Monday, August 14, 2017

Review: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell
Series: The Barons, Book 1
Publisher: InterMix
Genre: Male/Male Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9780399586293
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel.

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin's timeout is over…

A warning to anyone about to start Illegal Contact: make sure you leave yourself time to read the entire book in one sitting. Santino Hassell has a compelling writing style that makes Gavin and Noah’s love story impossible to put down. Even if you’re not a football fan, this is one sports romance you don’t want to miss.

Gavin Brawley isn’t your typical hero. He may be gorgeous and talented both in the bedroom and on the field, but he’s also got a short temper that he lets fly. Add in an attitude and an unwillingness to be anything but straightforward and it’s easy to see why he’s a public relations nightmare. Gavin isn’t wholly the jerk the media makes him out to be, but he’s got a chip on shoulder and the forced confinement of house arrest (even if that house is a mansion) makes him even more irritable. So why did I find him so compelling? What sold me on Gavin from the start – even when he was at his most disagreeable – was that he’s utterly and completely loyal, protective, and caring when it comes to his friends. I loved peeling back the layers of his character and watching Gavin grow and change over the course of the story. He’s never going to be the smiling sports star pictured on your boxed cereal, but he does become an ever better, more well-rounded version of himself.

Noah Monroe is the catalyst for Gavin’s change, and I flat-out loved him. Noah is one of the most relatable protagonists I’ve come across in quite some time. When he applies for the job of Gavin’s personal assistant, it’s not because he’s a football fan or a celebrity-chaser. He’s simply a recent college grad drowning in student loan debt and desperately needs a job. Noah may be smart, no-nonsense, a bit of a geek, and look like a sexy Clark Kent, but he’s also an over-thinker with flaws of his own. Noah isn’t cowed by Gavin’s temper and his straightforwardness with the other man about how he comes across is part of the reason why Gavin starts to examine his own attitude.

Noah and Gavin don’t hit it off from the start; in fact, they piss each other off more often than not. The sparks fly fast and furious and I loved watching Gavin and Noah go from antagonizing one another to respecting each other to becoming more than cranky football star and overwhelmed employee. While there’s definite attraction in the beginning, the romance is a slow burn. I loved that Gavin and Noah actually got to know each other before the love story kicked things into high gear. And when the sexual tension between the two men boils over…watch out, because you’re in for some dirty, sexy fun. I loved these two together, but even after they start to fall in love, you know things aren’t going to be easy. Coming out as bisexual could destroy a career that has saved Gavin, and homophobia isn’t something you can wave a magic wand at and make disappear. I won’t say how things work out, but I will say that the ending of Illegal Contact left me with a huge smile on my face.

Illegal Contact is the first book in Mr. Hassell’s Barons series and I can’t wait for more. Noah and Gavin are complex, interesting characters and their love story is layered, engaging, sexy, and surprisingly sweet at times. I also fell in love with Gavin’s teammates and best friends Simeon and Marcus, and I cannot wait to see what Mr. Hassell has in store for Simeon in Down by Contact. Until I find out, I’m content to keep re-reading Gavin and Noah’s story – their romance is just that addictive.


FTC Disclosure: I received the e-book edition of 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, August 13, 2017

Review: The Wolf of Kisimul Castle by Heather McCollum

The Wolf of Kisimul Castle by Heather McCollum
Series: Highland Isles, Book 3
Publisher: Entangled: Scandalous
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781973859741
Release Date: August 14, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Mairi Maclean is kidnapped on her wedding day by the enemy of her dead husband. Taken north to the water-surrounded Kisimul Castle, she is held captive in the name of retribution. But The Wolf of Kisimul Castle soon learns Mairi is not a docile pawn in this game of war between neighboring Scots. Nor will she be frightened into walking down the aisle to wed the fierce Highland chief.

Alec MacNeil is set on revenge. When he finds his enemy dead, he takes his wife to replace the one that was murdered. An eye for an eye. A bride for a bride. But Mairi is more tiger than kitten and refuses to bend to his will. Set stubbornly against one another, the passion that flares between them threatens to tear Alec's strategy to shreds.

Alec MacNeil has a simple plan for revenge: kidnap his enemy’s bride on her wedding day and marry her himself. But Mairi Maclean is no wilting flower. She challenges him, tempts him, and isn’t about to give in and marry some man just because he says so. But even though she’s his captive, it’s not long before Mairi is breathing new life into Alec’s home. And the longer the two of them are around one another, the more difficult it becomes for them to resist their mutual attraction…

The Wolf of Kisimul Castle is one of the most fun books I’ve read in a long time. I can’t count the number of times Mairi and Alec made me grin and Heather McCollum’s writing just plain charmed the heck out of me.

Mairi is a strong, resourceful woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. When taken captive she doesn’t faint with fright, but defies Alec and makes herself comfortable in his dungeon. I loved Mairi’s cleverness, attitude, and warm heart. Kisimul Castle is a dark and depressing place when she arrives and she – along with Alec’s adorable children – turn it into a home. As for Alec, though he’s determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he’s no monster. He’s a kind and loving father and a leader who wants to do what’s best for his people. I adored both Alec and Mairi, which made it easy to become invested in their love story. Their romance is lively and fun; every part of it crackles with energy. The sparks that fly from their first meeting keep flying all through the book which made this a wonderfully satisfying romance.

Some books just make you happy when you read them, and that’s definitely the case for me with The Wolf of Kisimul Castle. This is the first book of Ms. McCollum’s that I’ve read and her style reminded me of vintage Julie Garwood. I couldn’t have been more entertained by Mairi and Alec’s story and I cannot wait to go back and read Ms. McCollum’s first two Highland Isles tales!


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: How to Marry a Marquess by Stacy Reid

How to Marry a Marquess by Stacy Reid
Series: Wedded by Scandal, Book 3
Publisher: Entangled: Scandalous
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781973859536
Release Date: August 14, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Lady Evie Chesterfield is a darling of the ton who refuses to become engaged. She's been desperately in love with her brother's friend, Richard Maitland, Marquess of Westfall, since forever. But the dark, dangerous marquess only sees her as a friend and refuses to marry any woman. When circumstances change and Evie has no choice but to take a husband, she decides to convince London's most notorious gentleman to marry her by seducing the scoundrel.

Richard Maitland decided long ago that he wanted nothing to do with love. So when the gorgeous, off-limits Evie asks him for lessons in seduction, Richard knows he's playing with fire. Despite Richard's determination to protect her from his dastardly reputation, he is tested at every turn by his need for the infuriating, but enticing, Lady Evie. Before too long he is faced with making an impossible choice…

Since reading the first Wedded by Scandal book, Accidentally Compromising the Duke, I have been on tenterhooks for Evie and Westfall’s story. Stacy Reid did not disappoint. How to Marry a Marquess has it all: bright dialogue, meltingly sensual scenes, and a romance you can root for. I adored it.

What I liked best about Evie and Westfall’s relationship is that it is six years in the making. Ms. Reid takes readers on a journey that starts with a less than glamorous (but quite funny) initial meeting. Even though they’re immediately attracted to one another, the two of them are friends for years before the main story develops. I loved the chemistry Evie and Westfall had both as friends and lovers. The sexual tension was utterly delicious and their dialogue brightened up the page and made How to Marry a Marquess practically speed by.

While it’s clear to everyone that Evie and Westfall would make a great match, things aren’t so easy for them. Westfall’s life took a turn when he found and rescued his illegitimate daughter, Emily. Emily changed Westfall’s outlook on life and his patience for the hypocrisy of high society is limited. The fact that he loves his daughter and the other children he adopted made me melt, but his actions have made him a pariah in society. While he doesn’t care that his name has been dragged through the mud, he’s so protective of Evie that he won’t give them a chance because he doesn’t believe that the darling of society could be an outcast. Westfall’s passion for social reform made me love him, but I did want to shake him a time or two because he makes assumptions about Evie and what she does or does not think. Neither he nor Evie are perfect and that means that – even though they both have hearts of gold – they don’t always say or do the right thing. But even when they screw up, they mean well and Ms. Reid shows us why each acts the way they do. And all the ups and downs are totally worth it because their happily ever after is wonderfully romantic.

How to Marry a Marquess is the third Wedded by Scandal book, but it can easily be read as a standalone. As happened Accidentally Compromising the Duke, I made the mistake of trying to read this story on my lunch break, which was a terrible plan. Ms. Reid’s writing is so entertaining that if you have to put the story down, you’re counting the hours until you can get back to it. I love a good friends-to-lovers story and Evie and Westfall’s is simply fantastic.


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, August 9, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Changing the Play by Julia Blake


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

I love it when I'm aimlessly poking around on Amazon and come across a book that seems right up my alley. That's the case for my Waiting on Wednesday pick this week, Changing the Play by Julia Blake. I love strong, successful heroines and stories where one of the protagonists has an old crush on the other. Changing the Play has both and it sounds like a heck of a fun read. I adored The Governess Was Wanton, which Ms. Blake wrote as Julia Kelly, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how Ms. Blake tackles contemporary romance.

Title: Changing the Play
Series: The Game Changer, Book 1
Author: Julia Blake
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: August 21, 2017

Book Description (from Amazon):

From award-winning author Julia Blake comes a fast-paced romance that offers the perfect mix of competition and passion in the dog-eat-dog world of professional football and sports media.

Rachel Pollard has never been a push-over. That’s why she’s a superstar in the world of sports management, making a name for herself with a shrewd eye for overlooked talent. She certainly isn’t taking any chances with her latest NFL draft prospect, Kevin Loder, who’s poised to shake up the league. But when Nick Ruben, a tenacious sports reporter who also happens to be the crush who ignored her all through high school, picks up the scent of a long-buried story, Rachel suddenly finds herself playing defense for the first time in years.

Nick usually doesn’t strike out with women, but his always-dependable charm isn’t getting him anywhere with Rachel or the interview he needs to save his job from his network’s impending layoffs. He knows he’s pressing hard, but she’s pushing back just as much—it’d almost be fun if his career wasn’t on the line. But after weeks of begging and finally striking a deal for an exclusive, Nick is surprised to realize he wants their relationship to be anything but professional. Now he has to figure out a way to save his job without hurting hers, and to make the girl he overlooked in high school believe he’s worth a shot at love.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Entangled: Scorched New Releases

Get Scorched with sexy new releases from Lorna James, Tina Donahue, and Laura Jardine!

***

About TWO DUKES AND A LADY:

Charles Ashdown, Duke of Densmore, and his closest friend William Kenwood, Duke of Tennison, love gambling and womanizing too much to ever be ensnared by a debutante. Certainly, no decent wife would allow the debauchery they enjoy. But the only woman they’ve ever loved has returned. Unfortunately, Society, and likely darling Lily, will never accept the sharing relationship they’d like to propose.

Lillian Drew returns to England after her husband’s mysterious death and finds solace with her girlhood crushes, Charles and William. Sure, they’re as unapologetically crass and self-centered as always, but she loves them both. When her dead husband’s creditors come after her, she has no choice but to remarry, though she can’t make up her mind which duke she’ll propose to. With a toss of one of the few coins she has left to her name, she hopes the loser will understand.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

 

***

About WICKED TAKEOVER:

She’s just inherited a tattoo parlor…and the hunk who comes with it.

Lauren’s in a helluva mess. Not only has she lost her corporate HR job, she’s just inherited Wicked Brand, a struggling West Palm Beach tattoo parlor…along with the virile dude who runs it. Lauren’s full-figured, sorta pretty, and wanting him badly. Dream on. She’s here to sell the place as quickly as possible for some much-needed cash and score a new position in the corporate world.

Dante’s sinfully hot with a killer smile and beautifully inked biceps. He sees the heat in Lauren’s eyes despite her conservative appearance, recognizing the dynamite woman she could be if she’d just loosen up and have some wicked fun. Dominance and submission. Making love in a public place. Having her lush body always accessible to and ready for his.

Unwilling and unable to keep their hands to themselves, Lauren and Dante turn to carnal games and seduction. Until lust turns to surprising need and friendship to something deeper that might just change their futures.

 

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

 

***

About SEDUCING HIS TRUE LOVE:

Blaine Richards didn’t believe in love at first sight, even when he met the perfect woman. They had an intense, passionate interlude sixteen months ago…and then it was over. Even after all this time, Blaine can’t forget Cassie Monroe. Now, he’s desperate to get her back.

It’s taken more than a year for Cassie's broken heart to heal, but she’s finally ready to move on…when Blaine comes back to town, claiming she belongs with him.

He challenges her to spend a weekend with him, betting she won’t be able to walk away at the end of it. Cassie finally agrees, determined to prove there’s nothing between them but hot sex.

Only, the erotic, no-holds-barred weekend Blaine has planned for her is enough to make a girl change her mind…

Disclaimer: Contains the following possible trigger: consensual rape fantasy.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Royally Wed by Teri Wilson


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

I adore Teri Wilson's reimagined classics. Ms. Wilson does an excellent job of paying homage to the source material while making the story feel fresh and new. I still smile every time I think of Unleashing Mr. Darcy and I sighed over her last Royals book, Royally Romanov. That's why my Waiting on Wednesday pick this week is Ms. Wilson's Royally Wed, a spin on the Fred Astaire classic, Royal Wedding.

Title: Royally Wed
Series: The Royals, Book 3
Author: Teri Wilson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: November 13, 2017

Book Description (from Amazon):

Teri Wilson’s Royals series returns with this charming and witty retelling of the timeless classic MGM film Royal Wedding starring Fred Astaire.

When Asher Reed, an American classical musician, is hired as a last minute replacement to perform at the royal wedding of Princess Amelia in Great Britain, he’s hoping he can shake his recent bout with performance anxiety long enough to get through the festivities and get his career back on track. Little does he know that his life is about to change forever.

As a guest of Buckingham Palace, he knows he has no business even speaking to the princess, but he’s completely awed by her beauty and more than a little intrigued by her rebellious spirit. Still, he definitely knows he has no business kissing her silly at the fitting of her wedding gown. He’s there to perform, not cause a royal scandal. But when he stumbles upon her groom’s appalling secret, the fate of the princess and the British Crown suddenly rest squarely in his cello-playing hands....

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Review: Her Wish by Sophie H. Morgan

Her Wish by Sophie H. Morgan
Series: Playboy Genie, Book 1
Publisher: Swerve
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 9781250129215
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

This playboy has finally met his match…

Charlie’s sick of Genies. Too beautiful, too sure of themselves, too “celebrity”. And way too eager to grant wishes in the worldwide Lottery that entices mortals into buying tickets in the hope of winning their desires. Charlie would rather walk naked through Times Square than buy a ticket. Unfortunately, her friend springs for one in Charlie’s name – and it gets picked. She refuses to get sucked in and has no qualms about saying so to the famously arrogant, devilishly handsome Genie at her door. Sexy Blue Eyes will just have to take no for an answer.

Jax Michaels would love to take no for an answer. As the most famous Genie on the East Coast, known for his sex appeal, his cheeky interviews, and his roguish style of granting wishes, he only has to turn to the next in line to find a willing partner. After all, every woman wants him – except, apparently, Charlie Donahue, who throws back his charming words, sneers at his calculated grins, and refuses to even consider wishing. Jax isn't a fool. He’s prepared to wash his hands of this infuriating, appealing female…until his Handler informs him that quitting is not an option. And if he can’t talk her into wishing, Jax will have to try playing a little dirty.

Forget Powerball – I totally want a ticket to win a wish from one of Sophie H. Morgan’s Genies! Her Wish is a fresh and fun paranormal romance. I loved Ms. Morgan’s whole concept of celebrity Genies, the corporation that employs them, and wishes being granted to weekly lottery winners.

Charlie believes in hard work, not wishes. And when her best friend buys her a lottery ticket and Charlie wins, Charlie would rather chew glass than make a wish. Unfortunately for her, Jax Michaels – the Genie who is supposed to grant Charlie her wish – can’t let her just skip out on her wish. On the surface, the stunningly gorgeous, oh-so-charming Jax who has women throwing themselves at his feet is everything Charlie despises. But when he keeps popping in, the two actually start to get to know one another and the real fun begins. I loved that Charlie threw Jax for a loop by being unimpressed with his looks, charm, magic, and celebrity.

Charlie has her reasons for not wanting a wish, and though it took a while to learn her reasons, I understood why it was too personal for her to immediately open up and share with Jax. As for Jax, I – like Charlie – wasn’t immediately bowled over by him because he was arrogant as could be. This actually worked really well for the story, because it gave me a chance to start liking Jax alongside Charlie. There’s more to Jax than most people see. Most people don’t look past his looks or charm, just like most people don’t look past Charlie’s “plain Jane” looks and acerbic wit. Both of them are smart, flawed people who come into their own over the course of the story and their personal journeys had me as engaged as their romance. Charlie and Jax make an excellent couple and I found it difficult to put Her Wish down because the chemistry they had was so appealing. Even when they’re fighting, sparks fly and they’re equally matched. Jax and Charlie simply work on every level. They don’t instantly fall in love. Heck, they don’t even instantly fall in lust. Their love story is a natural progression as they come to know each other and I just loved that. It’s not smooth sailing for these two. Their strong personalities, differing views, and Charlie’s old wounds and insecurities mean that it’s a bumpy road to happily ever after, but it’s a road well worth travelling.

Her Wish is the first book in Ms. Morgan’s Playboy Genie series and I’m can’t wait to delve further into the world of the Genies. I was fascinated by the bits and pieces of WFY that we got to see and the Genies who worked there. I’m definitely hoping future books show us more of how WFY works. There are also a couple of supporting characters, both magical and mortal, who I’m really hoping get books of their own one day. Jax’s Handler, Luka, Jax’s assistant, Josh, and Charlie’s roommate, Kate, added extra humor and heart to the story and helped make the world come alive.

Her Wish is unique, fun, and as charming as Jax himself. I adored Jax and Charlie’s romance and I can’t wait to read the next Playboy Genie story, His Command.


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, July 23, 2017

Review: Mind Over Matter by Nora Roberts

Mind Over Matter by Nora Roberts
Publisher: Silhouette Special Releases
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781488027062
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

David Brady needs a star for his documentary on paranormal psychology. When he finds out theatrical agent A.J. Fields has a psychic for a client, he’s thrilled. However, A.J. is reluctant to let her client work with the smooth-talking producer who’s obviously a skeptic. David can tell that A.J.’s icy exterior is just a front. He’s determined to discover what secrets she’s hiding…but he might just find more than he bargained for!

In Mind Over Matter a hardworking theatrical agent meets her match in a producer who isn’t afraid to knock down the walls she has around her heart. A.J. Fields has worked for years to become one of the most successful agents in Hollywood. She’s smart and has a spine of steel, so when David Brady wants to use psychic Clarissa DeBasse – A.J.’s most important client – in his new documentary, A.J. isn’t about to be bowled over by the handsome producer. Sparks fly immediately between A.J. and David, but A.J. doesn’t mix business with pleasure and those walls she has around herself are because she has been hurt repeatedly in the past. I liked the combination of strength and vulnerability in her and author Nora Roberts made it understandable why A.J. would be reluctant to open her heart to David. David is used to being demanding in his work life and noncommittal in his personal life, but the longer he’s around A.J., the more he finds his attitude toward relationships changing. She isn’t at all his type, but of course she knocks him for a loop. The two of them play off one another really well professionally and personally. Because they’re both hard-headed and flawed, they make mistakes in their burgeoning relationship, which I actually liked because it added a level of realism to the story.

Mind Over Matter was first published in 1987 and while there are things that date it (fashion, technology, some attitudes, etc.), for the most part it holds up really well. The style of this book isn’t as smooth as Ms. Roberts’s later work – the swift point of view changes took a bit of getting used to – but it’s still an enjoyable read and the romance is satisfying. All in all, I found Mind Over Matter to be a good comfort read fans of Nora Roberts are sure to like.


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, July 18, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare


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

I'm a huge historical romance fan and I have a confession to make: I've never read one of Tessa Dare's books. I don't even know how I've gone so long without reading her work, as her books sound flippin' fantastic. My plan this summer is to fix that gap in my historical romance library and my Waiting on Wednesday pick for this week - The Duchess Deal - sounds like the perfect place to start. It's the first book in Ms. Dare's new Girl Meets Duke series and it sounds right up my alley :)

Title: The Duchess Deal
Series: Girl Meets Duke, Book 1
Author: Tessa Dare
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: August 22, 2017

Book Description (from Amazon):

When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…
Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing.
- No questions about his battle scars.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.


But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And unlimited teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: Royally Romanov by Teri Wilson

Royally Romanov by Teri Wilson
Series: The Royals, Book 2
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781501160509
Release Date: July 17, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

In this charming modern day retelling of the 1956 classic Anastasia, a museum curator falls for a mysterious man who may or may not be a long lost heir to Russia’s imperial Romanov dynasty.

Finley Abbot is organizing the most prestigious art exhibit of her career at the Louvre museum—a retrospective of art from the House of Romanov. But the sudden appearance of Maxim Romanov threatens to turn her into the biggest laughingstock of the art world. When she finds herself falling in love, she realizes there’s even more at stake than her career. How can she trust a man with her whole world when he can’t remember a thing about his past?

After suffering a violent blow to the head, Maxim’s only clue to his identity is a notebook containing carefully researched documentation in his own handwriting indicating that he is the sole surviving descendant of the Grand Duchess Anastasia, previously thought dead in the murder of her family during Russia’s Bolshevik revolution. His struggle to put the mysterious pieces of his past back together leads him to Finley. At first, she’s convinced Maxim is nothing but a con artist. But there’s something undeniably captivating about the beautiful, brooding man who claims to be searching for his identity—something Finley can’t quite bring herself to resist. When he reveals a secret about one of the imperial Fabergé eggs in the collection, she accepts he may actually be telling the truth. But as soon as Finley and Maxim act on their feelings for one another, Maxim is confronted with evidence that calls into question everything he’s begun to believe about himself.

Teri Wilson takes the modern legend of Anastasia gives it a fresh twist in Royally Romanov. I adored Maxim and Finley’s story – it’s sweet without being cloying, fun, romantic, and fast-paced. Add in the mystery surrounding Maxim and whether or not he’s the grandson of the Grand Duchess Anastasia and you have one addictive story.

Finley loves her work as assistant curator at the Louvre. Her upcoming exhibit on the Romanovs could help secure her a much-coveted promotion, but her hard work is threatened by the arrival of Maxim. Maxim has just recently been brutally attacked and the head injury he suffered wiped out his memory. All he has are a few clues which lead him to believe he is the grandson of the Grand Duchess Anastasia. If his claims are true, then all the art Finley has borrowed from various museums for the exhibit would belong to him, which would ruin the reputation of the Louvre and make Finley unemployable. Maxim has to be a con man…right?

Ms. Wilson does an excellent job of updating and putting her own spin on the Ingrid Bergman/Yul Brynner classic. I watched Anastasia right before starting Royally Romanov, and though it feels almost blasphemous to say, I actually preferred Finley and Maxim’s story to the film that inspired it. Finley and Maxim are both incredibly likeable characters who have both suffered trauma and their meeting is the catalyst for each to come into their own. The two of them have excellent chemistry and though they fell in love rather quickly, their romance charmed me so much that I didn’t care. I loved watching them work to put the pieces of Maxim’s identity together, and I enjoyed how Ms. Wilson kept me guessing as to whether or not Maxim is a Romanov. There’s just the right amount of intrigue mixed with romance in this story, and that makes it very difficult to put the book down.

It’d be remiss of me to write about Royally Romanov and not mention the backdrop of Paris. Ms. Wilson brings Paris vividly to life and I just itched to hop on a plane and visit the places she described, particularly the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Royally Romanov shines in every scene set in the famous bookstore and Finley’s love of the place and – more importantly – her love for literature shines through and grabbed my heart.

Royally Romanov is the second book in the Royals series, but it is a standalone. Unless things change in the third book, Royally Roma, Royally Romanov, and Royal Wedding are connected by theme rather than characters. After finishing Finley and Maxim’s story, I cannot wait to read the next Royals book because I just love how Ms. Wilson reimagines classics. Royally Romanov made me smile and sigh, and I just plain adored Finley and Maxim’s romance. It’s the perfect escapist read.


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, July 13, 2017

Review: Busted by Sydney Somers

Busted by Sydney Somers
Series: Promise Harbor Wedding, Book 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ASIN: B06XRKGP5X
Source: Previous Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon

Hockey star Jackson Knight has a hundred reasons not to return to Promise Harbor, but none of them are good enough to get him out of attending his best friend’s wedding. Even with a career-ending knee injury, every puck-bunny in town will be gunning for him.

Worse, getting a pair of cuffs slapped on him at the bachelor party could ruin any chance of getting back in the game, even as a coach. Unless he can convince the arresting officer to smooth things over—by going to the wedding as his date.

Hayley Stone figures posing as Jackson’s girlfriend is the least she can do to salvage his reputation. Plus, having a man with a toe-curling smile on her arm will keep her ex off her back.

What starts as a simple plan to deflect small-town pot-shots unexpectedly becomes a sizzling night that hits Jackson like a full-body-check to the heart. Now he’s determined to prove that she’s the best reason of all to come home—for good.

Former NHL star Jackson Knight would rather be anywhere else than Promise Harbor, but standing up as best man for your friend’s wedding isn’t exactly something that can be done remotely. Jackson needs to keep his image clean in order to land a new coaching job, which is why it’s not exactly good news that he finds himself in handcuffs the day he returns to his hometown. Now he’ll have to make nice with the cop who took him in. It’s not such a hardship, since Detective Hayley Stone – former bad girl and the sister of Jackson’s best friend – captivates him like no puck bunny ever has.

Hayley has worked hard to overcome her wild child past, and the last thing she needs is people giving her a hard time cuffing the hometown hero. When Jackson proposes she be his date for his friend’s wedding, Hayley agrees. After all, it’ll keep her ex off her back and the puck bunnies off his. What she doesn’t count on is the attraction between her and Jackson that threatens to knock them both off their feet. Jackson’s not the kind of man to stay in Promise Harbor and Hayley’s roots are deep in the town. Can they get involved in a no-strings affair without risking their hearts?

Busted is charming, sexy, and a blast to read. Hayley and Jackson have excellent chemistry in bed and out and it’s that chemistry that made this story such an engaging read.

Jackson is the hometown boy who made it big before a car crash ended his hockey career. He’s floundering in the beginning of the story and it was pure joy to watch him find himself and become the man he’s meant to be while in Promise Harbor. As for Hayley, she ran a bit wild as a teenager and has worked hard to make a name for herself as a cop. She’s dedicated, smart, and caring, but Jackson knocks her off her stride a bit. The two of them fit one another like lock and key, and their shared history makes for an easy connection and a seamless slide from friends to lovers. That being said, author Sydney Somers doesn’t make things easy on them. Jackson and Hayley have such different visions for the future that a happily ever after isn’t guaranteed. They both will need to figure out what they want and what they’re willing to risk if they hope to get that pitch perfect romance ending.

Busted is the third book in the multi-author Promise Harbor Wedding quartet, and if you don’t mind some minor spoilers for the other books, it can be read as a standalone. The series as a whole is excellent, but Jackson and Hayley are definitely two of my favorite characters. They’re funny, endearing, and, quite simply, the kind of people you wish were real so you could be friends with them. I loved them together and their love story is so incredibly entertaining I can’t wait to read it again.


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

Monday, July 10, 2017

Review: Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library, Book 3
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: YA Fantasy/Futuristic Ash and Quill Cover
ISBN: 9780451472410
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny…

Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.

Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library…

The fight for the soul of the Library is on in Ash and Quill. Rachel Caine takes readers on an electrifying journey as Jess, Morgan, Khalila, Dario, Thomas, Glain, Santi, and Wolfe escape the threat of Library soldiers only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, the heart of Burner territory. The Burners would rather die than submit to library control and censorship, and Jess will have to bargain with them in order for he and his friends to even have a chance to survive. And our heroes’ bargaining chip is a big one: the idea and knowledge of how to build a printing press – a chance for people to read free of the Library’s ever-watchful eye.

I’m hesitant to say too much about the plot of Ash and Quill for fear of spoiling the story. The danger the Burners present is only the beginning of what Jess and his friends will encounter over the course of this story. Suffice it to say there is never a dull moment in this book. Now that they’re openly rebelling against the rot that threatens to destroy all that the Library could be, it’s open season on our beloved heroes. Though their love of books and knowledge still shines, everyone’s hope and optimism must give way to practicality if they even have a shot at surviving and bringing change to the world. It was interesting to see how all eight heroes have changed since the beginning of the first Great Library book, Ink and Bone, but it also saddened me (as it should) to see them strain under the weight of their burden. Everyone has their own unique personality and because I’ve come to care for them over the course of the series, it was nearly impossible for me to put Ash and Quill. I both love and hate that Ms. Caine makes it impossible to know if the characters I’ve come to adore will all make it out alive. They definitely won’t make it out unscarred and I love that there were no easily overcome obstacles in this book. Their quest to save the soul of the Library carries real weight and thus makes it easy to become invested in their fight.

Jess, Morgan, Khalila, Dario, Thomas, Glain, Santi, and Wolfe are the heart and soul of the Great Library series and the growing bonds of friendship and love are tested throughout Ash and Quill. Those intertwining bonds are what tugged on my emotions the most and highlight how much our heroes have to lose. That being said, the world the characters inhabit is just as important to the story, and Ms. Caine’s worldbuilding continues to be phenomenal. When I started this book I was excited to see what this world’s version of Philadelphia would look like, and Ms. Caine didn’t hold back in bringing the tragic world of the Burner stronghold to life. The images that come to life in this story are both beautiful and bleak, and just plain made me love Ms. Caine’s writing.

Ash and Quill is the third book in the Great Library series and it definitely cannot be read as a standalone. The series reads like one massive story, so don’t skip reading Ink and Bone and Paper and Fire. The only problem I have with this series is that I hate having to wait for the next book. Ash and Quill ends with one heck of a cliffhanger and I’m dying to know what happens next!


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, July 9, 2017

Review: Royally Roma by Teri Wilson

Royally Roma by Teri Wilson
Series: The Royals, Book 1
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Contemporary Romance Royally Roma Cover
ISBN: 9781451659634
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

In this enchanting retelling of the classic Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday, a royal prince tries to escape his hectic and rigid life and ends up leading a young graduate student on a chase through the Eternal City.

Julia Costa is too busy trying to complete her PhD while also holding down a full-time job as a private tour guide in Rome to keep up with celebrity gossip. So when she crosses paths with a real, actual prince, she mistakes him for a client and takes him on a daylong tour of the city.

Intrigued by the idea of spending time with someone who obviously has no idea who he is, and delighted at the prospect of a day free of royal obligations, Niccolo La Torre, Crown Prince of Lazaretto, acts on impulse and assumes the role of Julia’s client. He swears to himself that he’ll return to his royal duties after only half a day…but he’s having the time of his life.

Until Julia presents him with the bill. Since he snuck out of the hotel without so much as a dime, he tries to escape, only to discover that she won’t let him out of her sight until he can pay her back. She’s determined to get her money…and perhaps more from the handsome stranger she’s fallen for.

Royally Roma is an energetic, charming read. Teri Wilson consistently writes great modern-day retellings and her take on Roman Holiday had wonderful nods to the Audrey Hepburn/Gregory Peck classic while still maintaining its own identity.

Put aside your disbelief and enjoy a modern day fairytale where a dutiful prince in dire need of taking a break from cleaning up his brother’s messes impulsively takes off and explores the wonders of Rome with his beautiful American tour guide. I held off on writing this review for a couple of days because I was a bit torn about this book. Nico and Julia are both likeable characters who brighten up the page when they’re together. I loved how Ms. Wilson made Rome come alive on the page as Julia and Nico zipped from place to place. Even the more serious moments of Royally Roma couldn’t dampen the story’s sunny appeal. That being said, what took the book down a few notches for me was the romance. I really liked Nico and Julia together and given the whirlwind nature of the source material the breakneck speed of the romance wasn’t an issue for me. What did bother me was that Nico starts out the story keeping his identity a secret from Julia and this goes on for so long that it did make the romance a bit hard to swallow. If their falling in love had been a bit more drawn out or if Julia had gotten to know all of Nico’s character for more of the book, then I would have been more satisfied. You can have either a whirlwind romance or a secret identity, but both together is a bit much. Added to that the ending was abrupt and left me wanting more. If there had at least been an epilogue I would have satisfied. Even with these issues I found Royally Roma to be a lively, charming story and I’m looking forward to reading the next Royals book.


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, July 4, 2017

Review: Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library, Book 2
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: YA Fantasy/Futuristic
ISBN: 9780451472403
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.

Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn't safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control...

In Ink and Bone readers were introduced to a world where the Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed. Now The Library is its own entity, spread all over the world. It sounds amazing…until you look beneath the surface. The Library controls the dissemination of knowledge, stifles innovation, and with brutal efficiency takes down anyone who seeks to escape its control. In Paper and Fire Jess and his friends have had their eyes opened; they see the rot within the Library. But there’s no such thing as an easy escape, even if one of their own wasn’t trapped in a gilded cage and another hidden in a secret prison. The clock’s ticking for Jess and all those he cares about: if they don’t find a way to break free of the Library’s hold their time will soon run out.

Paper and Fire takes us deeper into the incredible world of the Great Library that Rachel Caine introduced in Ink and Bone. Like Jess and his friends, I absolutely love what the Library could be, if greed and power hadn’t corrupted it at the highest echelons. The joy and love of learning is muted in Paper and Fire because the world has taken on a more sinister tone. Most of the book is centered around Jess, Glain, Dario, Khalila, Morgan, Santi, and Wolfe all doing their part to search for Thomas, their friend and a brilliant young inventor taken captive by the library for coming up with an idea for a printing press. With the wonder of discovery gone from the story, this book was a bit less exciting than its predecessor. I still really enjoyed it and the threats against our protagonists (especially the imminent threat to Morgan) made my gut clench at times, but the book suffers a bit from being a bridge book. We don’t learn much new about the characters either, and not even my mad love for Wolfe and Santi could blind me to the fact that there wasn’t much character growth to balance out the slow momentum of the plot. It’s a fairly slow read for most part and I’m honestly at a loss for what to say about story because it didn’t get truly interesting until the end. There’s nothing wrong with the book and I did enjoy it overall, but I wasn’t dazzled by it like I was Ink and Bone.

I cannot talk about the last part of the book without spoiling the story, but it’s where Paper and Fire shines the brightest. When everything comes together Ms. Caine’s writing is captivating. The action, adventure, and danger coalesce into a thrilling conclusion that had me eager to dive into the next Great Library novel. So while this book had some ups and downs for me, I still absolutely love the world Ms. Caine has created and I cannot wait to see what happens next in Ash and Quill.


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, July 2, 2017

Review: Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn

Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn
Series: Heroine Complex, Book 2
Publisher: DAW
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9780756413262
Release Date: July 4, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Once upon a time, Aveda Jupiter (aka Annie Chang) was demon-infested San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine, a beacon of hope and strength and really awesome outfits. But all that changed the day she agreed to share the spotlight with her best friend and former assistant Evie Tanaka—who’s now a badass, fire-wielding superheroine in her own right. They were supposed to be a dynamic duo, but more and more, Aveda finds herself shoved into the sidekick role. Where, it must be said, she is not at all comfortable.

It doesn’t help that Aveda’s finally being forced to deal with fallout from her diva behavior—and the fact that she’s been a less than stellar friend to Evie. Or that Scott Cameron—the man Aveda’s loved for nearly a decade—is suddenly giving her the cold shoulder after what seemed to be some promising steps toward friendship. Or that the city has been demon-free for three months in the wake of Evie and Aveda’s apocalypse-preventing battle against the evil forces of the Otherworld, leaving Aveda without the one thing she craves most in life: a mission.

All of this is causing Aveda’s burning sense of heroic purpose—the thing that’s guided her all these years—to falter.

In short, Aveda Jupiter is having an identity crisis.

When Evie gets engaged and drafts Aveda as her maid-of-honor, Aveda finally sees a chance to reclaim her sense of self and sets out on a single-minded mission to make sure Evie has the most epic wedding ever. But when a mysterious, unseen supernatural evil rises up and starts attacking brides-to-be, Aveda must summon both her superheroine and best friend mojo to take down the enemy and make sure Evie’s wedding goes off without a hitch—or see both her city and her most important friendship destroyed forever.

Heroine Worship manages to be kick-ass, funny, and heartwarming all at once. It can’t be easy to have a heroine who was previously somewhat unlikeable and definitely demanding, but author Sarah Kuhn proves that she’s more than up to the challenge. Aveda is fierce, powerful, a self-confessed hurricane…and also loving, lonely, and more vulnerable than she lets on. I absolutely loved her.

In Heroine Complex, we got the story of Evie Tanaka, personal assistant to superhero Aveda Juipter (aka Annie Chang), Evie’s childhood best friend. This time around it’s Aveda/Annie’s story, and I loved seeing the reformed diva get her own book. Ever since Aveda and Evie saved San Francisco, things have been quiet, which means that all’s quiet at Aveda Jupiter, Inc. Not only that, all of San Francisco seems to have fallen in love with Evie, which means that she and Aveda are less co-superheroines than superheroine and former superheroine-turned-sidekick. Aveda is someone constantly trying to prove herself, to be the best, and between not having demons to fight and having everyone look at her like she’s still a diva, she’s going mad.

Aveda/Annie’s personal journey is the heart of Heroine Worship and I loved peeling back the layers of her character. She may have been a diva and a pretty bad friend at the last book, but Aveda doesn’t make excuses for herself. She’s determined to be the best friend to Evie that she can be and also protect her from anything that would upset or hurt her, and that isn’t always easy. Aveda tends to rush into things head first, which means that even when she means well she often screws things up. My heart actually broke for her more than once over the course of the story, as she takes a lot of hits. There were times I wished I could have reached into the book and stopped her before she made a mistake or her actions were misinterpreted. She’s on a quest to be the perfect friend and maid-of-honor to Evie, and at the same time she’s having an identity crisis and the denizens of her fair city aren’t looking too kindly on the mistakes she keeps making.

If feeling internally lost wasn’t enough for a now-outsider superheroine to handle, Aveda has a new problem on her plate: a demonic force seems to be attacking San Francisco brides. Non-possessed Bridezillas are frightening enough, so when you add in a demonic influence…let’s just say things get ugly quick. It’ll take all of Aveda and co.’s combined power to capture the demon, save San Francisco from evil Bridezillas, and get Evie and Nate down the aisle in one piece. The action sequences are fun, unique, and balance out the more serious storylines.

Heroine Worship has a lot of flash and dazzle, but there’s a lot of emotion packed into this story as well. Aveda and Evie have a couple of hurdles to overcome in order to repair their friendship, and I loved that Ms. Kuhn didn’t make things easy on them. Aveda also must face her feelings for Scott, surfer-mage extraordinaire and a longtime friend to both Evie and Aveda. Aveda and Scott have wonderful chemistry, but her fears and insecurities make her constantly push him away. I was absolutely rooting for these two to get together, and the romance storyline is just what I needed to round this story out. All in all, I adored Heroine Worship and I’m looking forward to seeing where Ms. Kuhn takes our kick-ass co-superheroines next!


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.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Review: Wired by Julie Garwood

Wired by Julie Garwood
Series: Buchanan-Renard, Book 13
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 9780525954460
Release Date: July 4, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Allison Trent doesn’t look like a hacker. In fact, when she’s not in college working on her degree, she models on the side. But behind her gorgeous face is a brilliant mind for computers and her real love is writing—and hacking—code. Her dream is to write a new security program that could revolutionize the tech industry.

Hotshot FBI agent Liam Scott has a problem: a leak deep within his own department. He needs the skills of a top-notch hacker to work on a highly sensitive project: to secretly break into the FBI servers and find out who the traitor is. But he can’t use one of his own. He finds the perfect candidate in Allison. Only, there’s one problem—she wants nothing to do with his job and turns him down flat.

What Liam doesn’t know is that Allison is hiding secrets that she doesn’t want the FBI to uncover. But Liam will do nearly anything to persuade her to join his team, even break a few rules if that’s what it takes. A temptation that could put his job—and both of their futures—on the line…

Wired is a slightly difficult book for me to review. Julie Garwood has written some of my absolute favorite romances and I always look forward to her newest releases. Because I’ve been a fan of hers for more than half my life, it’s disappointing to say that – while Wired isn’t bad and I don’t regret reading it – the story fell flat more often than not.

Let’s start with the good: Allison. Wired is really her story and while some might take issue with how perfect she is (an off-the-charts genius hacker who is also a stunningly gorgeous model with no flaws other than she’s too giving to people who don’t deserve it), this honestly didn’t bother me because I loved her focus, intelligence, and the fact that she’s so confident when it comes to her abilities. She’s a woman determined to make a name for herself in what’s still a largely male-dominated field, so I was willing to suspend disbelief at some of the over-the-top aspects because of this. My favorite thing about Wired is actually her friendship with Jordan (the heroine of Shadow Dance); I loved that the two heroines connected and became friends through their shared intellectual interests.

A heroine as smart as Allison needs a hero who isn’t intimidated by her and appreciates her for who she is, and Liam fits the bill. Liam was a scene-stealer for me in the last Buchanan-Renard book, Fast Track. In that book he practically oozed charisma and hinted at an interesting past that made me incredibly eager to get my hands on his book. Yet in his own story, the intriguing man I’d been so excited to read about was gone, replaced by a rather generic hero without much of a personality. I actually went back and re-read parts of Fast Track to make sure I hadn’t been thinking of the wrong character because I was so surprised. The Liam of Wired is intelligent, handsome, constantly on the move, yet always in the right place at the right time, but that’s about as far as his character goes. There simply wasn’t much to him and I was incredibly disappointed we didn’t get to delve into his character at all. Perhaps in part because of this, the romance between Liam and Allison was a bit of a letdown. There was no chemistry, only a little spark (and that was when they hit the sheets), and there was no natural development in their relationship. It felt like boxes were being checked off in order to fulfill the most basic romance requirements.

The suspense part of this romantic suspense involved not one, but three plots converging around Allison. Between an abusive aunt and uncle harassing her for money, a disgraced FBI agent out to get her, and a former roommate stealing her program, Allison has a lot on her plate. There’s potential in each of these storylines, but over the course of the story they become an increasingly jumbled mess.

Even though I had a number of issues with Wired, I do want to stress that it’s not a bad book. I always enjoy Ms. Garwood’s writing and even though the story didn’t work for me on the whole, it’s still a fun read. Liam and Allison are likeable characters and the scenes where they interacted with past Buchanan-Renard heroes and heroines added a dash of liveliness to the tale. So while I think there were a lot of missed opportunities in Wired, I still believe it would make a pleasant beach read this summer.


FTC Disclosure: I received the e-book edition of 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.

Monday, June 19, 2017

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:
- The Pleasures of Passion (The Sinful Suitors, Book 4) by Sabrina Jeffries (available 6/20/17)
- Lost and Found Sisters (Wildstone, Book 1) by Jill Shalvis (available 6/20/17)
- The Red by Tiffany Reisz (available 7/11/17)

All other new reviews:
- House Rules (Dossier, Book 2) by Cathryn Fox
- Kiss of the Irish (Foreign Fling, Book 1) by Lauren Hawkeye
- The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
- Silver Silence (Psy-Changeling Trinity, Book 1) by Nalini Singh


Upcoming reviews:
- The Conquering Dark (Crown & Key, Book 3) by Clay and Susan Griffith
- Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, Book 3) by Ilona Andrews
- The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 6) by Jennifer Ashley
- Wild Man (Dream Man, Book 2) by Kristen Ashley
- Ash and Quill (The Great Library, Book 3) by Rachel Caine
- The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library, Book 1) by Genevieve Cogman
- The Masked City (The Invisible Library, Book 2) by Genevieve Cogman
- Wicked Ever After (Blud, Book 4) by Delilah S. Dawson
- Fire Bound (Sea Haven, Book 5) by Christine Feehan
- Bound Together (Sea Haven, Book 6) by Christine Feedhan
- At Last by Addison Fox
- Baking for Keeps (Bachelor Bake-Off, Book 4) by Jessica Gilmore
- His Game, Her Rules by Charlene Groome
- All I Want for Halloween by Marie Harte
- Illegal Contact (The Barons, Book 1) by Santino Hassell
- Duke of Desire (Maiden Lane, Book 12) by Elizabeth Hoyt
- Base Instincts (Demonica) 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
- My Fair Lover (Legendary Lovers, Book 5) by Nicole Jordan
- Archer (Hard Body, Book 1) by Debra Kayn
- There You Stand (Between Breaths, Book 5) by Christina Lee
- Yours All Along (Loving on the Edge, Book 6.5) by Roni Loren
- Break Me Down (Loving on the Edge, Book 8.5) by Roni Loren
- Going Dark (The Lost Platoon, Book 1) by Monica McCarty
- Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, Book 1) by Bec McMaster
- Captive Prince (Captive Prince, Book 1) by C.S. Pacat
- Prince’s Gambit (Captive Prince, Book 2) by C.S. Pacat
- Kings Rising (Captive Prince, Book 3) by C.S. Pacat
- His Royal Secret (His Royal Secret, Book 1) by Lilah Pace
- His Royal Favorite (His Royal Secret, Book 2) by Lilah Pace
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Soul Sucker by Kate Pearce
- The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed
- Laugh (Burnside, Book 2) by Mary Ann Rivers
- Beauty’s Kingdom (Sleeping Beauty, Book 4) by A. N. Roquelaure
- Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, Book 1) by Nalini Singh
- Fighting the Fall (Beyond the Cage, Book 2) by Jennifer Snow
- The Angels’ Share (The Bourbon Kings, Book 2) by J.R. Ward
- A Reluctant Betrothal (The Grantham Girls, Book 3) by Amanda Weaver
- Single Player (Slices of Pi, Book 3) by Elia Winters
- Takeover by Anna Zabo

Review: The Pleasures of Passion by Sabrina Jeffries

The Pleasures of Passion by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: The Sinful Suitors, Book 4
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781501144462
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Sabrina Jeffries Reading Order

When Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave, is forced to flee after killing a man in a duel, he expects his secret love, Brilliana Trevor, to go with him, or at the very least wait for him. To his shock, she does neither and sends him off with no promise for the future. Seven years and one pardon later, Niall returns to England disillusioned and cynical. And being blackmailed by the government into working with his former love to help catch a counterfeiter connected to her father doesn’t improve his mood any. But as his role as Brilliana’s fake fiancé brings his long-buried feelings to the surface once again, he wonders who is more dangerous—the counterfeiter or the woman rapidly stealing his heart.

Forced to marry another man after Niall was exiled, the now widowed Brilliana wants nothing to do with the reckless rogue who she believes abandoned her to a dreary, loveless life. So having to rely on him to save her father is the last thing she wants, much less trusts him with…But as their scheme strips away the lies and secrets of their shared past, can she let go of the old hurt and put her pride aside? Or will the pleasures of their renewed passion finally enable them both to rediscover love?

There’s nothing I love more than a well-written reunion romance, and with The Pleasures of Passion Sabrina Jeffries has delivered an excellent one. Niall and Brilliana’s story is lively, engaging, passionate, and so addictive that I read it in one sitting.

At seventeen and twenty-three respectively, Brilliana and Niall were hopeful, naïve, and in love. But when Niall was forced to flee England after a duel, Brilliana refused to run away with him. It’s easy to see why the two of them were first torn apart: they were young, unprepared for what happened, and easily manipulated by those they trusted. Seven years later, Niall has been pardoned and is allowed to return to England while Brilliana is a widow determined to build a good life for her son. Sparks flew between them when they met again for the first time in the previous Sinful Suitors book, The Danger of Desire, but with so much hurt and misunderstanding between them, both are content to merely avoid one another. Fate has different plans for them. Both of them are forced to work together to try and learn if Brilliana’s father is involved in a counterfeiting scheme, and close quarters mean old feelings are sure to surface. Normally I’m not a fan of big misunderstandings or secrets, but surprisingly it didn’t bother me in The Pleasures of Passion. Even though I wanted Niall and Brilliana to open up right away, it was logical why they had trouble trusting one another and why they kept their secrets close to their hearts.

As individuals, Brilliana and Niall are likeable characters; they’re smart, loyal, have good hearts, and they care deeply for their loved ones. As a couple, their chemistry is fantastic. It’s clear that – old wounds aside – the two of them have never stopped loving each other. Because of this, there’s emotion running through every scene, making the pages fairly crackle with energy. I couldn’t put The Pleasures of Passion down because I wanted to see them find the happily ever after that was so long overdue for them. Add in a web of lies and deception the two of them must untangle in order to crack a counterfeiting case, and it’s easy to see why there’s never a dull moment in this book. I absolutely adored Niall and Brilliana’s story and I cannot wait to see what Ms. Jeffries has in store for the intriguing spymaster Baron Fulkham in the next Sinful Suitors book!


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, June 18, 2017

Review: Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis

Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis
Series: Wildstone, Book 1
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
ISBN: 9780062448118
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

They say life can change in an instant…

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she's looking for a missing piece she can't find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn't quite fit in right away, she can't help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn't a house or money, but rather something earthshattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she's searched so long for.

Lost and Found Sisters is a journey of love, heartbreak, learning to live again, and finding home. Jill Shalvis’s women’s fiction debut has all the humor and heart I’ve come to expect from her work, and it’s all wrapped up in an engaging, emotional story of life after loss.

Quinn’s world was turned upside down after the loss of her sister two years ago, and she has never quite recovered. Though she seems to have the perfect life, Quinn is really just going through the motions. Then she receives some news in the form of an inheritance that will change everything she thought she knew about herself and sends her to the small town of Wildstone. Quinn is an endearing heroine; she’s funny, caring, and wonderfully flawed. I liked that she was in over her head and knew it, but she never backed down from any curveballs thrown her way. She also has a huge heart, and though she’s still grieving at the beginning of this story and is overwhelmed by everything coming at her, she doesn’t close herself off from the people she meets who need her.

It’s difficult to talk about the plot of Lost and Found Sisters without spoiling the story, which I’m loathe to do. Suffice it to say that Wildstone – a struggling town with character and heart – offers Quinn a chance at a new, vastly different life. Love – both romantic and familial – is central to Quinn’s journey of learning to live again, and it’s beautiful to watch multiple relationships develop. Mick, Quinn’s love interest, is incredibly appealing, as one would expect from a Jill Shalvis hero. He’s strong, patient, kind, and funny, but not perfect. He has his own journey to take over the course of the story, as he too is at a crossroads. It was easy to become invested in Quinn and Mick’s romance because they’re both incredibly likeable people with solid chemistry.

As I previously mentioned, Lost and Found Sisters is Ms. Shalvis’s first women’s fiction novel. I should disclose that this isn’t one of my go-to genres, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But since Jill Shalvis is one of my favorite authors, there was no way I was going to skip this book. I’m so glad I didn’t. While it took me a while to get into the story (there’s just enough of a difference in pacing and focus compared to romance that I needed to adjust), I ended up adoring not just Quinn, but every single character in this story. The book is mostly centered around Quinn, but there are multiple characters and plotlines (which again, I can’t talk about without spoiling the story) that bring the world of Wildstone to life. Ms. Shalvis is a master at crafting small towns with quirky characters, and it was easy for me to fall in love with Wildstone and come to care about the fate of the struggling town. All in all, Lost and Found Sisters is a winsome tale with characters who will make you laugh one minute and tug on your heartstrings the next. I can’t wait to see what’s next for the Wildstone series.


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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Review: The Red by Tiffany Reisz

The Red by Tiffany Reisz
Publisher: 8th Circle Press
Genre: Erotic Fantasy
ISBN: 9781537217765
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Never make a promise you don’t intend to keep…

Mona Lisa St. James made a deathbed promise that she would do anything to save her mother’s art gallery. Unfortunately, not only is The Red painted red, but it’s in the red.

Just as she realizes she has no choice but to sell it, a mysterious man comes in after closing time and makes her an offer: He will save The Red if she agrees to submit to him for the period of one year.

The man is handsome, English, and terribly tempting…but surely her mother didn't mean for Mona to sell herself to a stranger. Then again, she did promise to do anything to save The Red…

The Red is a fantastically filthy read where the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred. This is not a story for the faint of heart – it’s explicit, uninhibited, and there’s mind games as well as erotic games – but if you’re up for the ride, it’s well worth it. Tiffany Reisz knows how to pack a punch with inventive, incredibly dirty erotica.

Mona made a deathbed promise to her mother that she would do anything to save The Red, her mother’s art gallery. Just when Mona’s at her lowest and ready to close The Red, a mysterious stranger arrives. Malcolm will give her a way to save the gallery if she sells herself to him for one year, giving him carte blanche to do whatever he pleases so long as he doesn’t do permanent damage. It’s a bold, honest, unromantic offer, but Mona takes it, thus beginning a journey that both tangles her up and sets her free.

I loved that Mona was a strong heroine, confident in her sexuality to begin with. She’d have to be, given that her erotic encounters with Malcolm test her every limit and at times make her think she’s losing her grip on reality. It was interesting to watch her change over the course of the story, just as it was interesting to see the layers of Malcolm’s character revealed. I can’t really say too much about either him or the plot because it would spoil the story. Just know that if it seems at times that The Red is going off the rails when it comes to reality versus fantasy, stick around. Ms. Reisz brings everything together in an incredibly satisfying (no pun intended) manner.

The Red travels primarily from one erotic interlude to the next, but it’d be remiss of me to talk about the book and not mention the characters’ love of art. Art – and every character in the book’s passion for it – is central to the tale and breaths even more life into the story. Malcolm and Mona’s passion for art (not to mention the way it inspires them) was wonderful and after finishing the story I had to look up every single piece mentioned in it.

The Red is dark, passionate, unique, honest, and interesting. Ms. Reisz doesn’t hold back and readers should prepare themselves for one hell of an 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.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Review: Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

Silver Silence by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity, Book 1
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 9781101987797
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Nalini Singh Reading Order

Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that’s exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence—her mind clear of all emotion—Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That’s what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious…and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed…

Excitement, danger, love, and laughter all come together to create a dazzling story in Silver Silence. Nalini Singh once again knocks it out of the park with this incredibly fun, addictive, imaginative start to her Psy-Changeling Trinity series. Between the unforgettable characters, the unique world, and the twists the story takes, it’s easy to see why I fell head over heels for Valentin and Silver’s tale.

Valentin is one of my favorite Nalini Singh heroes (and given how many fantastic heroes she has written, that’s a tough list to crack). He’s playful, protective, doesn’t give up on people, and has a heart so huge and loving it’ll make you melt. He teases Silver by sending her gifts from “Mr. I. M. A. Medvezhonok” (Mr. I’m a Teddy Bear), and he really is her teddy bear. A huge, loveable teddy bear who doesn’t take himself too seriously and cares so much for those he loves that he’ll internalize any wound to put them first. But Valentin is no doormat; he’s an alpha through and through, one who will protect, fight for, and defend those he loves. I loved everything about Valentin – just thinking about him makes me smile.

A fantastic hero deserves and equally fantastic heroine and Silver is just that. She’s long been a supporting character at the edges of the Psy-Changeling series, and I’ve been incredibly intrigued by her all along. Now that she gets to take center stage, she shines. Silver is a Psy, one whose abilities make it necessary she keeps a strong hold on her Silence, even after the fall. Despite the fact that she looks to all the world to be an ice queen, Silver has a hidden flame that jumps out at you. She’s got a brilliant brain and is phenomenal in her job as the director of EmNet, but she’s so much more. She’s a caring, loving person whose emotions aren’t as buried as she seems to think. I loved how Valentin helped tease the real Silver out, and Silver coming into her full potential was a wonderful journey to watch unfold. As individuals, both Silver and Valentin are incredibly appealing characters. Together? They’re a heartwarming, engaging, unforgettable pair. I was rooting for them through every up and down, every twist and turn, and couldn’t wait to see them get their happily ever after.

Silver Silence is the first book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series which Ms. Singh has described as “season two” of the Psy-Changeling world. Season one of the Psy-Changeling books – the Silence storyline – was mostly centered in California and often around the DarkRiver and SnowDancer packs. I admit to being a bit anxious at leaving that beloved part of the world behind, but I shouldn’t have been. Silver Silence had a lot of what I loved about the very first Psy-Changeling book, Slave to Sensation. I’d forgotten how fantastic it was to fall in love with a whole new clan, this time the StoneWater bears. The StoneWater clan is warm, welcoming, and filled with numerous bears who grabbed my heart and didn’t let go. While Silver Silence takes us into the new era of the Trinity Accord and all the problems that come with it, I don’t think the Psy-Changeling Trinity series can completely stand on its own. Everything is connected and the world continues to build on itself. You don’t have to have read all fifteen Psy-Changeling novels before diving into this new series, but you should definitely be familiar with the world.

The overarching storyline of this new series involves the new, post-Silence world of Psy, Changelings, and humans, and those who would seek to disrupt the Trinity Accord, whether out of fear or for profit. I can’t say much about the non-romance plotlines without spoiling the story, so I’ll leave it at this: Ms. Singh is a master of world-building. I loved that we not only saw what our heroes were fighting for, but also the logic of the villains. Having fleshed out bad guys makes the fight all the more interesting. I cannot wait to see where Ms. Singh takes readers next!

Silver Silence has everything I love about Nalini Singh’s books: a strong hero and heroine, clever worldbuilding, humor, and a whole lot of heart. It’s a passionate, compelling read that made me smile, sigh, and want to live in the Psy-Changeling world.


FTC Disclosure: I received the e-book edition of 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.