Review: Silencing Eve by Iris Johansen

Wednesday, November 27

Title:  Silencing Eve*
Author: Iris Johansen      
Series:  Eve Duncan Trilogy #3/#18
Genre: Romantic Suspense      
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press      
Format: Hardcover book, ebook, audiobook
Date/Year: October 29, 2013      
Reviewed by: Blue  

*This book was borrowed from the reviewer's public library

Summary from the publisher:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen is back with the shocking conclusion to the latest Eve Duncan trilogy.

This is the finale that fans have been waiting for.  In Taking Even, the game began.  In Hunting Eve, the chase was on.  Now, in Silencing Eve, the prey is cornered.  Will Eve Duncan survive?  Will those she loves take the fall with her? And will the secrets of Eve’s past ultimately become her undoing?  In Silencing Eve, all the questions will be answered in a shocking, you never saw it coming conclusion.

Iris Johansen’s 2012 trilogy, Eve, Quinn, Bonnie was a phenomenal success, reaching number one on bestseller lists nationwide.  Now, with this newest trilogy, the stakes are even higher because it’s a question of capture and escape, hunter and prey, life and death.


My Musings:

SILENCING EVE is Book 3 in the latest Eve Duncan trilogy by Iris Johansen, and is also part of a long running series of books that feature Eve Duncan as the heroine (#18 in series).  While it's not necessary to have read every book in the series, you will be lost if you haven't read books one and two (TAKING EVE & HUNTING EVE) of this trilogy.

Eve Duncan is one of the foremost forensic sculpture artists in the country.  She was inspired to this career choice when her young daughter, Bonnie, was kidnapped and presumed dead.  For years, Bonnie's remains weren't found, and Eve suffered the agony of not knowing what happened.  She focused on reconstructing faces from remains of children found, so that they could be identified, and their parents could have closure.

Her expertise, however, has also made her a target, as there are those who would use her talents for their own agenda.  One such person is Jim Doane, the father of a pedophile serial killer.  Doane's son was killed, and his body cremated, but Doane managed to save his skull.  Now he wants Eve to do a reconstruction, feeling it will bring his son back to life.

The whole trilogy was exciting, and full of page turning suspense.  Eve's long time love, Joe Quinn, her adopted daughter, Jane, and a multitude of characters we have met over the course of a dozen books have gathered to try to rescue Eve from this deranged man.  If I were rating on suspense and excitement alone, this series would be 5 stars.

However, at the end of book three, there is an event that happens, an event that I found so devastating that I was sobbing.  I couldn't believe that this author would take this course of action.  Obviously, it would be a spoiler if revealed.  I have been disappointed in books before, but this is literally the first time I wanted to throw one.  If you're emotionally invested in this series, as I was, prepare to be shocked, maybe even devastated.

Ratings:

Overall: 3 stars
Sensuality level: 2.5
(for one steamy dream scene, the rest is behind closed doors)


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Review: Devil in My Arms by Samantha Kane

Tuesday, November 26

Title: Devil in My Arms*
Author: Samantha Kane
Series: The Saint's Devils #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Loveswept
Format: ebook
Date/Year: November 26, 2013
Reviewed by: ElaineReads 
 

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

Even though she is starving and destitute, Eleanor Enderby’s quiet beauty strikes Sir Hilary St. John speechless. He expects the woman he’s searching for to be skittish and plain. Instead he finds the picture of bravery—and willfulness—in his quarry. She gives away little, but Hil can see something is terribly amiss. And though he cannot say exactly why, he is determined not to let her come to more harm than whatever it is she has already survived.

Six months later, Eleanor believes she has finally found safety from the tyrant she risked her life to escape. Thought to be dead by society, Eleanor is ready to be reborn as someone new—someone whose life will never again be tied to the fate of one man. But her smoldering savior seems unwilling to leave her unprotected for an instant. Despite the threats he thinks he sees coming, the real dangers Eleanor faces in Hil's arms are unmistakable: temptation, seduction, and maybe even love.



My Musings:

I have been anxiously waiting for this book since I read THE DEVIL'S THIEF, the first in The Saint's Devils series.

The hero, Hil,  is introduced in THE DEVIL'S THIEF as the leader of the Devils and I loved him from the beginning.  I cannot decide if he is uncaring about how is bluntness is perceived by others or just oblivious.  He reminds me a little of Sherlock Holmes.  Hil solves problems and finds things/people for both friends and strangers.  His help is often solicited by the Prince Regent.  He knows the secrets of everyone, is more intelligent than anyone else he knows, and no one ever gets the best of him.

And then he meets Eleanor.  It’s not that he doesn’t like women.  He is the original Devil, after all.  It’s just...

“He didn’t do well in relationships. Everyone told him so. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to have some sort of lasting commitment -- a companion to share his life with -- but he was unable to focus solely on the women with whom he was involved, which irritated them. He was a busy man.”

Did I mention, and then he meets Eleanor?  Eleanor is the sister of Harriet, who is the star of the second book TEMPTING A DEVIL.  She is on the run from her abusive husband and has been missing for months.  “Harry” hires Hil to find her sister. 

From the very first meeting Eleanor bests Hil, yet he is fascinated with her. He doesn’t find her, instead she shows up at her sister’s house when she is ready to be found.  He expected a timid, downtrodden woman but finds a strong, capable woman who is determined not to be a victim.  Hil is a busy man and Eleanor takes up far too much of his thoughts.  Doesn’t she know he has work to do?

Eleanor's plan is to have her husband declare her dead, then reenter society disguised as another woman.  She takes London by storm and does not appear to be impressed by Hil in the least. Even in the most innocent conversation, she manages to top him.

DEVIL IN MY ARMS is primarily a romance.  However, it also has a complex plot involving murder and a tense courtroom drama.  Of course, everything works out in the end, but the reader is never quite sure how she is going to get there.  The book is left open for a possible sequel involving a secondary character.  I really hope Wiley gets his own book.  His character has developed so much since his introduction.

It’s not necessary to have read THE DEVIL'S THIEF, and TEMPTING A DEVIL to  enjoy Hil’s and Eleanor’s story in DEVIL IN MY ARMS, but I recommend you do so.  This book is my favorite in The Saint's Devils series, but they are wonderful in their own right.

Ratings:

Overall: 5 stars
Sensuality level: 3


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Monday's Muse

Monday, November 25

Happy Pre Thanksgiving!  Some of you will probably be traveling for the holiday, and other may be in high gear holiday prep (like me)  so this week on the blog will be short and sweet.  Another sweet and yummy thing...this week's Muse :)  Enjoy!


This week at Seductive Musings:
  • Tuesday:  I'll have ElaineReads review of Devil in My Arms by Samantha Kane.  I've been on a historical romance kick lately so I can't wait to see what she thought of this book.
  • Wednesday:  I'll share Blue's review of Silencing Eve by Iris Johansen.  
  • Thursday-Friday:  I'll be celebrating the holiday with my family and friends, so I hope you'll understand that I won't be posting any new content on those days :)

Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors with new releases this week, especially Musings author Alexandra Hawkins!
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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Review: Don't Let Go by Skye Warren

Thursday, November 21

Title: Don’t Let Go*
Author: Skye Warren
Series: Dark Erotica #4
Genre: contemporary dark erotic suspense
Publisher: self-published
Format: ebook
Date/Year: November 11, 2013
Reviewed by: Michele 
 

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

Junior FBI Agent Samantha Holmes is assigned the case of a lifetime, along with an enigmatic new partner, Ian Hennessy. She's determined to prove herself to the bureau legend, but late nights and stolen moments lead to more than respect. They lead to desire, and soon she's fallen for the one man forbidden.

Together they hunt for the FBI's most wanted man. A criminal. A psychopath. But when they get close, Samantha may end up prey instead. She must face her dark past to stay alive--and to protect the man she loves.

Don't Let Go is a dark erotic novel that contains dubious consent and captivity. Not intended for those under eighteen or those uncomfortable with the subject matter.


My Musings:

There are many writers who specialize in the darkest of erotic novels, both with and without romantic elements, but there are very few who are truly talented in this often misunderstood subgenre. One of those writers is Skye Warren, who has displayed her incredible talent again in what I believe is her best book yet - DON'T LET GO. This is the fourth entry in her Dark Erotica series, but a reader new to her work should have no problem reading it as a stand-alone. It features a couple who not only appear to be mismatched from the start, but who ultimately put a whole new spin on the terms “hero” and “heroine” that would normally be used to describe them here.

Samantha Holmes never had a real childhood, thanks to her father. He tortured and killed other children for years, but left her alive long enough to be the one who turned him in. No human could emerge from such an experience without some sort of serious emotional damage, yet Samantha is determined not to let anyone suspect that she is anything but normal. As a rookie agent for the FBI, her goal is to put the bad guys in jail, but as a woman, most of what she gets to do involves more mundane tasks, like filing and fetching coffee. So when she is abruptly assigned to one of the Bureau’s most high-profile cases, partnering with a legendary senior agent, she doesn’t let herself question too closely why she, of all people, would be chosen.

On the surface, Ian Hennessy seems to be exactly as he appears, namely the no-nonsense agent who always gets the bad guy and will stop at nothing to get Carlos Laguardia, even if it means dumping his new lady partner before she even has a chance to contribute. Samantha is drawn to him sexually in spite of herself, knowing that although the attraction is mutual, the outcome can’t be anything but bad. Who in their right mind would want a monster like her...unless that person was one, too?

Anyone who was following me on Twitter when I was reading DON'T LET GO got to see my instant reaction in a series of tweets where I expressed just how much I enjoyed it:

        When a review book unexpectedly rewards you with writing so perfectly nuanced and understated that it makes you want to weep with joy. #win

        It’s so damn good, this book.

        I now have a book hangover THIS BIG and it’s all @skye_warren ‘s fault.  Wow. #win

I still can’t wrap my head around how much this book got to me. Although I am a long-time fan of truly deeply dark erotica, I normally shy away from books that reference extreme violence, especially against women or children. I’m also nearly burned out on romances where the heroine has been broken/damaged/whatever and can only be “saved” by a hero who is often also broken/damaged/whatever by similar circumstances. But DON'T LET GO morphs both of those tropes into something unique and fascinating, both as a character study and as a genuine romance between a man and a woman who ultimately agree that they are perfectly matched for one another...and all that that implies. To tell you any more would be to ruin all its secrets. But in a year when I’ve been fortunate enough to have read so many 5 star books, you should know that DON'T LET GO has immediately vaulted to the top of my list for 2013, and it will be a difficult task to dislodge it from that spot.

Ratings:

Overall:  5 stars
Sensuality level: 4.5
(multiple scenes of violent dubious consent, bondage, flogging and use of sex toys; threats of rape and sexual violence; discussion of child sex abuse and murder)

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Review: Gareth by Grace Burrowes

Wednesday, November 20

TitleGareth*
Author:  Grace Burrowes       
Series:  The Lonely Lords #6
Genre:  Historical Romance       
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Casablanca
Format:  Paperback, ebook       
Date/Year:  November, 2013
Reviewed by:  Blue 
 
*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

She's caught between a rake and certain ruin...

Felicity Worthington's only hope of avoiding poverty—or worse—is to accept her distant cousin's dubious bequest... a thriving, high-class brothel. Felicity has 90 days to convince her cousin's solicitors that Gareth Alexander has taught her the art of pleasing a man, though she's more interested in the gentleman she glimpses beneath Gareth's debauched airs, than in the rake he's become.

In the business of love...How much should he teach her?

Gareth Alexander, Marquis of Heathgate, has little incentive to help a spinster learn to manage a brothel—except that the alternatives for the prim, pretty Miss Worthington are even worse. His resistance to teaching Felicity how to be a madam leaves Gareth wondering if the honor he'd thought long dead still survives, and if that honor allows him to yield to the lady's ruinous scheme... and to their shared desires.


My Musings:

Gareth Alexander, is the unwilling Marquess of Heathgate, due to a tragic accident years ago that took the lives of the current Marquess, his father, older brother, uncle, and cousin, who were all in line to inherit the title before he was.  Although the boating incident was ruled an accident, people of the ton speculated that he had a hand in it, in order to inherit.  While dealing with his grief, he also had to suffer people suspecting him of murder.  So, his defense was building a wall around himself and not caring.  He threw himself into making his lands profitable, and becoming a rake.  He had no intentions of marrying, and didn't associate with "decent" women.

Felicity Worthington is the daughter of a Viscount, who died without providing for her or her sister.  They are living a meager existence, when Felicity receives word of a surprise inheritance from a distant cousin  - a brothel!  In order to inherit, Felicity must prove to the solicitors that she has learned how to run the brothel, including pleasing the customers.  The cousin named Gareth as the person to teach her.  If she refuses Gareth, she may choose Riverton, who is a slime-ball of the worst sort.  If she doesn't accept these terms, she doesn't get the inheritance.

Felicity decides to accept, hoping that the scheme can remain secret, and she'll have the funds to launch her younger sister in society.  She approaches Gareth, who is stunned at the news.  He knew the cousin (Callista) and can't believe that she would concoct such a scheme, because it will surely ruin Felicity.  Gareth refuses until Felicity tells him that her other option is Riverton.  Gareth reluctantly accepts, but with the thought of finding a way to get around actually taking Felicity's innocence.

They start meeting, and Gareth begins to teach Felicity the way of the world.  He accepts that he'll have to ruin her, and, in truth, he desires her.  Felicity is beginning to care for him, and realizing this, Gareth tells her,

"If you want protestations of profound emotion from me, you are doomed to disappointment.  I'll give you pleasure and teach you how to please a lover.  When I have discharged that obligation, I will wish you luck and be on my way."

When they finally get to the point of having sex, Felicity insists that she will never be intimate with another man after this, Gareth determines to make this time tender and memorable for her.  He uses his considerable skill, and in the process realizes he has fallen in love.  He also realizes that he is not husband material and could never be faithful.  When their night is over, he decides to be cruel to be kind (so he thinks) and tells her,

"You have means now....distract yourself from this dalliance you've had with me, and forget what you think you feel for me.  Our business is concluded, and I certainly intend to move along to other pleasurable pursuits."

Felicity, although far less experienced, realizes that Gareth cares for her.  She also realizes that he is determined to end their relationship.  Holding her tears back, as she leaves, she tells him,

"I will never forget you, or that you are the man who came to be both lover and friend to me.  You will continue to dwell in my mind and heart as a friend at least, as I would be to you.  And I will miss you, Gareth.  I will miss you until my dying day."

Gareth is a complex character.  Although from the beginning we know he's innocent of any wrongdoing in the deaths of his family, and therefore has a reason to have built his walls, I struggled with him.  His courteous cruelty to Felicity made me wonder if he was redeemable.  But seeing him after they part, with his walls crumbling down, I was won over, and my heart broke for him.

This is another touching and emotional story by Grace Burrowes, who has rapidly become one of my favorite authors.  There is a mystery here, as well, but the focus is on the love story of a hardened (yet redeemed) rake and the innocent lady who brought him back to life.  Both aspects have a satisfying ending, and I highly recommend this book.

Ratings:

Overall: 4.5 stars
Sensuality level: 3.5


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Review: The Untamed Mackenszie by Jennifer Ashley

Tuesday, November 19

Title:  The Untamed Mackenzie*
Author: Jennifer Ashley
Series:  Highland Pleasures 5.5
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin
Format:  ebook, audio book
Date/Year: Sept 10, 2013
Reviewed by:  Susannah

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

A WOMAN OF BREEDING MEETS A MAN OF NO STANDING…

To redeem her family’s disgraced name, Lady Louisa Scranton has decided to acquire a proper husband. He needs to be a man of fortune and highly respectable in order to restore both her family's lost wealth and reputation. She enters the Marriage Mart with all flags flying, determined to find the right bachelor.

But Louisa’s hopes are dashed when the Bishop of Hargate drops dead at her feet—and she is shockingly accused of murder! Soon, Louisa’s so-called friends begin shunning her, because the company of a suspected killer is never desirable in polite society.

The problem comes to the ears of Detective Inspector Lloyd Fellows, by-blow of the decadent Scottish Mackenzie family and an inspector for Scotland Yard. He has shared two passionate kisses with Lady Louisa–and vows to clear her name. For not only does he know she’s innocent, he recognizes he’s falling for the lovely lady.

Fellows is Louisa's only hope of restoring her family's honor—and it is he alone who intrigues Louisa in a way that may be even more scandalous than murder…


My Musings:

Firstly, just to get it out there, if you're into hulking Scotsmen you may be slightly disappointed by the Mackenzie men. Yes they have a Scottish name, yes there are occasionally kilts and there are one or two uses of the word 'ye' in place of you - but it appears this clan is Scottish by heritage only. However, as men go they are certainly described to be bodice rippingly hot.

The hero, Lloyd Fellows, was described as a volatile and angry man due to his having to survive an upbringing lacking in the money of his half siblings. But apart from one incident with a criminal, clearly intended to show his unstable nature, Lloyd struck me as a man who had no real spark unless it came to Louisa.

Louisa was a far more interesting character, progressive - willing to buck society to fall for the bastard son of a Duke. She was the sole character I believed in and felt for her following the murder accusations against her and the attempts to prove her innocence.

The other characters; Louisa and Lloyds family and friends, Lloyds police colleagues etc were hollow to me. I wasn't really interested in any of them and found them very forgettable. I think this may have been because they were fleshed out in other MacKenzie books but as this was the first I had read I had no real back story for any of them.

The romance between Louisa and Lloyd was frustrating but in a nice way and, as a romantic, I was willing them together. For me that was the best part of the story as by the end I had lost interest in guessing the murderer and just wanted the way paved for Lloyd to stop worrying about her as she certainly wasn't as fragile as he made out.  Whilst the book was a nice read it was simply 'nice'. There was intrigue, there was romance but it was missing something.

Ratings:

Overall:  2 stars - I think if it wasn't for Louisa and her romance with Lloyd I could easily have put this book down and struggled to want to pick it back up.
Sensuality level: 2

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Susannah

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Monday's Muse

Monday, November 18

Happy Monday! (sort of)

I don't have a lot to share this week.  I've been sick with a cold that seems to be everywhere right now.  I hate being sick.  UGH.  So what's your favorite cold remedy?  I wish mine could be this week's Muse :)

This week at Seductive Musings:
  • Tuesday: I'll have Susannah's review of The Untamed Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
  • Wednesday:  I'll share Blue's review of Gareth by Grace Burrowes
  • Thursday:  I'll have Michele's review of new dark erotic romance Don't Let Go by Skye Warren
  • Friday:  I'll probably have another review for you, I'm just not sure which one it will be :)

Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors with new releases this week, especially Musings authors Jaci Burton, Vivian Arend, Erin Nicholas, & Vicki Lewis Thompson, & Jennifer Haymore.  Congrats!!!



 
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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Review: Forged in Dreams and Magick by Kat Bastion

Friday, November 15

Title: Forged in Dreams and Magick*
Author: Kat Bastion
Series: Highland Legends
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher:  self published
Format: eBook, trade paperback
Date/Year: September 22, 2013
Reviewed by: Melissa 

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

Kat Bastion's award-winning debut in the Highland Legends Series:



Found in the arms of her second soul mate . . .

Isobel MacInnes wakes up in present-day California, lunches in medieval Scotland, and by ten days’ end, falls in love with a man and his country, only to lose them in a heart-wrenching twist of fate . . .

Forced to balance the delicate strands of time between two millennia . . .

Isobel, a rising-star archaeology student, is dropped into two ancient worlds without warning . . . or her permission. Her fiery spirit resists the dependency thrust upon her. Amid frustration at her lack of control, she helplessly falls in love. Twice.

Shocked by revelations rewriting the very foundations of history . . . of everything.

She struggles to adjust to the unimaginable demands of two leaders of men—a laird in the thirteenth-century Highlands and a Pict chieftain in a more ancient Scotland. Isobel transforms from an academic, hell-bent on obtaining archaeological recognition, to a woman striving to care for those she loves, and ultimately . . . into a fearless warrior risking everything to protect them.


My Musings:

Isobel (I love that name) finds herself tossed back one thousand years because of a unique artifact. There she finds her soul mate. She’d not the strongest heroine at first, but unfolding events (like being tossed back another thousand years where she finds yet another soul mate) teach her to be stronger.

Though there are two love interests in Forged in Dreams and Magick, it’s not a triangle or a ménage, since her men are from different times. Both were strong warrior types, and leaders who truly cared for her. I found it interesting how they all coped with the time split and liked that they didn’t all react to it the same.

Kate Bastion has a gift for description. However, certain parts of the book were a bit heavy with it and I found myself skimming. It wasn’t until the end of the book that I fully appreciated the story Bastion had to share. Based on the Epilogue, I’m guessing this is a start to a series. I would recommend this read to a time travel fan who likes to immerse themselves in the details of the past.


Ratings:

Overall:  3.5 – A likeable time travel read.
Sensuality level: 4
– Detailed romantic love scenes that made the room a bit warmer.

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Reviews: Heated Match, Conquered Match, & False Match by Lynne Silver

Thursday, November 14

Lynne Silver’s Coded For Love series tells the stories of men who were genetically bred by the US Government in a secret program designed to create unstoppable warriors who would only be able to mate successfully with the women who were their perfect genetic counterparts. The Program has continued in secret for decades and it’s only recently that the public has become aware of what’s been going on, thanks to a Program wife who leaked the story to an outside source. At the same time, there are various groups both here and abroad who are trying to kidnap any one of the men for their own evil experiments. This sets up the compelling plotlines and intense romances which follow in each book.

 ~~~***~~~

Title: Heated Match*
Author: Lynne Silver
Series: Coded for Love #1
Genre: contemporary erotic romantic suspense
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Format: ebook and print
Date/Year: June 22, 2012
Reviewed by: Michele:  
 

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

Book one in the Coded for Love series.

A lead byline and a cover story - that's what journalist Loren Stanton wants most. Until she meets genetically enhanced soldier Adam Blacker. Team leader of a top-secret covert ops group, Adam never wanted to search for his genetic match, but whenever he gets close to Loren, things turn hot quickly, making him forget every reason he had for retaining his bachelor status. After a scorching night together, neither doubts they're connected at a DNA-deep level, although both fear the high stakes of what it means to be together.

Loren gives Adam two weeks to prove he's bred for more than war. He must convince her that he's also coded for love.


My Musings:

HEATED MATCH starts the Coded For Love series off with a sequence of incredibly intense scenes as two people who’ve never met before discover they are each other’s perfect genetic match. Adam is supposed to be protecting a diplomat’s infant son from being kidnapped at the boy’s high profile 1st birthday party. As one of the highest performing “super soldiers”  in the Program, he should be focused on his task, yet there’s a woman there who has got him more sexually aroused than he’s been in years. Loren has crashed the birthday party in the hope of discovering more information about the Program, but there’s something about one of the bodyguards that has her thinking more about sex than getting the scoop for her story. When the diplomat’s son is kidnapped, the resulting investigation exposes Loren’s familial connection to the Program, and its leaders’ machinations work to bring Loren and Adam together to fulfill the genetic destiny neither of them is ready to embrace. What no one realizes is that the Program and all its participants are in mortal danger from someone in their midst who has been betraying them for years.

The Program that Lynne Silver has created in this series reminded me of Lora Leigh’s Breeds series, but not in a derivative way. We have the “fated mates” setup to bring Adam and Loren together, and the prerequisite secret family affiliations that neither of them had known existed before they met. During this initial story we discover much of the plotting and betrayals that had occurred during the creation of the Program, and they lead us to the moment where everyone’s future depends on finding the diplomat’s kidnapped son. As passionate as the scenes were between Adam and Loren, the suspense elements of the plot often threatened to overwhelm my enjoyment of their destined romance. I wanted more of them, and less kidnappings and torture, but the overall story arc was captivating enough that I would definitely be reading the next book in the series.

Ratings:

Overall: 4 stars
Sensuality level: 3.5
(multiple passionate scenes of H/h who can’t stop having sex)





Title: Conquered Match*
Author: Lynne Silver
Series: Coded for Love #2
Genre: contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Format: ebook
Date/Year: January 11, 2013
Reviewed by: Michele

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

Book two in the Coded for Love Series.

When genetically enhanced soldier Ryan Lopez learns his beloved wife Thea has betrayed his team by spilling Program secrets to the media, he takes responsibility for her punishment the only way he knows how—seducing her until she begs for release. But the more he takes control of her body, the more he tests both their limits, and realizes he’s never fully understood his wife’s dark desires. It will take every bit of Ryan’s enhanced strength to prove to them both that the woman he loves is also his conquered match.


My Musings:

CONQUERED MATCH was a short but intense look at what genetically enhanced soldier Ryan does to punish his wife Thea for leaking details of the Program to the press. We discover that Thea has been the one to dictate the terms of their relationship ever since they had been found to be a perfect genetic match for each other. Ryan had always been content to let her be in charge, not realizing Thea was trying to force his hand into being the dominant one. Now that she’s betrayed him and everyone else, Ryan finally knows what needs to be done and is ready to give Thea what she needs to fix their marriage and ease the anger that led to her stunning betrayal.

Although this story was dramatically shorter than the previous one, what occurs between Ryan and Thea was portrayed well, conveying all the immediacy of Ryan’s reaction to Thea’s actions and the deep tenderness behind the decisions Ryan makes to heal them both. Thea has needed this domination from the beginning, and Ryan knows that giving it to her now is what can make things right. I wished there had been more to read, but was happy for this brief visit back to the world of the Program while waiting for the next full length book to arrive.

Ratings:

Overall: 4 stars
Sensuality level: 4
(light BDSM including anal sex)

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Title: False Match*
Author: Lynne Silver
Series: Coded for Love #3
Genre: contemporary erotic romantic suspense
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Format: ebook
Date/Year: March 6, 2013
Reviewed by: Michele

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:


Book three in the Coded for Love series.

Genetically enhanced soldier Chase Stanton has two jobs in life. One, he must kick ass on all missions for the Program, and two, breed with his DNA breed mate, whoever and wherever she may be.

Two problems. Chase learns he isn’t genetically enhanced after all and Doctor Samara Jones, the woman he craves beyond all reason, is likely an enemy of his team and not his true match. Too bad they can’t keep their hands off each other.


My Musings:

This review contains spoilers for HEATED MATCH, the first book in the Coded For Love series. You could try to read FALSE MATCH as a stand-alone book, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Now that Dr. Samara Jones has been rescued from the evil Dr. Paulson, she is safe and yet still has no freedom in what she chooses to do next. She is blackmailed into contributing her considerable skills as a geneticist to the Program in return for not being prosecuted as Paulson’s co-conspirator, but no one there truly trusts her. It’s only when Chase Stanton is assigned as her tour guide / babysitter that there’s someone willing to offer friendship, and perhaps even more.

When the Program discovered the traitor in their midst back in HEATED MATCH, they also discovered that he had falsified his studies to force Chase and Loren’s father to leave Loren’s mother for Chase’s, convincing her that the latter woman was his true genetic match. But the likelihood of a person having two perfect matches is highly unlikely, and Chase worries that perhaps he’s not genetically enhanced at all. Samara is the one person who can help him discover the truth without anyone else finding out, and their continuing close association eventually leads them to a love that is immediately threatened by those who intend to recapture Samara in their goal to breed terrorist warriors.

Most of FALSE MATCH involves Samara and Chase learning to trust and love each other even while their growing attraction is threatened by the emerging secrets of what Samara had done when Adam was Paulson’s captive. It was an interesting change of pace to have a hero and heroine who weren’t compelled to fall in love by their DNA and it made their HEA all the sweeter. Lynne Silver ends this story with a heart-stopping epilogue cliffhanger that ensured I would be seeking out DESIRE UNMATCHED, the newest book in the Coded For Love series. I can’t wait to read it.

Ratings:

Overall: 4 stars
Sensuality level: 3 
(hot sweet love scenes between the H/h)

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Review: All In with the Duke by Ava March

Wednesday, November 13

Title:  All In with the Duke*
Author:  Ava March
Series:  Gambling on Love #1
Genre:  Historical MM Romance
Publisher:  Carina Press
Format:  ebook
Date/Year:  November 11, 2013
Reviewed by:  Andrea
 

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

London, 1822

Max Arrington, the Duke of Pelham, vows to never again let a handsome face blind him to a man's true intentions. But ten months of celibacy and lonely nights drive him to a decadent brothel, where a beautiful young man arouses his illicit passions as never before.

Tristan Walsh has grown tired of being used for men's pleasure. But his latest client is different: commanding yet generous, Max makes him feel cared for as well as wanted. Yet Tristan knows he'll never have the choice to leave the brothel and submit only to Max.

So when Max invites him to be his guest at his country estate, Tristan eagerly agrees to his terms—days to do as he pleases while Max tends to the dukedom, and nights spent together in wicked play. But when the "business arrangement" begins to deepen into something more, Tristan must face the fact that he has no true place in Max's life—or in Max's guarded heart…


My Musings:

I love MM romance and I love historical romance, but they usually don’t work when authors try to combine them.  It’s difficult to find a historically accurate story, with a believable gay romance, which ends well.   Ava March is one of the rare authors who can bring it all together.   Let’s face it, British Georgian society was not going to be accepting of an out and gay relationship. That makes it a tricky time period for the genre, but Ava March has found a way to pull it off.

ALL IN WITH THE DUKE is the story of Tristan and Max. Max is “the Duke” and he was badly burned by his last relationship. Basically, his last lover told him lots of pretty lies professing his love but turned out to be a gold digger only interested in Max’s money.  Because of that, Max has lost all faith in love. After months of celibacy, Max is trying to come up with a way to have some sort of a sex life without risking his heart.  He makes the decision to go to a brothel. 

Tristan is the man Max solicits at the brothel.  He is everything Max hoped for and more.  Tristan understands that it is only sex, he seems to really enjoy it with Max, and he has no qualms submitting to Max’s dominance.  Tristan is just as happy with their arrangement as Max.  He actually enjoys the time he spends with Max and can’t ever recall being so excited to see a return client. 

After a violent altercation between Tristan and another client, Max steps in to rescue Tristan. While Max’s interference is well meant, it is disastrous to Tristan’s precarious position at the brothel.  Once again, Max saves the day by offering Tristan an opportunity he cannot refuse.  What starts out as a simple business deal for no-strings sex, becomes a little more dangerous when their hearts become involved.

What I enjoyed about this book was how well the characters were developed. I felt a connection with Tristan and Max, which is surprising because Max is not the easiest guy to get to know. It’s because of that connection with them that I became so invested in their relationship.  I wanted them to be together. I wanted them to find happiness, and I wanted them to find a way to make it work.

ALL IN WITH THE DUKE has everything I look for in a romance. It has just the right amount of angst, it has the strong chemistry I want to see between the couple, and it definitely has the hot sex scenes I want.  Another thing I really enjoyed was that it also has the historical setting I crave but rarely find in M/M romance.  Actually, it kind of reminded me of the first historical romance books I ever read.  It’s romantic fluff, but it was fun and sexy and made me happy.   I’m definitely going to be continuing with this series.

Ratings:

Overall:  4 stars
Sensuality level: 3.5
(Obviously, there is gay sex.  There is also light BDSM.)

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Review: Because We Belong by Beth Kery

Tuesday, November 12

Title:  Because We Belong*
Author: Beth Kery
Series: Because You Are Mine series #3
Genre: contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Berkley
Format: ebook, print & audio
Date/Year: November 5, 2013
Reviewed by: Michele    

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

IAN..."[the] hero...dark, mysterious, and very dominant" (Smexy Books), a sexual force to be reckoned with, a man accustomed to getting what he wants.

FRANCESCA..."a fascinating heroine" (Heroes and Heartbreakers), a woman who had no idea how far she was willing to go in the name of love.

Introduced in New York Times bestselling author Beth Kery’s erotic phenomenon Because You Are Mine, they aroused an "addictive and delicious" (USA Today) romance that dared to break the rules of attraction.

In Because We Belong Ian and Francesca return to reignite the exquisite passions that drew them together, and to finally face the intimate secrets that threatened to separate them forever. The secrets of an inescapable past that was one man’s darkest mystery—a darkness that seduced one woman and forever held her spellbound with forbidden desire. For both of them, the next step is total abandon.


My Musings:

This review contains spoilers for BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE and WHEN I'M WITH YOU, the first two stories in the series. You could try to read BECAUSE WE BELONG as a stand-alone book, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

After having to read the previous stories in this series as serial novels, it was a huge relief for me that BECAUSE WE BELONG was being released as a complete book from the start. The prologue takes place hours before the dramatic moment in WHEN I'M WITH YOU when Ian found out that his mother had died and that he and his good friend had both been fathered by the same man who had raped their mothers and thousands of other women before his death. We then move forward six months to find that Ian has been missing that entire time, with only his personal assistant Lin knowing where he is or what he is doing. Francesca has moved back into the house she once shared with all her old roommates while trying to go on without Ian, angry and sad that he has refused to contact her even once. When Lucien returns to ask for Francesca’s help in managing a delicate financial crisis at Noble Enterprises, her decision sets off a chain of events that put her in danger from an unknown enemy and force her to confront the mania driving the man she doesn’t want to live without.

I loved Ian and Francesca so much in BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE, and hated having to wait each week for the next entry in the story. WHEN I'M WITH YOU was a good read in its own right, but because the focus was on Lucien and Elise, it was less compelling for me right up until that heart-slamming chapter when Lucien revealed his relationship to Ian just before Ian found out his mother had died, leaving that same night to see his family in England. I was shocked to find that Ian was still gone and not communicating with Francesca months after that night, and that got me even more hooked into BECAUSE WE BELONG, as I wondered what the hell was going on with Ian and what might happen next.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that I tore through BECAUSE WE BELONG as fast as I was able to read without skimming or missing a single word. All of Francesca’s feelings were front and center in this book and I felt what she did as it was happening. My relief was palpable when Ian finally made contact, yet I cheered her on as she made him see just how much he had hurt her by his absence, and never allowing him to succumb entirely to his obsession with his late father’s past.

In BECAUSE WE BELONG, the passion between Ian and Francesca is just as deep and true and undeniable as it ever was, and their intimate moments burn up the pages whenever they come together. The growing threat to Francesca’s life is intrinsic to the overall story but never overwhelms the romance between Ian and Francesca as they rediscover the love they both had feared they’d lost. Best of all, the end of the story sets up another book in the series, so we’ll be able to see more happy moments between Ian and Francesca now that they’ve defeated both the internal and external threats to their happiness. BECAUSE WE BELONG is a fantastic addition to the Because You Are Mine series and was worth every minute I had to wait before I got to read it.

Ratings:

Overall: 5 stars
Sensuality level: 4
(BDSM elements including light bondage, anal sex and voyeurism, threats of sexual violence and discussion of rape)

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Monday's Muse

Monday, November 11


Many heartfelt thanks to all of those who have served our country bravely, as well as their families who have also sacrificed so much.  I honor you this Veteran's Day.

 And....this week's Muse for your enjoyment :)

This week at Seductive Musings:
  • Tuesday:  I'll have Michele's review of Because We Belong by Beth Kery.  I'm anxious to read this book so I can't wait to see what Michele thought of it.  Because You Are Mine (the previous book) was one of my Favorite Reads of 2012, so I have high expectations for this one!
  • Wednesday:  I'll have Andrea's review of All In with the Duke by Ava March.  Andrea has read many of Ms. March's historical M/M romances has has liked them.  I should give them a try....
  • Thursday: I'll have Andrea's review of After the Fall by L.A. Witt.
  • Friday:  I will try to have another review for you, but time will tell :)

Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors with new releases this week!!


 
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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Review: The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed

Friday, November 8

Title: The Fifth Favor *
Author: Shelby Reed
Series: n/a
Genre: contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Berkley
Format: ebook and print
Date/Year: November 5, 2013
Reviewed by: Michele

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Summary from the publisher:

Imagine a world where a woman’s every pleasure, every wish and wildest fantasy is granted by the man of her dreams…

Such a world exists inside the walls of Avalon, an elite private club that caters to women’s deepest desires. Billie Cort, a reporter from the raunchy magazine Illicit, has come to Avalon to interview the club’s most popular escort, the breathtakingly sexy Adrian.

Expecting nothing less from a place like Avalon, Billie is still stunned at how effortlessly Adrian brings out her sexual side. Adrian, too, is surprised to find himself thinking about Billie long after their interview is over. Adrian, of course, is irresistible, but Billie isn’t accustomed to being pursued by outrageously attractive male escorts. Adrian wants her, but soon realizes that she can fill a role in his life that’s more than just physical.


My Musings:

I had only recently discovered the books of Shelby Reed when I got the opportunity to review this reissued version of THE FIFTH FAVOR, originally released by Ellora’s Cave back in 2004. It tells the story of a woman who was looking for a big break to help boost her career as a reporter for a sleazy tabloid magazine but ended up finding the one man who could fill the emotional hole in her life. But when the man you love makes his living by sexually servicing other women, can the love you have for each other survive the fallout when he stands accused of murder?

Billie has just come out of a failed marriage where she had been starved for affection from her ex-husband who then proceeded to dump her for a woman more worthy of his love. All she has left is her career, and that isn’t going all that great, either. When her boss arranges an interview with one of the most sought-after male escorts at an exclusive brothel for women, Billie is only thinking about how this assignment will help her at work. But when she meets Adrian, it’s all she can do not to allow herself to fall into his arms like every other woman he’s serviced before her. To his credit, Adrian doesn’t see Billie as just another woman to be romanced, although he’s not quite sure what it is about her that he finds so irresistible. When Adrian becomes a suspect in the possible murder of Lucien, his best friend and fellow escort, both his and Billie’s lives are turned upside down and it’s not a sure thing whether they’ll still be with each other with so many obstacles in their path to lasting love.

In THE FIFTH FAVOR, Shelby Reed displays her considerable ability to show her characters’ range of emotions without becoming maudlin or mawkish. Adrian knows his secret life has been a lie, yet it takes the double-whammy of meeting Billie and the death of Lucien to shake him out of the destructive rut he’s been in for so many years. Billie’s self-esteem is hanging by a thread when the most beautiful man she’s ever met actually wants to be with her, but she can’t help thinking that it’s all just part of his polished persona as Adrian, and not the real man who truly loves her. The way they come together and slowly chip away the walls they’ve each been hiding behind is what makes THE FIFTH FAVOR such a remarkable read for me, and the steps they each make toward their ultimate happy ending had me crying several times all the way until the end of the book. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Ratings:

Overall:  5 stars
Sensuality level: 4


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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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My FREE Kindle Quest

I've wanted a Kindle for what seems like forever, but haven't been able to afford it (and that's saying something since I can justify the cost of just about ANYTHING that I really want). I've tried winning one in one of the many giveaways that have taken place over the couple of years, but with no luck :( So I've decided to take matters in hand so to speak :) I've now decided that I am going to accumulate enough Swagbucks from my Swabucks searches to buy one...so in essence my new Kindle will be FREE...funded entirely by my internet searches done on Swagbucks. I'll keep you informed of the Great Kindle Quest below (in case you're interested....if not feel free to just skip over this part, but really who wouldn't be interested in a FREE Kindle?)
Goal: $119
Current Swagbucks Amazon Gift Card balance: $90.00
If you'd like to learn how you can earn Swagbucks and earn your own Amazon Gift Cards to buy books, a Kindle or other merchandise sold at Amazon contact me and I would be more than happy to tell you how I plan to go about it. (just so you know you can earn both Amazon.com and Amazon.ca gift cards on this rewards site)
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