Category Archives: Sourcebooks

Review: Reflection by Elene Sallinger

reflectionTitle: Reflection by Elene Sallinger
Chrysalis Series Book Two
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance, BDSM
Length: 288 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

When Two Bodies Collide…

The moment Bridget Ross and Connor Reynolds run into each other on the street—quite literally while out on a run—tempers flare. But when the two get together for an apology coffee date, it’s clear that the coffee isn’t the only thing steaming.

Connor is a charming artist without purpose. His own tragic past prevents him from putting down roots or committing to anything. Bridget is feisty but guarded. She’s aching to fill a void in her life but is wracked with guilt over her past and denies herself true pleasure. Can this gorgeous man tempt Bridget to finally succumb to her desires?

The Review:

Reflection, the second novel in Elene Sallinger’s Chrysalis series, is an erotic romance with light BDSM elements. In this outing, Bridget Ross and Connor Reynolds’ burgeoning relationship is threatened by the unresolved issues from their respective pasts.

Bridget is a bright, well-educated college professor in her mid to late thirties and her guilt and shame over her sexual desires have become tangled up with a traumatic event that happened while she was a college student. Although she has dated over the years, her inability to open up about her past eventually leads to the end of her relationships. Bridget is stunned by her unexpected desire for Connor, and with a lot of encouragement from her close friends Claire and Mona, she tentatively and cautiously agrees to date him.

Connor is a bit of a loner who is happiest when he is viewing the world through his camera lens. He is a gifted photographer and painter but he refuses to pursue either professionally. While Connor’s demons are less serious than Bridget’s, they do hold him back from taking risks and living his life to the fullest.

Connor and Bridget’s relationship is tenuous and while Bridget finally reveals her secrets, she remains unable to fully give in to her sexual desires. Connor is a bit of a contradiction as he continues to try to push Bridget’s sexual boundaries despite his assertion that he is okay with a “vanilla” sex life. Their problems extend beyond the bedroom as Bridget stubbornly refuses to confide in him about a troubling situation at work. While Connor is forthcoming about his past, he is not completely honest about how deeply his losses affect him.

While I enjoyed the overall story, I found it difficult to believe that a smart woman like Bridget would not be more proactive in seeking out counseling for something that clearly defined so much of her life. I was equally frustrated by how she tiptoed around the growing problem with her repulsive boss. While she gave some very sensible advice to one of her students, the plan Bridget devised to help the young woman escape her horrible situation was extremely foolhardy and put her student in needless danger.

Reflection is the perfect novel for anyone who is new to erotic romance. The sex scenes are sensual with just the tiniest hint of a BDSM element. They are tastefully written and many of them fade to black leaving it up to the reader’s imagination to fill in the blanks. However, if you are a long time reader of the genre, this might be a little bit of a letdown since the steam factor falls on the low end of the erotic spectrum.

All in all, Reflection is an engaging romance with sympathetic, likable protagonists. Bridget and Connor’s issues are realistic and it is very satisfying watching them overcome their troubled pasts. With tantalizing and intriguing glimpses of secondary characters Mona and Victor, Elene Sallinger leaves readers eager for the next installment of this sexy series.

Although Reflection is the second novel in the Chrysalis series, it can be read as a standalone story.

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Filed under BDSM, Chrysalis Series, Contemporary, Elene Sallinger, Erotic, Rated C+, Reflection, Review, Romance, Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review: How to Handle a Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy

handleTitle: Review: How to Handle a Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy
Cowboys of Decker Ranch Book One
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 416 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

His Rodeo Days May Be Over…

Sidelined by a career-ending injury, rodeo cowboy Ridge Cooper feels trapped at his family’s remote Wyoming ranch. Desperate to find an outlet for the passion he used to put into competing, he takes on the challenge of teaching his roping skills to five troubled ten-year-olds in a last-chance home for foster kids, and finds it’s their feisty supervisor who takes the most energy to wrangle.

But He’ll Still Wrangle Her Heart

When social worker Sierra Dunn seeks an activity for the rebellious kids at Phoenix House, she soon learns she’s not in Denver anymore. Sierra is eager to get back home to her inner-city work, and the plan doesn’t include forming an attachment in Wyoming—especially not to a ruggedly handsome and surprisingly gentle local rodeo hero.

The Review:

How to Handle a Cowboy is a beautiful story about two people who find love despite their troubled pasts and the five rambunctious yet lovable boys who steal their hearts. This first novel in Joanne Kennedy’s Cowboys of Decker Ranch series perfectly balances heartache with hope and the resulting story is a little poignant and exceptionally heartwarming.

Sierra Dunn escaped her unhappy childhood through hard work and determination and she pours all her energy into her career as a social worker. Now a foster mom at a group home, she is trying to make a difference in the lives of the five boys in her care and hopefully, the small Wyoming town too. Needing a positive male influence in the boys’ lives, Sierra reluctantly teams up with local cowboy Ridge Cooper after he agrees to mentor the kids. Their relationship takes a personal turn when the two give in to their surprising attraction but their future remains uncertain.

Scarred by her own unhappy childhood, Sierra pours her heart and soul into giving her foster sons all the love and care they have been missing in their lives. She is hoping the small town will accept the disreputable boys, but so far, she and the kids continue to be outsiders. Her experience with volunteers has been disappointing so she does not have high hopes that Ridge will prove to be the help the boys need. Their first encounter is absolutely hilarious, but they both agree that Ridge is not the mentor Sierra has been searching for. But a little manipulation from an unexpected source brings Sierra and the boys to the Decker Ranch where Ridge begins to work a little magic on the kids… and Sierra.

Ridge has spent a lot of successful years on the rodeo circuit but after a career ending injury, he returns to the ranch he shares with his brothers Shane and Brady. Without a clear goal of what comes next in his life, he is at loose ends when he meets Sierra and her foster sons. Recognizing kindred spirits in all of the young boys, Ridge enthusiastically introduces them to ranch life and in the process, he heals some of the wounds from his own troubled past.

Sierra and Ridge are reluctantly drawn together and although they do not see the possibility of a future together, they begin a passionate affair. They share an easy camaraderie as they get to know one another and both Sierra and the boys blossom under Ridge’s tender care. As Ridge’s feelings for Sierra deepen, he comes out his shell and is stunned when he discovers what he wants next in life. Despite her growing attachment to Ridge and her foster kids, Sierra remains focused on her career until an insightful comment from one of her most troubled boys makes her reconsider what is most important in life.

I absolutely adored all of Sierra’s foster sons. They are fragile and damaged by the pain inflicted by their parents but they are surprisingly resilient. Each one has a unique personality and Ridge is quick to pick up on their individual strengths. The relationship between Ridge and the kids tugs at the heartstrings and I love how quickly they begin to flourish under his guidance.

Delightfully funny yet full of deep emotions, How to Handle a Cowboy is a riveting novel with charming and appealing characters. The storyline is realistic yet hopeful and the romance is a wonderful blend of sexy and sweet. With intriguing glimpses of brothers Brady and Shane Joanne Kennedy leaves readers eager for the next installments of the Cowboys of Decker Ranch series.

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Filed under Contemporary, Cowboys of Decker Ranch, How to Handle a Cowboy, Joanne Kennedy, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review: Telling Tales by Charlotte Stein

tellingTitle: Telling Tales by Charlotte Stein
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance, Ménage, M/F, M/M/F, M/F/M, Foursome
Length: 240 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

One Steamy Reunion
Back in college, Allie and her friends used to come up with the wildest stories. When a professor bequeaths his mansion to Allie and three other former students, it’s the chance they’ve all been looking for to get back together. But there’s more than friendship bubbling beneath the surface…

As secrets are revealed and relationships rekindled, the stories get dirtier and the stakes get higher. And now Allie’s realizes that she isn’t quite sure who she wants…fun-loving Wade or quiet, restrained Cameron. Neither has been honest about their feelings, and now they have the chance to act on all of the tales that ignite their most primal desires.

The Review:

Telling Tales is another scrumptiously steamy erotic novel by Charlotte Stein that I highly recommend to readers who like their romances on the naughty side. Voyeurism, threesomes, foursomes and a little D/s play-nothing is off limits as college friends Allie, Kitty, Cameron and Wade reunite and explore all of their sensual desires.

Throughout college, Allie, Kitty, Cam and Wade were close friends who entertained one another with their lusty tales. Allie kept her crush on Wade a closely guarded secret but she poured out her fantasies in her erotic stories. When the four meet again, Allie still desires Wade, but she finds herself captivated by quiet and unassuming Cameron. A startling encounter in the dead of night piques her curiosity and suddenly Allie is not sure which man she craves more…

Allie is the novel’s narrator so we experience firsthand her ambivalence about reuniting with her college pals. She is not very confident sexually and she is a little embarrassed about the stories she wrote years ago. Her conflicted feelings about Wade begin as soon as they meet again and although she is still drawn to him, it is Cam who catches her undivided attention. When the four renew their old hobby of reading sexually explicit stories aloud, the sexual tension between them quickly rises to a fever pitch.

Wade and Cam are at completely opposite ends of the spectrum and I loved watching them evolve throughout the story. Wade is not quite what Allie remembers or maybe it just a case of her crush clouding her perception of him. He is player-smooth and self-confident but arrogant when it comes to women. Cam is reserved and that saying about still waters running deep? Yeah, that aptly describes this gentle man. He is repressed and ashamed of his sexual fantasies but Allie pushes him way out of his comfort zone. Once she figures out what makes him tick, Cam is an enthusiastic participant in some pretty kinky but smoking hot sex scenes.

Their deepest, darkest fantasies are fully explored in sex scenes that are highly detailed and incredibly erotic. Dominant and submissive roles are fully explored and there is also a little bondage as well. While Kitty is an active participants in many of the scenes, there is only a brief amount of sexual interaction between her and Allie. However there is male/male penetration between Wade and Cam during the foursome scenes and while the women are also involved, one of them is usually a voyeur until they switch places.

Telling Tales is the second novel I have read by Charlotte Stein and while similar themes are explored in both, the storylines are quite distinct from one another. While the beginning of the novel is a bit uneven, I was quickly drawn into this fascinating story. It is a deeply sensual romance with depth and unexpected humor and although the romantic aspect is understated, there is never any doubt it is a love story in the making. Another outstanding novel by a true master in the erotic romance genre.

2 Comments

Filed under Charlotte Stein, Contemporary, Erotic, M/F, M/F/M, M/M/F, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Sourcebook Casablanca, Sourcebooks, Telling Tales

Review: The Cowboy’s Mail Order Bride by Carolyn Brown

mail-orderTitle: The Cowboy’s Mail Order Bride by Carolyn Brown
Cowboys & Brides Series Book Three
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

She’s Got Sass…

Emily Cooper promised her dying grandfather that she’d deliver a long-lost letter to a woman he once planned to wed. Little does adventurous Emily know that this simple task will propel her to places she never could have imagined…with a cowboy who’s straight out of her dreams…

He’s Got Mail…

When sexy rancher Greg Adams discovers his grandmother Clarice has installed Emily on their ranch as her assistant, he decides to humor the two ladies. He figures Emily will move on soon enough. In the meantime, he intends to keep a close eye on her—he doesn’t quite buy her story of his grandmother as a mail-order bride.

A lost letter meant a lost love for Clarice, but two generations later, maybe it’s not too late for that letter to work its magic.

The Review:

The Cowboy’s Mail Order Bride is a sweet but spicy addition to the Cowboys & Brides series. With her trademark wit and delightfully appealing characters, Carolyn Brown’s latest release is sure to be a hit with fans of contemporary Western romances.

To fulfill her grandfather’s dying request, Emily Cooper plans on delivering a long lost letter to ranch owner Clarice (Barton) Adams then heading off on her month long vacation. But Emily is charmed by both Clarice and her good friend Dotty, so she winds up agreeing to stay on at the ranch as Clarice’s assistant and part-time ranch hand instead. What Emily doesn’t bargain on is Clarice’s super sexy grandson Greg and their very unexpected, but deliciously hot, attraction to each other.

Emily and Greg are perfect for one another. They both adore their grandparents to distraction but they really bond over their mutual love of ranching. Greg is impressed by Emily’s strong work ethic and her easygoing acceptance of Clarice’s (and her cohorts) shenanigans. Emily is intrigued by Greg before she even meets him and she is utterly charmed by his relationship with Clarice. Their friendship blooms almost right from the start and love quickly follows.

Clarice, Dotty and two of their other good friends, Madge and Rose, have been doing a little scheming behind Greg’s back to help him meet that special someone. Their well intentioned (but way of their depth) matchmaking provides some of the funniest moments in the novel. Poor Greg doesn’t have a clue what’s in store for him, but Emily handles all of their meddling with good humor.

As always, Carolyn Brown delivers an angst-free but romantic story with quirky but lovable characters. The Cowboy’s Mail Order Bride is another slightly wacky but fun-filled novel that is full of down home country charm, authentic Texas dialect and witty banter. Although it is the third installment in the Cowboys & Brides series, it can be read as a standalone.

Read my review of the other novels in the series HERE.

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Filed under Carolyn Brown, Contemporary, Cowboys and Brides Series, Rated B, Review, Romance, Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca, The Cowboy's Mail Order Bride

Review: The Curl Up and Dye by Sharon Sala

curl upTitle: The Curl Up and Dye by Sharon Sala
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Landmark
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 288 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Those were the best days of her life…

“Poor LilyAnn,” the local ladies lament. “She sure is stuck in the past.”

Eleven years ago, LilyAnn Bronte was the Peachy-Keen Queen of Blessings, Georgia—the prettiest, smartest, and most popular girl in town, going steady with the star quarterback, a high school career on the fast track to success. Then Randy Joe was killed in Iraq, and somehow LilyAnn just let herself go to seed.

Ruby, Mabel Jean, Vera, and Vesta of the Curl Up and Dye have been itching to give LilyAnn a makeover, but she knows it would make more than a new hairstyle for her to get her life back.

Until one fateful day, when a handsome stranger roars into town, and LilyAnn has a revelation.

Maybe the best is yet to come..

The Review:

Sharon Sala’s newest release, The Curl Up and Dye, is an emotional journey for LilyAnn Bronte as she finally lets go of her grief and unexpectedly discovers love. This heartwarming novel has plenty of sass and down home Southern charm, but it is the warm and caring cast of characters that make it such an outstanding read.

The sound of a hot rod pickup truck is what finally shakes LilyAnn out of the haze she has been living in for eleven long years. This former Miss Peachy-Keen Queen has been mired in grief and living in the past so long she barely recognizes the out of shape and uninspiring woman she has become. A fleeting attraction to the driver of that souped up truck inspires LilyAnn to get out of her rut, get into shape and begin living in the here and now. Stunned by the unexpected reaction of her best friend and next door neighbor, Mike Dalton, LilyAnn has a few more lessons to learn before she can finally see what has been in front of her all along.

Aiding LilyAnn and Mike in traversing their evolving relationship is a cast of lively and eclectic characters. Their biggest supporter is the indomitable Ruby Dye, owner of the local beauty shop. Her well-intentioned meddling leads to unexpected consequences for their rapidly deteriorating relationship. However it does force LilyAnn to see Mike in a whole new light. Unfortunately, Mike stubbornly resists LilyAnn’s efforts to make peace and in doing so, he unwittingly puts not only their future, but LilyAnn, in danger.

Sharon Sala’s The Curl Up and Dye is an entertaining novel that has a engaging cast of characters and an eminently appealing setting. The storyline is sweet but there is just enough drama to keep it interesting and unpredictable. Definitely a must read for anyone who enjoys homespun stories with plucky, courageous heroines and adorable, affable heroes.

1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, Fiction, Rated B+, Review, Sharon Sala, Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Landmark, The Curl Up and Dye

Review: Control by Charlotte Stein

controlTitle: Control by Charlotte Stein
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance, Ménage, M/F/M, M/F
Length: 258 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Will she choose control or just let go?

When Madison Morris wanted to hire a shop assistant for her naughty little bookstore, she never dreamed she’d have two handsome men vying for the position—and a whole lot more. Does she choose dark and dangerous Andy with his sexy tattoos? Or quiet, serious Gabriel, whose lean physique and gentle touch tempt her more than she thought possible?

She loves the way Andy takes charge when it comes to sex. But the turmoil in Gabe’s eyes hints at a deep well of complicated emotions locked inside. When the fun and games are over, only one man can have control of her heart.

The Review:

Charlotte Stein’s Control is a delectably naughty erotic romance that hits all the right spots. Plenty of steamy, lust-filled sex scenes perfectly compliment the surprisingly emotional storyline and the resulting story is sizzling, funny and poignant. An absolute must read for readers who enjoy a novel that is not afraid to tread into forbidden sexual territory.

Bookstore owner Madison Morris is in a quandary about which applicant to hire as her assistant. Über sexy Andy Yarrow with the deliciously yummy tattoos and a penchant for taking control in the bedroom? Or shy, quiet, inhibited Gabriel with the tempting voyeuristic tendencies? No matter which man Madison chooses, her control is going to be sorely tested!

Madison is not afraid to take a walk on the sexual wild side and there is not a fantasy she is not willing to try. With the right man, she is more than willing to unleash her dominant side. But Madison is also comfortable taking the submissive role as well. She also likes some dirty talking-both as the talker and the listener. I think Madison is the perfect heroine because she is willing to do what we’d all like to do: embrace and explore our sexuality without limits.

Of the two heroes, Gabriel is the one who pretty much stole my heart. He is gentle, charming and sexually inexperienced with just the right amount of vulnerability. Madison’s dominance is something he craves and although he is embarrassed about some of his desires, he is up for just about anything she commands. But the most compelling scenes between these two are the ones where Gabriel reveals information about his past. Their emotional connection is just as strong as their sexual one but it takes them both a while to realize it.

Ah, I just love a bad boy and Andy fits that role perfectly. In real life he is pretty laidback but in the bedroom? He prefers calling the shots. Andy completely dominates Madison and he makes an intriguing third in Madison and Gabriel’s ménage explorations. He is a bit of a wanker (I just love that word!!!) but he manages to surprise me with his unexpected insight into Madison and Gabriel’s relationship.

The sex scenes are scorching hot and plentiful. Despite the dominant and submissive roles, it is not a BDSM novel and although there are a couple of ménages, it is not a true ménage either. It is a sexually adventurous book that defies categorization and I think that’s why I liked it so much.

Control is written in first person from Madison’s perspective. There is a stream of consciousness feel to her inner monologue but once I got used to it, I really enjoyed it. It is a little confusing for the first chapter but by the second chapter, the story flows very smoothly. The humor is well-timed and laugh out loud funny. The characters and overall plot have depth and substance and in between bouts of incendiary sex, a true romance develops. I think it is safe to say that Charlotte Stein is now on my auto-buy list and I have been eagerly purchasing her backlist!

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4 Comments

Filed under Charlotte Stein, Contemporary, Control, Erotic, M/F, M/F/M, Menage, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca