Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Sweetest Taboo

Sweetest Taboo
4 of 5 stars false
Isabel Cruz was fifteen years old when she met Tom Stevens. She was 15 when they started dating, and 16 when she lost her virginity to him. By the time she turned 18 and went to college, everything had fallen apart.
This hadn’t been an ordinary love, though. Not a love between two dear friends, or even high school sweethearts. This had been the most taboo sort of love there was: a relationship between a student and her teacher. Isabel started her high school career as a normal student, but set her sights on Tom Stevens as soon as she met him, and pursued him with an intense – and sometimes reckless – fascination. When he finally approached her after swim practice and told her that he shared her feelings, it was the start of a forbidden and dangerous relationship.
Join Isabel as she makes her way through this dark love story, hiding from teachers, lying to her parents, and defying the authorities to make a life with the man she loves. Watch as she discovers the wonders of love and romance, and the terrible betrayal of jealous friends. And cry with her when she learns the hard truth about life and the people in her world.
Sweetest Taboo is inspired by the true and tragic stories of students who fall in love with their teachers, and live with the hard truths of forbidden romances. In a world full of after-school specials on sexual predators, this touching book seeks a different path, casting both student and teacher in a gentle light, and showing that true love may lie at the base of even the most illicit romance.


****This book was part of a blog tour, I received a copy for my honest review****
I am really not sure what to say about this book. I started out nervous,I finished it anxious and nervous and all in between I yo yo-ed between uncomfortable, shocked, angry.
This is a very thought provoking story and I am sure there will be many of you out there who will not be able to see it in the light it was supposed to be portrayed. I am not sure myself if I do.
So let's review the simple things. The writing is very good,the words just flowed and I didn't have any difficulty hearing the voice of Isabel in my mind.
I loved that it felt like it was based in the nineties, Marquez did a really good job of setting the scene.
The music titles for each chapter was a real plus for me. I grew up and went to school in the nineties and I recognized all the songs and it really got me in that nineties frame of mind.
Okay, now let's do the hard stuff.
At the beginning of the book there is a preface from Claire Stevens that tells us that this is based on a true story, in fact it is based on her mother.
She explained that her mother wanted to show the world that these sorts of relationships although frowned upon aren't always what they seem. Sometimes love is at the core of relationship.
Now I am a person who does see the gray areas, I am not all black and white.So I started this book thinking I was going to be open minded and not judge. However the further I got into this book the more I just couldn't let go of certain things. Tom Stevens (see the name link there, the plot thickens) is more than double her age,Isabel is fifteen and he is in his late thirties and he is MARRIED! He also has two children. He gets jealous of Isabel spending time with other boys but he goes home to his wife and children. He says he doesn't love his wife, but he won't leave her. Does this sound right to you? Also Isabel is very immature, to me, she flounces about telling everyone of her affair. Arrggghhh.
I understand that this is a taboo topic, the relationship between a teacher and a student. So I understand that it is bound to be full of things to provoke you, make you think, make you angry. The reality of this particular topic to me is that Isabel is still a child. I know at fifteen I thought was grown up and worldly wise, but I was not.
I thought through reading this book I would see things in a different light, but I didn't. I still feel that this is line that should not be crossed until the minor is of an age to make the decisions with some worldly experiences behind them. I also think that cheating is never acceptable.
So , I bet you are wondering what the four star rating is for since I have just bagged the story. Well the fact is I still like this book and just because the authors views are not mine doesn't mean I think she wrote a bad story. It wasn't, it was very good. Engaging, I read it cover to cover in one sitting.
I am going to very soon dive into the next in this series... so as you can see, I haven't been put off.
My advice to you would be to read this book, but go in knowing that it will definitely not be all sunshine and roses and that it will provoke you into some sort of emotional response. Be prepared, but try and enjoy, it is not an easy read, but it is a good one.

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Karen Rose

Enter the rafflecopter at the bottom of the post for a chance to win your choice of any one of Karen's books.This contest is open internationally.

Internationally bestselling, RITA-award winning, author Karen Rose was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. She met her husband, Martin, on a blind date when they were seventeen and after they both graduated from the University of Maryland, (Karen with a degree in Chemical Engineering) they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Karen worked as an engineer for a large consumer goods company, earning two patents, but as Karen says, “scenes were roiling in my head and I couldn't concentrate on my job so I started writing them down. I started out writing for fun, and soon found I was hooked.” Her debut suspense novel, DON'T TELL, was released in July, 2003. Since then, she has written eleven more novels and a novella. Her twelfth novel, YOU BELONG TO ME, was released in 2011. Karen's books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, London Sunday Times, and Germany's der Spiegel bestseller lists, reaching #2 on the London Times' list and #1 on der Spiegel! Her third novel, I'M WATCHING YOU, received the Romance Writers of America's RITA award for Best Romantic Suspense for 2005. Since then, six more books have been RITA finalists. To date, her books have been translated into twenty-one languages. A former high school teacher of chemistry and physics, Karen lives in Florida with her husband of more than twenty years, her two daughters, a dog and two cats. Links: Goodreads Karen Rose Facebook

 1. All of your books except for on anthology take place in the same universe, what book would you suggest reading first?
 I'd start at the beginning with DON'T TELL. There is a chart on my website that shows all the books and how they interrelate. The characters appear in each others' books, so it's best to start at the beginning!
2. I see on your Goodreads page you mention going to a motivational speaker who suggested everyone should have a theme song for there life. Mine would be Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen. What would yours be? 
 THE DANCE, by Garth Brooks. There are a lot of things in my life that I might have chosen to avoid had I known how they'd turn out - but we're a composite of our experiences, good and bad. I love the line, "I might have missed the pain, but I would have missed the dance."
3. If you had to pick, which book of Nalini Singhs is your favorite?
 Oh, that's a hard one because I love them all! If I have to pick, I'd say Archangel's Blade, Dmitri's story. I've read it several times now and each time is as thrilling and moving as the last.
4. Since you are best-selling author do you feel like there is more pressure to write a good book? 
Oh, yes! I don't want to disappoint my readers. I want every book to be one they love.
5. Favorite toppings on a pizza? 
 Sadly, pepperoni. So bad for me, but so delicious!
6. What place would you like to go to that you haven't been able to yet? 
The peak of Mt. Fuji. My dad climbed it when he was a young man and took some amazing photographs that I treasure. It's always been on my bucket list to see it for myself.
7. Weirdest question anybody has ever asked you? what was your answer? 
 Hard one … maybe this question :-)


Romantic Suspense Series

It was a desperate plan. But Mary Grace Winters knew the only way to save herself and her child from her abusive cop husband was to stage their own death. Now all that remains of their former life is at the bottom of a lake. Armed with a new identity in a new town, she and her son have found refuge hundreds of miles away. As Caroline Stewart, she has almost forgotten the nightmare she left behind nine years ago. She is even taking a chance on love with Max Hunter, a man with wounds of his own. But her past is about to collide with the present when her husband uncovers her trail and threatens her hard-won peace. Step by step, he's closing in on her- and everything and everyone she loves.
 4 of 5 stars false
Links: Review Goodreads Amazon

Special Agent Steven Thatcher has a lot on his hands. Not only is there a serial killer on the loose, stalking area high schools, but Steven's teenage son Brad is suddenly acting up and failing in school. His schoolteacher, Jenna Marshall, is also worried about Brad. As their conversations about the troubled teen increased and grow more intimate, Jenna and Steven soon find they're falling for each other, though they tread cautiously as both carry hidden wounds of their own. Their situation turns even more dangerous when Jenna finds herself on the twisted path of the serial killer Steven is investigating.
 4 of 5 stars false
Links: Review Goodreads Amazon

Star prosecutor Kristen Mayhew has a dangerous secret admirer. He seems to know her every thought, her every move. He sends her letters. And he kills the criminals she herself is powerless to stop. This avenger even knows Kristen's deepest secret--the one that has kept her from surrendering her heart to Abe Reagan, the police detective sworn to protect her. Like Kristen, Reagan is haunted by the loss of something precious that can never be regained. But in the shadow of a calculating serial killer, the two turn to each other and dare to rediscover passion...even as the messages and vicious murders continue. Even as the killer's thrist for retribution makes Kristen a target for murder.
5 of 5 stars false
Links: Review Goodreads Amazon

 NOTHING TO SEE As director of an inner-city woman’s shelter, Dana Dupinsky safeguards many secrets. Some are new identities; some are new addresses; and some are even hidden truths about herself. Passionately dedicated to Hanover House and the women she protects, Dana has always been reluctant to look for love. But now, just as a case puts her and a child in mortal danger, it seems that love has come looking for her. NOTHING TO HEAR Security expert Ethan Buchanan learned to stalk men in the Afghan desert. Now he vows to track down the ruthless woman who kidnapped his godson—and falling for Dana is not in the plan. Yet her very presence seems to chase away the ghosts that haunt him, and her skillful evasion of personal questions raises his hunting instincts. For there’s a deadly new secret at Hanover House. A brutal killer is weaving a web of revenge with a stolen boy at its center. And Dana is the next victim on the list… NOTHING TO FEAR 3 of 5 stars false
Links: Review Goodreads Amazon

Terror has forever changed the life of psychiatrist Tess Ciccotelli. Someone is tormenting her patients, pushing them to commit suicide, and setting her up to take the blame. But Tess can't break her oath to protect her patients' privacy at all costs. Even when detective Aidan Reagan demands a list of everyone she's treating. Even when the mounting danger threatens Tess herself. Aidan doesn't like anyone who stalls his cases. Still, he can't help but admire Tess's fierce loyalty to her patients, especially when it becomes clear that a nameless, facelss enemy is set on destroying her career, her family , and finally, Tess herself. As Aidan's heart softens, the killer's will hardens, and one thing becomes clear - the noose is tightening around Tess's neck.
 5 of 5 stars false
Links: Review Goodreads Amazon

 In all his years in the Chicago Fire Department, Lieutenant Reed Solliday ahs never experienced anything like this recent outbreak of house fires - devastating, vicious and in one case, homicidal. He has another problem - his new partner, Detective Mia Mitchell. She's brash, bossy, and taking the case in a direction he never imagined. Mia's instincts tell her the arsonist is making this personal. And as the infernos become more deadly, one look at the victims' tortured faces convinces her and Reed that they must work closer to catch the killer. With each new blaze, the villain ups the ante, setting firetraps for the people Reed and Mia love. The truth is almost too hot to handle: This monster's desire for death and destruction is unquenchable ... and for Mia he's started the countdown to an early grave.
 4 of 5 stars false 
Links: Review  Goodreads   Amazon 


   (This book is also #1 in the Daniel Vartanian series)
  COME TO ME The first victim is found in a snow-covered Philadelphia field. Detective Vito Ciccotelli enlists the aid of archaeologist Sophie Johannsen to determine exactly what lies beneath the frozen ground. Despite years of unearthing things long buried, nothing can prepare Sophie for the matrix of graves dug with chilling precision. The victims buried there haunt her. But the empty graves terrify her-the killer isn't done yet. SCREAM FOR ME He is cold and calculating, the master of a twisted game. Even with Vito and Sophie hot on his trail, he will not stop. One more empty grave must be filled, and one last scream must be heard-the scream of an archaeologist who is too close for comfort and too near to resist... DIE FOR ME
Links: Goodreads Amazon

(This book is also #2 in the Daniel Vartanian series)
Special Agent Daniel Vartanian has sworn to find the perpetrator of multiple killings that mimic a 13-year-old murder linked to a collection of photographs that belonged to his brother, Simon, the ruthless serial killer who met his demise in DIE FOR ME. Daniel is certain that someone even more depraved than his brother committed these crimes, and he's determined to bring the current murderer to justice and solve the mysterious crime from years ago. With only a handful of images as a lead, Daniel's search will lead him back through the dark past of his own family, and into the realm of a mind more sinister than he could ever imagine. But his quest will also draw him to Alex Fallon, a beautiful nurse whose troubled past reflects his own. As Daniel becomes attached to Alex, he discovers that she is also the object of the obsessed murderer. Soon, he will not only be racing to discover the identity of this macabre criminal, but also to save the life of the woman he has begun to love
Links: Goodreads Amazon 


(This book is also #3 in the Daniel Vartanian series)
Five teenage girls have been viciously attacked. One survived. Only she can reveal the secrets of a disturbing ring of people who kidnap and sell teenage girls on the black market. But those responsible for the crimes will do whatever it takes to maintain her silence. Susannah Vartanian and Luke Papadopoulos have both sworn to stop the murderers for their own personal reasons. The investigation leads them to the shady realm of Internet chat rooms, where anyone can mask his or her identity. They soon discover a chain of deception so intricate they don't know whom to trust. Finding comfort in each other's arms, they begin to unravel the intricately knotted threads, but the killers are ruthless and determined, and won't hesitate to take extreme measures to insure their anonymity and keep their business intact. When Susannah proves to be inexplicably linked to the crimes, her life is soon in danger, and Luke will do everything he can to save the woman he loves.
Links:  Goodreads  Amazon 


 Eve Wilson's face was once scarred by a vicious assault. Terrified and ashamed, she escaped to the online realm, where she could choose the face she allowed people to see. Years later, her outer scars faded and inner scars buried, Eve has fought her way back to the real world and is determined to help others do the same. Now a graduate student moonlighting as a bartender, Eve researches the addictive powers of online communities. When her test subjects begin turning up dead as a result of apparent suicides, she doesn't know where to turn. Homicide detective Noah Webster is one of the few people who believe the victims are connected murders. Eve becomes Noah's online guide and realizes that the handsome detective may have secret scars as painful as her own. As Eve and Noah chase a killer who is always one step ahead of them, together they try to overcome the tragedies of their pasts and learn to trust again, but they soon discover that danger is much closer than they think. 
 5 of 5 stars false 
Links: Review  Goodreads Amazon 


When a teenage girl dies in a suspicious fire, Detective Olivia Sutherland is assigned to track down the arsonist. Then she discovers something more sinister: a vicious blackmailer who preys on young people and murders without hesitation. Making her work even harder is sexy firefighter David Hunter. He's not only sharing the case but sparking memories of their long-ago night of passion, when feelings were left unspoken and hearts were broken. David has his own ghosts, and a million regrets. But while he and Olivia try to face the wall of pain between them, a diabolical puppet master is pulling strings to make a group of twentysomethings do his bidding. Soon Olivia and David are scouring the city for a calculating criminal who seems tantalizingly close--and is moving in for the kill. 
Links: Goodreads Amazon 


  Baltimore homicide detective J.D. Fitzpatrick has seen a lot of horrific violence both as a cop and during his deployment in Afghanistan, but nothing like the trail of tortured bodies turning up throughout the city. He's up against a brutal killer with a very personal vendetta, and J.D. is beginning to suspect that his medical examiner may be shielding some crucial evidence linked to the case. Medical examiner Dr. Lucy Trask is intrigue by J.D.'s compassion, but she isn't about to mix work with pleasure. Not while there's a ruthless killer on the loose. And definitely not while she's keeping a dark secret that could connect her to these vicious killings - and put her next on the killer's hit list..
Links: Goodreads Amazon 


 A car crashes in front of rookie PI Paige Holden’s home. And suddenly, she finds one of her pro bono clients dying in her arms—from a gunshot wound. With her last breath, the woman whispers cryptic words into her ear and hands her a blood-smeared flash drive. Five years ago, State’s Attorney Grayson Smith put a murderer behind bars. But when Paige Holden shares the flash drive with him, its contents cast doubts on the conviction—and lead him and Paige into a world of blackmail, dark secrets, and a decades-long string of murders. An investigation they’ll survive only by trusting each other—and the truth.
Links: Goodreads Amazon

Best be nimble, best be quick, I'm right here and you're my pick... The last thing Ford Elkhart remembers is walking his girlfriend back to her university dormitory. Now he's lying tied and gagged on a cold, dark floor, with only one chance to escape before he ends up like the bones surrounding him... Assistant State's Attorney Daphne Montgomery is devastated by her son's disappearance, and is immediately convinced that his kidnapping is connected to the white supremacist she's just had jailed for murder. FBI Special Agent Joseph Carter isn't so sure - especially when he learns that Ford's girlfriend is also missing. Is Ford's abduction payback for Daphne's courtroom victory? Or is he a pawn in an even more dangerous game?
Links: Goodreads Amazon  

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Packing Heat 18+

The following review is for 18+ readers.

Packing Heat
4 of 5 stars false
Dark and brooding firefighter Brad Archer has spent months denying his attraction to his roommate, Police Officer Gavin Connolly. Gavin is just the kind of guy he likes, tall, tough and buff enough to actually handle Brad’s big size and rough nature.
To hide his real feelings Brad holds the handsome, seemingly straight cop at arms length until a shooting at work leaves Gavin a little too vulnerable to ignore. What starts out as a simple attempt to comfort his roommate blows up into something wild, sexual and wholly unexpected when Gavin wants more from Brad than a strong, firefighter’s shoulder to lean.
The sexual magnetism drawing the two of them together forces secrets to be revealed and though the sex is mind-blowing it may not be worth weathering the storms their relationship could stir up. In order to protect him Brad realizes he loves Gavin enough to let him go. The problem is—The stubborn cop may not let him.


Phew!!This is how good m/m romance should be done, damn!!
I mean a sexy cop and a fully ripped fire fighter, does it get any hotter than that?
The story starts with Brad, trying to help Gavin his roommate,drink off a bad situation at work. Brad doesn't know that Gavin is gay but has secretly wanted him for ages. Gavin who is bi sexual, hasn't wanted to scare Brad away so he hasn't let on about his feelings concerning his hot firefighter roommate.
In his drunken state and in need of certain comforts ;) Gavin caves and finally admits to his feelings and desires.. what ensues is sexy, hot, emotional and hilarious in parts.
I couldn't help but fall in love with these two very alpha men. Brian with his guards up and Gavin with his easy going personality, they really were perfect for each other and their witty back and forth banter felt natural and flowed well.
Gavin huffed" I wasn't courting you".
"I think you were," Bread teased,feeling flattered nonetheless. "It's sort of like a straight man pretending to be gay in order to seem unthreatening and get into some woman's panties, only reversed---- and poorly executed. I'm definitely telling people about this"

For a short read, it was really well delivered.I could totally understand where the problems in their relationship came from. This story had feeling and depth and a certain scene that had me aching for Brian. Kele Moon had done a great job of packing a lot into something little and making it work. Very worthwhile.

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