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Archive for CABR Gold Star Review

Review: “A Wallflower Christmas” by Lisa Kleyplas

Mar 11

A Wallflower Christmas coverTitle: A Wallflower Christmas

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Series: Book 5, Wallflower Series

Publisher: St Martin’s Press

Publication Date: October 2008

Synopsis: The Wallflowers are four young ladies in London who banded together in their wild and wickedly wonderful searches for true love.

Now happily married, they join together once again to help one of the world’s most notorious rogues realize that happiness might be right under the mistletoe.…

It’s Christmastime in London and Rafe Bowman has arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford.

His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady in waiting and, if it weren’t for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed.

Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen. And winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants.

However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.

A Wallflower Christmas takes a trip to Victorian London, under the mistletoe, and on a journey of the heart. With her trademark charm, sensuality, and unforgettable characters, there’s no one like Lisa Kleypas to make you believe in the magic of Christmas.

 

CABRGOLDReview: What a wonderful, engaging, funny, romantic, passionate historical romance!! 😀

Can you tell I enjoyed this book? LOL

It’s been so long since I read an historical romance, particularly a really good one, that picking up Lisa Kleypas’ book was a risk for me. Happily, her style of writing immediately drew me into the fifth and final book in the Wallflower Series.

There’s a prologue that explains the bond between the four original wallflowers – Annabelle, Evie and the sisters from New York, Lillian and Darcy, while setting the stage for what’s to come when Lillian’s and Darcy’s “rake” of an older brother, Rafe, embarks on a mission to marry a proper English lady; Natalie Blandford, in order to get his inheritance.

I love, love, love the spark and repartee between Rafe and his true match, Hannah Appleton. 😀 You will find yourself laughing one minute, cheering the next then saying Oh My whenever the chemistry between these two gets a chance to be physically expressed.

Who said people in Victorian England didn’t know what passion was?

As the title indicates, A WALLFLOWER CHRISTMAS is set around the traditional family holiday but at a time in England when Christmas trees were a rarity, rather than a must-have part of the holidays. The story also takes place not too long after the publication of A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens.

Lisa Kleypas does an excellent job of revealing what many people of the time thought of having a decorated fir tree inside their home and how children and adults alike fell in love with what has become a classic from Mr Dickens.

 

A Wallflower Christmas coverCLICK HERE to read an EXCERPT from A WALLFLOWER CHRISTMAS

BUY Links: 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Nookibooks (discount price here)

Books A Million (BAM)

Kobo

 

Filed Under: CABR Gold Star Review

Review: “See the Light” by Cassandra Carr

Mar 2

See The Light coverTitle: See The Light

Author: Cassandra Carr

Rating: CABR Gold Star

Publisher: Loose Id

Publication date: February 2013

Synopsis: Hockey player Jason Monroe lives a double life—star defenseman and soon-to-be Olympian on the ice and closeted gay man outside the rink. A serious relationship is out of the question, and Jason makes do with anonymous sex in barroom bathrooms, not willing to take the chance on coming out as gay in a decidedly macho sport.

Advisor to the US Olympic hockey team Patrick Parker knows a thing or two about being a professional hockey player who’s not out. He’s fifteen years older than Jason, and when he senses the sexy younger man is interested, he knows he shouldn’t give in to the attraction.

The two men can’t keep their hands off each other, though, and with each heated encounter it gets harder to hide their relationship. When their world blows up around them, forcing them into the limelight, though, will their love survive or be put on ice?

 

CABRGOLDReview: A fantastic m/m romance debut from erotic romance author, Cassandra Carr. I couldn’t believe this was her first time writing about two men falling in love, “See the Light” was that well written.

Jason and Patrick struggled against their mutual attraction until finally, they could stay away from each other no more and had a mind-blowing oral sex encounter in Jason’s room.

The kiss that led to that…amazing! Their passion practically leaps off the page. 😀 But it’s a long road to being a couple, and a closeted gay couple at that, because both men work in the National Hockey League (NHL). Although there is an educational campaign in place, neither Jason nor Patrick are willing to risk their careers just yet.

Keeping their secret is doubly hard when the USA Hockey Team heads to Geneva for the Winter Olympics. Jason and Patrick are around each other a lot but they dare not be seen ‘together’ in public. The lengths these two go to, in freezing weather, just to be together…makes you realise how hard it is for people dealing with prejudice to just be themselves around others without fear/worry/repercussions.

Humour abounds between these two, even when dealing with being ‘in the closet’, which is a big part of the reason why I enjoyed “See the Light” so much. In fact,  read it in one night, so hooked was I on their story. 🙂

This being an erotic romance, there was or course lots of sex…and it was hawt! It never felt gratuitous. Rather, being together physically, in the privacy of hotel rooms for the most part, was hot Jason and Patrick were able to express themselves and release pent up sexual frustration from only seeing each other sporadically due to their hockey schedules.

A tragic incident forces this hockey player and the team advisor to face their feelings and damn the consequences in the process.

There was a bit of scandal but the author chose to focus on Jason, Patrick and their teammates’ reactions to the ‘coming out’ and relationship status. While I appreciated that, I would have loved an epilogue of this coupe’s lives post-immediate HEA to see how the wider NHL and Jason’s family reacted to the truth.

I’m hoping Ms Carr choses to write either a sequel or include the “kid” and the “old man” in a future book.

See The Light coverBUY Links:

Amazon

Loose Id

All Romance eBooks

*********************

EXCERPT:

Patrick packed up his stuff and headed out, hitting the button on his rental car’s remote to unlock the doors when he was a few feet away. His brain flashed back to his meeting with Jason. The kid was acting weird, and Patrick wasn’t sure what was going on. He’d been loose that morning, laughing and joking with his fellow teammates. So what was different during their meeting? Was he nervous about being yelled at?

The brass at USA Hockey had spoken to his coach in New Jersey before making their final selections and had been told the kid was definitely coachable. Patrick wasn’t sure what would be different about him taking direction here.
He frowned. Come to think of it, he’d seen Jason interact with the various coaches today, including him, and he hadn’t seemed as uptight as he just had. Did the kid not like him for some reason? What had changed in only a few hours? When Patrick realized he was standing beside his car door, staring into space, he shook his head and climbed into the car for the drive back to the hotel, resolving to watch Jason tomorrow, both to see if the younger man took his advice about the positioning and to see if he acted strangely around any of the other staff. Having a player hate you was always bad for chemistry, especially when you had no idea why or what to do about it.

* * * *

The next day, Patrick was more confused than ever. He’d found himself watching Jason like a hawk, and Jason appeared to be having a great time, streaking up and down the ice during drills in the morning and working his ass off in the afternoon scrimmage. He was quick to smile and laugh, but the couple of times Patrick noticed that when Jason glanced his way as Patrick sat a few rows up from the benches, his smile had faded and he’d turned away. Never before had a player responded to Patrick that way, not while he was playing, and certainly not now that he was serving in an advisory capacity for USA Hockey and as a scout for Philly during the season.

Despite Jason’s apparent dislike of him, though, Patrick was drawn to him. When he looked down at his notes and realized the legal pad in front of him was virtually blank, and that what notes he’d managed to jot down were almost exclusively dedicated to Jason, he rubbed the bridge of his nose between his thumb and index finger while silently castigating himself.

In the logical part of his brain, he knew there was a possibility a player wouldn’t like him or wouldn’t jibe with him at some point in his career. Despite that, for some reason it bothered him a whole hell of a lot. Jason was a player he respected tremendously. Yes, he was young, but also incredibly talented. He had a great future ahead of him.

Doesn’t hurt that he’s smokin’ hot either.

He told his dick to shut up. Patrick had played with and been around good-looking, well-toned professional athletes for years. The guy’s physical makeup shouldn’t even be entering into his thought process. But it was. Shit. Not having a hot guy such as Jason like him was hard on a gay man’s ego, especially since Patrick wasn’t exactly a young man himself anymore. With a sigh, he tore his gaze away from Jason and forced himself to observe the other guys.

When Jason was still acting squirrelly the next day, Patrick caught up with him in the hallway outside the trainers’ room. He was losing his mind. He had to know what was up with the kid. For the past two days he’d been racking his brain, trying to figure out what he could possibly have done to bring about this change in the man’s attitude.

“Hey, Roney, wait a minute.”

Jason froze before slowly turning. His expression was stony. “Yeah?”

Patrick took a deep breath. Instead of relaxing him, the clean, woodsy scent of Jason’s cologne flooded his nostrils, and he barely held in an agonized groan. “What’s up with you?” His question came out harsher than he’d intended, and he sighed.

“What do you mean?”

The younger man wouldn’t meet his gaze, and Patrick tried to rein in his temper. What the fuck was going on?

“This,” Patrick answered, gesturing toward Jason. “Did I do something to piss you off?”

Jason’s eyes were shadowed with an unreadable emotion when he finally looked at Patrick. “No.”

“Then what’s with the attitude?”

One eyebrow rose. “Attitude?”

Patrick crowded him a little, and Jason immediately retreated, his back hitting the wall behind him.

What the fuck? Is he afraid of me?

The concept seemed ridiculous, but otherwise, why would he be acting this way?

“This,” Patrick repeated, poking Jason in the chest. “You won’t look at me, you won’t talk to me, and now you look like someone just made you eat something that smelled bad.” Jason’s throat worked, and Patrick frowned. “I don’t understand what I did, but we’re going to be working closely over the next couple of months, and I don’t want there to be some weird rift between us.”

Crossing his arms over his chest in the scant distance between them, Jason replied, “There’s nothing. I’m fine.”

A lesser man would’ve been cowed by the threatening stance the younger man had taken, but Patrick was used to hockey players beating their chests. It didn’t faze him, despite the fact that Jason was about six-two and easily over two hundred pounds. Patrick was a few inches shorter and, at this point, probably twenty pounds lighter, but Jason being bigger kind of turned him on. Really, if anything, Patrick should be afraid of Jason, not the other way around.

Looking at the other man’s face just a hairbreadth away, Patrick noticed how close they were standing, especially since Jason had crossed his arms. His treacherous dick twitched. At the moment Jason was clad in a pair of sweat shorts that no doubt showed his ass to great effect and a skintight USA Hockey T-shirt, his large feet clad in the sandals most of the players wore around the locker-room area. Those muscular arms, still crossed over his mouthwatering chest, were lightly dusted with dark hair, as were his legs.

Patrick was practically plastered to the other man, not having wanted to look weak by backing down himself, and when Jason met his gaze once more, Patrick barely stifled a gasp. Heat lurked in the kid’s eyes, much as he no doubt tried to disguise it. There was no mistaking the way his pupils were lust blown. It was next to impossible to hide if someone were looking closely, and Patrick was. Was he gay? Even more alarming—did he know Patrick was too? Was that the reasoning behind the look Patrick had just intercepted?

This just got pretty fucking complicated.

*********************

Filed Under: CABR Gold Star Review

Review: “A Devil in Disguise” by Caitlin Crews

Dec 11

ADID picTitle: The Devil in Disguise

Author: Caitlin Crews

Rating: CABR Gold Star Review

Publication date: October 2012

Publisher: Mills & Boon Modern

Review: I have one word for this book – WOW.

Caitlin Crews delivers yet another master piece in “A Devil in Disguise“, complete with the most selfish, stubborn, jaw-droppingly rude alpha male I’ve ever met in a M&B Modern book and a feisty, strong heroine determined to fight for her future, even if it means walking away from the man she loves.

CABRGOLDCayo Vila and Drusilla ‘Dru’ Bennett are both outwardly ‘together’ people with successful careers but inside, oh boy, they are emotionally damaged and only truly become aware of how much and in what ways when confronted by the end of their effortless working relationship.

Dru’s courage to declare “I quit!” to a boss, a man, who never accepts the “no” when he wants something sets her and Cayo on an emotional journey as they conduct business, and eventually pleasure, in London, Madrid, the Mediterranean and Bora Bora.

The cover is also one of my faves! The hero actually looks a lot like Caitlin Crews has described Cayo Vila. 🙂

Be sure to add this book to your collection. Click here to purchase.

ADinD picSynopsis: Playing with fire!

Drusilla Bennett’s job from hell will soon be over. Ready to take her life back and walk away from the devil – currently disguised as her boss – Dru plucks up the courage to say ‘I quit!’

Nothing has ever taken Cayo Vila by surprise – until now. And the word ‘no’ just isn’t part of his vocabulary. So a resignation from the best PA he’s ever had is simply unacceptable.

Dru’s heard all about his legendary charm, but now that it’s turned on her she understands exactly why it’s so hard to say no to Cayo Vila!

Filed Under: CABR Gold Star Review

The Girl Nobody Wanted by Lynn Raye Harris

Nov 11

Title: The Girl Nobody Wanted

Author: Lynn Raye Harris

Series: The Santina Crown Series (Book 7 of 8)

Grade: CABR Gold Star Review

Publication date: November 2012

Publisher: Harlequin Presents/Mills & Boon

Synopsis: Stop the Press: Jilted Bride Stranded with a Notorious Playboy!

Anna Constantinides, publicly humiliated when her longtime fiancé announced his engagement to someone else, might have thought things couldn’t get any worse.… Until her private jet crash-landed on an uninhabited island, leaving her stranded with billionaire hotel magnate Leo Jackson.

Renowned playboy Leo’s reputation is legendary, and if the smoldering looks they were fighting to contain when rescued are anything to go by, there can only be one question on everybody’s lips: Just how long did it take wickedly sexy Leo to undress buttoned-up heiress Anna?

Review: Lynn Raye Harris has written a true gem in “The Girl Nobody Wanted” (TGNW) – an outwardly composed heroine with deep emotional wounds who faces off against a seemingly care-free playboy with his own family issues to deal with.

Anna’s strength amazed me; to remain composed while the paparazzi and her fellow royalty pay keen attention to her every move while attending her former fiance’s engagement party? That takes skill.

The one person able to see through her facade is Leo, the brother of her fiance’s soon-to-be wife, Allegra.

A businessman and owner of the Leonidas Group, which builds luxury hotels in exclusive locations.

This is Leo, as pictured on the I Heart Harlequin Presents website page dedicated to The Santina Crown series.

One can see what draws Anna to Leo even as she fights to deflect him from seeking the truth about what makes her tick. Where others see a serene princess-in-waiting, Leo sees a woman so busy suppressing her passionate nature, she doesn’t even realise it exits.

Anna is challenged emotionally by Leo on their two-person flight to Amanti; naturally Leo is a trained pilot and prefers to fly himself whenever he can, but when their plan crashes after they divert from the flight plan, the sniping turns to kissing. 😀

Boy oh boy, do Anna and Leo have chemistry together! They’re a great match in wits and in bed, or in this case, on the beach.

This story gets even better, yes it does, when they return to reality and have to face life after the island.

Leo’s relationship with his father shows a depth to our hero that makes you fall in love with him even more than you already did for shaking Anna out of her shell.

Anna herself inspires you because she’s willing to be bold, put herself out there, in the hopes of finding her own happiness and identity away from Amanti and Santina.

I’d love to be there when the Jackson family and the Santina royal family have a get together to see how Anna and Allegra interact. I’d expect some fireworks but a fun, loving relationship in the end. 😀

Although this is book 7 in The Santina Crown series, you don’t have to read the books in order. So head over to your nearest bookstore now and pick up a copy, paperback or eBook, of The Girl Nobody Wanted.

Woman in a Sheikh’s World by Sarah Morgan

Nov 6

Title: Woman in a Sheikh’s World

Author: Sarah Morgan

Series: The Private Lives of Public Playboys (Book 2 of 2)

Grade: CABR Gold Star Review

Publication date: December 2012

Publisher: Harlequin Presents

Synopsis: With a client list hotter than the Zubran desert, wedding planner Avery Scott shouldn’t be surprised that her latest client is Crown Prince Malik of Zubran—the man who once lit her body on fire…before steamrollering over her heart.

Determined to ignore Malik’s lethal charm, Avery makes a very personal not-to-do list:

1. Not being Malik’s intended, our relationship must remain 100 percent professional.

2. His arranged bride might have run away, but I mustn’t distract him—for the kings of Zubran, duty always comes first.

3. However luxurious the Bedouin tent—and smoldering the tension—pride dictates the touch I crave stays strictly forbidden.

Review: What a fantastic read! Sarah Morgan had me hooked from page 1, chapter 1 of Woman in a Sheikh’s World(WIASW).This is an emotional journey in which the heroine, Avery Scott, is on emotional lock-down while her ex-lover, Malik (Mal to his friends) is ready to commit.

The story begins with Avery dreaming of the beautiful deserts of Zubran when suddenly the ground falls away beneath her. Avery’s awakened by her co-worker and best friend Jenny.

We soon learn Avery is struggling to cope with her breakup with Mal (even though she ended things), while planning his wedding reception to a virgin princess from one of Zubran’s neighbours.

Not one to be ignored, Mal arrives at Avery’s office via helicopter (landing on the roof of her office building), demanding to know if she encouraged his fiancee to run away.

Thus begins the adventure through the desert as Avery and Mal find their way back to each other. Oh, the heat and sexual tension between these two! 😉

Even after they do, there are still relationship hurdles to overcome. Quite realistic and refreshing, since most category romance books end at the reunion scene.

Thank you Sarah Morgan for writing such a masterpiece. I hope one day you can turn WIASW into a full-length novel.

Although this is book 2 of 2 in SM’s The Private Lives of Public Playboys series, each book centres around the relationship of a particular couple, in this case that of Mal and Avery. So go ahead and pre-order your copy of Woman in a Sheikh’s World. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. 😀

Filed Under: CABR Gold Star Review

Dane by Liliana Hart

Sep 17

Title: Dane

Author: Liliana Hart

Series: The MacKenzie Brothers Quartet, bk 1

Grade: CABR Gold Star Review

Publication date: July 10, 2011

Publisher: Bodysways Publishing

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services Incorporated

Synopsis: In this novella, bad boy, Dane MacKenzie, is coming home to Surrender, Montana. It’s been ten years since he left the woman he loved behind to make a name for himself, and now he’s bound and determined to claim her once and for all.

But Charlotte Munroe has no desire to welcome home the Prodigal Son with a fatted calf. The bitterness of Dane’s betrayal runs deep, and she has no plans of letting him back into her life. Especially since she’s trying to protect the son Dane isn’t aware exists from heartbreak, since she’s sure he’s only going to walk out of their lives again.

Review: Wow! That’s all I have to say…LOL Of course not. “Dane” was one of the most well-written erotic romance novellas I’ve ever read.

Liliana Hart did an amazing job giving you Dane and Charlie’s backstories even as the h/h relieved their 10-year-old sexual tension and discovered they had a second chance at love.

Did I mention all of this was accomplished in 49 pages? Yup. Wish “Dane” was longer but did not feel shortchanged at all. Hence my CABR Gold Star Review.

So if you’re looking for a great, hot, read and an intro to the MacKenzie Brothers, then “Dane” is your book. 😀

Tell what you think after reading it.

 

 

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