Tuesday, April 17, 2012

REVIEW: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Title: Beautiful Disaster
Author: Jamie McGuire
Date Published: 5/26/11

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend America, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the charming college co-ed. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his charms, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’ apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match

My Rating: 4 Steams


My Review:
I loved this story. You don't get many books set in college for some reason. It seems to be either Young Adult/High School focused or Romance books that people are in their late 20's-30's.

I loved how Travis gets knocked down a peg by Abby. I'm a sucker for those stories where the Male lead is a MAN-WHORE and gets sucked into a woman for the first time.

The underground fighting aspect of it was great and felt very real.

I loved the dynamic between the 2 leads as well as the supporting cast.

The ups and downs of their relationship were equally joyful and heartbreaking.

This was definitely my kind of book! Steamy and Substance!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Interview: Elizabeth Black

Elizabeth Black writes, erotica, erotic romance, dark fiction, and horror. She writes the latter two as E. A. Black. Her fiction has been published by Naughty Nights Press, Circlet Press, Xcite Books (UK), Romance Divine, New Dawning Bookfair, Ravenous Romance, Stupefying Stories, and Kizuna: Fiction For Japan. She has also worked as a gaffer (lighting), scenic artist, and prosthetic makeup artist for concerts, film, stage, and television including "Die Hard With A Vengeance", "12 Monkeys", and "Homicide: Life On The Street". Currently living in Massachusetts by the ocean, she is surrounded by her husband, son, and four cats.

Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?

Yes, that a sexually free woman isn't a slut. My book is set in 1983 and sexual attitudes really haven't changed much over the past 20 years. Even today, women who are sexually active without being married are given the hairy eyeball. Look at the recent political dust ups in the U. S. over contraception. We have old white men in positions of power saying things like “Back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.” As if women should keep a pill between their knees so they don't spread their legs. How insulting! And we have other, old white men calling sexually active women sluts insisting the the general public shouldn't have to pay for their birth control when nothing of the kind will happen. You don't hear this kind of noise when it comes to men and their penis pills. Apparently it's okay for men (including those old white men complaining about women's contraception)  to have Viagra for their dicks but women can't have birth control to keep from getting pregnant or catching STDs. Double standard, anyone?

I also wanted to show that experimenting sexually is a viable and time-honored way for a woman to explore her needs. Men aren't the only Casanovas out there. A woman may learn a great deal about herself from her experiences with her lovers whether they are male or female. My character has also been abandoned by her father, so there are insecurity issues for her to deal with. I wanted to create a character women could identify with, even if they never had as many sexual partners as Catherine Stone. There's quite a bit of myself in Catherine . I know from personal history that many men feel intimidated by a woman with lots of sexual experience, especially if she has more experience than he does. They worry about their own performance. There's no real reason for a man to feel so insecure. A woman with lots of experience will make his experience with her even more special.

I hope my women readers relate to Catherine and have or either  have had her concerns. Granted, this is a book for straight women although Catherine is bisexual. Her primary focus is on men. Women who read my book may wonder like Catherine if they'll ever find love amid the sexual freedoms of modern society. Some don't want to be tied down and they don't like the pressure to conform, marry, have kids, be “normal”. They worry about pregnancy and STDs. They fear being used and tossed aside by men. They wonder how they will ever balance career and family life. Most of all, they look forward to what the world has to offer them in every aspect, including sexually. This is a “coming of age” book that will resonate with many women.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Not challenging per se but exciting. I enjoy opening my characters and plots as if they are layers of an onion. As I explore my characters, especially Catherine Stone, I learn more about myself. Catherine is very much like me, especially since I based “Don't Call Me Baby” on some personal experiences as well as my very vivid imagination. I had been looked upon as a slut since I have had many sexual partners. You know the old saying: “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” I always respond with this: “Why buy the whole pig when all you want is a little sausage?”

As far as a challenge goes, I suppose I put a lot of myself into my characters whether they are male or female. I sometimes feel as if I expose myself too much and I get a bit embarrassed. I feel naked. Do I really want readers to know me that well? As Hemingway famously said, “There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”.

How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

I've written two novels and several novellas. I've written mostly short stories, though. I love writing short stories. I also write horror and dark fiction as well as erotica and erotic romance. I really don't have a favorite. I like each of my books for different reasons. “Don't Call Me Baby” is special to me since it's the one closest to my personal beliefs and experiences. I am a child of the '80s. I remember the big hair, sexual experimentation, and my penchant for dating older men (just like my protagonist Catherine Stone). I'm not a cougar. I don't like boy toys. I prefer men whose skulls have already closed. ;)

Other personal favorites are “Feral Heat”, “An Unexpected Guest”, and my short story “Purr”. My favorite paranormal character is the ghost which influenced “An Unexpected Guest”. That one is a paranormal erotic romance. I love ghosts. It's special to me because it's my first published book. Granted, it's flawed but the story works. I like my bisexual werewolves in “Feral Heat” so much I turned the novel into a series. The second book in that series is “Filthy Leuker: Feral Heat 2”. “Purr” is a very popular erotic take on a portion of the “Puss In Boots” fairy tale. That one inspired my upcoming series of twisted erotic fairy tales, beginning with “Climbing Her Tower” (Rapunzel) and “Trouble In Thigh High Boots” (a longer version of Puss In Boots).

If You had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?

Oh, wow, who would play Catherine Stone? Good question! I'd like Angelina Jolie for the part but she's in her 30s now. Maybe she can pull off college-age. I think she can. I'm fascinated with Angelina Jolie. She reminds me very much of myself, especially when I was younger. I also like Karina Lombard. She played Antoinette in “The Wide Sargasso Sea”, a movie about Edward Rochester's first wife. You are probably (hopefully!) familiar with his second wife, Jane Eyre. Lombard also starred in “The L Word”, a U. S. cable television series about a group of lesbian friends and lovers. Lombard has a lazy sexuality about her that is very appealing. Both of these women are sexy without thinking about it. They are also intelligent and thoughtful. I would like to see an actress slightly older than Catherine play the part since Catherine is older than her years.

When did you begin writing?

I've always had a pen in my hand but I didn't begin seriously writing until about four years ago. I decided I was going to make a serious go of this fiction writing thing and I dove right in. I'd already worked as a feminist/political writer and I grew tired of it. Burned out, too. Then I worked as a sex writer and copywriter for a sex toys company, which I continue to do to this day. It was only natural I finally gave in to the urge to write fiction. I started out with erotic romance and erotica but I also write dark fiction, fantasy, horror, and some science fiction.

How long did it take to complete your first book?

I'm still working on it! I started it ten years ago when I moved to the northeast coast of Massachusetts. It's almost finished now. I'm going to hire a professional editor to help me tighten it and make it better. I expect to do that before the end of the year. This one is entitled “Secrets and Lies” and it's a mystery/family saga novel.

“An Unexpected Guest” is my first published novel. I think it took me about six months to a year to write it. It normally takes me up to six months to write a novella.

Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?

Yes, one of my parish priests. The guy was a seriously bent poet. He had been published by The New Yorker. He had submitted some of my poems but I never saw them published. This was when I was about 14 years old. He was also an alcoholic who was eventually sent to dry out at a home for recovering priests in Florida. I still miss him.

A close friend of mine who is a science fiction writer inspires me to create. We've been friends for nearly 20 years. When I feel down or stuck I write to him and he talks me through my difficulties. He's truly an inspiration and a valued friend.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Finishing the story and handing it in. I get a high from that. I like seeing my thoughts gel together into a coherent whole. Before that point it's  wisps of smoke and echoes, at least until the characters and the story form. I also like getting to know my characters as well as creating exciting plots. Sometimes my characters surprise me. I imagine them doing one thing and they do the complete opposite, all the while laughing at me. Catherine was stubborn, which didn't surprise me since I'm very stubborn. She wants things done her way or no way. We wrestled a bit but we came to compromises more often than not.

Describe your latest book in 4 words.

Hot Sex In 1983. That's “Don't Call Me Baby”.

Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?

My current work is a collaboration with that science fiction writer I mentioned earlier. We're working on a historical adventure novel set in Japan from the mid-1500s to approximately the late 1700s. There will be adventure, guns, trade, and pirates! I'm also about to self-publish two erotic versions of fairy tales. They're being edited as I type. One is called “Climbing Her Tower” and it's an erotic version of Rapunzel. The other is “Trouble In Thigh High Boots” and it's an erotic version of Puss In Boots. This is a longer story than my short story “Purr”, which is also based on Puss In Boots. If these two books do well, I will tackle “Beauty and the Beast”. I'd like to write a sequel to “Don't Call Me Baby” but I haven't come up with a plot line yet.

Visit Elizabeth Black

Links to Purchase

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

(ARC) REVIEW: Wicked Weekend by Gillian Archer

Title: Wicked Weekend
Author: Gillian Archer 
Publisher:Carina Press
Date Published:3-12-12

Why did Lauren Vaughn introduce her sister to the man she herself was crazy about? Now Lauren is watching the happy couple at their combined bachelor/bachelorette party—while Lauren sits all alone at the bar. Until she spots a hot stranger with the telltale black handkerchief in his pocket: the signal for "seeks no-strings affair with sexy submissive." Lauren can't take her eyes off him. So when he comes over, she kicks her inner good girl to the curb and follows Jamie Forman to his room, where he makes her scream with pleasure all night long. 

But Jamie is a complicated man. He can't handle how desperately he wants her in his bed—and his life. It's up to Lauren to teach him how to make all night last forever

My Rating:

My Review:

Man, I really wish this book would have been longer and went into more detail. I felt like it ended too abruptly and was a bit short.

 Lauren was a great character and I loved her discovery of her darker side and sexual needs. I felt Jamie was a great guy to teach her this.

 I would have liked more substance to this book. The sex is great and HOT and Steamy! But t he plot itself is a little underdeveloped.

This was a story I was very excited to read and I think it could make a great full length novel. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

REVIEW: Immersed In Pleasure by Tiffany Reisz

Title: Immersed in Pleasure
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Publisher: Harlequin
Date Published: 3-27-12
Source: Publisher

The Manhattan Mermaids: Believed to be the most beautiful women in the city, they entertain wealthy, powerful men in an exclusive club called Fathoms....and are all virgins. Derek Prince doesn't believe they really exist, until he meets the stunningly sensual Xenia. She drives him wild with desire, but giving in to temptation means losing her position at Fathoms. Derek is incredibly turned on by the thought of being Xenia's first...but will he be willing to wait for her?

My Rating:

My Review:
This story does a lot of back and forth. This is because it is told from the perspective of the main male character, but he is telling a story to his friends. So you have him in the present relaying the story and you have him reliving the actual story in his head.

This is an ODD book. It is about mermaids, but not really mermaids. They are primarily virginal women who's job is to swim around naked for the elite of Manhattan.

The sex scenes were steamy enough and there was quite the build up to the main characters actual coupling. There are a few other erotic scenes in which Derek is merely a witness.

This story is short and there was not quite enough depth for me. But overall a good story.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Interview: Kristen Ashley

I was born a middle class white child in Gary, Indiana, 
USA. One of the last of a dying breed. I nearly killed 
my mother and myself making it into the world, seeing as
I had the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck
 (already attempting to accessorize and I hadn’t
taken my first breath!). Mom says they took me
away, put her back in her room,
she looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King 
had been assassinated four days before). She remembered 
thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic 
beginning.Nothing’s changed.
All I’ve ever wanted to do was write (well, and be the 
Queen of the World, but you gotta start small).
Considering I’m self-published and can write whatever
I dang well please, I do. My writing is all over the place,
I’ve written about Rock Chicks and Hot Bunch Boys
(action, adventure, romance);
 ghosts, reincarnated lovers, genies, vampires and 
werewolves (my paranormal/ghost series); serial killers
and stalkers; and parallel universes.
Even though I jump genres, there is always a theme to my 
books… humor (hopefully), engaging characters (again, 
hopefully) and romance (definitely).
My loves are movies, music, food and fashion and I partake
 of all of them as often as I can (the middle two more than
 the others, the former, which takes time I don’t often have 
and the latter, which takes money I rarely have). In fact,
 I love food so much, I like to share my good fortune so
 I put my recipes on offer for you on this page (see top 
menu and don't miss them, they're awesome!).
I am American but I live in the beautiful West Country 
of England with my two pookies, one is furry and feline, 
the other is less furry and human. I came to England by 
way of Denver, where I lived for twelve years, but I grew 
up in Brownsburg, Indiana. My family was (is) loopy (to 
say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. 
My Mom moved us in with my grandparents when I was six 
(long story). My grandparents had a daughter much younger 
than my Mom so we all lived together on a very small farm 
in a small farm town in the heartland. I grew up with Glenn 
Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake 
(and the wardrobes that matched). Needless to say, growing 
up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way 
to grow up.
And as I keep growing up, it keeps getting better.
So here I am, thank goodness.

Is There a Message in Your Novel That You 
Want Readers to Grasp?

It depends on which book as I have a lot of messages J
But I would say the prevailing one is that women should 
embrace themselves for who they are, what they look like 
and all the gifts they can give. Nutty, zany, shy, wounded, 
whoever they are, however they act, they should go with
 it and see themselves through those around them who 
love them… have pride in it and own it, proud.

Is there anything you find particularly 
challenging in your writing?

No, not really. Writing comes easy for me.
 I love every second!

How many books have you written and 
which is your favorite?

I have published twenty-nine books. 
I have five more, one complete and due 
out in April, the rest incomplete and coming 
soon.  And I also have a million in the 
hopper which means my head 
(okay, a million is a bit of an exaggeration but close!).

It is impossible to pick a favorite, though. 
That would be like picking my favorite child! 
I’m proud of them all.

If You had the chance to cast your main 
character from Hollywood today, who would 
you pick and why?

I don’t think of my characters as actors, models, 
sports stars because they are very real to me. 
I know exactly how they look (in my head). So this is a 
very tough question. I will say the first time I saw a picture 
of Joe Manangiello (which was before I saw him in True Blood), 
I freaked out because he looked exactly like I pictured Lee 
Nightingale in Rock Chick. So if Joe wanted to play Lee, I 
would not say no. And if Dwayne Johnson wanted to play 
any of my heroes, I would not say no to that either. He 
could take his pick even if he didn’t resemble them, I 
wouldn’t care.

When did you begin writing?

I finished my first book (still unpublished and rubbish!), 
when I was 34 (about ten years ago). But I started 
writing in earnest seven years ago and started publishing in 
earnest about four years ago with my eBooks coming 
out one after the other (as I had a huge back library 
of finished work) last March, 2011.

How long did it take to complete your first book?

Oh goodness! I don’t remember exactly. It took 
months, not years though.

Did you have an author who inspired you to
 become a writer?

No, I always knew I was a storyteller, loved 
writing and knew that was what I wanted to end up 
doing. No one inspired me. That said, I have a 
number of favorite authors. Romance is Judith McNaught, 
her work is heartwarming, her heroes are awesome, 
her heroines spunky and there is a lot of humor in her 
work that I love. She also rounds out secondary 
characters beautifully. I love the Stephanie Plum 
series by Janet Evanovich too but mostly because I adore 
Joe and Ranger. Non-romance, Carl Hiaaison, 
Dennis LeHane and Kurt Vonnegut. My favorite book 
of all time is To Kill A Mockingbird.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

The beginning. I love it when my characters 
(hero and heroine) meet and feel the connection
 (however that may be) and start to get to know one 
another or start on their path to togetherness. Whenever 
I reread my books, I always get nostalgic when I read 
the beginnings.

Describe your latest book in 4 words.

Hot. Trust. Risk. Love.
 (This is for my upcoming Knight.)

By the way, great question!

Can you share a little bit about your
 current work or what is in the future for 
your writing?

In mid-April I’ll be publishing Knight which will be 
the first in a series of erotic romance. My books are
 quite steamy but I’ll be amping up that steam 
significantly. I’ll be exploring sexuality as pertains 
to relationships and love stories. I also have 
always wanted to write about anti-heroes and this 
will be where I’ll be introducing readers to my bad 
boys J. These will be men who intend to remain bad, 
not find redemption. I was quite anxious about this 
new road as I didn’t want to offend readers so 
for the first time I recruited a team of beta-readers, 
my Team Action, who read with me as I wrote 
Knight. They loved it, were very supportive and 
encouraging and made me feel tons better! I’ve put 
the working chapters out there and the response has 
been overwhelmingly good about this new risk I’m 
taking which makes me very excited. But my readers are
 phenomenal, so warm and encouraging so I probably 
should have expected nothing less. So, fingers crossed, 
folks will embrace it and want more… because I’m 
going to write more.

And I write quickly and am very prolific so the future 
of my writing is lots and lots of books coming your way! 
The end of the Dream Man Series with Motorcycle Man, 
the next in my Ghost Series with Lucky Stars, and the next 
in my Colorado Mountain Series with Chace and Faye’s story.

Then ever onward!

You can contact Kristen via:

Website/Blog: my blog is there and I cross-post 
it on Goodreads.

Twitter: KristenAshley68

Links to Purchase

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

REVIEW: Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley

Title: Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountain #2)
Author: Kristen Ashley
Date Published: 4/23/11

Lauren Grahame has spent her whole life thinking something special was going to happen. She didn’t know what it was, she just knew it would one day be hers. But she learned the hard way that special wasn’t on offer. 

So, after divorcing her cheating husband, Lauren searched for nothing special and she thought she found it when she landed a job as a waitress in a biker bar in Carnal. It was perfect: a nothing job in a nowhere bar in Nowheresville. 

Then Tatum Jackson walked in. Part-owner of the bar, he took one look at high-class Lauren and wanted nothing to do with her. And he made this known, loudly. 

Tate’s angry insults seared in her brain, Lauren decides the feeling is mutual and she doesn’t want anything to do with the gloriously handsome Tate Jackson. The clash of the bartender and barmaid begins but, even though Tate makes his change of mind clear (in biker-speak, a language Lauren is not fluent in), Lauren is intent on going her own way. 

Until a serial killer hits Carnal and Lauren finds out Tate isn’t a bartender, he’s a bounty hunter. He stakes his claim for Lauren before he goes on the hunt for a killer but Laurie doesn’t speak biker nor does she understand bounty hunters and Tate comes back from the hunt to find his old lady has moved on. 

Life throws curveball after curveball at Laurie and Tate. As secrets are revealed, women are brutally murdered, and Lauren tries to find her inner biker babe.
My Rating: 5 Steams

My Review:
And Kristen Ashley does it again. I really don't think I can get enough of her! 

Lauren and Tate's romance is a rocky one for sure. Especially in the beginning. Tate bashes Lauren and she decides no matter how good looking he is she wants nothing to do with him. Well, Tate knows there is something about Lauren and he really does not need it in his life right now, but he cannot deny his attraction to her. Now he has to find away to change the way she feels about him.

I loved that Tate was the Alpha personified! Kristen Ashley has a way of creating men who do not take Sh** from anyone. It is definitely their way or the highway. 

Again, this novel is lengthy, but so worth the time! I love that each of the stories have such great plots with mystery. Kristen definitely keeps you guessing and makes the long ride action packed! 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

REVIEW: Wild Man by Kristen Ashley

Title: Wild Man (Dream Man #2)
Author: Kristen Ashley
Date Published: 10/4/2011

While filling her display case in her bakery, the bell over the door sounds and Tessa O’Hara looks up and sees the man of her dreams. Within thirty seconds he asks her out for a beer. Thirty seconds later, she says yes. But after four months of falling in love, she discovers he’s an undercover DEA Agent investigating the possibility she’s involved in her ex-husband’s drug business 

Obviously Tess decides this means it’s over. 

But DEA Agent Brock Lucas disagrees. A man on a mission who’s really committed to his job, he’s spent years in the underbelly of Denver with the dregs of society. And spending four months with Tess who’s as sweet as her cupcakes, he seriously enjoyed his job. But during Tess’s interrogation, Brock learns the devastating secret Tess is carrying and he’s determined to be the man who helps her heal as well as take her back as she walks on the wild side. 

As wild and sweet mix, they face challenge after challenge of family struggling with history and terminal illness. Not to mention, Tess’s ex-husband, the drug lord and Brock’s ex-wife, who has a very big playbook are scheming to tear them apart. 

But Brock Lucas has wild in him and once in his past on the trail of vengeance he let that wild loose, making a mistake that he would have no idea years later will put his sweet Tess in the position to pay his penance.

 My Rating: 4 Steams

 My Review:
I was a bit disappointed Brock's story was going to be #2 in the series. To be honest I had the least interest in him in book 1 and never expected him to be one of the future Dream Men.

I was pleasantly surprised with how Kristen Ashley was able to make me come to love his character and his story.

Unlike her 1st story in the series, Brock is more or less certain of Tess from the beginning. He knows he wants her and that she is special, there are just some underlying issues they have to overcome to work their relationship out.

I personally prefer reformed men who are afraid of commitment but this was a great story complete with both an Ex-Wife and an Ex-Husband determined to make Tess and Brock's relationship impossible.

Ups and Downs, Heartache and Genuine Love, Sweet and Sexy, Such a great Contemporary Erotic book! I am still so surprised that Kristen Ashley has published all of these books herself. She is a master of her genre!