Thursday, December 31, 2015

Favorite New Authors for 2015

Happy New Year's Eve!!!

Time for another round up. This time it is my favorite new authors of the year. These are authors I've discovered in 2015 and have loved. They are authors I want to read over and over again, and can't wait for more new books from them. I've ooh'ed and aah'ed over their work and written rave reviews about them. I'll recommend them to anyone who will listen.

Here are my top 5 (not in any particular order):


Juliette Cross (Genre: Paranormal Romance)

I do not even remember how I discovered Juliette's books. I think I might have read a blurb for her first Morgon book but I don't remember where I found it. It's likely I read the blurb and saw "dragon human hybrid" and got sold. I'm a sucker for a good dragon story and let me tell you, her Morgon men are SEXY!! And oh man ... soulfire. You gotta read about the soulfire!!

Juliette's stories are intensely emotional and deeply, deeply satisfying reads. After reading one of her books, I find, first, I have a new book boyfriend I will fight anyone over and second, I feel she has satisfied some deep, undefined emotional hunger in me, but at the same time leaving me wanting more.

Her stories also hold great depth for those who are willing to look for it. Racial discrimination, prejudice, self discovery. She gives you naunces in her writing which has you thinking beyond the story itself, into the drives and motivations of her characters and into people in general.

I'm completely addicted to her Morgons but I will pretty much read anything Juliette writes. I still have her Vessel Trilogy to delve into as well as her soon to be released paranormal historical, The Deepest Well. I hear her hero is very captivating in The Deepest Well and it's an intensely emotional journey. I expect to have my heart ripped out and trampled on, then put back together. I can't wait!


Victoria Davies (Genre: Paranormal Romance)

With Victoria Davies, I made the stupid mistake of agreeing to review her third book in the series The Alpha's Temporary Mate without checking if it was part of the series, because I'm an idiot. Then being a totally OCD reader who cannot jump into the middle of a series, I found myself reading the first book, Love At Stake and I was hooked.

In fact, I was so hooked with Love At Stake, I was chasing the ending. I did some very naughty things like read at the traffic lights, read while my Steve was driving and completely ignoring him, then continuing to read at home till I was done. I HAD to know how it ended and I didn't even skip to the end to find out (which is a terrible habit of mine!).

Victoria's books surprised me because they are set around a paranormal dating agency. I thought they would be cute. They are not. They are intensely emotional and breathtaking. Her stories make my heart ache. Quite a few times, I felt like my heart broke. In fact, I'm pretty sure it did when each couple got to a hitch in their relationship.

Victoria's writing made me feel. I felt every emotion her characters felt and I laughed with them. I cried with them. When they got together, their happiness was my happiness.

If you haven't read her books yet, you need to. Just remember, they are not cute. :-)


Elaine Levine (Genre: Romantic Suspense)

I stumbled upon Elaine by accident. I was looking for an audiobook to listen to and found her. The first book in her series, The Edge of Courage was free (it still is!) and I could get the audiobook with Whispersync for Voice for $1.99. Bargain. Little did I know I would fall in love with her writing, her characters and her narrator, Eric G Dove (but that's a rave for another post!).

I won't go over it ad nauseum because I've already raved about her in my Favorite New Series for 2015. And you can read my 5 star review of her first book here.

Elaine's writing is well researched, hard hitting and causes my breath to catch in my throat. She stops my breathing. That's when I know I'm reading something great. When I have to stop to catch my breath. I recommended her to my friend, Bambi and she said Rocco's story made her ugly cry. I felt like I'd won the lottery when she said that. Job complete! Another successful recommendation.

She also writes engaging characters you will fall in love with and care about. You want to root for them, want them to win the battle against the bad guys and most of all, you want all her hunky heroes to get their lady loves.

Be warned though, while our heroes get the girls, the stories do not end where the book ends. You meet them over and over again, from book to book, where you learn more about them, care more about them, and they carve a place in your heart. The guys may get their happy ending at the end of the book, but it doesn't end there, and I love that about her stories.


Julie Rowe (Genre: Romantic Suspense)

Julie Rowe was a complete surprise for me. I came across her second book, Lethal Game on NetGalley and was intrigued by her heroine. Her heroine, Sophia had cancer. She could be dying, and she had a use-by date. Her hero, Connor had a death wish, after being the only survivor in a terrorist attack. He also had a use-by date. I wanted to see how she handled their romance and happy ending. I was curious and from that curiosity, I discovered an incredile world filled with adrenalin, action and a very high body count.

I've said it before and I will say it again. Those who know me are probably sick of hearing me say it. Julie Rowe's books are like reading a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. She is the closest romance writer I've found who packs as much of an adrenalin rush into her stories as Matthew Reilly does in his. It's non stop action from start to finish, with some sexy thrown in.

Where Elaine's writing made my breath stop and I had to take a break from reading to reorient myself, Julie's is the opposite. She makes me want to read faster and faster to get to the end. Every scene is filled with heart pumping action, and this time instead of my heart stopping, I think my heart is going to explode from thumping too hard. The thud, thud, thud of my heart trying to keep pace with the writing and the story is quite a rush.

I don't often glom an author or a series but Julie did that to me. I could not stop reading her books and in the space of a week, I flew through all three books currently available for the series (book 3 is not out yet, releasing February 2016).

If you love action packed stories with a dash of romance and plenty of sexy, you don't want to miss the Biological Response Team series, and the men and women who are a part of it.


Sofia Tate (Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance)

I met Sofia earlier this year at a romance readers convention. She is the sweetest lady. We bonded over peanut butter Tim Tams.

The thing is, when you meet an author and she's super nice, but you haven't read her books, you never know if the writing is good, do you? I wanted to buy Sofia's books but the bookstore in the hotel had already shut. Then I tried to get hold of Sofia only to discover, Sofia Tate is a pen name. She was registered in the hotel under her real name, no clue what that was. Fortunately, we have Facebook and Twitter. I messaged her on both. Thankfully, Sofia is very attached to Twitter and saw my message. I gave her my room number, she came to my room (with books!!) and we chatted.

It took me a while to fit in reading her books but ya know ... the life of a book blogger ... more books than time!

Gotta say, Sofia's stories are sexy as heck but what stuck with me the most was the emotional roller coaster she put me on. I was gasping for breath, putting down the book, tweeting Sofia with tons of WTH???'s and carrying on. We pretty much had this weird reader/writer interaction with me tweeting her OMG! OMG! every other chapter.

If you read my reviews of her books you'll notice two things. (1) Her hero Davison, I want to bring him home to meet my mother, then I want to marry him. Seriously, all men should be like him, and (2) Sofia made me cry. She totally ruined my makeup. At one point, I had tears running down my face and raccoon eyes. Sofia, if you're reading this, you still owe me a tube of mascara and a box of tissues!!

Sofia's books are gut wrenching and emotional. You don't know while you are reading if she's going to break your heart, stomp all over it or put it back together again, or all of the above. It's a wonderful surprise to the very end. And because the series follows Allegra and Davison through three books, you never know how the earlier books are going to end when you read them. You cannot assume anything and that's a lovely thing to have with a book.

And finally, ... an honorable mention ....


Marissa Clarke (Genre: Contemporary Romance)

I got sucked into reading Marissa Clarke's first book in the Anderson Brothers series, Sleeping with the Boss because I am a sucker for the boss / employee trope. Absolute sucker for it. Then I got to reading the books and I was delighted by how much fun they were.

I love the tone and feel of these books my Marissa. They are fun and lighthearted, and sometimes fun and lighthearted is exactly what a girl needs. Don't get me wrong, as you can see from the other authors I've mentioned above, I love deep and heavy too, but light and fun is good too.

I thoroughly enjoyed the sparkle in these stories. They delighted me and made me feel better when I got to the end.

If you ever need something that's going to make you feel good and happy, these stories are it. They don't take up a lot of time to read, they don't use up a lot of emotional energy. They are your ultimate feel good reads.

... So there you have it. Six new authors who have made an impact on my reading life in 2015. I hope to discover more in 2016 but I'll definitely be reading more from these five too.

Who are your top new authors for the year?

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Are you the heroine? #2

A little while ago I wrote a post asking the question "Are you the heroine?" and interviewed my friend Bambi about it. Her responses were wonderful and gave me a real insight into the people who like to BE the heroine.

I also said:

"I'm the complete opposite. I am NEVER the heroine. I don't put myself in her shoes and I don't want to be her or try to be her. My criteria when it comes to heroines tend to fall into very black and white categories: do I like her? or don't I like her? and why? That's it.

If I like or even love the heroine, I will enjoy the book more. If I don't like or even hate the heroine, I'm more inclined to rate the book lower. For me, liking or not liking a character adds a lot of the enjoyment to the reading experience for me."

For today's post I thought I'd let you into my brain a little and tell you a bit about the heroines who work for me and those who don't. These are excerpts from reviews I've written on the books I mention below.

My heroines need to be brave.

bkCharlotte from Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

When I started reading this book and I found out who Charlotte was and what her issues were, I thought, not another battered woman story. I just seemed to be getting sent a lot of those lately, but Charlotte was different. Charlotte was brave and even when she was weak, she worked at overcoming her fears with a strength and determination that I admired. She made me want to cheer for her, where others in the past haven't before. She did falter, and falter she did, many, many times, but Nalini Singh did it with such skill that I did not feel as though I was being bashed in the head with a heroine who had issues constantly. I was able to immerse myself into the story and the courtship between her and Gabriel.

My full review for Rock Hard.

My heroines need to stand up for themselves even when the heroes are uber alphaholes and very dominating.

bkHolly from Dirty Billionaire by Meghan March

Holly is great fun too. I was afraid she's be too much of a countrified hick, but she's not. She's rather naive and innocent in some respects, especially when faced with some of Creighton's debauchedness, but she's also sassy and extremely passionate about her career. I liked her a lot more than I thought I would. She's got great backbone and as domineering as Creighton is, I liked how she stood up for herself and what was important to her. She does something, which in my book would be unforgivable and a big no-no in other circumstances, but given how Creighton behaved I laughed and thought he probably deserved it. I was surprisingly way more okay with what she did than I thought I would be, especially considering Bambi asked me what I thought of it and I gave her an rather unequivocal "no way, not acceptable" response. Given the context with which what Holly did occurred, it was acceptable to me.

My full review for Dirty Billionaire.

My heroines need to find their backbone and fight for what (or who) they want.

bkElla from Nightbloom by Juliette Cross

Ella was a heroine I had a hard time identifying with because she kept so much of herself hidden away and coming across as a rather timid mouse. She pretty much went along with the flow, didn't rock the boat and kept all the strength, passion and boldness she had locked away inside and hidden in her art (which she also kept hidden from everyone). It's also understandable considering her upbringing and what her mother has been telling her her entire life. I kept waiting for the turning point, for moments when Ella became bold. I liked there were certain things triggering her to stand up for herself, but the moment when she truly stands up for herself and grabs hold of what she wants, she does it in a glorious, spectacular fashion, and boy, did she have to work for it!! I don't think I have the guts to do what she did. Bravo!

My full review for Nightbloom.

And here are some heroines whom I have detested ... be warned ... I get a little ranty.

My heroines should not be mean and bitchy.

bkRuth from Base by Cathleen Ross

Ruth, on the other hand, has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. She's mean, opinionated, out of touch with reality and ungrateful. She also has the typical god complex that so many successful surgeons and doctors have. I don't understand why Jack likes her as much as he does, but then again, his choices are limited and she is physically attractive. It's a pity her personality is such a pill. It had a huge impact on how much I enjoyed the story. For the most part, I do not mind an independent, strong female character, but she needs to have qualities that make her likable. With Ruth those qualities don't show until almost too late, after she's been given a big dose of the reality of the world she now inhabits. After that, she shows a bravery and compassion that is admirable though I find myself hesitating over trusting her to not trample all over Jack after her behaviour in the beginning. It's not till the very end I stop waiting for the other shoe to drop.

My full review for Base.

My heroines should not be blind, prejudicial vigilantes.

bkNina from Amaury's Hellion by Tina Folsom

Let's start with Nina. I HATED her. She's out for revenge. She thinks her brother was killed by vampires so she's out to kill them to avenge him. It's stupid. She doesn't even investigate to see if her suspicions are right or wrong. She just starts tracking the vampires and killing them. Then she meets Amaury and he's not what she expects from a vampire and oh no, she needs to stay strong, she can't believe him, he's a vampire, all vampires are bad, blah, blah, blah. She also does something early on in the story which I think is pretty despicable. She tortures Amaury in order to get information out of him. While he's not badly hurt and it's only a small, short scene, I can see it coming and even when I did and it happened, it did not sit right with me. Let me say that kind of behavior, no matter her justification against the hero is unacceptable. It is never okay in my book for the heroine to do something like that to the hero. NEVER.

My full review for Amaury's Hellion.

My heroines should not be brats.

bkPia from Stranded with the Cyborg by Cara Bristol

Pia on the other hand lives up to her codename: Pain in the ass. Seriously! She was annoying right from the get go and I have a special dislike for people like her, be they male or female. Instead of me ranting about her, I'll just let my status updates as I read speak for themselves.
15.0%     "Should have known from the blurb that Pia would be a brat. I hate brats. Irresponsible. Selfish. Bratty. They have nothing to recommend them."
30.0%     "So she's less of a brat now but I still haven't found anything to like about her."
52.0%     "Way to finally realise the stupid!!"
69.0%     "I don't hate her anymore."
72.0%     "Well, there goes the little bit of like I had built up."
74.0%     "Pfft! Stupid girl."
88.0%     "Yep, that's right. Naive and stupid. Behaving like a rebellious teenager. I'm quoting here'"
95.0%     "Sheesh! After all that, that was just a little too easy."

My full review for Stranded with the Cyborg.

So there you have it. The ins and outs of what works for me when it comes to my heroines.

What about you? Any particular character traits in heroines you like or don't like?

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Review: Dirty Billionaire (The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy #1) by Meghan March

Book coverDirty Billionaire (The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy #1) by Meghan March
Purchase link: Amazon

My rating: star starstar star

Heat rating: Flame  Flame  Flame  Flame  Flame

Dirty Billionaire
I've got a big dick and an even bigger bank account. That's pretty much where my bio ends.
Honestly, I don't need to say anything else. I've just sold 99% of women on going home with me.
Do I sound like an asshole to you?
That's because I am.
And guess what? It works for me just fine.
Or at least it did.
Until I met her.
Books talk about sparks flying. Fuck that shit. With her, it was like emergency flares mixed with jet fuel. Or maybe just straight up napalm.
Only one problem.
She wouldn't tell me her name or her number when she disappeared from the hotel room after the hottest fucking night of my life.
Now I've had a taste of unicorn pussy—the sweetest, rarest of all pussy—and I need it again.
So what's an asshole to do?
I took this problem to the street. A missed connection gone viral.
And when I find her? I'm keeping her.

If you love a dirty, dirty, alphahole of a hero with a streak of dominance and a sassy heroine, you're going to love Dirty Billionaire by Meghan March.

I really wasn't expecting to like this story as much as I did given some of the things my friend Bambi said when she was reading it, so I'm surprised by how much I got into it.

Creighton is a filthy, filthy guy and a complete alphahole. He's dominating, controlling and unapologetic and I love him for it. I also love his potty mouth, his very, very potty mouth. He can say naughty things to me anytime. There's not much depth to Creighton and for once, I find I don't mind because I'm so enthralled by what an alphahole he is. He's very much a "he sees, he wants, he takes" kind of guy and the way he goes about getting Holly is rather refreshing. I don't think I've ever read that in a book before and it speaks of incredible arrogance on his part. I'll probably hate him and hate living with him in real life, he'll probably be unbearable, but I do love reading about him.

Holly is great fun too. I was afraid she's be too much of a countrified hick, but she's not. She's rather naive and innocent in some respects, especially when faced with some of Creighton's debauchedness, but she's also sassy and extremely passionate about her career. I liked her a lot more than I thought I would. She's got great backbone and as domineering as Creighton is, I liked how she stood up for herself and what was important to her. She does something, which in my book would be unforgivable and a big no-no in other circumstances, but given how Creighton behaved I laughed and thought he probably deserved it. I was surprisingly way more okay with what she did than I thought I would be, especially considering Bambi asked me what I thought of it and I gave her an rather unequivocal "no way, not acceptable" response. Given the context with which what Holly did occurred, it was acceptable to me.

This installment ended with Creighton messing up something important to Holly. I'm looking forward to the next book and seeing him grovel for her forgiveness. I don't think he even realises he's messed up since their relationship is so new and they are both such independent people. It will be interesting to see if they learn to compromise.


View all my reviews

Goodreads | Goodreads series




    How is he going to explain this one away to girlfriend Holly Wix and his fans?
    “That two-timin’ son of a . . .”
    I hiss under my breath as I stare at the headline—and the compromising picture accompanying it—splashed in vivid color across the front page of the gossip rag displayed prominently in the checkout line at my supermarket. For the second time in two months, it’s a picture of my “boyfriend” locked in an unmistakably passionate embrace with another woman, except this time she’s wearing a giant black strap-on.
    The edges of the paper crumple in my sweaty grip, and I fight the urge to tear it to shreds, along with every copy sitting on the rack in front of me.
    He’s going to destroy my career before it even has a chance to become a reality.
    One year, they said. One year in this joke of a “relationship” and I’d earn my stripes, be all set in the world of country music. Judge me all you want for agreeing, but when your brand-new record label puts something like that in the contract that will jet you out of the backwoods town you’re dying to escape, you don’t ask questions. You sign on the dotted line.
    But reality is a cold slap in the face, and some days it hits you when you’re standing in line at the grocery store. What happens when they finally catch JC with a guy? His habit of swinging both ways, but preferring men to women, is about to become the worst-kept secret in Nashville.
    I’m Holly Wix, winner of a make-me-a-star TV show, and handpicked by the label to buoy JC’s once-impressive but now flagging career. It didn’t seem like a big deal when they slipped it into my contract in the beginning. What starry-eyed girl wouldn’t be thrilled to have her name linked to a country star?
    Instead of the one-way ticket to stardom I naively expected, I’m becoming the butt of every industry joke faster than the guys back home can spend their paycheck on twelve-packs and scratch-offs. But I’ve got one shot at keeping this dream career alive, and honestly, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to save it. So this situation with JC needs to get settled before things spiral further out of control.


The other books in the series:


About the author

auMeghan March is the author of contemporary and erotic romance novels.

Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She's also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she's ever had. She loves hearing from her readers.

Author links: Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Newsletter


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