Wednesday, July 15, 2015
I did manage to get in a lot of reading during my break. It was hit or miss. I’m getting really bored with most contemporary romance. I fell like I’m reading the same stories over & over again. I have been mixing up my genres which helps but I’m a sucker for a swoony romance and I’m just not finding any that give me butterflies ya know?
Any-hoo here’s what I’ve been reading with mini reviews so I’m all caught up….
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Serving Pleasure by Alisha Rai (Source: purchased) ~ Goodreads
Hungry for a touch…
Rana Malik is over being her family’s resident black sheep. She’s on a mission: ditch the casual hook-ups, revamp her bad-girl image, and fall in love with a proper Mr. Right even her conservative mama can’t find fault with. Not on the menu? The beautiful, brooding Mr. Right Now who lives next door, and all the ways he whets her appetite.
Starving for love…
Artist Micah Hale had it all–women, success, friends and family–until his world changed in a single act of senseless violence. Now struggling to conceal his scars and get his life and career back on track, he knows he has nothing to offer a woman except his body. He’s not looking for love…but he can’t control his craving for the sexy bombshell voyeur he’s caught looking at him.
Just one bite.
Their attraction boils over, and their defenses are stripped off along with their clothes. They promise they’ll walk away if it gets too hot. But it’s hard to do the right thing…when being wrong feels so good.
My thoughts: Serving Pleasure is scorching hot with two strong, complex characters yet – I couldn’t get rid of my sense of déjà vu while reading to the point where I seriously thought I had read this already – but I hadn’t. I think these sex scenes are all becoming a blur to me at this point. There are only so many ways to write voyeurism maybe? And the reformed bad girl/brooding hero trope seems to be all I’m reading right now. It was well done but didn’t grab my attention in the way that I had hoped.
I loved Rana’s relationship with her sisters and mother. It’s a complicated dynamic and was more interesting to me than the romance. I would still highly recommend this one to people who aren’t as burned out on contemp romance as I seem to be right now.
The Hurricane by R.J. Prescott (Source: e-arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review) ~ Goodreads
Emily McCarthy is living in fear of a dark and dangerous past. A gifted mathematician, she is little more than a hollow, broken shell, trying desperately to make ends meet long enough to finish her degree.
Through an unlikely friendship with the aging, cantankerous owner of an old boxing gym, Em is thrown into the path of the most dangerous man that she has ever met.
Cormac “the Hurricane” O’Connell is cut, tattooed and dangerous. He is a lethal weapon with no safety and everyone is waiting for the mis-fire. He’s never been knocked out before, but when he meet Em he falls, HARD. Unlike any other girl he’s ever met, she doesn’t want anything from him, but just being around her makes him want to be a better person.
They are polar opposites who were never meant to find each other, but some things are just worth the fight.
My thoughts: The Hurricane is sweet and sexy. Cormac falls for Emily right away. Yeah, it was insta-love for him but I could see it from his pov and he worked hard to earn her love and respect. I’ve got to give him credit for that. He was a little too possessive for my taste and this one isn’t breaking any new ground for the genre – it’s very predictable and a tad cliché but like I said – sweet.
The Girl Next Door (Bend or Break #3) by Amy Jo Cousins (Source: e-arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review) ~ Goodreads
When it comes to love, go big or go home.
Charles “Cash” Carmichael traded his high-rise condo and family-firm career for a job coaching soccer for Chicago’s inner-city kids. He’s adjusting to living on minimum wage when his young cousin, newly out and running away from home, shows up on his less-than-luxurious doorstep.
Angsty teens definitely aren’t Cash’s thing. He needs local backup, and there’s only one name he can think of: Stephany Tyler. Back in the day, the bisexual Steph was the perfect friend with benefits until she fell in love with a woman.
To his relief, his former friend steps up to the plate. Soon, though, Cash finds himself feeling the familiar need to keep her in his bed, and in his life. But Steph, burned by the ex-girlfriend and by the absentee dad she’s been trying to connect with, won’t risk her heart again.
Good thing Cash believes in leaving it all on the field. If he can just convince Steph to get in the game, there’s a chance they can both win.
Warning: This book contains ex-friends with benefits crossing boundaries a second time, several steamy encounters on staircases, copious discussions about gay sex from a “straight” guy, a shout-out to magic buttons, and an especially memorable going away threesome.
My thoughts: I’m so bummed that I didn’t like this one more. I LOVED Cash & Stephanie in Bend or Break #1 – Off Campus, and Amy Jo Cousins is an auto buy author for me but The Girl Next Door didn’t wow me the way I thought it would. (I should point out that everyone else loved it)
Cash and Stephanie are wonderful but I felt like Cash's pov was more *tell* than *show*. It was told entirely from his pov and I guess I expected to see more of Steph than we did.
Also, Cash works as a coach in inner city Chicago and there are a lot of statistics that read kind of flat to me (even though I whole heartedly support what the author was trying to explore - poverty, the suicide rate of young gay men - I just think she did it better in On Campus - without it feeling like bullet points).
But still great chemistry with all the characters, both old and new, and lots of humor and sexy times, including a threesome which I know will be a big hit for a lot of readers but isn't my thing.
A Fashionable Indulgence by K.J Charles (e-arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review – pub date: August 11, 2015) ~ Goodreads
When he learns that he could be the heir to an unexpected fortune, Harry Vane rejects his past as a Radical fighting for government reform and sets about wooing his lovely cousin. But his heart is captured instead by the most beautiful, chic man he’s ever met: the dandy tasked with instructing him in the manners and style of the ton. Harry’s new station demands conformity—and yet the one thing he desires is a taste of the wrong pair of lips.
After witnessing firsthand the horrors of Waterloo, Julius Norreys sought refuge behind the luxurious facade of the upper crust. Now he concerns himself exclusively with the cut of his coat and the quality of his boots. And yet his protégé is so unblemished by cynicism that he inspires the first flare of genuine desire Julius has felt in years. He cannot protect Harry from the worst excesses of society. But together they can withstand the high price of passion.
My thoughts: I enjoyed Charles Think of England. It was romantic, filled with humor and a little intrigue. A Fashionable Indulgence sounded like it would be similar, despite being a new series and it was!
Harry and Julius could not be more different and I loved how they came together. Plenty of (good) angst, sexy times and a wonderful supporting cast of characters made for another fun read by K.J. Charles.
I really enjoy how this author writes relationships. It’s a bumpy path and they both make more than a few errors in judgment but her characters show plenty of growth by the end and you believe in their HEA.
In Front of God and Everyone (Pay it Forward #1) by ( Source: copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review) ~ Goodreads
Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home.
On the Compound, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.
But Joshua doesn’t need any help from TV or porn to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together in the way he’s always craved.
Yet it can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.
Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires, and Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him.
Luckily, there is someone who does. But can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?
Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord's name in vain, love against the kitchen counter, and evidence that canvas work trousers can truly be sexy.
My thoughts: Joshua and Caleb live in a bigamist cult where only people deemed useful to the group are allowed to stay. Caleb is high ranking and from a prominent family and is safe (for now) but his best friend Joshua isn’t very useful and is fearful for what comes next for him.
The time at the compound is intense and scary to read about. Joshua has what he believes is sinful, unrequited feelings for Caleb. Oh the longing Josh felt for Caleb was so damn heartbreaking but sweet!
Once they escape the drama shifts to everyday living, like finding a car, jobs etc and isn’t quite as interesting or dramatic as the life in the compound but this was a nice, relatively low angst romance. I also liked how even though this was a m/m romance, the author explored the issues regarding women living in the cult. It wasn’t easy to read at times but it was written well.
I want to point out that despite the title, this book isn’t really about God at all. Other than the men originating from a cult. It’s about being brave enough to be yourself “in front of God and everyone”