Tag Archives: georgia cates

Endurance: A Sin Series Story

Endurance:  A Sin Series Story by Georgia Cates

endurance

Overview by Amazon:

I’m a doctor. Mobster. Killer.
My hands are covered in filth. I don’t have the right to touch anything as clean and pure as Ellison MacAllister.

I distance myself … always remaining obscure, composed, restrained.
Careful to never allow my eyes to linger too long.
Careful to hide my interest.
Careful to keep my burning desire buried beneath the surface.

I do it for her—suffer in silence—because it’s what is best for the woman I love.
And she has no idea.

She’ll be initiated as a Fellowship member soon. One of my mafia brothers will go through endurance so he’ll earn the right to claim her.
Make her his wife.
Kill. Me. Slowly.

I’m running out of time. Only a month remains before she’s beyond my reach forever.
I want to taste her. Share sleepless nights. Ride out her storm.
I want to give her the kind of nights she will still feel between her legs the next morning.
I want us to share the kind of passion that forms on our skin and drips down to saturate the sheets.
Between the sweat and the moans and the messy hair, I want her to know how hard she’s been loved.

To have her is to taint her.
I should stay away. But I won’t. I can’t.
I’m a selfish bastard.
A selfish bastard in love.

I am deeply disappointed that I didn’t realize this book was out.  I have adored Georgia Cates’ writing and the Sin Series and was hoping for another book about the Scottish Mafia, The Fellowship.  I probably shouldn’t be to surprised that I missed this release as it came out November 11th, which was a few days after the US election and the whole world was reeling.

However, I found it and am grateful.  You don’t need to read the three books featuring Sin and Bleu before reading this book, but I highly recommend it.  The Sin Series features the story of Sinclair, the heir to the Fellowship mafia organization.  Bleu has infiltrated the organization with the mind to kill Sin’s father as retribution.  It’s a fascinating series set in modern day Scotland with lots of sex, violence and danger.

This story is about Jamie and Ellison.  Jamie is Sin’s best friend and the doctor for the Fellowship. This is how he has chosen to serve instead of being a fighter.  He’d rather save lives than take them.  He has met Ellison, as she is Bleu’s sister from America.  She has been hidden away from the Fellowship until Sin is ready to initiate her into the family.  A man, a brother, must step up and take responsibility for Ellison.  It sounds so old fashioned, but the rules of the Fellowship are fascinating.

Ellison is a nurse.  She has no family left and has moved to Scotland to be with Sin, Bleu and the babies.  If you have read the Sin Series, you will love spending more time with all the characters from the previous books.  Ellison is beyond frustrated with Jamie.  They make a great team, if only he could see it.

Jamie desperately wants Ellison, but he worries for her safety as he won’t always be around to protect her due to his role as doctor.  He has reason to worry as the women of the Fellowship are often targeted by their enemies.  Ellison doesn’t care and embarks on a month long fling with Jamie hoping that he will change his mind.

That is what makes this book so good.  We spend the month watching Jamie and Ellison work as a team in the Fellowship infirmary and also as lovers.  They are falling hard and fast, yet as the reader you have no idea how things will end up.  Georgia Cates is one of those great authors who isn’t afraid to take the plot to places you didn’t expect.

I really enjoyed this book and was beyond excited to find out that Jamie’s sister, Westlyn would be getting her own book very soon.  I have high hopes that Leith and Lorna will get their happily ever after as well.  This series and Endurance are must reads if you like contemporary romance novels and men with Scottish accents.

Top Ten Tuesday – Backstories

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  Each week features a different topic that can be applied to whatever genre of books you like to read.

This week the theme was intriguing.  It was about revisiting characters OR getting the back story.  This caught my interest because last night I fell down an Outlander rabbit hole and found out about the book Virgins by Diana Gabaldon.  This book tells the adventures of young Jamie and Ian when they are in France fighting after his flogging by Jack Randall.  There are some great synopsis online, so since I won’t be getting to read it anytime soon as my TBR list is a mile long, I loved reading about the events that led right up until he met Claire!  I never really thought about why his shoulder was dislocated when they first meet!

Anyway, so I decided that I would like to pick books that feature characters that I would like to get their back story.  There is always the danger that this will change how you feel about the character now, but since this is fantasy, why not?!

Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught

I want to know about Ian’s past.  The character of Ian Thornton was what captured me and made me fall in love with historical romance novels.  I want to know how he built his fortune and what led him to meet Elizabeth.

Sam Jellicoe Series by Suzanne Enoch

I know this series doesn’t have a book coming out soon, but I can dream!  Rick and Sam are electric as a couple and if you haven’t read these books, what is wrong with you??  Rick is a British lord, a savvy business man and an incredible lover and partner to Sam.  I want to know about his past and how he became successful and what brought him to Florida where he meets his match.

Hawk by Monica McCarty

Hawk is one of the most likable characters I have ever read.  He’s always smiling and got a quick line to give.  He’s a natural charmer and yet a strong Highland chief.  While he meets his match in his story, I could read a plethora of novels featuring him and his sea faring adventures with a lass on each island he visits.  Think Chris Hemsworth dressed as a Highlander…yup!

Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

Don’t hate me for this one!  I seem to have a morbid fascination with what it was like before Ana.  Those ELEVEN subs?  What was his life like before Ana?  Don’t know if this is a must have on this list, but I’m intrigued!

Chasing Fire series by Amy K Rogers and Ann Marie Walker

Hudson and Allie are reunited lovers in this amazing series.  They met as teenagers on the shores of a Michigan beach.  I would love to have read about their young love, even knowing that there will be years that will separate them.  If you didn’t know, Hudson is based on the male model David Gandy.

Sin Trilogy by Georgia Cates

This amazing and lusty series features the Scottish mafia.  A bad boy with a kilt and a brogue.  Sin is the male lead in the story and I would love to read more about his bad boy ways before he is reformed by his love, Bleu.

Hero by Samantha Young

So, this isn’t exactly a hope for a back story, but I would love to read this story from Caine’s perspective.  I want to read in his words what the relationship with Lexie means to him and what he is thinking when he pulls away from her.  Don’t worry if you read the book – there is a happily ever after!

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Series I LOVE

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  Each week features a different topic that can be applied to whatever genre of books you like to read.  This week the theme is “ten books I really love but feel like I haven’t talked about enough/in a while”.

This is so easy…and yet so hard!  There are SO many books that I love that I can gush about them all day, however, it makes it hard to just pick 10!  So I’m going to cover series that I love so that there is more than just one book for you to enjoy!

I have been really in love with Sawyer Bennett lately.  I have read her Wicked Horse erotica series, ALL of the Cold Fury novels (read my review of Hawke and Ryker), Sugar Daddy and ALL of the Last Call series.  I haven’t posted reviews on the Last Call books, as I just blasted through hawkethem this weekend, but man, they were great!  I think what I like the most about her books is that she writes amazing male characters.  They are strong and sexy, but flawed.  This author writes about the kind of sex that I wish I was having.  I highly recommend the Cold Fury novels and the Last Call series!

 

 

 

 

Outlander is about to come back to our televisions – thank god!  There is a new series out hot for the scotby Janice Maynard about three young ladies that travel to Scotland to spend the summer.  They are inspired by the Outlander series and all secretly hope to find their own Jamie.  The first book in the series is Hot for the Scot and it was so charming and lovely!  I loved the characters and it was the kind of adventure I would love to experience.  I found this book a great way to spend the time waiting for Jamie and Claire to come back.  The second book in the series, Scot of my Dreams, is about to publish, so there is more Hot Scots to go!

 

 

 

I started this blog because I was deeply, deeply in love with Monica McCarty’s Highland the ghostGuard series and I was desperate to get my hands on an ARC copy of the Arrow.  This is the best series I have ever read – heck, all of her books are!  To say I am a super fan would be accurate.  I can’t recommend these books enough.  Fantastic history, amazing characters and spell binding bedroom scenes.  You can’t go wrong with this series.  When I find a new series, I actually like it when I am late to the party.  You know?  It kind of sucks to have to wait months for the next book to come out.  Well, fear not with this series!  The final full length novel, The Ghost comes out in May and a novella in June.  So you have TONS of books to read.  If you are a fan of Outlander, Navy SEALs  and hot men, then these are books you need to check out!

 

 

Another series that I am totally gaga for is the Inevitable Series by Janet Nissenson.  I find splendorher work to be similar to Samantha Young.  Her stories feature amazing and captivating characters with plotlines that you just can’t imagine.  Not in a crazy way, but just realistic and engaging.  Janet creates sizzling chemistry between her leads and the emotions of the stories just pull you in as the reader.  I have read all the books in the series and I can honestly say they have made my top ten list.  She capably does what ever author hopes to accomplish – write love stories that make you desperate to keep reading.  I have become devoted to her work and keep offering my services as a beta reader because I am so excited for what comes next!  Serendipity, Splendor, Shattered and Sensational.

 

 

Georgia Cates came to my attention through the Sin Series, a great series featuring the beauty bundleScottish mafia.  I took a further look at what she has written and came across the Beauty Trilogy.  This series was even better than the Sin Series.  I loved the characters, the drama, the turmoil, the sex and the happily ever after!  It’s hard to describe what sucked me into a story with a playboy millionaire having a no-strings attached affair with a young college student, but while it may sound like Fifty Shades or Crossfire, this series is actually even better than them.  I loved how the books made me feel.  I think that is when you know that you are reading a great book.  I felt so involved and engaged in what was happening to the characters.  I felt every emotion, I longed for their kisses and their troubles became mine.  Even if you don’t read a lot of contemporary romance, this is one series you should check out!

 

once a wallflower, at last his loveOne author that I follow on Facebook is Christi Caldwell.  I really enjoy her books!  What fascinates me about Christi is her writing process.  Christi writes every single day.  When not taking care of her toddler twins, her school aged boy, and a family home.  She is so devoted to the process and in turn has amassed a large book list.  Her characters ‘her muses’ speak to her and each one has a story that begs to be told.  She is so versatile that one book features a spinster, the next a bluestocking and a shy, young thing.  Christi crafts great historical romance stories that make it exciting to read!

 

Vonnie Davis has written one of the best series I have read, Highlander’s Beloved!  It bearing it allfeatures a clan in the modern day Highlands who happen to be shifter-bears.  While I am not big on science fiction romance, this series is one that just sucks you in!  I think it is because it’s what I imagine the Scottish Highlands to be like today.  Hot men who are strong, brawny, smart and sexy as hell.  It doesn’t hurt that the secondary characters are just fantastic and I have really enjoyed the love stories she has told!  This series is like a blend of historical and contemporary romance!

 

 

 

 

must love chainmailAnother series that I have really enjoyed is Must Love Chainmail and Must Love Breeches by Anglea Quarles.  I feel like I haven’t raved enough about these books lately!  I want everyone to check out these books because they are just SO great!  In Must Love Breeches, a young lady time travels to Regency England and it’s just so much fun to see it through her perspective!  I love time travel books!  In Must Love Chainmail the heroine ends up in Medieval times and it’s just so exciting it gave me heart palpitations!  Angela is hard at work on her next book, Must Love Kilts.  I’m sure you don’t need me to explain why I am chomping at the bit to get my hands on it!  You really can’t go wrong with these amazing time travel books!

 

 

 

One of my all time favourite series is the Sam Jellicoe books by Suzanne Enoch!  I knowbillionaires prefer blondes that people love them too, because they are a topic I have written about in the past that keeps getting looked at.  Sam Jellicoe is a reformed cat burgler and the original sassy heroine!  In fact, when I read about a snarky, cheeky heroine, I immediately compare her to Sam.  Sam has a rich boyfriend, Rick.  Together they are just all sorts of hot!  This series has fantastic sexual chemistry as well as moments of hilarity and plots that would make anyone laugh! It’s really hard to take life too seriously when reading about Sam.  I highly recommend this series.  If we all read the books, then maybe Suzanne’s publisher will contract her to write another one!

 

it happened one autumnThis should come as no surprise, but a great series that has the hearts of readers across the world is Lisa Kleypas’ The Wallflowers.  Each book takes place in a different season of the year.  My personal favourite is It Happened One Autumn.  I loved Lillian and Marcus!   I know that Sebastian’s deliverance is very popular, but there is just something so great about how Lillian tweaks Marcus’ nose.  Plus, who can possibly forget what happened in his library?!  This series is kind of a standard.  So if you are just getting into historical romance, this is a fantastic way to get going!

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Best of 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  Each week features a different theme that can be applied to whatever genre of books you like to read.  This week the theme is the best books of 2015!  What a fun topic – and really hard!  I have read so many books this year and it has been hard to whittle the list down to ten (so there may be more!)  What is the best book you have read this year?

Hero by Samantha Young

hero

I loved this book!  It is on my all time top ten list!  The characters are fantastic, the sex is off the charts and the plot is wonderful!  I can’t say enough positive things about this book and how emotional it made me!

The Striker by Monica McCarty

the striker

I have been in love with the Highland Guard since I picked up The Chief years ago!  This book was fantastic!  I adore Monica McCarty’s writing and the intense research she does for each book!  I highly recommend this series!

The Inevitable Series by Janet Nissenson

sensational

I found this series this year and the WHOLE series kicks ass!  Sexy, smart and emotional the series has it all!  Janet Nissenson is a fantastic author and I can’t wait to read more from her!

Must Love Chainmail by Angela Quarles

must love chainmail

No one writes time travel as well as Angela Quarles!  Her first book, Must Love Breeches was amazing and the follow up was just as great!  She is hard at work on Must Love Kilts, which will be a MUST read for me!

A Stolen Season by Tamara Gill 

a stolen season

Having a blog has introduced me to sub genres of romance books and one that I have really embraced is time travel.  This book by Tamara Gill has haunted me since I first read it!  It is just so good!  A mash up of historical/contemporary and time travel romance it has something for everyone!

Manwhore by Katy Evans

manwhore

This was a really great contemporary romance that has shades of Crossfire and FSOG.  Smart and sexy business man falls for the ingenue!  SEXY and hot!  Great story and really well written!

Chasing Fire Series by Ann Marie Walker and Amy K Rogers

release me

This series was fantastic!  Reunited young lovers, boardroom drama and off the charts sex!  That is not all however, the author have crafted wonderful characters and great plot!

Beauty From Pain series by Georgia Cates

beauty bundle

This is one of the only books on this list that was not published in 2015, but I discovered this author through the Sin Trilogy.  I LOVED this series and tore through the books!  It’s similar to Crossfire, but honestly, it’s better!!  Lots of sex, a hot Aussie and a singing angel!

Forbidden:  Her British Stepbrother by Lauren Smith

forbidden british stepbrother

Lauren Smith is outrageously talented!  Lawyer by day, author by night, she is fearless!  Lauren writes contemporary romance, historical romance, gothic novels and more!  While I have never really been interested in the stepbrother/sister genre, I couldn’t turn down an Lauren book.  I am SO glad I didn’t!  I have read the first two books in this series and I am DYING for the last one!  I need to know what happens!  Really, really great series and I highly recommend!

Sex, Love and Stiletto Series by Lauren Layne

the trouble with love

I found this author on Netgalley through her latest series, Oxford Novels, but I quickly consumed her backlist!  This series features sexy young professional ladies and the men they end up with!  What I love most about these books is that they are humorous, sexy and really well written!  Great male characters that make you think differently about office romances!

The Rogue You Know by Shana Galen

the rogue you know

I actually loved both books in the Covent Gardens series, but this one was based on my favourite Disney movie, so any chance to share it!  The story parallels the awesome movie Tangled, so you know you are getting a story with a strong female lead and a naughty gent!  Wonderful and consistent storytelling is Shana Galen’s strength!

Finding Fraser by kc dyer

finding fraser

I know this isn’t the typical book I review here, but this book was just amazing!  The whole time I read it, I just kept thinking – why didn’t I think of this concept??  The heroine ditches her life to head to Scotland to find her own Jamie Fraser.  Ummm….YES!  Hilarious, sweet and sometimes sad, this book is like a Bridget Jones diary, a dash of Julie and Julia and of course, Outlander!  If you are a fan of the book or the series, than you need to read this book!

Hannah and the Highlander by Sabrina York

hannah and the highlander

I just got the next book in this series and I am so excited to read it over the holidays!  Sexy highlander, a strong lass and a passion that burns!  If you are a fan of kilts, then this is a great book to read!

Seven Nights to Surrender by Jeanette Grey

seven nights to surrender

This is a great book!  It’s not YA, but they are young characters.  It is set in the most romantic city in the world, Paris.  But what happens in Paris, doesn’t stay in Paris.  Seven nights and days spent in the city turn the characters lives upside down.  I loved going along on this whirlwind adventure!

Top Ten Tuesday – TV Series

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  Each week features a different theme that can be applied to whatever genre of books you like to read.  Last week I thought the theme was favourite quotes and I replaced it with my own list.  But I was wrong, it was books you are still waiting to be made into movies.  So once again I am putting my own twist on things.  This week I am going to list the books I think would be great as a TV series.  I’m motivated by how great Outlander is and what I would like to see on the small screen.

the striker

The Highland Guard by Monica McCarty

There are about 13 books in this series and it features highlanders who fight for Robert the Bruce.  They are like Highlander Navy SEALs, using pirate methods to fight against the English.  I would love to see a series featuring these braw men and the politics of medieval Scotland.  There are even websites devoted to what actors could play the men and ladies in the series.

sensational

The Inevitable Series by Janet Nissenson

I fell in love with this series by Janet Nissenson over the past year.  The characters and the stories are excellent.  Most of the stories take place in beautiful San Francisco.  It would be best if Starz produced it because her books are quite steamy and it would be awesome to see what I have imagined in my mind.

beauty bundle

Beauty Series by Georgia Cates

I originally found this author by reading her Sin Trilogy, but this series was just as good, if not better.  This series features a Nashville girl who goes to Australia for a summer vacation.  She quickly falls into a relationship with an enigmatic man.  Between Nashville and Australia, the two lovers have an explosive connection that had me between torn and elated as they figure things out.  Awesome series!

reclaim me

Chasing Fire Series by Amy K. Rogers and Ann Marie Walker

This series starts with young summer love that doesn’t end well.  Many years later, the couple are thrown together over boardroom mergers and the combustible passion can’t be denied.  This is a wonderful series that is romantic and emotional.  It would be so amazing as a tv show as a movie wouldn’t be able to do justice to the lush romance.

my highland lover

Highland Hearts Series by Maeve Greyson

This series features a family of time travelling women.  I love time travelling romance books.  This series is different in the way that the ladies know what is coming, because they are from the past.  Slowly each one is sent back in time to take their place in destiny.  Really steamy, really funny at time and very well developed.  These books would be wonderful on the small screen.

on dublin street

On Dublin Street Series by Samantha Young

This series has been hugely popular.  The latest novella was just released and fans rabidly follow it.  A series that features Joss and Braedon and their friends would be fantastic.  It would be wonderful to see beautiful modern Scotland shown in the series.

his wicked seduction

League of Rogues by Lauren Smith

The early 1800s are always popular with viewers.  Look at how many productions of Jane Austen’s work are out there!  This series features the League men.  They are definitely rogues and very hot as well.  Lauren Smith’s books feature the noble spies and the ladies they fall for.  It would be great as a series, witty, engaging and sexy!

spy

Regency Spies Series by Shana Galen

Like I just said, our culture has a major crush on the Regency era.  This series by Shana Galen is such cheeky fun!  The books are all spy series set in the Regency era, but there is a familiarity with each of them.  They take from our favourite modern spy movies – Mr. and Mrs. Smith, James Bond…

A truly awesome series that you need to read and would be so great to see on tv!

captivated by you

Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day

I guess no list like this would be complete without the Crossfire series on it.  I think it has been optioned, as it should be.  I almost hate myself for continuing to keep up with this series, because I think the wait in between books has been ridiculous.  However, this series would be an awesome series.  Can you imagine how hot the cast would be?  Filmed in NYC would be amazing!  I heard that Sylvia Day would love to have Henry Cavill as Gideon and Dianna Argon as Eva.

What books would you like to have brought to your tv?

Top Ten Tuesday – Scotland

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  Each week features a different theme that can be applied to whatever genre of books you like to read.  This week the theme is favourite quotes from books.  I have to admit, that while certain lines get me all shivery when I am reading, I am really bad at remembering what books had what quote.  I am not that great at highlighting when I read, because I read for enjoyment and entertainment purposes.

So this week I will choose my own theme!  I am highlighting books/series that feature Scotland.  Clearly, one only has to look at the name of my blog to know that I adore anything that features a kilt.  So here is my list of books that you should tackle if you enjoy a man in a kilt!

(BTW…did you know that on my twitter feed I post a heavenly #hotscotoftheday?  You can follow the hashtag for some awesome eye candy!)

the striker

The Highland Guard Series by Monica McCarty

This series is just amazing!  I can’t say enough great things about it!  Not only is Monica McCarty a supremely talented author, the stories are incredibly well researched.  I have learned more from reading this series about Robert the Bruce than any history class I took at University.  All of these books feature Highland Warriors who are like medieval Navy SEALs.  The love scenes are out of this world and the plot is complex and original.  My review of The Striker will be up tomorrow!

one kings way

On Dublin Street Series by Samantha Young

While the men in these books don’t wear kilts, they are hot Scots.  Samantha Young is a fantastic author and her contemporary novels are totally swoon worthy.  If you haven’t experienced this series, make sure to start with Braeden and Joss.

bearing it all

Highlander Beloved Series by Vonnie Davis

Since starting this blog, I have been introduced to new genres and sub categories of romance.  This series is contemporary with the sexy Scots who are part bear.  The plot and the characters are fascinating and while it takes place in modern day Scotland, the remote location of the clan makes their isolated world feel very ancient at times.  Really hot love scenes that will have you wishing for a bear of your own.

some like it scot

Scandalous Highlanders Series by Suzanne Enoch

When you pick up a Suzanne Enoch book you know that you are guaranteed a great time.  I have yet to read a book by her that has missed the mark.  What I love about this series is the Highlanders who take over London and the ladies.  If you like your Regency books to feature a kilt and very hot men, then definitely check out this series.

finding fraser

Finding Fraser by KC Dyer

This book is not a typical romance novel.  I would categorize it more along the lines of Emily Giffin, but it was still a fantastic read.  The premise is a young woman who leaves her life to travel to Scotland to find her real life Jamie Fraser after the book Outlander.  It’s hilarious, touching and lovely all at the same time.  I actually wished I was the one who came up with this concept and had the balls to go and live this adventure!

possession of a highlander

Highlander Series by Madeline Martin

I was sent the first book in this series, Deception of a Highlander and I couldn’t put it down.  Not only did I love it, I was totally blown away by the fact that it was a debut novel!  Madeline Martin has followed up the success of the first book with Possession of a Highlander and the next one coming out in January is Enchantment of a Highlander.  I am really hoping an ARC of the latest one will be available, because I don’t think I will be able to wait until the new year to find out what happens next!  Show this author some love because she is a wonderful author and she deserves the recognition and respect for her crazy talent!

a necessary sin

The Sin Series by Georgia Cates

This series takes place in modern day Scotland.  The story revolves around Bleu and her entanglements with Sin and the mafia he is head of.  It was a story that could have taken place anywhere, but setting it in Scotland brought a flavour to the story that made it truly unique.  I really loved this series, in fact I have been blasting my way through her backlist because I enjoy her fiery, hot and passionate books so much!

outlander 1

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

What list would be complete without Outlander?  If you haven’t read this book, nor seen the tv show you need to get on it!  While I love the book, the casting for Jamie and Claire was superb.  I can’t read the books now without imagining Sam and Cait in my head.  This is like required Romance 101 reading.

the macleods of skye

The MacLeods of Skye Trilogy by Monica McCarty

I could do an entire Top Ten Tuesday just on Monica McCarty’s books alone.  This series is set much later than the Highland Guard series, in fact Rory MacLeod is a descendant of The Chief character, Tor.  I loved this series just as much as the Highland Guard.  The first book in the series hooked me and I can still remember the emotions I felt while reading it.  Monica McCarty writes such great cunning characters, but what she also does really well is explore the beautiful setting of Scotland.  I have the big 4-0 bday coming up in a couple of years and all I want is to explore Scotland, especially the Isle of Skye.  That is completely thanks to the influence of these books on my life.

the capture of the Earl of Glencrae

The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae (Cynster Sisters in Love Trilogy) by Stephanie Laurens

I really loved this book.  After all the Cynster books that Stephanie Laurens has published, this one has stuck with me the longest.  The Earl of Glencrae has been stalking the Cynster sister for the whole trilogy, but he gets his own book by the end of the series.  This book features a tall, stoic and very passionate Scotsman.  I don’t want to give the plot away, but this is one of Lauren’s best work.

highland guard hannah howell

Hannah Howell

No list would be complete without giving a nod to Hannah Howell.  This woman has made a very prolific career out of men in kilts.  Everytime I see a new book by her, I have to wonder how she comes up with new ideas.  And then – I read her latest and it’s unique and fresh and great!  You can check out her Amazon page and see just how many books she has published.  It could keep you busy all year long!

my highland bride

Highland Hearts Series by Maeve Greyson

I love this series.  It features time travelling women who leave modern day America to return home to medieval Scotland and the men they are destined to be with.  I have gushed emphatically on the blog about these books, but if you like Highlanders, time travel, romance, historical or contemporary than these books are for you.  Essentially if you have a pulse, you need to be reading this series!

the mccabe trilogy

The McCabe Trilogy by Maya Banks

Maya Banks writes some really hot stuff.  Like it will scorch your panties and the pages!  While she mostly writes contemporary, her Highlander series is the stuff of legends.  I read these books ages ago, but I remember being thoroughly entertained by the story and the characters.  If you like her contemporary work, you will LOVE these books!

Top Ten Tuesday – Duos

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new theme to apply to whatever genre of books you like to read.  This week’s theme is great!  If you could get authors to write books together, who would you pair up?

I think this is perfect because one of the series I am reading right now is by two wonderful authors, Amy K Rogers and Ann Marie Walker.  The Chasing Fire series is amazing and the final book will be out very soon!  There are some authors that write together.  VK Sykes is actually husband and wife duo, Vanessa Kelly and Randy Sykes.  I think this is amazing that a husband and wife write together and still stay married!  I can’t even write a grocery list with my husband without an argument.

So here is my dream list of who I would love to see partner up and write awesome romance books!

1.  Lauren Smith and Madeline Martin

Both authors are outstanding and I think they could come up with a great plot and some amazing characters.

2.  Suzanne Enoch and Shana Galen

Both authors write excellent Regency romances with a suspenseful plot.  I can’t even imagine how off the charts a story would be with these two creative minds!

3.  Suzanne Enoch and Samantha Young

Suzanne Enoch created the most amazing character Samantha Jellicoe.  She’s sassy and feisty and oh so much fun!  I desperately want her to write another book with this character.  Samantha Young’s book Hero features a character so much like Sam Jellicoe that it would be awesome for these two to get creative together!

4.  Judith McNaught and Kathleen Woodiwiss

I know that this is never going to happen considering Judith no longer publishes and Kathleen has passed.  But could you imagine what a book written by these two dynamos would be like??

5.  Tamara Gill and Angela Quarles

Both women write excellent time travel novels.  I would love it if they teamed up and wrote a version together!

5.  Lisa Kleypas and Stephanie Laurens

These authors have created some of the very best series I have ever read.  The Cynsters and the Wallflowers were seminal in cementing my everlasting love of historical romances.

6.  Lauren Layne and Janet Nissenson

I have recently discovered both of these authors and their books have made me LOVE contemporary romance.  I want to read everything these authors have written and if they were to write together it would be magic on the page!

7.  Katy Evans and Meredith Wild

Both authors write excellent contemporary romance novels that burn up the pages.  I probably don’t need to elaborate further on this…

8.  Monica McCarty and Kerrigan Byrne

Monica McCarty writes outstanding Scottish historical romance and I recently read Kerrigan Byrne’s Highwayman.  I think the two of them would make a great duo!

9.  Georgia Cates and Nalini Singh

Georgia Cates writes great contemporary romance and her Sin series was fantastic!  Nalini Singh is a very established author and I think they would be an awesome duo as their writing would compliment each other well.

10.  Katherine Bone and Elizabeth Cole

Katherine writes amazing books that feature pirates and Elizabeth creates outstanding mysteries.  Just think of what they could come up with together!

What duos would you like to see?

What makes a GREAT book?

Lately I have been reading a ton of contemporary romance novels.  I am not quite sure why I am so into them right now compared to my love of historical romance, but I’ve read some really great ones.  That got me thinking about what makes a book a hit.  What is the intangible element that I try so hard to define?  What makes me love a story when some leave me feeling emotionally parched?

I have to preface this by saying that the vast majority of contemporary romance novels seem to feature very hot and graphic sex.  These men are alphas and animals in the bedroom.  While I recognize this is fantasy, I find that I love the scenes when there is an emotional connection to the characters.  Graphic sex scenes can be titillating, but the intimacy I feel towards the characters takes it from gratuitous to elemental.

So I came up with a few things that I think make these books so compelling:

Teasing and Flirting

In the books that I have read recently from Georgia Cates and Lauren Layne, the characters have the best witty banter.  I recently heard on the radio that the number one trait in a potential partner was a sense of humour.  The characters in these books are not comedians, but rather they tease, cajole, flirt and play.  I think that ‘play’ may be the best adjective to describe how I connect with the characters.  I adore when the female sets the man on his ass with a quick rejoinder, or the man playfully ruffles her feathers.  Flirting leads to touching and touch leads to sensuality which then makes sex more meaningful.

A perfect example of this is from the Beauty From Pain book by Georgia Cates:

“And how old are you, Miss Beckett?”

“Seventeen.”

“What!”  There is no way she’s seventeen.  I inspect her face, studying it intently, but don’t know what it is I hope to find.  Laugh lines maybe?

She watches my face.  “Is my age a problem for you?”

“Hell, yeah, seventeen is a problem.”  I throw my napkin on the table.  All of this has been a waste.  “Forget it all.  This whole thing is off.”

“I don’t act seventeen.  I’m very mature for my age.”

“No way.  You’re not even old enough to be drinking that wine.”  I lean in and whisper so no one will overhear.  “I’m almost twice your age.”

“I don’t mind.  I have daddy issues.”  She breaks into a huge grin and I hear a girlish giggle.  That’s when I realize she’s fucking with me and has the ability to lie with a straight face.  I’ll have to remember that for future reference.

Conflict

These books all have conflicts in them, but they aren’t about who left the dishes on the counter or didn’t take out the garbage.  They are much deeper than that and usually they are conflicts that us mere mortals wouldn’t have.  Stabbings, kidnapping, stalkers, shootings and more are the extreme conflicts that often happen.  Now, it would seem that these things divorce the reader from reality and possible a believable story, it is exactly these elements that set us free.  I don’t want to read about a couple that can’t agree on the movie they are going to watch on Friday night.  I want a couple that has a relationship that is otherworldly.  I don’t enjoy seeing characters get hurt obviously, but I want the conflict to be things that I can’t relate to.  It adds mystery to the story.  I can’t relate to sex after almost losing my life, so when I read about it, I am challenged by the author to experience it vicariously.

Look at the book Hero by Samantha Young.  While this book has become an all time favourite, it has some elements that most of us wouldn’t ever have to deal with.  But it makes the story so much better and it takes it away from the sweet and small trials that plague every relationship.

The Alpha Male

I referenced this earlier, but the men in these contemporary books are all testosterone and swagger.  I think their evolution is bigger than the journey the female takes.  In the majority of books, the male wants a casual relationship from the woman.  Likely heavy on the sex and light on the heart to hearts.  He demonstrates his prowess in the bedroom and displays mad sex skills.  As the reader, you are inclined to like him already because he is probably so charming.  I don’t think this stems from the old adage, ‘I’ll fix him’, but rather you know that he is going to get his comeuppance.  The higher and bigger they are, the harder they fall.  So for all those alpha males who select quiet, reserved women who seem like they couldn’t hurt a fly, it’s intoxicating to anticipate how they will be changed.  I personally don’t harbour a need to read about a woman change a man, but I want to see the man change because he wants to be worthy of the woman he has selected.  An alpha male is like the king of the jungle.  He bows to no one and is use to power – hence all the millionaires, billionaires and athletes featured in contemporary novels these days.  To see all his energy and focus directed towards protecting and providing for the woman he loves is a heady thing on the page.

The Beauty Trilogy

The Beauty Bundle:  Beauty From Pain, Beauty From Surrender and Beauty From Love by Georgia  Cates

beauty bundle

Overview by Amazon:

BEAUTY FROM PAIN: Aussie winemaker Jack McLachlan and American musician Laurelyn Prescott agree to a three month relationship while keeping their true identities secret. 

BEAUTY FROM SURRENDER: A heartbroken Laurelyn Prescott returns to Nashville to pursue her music career and finds the success she’s always dreamed of. Jack Henry McLachlan spends three months searching for his beloved but their reunion doesn’t come easy. Will she be able to see beyond the glitz glamour and visualize a life that includes him? 

BEAUTY FROM LOVE: Life for Jack Henry and Laurelyn is beautiful until their post-wedded bliss is cut short when his dark past springs into their present happiness. He wants to shelter Laurelyn but keeping her untainted by his previous life proves impossible when yesterday’s sins insist on returning to haunt him. Will it be possible for them to find happiness in their forever with a past like his? 

I have spent the last three days blasting through this series.  It started when I re-read some of the Sin Trilogy books and then I realized that I had to read more from Georgia Cates.  Her stories transport me to a different world and I lose myself in the tangled love relationships she tells so well.  I loved the Sin Trilogy and I was very excited when I found another trilogy to read.  I have to say, it is very satisfying to find a new series to adore AND when all three books are published so I don’t have to wait months to find out what happens to the characters.

The story is about Laurelyn who travels to Australia on a sort of sabbatical.  She meets Jack and they start an unconventional relationship.  He wants them to spend three months together, but never share their real identities.  While they share their pasts, thoughts and emotions, the one thing they never share is their real names.  Jack likes the game, but he does it mostly because he is a wealthy bachelor and he doesn’t want to be used or trapped for his wealth and position.

I loved Laurelyn.  She reminds me of the characters Sam Jellicoe and Alexa from Hero.  She is sassy and funny.  But Laurelyn has a difficult past and while she is young, she reveals her inner strength through the relationship with Jack.  I totally admired her spunk and I found myself envious of the character.  I wanted to be her friend and I wanted to be her.  Even though she has the perfect body, the perfect voice and an amazing relationship, she was still a very relatable character.

Jack is what every woman’s fantasy is.  Smooth talking during the day and a down and dirty caveman at night.  Handsome as sin and just as rich, he has a commanding presence.  I could understand why he was attracted to his rules for dating, and of course you know that Laurelyn will change everything.  That was the exciting part – watching the change in Jack as Laurelyn stole her way into his life.

I loved the setting of the story.  Australia has never seemed more attractive to me and I tried to imagine Jack’s broad accent when he would speak.  His family is a major part of the story and I couldn’t help but adore them just like Laurelyn.

What makes this series great is the excellent emotions that Georgia Cates pulls out of the reader.  I loved every minute that I spent with Jack and Laurelyn.  The sex between the two is frequent and burning hot.  Even with multiple love scenes, it only cemented the emotions between the two, instead of making it one dimensional.

This is a great series.  I wish I had saved it for a snowed in weekend or a lazy day at the beach, but then I would have had to wait to learn their story.  If you are looking for a wonderful trilogy to fall into, then this is an excellent one to begin with!

The Sin Trilogy

The Sin Trilogy by Georgia Cates

Book One:  A Necessary Sin

a necessary sin

Overview by Amazon:

Bleu MacAllister is consumed. A horrific childhood incident has caused every decision in her life to revolve around bringing a monster to justice. With years spent studying The Fellowship, a Scottish organized crime brotherhood of liars, thieves, and killers, Bleu will rely on her skills as a special agent to cut Thane Breckenridge off at the knees. But walking hand in hand with retribution means risking collateral damage, in the form of Breckenridge’s son Sinclair—until Sin becomes so much more than Bleu bargained for. She’s always known this undertaking would place her life in danger—she never imagined her heart would be as well.

Book Two:  The Next Sin

the next sin

Overview by Amazon:

Bleu MacAllister is in hiding less than three months when Sinclair Breckenridge discovers her whereabouts. Her former lover, the future leader of a criminal organization known as The Fellowship, resists the tug of his heart heartstrings in her direction. Instead, he opts to watch over his beloved from afar. And she has no idea. But Sin’s sacrifice is short-lived. His bonny lass is a hunted traitor. He fears Abram’s assassins are closing in, leaving him with one solution for saving Bleu–make her his wife. Marriage seems an easy fix for their dilemma but wedded bliss is brief when the couple finds trouble lying in wait beyond the realm of the brotherhood. Will the original revenge seeker find herself the object of collateral damage?

Book Three:  One Last Sin

one last sin

Overview by Amazon:

Bleu MacAllister’s fate lies in the hands of the enemy. Complicated circumstances have rendered her helpless to escape their clutches so she must await rescue by her less than lily-white knight. All is right again when she’s back in the arms of the man she loves until long buried secrets are unearthed. With them, Bleu finally discovers her mother’s killer along with far more than she could possibly imagine. Can she find happiness with a husband who will go to any length to keep her safe, even if it means denying her of the one thing she believes she wants most in this world?

So I found the first Sin book on Amazon about a month and half ago.  I spent all weekend reading the first two books and was totally into the story.  I pretty much begged for an ARC of the final book, but had to wait until it was published.  So I decided to hold off on reviewing the books until I had read the final one.

This series is like a Scottish Sons of Anarchy.  If you aren’t familiar with the tv show, it features a motorcycle gang that engages in violence, hierarchy, shady business deals and dynasty relationships.  High on that list should also be sex.  These books felt like I was reading a Scottish version of the tv show and instead of bikers, they are just straight up gangsters.

The story starts with Bleu and her unquenchable thirst for revenge.  She witnessed her mother’s murder and was almost murdered herself.  She was trained by her adoptive father to become a ruthless fighter and investigator.  She served as an FBI agent to further her training.  She has pinpointed the murderer as the leader of The Fellowship, Thane Breckonridge.  She puts her plan in motion to get her revenge by infiltrating his organization.

Her plan was to get access to Thane through his son Sinclair, or Sin.  She manages to get a job in a Fellowship pub.  Nothing in the Fellowship allows outsiders.  No bar, no staff and no unapproved guests.  They don’t fraternize with anyone outside the brotherhood.  It’s kind of a miracle that Bleu is able to get a job in the bar.  She meets Sin and is blown away by how sensual he is, but she won’t be derailed.  She plays her cards right and captures his attention by offering him the one thing he has never had – a challenge.  She doesn’t fall over him and makes him work hard for her attentions.  The dance of seduction the do was off the charts sexy.  Even though Bleu was using him to get to his father, I really wanted these two to get it on and keep getting it on!

The anticipation was worth the wait.  Sin is a very possessive man and he has claimed Bleu.  Sarah McLean once said that sex scenes should be used to further conflict and the plot and it certainly does.  Bleu is now in the inner circle, exactly where she wanted to be, and yet now she has doubts.  Her feelings are clouding years and years of preparations.

Sin was a great character.  Very well developed.  He has been groomed to be the leader of the Fellowship his whole life.  Every member of the organization has to have a profession that will support the group, such as lawyer, medic, etc.  Sin is a lawyer for the group and is waiting to take his uncle’s place as second in command when the time is right.  What is unusal about Sin is how he handles the violence and death.  For someone who lives and breathes a life like he has, he has great ability to love and feel compassion.  He is a protector at heart and will not stop to feel guilt to punish anyone who hurts his family.  The author reveals his character slowly.  The man from the start of the series is a very different one from the end.  Sin has known a lot of physical pain.   He was shot in his leg and lost the lower part and wears a prosthetic.  Bleu knows that she is special to him when he reveals it to her, one of only a few who know his secret.

Bleu is tough as nails and yet vunerable at the same time.  She has been adopted into Harry’s family, but she still feels like an orphan deep down.  The trauma of witnessing her mother’s death and her own attack has defined her life until she meets Sin.  The relationship she enters into is one that is good for her and yet almost like a prison term.  Once you join the Fellowship, you can’t ever leave.  She is in for life and her past as an FBI agent makes her a target.  I liked her street smarts and her strong attitude.  She certainly isn’t a victim and in many ways is the perfect partner for Sin.  She isn’t squeamish about the things he does and violence is not a stranger to her.

The sex between the two is very, very hot.  Sin is a passionate lover and Bleu is a perfect match for him.  There is a lot of sexy scenes, almost like the Crossfire series.  In the final book, Bleu is pregnant and I’m not the hugest fan of pregnant sex in a story, it was tastefully done and fit the story well.

My only struggles with this book is the name Bleu.  Every single time I read it, I said Blue in my head.  I’m not a fan of different names for the sake of different names.  The rest of the characters had great Scottish names and they added believability to the setting. They also have their own special way of talking to each other that I am sure was meant to be a pivotal part of their relationship, but it just made me cringe.  They would say ‘into..me’ ‘you..see’ – get it?  Intimacy.  Cheesy and somewhat cute, but I just get embarrassed by things like this – probably just my weird idiosyncratic ideas.

The series starts out really strong.  I adored the first book and the second one wraps up a lot of the problems the two face.  The final book provides a glimpse into the world that Sin and Bleu will live in.  This series was well worth it and a definite must read.