ARC Review: Hard Cover by Jamie K Schmidt

Title: Hard Cover
Author: Jamie K Schmidt
Publisher/Year:  Random House Publishing 11/21/17
Length:   232 Pages

Overview

He can read her like a book. But will he give her a happy ending?

Dawn: I’d do anything to keep my bookstore. It’s a safe place for all women, somewhere to let their freak flags fly. I call it sex-positive. The menfolk call it smut. That’s how I met Rory Parker, the local billionaire trying to shut me down on behalf of the “moral majority.” He walked in with an offer I couldn’t refuse . . . except I did. Now Rory wants to play dirty. Well, he picked the wrong bookseller. Let’s see how much support he still has after people get a load of the little movie I recorded of the two of us going at it like wild animals in my shop.

Rory: I could care less how Dawn Nolan makes her money. The only thing I care about is how much she’s making. Her bookstore isn’t the kind of upscale attraction my investors want in this sleepy little tourist trap, so it’s got to go. But when Dawn personally finds out how I treat bad girls who misbehave, she seems to enjoy it as much as I do. Now I just need to destroy the copies of that video she’s threatening to post—as soon as I stop watching it. The trouble is, when I’m with her, all I want to do is get started on the sequel.

My Thoughts

First off i need to thank the folks at NetGalley for getting me an ARC to read prior to November.  I love getting books early!

I usually have a big crash of emotions when i’m done with a book that’s not part of a series but that’s ok this time around since our author did a really good job of giving us a story that’s got legs and then wrapping it up well.

What’s interesting to me is the summary – it doesn’t really give us a true sense of what the story is by any means – just bits that kind of tie back to one scene or another, but i think that for me, it’s not always about the description that gets me hooked.

We have 2 leading characters who are not nearly as different as they appear to be, both of them having their own family stresses and life struggles, but when they are able to come together, well there’s something that’s really great that can come out of it.

Dawn and Rory knew each other in high school but never hung in the same crowd.  Dawn was always trying to be a bit of a rebel while Rory was living up to the expectations of his wealthy established family.  When their paths cross years later when Rory is trying to buy out the story that Dawn owns, you have to expect that it’ll get nuts.

From the get go – there’s clear chemistry between them – there’s no doubt that they are attracted to each other, but the question becomes then if it’s a one night stand type thing, or if there’s a possibility that real feelings can come together and then what will that mean since they both keep trying to fight it soo hard.

Add to that the fact that Dawn’s got issue with her family – they don’t approve of anything that she does (or do they and she’s just fighting it?).  Then there’s Rory – he’s always trying to prove his worth to his father and live the best life possible since his sister is in a coma because of a drug overdose.

So you can imagine how all that nonsense will lead to some really steamy scenes once these two let their guards down long enough.  And as expected in this genre – just when they think that things are finally going well, someone comes in between them, someone almost dies, and they are now split on opposite sides of the country.  Will they ever find a happy way to be together or was it just meant to be something short lived?  That’s what you’ll have to find out if you read it.  Great story overall though – so enjoy!

ARC Review: Life’s a Beach (Hawaii Heat #1) by Jamie K Schmidt

No-Brainer

Title:  Life’s a Beach
Author: Jamie K Schmidt
Publisher/Year: Random House 1/5/16
Length:  223 Pages
Series:  Hawaii Heat #1

Overview

Sex on the beach has never been so much fun! USA Today bestselling author Jamie K. Schmidt kicks off a series set in paradise with an irresistible tale of second chances, secret identities—and a connection that’s too sweet to miss.
 
When Amelia Parker arrives in Maui, newly single and unemployed, she’s shocked to discover the resort she booked is actually a ramshackle little beachside hotel. At least the scenery is easy on the eyes—as is the toned, laid-back snorkel instructor, “Dude.” After two weeks of sun, serenity, and mind-blowing sex, she even accepts a job as the hotel’s concierge. But what Amelia really wants is to relaunch the place completely. And that means convincing the absentee Wall Street billionaire owner, Samuel Kincaide, to take a chance on her.

Samuel has a plan, too: selling off every last reminder of his former life and chilling all day, every day as his slacker altar ego . . . Dude. He loves his romps in the ocean, and under the sheets, with the feisty Amelia. If she discovers his true identity, her boundless enthusiasm and innovative business plan will seriously diminish his hammock time. But when Amelia runs into real trouble on the island, he’ll put everything on the line to keep her safe. He just hopes that the woman who’s falling for Dude will feel the same about Samuel.

My Thoughts

I have to thank the folks at NetGalley per usual for getting me a pre-read of this first installment of the Hawaii Heat series.  What we have here is an entertaining intro of a romance / chick lit type story which starts as expected and takes a few different interesting turns.

We meet our leading lady, Amelia the night before she’s set to leave on a 2 week surprise vacation to Hawaii that she’s planned for her boyfriend.  Little does she know that things are going to go  completely awry – in the sense that she finds herself being fired from her job, walking in on her boyfriend being quite intimate with a girl that she knows, and well, she just takes off on the vacation anyway because she’s got nothing to lose.  She takes her aunt with her who’s a fortune teller and who keeps giving Amelia insights into what’s to come for her, so off they go to Hawaii.

Of course things can’t ever be that easy.  The picturesque hotel that was featured in the brochure isn’t exactly what it appears, it’s a bit more rundown and less enticing.  especially given that Amelia worked as a concierge in an NYC hotel.  Then she learns that the hotel is being sold – and then on top of that, she finds herself almost drowning on day one.

So all that of course means that there HAS to be something good coming her way, and that it does.  in the form of Dude – a beach bum who works at the resort.  OF course he’s got another identity, that of which he keeps from her knowing how she feels about rich guys (remember that her boyfriend who cheated was a lazy trust fund kid).  So, the journey that we go on from here is one of a vacation romance, and that of Amelia trying to find her footing now that she’s left in a mess from her life in NYC.

There’s really nothing overly unexpected in this story – we get what we hope for – a bit of romance, a bit of confusion, and a growth journey for Amelia to find out what she’s able to handle and what she wants to do.  I think that there are bits that are a bit too easy coming to her, but again, it’s fiction so who cares.  On that note – i’m intrigued enough to want to check out the 2nd installment when it comes out – so if you’re looking for something light and entertaining, check it out.   Happy friday everyone!

ARC Review: Fever (Club Inferno #3) by Jamie K Schmidt

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Title:  Fever
Author: Jamie K Schmidt
Publisher/Year: Random House 4/17/15
Length: 167
Series: Club Inferno #3

Overview

Deep in the shadows of her exclusive fashion resort, Couture, Colleen Bryant presides over a much more intimate world: Club Inferno. The successful businesswoman and sex instructor has built an empire that caters to the BDSM elite, but now she finds herself longing for something a bit more ordinary: a man to love. She’s not sure how to find someone who will accept what she does for a living—or the kinks that drive her wild—until her old flame, ex-pro football player Chase Fairwood, comes back in her life.

There’s no woman as hot, sexy, or exciting as Colleen—and Chase knows it. He also knows he’s man enough to play her games, and to give as good as he gets. His return to Club Inferno reignites Colleen’s scorching demands, along with a new determination to test his resolve. Soon he’s competing against a rival Dom to brand Colleen as his own. But Chase has a secret weapon: the burning desire to offer his body—and his heart—in sweet surrender.

My Thoughts

I should start off and say thank you to the folks at NetGalley for allowing me to get the early read of this 3rd installment to the Club Inferno series.  I think that it’s fair to say that we all wanted to see what was up for Colleen – Mallory’s sister and the owner and Head Domme of Couture.  There were teasers throughout the series so far that there was something coming back up again with Chase – the love of her life prior to her husband as well as there being something out there with Dante – one of the other Doms in the club.

So that’s what we get in this story – we really do see that there’s a bit of a triangle going on – not a love triangle per-say but really something that’s adding heat and chemistry and angst into the mix of things.

Colleen is trying to build on her empire – after a bunch of less than amazing deals she’s trying to launch her line with Anya – at the same time that Max is trying to launch his line and uses Chases star a bit to get things moving. This adds complications to Colleen’s life and if we know nothing else, we know that complications are GREAT in this genre.

The path that we go down is one where Colleen is completely confident in her role within the BDSM world, while Chase is really against it all.  (he had a taste of seeing Colleen in it back in Vegas and ran in the other direction).  While Chase seems to think that he can dabble in it, he’s in for a rude awakening, and Colleen has to learn to adjust in order to keep him from running scared.  All the while, Dante continues to try to push and prod and make his move in the hopes that he can get under Colleen’s skin and achieve what…..i’m not quite sure.

The great thing about this series is that we get an education.  We continue to learn more and more about the BDSM world and about what it is that makes some couples tick.  That’s something that Colleen’s character does well.  The other bit is that we continue to get some HOT sceneing…the passion and chemistry between Colleen and Chase is palpable, as is the chemistry and tension between Colleen and Dante.  There’s something to be said about trying to find the right dynamic and knowing what gets you off, and our author clearly knows how to write to that bit.

So….the journey is one that’s really round about – we find that Chase and Colleen resort to old habits while Dante uses cockiness and self assuredness to get what he wants.  It’s interesting to say the least and it makes you want to keep reading.  So….if you’re not able to get your hands on the ARC, at least it’s only a bit over a month that you have to wait to read it, and it’ll be worth it.  Now i’m just curious if there will be a book 4 and which of our favs will be the lead in that story.  I have my ideas…..so….Enjoy!

Review: Longing (Club Inferno #2) by Jamie K Schmidt

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Title:  Longing
Author: Jamie K Schmidt
Publisher/Year: Random House 9/2/14
Length: 192
Series: Club Inferno #2

Overview

Reeling from a disastrous love affair, model and budding fashion designer Anya Litton needs a temporary refuge, a place to lick her wounds and plan her next career move. At Club Inferno, where seductively chic men and women indulge their most intimate fantasies, she can mix business with unimaginable pleasure. Anya quickly connects with club Dom Clint Reyes, who unleashes Anya’s deepest longings over nights of burning passion.

Clint is a master at taking submissives to the heights of pleasure in Club Inferno’s opulent private dungeons. But it’s Anya who has Clint begging for more when the woman of his dreams becomes his eager partner in exploring the limits of desire. As their relationship ignites into an erotic contest of wills—and a jealous rival plots against them both—Clint prepares to fight for a future with Anya. In this complicated dance, the wrong move could end it all . . . and taking control means total surrender.

My Thoughts

I’m really enjoying this series and how our author has set up each of the plot lines and character back stories.  I think that there’s something to be said about tryign to find the proper balance in real life and BDSM and that’s something that’s being attempted here.

We first met Anya in the intro to the series, when Mallory was first at Couture and ‘needed a friend’ of sorts.  It’s now time for Anya to get her own story and i think that i’m really pleased that it’s in book 2 instead of further down into the series.  So as the overview hints at, Anya is at Couture not only to get over her last ‘love’ with Cesare – an Italian Count who dumped her because his mother said that she was ‘too common and fat’ to be a countess – and to add insult to injury, not only did Cesare marry the woman that his mamma wanted him to, but he also took Anya’s #1 enemy as a mistress – so things seem to be spiraling out of control there.

So fast forward to Couture – where we see Anya coming into her own – she’s getting further along with her fashion career – designing a line with Colleen (the owner) as well trying to get her own career back in line both for modeling and acting. What makes things even sweeter though is the eye candy at Couture/Club inferno.  She’s got her eye on Clint – who’s one of the doms there and well, this story takes us on the journey of understanding whether it’s a mutual attraction and what will come of it.

The interesting thing here is that Anya is cleraly very vanilla and Clint is not – so whether the 2 will mesh is something to be seen.  The other bit is that Anya has a very bad opinion of herself.  That’s not to say that she doesn’t love her curves, but she’s been beaten down so many times by men, the industry and now her agent (as she’s up for a part that she’s been told that she needs to lose a lot of weight for) – things just seem like they couldn’t be going worse for her.

Throughout this story, we see Anya grow – she’s finding her sexuality again, and Clints forcing her to test her limits.  I think that what i find to be the best about this story is that there’s a really strong bond that’s developed between them.  I’m a sucker for good banter and a connection between characters to make things even more worthwhile when they go well, and that’s what we get here.  the other bit too is that Clint’s not perfect.  He’s got his own struggle to make something of himself as well as trying to get people to see him for more than what he’s putting out there.  That’s what Anya does for him.

And of course, we have the requisite passion, heat and chemistry bursting through the entire story.  There’s so much heat and chemistry here even if Clint is dark and dangerous and Anya is vanilla.  I think that’s one of the hardest things to write into a story, yet if it’s done right – one of the most successful.  The scenes that our author sets up are hot, and really detailed and that’s a great thing to read.  so….i’m off to read book 3 which i’ve gotten as an ARC from Netgalley and for all of you, pick this one up and Enjoy!

Review: Heat (Club Inferno #1) by Jamie K Schmidt

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Title:  Heat
Author: Jamie K Schmidt
Publisher/Year: Random House 6/3/14
Length: 230
Series: Club Inferno #1

Overview

On the run from her abusive fiancé, ER doctor Mallory Bryant arrives at her sister’s Connecticut resort desperate for a place to restore balance to her life. But Club Inferno is more than a haven for the rich and fashionable. Beneath its elegant facade is an erotic playground where dominants and submissives play out their fantasies. At first, Mallory is wary of Max Spencer, the martial arts trainer acting as her bodyguard—until he introduces her to passion so intense she wants nothing more than to surrender to his touch.

As one of Club Inferno’s most skilled doms, Max enjoys taking Mallory to the limits of pleasure. It’s a dangerous proposition, and as their sensual games draw them into a relationship beyond the boundaries of pupil and master, Max starts spiraling out of control. But when Mallory’s violent past catches up with her, Max knows what he must do: draw her closer than ever before, even if it means risking a surrender of his own.

My Thoughts

I’ve never heard of this author before and this series really hadn’t been on my radar before, but i’m glad that i came across it.  What we have here may have been teased to be like FSOG but i don’t know that i’d really put it in the same genre – not really.  We have a story about a budding romance, one that has elements of BDSM but really not too much into the lifestyle for these 2, but a lot of other side bits that are quite interesting.

As we know, Mallory is on the run from her ex-fiance – a lawyer who’s been a bit abusive and who’s addicted to drugs and tried to get her into them.  That’s a dealbreaker for her, so she’s left him and has been hiding out for a month or so, trying to sort out next steps.  This lands her at her sister Colleen’s resort in CT, one that touts itself as a fashion retreat to the public, but also has a darker more erotic side to members who pass snuff.  It’s on that other side that Mallory meets Max, one of the instructors – and someone who brings her back to life.

Throughout this story we get a ‘coming of age’ in a sense for Mallory – she begins to heal from the mess that was her relationship and find out that there’s more to her own sexuality that Max is able to draw out and make her feel good.  Of course – it’s never that easy since Colleen has warned them off one another, and it’s hard to stay away from what you want.

If that weren’t enough, there’s the fear that Mallory’s ex is going to turn up – and that when David does, things are going to get bad.  It’s when David’s sister happens across the fashion side of the retreat and sees Mallory that we find out how bad it can get.  We learn that David’s been spinning lies, and at that point, Mallory has to return to her life as a doctor, and there’s the continued fear that it’s going to continue to get complicated.  which it does.

Death, Guns, more drugs and the fear of who’s going to end up ok takes us through the latter 3rd of the book.  While i’m not surprised about how things turn out – i’m surprised that the build up was so much for what we actually get.  The one thing that i wish that we had more of was scening.  There are hints at what they can all do – and what they do do – but we don’t see too much of it.  When a place is touted as ‘Club Inferno’ and that there are experiences doms present, personally i’ve come to expect some great BDSM action – more lessons and the sort.  Instead we do get instruction, but it seems more mainstream.  Regardless, it’s still a nice bit that takes us through the story.

So….we know that this was the first intro to the series and i’m looking forward to see what comes next.  There are so many folks that we’ve met in this first one that i know that we’ll have plenty of characters to learn more about – and i hope that we get to see colleen happy.  Enjoy!