Thursday, October 30, 2014

Short and Tweet Reviews: Spiral of Bliss Series / Break the Sky by Nina Lane

Arouse (Spiral of Bliss, #1)Series: Spiral of Bliss #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Snow Queen Publishing
Publication Date: 12/24/12
Format: ebook
Pages: 394
Source: Purchase
Rating: 4.5 stars

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"One day I'm going to touch you in a thousand different ways and show you how to touch me," he said. And he did.

Struggling with a tormented past, undergraduate Olivia Winter once led a practical but isolated life. Then she met Professor Dean West, a brilliant scholar of medieval history who melted Liv's inhibitions and taught her the meaning of both love and erotic pleasure. But after three years of a blissful, lusty marriage, Liv and Dean now face a crisis that threatens everything they believe about each other. And when dark secrets and temptations rise to the surface, the fallout might break them apart forever.

Opening Lines -  He didn't touch me. He could have -- he had the perfect reason to -- but he didn't.

My (kinda) Short and Tweet....

Deliciously angsty, sexy and so, so lush, Arouse is wonderful marriage-in-crisis. Dean and Live have a charmed marriage, full of passion and friendship. Their life has been led by Dean's career, leaving Liv spinning, wondering what's next for her, what she can offer the world and herself. An old secret of Dean's causes to question him, and whether she knows her husband as well as she thought. Feelings of anger, confusion and betrayal strain this once strong marriage. Arouse was a compelling story, written with passion and an intelligent tone. I was pulled into this messy, beautiful relationship from beginning to end. I thought it ended wonderfully, even with a last sentence that dropped by jaw.

Of course, I immediately opened book two.

Favorite Quotes

  "Liv," he said, his voice rough with tenderness, "you don't have to be afraid."
  "Why not."
  "Because I'll slay monsters for you."

  I see with sudden, sharp clarity exactly what our marriage has been. Dean has been in control of all the barbed-wire things that could hurt me. And I have been willing to let him be my shield, to keep the bad stuff away. Except now the bad stuff is like quicksand beneath my feet, pulling me under, and my husband can't rescue me from it.

  A strange calm settles in my heart. Maybe Dean needs to see me as more than his ever-faithful wife and the girl he needs to protect. And maybe I need to see him as more than my unwavering husband and the man who effortlessly takes care of everything. Maybe this was meant to happen, this discovery of cracks where now a different, new light can shine through.

Allure (Spiral of Bliss, #2)Series: Spiral of Bliss #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Snow Queen Publishing
Publication Date: 5/4/13
Format: ebook
Pages: 392
Source: Purchase
Rating: 5 stars

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"We both want this so badly. I can feel it resonating between us like the hot pull of our first attraction, tangible and intense."

After lies and betrayal almost destroy their marriage, Dean and Olivia West reignite their blissful passion. The medieval history professor and his cherished wife are determined to fix their mistakes and fall madly in love all over again.

Then a family crisis forces Dean back into a feud with his parents and siblings, dredging up guilt over a painful family secret. Liv and Dean have battled obstacles together before, but with bitter family conflicts now endangering their fragile intimacy, they soon must struggle with events that could damage them in ways they had never imagined.

Opening Lines - We're kissing in the coat closet. The coat closet. I'm up against the back wall, his hands are braced on either side of my head, and his mouth is locked hot and deep against mine.

The (kinda) Short-and-Tweet

Honestly, my words don't do justice to Allure. It's a heavy, emotional story of the devoted, so in love Dean and Liv, a couple who's marriage continues to face challenges, sometimes from the outside, and often from within. Allure is a story of growth and change, for Liv and Dean as a couple and individuals. For a man who realizes he cannot always protect his wife from life, and a woman who knows she needs to learn to face life head-on, sometimes without the arms of her husband to protect her. There's an inherently elegant quality to the story and Lane's writing. It's sexy and complicated, and so emotionally fulfilling. This is an author and story that makes me feel more intelligent, more prepared, for having read it.

Favorite Quotes

  Desire uncoils in my blood as I look into his eyes. He is imprinted in my bones, my soul. He has marked me in ways more permanent than time.

  I was crazy about him. I loved the way he invested everything he did with such purpose, the way he focused his attention on me and really listened when I talked. I loved his brilliant mind, loved both the impenetrability and sheer dorkiness of medieval history. I loved the way he looked at me, stroked my hair, kissed me. I loved the million beautiful ways he made me feel.
  I was starting to love him. Only I didn't know it yet.
  "Be with me, Liv," he said. "Just be with me."
  I looked at him and thought that for the first time in my life, there was nowhere else I wanted or needed to be

  And so it was there, lying entangled with Professor Dean West at an old motel in the only town I'd lived in for longer than a few months...that was the moment I finally knew I was home. I was loved.
  I hadn't even realized how desperately I'd wanted love. How much we both needed to know that in the world of dark corners and sharp needles, there really is a place where kisses taste like apple pie and where stars spill like sugar across the sky.

Awaken (Spiral of Bliss, #3)Series: Spiral of Bliss #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Snow Queen Publishing
Publication Date: 1/7/14
Format: ebook
Pages: 426
Source: Purchase
Rating: 4 - 4.5 stars

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I love that you love me, professor.”

“I love loving you, beauty.”

Since their intense, passionate beginning, Professor Dean West and his wife Olivia have fought dark secrets and betrayal in order to save their marriage. Now reeling in the aftermath of a personal tragedy, Liv and Dean are driven further apart by a vindictive threat to Dean’s career.

Struggling to stand on her own for the first time in years, Liv is determined to defend her husband and prove herself. Then an unexpected letter dredges up old insecurities and endangers Liv’s newfound independence. As Dean fights for his professional life, he is forced to confront his worst fear when he discovers that he can’t protect his beloved wife from her own painful past.

Opening Lines  Even from thousands of miles away, I can feel my husband. I feel his thoughts brushing against my skin, the beating of his heart in rhythm with mine. I feel him in the world, a powerful, unyielding presence who will forever be my source of safety and warmth. And because of that, the distance between us doesn't seem quite so vast, and my aloneness not quite so alone.  

My (kinda) Short-and-Tweet...

What a great finish to a wonderful series! Dean and Liv-and their marriage-has undergone tremendous growth, and I'm left feeling that this series exemplifies the beauty of a strong, fulfilling marriage. I loved how strong Liv became, how Dean recognized that it was okay for him to be fallible, and that they never lost sight of how much they loved each other. This is one of those series that leaves you feeling smarter, more prepared and aware. I'm so glad I finally gave Spiral of Bliss the chance it deserves. Dean is THE Professor and Liv was his beauty. Gorgeous.

Favorite Quotes

  "Dean, how many things in the universe had to fit together for us to have met, let alone fallen in love?" Liv asks. "And how many of those things changed our lives forever?"
  "Every one."
  "Exactly. For the better. Sometimes what if reminds you of what is."

  From the beginning, he has taken me places I didn't know existed, and he has always kept me safe. I'll follow him anywhere, and he knows it. That will never change. And for the first time I doesn't have to. Because the opposite is also true. Dean has always and always will follow me into unfamiliar territory, knowing that his heart is safe with me.

  I told her once that I'd move heaven and earth to give her whatever she wanted. I still would. I'll fight forever to give her all the things she never had as a child-- love, safety, happiness, protection --but now there's something else, a desperate urged to give her a marriage filled with more, to give her things she didn't even know she wanted. To give her a life beyond what either of us has ever expected.

  And the most valuable lesson I've learned will forever live in my gear, right beside my husband. Love the one who proves to you that happily ever after is only the beginning.

Break the SkySeries: Standalone - Spiral of Bliss spinoff
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Snow Queen Publishing
Publication Date: 7/29/14
Format: ebook
Pages: 426
Source: Purchase
Rating: 3.5

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A sizzling hot, new SPIRAL OF BLISS spin-off novel from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane

“Do you ever let go, storm girl?” he asked. “Ever lose control? Ever surrender?”
“Never,” I whispered. “I never surrender.”
A smile of both promise and warning curved his beautiful mouth.
“You will.”

Atmospheric scientist Kelsey March is under siege. Her tornado research project is on the skids and she’s fighting conflict in her university department. So when irresistible bad boy Archer West suggests a hot, wild fling while he’s in town, Kelsey is unable to resist his sexy offer.

Kelsey and Archer embark on a intense, exhilarating affair. But soon their differences and private battles encroach on their desire, and Kelsey discovers that Archer is a storm she can’t control.

Opening Line   We called it the castle.

My Short-and-Tweet...

A very intriguing spin-off of the Spiral of Bliss series, featuring Dean's troubled brother Archer and best friend Kelsey. Break the Sky employs the same lovely writing from Lane, but is a very different story, which makes sense, given Archer and Kelsey are very different from Dean and Liv. I'll admit that the personalities in this one (Archer is very much the rough alpha male/Kelsey is the controlled woman who resists him, as much as she can) made it seem much a more typical romance than Spiral of Bliss, but I can't fault it. A storm-chasing heroine and the hero who drives her passion, along with nice character growth (along with Dean and Liv time!) leaves me feeling satisfied with Break the Sky.

Favorite Quotes

  I opened the door and favored him with my sharpest look.
  Oh, sigh.
  He looked gorgeous, all rugged and sexy in black trousers and a dark green shirt unbuttoned at the collar, his thick hair brushed away from his forehead.
  He smiled. My knees were weak. His gaze, hot and assessing, swept a path over me from head to toe.
  "Nice robe," he remarked. "Take it off."

  She pulled her mouth from mine. Faint desperation flashed in her eyes. "I need structure, Archer. I need a routine and--"
  "I know you do." It was the reason she escaped the world to pain. She needed quiet solitude as much as she needed the excitement. She wasn't only a risk-taker or a scientist or a crafter. She was finding ways to be everything.
  She made me think I could be everything, too.
  I put my hands on either side of her face and kissed her again.
  "You need peace," I murmured, "and you need storms."

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances and spicy erotica. Originally from California, she holds a PhD in Art History and an MA in Library and Information Studies, which means she loves both research and organization.

She also enjoys traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Although Nina would go back to college for another degree because she's that much of a bookworm and a perpetual student, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer.

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  1. This sounds like such a beautiful series. I haven't heard of this author before so thanks for putting her on my radar!

  2. The Spiral of Bliss series sounds amazing, Andrea. And I'm pretty sure I have Arouse. "this series exemplifies the beauty of a strong, fulfilling marriage" <-- That right there makes me want to read this. I know how you like marriage-in-crisis stories but to end up at this place...yeah, I want to read it. :) Break the Sky sounds good as well. I'm sure Lane's writing made the more "typical" romance more enjoyable. Great reviews!! Happy Halloween, Andrea!

  3. Ok, I was on the fence about the Allure series, but lately I'm a sucker for marriage-in-crisis books and you've convinced me to try them! Thanks!

  4. Fuck' its been over a year and I still have to read Covet! You know I love shit like this so I'm def adding it to the list.

    Happy Halloween!

  5. This series sounds awesome, Andrea. I know a lot of people love it. I don't typically read books with marriages in crisis, but it's interesting to get to see what life after HEA is like.
    Lovely reviews! I'm happy you had so much luck with these. :)

  6. I have heard really great things about this series, but now I think I'll have to read it soon. It sounds so good and well I think I'll stick to the original story, spin-off can wait. Still great reviews, Andrea :)

  7. The first three sound like a really good series; I like that the covers match up. :) Always a preference of mine.

  8. Oh good to know. I have those first three on my tbr pile. Been wanting to give them a go for a while now.

  9. Glad to hear you liked Spiral of Bliss series. I bought book 1 because a lot of my friends seemed to enjoy it, so cannot wait to read it myself now.

  10. You know I'm a pussy but these Bliss books sound phenomenal. I NEED SOMETHING DEEP after reading Outlander for so long. Great reviews babe!

  11. I do love a marriage in crisis story! These books are sooo long though, and there are 3 of them! I'd have to schedule some time in for them especially since they would just be reading for me, not for review. I'm definitely intrigued! I hope there's no cheating. :)

  12. This sounds so intense and for some reason right now I can't handle that lol But I will write it down because my reading mood is always changing.

  13. Okay, adding these to my want to read list now.


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