Satisfaction by Sarah Mayberry

SatisfactionWhy I read it:  I was provided with a review copy by the author.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Maggie Hendricks loves her life. She’s got a great job, amazing friends. Everything is perfect – except for one smallish problem. Maggie can’t quite get there, sexually speaking. It’s just never happened for her. And while she tells herself she’s fine with that, she can’t help feeling as though she’s missing out.

When her friend shares the intimate details of an encounter with an extremely talented lover, Maggie makes a desperate pact with herself. She will seduce this man – or allow him to seduce her – and if he can’t get her there…well, then she’ll hand herself over to medical science. A simple enough plan. What could possible go wrong?

Within minutes of meeting Rafel Oliveira, Maggie knows the answer to that one: plenty. But Rafel turns out to be far more than simply talented in the bedroom. As he takes her on a journey toward the ultimate pleasure, Maggie finds herself craving a lot more than his beautiful body. The question is, is Rafel’s heart available for the taking?

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I liked this book very much. I’m going to have some criticisms (of course) but I want to say first up that I really enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a spicy contemporary that is all about the relationship (no suspense, not secondary relationships; just the couple, getting together).

I liked Maggie very much – she’s strong, independent and clever.  She runs a successful small business and she loves books (what’s not to like?).  She had a believable reason for being anorgasmic (at least, to me) but her back story wasn’t played for sympathy votes. When she makes a plan to get herself an orgasm, she ovary’s-up and sets out to get it.  One of her good friends, Cleo, had a sexy encounter with a “Brazilian hottie” named Eduardo at Brothers Ink. So Maggie quietly makes herself an appointment to get her some of that.

She couldn’t believe that she hadn’t thought of any of this before now. It was one thing to be preoccupied, but this was bordering on willful stupidity—especially when she took Cleo’s track record with men into account. Barring one rather dishy specimen, Maggie had never so much as glanced with envy at any of Cleo’s boyfriends. In fact, she and Cleo usually had diametrically opposed taste in men. For example, Cleo thought Ashton Kutcher was hot, whereas Maggie wanted to give him a good shave and send him to work for the UN Commission on the Status of Women for a couple of years.

Beyond Jealousy by Kit Rocha

beyond jealousyWhy I read it:  I received a review copy from the author.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)   She’s been looking for the perfect man. She found two.

When Rachel Riley sacrificed a life in Eden to protect the O’Kanes, she earned her place in the powerful Sector Four gang. But the former crime princess is tired of being everyone’s sweet little sister . It’s time for her to get wild, to embrace her fantasies as only an O’Kane can—with a delicious exiled soldier and the gang’s wickedly sinful tattoo artist.

A saint…

Lorenzo Cruz is a warrior, taught by his commanding officers in Eden that involvement equals distraction. Emotion is a liability, and desire a sin. In Sector Four, he finds decadence, shameless sex—and his own dark urges. No battle strategy prepared him for how Rachel makes his heart race…or the way his rival for her affections sets his blood on fire.

…and a sinner.

Ace Santana has a dirty reputation and a mind to match, especially where his new lovers are concerned. He’s eager to help Cruz embrace his dominant side, and to explore the lines between pleasure and pain with Rachel. But corrupting them quickly becomes an obsession, a need he can’t deny—and a love he never imagined.

Three hearts on the line means a hundred ways their ménage a trois could go wrong. After all, even O’Kanes do forever two-by-two. One of them could be the missing piece that makes them all whole…or a temporary diversion destined for a broken heart.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I think it’s fair to say that for fans of the series, this book is much anticipated. Ace and Rachel circled around each other for a while and things were looking pretty promising, when, inexplicably, Ace backed away.  Then Cruz joined the O’Kane Gang and he and Rachel looked set to have something going on but then she backs away from Cruz and next thing you know, Ace and Cruz are double-teaming women and Rachel is on her own.

They’d been living alternate lives, crossing just close enough to grind salt into the wounds because neither thought the other was bleeding.

Bone Rider by J. Fally

Bone riderWhy I read it:  Quite a few of my friends, representing a broad range of reading tastes have loved this book so I bought it.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Riley Cooper is on the run. Misha Tokarev, the love of his life, turned out to be an assassin for the Russian mob, and when it comes to character flaws, Riley draws the line at premeditated murder. Alien armor system McClane is also on the run, for reasons that include accidentally crashing a space ship into Earth and evading U.S. military custody. A failed prototype, McClane was scheduled for destruction. Sabotaging the ship put an end to that, but McClane is dubbed a bone rider for good reason—he can’t live without a host body. That’s why he first stows away in Riley’s truck and then in Riley himself. Their reluctant partnership soon evolves into something much more powerful—and personal—than either of them could have imagined.

Together, they embark on a road trip from hell, made all the more exciting by the government troops and mob enforcers hot on their trail. Misha is determined to win Riley back and willing to do whatever it takes to keep him safe. When hitman and alien join forces, they discover their impressive combined potential for death and destruction. It will take everything Riley has to steer them through the mess they create.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  It’s going to be a challenge to describe the plot in a coherent manner and without giving too much away.  McClane (who, when we first meet “him” is known as “System Six”) is an “intelligent armor and weapons system with codependency issues”. I pictured him a bit like the mercury man (aka the T-1000) from Terminator II when he was all melty.  He needs a scaffolding (if you like) to adhere to – he needs a host.  He is connected to a host when the book begins but McClane doesn’t like him even a little bit and wants out.  When he gets his chance, he takes it.  But McClane cannot be without a host for long and survive.  When cowboy Riley Cooper drives along in his truck (more about why Riley is driving later), he “hitches” a ride and causes the truck to stop and Riley to investigate.  Then, when the hood is up, McClane invades. 

Marked by Kit Rocha, Lauren Dane and Vivian Arend

markedWhy I read it:  I received a review copy from Kit Rocha.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lauren Dane takes you into a brand new world in ALL THAT REMAINS. Summer Killian falls fast and hard when Charlie arrives in Paradise Village. But the heat turns all the way up when she learns Charlie is also with Hatch – the man she loved three years before. While she’s not sure she’s cut out for a triad, neither man is going to give her up.

Take a ROCKY RIDE with New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Vivian Arend as she leads you back to the Six Pack Ranch. Anna Coleman might be the law around Rocky Mountain House, but bad boy Mitch Thompson knows that under the stiff RCMP uniform is a woman with a passion for speed and pleasure that matches his own, and he’s not giving up until she’s his.

Kit Rocha returns to Sector Four in BEYOND TEMPTATION. A promise to a dying friend backfires when Noah Lennox finds that the girl he was supposed to rescue is all grown up–and wearing O’Kane ink. He wants to protect her from the secrets of their past, but she wants him. And an O’Kane woman always gets what she wants.

Beyond Temptation by Kit Rocha: Taking place between the events of Beyond Pain and the soon-to-be-released Beyond Jealousy, Temptation features O’Kane member Emma Cibulski and the mysterious tech expert living underground somewhere in Sector Three, Noah Lennox.  Emma and Noah both have history in Sector Five and Noah has a hard-on for revenge against Five’s leader Mac Fleming.  He blames Mac for his best friend (Emma’s brother)’s death.  For reasons which are a little less clear to me, Mac is after Noah too and Noah has distanced himself from Emma for the past 4 years so as to protect her.  She’s all grown up now and seeing the tough kickass woman she has become, Noah can no longer keep away.  There is a secret to do with Emma’s brother that everyone except Emma seems to know and when it is revealed, it does throw a spanner into the works of their burgeoning relationship.    The story ends with definite HFN/HEA but Noah’s journey to take down Mac Fleming is only just beginning and I expect we will see more of it revealed in the next book.   The sex, as usual, is smokin’ hot and super dirrrty. There is also definite connection between Emma and Noah.  When Noah sees what Dallas and Lex have, he wants it with Emma – that partnership and equality of exchange.  The Beyond series is way more female positive than many post-apocalyptic books and I am enjoying the developing world building of the series as well as the great characters and dirty, inventive sex.  Spending time in the Broken Circle is always fun and this novella was no exception.  Grade: B

Unraveled by Jen Frederick

UnraveledWhy I read it:  I received a review copy from the author.

ETA April 2015: At the time I accepted/read the book and wrote the review, I didn’t know Jen Frederick was also Jane Litte from Dear Author.  No Jen Frederick books have been reviewed by me, anywhere, since I became aware of this and, given my existing relationship with Jane, I will not be reviewing any more of her books.  I will continue to update my personal Goodreads account with all the books I read as per usual but, consistent with my review policy, there won’t be further formal reviews of Jen Frederick’s work.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Twenty-five-year-old Sgt. Gray Phillips is at a crossroads in his life: stay in the Marine Corps or get out and learn to be a civilian? He’s got forty-five days of leave to make up his mind but the people in his life aren’t making the decision any easier. His dad wants him to get out; his grandfather wants him to stay in. And his growing feelings for Sam Anderson are wreaking havoc with his heart…and his mind. He believes relationships get ruined when a Marine goes on deployment. So now he’s got an even harder decision to make: take a chance on Sam or leave love behind and give his all to the Marines.

Twenty-two year old Samantha Anderson lost her husband to an IED in Afghanistan just two months after their vows. Two years later, Sam is full of regrets—that she didn’t move with her husband to Alaska; that she allowed her friends to drift away; that she hasn’t taken many chances in life. Now, she’s met Gray and taking a risk on this Marine could be her one opportunity to feel alive and in love again. But how can she risk her heart on another military man who could share the same tragic fate as her husband?

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Gray Phillips was introduced briefly in Unspoken and represents somewhat of a departure in the series about the guys who live in the house in Woodlands.  Because, of course, Gray doesn’t live there – but he does come to visit for the 45 days of leave he has in the summer.  His congressman dad pulled some strings for him to get that length of time off in a row and he has a decision to make – re-enlist in the Marines or separate and do… something else.  Gray was badly burned in a previous relationship – his then-girlfriend cheated on him during his second deployment in Afghanistan, with the local Marine Recruiting Officer no less and then she was diagnosed with syphilis.  So, he’s not trusting and paranoid about sexual health and safety.  he has a few “friends with benefits” but they’re not really actually friends.  As he describes in the book, he is basically a human dildo for the girls and while he clearly respects them, he doesn’t actually have any real feelings for them either.

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