Audio Review: Love in the Afternoon by Alison Packard

love in the afternoonHero: Sean Barrett is the sexiest soap star on TV. His father — an amazing actor in his own right — is embarrassed that Sean spent ten years of his life acting for a lowbrow soap, and tries to get him to audition for Hollywood hits. Sean refuses to use his father’s connections in the industry to get ahead and purposefully avoids leaving the soap for greener pastures. He and his father do not get along. Sean sees every attempt to reconnect as an attempt to manipulate him. His father’s pull is so strong others have tried to get close to Sean in order to get close to his father, something Sean finds distasteful. His fame-seeking ex-girlfriend has left a bad taste in his mouth and he’s determined to avoid his sexy new costar at all costs… until he realizes she wasn’t hired for her pretty face but for her acting skills. Then all bets are off.

Heroine: Kayla Maxwell’s biggest career move in seven years has been to accept a contract with daytime’s most popular soap, A New Dawn. It will give her the chance to show her acting chops and perhaps prove to her manipulative ex-boyfriend – also an actor — that she’s more than a bimbo in some B-rated slashers. Things seem to be going well, because the producers are expanding her role and slotting her character as Sean’s character’s newest love interest. But when real terror comes to the set, Kayla doesn’t know what to do. A hateful fan leaving threatening notes for her to quit the show and get out of town has escalated into vandalism and hints at more. Her handsome costar wants to keep her safe and Kayla is inclined to let him.

Review: Found this treasure on Audible for free one day and snagged it. I’m glad I did. I very much enjoyed the narrator. Gia St. Claire did an excellent job and I would listen to another book read by her.

I liked how the lines of dialogue at the top of each chapter reflect the growing attraction and love the two shared as both the main characters and their on-screen personas. I would classify this romance as sweet, despite the crazy fan mystery. I thought Sean and Kayla were great together on and off the stage. I liked the behind-the-scenes-look at filming day time soap operas with new tapings each day and the two’s interactions in the evening studying their lines.

The mystery is pretty good at keeping you guessing who is behind the threats. I won’t give you the choices, but I know I kept bouncing back and forth on it for a good portion of the novel. There’s a significant portion of page time devoted to Sean’s friend, Matt, a baseball player with some serious issues involving the death of somebody (wife, child?). It’s a clear setup for the next book in the series. Perhaps with Kelly, Kayla’s sister?

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Love in the Afternoon (Feeling the Heat)

Review: Fulfill Me by Victoria Blisse

Fulfill Me by Victoria BlisseReviewed by Sandra Scholes

The Steamy Synopsis:

Why is it when you want to go out with some gorgeous guy, there’s always someone who wants to get in your way? This time though, it isn’t another woman, but a man. It is PA hottie Mike who stands between her and Nick Casey the star of top soap Dobson’s Digs. She wants him, that’s for sure, but is she prepared for how much she has to do to get him to go out with her? Who knows, but Mike isn’t about to let her have her way so easy – not when he wants him too.

The Dream Characters:

Nick: He’s the star of Dobson’s Digs, and isn’t a diva, which is amazing, but he is kind and generous to his friends. When he meets Caitlyn by accident, he finds he likes her, and wants to share some of his time with her, but only if he can slip away from Mike’s clutches – he does tend to be a bit of a mother hen and it annoys him, but not as much as it does her.

Mike: He’s the PA and bodyguard that comes between Caitlyn, and she doesn’t like him one bit, but she has to tolerate him if she wants to get anywhere near talking distance to Nick. He doesn’t like her at first either as she doesn’t understand how much of a big star he is or the demands put on him by his acting career.

Caitlyn: At first Caitlyn/Katy strikes you as a star struck fan of Nick’s and it reads as a bit disturbing, as though she is a stalker. She wants to know where he is, and buys his underwear off of E-bay – that’s the sort of woman she is, but Blisse doesn’t let her stay that way, she gives her an extra dimension that works throughout the book.

The Hot Result: At the moment, BDSM erotica has been made famous by the hype got by Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy, but this novel has the added bonus of having MMF style romance put into the mix, making it more interesting – it adds that extra spice Shades of Grey doesn’t have, and as a result, it will have universal appeal. Blisse shows the two of them lead very different lives; Caitlyn’s isn’t as rosy as she would like as hers is pretty normal, while she sees Nick’s as a celebrity lifestyle, which it is, but he isn’t as caught up in the bright lights as she is. He can still keep his head, his rational mind above all the glitz and glamour.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Fulfill Me (BBW Erotica)

Review: Sloane Hall by Libby Sternberg

Reviewed by Carla F.

Libby Sternberg takes Jane Eyre and turns it on its head in this imaginative tale of Hollywood in the 1920’s.

Summary: Young John Doyle spent time in reform school after killing his abusive stepfather, and stayed on to work there after his time was done. Fascinated with motion pictures, he decides to head to Hollywood. However, he wants to be a cameraman instead of an actor. He gets a job as a low-level assistant on the set of a movie. One day he is upset at being thrown out of his apartment and accidentally causes an afternoon’s worth of film to be destroyed. Now with no job and no place to stay he is relieved when his older friend Leo says that the silent film star, Pauline Sloane (soon to do her first talkie), needs a chauffeur.

Review: I loved how Jane turned into John in this book, and how the author works in elements of Jane Eyre in unique ways. I also enjoyed the mentions of Hollywood actors/actresses and directors during that time (there is an interesting encounter with Howard Hughes) and the detail of how both silent films and ones with sound were made in those early days. Leo’s long talks with John about how talkies are so inferior to silent movies and how they won’t last long are amusing.

The wonderful mystery of Jane Eyre is maintained. What is Pauline’s real relationship to her agent Robbie Morgan? What is the deal with the French chef who isn’t worried about losing her job because she “knows things”? What are those eerie sounds in Sloane Hall that John hears from his bed in the room over the garage? Is there something in the attic?

Recommended: For lovers of Jane Eyre and readers who love stories of Hollywood as it was.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: SLOANE HALL (A Tale of Old Hollywood)

Review: His Leading Lady by Paula Martin

Heroine: Jess Harper is the twin sister of a rising West End actress. But when her twin, Lora, goes missing, Jess is begged to step in by her agent. With Lora off the map and her career in jeopardy, Jess does what she’s always done – help! But the theatre director is both too arrogant and too sexy and he’s bound to see through her act.

Hero: Kyle Drummond needs his leading lady. When he discovers Jess is playing Lora he decides the better twin is present and gets her to take over Lora’s role in his new show. Jess is everything he’s looking for both on stage and off – but can he convince her nothing was happening between him and Lora besides contractual obligations?

The Show’s Financial Backer: Watch out for this guy!

Review: Sometimes it’s nice to dream of the life you didn’t choose, the paths you didn’t take, but what happens when the dream you let go of comes back into your reach again? That’s what happens to Jess – she chose a life off the stage, but with her sister’s disappearing act suddenly she has a chance at the limelight again. It’s very tempting, but her worry about her sister keeps her from fully believing the life she stepped into. Can she give it up? Can she give up Kyle? It was a nice read, a little lacking in tension and not enough loving between hero and heroine for my tastes. Could have used more!

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: His Leading Lady

Review: Dark Passages by Kathryn Leigh Scott

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Genre: Paranormal Romance

In Kathryn Leigh Scott’s story, she puts a new spin on what a vampire is. We meet Meg as a young girl trying to act as “normal” as possible. Meg is different from most vampire characters than I have read in the past. She is a vampire that can talk to dead people.

I did love how Kathryn put a different spin on our vampire. Meg grows up in the year 1962 and becomes a Playboy Bunny. I also loved the fact that Kathryn references actual historical events instead of making up history to fit her story line.

As I start getting into the story, I read more about Meg’s “Bunny” lifestyle and her trying to become an actress then I do about her being a vampire. There were times that I felt that the character, Meg, could just have been anyone and not someone with special “gifts”.

A personal tragedy occurs and then we start to see Meg thinking about her vampire powers. But so far she doesn’t really act on them. Kathryn also gives us a look into more of what Meg’s childhood was like.

Every once in a while we do get a glimpse of the vampire – we see Meg “feed”. In most vampire stories, our vampires “feed” from humans but Meg uses alternatives. This makes Kathryn’s story a little different from most.

I found that the first couple of chapters were moving a little slow. Kathryn is giving the reader a lot of information about what is going on in Meg’s life. Sometimes I felt that it was a little too much.

Then we see Meg become a member of a soap opera entitled “Dark Passages”.

I do like that Kathryn is very descriptive. It helps the reader get an idea of what is going on in the story. But I also think this works against her because it makes the book hard to read because the scenes move so slowly. It also makes the reader feel that they are watching an actual soap opera – albeit a slow one.

And we haven’t even seen the romance end of it yet. Who is her love interest? Will we ever find out who he is? I’m hoping by the start of chapter 4 that the love interest will show himself and then maybe the story won’t appear so slow. But I was to be disappointed.

In chapter 5, Meg mentions a guy named Eric who appears to be special to her. We have to take her word for that because there is no mention about him in previous chapters. I felt he was “plopped” into the story line because a love interest had to show up somewhere. But I didn’t feel a connection between the two characters. Then we find that Meg has a crush on another actor. This just confuses the reader as to who her love interest is.

Kathryn wrote a beautiful love scene between Meg and Eric. But when it came, it was a surprise. I didn’t expect it because I don’t see a past romance between the two. And they don’t even stay a couple.

Meg gets a “lucky charm” from a very dear friend. One you don’t think she will ever give up. But then we see that she gives it away. Can’t be much of a “lucky charm”.

We then find out that Meg’s nemesis, Camilla, joins the cast of “Dark Passages”. Now we get into a story of good versus evil. It isn’t until chapter 18 that we see what type of vampire Meg really is. It takes Meg’s mother to let the reader know why Camilla hates Meg so much. This conflict between the two of them is what brings out Meg’s powers that we haven’t seen before.

And still at this point I don’t see any real romance. Romance grips you and you can feel the chemistry between the two characters. I don’t feel that anywhere in this book. There is plenty of suspense but the romance is lost in the story line. Usually the romance builds through the book and sometimes they “live happily ever after.” Maybe I missed something but I just didn’t see that here.

I got to a point in the book that I had a hard time concentrating on the story. I found that I had to keep putting it down, go do something else, and then pick it back up again. I didn’t feel that the story picked up until a few chapters from the end. It took me the longest time to read this book (the first time ever).

A lot of my good paranormal romances I have read more than once. I’m sorry to say that once was enough for this book. You as the reader will have to decide if you agree with my feelings about this.

When I received the book “Dark Passages” I was very interested to see that the author was on my favorite show when I was growing up. I always looked forward to watching “Dark Shadows”. It was like an addiction. I had to watch it every time it came on. That was when I first fell in love with vampires.

I had such high hopes that Kathryn would grab my attention right from the beginning but this book failed to deliver. Maybe if the book had fewer pages it would have helped. But I don’t know if that would be true or not. It is not a book that I would go out and buy but I would recommend that if you want to read it, get it from your library.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: Dark Passages

Review: The Redhead Revealed by Alice Clayton

This is book two in the Redhead quartet (possibly a quintet). It is not a stand alone but part of a series. You do need to read book one, The Unidentified Redhead, as book two continues immediately where book one ends.

When we left them last Grace Sheridan had just been hired on to be the star in an off off Broadway production in New York City while Jack Hamilton stayed in California and was fast becoming the next Robert Pattinson and creating a frenzy among women ages 7 to 77 the world over. The two agree to do the long distance relationship thing and that’s where we start.

Grace loves being onstage again. She’s working hard and loves her part as Mabel. She’s singing, acting, and dancing with joy and satisfaction. Her old flame from college, Michael, is the show’s producer and writer and the two fall right back into being the best of friends talking in code with lots of inside jokes. Offstage Grace is exploring the city and misses her George terribly.

Jack is crisscrossing the USA and Atlantic Ocean for multiple interviews and press junkets promoting Time, the first movie in a Hollywood blockbuster smash about a sexy time traveling scientist. His manager refuses to let him tell the masses that he’s got a girlfriend (something which Grace is relieved about) and so uses the interviews to send coded messages instead.

The two get by on phone sex… but phone sex loses its charm and novelty and soon only an in person appearance will do. I feel bad for the chauffeurs!

Tensions rise when the paparazzi leak rumors and photos to various fansites and media. Will the two survive or will this along with Grace’s insecurities about the 9 year age difference pull them apart for good?

I gobbled this installment up so fast I got heartburn. ;) I’m ready for more Crazy and Sweet Nuts. When’s the next Redhead coming out?

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: The Redhead Revealed (The Redhead Series)

Movie Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams

timetravelerwife

I was very disappointed with Time Traveler’s Wife. Don’t get me wrong it was well executed, had great acting and cinematography but there was a key element that was simply missing for me. Having never read the book, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, I can’t say if the movie was missing this crucial element or if both the book and the movie are missing it.

Why does he travel? Why does he go back if he can’t stay for longer than a conversation? How many times has he tried to save his mom? What’s the point in zapping back to that moment over and over again? He can’t just talk to himself over and over again, that’s just being on constant repeat and I had the impression from later in the movie when he disappeared for two weeks that he still lived two weeks, he just lived them somewhere else.

Did love draw him to the meadow to meet his future wife? Or to the museum to meet his 10 year old daughter? He does hop into the future beyond his death, why doesn’t he tell his wife about those times? Sure, sure he doesn’t want her to wait, but why does he travel if not to meet with his loved ones?

The movie tries to give the impression of eternal life, but it’s a more melancholy message than you would expect. The Time Traveler does die, he can’t live the rest of his life or her life out. He’s not there always even when he’s not there, no matter what his wife and daughter say before the credits roll.

To tell you the truth, I was extremely disappointed with his wife in the end. He tells her that he doesn’t want her to wait and she folds his clothes up and walks back to the house with their daughter? She defied him once she should do it again – stick those clothes back on the stump and add a note or a cell phone and tell him what for! Ugh! It was terribly frustrating.

I have two sticking points in the story that didn’t cut it for me in the film. First, Eric Bana as Henry meeting Clare at six was just plain creepy. It was such a bizarre moment that almost read father to daughter, not how I would have scripted or kept as acted. I would have rerun it again and again until it was more subtle less patronizing or whatever the word is I’m looking for. Second, Alba as a time traveler, even if she does have control over her ‘gift’. I would not want a little girl to be hopping time without clothes on even if she could pick a lock – double creepy!

Rachel McAdams however was wonderful from start to finish. Loved her. She’s so cute and perfect for the role of older Clare. Her expressive face really carries the more poignant of scenes. She is truly a gifted actress and I would watch her in just about anything.

Overall though, for me this was a movie I’d see just once.

Rating: 2 Stars

Buy: The Time Traveler’s Wife

Read another review of the movie.

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