GUEST REVIEW from Mistik
Posts Tagged ‘5 stars’
I’ve had a few cowboy stories in my TBR pile for ages. Months. Why did I wait so long to read them? Hot cowboys have become my new current addiction * grin * And according to most people, few do Hot Cowboys quite as well as Lorelei James.
From the opening lines of Long Hard Ride, I was hooked. Channing Kincaid is tagging along with the rodeo alongside her new boyfriend, Jared.
On a drunken dare after too many kamikazes, Channing Kincaid found herself standing on a shellacked bartop with a bartender named Moose sprayed her chest with ice-cold beer.
I love books with amazing starts. So much promise – and even better, this one delivers. Shortly after winning the Golden Knockers trophy and snogging a gorgeous stud named Colby McKay, she learns that her boyfriend is actually married.
She should leave. Right away. Tonight.
Colby’s words surfaced. Come talk to me before you do anything rash.
The scared part of her wanted to run to Colby right now. Demand to know why he hadn’t told her Jared was married.
But in his own way, Colby had warned her.
She’s trying to figure out what to do when Colby finds her.
“Do you want to go home?”
“Good.” Colby angled across the narrow table and repeatedly brushed the back of his knuckles over her cheek. “Run away with me, Channing. At least until we get to Cheyenne next week.”
She’s tempted, even when Colby tells her there are conditions.
Colby studied her carefully from beneath the brim of his hat. “You’ll be in my bed.”
Her pulse fluttered. “I figured that much.”
“As well as Trevor and Edgard’s.”
Channing’s jaw dropped. “I’d be sleeping with all three of you?”
“No. You’d be fucking all three of us, ain’t gonna be much sleepin’ involved.”
Colby travels with his buddies on the rodeo circuit, and sharing women is the norm. Despite herself, Channing is interested, shocked – and excited. Of course, things don’t go exactly to plan. Channing finds herself caring more for Colby than she should.
The truth was, she’d missed Colby.
What kind of idiot did that make her? They’d only been together two days and she’d already attached herself to him like one of those pesky sticky burrs that get caught up in horses’ tails.
They’re only supposed to be together for a week, and after that, Colby fully expects her to go back home to pick up her previous life as a teacher, while he completes the rodeo circuit. And even though it was his idea for all three guys to share her, he discovers that he wants her all for himself.
“Have we really only been together a coupla days?”
She stiffened up. “Yes. Why? Is time dragging?”
“No. On the road, time usually drags like an old dog. But it seems like you’ve always been around. I’m glad you’re here, darlin’.”
Probably not the first time he’d said such sugared words, but she’d take it since it was the first time anyone had ever uttered them to her.
But life never runs smooth in rodeo-land. Channing struggles to fit in with the other wives and girlfriends. Trevor and Edgard spend all their time fighting and losing their events, and Colby’s father hates her on sight. Colby gets banged up in one of his rides and Channing realises the stark reality of how dangerous the rodeo is.
If I wasn’t fanning myself from the burning hawt sex scenes, I sat on the edge of my seat desperately watching the story playing out. So what made this read so irresistible? Apart from the hot and sexy trio of gorgeous well-mannered cowboys (Colby, Trevor and Edgard), there were interesting and well thought out secondary characters including Colby’s sister, Keely, and Gemma & Cash (the stars of the next book).
I’m so pleased that Lorelei James has written lots more books in her Rough Riders series and I can’t wait to read them. A definite 5 out of 5.
I know I usually review fiction and this is a cookery book, but I have a weakness for cookery books – a passion, actually – with the emphasis being on delicious baked goods. When I’m stressed, I bake. And so I was intrigued to learn that the bestselling fiction author, Marian Keyes, actually used baking to haul herself out of a deep depression. And be honest. Who could possibly resist a pink-covered cookery book titled Saved By Cake, over 80 ways to bake yourself happy.
When I buy cookery books, I like to have a bit more than recipes and pictures to go at. Memoirs, funny tales, explanatory notes – they all add to the experience and the pleasure aspect of simply being able to read a cookery book. Some of my favourite food writers are Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater for that very reason. You can imagine my delight when I found Saved By Cake to include all sorts of delightful insights into MK’s life.
Medically speaking, there’s no such thing as a nervous breakdown. Which is very annoying to discover when you’re right in the middle of one.
Most of the recipes are prefaced with a little bit extra, and some had me laughing aloud. Marian is talking cake, cake, cake to her long suffering husband:
Somehow the conversation strayed onto Millionaire’s Shortbread and how hard it would be to make. To my great surprise, he suddenly became very animated and stopped looking like a man considering setting himself on fire, sat up straight and said, “No, it’s really easy! I used to make it when I was a teenager.”
I can’t tell you! It was like discovering he was secretly Argentinian and had enjoyed a moderately successful career as a polo player in his twenties.
And in this extract, she’s explaining the lengthy ritual of baking the Christmas Cake:
My poor mother, the stress of it was terrible for her. The whole deal was TCMNF (The Cake Must Not Flop). And apparently anything – anything – could make the cake flop. Any loud noise. Any sudden movement. Any bad news. My memory is that we spent hours and hours and hours tiptoeing around a darkened house, conversing in whispers, the tv and radio silenced. Under no circumstances must a shoe fall on the floor or a person burst into song (highly unlikely, given the tension). And if anyone opened the oven door, there was no telling, simply no telling, what awful consequences would ensue.
Then there was the year it didn’t happen:
One year she was just so overwhelmed by the responsibility of Making the Christmas Cake that she gave up entirely and my brothers Niall and Tadhg came home from school to find her lying limp in an armchair, the cake half mixed and they – entirely clueless – had to take over. She says all she can remember from that terrible day is overhearing Tadhg saying, “feck in another egg.” Then a while later Niall saying, “feck in more flour.” She has no memory of how the cake eventually turned out.
So there you go. Heavenly looking cakes, desserts and biscuits, all with beautiful, almost edible, photographs – including yummy little cookies shaped like shoes and dresses. I want some! NOW!!!
On that note, I’m finishing my review so that I can go and investigate my larder. I must have the basics in there, enough to whip up a tray of cupcakes… Now where did I put those cake cases?
5 glorious, sweet and delicious stars out of 5.
I actually read Jabril right after finishing Raphael. Well, there might have been a few hours sleep sandwiched in between, but not much. I’m just a wee bit behind on my reviews…
Jabril opens up right where Raphael finished. Cyn and Raphael have split up and she runs from California to Texas, to pick up another job for a vampire lord – as far away as possible from Raphael.
This lord, however, is the polar opposite of Raphael.
Had she expected them all to be like Raphael – beautiful, lying bastard that he was? Sure, he’d broken her heart, but all those Boy Scout virtues, like honorable and trustworthy, applied to him too. Powerful as he was, he ruled his territory with the loyalty and respect of his people, rather than fear.
She’s been called in to track down a missing person – a 17-yr old human girl, Elizabeth. The vampire lord, Jabril Karim al Subaie had been granted custody of Elizabeth and her older sister, Mirabelle – and planned to take control of their inherited fortune on Elizabeth’s 18th birthday. He’d already raped and turned Mirabelle, and Elizabeth would be next, but she managed to run away first.
No, she decided, it was the girl that had made her take an instant dislike to Jabril Karim. The young woman was treated like an ill-favoured pet.
Of course, Cyn has no intentions of returning Elizabeth – if she can find her. Instead, she decides to spring Mirabelle free. Only problem is, she needs to ask Raphael for help.
Duncan stopped mid-sentence, and Cyn could hear a silky, deep voice in the background. Her heart jumped and it was suddenly difficult to breathe.
“My lord -” She heard Duncan begin. She didn’t listen any further.
“Good-bye, Duncan.” She hung up. Her cell phone rang almost immediately, but Cyn didn’t answer. She was tempted to turn it off, but was afraid Kelli might call, or even Liz herself. So she switched it to vibrate and watched it dance around the table a few times, her eyes never leaving the display, as it shunted every call to voice mail.
She’s confused. Raphael seems to want her still, but she can’t bear to have her heart broken again.
Raphael reached out to tangle his fingers in a lock of her hair and tug her closer. His nostrils flared as he drew a breath. “He touched you.”
“No,” she objected, before remembering the clingy sensation of Jabril’s casual touch. “Just my arm, I didn’t want -”
“I should kill him for that alone.”
And herein lies Cyn’s big dilemma. Does Raphael really want her, or is this just a power play against Jabril?
Cyn blew out a breath, frustrated. “You know, I’m getting kind of tired of everyone pretending this is my fault. Raphael’s the one who walked away, not me.”
“Men are fools, Cynthia. You surely know that by now.”
“Tell me about it,” she muttered.
The plot is twisty and complex. In addition to the runaway, the escape with Mirabelle, the continuing angst over Raphael – there is apparently a killer vamp roaming the streets. And for some bizarre reason, Raphael stands accused. Cynthia is beyond furious when he’s arrested shortly before sunrise.
To hell with the speed limit. It was nearly daylight. Was the para facility equipped to handle a sleeping vampire? And what about Duncan and the others, their need to protect Raphael would outweigh even the instinct to retreat from the rising sun. She pounded the steering wheel angrily.
Vampires fall unconscious at sunrise and are at their most vulnerable. Raphael will have to spend the daylight in a converted prison cell and is only allowed one human to watch over him. He wants Cyn.
“And if I say no?”
Kimiko gave Cyn a baleful glare. “Then I will attempt to make other arrangements in time. If I fail, Lord Raphael will sleep unsecured, vulnerable to whatever the humans plan. And I do not doubt for one moment that this entire farce has been orchestrated towards that end.”
To my eternal delight, in one of the most delightful love confessions I’ve read, Raphael finally opens up to her.
He shook his head. “No, my Cyn, there has been no one in all these hundreds of years who mastered me. Until I met you.”
“So, having at last met a foe I could not defeat, I fled,” he said in disgust. “Rather than face you in my weakness, I thought to leave you behind, to forget about you, which I thought was surely possible. After all, how could one human overwhelm me with feelings in such a short period of time?” He smiled bitterly, shaking his head at his own foolishness.
It’s still not an easy ride for them, but Cyn finally accepts that she’s still in love with him.
Cyn felt a tug of desire low in her body as he unbuttoned his left shirt cuff and began to roll it up his forearm with economical movements. She had a weakness for beautiful hands on a man. Raphael’s hands were strong, his fingers long and square, his forearms smoothly muscled. She swallowed dryly and squelched memories of what those hands could do.
I loved the way that Cyn and Raphael danced back and forth, neither brave enough to admit they needed each other. It was touchingly, heart-warmingly real.
Raphael let out a small relieved breath and leaned back to sit on the edge of his desk.
“Are you all right?” Cyn asked, indicating his wounded arm with a nod of her head.
Raphael gave her a crooked smile. “I love when you worry about me, my Cyn. No one else does.”
She gave a little huff of disbelief. “Duncan worries about you,” she disagreed. “He’s worse than a mother hen.”
“Yes, well,” Raphael said softly. “That’s not quite the same thing, is it?”
Oh and Jabril is none too happy when he loses both Elizabeth and Mirabelle. He wants them back, and to make Cyn pay.
As with Raphael, I was GLUED to this and can’t wait to read the next in the series. 5 out of 5.
What can I say – I LOVED THIS BOOK!
Rock stars – check
Paranormal – check
Tugging on the heart-strings – check
Sharp, laugh-out-loud-funny dialogue – check
Addison is waking up from an operation when she realises she can hear a voice in her head.
She was alone. Completely alone.
“Hello?” she whispered.
Jesus. It’s about damn time you acknowledge me. I mean, what the fuck? Are you deaf or what?
“Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.” She held her head, certain she was hearing the voice in her own mind now.
No freaking way!
Ah, yeah… I don’t think God had anything to do with this, but what do I know. She could practically hear the mental shrug. Maybe he did.
And then she remembers the weird dream she had, the one where she was floating somewhere in the darkness and another person was there… a guy…
His voice still carried the smugness of ‘I told you so’ since she’d received confirmation of her death and resuscitation. And then he’d rubbed her face in it as she came around to one indisputable realization: she had some guy’s soul stuck inside her.
Of course, as a lapsed Catholic, she decides to ask a priest for help.
Oh this ought to be good.
She imagined him kicked back in her head with a bag of popcorn, waiting for the show to begin. As the panel between her and the priest slid open, she panicked. What was the protocol? Was she even allowed to be in there?
She does the only thing she can. Tries to cope with having a strange guy take up residence in her head. She nicknames him the Afterlife Leech and tries, with some success, to block his thoughts and emotions. That is, until he nags her into Googling him.
“Who the hell are you, Rhys?”
Got a lot of hits, did you? The pride in his voice was clear. I’m a bit famous.
“Don’t bother with the feigned humility. It doesn’t suit you,” Addison stated dryly. “So, you are…”
A rock star.
Rhys Alexander played rhythm guitar for the massive rock band Black Codex, alongside his brother, Xavier. And now that he’s trapped somewhere in the afterlife, he wants to contact his brother, to say his goodbyes. Addison is convinced it’s a bad idea, that Xavier will write her off as another demented fan but she gives in to his nagging and sends an email. When Xavier phones, she has no idea how to respond.
Rhys started to yell, to really holler in her mind. His string of obscenities was so loud she only managed to catch a word her and there, and through it all, she felt his desperation and fear.
“He recognized your voice,” she blurted out, wanting to stop the onslaught in her head.
Her ears pulsed in the sudden silence, but then she heard Xavier’s response, his voice dark and controlled.
“Who, exactly, recognized my voice?”
Xavier insists on meeting her, to determine if she’s a fake, or just another “crazy-assed-bitch.” And that’s when it gets even stranger.
It felt like someone had fisted her shirt and was pulling her near. And that pull was coming from Xavier’s general direction.
Wait. Something was wrong. She felt… empty.
Panic flooded her as her eyes flew open and locked on Xavier. He stared at her with a horrified expression on his face, his mouth moving soundlessly. Then his gaze darted from side-to-side as his hands gripped his head.
Her breath caught as the realization slammed into her. “Rhys,” she whispered, reaching out to Xavier as if he held an element of her soul she couldn’t breathe without.
Of course, sometime during the weeks they spent ‘together’, she started to fall for him.
Mmmm. He sounded lazy, relaxed. And for whatever reason, she pictured his big, strong body all kicked back into a mass of fluffy pillows… with his shirt off, a hint of stubble across his jaw, dark hair tousled, and a deep sensuality shadowing his eyes as he flipped the top button of his jeans open…
But how can a normal girl have any kind of relationship with a dead guy? You’ll have to take my word how fabulous this book is, and read it for yourself < smug smile >
I was captivated from the first page and I couldn’t put it down. I just wish it had been longer. Thankfully, Jolyn Palliata intends more in the Twists of Fate series – the sooner the better for me 🙂
A very definite 5 out of 5.
Another gem from Ellen Fisher.
Dare and Kathy have been interested in each other since high school, but neither of them realised. Dare was your typical sports jock, always surrounded by the prettiest girls, while Kathy was more studious.
She was still a geek, and he was still the town hottie, with women throwing themselves at him everywhere he went. And no wonder – with those long-lashed eyes, movie-star face, and that solid muscled body, he looked like a six foot three package of sex. Whereas she herself was barely passable.
They had nothing in common. That is, until Dare asks Kathy to design a website for his business.
Katherine Parrish glanced up at her client, offering him an encouraging smile, and caught him staring at her oddly. No – he was staring at her shirt. Which was odd, because it wasn’t low-cut or sexy. It was just an old t-shirt with leopard spots on it.
And for some reason, Dare can’t take his eyes off it… Spots. He was seeing spots. And he liked them.
He’s always been in awe of Kathy.
She was a freaking genius. He was the dyslexic one. “Looks great,” he muttered, feeling his cheeks grow hot. This was why he’d never dared to make a move on her. He’d come up with the idea of having her design his website as an excuse to talk to her – but talking to her didn’t do any good if every word out of his mouth just proved how dumb he was. Someone like her was not going to be impressed by a moron.
Kathy puzzles over his reaction to her t-shirt and next time Dare comes to discuss his website, she’s wearing a slightly visible leopard-print bra – to see if that has any effect.
The image of her in leopard print bra and panties, and absolutely nothing else, dug its way into the depths of his brain and made itself right at home. Mentally he added three-inch leopard print heels, because, well, he was a guy, and high heels were hot. Leopard print was hot. Katherine was hot.
Yes – he notices!
He tried really, really hard to stare at the computer screen, but his eyes were pretty much spinning around in their sockets of their own accord now, and they rolled downward and gave him another fabulous view of spots.
Kathy is thrilled – he’s finally noticed her. She invites him to take a closer look…
He suddenly realised that he was undoing her jeans, too. He hadn’t meant to, really. But right now he was the slave of some dark, primitive part of his brain. His brain gave orders, and he obeyed.
It’s the start of a wonderful affair, only Dare’s liking of leopard spots begins to border on obsession.
“You’re not supposed to giggle,” he informed her. “You’re supposed to be turned on.” “Oh, my God.” She giggled harder. “You’re wearing leopard spot boxers.” “Yes, I am. And they’re not an easy thing to find in Swift Creek, let me tell you. Could you possibly quit laughing?”
I love the way Ellen Fisher writes about people falling in love. Her dialogue is crisp and funny, and her pacing is perfect. There’s usually a bit of a twist too, and Seeing Spots has one. Kathy breaks out in spots. And so does Dare.
“Kathy,” he said, very gently. “I don’t know exactly what’s going on here, but this isn’t from sleeping on sheets, okay? People don’t grow spots just because they have spots in their environment.” “Thank God you don’t like floral prints!” She raged, trying futilely to get away. “Otherwise you’d have big daisies stamped all over your ass right now!”
It’s a great, quick read and a definite 5 out of 5.
After devouring Master of the Mountain, I was eager to read the sequel and find out more about Logan’s charismatic brother, Jake. His avoidance of commitment is legendary in the small town of Bear Flat and he’s dated most of the available women, using his infamous “One night only” rule. He’s never really noticed tomboy Kallie before, until she comes to his attention in a bar fight.
Kallie stood in front, one scruffy sprite, boots planted, guarding the territory. Looked rather like Toto trying to defend Dorothy from all comers.
Kallie and her cousins are going into business with Jake & Logan, running hiking trails for tourists that stay at Jake’s Serenity Lodge. However, these tourists often have a different ‘lifestyle’ (yeah, you can guess what kind) and Kallie finds herself invited there, to get an appreciation of what to expect from them.
She realized she was wringing her hands and shoved them in the front pockets of her jeans. There. Look casual. She swallowed hard. Hey, I see people manacled to log walls all the time. You bet. It’s a popular sport in Bear Flat. Gonna replace fishing soon.
My initial enthusiasm waned a little when Jake and Kallie launched almost immediately into D/S play. He’s an experienced Dom, and he usually selects his subs from clubs far away from Bear Flat, but he’s tempted by Kallie and keen to initiate her into his lifestyle.
His sky blue eyes darkened as if storm clouds had rolled in. “We’re playing together only this one time. Only tonight.”
It helps that she’s lusted after him for months, even though she’s nothing like his usual blonde bimbo choice of partner.
A weight lifted from her shoulders, knowing that he’d seen all of her and had liked what he saw. There could be no compliment more potent than that huge erection in his jeans. All for her.
Kallie makes a great female lead. Tough and strong, she’s spent her formative years with three male cousins and has suppressed any feminine traits. Jake is surprised – and delighted by her.
Damn, she was sweet. Tough little Kallie. According to her family and friends, she’d been the terror of the high school, trying to outmacho her big cousins and every other male also. But here? She was all woman.
Coping with Jake’s one-night-rule is not so easy for Kallie when she runs into him the morning after.
Jake saw her. His gait hitched, and the laughter faded from his face. He said, “Morning, Kallie,” his voice as polite as if she were… a tourist. As if he’d never kissed her or been inside her or sucked on her breasts. Obviously he’d meant that “one night only.” The bastard.
I would have liked a little more getting-to-know-each other before they launched into play, but thankfully it didn’t take long before their characters started to develop – and Jake breaks his rule and asks her for another night of play.
I want him. But could she take the inevitable end? Her feelings had already taken a blow from only one night. How many could she survive before she fell? “I need to think about it.”
Kallie and Jake each have a multitude of unresolved issues and I loved the way Cherise Sinclair uncovered them, a little at a time.
He’d work on this insecurity of hers more in the future – no, he wouldn’t. No ties. What the hell was he thinking?
By the time Kallie drops her ILY bomb, I was glued to the pages.
She rose on one elbow, trying to see his face in the darkness. Her voice came out strained. “Guess that wasn’t what you wanted to hear.”
He cleared his throat. “No. That’s unexpected.” Everything in him wished to reassure her and ease the strain he heard in her voice. At the same time, he wanted – needed – to grab his pack and head down the mountain. To get away.
My earlier doubts about this story were swept away. I felt for Kallie and longed for her to find happiness with Jake.
Jake had gone out of town, huh? He didn’t think it was adequate to dump her, but he had to flee the territory too, like she’d turn into some deranged stalker. Like she couldn’t take a hint – well, hardly a hint, more like Get Lost, Kallie.
There’s more to this than just Kallie and Jake being unsure about each other. Her three over-protective cousins are determined to keep them apart – and they discover there’s a serial killer in town, murdering young dark-haired women. Girls like Kallie. And she might be the next victim.
This developed into another 5-star read from Cherise Sinclair, one of the best and hottest erotic writers I’ve found.