Sunday, August 26, 2012

Book Review: The Principal’s Office by Jasmine Haynes

Book Description:

Rachel Delaney, divorced mother with two boys, isn't complaining. Her life is fine. Really. There is one thing that could make it better, though: a strong, warm, male body to help her make it through the occasional lonely night. No strings, and no relationship, thanks. Just a little fun with a perfect stranger. And there's no more perfect a stranger than Rand.

He's tall, blond, unattached, smokin' hot, and looking for the same thing Rachel is: wild, abandoned sex with no limits, no last names, and no complications-until Rachel's eldest son gets in trouble in class.

Only then does Rachel discover that her down-and-dirty, dangerously sexy mystery lover is also the new school principal. They're not exactly the ideal role models for a troubled student acting out his own frustrations. With Rachel's life turned upside down, Rand's the only one who can make it right-by maybe taking their hot-bodied hook-ups into a warm-hearted new direction... (from

Book Review:

This was a delightful surprise! I found this gem listed as a suggestion when I bought another book and decided to try it. I expected it to have a decent amount of sex, and it did, but was completely floored by the amount of character building included. The book described a wide variety of sexual experiences ranging from flirting to fantasies, role-playing to voyeurism.

I loved watching Rachel grow from a tired, beaten-down divorcee (though not a mouse) to a woman confident in her sexuality. I found it very easy to relate to the characters. The author did a great job with the characterizations of Rachel and Rand as well as the ex, the kids and Rachel’s co-workers. I’ll be re-reading this one and also reading the other 2 books in the series that deal with Bree and her guy and Erin and Dominic.

The hero and heroine are a little bit older than many written about today. At 39 and 40, they each have some life experience yet quite a lot of life left in them, no inexperienced miss fresh from the schoolroom making her first appearance to the ton here. It was quite refreshing to read about characters my own age with a similar past. I loved reading the role-playing scenes Rand and Rachel acted out. “Playful” doesn’t even begin to describe them. This is a grown-up erotic romance, steamy and real. If you are looking for something with extremely simple sentences that reads like Penthouse or Playboy letters, you’ll need to look elsewhere because this is excellently written, classy and has real depth to it. There’s joy, laughter, tension, anger, frustration and much satisfaction.

My only complaint about the book is Rachel was a little wishy-washy while she grows as a character as a result of facing some really tough decisions. That said, she reacts believably and in-character, it was just a little  bit frustrating to read it. The author did a great job alternating between Rand’s and Rachel’s PoV, but I would have liked to read just a bit more from Rand’s viewpoint.  Rachel’s discovery of Rand’s school position occurs a little later in the book than I really expected. That’s not a bad thing, just another example of how surprising this book was.

If you are looking for an erotic romance with real characters, that is fresh and playful, this is a great place to start. I highly recommend it.

Sensuality: many descriptive sex scenes

Rating: 5 stars

Book Review: Unbreakable Bond by Gemma Halliday and Jennifer Fischetto


Book Description:

Her name is Bond. Jamie Bond. And her life is about to be shaken and stirred in a cocktail of sex, lies, scandal, and one very dead body.
Jamie Bond is a former cover model who switches gears to take over the family business: The Bond Agency, a high-powered P.I. firm located in Los Angeles that specializes in domestic espionage - catching cheating husbands. Jamie's assembled a team of other disenchanted former models to help her take names and kick derrieres among L.A.'s wealthiest philandering husbands. Her current client: Mrs. Veronica Waterston, the young, distraught wife of superior court judge, Thomas Waterston, known for his tough sentencing, right-wing leanings, and his fondness for blondes with double D's. Easy target. But Jamie's simple case takes an unexpected turn for the worse when the not-so-good judge winds up on the ten o'clock news with a bullet through his head. It's clear that someone has set Jamie up, and suddenly she's on the run, under fire, and in serious jeopardy of losing it all. With a hot A.D.A. on her trail, a killer on the loose, and her life on the line, Jamie must prove once and for all that nobody messes with a Bond.

Book Review:

After several weeks of reading books that were pretty blah, this was very refreshing! I devoured it in an afternoon. If you are looking for a quick, fun read, look no further! If you have read any of Gemma Halliday’s High Heels Mysteries or the Stephanie Plum books and enjoyed them, this will be right up your alley.

I really enjoyed Jamie’s (short for James) character. She is a beautiful, sexy, smart, funny woman with a heart of gold. I loved her persistence and her indomitable spirit. She has a photographer best friend, Danny, who assists her on cases when necessary. The relationship here interests me and I look forward to reading where the authors take this story arc.

The cat and mouse game with the very attractive Assistant DA, Aiden Prince, alone is worth the read. The scene in the park cracked me up and I loved the twist the authors threw in. If that scene wasn’t enough for you, the courthouse scene will make you pick your jaw up from the floor.

The former models who work for Jamie are also a treat to read about, all successfully balancing intellect, street smarts and allure. As befitting any work where the main character’s name is James Bond, there are some fun gadgets thrown in, but not enough to make this feel like a spy or sci-fi movie. The ending was a bit predictable, but the character development was very well done. I’m eagerly waiting for the next in the series as this one made me laugh and bite my nails. It grabbed me by the hand and pulled me in, not letting go until the very last page. Highly recommended.

Sensuality: references to sex

Rating: 5 stars

Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Review: Volcanoes by Nicole Hamlett


Book Description:

Be careful what you ask of Fate - sometimes she gives it to you.
When we last saw our heroine, she'd watched her faithful pet rip off her new best friend's head to save her son's life and Atlantis was rising from the depths. Now, Grace Murphy is back in the third installment of the Huntress series, but this time she's facing an all-out war. It's critical that Nyx (and Atlantis) stay buried, but her psychotic brats will do most anything to get her back.
With Hypnos invading her dreams, Dylan caught up in the throes of his "change" and juggling her relationships with Drew and Heph, to say Grace's hands are full would be an understatement.
You didn't think that was all, did you? Of course there's more!
Grace wished her life would just go back to the way it was before, and that she wouldn't have her powers or responsibilities anymore. Unfortunately, it looks like Fate answered this time. The results aren't pretty.



I wanted to love this book, I really did. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two in the Grace Murphy series: Huntress and Rifts, despite the cliffhanger ending on the second, and eagerly anticipated the release of Volcanoes. Sadly, this book did not live up to my expectation. Honestly, I almost stopped reading it about 1/3 of the way through and forced myself to continue. It picks up after the 1/3 mark.

I didn’t remember Grace being such a whiny little girl in the first two books. Or nearly as prickly. This one, Grace goes waaaaaay overboard on the pity parties and/or verbally skewers anyone who dares to present an alternate opinion (or /gasp! not keep her, as the least-trained Hunter, completely in the loop about everyone’s actions and motivations—completely annoying). That said, the author leaves a LOT of room for character growth, which does occur. We see Grace put on her big girl panties and take care of business in a good way. The ending, while not a cliffhanger, was kind of ambiguous and abrupt. I THINK the author was referring to one character but maybe she meant a different one? (I’m really not sure.) Although she could be referring to a completely different character. It’s just not as clear as it should have been. One other area that could have been better is summation of previous books. I’ve seen some authors do a lot more and some do less. There’s a fine line and the author really only needed to review just a tiny bit more. There were a few things that happened in the first two books I didn’t remember happening that the author could have thrown in a sentence refresher and been done with it. Although, maybe most people really just need the mention of it and not a little bit of background. Like I said, it’s a fine line between too little and too much.

I did enjoy reading about the developing relationship with Grace and her mother. The author did a stellar job there. Moms and daughters… ‘nuff said. I also really enjoyed the introduction of Poseidon and look forward to reading more about him in the next one. This really felt like a transition book for the series. The author wisely left many threads active for future exploration.

I guess Volcanoes could be read as a standalone novel, but a new reader would really miss out on a lot of character motivations and events from the previous two. My recommendation is to read the series in order. It’s a good series and well-worth the read. They all read quickly and contain lots of action and fast-paced dialogue. I recommend this to people who like to read the Queen Betsy series, especially the first ones.

Sensuality: a kiss or two, no sex. So far, this series is safe for younger readers.

Rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Book Review: Single and Searching by Rita Herron

Book Description:



A woman looking for love...

A reporter looking for a story...

A mad rush to find a criminal...

When the truth comes out and danger strikes, will they succumb to the passion burning between them? (from

Book Review:

Hmmm, where to begin? This book was hysterical! Some of the mental images will stick with me for a very long time: the 2 year old who greets the “plumber” carrying his teddy bear dressed in _______ with a _____ had me laughing out loud (I don’t want to deprive you of the pleasure of reading it first-hand). Obviously, this author has had some experience with children and knows anything that can go wrong will (in very unpredictable and hilarious ways).

Casey is a single woman, a children’s book author and adoptive mother. Her lifestyle is delightfully scattered and chaotic.

Gabe is a reporter, cynical by necessity, but good-hearted. At the urging of his editor, he agrees to write an article about on online dating service between his usual investigative articles.

Casey and Gabe get off to a rough start, but it’s certainly entertaining! Trust is a big theme in this book as the main characters face some pretty big obstacles to trusting each other.

The criminal is telegraphed pretty well and there’s another aspect of the story that wasn’t entirely unexpected (no spoilers!). Overall, it was a delightfully fun read. I probably won’t read it again simply because my to-read list is so long, but I will remember parts of this story for quite some time (I love it when a good story sticks in my memory for a while). I definitely recommend this book for a fun, light-hearted mystery romance.

If you like Jennifer Crusie, you will probably enjoy this book as well. It’s well-written, well-paced and easy to read.

Sensuality: some sex, fairly descriptive

Rating: 5 stars

Book Review: The Dream Child by Emma Daniels

Book Description:

After years of trying to have a baby through IVF, Sophie Quinn’s marriage breaks up. In their attempt to start a family, Sophie had put the rest of her life on hold, including a thriving business, so now at thirty-five she’s single again, living alone in a tiny apartment, with a dead-end job, trying to pick up the pieces of her life.
The last thing she needs is to start having erotic dreams about a handsome blonde stranger who turns out to be a real person, Vic Rose, the new manager, who walks into the office to discover the beautiful dark-haired woman he’s been dreaming about is not a figment of his imagination either.
Sophie and Victor are just as drawn to one-another in real life, but neither are prepared to admit to the dreams they’re having about each other, not until the arrival of the dream child.....

Book Review:

I have kind of mixed feelings about this one. Overall, it was an enjoyable book, but I was highly distracted by errors. I realize the author is from Australia and some of the “errors” stemmed from me not grasping minor differences in language use/slang, but not all. If the author wants to contact me through my blog, melodysbookshelf dot com, for a list of errors, I will be happy to respond. That aside, I thought the premise of the book was truly unique and enjoyable.

Things I enjoyed about the book:

1. The premise

2. The dream scenes (I wanted more!)

3. The reveal (what was behind the dreams—awesome!)

4. Sophie, free-spirited bead jewelry maker

5. The ending. Loved, loved, loved it!

Things I didn’t love about the book:

1. Pacing was a bit strange, offering highly descriptive dreams (very nice!) then skipping weeks and months at a time in other parts of the book. I realize part of the months skipping was necessary as nothing relevant to the plot really happened, but it still felt weird to me as a reader.

2. Vic, stuffed shirt, kind of a jerk at times

3. The lack of communication drove me nearly insane. Misunderstandings and failure to resolve issues/dragging out the conflict is a serious pet peeve of mine as a reader.

Again, overall, it’s an enjoyable book, but I won’t read it again. I do recommend it as a good beach/weekend read as it reads fairly quickly.

Sensuality: some descriptive dream sex

Rating: 3 stars

Book Review: Who Glares Wins by Camilla Chaffer

Book Description:

Only a few weeks into her new job as a private investigator, Lexi Graves thinks she may have bitten off more than she can chew with her first solo cases.
In between going undercover as a plush pony at a “Bronie” conference and following her cheating brother-in-law, she’s got a saboteur-turned-killer to catch and a missing woman to find. Two of her cases may be connected, but how?
There’s no short list of suspects to investigate, but the closer Lexi gets to the killer, the more her life is put in jeopardy. Trying to avoid being framed for a murder she didn’t commit, Lexi knows her luck is running out.
To make matters worse, her boyfriend, sexy detective, Adam Maddox, thinks she’s out of the PI game faster than she got into it. Her boss, the mysterious Solomon, meanwhile, hopes to get her between the sheets by night, as well as solving cases by day, and Lexi’s "just say no" resolve might not be as fortified as she believes.
All she wants is to be taken seriously and there’s only one way she can do that—solve the cases, no matter what. (from

Book Review

Ms. Chaffer pulls it off again. Lexi is just as charming in Who Glares Wins as in the first book in the series, Armed and Fabulous.  

Lexi very much wants to be respected by her co-workers, but they all think she and Solomon have something on the side and that is why she got the job. I enjoyed how the author allowed Lexi to prove she is a capable investigator. She also has good instincts, developed in part by growing up in a family of police officers. She takes 3 solo cases, 2 pro bono without Solomon’s knowledge, and juggles them well. I love how Lexi utilizes all the tools she has available, work, family and friends and new acquaintances to solve tricky informational needs. The scene where she lays a honey trap for her brother-in-law is priceless and is worth reading the book!

I like how the book focuses primarily on the cases, family and friends, with romance off to the side. It’s not quite an after-thought, as Lexi does contemplate the two men in her life more than a bit, but it doesn’t take center stage and that’s a refreshing change from my usual reads. Lexi grows quite a bit in this book and doesn’t seem quite as klutzy as in the first one and far more capable. 

My one quibble with the book is how much people underestimate her, specifically Maddox. Although that actually turns into a positive when she proves just how capable and resourceful she is and successfully vindicates herself.

The humor, language, editing, pacing are all excellent. Who Glares Wins grabs your attention quickly and hangs on to it until the book is over. I highly recommend this series and am eagerly waiting for book 3, which is supposed to be out later in August 2012. I think the book would work as a standalone novel, but a reader would benefit from reading Armed and Fabulous for the backstory.

Sensuality: kissing, references to sex. Safe for teen readers.

Rating: 5 stars