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Book Reviews

WHAT A WALLFLOWER WANTS by Maya Rodale

In the third novel in Maya Rodale’s charming Wallflower series, London’s Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger . . .  Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret. Everyone knows that she’s the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season—but no one knows why. With her romantic illusions shattered after being compromised against her will, Prudence accepts a proposal even though her betrothed is not exactly a knight in shining armor. When he cowardly pushes her out of their stagecoach to divert a highwayman, she vows never to trust another man again. John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is nobody’s hero. He’s a blue-eyed charmer with a [...]

HER BEST SHOT by Shannyn Schroeder

I’m a big fan of the novella done right because as a romance junkie it provides me a quick fix. But novellas can be tricky because the author has a short amount of time to capture the reader’s heart and mind, and do it successfully. Her Best Shot accomplished that in just one hundred and thirty pages! Layla is on her way to spring break to celebrate landing a job and finishing school.  When her car breaks down in a small Atlanta town her plans are derailed. Passing the time while she waits to get the verdict on her car, she goes into a bar for a drink.  Immediately Layla’s drawn to a pool player as he wins game after [...]

TRUTH OR DARE by Mira Lyn Kelly

After her one attempt at commitment ends with the discovery that her fiancé already has a wife and kid, Maggie Lawson vows that the only people she’ll love ’til death do they part will be her friends. Unfortunately that means Maggie letting her bestie rope her into a year-long dating dare: score a new date each month or pay a penalty. Seems doable—until Maggie’s date stands her up, leaving only one option: the sexy stud who just moved in upstairs. The problem? He and Maggie can’t stop fighting—and that’s just the beginning. His name is Tyler Daniels and the last thing he needs is his neighbor distracting him with her girl-next-door smile and sharp tongue. Tyler’s in Chicago for one [...]

ALL OR NOTHING by Kendall Ryan

The chemistry between Ellie and Braydon in the first two Love by Design books was hot. Their humor and quick wit had me begging for the pair to get together. Thankfully Kendall Ryan gave them their own story to fill my need. After a romp in the bathroom at their best friend’s wedding, Braydon convinces Ellie to be “fuck friends.” It’s clear from the start their friends with benefits relationship isn’t going to work. For being the one who suggested their arrangement Braydon acts like he and Ellie are something more right from the start. Actually, that’s not right. Braydon acts like he and Ellie are in a relationship when they’re at Ellie’s apartment. If Ellie suggests they go to [...]

IN YOUR DREAMS by Kristan Higgins

Everyone loves Jack Holland, but Emmaline Neal needs him. Her ex-fiancé is getting married in Malibu and, obviously, she can’t go to the wedding alone. In Manningsport, New York, tall, blond and gorgeous Jack Holland is practically a cottage industry when it comes to rescuing desperate women. He knows the drill, Em figures, so he won’t get the wrong idea.  What Jack needs is an excuse to leave town. Ever since rescuing four teenagers from a car wreck, he’s been hailed as a hero and the attention is making him itchy, especially since his too-pretty ex-wife is back, angling for a reunion. He’s always liked Emmaline. She needs a weekend date? No problem. So when they wind up in bed [...]

LOVE ON THE BOARDWALK by Christi Barth

Atlantic City is the perfect place for detective Bradley Hudson to nurse his broken heart. A week of beer and strippers is sure to erase his former fiancée from his memory for good. What he didn’t count on was running into a sassy redhead from his past. Maybe a rebound romp is an even better plan… Trina Trimble, private eye in training, is thrilled to be reunited with the hottie she almost hooked up with last summer. She’s undercover on her first solo case, but there’s always time to lock lips with a sexy cop. Besides, a fun fling with Brad doesn’t have to last beyond his week in town. Brad and Trina are supposed to be just flirting, not [...]

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DOM IN FIVE EASY STEPS by Josephine Myles

I wasn’t sure about this book when it was offered for review. I’ve read a few of Ms. Myles’s other books—I also met her at RT this year and she is British and delightful—so I had a sense for what I was in for and trusted her to take me on a good ride, even if BDSM is not really my thing. What I did not expect, though, was for this book to make me cry. I mean that in the best way; there’s a scene toward the end when the characters confess how they feel for each other, and I was sitting on my bed sobbing like a baby because it just got to me and I wanted so [...]

FORGED BY DESIRE by Bec McMaster

Love, death, and revenge are the predominant themes of Bec McMaster’s latest London Steampunk installment, Forged By Desire. After enduring the clutches of a power-hungry Duke and his mad scientist henchman, Perry Lowell decides to join the Nighthawks, hoping that she can put her past behind and forge a new life. Her partner, Garrett Reed, is wise enough not to ask Perry about her secrets up until it finally catches up with her. A serial killer is on the loose in the streets of London, cutting up his female victims and doing nasty experiments with them. The killer’s M.O. is very familiar to Perry, bringing up horrific memories. It takes a while for her to face her fears and the [...]

SHATTERED BONDS (Wicked Play #7) by Lynda Aicher

Shattered Bonds tells the story of The Den Club Co-Owner Noah Bakker and Liv Delcour, sister to Vanessa Delcour, aka Mistress V another co-owner of the The Den whose story is told in Bonds of Courage (Wicked Play #6) — a book I loved. Shattered Bonds opens with a bang, an event that truly rocks this cast of characters. This is a story that features all the characters in the prior books so I would recommend reading at least some of the stories before this one. (I read Shattered Bonds having only read some of the prior books and I had no issues following the story.) Ms. Aicher did an amazing job taking one event (no, I am not telling you [...]

BREAKING HIS RULES by Allison Packard

I hadn’t read any of the previous books in the Feeling the Heat series so I was pleasantly surprise when it didn’t prevent me from enjoying Breaking His Rules. I’m drawn to books where one of the main characters has gone through a transformation. I like to see how those who have been with them from the start of the journey contrast to those who have only seen the finished product. This novel centers on Melissa and her decision to become a healthier person. Melissa met her personal trainer, Jake, when she was at her heaviest. Although she was unsure of herself, Melissa had the drive and determination to change her life. Her dedication to her health impressed Jake from [...]

WORTH THE FALL by Claudia Connor

When I read that Worth the Fall was a romance between a Navy SEAL and a pregnant mother of four, I was like…What?!! How can that possibly work or be believable? Well it more than worked because this story MELTED my heart! Just sooo lovely! Matt McKinney is spending some time at the beach while on leave when Abby, captures his attention. She’s beautiful, pregnant and alone with four small kids, and the way she cares for her children draws Matt in like a beacon.  He wonders what kind of idiot of a man would allow his wife go on vacation alone and miss out on all the love they obviously provide.  Soon he’s caught up with the kids, drawn [...]

WICKEDLY DANGEROUS by Deborah Blake

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them. Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her faithful (mostly) dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment. But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught [...]

VAMPIRES OF MANHATTAN by Melissa de la Cruz

I am a new Melissa de la Cruz convert. As you already know, I recap the weekly Lifetime series, Witches of East End which is based on her books about the Beauchamp family; now I have a new de la Cruz series to follow. Vampires of Manhattan is a spin off of de la Cruz’s YA series, Blue Bloods. Since I am not a big reader of all things Young Adult, I will admit to not being completely familiar with that series. Have no fear; de la Cruz does an excellent job getting me up to speed. I was able to glean enough back-story about each main player in this series to make me,  a newbie, feel right at home. [...]

RIGHT KIND OF WRONG (Finding Fate #3) by Chelsea Fine

I didn’t read the previous novels in the Finding Fate series as this book could be read as a stand-alone. I feel that sometimes even though authors say you can read a book out of order from the rest of the series you still miss something. But, I was pleasantly surprised that I had no problem following along with Jenna and Jack’s story. This book was a quick read. Even though the problems Jenna and Jack dealt with, especially in the second half of the book, are heavy I would categorize this book as a light read. I actually think that was one of the reasons I didn’t totally fall in love with Right Kind of Wrong. There were some [...]

THE LAIRD by Grace Burrowes

Grace Burrowes’s latest series is about three men tangled together during the Napoleonic Wars and the aftermath. These are not light reads; they are romances, yes, but they deal with trauma both at home and abroad and how the characters cope with the horrors they’ve witnessed and their new lives back home in England. I randomly picked up an ARC of the first book of the Captive Hearts series, The Captive, a couple of months ago without knowing what the book was about. I did this pretty much only because I had heard of Grace Burrowes and thought the cover was pretty. My only exposure to her books in the past was a reading at Lady Jane’s Salon in New [...]

BROKEN by Lauren Layne

I’m a huge fan of Lauren Layne because she shines in writing witty, chemistry-laden romances guaranteed to tug at your heart!  I loved the first in this series, Isn’t She Lovely, so I was thrilled to have Olivia’s story. Even though she was technically the cheating girlfriend (not as bad as it sounds, I promise) I felt bad for her. Olivia is trying to escape and redeem herself for a mistake that cost her longtime boyfriend. Taking a job as a caretaker for an injured veteran satisfies her need for penance and to get away from all her friends, but Olivia doesn’t really know what she’s gotten herself into. Thinking she’ll be caring for an old injured man, she’s shocked [...]

BREATHE by Kristen Ashley

I’m a huge fan of Kristen Ashley.  Her romances usually include a sassy, sweet heroine and an infuriating, but lovable alpha male in a story that will break your heart, and then make it soar with happiness.  No one writes alpha males better, and Chace was one of my favorites. Breathe was old-school Kristen Ashley at her finest. Faye is the town librarian, and a geeky bookworm.  She’s also been in love with Chace for the better part of thirteen years, since he moved to Carnal and joined their police force. But, alas, Chace had never acknowledged her existence in all those years, and she gave up on him when he married the town slut, Misty, six years ago. This [...]

ONE MORE CHANCE by Abbi Glines

Grant Carter did everything in his power to convince Harlow Manning that he was a good guy. More than a smooth-talker and someone she could trust. He had to overcome his reputation as a playboy, and his history with Harlow’s half-sister, Nan, a woman with a reputation of her own. Harlow had taken the chance, falling hard and fast for the guy who thrilled her with his all-consuming desire. After a lifetime of avoiding bad boys like Grant, she had opened herself to the possibilities of love… But a life-changing secret has torn them apart, and now Grant and Harlow must decide if they have enough fight to make it work – or if the pain of betrayal has permanently [...]

MY HIGHLAND SPY by Victoria Roberts

Laird Ruairi Sutherland refuses to send his only son away to be educated by the English. And he most definitely will not appear in Edinburgh to pay homage to a liege who has no respect for Scotland. So he does what any laird would do—he lies to the king. The last thing Ruairi expects is a beautiful English governess to appear on his doorstep. Lady Ravenna Walsingham is a seasoned spy who is sent to the savage Highlands to uncover a nefarious plot against the Crown. Playing the part of an English governess—a job easier said than done—she infiltrates the home of Laird Sutherland, a suspected conspirator. Ravenna soon discovers that the only real threat Sutherland poses is to her [...]

LONGING (Club Inferno #2) by Jamie K. Schmidt

The term “erotic romance” perfectly encapsulates what it contains-a blend of compelling story with very sensual, hot sex scenes. As engaging as the story is in LONGING, the second installment in Jamie K. Schmidt’s Club Inferno series, I have to admit that I couldn’t wait to get to the sex scenes, especially when the heroine, Anya Litton, says things like this when talking about her boyfriend, Clint Reyes, a Dom and a stripper: “Let’s see…I could give up amazing sex with a hot Dominant stripper sex god who worships me and wants me in his life for a rich Italian count who dumped me because his mommy told him to. Decisions, decisions. Money doesn’t mean sh*t. I’m staying with Clint.” [...]

SINS AND NEEDLES by Karina Halle

To be honest I was really hesitant about picking up this book, because I don’t usually like con stories.  I hate people trying to cheat others out of their hard earned money, and take things the easy way.  There are of course exceptions to this for me:   The reason for the con is to defraud a defrauder, someone who “deserves” it in some way.   The con is to serve up some much deserved revenge.   I guess I’m not a turn-the-other-cheek sort of girl, well in fiction anyways.  If someone’s got it coming I relish the payback! Much of Ellie’s conning (in the past) fell under one of those categories, so I could excuse it.  But that’s not [...]

IN BED WITH A ROGUE by Samantha Grace

This book, the second in a series, was quite fun. Baron Sebastian Thorne has happily been a rogue for all of his mature life, since women began propositioning him when he was sixteen. When his fiancée eloped with his best friend, his ego took a hit as well as his reputation. He’s not necessarily on the path of reformation when the book begins, he’s simply trying to stay out of trouble. Then, after a few chance meetings with Helena, he decides that a little liaison with her would not be terrible. Helena, Lady Prestwick, is a widow with a lot of money and a good reputation, and she intends to keep it that way. Without her position in good society, [...]

ADULTERY by Paulo Coelho

Despite the attention-grabbing title, Adultery, the new novel by the award-winning author of The Alchemist, is not really about cheating. It’s more about that space we reach in the middle of our lives when we start to doubt everything – the midlife crisis. On the surface, Linda has less reasons for experiencing this crisis than most. She’s in her thirties, attractive, rich, and she lives in beautiful Geneva, Switzerland. She has a loving husband, children, and a good job as a political journalist. All things considered, it’s not easy to empathize with her unhappiness. But as we all know, depression isn’t rational. And Linda is depressed. She explains, “I am a woman torn between the terror that everything might change [...]

AN EARL LIKE NO OTHER by Wilma Counts

Katherine Gardiner, a young English widow, has only one dream: to protect her son—a future duke—from her merciless father-in-law. Determined and desperate, she has no option but to take the guise of a housekeeper and escape to Yorkshire where the only hope is the enigmatic Earl of Kenrick. In all his years spent roaming the world, Jeremy Chilton never braced himself for the burden of a much-damaged inheritance. Now, the new Earl of Kenrick must save his family legacy and raise his motherless young daughter as a proper English lady. His only salvation is his beautiful housekeeper, Kate. But as her secrets unravel, much that is puzzling about her falls into place. No wonder the Earl has caught himself imagining [...]

IGNITED by J. Kenner

IGNITED is the third book in the Marked Men series, about a three powerful men, known as the Knights, and the women that manage to do what no other could.  This last book focuses on Cole, artist, Dom, and a man who still flirts with the wrong side of the law and his obsession with Kat. I did not read the first two books in the series, but it didn’t matter: The author does a great job of ensuring readers understand the underlying current of want between Cole and Kat. Both have been somewhat obsessed with the other, but reluctant to do anything with their feelings. Kat, because she feared a dynamic shift in their little group; Cole, because he [...]

THE BEST KIND OF TROUBLE by Lauren Dane

Natalie Clayton was one of those characters who is difficult to like. She has built a very protective shell around herself, and is often times standoffish with people, making it hard to connect with her.  She is only open and completely herself around her small group of college friends; once you see her in that element, you want her to be like that all the time because she is clearly a very warm, caring person. Once we got her back-story, it’s understandable why she protects herself.  So when her long ago, two-week teenage romance, Paddy Hurley, walks into her favorite bakery, it’s clear that life as Natalie knows it is going to change…big time. There wasn’t much I didn’t like [...]

THE BEAUTIFUL ASHES by Jeaniene Frost

It’s the age-old tale of angels versus demons, but forget the usual stuff about their rift because Jeaniene Frost is switching things up in The Beautiful Ashes. Curious? Since I’ve been fortunate enough to snag an ARC, I’m giving you a quick lowdown on Ivy and Adrian’s story. The rest you just have to read for yourself. Let’s start with the romance: what you’ll find in The Beautiful Ashes is the forbidden sort as Ivy and Adrian’s lineage has been at odds with each other for centuries. Now I wouldn’t necessarily call it insta-love because they said the L-word towards the end but if we are to follow the timeline, Ivy and Adrian did fall for each other sooner rather [...]

A HIGHLANDER’S OBSESSION (Highlander’s Beloved #1) By Vonnie Davis

I’ve never hidden the fact that in the realm of paranormal romances, I’m a shifter girl, not a fang banger. In the romance realm, I am also a lover of all things Highlander and let me just interject, what a wonderful time it is to be a lover of the Highlanders! A HIGHLANDER’S OBSESSION is the best of both worlds. Set in modern times, there is a definite throwback feel when exploring the mores of the castle/bed and breakfast inhabitants. In fact, Creighton Matheson is the laird of the land. He’s the first born son in an area that places huge value on first born sons but there is also a curse settled on these fellas, and it never ends [...]

DARK SKYE (Immortals After Dark # 14) By Kresley Cole

Dark Skye is the story of ill-fated childhood best friends, Thronos and Lanthe. Thronos is royalty in his Vrekener clan. A real life prince of a winged warrior. Vrekeners reside in the secluded floating city of Skye Hall. It is far above the clouds, heaven of sorts and the residents live a life of austere moderation to say the least. No impure thoughts, no pre-marital sex, no drinking, no dancing, no flashy clothes, no thinking outside the box. Self control to the most excruciating degree. Lanthe is Queen of Persuasion, royalty of the Sorceri. Sorceri worship gold, live in the moment, and are carousing, wanton sexual beings. Sorceri are the night to Vrekener day but Lanthe is fated to be [...]

THE RELUCTANT GOVERNESS by Maggie Robinson

Eliza has settled in as the efficient receptionist at the Evensong Agency. So when her boss asks her to temporarily resolve a family problem, Eliza agrees. The governess job isn’t her first choice but watching over her boss’s niece-in-law should be a breeze. If only the adorable girl’s father wasn’t one of those “unconventional” artist types. Shirtless, covered in paint, and answering his own door, Nicholas isn’t what she expected a Scottish baron’s brother to be like. But when the little girl jumps into an antique vase and her father does nothing, Eliza knows she’s desperately needed. Nick and daughter Sunny have been getting along just fine since the last governess died. Why had his meddlesome sister-in-law sent a proper [...]