Saturday, October 3, 2015

Screwing Up The Best Laid Plans: Riding Dirty by Jill Sorenson

Psychologist Mia Richards wants revenge. Her new client, tattooed Cole "Shank" Shepherd, provides the perfect means. She just has to manipulate the felon-turned-informant into eliminating her husband's killers—members of Cole's rival motorcycle club. The first step, seducing Cole, is simple. As for walking away before she falls hard—it's already too late…

Dirty Eleven practically raised Cole, and he plans to double-cross the cops rather than sell them out. But smart, sexy Mia is an irresistible distraction. While she's evaluating his mind, all he can think about is her body… until he discovers her true intentions. Walking a fine line between desire and betrayal, they'll have to outrun her past, his enemies and the law for a love that's dangerously real.

Motorcycle club fiction is all the rage now, and I, for one, and delighted that is so.  I guess it is sort of walking on the wild side for those of us who are way past getting involved in that sort of lifestyle, yet the human interaction of those who live on the outer edges of society still manage to fascinate.  This is a new book which I received from Netgalley and which is being currently released.  There is a sequel which is called Shooting Dirty and which, in my opinion, is every bit as good and deserves to be read as well.

It has been said that . . . "revenge is a dish best served cold." Mia is anything BUT cold . . . she is burning up with the need to find justice for herself and her deceased husband.   Yet for this intrepid woman whose life has been upended by the murder of her husband, revenge has sustained her and kept her focused in the years since the home invasion that resulted in the death of her husband and her near-rape at the hands of members of an outlaw motorcycle club.  The hero in this story is just about as anti-social as they come, a young man whose life really never had a chance and whose spirit has been crushed by the abuse of family and the disregard of a society who sees him as a throw away person.  Yet the attraction between these two has a curious effect which spins this tale in directions neither the reader or the characters could have anticipated.  It is a complicated story, filled with characters who aren't your desirable good neighbor kinds of people.  Yet the loyalty that many have for one another goes far beyond that which many of us experience among people who think themselves of a far better class.  

The Dirty Eleven MC is a curious collection of social misfits and is a club that is happy to live on the edge most of the time.  But their secrets are in danger of causing the ties that bind them together to unwind, and the pressures exerted by a rival gang, one which may have been involved in the murder of Mia's husband, are another important factor in the unlikely coupling between "Shank" and Mia.  If a reader likes complicated stories, if one is not offended by the anti-social attitudes and actions that characterize these people and their lifestyle, than this will be a very enjoyable read.  Ms Sorenson is an author who has paid her dues, so to speak, and who has proven to vast numbers of readers that she can put a vibrant and imaginative story together and make it work.  I was delighted to find this novel and highly recommend it as one that will definitely hold your interest.  I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

Be sure to check out The Book Binge for more fine reviews of the latest romance fiction.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Complications Afoot: The Reluctant Duchess by Sharon Cullen

Lady Sara Emerson was jolted out of her dull provincial life by her cousin’s murder. Now that the killer seems to be targeting her, Sara seeks help from the man who was once her cousin’s fiancé, Gabriel Ferguson, Duke of Rossmoyne. With his towering frame and fiery personality, Ross cuts an intimidating figure. Living under his protection, however, has its own hazards—like the sudden urge Sara feels to take their relationship in new, exquisitely inappropriate directions.

Dazzled by the social graces of his betrothed, Ross never noticed her shy, blushing cousin. Looking at Sara now, though, he’s drawn to her lovely eyes and calm disposition. Funny how a year away from the hustle and bustle of the tonchanges a man. But Ross has no intention of allowing a woman to interfere with his plan to return overseas. He will simply capture the murderer and set sail once again. The problem is, with her beguiling lips and heavenly touch, Sara makes him never want to leave home—or his bed—again.

I think it is safe to say that I have read hundreds of historical romance novels, short stories, and novellas, and have come to feel that I cannot ever again read one that conforms to one of several formulas that seemed to be the templates all historical novel authors followed.  Most assuredly, there are some authors whose work has indeed set the bar for all who follow, but even those novels often begin to all sound or feel the same.  Such is not the case with this new novel by Sharon Cullen.  She is an author who seems to find bits and pieces to toss into the action of her stories that bring in the twists and turns, the complications and the angst that make a story come alive and stop it from being just another historical.   I am ever amazed at the creativity of some many writers and Ms Cullen is one of them.

Suffice it to say there is a heroine who is reluctant to be one, much less reluctant to become the talk of the ton by marrying one of its most distinguished members.  The Duke of Rossmoyne is known for being the erstwhile fiance of a murdered woman as well as going abroad to India as the Queen's ambassador and peace negotiator.  Returning to London is not his idea and from the moment his foot lands on English soil his life becomes something he has been trying to avoid for years and wants to be shed of as soon as possible.  

Those familiar with the latter years of Queen Victoria's reign will recognize some of the difficulties this man encounters as he is hoping to make quick work of reporting to the Queen and then hastening back to his Indian home.  It is not to be.  Her majesty was known for being a difficult woman to deal with, a troubled woman who has never let go of her grief over the death of her Prince Consort, and who then proceeded to cause almost everyone in the kingdom to take a back seat to that grief.  Thus, Ross is stuck, and in being stuck, he is also made aware of several things he had hoped to avoid.  One, the allure of his dead fiance's cousin, a woman he had previously never noticed;  and two, the danger that arises to her which then causes him to be increasingly concerned for her personal safety.

All in all, this is a wonderful read and one that will please those readers who really love a colorful, complicated, energetic historical romance.  No long drawn out monologues, just lots of interaction and a balanced amount of introspection on the part of the main characters.  Just nicely proportioned, I would say.  And most of all, for those of us who really love the English language, this book is written well, uses good vocabulary, proper tenses, and doesn't overuse adjectives, one of my personal pet peeves.  I highly recommend this novel and hope that all of you who love historical fiction will enjoy it as much as I did.  I give it a 5 out of 5 rating.

Please check out The Book Binge for more really great reviews.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Healing Power of Love, With a Little Kink Thrown In: Lumberjack Weekend by Heather Rainier

Violet Tyler’s heart was broken after discovering she was the third wheel in her big-city ménage. Relegating the idea of being loved by two or more men to fantasy material, she throws her heart and soul into her business, Violet’s Emporium.

Watching from the sidelines while they renovate her emporium, Josh and Lucas Abbott want her more every day and see the way her former lover chips away at her heart each time he pays her a visit. They’ve stretched out the renovation as long as they can and finally it’s time to claim her or let her go.

Invitations to a fantasy weekend at Hazelle House give the three of them a no-strings-attached chance to make her lumberjack ménage fantasies a reality. But when the weekend is over and the real world—and her former lover—come calling, can her ménage fantasy live in the light of day?

Yeah, I know I have been missing for nine months, but that's what happens when you just get knee deep in good books and take a hiatus from the blogging world.  But I just had to share this book as Heather Rainier remains right up at the top of my Favorite Author List and this 21st book in the Divine Creek Ranch Series is one that continues the fine writing and her particular agenda of giving readers sexy, erotic romances with some mystery thrown in from time to time, some social upheaval once in awhile (Grace Warner and her three husbands manage to stir things up from time to time), and lots of folks in this fictional town who have found deep and abiding love in threesomes and foursomes as well as the socially acceptable MF coupling.  Yet this latest book is somewhat different in that it is written around a single weekend event in which these two brothers have an opportunity to finally show their brokenhearted beauty that their regard for her is deeply loving, and to show her how their particular penchant for kink can bring energy and deep trust into a relational configuration that has only brought pain and heartache to Violet in the past.

Our heroine, like so many in real life, longs for the love of a man or men that is respectful, enduring, and one that will continue to grow and deepen over time.  This was her hope as she entered into a Menage relationship in the past, one that ended up hurting her deeply.  She learned accidentally that she was an emotional burden for one man and for her other lover just a woman he loved but not enough to give her access to his whole heart.  So now she has decided that a threesome is not going to ever be hers again.  No, not ever, uh-huh!  Yet the Abbott brothers have a different idea and this weekend gives them the opportunity to change Violet's perspective because the people involved are different.  In this case they both love her unconditionally and are prepared to take her love any way they can get it, as soon as they can get her to admit that they are important to her.

Ms Rainier continues to grow as a writer and her skills just keep on getting better and better.  That is not to say she was ever bad.  I just finished re-reading Divine Grace, the first book in this series, and believe me she hit the ground running and has just kept on giving her fans books that are winsome yet gritty, filled with unique characters that I still think are iconic as they represent so many of the people we meet in life, living out needs and wants that are common  to all of us.  I will comment that there appears to have been less connection in this book with others who have populated the other books in this series.  As this was a single weekend, that is completely understandable.  Simply an observation on my part.  It does not detract from the purpose of the book.  And as in all of her books, Ms Rainier has challenged readers to accept authentic loving relationships regardless of their configurations.  Yet, these are fictional characters, but they teach a lesson about the healing power of love, the power of allowing others to renew us and revive us, especially after experiences that hurt and have have the potential to destroy one's faith in the possibility of a loving future.  This is a book that will challenge all of us to be open to new experiences.  This short novel is powerful in many ways and will be a joy to read for Ms Rainier's fans and perhaps a fun introduction to others who may not have read all her other books in this series.  I, for one, hope she just keeps on giving us the stories that connect us with this interesting community.  

I wholeheartedly give this book a five out of five rating.

Be sure to check in at The Book Binge for more excellent reviews.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Something Great, Something Wonderful, & Something Forever by M. Clarke

She didn't know what she was missing...until he found her.

Maxwell Knight was dangerously good-looking, seductively charming, and definitely trouble. He was everything Jeanella Mefferd did NOT need now.

Fresh out of college, life was predictable and comfortable for Jeanella. She had the strength of her friends, the security of her job, and she was dating a reliable man; it was all smooth sailing. That was until one night, when she met someone who made her feel things she'd never felt before—dangerous, heart pounding, breathless heat. 

Never imagining she would see him again, Jeanella has no idea what to do when fate steps in and thrusts Maxwell Knight into her life, just as things were beginning to change around her. When she lands her dream job and travels to New York for Fashion Week, can she focus on her career instead of on Maxwell? 

Will she ignore all the danger signs and jump straight into his arms; or would she miss out on the chance of finding something great?

Once again I have found a great trilogy of books through that dependable and ever productive service called "Book Bub."  And this first book in the series was free to boot.

It is the story of a woman who has been very limited in her dating life, especially since finding her almost fiance in the bed of her roommate in college.  Add to that the fact that the affair had been going on for several months.  Since then Jenna (as her friends called her) had been definitely reluctant to date and most certainly wasn't interested in any many who was less than steady, who was low risk, etc.  She had found that in Luke, a man she had met through her contacts in her present job.  They had a very low key relationship--Jenna hadn't even allowed him to kiss her until challenged by her friends.  (It's about time you found out if he makes you sing the "Hallelujah Chorus.")  It is then she meets Maxwell Knight, totally unaware that he is about to become her new boss.

Maxwell is a man who is one of those guys who could be featured on any GQ magazine cover in the world.  He makes the women in his company swoon just in his daily business suits.  Yet he is more than willing to admit that he really doesn't know what love feels like.  When he first encounters Jenna over a series of random meetings, he is quite "taken" with her and pursues her even after she becomes one of his employees.  He is a man of principle, has lovely manners, and doesn't seem to  harbor any scandalous secrets.  Yet Jenna is still worried that he will be "too much" for a low key girl like herself.

This story is really about two people who have tasted disappointment and who are both wary of what it might be like to take an emotional risk.  Even as a a high profile character in the high-powered world of fashion publishing, Max is still not sure he can ever find a woman who will love him for himself and not his money or contacts.  So their story is full of ups and downs, miscommunications and misunderstandings, hard lessons learned and a number of important "ah ha" moments about themselves and each other.  

The background characters in this story are important.  Max's brother Matthew is a man who is working so hard to gain back a life that is not mired in grief over the loss of his fiance.  Becky, Jenna's best friend and present roommate is a far more experienced woman sexually, yet she and Jenna have become sisters in every way and are equally important to one another as each must journey toward their destinies.

This trilogy is a really delightful set of three stories, and each is important in fleshing out the journey that Jenna, Max, Matthew, and Becky must take toward the future.  There are other good friends who are present and who compose the context of these books.  Each is so well written and I am delighted to have found another author who seems to have such a good "handle" on what life can offer, how people interact romantically, and how the rough and tumble universe of human love and be endured and sometimes bring the joy we all ultimately seek.

This second book is really about how Max and Jenna now move into a more mature aspect of their growing relationship.

Sometimes falling in love means letting go of the past…

Jeanella’s confidence and trust in Max continues to grow, and life seems to be on track. Then Crystal decides to pursue a sexual harassment lawsuit, and Jeanella’s world turns upside down. Once again, she wonders if she will ever be enough for Max. Jeanella is forced to make a decision; stay and fight for her man or leave him for good. 

Becky's unexpected friendship with Matthew continues to blossom, as they try to define the boundaries of their relationship; but a one-night stand threatens to ruin it all. As Matthew’s feelings for Becky grow, he’s torn between guilt and heartache over his deceased fiancée. Can Becky break through his wall and help him heal?

This third book definitely has some unexpected twists and turns for both Max/Jenna and Becky/Matthew.  There are still the old hurts of the past and the shadows of ghosts that haunt Becky and Matthew.  And life hands Max and Jenna a surprise they may just not be able to move beyond.

A heated moment.
Desperate decision.
Life altering choices.

Max and Jenna are forced to test their relationship. Will they be able to embrace the challenges life throws their way? Secrets can ruin the foundation of a relationship. Will Matthew choose to withhold vital information from Becky that could consume her with doubt about their future?

When it comes to love, Something Great can turn into Something Wonderful, but can it be Something Forever?

All in all, this is a terrific set of books and one I highly recommend.  They have made their appearance over the past months of 2014 but their subject matter is as contemporary as ever.  I highly recommend them and hope some of you will search them out and enjoy them as much as I did.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

If You Like Shifter Stories, You'll Love This Boxed Set: Fated Mates by Adrianna Hunter et al

If you like your men dark, dangerous and alpha, this exclusive shifter romance boxed set is for you. Featuring hot stories from popular New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble bestselling authors, including Adriana Hunter, Liliana Rhodes, Lynn Red, A.T Mitchell and more, these steamy books and alpha shifters will be sure to whet your appetite and leave you howling for more.

All American Wolf by Adriana Hunter: If Serena's not careful she may lose her heart to Brody Sullivan - the dangerously possessive stranger who is willing to break every one of her rules.

Charming the Alpha by Liliana Rhodes: Hannah Crane's ordinary life changes after she meets Alpha wolf Caleb. As the center of a centuries old curse, is Hannah a wolf charmer or Caleb's fated mate?

Change For Me by Lynn Red: Motorcycle riding, tattooed bad boy alpha werewolf fights to save his mate from his terrifying rival. Steamy, seductive, sensual werewolf romance.

Bear King's Curves A BBW Werebear Shifter Romance by A.T. Mitchell: Curvy Lyla's bad attitude toward bears is about to change. Destiny blind Nick is the Alpha to do it, no matter how much passion, mystery, and danger it means...

The Alpha's Mate by Michelle Fox: Chloe Weiss has finally met the mate of her dreams, but jealousy in the pack and a murderer on the loose make for a dangerous 'happily ever after.'

Romancing the Wolf (BBW/Werewolf Romance) by Skye Eagleday: The romantic adventures of two curvy sisters and one hot pack: Can the werewolves survive Bree and her sassy sister?

Witchy Wolf by Alexis Dare: A brutal attack alters Chloe’s life. As her world crumbles, biker Gabe steps in to pick up the pieces. Can he save her from the danger lurking in the shadows?

Delicate Freakn' Flower by Eve Langlais: Can a pair of hunky shapeshifting jocks convince a not-so delicate freakn’ flower that they can handle her thorns—and her passion?

The Alpha Claims A Mate by Georgette St. Clair: Curvy Ginger Colby accidentally insulted the Alpha of the local pack when she rejected him at the local honky tonk-and now he's seeking delicious, sexy revenge.

A Change To Bear (Last of the Shapeshifters) by A.E. Grace: Liam, shapeshifter, is on the run. Hunted by a man who will hurt anyone he cares for, it's why he can't fall in love. Until he meets a curvy Terry Spencer...

Protecting The Alpha by Tabitha Conall

Curves For The Lone Alpha by Molly Prince

The blurb pretty much tells it all.  These stories, however, are novella length, but all are interesting and pack a fine literary wallop.  There were some I found more interesting than others, and one or two I had found in other anthologies.  But for 99 cents, what's not to like?  Actually, I like shifter stories a lot, have liked them almost from the beginning and keep on being fascinated at the various "takes" authors have on their abilities and lifestyles.  All in all, each story is very romantic with a moderate amount of "hot lovin'" and are more than good enough to be given a chance to engage the reader's imagination.

I am delighted that publishers are making these boxed sets available to those of us who like the eReader format.  Lots of money I don't have to spend and yet I have been introduced to some new authors.  That is definitely the case with this boxed set.    My best guess?  I think you'll experience lots of good reading here.  I give the set a rating of 4 out of 5.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Strange Christmas and A New Year

It was a tough Christmas for us this year.  Early in December we were with almost our entire family as we gathered for an important family birthday celebration.  But it was sad to have to say "Good-bye" just a few days later and know that the kids and grandkids were going home in all directions and we didn't know when we would be seeing them again.

As if that weren't bad enough, the dreaded "holiday virus" that seemed to afflict so many this year made a stop at our house.  The Saturday before Christmas I began to have a very uncomfortable feeling in my chest and before another 24 hours had passed, I was one sick cookie.  Add in the fact that between that Saturday and Christmas Day, I had been contracted to play the organ at eight -- that's right, 8 -- holiday church services in our area of Tennessee.  I made it through, but by the last service on Christmas Day I was thrashed good and proper.  My hubby had fallen ill on Christmas Eve, so instead of celebrating and sharing with the few family members living close by, we hunkered down in our blankets with our scrambled eggs and cottage cheese and toast and tea, and somehow got through the difficult days.  It is definitely true that the older one gets the longer the recovery.  We were fortunate that we both tested negative for the H1N1 flu. but the virus we did have was no fun either.\

Now it's a few days into the New Year and we are recovering well.  But there is no doubt that it didn't come in with a blast, at least not at our house.  We did get back on our feet sufficiently to get together with one of our daughters and her family for a scrumptious prime rib dinner, a trip through the community's "Galaxy of Lights" which was spectacular, and then a bit of a drive home before the party folks spilled out on the roads.

So now we look forward to some special things.  Our daughter-in-law celebrates a birthday, our first great-grandchild has his first birthday this month, great-grandchild #2 is due to arrive early in February, and great-grandchild #3 sometime in April.  That means lots of knitting of baby afghans and sending special stuff through the mail since we are a long distance from some of the action.  Yet we are delighted as our family increases and as we see the new generations arriving.  It is humbling to know that it all started decades ago with two people who fell in love in a train station in Chicago and somehow we have made it until now.

My prayer and hope for all of my friends, family, and followers of this blog are that you will all experience really good things this 2015, that when the down times come you will have the friends and support you need to weather the life storms, and that we will all continue to enjoy the best of good romance fiction along the way.

My own New Year's Resolution -- and the only one I am making this year -- is that I will be so much more consistent in touching base with all of you and keeping this blog in touch with the good books I am reading.

New Year's blessings to you all!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Southern Middle Tennessee . . . Baby, It's Cold Outside!! But This Bundle Made Me Feel All Warm & Fuzzy Inside!

That's right . . . we are in the midst of a terrible cold snap that has most of the United States in its grip.  The blue hills of the Cumberland Mountains that surround the valley where I live were coated with snow just a day ago . . . it was only about 9 degrees at 5:00 AM.  Yes, we really feel it here as we are just not used to freezing our buns off.  But it reminded me that I had not been keeping up with lots of stuff on this blog.  My daughter's blog has now been closed and it was because of her that I even started.  I have been reading like a crazy fool and thinking all the time:  "I have to write reviews!!"  And then I start another book and off I go thinking about writing a review -- soon.  As I am not quite ready to give up the blogging experience and I still enjoy following others, I am going try really hard to do better in the future.

So here's the latest that I wanted to share with y'all and let you know that it is also connected to a great cause.

This Pets for Vets charity bundle is available for a limited-time discount.  They’re all hometown heroes, guys from small towns who’ve made a name for themselves, big or small, who’ve withstood the odds and risen to the challenge, who are heroes in their own right.
Presenting a contemporary romance bundle of 16 novels with happily-ever-after endings, including previously published readers' favorites and brand-new material.

This is another one of the current passel of collections for small prices that are being made available by book sellers.  This one, however, really clicked with me as it was touted as a charity fund raiser to supply pets for vets who are suffering from post-war injuries, both inwardly and outwardly.  The stories are by some of our favorite authors and they are not novellas.  Many of these 16 stories are full-length novels and all the stories are really good.  Of course, some resonated more with me than others, but I have to say that I enjoyed all of them.

These heroes are all hurting one way or another and the women who come into their lives are often instruments of healing and a second chance to find a sense of belonging they feared would never be theirs.  In some cases the returning vet is instrumental in helping the heroine to face difficult memories or life situations.  In all cases, the stories are heart-warming and many were so good that I wanted to read more from that particular author.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, reading these stories made me oh so thankful for my own family, for those in my family who have served in active military careers, for those who were willing to give up their lives and the possibility of a normal future in order to serve us at their country's call.  War is hell and I hate it passionately.  But these men and women in our family and in yours as well are all to be cherished and appreciated.  Thus I highly recommend that all of you look up this collection and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  Incidentally, I got mine for a tiny price at  Also, you can read more about each individual story at or on  Until next time . . .