‘Release Me’ by J. Kenner

rm jkSTORY: He was the one man I couldn’t avoid. And the one man I couldn’t resist.

Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.

Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past—and risk breaking us apart.

But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him—and us—forever.

*Release Me is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences. 

REVIEW: To say I didn’t like this story is an understatement. I have to say that there were things that just didn’t ring true to the characters presented and even the dialogue was way over the top.

“He’s tall and so handsome that the word is almost an insult. He is Jason and Hercules and Perseus – a figure so strong and beautiful and heroic that the blood of the gods must flow through him, because how else could a being so fine exist in this world?”

Seriously?! Description like that only makes me laugh. I’ve seen many men in my life and I never thought to describe them in such “prose”.

And who really says this?!

“His mouth is at my ear, his voice so carnal, so full of lust, it makes my clit throb. “I’m going to fuck you, Nikki. Pleasure? We’re going to blow the roof off pleasure. I’m going to make you beg for it. I’m going to claim you. I’m going to tease you. I’m going to torment you. And you’re going to come for me like you’ve never come in your life.”

No one. Ever! I’ve never read ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ and I probably never will (I did see the movie!), but I think it must have been better than this story.

Sometimes it’s good to read a bad story to appreciate all the good ones you’ve read. However, if you’re into erotica, I have a feeling you just might like it.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Speak No Evil’ by Tanya Anne Crosby

sne tacSTORY: Lifting the veil of secrecy on a grand Southern family in decline, author Tanya Anne Crosby explores the lives of Caroline, Augusta, and Savannah Aldridge, three sisters who share a dark past and an uncertain future…

Caroline Aldridge was surprised by the number of mourners at her mother’s funeral. Evidently the newspaper heiress who had caused her children so much pain was well-loved by everyone else in Charleston. Now she was gone, leaving behind countless secrets-and a few demands: Caroline and her sisters must live together for one year or lose their inheritance. And Caroline must take over “The Tribune.” But a killer is making headlines, and Caroline may have unwittingly stepped into the crosshairs…

A series of kidnappings and murders resurrect the sisters’ memories of their brother’s disappearance as a child-and Caroline fears she may be next. Yet in the midst of her turmoil, she may be rekindling a romance she’d extinguished long ago. With Jack back in her life and the tattered bonds of sisterhood slowly mending, Caroline hopes the family can restore its position in Charleston society-unless a sinister force beyond their control tears them apart forever…

REVIEW: This is the first book in the series about the Aldridge sisters, Caroline, Augusta, and Savannah and the plot revolves about their memories of their brothers disappearance years ago. First up is Caroline and I have to say that she was an interesting and complex character.

The story is well written and the characters are well developed, making this story interesting and suspenseful.

If you’re a romantic suspense reader, I highly recommend you pick this one up because the ride will be thrilling and you can check all these off: action, romance and complex relationships.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Mistress’ by Danielle Steel

tm-dsSTORY: Natasha Leonova’s beauty saved her life. Discovered on a freezing Moscow street by a Russian billionaire, she has lived for seven years under his protection, immersed in rarefied luxury, while he pursues his activities in a dark world that she guesses at but never sees. Her home is the world, often on one of Vladimir Stanislas’s spectacular yachts manned by scores of heavily armed crew members. Natasha’s job is to keep Vladimir happy, ask no questions, and be discreet. She knows her place, and the rules. She feels fortunate to be spoiled and protected, and is careful not to dwell on Vladimir’s ruthlessness or the deadly circles he moves in. She experiences only his kindness and generosity and believes he will always keep her safe. She is unfailingly loyal to him in exchange.

Theo Luca is the son of a brilliant, world famous, and difficult artist, Lorenzo Luca, who left his wife and son with a fortune in artwork they refuse to sell. Lorenzo’s widow, Maylis, has transformed their home in St. Paul de Vence into a celebrated restaurant decorated with her late husband’s paintings, and treats it as a museum. There, on a warm June evening, Theo first encounters Natasha, the most exquisite woman he has ever seen. And there, Vladimir lays eyes on Luca’s artwork. Two dangerous obsessions begin.

Theo, a gifted artist in his own right, finds himself feverishly painting Natasha’s image for weeks after their first meeting. Vladimir, enraged that Lorenzo’s works are not for sale, is determined to secure a painting at any price. And Natasha, who knows that she cannot afford to make even one false move, nevertheless begins to think of the freedom she can never have as Vladimir’s mistress. She cannot risk her safety for another man, or even a conversation with him, as Theo longs for a woman he can never have.

From Moscow to the Riviera, Paris, and London, The Mistress is a riveting tale of vast fortune, cruelty, creative genius, and daring courage, as uncompromising individuals chart a course for collision.

REVIEW: The 500 foot yacht, Princess Marina, named for his mother, is owned by Vladimir Stanislos, 49, one of the richest men in Russia whose worth is estimated at $40-$50 billion. His mistress is Natasha Leonova, 26, whom he has been with for 7 years. She had a very poor life as a child and he rescued her off the streets of Russia. She was very sick with pneumonia and he nursed her back to health. Natasha knows that he refuses to have any children with a mistress. But she is the perfect companion who always knows what he needs from her. Vladimir is an art lover and collector and Natasha enjoys it as well. They spend time on their yacht or at one of their other residences around the world.

Maylis Luca is the widow of famed artist, Lorenzo Luca. Their son, Theo. is also a talented artist. Maylis owns a posh restaurant in Cap d’Antibes which displays a number of Lorenzo’s paintings, but none are for sale. Occasionally, Theo helps out at the restaurant when they are short handed.

One night, Vladimir and Natasha have dinner at the restaurant. Both are very taken with Luca’s paintings and want to buy one. However, Maylis gives them a firm no even though Theo encourages her to sell it. Theo thinks Natasha is very beautiful, but he does not care for Vladimir and his arrogant manner. However, when Vladimir offers an outrageously high figure for the painting, Maylis accepts the offer.

Theo is so obsessed with Natasha that he spends an enormous period of time painting her from memory working until he feels it is perfect. When he gifts her with the painting, Vladimir becomes jealous and revenge erupts.

This is a typical Danielle Steel novels that rambles along making it a very easy read. Of course, there are a lot of repeated sentences but that is the signature of this particular author. I have read a number of her books but not all. I chose to read this particular novel because it takes place in my beloved Paris and the south of France. If you are looking for a nice story with lots of descriptions, do pick up this book. It is quite good.

Connie for b2b

‘The Marriage Lie’ by Kimberly Belle

tml-kbSTORY: Even the perfect marriage has its dark side… 

Iris and Will’s marriage is as close to perfect as it can be: a large house in a nice Atlanta neighborhood, rewarding careers and the excitement of trying for their first baby. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Orlando, Iris’s happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on this plane.

Grief-stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. But as time passes and there is still no sign of Will, she reluctantly accepts that he is gone. Still, Iris needs answers. Why did Will lie about where he was going? What is in Seattle? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she receives will shock her to her very core.

REVIEW: Will and Iris Griffith have been married for seven years and are very much in love. They have bought their dream home in Atlanta and are finally trying for a baby. Will is a computer scientist and Iris is a school counselor for a swanky private school.

Will has just left for a business trip to Florida when Iris learns that a plane taking off from the Atlanta Airport has crashed. Irish quickly checks and finds with great relief that it is not the plane Will is on. That is until she learns that his name is on the passenger list of the plane that crashed and was heading to Seattle.

Grief overwhelms her as she tries to sort through not only the loss of her husband but why was he on a different plane than he said he was going to be. Iris’s family comes to try and comfort her and help figure out why Will lied to Iris.

As her family helps her dig into Will’s past, more questions arise. Who is Will and what really happened to him? Soon, they discover that they might be exposing a bigger mystery that can mean certain danger.

This is a very moving story that exhibits the depth of grief and how it affects people. In addition, the plot the author has put together is quite good. This book kept my attention from the first to last page and I highly recommend it.

Connie for b2b

’39 Bayshore’ by Donna Grisanti

39b-djgSTORY: Carolyn Reynolds’s health problems force her to sell her wildly successful company to avoid scandal if the truth comes out. Her mother’s tragic hit-and-run death plus day-to-day business pressures have overwhelmed her. Her aunts’ solution to relieve Carolyn’s maladies only make matters worse. The dilapidated fixer-upper mansion, Cass, Muriel, and Bee, gift her only comes with more stress-filled problems.

First, two scared teenager vagrants with a baby with nowhere else to go add to meeting the other two lot owners: an ex-con contractor trying to get the job to rebuild Bayshore and a pastor trying to lessen Carolyn’s problems. Despite initial reservations, Carolyn comes to care about them all, as her own past comes back to haunt her. Her search for her mother’s killer has led someone to renew a dangerous interest in Carolyn’s life.

The two other Bayshore tenants have their own problems. Contractor Shealds Jackson hopes to prove he’s really a good man after a stint in prison tarred his name. Pastor Peter Allred aims to move on from a violent incident in his past. Both men will grow closer to Carolyn as murder and mayhem threaten to destroy, not rebuild, their lives.

REVIEW: The story opens with Attorney Lucas Crandall enjoying a dinner left for him by his housekeeper. He hears a noise and the next day he is found shot to death. He had been ready to crack a cold case.

Carolyn Reynolds is flying to see a home her three aunts have purchased for her with stock settlement money from her firm that has just force-sold. Already a very wealthy woman, she truly does not need this home.

Carolyn’s mission has been to try and track down the driver who killed her mother in a hit-and-run five years ago. Her aunts have been her protectors since she lost her mother. Now, they are going with her to help renovate the place they bought for her.

At age 35, Carolyn knows she should concentrate on finding a husband and starting a family, but her all-consuming need is to solve the cold case and find her mother’s killer. In addition to her excessive worry over her mother, she has health problems.

The aunts broke the property into three parts and sold one to a group of three ex-convicts who have a construction business and the other to a minister/psychologist with a “past.”

As these new neighbors come together, but how will they all get along?

When the book first starts, it appears that it might be interesting, but the addition of more and more layers of characters and plots, left me somewhat confused. Too many characters in a book is one of my pet peeves and that is why I gave the book a lower rating.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘The Secrets of Roscarbury Hall’ by Ann O’Loughlin

tsorh-aolSTORY: Sisters Ella and Roberta O’Callaghan haven’t spoken for decades, torn apart by a dark family secret from their past. They both still live in the family’s crumbling Irish mansion, communicating only through the terse and bitter notes they leave for each other in the hallway. But when their way of life is suddenly threatened by bankruptcy, Ella tries to save their home by opening a café in the ballroom – much to Roberta’s disgust.

As the café begin to thrive, the sisters are drawn into a new battle when Debbie, an American woman searching for her birth mother, starts working at the Ballroom Café. Debbie has little time left but as she sets out to discover who she really is and what happened to her mother, she is met by silence and lies at the local convent. Determined to discover the truth, she begins to uncover an adoption scandal that will rock both the community and the warring sisters.

REVIEW: Rothsorney Co. Wickham – 2008

Ella O’Callaghan lives with her sister, Roberta O’Callaghan in their huge, and rundown family home, Roscarbury Hall. Their parents were killed in an accident leaving Ella and Roberta to try and make enough money to pay back a loan to the bank their father had made and to try to do as much upkeep to the Hall as they can afford.

Ella has been making her well-known cakes and selling them to local shops. She decides to open a cafe at the Hall set around the large fountain outside. But, Roberta is against the plan. The two sisters have been angry with one another for many years and communicate by writing notes to each other. Roberta is bitter about her past and drinks a lot. Ella is a widow and lost her baby girl in a freak accident many years ago.

Debbie Kading is an American woman who comes to Rothsorney looking for her birth mother. She knows that she was born in the area, adopted by her now deceased American parents and wants so much to find her real mother. The local group of Catholic sisters adopted out many children years ago. Most of the young mothers were unwed which was looked down upon at the time and one of the Catholic sisters actually took babies from their mothers telling them that the baby had died and then adopting them out. The scandal from this is about to blow sky-high.

When Ella and Debbie meet, they develop an immediate friendship. Debbie agrees to help Ella open the upstairs ballroom in the Hall for the cafe. The hard work the women put into cleaning and preparing it is enormous, but they get it done. The cafe is a great success.

We meet the many interesting town people and the gossip that some of them love to share. There is great heartbreak and illness that we encounter in the story, but we also learn about the time of the late 1950’s to 1960’s in the town. The determination that many people live with is very admirable.

I found this to be a story that grabs the reader and won’t let go. I enjoyed it immensely and hope readers will take the time to read it too. It’s a book that will remain with you for a long time to come.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘The Lost Cats and Lonely Hearts Club’ by Nic Tatano

tlcalhc ntSTORY: Swapping Prada for purrs…

While covering a story, feisty network reporter Madison Shaw gets more than she bargained for when she rescues a box of orphaned kittens. Suddenly the glamazon of the Manhattan news room is doing two am feedings to keep these furbabies alive!

This is certainly a change of pace for the high maintenance workaholic she’s become and taking care of the kittens makes Madison realise how far off track she’s come—after all, she was a stray once too…

When a video of her caring for the kittens goes viral, she knows her image as a hardnosed reporter is shot to hell. What Madison doesn’t expect is the media circus that propels her and the kittens to stardom. And the domino effect that has on her, her career and her love life—especially when she meets sexy Officer Nick Marino…!

REVIEW: Madison Shaw is a network television reporter and today she is covering a story about the demolition of a building. Just before the explosion is scheduled to start, she hears the cries of a little of four kittens whose mother has died. With no one to take care of the newborns, she finds herself taking them home with her. Luckily, her neighbor is a vet who shows her how to bottle feed and care for the babies. For someone who knows nothing about caring for a real baby, Madison takes to the process quite well.

When her boyfriend expects her to abandon the kittens and head out on a vacation with him, she is furious and kicks him out. Madison had been an abandoned baby herself and grew up in foster homes.

Madison soon learns that one thing about caring for the kittens is that she has stepped away from her obsession to always be well-turned out and it has shown her how to be more relaxed in her life.

Her good friend from school, Rory, steps in to help her with the kittens and as more of her friends converge upon her in her “relaxed” state, they all cheer her for her determination to help the kittens.

As a reporter, the story of her selfless act of taking the kittens in and caring for them soon gets out in the press and on social media. Many people step up and make donations to shelters and send Madison lots of kitty supplies as well.

Soon, she meets a handsome police officer and a very wealthy man. Both men appeal to her and they like her too. But she realizes that it is wrong to date two men at a time and must soon make a choice.

This is a cute story that proves how helpless animals pull at our heart strings and how easily we draw them right into our hearts. Great characters, humor, and clean. You don’t necessarily have to be an animal lover to enjoy this book but it will probably make one out of you.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b