Category Archives: Contemporary Romance

ARC Review: Sweet Little Lies (Heartbreaker Bay #1) by Jill Shalvis

4.5 gems

sweet little lies

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Jill Shalvis book. Sweet Little Lies was a good book to start reading her again. I do love a book with strong characters and zero unnecessary drama, and Sweet Little Lieswas exactly that. Sweet Little Lies is a gem of a book. Beautifully written, with strong lead as well as side characters.

Pru is one of the strongest and best heroines I’ve read recently. As a captain of a San Francisco Bay tour boat, Pru is used to handling the rough seas and having lived through tough times in the past, she is also used to a rough life. Now all she wants is to do right by the people she believes were wronged and live a content if not happy life. But she finds herself drawn to a man who isn’t exactly right for her, a man she believes will hate her when he learns of his past.

Finn O’Riley is six-foot something, hardworking man who always has his bar and is arms open for his friends. When Pru becomes one of his friends, he extends the same behaviour to her too. Finn too has had a rough past. Early on he had to abandon his dreams to take care of his brother Sean, who by the way still hasn’t grown up. Pru enters into his life as a breath of fresh air.

The chemistry between Finn and Pru is perceptible and hot as hell. They share a great rapport and the banter between them is fun-filled and sexy. I love how their relationship progresses. They start as friends and go on to become lovers. They learn new things about each other with each passing page. You can actually see how their relationship develops and grows. As individuals too Pru and Finn grow a lot over the course of the book.

Pru has easily become one of my favorite heroines. She is innately good, with a big heart and only love to give, with no expectations of any returns. She made me fall in love with her. She is the kind of woman you need in your life, the best friend who will stay with you through your thick and thin. Her past and her guilt also broke my heart. For a woman so pure and good, her circumstances were not so good. I loved how easily Finn’s group of friends accepted her. Even a tough cookie like Elle was won over by Pru. Pru’s chemistry wih Elle and Willa is exactly the kind I feel I have with my friends, which made it all the more relatable.

Finn too was a great character. He had no controlling or dominating tendencies and that made him love him. In the era of hard-core alpha males, Finn came in as a breath of fresh air. That’s not to say that he wasn’t alpha, he was, just not in the overbearing way. He helped Pru open up and grow as an individual. He made her want happiness and life and love, and I absolutely loved him for it. Pru and Finn were the perfect couple.

Like in any romance novel, in Sweet Little Lies too there was an anger induced break-up. But the way Finn comes back to Pru and everything that hew says, I just fell in love with him and that epilogue was just beautiful.

Sweet Little Lies was a mixture of love and heartbreak, laughter and cries, sexy times and honest love-making. It was beautifully written in a way that would win your heart and make you believe in love. I can’t wait to read the stories of the rest of the gang.

This review was first published in The Ever Romantic Arts


The Millionaire Makeover (Bachelor Auction #2) by Naima Simone

4 gems

The Millionaire Makeover

When you think of a fairy tale retelling, you imagine a fantasy with probably monsters and fairies and all sorts of paranormal shenanigans. Well, at least I did. That was before I read Naima Simone’s Bachelor Auction series. Thanks to her I know that fairy tale re-tellings can worm their way into contemporary romances too. By the wayThe Millionaire Makeover, if you haven’t guessed yet, is a rendition of The Ugly Duckling.

Plain-Jane Khloe Richardson, a.k.a the ugly duckling (at least she seems to think so, I don’t know why!) is in love with her boss. Except she doesn’t know how to approach him, and he definitely doesn’t see her. So what’s a girl to do? Make him jealous of course. Now how do you go about doing that, you ask? Easy peasy, you bid on a bachelor at the Bachelor Auction. Now if that bachelor turns out to be your brother’s best friend, who slept with you and then took off? You stay far away from him. And then after a few days of him wearing you down, ask him for a makeover. Well Khloe never wanted to do all that. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. And when you have a best friend like Morgan pushing you into the arms of the love of your life, there’s not much one can do.

I love the brother’s best friend trope. The genre and I are the bestest of friends. And this book is exactly that. To make things interesting, Naima Simone decides to off the brother. Now hold your horses, before you start thinking, “with the brother gone things are going to be so easy” Because they are not going to be easy at all. The brother, Michael has to give a hard time to the man who is trying to shag his sister, even if it from the grave, a la P.S. I Love You style, with a letter. Or rather a couple of them. Read on for the rest.. the story isn’t disappointing. When you’ve a brooding, alpha male with an Irish accent, things can never be boring.

For Niall Hunter, Michael Richardson is his brother, his best friend and his family. His death completely shatters Niall. Dealing with the loss of the only person who accepted him warts and all is not going to be easy. Michael’s sister Khloe has a hard time dealing with the loss of her brother. So, she goes to the only person who really knows what she is going through, her brother’s best friend Niall. Neither of them expected to end up in bed together. And Khloe definitely wasn’t prepared for Niall to disappear from her life after an amazing night together.

Fast forward three years, Khloe has moved on, or so she thinks until Niall appears in front of her. It’s like seeing a ghost from the past. For the past three years there has been no communication between Khloe and Niall, and not for her lack of trying. Niall has stayed away from Khloe for three years. She used to be one of her closest friend. But after “deflowering” her, he receives a letter from Michael. Which explicitly states that Khloe deserves a better man than him. So Niall does what any man who loves his best friend and has some decency and honor do. He leaves her in bed. Naked. Then doesn’t talk to her for three years.

Now that Niall is back in town, he wants to be Khloe’s friend. Just like old times. What Niall doesn’t know yet,  is that the penance for sleeping with your best-friend’s little sister is…. transforming her into a beautiful swan from an ugly duckling. All this would be cool, if only, and only if, he could stop imagining her naked and stop touching her, and stop trying to be her everything.

I loved reading this book. Because even though the trope is clichéd, Naima Simone brings her own flavor into the novel. Her characters are quite real and very well fleshed out. Be it the guilt-ridden and heart-broken Niall or the sweet and shy Khole. You could even understand Khole’s parents and their reactions, even if you don’t agree with them. And I don’t agree with them. I wanted to slap them around for a bit, and then I realized it’ll take more than a few love-taps to make them open their eyes and see what’s in front of them.

For those of you, who are not familiar with Naima’s work, this book is as good as any to start with. I guarantee, you will not be disappointed. The Millionaire Makeover is full  of good humor and great  characters. The story itself won’t let you leave disappointed either.

Other books in this series:

Beauty and the Bachelor

This review was first published in The Ever Romantic Arts

Beauty and the Bachelor (Bachelor Auction #1) by Naima Simone

3.5 gems

the beauty and the bachelor

Lucas Oliver is all set to avenge his father. And he will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. Even if it involves blackmailing the innocent daughter of his sworn enemy into marrying him. All her life Sydney Blake was controlled by her family. She was nothing more than a disappointment to her fickle, indifferent mother and her driven, controlling and absent father. She was a mere pawn in her father’s games. The only good thing she did to please her parents was agreeing to marry the son of her father’s business associate. And even that appreciation is short-lived, when she decides to give in to Lucas’s blackmail and marry him to save her father.

At first when I saw that the people around Sydney, including her family was treating her like garbage, I was enraged. Not just at her family, but also Sydney herself. What person just stands and looks around while they are being beaten to an inch of their lives. But as I kept reading, I realized, Sydney is far stronger than she looks. She has the kind of inner strength that inspires. The kind of strength one can’t guess just by looking at her. Her actions are mainly driven by the guilt of an old tragedy, a tragedy even her father blamed her for. But the growth you see in Sydney with each passing page is commendable.

Lucas Oliver. I have mixed feelings about the guy. When I first finished this book, I was leaning towards the ‘I-hate-him’ tip of the scale. But now that I have had some time to think and process the book, I am more in the middle. The best thing I loved about Lucas was that he is the reason Sydney found herself. He encouraged her, made her feel special, made her more confident. I think without Lucas, Sydney wouldn’t have grown as much as she did in this book. He made her more independent and strong enough to stand up for herself.

Now as much as I loved Lucas for all the good he did to Sydney, I hated all the bad he did to her too. He was always clear about his agenda. Revenge. No matter what the cost. And that’s what he does till almost the end of the book. More times than not, Sydney had to pay for her father’s sins in some way or the other. He may not have physically hurt her, but he hurt her plenty emotionally. At every stage of their relationship he kept secrets, his actions would say something and his words something else. Like Sydney, I too was frustrated with his back and forth. And when he accuses her of doing something she wouldn’t dream of, all bets are off.

Lucas does come to his senses and realizes what an ass he was for treating Sydney the way he did. And he does promise to keep her happy and love her for the rest of his life. But I would have loved to see some more grovelling on his part.

What was irrefutable was Lucas and Sydney’s chemistry. Oh boy did they have chemistry. Oozing hot was what they were. Since the moment their eyes met across the stage, they were sizzling. The sex was hot and even when they were angry with each bother they were burning up the pages. Their attraction to each other through all the ups and downs was so palpable, it was undeniable. Their kind of passion is one of the reasons that I think their relationship made it.

The only secondary character I liked was Aiden, Lucas’s best friend. He was a fun guy who could clearly see that what Lucas was doing was not right. He tried to talk him out of it too. And when Lucas inevitably messes up his relationship with Sydney, it’s Aiden who gives him the much-needed kick in the ass. Tyler, Sydney’s ex-fiance too was a guy that I really liked. As we find out in the book, he has his own mess to clean up and I can’t wait to read more about him. I hope Naima Simone decides to write his story, because that’s one that I definitely want to read.

The people I hated most in this book were Sydney’s parents. There are no two parents worse than Jason and Charlene Blake. The way they chipped at their daughter was just despicable. They reminded me of vultures picking at a carrion. I am really surprised though that Sydney turned out the way she did with the kind of parents she had. But I guess, when you have the worst kind of parents, you are determined to be the best kind of person. And Sydney was definitely the best kind of person. Though Jason too realizes his mistakes and apologizes to Sydney, for e it was too little, too late. Twenty years of indifference and hurtful attitude can’t be overcome by one apology. But Jason was still better than Charlene, because that woman never even bothers to apologize to her daughter for all the agony she has caused.

Overall it was a really good book with an emotional roller coaster ride and an amazing lead heroine. Sydney is the kind of woman one would like to emulate. Her innate goodness, her strength, her kindness and courage are the best part of her. I have a total girl-crush on her, because let’s be honest, she may not wield a sword, but she is totally bad-ass.

This review was first published in The Ever Romantic Arts

Betting On The Wrong Brother (What Happens in Vegas #12) by Cathryn Fox

4 gems

betting on the wrong brother

I love the whole falling for the brother’s best friend trope. And Betting on the Wrong Brother is kinda like that with a twist.

When Andi Palmer imagined running into her childhood crush, Nolan Wheeler, the man who crushed her heart and humiliated her, she did not think she would be half-naked in the hotel elevator. And she definitely didn’t think that he wouldn’t recognize her or that he’d give her a false name. Except, the man’s not Nolan and Andi doesn’t know that.

Ryan Grayson did not expect to meet a devil in an angel’s body, half-naked in the hotel elevator. But that’s exactly what happens. Any woman who seduces him without trying, and then drags him to the male model contest, to participate, has to be a devil, right? Andi with her sharp tongue and quick wit, captures his attention and he can’t stay away. When Ryan realizes that Andi mistakes him for his brother, he is unable to tell her the truth.

Andi’s plan for revenge goes awry when she sees the genuinely good guy Ryan is. He understands her like no one else , he gets her. And he is far from the heartless man who broke her heart. If anything, he’s the complete opposite. But when the truth comes out, Andi just might not forgive him.

Ryan is a successful horror writer and a dyslexic. I loved the way Ms. Fox treated the issue. She didn’t belittle it, but she did not make it into a paralyzing disability either. Ryan learns to get over his shortcomings. He is also an absolutely adorable, sexy and swoon-worthy man. He treats Andi like a princess, even when he knows that she thinks he is Nolan. But Andi sees him too. Despite the past, she comes to learn that the man she sees in front of her his way different from the cocky teenager who broke her heart.

Betting on the Wrong Brother was such a fun and flirty read. You’ll absolutely fall in love with the characters. The author also gave little insights into the nuances of an author’s life, which I loved. This is the second book that I’ve read in the What Happens in Vegasseries, and so far I loved them both. I can’t wait to delve into the rest of the series.

This review first appeared in The Ever Romantic Arts. 

Book Review: Love on a Summer Night (Pine Harbour#4) by Zoe York

5 gems

love on a summer night

Oh boy… This was by far. The. Best. Book in the series. #TheZanderEffect was in full swing in this book.

Zander Minelli has found his way back home to Pine Harbor after dedicating 20 years of his life to the army. In six months he’ll be out and needs to figure out what his future will be. What better place to do that than home sweet home. While on this two-week leave from the army, he meets the most delicious kind of woman, Ponytail Girl. She is beautiful, smart and has lots of questions on how to use deadly weapons and kill people. Fortunately for Zander, she also shares  his love for apple pie.

Faith Davidson is a widowed, single mother and a full-time author. She is ready to dip her feet back into the dating pool. Her only conditions: no tattoos and no bad boys. Only stable, boring men. While spending her time writing at the neighborhood diner, Greta’s, Faith encounters a tall, dark and handsome biker dude, who has her blood boiling and thinking dirty thoughts. He also happens to speak the language of weapons quite fluently, so she racks his brain for all the available knowledge. There’s just one catch. The hot as hell guy is the exact type of man Faith did not want; tattooed-bad boy. Except the attraction is strong and somehow they end up bumping into each other everywhere they go.

Zander and Faith were such amazing characters. Both strong in their own rights. Though they had instant attraction, there’s was by no means an insta-love story. Their relationship developed over the two-weeks Zander was in town and then later, when he was away. I loved seeing the way in which Zoe York dealt with the long distance relationship. A long-distance relationship is not easy, and Ms. York made sure that she included the difficulties that come with it, rather than making it all hunky dory. She also didn’t make Faith and Zander’s relationship full of fights, which I must say is very well done.

Faith was no meek woman, but after the death of husband in a skiing accident she has grown a lot more reserved and overprotective about her son Eric. She dulled her life, suppressed her desires, so that Eric wouldn’t have to grow up without either of his parents. She got a lot of help from her mother too. Faith, Eric and Faith’s mother shared  a very good relationship. Her mother too is a widow and knows how Faith feels.

Zander is indeed a tough, responsible guy. He loved his family, but the army is his life. He is in a dilemma when the book starts as to what to do with his life after his army stint comes to an end. But when Faith enters the picture, his priorities shift. He wants to stay with her and Eric, rather than being gone for months at a time. The six months they spent apart from each other while Zander was gone was difficult for both of them. The best thing about Zander was that he never took Faith for granted. He knew what her insecurities were, dealt with them in the best away possible. He never rubbished her fears, but rather coaxed her out in the open.

As expected from a typical Zoe York book, the chemistry was sizzling between Faith and Zander. They made a really good couple who shared a certain ease with each other. Every time they came together, sparks were flying. It was beautiful to see how caring Zander was towards Faith. He took care of the minutest details. He made her feel special and loved.

while Zander and Faith’s relationship was amazing, what was even better was Zander and Eric’s relationship. Now that took the cake. That man was meant to be a father. #ZanderEffect. Oh man!! The way Zander dealt with Eric, such love and care, I doubt even his biological father would have been capable of that. Zander was friend, a mentor, a comrade, a father, everything humanly possible to Eric. And the relationship all three of them shared together, Faith, Eric and Zander, a perfect family.

A special mention should also be given to Jake and Dani. They finally got married and man, oh man, their wedding vows…. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t shed a few tears. It was just PERFECT!! Everything about this book was just plain amazing. There was nothing wrong that I could find about this book. Since it was an ARC, there were a few typos, but even those were disregarded in favor of the awesome story-line and beautiful characters. I know that every time a new book by Zoe comes out, I say it’s my favorite, but THIS BOOKS WAS PERFECT! This was absolutely mesmerizing in the beauty of the relationships depicted and the story touched my heart.

I’m crossing my fingers that the next book in the series, which is Dean’s book was will as amazing as this, if not better.

This review was first published on The Ever Romantic Arts.

Book Review: Witness to Passion (Guarding Her Body #1) by Naima Simone

4 gems

witness to passion

Fallon Wayland hates birthdays. After all nothing good has happened to her on any of her birthdays. On her tenth birthday her dad stood her up because he was on a business trip, on her fifteenth birthday, her mom took her puppy to the pound and on her eighteenth birthday she kissed her childhood crush and got rejected. If you think all this was bad till you hear what happened on her twenty-fifth birthday. She gets dumped by her boyfriend on twitter, witnesses a mob hit and gets fired from her job. And now her life is all turned around.

Shane Roarke has avoided his baby sister’s best friend, Fallon for the past seven years after sharing a hot as hell kiss with her. But now that Fallon’s life is in danger, he can’t stay away. I doesn’t matter if just seeing Fallon turns him on. Her life is more important than his need to stay away.

With Fallon’s life endangered at very turn, Shane takes it upon himself to keep her safe. With both of them cooped up in a safe house, desires flare, clothes come off and hearts are at risk. Even when the clothes are flying off, danger is creeping in. Fallon and Shane need to survive if they must have a chance at love.

Fallon and Shane have a love-hate relationship, more hate than love. Being rejected does not sit well with Fallon after all. After avoiding her for almost eight years, when Shane shows up at her doorstep ready to be her knight in shining armor, she is skeptical.

“If you were truly ‘here for me,’ you would have a Kahlua in one hand and Henry Cavill’s number in the other. Since I’m not having drunken phone sex with Superman, there must be another reason you’re darkening my living room.”

Their banter is what made me love Fallon and Shane. Their back and forth was fun and oozing chemistry.  Both came from similar emotional backgrounds. While Fallon’s parents had money and never love to give her, Shane’s mom had loads of love, but was reckless and self-involved. They never tried to see the people behind the masks, and now that they do, they might not survive long enough to act on it.

The suspense in this book was good. I figured out who the traitor was once a couple of hints were dropped, but otherwise this book was majorly unpredictable. The characters were strong, the sex was hot and Addy, Shane’s sister and Fallon’s best was friend was super fun.

Witness to Passion was a good blend of romance and suspense. The action in the book kept me on my toes, and the author did not disappoint.

This review first appeared on The Ever Romantic Arts.

Book Review: Wilde at Heart (Wilde Security #3) by Tonya Burrows

4.5 gems

wilde at heart

I was so happy to receive an early copy of this book, ’cause since the day I finished Wilde for Her,  I was looking forward to Reece and Shelby’s story. And Tonya Burrows didn’t disappoint.Wilde at Heart was by far my favorite book in the series.

Though Cam and Jude were the most fun Wilde brothers and they are, except, Reece is better. He is adorable, sweet and sexy as hell. Reece and Shelby together were amazing together. Tonya Burrows had me laughing from the very first page. And considering that the heroine was Shelby, this book was guaranteed fun.

Shelby as usual spoke her mind and was fun as always. She is an independent young woman who knew her strengths and weakness. People never gave her a chance to be anything other than the flighty, reckless girl that she was. She tried so hard to be the responsible adult, but people’s views including that of her sister Eva and the Wilde brothers, including to some extent Reece, never changed.

While I loved Eva for the kick-ass woman that she was in Wilde For Her, I strongly disliked her in this book. She never really understood Shelby and she didn’t try to. She was always the first one to point out Shelby’s shortcomings and reprimand her. She was also the very last person to believe Shelby could make a sane, responsible decision. True Shelby was impulsive, but even behind her impulse she had good reason.

While I loved Reece for the kind-hearted, geeky nerd that he was, I was sometimes disappointed with him for his behavior with Shelby. He too never saw behind the mask of Shelby’s impulsiveness. He tried to change her from what she is to what he thinks she should be. But on the other hand he also didn’t want Shelby to change. His complexity and duality made for an intriguing read.

This book was suspenseful, fun and mostly unpredictable. There were two tracks working parallel in the story- one was Reece’s blackmail and the other was Shelby’s. While it was easy enough to guess who had a bone to grind with Reece, I honestly couldn’t predict who the villain in Shelby’s life was till the end. The sex as usual in Tonya Burrows style was hot has hell. Burrows has made sure to pave a footpath for both Vaughn and Greer Wilde. Tonya Burrows made sure to throw us crumbs about the upcoming books. I can already feel the fun and intensity in Lark and Vaughn’s book.

The surprise element in this book for me was Reece. In the previous books he came across as uptight and snobbish. But in this book Reece truly shined. He was just a lot more shy and reserved than his brothers. Trying to shoulder the weight of his brothers took a toll on him. Shelby was the perfect woman for him. She brought out the fun, geeky, artistic guy that he was. But what really threw me was the fact that Reece was a virgin!! I NEVER and I mean NEVER expected that. Thank you Ms. Burrows for surprising me!

Wilde at Heart truly encompassed what both Reece and Shelby were, and they were incredibly wild. This book is undoubtedly my favorite book in the series. Can’t wait for Vaughn and Greer’s story to come out.

This review first appeared on The Ever Romantic Arts.

Book Review: Rock Hard(Rock Kiss #2) by Nalini Singh

4 gems

rock hard

I’ve been looking forward to Charlie and T-Rex’s story since I read Rock Addiction. We already got a hint as to how Charlie and Gabriel’s relationship would be in that book. And boy, oh boy did I love it? Heck yeah. Rock Hard is my favorite book in the series. Rock Hard tells the story of a sweet, shy and invisible mouse, Charlotte Baird and a hot, strong, T-Rex of a man, Gabriel Bishop.

Charlie’s previous relationship was an abusive one. And she didn’t get out unscathed. Since her relationship with Richard ended, she has been living in a perpetual state of fear and apprehension, still plagued by the nightmares of that horrendous relationship. She was never an outgoing person to begin with, but after what Richard did to her, she just closed in on herself. The only person who knows who Charlotte really is, is her best friend Molly. But when her new boss, Gabriel Bishop pushes her far enough, she realises that she too has the strength to fight back.

Gabriel Bishop is a successful business man, and he was a successful rugby player. His kind of success doesn’t come without a lot of determination and a spine of steel. The man knows what he wants and how to get it. When he meets a closed off, shy, buttoned up Charlotte, he is tempted to break down her walls and reveal the beautiful woman beneath.

Now Gabriel Bishop is the kind of alpha male that I love. He never pushed too hard, just hard enough. I loved the way he coaxed Charlie out from her shell. It takes her a while, but she comes out on the other side, stronger. Gabriel always knew that Charlie was hiding a painful past, but he never coddled her. He never tried to patronized her. He treated her as his equal, like the strong woman that he knew she was.

Charlie has never been one to pick up a fight, but her boss drives her to almost committing murder. His murder. She just can’t understand why the man keeps pushing all her buttons, and she definitely can’t understand why he is so interested in her. After all T-Rex is a rugby god, a superstar with hoards of female fans, a successful businessman and hot to boot. So what does he see in a mouse like Charlie? The answer was quite simple. Gabriel saw beneath the protective layers of her. He saw the smart, sexy, talented yet vulnerable woman. And all he wanted was to protect her and have her. To call her his.

Unlike Rock Addiction, Rock Hard did not have a sex scene in every second chapter. I enjoyed the way Gabriel peeled off Charlie’s layers and showed us the woman beneath. It’s only when they both had established unwavering trust in each other, that they decided to consummate their relationship. It was a nice change of pace. The minimal sex scenes and abundance of emotions worked very well for me. Another thing I loved in this book was the smartly crafted, funny titles for all the chapter. Those itself were enough to bring a smile to my face.

Rock Hard was the prefect mix of good, strong characters, well-put together story-line and great writing. I look forward to going back to the boys of The Schoolboy Choir.

This review also appears on The Ever Romantic Arts.

Book Review: Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James

2.5 gems

fifty shades 1     fifty shades 2  fifty shades 3

The Fifty Shades Trilogy has been in rage for the past few years. I decided to jump the bandwagon and find out what Fifty Shades was all about around two years ago. Well…. I don’t really regret reading the series. Say what you may, but this series sure is addictive. It does grasp you and clutches into you tightly. Though the furor had died down in the past year or so, the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie brought it back with a bang. Once again Fifty Shades is everywhere.

This time around I’m doing my review a bit differently. Usually I would write-up a looong post about these three books and point out what I felt about it individually. But it’s been over two years since I read these book, so I am just going put my review into bullet points. Easy peasy right?

What I liked about the Fifty Shades Trilogy?

  • Christian Grey is hot. Speaking strictly in the physical sense of the word and nothing else. I mean he is a 20 something year old business tycoon who is tall, lean yet muscular, and broad-shouldered, with dark copper-colored hair and intense, bright gray eyes.
  • The music. The author included a lot of songs in the book. I enjoyed those selection of songs more than anything else. I even read the series a second time around just to make a note of the songs.
  • Christian as a submissive. This scene was somewhere in the middle of Fifty Shades Darker and it was a very powerful scene and then it fizzled out.
  • Ohh yeah there was this scene at the end of Fifty Shades Darker where Ana throws her drink to Elena a.k.a Mrs. Robinson’s face. That made the petty bitch in me really happy. I always wanted to do that. Hmm… Maybe someday soon the day will come when I can throw a dirty martini to someone’s face.
  • I can’t think of anything else. Hunh!! How about that?

What I did not like about the Fifty Shades Trilogy?

  • Lets start with the main thing shall we? The writing. The Fifty Shades Trilogy is nothing but a poorly written piece of work. The editing is bad, the characters are bad and well the story is just horrible.
  • Anastasia Steele is a whiny sissy. She does not know her own mind. I liked her when she said no and walked away from Christian, but all it took was a chopper ride and a kiss to jump back into bed with him. Yeah! Let’s not talk about her any more. I am tempted to call names. That’s bad isn’t it? You are not supposed to do that in reviews. *deep breaths*
  • Christian Grey. My hero. The love of my life. Yeah right, no. That’s not happening. Nuhuhh!! Nope. Sorry. I know you are hot Mr. Grey and you are rich, but lets just face it. You are a dick. There I said it. Happy now? This man has issues. Like serious issues. And I’m not talking about the BDSM. That not the problem at all. Christian Grey is a stalker. And an overtly dominating, controlling jerk. I mean who track the cell phone of the woman you interviewed you? Seriously dude!! You need to get checked out.
  • The sex scene at Christian’s hotel room when Ana is visiting her mother. That shouldn’t have happened. Nope. Not at all.
  • The pregnancy. At the end of the first book Ana got tired of the all the spanking and flogging and no-touching rule and walked away from Grey. Then Grey almost died and proposed marriage to Ana after knowing her for ONE MONTH. And they were even broken up for a WHOLE WEEK during that month. All this by the end of the second book. Of course there had to be an accidental pregnancy now. How else will the story move forward? The pregnancy was just not needed. There was enough drama with Ana’s ex-boss and the mystery surrounding Christian’s almost death.
  • What does Christian do when he finds out Ana accidentally got pregnant? He accuses her of getting pregnant deliberately and then runs off to share a drink with his ex. An ex, mind you, one his wife did not like at all. That’s what any sane guy would do right? I think I’m in a different universe. From where I come from the definition of sane is completely different.
  • Elena Lincoln a.k.a Mrs. Robinson. Any woman who seduces a 15-year-old boy is a bitch in my book. And any woman who introduces a 15-year-old boy to a hard-core life-like that of BDSM is a bitch beyond words.
  • Well I’m sure I can think of more things that I did not like in this series but my brain is fried.

I’ve seen quite a few people who have watched the movie, comment on Facebook thatFifty Shades condones domestic violence. I haven’t seen the movie, but that IS NOT true about the book. Many people would feel uncomfortable reading this book I am sure, but that doesn’t mean that the book promotes violence. BDSM is a completely different lifestyle. It is a way of life for some people. And if a woman gives her consensual agreement then what the hell is anyone else’s problem.

Well as the saying goes, “You may love it, you may hate it. But you just can’t ignore it.” That holds true for Fifty Shades too. I did not like the series, but it sure had my complete attention.

This review also appears on The Ever Romantic Arts

Book Review: All for You (Shore Secrets #2) by Christi Barth


All For You

***I was provided an e-ARC by the author in exchange for an honest review***

After a year of reading mediocre and boring romances, I was glad to read All For You. Once again, Christi Barth’s writing was a refreshing surprise. While I liked the first book by her, the second book has raised my expectations for her works.

This book focuses on Casey Hobbes (forest ranger) and Zane Buchanan (author/professor). Casey is used to flirting but she has never let her heart get involved seriously. Her past left her scarred and even though she recognises that fact, she has never been tempted to risk her heart. With the arrival of Zane, everything changes. Casey is the ‘forest flirt’, and she flirts with Zane as well. To their surprise, the fireworks between them are off-the-charts. Instead of hopping into bed at the first chance, they both choose to take it slow. Maybe its more because Zane’s persuasion that they give each other a serious chance, but Casey lets herself be persuaded for the first time.

But this development doesn’t come without its own slew of complications. After her affection for Zane grows, Casey discovers that he belongs to the same group of people she has been hiding from forever. Further, Zane has a broken marriage behind him, it is bound to make him a bit wary. Still, his baggage is nothing compared to hers and while he loves making her smile, the secrets of Casey’s past might just be the end of them.

I have read romance novels with similar plots. What made this one different are the characters. Though it might take a bit of time, one still connects with them. The author pens them in a manner which provides a certain depth and it doesn’t go unnoticed. There is no childishness to suffer here. They are mature and over the course of the novel, they grow more so. Tiny amounts of banter involved at almost every other incident in the novel grants the story a lightheartedness that is refreshing. This story delves into serious issues but it never overwhelms, making it a fun read.

Casey and Zane’s relationship might have been doomed from the start, as the author clearly portrays. With Casey’s nature (due to necessity) for keeping secrets and Zane’s penchant for exploring and exposing them to the world, it is hard for them to find harmony. Both are human and both have their faults and they are equally blind to their faults as well. So where does that leave them? With both of them taking a step towards each other. It’s a romance between two people who came together because of a rarest of all chance meetings and ends with the rarest kind of happy ending.

Unlike the last time where I chose a favourite, I was happy with both the central characters this time. Zane’s honesty, his funky persona and easy sense of humour was charming, and Casey’s amusement and her reactions to almost every character in the novel was something I could connect to. I was afraid that Casey might be one of those pathetic characters who follow the two-steps-forward-one-step-back routine. It would have been justified in this situation but I would have still disliked her. But Casey never did that. If anything, she kept her fears and doubts aside because she knew and appreciated the importance of the moment and where the events were leading her. I also found Zane’s viewpoint and ability to see through the truth quite commendable.

The book has some elements of angst but once again, they are perfectly balanced with the bouts of laughter. The author has a great grasp of non-romantic relationships as well. Dawn and Casey’s relationship was sweet and full of warmth. I admired Dawn and it was only at a later stage that I realised that the story with all its bonds and web of small town connections is very intricate in its form. To pull on a single thread means creating a huge ripple effect. In this book, I actually got to see and understand what that meant.

Which reminds me, I finally came face to face with the characters involved in the romance brewing in the journal. That was a huge and adorable surprise. Now I am eagerly looking forward to what happens next.

I found the ending of All For You a bit open-ended but I think it was more because there wasn’t an epilogue than anything else. So the questions I have will be answered in the next novel, I guess. Since I am not one of the most patient people, it doesn’t sit well with me but it is something I can live with. I am eagerly looking forward to Ward’s story and Joel’s story. I loved the revelations about both of them (direct or indirect) and I can’t wait to see more of the amazing characters that Barth has created. Though it has been written from multiple points of view, this book still retains distinguishing qualities for the narrative views of different characters.

On a side note, I was happily surprised to realise how apropos the cover and the title is to the story. I felt something similar for Up To Me, but it was more apparent for All For You.

I was eagerly anticipating the arrival of All For You and I am glad I got my hands on its ARC. My anticipation was not in vain. All For You was a fun read with exactly the perfect amount of emotions, angst and laughter.

Click here for the review of Up To Me(Shore Secrets#1)