Author: Ames

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Slave by Cheryl Brooks

Posted May 23, 2019 by Ames in Features, Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Slave by Cheryl BrooksReviewer: Ames
Slave by Cheryl Brooks
Series: Cat Star Chronicles #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 314
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

He may be the last of a species whose sexual talents were the envy of the galaxy

"I found him in the slave market on Orpheseus Prime, and even on such a god-forsaken planet as that one, their treatment of him seemed extreme."

Cat is an enslaved warrior from a race with a feline gene that gives him awesome beauty, fearsome strength, and sensuality and sexual prowess unmatched by any other males in the universe. Even filthy, chained, and beaten, he gives off an aura of power and virility and his feline gene gives him a special aura.

Jacinth is an intergalactic trader on a rescue mission and she needs a man she can trust with her life.

She has spent years pursuing her kidnapped sister from planet to planet. Now her quest leads her to a place where all the women are slaves. "Jack" needs a slave of her own-one who can masquerade as her master.

Enmeshed in a tangle of deception, lust, and love, they must elude a race of violent killers and together forge a bond stronger than any chains. The first book in wildly popular Cat Star Chronicles, a paranormal romance series featuring heroes with a feline gene that gives them remarkable sexual powers.

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

This review was originally posted on May 5, 2008.

Slave, Cheryl Brooks debut novel, is an interesting mix of galactic roadtrip/rescue mission and romance. It starts with “Jack” (Jacinth) needing to buy a slave so she can rescue her sister. Jack’s sister is being held on a planet where the men are in charge and they literally lead women around on chains. And Jack needs to find someone to be her “master” that she can trust. So she decides on the most humanoid slave up for sale.

“Cat” (Carkacund Tshevnoe) is Zetithian-similar to humans, but with feline-ish features. A warrior, Cat has been enslaved for a very long time, and his masters have not been the most kind of creatures.

When Jack buys Cat, she tells him what’s up (rescuing her sister) and when he doesn’t respond, she quickly sets him free, gives him some money and goes back to her starship to figure out a new plan. But when Jack is attacked, Cat quickly comes to her rescue and Jack decides to bring him along on her mission.

From here, the story develops alongside their journey. And it’s a good story, if a wee bit long.

Slave is told from Jack’s point of view. And the dialog between Jack and Cat reveals a lot to Cat’s feelings, which is always a good thing. Stories are sometimes hampered by only hearing the main character’s inner thoughts, but Cat is a very straightforward kind of guy. That was interesting. And Jack’s an interesting character as well. She’s grown up as the older sister to a very beautiful sibling. So she doesn’t value herself as a woman. She’s afraid to open up to Cat because she feels that once he meets her sister, he’ll want to be with her sister. So she’d rather not set herself up for heartache. And Jack is most of all a practical character. My kind of gal.

There’s also an interesting relationship between Jack and Cat. She bought him, but then set him free. But he still feels like he belongs to her. And then they go to a planet where Cat is seen as the Master and Jack the slave…but Jack is still the master although Cat is no longer a slave. LOL The dynamics are fun, if nothing else.

I enjoyed how the story played out, but it did drag a little in the middle.

Grade: 4 out 5.

This book is available from Sourcebooks. You can buy it here or here.

four-stars


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Guest Review: Make Me Bad by R.S. Grey

Posted April 8, 2019 by Ames in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Make Me Bad by R.S. GreyReviewer: Ames
Make Me Bad by R.S. Grey
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 7, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 303
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three-half-stars

I was issued a warning: stay away from Ben Rosenberg.

As Clifton Cove’s resident “king”, he thinks he’s entitled to anyone and anything.

The trouble is, I’ve spent my whole life following the rules and playing it safe. I know what it feels like to be the good girl. I’m the police chief’s daughter and a librarian—for adorable children, no less. My wardrobe consists of colorful sundresses and baggy jeans. I might as well have a Post-it stuck to my forehead that reads: Yup, she’s a virgin.

An all-nighter with a fictional hunk is about as exciting as my life gets, until one day, fate decides to take pity on me and shove me straight into the path of Mr. Off-Limits himself.

Oof.

Just as I suspected, every inch of him promises to be my demise. Up close, he’s tall, menacing, dangerously handsome—the type of man who’s never spent a single moment worrying about the opinions of others. A well-behaved girl would do as she’s told and avoid him at all costs, but I’m overdue for a little rebellion.

No more Friday nights sprawled out on the couch in my comfiest pajamas. No more wishing I had the courage to misbehave.

Everyone thinks Ben is going to ruin me.They think he’ll chew me up and spit me out.

Well, Ben…go ahead.Tempt me. Taunt me.Make me bad.

This is the second book I’ve read by R.S. Grey. I read another book by this author last year and did not enjoy it but I’m glad I gave her writing another try. Make Me Bad ended up being a cute read.

Madison works in her small town’s library. She still lives at home with her police chief dad and she’s just celebrated a boring 25th birthday. She wishes for her next year to be different and on her walk home that night, her wish gets answered. She gets mugged. She’s rescued by the town’s golden son Ben Rosenberg, who’s on his way home from a bar fight. When he has a choice of where to serve his community service hours, he chooses the library. He runs into Madison there again and she jumps on the opportunity to use Ben’s popularity and way with the ladies to jumpstart her own love life. Of course Ben starts to fall for Madison as he helps break her out of her shell but her father and over-protective older brother hate Ben.

As I said earlier, I thought Make Me Bad was cute. I liked the balance of Madison’s introverted character to Ben’s extrovert. She has a sassy personality that she usually doesn’t let out and that surprises Ben. I also thought her hesitation around rocking the boat at home was well done and she eventually stands up to her dad and brother.

Ben was born with a silver spoon in his mouth but he’s not a horrible guy. He did get into hijinks as a teenager but he’s a lawyer now and aside from the bar fight, he’s not getting into trouble. He doesn’t really understand why Madison’s men-folk don’t like him. I like how he gave Madison little pushes to break her out of her comfort zone. Madison’s character definitely had the most growth and progression but Ben had room for improvement too and Madison was the one to bring that about. I thought these two were cute together.

I’m glad I gave Grey’s writing another chance.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Au Pair by Emma Rous

Posted April 3, 2019 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Au Pair by Emma RousReviewer: Ames
The Au Pair by Emma Rous
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Format: Print
Source: Library
Genres: Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 379
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two-half-stars

A grand estate, terrible secrets, and a young woman who bears witness to it all. If V. C. Andrews and Kate Morton had a literary love child, Emma Rous’ The Au Pair would be it.

Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.

Who is the child and what really happened that day?

One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.

This book caught my eye when it was appearing on lists of books to look forward to in 2019 so I requested it from my local library. Knowing it was about a nanny I had a few predictions about what would happen and I wasn’t wrong but oh man I wasn’t right either!

The Au Pair begins with Seraphine going through her father’s things after he’s passed away. She finds a photograph that was taken on the day she was born, which also happens to be the day her mom died (suicide), which shows her mother holding one baby but also looking really happy. Seraphine is a twin so she’s consumed by the question why there’s only one baby in the picture and why her mom looks so happy when only hours later she took her own life. This mystery has Seraphine tracking down Laura, the nanny her parents used that summer before her and her brother were born. Immediately after talking to Laura, who requests that she be left alone, Seraphine starts getting threatening messages left around her house.

Between this modern day search for the truth, the Au Pair also flashes back to that summer from Laura’s point of view. I thought Laura’s story was more interesting than Seraphine’s although not a lot happens. She’s a student who’s hired to nanny for a couple who already have a little boy. The mother has some mental health issues that her mother and husband keep asking Laura how she’s doing. The husband is away all week working in London and comes home on the weekends to be with his family. The only excitement is when Laura develops a crush on Alex, a friend to the family who comes to visit from time to time.

I have to say, I was somewhat enjoying this book for a good two-thirds of the story but then once the mystery started to be revealed to the reader I was not impressed. Laura’s feelings about things that were happening were very flat and there was no depth to her. I was right about something I predicted happening but then the train went completely off the rails and started flying around the moon. LOL That’s honestly how crazy the plot became. Also, for a book taking place in 2017, why didn’t Seraphine take pictures with her freaking cell phone of the threatening messages that were being left for her? I have to admit that really annoyed me. The danger was weak in the end and the mystery was crazy pants and not in a good way. In the end I’m only going to give the Au Pair

Grade: 2.75 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: Driven to Temptation by Melia Alexander

Posted July 26, 2016 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Driven to Temptation by Melia AlexanderReviewer: Ames
Driven to Temptation by Melia Alexander
Publisher: Entangled
Publication Date: June 13, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 200
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three-half-stars

Aidan Ross might be an engineering genius, but people skills? Not this soldier’s forte. Thankfully, a trusted friend is accompanying him to a make-or-break tradeshow…but then a bubbly redhead hops into his truck, claiming to be his new road trip buddy. She’s a gorgeous distraction he can’t afford. Or ignore.

Delaney Harper comes from a family of engineers—male engineers. With several impressive projects under her belt, she’s on a mission to prove she can hang with the big boys, too. But cracking the sexy, closed-off CEO is tougher than she expects…and hotter than she could have imagined.

With the tempting woman disrupting his carefully planned schedule, Aidan can’t focus on the road, much less their upcoming presentation. The future of his company is riding on this trip, and if they’re to land a huge account, he has to keep his head—and his heart—in the game…

Two things ticked my happy reader list with the blurb for this book. A socially awkward hero and a woman trying to make it in a profession that’s previously been dominated by men. And Driven to Temptation lived up to my expectations.

Delaney Harper comes from a family of engineers. Her mother would rather she marry an engineer than be one, but Delaney wants to prove her mother wrong. When her boss gets sick, she jumps at the chance to take his place with Aidan Ross, the co-owner of the company, on a road trip to a conference. Aidan is not good with people and rarely comes into the office. So he doesn’t even recognize Delaney as his employee when she starts loading up his truck. He really doesn’t want her to tag along and the beginning of their road trip only reinforces that feeling. Aidan comes across as a bit anal and his ex-wife called him the Ice King. Despite his awkwardness, Delaney keeps making an effort to get to know him. Eventually Aidan stops seeing Delaney’s actions as annoying (like eating in his truck, stopping to rescue dogs on the highway, etc). He likes how she shakes up his life and even though their schedule has been shot to hell, he can’t deny that its been fun. She even fixes a situation that could have derailed their presentation at the conference they’re attending.

I liked Delaney and Aidan. They complement each other. Delaney is a bit of a tomboy who thinks her looks should have nothing to do with how well of a job she does. She’s quite driven and smart. Her one blind spot is her looks. She’s not a hag, but she doesn’t dress to impress. She’s more comfortable in a t-shirt and jeans. Being an engineer, that’s a more practical outfit than a skirt and heels. And Aidan. He knows people aren’t his strong suit and he can tell what he should do in a given situation but he just can’t (who can’t relate to that?). Delaney’s personality draws him out and he becomes more approachable. Knowing Delaney is his employee, he fights the growing attraction he feels towards her. That obviously doesn’t last and he and Delaney get to know each other very well at the conference.

Because of the ensuing conflict and resolution, I did not have a problem with Delaney being Aidan’s employee. My only quibble with the book was the length. It was a quick 215 pages (according to Entangled’s website) and a lot of story was packed into those pages. I felt that Aidan and Delaney fell for each other a bit quickly but I did not doubt their feelings. I would have liked to have seen that part of the story expanded a little bit. Overall, I enjoyed the characters and the story. There was character growth with both Aidan and Delaney and I like seeing a woman be successful in engineering.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Posted June 21, 2016 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah MorganReviewer: Ames
Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan
Series: From Manhattan with Love #1
Also in this series: Sleepless in Manhattan, Sunset in Central Park (From Manhattan with Love, #2), Miracle on 5th Avenue, Miracle on 5th Avenue

Publication Date: June 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan introduces From Manhattan with Love, a sparkling new trilogy about three best friends embracing life—and love—in New York 

Cool, calm and competent, events planner Paige Walker loves a challenge. After a childhood spent in and out of hospitals, she's now determined to prove herself—and where better to take the world by storm than Manhattan? But when Paige loses the job she loves, she must face her biggest challenge of all—going it alone.

Except launching her own events company is nothing compared to hiding her outrageous crush on Jake Romano—her brother's best friend, New York's most in-demand date and the only man to break her heart. When Jake offers Paige's fledgling company a big chance, their still-sizzling chemistry starts giving her sleepless nights. But can she convince the man who trusts no one to take a chance on forever?

I enjoy Sarah Morgan‘s writing and I cannot resist a sibling’s best friend plot. Picking up Sleepless in Manhattan was a win-win on both fronts.

Paige Walker heads into work one morning 100% sure she’s in for a promotion. The last event she organized was a big hit and she knows she’s a hard worker. Except, things don’t quite work out that way. Her dragon-lady of a boss lets her go, citing financial reasons. And things get worse when her two best friends, Eva and Frankie, are also let go. This was Paige’s dream job and she’s despondent. Her older, over-protective brother wants to cheer her up (and check on her) so he ropes his best friend, Jake, into stopping over that evening so they can deal with all 3 ladies. Jake and Paige have an antagonistic relationship. They used to be friends when Paige was a teenager, but when she declared her love for him, he shot her down. He’s been annoying her on purpose ever since. Despite their feelings about each other, Jake is the one who ends up helping Paige get over her loss. He knows Paige’s ultimate dream is to one day be her own boss and he talks her into stepping up the timeline a bit. He offers to help her get her on her feet, financially and with business advice, but Paige is really independent and says no, she wants to do it on her own. But after a few weeks with her new company, Paige still isn’t seeing any big business so she swallows her pride and goes to Jake for help. This has them working close together and brings some of their past issues to the forefront. For example, Jake is such a jerk because he is attracted to Paige, but her brother made him promise to stay away from her. Paige has no clue and even though she denies having feelings for Jake, she still cares about him. Working in close proximity (Jake’s form of help is hiring her new company to throw a party for his company), it isn’t long before they cross that line and get physical. But Jake’s past rears its ugly head when he feels Paige is getting too far under his skin.

I enjoyed Sleepless in Manhattan. I liked the feisty back and forth between Jake and Paige. I liked the circle of friends, Eva, Frankie and Matt. And Paige and Jake. I liked their characters. Paige was so independent and stubborn because of health problems as a child. She was sick of being protected and coddled so her wanting to stick up for herself was understandable and commendable. Jake’s backstory is a bit different. His mother abandoned him when he was young, so he definitely has some issues with love and women. But he was adopted by a great woman named Maria, and I liked her character too. Together? Paige and Jake are awesome. When they first meet, Paige is in the hospital, and Jake was the only one who didn’t treat her like she was fragile. So they had a past as friends. But like I said, things changed when Jake turned Paige down. As adults, Jake has a bit of a player reputation, never dating anyone long term. He’s afraid after he and Paige start hooking up when he’s disregarding his personal rules to make exceptions for her. Of course this leads him to acting like an ass. But I liked how everything was wrapped up and look forward to Sunset in Central Park, book 2 in this series, From Manhattan with Love.

Sleepless in Manhattan was enjoyable with a well rounded cast of characters and a satisfying romance. 4 out of 5

four-stars


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