Book Review: American Queen

review-cover-american queenTitle: American Queen [New Camelot Trilogy 1]

Author: Sierra Simone

Genre: Romance, Erotica, BDSM, Ménage, Contemporary

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

It starts with a stolen kiss under an English sky, and it ends with a walk down the aisle. It starts with the President sending his best friend to woo me on his behalf, and it ends with my heart split in two. It starts with buried secrets and dangerous desires…and ends with the three of us bound together with a hateful love sharper than any barbed wire.

My name is Greer Galloway, and I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States.

This is the story of an American Queen.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I need to learn to read book descriptions—I rarely do. It’s just one of those things as a book reviewer and avid reader, that I just don’t bother. So obviously, I didn’t know what I was getting into when I picked up American Queen by Sierra Simone. All that being said, I still enjoyed this book.

BDSM isn’t my thing. I’m not a huge fan of Ménage’s, and I rather read Romance than Erotica, so when I say that I enjoyed the book, take that as high praise. This book was exceedingly well written. The narrative voice was clear and easy to read. I liked the characters, the world building was rich without being overbearing, and even if the complicated relationship between Maxen, Embry, and Greer wasn’t my cup of tea—I could still appreciate it. I was drawn into the story by the subtly crafted narrative, and I wholeheartedly believed in their love for one another. I rarely run into books so well written that I forget that their subject matter isn’t something I enjoy.

Whether you’re looking for an erotica, something with BDSM, Ménage’s, or you simply want a well-crafted book, I’d recommend you pick this one up. It’s not going to be for everyone—but it’s still a good book. You might be surprised.

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Book Review: Desert Sheikh vs American Princess

review-cover-desertsheikhvsamericanprincessTitle: Desert Sheikh vs American Princess [Jewels of the Desert 2]

Author: Teresa Morgan

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

When he kidnapped a princess, he didn’t count on her…

Walid Al Kalam’s plan is simple. The American Celebutante Noelle Oldrich will remain in his palace until her father pays his debts. Without the money her hotel magnate father owes him, Walid cannot fulfill his commitment to the pipeline that represents the future of the small middle eastern country of Askar.

But Noelle isn’t the passive, agreeable guest that she should rationally be. Instead, the willful American princess disrupts the peace of his home, and his peace of mind. Whether she is running through his courtyard in skin-tight gear or braiding together a rope to lower herself out a window, the intelligent beauty threatens his very sanity.

Enter the pirate princess…

No way will any sheikh keep Noelle Oldrich captive, even if she does want to rip the stuffy suits off the hot Arabic David Beckham clone.
She might be good for nothing but spending money and wearing clothes, but Noelle will escape the sexy sheikh’s palace, no matter what. She has to—no way will her father pay his debt. The only help she’s going to get is from her childhood imaginary friend, a pirate princess who is ready to make the stupid, sexy sheikh walk the plank.

A fabulous jewel…

Noelle’s one chance to pay her own ransom and escape the sheikh’s control is to find the legendary jewel, the Palm of Askar, lost for decades.
If she finds the diamond, Walid will have to let her go, but his drugging kisses threaten to turn her into a willing captive…

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This was an amazingly fun, light-hearted read filled with snarky imaginary friends, a pirate princess, lost treasure, and loads of sexual tension. When I picked up Desert Sheikh vs American Princess, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. I expected your usual formulaic girl meets foreign prince sort of story that has been done a thousand times, and in some ways, that’s what it was–and that’s fine. I like formulaic romance. It’s cosy and familiar, and when all you want is to sit down and read a book that’s going to make you feel good, it’s a great way to fill that need.—but that isn’t all that this story was. There was humor, sexual tension, romance, friendship, and daring escapades.

The characters were fantastic—I loved each and every one of them, especially Bonnie Read, the 11-year-old imaginary friend of the lead character. It was fun to get to see Noelle’s inner child reach out and try her hardest to remind her of who she was (and also get her into a ton of trouble). The sheikh held dominance without being domineering, and though a little slow to warm up, was an all around great guy, and the perfect male lead for Noelle. Noelle herself was equal parts Bonnie—adventurous and rebellious—and her father’s daughter… clever and business savvy. I loved all of them, even the minor characters, and those that were meant to be enemies.

The writing was fluid, clean, and easy to read with the exception of a few minor typos I found here and there, but nothing too jarring as to distract from the story overall. The narrative was fast paced and gripped my attention, and before I knew it, the book was over in a matter of a few hours.

I have to say, overall, I loved the book, and I didn’t expect to. I thought it was going to be yet another formulaic read—nothing special. Instead, I found a hilariously funny read filled with steamy sex, endearing characters, and a fun pirate adventure waiting for me. I couldn’t be more pleased. If you’re looking for a fun, fast-paced romance I would highly recommend that you pick this book up and give it a try.

Book Review: All American Wolf

 

review-cover-allamericanwolf

Title: All American Wolf

Author: Adriana Hunter

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Suspense\Thriller, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

When a dead, naked body is found frozen in the snow, recently promoted Detective Serena Daniels is assigned to the case. Determined to be taken seriously, she sets to work unraveling the mystery, one suspect at a time.

Brody Sullivan is a man with many secrets and he also just happens to be Madison County’s newest citizen. So when he ends up on the list of potential suspects, it is Serena’s job to clear his name. There’s just one problem: Serena’s felt an undeniable attraction to Brody that ignited from the moment they first met, and if she’s not careful she may lose more than her job, she may lose her heart to the man who is willing to break every one of her rules.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I read this book as part of the Fated Mates Box Set, so I am planning to give a review to each individual book in the set, and then the set as a whole at a later date. There are twelve books in the set, and it is currently for sale on Amazon for $0.99 at the time this review was written. This is Book 1 of 12.

I really enjoyed this book. From a technical standpoint, with the exception of maybe one error I found, the book was well written. The narrative felt both natural and personal to the main character, Serena, and moved along at a pace that never seemed to slow. I was immediately drawn in to the engaging voice the narrative is written in, and I didn’t surface again until near the end of the story.

As far as the characters go, Serena was both likeable and easy to understand. Throughout the book there were moments when she let poor judgment override her better sensibilities, generally when the two main males were involved. In most stories, this would have irritated me. If you take a long hard look at the situation Serena found herself in with the two male love interests, in hindsight it’s easy to shake my head and say “What on Earth was she thinking?” Not only did she put herself into a compromising situation romantically, but she also put her safety, and her career in jeopardy. I can only say that it is a testament to the author’s writing abilities that at the time these events occurred, it seemed like the logical choice. I didn’t feel put off by her personal choices—in fact, I probably would have made the same decisions she did! The ability of the author to pull the reader so deep into the character’s mindset that they, like Serena, fail to see the warning signs of what’s going on, exemplifies how well written this was.

As for the male leads of this story, Brody was kind, stable, hard-working… everything we girls love in a main male lead. He was sexy and warm-hearted without being broody or over-bearing, and it was a nice change in this genre. He was, as the title states, an all-American wolf (well, shifter that is). When it came to Wes, that’s where my loyalties split. He initially came across as dark, charismatic, and sexy-as-hell. Of course, he also set off a few warning bells for both Serena, and me, the reader, but that didn’t deter either of us from drooling over him. I don’t want to post any spoilers, but I wasn’t surprised to see how this story went in this love triangle, but I think the author did an excellent job making both choices appealing almost up until the climax of the story.

Now here’s where it fell apart for me: There came a point near the end of the book (I think two chapters from the end?) when the story began to wrap up. The major fight was over, the choice of the main couple was solidified, and all the drama/murder mystery aspect of the story was over. The book felt complete at this point. I expected to turn the page on my Kindle and be faced with the title page of the next book in this set… but that isn’t what happened. The story continued on for another two chapters that, as far as I could tell, had nothing to do with the main plot. They were the quintessential “neatly tied bow” on the story that is so typical of romances these days, basically showing how happy the couple is and the plans for their future. Had the story ended where I thought it was going to, I would have rated this story much higher.

Unfortunately, with the extended ending, things seemed to be wrapped up a little too neatly. It also had the unfortunate side effect of bringing me out of the story and highlighting the questionable choices the main character made throughout the book. She started off the book as a strong female detective, trying to fight against the male-dominated workplace and solve a murder mystery. She wasn’t actively looking for a relationship. By the end, she’d given up her career and her home, put her own life in danger, and compromised her work on the murder case by sleeping with two suspects. Honestly, it made me a bit disgusted with her. Up until that point, I was fine with all of her choices, but once it crossed that line of “engaging story” and into “neatly tied up romance”, it had lost it’s appeal. I really wish the last two chapters had been scrapped. In the end, I gave it four stars, because the ending ruined it for me.

So did I like the book? Yes, I really did. It was short, but well written. Would I read it again? Definitely, but I’d avoid the last two chapters if I could. Would I recommend it to others? Certainly. If you’re a paranormal/romance reader and you like murder mysteries, give this one a try.