Tag: Sophie Oak

Guest Review: Sirens in Bliss by Sophie Oak

Posted May 5, 2014 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Sirens in Bliss Judith’s review of Sirens in Bliss by Sophie Oak

What happens after happily ever after?

It’s the event of the year. The wedding of Leo and Wolf Meyer to their beautiful sub, Shelley McNamara, has all of Bliss up in arms—and makes everyone think about love and marriage and family.

Wolf and Leo have to deal with the sudden reappearance of their father. Rafe Kincaid is handed an opportunity that might take him and his family away from Bliss. Aidan, Lexi, and Lucas O’Malley find themselves at a crossroads in their marriage. And Stefan Talbot must face his biggest fear—possibly losing his wife in childbirth.

So come to the Feed Store Church, pick a seat, and enjoy the chaos as all your favorite characters from Texas Sirens and Nights in Bliss, Colorado, come together for one eventful weekend.   And some of them may never be the same again.  Note: This is a reunion book, which shares an overall story arc and many crossover characters with the Texas Sirens and Nights in Bliss series. This is not a stand-alone.

Those of us who have read all the Texas Sirens and Nights in Bliss series by this author will understand that this is one of those not-stand-alone books that makes all of us terribly happy.  We all have series that we grow to love and find incredibly enjoyable and find ourselves re-reading them from time to time.  It is even better when an author brings all these characters together in a follow-up novella that brings us up to date in these characters’ lives as well as entertaining us once again.  This is especially true with all the very odd and charmingly strange characters who have put down roots in Bliss, CO, a haven for every different kind of person and where everyone is accepted without holding back at all.  The people of Bliss have been a source of wonderful fun throughout this entire series beginning with the former sheriff and his twin right up to the former FBI agents and the people who live at the nudist camp and crazy Mel who wants to make sure that the aliens don’t attack and attempt to “probe” all his friends.  Add in Leo and Wolff’s mom who insists that their new bride has to like beets because of their curative powers and you are in for one of the funniest romance books you have ever encountered.

Having a sense of humor is wonderful and I appreciate the fact that this author writes humor into her stories with ever making fun of anyone.  She just lets the individuality of her characters speak for themselves, all of whom are genuine and precious, warmhearted and giving, and whose idiocyncracies simply clash and bounce off one another in a way that is truly lighthearted and wonderful.  The best part of all this is that all of these really strange folks really know how to love–how to receive it and how to give it.  They know the power of forgiveness and they understand what it means for broken people to be healed by acceptance and an opportunity to take back their personal power.  One of the funniest parts of Sophie’s stories is the group of women whose membership is for those who have shot an attacker.  They have been abused and injured in past experiences.  Not anymore.  They empower one another and they make sure that none of their friends are ever endangered.  The men of Bliss know when to take cover.  It’s absolutely wonderful!

For those who have not read the Bliss, CO series and the Texas Sirens series, I urge you to do so.  Most are menage relationships but it doesn’t matter.  All are filled with characters who learn to accept others as well as themselves, who learn the power of love to connect and heal and overcome the faults that lie within us all, even those who don’t think they need anyone else.   This story will probably not make much sense to those who have not encountered these characters beforehand.  So I think going back and reading the first books in these series will be a good experience.  Recently I went back and re-read all the Texas Sirens books and was impressed all over again at how insightful they are in bringing human foibles into full view and allowing these people to learn the joy of genuine relationship built on caring and loving.

Perhaps the best part about this book is the fact that these characters are well beyond the “happily ever after” stage where most romance novels end.  Some of them are in trouble and some are wondering where all the “magic” has gone.  Some are just discovering the full potential of their love to reshape and renew their lives, but all of them are wonderfully human and their situations will speak to those of us who are entertained by their stories.  So I happily give this book a rating of 5 out of 5.  It’s always going to be one of my favorites!

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

Nights in Bliss, CO series

Texas Sirens Series

This title is available from Siren Publishing.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Pure Bliss by Sophie Oak

Posted March 31, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of Pure Bliss (Nights in Bliss #6) by Sophie Oak

Bliss, Colorado, gave Hope McLean a second chance at life, but she’s hiding a dark secret.

Raised as brothers, James Glen and Noah Bennett always dreamed of finding a woman to share their lives on the Circle G ranch. James would run the ranch, while Noah served the town of Bliss as the resident vet. But when a woman came between the brothers, Noah fled for New York City and James was left to struggle for the ranch’s survival alone.

Now that Noah has returned, he will do anything to repay his debt to James. When he sees Hope, he knows she is the woman they both have been waiting for. But just as their love begins to bloom, a nightmare from Hope’s past returns to claim her.  To save Hope, and themselves, they will have to reclaim the brotherhood that was shattered and fight for their future.

I LOVE Bliss, Colorado, as the home of a collection of individuals who stretch the credibility of most of us as they live out lives that are truly out of step with society in myriad ways.  Yet the greatest thing about this little community is that no matter how “out there” a person may be, everyone else not only accepts them with all their idiosyncrasies but respects them as valid and valuable as a part of the whole.  What a great place, and it’s too bad that it only exists in fiction.  On the other hand, I’m glad Sophie Oak has brought this fictional community into being and that her stories, often based in the different perspective of a character, still works to tell us of the triumph of respect and friendship, family and love.

There is no doubt that James Glen, like everyone else in Bliss, is hurting and wounded.  He has chosen to work out his anger and sense of loss over the leaving of his soul-brother five years earlier by working himself to the bone and banging every female who willingly accepts his brief attentions.  Noah Bennet, too, is wounded deeply and wonders if he and James will ever be able to retrieve the close friendship and brotherhood that sustained and blessed their early years together, until a greedy and lying woman came between them and not only robbed Noah of his inheritance but robbed them both of that sense of family they both cherished.

Now they are both zeroing in on Hope McLean, a woman to whom both are drawn but who is thinking of leaving Bliss rather than own up to a past that drove her into the bottle and into destructive sexual encounters.  Curiously, with a name like Hope, she is really feeling hopeless, and it is only as Noah and James begin to show her their attraction that she even entertains the possibility of a future that is free of her inner demons.

This is really a book about honesty and trust, about forgiveness and redemption and the reclamation of a life that has meaning and joy.  All three of the main characters are struggling to keep some sort of balance because all three are so very in need of the connection that can only come with honesty, trust, and forgiveness.  And most of all, this story is about three people who need to forgive themselves before they can forgive each other in a meaningful way.  “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” the Good Book says, and that directive is at the heart of this story.

But spicing up a serious and deeply moving love story is the wit and winsome craziness for which Bliss is known.  Mel with his obsession with aliens, Nell and Henry with their insistence on minimizing the human/carbon footprint, Nate, Zane and Callie–all of whom most people would consider “normal” and who have come to love and appreciate all this craziness, the doctor, the Russian and their lady, all of whom have learned how to manage deep dedication to one another as they discover the never-ending depths of mutual loving–all these people manage to bring comedic overtones to this novel and the reader will NOT be able to read this book with a straight face.  James and Noah manage some hilarity of their own–I am sure they didn’t intend it to be hilarious, but for the reader it is absolutely hysterical.  What could be better?  It’s a book that will bring joy and charm into the reading experience along with lots of hot loving.  I had a sense of urgency that these three main characters find a way past all the past pain and their deep-seated sense of betrayal.  There were times I worried that they weren’t going to find a way past all the bad stuff.  Yet finding their HEA was not without challenge for them and surprises for the reader.

For those who have come to enjoy Ms Oak’s writing, Pure Bliss will be just another “forever favorite.”  For readers who are new to this author, this is a great book.  Yes, the characters are from previous novels, but it is a stand alone book in every respect and I think a new reader will just want to go back and read the previous books in the series.

I give it a rating of 5 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Siren Publishing. You can buy it here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Lost in Bliss by Sophie Oak

Posted December 4, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of Lost in Bliss (Nights in Bliss, Colorado #4) by Sophie Oak

Laura Niles left her past behind. She fled Washington, DC, with her career in ruins and her love life decimated. In her desperate flight, she found a home in Bliss, Colorado. For five years, Rafe Kincaid and Cameron Briggs have searched for the only woman they’ve ever loved. The FBI agents couldn’t share her before, and it tore them apart. Now they have tracked her down, and they want answers. Why did she run? Why did she hide? Why are there so many naked people in Bliss? Laura is shocked when her former loves show up in her new home. And when they bring the full force of the FBI with them, Laura knows Bliss is in for a rough ride, because a killer has been watching and waiting for a second chance. And so have Rafe and Cam.

Sophie Oak is one of those writers of erotic romance fiction who manages to display her talents in every sentence she writes.  I often compare her to a baseball grand slam home run–she hits it out of the park every time!  This fourth book in the Nights in Bliss series is no exception.  It is erotic romance at its best–with passion, conflict, deep emotion, loss, and disappointment around the edges of relationships that are often unusual, tenuous and perhaps destined for failure, yet the people who live in these stories are gutsy, going for broke in spite of the losses and upheavals of the past.  

While the features players in the novel are in and of themselves fascinating and keep the reader’s interest from the first, the community of Bliss, Colorado is also a star player.  Ms Oak has created a town where every conceivable misfit has found refuge, where people with all sorts of strange and weird qualities and histories and penchants are considered “family.”  The women are strong;  that fact comes out in nearly every novel in this series.  These gals have endured just about everything life can throw at them, and they have all come out swinging.  Many of them have found life-mates that are opinionated and chauvanistic–your quintessential alpha male, but who seem capable of opening their hearts while embracing the challenges that a long-term, loving relationship brings with it.  I have often found myself chuckling over the quirks, the strange and humorous repartee that these people share.  And as if that weren’t enough, there is a nudist colony in Bliss, one that is filled with delightful people  who manage to shake things up, especially when strolling through town during the tourist season–au natural.  What fun!!  Keeps the sheriff hopping, that’s for sure.

Perhaps the best quality I have encountered in this series and most recently in this novel is the bonds that are in place because of deep and abiding respect.  When the community is threatened, everyone is “on board” to do whatever is necessary.  But that is equally true when just one person or family is threatened.   Thus, when this novel’s “killer” seeks to do the worst, the reader is happily aware of Bliss at its best.   It is perhaps Ms Oak’s way of reminding us that it is possible for weird and “out of sync” people to live together in harmony–that perhaps Bliss, Colorado is meant to be a small but powerful “picture” of a world where people can really get along.  

I found this novel to be captivating from the first, a treat for the mind and a pleasant massage for the libido.  It is beautifully written, flows well from scene to scene, and never seems to lag or falter as the story progresses.  The editing is good, and Ms Oak and her editors have given us a novel that uses language well, properly spelled words, with correct tenses and such.  Sorry, but those are bits and pieces that make a novel enjoyable for me.  

So those of you who enjoy erotic romance with a hefty dose of quirky thrown in will like this book a lot.  It is well worth the price, the time and effort to read.  It’s on my favorites list already.  

I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

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

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