Opening Up: Ink & Chrome, Book 1

Opening UpAuthor: Lauren Dane
Book Name: Opening Up
Series: Ink & Chrome
Order: #1
Genre: Romance
Rating:  Okay


Blurb: The men of Twisted Steel are great with their hands. And they’re not afraid to get dirty.

Asa Barrons is never lonely for long. Co-owner of the Twisted Steel custom motorcycle shop, he works hard and plays harder. But he never allows his after-hours affairs to interfere with business-until he meets racing royalty PJ Coleman. While the blue-eyed blonde is all princess on the outside, on the inside Asa can see that this woman is ready to take a walk on the wild side.

PJ knows trouble when she sees it, and Asa is the complete package: fast bike, killer ink, and a sinfully sexy smile that has her imagining things nice girls never do. She talks her way onto the Twisted Steel team to prove her painting skill, and soon learns that Asa is eager to show off some skills of his own.

With the help of Asa’s expert touch, PJ is initiated into a world of wicked desire. No limits. No inhibitions. No turning back. But as perfect as their passion seems, a new challenge awaits, forcing them to ask just how far they are willing to go . . .

Review:  This started out really good and I got all excited, thinking that it was going to end up being a way better book than the last Lauren Dane that I read.  Then it got… boring.  All the spice and fire that seemed to come across from both main characters in the beginning just kind of fizzled and then the plot kind of died.

At the point when the emotional connection between PJ and Asa started to really heat up, everything kind of quit working for me.  PJ started to come across as unaffected emotionally.  And Asa seemed to lose his cool badass vibe.

I have to say that I think this is due to the lack of emotion that seems to come across with the dialog.  I don’t know what happened between the beginning of the book and the end.  Either the emotional context quit showing in the dialog or I just started to get bored enough to notice.  It is a peeve of mine to have paragraph after paragraph of dialog and zero situational support and this is a problem I seem to be having a lot lately with Ms. Dane’s writing. I hate it because I do love what is trying to come across in her writing, but with the lack of ability to connect with the characters, I just don’t enjoy the stories as much.

So, yeah.  This one was just okay.

Back To You: Hurley Boys, Book 3

Back To YouAuthor: Lauren Dane
Book Name: Back To You
Series: Hurley Boys
Order: #3
Genre: Romance
Rating:  Good


Blurb: What won’t he do for a second chance?

Former model Kelly Hurley has finally put the ashes of the past behind her. After a passionate but turbulent marriage to rock star Vaughan Hurley that ended in heartbreak and divorce, Kelly rebuilt her life in Portland, where she settled so their two young daughters could be close to their father. Just not so close Kelly couldn’t truly make her own way without interference from the man who shattered her heart. Now Kelly’s finally ready to move on, and she’s planning to marry another man.

But not if Vaughan has anything to say about it.

Vaughan knows he was a fool all those years ago. A young, selfish–and prideful–fool. Even as he buried himself in the fast, decadent rock-star lifestyle, he could never drown out the memory of Kelly’s beauty and love. Or the sweet, searing heat whenever they touched. For years, he’s had to deal with the pain of seeing her only because of their daughters, but it was never enough. Now Vaughan must prove that he’s the only man Kelly needs, before he loses her for good. And there’s only one way to do it….

Review: This was my least favorite book of the series.  Normally, I’m a pretty big Lauren Dane fan, but I really struggled with this one.

First, I really wasn’t a huge fan of how either character came across.  Vaughan came across as lacking in any real personality and character.  What little did show was kinda spineless and a following along without any real will of his own sort of feel.  Kelly came across really off.  Based on the storyline, she’d been divorced for 8 years, but still incredibly bitter about the whole thing and hanging on to all of that hurt, yet is totally okay with letting it all go after she was able to voice it.  I get where the author was wanting to go with this, but I just didn’t feel that the way this was written.  I also totally hated Sharon (Vaughan’s mom) in this, but thought she had been an awesome character in other books.

I think that part of the reason I struggled with the characters in this book was the dialog and how it was presented.  I honestly don’t remember if the dialog in other books came across the same, but I don’t remember feeling as annoyed by it before.  Here, it felt thrown out there and ranty in places with random bits tossed in without any context for it.  It didn’t seem to really flow well.  There were lots of times I had to stop and reread portions before to see if I missed something because there was suddenly a conversation going on and I wasn’t sure how it even came up.

I really wanted to love this book as I have most of the others, but I just couldn’t.  This wasn’t awful, not by a long shot, but it really wasn’t all that great either.