Harper Miller Cover Reveal – Renewed

Title: Renewed
Author: Harper Miller

Genre : Erotic Romance/

Erotica and Interracial/Multicultural Romance

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25620567-renewed

I was hurt. I was heartbroken. I felt abandoned and emotionally drained.

Sometimes heartache can open new doors.

Of course, names have been changed to protect all parties involved, but this is my story.

*Disclaimer* This is a novelette. Not a short story, novella, or novel. Content is intended for a mature audience, 18+.

Renewed is the second installment in The Kinky Connect Chronicles. The Kinky Connect Chronicles are short erotic stories/novelettes all wrapped up in neat little bows. These stories are standalones. No cliffhangers in the lot!

Harper Miller is a thirty-something native New Yorker. She’s traveled the world and lived in a variety of places but always finds her way back to the Big Apple. A lackluster love life leaves time to explore new interests, for Harper it is writing. The Sweetest Taboo: An Unconventional Romance is her debut novel. In her mind the perfect Alpha male possesses intellect, humor, and a kinky streak that rivals the size of California. When she isn’t writing, Harper utilizes her graduate degree in the field of medical research. She enjoys fitness-related activities, drinking copious amounts of wine, and going on bad dates.

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Dishabille (Apprivoisé Book 1) by Arden Aoide

Dishabille (Apprivoisé Book 1) by Arden Aoide

Dishabille Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

Divorced and mother to a fifteen-year-old daughter, Dahlia is ready to move on with her life and find something for herself. She wants to be a sub, but she also wants a relationship with the man who is going to dominate her. Alex has pretty much given up on being a Dom, until his sister, the owner of a BDSM club, gives him Dahlia’s phone number and urges him to call or text.

A few shared text messages have Dahlia and Alex ready to give their relationship a try. And when they click on a personal level in addition to playing together, they both realize they have found their match.

Dishabille is the first book in the contemporary erotic romance BDSM series Apprivoisé. While the erotic scenes of this story were exciting and well done, the romance was a bit too instantaneous to be realistic. Dahlia and Alex became engaged within a week of their first text message, even before Dahlia could introduce Alex to her daughter. I didn’t connect with the characters’ relationship in any way before they were declaring their love. There wasn’t anything in their first few days of text messaging that really connected them on a romantic level.

The only real conflict in the book was when Dahlia walked into Alex’s room and found his ex-girlfriend in a compromising position, and it was completely cliché. Dahlia got the wrong idea, ran away, and Alex had to chase after her and explain the real situation. On the plus side, the resolution wasn’t dragged out. Dahlia accepted his explanation immediately.

The BDSM aspect was missing something. Not once did the characters discuss their limits, and it seemed odd that Alex gave Miranda the scarf and she could wear it to signal when she wanted to play. As the sub in the relationship, that didn’t seem appropriate. Their sexual exploits felt more like a little kink than an actual Dom/sub relationship—but I’m not a BDSM expert.

The secondary characters weren’t worked into the story very well. It was clear from the first chapter that the author was setting Alex’s sister Miranda and Dahlia’s ex-husband Nick up to be the subject of the next book. Every interaction with either of those characters felt like it was only there to hook you in for the next installment. Sadly, it didn’t grip me nearly enough to read on. The entire epilogue focused on Miranda and Nick, setting the plot for book two.

There were also some minor grammatical errors, and the formatting made it difficult for me to read the sections with text messages.

If you enjoy instant romance with some hot kink, you may enjoy this story. Unfortunately, it didn’t do it for me.

Happy reading!

Rach

The Tycoon’s Revenge (Baby for the Billionaire Book 1) by Melody Anne

The Tycoon’s Revenge (Baby for the Billionaire Book 1) by Melody Anne

The Tycoon's Revenge Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

Jasmine Freeman has worked hard for what she has, never taking anything from her wealthy father. After the love of her life left ten years ago, she put herself through school while raising their son on her own. Now Derek Titan has waltzed back into her life, and he’s turning everything upside down.

After being betrayed by Jasmine ten years ago, Derek vowed to get revenge on her and her father. Buying her father’s company out from under him is only the first part of Derek’s plan. He also wants to sleep with Jasmine and throw her away, just like he thinks she did to him all those years ago. But he didn’t count on still being in love with her, or Jasmine having a nine-year-old son who looks just like Derek at that age.

The Tycoon’s Revenge is a contemporary romance that had a good plot idea but was lacking proper execution. The entire plot was based on the fact that Derek took Jasmine’s father’s word as truth, even though he already knew her father wasn’t trustworthy. To further the misunderstanding, when Jasmine and Derek were reunited, there were a ton of opportunities for them to straighten out what happened ten years ago, but neither of them would talk about it. Too predictable and too drawn-out.

On top of that, the entire story was essentially about how these two adults couldn’t keep their hands off each other. I’m fine with a book that contains lots of sex; I enjoy it. But it needs to be done realistically, and this book wasn’t. Jasmine, who had only ever slept with Derek, somehow just allows Derek to have sex with her in his office without meaning to. And then she slaps him, as if it were his fault she encouraged him. That’s a running theme in the book. It didn’t matter how mad the characters were at each other. They just fell into bed and forgot to talk. If the plot revolved around two sex-addicts, I might have believed this. In this case, it definitely didn’t work.

This book also could have used some more editing. There were minor grammatical mistakes, but a good editor would have also picked up on the inconsistencies in the story. For example, in one scene Jasmine has her hair in a bun, but a little later on the same day she’s brushing her hair while she’s in the bathroom during lunch. Her son’s wrestling match was extremely confusing. The meet started at four o’clock, and Jasmine was asked to make food for after the meet. While she was standing over the food she prepared, the coach asked if she wanted to have a pizza party for the kids later, and it was implied there would be enough time for dinner—after a four o’clock meet and after eating the food she already brought. Then they were back to being realistic about the time, with Jasmine saying it was bedtime as soon as they got home.

I just couldn’t enjoy the story with so much pulling me out of it. Two stars for this contemporary romance.

Happy reading!

Rach

Melting Into You (Due South Book 2) by Tracey Alvarez

Melting Into You (Due South Book 2) by Tracey Alvarez

Melting Into You Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Melting Into You by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my review.*

Ben Harland is Oban’s eternal bachelor, preferring one night stands with tourists to any form of commitment. When Marci, a tourist who visited nine years ago, shows up on Ben’s doorstep with their eight-year-old daughter Jade in tow, Ben’s life gets flipped upside down. He’s always been emotionally unavailable, preferring to provide physical assistance to show he cares, but now he has to learn how to be a father and provide emotional comfort for his confused daughter. His physical interest in Kezia Murphy, a widow with a daughter Jade’s age and best friend to Ben’s sisters, turns emotional without his realization when the two bond through their daughters.

Kezia Murphy turns down any male who shows an interest in her, putting her daughter first in every choice she makes. But when she can no longer resist Ben, their one night of passion turns into so much more. Kezia tries to resist the growing attachment to a man she knows isn’t emotionally available, having vowed she’d never depend on another male again. When Ben is forced to make a difficult choice in order to stay in his daughter’s life, Kezia shuts down completely. Ben will have to find a way to prove his love to Kezia before it’s too late and she leaves his life for good.

Melting Into You is a standalone novel that is part of the Due South series. Even though it can be read without reading any of the other books, you’ll want to read them all. Tracey Alvarez has a way of drawing the reader in to the lives of all of her characters, including the secondary characters in each story. The stories fit seamlessly together, but enough background information is provided in each book so you won’t be left behind if you haven’t read the others.

As usual, the main characters in this story show amazing growth throughout the tale. Ben is completely clueless about what to do with his daughter at the beginning of the story, to the point where he’s literally counting down the hours until she’s supposed to leave. With a little push from Kezia in the right direction, he falls in love with Jade without meaning to. The scene where he begs Marci not to take Jade away before he gets back to Oban will tear your heart to pieces.

Kezia, while sweet, loving, and a wonderful mother, is set on doing things on her own and not depending on another man after her relationship with her deceased husband fell apart. Even when Ben finally proves that he wants to be there for her—changing his commitment-phobia ways—she’s unwilling to accept his help. It takes a good talking-to from one of Ben’s sisters for her to see how pig-headed she’s been, but once her eyes are opened you’ll be cheering right along with their daughters for them to become a family.

There’s even character growth in Ben’s daughter Jade, who goes from shy and thinking poorly of herself to a happy, outgoing, strong girl. It’s wonderful to see her open up to Ben, call him Dad for the first time, and even stand up for herself.

The romance in Melting Into You is perfectly intertwined with Ben’s family growth, giving the reader more to focus on than just the growing attraction between Ben and Kezia. Tracey Alvarez has knocked another one out of the park with this five star must read. She has quickly moved to one of the top spots on my favorite contemporary romance authors list, and I look forward to reading more of her work. Melting Into You can also be purchased as part of the Love Down Under Box Set.

My five star review of In Too Deep, Due South Book One, can be found here.

My five star review of Hide Your Heart, Far North Book One, can be found here.

Happy reading!

Rach

Northland (The North Novels Book 2) by Cara Dee

Northland (The North Novels Book 2) by Cara Dee

Northland Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was gifted a copy of Northland by the author. I am not compensated for my honest review.*

Logan Ward has been lost in life for the last few years. Two years ago, an ex showed up with his two-year-old son, turning Logan’s life upside down. Logan also met a man he was attracted to, further confusing him. Now, he and his son Justin are planning to spend three months in Alaska where Logan will work on a Retreat and learn the ways of Alaskan life. It sounds simple enough, but Logan is only more confused when he realizes he’ll be spending those three months working with Kyle, and that his attraction to Kyle hasn’t waned.

Kyle Shaw loves the Alaskan way of life, and he despises anyone who criticizes it without understanding. He’s been taking care of his ten-year-old niece Lani for the past five years. This year, he allows Lani to accompany him to the Retreat where he’ll work for three months. After spending most of his life as a playboy, not caring whether he bedded women or men, Kyle has recently tamed his sex life. But Kyle didn’t expect to see Logan again. And he certainly didn’t expect his attraction to Logan to be returned.

Logan will need to figure out what—and who—he really wants out of life and where his home is. Kyle needs to learn to overcome his fear of parenting, because before he knows it, he has two kids who want to call him Dad.

I’ve read several of Cara Dee’s books, and she’s an author I can count on for a good story that will draw me in every time. Northland is no exception. Although Northland is book two in The North Novels, it is a standalone novel and you do not need to read the first book in order to enjoy this one. There is enough backstory provided throughout the pages to give the reader an understanding of what came before this. That said, there is also enough to entice you to want to read the previous story.

Northland jumps right into the action, giving pieces of the main characters’ personalities and history throughout the adventure. Both Kyle and Logan show tremendous growth during the story. Logan starts out confused about his life and not very open to the Alaskan way of living, to the point of insulting how Kyle is raising Lani. But as the story progresses, Logan’s eyes are opened to not only what a good person Kyle is, providing for his family in ways many others wouldn’t, but also to how living in a different part of the country with a different culture can be a wonderful thing. Logan also realizes that defining himself by some type of sexuality isn’t what’s important—loving whomever he chooses to love is. I particularly loved when Logan made the decision to move to Alaska and made plans on his own for him and Kyle to live together, even going so far as to draw up blueprints for expansion to the cabin so Logan, Kyle, Lani, and Justin could live there as a family.

Kyle begins the story feeling like he doesn’t know how to be a parent, even though he’s essentially been Lani’s dad for the last five years. With guidance from Logan and a little help from an unassuming four-year-old “ankle biter,” Kyle realizes it’s okay to make mistakes, and having your loved ones’ best interests at heart is what matters. I may have teared up a bit when both Lani and Justin wanted to call Kyle “Dad.” And the way Justin drops himself into Kyle’s lap—literally—is adorable.

Even Lani, who is somewhat of a secondary character, is characterized perfectly. In many ways, she’s wise beyond her years because that’s the way of her people. She’s been taught how to provide for her family from a young age, so she’s no stranger to hunting for food. Yet at the same time, she’s still only a ten-year-old looking for her uncle’s approval. The way she lights up under Kyle’s praise will steal your heart. I also loved the relationship between Lani and Logan. In exchange for helping her with schoolwork, Lani taught Logan how to cook, and the pair grew as close as father and daughter.

Northland also provides a realistic look at the Alaskan way of life throughout the story. There’s a little bit of everything from stocking up on milk when it’s cheaper in the city, to tying a rope between buildings so you don’t get lost in a whiteout, to having to kill rabid wolves. These additions are worked into the plot seamlessly.

Northland is a must read for anyone who enjoys m/m romance and a good adventure. I will definitely read more by Cara Dee. You can find my review of Cara Dee’s Look but Don’t Touch here.

Happy reading!

Rach

Wicked White by Michelle A. Valentine

Wicked White by Michelle A. Valentine

Wicked White Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I received an ARC of Wicked White through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Growing up in the foster system, Ace Johnson hasn’t had many people in his life who love him. As lead singer for Wicked White, where he’s known as Ace White, he’s surrounded by people who don’t even care about him. When his foster mother—the only person who has ever really loved him—collapses and dies, Ace decides to walk away from all the fame and phoniness. He goes into hiding in a small town in Ohio where he rents a trailer next door to Iris Easton.

After her grandmother passes away, Iris returns home to Sarahsville, OH, to straighten out her grandmother’s affairs, putting her dream of singing in a Broadway musical on hold. She inherits the trailer park where she grew up, along with a mountain of debt. When Ace moves in, Iris is instantly attracted to him, but he runs hot and cold with her and is very secretive about his past. Iris is not easily deterred. She continues to be nice to Ace, and eventually Ace gives in to the mutual attraction.

But when Iris’ trailer is broken into and the tax money to save the trailer park is stolen, Ace has to go on the run in order to avoid being dragged back into his former life before he’s ready. Ace needs to find a way to clean up the mess he left behind and win back Iris’ heart after he ignores her for so long.

Wicked White is a sweet romance with instant attraction between the main characters, though Ace fights it as long as he can, knowing he can’t reveal who he really is. He doesn’t want to drag Iris into his crazy life, especially after finding out she is a singer. Unfortunately, the attraction is a bit too instantaneous. On their first meeting, Ace tells himself he can’t get close to Iris or else he’ll spill all of his secrets. Once they do start an actual relationship, Iris immediately tells Ace she doesn’t care what he’s running from and that she’ll be with him anywhere. There needs to be a little more relationship development before these two fall in love.

There is also a bit too much cliché for my liking between the instant attraction for both of them and Iris saying she loves him in her sleep. Then they are separated for months because Ace is too stubborn to talk to Iris, and when he finally does try to talk to her he misinterprets a kiss on the cheek from another guy and runs away again. When he does come back and apologizes, he never really gives a good reason for having stayed away.

Wicked White is told in first person point of view by both Iris and Ace. Where this can sometimes drag a story down, it is done well in this case. What I don’t really like is the third person point of view thrown in a couple of times to show what the reporter who is looking for Ace is doing. It doesn’t really have a point since the reporter isn’t the one who finally outs his location.

Setting aside the lack of romantic buildup, I did enjoy the plot of the story. Ace is a romantic at heart, and he just wants to play his own music. Iris has her own dream, which gets derailed for a time, but with help from Ace she’s able to finally land a starring role on Broadway. Three stars for this contemporary romance.

Wicked White will be released on June 23, 2015 and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.

Happy reading!

Rach

Want it Bad: A Kinky Romance by Melinda DuChamp

Want it Bad: A Kinky Romance by Melinda DuChamp

Want it Bad Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

Forty-one-year-old Carla is a successful, rich attorney who has just about everything in life she could possibly need—except a satisfying sexual relationship. Her best friend Janet continually harps on Carla’s lack of intimacy. When Carla’s new neighbor turns out to be a sexy, young escort who specializes in pleasing older women, Carla finally takes a chance and explores her newfound sexual appetite.

Jake has shied away from relationships his whole life, choosing instead to please women with no attachment. But he has rules for his clients: they’re not allowed to touch him at all, he never gets involved with a neighbor, and he never falls in love with a client. When Janet pays for a session with Jake for Carla, Carla has to convince him to break his rule about neighbors. And as time goes on, Carla finds she really wants Jake to break his other two rules as well.

Want it Bad was an extremely amusing, hot read. I didn’t think those two qualities could fit together so well, but DuChamp was able to make everything about this story work well. The banter between best friends Carla and Janet was laugh out loud funny. Janet is completely crude and can turn any statement into sexual innuendo, so if crude humor is not your thing, this book might not be your cup of tea.

I’ll admit some of the situations in the story weren’t realistic, like how often Carla peeps in Jake’s window, Jake having “an old friend” whose house he’s living in and who leaves her dog all her money, and Jake being a virgin, but the rest of the story was so well done that it was easy to overlook these issues.

Carla was a strong character who showed growth throughout the story. Even with her back-and-forth indecisiveness, she continually made progress in opening up to the sexual experiences and accepting that it was okay to enjoy the things she craved. And the heat was off-the-charts hot! I would call this BDSM-light, since their explorations dealt with safewords and pushing limits yet there was no focus on an actual Dom/sub relationship.

I did think the actual romance took a backseat to Carla’s exploration and realizations, but there was enough to the relationship to make it a good story with more plot than porn.

Want it Bad is a must read if you enjoy a hot plot with crude humor. I would definitely read more by this author.

Happy reading!

Rach

Iron Butterfly by Lisa Wainland

Iron Butterfly by Lisa Wainland

Iron Butterfly Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

Twenty-nine-year-old Cassie is pretty happy with her life. She loves her fiancé, has a job she likes, and she likes the way she looks. But life can change in an instant, as it does when Cassie collapses at work and finds out she has a brain tumor. Her fiancé Jake will stand by her side while she undergoes an operation and recovery, but Jake has demons of his own he must deal with to find his way back to happiness.

Cassie’s sister Sandy left home at age eighteen and hasn’t returned for the last seventeen years. Now that Sandy’s sister is fighting for her life, Sandy takes a good look at her own life to realize what’s important. When Sandy returns to her sister’s side, she needs to make amends with her family, and she also needs to pick up the pieces of her marriage before it falls apart for good.

Iron Butterfly is the kind of story that will make you step back and take a look at your own life to figure out what’s really important. It deals with the fragility of life and how none of us are promised tomorrow. The story has a beautiful message, and it’s worth a read. It follows three different people whose lives are intertwined and connected by the same event and shows how they each deal with it and the repercussions.

That said, there were several things I didn’t like about this story. To start with, the first chapter felt like it was a bit all over the place and didn’t really draw me in. I wasn’t sure why I was supposed to care about all the information we were given about Cassie until later on. Perhaps if it had started with telling us how everything could change in an instant and then giving the background information, it would have drawn me in quicker.

The story started out being told by Cassie in first person point of view. It stayed that way up until she was in the hospital, and then suddenly it shifted into third person point of view and we heard from Jake, and later Sandy. The switching from first person to third person was awkward, and I didn’t understand why the author didn’t stick with one. The whole story could have been told in third person to accommodate hearing from other characters, or it could have all been in first person with the chapter breaks switching between the characters. The various points of view and short chapters made the story feel choppy and disconnected even though all three points of view were intertwined.

Additionally, there were quite a few tense changes and other grammatical errors. A little more editing would have helped greatly. I also would have liked to see Jake’s issues fully resolved. He spoke about telling Cassie the full truth about his mother’s death, but we never saw that happen.

Overall, I enjoyed the theme and message of this story but felt it could have been done better.

Happy reading!

Rach

The Immortals: Part One: Shadows & Starstone by Cheryl S. Mackey

The Immortals: Part One: Shadows & Starstone by Cheryl S. Mackey

The Immortals: Part One: Shadows & Starstone

Young Adult Fantasy

4 out of 5 Stars

*I was gifted a copy of this story by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

Immortals have been created by the gods known as The Four to protect the world of Ein-Aral from evil known as Dro-Aconi. Four such Immortals are sent on a quest to stop the Dro-Aconi from acquiring Starstone from an unprotected village. Starstone is a powerful resource the Dro-Aconi need to break their way fully into Ein-Aral, as currently they are only unformed shadows.

The Immortal Emaranthe holds power over fire. Despite her child-like appearance, she has been Immortal for over three hundred years. Jadeth is an Elf with healing powers. Ivo can control the wind, and his brother Jaeger has power over water. Together, these four Immortals must fight against Alarandia and her guards before the Dro-Aconi are able to get the Starstone.

The Immortals: Part One: Shadows & Starstone is a fantasy novella taking the reader into the world of Ein-Aral. The character descriptions are well thought-out, giving the reader a good picture of just what these Immortals look like. Their powers are described in detail so you know what each character’s strength is. And their backgrounds are provided in this novella to set the basis for future books. Each Immortal needs to use his or her strength to defeat the Dro-Aconi and save the village.

Although I’m not much of a fantasy reader, I did enjoy this story, and the ending sets up the next quest these four Immortals will undertake. The only drawback was that the book could use a little better editing as dialogue was repeatedly punctuated incorrectly and there were a few formatting issues. Overall, it was a good read.

Happy reading!

Rach

Hide your Heart (Far North Book 1) by Tracey Alvarez

Hide your Heart (Far North Book 1) by Tracey Alvarez

Hide Your Heart Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was gifted a copy of Hide Your Heart by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

Bounty Bay native Lauren Taylor is happy to live a quiet life with her four-year-old son Drew, and her brother and his family close by. An abusive ex-husband and a former life in the spotlight keep Lauren from opening up to anyone. But all that will change if Nate Fraser has his way. Nate has purchased the house and land adjacent to Lauren’s, with plans to renovate and sell to someone who wants to turn the place into a celebrity retreat, bringing the paparazzi right back to Lauren’s front door.

Famed photojournalist and most eligible bachelor Nate Fraser never plans to stay in one place for very long. His life is one of travel and adventure. From his own childhood, Nate knows having a wife and child are out of the question with his lifestyle. His investment in the Bounty Bay property should provide a quick return, allowing him more freedom in the types of jobs he takes. He can’t let his attraction to his sexy neighbor and her loveable son put a kink in his plans.

When their attraction can no longer be denied, Nate and Lauren give in to temptation. Each of them knows better than to give their heart over to this temporary situation. But denying their love will only get them so far. Lauren will need to come out of her protective shell, while Nate needs to decide what he loves more: the freedom of traveling, or Lauren and Drew.

Tracey Alvarez has written another stellar contemporary romance in Hide Your Heart. The characters are deep and go through a lot of growth throughout the story. Even little Drew will squeeze your heart and hold on tightly. Although the situations aren’t necessarily relatable—wouldn’t we all like to be tall, gorgeous former fashion models?—their struggles are real. Lauren only wants to keep to herself and protect Drew, and Nate’s plan for his property threatens that. Even Nate himself, famous in his own right, is dangerous for Lauren to be around if she doesn’t want to be recognized.

Lauren is a strong woman; her past has seen to that. But she continues to grow and strengthen as her relationship with Nate progresses. Her initial reaction to him—fear to near passing out—is contrasted nicely with her trust in him later in the story when he grabs her ankle playfully and holds her down.

Nate knows what he wants out of life, and having a wife and kid don’t fit into that picture. His own relationship with his father is sprinkled throughout the story. We come to understand why Nate would never want to subject anyone else to that kind of life, but we also get to hear about the good times he remembers with his father. Comparing those times to Nate’s relationship with Drew will give you all the warm fuzzies.

I also appreciate the author’s descriptions of New Zealand. Even though I’ve never been there, I’m still able to picture the scenes as I read without feeling like I’m getting a geography lesson. The climate is worked right into the plot with rain storms facilitating the meeting between the main characters and necessitating their close proximity during the rest of the story.

Hide Your Heart is a must read for contemporary romance fans. Although it’s a standalone book, the secondary characters are nicely woven into the plot leaving you eager to read the next book. I’m looking forward to the next installment of the Far North series.

You can find my five star review of Tracey Alvarez’s In Too Deep here.

Happy reading!

Rach