Monday, 24 February 2014

Notorious Pleasures by Elizabeth Hoyt (Maiden Lane #2)

Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Smut-O-Meter: 7 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Their lives were perfect . . .
Lady Hero Batten, the beautiful sister of the Duke of Wakefield, has everything a woman could want, including the perfect fiancé. True, the Marquis of Mandeville is a trifle dull and has no sense of humor, but that doesn't bother Hero. Until she meets his notorious brother . . .

Until they met each other.
Lord Griffin Reading is far from perfect - and he likes it that way. How he spends his days is a mystery, but all of London knows he engages in the worst sorts of drunken revelry at night. Hero takes an instant dislike to him, and Griffin thinks that Hero, with her charities and faultless manners, is much too impeccable for society, let alone his brother. Yet their near-constant battle of wits soon sparks desire - desire that causes their carefully constructed worlds to come tumbling down. As Hero's wedding nears, and Griffin's enemies lay plans to end their dreams forever, can two imperfect people find perfect true love?


This is another great addition to this series. I think I am going to try to binge read this series. I dont do that often. The only other series I have binge read is the New Species series by Laurann Dohner. I find I love the series where each book is about a different couple who you have already gotten to know well. Some series follow couples who we only saw in one scene or something. But in this series we know them a lot better than that by the time they get their own book, and it really encourages me to keep reading and to get there for the characters that I have already grown to know. The same goes for New Species.

I did find some trouble feeling attached to the characters at first. I felt that their relationship was a bit rushed in the beginning, and I was bothered by the fact that Hero was already engaged. But the book was long enough that as time passed it all came together well. I was even happy for Thomas and Levinia despite hating him for hitting Hero.

I enjoyed Hero. It was interesting to see that the heroine was the more jaded one than the hero for once. Usually it is the other way around in historicals. Even though Griffin was still the rake, he had no problem admitting he loved Hero once it happened.

I am very excited to read Silence's story, and I am really curious who the Ghost of St. Giles is. I learned from reading Lord of Darkness that there is more than one. For awhile in book 1 and 2 I thought it was Winter, but he honestly seemed confused about it at the end of this one. It could still end up being him later. I shall see soon enough if I continue to power through this series.

“I think that its our very differences that make us a perfect match. You'd die of boredom with Thomas within a year. If I found a lady with a temper similar to mine, we'd tear each other apart within months. You and I, though, we're like bread and butter.
"Bread and butter. The bread provides stability for the butter; the butter gives taste to the bread. Together they're perfect."

Her eye brows drew together. "I'm the bread, aren't I?"
"Sometimes. And sometimes I'm the bread and you're the butter. But we go together--you understand that, don't you?”

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt (Maiden Lane #1)

Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Smut-O-Meter: 10 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5


A man controlled by his desires...

Infamous for his wild, sensual needs, Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is searching for a savage killer in St. Giles, London's most notorious slum. Widowed Temperance Dews knows St. Giles like the back of her hand— she's spent a lifetime caring for its inhabitants at the foundling home her family established. Now that home is at risk.

A woman haunted by her past...

Caire makes a simple offer—in return for Temperance's help navigating the perilous alleys of St. Giles, he will introduce her to London's high society so that she can find a benefactor for the home. But Temperance may not be the innocent she seems, and what begins as cold calculation soon falls prey to a passion that neither can control—one that may well destroy them both.

A bargain neither could refuse.


I was not expecting such a complicated story. All the Elizabeth Hoyt novels I have read in the past were more simple and mostly focused on the romance. They were still amazing stories. But this one focused a great deal on the murders in St. Giles, on the foundling home, and on Caire's complicated character.

Caire was such a tortured character that I felt like I was reading a book by Anne Stuart or Sherrilyn Kenyon instead. Elizabeth Hoyt's Princes were never that tortured and I loved it. Tortured heroes are my absolutely favourite type of leading man. Throughout the book people kept saying he was notorious for his "unusual bedsport" or his "sexual perversions" and it kept making me nervous because I hate BDSM, but more
specifically I hate S&M. So I was extremely relieved that we eventually found out that he prefers the B&D aspect of it, not the S&M. That's not so bad, plus it was fairly tame. But maybe for some that's still bad, so just a warning. 

I dont know why Caire's preferences would be anyone's business or how society knew about it, but everyone had a stick up their butt back then. I felt so sorry for Temperance who was led to believe there was something wrong with her because she enjoyed sex, and her husband had told her that women who sought out sex were to be pitied. And poor Silence, she couldnt even kiss her husband good morning because in the light of day that would be considered wanton. Blech, how I have come to hate that word.

I plan to jump right into book 2, Notorious Pleasures. I have already read book 5 as an ARC a while back and I cant wait to fill in all the blanks in between. Once I catch up I will have to reread Lord of Darkness.

"He realized that what hurt this woman hurt him as well, that what made her bleed caused a hemorrhage of pain within his soul."

Thursday, 20 February 2014

How to Date a Nerd by Cassie Mae (How To #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Humour, Romance
Publication Date: September 24th 2013
POV: Female - First-person, Present tense.
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Zoe has a great pair of legs, perky boobs, and wears exactly what she needs to show it all off. She works hard for the easy sleazy ‘you only wish you were me’ reputation, burying who she really is—an all-out nerd.

The only time Zoe gets to be herself is when she hides under her comforter to read X-Men comics, sending jealousy stabs at everyone who attends Comic-Con. Keeping up her popular rep is too important, and she’s so damn insecure to care about the consequences. But when Zoe’s sister takes her car for a ‘crash and burn into a tree’ joyride, her parents get her a replacement. A manual. Something she doesn’t know how to operate, but her next door neighbor Zak sure as heck does.

Zak’s a geek to the core, shunned by everyone in school for playing Dungeons and Dragons at lunch and wearing “Use the Force” t-shirts. And Zoe’s got it bad for the boy. Only Zak doesn’t want Popular Zoe. He wants Geek Zoe.

She has to shove her insecurities and the fear of dropping a few rungs on the social ladder aside to prove to Zak who she really is and who she wants to be... if she can figure it out herself.


Although I was pretty frustrated with Zoe in the beginning, this turned out to be pretty good. Not as good as Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend, but better than Switched.

I hated Zoe at first because of the way she behaved at school. She may have been just pretending to care about nothing but fashion and boys and herself, but in the process she put herself before everyone, she hurt people's feelings and she was willing to do it, so that makes her a bad person for real.

Zak was a total sweetie pie who she did not deserve. I was making constant comparisons to Trevor from Geek Girl while reading this, but in the end I think I liked Zak more, although its been awhile so I'm not sure. Zak was such a nice person who gave Zoe so many second chances. Even after all the times Zoe hurt him and turned her back on him, he agrees to help her out and accepts her back again and again. He claimed to not have much forgiveness left in him if she failed him again, but he had already forgiven her more times than she deserved.

"I'd let it go because I knew it wasn't the girl at school under this blanket. It was my friend."

But I gotta admit they made a cute couple. When Zoe wasn't being a bitch and they were just hanging out, they could be pretty adorable. And I loved how Zoe described Zak playing with his lightsaber key-chain when he got nervous. That's so cool! I have a few Star Wars key-chains myself, but not a lightsaber one. :P I'd imagine its one that lit up.

I enjoyed Zoe's dramatic speech at the end. It was very much like a teen movie. Like Never Been Kissed or Easy-A. I think this would make a good movie. I wish her speech would have been longer though, and that she had said something about herself. The speech she made showed that she was willing to become the nerd she used to be again. But if she had said more she could have made it clear that she had never really stopped being Geek Zoe.

"I march right up to a table in the center of the cafeteria. People are sitting at it, but I don't care. I climb on top and look at my audience, which is now half the student body. Everyone is telling their friends to look in my direction, some already laughing, but most are gaping at me.
I unzip my jacket and toss it on the floor. Here I stand in my bright blue Superman shirt.
"The Star Trek franchise includes six series: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise, totaling 726 episodes..."

From reading the Acknowledgments at the end of this book, I would guess that Cassie Mae is a true nerd herself, but perhaps not a Whovian. She kept writing Doctor Who as Dr. Who, which is just wrong and doesn't make sense. A true Whovian would know that. But this book has encouraged me to continue reading more of her books. I love her writing and characters and humour, although I may not always like the weird twist she always has in her stories. But I am looking forward to reading How to Seduce a Band Geek because the male lead is Levi, a friend that Zoe made in this book. He was really nice and super hot. He always reminded Zoe of Zak and made her miss him. :P But Levi was a few years younger so it makes sense that he could be a love interest for her sister. Although Sierra was only 14 in this book. A few years better have gone by by book 2.

"His lips form words, but I don't hear them. His scent is intoxicating, pulling me under. Holy crap! I'm going to pass out!"

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Transcendence by Shay Savage

Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction, Sci-fi/Time Travel, Romance
Publication Date: February 13th 2014
POV: Male - First-person, Present tense.
Smut-O-Meter: 9 out of 10
My Rating: 5 out of 5


It’s said that women and men are from two different planets when it comes to communication, but how can they overcome the obstacles of prehistoric times when one of them simply doesn’t have the ability to comprehend language?

Ehd’s a caveman living on his own in a harsh wilderness. He’s strong and intelligent, but completely alone. When he finds a beautiful young woman in his pit trap, it’s obvious to him that she is meant to be his mate. He doesn’t know where she came from; she’s wearing some pretty odd clothing, and she makes a lot of noises with her mouth that give him a headache. Still, he’s determined to fulfill his purpose in life – provide for her, protect her, and put a baby in her.

Elizabeth doesn’t know where she is or exactly how she got there. She’s confused and distressed by her predicament, and there’s a caveman hauling her back to his cavehome. She’s not at all interested in Ehd’s primitive advances, and she just can’t seem to get him to listen. No matter what she tries, getting her point across to this primitive, but beautiful, man is a constant – and often hilarious – struggle.

With only each other for company, they must rely on one another to fight the dangers of the wild and prepare for the winter months. As they struggle to coexist, theirs becomes a love story that transcends language and time.


This book is amazing and unique like absolutely nothing I have read before. It starts with this dedication:

"For all those who didn't want a story about a man who acted like a caveman, but a story about an actual caveman!"

Shay Savage also proceeds to explain to us that Ehd is not a real form of caveman. He is not historically accurate. He looks like a homo-sapien, but he has absolutely no ability to communicate through language or signs. So you have to be able to suspend your disbelief.

The entire book, minus the epilogue, is written in Ehd's first-person POV, so that is another reason to suspend your disbelief. He cant form a sentence or understand anything that Elizabeth, Beh, says to him, but he can think very eloquently. Although, I can accept that this is what he sees and feels, if he were able to describe it. But perhaps it would have been better written in third-person POV. Either 1st or 3rd, I love that it is solely from Ehd's POV, it gives us such a unique perspective. When we first meet Elizabeth, its clear she is from the future from the way that Ehd describes her jeans and eyeshadow, but we have no idea where she came from or who she was. I suspected she was young because of the blue and pink eyeshadow. She yells and shouts at Ehd when he takes her back to his cave, but we have no idea what she is saying. I can imagine why she is afraid, but we can only guess from Ehd's observations. As time passes, we know exactly how Ehd feels about her. How she has become his #1 priority. How everything he does is the provide for her and protect her. But we can only guess how Beh feels, as Ehd does. She isn't afraid of him anymore, but she sometimes cries, and we can assume it is because she is homesick, but we don't know. Ehd thinks she must be missing her family. She must have gotten lost in the forest and separated from her tribe so he just hugs her and rocks her till she stops crying. 

"I want her to be here with me. I want her to be close to me as I work or fish, and I want her to lie next to me in the furs at night. In my mind, she is with me always and forever.
Finally, its clear to me that I want her for more than children."

Elizabeth tries to teach Ehd a few words but it just does not work. Apparently, among Ehd's people, people have designated sounds. So, when she tries to teach him her name, the best he can come up with is Beh. When he first tries to mate with her she yells 'no' so he learns that that is a bad sound. When she makes that sound she is mad. Even though in the future she uses the word in innocuous ways, he always thinks it means she is mad. She eventually tries to teach him the word 'kiss', the best he can come up with is 'khzz', and he knows that if he makes that sound she will kiss him, but I don't think he understands that the sound is the kiss. And lastly, she tries to teach him the word 'love'. The best he can come up with is 'luff', and I don't think he understands that sound at all. But he knows that when he makes it, it makes her smile, and he loves to see her smile. So, in a way, when he says it to her he is doing exactly what the word intends, and showing her that he loves her. *swoon*

"In the darkness of the cave, there is a light inside her eyes that makes my heart beat faster. I know the emotions I see there are also reflected in my own gaze though I have never felt this way before. Beh softly repeats the same three sounds, followed by my name-sound."

The relationship between Ehd and Beh is just so amazing. The fact that they cannot communicate means that all their love has to be shown through actions. Ehd is always trying to provide for her. Hunting, fishing, collecting wood. Beh cooks for him, bathes him, brushes his hair. Its all so basic but effective and beautiful. I felt and saw their love so much that I cried often. There was so much love that it was just bursting out of me. And I don't just mean a little bit of tears. I mean have a box of tissues handy. At one part I was gasping and I had to put the book down for awhile to recover.

Although there was a lot of sex at the beginning of their relationship, enough to probably garner an erotica label, it isn't all about the fast, passionate stage of their relationship. The book covers their entire life together and eventually the sex is no longer described, as their life expands and begins to encompass so much more. Its too large-scale and epic of a love story to really be an erotica. It surpasses what that label can contain. It is one of the greatest love stories I have ever read.

"If she doesn't wake up, then I will just lie with her until I don't wake up either."


Friday, 14 February 2014

Sempre by J.M. Darhower (Forever #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Suspense, Romance
Publication Date: January 29th 2012
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco had vastly different childhoods. Haven, a second-generation slave, grew up isolated in the middle of the desert, her days full of hard work and terrifying abuse. Carmine, born into a wealthy Mafia family, lived a life of privilege, never having to answer for anything he did.

Both now seventeen, a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide, making them question everything they ever believed. Entangled in a web of secrets and lies, they learn that while different on the surface, they have more in common than anyone would think.


For the first half of this book I was totally in love. I loved Haven's story; where she came from, how she survived, where she would go from there. I am very fascinated by the psychology of surviving trauma such as slavery. That might be a somewhat insensitive way of looking at it, but I am always impressed by people who can come out of it and continue living their lives, even though they will need help at first. And Haven is definitely one of those impressive people. And then there is Carmine. I loved him instantly. Somehow his foul mouth made him endearing to me. I usually hate foul language but Carmine was so over-the-top with it that I could tell it was a form of protection for him. A shield. It made it instantly clear to me how much he was suffering, although, at the time, I didnt know what he was suffering from. I just wanted to wrap my arms around him and tell him everything was going to be ok.

The first half of this book was one of the most beautiful and intense YA romances I have ever read. Although some of the content gives this a NA rating, most of Carmine and Haven's interactions felt very YA, and that is not a bad thing at all. They are only 17. They are so young but have already suffered so much and they understand each other so well because of that. Their age sometimes shows in the way they behave with each other but it just makes it all the more amazing that they can be so dedicated to each other.

I loved seeing their romance develop and I could see and feel their connection. And I could see them saving each other daily. It was a great love story between such amazingly broken but strong people. I was totally in love with both of them and the book. And I would have remained so if it had ended somewhere not long after Valentine's Day. If this book had taken out most of the mob story and had simply been a romance about two people with vague connections to it, I would be singing it's praises. It actually wouldn't be that hard to change. Everything that happened in the second half of the book wouldn't have happened, and there could have been an HEA.

I was really disappointed that this book started to drag in the second half. It was sooo long. I don't have a problem with long books if I am enjoying it, even if not a lot happens. But the second half of this book felt like things were just unnecessarily getting stretched out. And to think that there is a sequel. I will not be reading Sempre: Redemption, which really saddens me. But I already feel like this story has lived past its prime, and reading a sequel would be like kicking a dead horse. I don't see how this story could be continued, besides giving it the ending this book deserved to get. What a roundabout way of getting there. Haven and Carmine's story could have been a quarter of the length. I have as much interest in reading the sequel to this as I do in reading the sequel to Noughts & Crosses. Now that is a painful book. I'm not a masochist.

So I am not really sure who to recommend this book to. Fans of the intense young love, or fans of the suspense and violence of the second half of the book? I suppose you can decide for yourself and I hope I was able to help.

“Grabbing her hand, he pressed it gently to his chest. His skin was warm to the touch, and she could slightly feel his pulse pounding against her palm. 
“Do you feel that? I’m not going anywhere, Haven. This is yours.”

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: January 28th 2014
POV: Female - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 2 out of 5


Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.


I did not enjoy this book very much. I did not like the way that the narration felt so disconnected. It made me feel like I was just seeing this story from afar. Or that I was not reading a story, but just the outline of the story. It read like a ghost story told by word of mouth, or a fable, myth, or legend, not a novel. I was never immersed in the world, and I felt like the characters were thin and undeveloped. They felt like a list of required traits, not people.

I also didn't enjoy the fact that Nyx and Ignifex were such bad people. That was sort of the point of the story I think. Two horrible people who were never loved by anyone else, love each other. But it made it hard to care about either of them, and I hated Nyx a little bit. I guess the story did manage to draw me in enough to make me angry when I think of what Nyx tried to do to Ignifex. More can be forgiven when you are a hot guy who has been tormented for 1000 years. Less so when you are a rich teenage girl. Shame on me, but it's true.

The story was unique and ambitious, but only succeeded in being confusing. I don't understand a lot of what happened, especially nearing the end. And I found the romance seriously lacking. Since they were both horrible people they couldn't really love each other properly, and even admit as much.
"But we'll pretend we know how to love." I smiled at him. "And someday we'll learn."
I couldn't really bring myself to root for them to be together when they were so willing to hurt each other before. They had such an odd relationship, and its even odder now that Ignifex is not Ignifex, but Lux. I didn't love Ignifex, but he was the best thing about the book, and now I feel a little ripped off by the fact that he no longer exists as he once did. But whatever, I can feel it slipping from my mind already. I will forget about this book completely by the end of the day.

If you are looking for a good Beauty and the Beast retelling, I'd recommend Of Beast and Beauty. Its really good!
"I had been waiting, all my life, for someone undeceived to love me. And now he did, and it felt like walking into the dazzling sunlight of the Heart of Earth. Except that the sunlight was false, and his love was real."

Monday, 3 February 2014

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #3)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date: February 4th 2014
POV: Female - First-person, Present tense
My Rating: 5 out of 5


With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world... but that’s not all he wants with her.

** spoiler alert **

This book is beyond perfection. Its beyond anything that I ever could have hoped and dreamed. It was so perfect that it left me afraid for most of the experience, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was anxious until the end. It was as if it was fanfic written by someone who was Team Warner, it had everything that we, as Warner lovers, could have ever wanted. But of course it couldn't be fanfic because only Tahereh Mafi could have ever written something so beautiful.

The absolute best thing about this series is the transformation of the characters. Although I doubted and I was afraid, I should have known that Juliette would end up with Warner all along, because after everything they both went through, they had changed so much and Juliette just could not fit in Adam's life anymore. It was so obvious. I just love the way that Mafi portrayed real struggle and realistic change. Although the story was great, it was really only the backdrop for Juliette's personal story. And Warner's. They both changed so much since Shatter Me, its hard to say who has changed more. They have become the absolutely best versions of themselves. What they had always seen inside each other.

"So the two of you--I mean, together-- you two could basically--" 
"Take over the world?" 
"I was going to say you could kick some serious ass, but yeah, that too, I guess."

Its amazing how Juliette and Warner fit into each others lives like gloves. Like two pieces of a puzzle. They don't even ever fight! They were so obviously made for each other, and by each other. The only thing I would have changed, and I am not even entirely sure that I would have, is that after Juliette shared her intent to become Commander herself after killing Anderson, her and Warner never discussed it. I imagine that if Warner had killed his father himself as he had always intended before he recruited Juliette's help, he would have taken over himself. But now Juliette is taking that from him and they never discuss it. She never reassures him that he will have a place in her new Re-Reestablishment. But, that in itself, might be a good sign. It might be a sign that Warner trusts Juliette to be a good leader, doesn't feel that she needs his help, and also knows that she will always want him in her life without her ever having to tell him. And it could mean that Juliette trusts Warner to support her decision without him having to tell her. I dunno how I feel about that. Could go either way.

And Mafi really knows how to please her fans. Wow! Everything went so well in this. The only negative things in the whole book was Adam's pouting in the beginning, which he got over, and the fact that Anderson was in it, but he died, easily. Adam moved on, Warner happily accepted him and James as brothers, none of the characters died, except Warner's mother, but we didn't really know her. Oh no! I just realized Warner is an orphan now. :( But he gained 3 new family members in the process. :) There is really nothing more I could have asked for. It included some of the most poetically beautiful sex scenes I have ever read, but somehow still clean enough for YA. I am ok with sex in my books, and although I know she had to fade to black since this is YA, if she hadn't, it all would have been beautiful. Mafi can make anything sound beautiful, but she can make something that is already beautiful sound like the meaning of life. I cant even imagine the metaphors she would have come up with for that. But the glimpses we got were some of the most incredible writing I have ever read. Honestly, my review is unraveling and has turned into me just gushing. But the ending was perfect! I cant think of a better image in my head, than the image of Juliette and Warner standing on top of a shipping container, holding each other, surrounded by cheering soldiers. I think I might cry at how perfect it was. And I even enjoyed the fact that we don't see the rest of the war. There may be more Sectors that will stand against them, but we know that together they can do anything.

"You know," he whispers, his lips at my ear, "the whole world will be coming for us." 
I lean back. Look into his eyes."I cant wait to watch them try."

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