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This is my favourite deodorant because I find the scent to be light and floral so it doesn't overpower my perfume as some other deodorants do. Most importantly it works. A couple of sprays in the morning and I'm B.O free until the evening (probaby longer if I didn't shower the deodorant away). Even in the recent hot weather it worked. I still sweat (a good thing in my opinion) I just don't smell unpleasant. And even better it dries really quickly in the morning. Beware of white marks though. This product comes in two sizes, I have the smaller one in my makeup bag as I travel regularly and the larger one in my bedroom at home. The small size is the perfect travel size. Recommended.
When I started reading this novel I had just about given up on this series. After reading the previous book I thought that Handeland had lost whatever it was that made the early books in the series so great. I'm pleased to say that it seems that Handeland is back on track with this novel. In fact I think I would say that this is the best novel in the series so far.
Rising Moon is book 6 in the Night Creatures Series by Lori Handeland. The premise of the series is that there are lots of monsters in the world, most notably so far in the series werewolves and to a lesser degree zombies. There are a group of monster hunters called Jager Suchers (hunter searchers). The organisation was created following the Hollocaust during which monsters were made by the nazi's.
Rising Moon is set in New Orleans, the setting of many of the important events in the series so far. However, apart from the location and of course the compulsory monsters, there doesn't seem to be much of a link to the rest of the series. Anne Lockheart is in New Orleans searching for her sister who went missing years before. While there she lives and works in a bar that is owned by a mysterious blind man called John Rodolfo. Strange things start to happen and as Anne and John find it impossible to deny the attraction between them (or to stop themselves acting on that attraction) she can't help noticing that there's something strange about John.
I loved this book. I reluctantly started reading it because I had been so disappointed by the series recently and I guess in some ways that made the book all the more enjoyable. It just hooked me from the beginning and the interesting thing is that it isn't even the romance that really captivated me. Don't get me wrong, the romance was good. There was heat and sentimental moments between John and Anne. Like in many books in this series there is often the question of is this hero really one of the good guys. This novel, like the rest of the novels in the series, is written in the first person so we only ever see John through Anne's eyes which I think adds to the mystery of him. While she's wondering what exactly it is that's odd about him the reader is wondering too which I thought added to the supsense and mystery. Both characters are complex but it's really Anne's character that is explored in the novel again because it's written in first person.
However, as I said it wasn't really the romance that captivated me. I enjoyed the romance, I liked knowing that I was guaranteed a happy ending but this novel was so much more than an excuse to throw two characters together in an exciting setting. I really don't want to say too much because I don't want to give anything away. There are lots of mystery's to be solved in this novel and there were times when I thought I had it figured out and then discovered that I was partially right but never quite got it. The reason I never quite got it is that there is a huge twist. Until this twist I thought that it would actually read well as a stand alone novel, and it would but if you really want to get the significance of the twist read all of the books before this one. The twist was just huge and I think I may have literally gasped when I read it. I never in a million years would have guessed it.
Everything in this novel is written well. There's plenty of suspense, good character development, heart breaking moments, moments of tenderness, reasonable sex scenes...it's just all there. This novel pulled me in from the first page and kept me hooked until the very last. Lori Handeland is at her best in this novel and this has renewed my interest in the Night Creatures series.
Wai Kika Mau Kau is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant in the heart of Brighton's North Laine's. Wai Kika has been a firm favourite of ours for years now and while the menu seems to change frequently what remains consistent is the good service and excellent food.
Like many places in the North Laine's Wai Kika has a homely charm to it that it couples with a certain quirkiness that you come to expect from anywhere in this area of Brighton. It doesn't look up market or expensive but it's comfortable and clean. The main thing for me when we go to Wai Kika is where we sit. Sitting by the door tends to be a bad idea, it can be quite drafty and as it isn't a particularly spacious restaurant I often find myself continually having to push myself tighter against the table to allow people by. Wai Kika can be a little bit on the cramped side but I find that with most places in the North Laines. Buildings aren't particularly big and everywhere seems to cram as many tables and chairs in as possible. This is not an accessible building. There are steps and the space is so restrictive that even if you are not a wheelchair user but have mobility problems you may struggle. I have seen a few people with buggy's so parents do seem to manage but I would say that it's not a comfortable fit.
I love the food in this restaurant. I keep flirting with vegetarianism and I think that if I was still living in Brighton I would have no problem being a vegetarian, when I visit I tend to eat mostly vegetarian food anyway because the selection of vegetarian food on offer, even in non-vegetarian restaurants, is exceptional. Eating in Wai Kika makes me feel like I could be a vegan! The selection of food is really good. Whatever your tastes I'm sure you will find something you like. If you want something classic like bangers and mash or chilli you will find vegetarian versions here that taste so much like the real thing that I can't tell the difference. Alternatively if you're one of these people that thinks that vegetarian and vegan food shouldn't just imitate meat you will also find some great dishes. We do occasionally go here for breakfast and I think they do one of the best veggie breakfasts in the North Laines. The portions are just so big that I often skip lunch altogether when we have breakfast here. They have veggie sausages, beans, chips, egg...basically everything you would expect. My favourite for a light lunch is the haloumi pitta pocket. I'm on weight watchers at the moment so I try to substitute the pitta for a wrap, which they will do happily. In fact this restaurant is pretty good for dieters, they even offer a burger without a bun. The halloumi in this restaurant is just to die for. I'm not sure what it is that they garnish it with but it tastes delicious. The pitta pockets always come with a generous portion of salad as well as a generous portion of chips. Another favourite of mine is the bangers and mash which is a huge portion and comes with onion gravy. There was one occasion when it was a bit dry with hardly any gravy but in general there is loads of gravy which is a good thing in my opinion.
Drink selection is pretty good here too. They do a selection of home made smoothies and milk shakes. I love their milk shakes and sometimes have one instead of a dessert, they're lovely and creamy and you can tell that they're made freshly. I don't tend to eat the cake here very often. On the occasions that I have (which hasn't been for at least a year) I've enjoyed them but often find that I'm too full from dinner to eat cake. The cakes are home made and of course vegan or vegetarian.
Service in Wai Kika is generally fine. I've never come out of Wai Kika and thought "wow service was amazing" but equally there has only been one occasion when I've come out of there and thought that service was terrible. In general it's reasonable but not exceptional service. Food can be a little slow but it's freshly made so that doesn't bother me too much. Staff don't leave you waiting too long to order and they're polite, although not often overly friendly.
Wai Kika tends to be one of my favourite places to eat. It offers an excellent selection of vegetarian and vegan food, that always tastes amazing. Prices do vary depending on what you order but on average it tends to cost us around £30 for three main courses and three drinks which I think is very reasonable. I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of if you eat meat or not.
I've been using these face wipes for a couple of years now. I don't tend to use face wipes very often because parts of my skin get very greasy and I find that only a good face wash can really keep my skin clear. So up until recently I've only used these on the odd occassion when I can't be bothered to get out of bed to remove my makeup. When I've used other face wipes in the past I've found that even using them for one night has resulted in a break out of spots but with these face wipes that wasn't the case. With these I found that it was fine for me to go for a night using these instead of face wash without any sign of a breakout of spots. Even when I was wearing a lot of makeup I found that they removed all of my makeup using just one wipe.
Recently I went away and decided that I would just take these with me because I've found that they work fine and it saved space in my bag. However, although these work well for the occassional cleanse they weren't good enough for me to use over an extended period of time. By the end of the three days I had a couple of spots. I also find that these dry my skin out so I was basically left with dry but spotty skin.
Overall these wipes are good for occassional use. They do smell very strongly of tea tree which I find slightly unpleasant but they remove all of my makeup so I'm happy to put up with the smell. However, for long term use these aren't as good and are certainly not a substitute for face wash.
**Warning! This review is of an erotic story and is intended for adults only**
After reading a book by Mari Carr recently I find myself addicted to her stories and I am devouring everything I can find that is written by her. I generally like stories that I can really sink my teeth into and although I sometimes like novella's I don't tend to go for really short stories. However, I was in the mood for something short and erotic the other day and Scoring was available from Amazon for less than a pound so I thought that I might as well give it a read and see what I thought. My expectations were low, it is a very short story and I don't think you can do much in so many words.
Scoring is a short story about high school teachers Melanie and Tony. Melanie teaches music and Tony is the gym teacher. He has been trying to get her to go out with him for ages but Melanie has never accepted, she states that she doesn't think that they're compatible but really she doesn't think that he's serious. This story begins with her agreeing to go on a date with him and progresses quickly to the actual date and of course sex.
With a story this short I thought that things would feel quite rushed but they didn't feel rushed at all. Everything does happen really quickly, it has to because of the length of the story but it didn't feel like the story itself was being rushed. If this was a full length erotic romance novel then I would expect the story to have begun a couple of months ago and honestly I would have quite enjoyed that. As with all of Carr's short stories I always feel that they could be more, that she has a good foundation for a full length novel. I think that's a strength of her writing, I just can't get enough of it and with this I would have loved to have read about the build up to the date and the history behind the two character attraction each other. But this was intended as a very short story so obviously that was never an option. Carr has done a great job with this short story in the space that she had. She manages to give enough relevant background information for the reader to know where the characters stand without overdoing it.
The sex scene is pretty explosive. There's plenty of kink and Carr writes in a way that really engages the imagination. I love the way that she manages to throw the romance in there. I don't think I can emphasise enough how short this story is, in fact I don't think it's much longer than this review and I think that to be able to fit everything into the story is a real achievement. I expected the eroticism, it's an erotic story after all but I didn't expect so much emotion in the writing and between the characters.
Carr delivers yet another excellent short story. It's erotic, it's romantic, it's sweet and it certainly left me smiling. I would definitely recommend this short story.
One Summer Night is a lesbian romance novel by Gerri Hill. Jo is embarrassed after a one night stand with Kelly, who she believes to be a player. When Kelly starts working at the same school as Jo she tries to be friendly and prove that she's not a player but can Jo move past her fears?
This is the second of Gerri Hill's novels that I have read and this novel was just as good as the first. I literally could not put this novel down. I found myself equally as drawn to both characters. I immediately related to Jo. She's quite serious and devoted to her career, which is something that I found easy to relate to and meeting Kelly really turns her world upside down. Throughout the novel I could really understand the difficulty that she had adjusting to having Kelly in her life. Kelly was a character who I found myself attracted to rather than relating to. I felt that this was a good combination in terms of keeping me hooked on this novel.
There are some hot sex scenes in this novel but it's never gratuitous. The romance is sweet, dramatic and sexy in equal measure. The characters seem to be perfectly matched and compliment each other so well. I found myself involved emotionally in this novel which I think is really good in a romance novel and is another reason that this novel gripped me completely throughout.
Sapphire is an erotic romance novella by Jeffe Kennedy. I wasn't familiar with this author before reading this book but the plot synopsis really appealed to me. This story is about an executive called M. Taylor who has little time for anything outside of work. She has a ten year plan, and that plan does not include getting side tracked by a sexy colleague. Fortunately for Taylor you can't plan for everything and Adam definitely has plans for Taylor. When Adam handcuffs Taylor to the railing of the boat it's the start of something that's unlike anything Taylor has ever experienced. Adam is determined to break down Taylors barriers and make her his. But Taylor isn't going to make things easy for him.
This book does contain bondage, domination and submission, mild s&m and lots of sex. If this is not your cup of tea then you have been warned.
This novella proved to be an easy, enjoyable read where the pages just seemed to turn themselves (metaphorically speaking, I read this in ebook format). I love novels with strong female characters and I found Taylor to be very easy to relate to and empathise with. Kennedy portrays her in such a balanced way, she shows her flaws and her strengths but does so in a way that helps you to understand Taylor, so even when she did things that I thought weren't the right thing to do I still understood why she did them. I think that this is important because like any good romance novel there's the dramatic will they, won't they part of the novel and sometimes this can come across as being over the top and unrealistic. All too often characters seem to do things purely for dramatic effect and without any decent explanation for their actions. In this novella Taylor does behave in a somewhat dramatic fashion but far from being frustrating I felt that it was understandable given her situation and history.
The sex scenes in this novella are hot, as you would expect. I think that any half decent erotic novel has hot sex scenes but what sets this story apart is the mental aspects. The author just seems to really grasp that BDSM is only partly about the physical act, the psychological aspects are equally important. She doesn't rush in here with lots of adventurous sex positions (although there are certainly plenty of those), instead she works on the mental side of things which I found left me totally engaged in the sex scenes in a way that I don't think I have been with other novels. Throughout each of the sex scenes there is a really good combination of the psychological and physical aspects of BDSM that made these sex scenes so memorable (and coming from a woman who reads a couple of erotic romance novels a week, that's saying something).
Erotic romance isn't just about sex of course, there has to be some romance in there too. The sex and the romance are tied together really well, as you would expect of a novel in this genre. What I liked is that the characters have a back story but not one that has been too well developed before the start of the book. It felt like there was enough background to make it all plausible but still enough development needed in order to make you feel like the story's worth reading.
The only thing that I didn't particularly like, which will be a strength to some readers depending on their preferences, is that the BDSM was limited to the bedroom and not in any way a lifestyle decision for either character. I guess this is quite a safe route to take because so many people enjoy reading about kinky sex but don't necessarily want the domination to happen in any other situations. Personally I found it disappointing. I also found it quite surprising. I felt that the author understood the mindset of both the submissive and dominant character so well that perhaps she would write something more resembling lifestyle BDSM than just play. Perhaps my vision of the lifestyle has become too rigid, I don't know but whatever the reason I found this aspect of the story disappointing. That's not to say that it was wrong or anything like that, this is more a personal preference than anything else. I have knocked a star off for it because although I think for many people this may increase their enjoyment of the novel or have no impact on it at all, for me it was disappointing.
I did really enjoy this story, in some ways it's unfortunate that it's just a short story because I would have enjoyed reading more. I really hope that at some point in the future Kennedy will write a sequel to this. I love her writing style and will certainly be looking out for more of her books.
Double Shot is the first novella in Christine d'Abo's Long Shot series. This is a trilogy of erotic romance short stories featuring three siblings. Each of the novella's features a different sibling and tells their romance story. First up we have Sadie Long. Sadie owns a coffee shop with her brother and sister. When her close friend Paul asks Sadie to provide the food for a function at the sex club where he works Sadie is happy for the opportunity to expand her business. But Paul wants more than her food, Paul wants to know what Sadie's fantasy is. Sadie has lusted after Paul for years, but she's not about to tell him that. However, soon Sadie finds herself living out her fantasy of being with Paul and his friend Josh. Sadie wants more than one night of great sex, she wants Paul but what will happen when the party's over?
I have to say from the start of this review that Double Shot doesn't exactly cater to my own preferences when it comes to erotic romance. I like dominant men and in this Sadie seems to be the one kind of taking control. I only mention this because I think it's saying something that even though this wasn't exactly my cup of tea when it came to the sex I really really enjoyed this novella. From the start I found myself hooked on the romance side of the plot rather than the erotic side and I think this was in part because there was such a big build up to any actual sexual contact. D'Abo knows how to tease! There's the thoughts, the desires, the fantasies but there isn't any actual sex for quite some time. In fact by the time the sex scene comes I was so hooked on the romance side of things that they could have had sex in the missionary position, in the dark and I would probably have still enjoyed it!
The way that d'Abo develops the romance between the two characters is excellent. I have a soft spot for the old friends who actually are in love with other but won't tell the other storyline and I thought she put a nice, kinky twist on the plot in this novella. I liked that they had a strong, long standing friendship, it gave me a sense of security. I also liked that there was clearly heat between the two of them but that they were both still so unsure of themselves.
Although you could be forgiven for thinking this might be a polyamory romance novel, it's not really. Josh is somewhat of a strange addition to the novella...not in a bad, more in an intriguing way. There isn't romance between Sadie and Josh. I always kind of had the feeling that there could be in the future, that they had a strong physical attraction that had the potential to be built on, but at this point there was no romance between them. The romance is pretty much just between Sadie and Paul. Paul and Josh's relationship is an interesting one. It's not quite a sexual one, but there are elements of sex in their relationship. It's not a romantic one, but they have a really strong bond that seems to be different to conventional friendship. I really felt that I wanted to gain a better insight into their relationship. By the end of the novella I was left with so many questions about Josh and Paul and I really would have liked to read more about them, and about Sadie with them. It's actually left me hoping that after the initial trilogy d'Abo might write another novella featuring these three characters because I certainly feel that there is a lot more potential there. In fact I will be really disappointed if she doesn't revisit these characters. I read a lot of romance novels featuring various numbers of participants, various genders, various supernatural beings and various lifestyles and it's so rare any more that something intrigues me like this but their relationship has.
No review of an erotic romance novel would be complete without writing about the sex scene. Although it was the romance element of the story that initially grabbed me, that in no way indicates that the erotic side of the story was lacking. As I said it's not really to my personal tastes but I still really enjoyed it and found it very erotic. It features a threesome between Sadie, Josh and Paul. In this scene Josh encourages Sadie to take control of the situation (and of the men) and take what she wants. Which she does with increasing confidence. I found this to be such an empowering scene and as well as being erotic it left me feeling really positive. There is plenty of kink here and some light action between the two men (nothing heavy). I actually liked the way that Paul is so unsure of his sexuality when it comes to Josh, it makes a nice change from all of the novels where the men are all super confident in their sexuality. I felt that this added some realism to plot and some depth to the character.
For those of you, who like me, like your romances to be dramatic, you don't need to fear. There is drama in this novella but it's not over done and for once it's not the female character who's the one causing all of the drama! Although this novella wasn't necessarily to my personal tastes, as a feminist I did like the way that it seems to kind of take a more empowering stance for women than some stories in this genre. And I actually enjoyed this novella as much as any story that caters to my personal kinks and fetishes.
Long Shot is available now from amazon.co.uk in Kindle format for £2.31.
I go through phases where I'm really good at looking after my hands, I moisturise them several times a day and generally take good care of them. I then go through phases where I neglect them until they become so dry that they distract me from everything else. I bought the Sanctuary Hand Cream because I was out of my usual hand cream and I desperately needed some. My hands were dry and when they get really dry I get a few patches where the skin is extra dry and I find it difficult to find hand creams that will sort these dry patches out immediately. There wasn't a Body Shop where I was so I headed into boots and bought a 30ml bottle of this for around £3. The size of this was perfect. I'm on the go a lot which is half of the reason why my hands become so bad. When I was sat in an office all day I just kept a bottle of hand cream on my desk and my hands were always lovely. Being such a small size this could fit in my already overcrowded bag without any problem.
When I first used this hand cream it didn't really do anything. It is such a light moisturiser that it didn't have any impact at all on my very dry skin. I used it for a couple of days and it just didn't do anything. I left this in my hand bag and went to the Body Shop to buy one of their hand creams. I left this one in my hand bag and didn't really think about it again until I was away from home and had forgotten to pack my hand cream. I found this one in the depths of my hand bag and I used it again out of desperation. My hands were in pretty good condition at this time and I found that this hand cream is actually a really good maintenance hand cream. It kept my hands in good enough condition for the week or so that I used it. It kept them soft and smooth. I did find that I had to use a lot of the lotion though just to cover my hands.
I wouldn't recommend this product. It's fine if you just want to maintain already soft hands but I want a hand cream that I can use when my hands are dry and this doesn't adequately moisturise dry skin. It also doesn't go very far so although this hand cream was only £3 it isn't good value for money.
I lived in Little Common in Bexhill for a couple of months earlier this year and one of my favourite places to go to eat and relax was Bibby's tea room. I was immediately attracted to Bibby's because it just seemed so traditional and quaint. When I first moved to Little Common I loved the idea of being in a small village and the tea room just seemed to be the cherry on top (the novelty of living somewhere so small soon wore off but my enjoyment of Bibby's didn't).
When I entered Bibby's it was exactly how I imagined a village tearoom. The décor is just so classic and although in places it was slightly worn it just had a lovely feel to it. Although it does look traditional this doesn't take away from the comfort and I found that all of the chairs that I used were very comfortable. Bibby's tends to have a very relaxed atmosphere. I think this is in part because it tends to cater for the people living in Little Common, many of who are retired so it never feels like people are in a rush there. This was one of the things that I liked about it. It's a world away from the city café's that I'm used to, where someone will push in front of you if you don't pay your bill quickly enough. Bibby's is small and what I particularly like is that there aren't loads of tables crammed in wherever possible, instead I always felt that wherever I sat I would have adequate space and privacy. I was disappointed at the lack of accessibility for people with impaired mobility. Little Common does have a lot of older people with mobility problems and I just expected there to be less steps and perhaps more space for wheelchair users. But I guess you can only do what you can with the space that you've got.
The majority of the time when I visited Bibby's there were two people working, one
seemed to be the owner. Service is where Bibby's is truly exceptional. I always felt like staff had time for me. Nothing ever felt rushed or too much trouble for the staff. I was always greeted with a smile, served my food with a smile and bid farewell with a smile (and almost without fail they would say goodbye to me as I left). I guess the only thing that wasn't great about the service was that it was quite slow. I would find that I had to wait a long time between ordering my food and actually getting it. With the food it seemed like they were making it fresh but I also had to wait a while for drinks. I guess I can't complain about waiting though when I did like the relaxed atmosphere and although in any other place the slow service would have bothered me I found that it didn't in Bibby's.
==Food and Drink==
Sometimes when I visited Bibby's I would go for lunch or afternoon tea, other times just for something to drink. The selection of drinks at Bibby's is pretty good but I always tend to order the same drinks anyway. Their latte's weren't quite to my taste, I tend to like my latte's very milky with only a little bit of espresso and I found that the latte's at Bibby's were slightly stronger than I preferred but with a bit of sugar they tasted nice enough. In terms of cold drinks I always found that there was a good selection of soft drinks or juices and the milkshakes are absolutely delicious. They're made with real ice cream so I tended to only get one when I was feeling stressed or as a treat because I imagine the calories are really high. For a tearoom I was disappointed by the choice of tea. When I visited you could get the usual English breakfast tea and earl grey but the selection of herbal and fruit teas was very limited. In the past when I have gone to places that are specifically about tea I found that there was always a huge selection of teas, even different types of English breakfast tea but Bibby's just doesn't have this. I always got the feeling that they just used the label of tea room when in fact Bibby's is just a café that serves cream teas (and even then not always).
Bibby's does do main meals and these are usually listed on the specials board, although I never really saw much variety. Unfortunately they don't tend to do vegetarian main meals. I don't think that I saw a single vegetarian meal in all the times that I visited, although I could be wrong as generally I did just order food from the menu. I had a moment of weakness once when I ordered a shepherds pie (or it could have been a cottage pie) and it was lovely. The portion sizes aren't huge but they are big enough for a light lunch time meal. It tasted like it was home made and it had so much flavour.
I did of course sample the cream tea on more than one occasion. I was disappointed a couple of times when I ordered a cream tea and was told that they hadn't made any scones that morning. I was surprised that preparing a cream tea wasn't considered priority in a tea room but like I said, I think Bibby's more uses the title of tea room than actually is one. I always ordered the luxury cream tea which was tea for one with a fruit scone, clotted cream, jam, butter, strawberries and sandwiches. I thought the strawberries were a nice addition to what is otherwise a very ordinary cream tea. That's not to say that it wasn't a tasty cream tea. I love cream tea and it tasted exactly like one should. At £5.90 it was very reasonably priced. The scones were always baked fresh that day and they always tasted like they were. There was once when I found the scones to be a little bit on the dry side but this was a one off and generally they are perfect in my opinion. The sandwiches are fairly nondescript sandwiches. They always came with generous amounts of whatever filling I ordered, which is definitely a point in Bibby's favour and the bread always tasted soft and fresh.
I would certainly recommend Bibby's Tea Room to anyone who is visiting Little Common. The staff at Bibby's are friendly and welcoming, the food is good and the atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable.
**Warning! Learning Curves is an erotic book and therefore this novel is intended for adult eyes only**
Learning Curves is a book by Mari Carr containing two short stories. I had never heard of the author when I got this book on a book swap website and I'm not generally a fan of short stories but the stories sounded interesting so I decided that I had nothing to lose (except perhaps a couple of hours). I had absolutely no expectations of this book at all which I think tends to be a good starting point!
The first story in this book is about a writer called Julia who is suffering from writers block. After the death of her cat she's feeling down and her publisher, Ross who also happens to be her best friend suggests that she starts writing erotic fiction. When they both get stranded in his cabin during a snow storm Ross suggests that they start researching for her new genre. After all, how can you write erotic novels without experiencing the things you're writing about?
When I told my friends about this story they laughed and said that it wasn't very imaginative. They're right really, it doesn't take a great deal of imagination to come up with the plot of this story and it's not exactly original but that is where the criticisms end. This story isn't original but that's not important. The book is supposed to be about eroticism and romance so who cares if you've read something similar before?
I think it can be difficult to write short stories well and one of the pitfalls tends to be over or under developing the characters. Either you end up with a novella that's so focused on developing the characters that everything else gets neglected or there's no character development at all and everything feels very superficial. One thing that Carr does well in both novella's is developing the characters. She seems to have found the right balance, giving you enough information to get to know the characters but still focusing on action and the plot. I felt that in this novella I did get to know the characters and did really like the characters. I felt that throughout the novella both characters developed well and you could see them grow as people but this wasn't all the novella was about.
Setting the book with both characters stranded with only each other for company, and not having any plot other than sex and romance, means that Carr is free to focus entirely on the erotic and romantic content of this novella. I think perhaps that's why she seems to have struck just the right balance, this novella isn't overly ambitious like so many others. She seems to know the limitations of writing such a short story and therefore focuses entirely on the main components that make up an erotic romance story. There was so much heat between these two characters which of course made for explosive sex scenes. The only real complaint that I have about the sex scenes is that she never really takes them far enough. There are a number of very kinky sex scenes that all start very well but they all feel like they end too soon and like she doesn't focus enough on one kink. Instead by the time you get into one she's already moved on. One thing that I liked is that there's a sense of security for the characters. You still have the will they won't they thing that characterises this genre but because they're such good friends you always feel quite secure in that. For me this novel felt both exciting and very comfortable, kind of what you would want in a good relationship and it worked well in this novella. It wasn't just about feeling secure within the relationship, the security also characterises the sex. They try out some pretty kinky fantasies that I think a lot of women fantasise about but they aren't things you would actually want to happen, I think that by having two characters play out those fantasies rather than writing a novel where those things really happen, Carr allows both the characters and the readers to explore sexuality in a comfortable way.
I really enjoyed this novella, it was romantic, it was erotic and it was certainly a page turner. My only complaint is that I really feel that it could have been a full length novel and would have been quite happy to read 300 pages of Julia and Ross.
The second novella in this book is Tequila Truth, a story about a two men and a woman who are friends and flat mates. Kylie, Heath and Colt have been friends since college and they've been playing tequila truth regularly since they met. The rules of the game are that you drink tequila, ask each other questions and that people can only answer honestly. It's basically a game of truth or dare, with tequila and without the dares. On Heath's 25 birthday they play Tequila Truth and one of the questions is what is your ultimate sex fantasy. Kylie's answer is a threesome with spanking and bondage. Heath and Colt offer to make Kylie's fantasy come true, proposing a weekend of no strings sex. But when Monday comes will anyone want to go back to the way things were before?
I don't want this part of the review to repetitive of what I said about the first novella but there are a few things that hold true for both novella's. Again Carr strikes the perfect balance between character development and the plot, something that is even more difficult to do with three characters. With this novella the stage is already set, so to speak, the characters have a history, they have a deep bond of friendship and crossing the line into romance isn't such a huge leap. In some ways this novella felt like you were starting the story somewhere in the middle, I know that sounds like a negative but it really isn't. It's like Carr has written about a short, momentous period in their lives but you know that it's just a snapshot, a short period of time in three long and eventful lives. You don't need to know their entire history or know every aspect of their personality, you just need to know who they are in that moment and what they are feeling in that relationship. You get the feeling that they are complete, well rounded people even though the focus of the story is very narrow.
Again this novel was very erotic and kinky. I felt that the sex scenes were absolutely scorching and incredibly well written. Both male characters are dominant and I really liked the way that they cared for Kylie as well as dominating her sexually. You just get the feeling that they really care for her and even when they're all acting like it's just a weekend thing you know that it's more than that for all of them. I think that perhaps one of things that didn't feel quite right in this novella is the relationship between Colt and Heath. In this story they are friends and there is nothing sexual between the two of them but I felt that there was chemistry there, not friendship chemistry but sexual chemistry. I like novel's where the men in the ménage aren't sexually involved with each other, just as I like stories where the men in the ménage are involved sexually so this isn't about me having a preference. It just felt like them not being together was a bit forced when actually maybe the characters did feel an attraction towards each other.
I really enjoyed this novella. I thought that the eroticism was done excellently with plenty of kinky action interwoven with tenderness and love. The characters were likeable and well developed for a story of this length and the whole novella had a really fun and exciting feel to it.
I am going to give this book four stars. I really did enjoy this book but there were times when reading Erotic Researcher that I didn't feel that the sex scenes developed enough and I was left wanting more and never getting it, that is the only reason why I have not rated this book as five stars.
==Price and Availability==
Learning Curves is available in print format on amazon. It retails for around £11 (although you can probably get it cheaper on amazon market place). Both novella's are also available separately on amazon in Kindle format for around £2 each.
I recently went on holiday to Cyprus and I bought a Body Shop Moringa gift set to take with me for me and my sisters to use. I chose moringa because the scent just seemed summery and I thought that it would be a lovely scent for our holiday. The gift set included a 100ml pot of moringa body scrub.
The main reason why I shop at the Body Shop is that I like their community trade programme and their attempts to make their products ethical. The Brazil nut oil used in this product was purchased from a co-operative in Peru and the Body Shop state that trade with this co-operative has helped to protect 3,000 hectares of rainforest. The co-operative use sustainable harvesting which supports indigenous species. The Body Shop have more information regarding their values and community fair trade on their website.
==What it is and what it claims to do==
This product is an exfoliating scrub that it supposed to leave skin feeling smooth and soft. The Body Shop claim that it removes dead skin cells and stimulates micro-circulation of skin. They recommend that it is used two or three times a week but I actually used it a bit more frequently than this when I was on holiday.
If I had to use one word to describe this product it would be light which may give the impression that it's ineffective, which is not the case at all. The first thing that I noticed with this scrub was the scent. I bought the gift set because I loved the scent of the moringa, it has a really fresh, clean scent but it is also really light and actually quite subtle, especially when it's on your skin. Although the scent is subtle I found with this product, and the other products in the range, that it is really long lasting. It just doesn't seem to fade which surprised me because some of the more overpowering scents don't last for that long and this scent is the complete opposite but takes ages to fade.
I also thought that the feel of this scrub was light too. I was convinced that it wasn't going to be a very good scrub because when I put my hand into it it almost felt smooth and I found that I really had to rub my hands together to feel the little bits in it that make it a scrub. I don't usually like the feel of scrubs on my skin, I use them because they leave my skin feeling nice, not because I actually enjoy using them. With this scrub I didn't mind the feel of it on my skin, perhaps because it does feel so light. I did find that I really had to rub this in well for it to actually exfoliate, which felt nice at the time but left me feeling like it wasn't going to work at all.
This isn't the most effective scrub that I have ever used, it certainly doesn't compare to some of the other scrubs that I've purchased from the Body Shop but it is still reasonably effective. I think this product is a really good one for long term use. The first time I used it I found that my skin was slightly less flaky but not completely smooth, then the second time I used it it was slightly better and by the third time it left my skin feeling perfectly smooth. At one point I was using it every day, occasionally missing out a day here and there but generally using it daily and my skin felt divine during this time. I'm sure some people are wondering why they would bother using a scrub that needs daily use when they could just use a more effective one that they only need to use two or three times a week. For me personally I hate the feel of most scrubs and with this one I can enjoy the actual experience of having the scrub on my skin while maintaining smooth skin.
I'm rating this product as four stars. The scent is lovely and long lasting but really quite subtle. The scrub doesn't feel too abrasive but also doesn't leave skin feeling completely smooth immediately. It did make my skin soft and smooth with long term use but for those wanting immediate results this is not the scrub you.
==Cost and Availability==
This scrub is available from the Body Shop for £12.50 for a 100ml tub. The tub lasted me for two weeks of almost daily use, with my sisters occasionally using some so it does last reasonably well.
Viper's Kiss is the first novel by romantic suspense author Shannon Curtis and as far as I can tell her only published novel to date. It tells the story of librarian Maggie Kincaid and security expert/secret agent Luke. Maggie leads a somewhat dull life that's centred around caring for her terminally ill mother and working at a university library. When Maggie is arrested by the police, who believe that she is a spy called Viper she thinks there must be some mistake. When she is then kidnapped twice and almost killed several times she realises that someone has set her up. Luke is supposed to be finding the mysterious Viper and the item that she has stolen. When he rescues/kidnaps Maggie she tries to tell him that she isn't Viper and he is torn between believing her and thinking that she is just a really good actress. It doesn't help that there's an attraction between them that he worries is clouding his judgement. Maggie soon falls in love with Luke but how can they live happily ever after when he believes that she is a criminal?
I didn't know what to expect with this novel because it's Shannon Curtis' first novel and so obviously I have never read anything of hers before. As it was her first novel my expectations weren't particularly high. I tend to find that even my favourite authors have weak first novels. That's not the case with Shannon Curtis. Where some authors take a couple of books to make their writing style feel natural Curtis starts off on a high. I just found that everything in the book flowed so well. The dialogue doesn't feel forced, she describes everything in enough detail without boring me, she sets each scene really well so that I never felt lost...basically she doesn't fall into any of the holes that so many other authors do with their first novels. This didn't read like a first novel at all, it read like a novel written by someone who is very comfortable with writing and who has had the opportunity to really develop her writing style.
I really enjoyed this novel and I felt like the plot had real substance. The whole plot seemed to be really well thought out. It's not one of those suspense novels that really has you guessing at how it will be resolved, it's too engaging for that. I was always far too caught up in what was actually happening to try to piece everything together, I found myself just kind of going with it and wanting to keep reading to find out what was going to happen. There are some subtle clues throughout for those who do like to pre-empt the conclusion but I found it enjoyable enough without having to do that.
During the book Maggie is caring for her terminally ill mother and I found this to be a really difficult subject to read about. At first I wished that it hadn't been included in the novel because it just made me feel so terrible. Having lost a parent to cancer I really empathised with Maggie and this novel brought tears to my eyes several times and actually had me in tears at one point. It's not a light hearted read in this sense, it's actually very emotionally engaging and deep. I think that in many ways this part of the plot does add something to the novel, Maggie is an easy character to empathise with anyway but this just makes it that much easier. It also elicits all kinds of emotions in the reader and I think that is a real talent in any writer, that ability to engage the reader to the point that they actually feel such strong emotions. I think it was really at the point in the novel that addresses Maggie's mother that I found this novel going from an enjoyable book that I wanted to keep reading to a novel that had my full, undivided attention and that really gripped me to the point that I didn't want to stop reading until it was finished. I just felt that I was pulled into the novel right alongside Maggie.
The one thing that I felt was a bit of a weakness with this novel was the romance. The novel takes place over such a short period of time (I think it's no longer than a day or two) and I don't think this is enough time to really build a proper romance. I think that it's enough time to build the initial part of a relationship and a happy for now ending but Curtis seems to be going for the forever, happily ever after. You know when you first get into a relationship and you think that you're going to be together forever but then you pass through the honeymoon period and sometimes it does work and sometimes it doesn't? I felt that Maggie and Luke were still in this honey moon period and maybe it would work out for them but just as likely it wouldn't. I think that Curtis even knew this was a flaw because she does try to address this issue quite explicitly. I don't want to give anything away so I'm not going to tell you how she tries to address this but I don't think that what she does actually does address the problem. However, although I felt that the romance was a bit weak and lacking substance it was still enjoyable. I love dramatic romances and you don't get much more dramatic than this one.
I loved the characters in this novel. As I've said I thought that Maggie was really easy to empathise with and I think that this is because she's just so real and down to earth. I felt that she was particularly well developed and that she had a lot of depth. Luke was also a likeable character and he was also reasonably well developed but not to the extent that Maggie was. I didn't empathise with Luke in the same way that I empathised with Maggie, perhaps it's a gender thing or perhaps it is that the author developed them in different ways. We do get to read from Luke's point of view several times but I always felt that Maggie was the slightly more central character. I always tend to prefer novels where the focus is more firmly on the female character(s) but that's just a personal preference. I could relate to Luke, particularly when he's having dilemma's around if he should trust Maggie or not but at the same time I always remained firmly in Maggie's corner. I could understand his hesitance to trust her but I was frustrated by it too. So even when I was reading Luke's point of view I still found myself empathising with Maggie.
Viper's Kiss is an excellent first novel from Shannon Curtis. It's fast paced, has plenty of suspense and has really likeable characters. The romance did seem to be a little bit lacking in substance but it was still very enjoyable. Curtis introduces a host of other hot male characters in this novel so I hope that means that there are more novel's to come featuring the hunky secondary characters from Viper's Kiss. I know that I will certainly be keeping an eye out for more novels by Shannon Curtis.
I would recommend this novel to any fans of romance novel's, particularly those who love romantic suspense. I would actually even recommend this to those of you who aren't necessarily romance fans but enjoy a little bit of suspense because I feel that Curtis delivers well in that aspect of the novel.
Viper's Kiss is currently available from amazon.co.uk in Kindle format for £2.77.
A Will and a Way is a romance novel by international best selling author Nora Roberts. Nora Roberts is without question the queen of romance novels due to the sheer volume of best selling romance novels that she has produced. Some of her novels I have found to be outstanding, others have been average and others terrible. I don't think that Roberts is the Queen of this genre because of the quality of her books, I think it's more a case of the quantity. Her few outstanding novels have won her enough fans that anything she releases will be a best seller. I never know what I'm going to get when I pick up one of her novels so my expectations don't tend to be high but at the same time I'm always hopeful for a great read.
This novel tells the story of Michael and Pandora. Michael and Pandora are not blood relatives but are cousins by marriage. Michael and Pandora both adored their uncle Joly and he in turn adored them. When he dies he leaves almost everything to Pandora and Michael, who he had been trying to match make for years but on the condition that they can live together for a period of time in his house. Pandora and Michael want to fulfil their uncles dying wishes but know that they will struggle to live together. They've always had a rocky relationship. To complicate matters they both find themselves attracted to each other. Things take an unexpected turn when it transpires that their relatives are not willing to let them have it all without a fight and they soon find themselves the target of intimidation and attempted murder.
This book opens with the reading of the will where we are introduced to all of the family members. I thought that this was a great way to start the novel. I found myself hooked immediately because all of the family members are really interesting and I love reading about family dynamics. It was also good because it means that when all of the criminal activity starts to occur we already know who all of the suspects are. I really like novels that keep you guessing about who did it and this novel really does that very well.
Pandora and Michael are both likeable characters and what I really liked is how unconventional they are. Not necessarily in an eccentric way, like their uncle was, but just generally very different to anyone I know in real life. This certainly made them more interesting to read about. As a couple they worked very well together. Roberts tends to be somewhat predictable in many of her novels, there's often a lot of tension between the characters, her characters are always very passionate and there's often conflict between them. I quite like this in a romance novel, it makes for interesting reading in my opinion. Michael and Pandora do have a history. They are related through marriage and often spent time together in their uncles house. Pandora has always considered Michael to be a playboy who dates bimbo's but under everything there does seem to be mutual respect for each other that both would probably deny was there. I think that this is important. I like tension between the characters, I like a certain amount of conflict but if I feel like the characters don't respect each other then I find it hard to enjoy the novel. One thing that I found somewhat disturbing is the way that they refer to each other as cousin. This was just a bit too close to incest for me.
The crime aspect of this novel was reasonably well done but I think it could have been better. There is a build up of suspense and a few really tense moments but there are also times in this book when things really slowed to the point of boredom. I like romance novels that have a crime or suspense aspect because it makes it more interesting and exciting to read. There were certainly moments of excitement that were very well written but I think that there could have been a few more of these and that they could have been better used to further the romance. Both aspects of the novel, the romance and the crime, were done well but it was more like they coexisted side by side rather than being integrated into one plot. This works okay but I just think that it could have been done better, like the crime could have pushed the couple closer together for example.
A will and a way is an enjoyable novel. It provides a fun romance with an added bit of excitement in the form of a crime plot but still manages to maintain a light hearted feel throughout. I would recommend this novel to fans of Nora Roberts and anyone who likes romance novels. This isn't one of her best but it's still a good read.
This review is of an erotic romance novel, that means that it will include references to sex.
Callie is a cowgirl who lives on a farm with her sick Grandfather. Taxes have been high and there's been pressure for her to sell to the Black brothers who own a much bigger farm nearby and need her land to expand. Callie is struggling financially but she's determined to keep her family home, at least while her Grandfather is still alive. The Black brothers offer her a deal, her body in exchange for them backing off and allowing her to keep her land. Callie soon finds herself developing feelings for the Black brothers but do they want anything more than sex and even if they do how can she make a relationship with three men work?
This ebook was an impulse buy, amazon recommended it to me and it seemed like it might be something that I would enjoy. I generally prefer my menage romance novels not to include brothers, but as long as there's no incest I'm happy to read about these less conventional relationships. I think that because it was an impulse buy and I had no preconceptions I'm perhaps feeling a bit more generous towards the novel than I would be if it was written by a writer who I know and like.
As a romantic erotic book this novel was severely lacking and if I was reviewing this just as erotica then I would be rating it higher. This novel was very erotic. The sex is the main focus of this novel and it's all very kinky. Think bondage, light s&m, domination (as the title suggests), group sex and sex toys. In some ways the romance side of the novel actually got in the way of the eroticism because there were so many times that sex scenes were interrupted due to the fact that the author was trying to move the plot along. The sex scenes were, in my opinion, very hot, kinky and well written. Although I have to say completely unrealistic. Not the actual sex but the circumstances around it.
The romance is where this novel really falls down. The plot isn't particularly good but that's to be expected in a novel in this genre, people don't read it for a well thought out plot! I was never really convinced about the romance. The three brothers have quite distinct characters but they're not particularly well developed. I don't think it would have been possible for the author to really develop their characters in such a short novel and it already feels like there wasn't really enough space to do this book justice. In some ways the men become more like symbols of the kind of men that they represent. So you have Boyd who is the gentleman and Colton who is the womaniser and then Waylon who is the irresponsible one who has never really found his place as the youngest of three brothers. I think that had the characters been better developed it may have felt like the novel had some more depth. Callie is reasonably well developed and as the novel starts with her worrying for her grandfather I immediately sympathised with her. I thought that she was a great combination of fire, independence and vulnerability. But even Callie wasn't amazing well developed.
We are told that all of the brothers have feelings for Callie but I never really felt that they did. Part of the problem for me was that I didn't actually like Colton at all. In fact the only brother that I really liked was Boyd, Waylon I felt pretty indifferent towards. I spent a lot of the novel hoping that she would just end up with Boyd and that is not something that you should be feeling in a ménage novel. Another part of the problem was that they did treat Callie pretty badly at points in this novel and didn't really seem to be considering her feelings at all. And with the exception of Boyd they seem to make it clear that expanding their farm is more important than she is.
The author does seem to set up some really dramatic scenes but she never actually carries them off. I think that novels like this need the angst followed by the dramatic make up scenes but this novel didn't have that. The author attempted to do that but it didn't feel like it was enough. Everything just felt very shallow. By the end I was convinced that they would have a lifetime of great sex but not that they would live happily ever after.
This novel is reasonably well written and the sex scenes were hot but that's about all this novel has going for it. I'm going to rate it three stars because it at least fulfilled part of my expectations for an erotic romance novel. I just think there needed to be more romance and that it needed to be more convincing.