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Book Review: Boardroom, Bedroom by Gemma Snow

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Boardroom, Bedroom by Gemma Snow. If you’re looking for a short story with a lot of meat and very little potatoes, this one’s for you!

Geneva is a business woman trying to finalize a deal and Dylan is the hot guy, heir to the company, standing in her way. The story goes by quickly and is filled with plenty of sex (for those of you who are looking for those kind of stories), but be warned – the overarching storyline sets the women’s movement back…way back.

I waited a week to write this review, just to see if my thoughts changed at all – they didn’t.

Geneva is a smart woman, or she is supposed to be. After a particularly trying meeting with Dylan and his father, she decides on a night out with her best friend. The best friend who promptly bails on her at the bar (what kind of friend does that?).

Geneva thinks, “Okay…I’ll have fun on my own.” (You go, girl!) While dancing, she proceeds to let a guy she doesn’t know and even hasn’t looked at, use his hands on her in the dirtiest ways possible…on the dance floor. (I get it, that’s pretty hot.)

Then, still without even looking at him…she agrees to go home with him.

You were supposed to be smart, Geneva!

But, surprise! We already know who the guy was the whole time (Thank goodness it wasn’t that creepy guy who hangs out at every bar, ever.)

Fast forward, after a lot of hot sex…he agrees to the business deal. At this point, I was just thinking, “Kick him in the balls, Geneva!… and don’t forget your clutch on the way out!” (Quid pro sex is not sexy.)

But, no. She was happy about it. 😦

I love romance and always will. But, stories that make women (or men) less than what they should be and what they deserve, are, let’s face it…a boner killer.

I give Boardroom, Bedroom by Gemma Snow 1 HEART.

Book Info:

All Geneva Sterling wants is for Trenton and Sons Investment to sign the contract that could make her career. She’s been after them for nearly a year, and would have been successful too – if it weren’t for Dylan freaking Trenton. He’s hell bent on sinking this deal, and he’ll stop at nothing to get her to back off. But Geneva’s not going down without a fight, even if her opponent in this boardroom boxing match makes her hotter than anyone else ever has.

Dylan Trenton just wants to get his mind off work, and the powerful, infuriating and oh-so-beautiful Geneva Sterling. So when an associate takes him to Club Underground to check out his most recent investment, Dylan decides to go with the flow. After all, there’s a goddess in a slinky silver dress just calling his name. But when he finds out exactly who he’s dancing – and more – with, Dylan learns that hate and desire run a close parallel, and tonight he might just step over the line.

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/4AJxro

Gemma’s free option: https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/r7rS2

The teaser is way too racy for us to post on ILRB, but you can view it on the author’s site here.

AUTHOR: Gemma Snow

TITLE: Boardroom, Bedroom

GENRE: erotica

RELEASE DATE: October 13, 2017

PUBLISHER: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ISBN/ASIN: B076FM75HL

OUR RATING: ♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Up Next Week: Dear Heart by Linda Lingle

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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Filed under Blogging, Book News, book reviews, Books, Erotica, Event, Fiction, free books, Readers, Relationships, Reviews, Romance, score, short stories, steamy, Stories, Writing

Book Review: Valentine in Venice by Kaya Quinsey

As a special Valentine’s Day edition of the weekly I Love Romance Blog review, this week’s selection is Valentine in Venice by Kaya Quinsey.

This is another short story that I wish were longer (What can I say? I love to read!), but if you’re looking for a quick, entertaining story this Valentine’s Day – check this one out.

Valentine remembers when she first visited Venice in high school. Although the sights and sounds are amazing, she definitely remembers her first kiss. Ten years later, she returns to Venice – plus one camera and minus one husband. But, fate isn’t done with her yet and Valentine is about to get her happily ever after…I think.

Though a short story, the author has done a great job of describing Venice.  The way the story was told, I was taken back to my own trips to Italy and strolls down the canals of the ancient city. Considerably less steamy than last week’s selection, but heavier on the romance – this story was definitely enjoyable.

“Happily ever after…I think?”

I know, you’re wondering what that was about. The setup is there for the HEA, but we’re left to imagine it for ourselves. I actually found myself flipping a couple pages ahead to see if there was more story – then, I was a little bereft. What happened to Valentine? Did she move to Venice? Did she go back to Chicago? I’ve certainly answered all those questions for myself and Valentine is doing just fine where she is.

It is well-written and entertaining, but the speedy, cliffhanger ending was jarring – I give Valentine in Venice by Kaya Quinsey 3 HEARTS!

Recommended Read

Book Info:

Valentine Wells returns to Venice. After having visited ten years earlier when she was just sixteen years old, it was where she had impulsively met Lorenzo Dipachio. Her first kiss. Her first love.

Now twenty-six, Valentine is a successful wedding photographer in Chicago. Still impulsive, Valentine is recently divorced after being married for about a minute in Las Vegas. And she doesn’t miss the irony of being a divorced wedding photographer. Also dealing with her mother’s recent diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s, Valentine’s father convinces her that she needs a break.

Now that she is back in Venice, Valentine wants to prove to herself that she’s no longer the impulsive, daring girl who got married (and quickly divorced) in Vegas to a man she barely knew. Now, she is living by a new set of rules: planned, cautious, and carefully executed.

But her plan is challenged when she falls (literally) into the path of her first love, Lorenzo. And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, will Valentine be able to keep herself from making another big mistake?

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/3LGKNM

AUTHOR: Kaya Quinsey

TITLE: Valentine in Venice

GENRE: contemporary romance, holiday romance, sweet romance, second chance romance

RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2019

PUBLISHER: Books to Go Now

ISBN/ASIN: B07MPDCLN6

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Up Next Week: Bedroom, Boardroom by Gemma Snow

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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Filed under Blogging, Book News, book reviews, Books, Contemporary, Event, new release, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Second Chances, short stories, Stories, sweet romance, Valentine's, Writing

Book Review: Legends of Lust by Autumn Bardot

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Legends of Lust by Autumn Bardot. If you’re a fan of mythology, history, or ass-kicking women finding true lust (and sometimes love), this one is for you!

This book is a new release that, in fourteen short stories, tell the tales of remarkable women finding the men that match them in their infamy. From all realms of traditional historical fiction, Autumn kicks the heat up and had me clutching my pearls more than once. It is rare to find stories that are an equal mix of romance and erotica, but the author does a great job of blending the two.

As an added bonus, at the end of each story, the author has provided the original story’s information so we know how to find the foundation of each. I don’t think I’m going to be the only one wanting Odysseus’ story to be a full-length novel.

I’m a nitpicky kind of reader, but I’m hard pressed to find anything I didn’t like – definitely add this to your reading list! For shear awesomeness and entertainment – I give Legends of Lust by debut author Autumn Bardot 5 HEARTS!

Recommended Read

Book Info:

Who knew the ancient world could be so downright… arousing?

Like uncovering a sexy diamond in the rough, Legends of Lust reveals the fiery passions lying dormant behind your favorite mythological stories. This adults-only, debut collection of fourteen steamy, erotic short stories by Autumn Bardot is an explosion of sexy, nasty, and romantic retellings that will take your love of myths to a whole new level.

Odysseus, a mere man, becomes a god-like master of the tease in the eyes of the sex-starved and eternally lustful goddess, Calypso. The tale of Amazonian queen, Hippolyta, and Theseus gives “love-at-first-sight” a whole new meaning that will enthrall your senses. The encounter between Vishvamitra and Menaka takes them to explosive new levels of bodily nirvana. And Gilgamesh, the mighty god-king, sends temple prostitute Shamhat to tame a wild man, but instead he teaches her something about man’s most primal instincts… and is not left wanting.

Run wild in your personal Elysian Fields of pleasure with this spicy, irreverent peek into the sensual world of our most beloved gods, heroes, fairies, and shape shifters from every corner of the earth.

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/4EMMyA

Scorching, right? Let’s check out the book trailer!

AUTHOR: Autumn Bardot

TITLE: Legends of Lust: Erotic Myths from around the World

GENRE: erotica, some romance, mythology, fantasy, collection

RELEASE DATE: January 8, 2019

PUBLISHER: Cleis Press

ISBN/ASIN: B07H9HLFC1

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Up Next Week: Valentine in Venice by Kaya Quinsey

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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Filed under Blogging, Book News, book reviews, Books, Erotica, Event, Fantasy, Historical, new release, Readers, Romance, steamy, Stories, Writing

Book Review: Aloha, Baby! by Ann Omasta

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Aloha, Baby! by Ann Omasta. If you’re looking for a quick, entertaining read – this is the novella for you! ❤

Set in the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, Leilani is a resort stakeholder-employee who gives her virginity and heart away to a handsome tourist. But, as the title suggests, it really can happen the first time. After some indecision, Lani sets out to spread the news. Along with her best friends, Honi and Kai, they agree on a baby-raising pact.

When feelings are hurt, jealousy rears its ugly head. But, happily ever after makes a sweet surprise ending.

Well written and enjoyable, but the fast pace and short length leave some holes in the romance – I give Aloha, Baby! by Ann Omasta 3 HEARTS!

Recommended Read

If you read more for the story than the heat, definitely add this to your reading list. 🙂

Book Info:

Alone and pregnant…

Leilani Kehele never thought those words would describe her, yet that is exactly how she finds herself in Aloha, Baby!

Feeling like a huge disappointment to her family, Lani turns to her two handsome and loyal best friends, Kai and Honi, for advice.

In an attempt to arrange the best possible outcome for this challenging situation, the three hatch a plan to give Lani’s baby a father. Will it work? Will Lani and her baby discover their happily-ever-after ending?

This novella is part of The Escape Series, which includes the Kindle Scout winning book, Getting Lei’d, Cruising for Love, Island Hopping, and the sweet short story, Coconutty Christmas. You can read and enjoy these books in any order!

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/bPZJpl

You can get your copy of Aloha, Baby! FREE by signing up for Ann’s mailing list HERE.

Discover the whole series

by Ann!Nice author tagline! We agree! 😉

Readers, be sure to also check out book one of the series, Getting Lei’d! 😀

AUTHOR: Ann Omasta

TITLE: Aloha, Baby! (book four of The Escape Series)

GENRE: romantic comedy

RELEASE DATE: December 17, 2015

PUBLISHER: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ISBN/ASIN: B019J9377U

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Up Next Week: NEW RELEASE – Legends of Lust: Erotic Myths from around the World by Autumn Bardot

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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Filed under Blogging, Book News, book reviews, Books, Contemporary, Event, free books, Readers, Reviews, Romance, romantic comedy, Writing

Book Review: Beneath This Mask by Meghan March

Hi, readers! Please welcome Kevin Ethan, our new official book reviewer, to ILRB! He’ll be hanging out with us once a week from now on, taking the time to give us his take on ⭐the coolest romance novels⭐! 😎

Let’s give him a hand… 😉

Kevin, take it away and show us what you have for today.

Thanks! ❤ This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Beneath This Mask by Meghan March. I have to tell you that I just kept reading and reading! The story, which juxtaposes the “normal” romance roles, will definitely keep you interested.

Charlotte was a rich girl with many, many silver spoons. But, when her father is locked in a cell without a key, she has to learn to find her own way. Falling off the grid and on the run from the FBI, Charlotte “Charlie” Agoston leaves the world of Chanel and Armani for one of classic rock band t-shirts and her favorite pair of chucks.

When a group of drunk guys wander into her workplace, Charlie is quick to give them the brush-off. Her new, no-nonsense attitude, body art, and piercing eyes catch Simon’s attention, though.

He’s a Navy veteran and congressman’s son who, in my mind’s eye, is hot hot HOT. When Charlie decides to have one night of fun, it’s Simon who turns away. From there, the story takes some great twists and turns that you’ll just have to read for yourself by getting your copy FREE on Amazon.

The author, who was also a lawyer in real life, puts her legal knowledge to use while still keeping you engaged in the romance. I found myself really feeling for (and kind of in love with) Simon, who was ready to be all-in. But, with Charlie’s past, she’s the one always running away.

The author definitely understands building suspense, but in this case, the suspense is sexual tension. Unlike some books that put it all out there (Wham, bam, thank ya’ ma’am), the author keeps you warm without overheating, you know? At least in the beginning.

My only point of real contention with the book has to do with Simon. As an Afghan war veteran, he is revealed to have PTSD. On the plus side, he seeks help, which is amazing! On the flip-side, though, the author has somehow attached his PTSD to Charlie and the relief she provides. It really boils down to, “I’ve had PTSD for 4 years! But my girlfriend healed me!”

As a vet myself, I have to say, “That’s not how this works! That’s not how any of this works!” So, in the future, my advice would be to research the affliction before you attempt to heal it.

In the end, though, I love a happily ever after (HEA). So, if you’re looking for your book’s characters to find everything they ever wanted, this one is for you.

The story is interesting, and the romance is hot, but with some of the parts leaving me saying, “Really?!” – I give Beneath This Mask by Meghan March 4 HEARTS!

Recommended Read

Book Info:

Former Navy fighter pilot. Son of a congressman. Successful businessman in my own right. With a résumé like mine, women have never been a challenge.

Until I met her.

This sexy, tatted-up bad girl wasn’t part of my plans, but that punch to my gut every time I see her tells me I have to know more.

She’s a mystery. An enigma. A challenge.

I’m going to figure her out—and then I’m going to make her mine.

We’ll find out what she’s hiding… beneath this mask.

 

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/4NGANz

AUTHOR: Meghan March

TITLE: Beneath This Mask (book one of the Beneath Series)

GENRE: contemporary/military/romantic suspense

RELEASE DATE: September 29, 2014

PUBLISHER: Red Dress Press

ISBN/ASIN: B00NQ1EVG4

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

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Filed under Blogging, book reviews, Books, Contemporary, Event, free books, Military Romance, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Writing

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Isobelle Cate

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is our second post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Isobelle Cate, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

Romance can come in many forms. For many romance authors, romance might be equivalent to lust. It is after all, the first stage of getting to know each other in books. The words that flow from pens or computers are aimed at titillating the reader, coaxing a basic need to be swept away by their imaginations of being made loved to by an alpha male.

Is romance erotica? There is only so much a writer can do when incorporating sex in every chapter of a book. The dictum ‘less is more’ may come to the fore to keep a reader’s attention. There should also be a story that draws the reader in to want to turn the page. It may be good for the first book of a series or even a standalone. But if the basic writing formula is not tweaked or – heaven forbid – becomes predictable with the same words and almost similar descriptions of previous works, at the very least your possible fan will just close the book or tap on their kindle to find another book to read. And your novel will be relegated to their own ‘slush’ pile of forgettable books, never to be seen again.

 

Is sweetness and light ‘romance’? Probably to some; but definitely not by a long stretch. Readers might call it cute. Others can consider it ‘saccharine enough to develop diabetes just by reading the book. Is romance a knight in shining armor or a shiny Harley or Ducati, sweeping a damsel in distress to safety? Not really. Damsels in stories nowadays are strong women who do not scream (think Janet Leigh in Psycho) at the first sight of the big bad handsome antagonist. Damsels are kick-ass women who have the wherewithal to put the opposition down. She becomes a partner of the alpha protagonist and saves the day.

Then, what is romance? To me romance is about souls and hearts. It’s where two souls know that their hearts will meet. It’s when two hearts know that whatever the odds, they will come out of it as better individuals.

Even if the end game is the end of the relationship.

A sucker for pain? No, not really. But romance isn’t happily ever after all the time, is it? It’s the journey of figuratively a thousand deaths, souls forged in fire, tempered in strength, and knowing in the end that either two people were meant to be or it just isn’t the right time. Maybe soon…

Romance squeezes the hearts that keep coming back to be burned in love’s furnace. Romance is that moment when one feels hollow when the other heart isn’t around. Heck, it is also missing that heart even when s/he’s around just because they can’t get enough of each other. Romance is when hearts say what mouths can’t because there is this fear of being rejected. So the hearts dance around the flame, tasting it, being singed by it, until both are willingly consumed as an offering. Romance is what so many songs’ lyrics say – sacrifice.

Still romance? Yes. But this time, romance has been transformed into love.

Wow! You made some great points there.
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Isobelle! Lovely to have you here! ♥
Guest Bio

Isobelle Cate is a woman who wears different masks.  Mother-writer, wife-professional, scholar-novelist.  Currently living in Manchester, she has been drawn to the little known, the secret stories, about the people and the nations:  the English, the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, and those who are now part of these nations whatever their origins.  Her vision and passion are fuelled by her interest and background in history and paradoxically, shaped by growing up in a clan steeped in lore, loyalty, and legend. Isobelle is intrigued by forces that simmer beneath the surface of these cultures, the hidden passions, unsaid desires, and yearnings unfulfilled.

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

 

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

 

Thanks again, Isobelle, for giving us your take on the romance genre, and what romance itself has come to mean to you. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Debbie White visits us on April 18th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

A to Z Reflections

As some of you may already know, I put myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging during the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

Basically, it required participating bloggers to do a post every day focusing on each letter of the alphabet. Sundays were the only excluded days. As you can imagine, this was a lot of work.

So, what really compelled me to take on this challenge? Well, I have to give my talented author friend, Devika Fernando, some credit here. Last year, she took on the challenge with her blog and absolutely nailed it. Check out one of her posts here!

Therefore, this year it was with courage and a bit of fear that I said, sure, what the hell…I’ll try it too. I decided to use a rating system for each book I covered, almost like a book review but not quite the same.

scoring-heart-rating

To make a long story short, the experience was actually fun! 🙂 I not only got to revisit some titles on my shelf I hadn’t looked at for awhile, I also found some new books I wanted to try.

I hope you found some interesting reads as well. If you missed my A to Z Challenge posts, here they are in order:

 

–  Awakening the Fire by Ally Shields

Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts

– Courting the Countess by Barbara Pierce

Devil’s Embrace and Devil’s Daughter by Catherine Coulter

– Elsewhere by Linda Lee Williams

Face the Fire by Nora Roberts

Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare

Heart of Gold by J.R. Ward

Identity by Cleo Scornavacca

Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts

The Key Trilogy by Nora Roberts

Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

Martha’s Way Series by Mika Jolie

No Longer A Stranger by Joan Johnston

One Illicit Night by Sophia James

– Playing with Fire by Devika Fernando

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

Raising Landry by Andee Michelle

Sisters of the Night by Linda Lee Williams

To Tempt A Scotsman by Victoria Dahl

Unhallowed Ground by Heather Graham

Victory Lane by Shelly Davis

Weather the Storm by Jean Ferris

X-Treme Dating by Cathy McDavid

You Make Me Feel Brand New by Chicki Brown

Zenith Rising by Marilyn Campbell

 

Perhaps you’ll find some interesting romance books in there, ranging from contemporary to historical, paranormal to fantasy, comedy to multicultural, even a time travel/science fiction. It was so much fun to participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, to see your comments and interact with you (many thanks for the shares and reblogging!), and to check out other bloggers’ sites who were part of the challenge. Here is a full list of the 1,348 participants this year. And to do my part, here are some links to a few other blogs from the April A to Z Challenge:

 

Thanks again for sticking it out with me during the challenge. I’m always happy to see some friendly faces around here. Please stay tuned for future posts on any random thoughts about love, articles or advice on romantic relationships…

Unsplash, Pixabay, 2016.

tumblr_l3yh13mPET1qzilpso1_500

and, as always – our favorite topic – learning about new romance authors and their book releases!

Have a wonderful May, everyone! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Love, Message, Multicultural/Interracial, Mystery, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance, romantic comedy, Science Fiction, Time Travel, western, Young Adult

A to Z Challenge: X-Treme Dating by Cathy McDavid

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

a2z-badge_2016

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

scoring-heart-rating

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

X-Treme Dating by Cathy McDavid

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Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

What happens when Survivor meets The Love Connection? Park Evenson is about to find out. She’s agreed to be a contestant on X- treme Dating, a hot new reality TV dating show.

As a child, when asked to play Truth or Dare, Park always picked dare. Now that she’s all grown up, nothing’s changed. She leaps from second-story windows without a net, drives at breakneck speed through heavy traffic, and rescues victims from burning buildings. All duties she performs on a regular basis as a firefighter for the City of Tucson. Name a challenge, and Park is up to it. Except one: she can’t meet the right guy.

Grant Hastings came to Hollywood seven years ago after graduating college to pursue his dream of becoming the next Steven Spielberg. When the big break never came, he settled for being one of the best camera operators in the business. Most days, that’s enough to keep him satisfied. Until he meets Park, a woman whose subtle, natural beauty is a refreshing change from the glamorous star wannabees he usually meets. Watching her through the camera viewfinder, he’s reminded of why he wanted to be a filmmaker in the first place. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, he must stand idly by while another man does his level best to score with Park. Worse yet, he has to film every move they make during the weekend-long date.

A few choice lines from the book:

xtrme1

xtrme2

My Score:

This one sure looks interesting! Who hasn’t had a crush on someone when that individual is dating another person? It sounds like Grant is in that situation. And Park? Well, she appears to be a fascinating character!

Let’s face it. How often do you see a female firefighter paired with a cameraman in a romance novel? Hmm…interesting. This unlikely couple has potential. I’m ready to see the sparks fly! I’ve added this title to my Wishlist, and I look forward to reading it! 🙂

I give this one four hearts, for creativity, what looks to be a good amount of conflict, and I can just imagine the sexual tension. 😉

four hearts

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Weather the Storm by Jean Ferris

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

a2z-badge_2016

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

scoring-heart-rating

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Weather the Storm by Jean Ferris

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Genre: YA Historical Romance

Blurb:

When Raider takes Rosie to England she finds no living kin-and long buried family secrets. When Raider offers to take Rosie to New Orleans, she sees no other option. But it is a journey that brings her closer than ever to the daring buccaneer who has captured her heart yet farther from the romantic dream that torments her. As the war rages at sea, Rosie once again watches Raider sail into battle, driven by the obsession that consumes him, and taking with him the love that has become the very soul of Rosie’s life.

Also in the trilogy:
Into the Wind
and
Song of the Sea

 

A few choice lines from the book:

“The most extraordinary thing has happened,” she blurted. “I’ve just discovered I might have been a countess.”

The expression on his face remained impassive. It didn’t surprise her that he didn’t believe her. She could hardly believe it herself.

“There was a letter from my mother in Aunt Polly’s Bible,” she went on, in spite of his face. “Maybe that’s why the Bible was locked up; to keep the letter safe. My mother was a countess before she married my father, a Portuguese countess. I know it sounds unbelievable, but I believe it. My locket has her family crest. They disowned her when she married my father and she lost her title, but if they hadn’t done that, I would’ve been a countess!”

Why was she bothering him with this? He clearly thought it was preposterous. She did herself. And it didn’t make the slightest bit of difference in what her life would be like now. But she’d had to tell someone, and who else was there? And once, he might have cared.

Finally he spoke, his face unchanged, but his voice hollow. “I thought it might be something like that.”

“You…what?” She felt almost as if he’d struck her. “What are you talking about?”

“I don’t quite know how to…” He seemed unsure, almost embarrassed. He turned away from her and leaned his shoulder against a stable post, his hands in his pockets. The cloth of his jacket stretched across his wide shoulders. She stayed where she was because she was shaking too much to move.

“What are you talking about?” she asked again, somehow frightened.

“I have a jewel cask,” he said, not turning around. “I’ve had it for five years. My brother and I took it from a pirate ship that had taken it from a Portuguese barkentine on its way to Brazil. You may not be aware that the entire Portuguese court fled Portugal for Brazil, its colony in the New World, in November of 1807 when General Junot invaded. The capital of Portugal has been in Rio since January of 1808. When the nobility fled, they took everything with them: their books, jewels, archives, everything. Rich pickings for pirates, and many of the Portuguese ships were captured, looted and sunk. The cask I have once held a treasure in jewels of some highborn Portuguese family, all of whom are probably lying at the bottom of the sea now.”

“I don’t understand,” Rosie said when he was silent.

“I sold all the jewels long ago. They brought a great deal of money. A great deal. But I kept the cask. I’m not sure even why. I liked the look of it.” He paused again. When he spoke, his voice was so low she could hardly hear him. “It has a design on the lid. A silver hind with a golden apple around her neck.”

“A silver…? The same as on my locket?”

“Exactly the same. The same as in the story you told me when I was ill. Those jewels must have belonged to your mother’s family. You could have had a countess’s fortune if not her title.”

With the idea of a title not fully assimilated, the notion of a fortune seemed simply impossible. Rosie shook her head, as if to dislodge a swarm of gnats.

Finally Raider turned to face her. “I seem to have spent my life ruining yours. Even before I knew you.”

He looked so genuinely stricken her heart contracted. This lost fortune was too abstract for her to take seriously; in fact, it seemed to be causing him more pain than it did her. The notion that her mother had loved her enough to make the deathbed effort to speak to her across all these years meant far more to her than any kind of fortune.

She put her hand out to him. “It doesn’t matter. How could you know? And if you hadn’t told me, I’d never have known either. It will make no difference in what I do.”

“I should repay you. The jewels were yours.” He ignored her hand, which she withdrew into the folds of her skirt.

She was rather taken aback by such evidence of probity in his character, and at the same time, pleased. Perhaps the man she imagined to be hidden behind Raider’s alternately cool and hot facade actually existed.

“You can repay me by taking me to New Orleans,” she said, without knowing in advance that she was going to say it. “I’ve decided to accept your offer. Fowey isn’t a place where I could feel at home, if only because of the weather.” As she spoke, she recognized within herself the truth of what she said. And congratulated herself for finding the strength to say it, knowing what the price would be: more unrequited time with him, more anticipation of the painful farewell. “In New Orleans,” she went on, sound surer and more adult than she felt, “with its mix of people, I think I’m more likely to find a place for myself. That will be enough.”

“It’s not enough to satisfy me.” He stood looking at her through the gloom of the stable, his eyes catching what light there was. “My debt to you is greater than that.”

“Then I cancel your debt. You owe me nothing now other than passage away from here.” His insistence mystified her. Still, how unaccountable it was that he was the one to find her family jewels. It was as if their lives were fated to intersect, if only for an interval, if only glancingly.

“You can sell the land your aunt owned,” he said, as if he hadn’t heard her. “That will give you a stake. We should try to take care of that before we leave. That means this afternoon or tomorrow. If there’s anything from her trunk you want to take with you, you should arrange for that, too.” He had the inward look of someone preoccupied with plans. And what he was planning was her life. Again.

“Stop doing that,” she said, exasperated. “You keep taking over and making all the plans without ever asking me. This is my life, not yours.”

She was right. He couldn’t seem to stop trying to make them the same. “Do forgive me,” he said, willing mischief into his voice and his eyes, protecting his emotions once again by teasing. “Just what is it you think we should be doing in order to get on with this enterprise?”

“Well…of course I should see about selling that land. And there are a few things I’d like to have from the trunk. Oh, don’t look so pleased with yourself. I could have thought of those things without your help. You’re not going to be around forever to do my thinking for me, so you’d better let me have some practice.”

She was right; of course she was. “Very well,” he said.

My Score:

This book, along with the others in the series, has been on my shelf for a long time. I read it many years ago, probably when I was a teenager. I take it out now and then to remind myself of those rampant emotions in one’s youth, the heartaches and how simple, yet complicated, love could be somehow in the past. This series is the perfect example of how a good romance should be. It’s not without danger or conflict between the hero and heroine, though.

This series is also set in the Regency era, one of my favorite time periods. 😉

But seriously, this book is excellent. Rosie and Raider’s journey is one you’ll fall for over and over again. I’d recommend reading the series together to get the full effect!

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I’d give this one five hearts!

five hearts

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A to Z Challenge: To Tempt A Scotsman by Victoria Dahl

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

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For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating!❤

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

To Tempt A Scotsman by Victoria Dahl

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Genre: Historical Romance

Blurb:

She Has Nothing Left To Lose–

After finding herself at the center of a very public scandal that left one man dead and another on the run, Lady Alexandra Huntington has exiled herself to her brother’s estate and is content to manage his affairs. But the arrival of darkly handsome Collin Blackburn awakens her curiosity and her desire–and the advantage of being a fallen woman is that she can be ruined only once. . .

Except Her Heart. . .

After a promise sworn to his father, Collin Blackburn is compelled to seek the aid of the woman who brought about his brother’s death in a senseless duel. Yet Lady Alexandra is not the shameless femme fatale he expected. In fact, Collin suspects she is guilty of nothing more than a hunger to experience passion, and the brawny Scot is certainly equipped to oblige. But the quick-witted, keenly sensual Alexandra has a few lessons of her own to impart–on life, love, and the delicious joys of succumbing to temptation. . .

A few choice lines from the book:

Yorkshire, June 1844

. . . The man stood only a few feet inside the door, tall and dark and glowering at Prescott. That alone was interesting. No one glowered at her brother’s butler. Prescott controlled access to a young and powerful duke.

Alexandra felt her prickling interest grow stronger. She edged a little farther into the room.

“If you’d care to leave a card, sir–”

“I do not have a card.” The man’s eyes flicked toward her, pinned her for a bare moment. He could not suspect who she was in her current attire, with her black hair pulled into a tight knot and the jacket hiding her curves. Still, Alexandra straightened at the brush of that silver gaze, even as it moved back to Prescott. The butler stood silent, not the least affected by the man’s coolness. Ten seconds passed. Then twenty.

With a stiff shrug, the stranger finally gave in to the impossibility of intimidating Prescott. “Please tell her I need to speak with her. I’m at the Red Rose.”

She watched as he turned, felt the soft tug of her impetuous nature. Who in the world was he? He should have been cowed by the butler’s utter indifference, but he looked self-assured to the very fiber of his being even as he was turned away.

His brown hair needed trimming and he appeared to have forgotten his cravat as well as his calling card, but the perfect cut of his brown coat spoke of wealth. And a Scot’s burr softened his deep voice—and sped her pulse.

Surely her brother would never speak of her to someone he didn’t trust. “Prescott.”

Ever unflappable, Prescott simply stepped aside. “My lady. A Mr. Collin Blackburn to see you.”

“Thank you, Prescott.”

Collin Blackburn froze at the sound of her voice. She watched him turn and step back inside, watched his eyes slide past her to search the corners of the huge entry for a more likely figure, but when he realized who she was, only the barest lift of russet brows betrayed his shock. “Lady Alexandra.”

She let him stare a moment, let him take in the oddness of her attire. No gentleman had ever seen her in riding breeches before, none other than her brother. She was dressed inappropriately, indecently even, but it mattered not in the least. She was a fallen woman. She’d earned the freedom to do as she pleased, so she let him look his fill and took the chance to study him as well.

He stood as tall as her brother but wider. Wide shoulders, broad chest. Definitely no padding in that coat. His body wasn’t bulky though. He was, in a word, solid.

His face looked purely masculine. Not handsome exactly, but stark and compelling. The slightly crooked nose spoke of an old fight, but his high cheekbones and wide mouth turned the mind to more pleasurable pursuits. She glanced back to the clear gray eyes that studied her so intently and saw his pupils tighten when he met her gaze.

“Thank you for seeing me.”

“Prescott, would you have tea brought to the office, please? Mr. Blackburn?” Gesturing back toward the hall, she spun on her heel to lead the way. Her long red coat opened as she turned, and she felt the hem brush against the buff riding breeches that hugged the curve of her thigh and hip. There was no mistaking the widening of his eyes, even at the corner of her vision. He’d had quite the view.

Gritting her teeth against the thrill that chased through her, Alexandra buttoned the coat and hurried toward the door of her cramped office. The morning room would be more appropriate, she supposed, but not dressed like this. Her men’s clothes would be a startling sight against a backdrop of flowered upholstery.

Alexandra stepped into the office and waved Blackburn toward a pair of chairs by the window. He waited until she took the chair opposite his, then sat and crossed a booted ankle over his knee.

“What did you wish to discuss with me, Mr. Blackburn?”

He let a heartbeat pass, then another. He watched her and frowned. A lock of hair fell over his brow when he finally inclined his head. “I’m here to ask a few questions.”

“Questions?”

“About Damien St. Claire.”

The name tightened the muscles of her jaw in a painful bunch. Blood rushed to her ears, roared like crashing waves. She couldn’t move for a long moment, couldn’t make her throat work. A deep breath forced it open. “I think that you should leave,” she said very carefully, very evenly.

Blackburn shook his head, began to protest, but she stood and stabbed a finger at the door. “No. It’s obvious my brother did not send you here. Leave. You can find your way out.” She pushed past him to the desk and dropped into the seat behind it, hands frantically shuffling papers. A rush of hurt surged in her chest. Why would she think he’d be different than any other man?

Standing with slow purpose, he stepped toward her and leaned to rest his fists on the desktop. His jaw looked as hard as hers felt. “Lady Alexandra, I need to know what happened between you and St. Claire–and John Tibbenham.”

“Truly? How does it involve you?” Making an obvious show of widening her eyes, she looked up at him with mock dismay. “Oh, I’m sorry. You must have been one of my lovers. I find it so hard to recall them all.”

His eyes narrowed as if her words had been a slap, then a sneer twisted his mouth as he leaned close. “Believe me, my lady. If I’d been one of your lovers, you’d remember it.”

“Really?” Alexandra let her gaze drift down to rest on the front of his trousers.

His fists tightened to rock on her desk. “Dinna think–” he began, but she cut him off again.

“You are not the first man to come here on the scent of easy prey. A ruined woman who just happens to be an heiress? Is that what you were thinking? Not very original, Mr. Blackburn. Please get out of my home.”

“John Tibbenham was my brother.”

Alexandra stared at him for a moment, rage trapped like ice in her chest, cracking against her ribs. When his words sunk past the roar of blood in her ears, she flinched and looked down, back to her rumpled papers, away from the hate in his eyes. The heat that had rushed to her cheeks drained away.

My Score:

The 1800s is one of my favorite time periods; I don’t care if it’s early, mid or late. I just love all of it. And who can resist a steamy Victorian tale with a handsome Scottish hero? Not me! 😉

When Collin Blackburn approaches Lady Alexandra to exact revenge for her part in his brother’s death, he is shocked to learn the truth, that the lady isn’t who he thought she was. She’s innocent, a pawn in an evil man’s game.

But, Alexandra is the Errant Heiress, the center of such scandal, and she knows it’s not smart to want Collin. Still, when do we ever listen to reason? Especially with a fine gentleman kissing her senseless. When he puts her in her place and respectfully declines the offer of her body, Alexandra realizes she’s never wanted a man as much as she does with Collin. What does a girl do when she can’t have what she wants? She gets creative!

In her attempt to catch herself a Scotsman, all kinds of trouble ensues. I think you’ll enjoy the ride just as much as I did. I give this one four hearts! 😀

four hearts

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Readers, Reviews, Romance