The Beast of Aubyn Hall by Alex L. Michaels

A slightly quirky and accident prone bookworm? Check. A sexy as hell and overly confident alpha male? Check! You can definitely understand why this book would be part of the Bookworms & Alphas series!

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The man they call the beast, sworn off love, meets the bookish beauty who thinks that love exists only in books. When Bronte Beltran finds out that her next assignment is cataloging the famous Aubyn Hall library, she’s ecstatic. But when she finds out they call the owner the Beast of Aubyn Hall, not so much. A week in a dusty library should be right up her alley. But a wrong word at the wrong time and she might just find out what exactly is beastly about the Beast of Aubyn Hall.

First Impressions

Holy crap this book is the epitome of sexual tension build-up. Practically from the moment that Bronte crosses the threshold into Aubyn Hall, and hears the dark and foreboding voice of Caine, aka our Beast, you can practically feel the air get thick with desire. That being said, prepare yourself to be teased, as we don’t get a full and final…climax to this desire until the very final moments of the book. You’ll want to scream out loud, “Just ravish each other already!”

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In a way, it sort of follows the same story arch of the first novel, where we were also presented with some delayed gratification. Whereas book one presents us with a plethora of being pushed up against a wall and being whipped around for an intense close-up discussion, in this novel we get the added glory of Caine continually coming up behind Bronte in the heat of an argument. Sexy whispers in her ear, not to mention that a particularly part of his anatomy is usually…digging into her bum. I will say, although we are being teased right along with the characters, this makes for a very quick read because you just keep reading on and on so you can get to the moment when they consummate this thing.

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Sexy as Hell, buuuuuuut…

This book is sexy as all get out, but at the same time I also found the dynamic between Caine and Bronte to be somewhat worrisome. It’s clear that Caine is set and determined to have Bronte in his bed, and while she is obviously affected by his sexy whispers and passionate stares, she expends quite a bit of effort to convince both herself and him that she’s not receptive to his sexual ministrations. He’s also quick to boss her around, and while sometimes it relates to the fact that she’s working for him, in his home, cataloging his library, it also crosses the line of professionalism. Below is one quote which I found to be particularly concerning:

In fact, I don’t think he ever approached me in a kind or respectful manner. He just kept sneaking around me, provoking me, making me feel uncomfortable and sometimes he plainly insulted me. He also made me feel foolish, confused, insecure and sometimes plain afraid. But he also excited me enormously, that much I was able to admit to myself.

I mean, goodness gracious if it weren’t for that last sentence I’d be screaming at the woman to get the hell outta that house! At the same time though, whether she’s sexually excited by this man or not, I feel like the fact he sometimes made her feel “plain afraid”, can’t really be a good thing??? The last thing we want is to have an alpha male who borders the line into jackass. Although, I guess we were warned right in the title that we’re dealing with a beast here 🙂

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However, based on how the novel progresses it becomes clear that Bronte is definitely attracted to this man, and she just doesn’t want to admit it to herself, so it results in Bronte continually running away from her feelings for this man. One of my favorite quotes from the book is said by another woman who has her sights set on Caine, and during one confrontation with Bronte she declares, “and you want him to get you whether you’re willing to admit this to yourself or not”. Such an intelligent statement that can carry over into so many romance novels. I guess I just wish there weren’t those moments thrown in where Bronte admits she doesn’t feel respected by Caine. It kind of throws a damper on the sexual fire that is spreading throughout the rest of the book.

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A Library in Disarray

Bronte and her team have been brought to Aubyn Hall in order to get Caine’s library in order for eventual public view. Maybe I’m just too much of a book nerd, but I sort of wish more time had been spent talking about the details involved with this work. I mean, what exactly goes into cataloging a library? Apparently a lot of heavy lifting, but what else? Alphabetizing? Writing down all the titles? Making sure there’s a designated romance section? This sort of ties in as well to my wish that Bronte and Caine had connected a bit more over their shared love of books. They both admit to the fact that they’re book lovers, but maybe having just one or two additional moments where they connect over books in the library might have transformed their relationship beyond just the obvious sexual connection.

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A Beast with a Set Mind

Apparently Caine has a motto in life when it comes to Bronte, and that would be “I have set my mind on you.” This is his answer for everything when it comes to why he is constantly pursuing Bronte, and why he refuses to give up on her. No matter how many times she says no. Bronte is totally stumped when it comes to Caine’s pursuit, since she can’t understand why someone as gorgeous and rich as him would pursue a bookworm such as her.

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This brings us to the inevitable confrontation and blow-up between Caine and Bronte. Just when they are starting to make some progress and headway to starting a relationship, it is revealed that Caine asked for Bronte specifically when it came to the work on his library. Apparently he had seen her once before, and this provoked his mind to be set on her. Honestly, I had a bit of trouble understanding why this was seen as such an offense to Bronte. She is immediately pissed, and explains that it was a way of Caine using his money to try and exert his control into her life.

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Which, ok, I can see is kind of weird. He could have just been a normal person, walked into the library where she was working and ask her out for a cup of coffee. But then we wouldn’t have a book, would we? 🙂 I guess her reaction seemed just a bit over-the-top considering this ploy to get her in his house was essentially his version of a pick-up line. My favorite comment on this entire situation comes from Bronte’s friend who states, “…boo hoo. So what? Maybe it wasn’t the smoothest type of seduction, but it wasn’t the worst either.” Amen sister!

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

Series: Bookworms & Alphas, book 2. You really don’t need to read the first book in this series to follow the plot of this one. The female lead from book 1 does get a mention towards the end of the novel, but there’s no plot carry over, so you should be all set! I’d love to see future books in this series focus on some of the supplemental characters from this book, as they are an absolute hoot!

Should you read it? This is sort of a different take on your classic Beauty and the Beast tale, in that our beast is actually gorgeous. He’s more beastly in manner, not to mention a beast in the bedroom. When it comes to building sexual tension this book has perfected it to a damn near science, but I wish we would have seen a bit more connection between the characters over their love of books. It’s sort of the only time we see a soothing to his beastly manner, and I just wanted more of it. I also wasn’t a huge fan of their dispute over why Bronte was brought to Aubyn Hall to begin with. While it provided conflict to the plot, I couldn’t really understand why she was soooo offended at the thought of being brought there because he’d seen her before.

Smut Level: Caine just loves to make a happy hour of Bronte, in that he has the tendency to pour his alcoholic beverages over her before lapping it up. While we have to wait quite a long time before they officially have sex, we get a delightful amount of dirty talk and teasing before then.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 153 Pages.

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Stalker Theme: Male vs. Female

If you read as many romance novels as I do, odds are you’ve probably come across at least one book featuring a stalker. It’s a theme which adds suspense to the story, and can be a rather interesting side plot. Personally, I have come across this topic many a time in my romance novel reading, and I’ve started to notice some patterns which I wanted to share with all of you in regards to the difference between male and female stalkers represented in books. Disclaimer: stalking is so wrong.

Single Male Stalks Female who is Dating Someone Else defying the odds

This kind of stalking is pretty common in romance books, and the male in question is usually an abusive ex-boyfriend with no redeeming qualities. The book often features a loving relationship between a hero and heroine, and just when you think they are about to walk off into the sunset together, this nutty creep will come out of the wood work. Normally, at the end of the book the stalker will attempt to kidnap the heroine in the hopes of rekindling their relationship, but our hero will either kill him, or the stalker will get arrested by the police and thrown in jail. It is very rare for us to ever sympathize with the stalker, and we definitely wish him ill will because he’s getting in the way of our two lovebirds. I’ll admit that this kind of stalking presence can be very suspenseful, and can make the book more exciting than just a tale of boy meets girl. Some of my favorites including this kind of stalking are Defying the Odds, Until November, and From Rags.

Single Male Stalks Single Female

his captiveThis is a strange one. For some inexplicable reason which I can’t even begin (or want) to understand, it’s intriguing whenever a book has this feature in the plot summary. Check out the synopsis of the book His Captive Bride, and you might understand what I’m talking about. Normally, it involves some troubled man who finds himself drawn to a young woman, and he can’t help but follow her around in the hopes of getting close to her. There is usually a 99% chance that this kind of man will be the absolute alpha male, with major jealousy issues, and the need to refer to his woman as mine whenever they are having sex. The woman might be fearful at first, but then an unforeseen desire starts to blossom within her, and she can’t help but fall for him. The summary of these kinds of books can draw you in, and even though you know with all your might that in real life this kind of behavior is disgusting and wrong in every way, the male stalker is eventually represented as the hero of the novel, and when you read it you kind of hope that the man and woman end up together. However, there is a big difference between the synopsis of the book, and the book itself. Although the synopsis of a book with this kind of feature might seem intriguing and different at first, it has a tendency to turn very weird very quickly, and is ultimately a let down. It’s a theme that just doesn’t come together in the end, probably because you can’t get over the fact how wrong this relationship is. I like my books to feature an alpha male, but usually the guys in these books are exceedingly alpha, to the point where it’s borderline demeaning and abusive. I read a book once with this kind of male stalker in it, and although it started off hot and heavy with lots of delightful dirty talk, at one point when they were having sex he started saying how he was just going to violate her. That…doesn’t sound appealing. In any way.

Any book that ever features a female stalker beauty from pain

She’s always the crazy psycho villain who needs to be stopped, and seek medical treatment immediately. I have never come across a book featuring a single female stalking a single male like in the last scenario I just described, where they eventually end up married and having babies. Whenever we have a female stalker in a book, she is always a nutcase. Unlike the male stalkers in our first case who were abusive a**holes, female stalkers usually had some kind of mental break because the playboy hero they used to date ended their relationship early when she was hoping for more. Even though he may have been completely inconsiderate of her feelings, the woman is always described as so utterly and completely psycho that we don’t empathize with her at all. In addition, this woman is usually trying to either kill the man’s new love interest, or kill the man in question for being such a douche. Just look at the second book of the Fifty Shades trilogy, or Beauty from Pain, Wicked Game, or any book featuring a male celebrity! Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning stalking or anything, but why is it that the female stalker is always the one driven to a new level of crazy?

Headed to the Beach!

Honestly, I’ve been slacking a bit this week. I only posted one new book review, and then I re-posted an older one. I hang my head in shame 😦 So what’s been up you ask? Well, I’ve been busy dammit! You see, I have this job, and it requires me to travel a ridiculous amount in the fall. Basically from now until Thanksgiving I’m driving and flying all over the country. This week alone I’ve been to 4 different cities, and even another country! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still reading a ton of smut. What else am I supposed to do at the airport? I think I’ve finished about 4 books in the last 4 days. However, finding the time to sit down and write a fun and witty review has been difficult. For example, the other day I drove about 6 hours from Montreal to Maine, and by the time I got to my hotel I just wanted to collapse and watch some bad TV. Which I did. Whilst eating Thai food. Mmmm, thai food.

Although I’ve been absolutely exhausted this past week, there are some definite perks to this job. Today I beachget to travel to Florida, which means this romance4thebeach blog writer is headed to the beach with her romance novels! I’ve got my Kindle prepped and loaded, and I intend to sit on the beach and do nothing but read for the next 48 hours, give or take a few hours to eat and sleep. Hopefully I’ll also be able to find some time in there to sit and write an actual review post. It’s kind of funny though, the last time I was at the beach was when I first started toying with the idea of creating this blog. I’m looking forward to getting back to what this blog is all about- reading romance novels on the beach! Have a great weekend everybody, and I hope you all get a chance to relax and read some in the next few days. Even if it’s not a romance novel, just be sure to read something!

What was the first Romance Novel you ever read?

It’s time for another throwback! Man, that sounds strenuous, doesn’t it? Anyway, I was reminiscing the other day, as one is wont to do when waiting in line for the self check-out at the grocery store, and tried to think back to the first romance novel I ever read. Let’s travel back in time shall we? Cue psychedelic 70’s music.

I remember I was in high school when the blessed event took place, and I think the reason I remember it so vividly is dream mountainbecause I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Basically, I had no idea that the book I was reading was a romance novel. You see, there was always a bargain bin of cheap books at the corner bookstore, and it always seemed to call my name. I would glance through it during every visit, and never left the store without a new purchase. I came across a book with a cabin on the cover, in the midst of a snowy field. Looking at it now makes me crave a cup of hot cocoa and a fire place. The short (and I mean short!) blurb captured my interest. It was about a young woman alone in a cabin who comes across a handsome, but confused stranger in the woods. Oh my, did he travel through time? Did he have amnesia? Was he running from the cops? I decided to give it a go. The book was Dream Mountain by Gena Hale and S.L. Viehl.

Looking back on the situation I realize I was a complete and total idiot. Who in their right mind wouldn’t know, just from looking at the freakin’ cover, that this was a romance novel? I mean, will you look at that cover?! The font name alone should be called, “Warning: Sexual Activities Ahead”. What can I say? I was young and foolish.

The book itself was confusing, but it had an interesting enough plot. And then, it happened. I was sitting in study hall one day reading this novel, going about by business, la tee da, when HOLY WHAT NOW?! Hello two people getting down and dirty in a cave. I couldn’t believe the detail they went into, and thought what the hell does this have to do with the story! He’s kissing her where? What does she want him to do? Why is this happening? GAH! Considering I was in school, and someone was sitting in the desk next to me, I immediately did the thing where you close the edges of the book a bit and hold it closer to you in case someone happens to read over your shoulder. I feel like we’ve all probably done the “tuck and close” at some point. I equate this move to watching a scary movie through your fingers; you’re somewhat horrified, but can’t stop watching. I think in this instance I was afraid the teacher would see what I was reading and confiscate it or something.

All in all, not the best entrance into the romance novel world. I was surprised, slightly embarrassed, and the book itself was nothing to write home about. Turns out it was actually the second novel in a series, which probably explains why the plot was so confusing. Oh well, live and learn. So how about all of you? Do you remember the first romance novel you ever read? Did you like it? Was the experience as silly as mine? If you’re in a sharing mood, feel free to leave a remark in the comment section below!

 

What should I read next poll

Calling all my followers in the blogosphere! Ok, so my computer is telling me that isn’t actually word, but who cares. I am currently in the midst of a crisis of epic proportions. Epic I tell ya! You see, I don’t know what book to read next. Considering I have over 400 books on my Kindle right now, and the majority of you are just as book obsessed as I am, I’m thinking you all can relate to this dilemma.

So, I figured if I have an audience (you all are amazing by the way!), why not let them decide what I should tackle next. I’m guessing that a lot of you have either read all, or some of the books listed below. I’m looking for a good read that I can write an engaged review about, so if a book is just meh, please don’t vote for it. Of course, steaminess is always a good thing, but I don’t really like cliffhanger books. Polling will stay open for one week, so let’s get voting!