Kathleen's Top 5 of 2015
A little bit about Kathleen
I’m a military brat, and was very lucky by having moved only a few times during my childhood. I’ve seen the prairies, the hills of Ontario and followed a man to the French province of Quebec shortly after my 19th birthday. Now, my own family surrounds me – my daughter, the man I followed, and my books. Since, I have had the best opportunity to work alongside two amazing ladies PA’ing authors, helping them with their endeavours, and especially still feeding my addiction to books.
Matteo (An Erotic Italian Mob Story) by Rachael Orman
Being born into slavery, I never thought my owner, my very mother, would sell me. And she didn’t.
I was tormented, struggling to come to terms with my new life then he narrowed it down to two things.
The man confused me at every turn with his unexpected and unattainable desires.
If only he’d speak to me.
If only he’d tell me how to avoid upsetting him.
If only I could please him.
**Disclaimer: This is a DARK erotic Italian Mafia story. There are twisted behaviors in this book not everyone will be able to handle. Explicit, violent, and sexual scenes are involved. Not for the wary of heart.**
Matteo is the type of novel that you either love or hate. It is incredibly dark, powerful and painful. Our slave, whose name we hear maybe three-four times, Gia, is referred is mostly as bella, was sold by Madam, her mother, to Matteo, a Russian Mob 'prince'. Matteo has a wicked temper: one minute he may be tender and the next brutal and cold. Now that the basics have been laid, here is why it is a love or hate book:
From birth Gia has learnt what punishments were, the preferred poses to greet her master and knows only to speak when she is asked to, all this from Madam. Once at Matteo's things change since he demands that greet him in bed, that his d¥#k be the only that she accepts otherwise she will be punished. Punishments are the nightmares she never thought she'd ever endure; torture, pain, hell and sometimes, tenderness. Days become nights and Gia has no idea what to expect, but tries to be a good girl for Matteo, so she can avoid any more punishments from him.
The further I read the novel, the more I was intrigued, why would Gia stay? She's repeated often enough she wouldn't run. I wondered if as a reader, more insight would be given on Matteo's point of view. And then I wondered, curiously, if this was the most extreme side of the sado-masochism side of BDSM; let's be quite frank, many passages are difficult and very graphic.
So, why love it or hate it? That depends on the reader. Due to the nature of the novel, some may be offended, others may be intrigued, and others, undecided. Or, maybe, it isn't as simple as black and while and there is a gray area, and we can both love and hate the book. And as for Matteo and Gia, and their story, is 'it good til the last drop', I can honestly say, readers will not be disappointed.
A Step Two Close by Jamie Roberts
I used sex to help me forget.
To help me numb the pain.
Because for those few minutes of pleasure, I could shut it all off.
The reminders of all that I had lost. All that I had endured.
Of all that I saw die before my eyes.
I slept with a man I can’t get out of my head. It was supposed to be a one-time thing with no attachments and no commitments. No names were exchanged, no phone numbers swapped. And that was fine by me... until I lay awake at night, dreaming about that man’s caress. Wanting and yearning to feel his touch once more.
But one day, my fantasies of seeing this man become an all-too-consuming, nightmarish reality. Suddenly, he is in my house, that cocky grin of his silently promising more to come.
And the reason being? His father is getting married to my mother. We are going to be family.
I am in the seven circles of hell. His look alone consumes my soul and makes me beg for more. He wants me and is determined to get me. I’m his obsession, and I’ve just become a slave to his infatuation... to the games he likes to play. The games he knows will have me surrendering to his will.
But that’s not the only problem. That’s not the only reason I am living in my own personal hell.
The year before I met my soon-to-be step-brother, Hunter... The year I made a decision that will ultimately end up destroying my very soul...
I lost my virginity to Hunter’s dad.
Warning: Contains scenes of emotional and physical abuse. Readers with sensitivity to such subjects are advised to proceed with caution.
How much more awkward can things get when your mother's fiancee's was also a one night stand a year ago??
As you can well imagine by that one question, there has to be another twist somewhere... And of course there is!! But let's make something clear first: Ayden slept with Mason a year ago, before her mother met him, and names weren't exchanged and they never were to meet ever again. The awkwardness?!? Two weeks before her mother introduced her new boyfriend, Ayden slept with Mr. Orgasmic, the best lay she's ever had with the green eyed man, only she can't stop thinking about him and ran out of the hotel room as soon as she could. Too bad she didn't run far enough - Mason's son turns out to be Mr. Orgasmic, Hunter, and he will stop at nothing to have her back in his bed to finish what they had started to get her out of his system. I won't deny that I've read in the past weeks quite a few stepbrother stories; some were exciting, some were ok, and others were downright questionable. Jaime Roberts' A Step Two Close that kept me coming back no matter what else I had to do. The kind of novel where I had to keep telling myself just one more chapter and then I'll go finish that other thing I was doing, only to find out I'm still reading and haven't moved in five hours and whatever else I was doing has gone out straight out the window. Compared to many stepbrother novels, Hunter has vulnerable side that we get to see often, that needs to protect Ayden, and yet, I cringe at his reaction when he'll find out about her night with his father. Her mother, quite frankly, I hope rots in hell, but that's only my opinion, and that, again, is something I have not seen in any of these types of novels - interesting if not thought provoking (had she been real and I a friend of Ayden's I'd probably be inclined to smack her a few times asking her how she liked it). All in all, I loved it, and can't wait to see whether or not another stepbrother can match or surpass this one, or if Jaimie Roberts has any other novel as interesting as this one.
Highway Song by Jessa Jacobs
How did that famous quote from that old movie go? Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world...
Well, this was a biker bar, not a gin joint, and there wasn't really a town nearby. But to have my long-lost stepbrother show up in the very place I'd washed up a month earlier like flotsam from a shipwreck - that was the same kind of irony.
Thank God he wouldn't recognize me. I'd been ten years old when he last saw me seventeen years ago. Too bad for my battered heart that I now recognized what I'd only sensed as a child. My stepbrother the rock star was hot.
A series of unfortunate events just might be the best thing to happen to a bar and a band
Amy has to be one of the strongest woman I have met while reading: she's survived addiction, prostitution, beatings and so much more that I can only have nightmares about thinking about it. It's no wonder she keeps running from not only her past, but from those who want her either dead or worst. Rex remembers leaving with his mother 17 years ago his stepfather and hasn't had a family since, because his mother died shortly afterwards. Now, Rex comes face to face with his stepfather's daughter, Amy, but doesn't recognize her, and wants her - both of them can't deny their attraction for each other. The start of a new series by Jessa Jacobs, the Smokey's Roadhouse series is amazing: new friendships are found with the gruffiest biker gang who protect the newest member, the strength of will of individuals are tested daily and especially, trust is the biggest issue as the past and present must be explained to ensure a future. I'm really hoping for more in the series simply because Jessa Jacobs wrote a heart wrenching novel and beautiful story.
Transcending Darkness by Airicka Phoenix
One: Sign the contract.
Juliette Romero had a debt to pay, a debt that wasn’t even hers. But it was the only way to keep her family safe and all she had to do was sell her body and soul to the devil.
Killian McClary wasn’t called the Scarlet Wolf for nothing. He’d been the head of the McClary Organization since he was fifteen and had built a reputation for being a ruthless son of a bitch when it came to running the city’s underbelly, not to mention merciless when it came to punishing those who betray him. He didn’t believe in weaknesses. Only results. Juliette, with her shy smiles and hot little body was a weakness unlike any other and yet he was powerless to resist one more taste of her sweet flesh.
Two: Become his for a year.
When given the choice between her life or her body, what could Juliette possibly do, but submit to a man whose very name invoked fear in the hearts of others? She just never anticipated falling for his dark, hungry eyes and clever hands, or the way the beast in him made her feel oddly safe and cherished.
But what will happen when Killian’s dark past finally catches up to him and threatens the woman he can no longer imagine himself without? What will happen when both sides find themselves caught in a web of passion, lies and broken promises? Can Juliette tame the wolf or will her love for him devour them both?
Three: Don’t fall in love.
Boundaries will be crossed, loyalties will be tested and lives will be changed forever.
It wasn't a match made from the heavens
Bring on Juliette and Killian beside Gideon and Eva from Sylvia Day's Crossfire series, Gabriel and Julia from Sylvain Reynard's Gabriel Series, Blake and Erica from Meredith Wild's Hacker Series and Ann Mayburn's numerous series, Juliette and Killian, even though entirely from different backgrounds and current situations, are fast becoming one of my favourite couple. Shocked as hell as to how many jobs Juliette worked simply to pay the minimum and hope Arlo accepts what little she can spare as payment for her father's debt (oh yeah, you did read that right), as well as the little number of hours she gets in between them (seriously, I get six hours and want to rip people's head off because I'm cranky). As for Killian, I'm still trying to figure him out: is he a mob boss? A business man? A crime lord? My initial thought would be mob boss, but he's trying to legal, which brings me back to be a business man, but again, he needs bodyguards since many of his 'clientele' or rivals are of the shady nature.
Once together, the two are simply... Captivating, for lack of a better word, or magnetic. Heck, I found myself complaining more than once that the A/C wasn't working properly, only to realize that, yes, it was just me. So readers, be forewarned, bring a fan beside you to keep you cooler, tons of water and a full day of distraction free reading - you'll need it. This is the first time I've had the chance to read one of Airicka Phoenix's novels and quite frankly, she is amazing, making it into my top ten list of authors alongside J Kenner, M.Q. Barber, Ann Mayburn and Sherrilyn Kenyon, to name a few..
Cousins (Book 1 and Book 2) by Lisa Lang Blakeney
Our passion is incredibly intense.
The connection between us borders on the possessive.
Our feelings are absolutely forbidden. We're cousins…
The question now is…what the fuck are we going to do about it?
After Elizabeth Hill is brutally attacked in her apartment by an intruder and then unceremoniously dumped by her ex-boyfriend, she moves in with her wealthy aunt and uncle who assign her older cousin the task of keeping an eye out for her. All she remembers about her cousin Roman is that he was the moody mean boy who played a cruel trick on her when she was just six years old; but soon learns that he is now a complex and multi-layered man who has the ability to protect her, ignite her, and challenge her like no one ever has before.
Roman Masterson makes his fortune by fixing celebrity problems for big money and by any means necessary. He is a foul-mouthed, bad-tempered, manwhore who doesn't have the time or inclination to babysit a gullible little brat from the suburbs…until he unknowingly spots her in the middle of a crowded dance floor and decides right then and there to claim every one of her orgasms from that
moment on. Little does he know that the woman he's laid claim to is his…cousin.
I made a mistake and had a taste of something sweet, something forbidden, something highly addictive. My cousin. It's no secret that I'm greedy, and I want more. Now I just have to convince her pretty ass that she does too.
Just as things begin to heat up between Elizabeth and her cousin, she pulls away frightened of what it all means and goes off to pursue funding for her new business.
Convincing people to make decisions that they wouldn't normally make is Roman's specialty. It's just that he's going to have to find other more creative ways to make this particular target bend to his will.
Will forbidden love remain just that, forbidden?
Now, before everyone starts panicking, let’s make this really clear, well actually, let’s make two things really clear: 1- Elizabeth and Roman are not blood related, but related only through marriage, so their relationship has no ‘ickiness’ or taboo to it, so all that sexual hotness that simply makes us all sweaty and jealous, yeah, we really are allowed to feel it. 2- This book ends in a CLIFFHANGER. It’s a two part series, so be aware that you need both novels to really enjoy the series. Trust me you won’t be disappointed one single bit whatsoever. Really. I’ve read stepbrother-type novels (which I already have admitted are my guilty pleasures), but cousins-type are my first, and quite frankly, I LOVED it! Lisa Lang Blakeney’s style of writing is amazing, fascinating and downright sexiness and hot! Considering that the Alpha Bad Boy Romance series is the first novels from Blakeney, I really cannot wait for the next works from this author as I was impressed with the tempo, the direction and plot of the novel.
Forbidden does not mean unattainable...
Now THAT’s how you make a series memorable. It’s not perfect, there are always compromises to be made and there is growth. The true question will always be whether or not the relationship is strong enough to survive those hardships, the ups and downs. Blakeney has come back with the conclusion of her Alpha Bad Boy Romance series and has not disappointed her readers one bit. Roman and Elizabeth are still struggling, still as attracted to each as two magnets inevitably are, and yet find how they fit together perfectly. I enjoyed how this couple didn’t have to struggle with insecurities, wonder if they deserved one another or not, how they could rely on each other to know when they needed each other and especially know what they need – comfort, help, body, each other, etc. I sincerely hope that Blakeney continues to write only because I know of many readers, myself included, will be avidly looking out for new releases, teasers and news from this upcoming author