zaterdag 28 februari 2015

Carolyn Brown – My Give a Damn is Busted

The third book in the Honky Tonk series, published October 1, 2010.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: meh, more abs less face please.

My Give a Damn is Busted photo n351756_zps0f62c423.jpg

He’s just doing his job...
If Hank Wells thinks he can dig up dirt on the new owner of the Honkey Tonk beer joint for his employer, he’s got no idea what kind of trouble he’s courting...
She’s not going down without a fight...
If any dime store cowboy thinks he’s going to get the best of Larissa Morley – or her Honkey Tonk – then he’s got another think coming...
As secrets emerge, and passion vies with ulterior motives, it’s winner takes all at the Honkey Tonk....


Larissa Morley is the new owner of the Honkey Tonk, and she really made it a big success. It is getting busier than ever, even on the usually slow Monday. But she likes the work and the place, and she enjoys her new home. She has been all over the world, but now she has made a new life for herself here in Mingus, Texas. She has some great friends, and she has no intention at all to sell the Honkey Tonk, no matter how much money the Radner Corporation is throwing at her.
Of course, no one knows she has money enough of her own, or that she is known as Ruth Lawson.

Henry Hayes Radner Wells is also leading a double life. His parents were only a married a few months before they separated again, and he is living 11 months a year with his mother in the big city, and one month a year with his father on his cattle ranch. While he is working for his mother, he is Hayes Radner, the businessman. And when he is with his father, he is Hank Wells, playing at being a cowboy.
His mother is adamant at not only buying the Honkey Tonk, but the whole town or Mingus. She wants to raze it all to the ground, and build an amusement park. Hayes has no idea why, but if his mother wants it, she will get it. So going in undercover as Hank Wells will be easy enough, and perhaps he can find some dirt on Larissa Morley to make her sell the joint. As far as his investigators can find out, she did not exist before she became the new owner.

When Hank and Larissa meet in a car accident, sparks do fly. Of course Hank knows who Larissa is, but he did not expect her to look like that! That evening in her bar, Hank tries to get closer to Larissa. But Larissa just feels that something is off about him, and holds him on a distance. And her friend nails it: his neck is white and his hands too soft, he is not a real cowboy at all. But Hank’s father is getting older and needs to cut down work at the ranch, so this summer, Hank will have to do some real ranch work. And he needs to decide who he wants to be: Hayes Radner, or Hank Wells. His father will have to sell the ranch if he chooses to be Hayes.

Working together Hank and Larissa get closer and become friends and lovers, until Larissa finds out that Hank is Hayes, and that he betrayed her. He is the one who wants to buy her beloved Honkey Tonk bar from her.


I’ve bought this book purely because of the title. I could not resist it. And of course Blodeuedd likes to tempt me with reviews about cowboy romances, so I just wanted to try one. And I really enjoyed this one, even if I did read it out of order.

It was really fun to see those two circle around. Larissa tried to find out about Hank, and her investigators could not find anything about him, and vice versa. And Larissa kept dropping little details about her mother being in Paris, and visiting some famous restaurants abroad herself, and Hank just plain not believing her, thinking she was born in a trailer park or something like that.

The book never got predictable; I liked all the main characters, and the most fun thing? Their mothers are best friends and still they never met. Although their mothers have done their best to set them on blind dates with each other for years.

A fun story, a place I would like to visit (but not in summer!) and other books in this series I want to read. Larissa’s help Sharlene will certainly feature in the next book, and she is a very interesting character already. Yes, this is an author I will certainly read again.

8 stars.



© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 27 februari 2015

Bertrice Small – Dangerous Pleasures

The fourth book in the Channel series, published August 5, 2008.
Genre: erotica
Cover: nice
Re-read for the 5th time.

Dangerous Pleasures photo n252322_zpsa2093d68.jpg

Widowed with five children, stay-at-home mom Annie Miller has just been getting by and growing restless because of it. Thinking Annie could use a vacation, her sister enters her in a contest sponsored by The Channel, a network that caters to delivering women’s fantasies. Anne wins the grand prize – a week’s stay at a luxurious new spa owned by the secret organization – and experiences the wonder of the Channel itself for the very first time, playing beauty to a naughty beast. Having the chance to live out her fantasies and work at the spa with a very sexy personal assistant at her side, Annie is suddenly discovering dreams she didn’t even know she had. And after experiencing a complete sexual awakening, she finds herself in danger of losing everything she has always held so dear...


My second favourite book in this series, and again featuring a woman discovering her self. Annie’s husband was killed two years ago, leaving her with 5 children to take care of on her own. And without adequate means to do so. Thanks to her lawyer sister and her parents who help her out, she can give her children some luxury. Her oldest son is going to college thanks to her sister, but her oldest daughter longs for all the trendy clothes and gadgets she needs to be part of the in-crowd at school. And Annie just can’t give her that. The twins are not as materialistic, and happy with what they do have, and their passion for animals, and little Wills is too young for anything just yet.
Her sister enters Annie in a contest, hoping that she will win one of 100 yearlong subscriptions for The Channel. As Annie will accept help on behalf of her children, she will not take anything for herself. But instead, Annie wins the grand prize, a weak at The Spa. And miraculously, she can attend, as her sister will take her oldest son with her to Europe, her three daughters will attend Summer Camp, like she and her sister enjoyed so many years ago, and her little boy will go to Disney World with his best friend and his parents.

And so Annie enters a world filled with luxury for the first time. A personal assistant to help her with everything, who plans her appointments and everything else. A massage, a manicure and pedicure, delicious but healthy food and drinks. And Annie gets to meet Nora Buckley, the woman who runs the Spa. And when asked for suggestions to improve the experience, she comes up with some really clever ones. And this all results in Nora hiring Annie to run the gift shop. Annie has no retail experience, but she is very good at is. She can work the hours her children are at school, and be home when the school bus brings them back. And when one of them gets sick, the Spa even provides her with a Nanny.

Mr Nicholas, the owner of The Channel Corporation, is very happy with Annie, and he plans on making her Nora’s replacement as the manager. And with providing her with a fulltime live-in Nanny, Annie jumps as the chance. She likes working, earning enough money herself to provide for her family. And ofcourse, the benefits are very nice as well... She sure discovers her own naughty side in the Channel, and in reality with her personal assistant ...


I really enjoy this one as well. Annie is tired of being a widow, the strong one, and having to turn every penny twice. So the opportunity to earn her own money and provide for her children, is a gift from heaven (or is it?).
In the Channel she can play all she wants, and in her job she can be the stern but fair manager. She discovers that she is good at her job, and she can be ruthless as well. She is in charge, and no-one will take that from her.

Yes, some nice and hot love scenes, but I love how Annie matures and enjoys her new life. The story itself is fun. But although I love Bertrice Small’s writing style, I know she drives others nuts with her flowery descriptions and her names for certain bodyparts.

9 stars.



Autobuy authorLove this book

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2015 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 26 februari 2015

Gini Koch – Random Musings from the Funny Girl

A collection of stories, published February 28, 2014.
Genre: non fiction, humor
Cover: cute

 photo w516033_zps52ce66dd.jpg

Want to know the untold story of Gini Koch? Did Gini really spend time in the Peace Corps? And did she really get arrested for stalking Nathan Fillion? Is she fluent in any language other than sarcasm? And what's the real reason she's banned from Denny's.
The answer to these and other burning questions are in this book! So what are you waiting for? Buy this book NOW! It's not getting any younger, you know.
Is if fact or fiction? You decide.


I am a big fan of Gini Koch’s books, and in awe of her creativity and originality and I love her sense of humor. So when asked if I wanted to review this book, I jumped at the chance.
It is a collection of short stories about her personal life, her friends and family, her pets, things she did and survived, people she met. It is fun, and I could certainly recognize and identify with some stories.

Some examples:
- stories about the hotel from Hell she stayed in twice!
- a friend who cannot navigate at all
- a friend who is so very accident prone, and who lives in a house that is tilted
- her beloved dogs and their farts
- tax day woos
- some stories she wrote in the earlier years and were published in magazines
- her dating adventures before she married her wonderful husband
- her crush on Tom Cruise and Nathan Fillion and others
- adventures when in New York for Halloween
- and my favourite: how Patricia Briggs pranked her once.

If you are a fan of Gini Koch, this is a must read. The stories are all short and fun and easy to read, so you can take your time and reach one a day, or just binge like I did.

9 stars.



Autobuy authorLove this book

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 25 februari 2015

Recommendations from Karin for February 2015.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Karin from Austria.

Karin:

As I have promised last month I would like to talk a little about another author who is going to attend the LLC in Berlin. So this is not going to be one of the usual recommendations but rather an invitation (hopefully) for you to discover an excellent author who is also one of the nicest and most easy-going writers Peggy and I met at the first LLC.

I’m talking about Shannon McKenna.

We had a blast of a time with her and Lisa Marie Rice and I remember vividly Shannon saying, “Oh, I wish I could write a love scene that covers 50 or even more pages!”

Actually the love scenes in her books don’t cover 50 or more pages but nevertheless they are long and pretty steamy.
It seems that she has just published the last of her McCloud-series books. I haven’t read the latest yet.

The reading order:

1. Behind Closed Doors

 photo n60830_zpsvuwlonid.jpg

2. Standing In The Shadows

 photo n60831_zps9ke3p170.jpg

3. Out Of Control

 photo n131388_zpswdj3mco6.jpg

4. Edge of Midnight

 photo n217941_zpslrhtvtv1.jpg

5. Extreme Danger

 photo n248463_zpswi4hukov.jpg

6. Ultimate Weapon

 photo n270620_zpst4ofrc26.jpg

7. Fade to Midnight

 photo n337220_zpsvryztwjc.jpg

8. Blood and Fire

 photo n379354_zpsflazfqto.jpg

9. One Wrong Move

 photo n395964_zpsg75nnl37.jpg

10. Fatal Strike

 photo n416423_zpsetpqcn83.jpg

11. In for the Kill

 photo w525753_zpsawd18lq3.jpg

As you might guess from the titles these are romantic thrillers, they are suspenseful stories of alpha heroes (and I mean ALPHA) and their heroines who are by no means timid little misses who follow their heroes’ every whim. McKenna’s villains are so creepy that sometimes I needed a break but had to return to the book quickly. (I had guessed right – everything went well!)
I would not recommend to read the books one after the other too quickly (I did that with John Grisham and that was a really bad choice - the books tend to blend together after some time), take your time to savour them.
I personally liked “Out of Control” best, although Davy, the hero, is not an easy man to live with. He is overprotective, domineering, growly and the quintessential alpha.
Margot, the heroine, sure has courage although she is on the run and has this creepy stalker. She comes across as quite feisty but there is one moment in the book which would fall under the TSTL- category. Still – I could forgive her quite quickly.

So, if you are game for a few hours of biting your nails / fanning yourself while reading one and the same book – give the McClouds a try!!

Karin photo Karin 2_zps9oybhsee.png

Aurian: Thanks for the recommendation Karin! I did try her books a few years ago, for the first LoveLetter Convention, but those books are really not written for me. I am glad you enjoy them though!
How about you, reader? Have you read her books?



© 2015 Reviews by Aurian


dinsdag 24 februari 2015

Theresa Romain – Season for Scandal

The third book in the Season series, published October 1, 2013.
Genre: historical romance
Cover: naughty smile

Season for Scandal photo n414189_zpsb1854f0a.jpg

Jane Tindall has never had money of her own or exceptional beauty. Her gifts are more subtle: a mind like an abacus, a talent for play-acting – and a daring taste for gambling. But all the daring in the world can’t help with the cards fixed against her. And when Edmund Ware, Baron Kirkpatrick, unwittingly spoils her chance to win a fortune, her reputation is ruined too. Or so she thinks, until he suggests a surprising mode of escape: a hasty marriage. To him. On the surface, their wedding would satisfy all the demands of proper society, but as the Yuletide approaches, secrets and scandals turn this proper marriage into a very improper affair.


I have dual feelings about this book. I did like Jane’s character, she was very different and refreshing from the usual historical romance heroines. She tried to gamble (poker!) with money she did not had, to earn her indepence. But she was playing against a cheat, and so she lost. Big time. At the same time, Edmund Ware spoiled her disguise, exposing her true identity to her opponents. He then offers to pay off her gambling debts, not knowing it is 10.000 pounds. The exact sum of the dowry her cousin Lord Xavier has promised her. And so a marriage of convenience is made.
Edmund needs to marry soon, as he is afraid an old scandal will come to light, destroying him and his family, and he wants an heir before that happens. And Jane has secretly been in love with Edmund since she was a toddler, and so she agrees. But Edmund doesn’t want her love, all he wants is to make her happy and give her gifts she doesn’t need or want.

What he doesn’t realize either, is that Jane is a pour cousin and has always lived in the country. She never learned how to ride a horse, or dance, or etiquette. She has no idea how to be a Baroness. But she is very smart, and she learns manners by copying them from another Baroness she makes him point out.

Edmund is really suffering from the old scandal, and has been separated from his family ever since. Punishing himself. And really, I thought him such a stupid man, and totally not hero material as I like them. He goes out of his way to be nice to everyone, every single wallflower at a ball, and random people in the street. So when Jane can’t take her marriage anymore, as she wants more than Edmund can give her, more of his time, of himself, she is immediately being ostracised. How could she leave that nice Lord Ware.

The ending did make up for me disliking Edmund though, when Edmund finally shared his secret with Jane, to get her back, and how they decided how to deal with it. I enjoyed that very much.


If you like historical romances, but want something different from rakes and rogues and ballrooms now and then, try a Theresa Romain book. She always surprises me with her storylines, and her characters. She is firmly on my autobuy list.

8 stars.



Autobuy author

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 23 februari 2015

Robin Kaye – Back to you

The first book in the Bad Boys of Red Hook series, published December 31, 2012.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: nice

Back to you photo n409189_zpsb78e4f10.jpg

Award-winning author Robin Kaye proves that home is where the heart is, even for the bad boys of Red Hook, Brooklyn ....
It would take a miracle for Storm Decker to return to Red Hook - or a tragedy. The neighborhood holds too many painful memories of his troubled childhood, along with the mistake that sent him running from the kindness of the ex-cop he'd come to consider his father. But when Pete suddenly falls ill, Storm is called home to face the past he tried to leave behind long ago...
Breanna Collins never expected to see Storm again after he left town without a word, breaking her heart. She's angry that he can't seem to appreciate all the changes in their hometown. But she still feels a powerful connection to her old flame. And unless she can remind him of all the reasons to stay, she knows he'll never stick around long enough to give their romance the second chance it deserves....


Twenty or so years ago, Pete took in three abused boys, and gave them a home. He also took in Breanna, when her father died and her mother became over protective of her. As kids, Storm and Breanna fell in love with each other, but Storm did not want to stay in Red Hook, there was no future for him there, only bad memories. And so he ran away. He has ended up in New Zealand as the owner of a successful firm, designing yachts, and racing yachts. The multi million dollar kind of yachts. Breanna stayed at Red Hook though, where she is managing Pete’s bar and restaurant, after modernizing it. But now Pete has had a heart attack, and she can’t take care of Pete, the business, and Pete’s newest charge on her own. And so she has called to Logan for help, Logan being one of Pete’s other foster kids.
What Bree does not anticipate, is that Logan has send Storm. Or that she still has feelings for him. But what use are those feelings if he does not plan on staying more than two weeks? Why would she risk falling in love all over again with a man who will leave her again? She has made a nice life for herself in Red Hook. She is an active member of a committee to revive Red Hook, and make it a good place to live. And they have been very successful. She also has to take care of her mother, who doesn’t leave her house at all anymore.

Storm is determined to show Breezy that he has changed, that he has grown up, but how can he convince her of that fact? Lucky for him, her friends are on his side, as they want her to have a love life. He is shocked at the change in Pete “Pop”, and he is determined to take care of him, Nicki, and of the business. He just is not very good at organizing things, or taking care of a kid. But Nicki reminds him so much of himself, he is determined to do his best.


Storm and Bree keep butting heads, and Bree keeps distrusting Storm. And I really do understand why, and agree with her. Why should she fall in love with a guy determined to leave again as soon as possible? And what kind of idiot teaches a 10 year old girl how to drive? She can’t even look over the steering wheel, or touch the pedals! The fact that he stole cars at that age doesn’t mean children should be able to drive at that age. And when Bree decides to just use Storm for sex, and nothing else, he refuses her as he does not want to be used that way, he wants more.

Still, I did enjoy the story a lot, and I liked all the main characters. Both Storm and Bree have their scars and past to overcome. Perhaps Bree has become too rusted in her ways, not really living or taking risks. Can Storm relocate from Down Under back to New York?

I look forward to reading the other boys’ stories and I can guess at one of the heroines being Bree’s good friend Rocki.

7 stars.



buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2015 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 22 februari 2015

Susan Elizabeth Phillips – Hot Shot – Read for #LLC2015

A novel, published June 1, 1991.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: my book has a much prettier cover

 photo n89749_zpssjgzzor4.jpg

Dear Readers:
Of all the books I’ve written, I’m proudest of Hot Shot. This was a story I’d been longing to tell for years, the kind I love best – the story of a woman with the courage to take on the world of men. And was there ever a heroine more ill-equipped to do that than proper, well-bred Susannah Faulconer?
Susannah fled her society wedding on the back of a bad boy’s Harley and enters a world for which no etiquette book could ever prepare her. A world with men such a Mitch Blaine, a corporate genius who has no time for a rich socialite, and Sam Gamble, a charismatic visionary. You’ll also meet Yank Yankowski, one of those fabulous nerds I love writing about. Those three men will force Susannah to test both her courage and the power of her love in the biggest challenge of her life.
Come along. Take this journey with me.
Love, Susan Elizabeth Phillips.


The first part of the book deals with Susannah’s childhood, and that was bad. Her flighty, shallow and egoistical mother left her with her grandmother to resume her party girl life. But her grandmother was mad, and punished the little girl severely for every imagined infraction of the rules. And so Susannah became a little mouse, scared of her shadow. Until one day, her mother’s new husband came for a visit, and discovered her locked in the closet, and he rescued her.
He fell in love with her instantly, even more than with his own daughter, Susannah’s half sister Paige. But just when Susannah learned to enjoy life, to be a child for the first time, she was kidnapped, and left for death in the desert. Only to be rescued in the nick of time.

From that day on, her life was one of rigid security, and lived firmly within the rules. Obeying her new father, and doing everything she can to please him. She became the wife her mother could never be for this successful businessman. (But never in a sexual way! Don’t worry!)

But just a few weeks before her marriage, Susannah meets Sam. A free spirit, a rebel and a visionary, and for some reason, he sees through her facade to the passionate woman hidden within. Her father punishes her for having him meet with Sam, by giving her the cold shoulder (again). And when her fiancĂ© shows the same way of “punishing” her for disagreeing with him, she doesn;t know what to do anymore. She is only 25 and she feels like an old woman already. So when Sam crashes her wedding on his Harley and commands her to come with him, she does. Burning all her ships behind her, earning the vengeance of her father, her half sister and her fiancĂ©. Her half sister has been admonished to be like Susannah all her life, and she has rebelled against it forever, being disowned by her father because of it. But now that Susannah has left, her father needs her to stop in ...

And so Susannah enters the world of geeks, of visionaries, the time of the first personal computers and computer games. With Sam as the man with the vision, and his best friend Yank as the genius who can build it, and Susannah as the practical one who can hold it all together and organize everything, they start their own small computer company. It is a time for geeks to work out of their garages, Steve Jobs is doing the same thing with Apple, and the big companies are laughing at them. Personal computers as household goods? Who would want such a thing? Computers are gigantic things, filling whole rooms, and are only owned by big companies.



My first book by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and it certainly won’t be my last one. I was mesmerized by this story; I was totally submerged in it. It was so interesting and so well written and I loved Susannah and how she grew from an obedient daughter into a self reliant woman. From riches to rags to riches again. She literally only has the bridal dress on her back when she flees with Sam, as her father freezes all her accounts and gives her nothing. So he has to support her completely at first.

It was such an exciting time to read about. And see Susannah grow. She and Sam are in love, and they eventually marry, but Sam is just not good for her. He is a taker, and he won’t give in return. But she will never be sorry for those years spend together.

I really liked Sam’s mother, and hated how he treated her, she was never good enough, he wanted the best and she loves Elvis on Velvet and owns a very small hairsalon. He loves Susannah for her class, and her elegance, and her good taste.

So: amazing story, amazing characters, awesome timeperiod. What are you waiting for? Even though it is an “old” book, buy it and read it!

10 stars.



Love this book

Banner 2015 photo BannerLLC2015versie5_zps31bfcccb.jpg

Read for #LLC2015
For more info look: http://www.loveletterconvention.com/en/

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2015 Reviews by Aurian