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Archive for the ‘Contemporary’ Category

Copyright: 2006

Pages: 206 (trade-size paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Straight Erotic Romance, Erotic Paranormal

Publisher: Avon Red

Author Website: www.KimberlyDean.com,www.LynnLaFleur.com (sorry, the Poser doll s’not not NOT sexy)

Grade: A, DNF

Unrequited Kimberly Dean

After years of secret longing for his brother’s wife, Tyler rejoices when she is set free and ripe for new love—though it may take a prolonged seduction to convince wary Trista to open herself up to pleasure once more.

Victim of Deception Lynn LaFleur

When a woman moves into an old house, she is suddenly tantalized by erotic dreams that cause her to shed her every inhibition . . . leaving her vulnerable to the very real, very irresistible ministrations of the man who’d once broken her heart.

First of all this anthology also contains a story by author Liz Maverick which I didn’t read because of it’s futuristic/sci-fi setting. Simply not my genre, sorry. I also tried to get into Lynn LaFleur’s story Victim of Deception, alas, after reading about two silly masturbating ghosts and a stupid hero who already fucked up once with the heroine and doesn’t recognize a second chance when it smacks him in the eyes, I didn’t want to spend anymore time on this author.

But BUT BUT BUT, there’s still Kimberly Dean’s jewel left, Unrequited, and the story is so absolutely fantastic that I decided to keep this anthology collection. My second ever on my keeperself right next to Sasha White’s Lush collection.

After eight months of single life Trista is more or less pushed back into the dating circuit by her well-meaning friends. Hurt by her previous marriage to a cheating never – do – well professional sportsman, Trista’s hormones are crying “hello world” while as her heart is still hurt and careful to trust again. Tyler is Trista’s ex brother in law, one of the few people who stood by her side when things went wrong with her ex-husband Danny. Trista secretly loves Ty but she’s not quite ready to give herself to him in fear of loosing his friendship all-together. Ty has been in love with Trista since his brother brought her back home years ago. When he sees her with a slimy date in a rocker bar, his self-control snaps and mission “win Trista’s heart” sets in full force.

This 100 page anthology story doesn’t contain a lot of plot, actually 80 % of Trista’s and Ty’s lovestory happens between the bedsheets, but oh my, when Kimberly Dean writes it, it’s a real treat. The best I can compare her writing style with is Lisa Marie Rice, only with a dash more appreciation for sexual adventures and with the author’s own brand of sensuality. Usually I am bored when the sex starts ten pages after the story’s beginning, but I count this author to a selective few exceptions that can sell me sex pure with little plot. It is hot, sensual and steamy and despite the story’s shortness the characters seem so wonderfully alive and realistic that I wanted them to have the whole book instead of some measly 100 pages.

Wow, I think I have to re-read this one again soon, it was simply too delicious :-)

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Copyright: 2006

Pages: 432 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Straight Romance

Publisher: Mira

Author Website: www.StefAnnHolm.com (Love, love, love this site. Beautiful and distinctive design and lots of information.)

Grade: B+

Single-mother Lucy Carpenter hopes she has made the right decision moving her two sons to Red Duck, Idaho. The upscale ski community should provide ample opportunity for her to work as a personal chef, although rival chef Raul is sabotaging her attempts. He seems to have cornered the cuisine market, so Lucy must carve out her own and turns to the town’s Lothario for help. Everyone loves ex-professional baseball player and present-day Little League coach Drew Tolman. All the women are attracted to him, and Lucy is no exception, despite her postdivorce hesitation. But nothing stops her from using Drew to stir up business, while he just wants to stir her. Holm returns to her home state of Idaho with fresh, likable characters who will have readers rooting for the happy ending and relishing every step along the way.

Oh my, what a wonderful read this book was, a real treat. Lucy Gets Her Life Back is a traditional contemporary as they are not often published these days (or I am missing all of them *humpf*). No suspense plot, no wacky characters that kiss goodbye any resemblance of reality and no instant gratuitous sex between the main characters that is totally unbelievable.

Lucy Carpenter is a strong woman who desperately tries to keep her beloved sons’s world together, despite her cheating husband’s two year absence, money problems and her 16 years old son’s occasional journey to marijuana-land. She hopes to accomplish that in Red Duck, Idaho which prides itself on being a small but well visited and beloved holiday hideaway for Hollywood and wannabe starlets.

Drew Tolman is a former professional baseball player turned little league coach now. After years or drinking himself nearly to death he now has been dry for nearly a decade, the only “problem” remaining is his 17 years old daughter. Until her 14th birthday he refused to acknowledge her, then some years ago, after cleaning up, reality hit with a healthy dose of remorse and self-contempt. Now that he has finally found to himself, his daughter doesn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore.

Lucy is an easy to love heroine. Despite being deeply hurt, she remains strong and doesn’t loose faith in life. She struggles and money is tight but she doesn’t get bitter or wallows in self-pity. Drew, however, is more difficult to warm up to. The more the author tells about his story the more I felt challenged by his personality. Usually I avoid “alcoholic” stories like crazy, it’s not a plot that appeals to me, but in this case I can really mark down a big exception. Drew’s past with his daughter leaves to be desired and the story between those two touched me deeply, especially because the reader gets to know his daughter through her journal and later on through her appearance in Red Duck. The interaction between those two was very touching and I was close to seriously needing a tissue.

Lucy’s and Drew’s lovestory develops slowly and is certainly not the main focus of the story. I would rather say that the book is equally divided between both main characters getting their life back in order, and, as a consequence of their growth and development, find together in the end.

And besides SEP I dub Stef Ann Holm as new queen of secondary romances. It was as much touching and entertaining as the main story and a wonderful addition to Lucy’s and Drew’s story.

Lucy Gets Her Life Back is a very slow story and without any remotely action related scenes. What made me give this story a B+ instead of a straight A was actually the lack about Lucy’s professional growth. I read about her struggles and fights to become established as a personal chef and how in the end she found a niche for herself in Red Duck, but I was kind of missing the filling in between. And, on Holm’s website I discovered that the author enjoys to cook herself, and  I would have LOVED to read more about the cooking, the experimenting and consequently the sensuality of cooking when connected with a love story.

Anyway, this book was totally splendid and I am looking forward to more treats from this author.

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Copyright: 2004

Pages: 302 (trade-size paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Straight Erotic Romance

Publisher: Signet

Author Website: www.LuAnnMcLane.com (ermm, the book pages leave a lot to be desired, a link to Amazon simply isn’t enough)

Grade: C

Stories of America’s other favorite pastime… (wink wink, nudge nudge, COUGH) <- this comment was added by yours truly, simply couldn’t resist.

It’s “Sex and the Small Town” in three fun and flirty stories… You’ll find both down-home dreams and big-time passion in Sander’s City. The town’s love affair with baseball sparks some scorching affairs off the field. And the men are fair game…

It’s “Sex and the Small Town” in three fun and flirty stories… You’ll find both down-home dreams and big-time passion in Sander’s City. The town’s love affair with baseball sparks some scorching affairs off the field. And the men are fair game…

In “Hot August Night,” Erin O’Shea is a high school principal with sports on her mind. The school’s lack of a baseball coach coincides with her lack of a man. Luckily, bad-boy former pro Michael Manning is ready and willing to fill both positions.

“Heat Wave” finds Josey Cooper, a recently divorced drama teacher, rounding the bases with Chase Mitchell, the sexy manager of the Sander’s City Flyers who is playing for keeps…

Skin-tight pants are hard to resist – especially when they’re on a starting pitcher. In “Hotshot,” sensible schoolteacher Halley Forrester finds herself loosening up with Reese Taylor, who’s an all-star in more ways than one…

I have finished a book, wouldn’t you believe it – YEAH – and it was for pleasure, not for money. Albeit, the money is fantastic, so I won’t bemoan it *g*. In the end, the pleasure part wasn’t that great, even though the book contained three stories about “America’s other favorite pasttime”. It took me two weeks to arrive at the last page, because – surprise, surprise – the stories were rather underwhelming, and after a chapter I felt my brain cells shrinking back into the farthest part of my thinking organ.

To be fair, I am a picky erotic romance reader, and these days, after years of reading in the genre, it takes more than an average good story. And good, the story is, in a way. We have three heroines that don’t suffer from TSTL (a big plus, IMO), three sexy men, a lot of America’s other favorite pasttime, and ….. plots so thin it made me nearly weep.

I think, I either need a very good plot combined with great characters and/or hot sex scenes (the big ideal), or, if one of those points isn’t perfect, at least one part that is outstanding and extraordinarily convincing. Like i.e. a hot story, with no plot and not overly developed characters, but mind-blowing sex scenes. I have come upon such books once in a while, but they are rare. In case of Hot Night pretty much everything is average, so when the h/h finally jump into bed with each other, it’s just another anticlimax instead of a conclusion to lots of sexual tension.

I would love for erotic romance writers to take more time developing their characters. To see them grow on each other and for me as a reader to consequently feel the buildup of passion and tension between the h/h.

Well, I’ll keep on wishing … that’s surely no sin. I have another book of this author on my TBR pile, perhaps this one will be more convincing.

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Copyright: 2005

Pages: 219 (trade-size paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Straight Erotic Romance

Publisher: Virgin Cheek

Grade: A-

Roma Hanson is having a crisis – a common crisis for a twenty-eight year old woman, but a crisis nonetheless. Her problem? Her ten-year high school reunion is approaching fast, and she’s not ready. It’s shallow, she knows, but she wants to set her old classmates on their ears. She’s got a good job, but she needs the whole package if she’s going to succeed. That would, of course, include an awesome car, a killer body, and a mouthwatering hunk on her arm. An eventful visit to the gym shows her that she may be able to get two birds with one stone. Personal trainer Jake Logan is a spine-tingling, knee-weakening, hunk of burning love. She just has to find a way to convince him to be on her arm when the boasting at the reunion begins!

This is me when I have found a perfect PLAIN erotic romance that reminds me why I truly love this genre. No whips, no kink, just good plain old steamy romance that burns up the sheets.

Roma’s ten year high school reunion is approaching and she wants to take revenge on her former torturer Ellie. In order to achieve that, a splendid body, a gorgeous hunk and an impressive car need to be organized. The latter is probably the easiest, but what to do about her bod and companion? A visit to the gym seems to solve all problems. Besides a number of new friends, Roma fights successfully against her weak mind-body relationship and conquers attractive and sexy gym owner Jake.

I usually don’t go for the revenge plot, but Ms Dean has created such an authentic and funny heroine with Roma, that I could truly emphasize with her. Yes, revenge is indeed sweet, and Roma doesn’t loose her head over her goal. In the end she keeps her heart in the right place and shows with her sometimes clumsiness, cuddliness and sharp whit and mind that there’s something very special and extraordinary in every so-called average woman. Roma was a heroine I could fully and totally identify myself with, and that’s something very special for yours “selective” truly.

And the love scenes. THANK heavens there are authors like this one that make me forget boring boinking, silly shagging and grotesque humping sessions. Jake and Roma are passionate and hot and their love scenes wonderfully erotic and compelling.  Btw., there’s also a lovely secondary romance going on between two of Jake’s employee’s. The story between a man in his late thirties and a twenty-something fitness trainer …. hmmm, what a yummi combination (I do have a thing for May-December romances). They make up a hot pair and deliver an interessting addition to the main plot.

I want more of this author, pretty please :-)

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Copyright: 2000

Pages: 219 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Series Romance

Publisher: Harlequin Mills & Boon Sexy Sensation

Grade: B+

When Hallie Bennett was growing up, she wanted to be an archaeologist, a trapeze artist, or possibly even a fairy. Never in her wildest nightmares did she think she’d end up working in a tiny shoe store in London. But it’s only temporary, right?

Software developer, Nick Cooper, is about to close a deal with a wealthy Hong Kong software distributor. But there’s a catch. He invented a wife to ward off the businessman’s amorous daughter and now he and his wife are invited to Hong Kong to socialise and seal the deal. He needs a wife for a week. Someone savvy enough to keep the businessman’s daughter out of his bed, persuasive enough to pull off the pretence, and screwy enough to do it.

But first he has to buy his mother a new pair of shoes…

Oh my, what a fabulous category romance. Where has this author hidden until now? And it’s even a Harlequin Presents edition in America! After some big disappointments I can’t believe that I have found a book in this line that features such a witty and grown- up heroine and a hero that doesn’t have an Oedipus/anal-related Freud mother complex.

After countless of HPs, this on was the first one that made me laugh out loud and gave the corners of my mouth a serious workout! The witty dialogues between Halli and Nick are priceless. Hilariously funny and with a fresh voice, the author turns a not-so-new plot into a real treasure.

I discovered that Kelly Hunter is a fairly new author with only three releases so far (which I have immediately put on my wishlist). This was a real treat, thank you, and earns a solid B+!

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Copyright: 2000

Pages: 305 (trade-size paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Chick Lit

Series: Shopaholic #1

Grade: D-

On the face of it, Rebecca Bloomwood has it all. Confident, single and happily living in des-res Fulham with her best friend Suze, she’s a financial journalist who spends her days writing articles advising other people on the importance of budgeting and prudent investing. Her private life is a different story though; Rebecca manages her own finances in a way that would make most of her readers’ hair curl–for Rebecca is a woman on a mission–she just can’t stop spending.

This, ladies and gentleman, is a seriously dumb book with a brain-dead heroine and a listing of endless escapades about how to spend big money on useless stuff. The heroine, Rebecca Bloomwood, is a 25 year old financial journalist; though how she ever got her job in this branch boggles my mind because there isn’t a person more unsuitable. Problably won it playing Lotto.

The whole book is about how Rebecca tries to save money, doing so by applying the only two obvious options as in a) cutting back and b) making more money. The first one turns out a total disaster, the second one takes off better – but only thanks to Fortuna who probably couldn’t stand the sight of this addlebrained female anymore.

You would think that Rebecca would grow towards the ending of the book, advance in her being and progress at least a little in her quest. Forget it. She’s a blind squirrel that has found a nut and milks it for all that it’s worth.

As a reader I breatheda sigh of relief after the last page because, honestly, never have I met such an unlikable I narrator than shopping addicted Rebecca Bloomwood.

Well, definitely no more Shopaholic books for me, this one was more than enough to rest me a lifetime.

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Copyright: 2006

Pages: 192 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Contemporary/Series Romance

Grade: B

When Jason Pollack bought out Beville Holdings, he had plans for its beautiful blond receptionist. But the infamously ruthless tycoon soon discovered that his wealth and power didn’t impress Leah Johanssen. She was the first woman in a long time who didn’t want to chase him down the aisle!

Leah’s refusal of Jason’s advances made him desire her all the more. He’d make her want him; he wouldn’t rest until he had Leah in his bed and at his command!

Ever since discovering a fantastic Miranda Lee keeper in a m-bag full of goodies, I try to read some of her books once in a while. It’s rather difficult to seriously work on her backlist because it’s longer than the Chinese wall.

Forget the title of this book, it’s totally stupid and only partly right. First of all, the heroine, Leah Johanssen, is in no way anyone’s mistress, au contraire, the hero Jason Pollack even stresses that she’s his girlfriend. And there’s also nothing forbidden about the whole liaison, so why in heaven they came up with such an unsuitable title will only the schizophrenic people from the HP editing department ever know.

This was not the best Lee ever but she did create an interesting and entertaining read. Jason is a rather unconventional HP hero. Formerly married to a much older woman out of love, widower and celibate for four!!! years and without any vampy bitch in tow. He has a very decent character, without the typical prejudices towards women, heroes from this Harlequin line usually have.

Leah, compared to Jason, is a rather typical HP heroine, however, she misses some stupid TSTL traits which was really refreshing. She’s a little Miss Goody-Two-Shoes who wants to live on her own, without the support of her father’s money, who has a complex because of some scars on her thigh and spends her Saturdays doing philanthropic work at the children’s wing in a hospital. That said, the end result is still a nice person, one that is for sure a little over the top and sweet, but still likable and entertaining.

Don’t expect anything big, but for a quick read an little brain investment this might be a good choice.

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