Sunday, April 28, 2013

Impact and Velocity (Adult titles)


by Cassandra Carr is an ADULT title which is the first in the ‘Buckin’ Bull Riders’ series and features rider Conner Raub who is conflicted about revealing his Dom tendencies, especially around the world of bullriders.   Jessica Talbot is curious to explore BDSM and she definitely wants Conner to be her guide but she is unsure how they will reconcile their personal and professional interactions.  Their connection in the bedroom is immediate and incandescent but they must overcome judgements by those around them and decide what their priorities are and how they will deal with the growing attraction that is changing their lives, especially when it may threaten all that they have worked so hard to achieve.

A deliciously sizzling start to a fun series featuring sexy cowboys and the unabashedly sensual women who want to be a part of their lives.  It was entertaining watching Jessica try to convince the skittish Conner that she was quite willing to accept him for who he was and wanted to be the perfect sub for him.  His reluctant capitulation to the determined woman was a fascinating seesaw as he exerted his dominance when they were alone yet tried to be circumspect when they were in public.  An excellent introduction to the world of bull riders.

The most recent yummy addition to this series is Velocity.   

I still need to write my review but here is a description and excerpt to whet your appetite for this entertaining title.

Paolo D’Allesandro has been living in his older brother Marco’s shadow. But he’s getting older now and realizing he and Marco don’t want the same things. He’s not sure what his next step is, but knows he needs to quit riding to figure it out.

Savannah Harrington is a grad student working on a thesis about adrenaline junkies, and she’s joined the bull riders’ tour to study the men and their motivation to willingly take part in a dangerous sport. She meets Paolo and both feel an instant connection. She can’t stay away from the sexy Italian and his mind-numbing skills in the bedroom, but knows the relationship can’t last.

Both wish their circumstances were different, but Paolo doesn’t think he has anything to offer Savannah, and Savannah doesn’t want to pressure Paolo into another life decision that will make someone else happy, but not fulfill him. As her time to go back to school draws closer, they need to figure out how to get their highest score yet—in the game of love.


Paolo D’Allesandro picked up his bull rope and skulked out of the dirt-covered arena. He wasn’t sure what he was doing wrong. His brother Marco and several other successful bull riders had tried time and again to give him advice, but it never seemed to stick.
He’d been living off Marco’s generosity for too long now. He needed to win. After slowly making his way back to the riders’ area, trying not to scowl at the sympathetic looks being thrown his way, he stowed his gear and grabbed his bag. Marco’s round would be starting soon and he should go help his brother. With a sigh, he walked over to the area behind the chutes. It was at times like these, when he’d been bucked off twice in a row again, that he wondered if he’d ever make it as a bull rider.
After helping his brother seat himself on the bull, Paolo wandered away. Sure, he could’ve stayed to help other riders, but he always felt like such a loser when all these better riders stayed on their bulls. A few moments later he heard a whoop and turned back to the arena. Brady Parrish was on his feet after an obviously successful ride, giving a bow to the crowd. Paolo shook his head, chuckling. The man certainly knew how to turn on the charm.
When Paolo returned to the riders’ area, Brady was still at it, holding court after another win. Paolo approached, searching the crowd for Marco or Marco’s girlfriend Natalie. Spying them, he pushed through the crowd, but stopped dead when a woman turned to greet Marco.
His heart hammered as he took in her appearance, from her high-heeled sandals to a flirty little sundress and up to the most angelic face he’d ever seen, aside from the cherubs that graced the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. That perfect face was framed by dark-brown, closely cropped hair. Paolo had heard mention of someone having a heart-shaped face, and this must be what they meant. Huge eyes almost tan in color, a small nose, and full, rosy lips made him wish he could draw or paint to record her beauty for future generations, just as Michelangelo had. She was exquisite.
Marco popped him on the arm and he realized he’d been staring. His face grew hot.
“This is Savannah Harrington.” Marco turned to the woman. “My brother, Paolo.”
Savannah stuck her hand out and Paolo automatically took it.
Warm and soft. Just the way I like a woman.
He shivered and one of Savannah’s brows rose. Before he made even more of an ass of himself, he said, “It is nice to meet you.”
“You too.”
Paolo saw Brady look from him to Savannah with an assessing gaze and realized they were still holding hands. Releasing hers, he stuck his in the pocket of his jeans lest he be tempted to touch her again. Brady spoke. “Savannah is here for a while researching adrenaline junkies. Apparently she thinks bull riders fit the bill.” Paolo frowned and Brady grinned. 
“Adrenaline. Like the high you get when you stay on the bull or what you feel in a life-or-death situation.”
He nodded. He hadn’t taken to English quite as well as his brother and a lot of words were still a mystery to him.
“Savannah is getting her master’s degree in…” Brady glanced at her with both eyebrows raised and she smirked.
“Neuroscience.” She looked at Paolo once more. “Science of the brain.”
This woman was so far out of his league she might as well be in another galaxy, but Paolo was fascinated nonetheless. Marco had always done better than he in school, though Paolo had a few subjects he liked and did well in. When Marco had fled the family compound in Italy, Paolo, though only eighteen at the time and barely out of secondary school, had followed. Now he was twenty-three and had never regretted not continuing his schooling until this very moment.
“That sounds…” He searched for the word he was looking for. “Interesting.”

Copyright 2013, Cassandra Carr
 Books Two and Three in the series also look like yummy reads!  I love that all of these titles are undeniably linked, yet each can be read as a stand-alone.


Friday, April 26, 2013


by L.J. Martin is an intriguing tale that centers around a tightly-knit family business that encompasses several aspects of agriculture and production ranging from the cultivation of grapes and wine production to the business involved in bringing the various products produced by the Benvinuti family to market.  The various branches of Benvinuti Packing and its involvement with such things as restaurant supply involve multiple members of Nick Benvinuti’s offspring but his adherence to tradition often puts him at odds with his children.  Family friend David Drake has had a wide variety of experiences in his life which has aided him in his success but he unfortunately has been unable to transfer that success to his romantic relationships.  A series of unfortunate occurrences pits him against Vicki Benvinuti, the woman who has always held his heart, and the threat to both of their empires may result in the destruction of everything each of them has fought to create.

This relatively contemporary story displays both an intricate love story and an intriguing look at the conflicts entailed in transforming from a successful business into an empire.  The depth of detail providing an inside look at multiple aspects of business enrich the story which spans multiple decades and significant changes in the main characters’ lives.  The juxtaposition between the past and present events gradually reveal details about the events that shape Vicki and David into the successful business forces they become even as it tugs at the heartstrings as one follows the disappointments that each has had.  It was frustrating to see the misunderstandings that keep the two of them apart but  fascinating to watch Vicki develop into a force to be reckoned with despite the opposition of members of her family who want her to assume a more traditional role.  The glimpses of businesses which range from oil drilling to agriculture provide a richly textured backdrop for the vicious struggle initiated by those whose ultimate goal is apparently revenge although it is still a little unclear to me how much it was warranted.  The story started a little slowly for my tastes but it definitely built into a very entertaining tale that had its share of twists and turns with multiple layers which ultimately resulted in a very satisfying resolution and made this a very enjoyable read.  

A copy of this title was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Written in Red

Written in Red   
by Anne Bishop is definitely going on to my keeper shelf (once I actually buy my own copy!).  I have long been a fan of this exquisitely talented author (the Black Jewels series and its attendant spinoffs are some of my favorite books and take up quite a bit of space on my bookshelves...darkly erotic paranormal books with such yummy males!) although I still kick myself for donating the Tir Alainn books to one of my local libraries in a fit of generosity, lol.  The Ephemera series wasn't quite as mesmerizing to me until I got to Bridge of Dreams which I found to be an amazing end to the trilogy.  I digress.


I started reading this book relatively late in the evening, thinking I would read for half an hour and pick it up the next day, especially since I knew I would have to be up early to get on the nutty freeways and one wants to be alert for that gauntlet.  Hah!  I finally had to force myself to turn out the light in the VERY wee hours of the morning but I gladly paid the price with my bleary eyes and fuzzy thinking...and I am still caught up re-reading passages.  Wow, what a wonderfully creative and NOVEL way of looking at shapeshifters and other creatures.

The premise is that the human form is something foreign to these shapeshifters and beings called the terra indigene who are also known as Others and they consider humans as prey...and use the pejorative 'monkey' to describe them even though they reluctantly assume those shapes in order to interact with humans.  They have set aside sections of the world for humans to exist in but there is no doubt who is at the top of the food chain, literally.

The main character is a Wolf named Simon who has no cause to love humans, especially since his sister was killed and he has had custody of her traumatized son ever since.  The uninvited intrusion from a human woman unlike any he has ever known is complicated by her special powers and her own handicaps.  Being a human whose knowledge has always been imparted second-hand rather than experienced directly both handicaps Meg yet frees her from preconceived notions, a state which fascinates and confounds those around her.  The remarkable amalgam of Wolves, Crows, Owls, a Coyote, Vampires, Hawks, a Grizzly and Elementals form a community of beings which can learn just as much from as it can teach the young human who integrates herself into their lives yet may bring enough danger to them that the world will change into a far scarier place if a balance cannot be achieved.

This is a book that one should not pick up unless one has plenty of time to read because it is absolutely enthralling.  This author is always able to create a very complex world that is peopled by characters who are alien yet whose motives can be understood.  The dark imagery that she created for her other series is evoked yet again as the issues experienced by beings of immense powers clashes with very human emotions and desires.  There are such intriguing pictures, including an explosive situation created by the unintended insult of using something created by humans for use with a dog when interacting with Wolves, a pony named Thunder stamping its foot in a demand for sugar and disturbing the entire neighborhood, the sibling rivalry between Elementals.  Yum, such a richly textured tale...that can (and undoubtedly will be) read over and over again with new revelations on every visit.  I just know that if I ever see the sign 'special meat'...that is a place that I will carefully avoid and not make eye contact with anyone in the neighborhood, lol.

I am carefully savoring the copy I checked out from my local library but I REALLY want to get my own...and will have to rectify that lack before the sequel comes out next year as I will want to read it again at least once before the next episode!

Monday, April 22, 2013

My fangirl moment (for the time being) and contests

This weekend was pretty busy in my area, the Antelope Valley Poppy Festival was this weekend AND, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was held in L.A.  I hadn't intended to attend until I 'met' author Robin Hobb on Goodreads and serendipitously discovered that she was going to be on a panel with Raymond Feist and Marie Brennan and they were going to discuss DRAGONS!  Yum.  I have been a fan of Ms Hobbs ever since I read her Farseer Trilogy, then the Tawny Man series and The Liveship Traders series.  I also greatly enjoyed the inventive fantasy Soldier Son trilogy.  Unfortunately,  I am behind on the Rain Wilds series but I am looking forward to visiting that world again when I have the time.

I introduced myself to Ms Hobb before the panel discussion and was extremely surprised when she invited me to go for coffee after her panel discussion and signing was completed.  I refrained (barely) from squealing and dancing around the room.  She was very gracious and I really enjoyed our discussion and the opportunity to get to know her better.  She enlightened me on several aspects of the relationship between authors and publishers that was very interesting to me, especially given my antipathy for Facebook and Twitter.  I still have the opinion that I would much rather have my favorite authors concentrate on writing their next book than interacting with me on social media (no matter how thrilling I find it to talk to them directly, lol). 

Another panel member, Marie Brennan has an interesting book that approaches the concept of dragons from the concept of a naturalist.  I was delighted to receive a review copy from her and look forward to reading A Natural History of Dragons:  A Memoir by Lady Trent in the near future.


The panel itself was quite entertaining and covered a breadth of topics during the all too brief hour that elapsed.  I was greatly impressed by the excellently prepared moderator (Noelene Clark) who asked very insightful questions that utilized recent comments from the authors as well as delved into their respective histories and writing styles (Raymond Feist was a crackup with his description of the role playing game, which I assume was Dungeons and Dragons, that formed the basis for his fantastic series on Midkemia).  I will probably write more on his works in a later post as I have enjoyed many of his stories as well but I need to get back to my neglected tasks.


Don't forget that Lisa Renee Jones is celebrating her 'Inside Out' trilogy by featuring yummy recipes (thanks to the hard work of the creative Rae) at this link.  If you mention this blog in your comments, both of us are eligible to win the food-related prize for that particular day.

Night Owl Reviews is having its Spring Fling Scavenger Hunt at this link.

Romance Books 4 Us is winding down on its April Showers Bring May Flowers contest at this link.