Tag: Lauren Dane

Review: Diablo Lake: Moonstruck by Lauren Dane

Posted July 27, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Diablo Lake: Moonstruck by Lauren DaneReviewer: Holly
Diablo Lake: Moonstruck (Diablo Lake #1) by Lauren Dane
Series: Diablo Lake #1
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: June 20th 2016
Pages: 205
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three-stars

In Diablo Lake, Tennessee, a town populated by werewolves, witches and more, magic woven deep into the earth protects the town's secrets from outsiders.Katie Grady left Diablo Lake to get over a humiliating breakup. But her family needs her help, so she's back, in a sublet right across the hall from the guy she's lusted after for years. Jace Dooley is hotter than ever, and their friendship picks up along with massive doses of grown-up chemistry.The very scent of Katie sharpens Jace's canines, makes the wolf within him stir. There's nothing more alluring to a Pack Alpha than a sexy female who is so very in charge. She won't be coddled, but if he plays his hand just right she might be convinced to become his.Katie presents a challenge to Jace's wolf nature, whose chief instinct is to protect. Especially now that she's coming into the magic that is her birthright—and suddenly Jace isn't the only one who's interested in Katie or the raw power she's just learning to use.Editor's Note: The story continues in Diablo Lake: Protected, available soon!One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you're looking for with an HEA/HFN. It's a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

I took some time after finishing Moonstruck to write the review because I’m on the fence about it. I’m a huge fan of Dane’s novels. I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of her previous releases (though obviously I liked some better than others). When I saw she was writing a new paranormal series set in the south I got really excited. It’s been my experience that she does both really well, so I figured the two together would be a major hit.

Kate Grady grew up in Diablo Lake, Tennessee. She figured she’d spend her whole life here, until her fiance left her at the alter. She needed to get away and get some fresh perspective, so she moved to the city. When her father falls ill, she moves back home to help run the family business and help her mom take care of her dad. As a witch, Kate is pretty sought after by both wolf packs, since having her on their side boosts their power both elementally and politically. When she realizes Jace Dooley is available – and her crush on him is still intact- she thinks long and hard before agreeing to see him because she knows she’ll be taking all kinds of flak if she aligns herself with him. Not to mention he’s the soon-to-be alpha of his pack. Yet she soon realizes she can’t keep away from him.

Jace wasn’t ready for Kate before she got engaged to her ex, and then she took off for the city. He knows she’s everything he wants in a mate – though he is cautious since he knows his family will jump all over him once they realize she’s his. Not to mention the added tension their relationship will cause between his pack and the pack her ex belongs to. Despite all that, now that she’s home he isn’t going to waste time going after her. He just can’t help himself.

As Kate and Jace discover each other, they also discover a boatload of drama coming from her ex’s pack. Kate also struggles with the knowledge that while Jace wants her for her, she’s also a major asset to their pack. Which means they want her for her magic, too, not just for who she is as Kate.

It’s not that I disliked the book, per se. Kate is a strong, independent woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. Jace is the strong, alpha type Dane writes so well. Their romance was sweet and the sex was hot. The tension between the packs was interesting and so was the drama surrounding Kate and her ex. I just struggled because it didn’t really seem to go anywhere. By the halfway point the h/h were solid – or heading there – yet the plot just kept circling. The main conflict – a power struggle between the wolves and witches of Diablo Lake, plus a fight between the two main wolf packs – just circled around itself. I understand this is the start of a new series, but nothing was resolved in this book, aside from the HEA of the h/h…though even that’s questionable considering the possible danger coming from several fronts. The same arguments were had again and again, with the same tirades on both sides. In the end this felt like half a novel. I’m curious enough to continue reading, but to be honest the long wait between releases has me pretty frustrated.

3 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Falling Under by Lauren Dane

Posted January 21, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Falling Under by Lauren DaneReviewer: Holly
Falling Under by Lauren Dane
Series: Ink and Chrome #2
Also in this series: Coming Back, Coming Back
Published by Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Pages: 320
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four-stars

The men of Twisted Steel are great with their hands.

And they're not afraid to get dirty.

Duke Bradshaw, co-owner of the Twisted Steel custom motorcycle and hot rod shop, may devote his days to chrome and leather, but his nights belong to Carmella. His sultry redheaded neighbor has a smile like an angel and a body built for sin, and for the past year both have dominated Duke's dreams. When a problem at Twisted Steel requires a fast fix, Duke sees his chance to finally make his fantasy a reality.

Ever since she first heard the low rumble of his engine, Carmella Rossi has wondered if Duke Bradshaw handles his women as expertly as he handles his bike. When he shows up at her door offering her a much-needed job at his shop, she gets her chance to find out. Beneath Duke's masterful touch, Carmella soon submits to a world of unimaginable pleasure.

But history has taught Carmella how bad a boy boy can be. If she doesn't put on the brakes fast, her hard-bodied heartbreaker could drive her right over the edge . . .

I actually read this book ages ago and wrote a review for it that disappeared completely. Since I didn’t update my reading log with exactly when I read it, I’m just going to mark it as read-for-the-first-time in November.

Carmella is dealing with a lot of stuff in her personal life. Her ex is a d-bag and most of her energy is taken up dealing with her mom. She’s secretly been lusting after her hot neighbor Duke for ages, sure, but lusting and liking are two different things. She isn’t quick to trust, so when he offers her a job she takes it reluctantly, because she doesn’t want to get wrapped up with Duke. He’s hard to resist, though, and it isn’t long before they’re seeing each other. Casually at first, then more seriously.

Duke has been eyeing Carm for years, too, but she’s so much more than he expected. They get off to a rocky start thanks to him jumping to conclusions, but before long they settle into a sweet romance I really enjoyed. There isn’t a lot of conflict or tension. There’s sexual chemistry in spades, but not a whole lot of internal or external angst. Carmella is dealing with her mom and Duke has some family issues of his own, but mostly this was a sweet story of two people coming together and learning to let go with each other.

I really loved Duke and Carmella. Dane writes sexy alpha-males who aren’t assholes and strong, independent women who don’t cross the line into “so independent they’re stupid”. I love the Twisted Steele setting (the shop Duke co-owns, where they build custom cars), the secondary characters and the romance. This series has it all.

4 out of 5

Reading Order:

Opening Up
Falling Under
Coming Back

four-stars


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Review: Back to You by Lauren Dane

Posted January 4, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Back to You by Lauren DaneReviewer: Holly
Back to You by Lauren Dane
Series: Hurley Brothers #3
Also in this series: The Best Kind of Trouble, Broken Open
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: June 1st 2015
Pages: 384
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four-stars

What won't he do for a second chance? 
Former model Kelly Hurley has finally put the ashes of the past behind her. After a passionate but turbulent marriage to rock star Vaughan Hurley that ended in heartbreak and divorce, Kelly rebuilt her life in Portland, where she settled so their two young daughters could be close to their father. Just not so close Kelly couldn't truly make her own way without interference from the man who shattered her heart. Now Kelly's finally ready to move on, and she's planning to marry another man. 
But not if Vaughan has anything to say about it. 
Vaughan knows he was a fool all those years ago. A young, selfish—and prideful—fool. Even as he buried himself in the fast, decadent rock-star lifestyle, he could never drown out the memory of Kelly's beauty and love. Or the sweet, searing heat whenever they touched. For years, he's had to deal with the pain of seeing her only because of their daughters, but it was never enough. Now Vaughan must prove that he's the only man Kelly needs, before he loses her for good. And there's only one way to do it…

This is a great reunited lovers story. Vaughn and Kelly were everything I’d hoped they’d be from the glimpses we had of them in previous books. The timeline of this book runs parallel to Broken Open, the 2nd book in the series. There isn’t a lot of overlap, however. Just enough to see certain scenes from a different perspective, but not enough to make me feel like I was reading the same story twice.

Vaughn and Kelly loved each other deeply once upon a time. Then Vaughn screwed it all up and Kelly left him. She’s been a wonderful mother to their two girls, and made sure he had a much access to them as possible given his schedule, but she’s mainly avoided him and his family, who blamed her for their separation (something he hasn’t ever bothered to correct). Vaughn is man enough to admit he never stopped loving Kelly, but it isn’t until she gets engaged to someone else that he realizes he isn’t ready to let her go. He’s going to fight for her – for them.

Kelly let Vaughn in once, and he broke her heart. She can’t deny she still has feelings for him, but she doesn’t trust him not to break her again. Until suddenly he’s back in her life, admitting he was the one who ruined everything and trying to make things right. She wants to resist him, but this Vaughn isn’t the man she knew before. He’s stronger, steadier and sexier than ever. Kelly doesn’t want to give Vaughn her heart, but she isn’t sure she can resist. Not when he’s determined to bust through her walls.

Vaughn didn’t impress me in the previous books, and he wasn’t shown in a very favorable light once the details of his past came to light in this book. But it was clear he’d grown and matured, and I really came to love him. His determination to right his past wrongs and prove to Kelly he was the man she needed him to be was admirable and sexy. He was a wonderful father, a loving brother and son, and great husband material.

Kelly was a strong woman who was understandably gunshy. Her fierce protection of her children and her determination to let them grow up with as much family near as possible was lovely to read about. Too often the ex-wife (even when she’s the heroine of the story) keeps her kids away from her former in-laws, but Kelly did her best to keep them involved. Considering her former mother-in-law’s extreme dislike of her, this was no easy task. That’s the theme for Kelly, though; doing things that are hard because they need to be done. I had a lot of admiration for her.

There was a good amount of anger, frustration and sadness between them, which really came across well. My heart hurt for the both of them. I wanted to see Vaughn man-up and do right by Kelly, but I understood why he held back so long. Similarly I wanted Kelly to forgive Vaughn and let him back in, but I understood her wariness. They had chemistry in spades, though, and I truly felt their love for one another.

An intoxicating tale of love and second chances. The secondary characters add flavor and excitement without overshadowing the romance.

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Coming Back by Lauren Dane

Posted December 21, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Coming Back by Lauren DaneReviewer: Holly
Coming Back by Lauren Dane
Series: Ink and Chrome #3
Also in this series: Coming Back, Falling Under
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: December 8th 2015
Genres: Erotica
Pages: 320
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four-stars

The men of Twisted Steel are great with their hands.

And they're not afraid to get dirty.

Mick Roberts, the newest partner at Twisted Steel's custom hotrod and motorcycle shop, looks like a man with everything. But secretly he still craves the connection he lost when his best friend Adam and the love of his life Jessilynn walked out. Then, he wasn't ready for the pleasure they promised. Now, things have changed.

Rich, powerful, and insatiable, Adam Gulati is used to getting what he wants. And there's nothing he wants more than Mick and Jessi. He hasn't seen either in over a year, but the second he sets eyes on them again his memories-and his desires-can't be denied.

After trying to live without them, Jessi Franklin realized no one else can satisfy her like Adam and Mick. The three of them need one another-in more ways than one. It's time to stop pretending and submit to the hunger they all share. But once they go down this road, there's no turning back. As deeply devoted as they are, no one knows what great bliss their forbidden fantasy will find-or the price they may pay . . .

Jessi and Mick became best friends at the age of 5 when she saw him watching her birthday party through the window and drug him inside. They met Adam when they were in high school and the three formed an unshakable bond. Eventually they realized they felt more than friendship for one another and briefly tried a relationship. Mick, confused and conflicted because of his extremely conservative upbringing, fled after a short time, leaving anger and devastation behind. Adam began pulling away from Jessi until eventually he, too, moved on.

It’s been four years and all three have grown and changed. Jessi isn’t the woman she used to be, and both Adam and Mick have come into themselves and realized they gave up too much when they walked away from Jessi. When they all come together at the grand-opening of Twisted Steel’s new showroom, all three realize this is the time to fight for one another, not against.

In theory the idea of a permanent menage relationship is compelling, especially for a woman. Two dudes dedicating themselves to one girl’s pleasure? Oh yeah! Naturally the reality isn’t that simple. I like that Dane explores the complexity of the individual and group dynamics. Jessi was the common denominator and touchstone the first time they were together, but this time Mick and Adam realize they have to solidify their own relationship before they can commit to a future together. The outside criticism and society’s view of their relationship – especially their close family and friends – plays a large part in the conflict. The story is multi-faceted because the relationship is multi-faceted.

Jessi is a strong woman who knew what she wanted. She took the four years she spent away from her two best friends to find herself and come into her own, which allowed her to find definition away from them. Mick I loved from the previous books, and my feelings didn’t change. He was a strong, stand-up kind of guy who suffered from his past and was doing his best to move into a clean, happy future. That he had dark desires and a need to burn off tension in potentially negative ways didn’t detract form his overall character, since he found more positive ways to indulge with the help of Adam and Jessi.

Something I really loved was the deep and true friendship between all three. Mick and Jessi especially had a strong connection that came from a lifetime of knowing one another.

This is a sexy, sweet tale of love and acceptance. I stayed up most of the night to finish it.

3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Coming Back by Lauren Dane

Posted December 14, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Coming Back by Lauren DaneReviewer: Tracy
Coming Back by Lauren Dane
Series: Ink and Chrome #3
Also in this series: Coming Back, Falling Under
Published by Forever
Publication Date: December 8, 2015
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three-stars

Arriving back in Seattle after five years, Jessilyn Franklin is done pretending she didn't want two men. She's done letting anything stop her from being with Adam and Mick, now back from the war and working at Twisted Steel, a custom hot rod and motorcycle shop. One night changes everything, but their relationship must strengthen to weather the storms they'll face as they make their way back to one another.

Mick met Jessilyn when he was seven years old and she was just five. They were the best of friends until they, along with their friend Adam all got together. Mick couldn’t handle what he was feeling so took off and re-enlisted. That was four years ago and now Mick is ready to face his feelings for both Jessi and Adam.

Mick and his partners in Twisted Steel are having a grand opening for their new showroom and Mick invites both Jessi and Adam even though he hasn’t seen them in a long time. They both show up and when they all go back to Adam’s house it’s like they were never apart. Of course there are talks about what happened four years earlier but for the most part the three fall into a close relationship.

Mick’s parents are extremely religious and they’re not afraid to tell Mick exactly what they think about what he’s doing. Adam’s father isn’t thrilled either but only because he feels that Mick and Jessi are below Adam and how would that make the family look? Jessi’s family is wonderful and accepts all of them for who they are. That doesn’t mean that the trio has an easy time of it. With so many people trying to tear them apart they’re bound to have problems.

Coming Back, imho opinion, is the weakest in the Ink & Chrome series. While the relationship between the three is touching and I felt for them with all they were going through, it just didn’t have the extra something that I felt the first two books had.

Mick, Jessi and Adam were all great characters. I very much enjoyed Jessi’s independence and I loved her family to pieces. She was really the bright star in this novel for me. Mick and Adam were good characters as well but even though I felt they had bigger parts in the book they didn’t stand out to me quite as much as Jessi did. The relationship between the three was a good one, that’s for sure. I liked the strength of it and the fact that they all felt so comfortable with each other even after an extended period apart.

While I found this book entertaining I found it to be a little lacking as far as the plot and for that reason didn’t hold my attention too well.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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