Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best Books of 2014

With 2015 fast approaching (Can you believe it?), it’s time to take a look back and pick out the best of the best. 2014 was a bit of an uneven year for me in terms of reading. I read 159 books, some of them fabulous…and some not so much. I rediscovered my love of contemporary romance, the subgenre that first hooked me on romance novels in general. I also tried 33 new (to me) authors, and found some new favorites (Jenn Bennett and Macy Beckett are among my new autobuy authors). And finally, I participated in my fifth A to Z Reading Challenge, a challenge I always enjoy.

I read a number of excellent books this year, but I did manage to narrow the list down so I could spotlight the best of the best that I read in 2014:

Wit and Sin Best Books of 2014

Top Ten Books of 2014
Top Re-Reads of 2014
Honorable Mentions


My Top Ten Books of 2014

Note: Not necessarily all published in 2014, but all were new-to-me reads
Also note: The books are alphabetized by title as I love them all equally

Barefoot in White Cover 1. Barefoot in White (Barefoot Bay Brides, Book 1) by Roxanne St. Claire
My Review | Buy Link





Bitter Spirits Cover 2. Bitter Spirits (Roaring Twenties, Book 1) by Jenn Bennett
My Review | Buy Link






Etiquette and Espionage Cover 3. Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, Book 1) by Gail Carriger
Buy Link






Festive in Death Cover 4. Festive in Death (In Death, Book 39) by J.D. Robb
My Review | Buy Link






High Noon Cover 5. High Noon by Nora Roberts
Buy Link






 Hyperbole and a Half Cover 6. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
My Review | Buy Link





Make You Mine Cover 7. Make You Mine (Dumont Bachelors, Book 1) by Macy Beckett
My Review | Buy Link






A Marriage Most Convenient Cover 8. A Marriage Most Convenient by C.C. Galloway
My Review Coming Soon | Buy Link






Shield of Winter Cover 9. Shield of Winter (Psy-Changeling, Book 13) by Nalini Singh
My Review | Buy Link






Sin Undone Cover 10. Sin Undone (Demonica, Book 5) by Larissa Ione
Buy Link






My Top Re-Reads of 2014


Decadence Cover 1. Decadence (Emerald Valley, Book 1.5) by Riley Shane
Buy Link






Judgment in Death Cover 3. Judgment in Death (In Death, Book 11) by J.D. Robb
Buy Link






A Very Personal Trainer Cover 4. A Very Personal Trainer by Justine Elyot
My Review | Buy Link







Victorian Valentine Cover 7. Victorian Valentine by Riley Shane
Buy Link







Honorable Mentions

These books were also new-to-me reads in 2014 and they barely missed making my top ten list.

Alpha and Omega Cover 1. Alpha & Omega (Alpha & Omega, Book 0.5) by Patricia Briggs
Buy Link





Azagoth Cover 2. Azagoth (Demonica, Book 10.5 / Lords of Deliverance, Book 5.5) by Larissa Ione
Buy Link






Midnight Action Cover 3. Midnight Action (Killer Instincts, Book 5) by Elle Kennedy
My Review | Buy Link






Once in a Lifetime Cover 4. Once in a Lifetime (Lucky Harbor, Book 9) by Jill Shalvis
My Review | Buy Link






One in a Million Cover 5. One in a Million (Lucky Harbor, Book 12) by Jill Shalvis
My Review | Buy Link






Rules for a Proper Governess Cover 6. Rules for a Proper Governess by Jennifer Ashley
My Review | Buy Link






Show Me Baby Cover 7. Show Me, Baby (Masters of the Shadowlands, Book 9) by Cherise Sinclair
Buy Link






The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances Cover 8. The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman
Buy Link






This is Who I Am Cover 9. This Is Who I Am (Masters of the Shadowlands, Book 7) by Cherise Sinclair
My Review | Buy Link






Unleashing Mr Darcy Cover 10. Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson
My Review | Buy Link

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Review: Destiny by Vivi Anna

Destiny by Vivi Anna
Series: The League of Illusion, Book 3
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Steampunk Romance Destiny Cover
ISBN: 9781426895593
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Carina Press

Five years ago, Sebastian Davenport tried to go back in time to reverse a fatal mistake, but found himself trapped in another reality. Unaware of the jeopardy facing his family and the League of Illusion, he gave up his magic for a quiet life as a blacksmith. Quiet, until a monstrous three-headed goddess of war called the morrigan comes to town...

Seeing Sebastian poised to charge the goddess, healer Drea Blairwood has no choice but to hit him over the head to stop him. Nursing the mysterious outsider back to health afterward is just an added benefit. She knows he's hiding something about his past, but has no idea what kind of adventure awaits them both.

Sebastian has no desire to risk the life of anyone else, let alone someone as enticing as Drea. But after militant elves kidnap Drea, Sebastian needs to find a way to reclaim his magic. The fate of the League--and the world--hangs in the balance.

Get ready for nonstop action in the final League of Illusion story! Destiny is an exciting, fast-paced read and a must for readers who enjoyed the first two League of Illusion books, Legacy and Prophecy.

Sebastian is a man who has been burdened by guilt for too long. He has essentially been stagnant since going through a portal five years ago. He’s a stranger in a strange land, working as a blacksmith and attempting not to use his magic. But with his brothers on the way and his family’s enemy hot on their trail, Sebastian needs to pull himself together and become the man he’s destined to be. Though necessity likely would have been the kick in the pants he needed, it’s Drea who is the catalyst for Sebastian’s change. Drea’s a healer with a big heart and a longing for something more. She’s wanted Sebastian for years, but it’s only now that their desire for one another comes to the fore. They swiftly fall in love even as danger and seemingly insurmountable obstacles threaten to tear them apart. While I adored Drea and Sebastian and thought they made a great couple, their romance felt rushed and a bit underdeveloped. With more time, this likeable couple could have been great, but they fell short of their potential.

The action is where Vivi Anna’s writing is at its best. The steampunk and fantasy elements introduced in the first two League of Illusion books are further streamlined in this story. There’s so much going on in Destiny that I wish I had more time to explore the world, for the magical beings and their beliefs Ms. Anna introduces had a lot of potential. One issue I did have with the story and world building was that the characters did sound a bit too modern a lot of the time, which pulled me out of the story. Still, Destiny is a solid conclusion to an imaginative trilogy. Sebastian and Drea’s story moves at a furious pace, sweeping readers away for a wonderful adventure.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Sweet Harmony by LuAnne McLane

Sweet Harmony by LuAnn McLane
Series: Cricket Creek, Book 7
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Contemporary Romance Sweet Harmony Cover
ISBN: 9780451470485
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

When Cat Carson drops her record label and signs with an independent label based in Cricket Creek, it’s a huge upset in the music world. But the residents of Cricket Creek are thrilled to have a real country music star in their midst. Everyone except Jeff Greenfield, that is—a local rising star himself, who’s been asked to record a duet with the stunning beauty.

Jeff grew up on a farm, but his smooth, soulful country style is starting to get him noticed outside Cricket Creek. And while a duet with Cat Carson could send his career skyrocketing, he doesn’t want to lose touch with his roots—or lose his head. Because sparks are flying every time he and Cat hit the studio. And it’s more than a little distracting…

Sweet Harmony is a fresh, fun romance that’ll leave you smiling. Author LuAnn McLane’s seventh Cricket Creek novel is a refreshingly honest, joyful read.

Cat is bright, cheeky, and talented. You almost want to hate her because she’s so fabulous, but she’s just so nice that you can’t. I love heroes and heroines that make you wish they were real so you could have them as a friend, and Cat definitely fits the bill. She’s funny and klutzy and altogether endearing. She’s made it to the top as a pop country star, but now she wants to take her career in a different direction. There are those in the business who don’t think Cat’s music is “real country,” and Jeff is one of them. He’s a rising country music star in his own right, and he doesn’t want to jeopardize his integrity by going along with his label’s suggestion that he do a duet with Cat. I loved the push-pull between these two as Jeff learned to respect Cat’s talent and overcome his bias. Both musically and romantically, these two fit one another. It’s not a smooth road to happily ever after, as one might expect when business mixes with pleasure, but of course every bump in the road is worth it in the end. I will admit that I had a bit of trouble with some things near the end that I fear I can’t write about without spoiling the book. Suffice it to say that Cat makes some decisions that seemingly come out of nowhere and I would have liked it if there had been a bit more development toward the end instead of it feeling rushed.

All of the Cricket Creek books I’ve read have had a secondary romance in them, and Sweet Harmony is no exception. I absolutely love reunion romances and the one between separated spouses Pete and Maria was truly stunning. I adore all the secondary romances in the Cricket Creek series, but Pete and Maria’s may just be my favorite. Their love story added even more depth to the overarching plot.

I’m a fan of both modern and classic country, so the music industry plotline was every bit as interesting to me as the romances. That being said, even if you’re not into country music this book should delight. Simply put, Ms. McLane’s Cricket Creek series is lovely to read and Sweet Harmony is no exception. I adored Cat, Jeff, and their friends and I can’t wait to journey back to this sweet Southern town!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Her Sexiest Mistake by Jill Shalvis

Her Sexiest Mistake by Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Forever Yours
Genre: Contemporary Romance Her Sexiest Mistake Cover
ISBN: 9781455529636
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

Mia Appleby finally has the life she always wanted. She's escaped her trailer trash childhood and built a nice life for herself with a marketing job and a cute, little condo. But no matter how much baggage she's ditched from her past, she still hasn't managed to shake her greatest weakness-men. So when her new neighbor turns out to be single and oh-so-sexy, Mia's worried she's playing with fire . . .

Kevin McKnight can't get enough of his gorgeous neighbor, but after one amazing night, she's already showing him the door. Something tells him this is the way she handles most men. But Kevin is far from your average guy-and he's ready to prove it to Mia. When a blast from her past shakes up Mia's life in a major way, will she stick with her self-sufficient solo act . . . or take a chance leaning on Kevin's strong shoulders?

Her Sexiest Mistake is a story of flawed people with big hearts finding their way. Author Jill Shalvis never fails to entertain, and I devoured this sexy, heartwarming book in one sitting.

I absolutely adored Mia. She’s smart, relatable, and does her best even when she’s in over her head both at work and in her personal life. She makes mistakes, quite a few of them, in her quest to separate herself from her past. I appreciated her reasoning even when I knew she was heading in the wrong direction. And to be perfectly honest, I loved that she was flawed. It was wonderful watching her successful but empty life fill with joy over the course of Her Sexiest Mistake as Mia opens her heart not just to Kevin, but to her niece, Hope. And speaking of Kevin…man, he is definitely not a mistake. He is, however, sexy as hell, along with patient and kind. He’s not perfect, but he’s pretty close. Kevin’s most endearing quality – giving all of himself to help others – is also what threatens to break his heart. Both Mia and Kevin’s brother, Mike, try his patience over the course of the story, but both plotlines are ultimately rewarding. Falling in love definitely isn’t easy on either Mia or Kevin, but Ms. Shalvis makes every obstacle worth it in the end.

Her Sexiest Mistake is different from many of Ms. Shalvis’s newer books in a way I can’t quite explain. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the change of pace from one of my favorite authors. Mia, Kevin, and their loved ones are characters who will stay with you, and I can’t wait to read Her Sexiest Mistake again!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Review: Lust on the Rocks by Dianne Venetta

Lust on the Rocks by Dianne Venetta
Series: Gables Trilogy, Book 2
Publisher: BloominThyme Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance Lust on the Rocks Cover
ISBN: 9780983246435
Source: Publisher
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Attorney Samantha Rawlings knows that winning her current case will be the thing that gets her the coveted promotion to partner. But when her boss asks that she bring hotshot young lawyer Victor Marin in on the case, Sam is thrown for a loop. Vic is distracting…in more ways than one. His sex appeal sends Sam reeling, and his almost single-minded focus on their current case makes Sam question his motives. It looks like Vic has a personal vendetta against the defendant. What will happen when Sam finds out that – when it comes to this case – appearances aren’t deceiving?

A sensual, career-minded lawyer meets her match in her sexy, vengeance-driven co-worker in the aptly-titled LUST ON THE ROCKS. Author Dianne Venetta wasn’t afraid to let her hero and heroine butt heads – on more than one front – and the sparks that flew as a result brought life to LUST ON THE ROCKS. I enjoyed watching Sam and Vic argue and compromise, push and defend, give and take. They’re so similar and yet so different in character that I felt I got to know them as they worked out their differences. I liked that Ms. Venetta really let me get to know Sam and Vic, both their strengths and their flaws; that stayed with me even more than the spicy love scenes of LUST ON THE ROCKS.

Though Sam, Vic and their current case is at the center of LUST ON THE ROCKS, there is a significant subplot involving Sam’s pregnant college-aged sister. Again, I appreciated the fact that Ms. Venetta had her characters examine all sides of a problem, but in the pro-choice, pro-life debate contained in LUST ON THE ROCKS, the pro-life language used got a bit heavy-handed for my personal comfort. Given that this is a sensitive subject for many readers, I felt like this needed to be mentioned.

LUST ON THE ROCKS has all the sultriness of its Florida setting. Readers looking for a sensual read with strong-willed, three-dimensional characters will undoubtedly enjoy LUST ON THE ROCKS.


Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Spotlight and Giveaway: Revenant by Larissa Ione

Revenant Blog Tour

I love, love, LOVE Larissa Ione's Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series. Every book is dark, sexy, and action-packed. What's not to love? Revenant is no exception - Rev and Blaspheme were fantastic characters, and the supporting cast was out-of-this-world awesome (I might have even jumped up and down a bit whenever my favorite character of the series, Harvester, showed up ;)).

You can read my review of Revenant here, then scroll down on this page for an excerpt from Revenant and a giveaway from Ms. Ione's publisher, Forever!

About Revenant:

Revenant CoverHELL HATH NO FURY…
For five thousand years, Revenant believed he was alone in the world, a fallen angel beyond any redemption. Now he finds he has a twin brother who had all the light and love Revenant was denied. Caught in a tug of war between Heaven and Hell, he must weigh his thirst for revenge against his desire for a mysterious female named Blaspheme-a female whose very origins could deliver him into salvation…or destruction.

LIKE AN ANGEL SCORNED
Blaspheme has a deadly secret: she's the forbidden offspring of an angel and a fallen angel. Hunted by both heavenly and satanic forces, she has survived only by laying low and trusting no one. When Revenant claims he can save them both, how can she possibly believe him? But the powerful angel is persistence incarnate and for Blaspheme, there's no place she can hide in Heaven or Hell where he won't find her…

My Review | Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | iTunes | Google Play | Kobo | BAM


Excerpt from Revenant

Since the moment Revenant bumped into Blaspheme at the hospital a few weeks ago, he’d been obsessed, and now, as her long legs ate up the asphalt as she walked toward him, he imagined them wrapped around his waist as he pounded into her. The closer she came, the harder his body got.

“Blaspheme.” He stepped out from between two black ambulances, blocking her path.

She jumped, a startled gasp escaping full crimson lips made to propel a male to ecstasy. “Revenant.” Her gaze darted to the hospital doors, and he got the impression she was plotting her escape route. How cute that she thought she could get away from him. “What are you doing lurking in the parking lot?”

Lurking? Well, some might call it that, he supposed. “I was on my way to see you.”

She smiled sweetly. “Well, you’ve seen me. Buh-bye.” Pivoting, her blond ponytail bouncing, she headed in the opposite direction.

“Come home with me.”

“Wow.” She turned and crossed her arms over her chest, which only drew his attention to her rack. Niiice. “You get right to the point.”

He shrugged. “Saves time.”

“Were you planning to wine and dine me at least? You know, before the sex.”

“No. Just sex.” Lots and lots of sex.

He could already imagine her husky voice deepening in the throes of passion.

“Oh,” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. “You’re charming, aren’t you?”

Not once in his five thousand years had anyone ever called him charming. But even uttered with sarcasm, it was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to him.

“Don’t do that,” he growled.

“Do what?” She stared at him like he was a loon.

“Never mind.” Dying to touch her, he held out his hand. “You’ll love my play room.”

She wheeled away like he was offering her the plague instead of his hand. “Go to hell, asshole. I don’t date fallen angels.”

“Good news, then, because it’s not a date.” And he wasn’t a fallen angel.

“Right. Well, I don’t fuck fallen angels either.” She made a shooing motion with her hand. “Go away.”

She was rejecting him? No one rejected him. No one.

She started to take off again, and he blinked, confused. This wasn’t right. He had his sights set on her, and she was supposed to surrender. This was something new. Something…titillating.

He moved in slowly, matching her step for step as she backed up.

“What are you doing?” She swallowed as she bumped up against a massive support beam.

“I’m going to show you why you need to come home with me.” He planted both palms on the beam on either side of her head and leaned in until his lips brushed the tender skin of her ear. “You won’t regret it.”

“I already told you. I don’t fuck fallen angels.”

“So you said,” he murmured. “Do you kiss them?”

“Ah…no, I—“

He didn’t give her the chance to finish her sentence. Strawberry gloss coated his lips as he kissed her, and he swore he’d never liked fruit as much as he did right now.

Her hands came up to grip his biceps, tugging him closer as she deepened the kiss. “You’re good,” she whispered against his mouth.

“I know,” he whispered back.


About Larissa Ione:

Larissa IoneA former meteorologist and EMT, Air Force veteran Larissa Ione now gets her daily dose of excitement from vampires, werewolves, demons, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. She lives in wintery Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat, and her hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.


Where to find Larissa Ione on the Web: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads




Giveaway

Enter here to win copies of the Lords of Deliverance series (Eternal Rider, Immortal Rider, Lethal Rider, Rogue Rider, Reaver, and Revenant)!:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday in Review

It’s update time again :)

Below are the newest reviews I’ve written here on Wit and Sin. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- Revenant (Demonica, Book 11/Lords of Deliverance, Book 6) by Larissa Ione (available 12/16/14)

All other new reviews:
- Scandal and the Duchess (Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 6.5) by Jennifer Ashley
- Merry Christmas, Baby (Lucky Harbor, Book 12.5) by Jill Shalvis

Upcoming reviews:
- Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, Book 1) by Ilona Andrews
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoë Archer
- The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 6) by Jennifer Ashley
- Wild Man (Dream Man, Book 2) by Kristen Ashley
- Down for the Count (Dare Me, Book 1) by Christine Bell
- Down and Dirty (Dare Me, Book 2) by Christine Bell
- The Professional: Part 2 by Kresley Cole
- The Professional: Part 3 by Kresley Cole
- How to Ravish a Rake (How to Series, Book 3) by Vicky Dreiling
- Soul Weaver by Hailey Edwards
- Some Like It Hot (Rising Star Chef, Book 2) by Louisa Edwards
- Hot Under Pressure (Rising Star Chef, Book 3) by Louisa Edwards
- Cowboy Take Me Away (Rainbow Valley, Book 1) by Jane Graves
- His Game, Her Rules by Charlene Groome
- Captured (Fallen Siren, Book 0.5) by S.J. Harper
- Reckoning (Fallen Siren, Book 2) by S.J. Harper
- One Taste of Scandal (Redcakes, Book 2) by Heather Hiestand
- Darling Beast (Maiden Lane, Book 7) by Elizabeth Hoyt
- Beauty Bites (Biting Love, Book 6) by Mary Hughes
- The Volatile Amazon (Alliance of the Amazons, Book 4) by Sandy James
- Breathe (In Vino Veritas, Book 2) by Lauren Jameson
- Linger (In Vino Veritas, Book 3) by Lauren Jameson
- When the Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men, Book 2) by Sabrina Jeffries
- How the Scoundrel Seduces (The Duke’s Men, Book 3) by Sabrina Jeffries
- If the Viscount Falls (The Duke’s Men, Book 4) by Sabrina Jeffries
- Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
- The Sweetheart Secret (Sweetheart Sisters, Book 3) by Shirley Jump
- Archer (Hard Body, Book 1) by Debra Kayn
- Before You Break (Between Breaths, Book 2) by Christina Lee
- Caught Up in You (Loving on the Edge, Book 4) by Roni Loren
- Sweet Harmony (Cricket Creek, Book 7) by LuAnn McLane
- Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, Book 1) by Bec McMaster
- All Fired Up (Hot in the Kitchen, Book 2) by Kate Meader
- Keeping Secrets in Seattle by Brooke Moss
- Blood Persuasion (Immortal Jane Austen, Book 2) by Janet Mullany
- While You Were Writing (Watkins Pond, Book 2) by Virginia Nelson
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Soul Sucker by Kate Pearce
- The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed
- Laugh (Burnside, Book 2) by Mary Ann Rivers
- Festive in Death (In Death, Book 39) by J.D. Robb
- Blood Magick (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Book 3) by Nora Roberts
- Nights of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 4) by Nico Rosso
- Secrets of a Gentleman Escort by Bronwyn Scott
- Her Sexiest Mistake by Jill Shalvis
- Archangel’s Legion (Guild Hunter, Book 6) by Nalini Singh
- Archangel’s Shadows (Guild Hunter, Book 7) by Nalini Singh
- Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, Book 1) by Nalini Singh
- Takeover by Anna Zabo

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Review: Revenant by Larissa Ione

Revenant by Larissa Ione
Series: Demonica, Book 11/Lords of Deliverance, Book 6
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance Revenant Cover
Release Date: December 16, 2014
ISBN: 9781455526987
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Larissa Ione Reading Order

HELL HATH NO FURY…
For five thousand years, Revenant believed he was alone in the world, a fallen angel beyond any redemption. Now he finds he has a twin brother who had all the light and love Revenant was denied. Caught in a tug of war between Heaven and Hell, he must weigh his thirst for revenge against his desire for a mysterious female named Blaspheme-a female whose very origins could deliver him into salvation…or destruction.

LIKE AN ANGEL SCORNED
Blaspheme has a deadly secret: she's the forbidden offspring of an angel and a fallen angel. Hunted by both heavenly and satanic forces, she has survived only by laying low and trusting no one. When Revenant claims he can save them both, how can she possibly believe him? But the powerful angel is persistence incarnate and for Blaspheme, there's no place she can hide in Heaven or Hell where he won't find her…

Revenant is dark, sexy, and utterly thrilling. The nonstop action keeps you on the edge of your seat while the love story is one that will ultimately make you sigh. Best of all, author Larissa Ione keeps you guessing as to what Revenant, Blaspheme, their enemies, and their allies will do next. If there’s one thing I love, it’s that feeling of not knowing how in the heck our protagonists will manage to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles while at the same time trusting that the author will provide a fantastic payoff. Revenant was so engrossing that only the knowledge that I truly had to be mentally present at work the next day allowed me to put the book down.

Revenant is a Shadow Angel, one of the most powerful beings in Heaven or Hell. He’s also extremely angry and bitter, having spent years upon years being tortured and forced to do Satan’s bidding, while his twin, Reaver, was raised in Heaven and given every opportunity to fix his mistakes. Those who know Reaver’s story are aware that things aren’t that black and white – not by a long shot – but Ms. Ione makes Rev’s viewpoint easy to understand, something that’s important since he does lash out a lot at beloved characters. There’s something fascinating about Rev; he’s badass to the extreme and can be pushy as hell, but there’s true goodness in him as well. I loved peeling back the layers to his character. As for Blaspheme, she’s a healer and a truly lovable character who is easy to become attached to. She’s always looking over her shoulder, afraid to trust anyone, but in Revenant we see her open up and the results are fantastic. On the surface, Blas and Rev seem like an odd pairing, but they fit one another like lock and key, and it was highly entertaining watching them spar and then fall in love.

The romance between Blaspheme and Rev is woven seamlessly into the bigger picture, namely Satan’s plan to destroy Heaven. This is where the book’s heart-pounding action takes place, and man, I loved every second of it. There’s not much I can say about this aspect of this book without spoiling the story, so I’ll leave it by saying this is what readers have been waiting to delve into. I will say that the wrap-up felt a bit rushed toward the end, but I still loved the story from first page to last.

Revenant is the eleventh full-length book in the combined Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series and you should definitely be familiar with the world in order to fully enjoy this story. I highly recommend making sure you’ve read Reaver before starting Revenant, as events in this book have their beginnings in the previous one. Almost all the major players in the Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series are back, some just for cameos that’ll make you smile, while others are major secondary characters. Fans of the series are in for a real treat whenever their favorite angels and demons share the page with Blas and Rev.

Larissa Ione excels at bringing dark and dangerous worlds to life. Her books are always wildly addictive and wonderfully unique, and Revenant is no exception. Don’t miss this one!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Review: Scandal and the Duchess by Jennifer Ashley

Scandal and the Duchess by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 6.5
Publisher: InterMix
Genre: Historical Romance Scandal and the Duchess Cover
ISBN: 9781101615935
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jennifer Ashley Reading Order

Scandal follows Rose Barclay, young widow of the Duke of Southdown, wherever she goes. It's never her fault, but newspapers love to write about the young woman from Scotland, and the much older duke she married, who died on their honeymoon. The duke left her with a large widow's portion, now contested by his son, who kicks Rose out of the estate's dower house and uses it to kennel his dogs.

Rose does not need to be found with a large, handsome Scot passed out at her feet, fueling gossips and giving her son-in-law more ammunition. The Scot is Steven McBride--a decorated soldier who is notorious for heavy gambling and womanizing during his leave time. Steven is happy to open his eyes and find the beautiful woman standing over him, and happy to help spirit her away. He comes up with a ruse to foil the journalists, but Rose will have to go along with his very scandalous proposal.

Scandal and the Duchess is bright and bubbly like good champagne. Jennifer Ashley has delivered a fast-paced tale that is wonderfully entertaining, thanks to her two irresistibly charming protagonists, Rose and Steven.

Steven is a soldier with an easy smile that hides regret. Rose is a kind-hearted young widow who’s down on her luck thanks to a bitter, grasping stepson. Pursued by reporters and with no place to go, Rose is definitely in need of a hero. A chance meeting has Steven practically falling into her lap, and the handsome Scotsman is eager to jump into the role of knight in slightly tarnished armor. Their whirlwind love story requires a touch of suspending disbelief, but both of them are so genuinely good and exactly the kind of people you’d love to be friends with that there’s no way you could not root for their romance. Though the obstacles they face are overcome fairly easily thanks to Steven’s family (and beloved series scene-stealer Ian Mackenzie in particular), I was still glued to my seat as I read Scandal and the Duchess.

Ms. Ashley’s Mackenzies & McBrides stories never fail to entertain, and Scandal and the Duchess is no exception. Rose and Steven’s story is sure to sweep you away for a few hours and I dare you not to smile as these two endearing characters find happily ever after.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Review: Baby It's Cold Outside by Addison Fox

Baby It's Cold Outside by Addison Fox
Series: Alaskan Nights, Book 1
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Contemporary Romance Baby Its Cold Outside Cover
ISBN: 9780451235213
Source: Publisher
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Addison Fox Reading Order

When an inheritance mess leaves her best friend, Grier, stressed out and frantic, Sloan McKinley does what any best friend would do; she hops on a plane to Alaska to help Grier out. As soon as she arrives, Sloan can see that Grier needs all the help she can get to win the townspeople of Indigo over. Luckily for Grier, Sloan knows how to turn on the charm.

But it’s Sloan herself who finds herself enchanted, with the people of Indigo…and sexy lawyer Walker Montgomery. What’s more, Sloan happens to have arrived right before an annual contest hosted by three of the town’s matriarchs; an event where bachelorettes from out of state compete for the town’s eligible bachelors. The grandmothers are determined to get their grandsons married off – and one of those grandsons is Walker. Sloan’s entertained by the idea of the competition, but the longer she stays in Indigo, the more she begins to wonder if a certain bachelor might just be worth fighting for. The question is, does Walker want to be caught?

Love is in the air in the sprightly BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE. Author Addison Fox charmed the heck out of me with her first ALASKAN NIGHTS novel.

Any woman who’s faced familial hints/pressure about marriage is sure to identify with Sloan. She’s tired, exasperated and yes, lonely. Sloan’s also got a heart as big as Alaska, so when her best friend calls, needing her support, there’s no question that Sloan will drop everything and fly to Alaska. Sloan’s loyalty, generosity and friendliness made her an incredibly appealing heroine. It would take an equally appealing hero to please this reader, and Ms. Fox definitely delivered with Walker. Walker’s a hero who clearly has a lot of love to give – he just doesn’t quite see it. Watching his parents’ marriage dissolve left its mark on him, and Walker’s cynical about commitment. Ms. Fox did a great job of making Walker sympathetic, which is a blessing, as there are times I – and those that love him – definitely wanted to shake him for not seeing the possibilities for him and Sloan.

While Sloan and Walker are at the center of BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE, the heart of the book is the town – and townspeople – of Indigo itself. Readers are treated to multiple points of view, though the narrative never feels crowded. I felt like I was in Indigo, getting to know the people who mean so much to Walker and who come to mean the world to Sloan. The only downside of this is that I finished BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE wanting the next ALASKAN NIGHTS novel. Ms. Fox has left plenty of teasers for future books; and I cannot wait to return to the wonderful town of Indigo, Alaska.


Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review: Merry Christmas, Baby by Jill Shalvis

Merry Christmas, Baby by Jill Shalvis
Series: Lucky Harbor, Book 12.5
Publisher: Forever Yours
Genre: Contemporary Romance Merry Christmas Baby Cover
ISBN: 9781455531561
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

Wild child Chloe Thompson can’t believe how much things have changed. She still can’t get enough of her sexy husband Sawyer, but he seems to prefer working to thinking about impending fatherhood. So tonight, a very pregnant Chloe is escaping her troubles at the town Christmas party.

Sheriff Sawyer Thompson hopes surprising Chloe at the party will give him a chance to set things right. But as the snow begins to fall and the wind rages, he wonders whether he can make it back in time. While mother nature conspires to keep Sawyer and Chloe apart, an unexpected arrival will require them to kiss and make up . . . and ring in the happiest holiday Lucky Harbor has ever seen.

My idea of a great holiday romance is a story that touches your heart while being festive and fun. Merry Christmas, Baby is all that and more. Jill Shalvis gives readers a peek of what happens after happily ever after for one of her most beloved Lucky Harbor couples, Sawyer and Chloe. The two of them are still deeply in love, but with a baby on the way and some deep-seated insecurities causing worry, everything’s not sunshine and rainbows. I absolutely loved seeing how Chloe and Sawyer have grown both individually and as a couple of the years, and I was rooting for them to work out their troubles in time for the holidays. There’s a wealth of emotion in Merry Christmas, Baby and I devoured every last word.

With the incredible Lucky Harbor series now at an end, Merry Christmas, Baby is like an extended epilogue that is sure to please any fan of the series. Many beloved characters appear throughout the story and it was particularly delightful to visit the three couples that started it all. If you haven’t read the Lucky Harbor series or have only read some of the books, never fear – Merry Christmas, Baby can be read as a standalone. That being said, I believe it’s more enjoyable if you’ve read Head Over Heels, the book where Chloe and Sawyer fell in love.

It’s no secret that I absolutely love the Lucky Harbor series, but standing on its own Merry Christmas, Baby is still a story I would recommend to any romance lover looking for a cozy short that’ll leave them smiling. Ms. Shalvis knows how to bring humor and heart to any tale, and Merry Christmas, Baby is no exception.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Review: Private Acts by Delaney Diamond

Private Acts by Delaney Diamond
Series: Hot Latin Men, Book 3
Publisher: Delaney Diamond
Genre: Contemporary Romance Private Acts Cover
Source: Publisher
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

While working in Ecuador, Samirah Jamison has vowed to stay focused, meaning no men allowed. But temptation has never been as hard to resist as when it is in the form of hard-bodied artist Miguel Delgado…especially when the sexy-as-sin sculptor seems determined to pursue Samirah at every turn. What harm can there be in a little fling? Plenty, Samirah fears, if her heart becomes involved.

Author Delaney Diamond turns up the heat in PRIVATE ACTS. I definitely added Cuenca, Ecuador to my list of places I want to visit after reading this book. As for the story’s protagonists, Samirah has a bright, open personality that draws people to her, readers included. It’s easy to see why Miguel falls hard and fast for her. It’s equally easy to see why Miguel, with his talented hands, makes Samirah want to break her personal “no men” rule. The sexual tension that brews between them makes the first part of PRIVATE ACTS a lot of fun. That being said, I did have a bit of a problem with Miguel’s attitude change approximately halfway through the story. He goes from being dominant to being all-out overbearing when it comes to Samirah, particularly when he’s determined to “teach her a lesson.” For me, a major chunk of his sex appeal disappeared when Miguel became too controlling. That being said, Ms. Diamond does a pretty good job of redeeming him at the end of PRIVATE ACTS. There’s a scene in the last chapter that definitely went a long way in making me like Miguel again.

PRIVATE ACTS is the third HOT LATIN MEN book, but not having read THE ARRANGEMENT or FIGHT FOR LOVE, I can safely say that PRIVATE ACTS reads well as a standalone. I was intrigued, however, by the teasing hints Ms. Diamond gave regarding Samirah’s sister and brother-in-law’s story, FIGHT FOR LOVE. Given that I liked PRIVATE ACTS overall, I’ll most likely be checking out the other HOT LATIN MEN books.


Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review: By Mutual Desire by Dalton Diaz

By Mutual Desire by Dalton Diaz
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance By Mutual Desire Cover
ISBN: 9781419941207
Source: Publisher
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Kelly and Ryan have been married for ten years, but though they love one another, Kelly’s afraid that Ryan’s refusal to deal with old wounds will eventually tear them apart. When they’re selected to take part in a sex therapy study for married couples, Kelly and Ryan jump at the chance to journey to a tropical paradise where all their fantasies can come true. Can this sexual adventure make their marriage stronger? Or will it tear them apart when Ryan is forced to face the ghosts of his past?

BY MUTUAL DESIRE is a unique erotic romance. Author Dalton Diaz delivers scorching hot erotic scenarios that’ll make you want to turn on the air conditioning even in winter. However, it’s the premise and the emotional components of BY MUTUAL DESIRE that set the story apart.

I was intrigued by the sex therapy study because it focused on couples who’ve been married or committed for ten years or more. There’s a solid foundation to Kelly and Ryan’s marriage, as well as in the relationships of the friends they make. The couples’ time on the island isn’t simply about exploring kinks, but rather strengthening marriages and teaching the couples how to communicate more effectively. In BY MUTUAL DESIRE, Kelly and Ryan lay themselves bare not only physically, but emotionally. There are some heart-wrenching emotional moments in BY MUTUAL DESIRE when deep-buried pain is unearthed and the way Ryan and Kelly face those situations both as individuals and as a couple made their story memorable.

Kelly and Ryan’s story is sexy, kinky, heartbreaking and romantic. BY MUTUAL DESIRE is the first story of Dalton Diaz’s I’ve read, but it definitely won’t be the last!


Reader Advisory: This book contains voyeurism, m/m, group sex and BDSM.

Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Since You've Been Gone by Elle Kennedy

Since You've Been Gone by Elle Kennedy
Series: Welcome to Paradise, Book 4
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance Since Youve Been Gone Cover
ISBN: 9781619214750
Source: Publisher
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Elle Kennedy Reading Order

For the past year, Austin Bishop has been trying to avoid his family…and the secret he can’t bear to face. He knows he has to go home to Paradise eventually, but that doesn’t mean the young photojournalist is going to rush to get there. When an assignment comes along to photograph small town Main Streets, he grabs at the excuse to take even longer to come home. Then fate throws a curveball at him in the form of a sexy, stranded redhead. Mari Smith is an out-of-work teacher whose car just died on her in the middle of nowhere. Playing knight to Mari’s damsel-in-distress seems like a good distraction for Austin at first, but it’s not long before their new friendship turns into something more. Mari soothes him in a way no one else ever has, and he’ll need her comforting presence if he’s to face what waits for him at the end of his trip.

The youngest Bishop brother meets his match in the fast-paced, fun and emotional SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE. I’ve adored every Bishop brother book in the WELCOME TO PARADISE series and Austin’s is no exception.

Austin had his world turned upside down a year ago when he uncovered a family secret, and it’s been eating at him ever since. He’s always been close to his family, but now he feels like an outsider and he doesn’t take it well. Strangely enough, one of my favorite things about SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE is that Austin doesn’t handle his altered view of his family well. Author Elle Kennedy does an excellent job of making Austin a realistic character, and there are plenty of ups and downs for the whole Bishop family as Austin struggles to cope with what he knows. Mari is the catalyst for Austin’s change for the better, and I loved her for it. In fact, there’s pretty much nothing not to love about Mari. Her exuberance and zest for life is infectious, leaping off the page and bringing sunshine to the story. Her relationship with Austin is sexy as hell – as one might expect from an Elle Kennedy book – but more than that, Mari and Austin are simply a great fit. I loved watching these two swiftly fall in love.

SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE is the fourth book in the WELCOME TO PARADISE series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. Of course, all your favorite heroes and heroines are back from WELCOME TO PARADISE, TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT and BORN TO BE WILD, and it was lovely to see the whole Bishop family together. Whether you’re an old fan of this series or are just diving in with Austin and Mari’s book, you’re sure to adore SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE.


Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I fell in love with Julia Quinn's writing many years ago (seriously, if you haven't read her Bridgerton series...do so ASAP. Run, don't walk ;)). JQ is still one of my absolute favorite authors and I can't wait for her final Smythe-Smith book. I'm sure it will be as funny and entertaining as all her stories.

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy Cover Title: The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet, Book 4
Author: Julia Quinn
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Julia Quinn Reading Order

Book Description (from Julia Quinn's website):
Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can't be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family's infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She's the type of girl you don't notice until the second—or third—look, but there's something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she's the one.

Iris Smythe–Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can't quite believe it's all true. When his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can't help thinking that he's hiding something . . . even as her heart tells her to say yes.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Review: Getting Lucky by Susan Andersen

Getting Lucky by Susan Andersen
Series: Marine, Book 2
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance Getting Lucky Cover
ISBN: 9780380819188
Source: Publisher
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Lily Morrisette’s first thought upon meeting her roommate Glynnis’s brother? That he’s sexy as sin. Her second thought? That he’s a jerk. But as frustrating as she finds Zachariah Taylor, Lily’s not about to let the overprotective Marine ruin his baby sister’s trip to meet her fiancé’s parents. So when Zach jumps in the car, Lily goes along for the ride. Their road trip allows Lily to see beneath Zach’s rough exterior, but just as she starts to fall for him, they learn that Glynnis has been kidnapped. The ransom note is only the beginning of Lily and Zach’s troubles. Their budding romance might not have a chance to survive the hornet’s nest of secrets, lies and schemes they’ve just stepped into.

GETTING LUCKY is an entertaining story to curl up with on a rainy afternoon. This second book in author Susan Andersen’s MARINE series features some interesting characters and a fairly engaging puzzle for the protagonists to figure out. Lily is a girly-girl who gets more than she bargained for on this road trip with Zach. While she does a few things over the book which leave me scratching my head, overall Lily’s a likeable heroine. Zach isn’t quite as charming — to be honest, he was flat-out unlikeable for the first half of the book — but Ms. Andersen had me warming up to this sexy Marine by the time GETTING LUCKY ended.

Zach and Lily have good chemistry, but I’m not sure I was as invested in their romance as I wanted to be. A hero and heroine who frequently lock horns just aren’t my cup of tea, so that may be where my lack of enthusiasm stems from. The character that really hooked me into GETTING LUCKY was Jessica, the cousin of Glynnis’s fiancé. Jessica is a wallflower who — with help from Lily — comes into her own and watching her growth and her relationship with her husband were the high points of GETTING LUCKY. I could have read a whole book about Jessica; she was just that endearing.

A dash of suspense comes not from the kidnapping plot but from another storyline involving a Colombian with a grudge against Zach. This thread of the story was actually the weakest link of GETTING LUCKY and I felt like the book would have been stronger without that plotline. All the same, I enjoyed GETTING LUCKY and I’m interested in reading Ms. Andersen’s other MARINE books.


Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review: Retribution by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Retribution by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Dark-Hunters, Book 20
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Paranormal Romance Retribution Cover
ISBN: 9780312546595
Source: Publisher
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Sherrilyn Kenyon Reading Order

William Jessup “Sundown” Brady was a notorious gunslinger in the nineteenth century…until the day he was murdered by his best friend. He was brought back to life as a Dark-Hunter by Artemis, and it’s his job to protect mankind from soul-sucking Daimons. Now it’s the twenty-first century, and Jess is tasked with a special assignment; eliminate the monster that’s assassinating Dark-Hunters. Jess is ready and willing to protect his brethren, but he gets a hell of a shock when he comes face-to-face with the killer.

Abigail Yager is a human who was raised by the Dark-Hunters’ enemies after her parents were slaughtered. She’s out for one thing; the blood of Dark-Hunters and Jess Brady’s in particular. When she’s thrown into Jess’s path, however, Abigail finds that he’s not the monster she thought him to be. She also starts to question her belief that Jess is the one that murdered her parents. Caught between opposing supernatural species, Abigail must learn the truth and outwit a darker power that’s out to destroy them all.

Pantheons collide in the fast-paced RETRIBUTION. Author Sherrilyn Kenyon adds a fictionalized version of Native American beliefs and legends to her DARK-HUNTER series in RETRIBUTION and for the most part, it works. I love that Ms. Kenyon takes readers out west where Dark-Hunters and Guardians will have to defeat some very powerful evil before Time Untime – Ms. Kenyon’s version of a Cherokee twenty-twelve prophesy. It’s a change from the other plotlines running through the series and though Time Untime doesn’t fit seamlessly with the other overarching storylines, it’s interesting enough that I didn’t mind it while reading RETRIBUTION.

As for the characters, well, I’ve been waiting a long time for Sundown’s book and thankfully, his heroine is everything I’d hoped she would be. Abigail may be narrow-minded at first, but she’s been essentially brainwashed since coming to live with her adopted family when she was a traumatized child. Once she falls in with the Dark-Hunters, Abigail’s strength shines. Jess, in turn, is a little more tame than the first time we met him in DANCE WITH THE DEVIL, but nevertheless, he’s every bit the hero I knew he would be. It was wonderful to watch these two fall in love, even though it wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination.

Ms. Kenyon has delivered another solid DARK-HUNTER novel that fans, both old and new, of the series will likely enjoy. I finished RETRIBUTION a well-satisfied reader, and I cannot wait to continue with the Time Untime legend in Ren’s book, TIME UNTIME.


Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Review: Far Too Human by Anitra Lynn McLeod

Far Too Human by Anitra Lynn McLeod
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Male/Male Steampunk Romance Far Too Human Cover
ISBN: 9781609287641
Source: Publisher
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Jonathan P. Quiverbottom lives a solitary life, and he’s happy that way…for the most part. The straight-laced inventor hates to have anything interrupt his neat, orderly existence. But when he rents a man-of-all-work bot from a factory, determined to discover how the creations are made, Jonathan’s well-ordered existence comes tumbling down around him. For the bot has the face and body of a man Jonathan once knew - most intimately.

Marcus cannot remember how he became a man-of-all-work bot, but he does have vague flashes of his life as a con man. And he very clearly remembers his one meeting with Jonathan. Lust sparks instantly between the two men, but how can they have a future with one another when society forbids it?

Author Anitra Lynn McLeod puts the “steam” in steampunk with the red-hot FAR TOO HUMAN. Jonathan is delightfully fussy in a way that may drive most people of his acquaintance away but was endearing to me, the reader. Marcus, in turn, presented an engaging mystery. He was a con man but is now a man-of-all-work bot…or is he? The questions Jonathan has about Marcus’s appearance on his doorstep are made all the more interesting by the fact that Marcus himself is in the dark about why he, in particular, was chosen to fulfill Jonathan’s order.

The title FAR TOO HUMAN references Marcus’s humanity, which has not been diminished by his enhancements. And another thing that hasn’t been diminished…his ability to drive Jonathan mad with lust. I liked the dynamic between Jonathan and Marcus. Marcus definitely took sexual control, but Jonathan was the more dominant party in intellectual pursuits. The pair fit one another, and though they did tend to get a little too effusive at times for my taste – the talk during the sex scenes bordered on purple prose - I cared enough about them as a couple to be invested in FAR TOO HUMAN. All in all, FAR TOO HUMAN was a charming story with heroes whose quirks were quite endearing.


Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: One Song Away by Molli Moran


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

Confession time: Molli is a friend of mine, so I may be slightly biased. That being said, One Song Away sounds sweet and utterly charming - even if I didn't know the author this would be on my "to buy" list, which is why it's my WOW pick this week :)

One Song Away Cover Title: One Song Away
Author: Molli Moran
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 1, 2014

Book Description (from Goodreads):

She needs a fill-in boyfriend. He needs a favor. It’s the perfect, no-strings arrangement until they both realize it’s too real…

Sophie-Claire Wright’s life is like a bad country song on repeat. She keeps running into her cheating ex, her songwriting career isn't taking off, and her roommate just kicked her out of their apartment. With nothing to lose, she decides to do the one thing she said she’d never do: she moves back home. She left her small Southern town with big dreams, but now she’s going home with empty pockets.

Life moves at a slower pace in Sophie’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hometown, but her well-meaning, matchmaking mama doesn't have a slow gear. Sophie invents a boyfriend to hold off her mother’s efforts, but she’s out of luck when her mom wants to meet him. Sophie panics until she runs into Jake Cooper. Her high school crush (and former best friend) is back in town, too, and when he asks her for a favor, she agrees...on one condition. He says he’ll be her fill-in boyfriend, so it should be simple: re-introduce him to her family and then “break up” with him after a few weeks.

Sophie is sure she’ll be able to resist Jake this time. Sure, she was in love with him years ago, but that was then. This is now, no matter how great he looks, or how she feels around him. But she didn't bargain for moments that feel all too genuine. Dates that don’t seem fake. Kisses that leave her shaken and wanting more. Sweet moments where she forgets they aren't really dating. And she didn't count on old feelings resurfacing and complicating their arrangement—which is starting to feel less like acting and more like the real deal.

Soon, Sophie can’t tell which kisses are real or fake, but she knows she’s in deep...and she thinks Jake is, too. When she gets a chance to go back to Nashville and chase her dreams again, she has a choice to make: stay or go? Continue hoping that the life she wants is one song away, or finally write her own song?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday in Review

It’s update time again :)

Below are the newest reviews I’ve written here on Wit and Sin. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- Make You Remember (Dumont Bachelors, Book 2) by Macy Beckett (available 11/4/14)
- Midnight Action (Killer Instincts, Book 5) by Elle Kennedy (available 11/4/14)

All other new reviews:
- He’s No Prince Charming (Ever After, Book 1) by Elle Daniels
- One in a Million (Lucky Harbor, Book 12) by Jill Shalvis

Upcoming reviews:
- Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, Book 1) by Ilona Andrews
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoë Archer
- The Seduction of Elliot McBride (Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 5) by Jennifer Ashley
- The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 6) by Jennifer Ashley
- Scandal and the Duchess (Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 6.5) by Jennifer Ashley
- Wild Man (Dream Man, Book 2) by Kristen Ashley
- Down for the Count (Dare Me, Book 1) by Christine Bell
- Down and Dirty (Dare Me, Book 2) by Christine Bell
- The Professional: Part 2 by Kresley Cole
- The Professional: Part 3 by Kresley Cole
- How to Ravish a Rake (How to Series, Book 3) by Vicky Dreiling
- Soul Weaver by Hailey Edwards
- Some Like It Hot (Rising Star Chef, Book 2) by Louisa Edwards
- Hot Under Pressure (Rising Star Chef, Book 3) by Louisa Edwards
- A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch
- Cowboy Take Me Away (Rainbow Valley, Book 1) by Jane Graves
- His Game, Her Rules by Charlene Groome
- Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, Book 3) by Laura Lee Guhrke
- Captured (Fallen Siren, Book 0.5) by S.J. Harper
- Reckoning (Fallen Siren, Book 2) by S.J. Harper
- One Taste of Scandal (Redcakes, Book 2) by Heather Hiestand
- Darling Beast (Maiden Lane, Book 7) by Elizabeth Hoyt
- Beauty Bites (Biting Love, Book 6) by Mary Hughes
- Revenant (Demonica, Book 11) by Larissa Ione
- The Volatile Amazon (Alliance of the Amazons, Book 4) by Sandy James
- Breathe (In Vino Veritas, Book 2) by Lauren Jameson
- Linger (In Vino Veritas, Book 3) by Lauren Jameson
- When the Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men, Book 2) by Sabrina Jeffries
- How the Scoundrel Seduces (The Duke’s Men, Book 3) by Sabrina Jeffries
- Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
- The Sweetheart Secret (Sweetheart Sisters, Book 3) by Shirley Jump
- Archer (Hard Body, Book 1) by Debra Kayn
- Before You Break (Between Breaths, Book 2) by Christina Lee
- Caught Up in You (Loving on the Edge, Book 4) by Roni Loren
- Sweet Harmony (Cricket Creek, Book 7) by LuAnn McLane
- Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, Book 1) by Bec McMaster
- All Fired Up (Hot in the Kitchen, Book 2) by Kate Meader
- Keeping Secrets in Seattle by Brooke Moss
- Blood Persuasion (Immortal Jane Austen, Book 2) by Janet Mullany
- While You Were Writing (Watkins Pond, Book 2) by Virginia Nelson
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Soul Sucker by Kate Pearce
- The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed
- Laugh (Burnside, Book 2) by Mary Ann Rivers
- Festive in Death (In Death, Book 39) by J.D. Robb
- Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Book 1) by Nora Roberts
- Nights of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 4) by Nico Rosso
- Secrets of a Gentleman Escort by Bronwyn Scott
- Merry Christmas, Baby (Lucky Harbor, Book 12.5) by Jill Shalvis
- Archangel’s Legion (Guild Hunter, Book 6) by Nalini Singh
- Archangel’s Shadows (Guild Hunter, Book 7) by Nalini Singh
- Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, Book 1) by Nalini Singh
- Primal Law (Alpha Pack, Book 1) by J.D. Tyler
- Easy by Tammara Webber
- Takeover by Anna Zabo

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Review: Make You Remember by Macy Beckett

Make You Remember by Macy Beckett
Series: Dumont Bachelors, Book 2
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Contemporary Romance Make You Remember Cover
ISBN: 9780451465344
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

He’s about to make his own luck.

Ten years ago, Beau Dumont made the biggest mistake of his life by letting his high school sweetheart, Devyn Mauvais, slip through his fingers. Now the reformed bad boy will stop at nothing to get her back. Even if it means tricking her into taking a job on his family’s riverboat, the Belle of the Bayou.

When Devyn’s old flame offers her a stint at the boat’s day-care center, she sees it as a chance to prove she isn’t just the descendant of Louisiana’s most infamous voodoo queen. Besides, it beats leading ghost tours around New Orleans. Yet when it comes to Beau, Devyn’s all business. She won’t give the sweet-talking playboy another chance to break her heart.

Heartbreak, a family curse, and a second chance with a first love all blend together to make an irresistible story in Make You Remember. Macy Beckett’s second Dumont Bachelors novel is fast-paced, sexy, and filled with characters you have to adore.

Devyn Mauvais’s life went off track when Beau Dumont left her all those years ago and she’s never quite gotten herself back on even footing. She’s shut the door so firmly on her past that she actually makes it harder for herself to move forward and it’s caused her to become a bit sharp with people. One of the joys of Make You Remember is watching Devyn come alive as she finds herself again. Her passion for teaching – and for Beau – make her see that she needs to take a chance and work for the life she wants rather than spin her wheels. I loved seeing the changes in Devyn over the course of the story and I cheered her on as she risks disappointment going for what she wants.

As for Beau, the eldest Dumont brother has an easy charm and talented hands. He knows he screwed up badly when he left Devyn, but that doesn’t mean he won’t grab at the second chance he has with her. I loved that Beau owned his mistakes and stood up for the man he has worked to become. He’s the perfect match for Devyn, and when the sexual tension between them boils over the pages of Make You Remember steam up like you wouldn’t believe. Their love story was solidly entertaining, but I did feel that it wasn’t quite as powerful as it could have been. Beau and Devyn’s romance is based on the fact that they fell in love when they were young and are now getting their second chance. However, we don’t really get to see much of their shared past; only the important details are mentioned in the story and we miss seeing much of how they first fell in love. By not seeing that foundation, I was left wanting a little bit even though the love story built on said foundation was enjoyable.

Make You Remember is the second full-length book in the Dumont Bachelors series, but it can be read as a standalone. Beau’s brothers and Devyn’s sister all play important supporting roles in the book, and having fallen in love with all of them in Make You Mine, I was thrilled to revisit the Dumont and Mauvais families. Like most of his brothers, Beau is still cursed never to make it down the aisle, and though the curse was less important to this story than it was to the first, it was still an obstacle I enjoyed watching Devyn and Beau overcome. I finished Make You Remember a well-satisfied reader, though I’m on tenterhooks waiting for Alex and Ella-Claire’s story. Ms. Beckett, please don’t make readers wait long for more of these sinfully sexy Dumont brothers!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Blog Tour: Midnight Action by Elle Kennedy


If you’ve visited Wit and Sin in the past, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a huge Elle Kennedy fan. Her books are always engaging and hotter than hell, and they run the gamut from fun contemporary romance to dark and gritty romantic suspense. Ms. Kennedy’s Killer Instincts falls into the dark and gritty category, and the fifth book, Midnight Action comes out November 4th. Midnight Action was my most highly anticipated book of Ms. Kennedy’s to date, and as you can see from my review, I absolutely LOVED Jim and Noelle’s book. In fact, it might just be my favorite book of Ms. Kennedy’s to date (and that’s saying something).

Intrigued yet? If you’re on the fence (or simply can’t wait for the book’s release), scroll down and read an excerpt from Midnight Action. I dare you not to be tempted by Noelle and Jim ;) Also, don’t forget to check the bottom of this post – there’s a giveaway from Ms. Kennedy’s publisher, Signet!


Excerpt from Midnight Action:

Midnight Action CoverHis body was magnificent.

Not an ounce of fat on it, just a solid mass of muscle and raw masculine power. Noelle eyed Jim’s molded biceps and triceps as those strong arms propelled his body forward. Long legs kicking through the water, tight buttocks flexing with each commanding stroke.

She hadn’t seen him naked in years, and she was intrigued by the scars— both old and new— that marred his sleek, tanned skin. She wondered how he’d gotten each one. A big part of her wished she had been the one who’d inflicted them on him, but alas, she hadn’t laid a hand on the man since they’d parted ways in Paris all those years ago.

Her hands suddenly tingled with the urge to alter that. To pound into his flesh and administer pain, bruises, any kind of mark to serve as proof that she could cause him damage.

God, he deserved to die for what he’d done to her. So why did she continue to let him live? She used to tell herself it was because she wanted to torment him first, but lately she’d been questioning her motives. Wondering if maybe the reason she hadn’t killed him was because she simply didn’t want to see him dead.

But why not, damn it? All she’d ever dreamed of was wiping him out of existence, out of her life and her thoughts.

And clearly she wasn’t the only one. Someone else wanted Jim terminated, someone who was willing to pay a small fortune to make it happen, and instead of acting like the professional she was and getting the job done, she’d come here to warn him.

To warn him, for fuck’s sake.

A soft splash recaptured her attention, and she lifted her head in time to see Jim hop onto the deck. Water dripped from his warrior form, rivulets gathering between his heavy pecs, running down his rock-hard chest and clinging to his washboard abs. He was unconcerned with his nudity, unfazed by the erection jutting from his groin.
His arms rose in a lazy stretch, roped muscles bulging as his gaze found hers. His cobalt blue eyes gleamed mockingly.

“Say your piece and leave, Noelle.”

Midnight Action CoverShe rose from the deck chair with a careless shrug. “Someone wants you dead. Offered me five million big ones to eliminate you.”

Jim slanted his head. “Who?”

“Not sure. The client is using a middleman.”

“Interesting.” He swiped a towel from the stack on one of the lounge chairs and wrapped it around his trim hips.

The second his erection was out of sight, Noelle was able to breathe again. It sickened her that her body was capable of responding to his aroused state; her heart had actually skipped a beat and her core had ached with need.

She wasn’t allowed to get turned on by Jim Morgan. It was a weakness she refused to possess.

“He gave me five days to get the job done,” she added. “After that, the contract hits the open market— two million bucks for your head on a silver platter. It’ll be an assassin free-for-all.”

“Thanks for the heads-up,” he said gruffly. “Any idea who the client might be?”

“No, but I can give you his associate’s information. Gilles Girard, a lawyer in Paris.” She took a step toward the flagstone path that led to the terrace. “Happy hunting, Jim.”

“Did you take the job?”

She kept her back to him. “Of course. Turning it down might have raised a red flag.”

“You planning on following through on it?”

“Nope.”

His husky laughter grated. “Why not?”

“Why do you think? I’ll kill you on my own terms, not under orders from some anonymous asshole.”

“Right. You’ve still deluded yourself into thinking you’re actually gonna off me.”

She slowly turned around. The amused glimmer in his eyes made her want to reach for the pistol at the small of her back and shoot him right in that mocking mouth of his.

“Right back atcha, baby,” she said softly.

“Oh, I already explained why I haven’t killed you. I’m not done making you suffer.”

“Whatever you say, Jim.”

She took off walking again, but he came up beside her, matching her hurried strides.

“Where you headed?” he asked.

Midnight Action Cover“What do you care?”

He ignored the question. “Back to Paris?”

“Yes,” she said grudgingly.

“Good. I’ll catch a ride with you, then. Give me twenty minutes to gather my gear.”

He was on the terrace and marching inside before she could protest, leaving her standing there in annoyance. Presumptuous ass. She’d rather slit her wrists than let him board her jet.

So why are you still here?

The snide voice raised a valid point. Jim couldn’t force her to give him a ride. All she had to do was walk out of the house, get into her car, and drive to the airstrip. Without him.

Or, she could put a bullet in his brain and finally be done with him.

But Noelle chose neither of those options.

Instead, she lit up a cigarette, took a deep drag, and waited for Jim.

~~~~~

“You really think it’s a good idea to handle this alone?” D’s gravelly voice sounded from the doorway, where the tattooed mercenary stood with his arms crossed over his broad chest.

Morgan tossed a couple pairs of pants into his large black duffel, followed by a few T-shirts and a handful of rolled-up socks.

“No other choice,” he muttered as he packed. “I need my A-Team in Ecuador, and the rest of the men on other gigs.”

“Sully, Liam, and Ash are all off rotation,” D pointed out. “Take them with you.”

“No.”

“Morgan—”

“No,” he repeated. “I have no idea what I’ll find in Paris, and I’m not dragging anyone else into this until I know for sure what I’m up against. I’d rather they stay at the compound— you can call them in for backup if the rebel job gets too hairy.”

D scowled. “They’d be of better use serving as backup for you.”

“They stay here.” He spoke in a firm voice, refusing to yield to D’s menacing expression. No way was he endangering any of his men in what could very likely be a dangerous wild-goose chase.

As if reading his mind, D stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. “She could be fucking with you.”

Although Morgan had been entertaining the same notion, his brain kept dismissing it. He knew Noelle better than he knew himself, and he believed with absolute certainty that she’d told him the truth.

But what were her motives for sharing the information? The cynic in him assumed she’d come to gloat, but that didn’t sit right with him. As crazy as it was, he suspected she might have actually come to warn him.

Figure that one out.

“Nah, she’s on the up-and-up.” He checked the clip of his semiautomatic, shoved the weapon in a smaller canvas case, then stowed the gun bag in the big duffel. “Question is— who was stupid enough to hire an assassin to take me out?”

“Speaking of stupid, don’t go teaming up with her,” D said curtly. “If you don’t want to bring the boys, fine— that idiocy is on you. But at least work it solo, then. You can’t trust that woman.”

“No kidding.” Stifling a rush of resentment, he straightened up and met D’s coal black eyes. “Though I’m surprised to hear you dispensing the advice. Weren’t you the one cozying up to her for the better part of a year?”

As usual, D’s expression remained shuttered. “Doesn’t mean I trust her.” There was a pause. “It’s over now, in case you were wondering.”

“Already knew that, never cared either way.”

“If you say so.”

Morgan could have sworn he glimpsed a flicker of amusement in the other mercenary’s deadly eyes, but if he had, it was gone now. Still, the idea that D didn’t believe him— no, even worse, that D was challenging him— made his blood boil.

As far as he knew, out of all the men in his employment, D was the only one who’d made use of previous connections to dig into Morgan’s past with Noelle, and it pissed him off that the man might’ve gained even a smidgen of insight about their turbulent history. Fortunately, D had raised the subject only once, never to mention it again.

But it still fucking grated.

“Anyway, if you need backup, just say the word.” With a shrug, D opened the door and disappeared into the hall.

Morgan finished packing his gear and left the room a moment later. He strode down the long hardwood corridor toward the east wing of the house, where Kane and Abby’s suite of rooms was situated. He’d heard them come upstairs a few minutes ago, and sure enough, they were in their bedroom when he knocked on the door.

Midnight Action Cover“I’m taking off,” he said once Kane appeared in the doorway. “D’s got the details about the rebel job. Call if you run into any trouble.”

“Yes, sir.” Kane’s green eyes took on an irritated light. “Would you please consider taking backup? Sully and Liam are—”

“Staying here,” he finished, swallowing his own irritation. “I just had this same argument with D, and I’m not in the mood for a repeat performance. If I need help, I’ll call ’em. Until then, they stay here.”

“Fine.” Kane sighed. “Keep in contact, all right? Don’t go AWOL on us again.”

“I’ll try not to.” He peered past the man’s shoulders and nodded at Abby, who was perched on the edge of the bed. “Don’t even think about joining them in Ecuador, Sinclair.” He shot a pointed look at her stomach. “You’re grounded for at least another six months.”

“Don’t remind me.” The redhead sighed, her hand absently lowering to rub the slight bulge. “Christ, what am I going to do with myself? I’ve never had this much time off in my life. Is there such a thing as knife withdrawal?”

Morgan had to grin. Abby was probably the most skilled operative he’d ever worked with, but she was definitely way too fond of her knives. He wouldn’t be surprised if her and Kane’s kid popped out with an immediate case of bloodlust.

“I’m sure you’ll find ways to occupy yourself.” He glanced at Kane. “And you, don’t screw up this job. The pay is too good.”

“Like you need any more money,” Kane cracked.

Chuckling, Morgan carted his duffel down the hall again. His scuffed-up combat boots didn’t make a sound as he descended one of the twin spiral staircases and stepped into the parlor.

When he slid out the front door, he found Noelle waiting on the pillared porch, a cigarette in her hand and a frown on her face.

“Let’s go,” he muttered.

She rolled her eyes disparagingly. “Yes, sir.”

They walked toward her Mercedes. The three feet of distance between them was nowhere near vast enough to reduce the tension surrounding them like a dark cloud. If anything, Morgan was even more on edge than before. They had a twelve-hour flight ahead of them, and he wasn’t looking forward to it in the slightest.

It suddenly occurred to him that for the first time in years, they were about to be alone together for more than five minutes.

Just the two of them. On a small jet. Tens of thousands of feet in the air.

Christ.

Maybe he should’ve packed a parachute, just in case.


About Midnight Action:

Midnight Action CoverShe’s got a broken heart... and a fully loaded arsenal.

Ex–army ranger Jim Morgan leads a team of elite mercenaries, but eighteen years ago in Paris, he was part of a black ops unit whose mission was to hunt down a rogue operative. In order to trap the criminal, Jim seduced Noelle, the man’s daughter—a ruthless act that cost him the love of his life and turned her into a mortal enemy. Now he can’t trust her, but he still desires her. He also needs her help....

Older, wiser, and unwilling to play the fool again, Noelle runs a group of highly skilled assassins. And she’s just been offered the hit of the century: Eliminate Jim Morgan. History gives them no reason to trust each other, but with their lives in jeopardy at the hands of a common enemy, the lines between love and hate are soon blurred. Now Noelle and Jim must face the past if they want to have a future—let alone a future together.

My Review | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | BAM! | iTunes


About Elle Kennedy:

Elle KennedyElle Kennedy is a RITA-nominated author grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University.

Find Elle Kennedy on the Web: Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads






Giveaway

Enter here to win a the Killer Instincts series (all 5 full-length books published to date)!:
a Rafflecopter giveaway