Thursday, April 24, 2014

Slow Surrender (Struck by Lightning #1) by Cecilia Tan

I liked this book which is the first in the Struck by Lighting series.. Karina is a daring woman. I could never do any of the things she does. Karina is filling in for a friend at a restaurant where she is waiting on James.  He asks her to play a game with him.  She consents.  As Karina and James play these games (yes - sex is involved)  they get to know each other a bit.  James is extremely private but when he finds things out about Karina,, he realizes how much they have in common. Will they make it as a couple? Stephan, his driver/bodyguard likes Karina and tries to warn her that things will not work out between her and James. After Karina makes James tell her his name, she realizes that she has ruined things between them. Now on to book 2 - Slow Seduction.

From the author:
Slow Surrender is the first novel in the Struck by Lightning erotic romance series. Karina is a working her way through grad school as a waitress when she meets a mysterious man. From the first moment they meet, an intense game of sex and control begins between them, as James kindles desires in her and pushes her sexual boundaries far beyond any previous man she’s known. As captivated as Karina is by James’s BDSM games, James is equally captivated by her, the woman who flings herself headlong into any adventure he devises for her. The bond between them grows, blossoming into a love that Karina can almost believe in, if only James will trust her with his secrets.

Browse inside this book.

Kindle Edition240 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Hachette Book Group (first published February 5th 2013)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Body in the Backyard by Elizabeth Spann Craig

This was a freebie for me, but it's no longer free on amazon. Some parts of the story I liked it but I had to force myself to read it. This is the fourth Myrtle Clover book. She is almost 90, a former school teacher, blogger and amateur detective. A body has been found in her yard. It is Charles, the cousin of her next door neighbor and partner in crime solving, Miles. Myrtle goes around town questioning people trying to figure the murder out. On the day of Charles's funeral, another body is discovered in Myrtle's yard, in the exact spot where Charles was murdered. Who is doing this? Why are they leaving bodies in Myrtle's yard?

From the author:
It’s just an ordinary day for octogenarian sleuth Myrtle Clover—until her yardman discovers a dead body planted in her backyard.  This death isn’t cut and dried—the victim was bashed in the head with one of Myrtle’s garden gnomes.
Myrtle’s friend Miles recognizes the body and identifies him as Charles Clayborne… reluctantly admitting he’s a cousin. Charles wasn’t the sort of relative you bragged about—he was a garden variety sleaze, which is very likely why he ended up murdered.  As Myrtle starts digging up dirt to nip the killings in the bud, someone’s focused on scaring her off the case. Myrtle vows to find the murderer…before she’s pushing up daisies, herself.
Kindle Edition242 pages
Published October 28th 2012 by Elizabeth Spann Craig

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Let's Build A House Challenge

I just found this challenge  - once again - on goodreads/Crazy Challenge Connection under Misfit Challenges! They always come up with the best challenges.

Duration: April 1 - September 30

♦ If you want to participate in a challenge, please sign up by posting at least a partial list of the challenge requirements. This gives us a post to link you to, which you can use to update your books as the challenge progresses. 

♦ Unless otherwise noted, books must be at least 150 pages long. Books may only be used for one task in this challenge, but cross-challenge posting is encouraged :) Re-reads are allowed, as long as you read the entire book and not simply skim through it.

♦ For each book you read, please post a link to the title, and indicate the author and the date you finished reading it. If a challenge task gives several options, please make it clear which option you’ve chosen. If the task calls for an item on the cover, include a link to the book cover.* If it’s not obvious from the book title or cover, be sure to explain how your book fits the task. If you don’t, you won’t get credit for completing that task. 
    * If you don’t know how to post a link to the book title, cover or author, see the instructions here:Add a link to the book title, book cover and/or author 

♦ When you complete the challenge, please post your entire list as a new message to make it easier for everyone to see what you’ve read :) If you don’t repost your list, your name will not be added to the list of those who have completed the challenge.


STEPS MUST BE COMPLETED IN ORDER!! You can't build the walls or roof until you have a cleared site and good foundation, so you MUST complete task #1 before moving on to task #2, then complete task #2 before doing task #3, etc.

In addition, you may read no more than three books from the same series over the course of this challenge. If you choose the series option for each task, you will need to work from at least four different series in order to get credit for completing the challenge properly.

Duration: April 1 - September 30

1. SITE PREP: The first step in building a new house is to grade and prepare the site. The site-preparation crew typically arrives on the site with a backhoe and/or bulldozer. The crew's job is to clear the site of any trees, rocks and debris, level the site if necessary and dig as necessary for the foundation being built.
Read book #1 in a series Slow Surrender by Cecelia Tan

2. FOUNDATION: No house will last without a good foundation! Slabs, basements and crawl spaces are the three main foundation systems used on houses. In wet and coastal areas, it is sometimes common to put houses up on posts as well.
Read a book with a swamp or bog on the cover (post the book cover!) OR book #2 in a series OR an author’s first published book. 

3. FRAMING: Framing makes it start to look like a house. The framing crew is the next group of people on the site. They start by building the floor. The framing crew next starts on the walls. Walls are assembled on the floor and then raised into place. 
Read a book in which a character works in a “blue-collar” job OR book #3 in a series OR a book by an author whose first OR last initial can be found in the word FRAMING. 

4. WINDOWS & DOORS: Installation of windows and doors comes next, and the last step to completely enclose the structure is the roof. Most houses use standard asphalt shingles for the roof. The first step is to cover the roof with building paper, commonly called tar paper, then the shingles then go on very quickly. 
Read a book with a window or door on the cover (post the book cover!) OR a book that is more than 150 but less than 200 pages long OR book #4 in a series. 

5. SIDING: Siding goes on next. When this step is complete, the house is "dried in," meaning that it is completely protected from rain. Now interior work can begin.
Read a book with some form of weather in the title or on the cover (post the book cover!) OR book #5 in a series OR a book whose primary cover is a pastel color (post the book cover!). 

6. ROUGH ELECTRICAL/PLUMBING: The first work done on the interior of the house is rough electrical and rough plumbing work. The electrician first places all of the boxes for electrical outlets, lights and switches. Then he ran wires from the fuse box to each box and between boxes. Rough plumbing involves installing all of the water lines, sewer lines and bathtubs. 
Read a book with some sort of light source on the cover (post the book cover!) OR a book with a lot of explosions OR book #6 in a series. 

7. INSULATION: The walls are then insulated, drywall is hung and underlayment is installed on the floors to provide a solid, level surface for carpet or vinyl floors. For tile floors, a rigid concrete wonder board may be installed. 
Read a book with a character who is level-headed, even in a crisis OR book #7 in a series OR a book in which the first letter of every word in the title (ALL words count!) can be found in WONDERBOARD (minimum two-word title).

8. COUNTERS & CABINETS: Bathroom and kitchen counters & cabinets go in next. They are aligned on the wall and screwed into the wall studs, then countertops are screwed on top of the cabinets. 
Read book #8 in a series OR a book with a “stud” in the story or on the cover (post the book cover!) OR a book in which a character works in the food industry. 

9. PLUMBERS & ELECTRICIANS: Now the plumbers and electricians come back to finish their work. Sinks, toilet and faucets are installed, as well as the water heater, if that’s not already been done. Light fixtures, wall outlets, switches and cover plates are also installed. HVAC is also finished at this time, including heating and air conditioning unit, the vents and all duct work. 
Read a book set in the summer months (tell us when the book is set) OR the last (or most recent) book published by an author OR book #9 in a series. 

10. INTERIOR DOORS & TRIM: Interior doors, and trim around the doors, windows and baseboards go in at this time, and the interior walls are painted before the flooring – carpet or tile – is installed. 
Read a book whose cover is at least 50% your favorite color (post the book cover!) OR book #10 in a series OR an e-book or hard cover book. 

11. WATER/SEWER LINES: Depending on where the house is located, it will either have a private well and septic system or it will hook up to municipal water and sewer lines. If a private well and septic tank are needed, the contractor will bring in a well-drilling subcontractor and a septic-tank subcontractor. Otherwise, the contractor will call either the municipality or a subcontractor to extend the municipal lines to the house. The plumber will hook up the water and sewer lines.
Read a book with a body of water on the cover (post the book cover!) OR a book set in a small town OR book #11 in a series. 

12. PUNCH LIST: Last of all, a “punch list” is created. The builder, sometimes accompanied by the buyer, inspects the house, noting any problems. All problems are tabulated on a punch list, which is then used as a checklist of things to be done before the house is complete. 
Read the last book in a series OR a book with a house/cabin/apartment (must be a permanent, personal residence) on the cover (post the book cover!) OR a book in which a character must attend to picky little details. 

If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones

I don't consider this book erotic, more romantic suspense. There are a few steamy sex scenes but the focus (I feel) is on Sara wanting to find Rebecca and finding out what has happened to her. Ella and Sara buy storage lockers that people have not paid the bills on, just like the TV show Storage Wars, which inspired this story. Ella found the diaries of Rebecca and then she elopes leaving the storage locker to Sara to clean out. But Sara wants to know what happened to Rebecca.
Sara suspects Mark, the gallery owner and perhaps Chris, an artist. She starts a relationship with Chris but there is no kinky sex like in the diaries. Chris, like Sara seems  to be a little damaged emotionally.  This gets in the way of their budding romance. Their other obstacle is Mark.  Sara wants a career in art.  It was her major in college but she is a school teacher now because she could not find a job that deals with art that she could live on. Sara confesses her dark secret about the journals to Chris.  Will that be the end of them? I must read the next book to find out.

I stumbled on a prequel to this book and read it online. But after reading this book I am wondering what is going on.  The author's time line of the prequel and book one are almost the same.  Maybe I am just confused!
Here are the links to the 8 chapters of the prequels that have been published online.
Behind Closed Doors An Inside Out Novella By Lisa Renee Jones  Chapters 1-6 Chapters 5-8

From the author:
The steamy first installment in the Inside Out erotic romance trilogy by Lisa Renee Jones, in the bestselling tradition of Fifty Shades of Grey.
 When Sara McMillan finds a stack of journals in a storage unit, she’s shocked and enthralled by the erotic life the writer led. Unable to stop reading, she vicariously lives out dark fantasies through Rebecca, the writer—until the terrifying final entry.
Certain something sinister has happened, Sara sets out to discover the facts, immersing herself in Rebecca’s life. Soon she’s working at the art gallery Rebecca worked at and meeting Rebecca’s friends. Finding herself drawn to two dangerously sexy men, the manager of the gallery and a famed artist, Sara realizes she’s going down the same path Rebecca took. But with the promise of her dark needs being met by a man with confident good looks and a desire for control, she’s not sure anything else matters. Just the burn for more.

Chapter One
Sunday, March 7th, 2012
For months I’ve had dreams and nightmares about how perfectly he personifies the word. Sleep-laden, alternate realities where I can vividly smell his musky male scent, feel his hard body against mine. Taste the sweet and sensuous flavor of him-–like milk chocolate with its silky demand that I indulge in one more bite. And another. So good I’d forgotten there’s a price for overindulgence. And there isa price. There is always a price. I was reminded of this life lesson on Saturday night. And I know now, no matter what he says, no matter what he does, I cannot–will not–see him again.
It started out as any other erotic adventure with him. Unpredictable. Exciting. I barely remember where it all went wrong. How it took such a dark turn.
He’d ordered me to undress and sit on the mattress, against the headboard, my legs spread wide for his viewing. Naked before him, open to him, I was vulnerable and quivering with need. Never in my life had I taken orders from a man; most certainly I had never thought I would quiver with anything. But I did for him.
If Saturday night proved anything, it was that once I was with him, under his spell, he could demand anything of me, and I’d comply. He could push me to the edge, to unbelievable places I’d never thought I would go. Exactly why I can’t see him again. He makes me feel possessed, and what is so disconcerting about this feeling is that I like it. I can hardly wrap my mind around allowing such a thing, though I burn for it. But when I saw him standing at the end of the bed Saturday night, all broad and thick with sinewy muscle, his cock jutting forward, there was nothing but that need.
He was magnificent. Really, truly the most gorgeous man I’ve ever known. Instant lust exploded inside me. I wanted to feel him close to me, to feel him touch me. To touch him. But I know now not to touch him without his permission. And I know not to beg him to let me.
I’ve learned my lesson from past encounters. He enjoys the vulnerability of a plea far too much. Enjoys withholding his pleasures, until I am nearly quaking with the burn of my body. Until I am liquid heat and tears. He likes that power over me. He likes full control. I should hate him. Sometimes, I think I love him.
It was the blindfold that should have warned me I was headed toward a place of no return. Thinking back, I believe it did. He tossed it on the bed, a dare, and instantly a shiver chased a path up and down my spine. The idea of not being able to see what was happening to me should have aroused me-–it did arouse me. But for reasons I didn’t understand at the time, it also frightened me. I was scared and I hesitated.
This did not please him. He told me so, in that deep, rich, baritone voice that makes me quiver uncontrollably. The need to please him had been so compelling. I put on the blindfold.
I was rewarded by the shift of the mattress. He was coming to me. Soon, I knew I would come, too. His hands slid possessively up my calves, over my thighs. And damn him, stopped just before my place of need.
What came next was a shadowy whirlwind of sensation. He pulled me onto my back, flat against the mattress. I knew satisfaction was seconds away. Soon he would enter me. Soon I would have what I needed. But to my distress, he moved away.
It was then that I was sure I’d heard the click of a lock. It jolted me to a sitting position, and I called out his name, fearful he was leaving. Certain that I’d done something wrong. Then relieved when his hand flattened on my stomach. I’d imagined the sound of the lock. I must have. But I couldn’t shake the subtle shift in the air then, the raw lust and menace consuming the room that didn’t feel likehim. It was a thought easily forgotten when he settled heavy between my thighs, his strong hands lifting my arms over my head, his breath warm on my neck–his body heavy, perfect.
Somehow, a silk tie wrapped around my wrists and my arms were tied to the bed frame. It never occurred to me that he could not have done this on his own. That he was on top of me, unable to manipulate my arms. But then, he was manipulating my body, my mind, and I was his willing victim.
He lifted his body from mine, and I whimpered, unable to reach for him. Again silence. And the whisk of fabric. More strange sounds. Long seconds ticked by, and I remember the chill that snaked across my skin. The feeling of dread that had balled in my stomach.
And then, the moment I know I will die remembering. The moment when the steel of a blade touched my lips. The moment that he promised there was pleasure in pain. The moment when the blade traveled along my skin with the proof he would be true to his words. And I knew then that I had been wrong. He was not dangerous. Nor was he chocolate. He was lethal, a drug, and I feared…

A knock on my apartment door jolts me from the seductive words of the journal I’ve been reading to the point I darn near toss the notebook over my shoulder. Guiltily, I slam it shut and set it back on the simple oak coffee table where it had been left by my neighbor and close friend, Ella Ferguson the night before. I hadn’t meant to read it. It was just…there. On my table. Absently, I’d opened it, and I’d been so shocked at what I found that I hadn’t believed it could really be my sweet, close friend Ella’s writing. So I’d kept reading. I couldn’t stop reading and I don’t know why. It makes no sense. I, Sara McMillan, am a high-school teacher, and I do not invade people’s privacy, nor do I enjoy this kind of reading. I’m still telling myself that as I reach the door, but I can’t ignore the burn low in my belly.
I pause before greeting my visitor, and rest my hands on my cheeks, certain they’re flaming red, hoping whoever is here will just go away. I promise myself if they do, I won’t read the journal again, but deep down, I know the temptation will be strong. Good Lord, I feel like Ella seemed to feel when living out the scene in the journal-–like I am the one hanging on for one more titillating moment and then another. Clearly, twenty-eight-year-old women are not supposed to go eighteen months without sex. The worst part is that I’ve invaded the privacy of someone I care about.
Another knock sounds and I concede that, nope, my visitor is not going away. Inwardly, I shake myself and tug at the hem of the simple light blue dress I still wore from my final day of tenth-grade summer English classes. I inhale and open the door to have a cool blast of San Francisco’s year-round chilly night air tease the loose strands of my long brunette hair that have fallen from the twist at my nape. Thankfully, it also cools my feverishly hot skin. What is wrong with me? How has a journal affected me this intensely?
Without awaiting an invitation, Ella rushes past me in a whiff of vanilla-scented perfume and red bouncing curls.
“There it is,” Ella says, snatching up her journal from the coffee table. “I thought I’d left it here when I came by last night.”
I shut the door, certain my cheeks are flaming again with the knowledge that I now know more about Ella’s sex life than I should. I still don’t know what made me open that journal, what made me keep reading. What makes me, even now, want to read more.

To read more, click here.

Pages: 340
Published: 2012

In Bed With a Highlander by Maya Banks

Mairin is taken from her hiding place in the abbey by Laird Cameron's men. If Mairin marries and has a child, her uncle will give the husband some valuable land and a large dowry. That is why she is in hiding. Along the way to Cameron's land, a boy tries to steal a horse and escape with it.  Mairin protects him. They arrive at the Laird's castle and he tries to force her to marry him. But she refuses.  He beats her almost to death for it. During the night, a servant woman awakens Mairin and tells her that the Laird plans to use the boy to force Mairin into marriage, even if he has to kill the boy. The woman helps Mairin and Crispin, the boy, to escape.
While they are making their getaway, Crispin's uncle finds them. Alaric takes them home to McCabe land. When Ewan finds out who Mairin ins, he persuades her to marry him. They start to like each other but Cameron has decided to tell the King that Mairin was kidnapped by McCabe. Will Mairin ever be safe? Will she find the love and family she desires?

From the author:
Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan’s clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.
Though the illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril, only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband finds her craving his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin’s strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.
The journey that would normally last two days took them three, thanks to Alaric's consideration of her condition and them stopping frequently to rest. She knew Alaric was considerate because he told her. Numerous times.
After the first day, she was determined to ride without Alaric's assistance, if for no other reason than to wipe the smugness from his expression. He obviously had no patience for women, and, she suspected, with the exception of his nephew, whom he obviously loved, he had even less patience with children.
Still, given the fact that he knew nothing about her, only that Crispen championed her, he had treated her well, and his men had been politely respectful.
Now that they neared Laird McCabe's stronghold, fear fluttered in her throat. She would no longer be able to keep silent. The laird would demand answers, and she would be obligated to give them.
She leaned down to whisper close to Crispen's ear. "Do you remember your promise to me, Crispen?"
"Aye," he whispered back. "I'm not to tell anyone your name."
She nodded, feeling guilty for asking such a thing from the boy, but if she could pretend to be of no importance, just someone who happened upon Crispen and saw him safely back to his father, perhaps he would be grateful enough to provide a horse and maybe some food, and she could be on her way.
"Not even your father," she pressed.
Crispen nodded solemnly. "I'll only tell him you saved me."
She squeezed his arm with her free hand. "Thank you. I could ask for no better champion."
He turned his head back to grin broadly at her, his back puffing with pride.
"What are the two of you whispering about?" Alaric demanded irritably.
She glanced over to see the warrior watching her, his eyes narrow with suspicion.
"If I wanted you to know, I'd have spoken louder," she said calmly.
He turned away muttering what she was sure were more blasphemies about annoying females.
To read more, click here.
Pages: 359
Published: 2009

Monday, April 21, 2014

An Apple for the Creature edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner

This is an anthology of stories that all involve learning.  There are some freaky stories here.  Of course the first one is a Sookie Stackhouse story. It was not long enough! I love Sookie. The other stories that I really liked were "Sympathy For The Bones", "VSI" and "Iphigenia in Aulis". One thing I liked about books like this is that I can "try" an author that I have never read before.

From goodreads:
Includes a never-before-published Sookie Stackhouse story!What could be scarier than the first day of school? How about a crash course in the paranormal from Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner, editors of Home Improvement: Undead Edition? Your worst school nightmares—taking that math test you never studied for, finding yourself naked in school assembly, not knowing which door to enter—will pale in comparison to these thirteen original stories that take academic anxiety to whole new realms.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris’s story, "Playing Possum," Sookie Stackhouse brings enough birthday cupcakes for her nephew's entire class but finds she's one short when the angry ex-boyfriend of the school secretary shows up.

When her guardian, Kate Daniels, sends her undercover to a school for exceptional children, teenaged Julie learns an all-new definition of "exceptional," in New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews's "Magic Tests."

For those who like fangs with their forensics, New York Times bestselling author Nancy Holder offers "VSI," in which FBI agent Claire is tested as never before in a school for Vampire Scene Investigation.

And in New York Times bestselling author Thomas Sniegoski's "The Bad Hour," Remy Chandler and his dog Marlowe find evil unleashed in an obedience school.

You'll need more than an apple to stave off the creatures in these and nine other stories. Remember your first lesson: resistance is fruitless!


For an excerpt, click here.

Pages: 336
Published: 2012

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Tempted by Megan Hart

This story was different from the usual erotic books. Anne and James are married and they are happy. An old friend of his named Alex comes home and stays in their house. Anne is "tempted" by Alex but she will be faithful to her husband. One night the guys get her into bed with the two of them. It changes all of them. Then Alex leaves and Anne and James need to rebuild what they have. Anne finally shows her hidden self to James. She is becoming more, more of her self.  Will they manage to stay together?

I liked this book but I don't understand why James brought Alex into their bed. Is there something more that he wanted from Alex? I am going to read Everything Changes (Alex Kennedy #1.5). I hope that will tell me something I don't know.

From the author:
I had everything a woman could want…
My husband, James. The house on the lake. Our perfect life. And then Alex came to visit. The first time I saw my husband’s best friend, I didn’t like him. Didn’t like how James changed when he was around, didn’t like how his penetrating eyes followed me everywhere. But that didn’t stop me from wanting him. And, surprisingly, James didn’t seem to mind.
It was meant to be fun. Something the three of us shared for those hot summer weeks Alex stayed with us. Nobody was supposed to fall in or out of love. I didn’t need another man, not even one who oozed sex like honey and knew all the secrets I didn’t know, the secrets my husband hadn’t shared. After all, we had a perfect life. And I loved my husband.
But I wasn’t the only one.
The crackle of static and silence greeted me. Then, “Anne?”
I fended off my husband’s wandering hands. “Yes?”
“Hello, Anne.” The voice was low, deep, thick. Unfamiliar yet something about it made me think I knew it.
“Yes?” I said, uncertain, glancing at the clock. It seemed rather late for a telemarketer.
“This is Alex. How are you?”
“Oh. Alex. Hello.” My laugh sounded embarrassed this time. James raised an eyebrow. I’d never spoken to Alex. “You must want to speak to James.”
“No,” said Alex. “I’d like to talk to you.”
I’d already been planning to hand off the phone to James, but now I stopped. “You would?”
James, who’d been reaching for the phone, took back his hand. His other brow raised, the pair of them arching like birds’ wings. I shrugged and raised a brow myself, using the subtle nonverbal signals we’d forged as our private marital communication.
“Sure.” Alex had a laugh like candy syrup. “How are you?”
James stepped back, palms up, grinning. I cradled the phone against my shoulder and turned back to the sink to rinse off the dishes, but James nudged me aside and took over the task. He waved a little, shooing me.
Pages: 426
Published:  2008