A Steamy Sports Romance with A Powerful Message– @LaurieKozlowski ‘s #BookReview of “In The Zone” by Catherine Gayle #BookEscapeReviews #amreading #hockey

There is something alluring about sports romance fiction series. The heroes are always hunky and strong, the heroines always seem to gravitate less to the “damsel in distress” and more toward equal partnership.

Then when I find out an author of one of these books has more books out like them…I sigh, do a little happy dance, and then Amazon one-click my brains out, regardless of wallet budget, to get my sports romance fix. I’ve found a great new-to-me series that I’m going crazy over.

The Portland Storm series by Catherine Gayle.

It’s a scorching hot hockey sports romance series, with delectable heroes and strong heroines. I love how she kept Brie soft mannered yet showed her kicking ass on the dance floor. If you love sports and romance…hot romance–damn! You’ll love this series.

Here’s my review of “In The Zone” by Catherine Gayle.

"In The Zone" Portland Storm Series, Book FIVE

“In The Zone” Portland Storm Series, Book FIVE

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Steamy Sports Romance with A Powerful Message

By the middle of the first chapter of “In The Zone,” I knew this book would have a sexy edge and important message.

Brie is a plus-sized heroine because she develops a thyroid issue, causing her to continue to overweight despite her diet restrictions. She keeps her insecurities well hidden, under frumpy clothes and a sweet spirit while teaching dance classes. Her former partner dumped her because of her weight (he was an ass) and to say her spirit had been broken by his emotional abuse would be sugarcoating it.

So she puts an ad in on Craigslist to hook up for the night with someone who could make her feel desirable. Most would think this to be “pathetic” or “desperate” behavior. But when you read the story, you’ll see the author’s voice only betrays this act of so-called desperation as a genuine act of Brie proactively dealing with low self-esteem. I thought she was brave.

Kieth (“Burnzie”), is a beast. The magnitude of his character within this book is amazing. He loves his family but deals with doubt from a painful past tragedy concerning one of his brothers. I loved how he took a teammate under his wing, how he gently guided Brie into a better place emotionally by being an excellent friend, and how he’s always thinking of others before himself. He stole my heart.

I probably don’t need to say this book is off the charts hot because there is more depth than meets the eye. “In The Zone” offers great insight into dealing with grief, mental health issues, and recovery. But I’ll let you decide for yourself if this one is a winner. It was for me, for sure!!

Reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski. Also posted on Barnes & Noble and to Goodreads.

Star Rating: Five Stars * * * * *

Like this review? Be sure to connect with Laurie on Goodreads and “friend” her there! You can also follow this blog and find potentially new great reads by getting each post by email in your inbox–just click the “Follow Book Escape Reviews via Email” button, on this page, follow the prompts, and you’re all set. Happy Reading!! 🙂


It was supposed to be one night of fake names, half-truths, and anonymous sex. Neither of them was prepared for it to turn into so much more. Keith Burns, star defenseman for the NHL’s Portland Storm, was just looking for a way to pass the time and ease the loneliness of his lavish lifestyle. Brianna Hayden wanted to find herself again after health issues changed everything. That one night turns out to be so much more than either Keith or Brie expects, but anonymity is the name of their game, and the rules were laid down at the outset. Pushing for the truth might land Keith a permanent spot in Brie’s penalty box, but it’s a chance he’s willing to take. Once he gets In the Zone, he’ll be on the forecheck—but Brie’s heart is the goal he’s seeking.

Read full excerpt of In The Zone.

Upcoming Book Releases by Catherine Gayle

"Comeback" Portland Storm Series, Book Six, **Available January 15, 2015**

“Comeback” Portland Storm Series, Book Six, **Available January 15, 2015**

"Dropping Gloves" Portland Storm, Book SEVEN **Available on April 23, 2015**

“Dropping Gloves” Portland Storm, Book SEVEN
**Available on April 23, 2015**

~*~*~ About The Author ~*~*~



Catherine Gayle is a USA Today bestselling author of Regency-set historical romance and contemporary hockey romance with a New Adult feel. She’s a transplanted Texan living in North Carolina with two extremely spoiled felines. In her spare time, she watches way too much hockey and reality TV, plans fun things to do for the Nephew Monster’s next visit, and performs experiments in the kitchen which are rarely toxic.

You can find out more on her website, her blog, at Red Door Reads, at Facebook, on Twitter, and at Goodreads. If you want to see some of her cats’ antics and possibly the occasional video update from Catherine, visit her YouTube account.


#BookEscapeReviews – @LaurieKozlowski ‘s Review of “Want Me” by Cynthia Eden ~ Suspenseful and Sexy #eroticfiction #amreading #lawyers #bodyguards

She doesn’t play it safe… Sophie Sarantos has a weakness for dangerous men. She doesn’t like safe lovers—she likes men with a wild, rough edge. But Sophie may have attracted a lover who is too dangerous, even for her. Someone is stalking Sophie, slipping into her home, watching her day and night. The stranger seems to know all of Sophie’s darkest secrets, secrets that should never be revealed. Out of options, Sophie turns to ex-solider Lex Jensen for protection. Lex is part owner of VJS Protection, Inc., and Sophie hires him as her bodyguard. She thinks Lex is one of the “good guys” out there, but she couldn’t be more wrong. He doesn’t play at all… Lex has his own secrets. Dark, deadly secrets. And as his feelings for Sophie grow, Lex knows that he is going to have to stop pretending to be a gentleman and, instead, he’ll have to show Sophie who he really is. A man trained to kill. A man too used to evil. A man who will take any risk…as long as he can claim Sophie. Because there is one thing that Lex wants in this world…one person he desires above all others…Sophie. And no one will hurt her, not on his watch.

PLEASE NOTE: the content and review posted are not intended recommendations for readers 18 or under. If you are under age 18, please DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER. Thanks. ~ Laurie.

Full Excerpt of WANT ME.


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Suspenseful and Sexy 

Sophie loves dangerous men and Lex is just the man she needs. Lex is hired on by her as a bodyguard after she has a near death experience. Everyone wants Sophie. She is consistently referred to as a dangerous and lethal female (not in those exact words.)

Lex was a hot Alpha, sexy and protective. The men he worked with had grown up with him in a group home. I liked the brotherhood they shared and would like to know more about them.

I didn’t catch on to Sophie’s character being a pit bull lawyer until a few chapters into the book, but I hadn’t read the first book, so I was a little lost. For the first few chapters, I thought she was an insecure victim. I felt bad for the terrible past she endured, and I’m glad she found justice. I wish her character had been stronger. She was “hardened on the inside” (emotionally), but I wasn’t convinced she was dangerous. Also, Sophie’s male companions kept telling Lex that he didn’t know the *real* Sophie, over and over, and confused me why the hero was doubted around every corner. I’m always sad to see an Alpha character slip into a Beta role as his love for the heroine is discounted. 

The suspense was wonderful, but I’m not surprised because this author has written many suspense books. “Want Me” is a good book for those who love suspense and hot romance, or those who love hot romances and want to read a book with an unpredictable, but great ending.

*** The author and publisher provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ***

Reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski. Also posted to Goodreads Twitter Pinterest — Facebook — Google Plus

Like this review? “Friend” Laurie on Goodreads and/or FOLLOW Book Escape Reviews by clicking on the “Follow Book Escape Reviews via Email” button on this blog, follow the prompts, and you’re all set! 🙂

Star Rating: Four out of Five Stars * * * *

Book Specs

Publisher: Hocus Pocus Publishing, Inc. 

Publication Date: January 21, 2015

Page Count: 168 pages

*~*~ More Books by Cynthia Eden ~*~*


Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes dark tales of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller. Cynthia is also a two-time finalist for the RITA® award (she was a finalist both in the romantic suspense category and in the paranormal romance category). Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over fifty novels and novellas. Cynthia is a “hybrid” author. She has published extensively with New York (her New York publishers include Avon, Kensington, Grand Central, and Harlequin), and she has also enjoyed success in her indie writing career. Cynthia lives along the Alabama Gulf Coast. She loves romance novels, horror movies, and chocolate. Her favorite hobbies including hiking in the mountains (searching for waterfalls) and spelunking.

A Tantalizing #Romance Story – @LaurieKozlowski ‘s #bookreview of “Come Monday” (Wild Irish, Bk 1) by Mari Carr #Fiction #amreading

Please Note: Come Monday is an adult fiction book and this review is written ONLY for age 18+ — If you do not meet this minimum age requirement, please DO NOT PROCEED to read this post. Thanks. ~ Laurie ~

Monday’s child is fair of face… After the death of her mother, Keira Collins became a surrogate parent to her six younger brothers and sisters, her own dreams put on hold. Now, at twenty-seven, she’s finally pursuing a college degree. Between classes, working at the family pub and still tending to siblings, she’s no time for romance. So why is she spending all her rare free time fantasizing about hot Professor Wallace bending her over his desk? Will Wallace recognizes Keira’s unfulfilled desires, her habit of hiding her beauty, her obsessive need to command every aspect of her life. But Will has needs of his own—and they run far darker than Keira’s. As he initiates her into his lifestyle, offering sweet punishments and sweeter rewards, Will’s sexual authority slowly strips away some of her precious control. The one thing Keira’s not ready to relinquish… Come Monday was previously published. (bdsm, bondage, submission, alpha male, Wild Irish, teacher, professor) silhouette_of_a_sexy_voluptuous_girl_in_a_devil_costume_with_horns_tail_and_a_whip_0071-1012-0821-5526_SMU

—— Review ——-

A Tantalizing Romance Story

“Come Monday” is a ‘hot for teacher’ book, has an enjoyable storyline and is magnetizing. I was drawn into Keira and Will’s insatiable attraction for one another.

Kiera is an older student-late twenties-and Will drives her crazy with his maddening perfectionism in creative writing. Kiera loves her family in almost an obsessive way, always working to help her dad and watching over her siblings.

Will seemed tame enough, but handsome, in the beginning. I could tell Kiera wanted him and her lust built gradually. Then Will–out of nowhere–began to divulge his dark side. I was hooked, then!!

“Come Monday” was the first book I’ve read by Mari Carr, but it will not be the last. I enjoyed Will and Kiera’s romance and love the ending. I’m looking forward to reading more stories by Mari Carr.

Star Rating: Three out of Five Stars * * *

Book reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski — also posted to Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

Like this review? Be sure to “friend” Laurie on Goodreads! 🙂 To view the entire Wild Irish series book covers and blurbs, visit Mari’s website by clicking HERE.

About The Author



Writing a book was number one on Mari Carr’s bucket list and on her thirty-fourth birthday, she set out to see that goal achieved. Five years later, her computer is jammed full of stories — novels, novellas, short stories and dead-ends and six of her books have been published. High school librarian by day and mother of two busy teenagers, Mari Carr found time for writing by squeezing it into the hours between 3 a.m. and daybreak when her family is asleep and the house is quiet.

Book Escape Review by @LaurieKozlowski of “Razed” by Shiloh Walker #amreading #fiction #romancebooks

A Story with Potential

The cover of “Razed” had perked my interest before flipping this novel over to read the blurb. Yes, I’m a reader who often decides on a novel based on its cover when I’m unsure the blurb completely sells the story to me.

So, I gave “Razed” a chance and bought it just before an after-lunch rush.

First, I want to point out the good things. The cover is delicious. Zach and Keelie were a sweet couple, and they both had their issues, which is what makes a great romance story. They could heat up the sheets–and boy, is that an understatement! If you’re looking for a hot read, you’ll love “Razed.”

Now, I’ll get to why “Razed” didn’t completely win me over. I wanted to love Keelie, the female lead character. I wanted to connect with Zach, the male lead. I WANTED this story to knock my socks off with unbeatable character chemistry and mesmerizing twists in the story…but it didn’t happen for me.
Also, just because this book wasn’t for me isn’t to say a reader who loves intense love scenes throughout a story and situational twists coming later in the story wouldn’t connect with this story.

“Razed” has potential and may suit readers who enjoy off-the-charts hot love scenes and primarily sexual chemistry between two main characters. The minor characters had zest, so I do hope this series continues to evolve.

RATING:   * * *      Three out of Five Stars 

Reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski — also posted to Goodreads. <<< If you enjoyed this review, I welcome you to “friend” me on Goodreads by following the arrowed link. 🙂


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Tattoo artist Keelie Jessup can handle that someone else has claimed the man of her dreams. She’s just not pleased with her remaining options…

Keelie doesn’t believe in the “perfect man.” But the men who are worth the trouble are usually taken—like her business partner Zach Barnes. After a string of bad luck and the lost chance with Zach, Keelie decides that maybe flying solo—and living with suppressed desires—is the key to happiness.

As a photographer, Zane Barnes has an eye for the human form, and his eyes can’t get enough of Keelie’s curves. Unfortunately, Keelie is like most women—always fawning over his little brother, Zach. Zane is about ready to give up, but then a few stolen moments at his brother’s wedding have him thinking maybe there’s a chance there after all. Now he just has to prove that the perfect man does exist…for her.

Latest Books By Shiloh Walker:

FuriousFire72lg-200x300 Burn-for-Me-by-Shiloh-Walker225x340-198x300



Shiloh Walker bio pic

Shiloh Walker is an award-winning writer…yes, really! She’s also a mom, a wife, a reader and she pretends to be an amateur photographer. She published her first book in 2003. Her newest series, Secrets and Shadows, launched with Deeper than Need, followed by Sweeter than Sin and Darker than Desire.

She writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance, and urban fantasy under the name J.C. Daniels.



Review by @LaurieKozlowski of “Hope Breaks” by Alice Bello #Amreading #Erotic #Romance #Humor

Review of Hope Breaks – A Short Story by Alice Bello


Hope Breaks is about a young woman trying to hold onto the career she just began. It’s about the newness of love, and how easily it can break. It’s about the past, good friends, good food and laughter.
Hope Jones has two problems: one is new, the other is depressingly old.
The new problem: the bestselling author the publisher she shoots romance novel covers for hates her newest batch of covers. She has until the end of the week to come up with a breathtaking shot or she’ll be replaced. And there’s a sudden model shortage; they’re out of season.
The old, depressing problem: she hasn’t had a date, sex or a relationship in over two years.
She also has one hell of a headache.
Hope finds the cures for her two problems during a search through Wal-Mart for a painkiller to kill her headache.
Turns out the aisles of the retail giant are rampant with hot young model worthy specimens. And when her trusty Ford Taurus breaks down in the parking lot, a hunky mechanic in the Tire and Lube Express department fixes more than just her car.
Seemingly her troubles are good as gone…but then her new, fabulous cover is rejected, and in a desperate moment she has to choose between keeping her job and keeping the man she’s just starting to fall in love with.

Five Stars * * * * *

Freaking Off-The-Charts Hot, Tender, and Funny Romance

I loved this book! The humor was great…and WOW do Jake and Hope have a hot attraction to one another. The passion leaps off the pages, as I got a glimpse into the life of a cover artist-Hope-trying to make ends meet in the creative and demanding field of e-book cover design, and Jake-a hunkadorable mechanic whose tenderness for Hope made my heart ache and swoon, all at once! If you love conversational humor, an entertaining read with LOTS and lots of sexual tension and just the right amount of erotic romance…you will love this book!

Ahem…one note: Has a a cliffhanger! You’ll want to buy the entire series, for sure, so you aren’t left hanging. But with heroes like these, who could read just one!

Reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski on Amazon and Goodreads

Like this review? Why not connect with Laurie on Goodreads?

More Works From Alice Bello

Available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE

Holding hOpe - alice bello hope entangles Hope rises - Alice Bello For Love of the Man Prt 2 - Alice Bello At Last - Alice Bello Kiss Slash and Burn - Alice Bello Slash Burn Vol One alice bello Undatable Alice Bello better off dead - alice bello not dead yet - alice bello Min' Vampire three way - Alice Bello

About Alice Bello

“Let me introduce myself. I’m forty one, and a proud indie author. I live to read and love to write. I love romance, comedy, brooding and sparkly vampires, and I love pizza. I have a dog named Jack, and I work somewhere I have to wear a blue top and brown pants (you can probably guess).

My books so far.

Un-Dateable: A Novel (07/04/2014)

At Last

Slash & Burn: Volume 1
Kiss: Slash & Burn Volume 2
Crash: Slash & Burn Volume 3 (Coming Soon)

Hope Breaks: a New Adult Romantic novella
Hope Entangles: a New Adult Romantic novella
Hope Rises: a New Adult Romantic novella
Holding onto Hope: The Complete Hope Series

Min’s Vampire


For Love of the Man: a Frisky Kittens novel (TBA)
A Hard Man to Love: a Frisky Kittens novel (TBA)

Contact me through:
alice.bello.romance@gmail.com ”