Sunday, November 12, 2017

Review: Trouble Next Door by Stefanie London

Trouble Next Door by Stefanie London
Publisher: Entangled: Lovestruck
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781979435208
Release Date: November 13, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

McKenna Prescott is the queen of picking the wrong men. When her latest boyfriend dumps her, she decides to devote her time to “exploring herself” (read: drinking wine and ordering sex toys online) and starting her freelance makeup business. That is, until an embarrassing delivery mix-up puts her sexy, gruff neighbor in her path...

Beckett Walsh is married to his job...which is a deal-breaker for the woman he’s supposed to be marrying. Even worse, his would-be father-in-law has pulled support from Beckett's startup and now Beckett stands to lose everything. But the gorgeous, crazy makeup artist from down the hall has an equally crazy but mutually beneficial idea: if he convinces his sister to hire McKenna for her high-society wedding, McKenna will teach him about what women want so he can get his fiancée back.

All he has to do is make sure he doesn’t fall for the wrong girl.

From its hilarious beginning to the sexy and sweet ending, Trouble Next Door is So. Much. Fun! I had an absolute blast reading McKenna and Beckett’s romance – it was energetic, flirty, sexy, and even heartwarming at times.

Beckett is a serious hero in need of a shakeup. His childhood made him crave stability for himself and his family and he’s completely focused on making the app he’s working on a success. To launch said app, he needs funding and since his ex-fiancée’s father was his biggest investor… Well, things aren’t going too well for Beckett at the beginning of this book. I admired his intelligence and focus and the clear love he had for his family. Beckett definitely has his flaws, but at his core he’s a kind, loving man who is trying to do his best. His world is knocked off-kilter by McKenna, which made me grin more than once. She’s bright, sparkly, and has a larger-than-life personality that I absolutely loved. McKenna is stuck working the beauty counter until she can launch her career as a makeup artist. She’s got talent and determination, but after years of her family beating her down because she doesn’t fit their mold, she is somewhat vulnerable. Her passion for her work and her love of makeup shines and was actually one of my favorite things about Trouble Next Door. When an author really enjoys something and incorporates it into the story, it comes through, adding extra life to the book.

As individuals, McKenna and Beckett are great. As a couple, they’re dynamite. Even when they start out as friends, with McKenna trying to help him get his ex back, they have great chemistry. They’re supportive of one another, they actually listen to each other talk about their work and goals, and that’s fantastic. Add in sizzling chemistry that can’t be denied and it’s easy to see why I absolutely hated having to put Trouble Next Door down. The characters, the romance…there’s such a bright, popping personality to this book that I smile even just thinking about it.

Trouble Next Door is the first book I’ve read by Stefanie London but there’s no way it’ll be my last. I loved Ms. London’s writing; the humor, romance, and character growth was on point and I will definitely be glomming up her backlist. There are some books that just make you happy when you read them, and that’s what Trouble Next Door was for me.


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 Devil of Dunakin Castle by Heather McCollum

The Devil of Dunakin Castle by Heather McCollum
Series: Highland Isles, Book 4
Publisher: Entangled: Scandalous
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781979375221
Release Date: November 13, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Englishwoman, Grace Ellington, has made a home in Scotland, but to escape from the meddling people around her who seem to think she needs to wed right away—because women need saving, right? —she volunteers to journey north to aid a friend in childbirth.

Keir MacKinnon, the younger brother of the MacKinnon clan chief, has been raised to strike fear in people, on and off the battlefield. Trained to uphold MacKinnon law, he has hardened into a lethal warrior. Caught in a Highland blizzard with the feisty Grace, Keir realizes the beautiful woman who saved him can also save his nephew’s life.

Sparks fly when he takes her against her will to his home, and Grace’s courage is put to the ultimate test. Is Keir MacKinnon the passionate, kind man she saved in the Highland blizzard, or is he truly the cruel executioner who seeks to solve all issues by the sword?

A kind hero forced to play the beast, a heroine who is braver and stronger than she knows, and a romance that is by turns sweet and sensual makes The Devil of Dunakin Castle a wonderful read. Heather McCollum’s writing charms the heck out of me and I loved getting lost in Grace and Keir’s story.

Grace is a wholly endearing heroine. She’s the wallflower type who finally gets a chance to come into her own and she shines. In the beginning of the story, she’s looking for adventure. She gets more than she bargained for when she’s nearly mauled by wolves, rescued by Keir, then snowbound with an injured Keir, and then kidnapped by the man so that she may use her healing skills to heal his nephew (these are not spoilers as they all happen right at the beginning of the story). Grace faces all these obstacles with determined practicality and strong spirit, which I adored. She has more spine than she knows, which she’ll need if she wants to claim Keir for her own. Keir has been groomed since childhood to be the Devil of Dunakin Castle, the great and brutal defender of the MacKinnon clan. His reputation is larger-than-life, making him feared by all except his family and closest friend who know the truth: that Keir is a good, strong, fair man. My heart broke for Keir, who is forced to be an isolated monster and carry out punishments in the name of his increasingly bloodthirsty brother.

Grace is the first woman not cowed by Keir’s reputation. She sees the man beneath the mask and I absolutely loved that. The two of them have great chemistry from the start. They’re the kind of couple that fits perfectly. But with treachery afoot at Dunakin Castle and Keir’s sworn duty as the Devil in the way, the road to happily ever after isn’t an easy one. I was rooting for them every step of the way and their love story is an excellent mix of sweetness and steam.

The Devil of Dunakin Castle is the fourth book in Ms. McCollum’s Highland Isles series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. I have been reading this series out of order and have had no problems other than I desperately want to find the time to catch up because I love Ms. McCollum’s writing. If you’re a fan of Julie Garwood’s Highland romances, then you’re going to love The Devil of Dunakin Castle. It’s a spirited, delightful read with characters who will easily grab your heart.


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

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Review: Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt

Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane, Book 12.5
Publisher: Forever Yours
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781455539208
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Elizabeth Hoyt Reading Order

Miss Mary Whitsun is far too intelligent to fall for the rakish charms of a handsome aristocrat. But when the gentleman in question approaches her in a bookshop, mistaking her for his fiancée, Lady Johanna Albright, the flirtatious encounter only raises more questions. Could Mary, a servant raised in a St Giles orphanage, actually be Lady Joanna's long-lost twin sister? If so, Mary has been betrothed since birth---to the rakishly handsome artistocrat himself…

Henry Collins, Viscount Blackwell, is far too intrigued by Mary to let her go so easily. He's drawn to her sharp mind, indomitable spirit, and the fiery way in which she dismisses him---ladies simply don't dismiss Lord Blackwell. But as Mary makes her first hesitant steps into society, she can't help but wonder if she truly has a place in Henry's world---or in his heart.

Once Upon a Maiden Lane is an utterly charming read! Mary Whitsun was introduced to readers in the first Maiden Lane book, Wicked Intentions, so I was delighted that – as the series comes to a close – the now-adult Mary gets a story of her own. Mary is witty, kind, and an overall endearing heroine. Even though she has grown up under the loving care of Temperance, now Lady Caire, Mary has never had a life all her own and there’s something a bit lonely about her at the beginning of the story. That’s why she’s wary, yet hopeful, when she learns that she might have a family that has been looking for her all her life.

Mary simply shines in this story and comes into her own, though not just because of her change in status. She’s a lovely woman and I wanted her to have the fairytale life and love she so deserves. What happens I will not spoil, but since this is a romance it’s safe to say that a happily ever after is guaranteed. I absolutely adored Mary and Henry’s love story. Henry may be an aristocrat, but he’s no snob. He’s a kind, loving man with charm and good looks to spare. He and Mary had instant chemistry and I cannot count the number of times they made me smile. The two of them fit like lock and key; they have friendship, passion, shared interests, and they just simply work as a couple. As this is a novella, the timeline of the romance is a bit swift, but I didn’t mind being swept away because I was so entranced by Elizabeth Hoyt’s writing.

Once Upon a Maiden Lane can be read as a standalone and is sure to delight anyone who likes a good fairytale-like historical romance. That being said, part of what made this story so satisfying to me was getting to see or hear mention of some of my favorite Maiden Lane heroes and heroines. Temperance, for example, plays a significant supporting role and warms my heart, and of course it takes no time at all for the irreverent Duke of Montgomery to steal the page. I cannot adequately express how much I enjoyed Once Upon a Maiden Lane. It’s a heartwarming story I know I will be reading again and again and again.


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

Review: Dirty Games by Samanthe Beck

Dirty Games by Samanthe Beck
Series: Tropical Temptation, Book 4
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781640633919
Release Date: November 13, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

A five figure fee. A private villa at an exclusive tropical paradise. Absolute compliance. Top tier celebrity trainer Luke McLean demands all of the above, plus strict adherence to his zero bullshit policy. Especially when faced with six short weeks to whip a spoiled starlet into leading lady shape.

Quinn Sheridan suddenly has half the time she anticipated to turn herself into an action hero for the role of her career. Luckily, her agent calls in a secret weapon, but the demanding, drop dead gorgeous hardass fails to understand SHE’S the client. She has no problem taking direction, but Luke’s definition of cooperation feels more like complete and utter submission. And she’s tempted to give it to him…

Samanthe Beck takes readers on one deliciously naughty tropical getaway in the aptly-titled Dirty Games. While this book has sun, fun, and enough steam to delight anyone looking for a fast and hot read, there’s also a healthy dose of emotion that gives the story heart and makes you want to come back for more.

Quinn Sheridan is a hardworking actress on the verge of making it big, going from popular TV actress to blockbuster movie star. The only problem is, after recovering from a knee sprain she is out of shape and only has six weeks to get into a skintight leather cat suit. When her agent sends her to paradise, it’s not for fun, but for hardass trainer Luke McLean to get her video game heroine-ready. Both Quinn and Luke had me from the get-go. Luke may be strict, but he’s also caring and compassionate. He’s got a good heart and he’s very good with his hands, which makes him a pretty drool-worthy hero. He’s been burned by Hollywood in the past and has no desire to get sucked into Quinn’s world. But there’s something about the spirited, determined actress he can’t help but be drawn to. Quinn is no spoiled diva, but someone who has worked hard to get where she is and who has very real emotional problems that comes from having an addict twin and a mother who enables him. There were times that my heart just broke for Quinn. I loved her mix of strength and vulnerability. She’s not used to being able to count on someone and that sometimes leads her to making mistakes. Her romance with Luke is fast-paced, but the situation Quinn is in means she has to open up relatively quickly to him which breaks down some of his walls in turn. Sparks fly between the two of them from the start, but their trainer-client relationship and all that goes with it means that getting involved is a terrible idea. Terrible idea or not, the sexual tension between them is hot as hell and when that tension boils over… Well, this book isn’t called Dirty Games for no reason.

Dirty Games is has a great mix of passion, fantasy, and emotion. It has all the sparks and sass I’ve come to expect from Ms. Beck’s work and I hated it whenever I had to put the book down. All in all I adored Dirty Games and I cannot wait to revisit Quinn and Luke!


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

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh


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

I'll say up front that there's no book by Nalini Singh I wouldn't read, so it's easy to see why Cherish Hard is a Waiting on Wednesday pick for me. That being said, even if Ms. Singh was a new-to-me author, this book sounds like it'd be up my alley. I can't wait to "meet" Sailor and Isa!

Title: Cherish Hard
Series: Hard Play, Book 1
Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: TKA Distribution
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Nalini Singh Reading Order

Book Description (from Amazon):

Sailor Bishop has only one goal for his future – to create a successful landscaping business. No distractions allowed. Then he comes face-to-face and lips-to-lips with a woman who blushes like an innocent… and kisses like pure sin.

Ísa Rain craves a man who will cherish her, aches to create a loving family of her own. Trading steamy kisses with a hot gardener in a parking lot? Not the way to true love. Then a deal with the devil (aka her CEO-mother) makes Ísa a corporate VP for the summer. Her main task? Working closely with a certain hot gardener.

And Sailor Bishop has wickedness on his mind.

As Ísa starts to fall for a man who makes her want to throttle and pounce on him at the same time, she knows she has to choose – play it safe and steady, or risk all her dreams and hope Sailor doesn’t destroy her heart.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston


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

I've never read Shelly Laurenston before, but since a couple of friends with similar tastes in PNR love her, I jumped at the chance to read the first chapter of Hot and Badgered. I'm kind of sorry I did, because now I really want to read this book ASAP. In just the first chapter there is action, humor, and several intriguing characters. My interest is definitely piqued and I've got loads of questions, so it's no wonder that my Waiting on Wednesday pick this week is Hot and Badgered!

Title: Hot and Badgered
Series: The Honey Badgers, Book 1
Author: Shelly Laurenston
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: March 27, 2018

Book Description (from Amazon):

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.

Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up...

Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: The Right Kind of Rogue by Valerie Bowman

The Right Kind of Rogue by Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides, Book 8
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781250121714
Release Date: October 31, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Can two star-crossed lovers come together―until death do they part?

Viscount Hart Highgate has decided to put his rakish ways behind him and finally get married. He may adore a good brandy or a high-speed carriage race, but he takes his duties as heir to the earldom seriously. Now all he has to do is find the right kind of woman to be his bride―ideally, one who’s also well-connected and well-funded…

Meg Timmons has loved Hart, the brother of her best friend, ever since she was an awkward, blushing schoolgirl. If only she had a large dowry―or anything to her name at all. Instead, she’s from a family that’s been locked in a bitter feud with Hart’s for years. And now she’s approaching her third London season, Meg’s chances with him are slim to none. Unless a surprise encounter on a deep, dark night could be enough to spark a rebellious romance…for all time?

Meg Timmons has been in love with Viscount Hart Highgate since she was a teenager, but she knows she’ll have to take drastic measures to get his attention. Not only are their families feuding, but Meg is a penniless wallflower and not the well-connected heiress Hart’s father wants him to wed. When she hears that Hart is determined to find a bride, Meg takes the plunge and asks infamous plotter Lucy Hunt to help her capture Hart’s heart. But even the best-laid plans have a tendency to go awry…

The Right Kind of Rogue is part Romeo and Juliet, part Cinderella, but manages to feel like its own story instead of a retelling of either. I adore Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides series and I’ve been highly anticipating Meg and Hart’s book, as heroines who are in love with their best friend’s brother is a favorite romance trope of mine. Yet while I liked this book – mostly due to Ms. Bowman’s writing style, which I enjoy – I didn’t love it like I wanted to.

Meg is a likeable heroine whose rather horrid family makes her a sympathetic heroine. She’s been infatuated with Hart for years, but though she explains why she falls in love with him, I’m not sure why she stays that way. Hart is a good man with some good qualities, but you have to get past the drinking and self-centeredness to find a hero worth rooting for. While I have no problem with a protagonist who starts out unlikeable (it gives them room to grow), Hart took way too long to finally stop being selfish and to appreciate Meg. Most frustrating of all, Hart never took an active part in his own story. Meg bends over backwards for him, and even though she makes mistakes, she tries – something Hart never does. I find stories where the hero and heroine would never have gotten together without tons of pushing from their friends to be frustrating. Which brings me to the third main character of The Right Kind of Rogue: Lucy Hunt. The Duchess of Claringdon (and the first Playful Brides heroine) feels like she has nearly as much page time as Meg and Hart. Lucy starts out as a fairy godmother type, but she turns into a veritable tornado, uncaring of the damage she causes so long as the end result is what she planned. While I like seeing past heroes and heroines pop up in a series (Sarah and Christian of The Legendary Lord were charming in this story), Lucy steals the spotlight in this book and that’s not a good thing.

While I did have some issues with The Right Kind of Rogue, I don’t want to make it sound like a bad book. Ms. Bowman’s light, effervescent style still shines and I was drawn into the story even when I wanted to shake Hart. The romance also has some sweet moments and there is definite chemistry between Meg and Hart. So while Meg and Hart’s romance wasn’t all I’d hoped it would be, I still adore Ms. Bowman’s writing and I cannot wait to read the next Playful Brides 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.