Smokin’ Hot by Lynn LaFleur

Smokin' Hot
Grade-C
Hotness Level-Inferno
Kink Level-No Kink
Genre-Contemporary
Reviewed by Kay
288 pages

Smokin’ Hot is the latest book by Lynn LaFleur. It has three short stories about volunteer fireman in a small town in Texas. The stories blend together due to the men all being friends.

Singe

Julia Woods has had enough of adventure seeking men to last her a lifetime. She moved away from the last one to a small town in Texas. She enjoys the lifestyle here a lot. While staying with her mom’s best friend, she meets Stephen, a volunteer fireman who does roofing as his full time job. He gives her landlord an estimate on hail damage all the while checking out Julia’s curves. They start a pretty hot little fling but when she finds out that Stephen is kind of an adrenaline junkie, she bows out of their relationship. Can Stephen get her to take a chance on him despite his adventurous spirit?

Smolder

Marcus Holt still loves his wife. Even after she left and divorced him four years ago. He carries a lot of anger where she is concerned. How could she leave him when he needed her the most? Rayna Holt has never gotten over her anger toward her ex husband. She moved away, got a great job and never looked back. When her grandmother’s health brings her back home, she runs into Marcus. After spending some time together,they start talking about all they lost and the emotions that come along with that.

Spark

Talia King has it bad for Dylan. Dylan has it bad for Talia. She’s asked him out twice only to be rejected. Dylan wants to give Talia everything she deserves but not him. He can never be assured that he won’t hurt her physically. His father looms in his memory big time. Can Talia break through before Dylan ruins their chance at happiness?

This book was okay for me. I really enjoyed the second story the best. It was sweet and a little heart wrenching. The first one was good but I never connected with the two leads totally. The third book I found boring. I know about Dylan’s past but he frustrated to no end. All in all, it was just okay. Hot firemen and scorching sex scenes made it more easy to read.

                       
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Marked by Lauren Dane, Vivian Arend, and Kit Rocha

Marked – Kit Rocha book by 2/10/14 blog
17925723
Grade: A
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: Moderate Kink
Published: 2/10/14
Reviewed by Anne
305 ebook pages

I’m going to break this down into the 3 stories and review them separately.  As a whole I give the anthology an A.  It’s rare to have all the stories in a collection work for me like these did!  I highly recommend it, and the authors’ note in my ARC says that the ebook will be on sale for $2.99 until the end of February, when the price will go up to $4.99.  This book is a steal at $2.99!   I came away with 2 new series I want to follow and a great installment to Beyond, which I already loved.

Beyond Temptation by Kit Rocha
Grade: B+
Genre: Dystopian
Series: Beyond 3.5

Note: I really think you need to read this series in order to get the most out of it.  If you haven’t read it yet, go back to the start and read Beyond Shame – you won’t regret it!

So, Noah is not from Sector Four, but he’s doing some work that brings him under Dallas’ radar and he’s being brought into the gang.  He’s also looking forward to and dreading seeing Emma, little sister to his best friend.  They haven’t seen or talked to each other in years, and there’s some history between them.  Emma always had a crush on him, and he had feelings for her, but he’s got some secrets hidden that he doesn’t want her to know about.  He’s also having some issues seeing her as the strong and independent woman she is now, since his memories are full of her as a naive and innocent girl.

It’s a short story, so the main source of conflict is Noah’s big secret.  I don’t enjoy secrets.  The best thing about this one was the way Emma handled it when she found out.  She’s a strong woman and one who is offended at people trying to protect her by keeping secrets.  That was awesome!  Sector Four women in general are awesome, though!  

In other good news, Noah is a red head and likes dirty sex.  It turns out Emma does, too, and we get a lot of it.  This wasn’t my favorite in the Beyond series, but it still rates a B+.  They are all just so good!

Rocky Ride by Vivan Arend
Grade: B+
Genre: Contemporary, small town
Series: Thompson & Sons #1

Anna is a straitlaced cop with a good reputation.  Mitch is a mechanic with a biker look to him.  They’ve been meeting on the down low for sex, but he wants to push her for an actual relationship.  Their small town has some small minds that see biker and think criminal.  Mitch has to convince Anna to give their relationship a chance.

This story starts out with one of the hottest opening scenes I’ve read in a long time.  It’s a great start to a solid story.  Watching Anna relax and let her guard down made for a good read.  I got very frustrated at the choices Mitch was making toward the end of the story, but then Arend redeemed herself by having Anna really call Mitch out for his choices!  

The weak point in the story was the prejudice against bikers, or rough looking tattooed guys.  I haven’t ever really considered that as a big deal – but maybe I just don’t understand?  In any case, I just went with it and it worked.

The sex was hot, the heroine was independent and strong.  I loved it!

All That Remains by Lauren Dane
Grade: A
Genre: Dystopian, Triad*, futuristic
Series: Metamorphosis #1

Set in a post-plague future, which Dane describes on her website as not dystopian (and I agree) Summer meets a new man in her village, Charlie.  Summer isn’t too surprised when Charlie mentions he has a partner (in the physical sense) but she’s shocked when she meets him and it’s Hatch, her first love.  Summer and Hatch may still have feelings for each other, but there’s a lot of history between them and it’s not all good.  The three of them have a lot to work through if they want to make a commitment to each other.

This story was all the best of the Lauren Dane Brown Siblings/Delicious books I love, set in an interesting future where women are only a small portion of the population and very valued.  Summer is another strong woman who is sure of herself and doesn’t need a man (or men) to complete her.  She’s not ashamed of her sexuality – that was refreshing to read!  

Really my only complaint about this story was the overuse of the phrase “raining honey” which pulled me out of the story every time it came up.  Other than that, everything worked for me and I can’t wait to read more!

*Note – I used to mark any book with a 3 person (or more scene) as a “ménage” book.  I’m now using ménage for an uncommitted encounter(s) and triad for a story about the committed relationship between 3 people.

Love Letters Volume 5: Exposed

Grade: C
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: Mild Kink
Genre: Contemporary, Novella
Published: 9/9/13
Reviewed by Anne
44,000 words
 
I went into this thinking the collection would be about voyeurism, which wasn’t the case with every story.  They had more to do with being on display/exposed, though there was some voyeurism.  The first two stories were ok. I LOVED the 3rd one by Christina Thatcher.  The fourth one started off great but then gave me book rage. So, it was a mixed bag for me.
 
R is for Reality by Ginny Glass is about a camera woman who convinces a cab driver to come audition for a part to get her out of hot water.  Their chemistry was good, but I was surprised by the pacing of the story, which jumped over large gaps in time.  Overall it was just ok for me. (C)
 
S is for Scandalous by Emily Cale had the exact opposite pacing problem for me.  I felt like I had mental whiplash due to how fast the characters’ relationship moved.  Kacey takes a job where she will lie nude and be the serving platter for a meal of sushi.  Austin shows up and recognizes Kasey.  He goes to see her after the meal when she is changing.  Even though their teenage friendship/crush didn’t survive Austin leaving for college, they pick up like they’d spent the intervening years dreaming of getting back together.   And despite the years apart, they act like they know each other extremely well.  It just didn’t work for me (C-)
 
T is for Tango by Christina Thatcher was the standout read in this collection!  Sonia is a secretary at Adam’s company.  Once a week he catches her changing clothes… at her desk.  He doesn’t know what to make of it, but he’s enthralled.  Then he realizes she’s doing it on purpose, for him.  This just worked on every level for me.  (B+)
 
U is for Undone by Maggie Wells started out really promising.  When the power goes out, Alec sees Sophia, a co-worker he’s admired.  She’s lighting candles in her apartment and taking off her clothes.  He can’t help but watch and he’s shocked when she makes eye contact with him and he realizes she knew he was watching the whole time!  This beginning worked very well for me.  Unfortunately, what came next was rage-inducing.  I don’t want to ruin the story, so I’ll just say that Alec was very controlling about how their relationship would move forward.  This frustrated Sophia, but ultimately she doesn’t complain and just moves forward in the way Alec dictates.  I felt like Alec was playing mind games with Sophia, but that’s not the tone of the story.  I think we’re supposed to think it’s sweet that he wants to get to know her and take things slow.  It just didn’t work for me. (D)