Category Archives: hot headboard rockin’

Review: Before He Was Famous

before he was famous

Before He Was Famous

A Fool’s Gold Romance
by Becky Wicks
Published by Becky Wicks Books
279 pages
Genre: romance, new adult
4 / 5

Summary:

From International Bestselling HarperCollins Author, Becky Wicks, comes a new adult romance that will leave you starstruck.

***Warning: this book contains graphic language, sex, and mature situations. Not intended for young adult readers.***

One guy, one girl. One in the spotlight. One in the shadows.

Falling in love with your best friend isn’t always a great idea, especially when he’s Noah Lockton – the sexiest, most famous new talent on the planet. When 21-year-old small-town photographer Chloe Campbell is offered the chance of a lifetime – to join her celebrity childhood friend Noah on tour as an exclusive blogger for a New York magazine – she’s certain both have put what happened four years ago behind them. But his eyes still burn; his voice is still a jackhammer to her heartstrings; all his songs are about her. Is it possible that that night still haunts them both?

The music industry is a machine, spinning hype and rumors as much as his records. It’s not just Noah’s girlfriends who’ve got it in for Chloe (there’s no stopping the Twitter-obsessed, cat-loving pop-star Courtney Lentini for starters). Pretty soon, the jealousy and media frenzy surrounding these so-called-friends takes a life-changing turn and it seems making love means making enemies at every turn. When tragedy threatens to pull the final curtain on their relationship, both Chloe and Noah must make a choice. As much as this world leaves them starstruck, is living their dream really worth living without each other?

A story of lifelong friendships, love and hope, set in a world of celebrity, fame and social media gone very, very wrong.

 

My Review:

Let me just say that any book that has a cat named The Great Catsby must be okay reading. Right?

Now, the fact that the cat’s owner seems a bit too dim-witted to have conjured up this name with any literary allusion is something we will overlook. Because the cat? Is named THE GREAT CATSBY.

The rest of the book has a sort of nostalgic sweetness to it, along with some super hot headboard rockin’.

Noah and Chloe had that one night together, after which their friendship took a slight hit. She wanted comfort, he wanted her, and despite the fact that she had a boyfriend and that she and Noah had been friends forever, they rocked the – er – tree house together.  Quite magnificently, in fact.

But Chloe is nothing if not tentative and cautious when it comes to making any sort of romantic commitment. She has a boyfriend, but his gainful employment might just be of the illegal variety. And he isn’t very nice.

Chloe and Noah’s friendship, though, is rock solid, and the scenes of the two of them together pre-romance are some of the strongest in the book. That isn’t to say that the romance is weak; it’s hot and exactly what New Adult lit is all about. But the core friendship is so nicely written that it helps overcome some of the novel’s weaknesses (the contrived problems that arise in the romance would be Exhibit A for weaknesses).

As Noah’s career takes off, he’s able to bring Chloe along to document his travels. She gets to watch her best friend ascend to fame, if not quite fortune, pursuing something he loves to do. It’s a rough time for her, although her sunny disposition keeps most of the ill will at bay. The scenes with Noah’s struggles to be his own person in the face of a music industry fame machine are interesting and will make you look differently at those who win American Idol and its ilk.

As for The Great Catsby … well, you need to read to find out about him.

 

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Flying

flyingFlying
by Megan Hart
Published by Harlequin MIRA
384 pages
Genre: erotica; romance 
3.5  / 5

 

When lives fall apart, each of us react in a different way. For some of us, we sink into addictions. Drugs, alcohol, shopping. Anything that dulls the pain. Others of us turn to religion, finding solace in God’s plan. Maybe we pull our family in closer, or maybe we become activists. Our responses are entirely individual.

Stella’s life has taken a bad turn. She has suffered some personal losses, and now, divorced and the mother of a teenager, she takes off every other weekend, flying to a different city. She does not go on tours or see the sights. She sits in an airport bar, meets a man – always a stranger, never someone known to her – and goes to spend some time with him.

In these anonymous hookups, she finds physical release and emotional escape. It’s a good plan for her, one that works fairly effortlessly.

Until, that is, she meets Matthew.

Their “relationship” begins on a different basis than Stella’s other interludes, and that immediately establishes this as something unique for her. She finds herself caring about him, and this scares her, for Matthew not only is unexpected, his presence is not entirely wanted or needed. And he has his own personal issues and crises.

I enjoy Megan Hart’s writing a great deal, especially the way she writes about the sexy times. Intimacy sometimes can be strictly physical, and Hart asks us to consider that and not judge a woman for needing an outlet. Stella can’t face the reality of her life without enjoying – even if temporarily – a connection with someone else. Preferably a physical connection. Preferably an anonymous physical connection.

As delicious as the headboard rockin’ is, there are some weaknesses to the story.

Stella stops her airport interludes, and the apparent permanence of that stoppage is unexplained; they were something Stella needed, and when circumstances arise that would make her need them again, we don’t have a satisfactory answer for why she doesn’t turn to the one thing she knows brings her comfort.

Her ex-husband is straight out of Central Casting for “embittered ex,” and nothing about him surprises or interests us. The redemptions for some of the characters seem easy and a bit too pat.

Still, though, this is an enjoyable book, and Hart’s writing will keep you turning the pages.

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Every Part of You

every part of youEvery Part of You
by Megan Smith
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin
256 pages
Genre: erotica 
4 / 5

 

Before I begin this review, allow me to point out that this book – all 256 pages of it – represents a compilation of five (count ’em, FIVE) novellas, originally published separately. Each one was less than 40 pages long.

The hell?

Am I the only one thinking “money grab” when I see this?

Mad props to St. Martin’s Griffin for DOING THE RIGHT THING and publishing this as it should be: all together, one book, one price.

Now, on to the review.

Most nights when Simone is at work, she can see into the window of a man who works in her building. She is intrigued by this guy – Elliott – largely because he seems to bring in different women on different nights and enjoys sex with them. He also appears to enjoy a little spanky panky.

When Simone engineers a way to meet him, Elliott is not immediately taken with her. But he is intrigued.

The two begin a dance of sorts, a push and pull as they try to determine whether or not they want to – or will – have a relationship.

One thing they know for certain is that they are quite simpatico between the sheets.

Oh, are they EVER.

Strap on your vibrators, girls, because Elliott and Simone are going to rock that headboard right into next month.

The thing with breaking this up into novellas is that it appears to be nothing more than a little plot – just enough – to get you from one sex scene to another. But when you read it in its entirety, you can see character development. Simone and Elliott each have Issues that must be addressed (he more than her), but what they may not necessarily realize is that they can address them more successfully together than apart.

Yes, there are a couple of plot points that sort of evaporate (particularly one involving a Louisiana politician … I’m still not quite sure what was going on there). But Simone and Elliott are a compelling couple, one whose story you will enjoy reading.

Plus, those sex scenes? THOSE DELICIOUS SEX SCENES?

Fabulous.

Don’t read the five separate novellas. Read this one, with all five together. Megan Hart can write some erotica, people, and you will enjoy it.

 

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Fixed on You

FIXEDONYOUblogtour

Fixed On You (Book 1)
by Laurelin Paige
Published by Laurelin Paige
228 pages
Genre: romance; New Adult 
4 / 5

Summary
Stalking and restraining orders are a thing of Alayna Wither’s past. With her MBA newly in hand, she has her future figured out—move up at the nightclub she works at and stay away from any guy who might trigger her obsessive love disorder. A perfect plan.

But what Alayna didn’t figure on is Hudson Pierce, the new owner of the nightclub. He’s smart, rich, and gorgeous—the kind of guy Alayna knows to stay away from if she wants to keep her past tendencies in check. Except, Hudson’s fixed his sights on her. He wants her in his bed and makes no secret of it.

Avoiding him isn’t an option after he offers a business proposition she can’t turn down and she’s drawn further into his universe, unable to resist his gravitational pull. When she learns Hudson has a dark history of his own, she realizes too late that she’s fallen for the worst man she could possibly get involved with. Or maybe their less than ideal pasts give them an opportunity to heal each other and finally find the love their lives have been missing.

My Review
There are different types of addictions.

There are the ones we all know about – alcohol, drugs, gambling – and then there are those we hear 17828418about and think, “Oh, yeah. That’s an addiction too.” Eating too much or shopping or eating too little.

But what about an addiction to being addicted?

On the heels of earning her MBA, hopeful nightclub manager Alayna meets Hudson Pierce (oh, that name), the piercingly (GET IT??) hot, gorgeous, and sexually compelling owner of the nightclub Alayna hopes to manage.

Hudson wants to hire Alayna (aka Laynie) to help him throw his mother off the scent of a forced marriage of sorts between Hudson and his childhood friend. Laynie agrees – Hudson will pay her enough to wipe away her student loans – but she’s worried. Laynie, you see, is easily addicted to the menfolk. She has a tendency to obsess over the guys she dates, to the point that she has restraining orders against her.

And if ever there was a man to whom she could become addicted, it’s Hudson Pierce.

I’m sure you think you know how this will end.

Given that it’s the first in a trilogy, though, you may be surprised.

What I enjoyed about this book – aside from the scorching headboard rockin’ that I will discuss in a moment – is how evenly matched Laynie and Hudson are. They each bring certain compulsions to the romantic table, and despite Hudson’s immense wealth, he never comes across as if he’s got all the advantages to her disadvantages. They seem well matched. It’s a nice departure from the Dominant Man and Submissive Woman thing that can permeate erotica these days.

Instead, we have two people who are fairly close in age and even closer in spirit. However much she may care for Hudson, Laynie does not roll over and let him take command. She fights for herself and what’s best for her.

Yes, Hudson repeatedly tells us that he’s “dominant” and has a “dominant” personality. In this post-Fifty Shades apocalypse, when we see the word “dominant,” we think of belts and red rooms. Laurelin Paige never quite takes us there; instead, Hudson’s dominance is largely personality-driven.

That isn’t to say that the sexy times are wanting. Strap on your vibrators, girls, because Paige delivers some hot headboard rockin’. If the story and characters don’t inspire you to check out the rest of the series, the horizontal hula-ing sure will.
About the Author
Laurelin Paige is the NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She’s a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Mad Men and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Adam Levine.

Buy Links
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17828418-fixed-on-you
Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Fixed-You-Laurelin-Paige-ebook/dp/B00IFVAAGA
B&Nhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fixed-on-you-laurelin-paige/1115288520?ean=9780991379637
iTuneshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/book/fixed-on-you/id820484086?mt=11

Giveaway
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Blog Tour: The Publicist

 

Book 1_2_The Publicist Shelf Life Christina George

 About the books …

The Publicist (Book 1)

Behind every book, there’s always more to the story.

Can one woman change an age-old institution like publishing? Probably not, but Kate Mitchell sure wants to try. As a publicist with a large, respected New York publishing house, Kate finds herself at the mercy of a broken publishing system, books that don’t always sell (at all) and author egos that are often, well, as big as the island of Manhattan.

Enter the star Editor, MacDermott Ellis. Tall, handsome, charismatic, married, and ready to save the day. Kate wants to do the right thing but her hormones seem to be driving her decisions. Then there’s Allan Lavigne, once a revered author, now as forgotten as yesterday’s news; and his nephew Nick, who wants to sweep Kate away from New York for another coast, California.

As Kate tries to navigate the landmine of publicity, the over-the-top author expectations, and the careful dance of “I’m sorry, your book isn’t on the bestseller list this week”, she also finds authors who are painfully overlooked by a publisher wanting more sex, more celebrities, and more scandal.

The Publicist: Book 2

The story only an insider could tell.

Publishing: An industry of out-of-control of egos, unrealistic expectations, and books with the shelf life of milk.

This is Kate’s world, but for how long?

When one of Kate Mitchell’s star authors is carted away in handcuffs, she thinks it’s only the beginning of her troubles. As her world crumbles around her, Kate desperately looks for anyone to hold onto but finds that happy endings are truly works of fiction. When her career and love affair hit their expiration date, Kate sets off on a new adventure….

Starting over in California is easy, but Kate soon learns that leaving her old life behind isn’t. Nicholas Lavigne is eager to help her forget, but two things still own her heart, the dream of discovering the next great American novel, and MacDermott Ellis.

As Kate tries to rebuild her life she finds a surprising gift that reboots her career in a new and unexpected direction. Suddenly her name becomes synonymous with one of the biggest bestsellers publishing has seen in ages and she’s welcomed back with open arms. At the height of her success the ghosts of her past come back to remind her of the world she’d been trying to forget and the man who never let go of her heart.

 MY REVIEW

These books, faithful readers, are delicious. And oh, how I enjoyed them.

The first one introduces us to Kate and Mac. He’s married, she isn’t, and he is her professional superior. Yes, Mac’s marriage has been in a bit of a dormant state for about ten years, and, yes, Mac seeks “friendship” where he can find it. But that cold, sterile marriage of his isn’t going anywhere, and he makes that clear to all of his paramours.

Kate has been too busy building her career to dally in significant romances, and she has not had much social interaction with Mac. When they do begin professionally colliding, though, certain physical, certain personal collisions are close behind.

And as a connoisseur of hot headboard rockin’, I can say that we are THRILLED that Kate and Mac collide.

Naturally, things don’t go as smoothly as we’d like. There is the whole Mac-is-married thing, and then there is the whole Kate-is-an-independent-woman thing.

In the second book, just as the romance starts to intensify, some publishing intrigue begins hovering around. Kate has concerns about one of the authors her company wants to publicize, but she has no proof. Just a sort of premonition. Her friendship with the nephew of a client also begins to take a more romantic turn, largely because Mac is, you know, married and all.

There are times when you will want Kate with the other guy, just because, as Mac himself points out, that guy can fully be with her and give her the future she deserves. What about love – true, abiding, passionate, LOVE? Does Kate feel that for the other guy? She sure feels it for Mac.

Again, the hot headboard rockin’ scorches.

One of the reasons I enjoyed these books so much is that I flat out love Kate and Mac. Yes, they occasionally infuriate me, but they’re so real that you will think you must know them. Their faults are real and accessible, and their love is real and understandable. Sure, we don’t applaud infidelity, but Mac is just so yummy. So, so yummy.

Grab these books and read them. There is a third one coming, and its focus appears to be on a character other than Kate and Mac. That’s fine, actually. I want to imagine their future on my own.

Christina GeorgeAbout the Author

I’ve worked in publishing for twenty years (give or take). Here’s what this book isn’t. It’s not a slam against publishing (though it is broken) and it’s not a slam against authors (though some of them are crazy). This book is not autobiographical though many of the stories are true. No you won’t know which ones, hell it’s more fun to guess, right? I continue to work in publicity and help authors because at the end of the day I do love books, I love publishing, and I love authors. I hope you’ll enjoy this romp through Kate’s world as much as I enjoyed creating it.  Have fun reading Kate’s posts!

Links

Website: http://www.thepublicistnovel.com
Twitter: @publicistgal
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kate.mitchell.528316
Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r90INxcl1bc

Where to buy the bundle book:

Amazon Kindle

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The End of the Innocence (Innocence #3)

end of the innocenceThe End of the Innocence
by Alessandra Torre
Published by the author
Genre: erotica, romance 
Thanks to NetGalley for the copy
4 / 5

 

All good things must come to an end, and so it is time to bid a fond arrivederci to Brad De Luca.

Pardon me while I doff my nonexistent wig and observe a moment of silence.

Surely by this time – SURELY, faithful readers – you have read Blindfolded Innocence and Masked Innocence, the first two of the trilogy. (Yep. Another trilogy. I’m about to give up that fight, kids.) And sure – SURELY – you are acquainted with Brad De Luca.

If you aren’t, shame on you. Don’t you dare call yourself an erotica fan.

When last we left Brad (le sigh) and Julia, they were newly engaged and celebrated as only Brad knows how to celebrate: by rockin’ that headboard right into the stratosphere.

The engagement was precipitated by Brad’s mafioso family’s death warrant for Julia, but it isn’t as if Brad doesn’t want to marry her. He does. He loves her. They connect on a level he hasn’t enjoyed with his previous liaisons (including an ex-wife), and Julia challenges him, adores him, and loves him. Sure, there is the tried and true erotica age differential, but I can forgive it this time because it’s BRAD DE LUCA.

Anyway.

Brad and Julia find themselves navigating more domestic terrain in Book 3. They have to tell her family about their engagement, and then there is the niggling little detail about Brad’s. Does Daddy De Luca still want to off Julia?

Fortunately, the headboard rockin’ remains scorching hot. Brad and Julia’s forays into threesomes continues, and their couple sexy times are fabulous as well. The plot … well, it’s flimsy, as has been the case throughout the series. But who cares? It’s BRAD DE LUCA! Plot? Take me straight to the bedroom. Or the massage table. Or the back room at the bar.

Take me anywhere Brad is getting naked.

Torre includes a note at the end regarding Brad and Julia’s “happily ever after.” I thought the ending as-is works well and fits the story, but Torre realizes that some readers will want more closure. She includes a link to an additional scene that you can read online.

As much as I will miss Brad, it’s time to send him off. Torre is smart. She knows that it’s better to leave us wistfully sighing over her hero rather than wear out his welcome.

I enjoyed this series. It’s been a pleasure to read about two people who embrace their idea of – and need for – pleasure, especially such a delightfully deviant sort of pleasure.

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Off the Record (The Record Series)

Off the RecordOff the Record (The Record Series)
by K.A. Linde
Published by Montlake Romance
411 pages
Genre: romance; New Adult 
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
4.5 / 5

 

Strap on your vibrators, girls. Unless you can conjure up a real life Brady Maxwell, you will need it.

College sophomore Liz Dougherty has wanted to be a journalist since she exited the womb. Now working for her school’s newspaper, she heads with her editor to a press conference thrown by the state’s wunderkind senator, Liz knows she has an opportunity to make her mark. What she doesn’t know is just how successful that mark will be.

Brady Maxwell is one of those “to the manor born” kind of men. He’s in his late twenties, the son of a senator, and has been groomed to settle for nothing less than success. Sure, he’s a state senator now. But next year? A senator representing North Carolina. Ten years down the road? Why not President of the United States?

What Brady doesn’t count on is Liz Dougherty. He spots her at the press conference largely because she’s clearly from his college newspaper, so he throws her a favor and lets her ask a question. But that question … it isn’t a snowball from a college girl. It’s tough and demanding. It asks him to explain himself.

Its source intrigues him.

Also intrigued – and impressed – is Hayden Lane, Liz’s editor. Sure, he knows she’s talented, but he wasn’t expecting her to ask such an insightful question. Hayden’s interest takes a detour from professional to personal.

As for Brady Maxwell … oh, he’s interested all right. He arranges to spend a few moments chatting with Liz, and he wants more. Not necessarily more chit chat, though. To quote Elvis, Brady is looking for a little less conversation, a little more action, please.

And there is ACTION. Oh, Brady. Brady, Brady.

BRADY!!!!!

The thing about good old Brady, though, is that he’s driven. He WILL BE a U.S. Senator, and he is quite up front with that. He tells Liz, straight out, that he will choose the campaign over her, and she likely will be hurt in the process. But that’s okay with her. Any time with Brady is time well spent. And time spent secretively.

As their romance progresses, Liz finds herself completely at Brady’s mercy (sometimes quite pleasurably, if you know what I mean … wink wink). This is at odds with how she prefers to conduct her life, but it’s what must be done in order to be with him. She finds herself wondering if it’s worth it; yes, they share combustible passion, but they can’t hold hands in public. They can’t go to dinner together or tour monuments or do anything outside of their hiding places.

She can, however, do those things with Hayden.

When you love someone, how much of yourself are you willing to sacrifice? What becomes your greater priority: your needs or your lover’s?

These are difficult questions under the best of circumstances, but compounded by secrecy and passion and the threat of publicity, the questions become incrementally harder.

The characters are interesting, if not occasionally annoying (Liz’s best friend is a caricature straight out of Central Casting, as is Brady’s campaign manager). The sexy times are yummalicious. Brady Maxwell can rock that headboard, girls. He attacks sex like it’s a political opponent, and he is determined to win. No wonder Liz is addicted to him.

As much as I enjoyed this book – let’s just say that I enjoyed it so much that I want to scream at K. A. Linde for the cliffhanger ending – there were a couple of things that bothered me. Yes, the best friend is uninventive. But there is the matter of Liz’s age. It isn’t that she’s younger than Brady – only about seven years separates them – but it’s that she is able to drink. For a girl dependent on a scholarship that demands exemplary behavior, I found it strange that she, a college sophomore, had such ready access to booze. Unless she red shirted her first year on the paper, she should be about twenty, not twenty-one. Why the underage drinking? I know it’s part of the college experience for many, but Liz doesn’t seem like the type to risk the scholarship.

Sometimes I find myself obsessed with details like that, obsessed to the point of distraction. This is one of those times.

Still, though, it’s a fun book. I can’t wait for its sequel, and I pray this is not going to be a trilogy. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GUTENBERG, NO MORE TRILOGIES!!!

And please, K. A. Linde, let’s get that sequel published, tout de suite.

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