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Islands by Samantha Kane (4.5 Stars)

I really enjoyed this extremely sensual story. The story takes place during a war, but it didn’t overwhelm the romance. Instead, it gave it depth and made the characters and their situation very realistic.¬†Gabe and Rene’ are both extremely intelligent and kind people. I enjoyed their conversations and watching them spend time together. It’s not easy having two strangers have sex right after meeting and still make it feel romantic. However, that’s exactly what the author manage to do. From the moment they met, their relationship was destined to lead to love.

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Book Blurb

Choices by Grace R. Duncan (2 Stars)

Is freedom more important than spending your life with your one true love?

Teman and his friend, Jasmin, have been caught stealing for the last time. They have a choice of either going to the dungeon or becoming a pleasure slave for the palace. They both choose the palace and begin a very long sexual training process to learn how to pleasure their masters. During this time, Teman falls in love with his master, Amir Bathasar, who is also next in line to become the leader of his kingdom. Unfortunately, Bathasar’s father, Mukesh, is the current leader and an extremely cruel man, especially to the pleasure slaves. Teman forms a strong bond with other people in the palace including two other pleasure slaves, Nadir and Cyrus. The biggest obstacle for Tteman and Bathasar is freedom. If Bathasar becomes the leader, and has the power to free Teman, will Teman, who values freedom almost above anything else, stay with Bathasar or leave?

The vast majority of this story is focused on sex. The first quarter of the story is about the training that the young slaves go through which included hours upon hours, in very descriptive details, of all types of sex including oral and anal, with multiple partners. Orgasm denial was the single biggest component of this training. After Teman and Bathasar begin their relationship, the majority of the sex takes place with the two of them, but there are still many scenes which include other people basically resulting in an orgy. Since Mukesh is a very serious sadist, there are several scenes, described in great detail, where there is nonconsensual sex and torture. The few parts of the story that weren’t about sex made for a great story with the author’s smooth writing style.

All of the characters were interesting, but it was Teman and Bathasar that were the easiest to love. Teman’s angst over his freedom was very believable and tugged at the heart strings. They were both very kind people who truly cared about each other. Unfortunately, the excessive amount of sex overwhelmed the otherwise good story.

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Originally reviewed for The Romance Reviews. Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.
Book Blurb

On a Lee Shore by Elin Gregory (3 Stars)

A high-seas adventure with a young man who learns what it really means to be a pirate.

Lt. Christopher (Kit) Penrose, who recently lost his ship and crew, takes a job as a valet for a traveling elderly gentleman. The ship is attacked by pirates who take Kit captive due to his sailing capabilities. Le Griffe (Griffin) is the pirate ship captain who actually has a strong belief in honor and rules. As Kit spends more time on the ship, he finds many of his own values and beliefs being brought into question.

The entire story is told from Kit’s perspective. Kit is a nice character who has a lot of experience on the sea, but he is still pretty naive about life. There is a huge cast of interesting characters in this saga, providing plenty of opportunity for adventure. Some parts of the story were a little challenging to read if you aren’t familiar with shipping terms. The majority of the story was Kit telling us what was happening on the ship with some touches of Kit’s thoughts and feelings.

While the story was well written, and the author did a nice job making the adventure seem somewhat exciting, this didn’t work at all as a romance novel. The only real romance happening was between Lewis and Protheroe, who made it abundantly clear that they were truly in love with each other. Kit and Griffin had feelings for each other, but there were almost no conversations that we were privy to that would explain why they were attracted to each other. They spent a good portion of the book upset with each other for one reason or another. A few stolen kisses and quick sex scenes do not qualify as a romance.

If you are looking for an exciting tale of pirates and life on the sea, this is a well written tale of one man’s journey.

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Originally reviewed for The Romance Reviews. Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.
Book Blurb

The Lord’s Lover (Regency Triad #1) by Jenna Rose Ellis (4 Stars)

Best friends to forbidden lovers during a time when one man loving another could result in their death, but not being together might not be a life worth living.

Marcus Weston is an Earl currently living under his father’s control until he eventually becomes the Marquess of Huntington. His dearest friend, Horace (Race) Bates, is the housekeeper’s son. Race’s station alone should prevent them from becoming best friends, but it doesn’t. Instead, they grow up together and know almost everything about one another, except how they both truly feel.

The majority of the story revolves around the two men both trying to accept their feelings for each other while trying to decide if they should risk baring their souls to one another. It was great getting both of their perspectives, feeling their doubts, and hoping they would see the light. I really enjoyed watching the two of them work through their feelings while hearing their thoughts. There was a beautiful steamy scene between the young lovers. Marcus’s father was a tyrant which added some additional drama to the story. There was also one minor bloody scene which was a bit disturbing to read.

This is the first in the series, and while I felt I got my HEA, I’m also really looking forward to the next story to see their saga continue.

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Originally reviewed for The Romance Reviews. Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.
Book Blurb