Monday, October 29, 2012


Thanks to the Random Number generator, the winner of Tigerland is:

 Nicole L.


True Random Number Generator        
Powered by RANDOM.ORG
Nicole, I have sent you an email so check your spam folder if it's not showing up.  Otherwise, email me at Kaetrin67 AT gmail DOT com so I can get your prize to you.
Thank you to all who entered the giveaway.
(If I don't hear from Nicole by Friday 5th November, I will draw a new winner).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

Why I read it:  Many of my Twitter friends were telling me how much they enjoyed this book. I wanted to join in the fun so I bought it.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  Four years ago, Jocelyn Butler left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Edinburgh. Burying the grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without any real attachments has worked well for her so far but when Joss moves into a fantastic apartment on Dublin Street, her carefully guarded world is shaken to its core by her new roommate's sexy older brother.

Braden Carmichael is a man who always gets what he wants. And what he wants is Jocelyn in his bed. Knowing how skittish Joss is concerning any kind of relationship, Braden proposes a sexual arrangement that should satisfy the intense attraction between them without it developing into anything 'more'. An intrigued Jocelyn agrees, completely unprepared for the Scotsman and his single-minded determination to strip the stubborn young woman bare... to the very soul.

What worked for me (and what didn't): Let's get the gripes out of the way first shall we?  There were a number of typographical and gramatical errors in the book.  The acknoweldgements in the back say that there were editors so I'm not really sure why so many were allowed to get through to the final version.  Examples include comma abuse, "rung" instead of "wrung", "all and all" instead of "all in all" and I'm not entirely sure that "incapacitation" is even a word.  There was also one egregious use of the word "vajayjay" by the heroine.   However, the story and the characters were otherwise so well done, that I was able to press through where a lesser book may have ended up a DNF.  As it was, there was some teeth gritting at the number of errors.  Moving on.

I think I had expected the characters would hook up much earlier than they did and I was pleased that it wasn't the case.  We were at maybe the 2/5 mark of the book before Braden and Jocelyn first kiss.  Even though their physical relationship progresses quickly from there, there was a reasonable amount of time taken to build the sexual tension and for the characters to get to know each other.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I'm over at ARRA today with a review of Temptation

My review of this book is up at the ARRA blog today.  It's a YA featuring an Amish hero.  I gave it a C.  ARRA members can comment to win the book.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Down for the Count by Christine Bell

Why I read it: I heard the Twitter buzz and bought it. Thank you to Fatin, Brie and Jane for the excellent recommendation. 

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  Truth or dare…

When Lacey Garrity finds her groom in flagrante delicto in the reception hall closet with her bridesmaid, she's saved by her best friend’s older brother—childhood tormentor, crush, and boxing bad boy Galen Thomas. Galen’s solution is both exciting and dangerous. What better way to forget the mess of her life than go on her honeymoon with a hot guy who can’t promise anything beyond today?

…or TKO?

Galen had been counting on Lacey's wedding to put her out of reach—and out of his mind—once and for all, but their steamy Puerto Rican escape is testing all his boundaries. Now that Lacey’s embracing her inner bad girl, Galen is tempted to throw in the towel and claim her for himself. But with the biggest fight of his career on the line and an important business merger threatening to derail Lacey’s resolve, their romance might be down for the count before it even begins.

What worked for me (and what didn't): I really enjoyed the snappy one-liners of this book.  Even though Lacey was getting cheated on at her wedding reception, the writing style made it clear that this book is a fun contemporary, not a heavy angsty read
The ensuing silence was so absolute that when he fastened his tuxedo pants, it sounded like a grizzly bear traveling down a zip line.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Handle with Care by Josephine Myles

Why I read it: This is one I'd had on my wishlist for some time and when I bought The Hot Floor recently, I picked up this and Barging In.  They were on sale and I couldn't resist. :) 

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  The best things in life aren’t free…they’re freely given.

Ben Lethbridge doesn’t have many vices left. After raising his little sister to adulthood, he wasted no time making up for the youth he lost to responsible parenting. Two years of partying it up—and ignoring his diabetes—has left him tethered to a home dialysis regimen.

He can do his job from his flat, fortunately, but most of his favourite things are forbidden. Except for DVD porn…and fantasizing over Ollie, the gorgeous, purple-haired skateboarder who delivers it.

Their banter is the highlight of Ben’s lonely day, but his illness-ravaged body is the cruel reality that prevents him from believing they’ll do anything more than flirt. Not to mention the age gap. Still, Ben figures there’s no harm in sprucing himself up a bit.

Then one day, a package accidentally splits open, revealing Ben’s dirty little secret…and an unexpected connection that leaves him wondering if he’s been reading Ollie wrong all this time. There’s only one way to find out: risk showing Ollie every last scar. And hope “far from perfect” is good enough for a chance at love.

Product Warnings
Contains superhero porn comics and a cute, accident-prone delivery guy with colour-changing hair. Readers may experience coffee cravings, an unexpected liking for bad mullets, and the urge to wrap Ollie up and take him home.

What worked for me (and what didn't): Jo Myles has a pleasing, easy writing voice so it was easy to slide into this story and enjoy it.  I did have a few problems with the book, but overall, it was a very enjoyable read.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

One Final Step by Stephanie Doyle

Why I read it: I heard the author talking about this one on a recent DBSA podcast and saw the review at Dear Author.  After getting spoilers (because I had totally forgotten the podcast which let the cat out of the bag) I went out and bought it.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  A new image …step by step Who said moving forward is easy? Car thief turned race car driver, Michael Langdon has worked hard to build his image. Now to take it to the next level and become a successful manufacturer, he needs to kick that image up a notch. Enter Madeleine Kane, a genius at adjusting public perception. With her in charge, he's guaranteed to look better while keeping his darkest secrets where they belong—in the past.

Doesn't take long, however, for his ambition to change and the campaign to become personal. Because he wants Madeleine—as beautiful as she is talented and smart. First, Michael must overcome her reservations about crossing professional boundaries and persuade her he's worth the risk…without revealing those buried parts of himself. Good thing he's
very persuasive.

Warning:  Possible spoiler-y review ahead.

What worked for me (and what didn't): Madeline Kane (I so keep wanting to type Kahn) has been in hiding for 7 years after being a "Monica Lewinsky" to a former president.  The scandal has died down (of course, it's been 7 years and she's been completely out of the spotlight) but Madeline is not "over" it.   I had quite a bit of sympathy for Madeline. I understood completely her dismay with other people having a timetable to which she should adhere for everything to be all right.

She hated when people recited the number. It was like there wa some magical timetable in the universe for recovery. After two years she should have moved on. After five years she should have put it in perspective. After seven years she should have forgotten it entirely.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tigerland by Sean Kennedy & Giveaway

Why I read it:  The author kindly provided a ARC for my enjoyment.  

Giveaway:  Because I was planning to buy the book, I've decided to buy an  e-copy for a commenter to celebrate the release of Tigerland on October 15 from Dreamspinner Press.  If the lucky winner hasn't read Tigers & Devils, I'll chuck in a copy of that too.  Giveaway ends 26 October and I'll announce the randomly drawn winner the following week.  Please leave an email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.  No email, no entry.

Just comment to enter, no need to be a follower or do any Twittering (though you can if you want to). International entries welcome.  Let me know if I forgot anything important.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Sequel to Tigers and Devils

After an eventful and sometimes uncomfortably public courtship, Simon Murray and Declan Tyler settled into a comfortable life together. Now retired from the AFL, Declan works as a football commentator; Simon develops programs with queer content for a community television station.

Despite their public professional lives, Simon and Declan manage to keep their private life out of the spotlight. Their major concerns revolve around supporting their friends through infertility and relationship problems—until Greg Heyward, Declan’s ex-partner, outs himself in a transparent bid for attention.

Though Simon and Declan are furious with Greg and his media antics, they can’t agree on what to do about it. Declan insists they should maintain a dignified silence, but both he and Simon keep getting drawn into Heyward’s games. Simon and Declan will once again have to ride out the media storm before they can return their attention to what really matters: each other.

Laid Open by Lauren Dane

Why I read it:  My favourite book in this series is Laid Bare - where this threesome got together so it was a no brainer that I was going to pick this one up.

Warning:  Series spoilers ahoy.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  All she needed to pack was a few bikinis, a toothbrush and some sunscreen. This is what Ben told Erin when he presented her and Todd with tickets to Fiji and the promise of ten days of nothing but sleeping until whenever they wanted, sex without having to lock the door and lots of alone time.

And that’s what they have. Long days and nights filled with pleasure. Long enough that the stress and exhaustion drops away and the three can simply enjoy each other.

They’ve got heat. More than ever before. Recharging their batteries has also brought new levels of intimacy and connection. But when Erin stumbles over the pain of her past, both men band together to not only help her through, but to help each other as well.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fields of Gold by Dev Bentham

Why I read it:  I was offered a review copy by the author and I've enjoyed her previous books.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads) Life is full of compromises. That's what Avi Rosen tells himself. He's a yeshiva boy turned historian, working on his dissertation and stretching his meager stipend by moonlighting as a closeted politician's houseboy. Their relationship used to feel like a real affair. Lately it seems more like a job.

It isn't until he meets someone decent that he realizes how corrupt his life has become. Pete is a tall blond farmer who charms Avi with his dazzling smile and his straightforward life. But even if he can believe this refreshingly honest man doesn't have his own political agenda, will Avi find the strength to emerge from the dark life he's chosen and find a future in the sun

What worked for me (and what didn't): I enjoy Ms. Bentham's writing style and, as expected I enjoyed this book as well.  I liked the imagery of Pete being the bright blond man who helps (inspires?) Avi into the light.   Avi doesn't like to think of himself as a whore, but he starts to as time goes by, when he realises he doesn't love his assemblyman and the "relationship" is more about having a roof over his head than romance.  When he meets Pete, he is attracted and tempted.  The picture is of someone who's afraid to move on, who is hiding. This is reflected in his academic life too - he's been at college for 7 (?) years working on his dissertation for many of them and he'll make every excuse possible why he's not read to defend.  I don't know much about the US academic system so I'm taking it on faith that people actually spend years and years on their PhD at college.  But, because of my lack of knowledge, I'm happy enough to go with the flow. (Truth to tell, I don't know much about that level of education in Australia either).

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Deep Desires by Charlotte Stein

Why I read it: This is another I heard about on Twitter and bought.  Thank you Mandi :)

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  The Further She Goes, the More She Needs ...

Abbie Gough has done her best to escape a violent past. But in the process, she’s avoided life, desire and love. So when she sees her equally closed off neighbour, Ivan, performing for her one night through his window, she can’t stop looking.

Voyeuristic pleasures become Abbie’s lifeline. But as she comes alive and craves more, Ivan backs away. He has his own secrets , the kind that draw her into kinky games and her own shameful desires, while also preventing real intimacy between them. But now she’s found someone so special, she’s not about to give up easily. And she’s willing to do whatever it takes to melt Ivan’s cool exterior. Even if captivating him means pushing through her limits to whatever lies beyond.

What worked for me (and what didn't): This is a short, dark and very sexy book.  Abbie lives a solitary life, alone and afraid (the reasons for which become clear as the story progresses).  One night she sees, through her window into her neighbour's window across the courtyard.  He's masturbating.  And he knows she's watching.    She's fascinated and aroused and they start a mutually voyeuristic 'relationship' through their windows.  In this section of the book there is almost no dialogue.  The story is told from Abbie's first person POV and there is a feeling, particularly in the first section of almost stifling closeness, so deeply are we in Abbie's head.  The way it's written, the reader is a voyeur too.

Friday, October 12, 2012

I love this community. I really do.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know that my stepdad had a brain bleed yesterday and he's currently in the ICU, with a shunt draining the excess fluid from his head to relieve the pressure.  He's hanging in there, can move all his limbs and recognises people.  He's still a bit confused and a bit slurry but the doctors are saying that's to be expected.  He was having another CT scan today to check on the status of the bleed and plan future treatment. So far, so good.

When I first got the call, after a mild meltdown and a phone hug from my husband, one of the things I did was to post a Tweet asking for good thoughts and prayers.  And boy, did you guys really come through.  I've often wondered when I see someone sharing bad news or troubling times on Twitter and I've sent a message of encouragement whether I'm intruding or whether it actually has any meaning (this is more a function of me second-guessing myself as opposed to anything else) but I can honestly say, having been on the other end of it yesterday and today, that those messages of encouragement really do mean something.  They helped.  It's always good to know there are people on your side.

I don't know if other book comunities are like this, if it's just romancelandia or even if it's just *my* book community; but in any event, I love it.  I wanted to say I appreciate you guys so much - from the interesting and smart discussions we have such as here, to the support we as a community give when one of us suffers a tragedy (such as a husband being taken from his family before his time as a result of a crime or a cancer scare, etc) and most especially today, to the support given to me.  I couldn't fit it into 140 characters so I'm posting here.  It's my blog and I can be sappy here if I want to! :)

In other news, I have a review up at AudioGals today of Getting Rid of Bradley by Jenny Crusie and I have a number of other reviews lined up.  I'm also planning a giveaway to celebrate the release (on October 15) of Tigerland by Sean Kennedy so watch out for that in the next little bit too.

Sometimes I get down about the reviewing/blogging climate and some of the crap that goes on, but really, you guys (and you know who you are) make it fun and worthwhile.  So, thank you. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wish by Kelly Hunter

Why I read it:   After my less than successful experience with my first try of something from the Destiny imprint, I was keen to read another which I liked.  I've heard about Australian author Kelly Hunter from various trusted reviewers and I even have another of her Harlequin books on my TBR but I hadn't read any.  When I saw this on NetGalley, I felt like this would be a sure bet.  I was right.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads) All single mother Billie Temple wants for Christmas is to trade her hectic Sydney lifestyle for simple country living and a place to call home.

All widowed cattleman Adam Kincaid wants is for Billie and her son to go away.

Someone's got a problem.

What worked for me (and what didn't): I've always thought it takes a special talent to write short.  To tell a good story in less than 100 pages is a talent I both recognise and envy (if I ever do write a book, I can't imagine it being short!).  And, sure I could happily have read more about Billie and Adam, but, the story was told and very enjoyably too in that less than 100 pages.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha

Why I read it:  I saw the Twitter buzz (especially from Angela James, Carina Press editor who said it was super dirty) so I hoofed it over to NetGalley and was happy to be approved for the title.  I'll just say here too that the copyright information at the front was pretty classy I thought (basically that it's okay to lend, but keep within your peer group and lend like you would a paper book.).

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  All Noelle Cunningham has ever wanted is a life beyond–beyond the walls of Eden, where only the righteous are allowed to remain, and beyond her stiflingly restrictive existence as a councilman’s daughter. But only ruins lie outside the City, remnants of a society destroyed by solar storms decades earlier.

The sectors surrounding Eden house the corrupt, the criminal–men like Jasper McCray, bootlegger and cage fighter. Jas clawed his way up from nothing to stand at the right hand of Sector Four’s ruthless leader, and he’ll defend the O’Kane gang with his life. But no fight ever prepared him for the exiled City girl who falls at his feet.

Her innocence is undeniable, but so is their intense sexual attraction, and soon they’re crossing every boundary Noelle barely knew she had. But if she wants to belong to Jas, first she’ll have to open herself to the gang, to a dangerous world of sex, lust and violence. A world where passion is power, and freedom is found in submission.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles

Why I read it: It's an m/m/m romance so that was enough to pique my interest. Then I saw some reviews which said the boys actually talk, so I was in.  Bought it the week it was released.  Plus, Books on Board was having a sale (so I bought the author's other 2 books also).
What it's about: (from Goodreads) Two plus one equals scorching hot fun.

Dumped by his boyfriend and reduced to living in a grotty bedsit, Josh Carpenter has gotten used to expecting the worst. Now he lives only for his job as a glassblower…and occasional glimpses of his sexy downstairs neighbors, Rai Nakamura and Evan Truman.

Every time he overhears the diminutive academic and the hunky plumber having loud and obviously kinky sex, Josh is overwhelmed with lust…and a longing for a fraction of what they have.

To his amazement, Rai and Evan find his embarrassing tendency to blush utterly charming, and the three men grow closer over the course of the long, hot summer. Despite Rai’s charming flirtation and Evan’s smoldering gaze, Josh is determined never to break his new friends’ loving bonds.

On the night a naked Josh falls—quite literally—into the middle of one of Rai and Evan’s marathon sex sessions, the force of their mutual attraction takes control. But just as Josh dares to hope, he senses a change. Leaving him to wonder if the winds of love are about to blow his way at last…or if history is about to repeat itself.

Warning: Contains one well-endowed stud with a sexy accent, one improbably toppy bottom boy with an unfortunate owl obsession, and one blushing naïf who can’t believe his luck. Also, the occasional indulgence in mathematical spanking and some shameless armpit sex.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lean on Me by HelenKay Dimon

Why I read it:  I heard the Twitter buzz and snapped it up when it was offered on NetGalley.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  Cassidy Clarke once climbed the world’s highest mountains, but after an unexpected illness ends her career she’s back in her hometown, broke and hoping for a little luck. But the townsfolk aren’t exactly putting out a welcome mat for the woman who once snubbed them in the media, despite her apologies now.
Mitch Anders knows someone has set up camp on the grounds of his plant nursery, and he’s surprised to find his sexy high school crush ducking questions about where she’s staying. Though he’s sworn to stop cleaning up other people’s messes, Mitch offers Cassidy a job and a place to stay—his place. Bedsharing optional, but definitely welcome.
Out of options and too attracted to Mitch to keep things platonic, Cassidy says yes to his offer. She wants to get back on her feet financially and start a new career. She never expects to suffer a different kind of fall, one that has her believing Mitch just might bring her something bigger and better than luck

What worked for me (and what didn't): I knew I was going to like this book when I got to page 9 and found this:
“What happened to your neck?” She closed her eyes the minute the babble left her mouth. Her breath also caught in her throat. She blamed the fumble of words rather than the feel of his hand folded over hers. “I mean, you, ah, look slimmer. Not that you were ever fat.”
One of the bystanders laughed.
Cassidy rushed to cover her most recent verbal disaster, though she feared there would be more. “You were more muscular then. Like, thicker in the shoulder to jaw area. You had a neck, of course. It was just…big.” She swore she heard a gurgling sound. Probably had something to do with her drowning in stupidity.
He held up his free hand as his eyes sparkled with mischief. “That compliment, if that’s what it was supposed to be, was kind of painful.”
“It didn’t sound too great in my head either.”

Monday, October 1, 2012

September Reads

on Paper/eBook

**NB this review first appeared in the September ARRA members newsletter and at the ARRA blog on #**
What a Girl Wants by Selena Robins - C- Maddie Saunders is a daredevil travel reporter who decides she needs a “sexual boot camp” and she’s nominated her best friend Alex Donovan to be her “Sergeant”.  Alex is one of those reporters who goes into war zones and writes about the serious issues.  When they are both sent on assignment to Hawaii (I should be so lucky) Maddie decides her time has come. 
I don’t know a lot about reporting but it seemed odd to me that Maddie and Alex were to spend weeks on the (fictional) island of Makana for their story – Alex was to interview reclusive billionaire Maxwell Hollister and Maddie was to take in the tourism spots.  It seemed like a long time spend on an assignment.
I was expecting a fun, flirty, friends-to-lovers story and at the beginning, that’s exactly what it was.  Except that Alex turned Maddie down quite a few times and she came off as desperate and a bit pathetic after a while.  Just when she’d decided to bow out gracefully, Alex decides that resisting temptation isn’t worth it and they begin to steam up the sheets.  I found the sexual euphemisms somewhat surprising, considering this is a book from Samhain, a publisher very comfortable with the erotic.  Would a man really refer to his penis as “my hardness”?  Some of the terminology made me roll my eyes.  I would have preferred the characters “call a spade a spade” but YMMV.
Maddie is also searching for the identity of her father – her mother has never told her who he is so she’s hired a private investigator to find out for her.  For much of the book it appears that the mysterious Maxwell Hollister is Maddie’s father (I won’t spoil it by telling you whether that’s true or not).  There’s also Maddie’s attempt to reconnect with her flighty mother, her relationship with Alex and something about a former IRA getaway driver.  If that’s not busy enough, add in that Alex has accepted a position in London (and wants Maddie to move with him), an ex-girlfriend with a grudge and a BMX accident for good measure.
I did like that Maddie had very good reasons for not wanting to drop everything and follow Alex to London and the way it was eventually resolved. 
Alex and Maddie certainly had chemistry but I was ultimately a little confused about what the book was trying to be – chick lit or a sexy contemporary romance.  But, if you like contemporaries with a hearty dash of women’s fiction, this might be a book for you.

Master Class by Rachel Haimowitz - C After a smallish cameo by Devon and Nicky in Power Play:  Awakening, I was curious to read their story. I already had SUBlime on my TBR having won it in a blog giveaway a while back but I wanted to start at number 1, so I went and bought Master Class.  At only 55 pages, it is a quick read.  Unfortunately, the characterisation you can savor in a 290 page book such as either of the Power Play books cannot be found in anywhere the same degree in a novella.  I found myself dissatisfied because I didn't get to know either character well enough.  I wanted to.  I found both men fascinating and as with the Power Play books,  I liked the writing style.  But it was really just the beginning of their story and there seemed a lot more to tell.  Nicky is a Broadway actor/singer and submissive/masochist who has come from money and feels guilty for things having come so easily to him.  Devon is a big time movie star  and Dom/sadist  but we really learn very little about him.  In fact, I felt I knew them better from their scenes in Power Play

SUBlime - Collected Shorts (Master Class #2)  by Rachel Haimowitz - C/C- This is a short (45 pages) collection of even shorter "scenes".  Many of the scenes felt incomplete in that they sometimes stop in the middle of the action.  There were, for me, hints of character growth, but only hints.  While the stories themselves were interesting and well written, they didn't satisfy my craving to get to know these two men better. The grades for these 2 stories reflect that I'm a romance reader first and foremost and the emotional depth was a bit lacking for me here.  I'd happily read a full story about them - I know they are married by the time the events of Power Play occur and I know that they don't live "the lifestyle" 24/7 but I don't know really how that works (at least for them) and I don't know how Nicky's career fits in (in Awakening he said that Devon "let him out" to play occasionally - I thought that meant Nicky doesn't work much?) and I don't know how they came to get married.  I would love to read that story.