Book Review: Stark September by C.D. Bradley

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I have added to my book boyfriend list! Owen Stark is HOT, HOT, HOT!!!

What an amazing start to a new trilogy by new author, C.D. Bradley. Stark September has characters that could walk off the page, a story that keeps you reading and sex scenes that had me pulling out the fan. Owen Stark and Kira Riley are well matched and the cast of secondary characters are interesting and as well fleshed out as the H/h.

Captain Kira Riley has reached her dream of becoming a physician and now she owes the Army time for their investment in her. She knows all about the Army having grown up an Army brat until the age of 12 when her father in Special Forces was killed. She wants to pay back the Army and get out with no attachments or complications.


Owen Stark has other plans the minute he sees Kira as he accidently knocks her down. Stark is a Special Forces sergeant who has used the past decade to become a member of a band of brothers he can always count on as he heals from a personal tragedy. Both have secrets that they are afraid to share, not to mention that fraternization is against military regulations, but they just can’t stay away from each other.

As Kira and Stark’s relationship grows, you learn about Kira’s sexual assault and stalking while in college and that Stark dealt with his personal pain in the Special Forces, but also in a BDSM club and at home with a housemate named Paige. I feel the author did an excellent job of growing this relationship and revealing their differences and the problems that popped up because of those differences. The sex scenes were never gratuitous, but were perfectly suited to the growing romance and Kira’s sexual experimentation. Be warned that there is some BDSM and spanking in this book.

I cannot recommend this forbidden love story enough. There are two small problems for me though. First, Stark and Kira exchange one dog tag each. Although this is very romantic, it would never happen in the real military. Second, I wish the author would have wrapped up the suspense portion of this story in this book, while only leaving the romance open ended for the next book. Ms. Bradley’s writing is strong enough and her characters intriguing enough to carry me into her future books without the cliffhanger epilogue. That said, I still loved this book and am getting started on the next in this trilogy right away!

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

 

Book Review: A Teaspoon of Trouble by Shirley Jump

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

A TEASPOON OF TROUBLE by Shirley Jump is the first in The Bachelor Bake-Off series all set in Marietta, Montana and written by various authors. This is both a funny and heartbreaking contemporary romance that is an enjoyable read.

Carolyn Hanson left small town Marietta and her high school boyfriend in her rear view mirror after graduation for her dream of being a top chef in NYC. For ten years she is singularly focused and is about to realize her dream and be named the sous chef of a trendy Manhattan restaurant when she gets the call that her sister and husband where killed in a car crash. What she finds completely surprising is that her sister named her the guardian of her 4 year old niece, Emma and her puppy, Roscoe. She returns to her hometown hoping her parents will take Emma, but they are devastated with grief and barely functioning.

Matthew West has stayed and flourished in his home town of Marietta as a small animal veterinarian. When a beloved first responder is killed, the town proposes a Bachelor Bake-Off to raise funds to build a Boys & Girls club in his memory. Matthew enters to help, but he can barely boil water let alone bake. He is shocked when his old girlfriend walks into his clinic with a little girl and puppy in tow.

Carolyn and Matthew make a deal. They will swap their talents to help the other out for the time Carolyn is in town. Carolyn will teach Matthew how to bake and Matthew will teach Carolyn how to train Roscoe. When the old sparks start to fly, Matthew begins to hope that Carolyn will stay in Marietta to raise Emma and be a part of his life again.

I laughed as much as I teared up while reading this story. It is well balanced between fun with the dogs, Emma and learning to bake with the grief Carolyn and her family were dealing with, not always well. At first, Carolyn came across as self-centered, but when you learn more of her fears and grief, you begin to empathize with her and watch the growth of her and Emma’s relationship. I felt the author handled the scenes where the family dealt with their grief were realistically written. This second chance story leaves you with a HEA smile and is well worth your reading time.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: Brothers In Blue : Marc by Jeanne St. James

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Another HOT book about a Bryson brother from Manning Grove!

BROTHERS IN BLUE: MARC (Brothers in Blue #2) by Jeanne St. James has the second Bryson brother having to train the new police recruit who just happens to be female. For an alpha male like Marc, who also happens to still believe there should not be any female officers, being made her FTO (field training officer) by his brother the chief seems like a sick joke.

Leah Grant is determined to be a police officer just like her deceased father. She has fought all the stereotypes and risen to the top of her training class to have no one, but Max offer her a job. Manning Grove is very small town to her old home of Philly, but she is determined to make it, even with the chauvinist beliefs of her FTO.

As Marc and Leah train and ride together, their chemistry starts to override their common sense. They try to keep their work life separate from their increasing attraction, but Marc wants her in his bed as much as Leah wants to prove she is as capable as any male officer. The taboo of trainer and trainee does not stop these two, but they do keep it out of work hours.

These two have explosive chemistry in bed and are so perfect for each other. There are explicit sex scenes that are well written and have a surprising appearance of nipple rings and other sex toys. I also loved that Leah stayed at Marc’s parents’ house when she moved to town so that we continue to be involved with the whole family from Max’s story in Book #1. This romance can be read as a standalone because of its own HEA, but the family ties and small town life carry over.

I love that Ms. St. James has made each of these books in this series unique so far. I appreciate that they are not both the same premise with new names inserted. I am looking forward to what happens with the last Bryson boy, if he ever comes home!

Written for and posted first on the Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: Twisted Irish by Sara Brookes

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

I am completely surprised by how much I loved this hero and heroine. I was not sure what to expect with a biker club BDSM contemporary romance, but Ms. Brookes has written a romance that delivers!

TWISTED IRISH (Sinner & Saints Book 4) by Sara Brookes opens at the Riding Irish Biker Club’s Valentine’s Day cookout on Oahu. Olivia Woo is invited by her boss from the tech company she works for, who also happens to be the president of the club. She is always chasing excitement, danger and chaos in her computer simulations and real life. Secretly she runs simulations of BDSM sex. She is not sure if it is right or wrong, but she wants to find someone to help her explore her fantasies. Looking for a place to evade all the men she is being introduced to at the cookout, she finds the club’s secret basement dungeon.

Jon Swagger has worked hard to keep his darker side in check since leaving the Marines. He has been afraid that no one will ever understand his killer past and has only had casual sexual encounters, but the rest of the club is finding love and he finds that he wants that for himself. He is a DOM and designed the dungeon and a very special chair that plays an intriguing part in this story. When he sees the blue haired vixen, he is immediately drawn to her. When he catches her in his dungeon, he wants to give Olivia the sexual experience of her life. What neither of them expects is that they are exactly what each of them needs.

This is a short book that is full of empathy, exploration and love between the H/h. It does make references to previous situations from previous books in the series, but not enough to confuse or detract from this story. The sex scenes are well written and extremely explicit, sexy and hot. This story is well worth the read for a fast romance and romantic introduction to BDSM.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: When It Hits You by Nicki Elson

when it hits you

RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars

WHEN IT HITS YOU by Nicki Elson is listed as Book 1 in the ‘It’ Series, but it was a previously released book with a different title. It is more of a Chick Lit book with a small amount of romance in the last 40 pages of the story, than Contemporary romances like books two and three in this series.

Lyssa Bates is a 26 year old financial analyst who has chosen her vibrator over her boyfriend when given that final ultimatum, the vibrator or me. She has decided her vibrator has everything she needs for now. As her love life takes a new turn, so does her work life. She is assigned to work on a major corporate account with the hottie, Hayden from estates.

Hayden King is a rising star in the investment company and this new opportunity is very important to him. He is also a man who believes in dating several woman and not committing to one, until if ever he meets the ‘one’. At first, Lyssa finds him conceited and overbearing, but as they work together for long hours, she begins to realize there is a difference between what you see and how Hayden really is.

I enjoyed Lyssa and Hayden and the banter that went on between the two, but to be honest I went into this thinking I was getting a Contemporary romance. The story ended that way, but was pure Chick Lit in the majority of the story. The dialogue was crisp and entertaining. It was interesting to learn why Lyssa and Hayden each behaved the way they did, also. Good story, but not what I was looking for in this series.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: Claiming Dane by Pauline Allan

claiming dane

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

CLAIMING DANE (A Hot Southern Nights Novel) by Pauline Allen is a well written romance that takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. The hot Dom from Gilded Lily gets his story told as he fights for forgiveness and redemption in the arms of a big, powerful ex-Marine and his cute little daughter. The story can be read as a standalone even with the ties to Gilded Lily.

Tony Moretti is ready to stop running from his demons and face his family at his brother’s annual memorial. He gave up his destructive lifestyle, but he hasn’t found anything to fill up the emptiness inside his soul that he tries to fill with meaningless sex. When he stops at a hotel on his way home, he isn’t prepared for the gorgeous and shy owner. Something about this man, his love for his daughter and his family of friends pulls at Tony to stay, but his demons may be more than Dane can handle.

Dane McNeil has been to war, lost friends and come back to find his small daughter in a drug house, hungry and dirty. He will do anything to protect her now. He has built up his own security company and has rebuilt a historic hotel that he runs with the help of his best friends. When a dark, handsome doctor shows up and needs a room, he knows he will probably regret it, but he puts his heart on the line for a chance for more than a night of meaningless sex.

When Tony’s secret past becomes known, Dane feels as though he can no longer trust him and wants him to leave, but Tony has already left because he is afraid his darkness will destroy the first person he has ever loved.

This is a well written romance with a plot that pulls you into the story and developed characters that are realistic and make you want to keep reading. There is explicit M/M sex that is never gratuitous and is handled openly by the secondary characters. Dane’s daughter, Caroline is too cute and precious. She is a wonderful addition to the story. An enjoyable M/M romance read.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.