Monday in Review

Monday, February 6, 2017

It’s update time again :)

Below are the newest reviews I’ve written for Wit and Sin, Joyfully Reviewed, and Romance Junkies. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- The Duke (Victorian Rebels, Book 4) by Kerrigan Byrne (available 2/7/17)
- A Spoonful of Sugar (Bachelor Bake-Off, Book 2) by Kate Hardy (available 2/14/17)

All other new reviews:
- Playing the Player (Sydney Smoke Rugby, Book 3) by Amy Andrews
- On Broken Wings (Wild Aces, Book 3) by Chanel Cleeton
- Planned Seduction (Seduction, Book 1) by Jess Dee
- Stealing Taffy (Bigler, North Carolina, Book 3) by Susan Donovan
- Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess by Rachel Hoffman
- Keeping Faith by Kris Norris
- Wicked in His Arms (Wedded by Scandal, Book 2) by Stacy Reid

Upcoming reviews:
- The Conquering Dark (Crown & Key, Book 3) by Clay and Susan Griffith
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoƫ Archer
- The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 6) by Jennifer Ashley
- Wild Man (Dream Man, Book 2) by Kristen Ashley
- Paper and Fire (The Great Library, Book 2) 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
- Base Instincts (Demonica) by Larissa Ione
- The Thing About Love by Julie James
- When the Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men, Book 2) by Sabrina Jeffries
- The Art of Sinning (Sinful Suitors, Book 1) by Sabrina Jeffries
- Archer (Hard Body, Book 1) by Debra Kayn
- The Governess Was Wild (Governess, Book 3) by Julia Kelly
- Midnight Target (Killer Instincts, Book 8) by Elle Kennedy
- Fair Chance (All’s Fair, Book 3) by Josh Lanyon
- Before You Break (Between Breaths, Book 2) by Christina Lee
- 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
- 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
- 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: A Spoonful of Sugar by Kate Hardy

A Spoonful of Sugar by Kate Hardy
Series: Bachelor Bake-Off, Book 2
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance A Spoonful of Sugar Cover
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Tyler Carter is a healthy-eating gym owner who doesn’t bake. When his employees enter him into a bake-off contest to raise money for Harry’s House, an after school space for kids commemorating local first responder Harry Monroe, he needs to learn–fast!

Shy special needs teacher Stacey Allman loves to bake and often dreams of sharing her confections with her uber fit, gorgeous neighbor. So when Tyler sets off his smoke alarm and explains his dilemma, she can’t resist the temptation of playing pastry chef tutor. He offers boxing lessons in exchange. More time together? Yes please.

But when Tyler’s ex comes back to Marietta asking for his help, will it derail Stacey and Tyler’s chance at love, or will it make them see that they’re the perfect fit?

A Spoonful of Sugar is as sweet as can be without ever entering saccharine territory. Kate Hardy has delivered the ultimate feel-good romance, with kind, endearing characters who will have you avidly turning the pages as you root for them to get together.

Stacey is a special needs teacher with a heart of gold. She’s hearing-impaired and having had her self-esteem constantly beaten as a child left its mark on her. Rather than breaking, she’s become a giving person who works tirelessly to help others and make sure that no one is ever made to feel like she was. Tyler, in turn, is a gym owner who carries a few internal scars of his own over a bad breakup. He’s focused on his gym, but when his team enters him in the Bachelor Bake-Off, he knows he’s in trouble. Tyler can’t make a grilled cheese without setting off the fire alarm, never mind cookies, cakes, and pies. When his first attempt at baking (predictably) sets off the fire alarm, it’s his neighbor, Stacey to the rescue. When she agrees to teach him to bake in exchange for boxing lessons from him, it’s the start of a friendship that will fast turn into something more. Tyler and Stacey made me smile more than once as they fell in love. She’s an amazing teacher and a genuinely kind soul, which made her easy to adore. And Tyler…wow. He spots early on that Stacey’s self-esteem isn’t the highest and the way he genuinely compliments her and helps her see how amazing she is just made me melt. As a pair, the two of them were excellent. They had lovely chemistry and were so sweet they warmed my heart.

A Spoonful of Sugar is the second book in the multi-author Bachelor Bake-Off series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. That being said, after finishing Tyler and Stacey’s book, I’m definitely intrigued and want to read the rest of the series as soon as possible. As for Stacey and Tyler, they’re a couple I’ll definitely be revisiting when I need a pick-me-up.


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: The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Victorian Rebels, Book 4
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Historical Romance The Duke Cover
ISBN: 9781250118240
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

He is noble, notorious, and takes no prisoners…

Strong as a Viking. Handsome as Adonis. Rich as Midas. Collin "Cole" Talmage, Duke of Trewyth, is the stuff that legends are made of. He's the English Empire’s golden son—until fate has its way with him. Cole’s family is killed and his closest comrade betrays him on the battlefield, leaving him gravely injured. But Cole is not one to dwell on misfortune. He is a man of duty, honor—and desire. And now he’s ready for the fight of his lifetime…

Imogen Pritchard is a beautiful lass who works in a hospital by day and as a serving maid at night. Years ago, when she was young and penniless, she ended up spending a scandalous night with Cole, whose tormented soul was matched only by his earth-shattering passion. Imogen entered a marriage of convenience—one that left her a wealthy widow—but she never forgot Cole. Now that her long-lost lover has turned up in her hospital, injured and with no memory of her, Imogen is torn: Is it a blessing or a curse that their past remains a secret to Cole, even as his new passion for her leaves him wanting to protect and possess her…at all costs

The Duke is dark, intense, and completely addictive. Imogen and Cole captivated me from the very beginning and did not let go, no matter how rocky the road to happily ever after got. Kerrigan Byrne has a gift for penning intriguing, imperfect heroes and heroines, and Imogen and Cole are no exception.

I absolutely loved Imogen. She’s lived a hard life, has known starvation and violence, yet she doesn’t break. She looks for the sunshine in the clouds, and I loved her optimism almost as much as I loved her desire to help those less fortunate. At the beginning of the story, Imogen is a nurse who must spend her nights serving alcohol in a brothel in order to pay off her father’s debts. One night changes everything when Cole, the newly-minted Duke of Talmage, walks in and she finds herself seduced by the handsome, heartbreakingly sad man. Fast-forward to the present (so as to avoid giving spoilers) and Imogen is now a wealthy widowed countess who works hard to give others a second chance and a safe environment. She’s determined to make the world a better place, even though society may scorn her for it.

Surprisingly (for a romance), Cole is one of her detractors. He grew up privileged and was raised with the prejudices typical for his class, and on top of that war and imprisonment have shown him the uglier side of humanity. Even though he’s in the wrong, I liked that Ms. Byrne showed where he was coming from, how his upbringing and the trauma of war (and his PTSD in the aftermath) have affected him. Yes, Cole could be frustrating because he’s so scarred and angry that he can’t see what’s right in front of him. But even though Cole isn’t the perfect hero, I really liked watching him grow as a character and become the hero he should be.

Despite its sensual beginning, the romance between Cole and Imogen is slow to burn. He’s fixated on finding the woman he spent one night with, and it’s no spoiler to say that he doesn’t realize that “Ginny” is Imogen. Thus their love story is more of an enemies-to-lovers one, and it was nice to see them actually get to know one another as they (however reluctantly) fell in love. What took this story down a notch for me was the fact that I felt we didn’t get much time with Cole and Imogen as a couple. With Cole being such a harsh character, I would have loved a few more heartfelt moments between the two, something to give me the sense of tenderness or happiness from a couple in love that I’ve come to expect to see in a romance.

In addition to the love story, there’s a level of suspense in The Duke thanks to a plotline involving Imogen’s stalker. I liked the added element of danger, but as with the romance, I felt the resolution was rushed and I would have liked just a bit more to it to leave me fully satisfied. Even with these few issues, I thoroughly enjoyed The Duke overall. Ms. Byrne is a fantastic writer and I love the complex, interesting characters she creates. Every Victorian Rebels book has swept me away, and The Duke is no exception. I cannot wait to see what Ms. Byrne has in store for readers 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.

Review: Playing the Player by Amy Andrews

Monday, January 30, 2017

Playing the Player by Amy Andrews
Series: Sydney Smoke Rugby, Book 3
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance Playing the Player Cover
ISBN: 9781682814161
Release Date: January 30, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

After a long history with crappy guys, high school teacher Em Newman is going man-vegan. Four months of revirginization has opened her eyes to her doormat imitation but, baby’s got spine now, and some smooth-talking—even if he is sinfully hot—rugby player, won’t be adding her as a notch anytime soon.

Lincoln Quinn loves rugby, women, and poker. And he likes to win at all three. When his team mates bet him he can’t break through Em’s resolve, he’s more than up for the challenge. But this lady has a shoebox of stipulations before she’ll even go on a date with him, much less use that mouth for kissing instead of giving orders.

Something’s gotta give but this time Em’s not settling. And Linc’s questioning everything he ever knew about matters of the heart.

A rugby star who plays hard on and off the field meets his match in a teacher who has no problem making him work for it in Playing the Player. Amy Andrews has a gift for penning romances that are funny and sexy, and this book definitely has humor and heat in spades.

Linc and Em charmed me with their banter and were definitely hot together – both things I expected going into this book. What I didn’t expect was them touching my heart. I absolutely loved peeling back the layers to their characters. At the start, Linc and Em seem like opposites when it comes to love. She’s a relationship-only girl and he’s a player through and through. However, both of them faced childhood abandonment, which helps them understand one another and how they approach relationships. Linc’s upbringing made him cynical about love and he doesn’t believe in marriage. Em, in turn, craves love and commitment and has been burned repeatedly in her search to find it. They both think they won’t work in the long run, but their attraction to one another is impossible for them to resist. I loved the sexual tension between them and the buildup leads to one hell of a payoff. Em and Linc are explosively hot as a couple, and to make things even better, they’re fun.

I was a bit wary going into Playing the Player because I’m not a fan of the romance trope where a character and his friends bet on getting someone into bed. However, because I adore Ms. Andrews’s writing – and am completely hooked on the Sydney Smoke Rugby series – I was willing to give Linc a fair chance. I’m so glad I did. I won’t spoil the story, but I will say that Ms. Andrews turns the tired trope on his head and spares readers from false drama. I was actually delighted with how things turned out, and I truly loved watching their relationship develop. Em and Linc are perfect for each other, and it was a joy to see them come to that realization as well.

Playing the Player is the third book in the Sydney Smoke Rugby series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. What I love about the series is that each book has been filled with great characters, steamy scenes, and wonderful banter, yet while they’re tied together in terms of tone and world, each story is unique. The interaction between the teammates and the women who love them only add further dimension to the world and make me incredibly eager for more books. All in all, I loved Playing the Player. Linc and Em’s love story was a blast to read – so much so that I wanted to dive back in for a re-read right after finishing it.


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: Planned Seduction by Jess Dee

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Planned Seduction by Jess Dee
Series: Seduction, Book 1
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance Planned Seduction Cover
ISBN: 9781682814178
Release Date: January 30, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Daniel Tanner’s been in love with Amy since they were teenagers. If she would only give him a chance to show her how good they could be together, he could convince her the fiery attraction between them won’t burn up and ruin their friendship.

Amy Morgan’s had a front row seat to the parade of women coming in and out of Daniel’s life for years, so she’s not interested in risking what they have for something that would eventually end with her heart being broken by her best friend. And life has taught her broken hearts is the way love always ends.

But no one knows Amy better than Daniel, and he’s devised a plan to show her they can have it all.

Amy and Daniel have been best friends for seventeen years and – unbeknownst to Amy – Daniel has been in love with her all that time. To Amy, Daniel is the most important person in her life, the only one she can rely on, and she will not allow her unwanted attraction to him ruin their friendship. She’s had her heart broken more than once and Daniel isn’t the type to commit, so she shuts down any hint of desire for him. However, Daniel has finally reached his limit. He can never commit to any woman because the only woman he’s ever truly loved is Amy. If he has to resort to a little trickery to seduce her into his bed and win her heart, then that’s fine by him. So long as he finally has his chance to prove to Amy that he’s the man for her.

I always enjoy a good friends-to-lovers romance, and Jess Dee’s Planned Seduction is a steamy one. I was charmed by Daniel from early on. He’s confident, charming, and sexy-as-sin, but what really got me is his big, slightly vulnerable heart, and how head-over-heels he is for Amy. The two of them have been best friends for nearly two decades, have been there for each other through thick and thin, and it’s clear they’re perfect for each other. I’m generally indifferent to games or planned seduction, but in this story it worked because Daniel and Amy knew each other so well and he would cut off his arm before he ever hurt her. Their friendship comes through and gives their romance a solid base so that the eroticism of the story can take over without the heart of the romance being sacrificed. When things get hot, they get really hot and I loved watching Daniel and Amy’s relationship change and reach its full potential.

Planned Seduction wouldn’t be much of a story if there were no obstacles, and in this case the hitches on the road to happily ever after all come from Amy. I understood that she’d been badly burned, and Ms. Dee made it clear why Amy feared changing her relationship with Daniel. However, Amy also triggered one of my biggest pet peeves: she’s a character who decides how other people feel for them. She insists Daniel doesn’t know his own feelings and tells him what he feels for her. The fact that Amy is a counselor who should know better than do to that only detracted from the story further, and I lost a bit of patience with the unnecessary drama. Fortunately for both the characters and plot, the majority of the story is fun, erotic, and Daniel and Amy have excellent chemistry. When things go right in Planned Seduction, the story is truly entertaining. So while it had some ups and downs, I liked Amy and Daniel’s book enough that I’ll definitely be reading Ms. Dee’s next Seduction 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.

Book Blitz: Avery Flynn's Killer Style Series

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

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Get lost in the Killer Style series by Avery Flynn!


Killer Temptation, 99¢ for a limited time!

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About Killer Temptation:
Security expert Tony Falcon has never had a problem keeping his distance from his clients--until now. When his murder investigation leads him to a feisty fashionista in need of a bodyguard, he realizes he may have met his match. Going undercover as Sylvie's boyfriend might be his best chance at catching the criminals who killed his best friend, but soon his attraction to her--and the danger she's in--has him wondering if solving the case is worth it...

Sylvie Bissette has a closely guarded secret--she's the woman behind a must-read blog for fashionistas everywhere. When an internet troll discovers her secret identity and escalates from stalking her to threatening her life, she turns to Tony for help. The sexy investigator from the other side of the tracks is the olive oil to her Evian water and aggravates her to no end. But if they want to find her revenge-obsessed stalker before Sylvie ends up with a literal knife in the back, they'll have to learn to work together.

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads



Killer Attraction

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About Killer Attraction:
Devin Harris may have given up his MMA fighting dreams, but that doesn't mean he isn't always in control. So when someone embezzles millions under his watch, he isn't going to let the private investigator working the case go it alone--even if she is the woman who blew him away in bed and then blew him off.

A fighter since birth, Allegra "Ryder" Falcon would rather trade in her all-black wardrobe for
head-to-toe hot pink than let anyone ever see the cracks in her tough exterior. So when she finally gets an assignment she can prove herself on, she's horrified to realize it's with her one-night stand. The one she hasn't been able to forget. Too much is at stake for her to walk, but staying means risking more than just her life...

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads



Killer Charm

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About Killer Temptation:

Security expert Tony Falcon has never had a problem keeping his distance from his clients--until now. When his murder investigation leads him to a feisty fashionista in need of a bodyguard, he realizes he may have met his match. Going undercover as Sylvie's boyfriend might be his best chance at catching the criminals who killed his best friend, but soon his attraction to her--and the danger she's in--has him wondering if solving the case is worth it...

Sylvie Bissette has a closely guarded secret--she's the woman behind a must-read blog for fashionistas everywhere. When an internet troll discovers her secret identity and escalates from stalking her to threatening her life, she turns to Tony for help. The sexy investigator from the other side of the tracks is the olive oil to her Evian water and aggravates her to no end. But if they want to find her revenge-obsessed stalker before Sylvie ends up with a literal knife in the back, they'll have to learn to work together.

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads



Killer Seduction

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About Killer Seduction:

Mika Ito combines her two favorite things in life--textile design and live-action role-playing (LARP)--by creating costumes for her fellow Magic Battledome gamers. Lately, someone's been assaulting LARPers and stealing their costumes. Concerned for the safety of her friends, Mika hires Maltese Security...only to discover that the lead investigator is the super-hot stranger she just hooked up with.

Carlos Castillo is all too familiar with Magic Battledome. A former legend in role-playing circles, he was all about gaming, until things went very, very wrong for him. Now he's forced to return to the game undercover--as Mika's boyfriend--to find some answers. Only playing "boyfriend" with his gorgeous one-night stand is more temptation than a guy can withstand...

Someone wants the costumes enough to kill for them. And when it comes to murder, nothing is what it seems...

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads


About Avery Flynn:

When Avery Flynn isn't writing about alpha heroes and the women who tame them, she is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip. She has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and has a slight shoe addiction. Find out more about Avery on her website, follow her on Twitter, like her on her Facebook page or friend her on her Facebook profile. Also, if you figure out how to send Oreos throughthe Internet, she’ll be your best friend for life. Contact her at avery@averyflynn.com. She’d love to hear from you.

Connect with Avery: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter

Review: Wicked in His Arms by Stacy Reid

Monday, January 23, 2017

Wicked in His Arms by Stacy Reid
Series: Wedded by Scandal, Book 2
Publisher: Entangled: Scandalous
Genre: Historical Romance Wicked in His Arms Cover
ISBN: 9781682814024
Release Date: January 23, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Tobias Walcott, the Earl of Blade, has learned it is best to exercise rigid control over his passions and emotions in all that he does. Uncaring that it makes him seem cool and aloof to most in the ton, he is content with his desire to only woo agreeable and demur females. Then unforeseen circumstances see him trapped in a closet at a house party with the last woman he would ever make his countess.

Lady Olivia Sherwood is everything he should not desire in a female—unconventional, too decisive, and utterly without decorum. But passion ignites between them and they are discovered. Honor demands they wed, and while Tobias finds himself unwillingly drawn to the bewitching beauty, he must do everything not to tempt the passion that burns in him for her, lest it leads to disastrous consequences.

A passionate artist ahead of her time meets her match in a seemingly glacial earl in Wicked in His Arms. The first Wedded by Scandal book, Accidentally Compromising the Duke, was one of my favorite books of 2016, so I eagerly dove into this story.

Livvie is a delightful heroine. She’s bold, outspoken, and completely out of place in society. Of course, this makes it difficult for her to find a husband and since her stepfather’s health is fragile her mother is pushing her to secure a future for herself and her sister. Thus Livvie ends up as a guest of Tobias’s mother who is to give her the polish she needs to catch a husband…and of course winds up in Tobias’s path. Tobias has the weight of his family’s name on his shoulders. With generations of scandalous earls tarring the family reputation, Tobias has taken the opposite path and is instead ice cold with no patience for tears or dramatics. Tobias wants a sensible woman to be his wife, a woman who is nothing like Livvie. Only he can’t stop thinking about her…

Livvie and Tobias’s romance is a rocky one to say the least. I struggled with Tobias’s character because he was hard to like. He can be cruel and deliberately embarrasses Livvie at one point. And he runs so hot and cold that I sometimes had a hard time understanding why she was falling for him. I struggled with rating this book because if Tobias hadn’t been the way he was, there wouldn’t have been much of a story. The conflicts are generally internal and the characters needed room to grow. But as a hero, Tobias wasn’t my favorite, even though I understood why he acted the way he did. It’s no spoiler to say that he redeems himself (what happily ever after would there be if he didn’t?), and I definitely loved the way in which he did. When he and Livvie weren’t fighting, they were fantastic together and the pages of the story flew by. I yearned to see more of that excellent chemistry, because when Wicked in His Arms worked, it worked really well. And even when I had problems with the characters, I still enjoyed Stacy Reid’s excellent writing.

Wicked in His Arms is the second book in the Wedded by Scandal series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. Edmond and Adel (the hero and heroine of the first story) do briefly appear, but it’s the dark and mysterious Westfall who threatens to steal the page. I absolutely adore the Wedded by Scandal series and Wicked in His Arms definitely made me excited to see what Ms. Reid delivers 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.
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