Thursday, October 23, 2014


Publisher:               Carina Press           
Published:               September 15, 2014        
ISBN:                     978 1 42689 903 4
Genre:                   Contemporary Romance, Erotica, BDSM
Book Format:          E-book
Obtained via:          Publisher
Reviewed by:          Helena Stone,

Rating:                   4.5

This is the seventh and final title in the ‘Wicked Play’ series.

Lives can be shattered in one short, cruel, moment. A single act of madness throws the lives of the owners of The Den into panic and chaos. It is up to Noah Bakker to do what he can to limit the fall-out and keep his friends and business partners as safe as possible.

Noah hasn’t had a sub or participated in a Scene since a tragic event four years ago changed his life and forced him to question everything he believed to be true about himself. Forced to play a bigger than usual role in the running of The Den he is grateful for Liv Delcour’s unquestioning support even as the attraction he feels towards her scares him.

Liv didn’t know about the lifestyle choices her sister and the other owners of The Den have made. When the secret comes out in the most public way possible, she finds herself more intrigued than shocked. Noah’s dominant strength, both in his dealings with the press and in the bedroom, arouse feelings in Liv she hasn’t experienced before, doesn’t quite understand, but can’t deny.

Liv isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to completely submit to Noah. Noah isn’t sure he can risk allowing a woman into his heart and life again. As everybody connected to The Den struggles to salvage what’s left of their lives, Noah and Liv have to find a way to follow their heart without risking their sanity.

Shattered Bonds starts with a bang. Before you’re five percent into the story you’ll be worrying about at least half the characters you’ve come to love while reading the ‘Wicked Play’ series. Everything is suddenly uncertain. There are questions about life and death as well as the future of The Den and it’s impossible not to get caught up in the worry and uncertainty.

In the midst of the chaos that ensues, Liv is the light and bright spark keeping everyone going. There were times when she was a bit too much for me; too good, too cheerful, too understanding and too unquestioning. But overall she made me smile as well as wish I was a better person. And, given the darkness Noah struggles with, Liv’s character had to be both understanding and patient for the story and the romance to work.

Noah broke my heart for most of this book. His pain, fear and reluctance to commit ever again were so vivid it made me hurt for him. The way he eventually deals with his issues and the sacrifice Liv makes to make that possible for him, were both heartbreaking and utterly beautiful.

Ultimately this is a book about love, friendship and loyalty. Things that might shatter us if we have to face them alone, can be managed if those who are close to us gather around to see us through. It is a wonderful truth and powerful message.

As always Lynda Aicher has put several pearls of wisdom in her story. I’ve decided to not quote BDSM related statements this time since I covered those in my previous reviews. The following sentiment though rang very true for me:

“She didn’t go around envisioning the sex lives of any of her other friends.”

This is such a wonderful line. The whole world seems to feel they have the right to judge how people who are into kink or are gay or ‘other than the norm’ have sex. And yet those same people probably don’t spend a minute thinking about their neighbours’ sex life. Because they know it’s none of their business. Well, guess what. It’s none of your business either if the people concerned happen to like something you’re not into or you don’t understand.

The following scene brought tears to my eyes. Liv’s selflessness was astounding and inspiring.

“You have so much love to give, but your heart is still broken. Her actions shattered it. But it still beats. You’re still alive. You need to find a way to piece it back together so you’re not afraid to use it again.” – Liv to Noah.

As she did in the previous books in this series, Lynda Aicher manages to give us yet another perspective on BDSM. With Liv not being submissive, even though she does enjoy kinky sex, and Noah no longer comfortable with the idea of a full-time D/s relationship, this book shows that it isn’t all or nothing. We all develop our relationships based on our personal needs, and that’s the only way it can possibly work. I’m both delighted and impressed at how well Lynda Aicher managed to convey that message in this series.

I have adored this series from the very beginning. Every single title brought me hours of reading joy and all the characters I encountered in the stories will stay with me for one reason or another. For that reason, the epilogue left me with a big smile as well as a bit teary-eyed. It was a wonderful and very romantic ending to a series I’ve loved from start to finish. It was also goodbye. As much as it was great to have the series end on a high, I can’t deny I will miss these characters and The Den. The world and characters Lynda Aicher created became real for me and saying goodbye to them is a bit like saying goodbye to trusted friends. Not having a next book to look forward to is going to take a bit of getting used to. On the upside though, there’s a new series on the way and if the ‘Wicked Play’ books are anything to go by, it’s going to be fun losing myself in new characters.

“That was what this day was really about. The victory of love and the promise it had given them all when someone had tried to destroy it.”

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Covered Up with Jess Russell

Back to school favorite:  pens or notebooks?

Can’t I have both?? I’m a writer. :o) I guess if I had to choose, I would say pen. You can always find something to write on.

Hiking or jumping in a pile of leaves?

Hiking! My husband’s family has an old house in the Catskills. I love to hike. You can kick up leaves. You can watch them falling through the dappled sunlight. You can listen to them sush and crunch as you walk. And then you get to the view (there always must be a view) and have your picnic lunch with perhaps a little wine. That is my idea of a perfect day.

Halloween or Thanksgiving?

Wow, another tough question. I love Halloween but I think I have to go with Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is like Christmas without all the angst and hoopla. You get to be with family, eat wonderful food, and reflect on the many blessings we enjoy. And then there’s football. (Not a favorite, but not terrible either.) I usually carve a pumpkin for the table’s centerpiece, and have a special apron and pilgrim hat, so I get to dress up as well!

Hot buttered rum or hot chocolate?

I can’t recall ever having a hot buttered rum, but I have to say just saying those words out loud makes me want to have one! Plus the fact that it must contain Rum!

Who’s book (besides one of yours) are you most looking forward to reading?

Joanna Bourne’s. Rogue Spy! Pre-ordered long ago! Can’t wait.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wolf in Gucci Loafers by Tara Lain

Publisher : Dreamspinner Press
Date published : 7 - 24 - 14
ISBN : 9781627984515
Reviewed by Gabrielle


Obtained via publisher

In this continuation of the Harker Pack series we get Lindsey Vanessen’s story. Lindsey may be flamboyant and never shy about his sexuality but he still has insecurities of his own. When Seth is brought in to investigate the kidnappings in Lindsay’s world of the elite. Lindsey cannot help but be attracted to the human cop. The two come from opposite worlds and have nothing in common but Seth finds that he may just want to find something in common with Lindsey. Between the kidnappings and the old woman that has been fighting crime Seth has no time to play let alone begin a new relationship especially with a man like Lindsey but it seems love does not care. Seth and Lindsey find themselves having to make some hard choices that will effect them for the rest of their lives.

I enjoyed returning to the world of the Harker Pack. Lindsey may not be a full blooded wolf but they still care for him like a part of the pack. Lindsey wants nothing more than to find true love but he knows it is a one in a million chance for him. He is who he is and he gives no excuses, take him or leave him. Lindsey does not back down for anyone. Yet Seth makes him hope for things that he longs for. I love Lindsey and his strength. He wants so much and fights for those that truly need his help. Never thinking about himself or the danger he may be in. Seth is  a good man as well and seeing their relationship begin made for a good read. I loved seeing their attraction turn into so much more. Seth and Lindsey learn that love does not discriminate, the heart wants what it wants and you would be a fool not give it.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Back to school favorite:  pens or notebooks?

Oh my gosh, notebooks for sure. When I was a kid I used to love decorating my notebooks, usually with Elvis pics--most particularly, Elvis bubble gum cards. Recently, I reconnected on Facebook with a guy I went to school with (many, many years ago). He asked if I was still an Elvis fan. He said he remembered me always writing in notebooks covered with Elvis pics and asked if I was honing my writing skills. J As a matter of fact, I was!

Hiking or jumping in a pile of leaves?

Hmmmm….hiking. I’m kind of lazy, but I would enjoy a nice hike through lovely Autumn foliage. I’d really like to hike somewhere like Vermont. I’ve had a yen lately to visit that area of the U.S.

Halloween or Thanksgiving?

Halloween! I love the holiday. Spooky creatures and scary movies and all the cute little trick or treaters. I used to love dressing my kids up and taking them out on Halloween. Now, I like watching horror movies with them. (Confession, I also let them watch scary movies when they were small. They LOVED them and weren’t skittish or fearful. I guess I made them immune J)

Hot buttered rum or hot chocolate?

Yes, please!

Whose book (besides one of yours) are you most looking forward to reading?

That’s a tough one, since I simply do not have as much time as I would like for pleasure reading, but I would have to say probably Kendra Elliot. I’m intrigued by her Bone Secrets series.

Twitter: @jessrussellove

Sunday, October 19, 2014

BRUISED by Sean Michael

Publisher:               Totally Bound Publishing             
Published:               September 19, 2014        
ISBN:                     978 1 78430 241 2
Genre:                   BDSM, Gay
Book Format:          E-book
Obtained via:          Publisher
Reviewed by:          Helena Stone,

Rating:                   3       

Mechanic Johnson is ready to leave work and looking forward to a night out and one or more hot hook-ups when cowboy Billy walks into his garage. Billy appears to have walked straight out of Johnson’s fantasies into his life and it soon becomes clear the attraction is mutual.

Billy takes one look at Johnson and thinks he’s hit the jackpot. A dinner and a few drinks later he brings Johnson home with him. During the night the two men discover how compatible they are and awaken new and exciting desires in each other. When what started off as a one night event turns into something much longer, both men have to figure out how to organize their lives around each other.

While Billy and Johnson may come from different parts of the country, have different backgrounds and different careers, they soon discover they are more than compatible in all the ways that really matter.

My thoughts:

This is a sex driven story. If you’re not a huge fan of sex in your books, or only tolerate it in small doses, this is probably not the book for you. If, on the other hand, you enjoy hot sex with a light dusting of BDSM, combined with a relationship established on the basis of two men perfectly fulfilling each other’s needs, you’re going to love this book.

If I’m honest, my personal preference lies somewhere between those two extremes which means that while I enjoyed the very hot encounters between Billy and Johnson I would have liked to read a bit more about their relationship beside the physical aspect of it. As it is, the readers only get glimpses of Billy and Johnson’s lives. While the story makes it perfectly clear that Billy’s long hours as a defender mean the two men don’t spend nearly as much time together as they would like, the issue is mentioned and put aside in a sentence or two. Billy and Johnson don’t appear to talk and rarely seem to leave the house other than for work. Issues are dealt with in the bedroom. I really liked what I did see and learn about these two men and felt a bit short changed that I wasn’t given the opportunity to get to know them better.

 In fact the reader would be forgiven for thinking both men have super human powers when it comes to erections and orgasms. And, if I’m completely honest I have to say the sex between Billy and Johnson, while hot, became a bit repetitive after a while.

Having said all that I should also point out that this was a very easy and smooth read. While I may have had one or two issues with the story and the way it was told, that didn’t mean I ever even thought about not finishing the book. I enjoyed my time with Johnson and Billy. I just wish they had shown me a bit more of themselves.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.