Burned by Sarah Morgan

Burned

By Sarah Morgan

Miller Sisters book 2

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Published May 27th 2014 by Cosmo Red Hot Reads from Harlequin

83 pages

A free copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Trainer and martial artist Rosie Miller’s zen is seriously compromised when Hunter Black—her former coach and lover—becomes her new boss. And with all the sexual energy still crackling between them, her poor little zen doesn’t stand a chance. So this time, Rosie is determined to play by her rules….

I am a big romance reader but I am the first to admit that they are not always very relatable or believable. But then just occasionally a romance book comes along that is those things and Burned is one of them. It could have been about me, or you, or any of us really. It is a book about two adults struggling to figure out their feelings for one another. No drama. No angst. Just a romance that could happen to any of us.

Burned works because of its characters. Hunter and Rosie are pretty normal in comparison to many other romantic leads out there. They were in a relationship when they were teens that fell apart, there was no torrid affairs, interfering families, or dramatic misunderstandings to blame. Instead it was the characters fears and insecurities that drove the relationship to end. Years later they find each other again and realise the chemistry is still there but are unsure if a relationship would ever work.

I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to read about two normal, average human beings. It was just so nice not to have all the drama but instead read about how their feels change and adapt to what is happening between them. It was sweet, cute and true, I really enjoyed the change of pace and the normality of it all.

Both characters are lovely but Rosie is particularly great. She is funny and cute but lets her insecurities get the better of her sometimes. Normally that is something that annoys me in a female character but Rosie is aware it’s a problem and she works around it. I also really liked Hunter but because there was no POV from him I felt like I didn’t know him all that well. Normally I don’t mind a single POV but in this book I think it would have worked better if both of them had a say.

Burned is a great book that I would recommend to Romance lovers. I don’t think you will be disappointed in this little jem.

3 stars

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Hotter After Midnight by Cynthia Eden

Hotter After Midnight

By Cynthia Eden

Midnight book 1

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Shifter, Mystery

Release Date: 1st May 2008

Published by Brava

272 pages

A Seductive Nighttime World. . . Dr. Emily Drake’s psychotherapy patients tend to be a little unusual. Instead of midlife crises and mother fixations, Emily treats vampires with blood phobias and sex-demons looking for meaningful relationships. But healing these powerful beings requires an important rule: Never trust a shifter. Especially not one like Detective Colin Gyth, whose gold-flecked eyes and predatory air make Emily realize how much she longs to lose control. . .

A Dark And Dangerous Hunger. . .

Colin can’t believe the doctor he has to work with on the Night Butcher murder case is the one person who could expose his true identity as a wolf shifter. Smart and sexy, Emily brings out the alpha male in Colin, unleashing a wild desire that takes them both over the edge. . . But in the shadows, the Night Butcher waits, eager to spill Emily’s blood and taste her terror. And he’ll use any means to destroy her, including the one person she has grown to trust. . .

Generally speaking I quite like Cynthia Eden books so I was expecting quite a lot from Hotter After Midnight. I did enjoy this book and finished it in a couple of afternoons but for me this wasn’t as good as some of the authors other work.

In terms of writing this was good. I have always liked Eden’s style and that didn’t change here. Like her other books this is an easy read to get into and I found the hours sliding away without really noticing.

The story itself was good and I liked the mix of the murder mystery and paranormal romance genres. What let this book down was the fact that it didn’t always make sense. There were a dew plot holes and some moments that didn’t seem necessary. For example the introduction of Emily’s mother and the implication (which comes from both the mother and other places) that Emily is evil served no real purpose. I thought it might be an attempt to implicate Emily as a suspect and make Colin second guess his feelings for her but in the end nothing came of it. Another example is mating which at the mid-way point seemed like a big deal but again it eventually came to nothing.

The characters were likeable but typical for this kind of book. Emily was a little too stubborn and Colin a little too alpha. Together they were good and there was no shortage of chemistry but it lacked any emotional impact.

This book wasn’t perfect and is not the best I have read from this author but I did enjoy it and I will read more from this series.

3 stars

The Fiancee Caper by Maureen Child

The Fiancee Caper

By Maureen Child

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Published August 5th 2014 by Harlequin

192 pages

A free copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

To Catch a Thief, It Will Take a Thief

He comes from a long line of charismatic jewel thieves. But Gianni Coretti made a deal to save his family and now walks the straight and narrow. When Marie O’Hara, a beautiful security expert, asks him to steal for her as part of a sting, his interest is definitely piqued. The fact that she’ll be pretending to be his fiancée is an added bonus. But as their fierce attraction blurs the line between ruse and reality, Gianni has to wonder: does a man with such a dubious past deserve a glorious future with this woman?

The Fiancée Caper is the kind of book I like to sit down and waste a few hours with. It is not the type of book I expect to think hard about or to invest a lot of emotional energy in. That being said I do expect great characters and heart stopping romance, both of which didn’t quite work for me here.

I have only read one of Maureen Child’s books before (Gilded Secrets) but I appeared to have the same problem with both that and The Fiancée Caper. There was just not enough development for me in terms of the characters and the romance for me to truly fall in love with this one. The writing was fairly solid and there is nothing wrong with the way Childs puts words on the page.

The story was interesting and fun but I couldn’t really relate to any of the characters. Gianni was a little too arrogant for my taste and Marie was borderline annoying. She was guilty of one of my pet peeves in romances. She is too scared to tell Gianni he loves him and instead of thinking he might have the same fears dramatically flounces off because he hasn’t told her he loves her. Despite that there was definitely chemistry between them which I enjoyed. I could see the attraction and desire but not the love which was a shame.

I didn’t hate The Fiancée Caper, it was a good enough read but I ended up wanting a little more.

 3 stars

Claiming His Mate by Savannah Stuart

 

Saving His Mate

By Savannah Stuart

Cresent Moon book 4

Genre: Novella, Paranormal Romance, Shifter, Vampire

Published May 5th 2014

144 Pages

From the moment vampire bounty-hunter Rex Serano meets sexy shifter Margery, he’s smitten. When the alpha of the Kincaid pack asks him to join with them, he’s stunned by the offer, but the real draw is the beautiful, caring female who seems to want nothing to do with him.

Margery is the driving maternal force for her pack and she has one rule: she doesn’t date vampires. Years ago she was nearly killed by rogue vamps and she has no interest in getting involved with one now. No matter how sexy a certain, persistent bounty hunter might be.

When one of Rex’s hunts gets messy, Margery gets caught in the crossfire and he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her. They might be different species but the mating call is undeniable and too strong to ignore. Now they must find a way to reach common ground and trust their instincts if they’re going to fight for a future together.

 

Generally speaking I like novella’s, they are nice, short reads that are great if you have just finished something a little heavy. Despite liking novellas I will be the first to admit there are often problems with them. Sometimes they feel rushed or something may seem missing, writing a novella of decent quality is hard work because you have such little room to play with.

For the most part Savannah Stuart gets it right with Saving his Mate. The story is well constructed and well written and I felt there was a good beginning, middle and end. Plot is something that can get lost in a romantic novella but Stuart managed to get a nice balance of the two.

Something had to give and unfortunately that ended up being the characters. They were a little bland and lacked any real personality. Stuart has expertly managed to squeeze everything into 144 pages but that meant there was no room to really explore what made Rex and Margery tick. Despite that this is a still an enjoyable novella that Paranormal romance fans will probably enjoy. It is enough to make sure I check out the other books in the series and other, hopefully longer, books from this author.

3 Stars

 

Find out more:

Goodreads, Author’s Website

Nailed by Christine d’Ado

Nailed

by Christine d’Ado

Warning: This show contains scenes of sexual tension.

Hosting a new TV show is a fantasy-turned-reality for diva decorator Sophia Holbrook. But concentrating on color swatches is hard when all she can think of is her studly cohost, contractor Fynn Babineau. These two may clash over blueprints and budgets on-screen, but with the lust palpable between them, rumor has it they have been putting more than just their heads together behind the scenes…. What secrets will the cameras expose? Tune in tonight to find out.

This review is really difficult for me to write because I am finding it really hard to think of anything substantial to say about Nailed. I actually really enjoyed this book I found it sweet, sexy and humorous. I liked the story, writing and characters but beyond that there is not much for me to say about it.

I think the reason for that is because Christine D’abo has managed to tick all the boxes in order to make this an enjoyable novella. Nothing upset or annoyed me, I found it engaging and entertaining. But at the same time I didn’t fall so head over heels in love with it that I feel the need to shout about it to anyone who will listen.

There are some great characters and a nice romance to be found here. Sophia is smart and sassy with an entertaining inner voice that often made me laugh. Fynn is a real sweetheart that doesn’t have a bad bone in his body. The chemistry between them was awesome but the romance was an easy one. There was no drama, no will they won’t they. It was plain sailing for the both of them. The conflict came from other aspects of the story instead of the romance which made a nice change.

Nailed is a short, sweet and steamy romance that I really enjoyed.

3 stars

Find out more:

Goodreads, Amazon

Aiding the Enemy by Julie Rowe

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Aiding the Enemy

By Julie Rowe

War Girls book 3

German-occupied Brussels, Belgium
December 1915

Rose Culver is in grave danger. For months the Red Cross head nurse has been aiding Allied soldiers caught behind enemy lines, helping them flee into neutral Netherlands. It’s only a matter of time until she’s caught. Which makes it the wrong time to fall in love with a handsome German military doctor as devoted to the sanctity of human life as she is.

The Great War has caused Dr. Herman Geoff to question everything he once believed. He knows Rose has been hiding British soldiers in her hospital—he’s even treated some of them, refusing to go against his own Hippocratic oath. As a doctor, he admires Rose’s skill and conviction. As a man, he can no longer deny his attraction to her. But when Rose is arrested for treason, Herman must choose between love for her and duty to his country…

Published October 7th 2013 by Carina Press

I like war romances. The thought of two people finding love in a time of fear and danger really appeals to me so I was quite looking forward to reading this novella. Aiding the Enemy had an interesting premise and it was interesting enough but I couldn’t help feeling that there was wasted potential here.

This book is a short, fluffy romance that lacked some depth but for the most part it was fine and as a novella it ticked all the boxes. My problem with this book was that it could have been so much more. I would have really loved this as a full length historical romance novel, I think it is really what the story deserved. The fact that it is a story about a German Doctor and an English nurse who fall in love is enough to justify a longer length. On top of that there were so many other elements that really needed a little more space. It all felt a little condensed and rushed. A lot is pushed aside to get the romance in and a lot of the romance is underdeveloped to get the plot in. The romance also felt a little forced (again due to the length) and I failed to feel the chemistry between the characters.

The writing was of a good standard. Rowe has done a nice job with the descriptions and atmosphere of the story. She made the war time hospital sound horrific and some bits are definitely not for the faint hearted. The characters were alright. I liked both Rose and Herman but I didn’t love them. I found their voices to similar and I struggled to notice any cultural differences between them.

Aiding the Enemy is an entertaining enough novella that kept me interested but it had the potential to be a lot more.

3 stars

Find out more

Goodreads, Amazon UK, Author’s Website, Author’s Twitter

The Claimed by Caridad Pineiro

The Claimed

by Caridad Pineiro

Book two in The Sin Eaters series

Genre: Romance, paranormal, urban fantasy, erotica

Paperback, 368 pages.  Published May 1st 2012 by Grand Central Publishing.
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher for review
Victoria Johnson loves her life. She’s her own boss in a quaint beachside town, and has great friends who keep her grounded. If only they knew who she really is: an heiress to an ancient race who possesses astonishing superhuman powers. It’s Victoria’s duty to restore her clan of Light Hunters to their former glory by choosing the perfect mate. In Christopher Sombrosa, she just may have found him. Strong, smart, and successful, Christopher exudes a powerful energy. Their connection is sensual, irresistible-and forbidden.
A member of the Shadow Hunter clan, Christopher has defied his own father to lead his people away from affliction and violence. Yet he cannot ignore his duty to carry on his ancient bloodline. Stunningly beautiful and brimming with an erotic life force, Victoria is everything Christopher ever hoped for in a mate . . . but as a Light Hunter, she’s his mortal enemy. Together, they could unite their warring tribes. But murderous factions on both sides don’t want peace-and they’ll stop at nothing to keep light and darkness apart forever.
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The Claimed by Caridad Pineiro is the second book in the Sin Hunters series.  I have not read the first book (The Lost) but was still able to understand and follow this one.  It can be read as part of a series or as a stand-alone.

This Claimed started very slowly and not very much seemed to happen at the beginning.  It was readable but not terribly interesting.  From the half-way point and especially towards the end the book really picked up and become a lot more interesting.  There were a lot of action scenes which was great but at times it was hard to follow.  Most of the problems I had with not only the action scenes but the book as a whole were the use of aura and colours, something that is heavily used in this book.  It seemed to be mentioned in nearly every description and I struggled to picture all the aura’s, flashing lights and various other colourful things these ‘Hunters’ possess.  It did work at but was over used.

The characters were nice.  Victoria is smart, she has a lot of pressure put on her but she handles it well.  I really liked the tension between her and her parents (a storyline that was unfortunately dropped half way through) these moments really allowed you to see her strength.  Christopher was a nice guy and a good leaded.  The relationship between them is nice (I am a sucker for forbidden romances) it had all the right elements but I just never felt the chemistry between them.  What I liked was that they didn’t do anything stupid.  I never doubted their trust in each other and never though their relationship would fall apart.  It made a nice change as that is something we tend to see a lot in romance books.

I feel like I got to know Victoria really well.  There was a lot of effort put in to making her a well-rounded and complete character, but the same cannot be said for Christopher.  I felt like I didn’t know much about him at all (even though part of the book is told from his POV) without his half everything was not as intense as it could have been and I didn’t care about their relationship as much as I should have.

The Claimed is an interesting take on the PNR genre but somehow doesn’t have the explosiveness of other books out there.  It was good and entertaining enough but didn’t have that wow factor.  Despite that I will be checking out the first book in the series and the follow up to this one.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

check out the links: Goodreads, Amazon, AmazonUK, The Book Depository, Authors website

Let me know what you think in the comments.