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That's What I'm Talking About

I generally review romance, paranormal and urban fantasy. I tend to pick review books that I want to read, so generally my reviews will be positive. I always give my honest opinion: good, bad, and indifferent. 


Note: on my blog I use a letter grading system. I've listed the ratings below. For sites with stars, I have listed the equivalent rating. If I didn't finish the book, I will not rate it with stars.


A+  Personal Favorite (5 stars)
A    Loved It (4.5 or 5 stars)
A-   Enjoyed A Lot (4 or 4.5 stars)
B+  Liked It A Lot (4 stars)
B    Liked It -- Recommend (4 stars)
B-   Liked It -- But I had a few small issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C+  Liked It -- But I had issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C    Finished It -- Liked some, didn't like some (3 stars)
C-   Finished It -- Liked a little, didn't like a lot (2 or 2.5 stars)
D    Not A Big Fan (2 stars)
E    Don’t Waste Your Time (1 star)
TW: Reading this book was like watching a Train Wreck
DNF: Did Not Finish


updated July 9, 2015

Currently reading

Operation: Endgame (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Book 6) (English Edition)
Philippa Ballantine, Jeanne H. Ballantine, William Morris
Just You and Me (A Contemporary Romance Collection)
Fiona Miers, Caitlyn Lynch, Liz Durano, Deelylah Mullin, Cate Farren, Jacquie Biggar, Vicki Batman, Kate Richards, Brenna Zinn, Dalton Diaz, Tierney O'Malley, Desiree Holt, Nicole Morgan, Ashlyn Chase
Bitter Bite: Elemental Assassin, Book 14
Audible Studios, Jennifer Estep, Lauren Fortgang
Progress: 27 %
No Reservations - Stephanie Julian My rating: 4.5 stars: Loved it - enthusiastically recommend (A)
Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About
Digital review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.

I'm just going to come out and say that No Reservations is another wonderful story from Ms. Julian's Salon Games series and one of the best erotic romance stories of 2013. The author knows how to write amazingly erotic sex scenes with tender romance and real emotions at the heart of the story. Tyler and Kate experience an immediate and intense attraction, which they readily explore right from the start. The pair wants to explore and be free with one another, but also to get to know and understand one another. Even with a few reservations, they allow themselves to go after what makes them feel good.

I admire that Ms. Julian allows their relationship to grow and progress almost too smoothly right from the start, only tossing in the occasional realistic bump like "is it too soon to call her or have I waited enough time." There are no huge road blocks preventing the couple from falling fast, which they do. Experiencing the tale from both Kate and Tyler's POV, we explore their fears and hopes, which seem to mesh so well. Yet, their story isn't conflict free as Tyler must make a major decision on the future of his career, and likewise, Kate looks to explore her life-long dream of costume design. Overall, their situations and relationship are handled so beautifully.

One of the best things in the story is the development of the characters' emotions. They build organically and without hinderance. The characters mature and grow in such a way that allows me to be part of their world and brought along for the journey. They both endure an array of emotions, the depths of which I experience right along side of them. This is where the story excels... Emotional grit without contrived baggage or problems.

The only slightly negative thing I can say of this story is that I felt the balance between sex and story was ever so slightly tipped to too much sex. It is amazingly hot, passionate and erotic, and some of the best sex scenes I've ever read. I just wanted a little more on the issues surrounding Tyler and his decision to take over his dad's hotel chain and Kate's decisions over going to NYC. Let me assure you, I did not want less sex, just more of the other! Ms. Julian writes both aspects so well, honestly, I could have continued reading for another couple hundred pages.

There were a few other minor points that felt a little off to me when reading them, but they all occur fairly early in the story, and once the book was in full swing, those little details were far from my mind.

Overall, I just loved No Reservations. Although it truly can be enjoyed as a stand alone story, the first book, By Private Invitation, is one of my favorites. Ms. Julian weaves a tale of sensual exploration and play with a core of sweet love and romance. Other than a few minor perceived inconsistencies that didn't detract (and that may have been cleaned up with final edits), the story flowed smoothly. I highly recommend the Salon Games series to fans of erotic romance.