A Sinner without a Saint by Bliss Bennet

Two men with a past. Will their mutual obsession with art draw them closer together, or drive a wedge between them forever?

What’s it About?

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An honorable artist: Benedict Pennington’s greatest ambition is not to paint a masterpiece, but to make the world’s greatest art accessible to all by establishing England’s first national art museum. Success in persuading a reluctant philanthropist to donate his collection of Old Master paintings brings his dream tantalizingly close to reality. Until Viscount Dulcie, the object of Benedict’s illicit adolescent desire, begins to court the donor’s granddaughter, set on winning the paintings for himself . . .

A hedonistic viscount: Sinclair Milne, Lord Dulcie, far prefers collecting innovative art and dallying with handsome men than burdening himself with a wife. But when rivals imply Dulcie’s refusal to pursue wealthy Miss Adler and her paintings is due to lingering tender feelings for Benedict Pennington, Dulcie vows to prove them wrong. Not only will he woo her away from the holier-than-thou painter, he’ll also placate his matchmaking father in the process.

Sinner and saint–can both win at love? But when Benedict is dragooned into painting his portrait, Dulcie finds himself once again drawn to the intense artist. Can the sinful viscount entice the wary painter into a casual liaison, one that will put neither their reputations, nor their feelings, at risk? Or will the not-so-saintly artist demand something far more vulnerable–his heart?

First Impression

A feature you notice from the very opening page of this book, and which the author should be commended for, is that it truly feels as though we have been transported to the Regency Era. I’m sure some of you are thinking that for a 19th century historical read, we damn well better feel like we’re in the 1800s. Well, hear me out! To write a historical romance is one thing, but to feel as though the novel was actually written in the 1800s? That’s a talent all in itself. From the syntax to the British slang, the work felt reminiscent of something written by Jane Austen or Frances Burney. While it was a noticeably admirable trait of the novel, it did also make for a slightly slower read. What can I say? It took me some time to decipher what the characters were actually trying to say. But I also couldn’t deny that my desire for a pot of tea and tray of cucumber sandwiches grew stronger with every page turned.

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Classic Beauty vs. the Unnatural

In my opinion, the true mastery of this novel lay not necessarily with the romance between Benedict and Dulcie, but instead through their discussions and debates of art. Benedict’s goal in life is to open a national art museum for the British people. All British people, regardless of class, station, or wealth. Dulcie on the other hand is one of the leading art critics of the day, with his sights set on acquiring unique pieces for his own private collection. The heated discussions which erupt between the two, as well as with their fellow high-class art peers, were so insightful and thought-provoking that you couldn’t help but feel moved to take up an opinion on the matter as well. As the novel progresses we see a shift in the conversation from who is worthy of appreciating good art to who decides what good art is in the first place. The scrutiny placed on the artistic system was riveting, as our characters understand that sometimes you have to look beyond the paint to what is hiding underneath.

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What hit me the most though was how this discussion of art and beauty could find direct symmetry in the romance between Benedict and Dulcie. The two are art connoisseurs, yet they can both appreciate the talent in an artistic piece that might not be considered classically beautiful. While some might view tangled limbs and an imperfect male specimen on a canvas as grotesque, they are both enamored with the emotion such a piece can evoke in the viewer, and therefore can’t deny that it deserves praise. Even if the majority of their contemporaries don’t agree with them.

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Do me a favor. Do yourselves a favor. Stop talking, and look. You’re not required to write a paper. You’re not even required to like it. You *are* required to consider it. – Mona Lisa Smile

When we look at Benedict and Dulcie’s relationship, the majority of regency society would also look upon it as something grotesque and unnatural. And sadly, there are many in our own time who would see it in the same context. But what lies underneath the surface? What do you have when you push the physical component to the side. What lies beneath the paint? Simple, it’s love. Love between two consenting adults who want to spend the rest of their lives together. Love is love and romance is for all. While they can see the beauty in this, and a minuscule number of their contemporaries understand it, for the majority it is seen as too far removed from what society deems as “right” or “proper”. Again, the parallels between their love and the discussion of modern art was so subtly clever that I’m still thinking about it.

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Romance vs. Challenge

While I was fully entranced by the discussion of art for the masses, unfortunately there was one aspect of the novel that I’m sorry to say I had a much harder time falling in love with. And that would be Dulcie. Now, let me start off by saying that eventually he does manage to redeem himself by becoming a devoted partner and friend once again to Benedict. The problem is that it took sooooo long to happen. Throughout the novel Benedict is this adorable, wide-eyed puppy dog that I just wanted to pick up and snuggle, even though he definitely has some bark behind his bite. When it came to Dulcie though, he was like a predatory hawk. Constantly circling, searching for who he could mess with next.

Ok, ok, so a hawk might be too harsh a comparison. How about a puppet master who loved to pull the strings of others? He could tease, seduce and manipulate with the best of ’em. It was really a struggle to know whether or not his heart was ever behind his pursuit of Benedict, or if it was simply a challenge to regain Benedict’s childhood affections. Again, eventually we see Dulcie open up with Benedict, and share some of his innermost thoughts, feelings and fears. I just wish it had come a bit earlier on in the novel. Something else which I think could have helped me warm up to Dulcie earlier was if we could have received a prologue to show how the two initially connected at school all those years before. We see the moment where their interaction ends, and towards the end of the novel we realize how both of them suffered following the end of their friendship, but the missing element for me was that initial crucial moment which connected them in the first place.

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Let’s Get Physical…Or Not

Duclie’s pursuit of Benedict throughout the novel is fairly relentless. Both admit to an undeniable attraction that seems to be pulling the two of them together. For Benedict though, he doesn’t want anything to happen between them unless Dulcie is willing to offer up his mind in addition to his body. For Dulcie? He’s basically just looking for a good ole rough and tumble in the back room of a tavern. He employs all the seductive looks, touches, and smirks at his disposal to try and sway Benedict to his line of thinking. Essentially, he’s a classic playboy. What I found to be so fascinating though was what happened when the two finally did get physical.

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There’s some rubbing, some tugging, some “spending”. Anything beyond that though? Shockingly this is where Dulcie becomes more reserved! Throughout the whole novel his attitude and confidence towards getting Benedict in his hands sort of implies that he’d be the expert and dominant when it came to the physical side of their relationship. What debauchery might they get into when the seducer finally captures his prey? Who knew it would be the complete opposite with Benedict being the more experienced one?!?! It was very interesting to hear Dulcie’s rather negative opinion towards the concept of oral sex, not to mention penetration, almost as though it was beneath his high stature to engage in such uncivilized and…unsanitary behavior. I have a feeling Benedict might succeed in changing his opinion on that matter though 😉

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*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: The Penningtons, book 4. This was the first book I read in this series, and I will admit I had trouble with the links between some of the different characters. It was kind of difficult to understand the relationship and familial webs at times.

Final Impression: Overall I can’t say I was fully connected to Dulcie and Benedict as a couple. I couldn’t help but feel that Dulcie’s eventual transformation into a caring and selfless lover came a bit too late in the game for me, and if anything I wanted more for Benedict. As a social and artistic commentary though it was an enthralling read. There are arguments about classic beauty versus opening the mind to modern interpretations that will keep you thinking for a few days.

Smut Level: Any time a couple can successfully balance on a chaise longue whilst exploring each other’s bodies deserves honorable mention. While we don’t get any scenes involving penetration, we get a few decent kissing scenes, tingling spines, tightening of groins, cock-stands, and “spending” a time or two.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Bliss Bennet Books. 298 Pages.

Tomorrow’s Extravaganza Post: The Mate by Abigail Owen. Paranormal, Shifters.

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Review Madness Starts Monday!

Hey everyone, don’t forget that starting Monday I’ll be switching up my regular posting schedule due to the plethora of new releases coming out next week. I’ll be featuring five novels from five different authors. A new review every day of the week! There’s a little something for everyone, so be sure to check out the schedule outlined below to find out which novels you might be interested in. Prepare yourself for the madness!!

Monday, September 17: Rogue Dragon Rising by TJ Shaw40921417
Genre: Fantasy, Gothic
Synopsis: Twenty-three year old, Amari Hawke, is thrust into the world of two-soul shifters when she is injured and kidnapped by trackers outside the veil, beyond the safety of her homeland. Unable to remember her past, she trusts no one and relies on instinct to survive. As her awakening approaches, the first time she will transition into her animal, she must evade rogue shifters trying to capture her. Now free from the King’s Army, powerful dragon lord, Jaxon Blackthorn, seeks a peaceful life. Intent on building his lands into a viable plantation, away from war and bloodshed, he is reluctantly pulled back into the fight when he defends the mysterious shifter with no past against an unseen enemy. As evil threatens to destroy the entire realm, can the battle-hardened warrior and coming-of-age noblewoman accept their differences to forge an alliance that will ultimately unite the shifter nations?
Pre-order on Amazon: Click Here. $0.99 Kindle Price. 194 Pages.

Tuesday, September 18: Within the Skin by Zara WestWithin the Skin
Genre: Suspense, Multicultural & Interracial
Synopsis: Known as El Toro, street artist Alba Vargas is on the cusp of fame and fortune. Winner of a prestigious award, she is the toast of the New York City art scene. Or at least she will be, once she figures out how to act like a woman after living disguised as a boy for six years. If she is lucky, she might even attract the attention of the tattoo artist she has long loved from afar. Tattoo artist Fernando Pharaoh has betrayed everyone who ever cared about him, including El Toro, the street-wise graffiti artist who saved his life when all looked bleak. Depressed, he turns from his friends and becomes ensnared in a criminal enterprise run by a former enemy. Then the crime boss kidnaps Toro’s younger brother, Hanger. Blaming himself, Pharaoh sets out to rescue him, resolving to do one good thing in his life. But Toro has her own desperate plan to save her brother—one that will not only break Pharaoh’s heart—but will also destroy every hope and dream she has ever had.
Pre-order on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. 342 Pages.

Wednesday, September 19: Between the Shadows by Casi McLeanBetween the Shadows
Genre: Time Travel, Fantasy
Synopsis: She never expected to confront deadly villains…let alone fall in love with one…After her friend, York, encounters the ghostly image of a young woman, Mackenzie Reynolds seizes the opportunity to initiate a time jump, thrusting them back to 1865 Georgia. Resolved to thwart the girl’s untimely fate, Kenzi stumbles into a deadly conflict over a stockpile of stolen Confederate gold. An injured Civil War survivor, James Adams departs for home with a war-fatigued companion he’s determined to help. After pilfering a horse and kidnaping a woman, he never dreamed his hostage would steal his heart. Kenzi and James must unravel a deadly plot, while helping York save his ghost woman from a brutal death. But can she leave York in a violent past to save James’s life?
Pre-order on Amazon: Click Here. $0.99 Kindle Price. 320 Pages.

Thursday, September 20: A Sinner Without a Saint by Bliss BennetA Sinner Without a Saint
Genre: Regency, Historical, LGBT
Synopsis: Benedict Pennington’s greatest ambition is not to paint a masterpiece, but to make the world’s greatest art accessible to all by establishing England’s first national art museum. Success in persuading a reluctant philanthropist to donate his collection of Old Master paintings brings his dream tantalizingly close to reality. Until Viscount Dulcie, the object of Benedict’s illicit adolescent desire, begins to court the donor’s granddaughter, set on winning the paintings for himself . . .Sinclair Milne, Lord Dulcie, far prefers collecting innovative art and dallying with handsome men than burdening himself with a wife. But when rivals imply Dulcie’s refusal to pursue wealthy Miss Adler and her paintings is due to lingering tender feelings for Benedict Pennington, Dulcie vows to prove them wrong. Not only will he woo her away from the holier-than-thou painter, he’ll also placate his matchmaking father in the process. But when Benedict is dragooned into painting his portrait, Dulcie finds himself once again drawn to the intense artist. Can the sinful viscount entice the wary painter into a casual liaison, one that will put neither their reputations, nor their feelings, at risk? Or will the not-so-saintly artist demand something far more vulnerable–his heart?
Pre-order on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. 287 Pages.

Friday, September 21: The Mate by Abigail OwenThe Mate
Genre: Paranormal
Synopsis: Maddie Thompson’s life just fell down a rabbit hole. Finding out she’s a dragon shifter was one thing—she never quite fit into the human world, and this new reality feels…strangely right. However, discovering the next step is to choose a mate, and if she chooses wrong she’ll die, is the other side of crazy. Especially when she already left a piece of her heart with someone who didn’t want it. To say dragon enforcer Fallon Conleth was shocked when the Mating Council summoned him as a potential mate for a newly found dragon doesn’t quite cover it. A mate is rare and precious and many dragons never find theirs. Fallon isn’t sure he’s worthy of the honor, not when so many deserve it more. He’ll just go through the motions and return home alone…until he sees Maddie. The human woman he reluctantly let walk away. Fallon already broke Maddie’s heart once, but if he can’t convince her that they’re meant to be, she’ll die… and he won’t be far behind.
Pre-order on Amazon: Click Here. FREE!! 114 Pages.

 

 

Literary Book Gift Ideas

Well ladies and gents, it’s official. I am one year older. Happy birthday to meeee. As I like to tell people, I am now in my late, late mid-twenties. Also known as…29. I decided to celebrate the final year of my twenties by purchasing a few literary book themed gifts for myself. I told myself I’d just get one, but hell I’m gonna be 30 next year! I figured I deserved two. I also found there were just too many fun options to choose from. Limiting myself to one purchase was damn near impossible.

I thought I’d share with you all my b-day purchases in case you’re looking for future gift ideas for either yourself, or a loved one. I for one always feel like I’m looking for unique gift ideas for my friends and family, whether it be for birthdays or holidays, and then have a brain fart when it actually comes time to get them something. I love how this Literary Book Gifts site gives you a full bounty of different book titles to choose from. And the absolute best part? You can use “romance4thebeach20” for 20% off any purchase. No minimum amount required, and you can use it as many times as you want! Consider it a party favor for celebrating my b-day along with me!

So the site is literarybookgifts.com, and I feel like it’s a great source for all of you classic book lovers out there. You can choose from Women’s Book T-Shirts, Tote Bags, and Men’s/Unisex Book T-Shirts. Tank tops, short sleeve, hoodies, you name it, you got it. Personally, I loved the designs, as they’re truly reminiscent of cover art found on classic literary works which might be housed in a decadent library. There’s a wide variety of colors to choose from, but no matter which one you choose, the design really stands out front and center. While you can filter between women’s shirts, totes and men’s/unisex shirts, one feature I wish was built in was the ability to filter by short sleeve, tank top or hoodie. Not the end of the world, but you just have to search a bit more for the shirt type you might be interested in.

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Now I don’t know about all of you, but personally I’m usually wary of purchasing clothing online. I always worry the fit won’t be exactly right, and I’ll either drown in it, or it’ll be an unexpected crop top. I appreciated that for the women’s shirt options it clearly states that the fit does tend to run on the small size. I’m usually a medium, and decided to go for a large. Definitely a good decision, as it is a rather form-fitting t-shirt. I will say though, considering I also celebrated my birthday with shrimp risotto in a lobster cream sauce, dark chocolate mousse cake for dessert, and about 4 glasses of Amaretto…there’s probably a good reason why it wasn’t very loose. After having it on for a few hours though, it really does seem to mold perfectly to your body.

Tote Bags

I must say, I debated long and hard about which shirt I wanted to go for, and in the end it was an epic battle between the Pride and Prejudice option and the Jane Austen one. In the end, I decided I had to go for Jane Austen, and I might just have to make this my official blog writing t-shirt. I’m actually writing in it right now! It’s cute, comfy, the white design just pops against the dark blue background, and is perfect for either lounging around on a rainy Sunday indoors or going out in public to a coffee shop. But don’t you worry Pride and Prejudice t-shirt, I’ve got my eye on you for a future purchase. If you’re looking for a looser fitting shirt that could be a sleep shirt or workout shirt I’d say it’s probably a good idea to go for the unisex shirt option. If you want one that will show off your womanly figure? Go for the women’s.

And now, for one of my greatest weaknesses in life. Tote bags. My goodness do I have an addiction to tote bags. When I first visited this site I knew I had to get a tote bag, and do you know what I appreciated more than anything else? The measurements for the handles are provided!! Not just the handle height, but the width as well. I can’t tell you how many times I get excited to order a tote bag online, but then receive it and find out I can only hold the handles rather than put them up my arm and over my shoulder. This site gives you the measurements for everything you could ever have a question about, whether it’s handle height, sleeve length, shirt width, etc.

Measurements

Something else I have an inexplicably ridiculous addiction to are typewriters. Don’t ask me why, but there is something about the feel of the keys as you push down on them, not to mention the audible sound of the clicking keys that just…does it for me. Yeah, I’m weird, I know. When I saw the typewriter design I just knew it was going in my cart, but another stressful decision was whether to get it in on a t-shirt or tote bag. In the end, I thought it’d be fun to get it on a tote, and use it as my bag to carry my laptop to a coffee shop for blog writing. It is my modern typewriter after all 🙂 After receiving it I immediately fell in love. This tote is sturdy, yet also has a smooth black inner lining which will be perfect for carrying around a laptop, or for any of you who have the tendency to spill something in the bottom of your bag. Now, my one complaint would have to be that the tote bags are only offered in the color they’re displayed in. To be honest I wish I could have chosen a different color for the typewriter tote bag, for example the red one that you can get in the t-shirt style.

While I haven’t purchased one of the hoodies yet, they look like the kind I’d enjoy, where there’s a bit of a V-neck to it. I hate when hoodies feel like they’re strangling you, and the V-neck usually avoids that. Going forward I’ll probably just give the url of this site to my family members and say, “Coordinate amongst yourselves as for who is getting what, I’ll take pretty much everything”.

Ulysses.PNGOne important thing to keep in mind is that this isn’t Amazon Prime. You probably won’t receive your purchase in a two-day window. Therefore, if you’re looking for a fun gift idea for someone, just be sure to allow about a week for delivery. So enjoy exploring the site! I certainly did. Pick out something fun for yourself, you deserve it! Or find a unique gift idea for the book lovers in your life. Just remember to use the “romance4thebeach20” promo code to get your 20% off at check out.

B-day Presents

New Release Extravaganza!

Who would have guessed it, but apparently mid-September is the perfect storm of new releases! I have five different authors who have requested for me to review five different works which all release next week. Now, I could do the logical thing, and panic!!!! Five books?! 1,257 pages?!?! Next week?? GAAAAHHH!! Mkay, panic moment over. The other thing I could do is try to make something fun out of it. So that’s what I’m gonna try to do! Still with a bit of panic mixed in there though of course.

I must say that is a glorious mix of cover-art right there. Rather than stick to my typical schedule of posting 2-3 reviews a week, I’ve decided to mix things up a bit with these upcoming new releases, and turn them into a review post extravaganza!!! That’s right. Five books. Five days. A new review each day. I’m currently just a little bit over half-way done. Three books down. Two to go. Let’s doooo this!!!

I must say, while it’s a daunting task, I’m pretty excited for the line up of releases we have here. There’s a little something for everyone! We’ll have dragons, multicultural suspense, time travel, historical LGBT, and more dragons. Oh my! And of course, they all have a bit of romance thrown in there as well. Below I’ve outlined the post schedule for next week so you can get a sneak peek of what to expect, as well as a pre-order link on Amazon for each novel. Be sure to tune back in next Monday, September 17, when the extravaganza will officially commence! Wish me luck!!

Monday, September 17: Rogue Dragon Rising by TJ Shaw40921417
Genre: Fantasy, Gothic
Synopsis: Twenty-three year old, Amari Hawke, is thrust into the world of two-soul shifters when she is injured and kidnapped by trackers outside the veil, beyond the safety of her homeland. Unable to remember her past, she trusts no one and relies on instinct to survive. As her awakening approaches, the first time she will transition into her animal, she must evade rogue shifters trying to capture her. Now free from the King’s Army, powerful dragon lord, Jaxon Blackthorn, seeks a peaceful life. Intent on building his lands into a viable plantation, away from war and bloodshed, he is reluctantly pulled back into the fight when he defends the mysterious shifter with no past against an unseen enemy. As evil threatens to destroy the entire realm, can the battle-hardened warrior and coming-of-age noblewoman accept their differences to forge an alliance that will ultimately unite the shifter nations?
Pre-order on Amazon: Click Here. $0.99 Kindle Price. 194 Pages.

Tuesday, September 18: Within the Skin by Zara WestWithin the Skin
Genre: Suspense, Multicultural & Interracial
Synopsis: Known as El Toro, street artist Alba Vargas is on the cusp of fame and fortune. Winner of a prestigious award, she is the toast of the New York City art scene. Or at least she will be, once she figures out how to act like a woman after living disguised as a boy for six years. If she is lucky, she might even attract the attention of the tattoo artist she has long loved from afar. Tattoo artist Fernando Pharaoh has betrayed everyone who ever cared about him, including El Toro, the street-wise graffiti artist who saved his life when all looked bleak. Depressed, he turns from his friends and becomes ensnared in a criminal enterprise run by a former enemy. Then the crime boss kidnaps Toro’s younger brother, Hanger. Blaming himself, Pharaoh sets out to rescue him, resolving to do one good thing in his life. But Toro has her own desperate plan to save her brother—one that will not only break Pharaoh’s heart—but will also destroy every hope and dream she has ever had.
Pre-order on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. 342 Pages.

Wednesday, September 19: Between the Shadows by Casi McLeanBetween the Shadows
Genre: Time Travel, Fantasy
Synopsis: She never expected to confront deadly villains…let alone fall in love with one…After her friend, York, encounters the ghostly image of a young woman, Mackenzie Reynolds seizes the opportunity to initiate a time jump, thrusting them back to 1865 Georgia. Resolved to thwart the girl’s untimely fate, Kenzi stumbles into a deadly conflict over a stockpile of stolen Confederate gold. An injured Civil War survivor, James Adams departs for home with a war-fatigued companion he’s determined to help. After pilfering a horse and kidnaping a woman, he never dreamed his hostage would steal his heart. Kenzi and James must unravel a deadly plot, while helping York save his ghost woman from a brutal death. But can she leave York in a violent past to save James’s life?
Pre-order on Amazon: Click Here. $0.99 Kindle Price. 320 Pages.

Thursday, September 20: A Sinner Without a Saint by Bliss BennetA Sinner Without a Saint
Genre: Regency, Historical, LGBT
Synopsis: Benedict Pennington’s greatest ambition is not to paint a masterpiece, but to make the world’s greatest art accessible to all by establishing England’s first national art museum. Success in persuading a reluctant philanthropist to donate his collection of Old Master paintings brings his dream tantalizingly close to reality. Until Viscount Dulcie, the object of Benedict’s illicit adolescent desire, begins to court the donor’s granddaughter, set on winning the paintings for himself . . .Sinclair Milne, Lord Dulcie, far prefers collecting innovative art and dallying with handsome men than burdening himself with a wife. But when rivals imply Dulcie’s refusal to pursue wealthy Miss Adler and her paintings is due to lingering tender feelings for Benedict Pennington, Dulcie vows to prove them wrong. Not only will he woo her away from the holier-than-thou painter, he’ll also placate his matchmaking father in the process. But when Benedict is dragooned into painting his portrait, Dulcie finds himself once again drawn to the intense artist. Can the sinful viscount entice the wary painter into a casual liaison, one that will put neither their reputations, nor their feelings, at risk? Or will the not-so-saintly artist demand something far more vulnerable–his heart?
Pre-order on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. 287 Pages.

Friday, September 21: The Mate by Abigail OwenThe Mate
Genre: Paranormal
Synopsis: Maddie Thompson’s life just fell down a rabbit hole. Finding out she’s a dragon shifter was one thing—she never quite fit into the human world, and this new reality feels…strangely right. However, discovering the next step is to choose a mate, and if she chooses wrong she’ll die, is the other side of crazy. Especially when she already left a piece of her heart with someone who didn’t want it. To say dragon enforcer Fallon Conleth was shocked when the Mating Council summoned him as a potential mate for a newly found dragon doesn’t quite cover it. A mate is rare and precious and many dragons never find theirs. Fallon isn’t sure he’s worthy of the honor, not when so many deserve it more. He’ll just go through the motions and return home alone…until he sees Maddie. The human woman he reluctantly let walk away. Fallon already broke Maddie’s heart once, but if he can’t convince her that they’re meant to be, she’ll die… and he won’t be far behind.
Pre-order on Amazon: Click Here. FREE!! 114 Pages.

Looks like we’re gonna start and end with some dragons! Better get ready for some burning passion!!

Pride and…Puzzlement?

What do Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, murder, and zombies have in common? Simple. They are all primary features for various adaptations of Jane Austen’s classic romance, Pride and Prejudice.

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Now, I love Pride and Prejudice. I’ve read this book multiple times, in three different languages, and only once was it actually for a class assignment. The rest was all voluntary. I’ve re-watched the six hour TV mini-series version with the delectable Colin Firth more times than I can count, and I’ve even been known to turn on the less superior Keira Knightley version a time or two throughout the years. But something I haven’t done yet is indulge in reading a Pride and Prejudice adaptation.

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On the one hand, I’m definitely intrigued. Who doesn’t want more Lizzy and Darcy? And some of these plot lines sound pretty interesting! A murder mystery at Pemberley perhaps? Hearing things from Darcy’s perspective? Or how about looking at the flip side by focusing on the servants of Longbourn? Honestly, doesn’t sound half bad!

But then on the other hand. We’re talking Pride and Prejudice here!! To continue the story of Lizzy and Darcy without the words of Jane Austen behind it almost seems blasphemous! Oh, and did I mention the one with the zombies? Yes, I know I did, but seriously, it’s worth repeating. There’s something I never thought I’d see incorporated into such a classic tale. Honestly, not quite sure I can go that far.

I mean, what’s next? A sequel to Gone with the Wind not written by Margaret Mitchell? Oh wait…that…yeah that already happened. Honestly, it wasn’t the worst thing ever.

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But here’s the thing. While I’ve been tempted to read some of the Pride and Prejudice adaptations listed above, as well as the countless others that are out there, I have not yet taken the plunge. I’m still too hesitant to step into that world when the original seems so untouchable. So how about all of you? Have any of you attempted one of these reads, and if so how did it go? Are there any good ones you’d recommend, or is it better to just take the time to read the classic all over again? Let me know!

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Back from China!

Hello one and all! Well, I just made it back to the US from an unbelievably short one week trip to China for work. It’s always fun going back, even if for business purposes, and even if it takes an entire day to travel there. Nothing like a 5 hr 30 min layover in the Beijing airport to pass the time. And the worst jet lag you could ever imagine.

But I must say the interminably long flights did help me catch up on practically every super-hero movie which has ever been created in preparation for watching Avengers: Infinity War when I got back.

Anyway, sorry if I’ve been kind of quiet on my blog here, and non-responsive to emails and review requests, but it’s been quite a busy week! Thought I’d share some pics with y’all from my trip to Nanjing, China.

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Definitely bought about 5 too many books, but when you find the Hunger Games trilogy in Chinese? Can’t say no!!

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Best breakfast ever. Coffee drink and baozi.

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Confucius Temple area of Nanjing.

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Nanjing Normal University

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Pearl S. Buck house in Nanjing.

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I for one do love a heart-warming toilet.

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Confucius Temple area in Nanjing.

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And as with every trip, I already miss the foooooood!!!!

Cocky Roomie by Faleena Hopkins

Oh come on, the guy’s last name is Cocker?!?!?! They’re not even giving us a chance here.

What’s it About? 

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DREW: Having this arrogant twenty-five-year-old man as my roommate is a VERY bad idea. He’s just introduced himself, hotter than hell in August, in only a damp towel and a smirk. He mistakenly thought I was a boy because of my name, so now he won’t rent to me. I can’t stay where I’ve been – secrets are there I’m not even aware of. I know I should leave now that Jake’s turned me down. Instead I’m imploring him to give me a shot. What other choice do I have? Leave Atlanta, my dreams, and give up?

JAKE: My brothers and I come from old-money. Our dad’s Congressman Michael Cocker. So women throw themselves at us. It’s boring. We hate it. But Drew Charles is from a small Georgia town. She doesn’t know about us. She’s not impressed. I only rented to her out of pity, because I hate to see a woman cry. Then I braced myself for a nightmare…But she just hides in her room, studying. Why has that given her the starring role in all of my fantasies?  And how can I convince her to make them real?

First Impressions

This novel certainly starts off with a bang. Or, a hot, naked-ass man wearing nothing but a towel for that matter. Not only does Jake answer the door to Drew as damn near close to his birthday suit as you can get, but the towel drops to the floor, and he proceeds to grab himself by his door knocker (if you know what I mean) to try and convince her that him having a female roommate isn’t the best idea. I will say this was the one main feature of the book I thought was pretty ridiculous. Let’s fact it, we all know how male/female roommate romance novels end, but they usually try to put up a good fight hiding their attraction for one another for a decent portion of the book, or try to prove they can just be “friends”.

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These two though are practically salivating for each other from the moment he opens the door with his schlong trying to play peek-a-boo from beneath his towel. Somehow in spite of this they decide to try out being roommates. For Drew, she’s sick of Craigslist, which I cannot blame her for at all. It’s a verifiable hell-hole. She also kind of wants to prove to herself that she can resist Jake, which just sounds like the most outrageous form of torture I’ve ever encountered. As for Jake, he’s convinced at the outset that having Drew as a female roommate is a big no-no. But when she throws her own cockiness right back in the face of his, he can’t but be intrigued. And when she starts crying at the prospect of having to continue her apartment search? Well, he’s a goner. Just like his towel.

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Let’s get right down to brass tax here. This book is predictable, cheesy, the writing is just ok, and Jake and Drew’s dirty talk is borderline bad porno level. But dammit if I didn’t also find the freakin’ thing entertaining. First of all, I loved that we weren’t’ dealing with a college romance here, as most roommate romance novels tend to be. Second, I absolutely loved that Drew was older than Jake, with her at 33 and him at 25. How often do you see that happen in romance novel world I ask ya? Now, if she had been able to teach him a thing or two in the bedroom it would have been fantabulous, but alas he is still the more experienced of the two.

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But that’s what I really enjoyed about Drew’s character. She’s brave enough to completely start her life over on her own after discovering her husband cheated on her. She’s in a new city, in a new apartment, trying to find a job for the first time ever, and for the most part she’s able to keep her distance from Jake to focus on starting her new life out right. Now, does she eventually succumb to his dirty talk by having sex on his desk in his office at work? Sure! But it’s all part of the experience of starting over. Especially considering she’s never been with another man besides her husband. Can you really blame the girl for eventually succumbing to his lustful glances?

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A Cocky Family Man

Another reason I was surprised to find I enjoyed this book was because of Jake. I usually hate overly cocky male leads, but I gotta say he didn’t annoy me as much as I assumed he would. He’s cocky, for sure, but Drew manages to give back as good as Jake puts out there. This way their verbal sparring matches become the most delectable and silly form of foreplay. But the thing which made me warm to Jake even more was his complete and total love of his family, and the fact he wasn’t afraid to admit it. When he learns he’s being transferred to another state for an undetermined amount of time for work, Jake is completely devastated at the prospect of being so far from his loved ones. He shares this openly with Drew, and we find that this cocky roomie has a sensitive side in addition to a fine back side. What can I say? It hooked me in.

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Series: Cocker Brothers of Atlanta, book 1. Jake is one of 6 brothers, so there’s plenty of Cocker boys to come. Good God I still can’t get over that name.

Should you read it? If you’re looking for a funny, sexy, lighthearted read to take to the beach that you can easily finish in a day, I’d say go right ahead! If you’re looking for a deep and meaningful love story that rivals Pride and Prejudice, well then you sure as shit won’t find it here. But I’m of the firm belief that every once in a while you just need a fun read that holds your interest, and might have a surprise or two thrown in there too. It’s not all sex, as a matter of fact they only do it two or three times, and you do see a more serious side surrounding family and friendship. All in all, not the best read ever, but still entertaining.

Smut Level: Holy crap dirty talk. Jake says Drew is like a cat he wants to pet, and then he proceeds to clearly explain the metaphor going on there, in full detail. Hotlanta for sure!!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99. Hop Hop Productions. 284 Pages.