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Book Reviews

THE GAME AND THE GOVERNESS by Kate Noble

This delightful romp of a story from the RITA Award-nominated author Kate Noble should be devoured in one sitting, if at all possible. The Earl of Ashby, an incorrigible sweetheart who immediately brings to mind the actor Simon Baker from The Mentalist with his lopsided, rakish smile, switches places with his secretary in order to prove that his easy life is due to good luck, not his title. The two wager a bet during a business trip to the town where Ashby was raised. The gambit: each man must win over the heart of a lady. For one man, it’s a silly distraction. For the other, the stakes are serious. Noble drops the two men at the Puffington Arms, home [...]

THE DOG PARK by Laura Caldwell

Stylist Jessica Champlin knows it takes more than a darling goldendoodle to save a marriage. She and her ex-husband, investigative journalist Sebastian Hess, had too many irreconcilable differences for even their beloved dog, Baxter, to heal. So they’ve agreed to joint custody, and life has settled into a prickly normalcy.  But when Baxter heroically rescues a child and the video footage goes viral, Jess and Sebastian are thrown together again, and her life takes some very unexpected twists. The line of dogwear she creates becomes wildly successful, and suddenly she’s in the spotlight with everyone watching—the press, the new guy she’s seeing, Sebastian and the past she never imagined she would face again. Soon there’s only one person by her [...]

ONLY WITH YOU by Lauren Layne

I’m going to hazard a guess that every reader of romance has a list of Book Boyfriends (goodness knows I certainly do). But what I recently realized is that I never thought about creating a list of Book BFFs. The reason for this is because after I read Only With You by Lauren Layne, the first book in her “The Best Mistake” series, I knew who I was going to put at the top of my list—the heroine, Sophie Dalton. I laughed with her, and then felt her pain when the hero, Grayson (Gray) Wyatt, acted like a total jerk towards her. Don’t get me wrong. Gray isn’t always a jerk with her, but during their first encounter, he wins [...]

THE MAN PLAN by Tracy Anne Warren

What’s a girl to do when the man she’s loved her entire life thinks of her as a little sister? Worse, her own big sister was the one who broke his heart years earlier. For Ivy Grayson, the chance to get him to see her in a different light comes when she receives an unexpected invitation to move into his luxury New York apartment building. Manhattan also just happens to be the perfect place to pursue her wish to become a successful artist. But how many dreams can one woman expect to come true? Billionaire financier James Jordon has everything a man could want—except love. When Ivy’s family asks him to keep an eye on their “little girl” in the [...]

DESIRED by Stacey Kennedy

Since Fifty Shades of Gray exploded a couple of years ago, the erotic genre has been saturated by kinky billionaires who have a particular taste for virginal subs. I could only read so many versions of this trope before it started to get monotonous. I became wary of the bored Alphas and their surprisingly skilled virgin consorts. Some of these novels read like borderline porn; I’m one of those snobbish readers who believe that erotica, like nude paintings, is art. It should go beyond sex and, to paraphrase author Kyra Davis, each sexual encounter should be a revelation of some sort. Not just sex for sex. So after wading through some sub-par erotica, one of my favorite smexy paranormal writers, [...]

THE FALL OF GRACE by Julia London

Grace Cabot, Julia London’s latest heroine, is full of surprises. She talks far too much, rarely thinks her schemes through, and in a lesser writer’s hands she’d be a wacky sidekick to the saintly, well-mannered protagonist. Instead, her endearing traits lift her off the page and into our hearts. Desperate to save her family from financial ruin, Grace throws herself upon a suitable marriage prospect. But instead of ensnaring the fun-loving Lord Amherst, she finds herself betrothed, under scandalous circumstances, to his brother Jeffrey, the tortured Earl of Merryton. Cautiously, Grace and Jeffrey begin to get to know each other beyond their fiery hot first encounter, although both have secrets they loathe to reveal. The sexual heat between the newlyweds [...]

JUST LIKE THE MOVIES by Kelly Fiore

Pretty and popular track star Marijke Monti is confident about almost everything – she’s got great friends, a great family, and she’s on her way to the State Track Championship. In fact, the only thing Marijke isn’t confident about is her relationship with Tommy Lawson.  Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in every extracurricular activity and volunteer committee she could. But, at home, she watches her mother go on date after date with dud-dudes, still searching for “the one.” Lily realizes that she’s about to graduate and still hasn’t even had a boyfriend. While they live on each other’s periphery at school, Lily and Marijke never seemed to have much [...]

The Wednesday Daughters by Meg Waite Clayton

It is early evening when Hope Tantry arrives at the small cottage in England’s pastoral Lake District where her mother, Ally, spent the last years of her life. Ally—one of a close-knit group of women who called themselves “The Wednesday Sisters”—had used the cottage as a writer’s retreat while she worked on her unpublished biography of Beatrix Potter, yet Hope knows nearly nothing about her mother’s time there. Traveling with Hope are friends Julie and Anna Page, two other daughters of “The Wednesday Sisters,” who offer to help Hope sort through her mother’s personal effects. Yet what Hope finds will reveal a tangled family history—one steeped in Lake District lore. Tucked away in a hidden drawer, Hope finds a stack [...]

A WEDDING IN PROVENCE by Ellen Sussman

If a trip to the south of France isn’t in your travel budget this year, don’t dismay. Ellen Sussman’s A Wedding in Provence will transport you – jet-lag free – to an inn surrounded by lush vineyards in the coastal town of Cassis.  Sussman’s descriptions of the scent of lavender,  taste of champagne, and the chill of seawater are equally matched by the complex interplay between the cast of characters. A wedding invitation on the very first page sets the tone, announcing the betrothal of Olivia, an artistic director of a theater company based in San Francisco, to Brody, a Wyoming veterinarian, set to take place at Olivia’s best friend’s picturesque inn, La Maison Verte. First off, Olivia is not [...]

LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell

I was a Rainbow Rowell virgin before reading Landline – which qualifies me for reading idiot of the year. But it also let me come to this novel without expectations. Landline is Rowell’s first adult novel, after wowing readers with Eleanor & Park and Fangirl.  In a nutshell, Landline is about a woman named Georgie who has always been torn between her “work husband” Seth and her actual husband, Neal. But there’s a twist: while Georgia and Neal are separated during the Christmas holiday, and in the middle of an epic fight, she calls Neal from an old landline in her childhood bedroom, and finds herself in a conversational time machine. Confused at first, Georgie comes to realize that the [...]

Addicted (Ethan Frost #2) By Tracy Wolff

Thank goodness part two is here because the cliffhanger at the end of Ruined just about did me in! Holy sucker punch to the gut Batman that cliffy was ugly. Addicted picks right up where Ruined left off. Not a single second of agony is glossed over. Chloe’s visceral reaction to the Brandon bombshell is palpable. Witnessing her discovery was literally painful; watching her process this revelation broke my cold cynical heart. For Chloe and Ethan, the unimaginable happens; worlds collide and the fall-out is complete and utter devastation. It’s painfully obvious how deeply Chloe and Ethan love each other but when the woman you love sees the man she fears when she looks into your eyes…well, that’s kinda hard [...]

THE GIRL IN 6E by A.R. Torre

I went into The Girl in 6E completely blind. I didn’t even read the plot summary. As a fan of Alessandra Torre, I’d heard a bit of internet buzz on this book but honestly, had no idea what I was signing up for, I just took a leap of faith and went with it. This book is in large part a dark thriller but there are some coming of age aspects in it —  oh, and it’s also part fetish instruction manual. Jessica is the screen name Deanna uses to make a living as a “camgirl” now that she’s locked herself away for humanity’s safety. Deanna has murderous urges that she initially feels she can only control by keeping herself [...]

My Hunger (Inside Out #3.2) by Lisa Renee Jones

My Hunger is sensual little treat that will satisfy your craving just long enough while you wait for The Master to return in I Belong To You this November. I took the author’s advice and went ahead and started with Master Undone before reading My Hunger.  I think it truly did make the experience of reading My Hunger more enjoyable. I have not read the entire Inside Out Series and was a bit concerned that I would not be able to keep up with the story.  Let me assure you that this story is an excellent standalone novella.  I was drawn into the story from the very beginning and did not want to see it end. My Hunger picks up right after Master Undone where Crystal Smith and Mark [...]

Book Review: Last of the Red-Hot Cowboys by Tina Leonard

What do you get when you take one red-hot sexy cowboy and mix in a beautiful horse riding princess? You get an epic explosion!!!
Bull trainer Trace Carter gets a visit from Mayor Judy. One that he is not happy about. Seems that Mayor Judy has a trick up her sleeve, and is bringing in three girls to be the Hell’s Belles. They will represent the male overtaken city of Hell, Texas. One slight problem, Judy wants Trace to train the girls to be bull clowns. You know the ones that help get the bull back into the pen after the rider is off the bull. Nope, that will not work for Trace and his brothers in arms. You see Trace and his friends run the Hell’s Outlaws Training Center.

STRADDLING THE LINE by Jaci Burton

I should tell you up front that I am a huge baseball fan. I go to games, I listen to baseball podcasts, I follow fan blogs for my home team, and I even play in a fantasy league. I’m also a romance fan, and I love when these two things merge well. When I first started reading romance again about eight years ago, there was a dearth of good sports romances, but thanks to authors like Ms. Burton, I am happy to report this is no longer the case. I should also probably tell you that when the baseball season ends, I turn to football to sate my sports fan needs. This works out, because the football season ends right [...]

HARDER by Robin York

Caroline still dreams about West. His warm skin, his taut muscles, his hand sliding down her stomach. Then she wakes up and she’s back to reality: West is gone. And before he left, he broke her heart. Then, out of the blue, West calls in crisis. A tragedy has hit his family—a family that’s already a fractured mess. Caroline knows what she has to do. Without discussion, without stopping to think, she’s on a plane, flying to his side to support him in any way he needs. They’re together again, but things are totally different. West looks edgy, angry at the world. Caroline doesn’t fit in. She should be back in Iowa, finalizing her civil suit against the ex-boyfriend who [...]

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

On the surface, Allison Weiss has it all—a handsome and successful husband, a beautiful daughter, a McMansion in the Philadelphia suburbs, and a burgeoning writing career. Look further and you will see that Allison’s husband is becoming increasingly distant and sleeps in the guest bedroom, her daughter is exceptionally needy and doesn’t give her a moment of peace, her father is suffering from early Alzheimer’s, and her mother acts more like a child than a woman in her golden years. Allison takes ownership of all of these problems and, with the help of doctor prescribed pain killers, convinces herself everything is fine, until a magazine quiz makes her question whether her reliance on pills has become an addiction. Many of [...]

THEN CAME YOU by Jill Shalvis

Then Came You is the fifth book in Jill Shalvis’ Animal Magnetism series and the second book of hers that I’ve read. So why did I skip ahead to book five? I’ve been seeing other readers raving about how this was their favorite installment in the series so far. Even though I’m not one to read series out of order, I figured I could jump into Then Came You with no problems. And I was right! It read great as a stand alone. I know I was missing back stories on the other couples but I was not lost. The Animal Magnetism series features men and women who are animal lovers. In Then Came You, we get to see Emily [...]

REKINDLED by Maisey Yates

  Lucy Ryan got everything she thought she wanted, going from high school queen to Manhattan trophy wife. But none of it was worth staying in a loveless marriage. So now she’s back in Silver Creek—with no money and no place to stay, applying for a job cleaning someone else’s house. And her potential employer is the last person she ever expected to see again. Mac Denton can’t believe the mean girl who once tormented him in high school is now his housekeeper. He looks forward to making her squirm for a few days before she runs back to her rich husband. But Lucy has changed, and he is surprised to find himself attracted to the beautiful, courageous woman she [...]

DEEPLY IN YOU by Sharon Page

DEEPLY IN YOU is a welcome return for fans of Sharon Page, who have been waiting eagerly for her next Regency erotic romance. This is the first book in her new Wicked Dukes series. Helena Winsome works as a governess to the niece and nephews of Damian Caldwell, the fifth Duke of Greybrooke, in order to save her family from financial ruin. She also writes a gossip column for her half-brother’s newspaper under the pen name Lady X, and the duke provides the perfect fodder for it. Grey, as he is known, has a scandalous reputation of loving and leaving women, one encounter which Helena sees for herself. But this allows her the chance to actually meet him, because she [...]

THE LEMON GROVE by Helen Walsh

Let’s just get one thing out of the way up-front: I am a sucker for anything Spanish. So when I found a romance—a literary erotic romance—set in Mallorca, Spain, I was pretty much sold. And when I started actually reading The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh, I wasn’t “pretty much” sold, I was completely sold.   Walsh’s prose is gorgeous. The beach town setting is the perfect backdrop for this sultry book. Through lines like “the dark hangs damp in her lungs. Sea dampness: salty and lucid and nicked with the scent of pines,” Walsh makes Deia into another character, a town buzzing with heat and sexual energy. Though the story takes place in the lazy, sexy heat of a [...]

FALL FROM INDIA PLACE by Samantha Young

I’ve been a fan of Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street series since the first book, ON DUBLIN STREET, which introduced the first couple in the series, Joss and Braden, who later received their own novella, CASTLE HILL. They were followed by Jo and Cam, Ellie and Adam, and Liv and Nate, each with their own story (DOWN LONDON ROAD, UNTIL FOUNTAIN BRIDGE, and BEFORE JAMAICA LANE, respectively). Returning to this series always gives me a feeling of catching up with old friends. Young brings a combination of humor, compassion, and drama to her writing, along with the hot sex scenes that unfailingly make my toes curl. But with each new installment, as much as I love returning to these characters, [...]

Reviewer Gives the Skinny on SECRETS OF SEDUCTION by Nicole Jordan

From the Goodreads description: The most charming Wilde cousin, Lady Skye has secretly loved the enigmatic Earl of Hawkhurst since girlhood, long before the tragedy that left him scarred both physically and emotionally. When Skye learns that the celebrated hero has returned to England from his self-imposed exile to make a cold marriage of convenience, she brazenly plants herself on his castle doorstep, determined to convince Hawk that she alone is his true mate and destiny. An elite member of the Guardians of the Sword, Hawk has vowed never again to risk the pain of loving—but that’s before he deals with the most enchanting, annoyingly persistent seductress he’s ever encountered. One night of blazing passion leaves him impossibly torn. Will [...]

SEARCHING FOR PERFECT by Jennifer Probst

Looking for a lovable nerd hero? You’ll find your guy in SEARCHING FOR PERFECT. This is the second in Jennifer Probst’s Searching For series (the first is Searching For Someone), centering around three college friends who own the matchmaking company Kinnections.  In this book, we meet Kinnections’ lovely but troubled social director, Kennedy. Beautiful, charismatic  Kennedy Ashe (picture Julia Roberts circa My Best Friend’s Wedding), finds a pet project in transforming an unsuspecting, geeky client named Nate Ellison Raymond Dunkle (acronym, anyone?) into a total hottie.  Nate is an aerospace engineer who once worked for NASA but has now moved into the private sector. Never having had time for a personal life, he is now looking for The One. But from [...]

Weekend Reading EVERY PART OF YOU: TAUNTS ME (Every Part of You #3) by Megan Hart

“We’re all mad here.” – Simone, quoting the Chesire Cat. This installment brings Simone’s sexuality into focus. What she needs, the contradictions, within and her past is shaping her complicated relationship with Elliott. This insight comes from an encounter she has with Aidan, her previous lover. They were almost right for each other – he’s a classic Dominant. She likes pain. The problem is, she doesn’t like submission. But we’ll get back to that. First, we open at a party given by Trent Boudreaux (introduced in the first installment as the future governor of Louisiana). Trent invited Simone, and Elliott was invited by his friend Barry. Elliott knew Simone would be there, but that’s not why he’s at the party — [...]

Every Part of You: Resists Me (Every Part of You #2) by Megan Hart

The second installment in New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart’s erotic e-serial. The dance has begun. Simone’s ready to follow all her desires, but reluctant Elliott isn’t ready to take the lead. After teasing Elliott into going dancing with her, Simone seduces him. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid of asking for it, and Elliott appears to be as eager as she is to see where their passion takes them. The sex is electric, but Elliott is taken aback by his response to her, and when Simone reveals her kink for pain to him, he’s unable to accept it and tells her he doesn’t want to see her again. Simone and Elliott are out dancing – a far different [...]

Weekend Reading: TEMPTING FATE by Jane Green

This was my first Jane Green (Jemima J, Another Piece of My Heart) novel, and it will not be my last. I could not put this book down, finished it in 48 hours, and probably would have read it even more quickly if I hadn’t kept stopping to text my best friend about it. Gabby has been married for eighteen years to Elliot, a gastroentrologist. They have two daughters, sixteen-year-old Olivia and eleven-year-old Alanna. They live in the suburbs of Connecticut, have lots of friends, and a beautiful house. When Gabby goes along for a girls night out to a bar, she’d rather be at home curled up with Elliot, watching a movie. She’s appalled out how the other moms [...]

A Promise of More: The Disgraced Lords Series by Bronwen Evans

A group of aristocratic men, a mysterious threat, and the ladies that love them. A Promise of More has all of my favorite elements! Just read the back cover—who can resist? When Beatrice Hennessey sets out to confront Lord Coldhurst, the notorious rogue who killed her brother in a duel, her intent is to save her family from destitution. She’s determined to blackmail the man into a loveless marriage. She’ll make the wealthy Lord Coldhurst pay for the rest of his life. But while greeting his ship, Beatrice takes a tumble into the Thames—only to be fished out by a pair of strong masculine arms that tempt her to stay locked in their heated embrace forever. That is, until she [...]

EVERY PART OF YOU: TEMPTS ME by Megan Hart

Megan Hart has a way of setting up intensely erotic dynamics between characters before anyone has even touched. She does it again in the first installment of this sexy, tension-filled e-serial that had me hooked from page one. Simone Kahan works in human resources for a global marketing corporation in Philadelphia. From the window of her corner office, she has a view of a man across the way, in the opposite wing, who also works late nights. His name is Elliott Anderson, and he’s an attorney.  Elliott has a habit of bringing beautiful blondes back to his office and having kinky sex with them. Simone likes to watch.  It seems that Simone likes it rough, and Elliott dishes it out [...]

PLAY (A Stage Dive Novel) by Kylie Scott

PLAY is the second novel in Kylie Scott’s bestselling Stage Dive series. The first, LICK, told the story of Evelyn and rock and roll guitarist David. In PLAY, we get to know Ev’s friend Anne, who falls into a relationship with the band’s drummer, Mal, and from the start it’s right out of a romantic comedy. Here’s the set-up: Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast—at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn’t plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn’t count on finding the one right girl. Anne Rollins never thought she’d ever meet [...]