Author: Ames

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Space Between Us by Megan Hart

Posted July 1, 2021 by Ames in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Space Between Us by Megan HartReviewer: Ames
The Space Between Us by Megan Hart
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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three-half-stars

Tesla Martin is drifting pleasantly through life, slinging lattes at Morningstar Mocha, enjoying the ebb and flow of caffeine-starved customers, devoted to her cadre of regulars. But none of the bottomless-cup crowd compares with Meredith, a charismatic force of nature who can coax intimate tales from even the shyest of Morningstar's clientele.

Caught in Meredith's sensual, irresistible orbit, inexpressibly flattered by the siren's attention, Tesla shares long-buried chapters of her life, holding nothing back. Nothing Meredith proposes seems impossible—not even Tesla sleeping with Meredith's husband, Charlie, while she looks on. After all, it's all in fun, isn't it?
In a heartbeat, vulnerable Tesla is swept into a spectacular love triangle. Together, gentle, grounded Charlie and sparkling, maddening Meredith are everything Tesla has ever needed, wanted, or dreamed of, even if no one else on earth understands. They're three against the world.

But soon one of the vertices begins pulling away until only two points remain—and the space between them gapes with confusion, with grief and with possibility….

This review was originally published on Oct 9, 2012

I enjoy Megan Hart’s writing. There’s something about it that just grips me right from the get go and that’s how I felt with this book. Also, her characters are so interesting, I wish they were real.

Tesla Martin is happy with her life. She works in a coffee shop and she really takes pleasure in her job. Her boss is another matter, but the customers, her regulars, make up for it. She had an unorthodox upbringing, with her parents taking her and her brother to a commune every summer until they divorced. Now her and her brother are close and she lives with friends, in their basement.

One of her regulars, Meredith, is someone that’s always intrigued and attracted Tesla. So when they take their friendship outside the bounds of the coffeeshop, she’s pleased. But Meredith had a reason for her friendship. She was looking for a woman to be a third in the bedroom, and Tesla fits her and her husband’s requirements. Tesla is open enough to consider it and meet with Charlie, Meredith’s husband. Because this is not the first time Tesla has been involved in a threesome.

As Tesla becomes more involved with Charlie and Meredith, her other relationships suffer a bit. Namely, her friend Vic, whom she lives with, doesn’t exactly approve of what she’s doing and has some guilt he needs to deal with. And then Meredith, the one who drew Tesla into her marriage begins to pull away.

I was engrossed in this story. The developing friendship between Tesla and Meredith, how her attraction to Meredith draws her into a threesome with Charlie, whom she’s also attracted to. The dynamics of how that played out in the bedroom. And later how Meredith’s true nature is slowly revealed. All very interesting.

Another character that pulled me in was Vic and Tesla’s history with him. She lives with him, his wife and their two kids. She helps out a lot around the house. And she loves his wife. But Vic is keeping secrets and Tesla doesn’t want to get drawn in there. He also took in Tesla and her younger brother when their family life imploded and he does not like this new relationship so that drives a wedge between them. The conflict that derived from those two things definitely pushes the story further, especially as it directly relates to what’s going on with Charlie and Meredith.

So as much as certain aspects of the book appealed to me and drew me in, there are some flaws. Meredith and Charlie. LOL I know, I know. The other couple. First there’s Meredith. I can see where she would attract Tesla but she definitely doesn’t appeal to the reader. Especially as I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and figured it would be from her end. Like does the author want us to root for an HEA for all 3 characters or just for Tesla? There’s a tension there, that’s for sure. And then there’s Charlie. I didn’t feel like we got to know him as well as we did Tesla. His character was bland. Sexy bland, but bland. I wish there had been more depth to him. So not knowing him as well, the ending was a bit flat for me. When I finished the book, my reaction was “Huh.”

However, the overall story was engrossing. I do recommend this. 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: A Lily Among Thorns by Rose Lerner

Posted December 10, 2020 by Ames in Features, Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: A Lily Among Thorns by Rose LernerReviewer: Ames
A Lily Among Thorns by Rose Lerner
Publisher: Leisure Books, Self-Published
Publication Date: September 2011
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 392
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four-stars

London 1815, just before Waterloo...

After her noble father disowned her, Lady Serena Ravenshaw clawed her way from streetwalker to courtesan to prosperous innkeeper. Now she’s feared and respected from one end of London to the other, by the lowest dregs of the city’s underworld and the upper echelons of the beau monde, and she’ll do anything to keep it that way.

When mild-mannered chemist Solomon Hathaway turns up in her office, asking for her help, she immediately recognizes him from one fateful night years before. She’s been watching and waiting for him for years—so she can turn the tables and put him in her debt, of course, and not because he looked like an angel and was kind to her when she needed it most.

She’s determined not to wonder what put that fresh grief in his eyes. But after a betrayal even Serena didn’t expect, she must put aside her pride and work with Solomon to stop a ring of French spies and save her beloved inn, her freedom—and England itself.

This review was originally published September 7, 2011

I read Rose Lerner’s In for a Penny last year and really enjoyed it, so I’ve been looking forward to her second book for a while now.  It was worth the wait.

A Lily Among Thorns starts with Solomon Hathaway visiting a brothel with two school chums.  He doesn’t necessarily want to be there and he can tell that the prostitute really doesn’t want to be there.  In desperation (and drunkenness) Solomon gives his lightskirt his whole quarterly allowance and races off into the night.

Five years later and Solomon has entered the Ravenshaw Arms, a hotel with a well-known proprietess.  Lady Serena, aka the Thorn, is known in underground circles as someone who can find missing things (among other skills).  Serena is also the young prostitute whom Solomon’s quarterly allowance allowed to leave her situation.  Serena recognizes Sol immediately, but he doesn’t recognize her until a little bit later.  Sol needs Serena’s talents to locate some family earrings that his sister demands she needs in order to get married and said earrings were stolen a week prior by some highwaymen.  Sol and Serena work out a deal that he’ll stay at the Ravenshaw Arms and do the bed hangings while Serena locates the earrings.  Simple, right?

Not so much, because Serena’s former partner, the Marquis du Sacreval, has returned from France and wants to take the Arms away from Serena.  This is anathema to her because the Arms is her home and something that she’s worked for and proud of.  She also rescues those from her former profession and gives them positions at her hotel.  She has quite a few people counting on her and the last thing she wants to do is hand it all over to Rene.  But he threatens her with a fake marriage license.  By now Solomon has recognized Serena and he’s vowed to help her out…but nothing is that simple and his family, her family, and a ring of French spies are only a few of the obstacles between these two characters.

There was a lot going on in A Lily Among Thorns, but it all came together very well.  I did not even delve into some of the stuff going on in this story.  It had a lot but it was definitely character driven.  And what characters!

First there’s Lady Serena.  She is actually the daughter of an aristocrat who fell for a footman and instead of allowing her father to dictate her life, she ran out.  Yeah she didn’t end up in the best of circumstances, but she took advantage of Solomon’s drunken generosity and made something of herself.  She’s a very strong character who puts up a front in order not to appear vulnerable to former clients who visit her hotel now and then.  She’s also intimidating as hell, with a fierce reputation that makes other unsavory elements quake in their boots when she lifts a sardonic brow in their direction.

Then there’s Solomon.  He is actually an earl’s nephew but who turned his back on the opportunity his rich uncle gave him and went to work for his other uncle in a tailoring shop.  He can match any shade of cloth to the color of your choice.  He is also suffering over the death of his twin, a twin who overshadowed him a bit.  Solomon is very much a non-alpha type of character.  But he has an inner strength that shines through and he has a sense of belonging that appeals to others.  He’s a man who knows what he wants and he makes sure he gets it.  He isn’t in your face about it and that sets him apart from overly-confident alpha types who ooze testosterone.  That’s not Solomon’s style.

So great characters and strong writing are two key elements for why A Lily Among Thorns works for me.  I really like the dynamic between Serena and Solomon.  She can be a bit hard and that’s something that Solomon likes about her.  Solomon also makes Serena believe in herself over the opinion of her extremely disapproving father.  There was also a surprising secondary story that I don’t want to name a romance so much because there was no concrete HEA for those characters (I refuse to spoil the surprise as to who it is) and I would definitely like to see their story wrapped up at a later date.  My only complaint about this book would be the beginning, it took a little while for me to get into what was going on.  But once the story got rolling, I was engrossed.  A Lily Among Thorns gets 4 out of 5 from me.

This book is available from Leisure Books. You can buy it here.

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Healing Seduction by Jory Strong

Posted December 3, 2020 by Ames in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Healing Seduction by Jory StrongReviewer: Ames
Healing Seduction by Jory Strong
Series: Crime Tells #4.5
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Publication Date: January 22, 2010
Genres: Erotica
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

For years Lucca and Quade have shared women and enjoyed games of sexual dominance. While she was married, Kiera was off-limits, even in their fantasies. Now that she’s single, guilt and loyalty keep them from acting on their desire.

At twenty-six, Kiera has been a widow for almost as long as she was a wife. Before pain and loss stripped her bare and changed her, she’d never craved the things Lucca and Quade want in the bedroom. Now she does. She knows they love her. But for them to have a future together, she needs to break through their emotional barriers.

Unknown to them, she’s got a plan. And if it works, Quade and Lucca won’t be able to resist her healing seduction.
Note: Set in the Crime Tells world, with brief cameos from Lyric (Lyric’s Cop), and Calista and Benito (Calista’s Men).

This review was originally published on February 13, 2010

I’ve never read Jory Strong before, but I think I’m going to have to check out her backlist.

Healing Seduction is short story length but it definitely packs the heat in, especially if you like threesomes with a little bit of BDSM involved. Nothing crazy, but just a little bit of dominance in the bedroom, some spanking. LOL

Kiera has been widowed for two years now and she decides enough time has passed. She’s ready to move on with her life, and there’s no one she’d rather do that with than her friends, Lucca and Quade. The problem? These men had also been friends with her husband, and there is definitely some guilty feelings on their part. But will their love for Kiera overcome the guilt?

First of all, Kiera doesn’t know how Quade and Lucca feel about her. So she decides (with the help of her friend) to set up a date with two different guys to see if Lucca and Quade would react to the sight of her between two guys. Well Lucca goes nuts with jealousy and tells her if she wants to know what its like with two guys, he and Quade will be the two to show her, no one else.

Lucca showed just the right amount of jealousy! Healing Seduction had just the right amount of emotion and sex to tie things up in a nice little bow. Knowing that these 3 people knew each other for quite a while makes the length of this story believable.

One little thing – there was some head jumping going on. This could get confusing, especially between Quade and Lucca. But that’s my only beef!

Healing Seduction gets a 4 out 5 (B) from me. Plenty of heat!

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Lady Flees her Lord by Michele Ann Young

Posted October 8, 2020 by Ames in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Lady Flees her Lord by Michele Ann YoungReviewer: Ames
The Lady Flees Her Lord by Michele Ann Young
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: October 1, 2008
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 401
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four-stars


She's desperate for peace and safety...
Lucinda, Lady Denbigh, is running from a husband who physically and emotionally abuses her because she is unfashionably plump and has failed to produce an heir. Posing as a widow, she seeks refuge in the quiet countryside...

He's returned from the wars, wounded and tormented...
Lord Hugo Wanstead, with a wound that won't heal, and his mother's and Spanish wife's deaths on his conscience, finds his estate impoverished, his sleep torn by nightmares, and brandy his only solace. When he meets Lucinda, he finds her beautiful - body and soul - and thinks she just might give him something to live for ...

Together they can begin to heal, but not until she is free from her violent past...

This review was originally published on October 16, 2008

This is my very first Michele Ann Young book and it won’t be my last. (I have No Regrets in my TBR Pile). Michele writes a very satisfying book.

Lucinda Denbigh is an abused wife. She’s not a skinny English rose by any means, a fact which her husband holds against her. He only married her for her money, and he scorns the way she looks and the fact that she’s barren. As he puts it, she can’t even get being a woman right. Lucinda has had about as much as she can take, so when her husband’s good friend, the Duke of Vale, lets her know that he wants access to her luscious body, Lucinda bolts in the dead of the night.

She lands in Kent with a street urchin she picked up along the way. She adopts the young girl as her own and sets up her new life as a widow. Meanwhile, Lord Hugo Wanstead has returned from the war (the Napoleonic wars) injured and bitter (of course). He’s a great big hulk of a man and when he spots the curvy woman on his land, he’s immediately attracted to her. But he refrains from getting her to know her and locks himself away in his rotting estate (his father was a wastrel and left a mountain of debt).

But these two lock horns when Lucinda faces the bear in his cave – over the care of some of his tenants. Hugo is still fascinated by this woman, she by him (it’s hard for her to believe it, considering her history with men) and pretty soon Lucinda is drawing Hugo out of his shell and these two begin to fall in love.

Of course, Hugo doesn’t know that Lucinda isn’t a widow and Lucinda doesn’t know that Hugo has demon seed.

I’m being facetious with that comment there. 😛 Hugo is just a very large man and he’s worried about having another woman die giving birth to his baby (that’s what happened to his first wife). But not to fear dear readers, that fear doesn’t take up too much page time and this being romance, things have a way of working out in the end.

It’s getting to the end that’s the interesting part. I really liked Lucinda. She wasn’t a victim. She took her life into her own hands and made a successful go at it. She was smart, she used her brains to get her out of trouble and when an opportunity presented itself, even though she afraid, she didn’t want to make a decision she’d regret for the rest of her life. I gotta respect that!

And Hugo. I really liked him too. Lucinda does draw him out of his shell and gets him interacting with the people around him. And he so dearly wants Lucinda. Of course he doesn’t realize at first that he loves her, but oh my was he a sweet bear of a man. LOL What can I say? I have a weakness for big guys. 😛

As I said, The Lady Flees her Lord is a satisfying read. 4 out 5 (B)

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Sea Change by Darlene Marshall

Posted August 20, 2020 by Ames in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Sea Change by Darlene MarshallReviewer: Ames
Sea Change by Darlene Marshall
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 332
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five-stars

David Fletcher needs a surgeon, stat! But when he captures a British merchantman in the Caribbean what he gets is Charley Alcott, an apprentice physician barely old enough to shave. Needs must, and Captain Fletcher takes the prisoner back aboard his ship with orders to do his best, or he'll be walking the plank.
Charley Alcott's medical skills are being put to the test in a life-or-death situation, Charley's life as well as the patient's. Even if she can save the American privateer's brother there will still be hell to pay--and maybe a plank to walk--when Captain Fletcher learns Charley is really Charlotte Alcott.
A war is raging on the world's oceans, and the two enemies will fight their own battles and their attraction to each other as they undergo a sea change neither of them is expecting, but cannot deny.

This review was originally posted on August 16, 2011.

I’ve been wanting to read a Darlene Marshall book for a while now so I jumped at the chance to read and review Sea Change, her latest Amber Quill release. Now I am definitely going to read her backlist.

Sea Change features I few things I absolutely love in my romance. A kick-ass heroine who cross dresses and is working in a man’s profession (doctor in the early 1800s). It also has a great hero who is attracted to said cross-dressing woman but freaks out a bit because he thinks he’s attracted to a man. Oh boy do the sparks fly once the truth is revealed!

Charley (aka Charlotte) Alcott is disguised as a man and earning her passage on a ship to Jamaica from England, acting as the ship’s doctor. Her father, whom she apprenticed with, has died recently and so she’s going to stay with her godfather, also a doctor. She’s hoping she can continue apprenticing with him. Meanwhile, she disguises herself as a man. Her plan is totally screwed up when their ship is overtaken by American privateers and she’s forced onto their vessel. Charley’s ship was attacked because Captain David Fletcher’s younger brother was injured and Captain David needs a surgeon to save him. David isn’t exactly impressed with the young doctor he’s found, but he’s better than nothing. And once the pressing matter of his younger brother’s health is behind them, Charley and David form a loose friendship. I say loose because Charley still wants to go to Jamaica and David is determined to keep the doctor on his boat – his men like it, it has improved morale and Charley is someone that David can really talk to.

But Charley realizes that her feelings are growing for the sexy captain and this makes her more determined than ever to get away from him. David too is thrown for a loop when he realizes that Charley is growing feelings for him and thinking he’s a man, it freaks him out, because he’s noticing things and reacting to the young man. All of that changes one day when Charley is knocked overboard and David jumps into the ocean to save her. David can’t help but notice the shape of the body under the wet clothes. And David is furious:

David liked women. Not on his ship, of course, but when he was on land he enjoyed being in their company. He liked them clothed in their fripperies and unclothed in all their glory, curved and rounded and sweet smelling. He liked the contrast of their

softness to his hardness, their gentle ways and delicate natures to his life among rough men. And the ones who weren’t so delicate but gave as good as they got in a game of slap and tickle, he liked them, too.

What he did not like was the thought of a female who talked like a man, and dressed like a man, and thought like a man, and spent her day examining the naked bodies of men when it was no proper place for a lady to be!

The scene, where David reveals Charley’s true identity was so thrilling! He’s glad he hasn’t been attracted to a man but he’s horrified that she’s also a woman. She has been treating the men and seeing them naked and even treated him! It’s unacceptable and he’s determined to get her off his ship as quickly as possible. (There’s an awesome scene when he announces his intentions to the crew.)

I won’t say any more but that’s only half the story. It’s not so easy for David to let Charley go. And I LOVED that these two had time to get to know each other before their feelings came into play. It created some delicious tension, both pre and post gender reveal. I liked all the characters. Charley is a practical sort of woman and David is a great captain and sigh-worthy hero. The writing was engaging and the dialog never dragged. Who thought doctor-speak could be sexy?

“Do you know how an inoculation works, Captain?”

Her voice was low, and husky, and despite her prosaic question, made him even harder, if that were possible.

“An inoculation gives you a taste of a disease. Just enough to strengthen you against it.”

“Am I a disease then, Doctor?”

“If I kiss you, I may be inoculated against you, and I can sleep easy again.”

Hot stuff!!

I got sucked into Charley’s story right from the get go and about halfway through, I knew I was reading a book I’d be listing as a top read for 2011. And I was right. Sea Change is going to be in my top 5 reads for this year.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

five-stars


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