Annika Martin can write. As Carolyn Crane, she has written romantic suspense and paranormal suspense. As Annika Martin, she has written dark romance, funny erotic romance, and romantic comedy. I enjoy reading it all, but her rom-com novels are especially delightful. She has a deft, light-hearted writing style. I read certain lines and laugh out loud. I am convinced that the author was chortling as she wrote those lines. Ms. Martin’s writing is joyful. In this contemporary romance, Lizzie desperately needs a hiring bonus at her new job. Her ex-boyfriend stole her money and left her in debt to loan sharks. Unfortunately, her position in creating a social media presence is hampered by the CEO, who doesn’t want the company to be sociable. Her immediate supervisor soon dumps an unpleasant task on her. Find a new wake up service for the CEO. Unfortunately, his reputation precedes him and even the last ditch effort to hire a Canadian company fails. So Lizzie becomes his wake up service. But the CEO is intrigued by her his wake-up call girl and wants to find her. This book is funny. It is also flaming hot. Martin takes some old tropes, some especially hated by me, and twist them into something new and fresh. I have been counting the days for this book to be published, and I finished reading it within hours of it arriving on my kindle. Now I am jonesing for more from Ms. Martin. Read this book. It will brighten your day. Below is a picture of Ms. Martin. Now that is a woman you want to spend the day drinking margaritas with.
Afterwar by Lilith Saintcrow is a powerful dystopian novel about the United States seventy years in the future. The nation has been torn apart by civil war. Ruling from Washington D.C, President McCoombs and the America First party rule with an iron fist. Immigrants are criminals and must be forcibly sterilized. Free speech is repressed. Patriotic displays are mandatory. Failure to show sufficient patriotism will result in punishment. For the worst elements of society, there are the Reklamation Kamps.
Fighting against the government are the Federals and the Raiders, guerilla fighters of former citizens. Freeing one Reklamation Kamp, they find most of the captured Raiders had been sent to the killing jars. But one raider had been sent to the brothel. A former medic, Lara, rejoins the Raiders in the fight. But as the war end, it is necessary to search the officials, who committed war crimes. Traumatized by her experiences, Lara might be the key to finding the worst of the criminals, a doctor who performed inhumane experiments on prisoners and children.
This is a dystopian fantasy, but there is an underlying truth to it. The reader cannot ignore the similarities to the America First’s hatred for the immigrant, the homosexual, the non-Christian, and others to the rhetoric of the current resident of the White House. Moreover, anyone with any knowledge of US history must connect the darker aspects of our history to this bleak future. This strong connection to the present and past of the United States makes this a compelling story. Even the descriptions of places are uncannily accurate. The City of Boise plays a role in the story and Saintcrow captures the city and its attitude perfectly.
But ultimately, Saintcrow writes an excellent, exciting story about a group of survivors of war and their struggle to find a better tomorrow.
Georgette Heyer was my introduction to romance novels, so I established a high standard for romance from the start. As a teen, my favorite Heyer was Devil’s Cub with the wicked Lord Vidal in his silks and wig shooting highwaymen. I loved the Georgian era with men in their wigs, frock coats, and high heels. A man dressed in silk maintaining his masculine confidence is enticing.
With her Georgian novel, To Wilde To Wed, Ms. James created a hero in Lord North just as captivating as Lord Vidal. Lord North was introduced in Wilde In Love, Lord North had been the stiffly formal gentleman dressed in the height of fashion. However, the cruel jilting by his fiance changed his priorities. Now two years later, he is returning home from army service in America. To find his former fiance and a child rumored to be his living in the family seat. But the messy, maladroit nanny is far different from the fashionable beauty to whom he had been engaged.
Miss Diana Belgrave had felt like a fraud during her engagement. She was not future duchess material. Her mother was the driving force behind the picture perfect society beauty that captured the eye of Lord North. The broken engagement saved both Lord North and herself much unhappiness, but she regretted the manner in which she ended the engagement.
Thus begins an enchanting romance. There are wit and humor. There is a delicious scene involving Lord North and his valet, which was reminiscent of a scene in The Devil’s Cub. However, Ms. James created a much more comical scene involving a pair of saffron pantaloons. Admittedly Ms. Heyer could generate a lot of sexual tension with a kiss, she did not write erotic scenes. Happily, Ms. James has provided with robustly sexual interactions between the hero and heroine. This book was a pleasure to read from beginning to end. Fortunately, Ms. James is not done with the Wilde family. There is a third book coming in July, and I already have it on pre-order.
Social media has been buzzing about this book for months. Indeed, the buzz has been so loud, it might have come from a locust swarm of biblical proportions. So, of course, it could not possibly live up to its promise?
Yes, it could. The Kiss Quotient lives up to its reputation. It is scorching hot erotic while telling a sweet love story. It features the hottest Beta hero ever in Michael Phan. It honestly portrays the difficulties of the heroine and her Asperger’s.
The heroine, Stella, has difficulties with relationships. Her three sexual experiences had been ghastly. So she decides to find someone to teach her how to be good at sex. She finds Michael Phan, an escort to wealthy, older women. Michael is beautiful, and he is good at sex, very good at sex.
Michael is also kind and sensitive. Stella knows that Michael is the only person she want’s as her sex teacher. Despite his reluctance to develop a relationship with a client, Michael cannot turn Stella down. But both Michael and Stella have insecurities and secrets. Stella does not want Michael to know about her autism. Yet Michael’s insecurities might be the undoing of their relationship.
The author calls this novel a Pretty Woman reversal, but Pretty Woman didn’t have the depth and emotion of this novel. Ms. Hoang sells herself short with the comparison. This story is much more romantic and sexier than Pretty Woman.
For decades, I have wanted to attend an RT Convention. There were always reasons why I couldn’t go. When I saw the convention would be in Reno, Nevada, just a ten-hour drive from my home, I had to attend. Happily, my friend, Meridith Allen Conners was willing to accompany me on the trip.
The convention was amazing. It was held at the Peppermill Resort. When we arrived Tuesday morning, our room wasn’t ready. Of course, just as I got out of the car in Reno, I spilled tea all over my capris. But soon I was having too much fun to care. While waiting for our room, we registered and received our bag of books and fun items. There was a social gathering held by Brenda Novak. There were roulette table and other games. After receiving more free books (this will be a recurring theme), Meredith and I wondered over to the Frazzle table. Frazzle is a dice game. The lovely Patricia joined us and was able to educate us all on the rules. Soon we were groaning and cheering each other on. Apparently, we were having too much fun. Others gathered, including two handsome cover models (This will be a recurring theme, these two gentlemen were everywhere I went. They may have been stalking me.) As others gathered, we urged them to join the fun. Newbie, Cyndee Martin of Lehi, Utah won the game! I mean that literally, she won the physical game.
After this gathering, our room was ready. Meredith and I went to our palatial room. The Peppermill Resort was an incredible bargain. We had a refrigerator in our room, which we stuffed with snacks. Our bathroom had a whirlpool tub, two sinks, a separate shower, and granite. We took time to change and then we were off to the Indie Soiree.
At the soiree, we met indie authors. The authors would give us raffle tickets to win various prizes. Meredith was insistent that we go up to a gorgeous man and ask about his book. Stuart Reardon is a beautiful man. He is a former Rugby player, who now works as a cover model and author. Since Meredith was rendered speechless by his masculine beauty, I did all the talking. Sadly, I understood only a little of his responses. It was noisy, and he has a delicious accent. Also, at the Soiree, I ran into a fellow member of the Old School Romance Book Club, Eva Moore. I also ran into soon to be a good friend, Cyndee Martin, also a member of the OSRBC. Eva invited me to her hotel room for a wine tasting later that night. The soiree ended with the winning raffle tickets being drawn. I won Kathern LeVegue’s basket. (Winning things will be a recurring theme.) It contained books, chocolates, bath bombs, wine glasses, wine, and a kindle. Oh yes, there was a tiara.
I had just enough time to stash my basket in the hotel room. It was time for Cinema Craptastique. Hosted by Cherry Adair and Damon Suede, Tere Michaels and Paige Tyler, it was a blast. Cherry Adair is a gorgeous, vivacious redhead, who should be the heroine in a romance novel. Damon is energetic and fun. He is so much fun. The movie was Wolves starring Jason Momoa and Lucas Till. The movie was wonderfully awful, and Damon kept us in stitches with his commentary. Then the worst happened. The film stopped and would not start again. No fear. Damon Suede came to the rescue. He acted out the rest of the movie. There is no doubt his version was far superior. Laughing out loud, the audience ate cracker jacks and movie candy. Meredith won her first prize during the movie. We are on a roll.
The evening ended with a wine tasting party in Eva Morgan’s hotel room. Eva is the hostess with the mostess. (Partying in Eva’s room will be a recurring theme.) We all sampled a variety of Rosé. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.
I did not take enough pictures. Below are the beautiful Stuart Reardon and myself, the funny and talented Damon Suede, and Meridith Allen Conners and myself.
This is a smoking hot friends to lovers novella. Unlike far too many romance novellas, this story packs a polished, complete romance in the novella format. The reader will be thoroughly satisfied. Jolie Louis and Sage Poirer are lifelong friends, who continue their friendship in college. They are even roommates.
Sage’s handsome, chiseled body and status as the star quarterback has made it easy for him to manwhore through a never-ending supply of eager females. But despite her deep feelings for her friend, Jolie is not interested in joining his harem.
Sage has never been threatened by Jolie’s boyfriends. They were all wrong for Jolie. But when a fellow teammate and the perfect guy expresses an interest in Jolie, Sage gets angry. Then he realizes that he wants Jolie for himself.
As stated, this book is hot, hot, hot. The sexual attraction is palpable. The sex scenes are blazing. But the reader becomes aware that Sage has a secret, which might just end this romance.
I would highly recommend this novella. L.J. Shen remains one of my guilty pleasure writers. I just can’t get enough of her writing. To celebrate this new release, I am going to give away a free e-book of any L.J. Shen novel to one commentator to this post. Just post a comment on your favorite book read in 2018. I will pick randomly one winner on April 15, 2018.