Heating up the Holidays

Heating Up the Holidays 3-Story Bundle

Grade: A
Hotness Level: Blaze/Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, Novella
Published: 10/28/13
Reviewed by Anne
303 pages
Snowfall by Mary Ann Rivers (A) – First off, we start with Jenny, a microbiologist.  That’s right, a story featuring a female scientist!  Woo hoo!  Her love interest is the physical therapist she’s working with – and the conflict of interest there is very well handled.  The story is primarily about her personal journey to accept some changes in her life, and the love story is wrapped into that.  So good.  Mary Anne Rivers also wrote The Story Guy, which is one of my favorite reads of the year.  She is a new favorite of mine.  Fair warning – she writes in first person POV, from the heroine’s side only.  And it works.  Very well!  I highly recommend this story.
After Midnight by Serena Bell (A) – Miles is in a funk at a New Year’s Eve party.  He’s been (falsely) accused of embezzling from a charity he runs and was subsequently dumped by his fiancée.  Then he sees Nora dancing across the room.  She is happy and full of life.  They make eye contact and she surprises him by coming over to see him. The story of where things go from there is very good!  Well written with touches of humor that made me smile.  I haven’t read Serena Bell before but she going on my good list now!
Play With Me by Lisa Renee Jones (DNF) – So, I went into this one a bit hesitant because I associate with more suspenseful reads.  It had a strong start and I liked the heroine, but things started getting icky for me.  First our “hero” reminds one of his employees that she is “only cranky once a month.”  That was almost the end for me, but I think I was hoping our strong heroine would put him in his place.  But before we know it she’s essentially held prisoner for an entire day having her phone and computer and all contact with the outside world removed and no explanation given other than “there’s been a breach in security and we have to follow protocol.”  When our hero finally takes time to come tell her what’s going on, she quits (yay her!) only to be seduced by the mere touch of his hand shackling her wrist.  Umm.  No.
Despite not finishing the Lisa Renee Jones story, I’d still recommend this book based on the strength of the other two stories.  This may turn out to be a favorite year after year for me!  How about you?  Do you have a favorite holiday romance?

Game Misconduct by Bianca Sommerland

Game Misconduct (The Dartmouth Cobras, #1)
Grade: DNF
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: High Kink
Genre: Contemporary, ménage

Series: The Dartmouth Cobras #1
Reviewed by Kate
351 pages 

Oriana is the spoiled little rich girl daughter of a hockey team owner.  Now, she’s not the only child of said hockey team owner.  She has a sister, Silver, a manipulative bitch who is extremely sexually adventurous.  She also had a brother who died, but apparently his dream was to play pro hockey. His death prompted his father to buy the hockey team.  Now her father is all about appearances.  It’s important that his life appears hunky-dory at all times.  His daughter Silver has caused some problems in the past, problems that he’s dealt with by caving in.  And in turn Silver has learned that manipulation is the best way to deal with dear old dad.  Oriana, however has done her best to be the perfect daughter.  She’s even dating the team coach, Paul, a real douche of a guy.  But when she catches Paul cheating, she decides to walk away.  Daddy-o however has other plans.  He’s been helping Paul hide his affair (father-of-the-year award, ladies and gentlemen) and wants Oriana to pretend it never happened as well.  Otherwise he’s going to cut her off, and that means she won’t be able to finish med-school.

So this is where it starts going all kitty-wompas (is that really a phrase?).  The perfectly logical to solution to Oriana’s dilemma is obviously blackmail (I mean it worked for her sister).  The assistant coach Tim helps her come up with the idea (because apparently someone going to med school isn’t smart enough to figure this one out on her own).  Oriana is going to go into the bathroom at the arena with 5 of the players and then Oriana is going to leave the bathroom wearing only a jersey.  So the security cameras will show that she got down and dirty with 5 of the team players, when actually, she didn’t.  Pretty straight forward, right?


Except apparently she has some feelings for one of the players Max, and he likes to watch other people having sex.  And Max has a thing for Oriana, and watching Oriana with all his buddies.  And somehow the security footage just doesn’t come out conveying the message that they want it to convey.  So they’ll have to do it again.  But this time, it will be at the boys home (all 5 players share a house) and this time they’ll actually do it.

So this is what bothers me about this book.
  1. The warning in the Kindle store for this book reads “This ebook contains material not suitable for readers under 18.  In also contains scenes that some may find objectionable, including BDSM, ménage sex, bondage, anal sex, sex toys, double penetration, voyeurism, edge play, and hockey equipment being used inappropriately.”  I read the warning before downloading the book, so I felt I was fully prepared.  However I was a little shocked to discover that the ménage sex they were talking about was actually with all 5 players (even though there are only 2 guys shown on the cover).
  2. I found it extremely hard to figure out who was who.  Each player was know by both their first and last name, although never at the same time.  So I was constantly wondering if Dominik was the same person as Vanek or was he maybe Mason?  And maybe the sex scenes would have worked more had I knew who was where and doing what.  Maybe it would have felt like there was more of a connection between the characters.
  3. I really feel like Oriana felt like this was a perfectly viable option.  Crap, Dad’s gonna cut me off and I really want to finish med school, so I guess a gang bang is the perfect solution.  Seriously!?  Ever heard of student loans?  Or maybe scholarships?  I’m kind of thinking I wouldn’t want her as my doctor because she doesn’t actually really seem that smart.
  4. I read to the 37% marking (and there are a few previews at the end, so I was actually more than 37% into the story).  And I think there’s a huge case of too many Doms in the kitchen, or I guess that should be the dungeon.  All 5 players were Doms?  Well, except maybe TJ, he just seemed to be along for the ride.
The thing is, I’m okay with BDSM, and I’m okay with ménage (I’m actually okay with everything else listed in the warning).  I’ve even read a fair share of large group ménage (I think 9 people involved is the most I’ve read though).  But this one just felt off for me. It left me feeling dirty, but not in a good way.  Part of me feels like I need to finish the book.  Maybe it will get better.  It has quite a few good reviews.  But most of me is just glad that I didn’t waste any money on this one (it was a freebie).

Against the Ropes by Sarah Castille

Against the Ropes
Hotness Level-Inferno
Kink Level-High Kink
Reviewed by Kay
368 pages

Ok, so the blurb on this book sounds so very good.

Scarred MMA fighter, who’s also a billionaire meets an almost EMT. He then hires the curvy almost EMT to do first aid at his underground MMA club. She needs the money and thinks he’s hot, so she accepts the position, even though she abhors violence. They start to date and are totally into each other, then the book starts to hint at his BDSM tendencies.

I got a text from a friend of mine who was reading the book at the same time I was and she mentioned nipple clamps. My friend, who knows me well was warning me because I now have a “hard limit” with nipple clamps. I decided that I have enough to read without reading about that or any other books delving into BDSM.

This book started out so good. I was super excited but seriously, I have had it up to my eyeballs with this genre and it’s flooding of the romance market. If you’re into reading about that, then try this book. You may love it. Nice heroine and hot fighter. Even decent secondary characters. Quirky humor also.