Who Doesn’t Love a VANILLA TWIST?–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m reviewing a contemporary romance from CJ Ellison. I picked up VANILLA ON TOP and VANILLA TWIST a few weeks back when they were on sale–and boy am I glad I did! Perfect reads to kick off the summer. You can find my review of VANILLA ON TOP here. Prepare for a smexy time….

Vanilla Twist (Walk on the Wild Side, #3; Heather and Tony, #2)About the book:

Heather thinks she has it all—an interesting lover, a dream job, and a new wardrobe to match her take-charge attitude. But everyone has a past, and when Heather confronts hers at work she’ll be hard-pressed to hold onto her newfound confidence and resolve. Does she trust Tony enough to let him help her or will she tackle the issue on her own?

Still intrigued by the young woman and the multiple layers she presents to the world, Tony begins to change his life, too—for what he hopes is the better. He quit his high-powered career to find peace in a less stressful day-to-day existence. Desire for Heather still invades his every waking moment, and when trouble threatens their sexual explorations he makes the hardest choice of his life. One he may soon regret.

My Review:
Tony and Heather are moving into the “getting to know you” phase of their relationship. They have great sexual chemistry, and a budding emotional connection, but have only known each other a few weeks. Too bad everybody has baggage….

Heather’s last serious boyfriend was a manipulative, cheating D-bag. How fun that he’s also the newest sales rep at her firm. Oh, and that he’s hitting on Heather’s administrative assistant. Yay! Not. This dude has some serious cahones, however, and Heather’s stressed by his unwelcome attention. Why is he always showing up when she’s alone? And, does he even mean the compliments he gives her–or are they a means to engage her so he can manipulate her again?

Tony is done being the ‘manwhore’–Heather fulfills him in ways he never had been with his scores of sexual partners. Unfortunately, one of those gals has turned up with big, BIG, news. Is Tony a daddy? He’s terrified that Heather will walk if she finds out–but he’s also suspicious that he’s being played. Baby Mama is a known party girl, and Tony wants proof before he commits to any long term plans. See, Tony’s freaking loaded–and his money has always been the attraction for his playmates. Only Heather had no interest in turning Tony into a paycheck–which was why he was drawn to her initially.

Reading this book I had Shel Silverstein’s THE MISSING PIECE MEETS THE BIG O rolling around in my brain.

The book is classic and just a poignant for adults as it is interesting for children.

Anywho, it seems to me that Heather and Tony compliment–not complete–each other. They confess their new, and important, problems and find a partner with whom to share the journey. Tony immediately wants to confront Heather’s ex, but lets her handle the situation in the proper manner–this gives Heather confidence that she can solve her own problems. And Heather embraces Tony’s potential paternity with grace. After all, she’d want him to be involved in his own child’s life–even if she wasn’t the mother.

And, being all roly-poly like an industrious missing piece, Tony makes overtures to foster Heather’s creative side–in the bedroom and out of it. This bring into focus how terribly smitten he is–and engages the attention of Tony’s brothers–who are fun. So much good smexytimes I know I’ll be thinking about them for quite a while. The loose ends are tied here. The only plot line going forward is the growing relationship between two characters I really enjoy.

Interested? You can find VANILLA TWIST on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. While the sequel can be read as a standalone, I recommend both books to be read in order. Because, really, who wants to miss a smoking hot romance?

C.J. EllissonAbout the Author:

In the spring of 2008, C.J. started undergoing medical tests for issues she’d been ignoring for a few years. We’ve all done it ignored a problem we hoped would go away because our lives were too busy to give attention to some minor inconvenience.

Tests led to more tests and answers started to slowly trickle in. To keep her mind off of all that she couldn’t do and to focus on what she could do, she started writing in February 2009. A lover of books for decades, she owes her husband, Pete, her first writing partner, and many close friends a big hug of thanks for thinking she should even attempt to write a book.

In five months C.J. managed to: Write her first 90,000-word Urban Fantasy novel, join several writing guilds and writing sites, start an Author Page on Facebook, enter several writing contests and become a finalist in most of them, attend her first National writing conference and learn a lot about how to write. Who knew it could take so much work and still be so much fun?

You can find CJ on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!


Double Team of Ella Frank–TRY and EDIBLE–Reviews

Edible (Exquisite, #3)I picked up on Ella Frank’s Chicago-based erotica this past summer when I sampled EDIBLE.  Mmm. Delish.

But It wasn’t until TRY, that I became a true fan.

Here’s why:

EDIBLE, for all it’s hot sex, is kinda like a lot of books. There’s a broody dominating male and a vixen female lead.

Rachel styles herself as a Domme so she can protect herself. She is attracted to Cole Madison, but won’t take it further, knowing he’ll want to touch her–and she can’t bear that level of physicality. A former boyfriend was abusive, and she needs to control all aspects of touch in order to avoid the panic attacks.

Meanwhile, Cole is emotionally closed off. He’s a Dom in search of a fiery gal–and pasty-chef Rachel brings as much sweet as she does heat. Cole’s privileged childhood was isolating, his father died young, and later Cole learned his father’s infidelity left a half-brother–so he’s got some daddy issues. And a (medically) demented mother.

When these two control-freaks get together, their freak is sooper-deeky. What they do with caramel sauce is illegal in Red States. And, this book opened my eyes to Prince Albert piercing. [Disclaimer:  Googling PA will result in eye-opening for you, too. XXX-warning!]

But, they get over their insecurities (rather quickly) display an appealing amount of sexual exhibitionism, and tie the knot in no time flat–enraging their respective family members. A little prodding later and all gets forgiven.

In short, they are damaged souls who find themselves. And, an HEA. The story is solid. If you like erotic romance you will not be disappointed. REALLY. I wasn’t. But, EDIBLE felt a bit similar to other reads…

Try (Temptation, #1)TRY, which begins it’s own series, does not.

Why are they linked in my head? The lead in TRY, Logan Mitchell, is introduced in EDIBLE. He’s the half-brother of Cole Madison, and a confirmed bi-sexual bachelor. In TRY this all changes. Logan’s in hot pursuit of his obsession. And, he’s a straight man, baby.

Tate Morrison is going through a nasty divorce. He’s never really connected with his wife, Diana, and mainly they hooked up because she was Tate’s sister’s BFF. He’s a bartender, and is used to fielding come on’s, but Logan’s direct approach is unsettling, int he most curious way.

Their continued interactions leads Tate to try what Logan offers–namely some fantastic–albeit gay–sex.

There’s a period of wooing, and a longer period of experimentation, and throughout these two men (who would likely be considered Alpha in a hetero romance) develop a deeper connection. This isn’t just a conquest to Logan, King of the One-Nighter. For long-term lover Tate, it’s not just a rebellion. For the first time, they each find a loving relationship they want to work on, one that can be as satisfying for both as it is foreign to Tate.

It’s obviously fraught with conflict. Tate wants to stay closeted, while keeping Logan exclusive. Logan wants to publicly embrace Tate as his boyfriend, yet doesn’t want to help Tate break the news to his uber-Catholic family.

In the end, the book takes sensual to a whole new level. And, it’s the beginning of a series for these two. I’m anxious to read on.

You can find EDIBLE at Goodreads, Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Same for TRY.  (Goodreads, Amazon, and B&N linky-links)

Let me know if you pick up either of these–and what you thought. And, as always, keep reading my friends!

JUST ONCE? Not a chance! Review and Giveaway


Hi there! Welcome to my stop on the JUST ONCE blog tour organized by AToMR Book Tours. If you want to check out other stops on the tour, click here. JUST ONCE is an adult contemporary romance from debut author Julianna Keyes newly released by Omnific Publishing.

 JustOnce_cover_revBook Description:
Kate Burke is done making bad decisions. Thirty years old and belatedly determined to grow up, the successful travel writer and one-time party girl returns to work at the remote Ponderosa Pines Ranch to reassess her life.

Although her kitchen/cabin staff is lacking and the workload never relents, Kate’s main challenge is Shane Maddox, the ruggedly handsome and doggedly stubborn ranch foreman. Instantly at odds, they battle over everything from ceiling fans to bothersome bats—studiously ignoring the sparks they generate with each confrontation.

They can’t explain their explosive physical chemistry, but after a few frustrated weeks they can’t deny it either. Their solution? Just once. They’ll get past their inconvenient lust and move on.

Kate’s been trying to think with her head instead of her hormones, but is this just another bad decision in a lifetime of careless choices? Has she really changed at all?

Set in the striking and serene hills of southern Colorado, Julianna Keyes’ debut novel offers a sizzling and satisfying tale of unexpected chemistry and the power of second chances. Her characters will get under your skin and into your heart. Just once may not be enough for you either.

My Review:
This isn’t your typical downtrodden rich girl story. Kate’s always had it all, true, but after a brutal attack she finds her vapid life unsatisfying. Instead of being the globetrotter/writer she’s taken a managers job at Ponderosa Pines, the dude ranch she worked as a teen, believing spending three months in the same place will help her regain her lost bearings.

Quickly Kate’s high cleaning standards ruffles the unruly teenaged staff–who desert–and she’s agitated the ranch manager, the burly Shane Maddox. He’s not her type–too burly, too demanding–but she’s undeniably attracted. Not that she’s going to act on it. Risky, reckless, Eight-Shot Kate is a girl of the past. From now on, Kate’s the model of responsibility…

Sort of.

Seems Shane shares Kate’s attraction–even though she isn’t his type either. And he willing to trade one afternoon of passion to scratch that sexy itch.

Raowr!! That’s an offer Kate can’t refuse. Of course, one time isn’t enough, but keeping their trysts on the down-low is important, and besides, they’re just going to keep it casual, right? No strings.

Oh how I love when the best laid plans of bed buddies go HEA!

Shane is swoonworthy supreme, and Kate’s smart, sassy and strong-hearted. I adore them both, and this vanilla-tale is steamy enough to make Christian Grey sweat.

Interested? You can grab JUST ONCE at Goodreads or Amazon.

About the Author
Julianna Keyes is a Canadian writer who has lived on both coasts and several places in between. She’s been skydiving, bungee jumping, and white water rafting, but nothing thrills—or terrifies—her as much as the blank page. She has volunteered in Zambia, taught English in China, and dreams of seeing pink dolphins in the Amazon. This is her first book. Check her out on Twitter.


Juliana and Omnific Publishing are giving away 5 ebooks, 1 Print Copy, 1 Swag Pack.

Click here for your chance to win!

And, as always, keep reading my friends!