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On a Book Bender

2fer Top Off Tuesday

in Top Off Tuesday

It’s that time again — Tuesday! — which means I attempt to brighten your day with half-naked men. Read on at your own risk.  Top Off Tuesdays was started by FeliciaChristi and me.  It is where we (and you!) share the book covers that make us swoon.  Head over to Felicia’s blog to share your Top Off Tuesday link or to see what everyone has posted.

After finally acknowledging his sexual attraction to the human scientist he’s been protecting, Daamon d’Vesti intends to return to Earth and act on it—only to learn he’s been matched to a female, and is expected to choose a co-mate and claim her. Torn between duty and desire, but unable to withstand the primitive, possessive hunger for Grayson, Daamon succumbs to temptation, allowing himself one taste, one day inside Grayson’s body before fulfilling his obligation to his people.

On the cusp of adopting a child, Grayson fights his fervent desire for Daamon, the mysterious friend and neighbor his foster son calls “Batman”. Mind-blowing sex isn’t enough, especially when Daamon infers his own future doesn’t include a male lover. But when a blackmailing ex threatens the adoption, Daamon proves to be not only the man Grayson wants, but also the hero both he and Parker need.

Inside Scoop: This story contains urgent, unforgettable male/male sex.
-from Goodreads

The Importance of Being Wicked by Miranda Neville {Amanda’s Review}The Importance of Being Wicked by Miranda Neville
Series: The Wild Quartet #1
Published by Avon
Genres: Historical, Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Add to Goodreads
The rules of society don't apply to Caro and her coterie of bold men and daring women. But when passions flare, even the strongest will surrender to the law of love . . .

Thomas, Duke of Castleton, has every intention of wedding a prim and proper heiress. That is, until he sets eyes on the heiress's cousin, easily the least proper woman he's ever met. His devotion to family duty is no defense against the red-headed vixen whose greatest asset seems to be a talent for trouble . . .

Caroline Townsend has no patience for the oh-so-suitable (and boring) men of the ton. So when the handsome but stuffy duke arrives at her doorstep, she decides to put him to the test. But her scandalous exploits awaken a desire in Thomas he never knew he had. Suddenly Caro finds herself falling for this most proper duke…while Thomas discovers there's a great deal of fun in a little bit of wickedness.

Curious enough to read more Neville.

Thoughts on The Importance of Being Wicked

A couple of my favorite authors were talking about being excited for the next Miranda Neville book, so I decided, “Hey. I can always use new historomance recommendations” and popped over to the library to pick up the first books in her series. (Because that’s how I roll.)

Though I definitely enjoyed the book, I did have cause to roll my eyes more than once at the heroine, and that’s never a good thing. I just… didn’t like her all that much. You know, like, if I’m supposed to see the importance of being wicked, all I really saw was a heroine who preferred to ignore her problems and a duke who needed to know he could be his own man.

That said. I’m curious enough to read more (and, honestly, it could be the set up of the series—the wild four, and I’m too staid and responsible to appreciate that, unless the author finds a way to capture my sympathy—and perhaps the series isn’t for me, but I have to read a book or two more before I decide).

I did like that Thomas wasn’t well-versed in the sexual arts—it’s a nice change of pace to have a hero without a string of lovers. But he was willing to please, and that was nice. Nice enough to keep reading Miranda Neville.

Trial by Desire by Courtney Milan {Amanda’s Review}Trial by Desire (A Carhart Series Novel) by Courtney Milan
Series: Carhart #2
Also in this series: Proof by Seduction
Published by Macmillan
Genres: Historical, Historical Romance, Regency, Romance, Victorian
Pages: 365
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Add to Goodreads
Lady Kathleen Carhart knows all about imperfect marriages. For years, she has secretly helped women escape their violent husbands. She feels she owes it to womankind. After all, her husband is perfect: handsome, gentle, amusing…and best of all, he left the country three years ago. She isn’t even bitter about that anymore. Mostly.

When Ned Carhart returns in the middle of her most delicate operation to date, her life is thrown into turmoil. She’ll do anything to preserve her secrets…even if it means risking her heart to the man who abandoned her once.

Can one have enough Courtney Milan?

Thoughts on Trial by Desire

After finishing Trial by Desire, I experienced a brief—but strong—moment of woe and panic when I thought it was the last Courtney Milan book I haven’t read. But lo! I have another one. Crisis averted. But this is the state I get in over Courtney Milan’s books.

After Proof by Seduction (book 1), I was curious what would happen to Ned. Because Ned landed himself in a marriage and he wasn’t handling it very well. And while I understood, I also hated what was happening to Kate as a result.

So then there was this book.

And I’m glad there was this book. Ned is back and different, but still Ned. And Kate has always been there and she’s persevered and made something of herself, even if no one knows what that is. (Because secrets. And trouble.)

But I’m glad that the two came together. I like my HEA. This one wasn’t quite as emotional as the first book, but… it still made me happy. Ned needed his story. Kate needed someone to believe in her. And, you know. Bad man got his comeuppance. Always a win.

Small Town Trouble by Jean Erhardt {Jenna’s Review}Small Town Trouble by Jean Erhardt
Series: Kim Claypoole #1
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths
Pages: 276
Format: eBook
Source: Author
Add to Goodreads

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In Small Town Trouble, the first in my mystery series, you get acquainted with Kim Claypoole’s irreverent ways of dealing with the peculiar characters and events that seem to follow her around. Claypoole’s misadventures begin as she leaves her home in the Smoky Mountains to help save her kooky mother Evelyn’s from financial disaster. Setting off to assist Evelyn, AKA “The Other Scarlett O’Hara,” with her newest personal crisis, Claypoole leaves her Gatlinburg doublewide and the Little Pigeon, the restaurant that she owns with her partner and sometimes best friend Mad Ted Weber as well as a steamy love affair with TV diva Nancy Merit.

Claypoole’s savior complex leads to more trouble when she bumps into an old flame in her hometown who asks for help clearing her hapless brother of a recent murder charge. In true Claypoole fashion, she gets more than she bargained for when she gets dragged into a complicated quest to find the true killer that involves topless dancers, small-town cops, a stream of backwater character and even a meeting with the Grim Reaper. We’re never sure if Claypoole can muddle her way through the murky depths of this bizarre murder mystery before it’s too late. With biting humor and wit, Small Town Trouble will leave you guessing what’s around the next corner in the quirky world of Kim Claypoole and looking forward to her next adventure.

A quick and quirky murder mystery.

My Thoughts

The first of Jean Erhardt’s Kim Claypoole Mystery Series, Small Town Trouble is a quirky, quick-reading murder mystery. Restaurant entrepreneur Kim is happily living her life and managing her Gatlinburg restaurant, The Little Pigeon, with her business partner when she gets a call from her mother. Evelyn, whom Kim somewhat affectionately refers to as Scarlett O’Hara, has received an offer for the local small town radio station that her late husband owned. Evelyn’s not quite sure what to make of the offer and so Kim is called back home. (To Tara. No, really! Well, at least that’s what Kim calls her mother’s estate.) As soon as Kim arrives in Fogerty, Ohio, Evelyn tells her about the grisly murder of the town’s topless bar owner. Not only has he been murdered, but he has also been dismembered – and he’s just the first. Small Town Trouble unfolds as Kim gets more and more deeply involved in her past, the mystery of who is trying to purchase seemingly worthless Fogerty properties for hugs sums of cash, and the need to figure out who is killing townspeople.

The character of Kim Claypoole is an interesting one. She’s smart-mouthed and sarcastic, unapologetically unpolished. Her rough-around-the-edges personality is endearing in its rarity. As a reader, she is a narrator and a character who doesn’t feel like someone you have met before – and one that you are happy to have made the acquaintance of.

The story is a fast read and is engaging. However, it’s a little unpolished and, at times, clunky. The narrative is sometimes easily identified as coming from a new author. That said, it’s packed with potential and promise! The threads that the author left hanging at the end of the last chapter are enticing. I’m left wanting to find out what’s next for Kim and how the complicated bonds she has with two married women are going to either unwind or entangle her further.

This review is purely the opinion of this reader. I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Girl with Book Lungs


Top Off Tuesday Needs No Caption

in Top Off Tuesday

It’s that time again — Tuesday! — which means I attempt to brighten your day with half-naked men. Read on at your own risk.  Top Off Tuesdays was started by FeliciaChristi and me.  It is where we (and you!) share the book covers that make us swoon.  Head over to Felicia’s blog to share your Top Off Tuesday link or to see what everyone has posted.

Having been treated badly by humans, Jordeth makes his living as a whore specializing in servicing aliens, especially the sexy Doneleid, Hrral. Business is good until handsome Ryal walks in and destroys his carefully created life.

Raised by the scientifically driven Andali, who used him to perfect the art of body molding, Ryal is the epitome of human masculinity. Unused to human emotions, he thinks nothing of procuring Jordeth for his masters, who transform Jordeth into a partially feline creature with intense sexual attraction and sensitivity.

Jordeth doesn’t take well to either physical change or forced servitude. Drawn to the man, Ryal hopes to find a way to help him, and questions his own humanity. For the first time he feels lust, guilt, desire…and love.

Inside Scoop: If it’s aliens you want, you’ll get more than your share in this seductive story that offers a little ménage, M/M heat and M/M/M fun. But watch out for the nastier aliens! Also contains a short rape scene and dark flashbacks.
-from Goodreads

The Rogue Pirate’s Bride by Shana Galen {Amanda’s Review}The Rogue Pirate's Bride by Shana Galen
Series: The Sons of the Revolution #3
Also in this series: The Making of a Duchess, The Making of a Gentleman
Published by Sourcebooks, Inc.
Genres: Historical, Historical Romance, Regency, Romance
Pages: 346
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Add to Goodreads
After escaping France on a privateer’s ship, Sebastien becomes the notorious privateer, Captain Cutlass. His reputation as a rogue precedes him, and he’s undefeated in battle . . . until he crosses swords with the beautiful daughter of a British admiral. 

Raeven Russell is out for revenge, but now she’s not so sure she wants the dashing captain to change his wicked ways.

Am I burning out on historomance?

Thoughts on The Rogue Pirate’s Bride

Finishing this book left me feeling… odd. It’s not a bad book—I enjoyed it—but for the first time in nearly 10 months, I wondered if The Great Historical Romance Bender is coming to a close. Perhaps it’s just a sign I need to throw something non-historomance in the line up, but still, it’s an odd feeling.

I like my historical romance, dammit.

As the last book of the series, I had a lot of hopes with this one.The last remaining brother. And he escapes and turns pirate? What’s not to love about that? All the sailing and nautical talk. Which I had no desire to learn or read about. But I’ve had this same problem with just about every book that deals with ships.

Raeven was… so not a historical romance heroine. Not that I want all my historomance heroines to follow all the rules (I think everyone knows that already), but she was so far out of what a woman was expected to be and do in that time that she’s not believable as a heroine. Put her in a later time period? Awesome. But not this one.

That said. If you’re looking for light pleasure reading and you don’t really care about anything that a good romance, The Rogue Pirate’s Bride is a good one. I like Shana Galen’s books, and I’ve got two more of them in a different series. It’s just… I might be reading something in a different genre first.

Proof by Seduction by Courtney Milan {Amanda’s Review}Proof by Seduction by Courtney Milan
Series: Carhart #1
Also in this series: Trial by Desire (A Carhart Series Novel)
Genres: Historical, Historical Romance, Regency, Romance
Pages: 350
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add to Goodreads
It’s not easy for a woman with neither money nor family to make her own way in the world, but as one of London’s premier fortune-tellers, Jenny Keeble has managed precisely that. All she has to do is smile sweetly, listen carefully, and tell her clients precisely what they want to hear. It works...until Gareth Carhart, the scientifically-minded Marquess of Blakely, decides to prove that she’s a fraud.

At first, all Gareth wants is to free his gullible cousin from Jenny’s clutches. But he discovers that she’s clever, spirited, beautiful, and not at all the conniving liar that he initially imagined. Still, there’s nothing logical about his attraction to her, and so he refuses to give in to it. He’s vowed to ruin her, so he will—even if he has to break his own heart in the process.


Courtney Milan’s writing wrecks me perfectly.

Thoughts on Proof by Seduction


Without fail, I find myself wanting to simultaneously sob and speed read through Courtney Milan’s books. When people attempt to talk to me, I glare at them and rudely say, “I’m reading.”

I get all flustered and hot (surprisingly, not related to the sex scenes, but those are good too and worth getting hot over) because my emotions are always 100% engaged in the story.

Soooo, I read the prequel novella for this series (This Wicked Gift) and was interested to see what happened with Gareth. I wasn’t disappointed. (But has Courtney Milan let me down yet? NO.) There’s a reason Gareth is so scientifically minded, as the synopsis says, but Jenny’s able to see right through him.

And Jenny. Poor Jenny. I like her independent streak. She could have just let Gareth keep her, but that wasn’t what she wanted. She had the self-integrity and respect to say, “No. I’m worth more.” As we should all do.

Thankfully, I’ve got book 2, Trial by Desire, checked out from the library. We see a lot of Ned, hero in book 2, in Proof by Seduction, and I’m not very happy with him right now. I’d like to see him redeem himself.

The Tower’s Alchemist by Alesha Escobar {Kelly’s Review}The Tower's Alchemist by Alesha Escobar
Series: The Gray Tower Trilogy #1
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Paranormal
Pages: 320
Add to Goodreads
KindleBuy the Paperback
Wizard Vs. Nazi Warlock Vampires.

It's a very different World War II.

The Nazis have unleashed occult forces throughout Europe and the Allies are forced to recruit and employ wizards to counter their attacks. Among them is the battle weary spy, Isabella George, a Gray Tower dropout trained in Alchemy. Longing for retirement and a life of peace, she accepts one final job-extract a deadly warlock from Nazi occupied France and prevent him from unleashing an alchemical weapon that will devour the continent.

But France is crawling with the Cruenti, vampiric warlocks who feed off other wizards. When things don't go according to plan, one Cruenti sets his deadly eyes on her.

Betrayal is everywhere. Even some of her closest allies cannot be fully trusted. Worse still, she finds, she can't even trust herself. She becomes a woman torn between her charismatic spy lover who offers her what she desires most, and one of her closest confidants, whose soft seductive eyes hold deadly secrets about her past, and the Gray Tower itself.

Plans within plans. Plots versus counter plots. Heists gone wrong, sword-wielding Catholic priests, and the greatest manipulation of history that has ever been seen, is just a taste of what Isabella George is in for, in her final mission.

Tangled plot with too many characters.

Thoughts The Tower’s Alchemist

On the surface, this is exactly the type of book I’d enjoy. I mean… NAZI WARLOCK VAMPIRES, people! I was REALLY looking forward to meeting those guys. Unfortunately, while the Nazi warlock vampires pulled their weight (as much as Nazi warlock vampires do, that is), the book fell flat for me until the final confrontation at the end.

In large part, I think this was due to the somewhat extraneous characters introduced who would stick around for a couple pages before disappearing. That part wouldn’t have been so bad, but these characters would pop up again later in the book and I’d have to really wrack my brain trying to remember who they were. And how they were important. While some of that could be explained by Isabella’s transient and secret life as a spy (speaking of which, she goes by several different names in the book. I have a hard time wrapping my head around when main characters have multiple names.), following along with who was who and what part they played in her life was exhausting.

I will say, the ending really picked up. ‘Splosions! Death! Secrets revealed! The underlying reasoning for why Isabella had become such a focus for so many different groups really amped up the intrigue. If the beginning of the book had the intensity of the end, I would have devoured it in one sitting. Alas, I had to content myself with the occasional sighting a Nazi warlock vampire instead.

Not going to lie, that doesn’t get old to type.

Kelly Loves Books... and you!


Top Off Tuesday, Almost Something…

in Top Off Tuesday

It’s that time again — Tuesday! — which means I attempt to brighten your day with half-naked men. Read on at your own risk.  Top Off Tuesdays was started by FeliciaChristi and me.  It is where we (and you!) share the book covers that make us swoon.  Head over to Felicia’s blog to share your Top Off Tuesday link or to see what everyone has posted.

When Margot signs on to pose as one half of a married couple for the cloning company she works for, she doesn’t expect her partner to interest her in the slightest. It’s just a job—albeit one that comes with a fake marriage. To an undeniably sexy fake husband.

Sergei is an immense stone fortress, cold and calm and—worst of all—so compelling Margot can hardly stand it. She’s supposed to be protecting and maintaining the labs, but all she can think about is unearthing the man beneath the controlled façade and wrapping herself around him.

Even if the man she uncovers is far more than she ever bargained for
-from Goodreads

The Making of a Gentleman by Shana Galen {Amanda’s Review}The Making of a Gentleman by Shana Galen
Series: The Sons of the Revolution #2
Also in this series: The Making of a Duchess, The Rogue Pirate's Bride
Published by Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Genres: Historical, Historical Romance, Regency, Romance
Pages: 373
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Add to Goodreads
Twelve years in prison has stripped him of his humanity…

Armand, Comte de Valère has lost the ability to interact with polite society, until his family hires him a beautiful tutor, and he starts to come alive again…

Saving him is her only chance to escape a terrible fate…

Felicity Bennett vows she'll do whatever it takes to help Armand fight back the demons that have held him captive for so long…

With Felicity's help, Armand begins to heal, until a buried secret threatens to destroy their growing passion…

Not completely believable, but still awesome.

Thoughts on The Making of a Gentleman

Sooooo. Let me just begin by saying that I liked this book. We’ll get that out of the way right now. I think book 1 was probably my favorite, and that’s likely because of some… aspects that were relatively unbelievable in THIS book.

The picture we get of Armand in The Making of a Duchess is one of an extremely… stunted(?) man. He can’t talk, doesn’t appear to understand what’s going on, and is pained by touching. That’s how The Making of a Gentleman starts off, so suffice to say, Armand went through some SERIOUS transformations in this book.

I just don’t know how much of that transformation I can believe. It kind of makes me want to go out and research psychological issues like this, where someone goes mute after a traumatic experience. You know, rather than read the book or write my review.

I chose to suspend my belief instead of getting annoyed or questioning the logic behind it because I was looking for an escape, and Shana Galen provides that. And it was kind of cool to see how Felicity managed to break through Armand’s defenses and walls.

And, of course, this book sets up the next in the series and I can’t wait to dig in.

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