One-Quote Reviews: The Druid Stone and Galway Bound by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane

I have officially lost my Urban Fantasy Virginity. I feel so dirty. But in a very good way.

The Druid Stone by Heidi Belleau and Violetta VaneThe Druid Stone

  • Title: The Druid Stone
  • Author(s): Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
  • Series: Layers of the Otherworld, Book 1
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, GLBTQ, Urban Fantasy
  • Publisher: Carina Press, August 2012
  • Source: NetGalley
  • Length: 278 pages
  • Trope(s): Time Travel, Other Paranormal Stuff About Which I Have No Clue
  • Quick blurb: Tortured by murderous recurring dreams, “Sean from America” needs help from paranormal investigator Cormac to rid himself of a cursed Druid artifact.
  • Quick review:  Stayed up until 3 a.m. finishing this, and I don’t even LIKE paranormals.
  • Grade: B

…Sean realized if he wanted to now he could push back, any time, because there was nothing holding him to the wall anymore. Nothing but Cormac’s unspoken expectation and Sean’s unspeakable desire to meet it.

I really hate it when I have to stop reading in the middle of a sex scene because I have to go back and highlight everything because the writing is so fucking good.

For the urban fantasy elements, I must admit that I am in no way qualified to judge the world-building, and I was pretty intimidated when the heavy-duty paranormal stuff kicked in. But after a few chapters, I figured out that reading the Irish mythology as a history lesson with some Harry Potter analogies helped keep me in the story.

I still hate time travel, though. All the “what if?” and “but what about…??? GAH!” moments put my brain in overdrive trying to make everything line up properly.

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Galway Bound by Heidi Belleau and Violetta VaneGalway Bound

  • Title: Galway Bound
  • Author(s): Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
  • Series: Layers of the Otherworld, Book 1.1
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, GLBTQ, Erotica
  • Publisher: Self-Published, October 2012
  • Source: All Romance eBooks, 99c (part of the Cyber Monday Binge)
  • Length: 32 pages
  • Quick blurb: Sean and Cormac indulge in a weekend away to reconnect and celebrate their first year together.
  • Quick review:  If you think BDSM can’t be romantic, THINK AGAIN.
  • Grade: A

Cormac knew he should pull back, delay this, let himself savor Sean’s submission just a little longer, but the truth was — the truth was  even though Sean gave him the drive to be strong, he also gave him the permission to be weak. And Cormac was weak. He was torturously, deliciously weak.

I read it, and then I read it again. Because OH. MY. GOD. *~*swoon*~* <thud>

World Series of Romance Tripleheader: Hard Ball series by Abigail Barnette

Before we get started, let’s take a closer look at the covers, shall we?

Long Relief: Hardball, Book 1 by Abigail Barnette

Double Header: Hardball, Book 2 by Abigail Barnette

Just ignore the aluminum bat.

Triple Play: Hardball, Book 3 by Abigail Barnette

Drooling? Who, me? Shut up, I am a SERIOUS baseball fan, dammit.

  • Series: Hard Ball
  • Author:  Abigail Barnette (aka Jennifer Armintrout)
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, Erotica, GLBTQ
  • Publisher: Resplendence Publishing, 2012
  • Source: ARe ($3.99 ebooks)
  • Trope(s): Athletes, Lust in the Workplace, Beta Heroes, Coming Out, Menage/Polyamory, MC/IR/AA
  • Quick blurb:  Interconnected novellas featuring the fictional Grand Rapids Bengals.
  • Quick review: Each story has its pros and cons, but likeable characters having good sexy times are always worth a read.
  • Grade(s): B- average (B+, C, B-)

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Continue reading

Power Play by Rachel Haimowitz and Cat Grant

  • Power Play: Awakening by Rachel Haimowitz and Cat GrantPower Play: Resistance by Rachel Haimowitz and Cat GrantTitle(s): Power Play: Resistance and Power Play: Awakening
  • Author(s): Rachel Haimowitz and Cat Grant
  • Series: Power Play
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, GLBTQ (M/M), Erotica
  • Publisher: Riptide Publishing, February/June 2012
  • Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley ($8.99 ebooks)
  • Length: Resistance: 267 pages; Awakening: 292 pages
  • Trope(s): BDSM, Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Tragic Past
  • Quick blurb: Sadistic billionaire offers troubled aspiring architect a $3 million contract to become his submissive/slave for six months.
  • Quick review: If you can handle the extreme kink, go for it – but only if you commit to reading BOTH BOOKS. Trust me.
  • Grade: Resistance: B-; Awakening: B+

Reading these books was not a choice made on a whim. I read all the reviews and all the warnings and all the samples and all the excerpts. When it was listed on NetGalley, I decided to test my smug self-assessment as a completely open-minded reader willing to push my boundaries.

These books blew those comfort zone doors WIDE OPEN. Off the fucking hinges.

Boundaries. As if. These authors laugh at my pathetic excuses for boundaries and gleefully push me over the fucking cliff.

I’m mixing my metaphors. Now do you understand what they did to me???

NOTE: Trigger warning – some of the excerpts below are graphic.

Continue reading

One-Quote Review: The Theory of Attraction by Delphine Dryden

  • The Theory of Attraction by Delphine DrydenTitle:  The Theory of Attraction
  • Author: Delphine Dryden
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, Erotica
  • Publisher:  Carina Press, July 2012
  • Source: Free digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley ($3.51 ebook)
  • Length: 121 pages
  • Trope(s): Nerds, BDSM, Friends-to-Lovers
  • Quick blurb: Computer programmer uncovers her socially inept neighbor’s hidden wild side.
  • Quick review: A fun novella that’s truly erotic AND romantic, but it’s a little too focused on the unique hero – I wanted to know more about the heroine.
  • Grade: B+

Hey, I don’t know why exactly, because you can be a jerk sometimes, but I think your heart is in the right place and your jerkiness seems to arouse me. Let’s have sex.

I will never again be able to talk to my geeky coworkers without wondering what they’re hiding under the bed.

One-Quote Review: Off the Shelf by Lucy Felthouse

  • Off the Shelf by Lucy FelthouseTitle: Off the Shelf
  • Author: Lucy Felthouse
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, Erotica, Short
  • Publisher: Xcite Books, May 2012
  • Source: Amazon, 99¢
  • Quick blurb: Travel writer gets the hots for an airport bookshop clerk.
  • Grade: B

…something about the way he was cradling a book in his hands made Annalise suspect she’d found a kindred spirit.

Fun, sexy short story with – believe it or not – a believable romance.

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I know the cover above is a stock Jimmy Thomas, but I’m glad they changed it because I just couldn’t recommend it with the original cover:

Off the Shelf by Lucy Felthouse

I’m all for beta heroes with bedhead, but good grief, that poor boy needs a decent haircut.

One-Quote Review: One Naughty Girl by Alexx Andria

  • Title: One Naughty Girl
  • Author: Alexx Andria
  • Series: Landry James, Book 1
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, Erotica
  • Publisher: Self-Published, October 2011
  • Source: Amazon, free
  • Quick blurb: What. The. Hell.
  • Grade: F

The black buck noted her quickened breath and the way she reveled in the scene before her.

Yes, a character – a nameless hookup in a sex club – is described as a “black buck.” Since when is something like that considered acceptable??? I refuse to give any links to this insult to real erotica writers.

One-Quote Review: Seven Minutes in Heaven by Lena Matthews

“I’m willing to concede at most the problem lay with both of us, but with me being the one who…might have accelerated the situation to a proportion that was…maybe…not as critical as I thought it might have been.”

I need more than cheesy-dialogue sex and the “party games” premise to make me want to pay $5 each for the next two books in the series.

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NOTE: Glowing review of Matthews’ Joker’s Wild series is coming soon – Call Me is on my DIK list. That series has all the humor, character development and romance this effort is lacking.