Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Can't Help Falling in Love ~ Bella Andre

Can't Help Falling In Love (The Sullivan's, #3)Can't Help Falling In Love by Bella Andre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Megan is a single mom raising her 7 year old daughter Summer. After the devastating loss of her Navy pilot husband in a plane crash, Megan has sworn to never give her heart to another man who deals with danger on a daily basis. Enter Gabe Sullivan; A gorgeous firefighter who rescues Megan and Summer from their burning apartment.

Gabe is injured in the rescue and while Megan feels herself drawn to him, especially after seeing how kind he is to her daughter, she is determined to stay away from him. And even though Gabe is also attracted to Megan, he has his own reasons to not want to get into a relationship with someone he rescued.

After having been somewhat disappointed with the previous book in the series, From This Moment On, I'm happy to say that I enjoyed this book more over-all. Gabe & Megan fit together as a couple in a much more believable way than Marcus and Nicola did in book 2.

The love story unfolded in a sweet way that didn't seemed forced or rushed. Gabe was incredibly patient with Megan as she worked through her issues and the dynamic between Megan/Gabe/Summer felt very natural. And while the heat level was slightly less than in the previous books in the series, Bella Andre still retains her rank as one of the best authors at tackling love scenes.

The Sullivan series continues to be very entertaining, and Bella Andre has been added to my automatic buy list.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

From This Moment On ~ Bella Andre

From This Moment On (The Sullivans, #2)From This Moment On by Bella Andre
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After reading and falling in love with the first book in this series, The Look of Love, I have to say this follow-up left something to be desired.

Marcus is the oldest of the Sullivan clan, and helped his mother raise his brothers and sisters after the death of their father. He has always been a steady and dependable force in the lives of his family. But, after discovering that his fiance is having an affair, Marcus decides he needs to be reckless for one night and heads to a club to pick up a random woman that will help him forget.

Nicola is a lonely pop star who decides to finally live up to the bad reputation she has garnered in the press thanks to a conniving ex boyfriend. Marcus is the perfect choice for a one night stand. He's gorgeous, seemingly trust-worthy and the best part of all...he has no idea that Nicola is better known as Nico the Pop Princess. But, of course the encounter doesn't go as planned, and one night turns into several angst filled days.

Where the first book in the Sullivan brothers series succeeded in the sheer romantic simplicity of the story, this book suffers from an over abundance of needless drama. I wasn't a fan of Nicola & Marcus as a couple for much of the book. I thought that Nicola was too childish and Marcus too stubborn. The back and forth of their "I want to be with you...but oh no, I just can't!" bickering was annoying at times.

Bella Andre does excel at writing love scenes. One thing I did love about Marcus was his inner Alpha male and his (admittedly watered down) need to Dominate Nicola in the bedroom. The two definitely had chemistry together. It was all the constant emo whining that bugged me about the story.

I will say that the last act of the book salvaged the story. I loved the way Marcus decided to prove to Nicola that he was committed to making their relationship work. And in the end, I was satisfied with their version of a HEA.

While not nearly as good as Chloe & Chase's story, From This Moment On ended on a high note, and left me anxious to dive into book 3.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gabriel's Inferno ~ Sylvian Reynard

Gabriel's InfernoGabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gabriel Emerson is a professor of Dante studies, and Julia is one of the graduate students studying under him. On the surface he is reserved, cold, and arrogant. But, he finds himself intrigued by and drawn to the naive young woman and they share both a secret history and a powerful connection.

I have very mixed emotions about this book. On the one hand I really enjoyed the style of writing, and the character of Gabriel was a mystery that I enjoyed trying to puzzle out. However, i did have some serious issues with the story, especially towards the end of the book.

First of all, the character of Julia was infuriating at times. I understand she was supposed to be meek and innocent, but there is such a thing as TOO meek, and that about sums her up. And I understand the whole parallel between Gabriel/Julia & Dante/Beatrice but that also grew a bit heavy-handed at times. And while the sexual chemistry was intense and for the most part well done, the Big Scene at the end left a lot to be desired. It came off as a bit clinical. And Gabriel's obsession with not wanting to have sex with Julia because he was convinced she couldn't handle his passion...please. Give Julia (and the readers) a little more credit.

Having said all that, with all the problems I did have...in the end I am still interested to see where the story of Gabriel and Julia goes next.
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Friday, June 8, 2012

Comfort Food ~ Kitty Thomas

Comfort FoodComfort Food by Kitty Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Emily Varges has been kidnapped.

The book opens with Emily finding herself alone and tied to a chair in what seems like an underground bunker. Her Captor never speaks, and it becomes clear from the very beginning that he has planned everything down to the last detail.

To call this story dark doesn't really begin to scratch the surface of how crazy twisted this book is.

As has been pointed out in other reviews, the subject of Stockholm Syndrome is one of the key themes to the story. And frankly the author does an amazing job of not only showing how Emily could become not just dependent on her Captor, but also desperate to please the mysterious man who is holding her captive. In fact, if Stockholm Syndrome could be caught from reading a book...I think I have it. Because damn if I wasn't seduced right along with Emily by this strange, brutal incredibly fucked up man who had no name. How crazy is that? That fact alone made this book a truly unique and at times uncomfortable book to read.

One of the best elements of the book, was how the author managed to convincingly explain why the Captor never speaks, and to also give us a glimpse into his motives for kidnapping Emily.

This book is brutal, far from romantic and disturbing at times. But in the end, Emily's final decision makes perfect sense to not just her character, but to the reader as well. Which is the most disturbing part of all.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Look Of Love ~ Bella Andre

The Look of Love (The Sullivans, #1)The Look of Love by Bella Andre
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The premise of this story is simple.

Chloe has been having a pretty bad day. First she is attacked by her ex, and then she crashes her car in a ditch during a rainstorm. But her day takes an unexpected turn for the better when she is rescued by a kind stranger. That good Samaritan  is local photographer Chase Sullivan and he and Chloe share a chemistry that from the very beginning is nothing less than scorching.

I have never been a huge fan of contemporary romances, but this book completely won me over. I enjoyed every aspect of the story, from the connection between Chase & Chloe, to the introduction to the rest of the Sullivan clan, to the surprisingly intense steam factor, to the fact that the author didn't feel the need to throw in a bunch of needless angst to take away from the sheer romantic nature of the book.

Yes, the story was pretty basic, with no bells and whistles. Yes, the issues that Chloe had with trust and allowing herself to get into another relationship after the abusive one she escaped from were tackled and pushed aside rather quickly. But, in the end none of that took away from the enjoyment of reading this story.

Bella Andre has single-handedly made me decide to give more ContempRom books a chance. And I look forward to starting that off by diving into the rest of this series.

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Future Of Our Past ~ Kahlen Aymes

The Future of Our Past, (The Remembrance Trilogy, #1)The Future of Our Past, by Kahlen Aymes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Julia & Ryan are best friends and have been inseparable since the moment they met years ago. But, as Ryan finds himself accepted to Harvard Medical School, the two friends not only have to face being separated by thousands of miles, but they also have to finally come come to terms with the fact that what they feel for each other goes way beyond friendship.

This story was, in a word, beautiful. Sometimes the simplest premise can make for the most enjoyable books. And when it comes right down to it, this is a very simple story of two people in love, who have to battle through various obstacles in order to be together. And the author succeeds in making this sweet story rise above many others in the genre.

The cast of characters are wonderfully brought to life, and I truly felt I was right there with them. And the chemistry between Julia & Ryan is undeniable. Yes there were times when i wanted to shake one of them, but only because I wanted them to be happy together so badly. The various pitfalls that crop up don't seem forced, and are handled in the right way.

The book ends rather abruptly and with a cliffhanger. That usually drives me crazy, and I will admit to being a little frustrated when i saw that the story was actually over, and my Kindle wasn't going to magically add a few extra pages. However, the frustration was mainly because I just didn't want to stop reading about Ryan & Julia and didn't feel like waiting on the sequel (which thankfully the author is now working on).

In the end, TFOOP was such a refreshing change from some of the melodramatic love stories I have stumbled upon lately. A book that was sweetly romantic and written in a simple, but addictive style that made me actually want to slow down and try to make the story last.

I am so glad I was lucky enough to spend a little time in Ryan and Julia's world, and am anxiously awaiting my chance to return.

(this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review)