Genre: African American

Guest Review: Possessed by Passion by Brenda Jackson

Posted May 12, 2016 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Possessed by Passion by Brenda JacksonReviewer: Judith
Possessed by Passion by Brenda Jackson
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: March 1st 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, African American
Pages: 224
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They're discovering the healing powers of passion

Burned-by-love architect Hunter McKay came home to Phoenix to open her own firm, not rekindle her fleeting high school romance with playboy Tyson Steele. But when she runs into the sexy surgeon at a nightclub—and he unleashes that legendary Steele charm—Hunter fears she's headed straight for heartbreak once again.

Tyson hasn't forgotten the one who got away. A weeklong fling should be just enough to get the sultry beauty out of his system for good, even if he has to let Hunter set the ground rules. But the rules are suddenly changing for the no-strings bachelor. Can Tyson convince this sensual woman that he's the real deal—that they deserve a second chance together?

Brenda Jackson is one of the few authors I believe has the talent and skill to make this family saga a continuing success.  I think it is largely because within the framework of a very erotic love story there is the reality of family and caring connection that keeps these people grounded even when they live in ways that seem at odds with the morals and standards that guide their families of origin.  A plus for me is also the fact that her characters are real people who are driven by real dreams and goals, whose evident success has been won often in difficult circumstances.  That they are people of color has not been a help but they know their own worth and are not afraid to go for what they want.

Such is the attitude of the intrepid Dr. Tyson Steele who, like so many of the men in this family, is a player romantically.  Steady and stalwart professionally and connected and loving to his siblings and family members, he still likes to play and keep his options open.  In truth, he has yet to be fully bitten by the love bug, except when he came close while a high school lothario and was enamored with Hunter McKay.  Those days are long gone, but she’s back.  And in typical, no-strings bachelor fashion, Tyson is going to use a sexy fling to get himself free of any lingering feelings that might pose a future complication to his free and easy bachelor ways.

This is another fun love story from a wonderful author, one of my favorites, actually.  She creates a heroine who is real, not a stick woman who lives on lettuce leaves and coffee.  Hunter is a curvy woman who is proud of the body she loves, enjoys her life and displays inner as well as outer beauty.  She has the capacity to rope in Tyson Steele, but she isn’t convinced that she wants to.  She really isn’t in the market for hurt.  But Ms Jackson loves the happy ending, and although their love story is not free and easy, twisting and turning and surprising the reader,  these two characters are good people and their relationship is fun to watch grow and develop into a real love story.  I also think that Tyson is the kind of man many women would love to know just because he is not only good looking and successful, but in most ways he knows how to treat a woman with respect and dignity.

Another aspect of Ms Jackson’s stories that I have always appreciated is that her characters grow even more as the story progresses.  I have come to really dislike romance fiction with main characters who are childish and immature and tend to remain that way.  Such is not the case in Ms Jackson’s novels and that is not the case here.  Hunter and Tyson not only take a long look at one another but they are honest enough to take a long look at themselves.  It is watching their character grow and expand as they interact with one another that makes this another fascinating love story with many levels of interest and ways for the reader to connect to the story.

If you haven’t read a Brenda Jackson novel before, here’s a good place to start.  If you are one of her fans, you will like this novel just as well as you have liked others in her extensive writing resume.  It’s another winner, IMHO.  I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

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Review: Making the First Move by Reese Ryan

Posted July 16, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Making the First Move by Reese RyanReviewer: Holly
Making the First Move by Reese Ryan
Series: Bad Boys Gone Good #1
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: July 22nd 2013
Genres: Fiction, Romance, African American, Contemporary, General
Pages: 384
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Big promotion, complete with $300 pen? Check.A hot man who cuddles, spends the night and makes breakfast? Check.Waiting for the other shoe to fall? Check.
"If it feels too good to be true, it probably is."
Five years of obsessing over her career pays off when Melanie Gordon gets a promotion that could make or break her. But the new job takes her back to her hometown to face the family she's distanced herself from, and forces her to leave behind sexy, mysterious philanthropist Raine Mason, who just might be the man of her dreams.
By the time Raine makes his move with Melanie, her one-way ticket to Cleveland is booked. He convinces her to take a chance on him long-distance, but can't yet trust her with the whole truth about himself.
Raine and Melanie slowly peel back each other's layers (starting with his bicep-hugging sweater). She is finally ready to give her heart to him…until she learns the dark secret of his past. He'll have to prove to her that love is worth the risk.
94,000 words

Melanie has worked hard her whole career and it finally pays off when she’s offered her dream job. The’s thrilled to finally be recognized, but the catch is she has to move back to Cleveland, her hometown. She has a complicated relationship with her family and she knows she’s going to pay for not keeping in touch with them like she should. Plus, Cleveland is where she got her heart broken, and her ex still lives there.

Raine and Melanie have been ignoring the attraction between them for years. Once he finds out about her promotion, he knows he has to act now or lose his chance completely.  Melanie is wary of entering into a relationship period, much less a long-term thing. Raine convinces her to give it a try, but he really has his work cut out for him if he wants it to go anywhere. Especially when Melanie’s ex re-enters the picture.

The premise of this book was great. I really wanted to love it. Melanie is a focused, mature woman who isn’t afraid to go after what she wants. It isn’t often we see woman like her in romance and I was excited about her maturity. Raine was a solid, stand-up kind of guy and one I really enjoyed. While I really loved Raine and his commitment to making things work, Melanie was frustrating and too cutoff from her emotions. The reason she was so closed off made sense, but it was hard to read about at times.

Unfortunately the writing kept getting in the way of my enjoyment. It’s written in the first person, which should have made the connection to Melanie easy. Unfortunately it was dry and bogged down with an overabundance of minor, inconsequential details, and not enough emotion.

While I wanted to love this book, the sometimes bland and often inconsistent writing made it hard. I plan to give another book by Ryan a try before giving up on her.

2.75 out of 5

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.