Review: There All Along by Lauren Dane and Megan Hart

there all alongReviewed by Jen

This two story anthology features novellas by Lauren Dane and Megan Hart. The blurb says they are set in futuristic worlds, though I felt like the Hart story had a more sci-fi feel, and Dane’s had a more Old West flavor.

Land’s End – Verity Coleman is tired of putting aside what she wants to please others. Married off to an abusive husband at the age of 14, becoming a widow was the best thing that ever happened to her. For the past few years, she has been nursing a crush on Loyal, the lawman who travels into town every few months. But she’s ready to act on her feelings and seize the opportunity to get out of the town that’s stifling her.

I liked Loyal. He’s not exactly the strong, silent type, but he’s close. He’s kind of a big gruff man who has never settled down, never had any roots. But he looks forward to the days he gets in the young widow’s company. He dreams of her. He wants her. But he thinks he’s no good for her. (One of my favorite tropes!) I really enjoyed watching her break down his resolve and seduce him into the kind of relationship they both wanted.

The story did drag for me at times. Occasionally, I was tempted to skim the narrative to get back to the parts where the romance was unfolding. Verity and Loyal had great chemistry, though. And their love scenes are smoking hot.

Rating: B/B-

By the Sea of Sand – I enjoyed this sci-fi romance story a bit more than the first novella. Set in another world, it focuses on Telia, a woman with a young son, who takes in wounded soldiers to heal. She thought she was a widow, until her latest soldier turns out to be her husband, Kason, who was taken by the enemy. The bad guys altered him somehow, suppressing his memories. And Talia can’t clue him in without possibly setting off an implanted trigger in his mind. Kason has to remember on his own, or the results could be disastrous.

The connection between them is clear and immediate, even without Kason’s memories. These two are hot together, which was great. More than that, though, I really felt how difficult it was for Talia to have her husband back, but as a different man. At the same time, Kason’s frustration was tangible… and anyone could see how much these two needed one another.

The danger plot with the aliens was ok. My only complaint about the story was that I felt the resolution was too easy after all the build-up. But that wasn’t enough to detract from my enjoyment of the story.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon

There All Along
by Lauren Dane and Megan Hart
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: Berkley

Review: Captivated by Megan Hart and Tiffany Reisz

captivatedReviewed by Carrie

Though I’m always gun-shy of novellas, I tend to take chances on authors that I trust. Novellas are also a nice way to get in some reading when life is crazy and time is a factor or as a “palate cleanser” between books.

Letting Go by Megan Hart  – Grade: B

This author is well known for her poignant erotic writing and I think this story does a good job of highlighting that skill. Colleen knows in her head that she is a smart and beautiful woman but her heart is still struggling to let go of the emotional abuse heaped on her by her ex-husband. She goes to a local bar every Thursday night to brood at a drink that she won’t imbibe just to prove to herself that she isn’t the weak woman her ex says she is. Jesse doesn’t know what it is about his Thursday night regular. There’s something sad and beautiful that he just wants to take care of but respects the no-go signs she gives off. [Read more…]

Review: The Space Between Us

Reviewed by Allison

Tesla Martin is not really sure what she’s doing with her life, but she’s not exactly in a hurry to figure it out either. She works at Morningstar Mocha as everyone’s favorite barista while living with the man (and his wife and two adorable kids) who took her and her brother in when her parents decided their lives were more important than that of their children.

Tesla enjoys the customer interaction and the constant stream of caffeine. However, there is one regular in particular that she wants to be more than just a barista to – Meredith. Meredith is one of those people that is so charismatic that she can convince you to tell her anything, to confide over a cup of coffee (or three) with a sparkle of mischief in her eye. And Tesla does. She lays bare her history in hopes the connection will give them an intimate edge she might not otherwise have…considering Meredith is a married woman. The story she weaves definitely has an effect on her, but not in a way Tesla expects. Meredith begins to flirt, to get to know her better, to develop a more-than-a-regular rapport with her only to invite her to bed… to sleep with her husband.

While shocked, Telsa considers it, requiring she meet Meredith’s husband Charlie first. When the three of them meet up for a very unorthodox date, they immediately click and end up talking and laughing the night away. One date turns into two, turns into three, turns into falling into bed together. All together.

In the beginning, the relationship was definitely geared more towards Tesla trying to get closer to Meredith, but the more she got to know Charlie (who is incredibly irresistible, no doubt about it!) the more she explored the extraordinarily complex dynamic between them. I liked Meredith for the purpose she served in the story but the characters that really shone for me were Charlie and Tesla. The way they completely changed for Meredith but owned their change and made it work for them so thoroughly, impressed me. I loved the way Charlie and Tesla bonded, the way he stood up for her, made her feel so special. Their relationship was such a pleasure to read.

My favorite aspect about any Megan Hart book is her characters. They are always so real; their emotions inspire you to feel, to experience life through their eyes. This book is no exception. While it certainly makes you think twice and can serve as a cautionary tale to be careful of what you invite in your bed and in your marriage – the other side of the coin shows us that not all connections we find in life will be conventional and that if it’s real, it’s worth fighting for.

Grade: A+

*ARC Provided by Harlequin via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon 
The Space Between Us
by Megan Hart
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

5 for Friday – August 3

It’s finally Friday and the closer I get to the Authors After Dark convention, the slower time seems to be moving.  I’m headed in Tuesday to begin my week of debauchery celebrating the love of booze books with fellow bloggers, readers, and authors.  I will endeavor to tweet often and take lots of pictures.  I’ve got a list ready of great drinks and restaurants for people to try if they’re new to the city.  If you want any suggestions, just let me know!

5. Kristen Calliahan has revealed the cover for Winterblaze, book three in the Darkest London series.

There is no blurb yet, but she did say in her USA Today/ HEA article that “Poppy may be happily married to London Police Inspector Winston Lane, but a demon is about to put their love to the test.”  (*swoon*) Winterblaze is set to release February 26th.

4. I’ve got another Moira Rogers freebie to report. If you haven’t tried their Southern Arcana series, you can start at the beginning! Crux is free at Amazon (and Barnes and Noble) for a limited time.

Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn’t crack…until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn’t explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.

With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as he struggles to uncover the truth of her past-and her destiny.

If you like it, there are four other installments out in the series so far. Book 5, Impulse, releases September 4th.

3. Harlequin is giving some Megan Hart books a makeover.  A slew of her erotic/powerful/wrenching stories are getting new covers. Check it out:

Any Megan Hart fans out there? Do you like the new covers better or the old ones?
2. Looking to get lucky? Maybe you need to pay a visit to Olympic Village.
Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

According to ESPN, there’s a shit-ton of hanky panky going on among the competitors. Think I’m exaggerating? The article linked above goes on to say that Olympic organizers have ordered 100,000 condoms to keep up with the, er, rigorous demand.  The best quote comes from a former Olympian who talks about how athletes have a chance to win gold medals and sleep with hot guys. Win-win.  I guess I should have taken gymnastics.

1. And finally… you may not know this about me, but I am a closet horror movie fan.  I don’t get to watch as many as I used to with two little ones in the house, but the impulse is still there. I had a little squee moment when I stumbled over this trailer for the new Silent Hill movie.

Bad ass!! (Is it just me or does the girl look like a dead ringer for Michelle Williams?)  I’d like to just spend a day in a dark house with a bottle of wine and watch all of these movies back-to-back.  The zombie nurses are my favorites.

Don’t judge!

XOXO,
Jen

Review: Collide

Reviewed by Jen

I didn’t really expect to like this book all that much. But it made me laugh. It made me feel. And boy, was it hot!

The story follows Emm, a 32 year-old woman, who has lived her life with the constant threat that she will go into a fugue state. She had a head injury in childhood, and ever since, she has had episodes where her mind leaves reality. In the past few years, though, she seems to have gotten it under control. Until she crosses paths with Johnny. She only sees him in a coffee shop, but she is instantly attracted. She learns that he was a star in some, er, artistic films in the 70s… which she promptly checks out. And before she knows it, she’s blanking out again. Only this time, the place she goes in her mind is one where Johnny is the star. She meets him, in the 70s and hops into his bed. Of course, when she gets back to reality, that only fuels her desire to meet him for real.

To say the real Johnny is stand-offish would be an understatement.  He is gruff, even rude to Emm. But when she goes into a fugue state right in front of him, he brings her into his home to help her out… beginning a dialogue between them. Emm is going dark, as she calls it, more and more. And every time, she is back in Johnny’s past. She is becoming more invested in him –in his life and in his bed. She has trouble separating her growing feelings for the Johnny in her mind with the Johnny who is present in her real-life. This is especially true, when she finally breaks down the barriers he places between them and they become a real couple.

The thing is, Emm is starting to question whether the past events are really just in her mind. Johnny is hard to read, but keeps giving off vibes that he knows more than he’s saying. And the proof just keeps growing.

I couldn’t put this book down.  Yeah, it’s got some similarities to other stories, but it acknowledges them openly. Even Emm gives shouts to Dr Who and The Time Traveler’s Wife. There are so many cultural references that really hit the mark –and the way Emm talks– it made her so relatable for me. And it was funny. Some of passages had me laughing out loud.

“I haven’t been this excited about an erection since my first boy-girl party in the eighth grade…”

“I made it through dinner without embarrasing myself, although everytime he wiped his mouth I wanted my cunt to be the napkin.”

Of course, aside from the whole time travel element, the biggest thing going on in the book is the sex. And wow! We’re talking hot. I’m not a big fan of using the “c-word” to refer to lady-bits, but even that didn’t cut in to the megga-watt hot factor going on in this book.  Believe me, by the time it was over, I was ready to have sex with Johnny and I don’t much care whether it was the 24 year-old version or the 57 year-old one.

I did feel kind of sorry for him, once everything was revealed.  I’m glad we got the ending we did, but the poor guy really had a rough road. And I can see why Emm got the initial reaction he gave her at the beginning of the book.

I’ll definitely read more Megan Hart in the future. And I’ll never look at the word “hooah” the same way. 4 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Collide
by Megan Hart
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Publisher: Spice