read a good time travel romance are. We want to be romanced and treated like princess, too.

Heck, I know I’ve had my share of unrefined guys who have treated me with less than the respect that I deserve. One even went so far as to slobber me after a date where I ended up with food poisoning. Here I was ill and he still went in to make a move. Thank God, I had enough sense about me to kick him out of my car before he could get any further than a slimy tongued kiss. I went home that night and settled into bed with a book boyfriend with way more manners than that date ever had. Sigh… if men would read these kinds of books, maybe they’d see where they go all wrong.

How about you? In the comments below, share some of your date nightmares or what mannerly qualities you’d like to see in your man?

*Thanks to author Renee Vincent for her knowledge of all things Vikings.

****************

THE BLUE LUTE

A doctoral candidate in history, Lilly Charles lives in a modern-day treasure trove of 1920s architecture—Manhattan’s St. Jean Apartments. The former hotel was once in the center of New York City’s jazz scene, and holds secrets Lilly is only beginning to discover.

A musical star in his own time, Brandon Crowley lived in an age of prohibition and gangsters, surrounded by the glamour of old Hollywood and the comfort of true friendships. As co-owner of the notorious speakeasy, The Blue Lute, he poured his life and love into his business—as a storm fueled by passion, liquor, murder and money was unleashed. And in the midst of it all, Brandon simply … disappeared.

When Lilly sees Brandon in a nearly 80-year-old photograph from the basement of the St. Jean, her reality comes undone. Could he be the same man she just saw arrested for breaking into the building? As Lilly is drawn deeper into the mysteries of Brandon’s life, a new storm of desire and danger begins to brew. Beneath the silvery moon and glitter of Times Square, an epic love story across the decades is about to unfold.

Buy: The Blue Lute

******************

Eryn LaPlant RaskBIO:

Eryn grew up wishing she could have lived in another time, so now she writes her own romances and lives through her characters. When not writing, she spends time with her loving husband, and their handsome son in the land of Lincoln. If she can’t live in the past, she figures she can at least live amongst it!

Hello to the world! I am a former slave for the working world and presently a woman of many trades. I am a wife, a mother, an antiques collector, a painter, a baker, a gardener, a photographer, a historian and my favorite by far a novelist (well except the first two in my list)! Thanks for checking me out!

Buy: The Blue Lute

Review: Eighty Days Yellow by Vina Jackson

eighty days yellowReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: For Summer Zahova her relationship with her current boyfriend is proving strained, and she concentrates on her music to keep her content at least. She plays her violin on the London underground, but when it gets broken by drunken football fans passing by, Summer thinks it will take her ages to be able to have the money to replace it – that is until she gets an email from Dominik, a professor who offers to get her a new violin, but only if she will play for him at a concert of his choosing.

Story: Summer isn’t happy with her current boyfriend, Darren. It’s obvious that their relationship has soured since they started living together. He doesn’t like how she listens to Vivaldi – naked and doesn’t like the loudness either – worrying about what the neighbours will think of them in the morning. She feels she only has her music to take her mind off her failed relationship, and the fact she no longer has a violin to busk with out in the underground anymore.

Dominic found out her plight after her disaster outside Tottenham Court Road Station. He reads all about it in the local newspaper and recognises her photo when he goes to look her up on Facebook. On her page he sees her beauty, framed by her bright red hair. Instantly she fires a passion in him that makes him want to write her:

“Dear Summer Zahova,

I was most sorry to hear of your ordeal. I am a great admirer of your musicianship, and to ensure you are able to continue your practice. I am willing to gift you with a new violin. Are you willing to accept my challenge and my terms?”

Review: Needless to say, Summer accepts his offer, thinking she has nothing to lose, but once she has an affair with the professor, it is only then she knows how much of herself she will lose. The idea for this novel is a decent on and as part of a trilogy it could have been better thought out. I found it a little far fetched that an ordinary New Zealand girl could have a musicians name like Zahova, yet she busks around London and surprisingly gets plucked out of obscurity by a naughty professor. Fiction is fiction, but it should at least be somewhat believable. Classical music being the driving force of the story, as well as the raunchy sex will be a draw for some readers who like classical music, but not all as it will only have a limited audience.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Eighty Days Yellow (The Eighty Days Series)

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Review: A Passion for Pleasure (Daring Hearts, Book 2) by Nina Rowan

passion for pleasureHero: Sebastian Hall, former rake and musician, is a second son with two options available to him regarding his future. The first has been decreed by his father and the second is a favor for his brother. Since Sebastian refuses to marry and become a patent office clerk, he is now in pursuit of a mechanical device that could help in the war.

Heroine: Clara Whitmore was a former student of Sebastian’s and would have loved a flirtation with the man. Now, she is a widow desperately wishing to be reunited with her son. Sebastian just might be the answer to her prayers. She will give him the papers on the device if he will marry her.

Review: I figured out early on in the story why Clara’s father refused to give her access to her son and he wasn’t very kind to his grandson (huge understatement). Both father figures of the main characters were cold, and Seb’s mother was unnecessary. I loved the musical references and the dialogue between Clara and Seb. My favorite scenes include Clara’s proposal to Sebastian and the piano lessons Sebastian gave Andrew.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: A Passion for Pleasure (A Daring Hearts Novel)

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