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text 2017-06-02 15:24
Cold Nights, Hot Bodies by Lily Harlem Free!
BY Harlem, Lily ( Author ) [{ Cold Nights, Hot Bodies By Harlem, Lily ( Author ) Jun - 05- 2014 ( Paperback ) } ] - Lily Harlem

All my life I’ve been the quiet bookworm, the office mouse. It hasn’t bothered me. Immersing myself in erotic novels has kept me wriggling on the edge of my seat at work and firmly entrenched in my own fantasy world at night.

Though one thing is bothering me—my damn virginity. If only I could find a sexy bedroom expert to introduce me to the delights of having a lover. Someone handsome and charming, who can rival the hunky alpha males in my books. I have a very vivid, very well-fed imagination—he’ll have to keep up.

Then, one bitterly cold night, thanks to a devious, conniving, so-called friend, the perfect opportunity to rid myself of this pesky virginity problem comes along. Before I know it, the heroes in my novels have come alive in the person of Shane Galloway, who’s pleasuring me with every trick in the book and wheedling into my heart in the hottest ways possible.

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review 2017-02-26 20:16
Beautifully written story of a lost in translation version of the American Dream
Behold the Dreamers - Imbolo Mbue

Thanks to NetGalley and to Harper Collings UK, 4th State for offering me an ARC copy of this book that I voluntarily review.

This novel, written by an author hailing from Cameroon, like her characters, tells us the story of the Jongas, a family of emigrants trying to make a go of life in the USA, more specifically in New York. Jende strikes it lucky at the beginning and gets a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a big executive for Lehman Brothers. That seems to open many opportunities for Jende and his family, paving the way for all their dreams to come true. Unfortunately, the undoing of Lehman, some personal issues in the Edwards family and the pressure of their unclear immigration status (Jende arrived with a 3 months’ busy that he’s overstayed, his wife has a student visa but they might not have enough money to finance her studies to become a pharmacist and their son would have to go back if the father does) change all that.

The story, written in the third person alternating the points of view of Jende and his wife, Neni, is full of details of the subjective experience of the characters, from the worries about their immigration status, the variety of connections with people from home (from parties, to disinterested advice, emotional support…), their feelings about New York (their favourite places, the cultural shock of confronting new rules, prices, weather, standards and extremes of poverty and richness), their initial shock and later better understanding of the Edwards lifestyle, the educational opportunities and the effect of the stress of their situation on their personal lives.

Both characters are credible, engaging and easy to empathise with, even when we might not agree with their actions and/or decisions. They also have dreams and wishes for their future and their family. To begin with, they both think the USA will change their lives and open up avenues they’d never be able to pursue back home. Jende couldn’t even marry Neni back home and his wife had to live with her parents and had no chance to study. Everything seems possible in the USA, but slowly it becomes clear that things aren’t as straightforward as they thought at first, that being white and rich in America doesn’t equal happiness, and that not everyone is prepared to give them a chance.

There are funny moments and also very sad ones (especially when the couple disagrees and their relationship becomes difficult) and one can’t help but become invested in the story and the future of the couple and their children, who become ersatz members of our family. If at times the Jongas appear as victims of circumstances and a system that they don’t understand, at others they take things into their own hands, and, whatever we might think about what they do, they act. The book is beautifully written and offers an insight into lives that might be different to ours but we can easily share in.

On a personal note, I was a bit disappointed by the ending, not so much by what happens but by how it comes about, and I wasn’t so sure the reactions of the main characters towards the end of the book were totally consistent with the personality they’d shown so far, although it might be possible to see it as a result of the extreme pressures they experience. What that would suggest of the likelihood that their Cameroonian dream will end up becoming a reality is the crux of the matter but something left to the imagination of the readers. The scene towards the end of the book between Clark Edwards and Jende Jonga where they share their future plans (both of them moving on to a future more in keeping with family values and less with work), makes us think of how differently the women of the book see things compared to their men. Gender relations are one of the most interesting and troubling aspects of the novel.

A solid book with great characters that deals with important issues (domestic violence, family relations, cultural differences, immigration, asylum seeking, race relations, the Lehman Brothers and the economic crisis following its fall, the American Dream…), is a joy to read and it will make you consider many those topics from a different point of view.  

 

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review 2016-10-04 00:40
Russian Heat (Hot Ice #7) by Lily Harlem
Russian Heat (Hot Ice Book 7) - Lily Harlem

Lily Harlem’s Russian Heat melts the ice with its heat factor.  Flight attendant Samantha Headington and NHL player Vadmir Arefyev plan on having a one-night-stand but faith has other things in store.  This contemporary sports romance takes place in Florida and Russia.  It is suitable for adult audiences.

 

I enjoyed Samantha’s character.  She reminded me of Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) from Sex and the City.  She likes her designer clothes.  She seems put-together and classy.  She enjoys sex and gets what she wants.  I like Vadmir.  He is a good son and brother.  I appreciate that he takes care of his family.  He is very generous.  I found it amusing how he kept getting his slang wrong, and Samantha kept correcting him.  Samantha and Vadmir have hot chemistry.  They are a fun couple.  They get along great and complement one another. 

 

I enjoyed the plot.  I thought it was clever how Samantha’s and Vadmir’s one-night-stand turned into more.  I loved the Russian aspect of the story.  My parents were both born in Hungary.  A lot of the culture is similar, and I found myself relating.  The story had some interesting twists and complications.  Russian Heat is an enjoyable read.  It had a good ending.  I also, liked the bonus Hot Ice short story, Rookie Rules. 

 

Complimentary copy provided in exchange for an honest review.

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text 2016-05-23 08:01
Celebrating Dark Captive Anthology, Book 1

 


Everyone has a dark side... 

Dark Captive is an exclusive collection of dark erotic romance stories featuring alpha men with fierce sexual appetites. They'll stop at nothing to get what they want. And they have their sights on one woman. Possessive and bold, these heroes give their conquests exactly what they crave—to be taken … to be owned. Any resistance offered will be tested, but in the end love rules. 

Kidnapping, abduction, and sexual slavery are just a few of the titillating taboo themes in this hand-picked anthology.

 


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Sinful by Lily Harlem
 
London is aflame with riots. Confusion and danger lurk around every corner. For Cheryl, caught alone and terrified in a dark alley, she fears she’s about to meet her maker.
 
Luckily the safe sanctuary of a small church, nestled between the deserted shops and houses, affords her protection. And within these sacred walls she finds Father Steve—a man whose decision to be celibate, marry his faith, seems to her an awful waste to the females of the world.
 
But all is not as it seems and as her hot and holy new friend reveals his layers and confesses his sins, the temperature in the church heats up more than the flames raging across the city.  
 
Safety, however, is an illusion, and the pair must fight to survive. In doing so will fate draw them together? Have the heavens mapped out their destiny? And was Father Steve telling the truth about his virginity?
 
 
Excerpt:
 
“Don’t be shocked. Tonight is unusual.” He reached out and took a lock of my hair between his fingers. He rubbed it, spreading out the blonde strands. “I think God has thrown us together. To take care of one another.”
 
“You do?”
 
“Yeah.” He looked up and smiled.
 
It was a filthy, dirty smile. The sort I’d seen on boyfriends when we’d been drinking, flirting, having fun and about to start satisfying some seriously carnal urges. “Father,” I whispered.
 
“Yes?”
 
“What … what are you doing?”
 
“Sitting with a member of my flock who appears very scared.” He shifted on the narrow pew.
 
“Yes. I am scared. Of what’s out there.”
 
“Not what’s of in here?”
 
“Should I be?”
 
“Not if you have God in your heart.”
 
“I’m not very good at going to church.” There, I’d said it.
 
“I think you’re probably good at other things.”
 
“Like what?” My heart rate was tripping along.
 
“Other things that make you feel good. Things that make the person you’re with feel good.”
 
Damn if he didn’t have that white collar sitting around his neck, I’d think he was being suggestive. Actually, no, even with that white collar I thought he was being suggestive.
 
“Feel good?” I repeated.
 
“Yes.” He leaned closer, his lips only a whisper from mine.
 
Damn the instinct to kiss him was almost overwhelming. Sure he was a stranger, but he was a good man, a man of morals and beliefs.
 
Which was exactly why I couldn’t kiss him.
 
But what if I died tonight? What if this was it? Surely I should have one last moment of passion. I loved sex, and it was one of my favorite things to do.
 
“What do you want to ask me?” he asked, his breath washing over my mouth.
 
“I don’t know.”
 
“I know you do.” He paused. “One thing. Ask me one thing. I’ll be truthful.”
 
One thing. There were so many. He was the most unusual priest I’d ever met. Not that I’d met many. Not only was he handsome in a rugged kind of way, he also oozed sex appeal. It seemed to roll off him in waves. Had we been in a club I’d have gone for him, and had a one-night stand just to see how a guy like him did it.
 
“You don’t have anything you want to ask me?”
 
“Yes. I do.”
 
“Go on then…”
 
What was really in the bag? Why was he here at night alone? Where did he live exactly? Did he look at all women the way he was looking at me—as if he were undressing them with his eyes?
 
“Have you ever had sex?” I blurted. It was the answer I really wanted after all.
 
“No.” He shook his head. “Bonafide virgin.”
 
“Oh.” Damn it. If I’d been turned on before, now I was in white-hot ready-to-go mode. The things I could teach him given the chance. What I could do with his naive, inexperienced, gorgeous body. The delights of the flesh I could introduce him to.
 
“But I bet you’ve had lots of propositions,” I said, wondering if I should sit on my hands to stop myself reaching out for him.
 
“Yes. But I’ve always turned them down.” His voice was low now, husky too. “Do you want to know why?”
 
“Yes,” I said quietly.
 
“Two reasons.”
 
“Which are?”
 
He glanced at Jesus. “I made my promises to the Lord.”
 
“Of course. Yes.”
 
“But lately…”
 
“What…?”
 
He shook his head and glanced at his lap.
 
“Lately what? Tell me.” Had he been questioning his faith? Was that it? Was that why he was looking at me as though he had only one thing on his mind—and it wasn’t the riot outside.
 
“Lately my faith has been tested. The evil in the world, including here. It’s hard to stay focused.”
 
“I’m sure.” It was my turn to take his hand. I gave it a squeeze and looked at the way the hairs fanned over the back and disappeared into the black sleeve. I ran my fingers over the letters on his knuckles. Love was clearly a moto he lived by. “And what’s the other reason?”
 
“I told you I’d had propositions.”
 
I nodded.
 
“And always turned them down.”
 
“Because you’d made promises and you love God.” I paused. “Very noble. Very commendable.”
 
“Yes.” He tipped his head. “But the thing is, Cheryl.”
 
“What?”
 
No one like you, no one as sexy as you, has ever propositioned me.”
 
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*****
 


Links to Purchase:

 

Evernight Publishing:  http://bit.ly/242Et84
AllRomance eBooks: http://bit.ly/1W9zOBO
 
 
 
Join the Party with Evernight and their Authors:
 
Facebook Party: Thursday, May 26th:
http://bit.ly/1XpvzBd

$50 Evernight GC Giveaway
 
Visit all of the tour stops to find out more about each story in this amazing anthology! 
 
  

 

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Dark Captive MF Anthology

 

5/20

 

            Sensuous Promos http://sensuouspromos.blogspot.com

 

5/21

 

           Michelle Graham www.michellegrahambooks.com

 

 

5/22

 

            Nic’s Book Nook http://nicsbooknook.blogspot.com/

 

 

5/23

 

           Jules Dixon  www.julesdixon.com/blog-3/

 

***Kitty’s Book Spot! 2kasmom.Booklikes.com***

 

Illustrious Illusions Www.illustriousillusions.com

 

 

5/24

 

           Ravenna Tate http://ravennatate.blogspot.com

 

 

 

5/25

 

           Donina Lynn doninalynn.com

 

 

Dearly Loved MF Books https://www.facebook.com/Dearly-Loved-mf-books-905796382810741/ (this will be a facebook blurb post and not an excerpt containing blog post)

 

5/26

 

           Blog Reviews Janis F https://bookreviewsjanisf.com/

 

 

 

5/27

 

            Nessie’s Place https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

 

 

5/28                                  

 

          Liz’s Reading Life https://lizjosette.blogspot.com

 

 

 

5/29

 

           L.D. Blakeley www.ldblakeley.com/blog

 

 

 

5/30

 

            Taylor Brooks http://authortaylorbrooks.blogspot.com

 

            Nikki’s Nofsinger http://nikkitrueblue.blogspot.com/

 

 Characters Behaving Badly http://www.charactersbehavingbadly.com/

 

5/31

 

Erzabets Enchantments     Http://erzabetsenchantments.blogspot.com

 

           Nicki Day http://nickiday.blogspot.com/

 

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review 2016-05-12 13:52
Interesting story of a woman's search for her ancestry.
Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem - Paula Williams Madison

I was fascinated by the concept when I first heard about this book. Author Paula Williams Madison has questions about her background. She had a Chinese grandfather who fathered children while in Jamaica, including the author's mother. But an arranged marriage with a Chinese woman eventually separated Madison's grandfather, Samuel Lowe, from most of his Jamaican children, eventually leaving his granddaughter with questions about her background, her mother's past, questions about family, etc. And so we begin on a journey that takes us through the history of Jamaica, the importation of Chinese people (mostly men) as indentured servants, plus the author's life and background.

 

It was mostly interesting. I only recently learned how Asian people were brought over as servants (many as slaves) to the West Indies as among the first slave to the West and so thought this would be another area of history I know very little about.

 

That said, that was really the area that interested me. The time spent in Jamaica plus Lowe's return to China after leaving his Jamaican children behind were the best parts for me. I'll admit, while I know some of this would obviously concern the author (as it IS about her grandfather) I found myself bored with her childhood and growing up. Sometimes tracing the various branches of the family trees (on both sides!) could get extremely confusing.

 

In retrospect this might have been better suited as a magazine or newspaper longread. But at the same time, I'd say this is heads above other ancestry-tracing biographies I've read (thinking of 'One Drop' by Bliss Broyard). I didn't regret reading it, although I'm glad I waited (forever!) for my library to acquire this and I didn't break down and buy it instead.

 

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