Best Books of 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2017 is fast approaching and with it comes a ton of books that I absolutely cannot wait to read. But before I dive into what’s coming, it’s time to take a look back at the books of 2016. I read 152 books this year, many of which I loved and fortunately only a few that I don’t care to revisit. I tried 33 new (to me) authors, and found some amazing authors whose books I cannot do without (Kerrigan Byrne, Samanthe Beck, Valerie Bowman, Kristi Charish, Chanel Cleeton, Stacy Reid, Tiffany Reisz, and Katee Robert are now on my autobuy list). And finally, I participated in my seventh A to Z Reading Challenge, a fun challenge that usually leads me to at least a couple of books I might not have moved to the top of my TBR pile otherwise.

I was fortunate enough to read a number of fantastic books this year, so it was incredibly difficult to pick my favorites. Try as I might, I couldn’t narrow it down to a top ten list, so this year it’s going to be the top sixteen books that I read in 2016:

Wit and Sin Best Books of 2016

Top Sixteen Books of 2016
Top Re-Reads of 2016


My Top Sixteen Books of 2016

Note: My picks weren’t all published in 2016, but all were new-to-me reads for the year.
Also note: The books are alphabetized by author as I love them all equally.


Magic Binds Cover 1. Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, Book 9) by Ilona Andrews
My Review | Purchase Link






Rock Chick Reckoning Cover 2. Rock Chick Reckoning (Rock Chick, Book 6) by Kristen Ashley
My Review | Purchase Link




The Highwayman Cover 3. The Highwayman (Victorian Rebels, Book 1) by Kerrigan Byrne
Purchase Link






The Hunter Cover 4. The Hunter (Victorian Rebels, Book 2) by Kerrigan Byrne
Purchase Link






The Voodoo Killings Cover 5. The Voodoo Killings (Kincaid Strange, Book 1) by Kristi Charish
Purchase Link




Fly with Me Cover 6. Fly with Me (Wild Aces, Book 1) by Chanel Cleeton
My Review | Purchase Link






Duke of Sin Cover 7. Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane, Book 10) by Elizabeth Hoyt
My Review | Purchase Link






The Study of Seduction Cover 8. The Study of Seduction (Sinful Suitors, Book 2) by Sabrina Jeffries
My Review | Purchase Link






The Goal Cover 9. The Goal (Off-Campus, Book 4) by Elle Kennedy
My Review | Purchase Link






Den of Wolves Cover 10. Den of Wolves (Blackthorn & Grim, Book 3) by Juliet Marillier
My Review | Purchase Link






His Royal Secret Cover 11. His Royal Secret (His Royal Secret, Book 1) by Lilah Pace
My Review Coming Soon | Purchase Link






His Royal Secret Cover 12. 'Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick
My Review | Purchase Link






Accidentally Compromising the Duke Cover 13. Accidentally Compromising the Duke (Wedded by Scandal, Book 1) by Stacy Reid
My Review | Purchase Link





 Her Naughty Holiday Cover 14. Her Naughty Holiday (Men at Work, Book 2) by Tiffany Reisz
My Review | Purchase Link






The Perfect Fit Cover 15. The Perfect Fit (Riley O’Brien & Co., Book 2.5) by Jenna Sutton
My Review | Purchase Link






Tied Score Cover 16. Tied Score (Slices of Pi, Book 2) by Elia Winters
My Review | Purchase Link









My Top Re-Reads of 2016


Rock Chick Cover 1. Rock Chick (Rock Chick, Book 1) by Kristen Ashley
Purchase Link




Blood Red Kiss Cover 2. The Warlord Wants Forever (Immortals After Dark, Book 1) by Kresley Cole
My Review | Purchase Link
Note: This story is now available in the Blood Red Kiss anthology




Judgment in Death Cover 3. Judgment in Death (In Death, Book 11) by J.D. Robb
Purchase Link

Friday in Review

Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy (almost) New Year!

Cold weather is the perfect time to curl up with a good book, and I've finished 2016 with some great reads. Tomorrow I'll be posting my best of 2016 list, but for now here are the newest reviews I’ve written here on Wit and Sin. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

The latest reviews:
- Wound Tight (Made in Jersey, Book 4) by Tessa Bailey
- Hard Compromise (Compromise Me, Book 2) by Samanthe Beck
- Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane, Book 11) by Elizabeth Hoyt
- The Heiress and the Hothead (The Sinful Suitors, Book 1.5) by Sabrina Jeffries
- The Governess Was Wanton (Governess, Book 2) by Julia Kelly
- Ruled (Outlaws, Book 3) by Elle Kennedy
- Den of Wolves (Blackthorn & Grim, Book 3) by Juliet Marillier
- Marry Me on Main Street (Cricket Creek, Book 11) by LuAnn McLane
- School Ties by Tamsen Parker
- Her Naughty Holiday (Men at Work, Book 2) by Tiffany Reisz
- Archangel’s Heart (Guild Hunter, Book 9) by Nalini Singh


Upcoming reviews:
- The Conquering Dark (Crown & Key, Book 3) by Clay and Susan Griffith
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoë 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
- How to Ravish a Rake (How to Series, Book 3) by Vicky Dreiling
- Finding Fraser by kc dyer
- Soul Weaver by Hailey Edwards
- Fire Bound (Sea Haven, Book 5) by Christine Feehan
- Bound Together (Sea Haven, Book 6) by Christine Feedhan
- At Last by Addison Fox
- His Game, Her Rules by Charlene Groome
- Base Instincts (Demonica) by Larissa Ione
- The Thing About Love by Julie James
- The Volatile Amazon (Alliance of the Amazons, Book 4) by Sandy James
- Breathe (In Vino Veritas, Book 2) by Lauren Jameson
- Linger (In Vino Veritas, Book 3) by Lauren Jameson
- 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
- 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
- His Royal Secret (His Royal Secret, Book 1) by Lilah Pace
- His Royal Favorite (His Royal Secret, Book 2) by Lilah Pace
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Soul Sucker by Kate Pearce
- The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed
- Wicked in His Arms (Wedded by Scandal, Book 2) by Stacy Reid
- 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: Her Naughty Holiday by Tiffany Reisz

Her Naughty Holiday by Tiffany Reisz
Series: Men at Work, Book 2
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance Her Naughty Holiday Cover
ISBN: 9780373799206
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

A feast she wasn’t expecting!

Clover Greene would sooner crawl into her oven than host family for Thanksgiving dinner. Yet another annual ritual of too much food, served with a side of criticism over “Clover’s Bad Life Choices.” This year, she needs to distract them all—with a handsome fake boyfriend. And she has the perfect guy in mind.

Contractor Erick Fields is the poster boy for sexy single dads, and Clover has been secretly crushing on him for ages. She certainly wasn’t expecting Erick to agree to her insane charade…or to add lots of hot, wicked sex to the deal. If they can pull it off, the worst Thanksgiving ever might give them something to be really thankful for!

Her Naughty Holiday is one of my favorite books of 2016! Clover and Erick’s story has everything I want in a romance – it’s sexy, heartwarming, and genuinely funny. Tiffany Reisz has a gift for blending eroticism with snappy humor and she’s an author who is now on my autobuy list because of this book.

Clover is a hardworking businesswoman who built her own company from the ground up and has made a smashing success of it. But that’s not good enough for her family, who may love her, but who criticize Clover constantly, never seeing her for the amazing, talented person she is. All they can focus on is the fact that she’s not married and reproducing, and anyone with a family like that would be stressed about them invading their home for Thanksgiving. With a little push from her helpful teenage employee, Clover asks single dad Erick to be her fake boyfriend for the holidays, just so she can get her family off her back.

What starts off as a crazy plan turns into a very real, very hot romance. Clover is a fantastic heroine who deserves an equally fantastic hero, and Erick fits the bill perfectly. He’s a divorced single dad with a snarky environmentalist/neo-pagan teenage daughter (who is so funny she threatens to steal the show), a contractor with a business of his own, and is kind and sexy-as-hell to boot. I fell for him immediately. Clover has a few insecurities about her looks and Erick never dismisses them, but instead lets her know how gorgeous he thinks she is. I loved that both he and Clover were in their thirties and didn’t mind scars or the messiness of life. In short, Erick and Clover were so fantastic together that I couldn’t stop smiling whenever they shared the page. Their burgeoning romance is by turns sweet, erotic, and charming, resulting in a completely addictive story.

I cannot express how much I loved Her Naughty Holiday. It’s bright, energetic, has snappy dialogue and memorable characters, and is seriously hot. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to read this in one sitting, because this is a story that grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go. I cannot recommend Her Naughty Holiday enough – this is one holiday story I’ll be revisiting all year long.


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.

Waiting on Wednesday: Wicked in His Arms by Stacy Reid

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


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

Stacy Reid's first Wedded by Scandal book, Accidentally Compromising the Duke, was one of my absolute favorite books this year. It was completely addictive, emotional, sensual...and basically even thinking about it makes me want to re-read Edmond and Adel’s story. That's why my Waiting on Wednesday pick this week is the second Wedded by Scandal book, Wicked in His Arms. Even if I hadn't already fallen in love with Ms. Reid's writing, Tobias and Olivia sound exactly like my kind of hero and heroine - I can't wait to see what scandals they cause!

Wicked in His Arms Cover Title: Wicked in His Arms
Series: Wedded by Scandal, Book 2
Author: Stacy Reid
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Entangled: Scandalous
Release Date: January 23, 2017

Book Description (from Goodreads):

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.

Waiting on Wednesday: Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


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

I absolutely love Jill Shalvis's work and I'm always first in line to snap up her newest book. Her stories are always warm, funny, and filled with characters I absolutely adore. My Waiting on Wednesday pick this week is Accidentally on Purpose, Ms. Shalvis's third Heartbreaker Bay book. Elle and Archer have intrigued me since book one, and I can't wait to read their story :)

Accidentally on Purpose Cover Title: Accidentally on Purpose
Series: Heartbreaker Bay, Book 3
Author: Jill Shalvis
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

Book Description (from Amazon):

There’s no such thing as a little in love...
Elle Wheaton’s priorities: friends, career, and kick-ass shoes. Then there’s the muscular wall of stubbornness that’s security expert Archer Hunt—who comes before everything else. No point in telling Mr. “Feels-Free Zone” that, though. Elle will just see other men until she gets over Archer...which should only take a lifetime...

There’s no such thing as a little in lust...
Archer’s wanted the best for Elle ever since he sacrificed his law-enforcement career to save her. Their chemistry could start the next San Francisco earthquake and he craves her 24/7, but Archer doesn’t want to be responsible for the damage. The alternative? Watch her go out with guys who aren’t him...

There is such a thing as...
As far as Archer’s concerned, nobody is good enough for Elle. But when he sets out to prove it by sabotaging her dates, she gets mad—and things get hot as hell. Now Archer has a new mission: prove to Elle that her perfect man has been here all along...

Review: Marry Me on Main Street by LuAnn McLane

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Marry Me on Main Street by LuAnn McLane
Series: Cricket Creek, Book 11
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance Marry Me on Main Street Cover
ISBN: 9781101989821
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

In her small shop on Main Street, Susan Quincy sells handmade gifts and repurposed items. But she can’t part with the beautiful rocking chair she bought at an estate sale when its maker turns out to be Danny Mayfield. Even years later, Susan still cringes over how her handsome, popular high school crush only asked her to prom out of pity—or so she thinks…

Danny doesn’t know why Susan has avoided him for years, especially after the electric kiss they shared the night of prom. So when he learns that she wants him to craft more rocking chairs to sell at her shop, Danny can’t resist the chance to work on his passion and charm shy, beautiful Susan again—and this time, make it last…

Marry Me on Main Street is a super cute romance that’s sure to get you in the holiday spirit. LuAnn McLane’s eleventh Cricket Creek novel is a fast-paced, cheerful addition to the series and it’s a book that’s perfect to curl up with when you’re in the mood for something uplifting.

Danny is one of my favorite Cricket Creek heroes. He’s so kind, generous, patient, and warm-hearted that you wish he were real so you could snap him up. Danny’s biggest flaw is that he’s almost too giving, sacrificing his dream of woodworking in order to run his parents’ business and help his siblings run their own. Lately it’s been starting to wear on him and he feels like he doesn’t have his life together. For me, Danny’s internal struggle – whether to stay the course and not rock the boat or to go for his dreams – was the highlight of the book. It was relatable, interesting, and had me invested in the story from beginning to end. As for Susan, she’s a likeable heroine who is a little shy, somewhat insecure, and a bit slapstick klutzy. Susan didn’t grab my attention the way some other Cricket Creek heroines have, which was a pity because when I like a hero as much as I liked Danny, I want to be equally intrigued by their heroine. That’s not to say the romance was bad – far from it. After the first third of the book, Danny and Susan have a fast-paced, sweet romance. The only drama that comes in is manufactured by Susan, and it did make me want to shake her a couple of times. Given that Danny is the kind of hero who wears his feelings openly, Susan’s fears and avoidance tactics didn’t feel organic. Still, while I had a couple of issues, their romance is charming and lively for the most part, and by the end of the book the two of them had me grinning.

As with all of the Cricket Creek stories I’ve read, there’s a secondary romance, this one involving Susan’s friend and employee, Betsy, and the handsome former-lawyer-turned-deli-owner, John. Betsy and John’s romance was lovely and understated, but sometimes felt a bit too similar to the main love story. Both of them had interesting potential backstories that – had they been better fleshed out – would have made them shine and stand apart from the younger couple.

Marry Me on Main Street is a story of facing your fears and taking a chance on love. And what better, safer place can there be to do so than in Cricket Creek? The idyllic small Kentucky town is a character in and of itself in this series and it’s always a delight. If the town and its residents sometimes come off as too good to be true, then that’s okay. Once in a while it’s nice to take a break from the real world and enjoy something sweet, and Marry Me on Main Street fits the bill perfectly.


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.

Waiting on Wednesday: Rock Chick Reawakening by Kristen Ashley

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


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

I absolutely LOVE Kristen Ashley's Rock Chick series. The Rock Chicks and the Hot Bunch are funny as hell, sexy, and chock-full of attitude. I've been drawing the books out like nobody's business because I honestly can't bear to reach the end (my fingers are still crossed - hard - for a spinoff series). That's why my Waiting on Wednesday pick this week is Rock Chick Reawakening. This is a serious treat for Rock Chick fans. The blurb may not say much, but it doesn't need to. Daisy has been a strong, bubbly, vivacious, loving presence throughout almost the entire Rock Chick series and I am so excited to read her story.

Rock Chick Reawakening Cover Title: Rock Chick Reawakening
Series: Rock Chick, Book 0.5
Author: Kristen Ashley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts
Release Date: January 3, 2017

Book Description (from Amazon):

From New York Times bestselling author, Kristen Ashley, comes the long-awaited story of Daisy and Marcus, Rock Chick Reawakening. A prequel to Kristen’s Rock Chick series, Rock Chick Reawakening shares the tale of the devastating event that nearly broke Daisy, an event that set Marcus Sloan—one of Denver’s most respected businessmen and one of the Denver underground’s most feared crime bosses—into finally making his move to win the heart of the woman who stole his.

Review: Wound Tight by Tessa Bailey

Monday, December 5, 2016

Wound Tight by Tessa Bailey
Series: Made in Jersey, Book 4
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Male/Male Erotic Contemporary Romance Wound Tight Cover
ISBN: 9781633757646
Release Date: December 5, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

When CEO Renner Bastion walks into a room, everyone keeps their distance. Well, everyone but the sarcastic, tattooed, Boston-bred security guard whose presence has kept Renner in New Jersey longer than intended. As if the unwanted attraction isn’t unsettling enough, Renner finds out his protector isn’t as unavailable as originally thought.

Milo Bautista just came out to his wealthy, ultra-confident boss, a man he secretly respects and admires…in more ways than he’ll admit. Worldly, experienced Renner would never look in his direction, let alone share some of that confidence he wears like a cloak, so Milo has set his sights on someone else to be his first.

Until Renner offers him private lessons in seduction…

Wound Tight is fantastic! I’ve been eagerly anticipating Renner and Milo’s story and Tessa Bailey knocked my socks off with this hot-as-hell, completely addictive romance. The chemistry is sizzling, the dialogue is snappy, and I loved Renner and Milo so much that I wanted to re-read their book as soon as I finished it.

I have a soft spot for tightly-wound heroes with mile-high walls, and Renner fits the bill perfectly. He’s a workaholic who is dangerously close to working himself to death, a proud man who guards his heart and pushes people away before he can get hurt, and showing affection isn’t something that comes easily to him. Beneath all that he’s a man with a good heart who cares for people far more than he’ll ever let on. Renner broke my heart and made me melt more than once in Wound Tight. He isn’t easy to love, but damn if I didn’t love him.

It takes a hero with strength, determination, and optimism to get to the heart of Renner, and Milo is exactly that hero. Milo is coming to terms with his sexuality and he starts watching Renner closely as a way of trying to mimic his confidence. But the longer he’s around Renner, the more Milo finds himself attracted to the man. It’s impossible not to adore Milo. He’s giving, charming, caring, and takes no s**t from Renner. When he sees that Renner isn’t taking care of himself, he steps in and doesn’t back down at his boss’s growls. And when he comes out to Renner and asks him to help him become more confident in owning his sexuality, the two form an unlikely friendship…one that simmers with sexual tension.

The pull of desire between Renner and Milo is undeniably hot and every erotic encounter is hot enough to burn the page. That being said, it’s the emotional journeys Renner and Milo make that give Wound Tight its heart. The romance is the perfect blend of desire and genuine emotion and I loved watching these two fall in love and come into their own. It isn’t easy for Milo and Renner to get their happily ever after. Doubt, fear, and past wounds cause them both to make mistakes and inadvertently hurt each other. But Ms. Bailey makes every bump in the road worth it, as Milo and Renner simply shine on the page.

Wound Tight is the fourth Made in Jersey book, but it can easily be read as a standalone. Fans of the series will surely be charmed by the supporting roles some former Made in Jersey characters play, and the town of Hook itself helps bring the story to life. I finished Wound Tight wanting to go back and read the Made in Jersey stories that I missed…if I can let go of this book long enough to do so. Ms. Bailey definitely knocked it out of the park with her male/male romance debut. I loved everything about Wound Tight and can’t wait to revisit Renner and Milo again soon!


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: Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt

Monday, November 28, 2016

Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane, Book 11
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Historical Romance Duke of Pleasure Cover
ISBN: 9781455539123
Release Date: November 29, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Elizabeth Hoyt Reading Order

IN THE ARMS OF DANGER
Bold. Brave. Brutally handsome. Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, is the king's secret weapon. Sent to defeat the notorious Lords of Chaos, he is ambushed in a London alley-and rescued by an unlikely ally: a masked stranger with the unmistakable curves of a woman.

IN THE HEAT OF DESIRE
Cocky. Clever. Courageously independent. Alf has survived on the perilous streets of St. Giles by disguising her sex. By day she is a boy, dealing in information and secrets. By night she's the notorious Ghost of St. Giles, a masked vigilante. But as she saves Hugh from assassins, she finds herself succumbing to temptation…

ONE KISS WILL CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOREVER
When Hugh hires Alf to investigate the Lords of Chaos, her worlds collide. Once Hugh realizes that the boy and the Ghost are the same, will Alf find the courage to become the woman she needs to be-before the Lords of Chaos destroy them both?

Whenever I start an Elizabeth Hoyt book, I know I’m in for an addictive read with refreshingly original characters and Duke of Pleasure does not disappoint. Alf and Hugh’s story is exciting, sexy, and wonderfully unique.

Alf is one of Ms. Hoyt’s most unconventional heroines yet. Raised in the slums of St. Giles, she’s lived her entire life disguised as a boy, for both safety and survival. By day, she’s a teenage boy informant, one who has charmed me throughout a number of books over the course of the series. By night, Alf becomes the masked harlequin known as the Ghost of St. Giles, leaping over rooftops and protecting those in parts of London the law turns a blind eye to. It’s a precarious existence, and the necessity of constantly living in disguise is starting to wear on her. I loved Alf’s spirit, her exuberance when she’s high above the streets of London and her sauciness when she matches wits with Hugh. Her life has been a hard one and my heart broke for her when she allowed herself a few moments of vulnerability. Alf is an intriguing mix of cunning and kindness and one of my favorite things about this story is watching her take her chance at coming fully into her own.

No ordinary hero would be a match for Alf, which is why it’s a good thing Hugh is no ordinary duke. He’s the illegitimate son of the king and has spent a good number of years in service to the crown. His latest task – to take down the Lords of Chaos – nearly kills him and leaves his young sons orphaned when the Ghost of St. Giles swoops down to save him…before she kisses him. I loved that Hugh never looked down on Alf, that he treated her as an equal and appreciated her talents, even before he knew her full identity. It was a treat to watch Hugh come to know Alf as both the street urchin and the sensual masked hero. The dynamic between them in both instances is fantastic and their relationship evolved in a gracefully natural manner. Their love story is vibrant, sexy, and quite simply fun to read. I hated to put the book down because I was so enchanted watching them both find the love and acceptance they deserved.

The Lords of Chaos plot adds a dose of intrigue and danger to Duke of Pleasure, rounding out the story extremely well. The Lords of Chaos were first delved into in depth in the previous Maiden Lane book, Duke of Sin. You don’t have to have read that story to follow the events of this book (provided you don’t mind minor spoilers), though you would be missing out on a fantastic tale. I’m looking forward to seeing where this plotline goes next in Duke of Desire, as it’s clear the hero and heroine of that book (who you’ll get to know in this one) will be facing off against these villains as well.

The Maiden Lane series has been a stand-out historical romance series from the very first book, and Duke of Pleasure shows exactly why I find Ms. Hoyt’s world so engaging. The characters are unique, impeccably-drawn, and compelling, the romance is exciting and sensual, and the world comes alive on the page. I loved Duke of Pleasure and I can’t wait to read the next Maiden Lane story!


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 Heiress and the Hothead by Sabrina Jeffries

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Heiress and the Hothead by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: The Sinful Suitors, Book 1.5
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Historical Romance The Heiress and the Hothead Cover
ISBN: 9781501147524
Re-Release Date: November 28, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Sabrina Jeffries Reading Order

Return to the beloved Sinful Suitors series from New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries in this delightfully sexy winter-themed novella!

Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion in Sabrina Jeffries’s charming yuletide story, The Heiress and the Hothead.

Sparks fly when an English journalist hell-bent on mill reformation meets a spirited American mill owner in The Heiress and the Hothead. I’ve been waiting for Amanda and Stephen’s story ever since Sabrina Jeffries teased their attraction in The Art of Sinning and I wasn’t disappointed.

Amanda and Stephen are immensely likeably characters, and they’re both a bit unusual given the time period. Amanda is not your typical heiress, but rather an American mill owner. While visiting her brother in England, she’s determined to learn from English mill owners and find ways to improve her mill back home. Stephen, in turn, is the younger brother of a marquess and not at all the typical young lord. He’s a reporter determined to rattle cages and demand better and safer conditions for mill workers, and his passion for change makes him an endearing hero. He and Amanda have excellent chemistry and fit one another perfectly, but years of seeing mill owners abuse their power makes Stephen a bit too focused on his work and his cynical view of mill owners threatens to blind him to the fact that Amanda clearly isn’t like the men he reports on. Their passionate back-and-forth makes the pages of their story fly by, and I had no doubt that Ms. Jeffries would give these two a satisfying happily ever after.

The Heiress and the Hothead is part of the Sinful Suitors series, but can easily be read as a standlone. That being said, if you’re new to the series the supporting cast is sure to make you want to read their books – they’re just that intriguing. A vibrant hero and heroine who want to make the world better would be enough to make this story compelling, but Ms. Jeffries also weaves in interesting holiday traditions of the era. Add in a dash of sensual holiday cheer and this is one Christmastime romance that can be enjoyed all year long.


Note: The Heiress and the Hothead was originally published in the What Happens Under the Mistletoe anthology.

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: School Ties by Tamsen Parker

Saturday, November 26, 2016

School Ties by Tamsen Parker
Publisher: InterMix
Genre: Erotic Contemporary BDSM Romance School Ties Cover
ISBN: 9780399584343
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Erin Brewster is nervous enough on her first day of teaching at Hawthorn Hill. But the way Zach Shepherd looks at her with his dark and dreamy blue eyes really throws her off her game. He simply has to walk past her to send her heart racing. Although he’s eighteen and a senior, he’s still just a student—and very off limits. To let her eyes linger over his body, to fulfill her fantasies would be more than inappropriate. It would be career suicide.

Three years after his graduation from Hawthorn, Shep has returned as a member of the faculty—and he hasn’t forgotten his favorite teacher, the prettiest woman he’s ever seen. When they finally have a chance to get to know each other, they realize they share a common interest: kink. In fact, Shep has learned a lot about the subject during his time away and is ready to teach Erin a thing or two. He’ll soon have her begging to be held after class.

As their relationship comes under scrutiny, the ties that bind Shep and Erin may begin to fray. But some bonds grow stronger under pressure...

School Ties is a story I went back and forth on multiple times, making it a bit difficult to review. My indecisiveness on rating this book comes down to the fact that it’s a story broken into two distinct parts, one which I adored and one that my emotional reaction to was “meh.”

The first part of School Ties is simply fantastic. Tamsen Parker weaves an emotional journey, complete with forbidden longing, interesting characters, and a well-developed foundation for a future romance. Erin is a teacher fresh out of college when she starts working at Hawthorn Hill. She’s bright, enthusiastic, and just young enough emotionally that she’s taken advantage of and forced to face true heartbreak. As for Shep, he may only be eighteen years old and her student, but it’s been a hard eighteen years that has made him mature beyond his age. He’s smart, studious, a complete sweetheart, and protective to the core, making him easy to adore. He and Erin aren’t too far apart on the maturity spectrum when the story begins, but there are definitely still boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed and keep their relationship from ever going beyond the platonic.

It’s important for me to stop and note that everything is above-board when Erin and Shep are student and teacher. Though each of them suffers emotional angst, no lines are crossed. What we get is a gripping, tension-filled story that plays out over the course of their day-to-day lives. It’s a story of two people falling in love in a situation where they cannot and should not ever have a fully-realized relationship. I loved watching this journey and my heart broke for Shep and Erin more than once. In the first part of the story they are rich, dynamic characters and I was rooting for them to get the happily ever after they so deserved in the second part of the tale.

It’s in the second half of the story – where Shep returns to Hawthorn Hill, this time as a teacher – that things fell apart for me. Erin went from a heroine with personality to a rather limp noodle heroine who cried a lot. Shep, in turn, went from an interesting young man to a rather unmemorable Dom, and both of them felt a lot less mature than they did in the first half of the story. The mild BDSM elements felt forced and there was a blandness to their overall romance that left me disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the second part of the book isn’t bad; I just wanted more emotion, character growth, and passion that felt organic to the tale. But after such a great build up in the first part of the story, a rather lackluster second half left me more disappointed than if I’d been indifferent to the characters all along. School Ties may not have been all that I hoped for in the end, but I enjoyed the first half of the story so much that I’ll definitely be reading more of Ms. Parker’s work.


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: Hard Compromise by Samanthe Beck

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hard Compromise by Samanthe Beck
Series: Compromise Me, Book 2
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance Hard Compromise Cover
ISBN: 9781633756656
Release Date: November 21, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

His barely-decent proposal is too tempting to resist…

Laurie Peterson assumes her impulsive one-night stand with sinfully sexy Sheriff Ethan Booker is the biggest surprise of the year…until her bakery burns down while she’s basking in the afterglow. It looks like her dreams are up in smoke, but then Ethan proposes a deal too tempting to resist.

Ethan has no intention of settling for a one-night stand with Laurie. Nor does he want anything to do with the women his wealthy family wants him to meet. Not when he’s waited ten years for his chance to make his move. His deal might have strings—and Laurie may not know the stakes—but nothing will stop this sexy cop from staking a real claim on her body and her heart.

Explosively hot passion meets a wealth of emotion in Hard Compromise. Samanthe Beck knows how to deliver captivating characters and red hot romance, and this second Compromise Me book has both in spades.

Ms. Beck writes some of the best heroes and Ethan Booker is a dream. He’s protective, caring, and knock-your-socks-off sexy. Despite having every advantage growing up, Booker has worked his way up to become sheriff. A supremely hot man with a heart of gold who is also a hard worker? I defy anyone not to fall for Booker. He may not be perfect, but he’s definitely the perfect hero you can root for. His Achilles heel has always been Laurie. He’s wanted her for years and the time has finally come for him to make his move. And when he does… Well, Ms. Beck cranks the heat up like you wouldn’t believe. But getting Laurie to give him a shot in the sheets isn’t Booker’s biggest problem. It’s getting her to trust him, to rely on him, and let down her guard that’s the true challenge.

Laurie is a heroine who grabbed my heart from the first. She grew up in a horrible situation, and though she has worked hard and become a successful baker and business owner in her own right, there’s still a large part of her that is trapped in the past. The invisible scars she carries have never been allowed to heal, which is one of the reasons she’s long resisted Booker. It’s clear that the two of them are great together, but their coming from such wildly different places makes Laurie fear she can never fit in to Booker’s life. Her vulnerability broke my heart and her fears made her make mistakes with Booker. When they aren’t giving into their mutual desire for one another their relationship is a rocky one. But Ms. Beck makes every bump in the road worth it, and I loved watching Laurie come into her own as she and Booker fall in love.

Hard Compromise is the second story in the Compromise Me series, but you don’t have to have read Compromising Her Position in order to enjoy it. However, if you hate spoilers there are some very minor ones from the first book, as Chelsea (the heroine) is Laurie’s best friend. All in all I adored Hard Compromise. It’s a fast-paced, engaging read with two strong leads I found impossible not to root for and a number of secondary characters that add humor and heart to the tale. I hope there are more Compromise Me books in the future, because I’m not ready to say good-bye to these fantastic characters.


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: Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh

Monday, October 31, 2016

Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter, Book 9
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Archangels Heart Cover
ISBN: 9780451488008
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Nalini Singh Reading Order

One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.

Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…

Nothing will ever be the same again.

Archangel’s Heart is a quiet, intense read that’s different – but no less interesting – than the powerful thrills of the previous Guild Hunter books. It’s been two years since the events of Archangel’s Enigma and the dangerous tide of power that is the Cascade has been put on pause. Everyone is in a holding pattern, and it’s putting angels, vampires, and hunters alike on edge. With tension at a breaking point, it’s almost a blessing when Raphael is summoned by the Luminata, an ancient order of angels who operate mostly outside angelic law. The Luminata have called the Cadre together to determine what to do about the archangel Lijuan’s territory. So it is that Raphael and Elena travel to the Luminata compound in Morocco, where soon they’re faced with the task of uncovering dangerous secrets that could forever change their world. Magic and mystery go hand-in-hand in this story as Elena searches for answers about her family history. The Luminata may hold the answers to Elena’s questions, but there’s something deeply wrong with these angels, and I loved watching Elena, Raphael, and their friends put the pieces of the puzzle together. What lies at the heart of Luminata I won’t say, but it is a mystery that leads to many small, intimate developments that carry great emotional weight for the characters we know and love.

There are a lot of reasons to love the Guild Hunter’s series, from Nalini Singh’s gorgeous writing to her incredible world building and more, but what makes this series special to me is the characters. In Archangel’s Heart the characters we’ve come to know and love continue to strengthen and evolve in beautiful ways. Elena and Raphael are the heart of the book and I loved seeing how they have grown as a couple. They’ve settled into their relationship and remain a dynamic couple that fit each other like lock and key. The story also allows other characters a chance to shine and I adored getting to know more about the other archangels and those who have accompanied them to Morocco. The Cadre is a powerful group and each member is both terrifying and impossibly alluring. Who knew watching angelic politics play out could be so compelling?

The strongest supporting role in this book is Aodhan – once the most withdrawn member of Raphael’s Seven – who joins Elena and Raphael on their journey. I’ll admit right up front that Aodhan is one of my two favorite characters in the series (the other being Illium), so I devoured every bit of new information about him. His past – even the glimpses of it we’re given in this story – is heartbreaking, but watching him slowly come back to life tugged on my heartstrings like you wouldn’t believe. Aodhan is quite simply a gorgeously-drawn character and the all-too-brief moments between he and Illium seethed with such intensity I had to stop and re-read them multiple times before continuing the rest of the book. There’s been much debate on whether or not Ms. Singh will romantically pair up Aodhan and Illium, and though I usually keep my ships out of reviews I will say that I’m firmly in the camp that hopes they will end up being each other’s happily ever after. There is such rich chemistry between the two that I find myself utterly enthralled whenever they share the page.

Archangel’s Heart is in many ways a bridge book that sets the stage for the action to come. It’s the calm before the storm (relatively speaking), but that doesn’t mean the story won’t engage you. Ms. Singh’s writing is top-notch, her characters unforgettable, and I finished Archangel’s Heart incredibly eager to read the next Guild Hunter novel.


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: Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
Series: Blackthorn & Grim, Book 3
Publisher: Roc
Genre: Fantasy Den of Wolves Cover
ISBN: 9780451467034
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Healer Blackthorn knows all too well the rules of her bond to the fey: seek no vengeance, help any who ask, do only good. But after the recent ordeal she and her companion, Grim, have suffered, she knows she cannot let go of her quest to bring justice to the man who ruined her life.

Despite her personal struggles, Blackthorn agrees to help the princess of Dalriada in taking care of a troubled young girl who has recently been brought to court, while Grim is sent to the girl’s home at Wolf Glen to aid her wealthy father with a strange task—repairing a broken-down house deep in the woods. It doesn’t take Grim long to realize that everything in Wolf Glen is not as it seems—the place is full of perilous secrets and deadly lies…

Back at Winterfalls, the evil touch of Blackthorn’s sworn enemy reopens old wounds and fuels her long-simmering passion for justice. With danger on two fronts, Blackthorn and Grim are faced with a heartbreaking choice—to stand once again by each other’s side or to fight their battles alone…

Den of Wolves is utterly enchanting. It features mystery, magic light and dark, hard choices, friendship, love, risk, reward, and a satisfying resolution to several series-long storylines.

Blackthorn and Grim are no strangers to the machinations of the fey, and this time they’re faced with a case of a strange young woman, a ruined house with the potential for magic, and a mysterious wild man who may be the key to solving the mystery of what’s wrong in Wolf Glen. To talk much about the story’s main case would be to spoil it. I will say that I loved the magical elements, how Juliet Marillier weaves different plot threads together into a compelling tapestry, and how everything comes together is incredibly satisfying. Blackthorn and Grim are forced to spend a lot of the book apart, which makes it all the more difficult for them, but it also gives them time to come to terms with their changing relationship. As much as I liked the Wolf Glen plotline, what really made Den of Wolves special to me was the continuing evolution of the two central characters.

Blackthorn is one of my favorite fantasy heroines. She has a strong will, is rough around the edges, and is as likely to snap at somebody as hold her tongue. But she’s also giving, caring, and possesses an inner warmth that hasn’t been snuffed out, even in the face of all that she’s suffered and survived. Blackthorn has been tortured physically and emotionally in unimaginable ways, but she still stands strong and fights for what’s right. Her thirst for justice has threatened to be her undoing more than once over the course of the series, and she has some hard choices to make in Den of Wolves. I have loved watching her develop as a character over the course of the series and this is the story that will make or break her.

If Blackthorn is the soul of the story, then Grim is its heart. The big-hearted man who is more than he sees himself to be grabbed my heart from the first Blackthorn & Grim novel, Dreamer’s Pool. Grim is a kind, honest man who would protect a stranger from harm, even at great cost to himself. He’s been through hell as well and has faced his demons, coming out all the stronger, though it’s a heartbreaking struggle for him still, especially when he doesn’t have Blackthorn by his side. He’s Blackthorn’s rock, and finally we get to see him take a brave step and risk changing their relationship. It’s clear Grim is in love with Blackthorn and has been for some time, but she’s got her walls up so high that for a long time she hasn’t been able to see what’s right in front of her when it comes to Grim. Whether or not the two friends become something more is a question that’s been hanging over readers’ heads for the entire series, and the answer is beautifully delivered in this tale.

Den of Wolves is the third book in the Blackthorn & Grim series, and I’d recommend reading Dreamer’s Pool and Tower of Thornes before diving into this story. The threat of Mathuin of Laois and Blackthorn’s deal with Conmael are more important than ever. Ms. Marillier has a lot to juggle in this story, but she does so with such ease and fluidity that I could not help but be enthralled. Den of Wolves may or may not be the final book in the Blackthorn & Grim series, and though I definitely want more, this is a wonderfully satisfying conclusion. Ms. Marillier has a deft hand with myth and magic, but it’s her characters who really make this series shine. I absolutely love Blackthorn and Grim and I cannot wait to revisit them again soon!


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: Ruled by Elle Kennedy

Ruled by Elle Kennedy
Series: Outlaws, Book 3
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Erotic Dystopian Ménage Romance Ruled Cover
ISBN: 9780451474469
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Elle Kennedy Reading Order

Despite his magnetic personality, Rylan can’t seem to seduce Reese, the deadly leader of their town of outlaws. Winning her over is a welcome challenge, but her indifference isn’t the only thing standing in his way. If he wants Reese, Rylan must also win over Sloan, her stoic protector…

Sloan has always loved Reese, but their painful past has stolen his chances of a future with her. Rylan’s interest in Reese only intensifies the tension—until Sloan begins to wonder if the reckless man might be the one person who can bridge the distance…

The last time Reese fell for the wrong man, she had no choice but to kill him. Now, she desperately wants to take what both Rylan and Sloan are offering. But if she makes the wrong call again, she risks losing them both.

Elle Kennedy’s Outlaws series is raw, edgy, and seriously hot. In the increasingly dangerous world of the outlaws, the tension is high, passions run hot, and – in Ruled – three people who face death on a daily basis will have to be brave enough to risk their hearts for a chance at happiness in a world on the brink of war.

Reese is the queen of the outlaws; a strong, brave woman with a generous heart and a thirst for vengeance. She’s out to destroy the Global Council and their Enforcers who keep people under strict control. Anyone who lives outside their rule is an outlaw, and Reese will give everything she has to keep the men, women, and children under her protection free. But the burden she carries as a leader and the weight of the ghosts of her past are slowly crushing her. She’s increasingly tense and worries that the wildness in her will make her lose control, putting everyone at risk. I loved Reese for her incredible strength and quiet vulnerability. She’s a powerful, flawed heroine with a loving heart and invisible scars. It’s easy to root for her, even when she makes mistakes, because she’s such a well-drawn heroine, one who deserves to find happiness with the two men who would stand by her side if she would let them.

And speaking of those two men… Ms. Kennedy writes the best dirty-talking alphas around it’s double the fun in Ruled. Sloan is quiet and serious; Reese’s rock and right-hand man. He’s also head-over-heels in love with her and neither are willing to risk their friendship or dredge up the ghosts of the past by giving into their desire. It takes Rylan to push them both over the edge. Rylan is a cocky risk-taker who can always crack a joke, but to dismiss him as shallow would be a mistake. I’ve been waiting to see Rylan find someone who sees him more than a good friend with incredible skills in the bedroom and he finds not one, but two people to appreciate him for all that he is. As a trio Reese, Sloan, and Rylan are unstoppable. They strengthen one another because they know they can be vulnerable behind closed doors. Each of them learns to lean on the other and even though it’s a rocky road to happily ever after, their growing love for each other makes every bump in the road worth it. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that their chemistry is out-of-this-world erotic – be sure you prepare yourself for a filthy good time ;-)

Romance aside, I loved getting to delve deeper into the world of the Outlaws. It’d be a spoiler to talk too much about the developments that take place in the book, so I’ll leave it by saying that the outlaws’ burgeoning revolution continues to develop in exciting ways. I can’t wait to see what happens next and there are a couple of characters whose stories I am practically salivating for. The Outlaws series is insanely addictive and I finished Ruled both satisfied and hungry for more of this dark, erotic, dystopian world.


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.

Waiting on Wednesday: Blood Vow by J.R. Ward

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


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

J.R. Ward's writing is addictive as hell and I'd probably read a grocery list if she published one, but the Black Dagger Brotherhood has a special place in my heart. Last year I was thrilled when I heard she was doing a spinoff series that would be paranormal romance. Not only did Blood Kiss, the first Black Dagger Legacy book, not disappoint, it was one of my top reads of 2015. So of course the second book, Blood Vow, is my Waiting on Wednesday pick this week. I cannot wait to see what Ms. Ward has in store for Axe, Elise, Rhage, and Mary!

Blood Vow Cover Title: Blood Vow
Series: Black Dagger Legacy, Book 2
Author: J.R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: December 6, 2016
J.R. Ward Reading Order

Book Description (from Amazon):

The Black Dagger Brotherhood continues to train the best of the best to join them in the deadly battle against the Lessening Society. Among the new recruits, Axe proves to be a cunning and vicious fighter—and also a loner isolated because of personal tragedy. When an aristocratic female needs a bodyguard, Axe takes the job, though he’s unprepared for the animal attraction that flares between him and the one he is sworn to protect.

For Elise, who lost her first cousin to a grisly murder, Axe’s dangerous appeal is enticing—and possibly a distraction from her grief. But as they delve deeper into her cousin’s death, and their physical connection grows into so much more, Axe fears that the secrets he keeps and his tortured conscience will tear them apart.

Rhage, the Brother with the biggest heart, knows all about self-punishing, and he wants to help Axe reach his full potential. But when an unexpected arrival threatens Rhage and Mary’s new family, he finds himself back in the trenches again, fighting against a destiny that will destroy all he holds most dear.

As Axe’s past becomes known, and fate seems to be turning against Rhage, both males must reach deep—and pray that love, rather than anger, will be their lantern in the darkness.

Review: The Governess Was Wanton by Julia Kelly

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Governess Was Wanton by Julia Kelly
Series: Governess, Book 2
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Historical Romance The Governess Was Wanton Cover
ISBN: 9781501139345
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Mary Woodward, a young veteran governess, has one job: guiding a young debutante through her first season in high society. And up until now, keeping her fous and avoiding temptation has been easy. But never before has the father of her young charge been as devilishly handsome as the single, wealthy Earl of Asten… Convinced to risk it all, Mary lets herself enjoy one night of magic at a masked ball in Asten’s arms, but will they both regret everything when the Earl learns her true identity?

Mary Woodward is a highly sought-after governess with a talent for guiding her charges through the season and promoting good matches. Eric Bromford, the fourth Earl of Asten, is a father at his wit’s end and desperate for Mary’s services. Eric isn’t your typical lord. He’s widower and a doting father who cares very much for his daughter’s happiness, education, and general well-being. He simply cannot understand why Eleanora is suddenly unhappy and picking fights with him, which is when Mary enters the picture. Mary is quick to spot the problem – or rather the people causing the problem – in the earl’s life, but that isn’t what makes things complicated. Rather, it’s the attraction she and Eric feel toward one another that threatens to turn both their worlds upside down. A romance between an earl and his daughter’s governess is a dangerous proposition, but some passions burn too hot to be ignored…

The Governess Was Wanton is a delightful historical romance with a Cinderella twist. This second book in Julia Kelly’s Governess series is fast-paced, sweet, and engaging, thanks mostly to the endearing lead characters.

It’s clear from the start that Mary and Eric make a great match. They’re both intelligent, hardworking, caring people and if it weren’t for the difference in their stations, no one would bat an eyelash at the two of them falling in love. But since this is 1850s London, the two of them are rocked by their initial physical attraction to one another. Eric is honorable to a fault and would never abuse his position of power by seducing Mary. For her part, Mary knows that to give into her desires would lead to her ruin. The sexual tension is electric, but it’s their growing emotional attachment and the way they come fully into their own in each other’s company that really sold me on their love story. Add in some fairytale villains and a lovely teenage fairy godmother and you have a solidly entertaining story. There may not be much that’s fresh or new about The Governess Was Wanton, but it is unquestionably entertaining. Ms. Kelly has a smooth writing style, the dialogue was excellent, and the characters made me smile more than once. I adored Mary and Eric’s romance from beginning to end and I’m looking forward to re-reading it in the near future.


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

Sunday in Review

Sunday, October 2, 2016

It's finally cooling down, and you know what that means... The season of curling up by the fire with a book is almost upon us. There have been some great books released recently and even more that sound like they'll be fantastic are on my radar for this fall :)

Below are the newest reviews I’ve written here on Wit and Sin. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- A Fool for You (Foolproof Love, Book 3) by Katee Robert (available 10/3/16)
- My Brown-Eyed Earl (Wayward Wallflowers, Book 1) by Anna Bennett (available 10/4/16)

All other new reviews:
- Blood Red Kiss by Kresley Cole, Larissa Ione, and Gena Showalter
- Playing It Cool (Sydney Smoke Rugby, Book 2) by Amy Andrews
- Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, Book 9) by Ilona Andrews
- Because I’m Watching (Virtue Falls, Book 3) by Christina Dodd
- The Governess Was Wicked (Governess, Book 1) by Julia Kelly
- The Goal (Off-Campus, Book 4) by Elle Kennedy
- The Trouble with Mistletoe (Heartbreaker Bay, Book 2) by Jill Shalvis


Upcoming reviews:
- The Conquering Dark (Crown & Key, Book 3) by Clay and Susan Griffith
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoë 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
- How to Ravish a Rake (How to Series, Book 3) by Vicky Dreiling
- Finding Fraser by kc dyer
- Soul Weaver by Hailey Edwards
- Fire Bound (Sea Haven, Book 5) by Christine Feehan
- At Last by Addison Fox
- His Game, Her Rules by Charlene Groome
- Base Instincts (Demonica) by Larissa Ione
- The Volatile Amazon (Alliance of the Amazons, Book 4) by Sandy James
- Breathe (In Vino Veritas, Book 2) by Lauren Jameson
- Linger (In Vino Veritas, Book 3) by Lauren Jameson
- 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 Wanton (Governess, Book 2) by Julia Kelly
- The Governess Was Wild (Governess, Book 3) by Julia Kelly
- 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
- Den of Wolves (Blackthorn & Grim, Book 3) by Juliet Marillier
- Marry Me on Main Street (Cricket Creek, Book 11) by LuAnn McLane
- Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, Book 1) by Bec McMaster
- Captive Prince (Captive Prince, Book 1) by C.S. Pacat
- Prince’s Gambit (Captive Prince, Book 2) by C.S. Pacat
- Kings Rising (Captive Prince, Book 3) by C.S. Pacat
- His Royal Secret (His Royal Secret, Book 1) by Lilah Pace
- His Royal Favorite (His Royal Secret, Book 2) by Lilah Pace
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Soul Sucker by Kate Pearce
- The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed
- Laugh (Burnside, Book 2) by Mary Ann Rivers
- Beauty’s Kingdom (Sleeping Beauty, Book 4) by A. N. Roquelaure
- Archangel’s Heart (Rock Kiss, Book 9) by Nalini Singh
- 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: My Brown-Eyed Earl by Anna Bennett

My Brown-Eyed Earl by Anna Bennett
Series: Wayward Wallflowers, Book 1
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Historical Romance My Brown-Eyed Earl Cover
ISBN: 9781250100900
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

NEVER SEND A DEBUTANTE
William Ryder, Earl of Castleton, is at the end of his noble rope. Not only has he broken ties with his longtime mistress, his mother has publicly announced her wish for him to marry a suitable young lady―if only to help him raise the twins left in his care. Hiring a governess should solve some of Will’s problems…but when he meets the candidate in question, he finds himself in an entirely new predicament.

TO DO A WALLFLOWER’S JOB
Miss Margaret Lacey is brainy, beautiful, and, once upon a time, Will’s betrothed. But she bowed out of the engagement―and, since then, has never been the same. A tragic accident robbed her of everything, and now, at age twenty-three, her marital prospects are slim to none. Penniless but not without pride, Meg convinces the vexingly handsome Will to hire her for the job. What neither of them could have expected from this arrangement, however, is an attraction that burns stronger than ever. Are these two lost souls finally ready to be schooled in the art of love?

My Brown-Eyed Earl is a cute historical romance with potential. Anna Bennett’s debut, and the first in the Wayward Wallflowers series, has some sweet and humorous moments, but ultimately it’s a story that I wanted to like a lot more than I actually did.

Will and Meg are both lovely characters with good dispositions and generally good hearts. They’re not perfect and they make mistakes, but they’re solidly likeable and endearingly vulnerable at times, as are Will’s two charges. Will is a man who needs more purpose in life than rebuilding the family fortune and Meg is a heroine who is determined to save her family from the poorhouse by getting a job as a governess. It’s easy to see right from the beginning that Will, Meg, and the two girls would make an adorable family, but pride, class difference, and social snobbery stand in their way. Still, Will is attracted to Meg from the start. He likes her strong will and sees beyond the ugly dresses she wears, and I liked him all the more for appreciating Meg for her modern outlook. The romance moves at a quick clip, in part due to Meg and Will’s history (though there is a continuity issue in the book that made me uncertain as to how much of a foundation their relationship had before the story began).

Ms. Bennett has a lively writing style that shows a lot of promise. However, I confess I had a hard time remembering either Meg, Will, or this story a couple of days after I finished the book because it felt like I’d seen everything in this story a hundred times before in other historical romances. I actually don’t mind formulaic romances as a rule – so long as it’s a good formula, which it is – but there needs to be something about the story that stands out. All that was unique and memorable to me was one funny (if unimportant) moment involving a ruined dress. What I did remember the most about My Brown-Eyed Earl was that I was routinely drawn out of the story by the numerous historical inaccuracies. I’m more than happy to suspend disbelief and ignore convention in historical romance, but if a story almost entirely ignores the social norms of the time and the consequences of flouting them for the sake of the plot, then it’s going to lose me. There’s also a dreadful villain and a Regency “mean girl” who were so two-dimensional it pained me. Yet even with all these issues, I liked Ms. Bennett’s style and I was intrigued by both Meg’s friend, Charlotte, and her sister Beth. So while My Brown-Eyed Earl wasn’t quite my cup of tea, I am interested in reading the next Wayward Wallflowers book, I Dared the Duke.


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: A Fool for You by Katee Robert

A Fool for You by Katee Robert
Series: Foolproof Love, Book 3
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance A Fool for You Cover
ISBN: 9781633757639
Release Date: October 3, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

It’s been thirteen years since Hope Moore left Devil’s Falls, land of sexy cowboys and bad memories. Back for the weekend, she has no intention of seeing the man she never got over…or the two of them getting down and dirty. It's just a belated goodbye, right? No harm, no foul.

Until six weeks later, when her pregnancy test comes back positive…

Daniel Rodriguez hasn’t forgiven himself for how things went down with Hope all those years ago. He knows she’s better off without him, but when she shows up on his doorstep, panicking because she’s pregnant with his baby, he can't help seeing it as a chance to make up for the past.

Too bad Hope has no intention of going along with his plans.

Is love enough to battle the demons of the past? The answer isn’t an easy one in A Fool for You. Katee Robert wraps up her fantastic Foolproof Love trilogy with the couple everyone has been waiting for: Hope and Daniel.

Hope is a heroine who has suffered devastating loss: the death of her brother, a severe injury that shattered her dreams, and the abandonment of the man she loved when she needed him the most. She has not only survived, but has become a strong, self-aware woman that I respected. Though she loves Daniel still, she doesn’t let him or the ghosts of his past trample over her, but stands up for herself and her unborn child. Ms. Robert made it easy to root for Hope; you want her to get that elusive happily ever after because she’s a great heroine. Daniel has always been the love of Hope’s life, and even after moving on in the intervening thirteen years since she’s seen him, within a few minutes of their reunion all those old feelings come rushing back. An unexpected pregnancy throws them back together and makes them face issues that are long overdue. And though Hope and Daniel have explosive sexual chemistry, passion and even love aren’t necessarily enough to win the day.

Daniel himself is the biggest obstacle in A Fool for You. He’s trapped in the past, in the accident thirteen years ago that killed his best friend and permanently injured Hope. He’s wedded to his guilt, and I questioned whether or not he’d ever make peace with his past well enough to live a full life, never mind be the man Hope deserves. I liked watching Daniel slowly come back to life, but unfortunately his journey didn’t feel quite as satisfying as it should. He’s been living in the past for so long that his fixation on it and the setbacks he suffers are understandable. But the format of the story simply wasn’t long enough for his character arc to be satisfactorily resolved. With so much of the story focused on the erotic pull between Hope and Daniel, it felt like the book should be a bit longer to deal with the weighty emotional issues because the story had the potential to be great. Added to that, the resolution to the book’s central conflict felt abrupt (to the point that I actually double-checked to make sure somehow there wasn’t a glitch that deleted a few pages) and I wish there had been a bit more either in the main story itself or even in an epilogue to make me feel like Hope and Daniel had a solid future.

Even though I had a few issues with Daniel, I cannot deny that I found A Fool for You to be an addictive read. I couldn’t put it down and I loved getting to see past Foolproof Love heroes and heroines play strong supporting roles. So while I wasn’t crazy about A Fool for You like I was for the fantastic first two books, Foolproof Love and Fool Me Once, I still enjoyed it, flaws and all.


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 Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay, Book 2
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance The Trouble with Mistletoe Cover
ISBN: 9780062448040
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Source: Marketing Team
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

If she has her way…
Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her…

He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.
Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead-gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him…

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice…
Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish—and let the mistletoe do its work…

The Trouble with Mistletoe is like a great batch of Christmas cookies: sweet, satisfying, and impossible to resist. Jill Shalvis ups the charm by a thousand in this second Heartbreaker Bay novel. Keane and Willa’s romance is both naughty and nice, has scene-stealing animals, fantastic friendships, and, best of all, Ms. Shalvis’s signature blend of humor and heart.

Willa has a huge heart and loves animals, the troubled “kids” she watches over, and her friends with abandon. She also has been hurt in the past and is worried about letting a man – particularly a man like Keane – break her already bruised heart. It’s easy to adore Willa because she’s likeable, joyful, and exudes warmth. She’s the kind of character you wish were real so you could have her as a friend. As for Keane, he made me melt. He’s one hot builder, but at first glance he looks like a bad bet for Willa. He doesn’t form attachments and doesn’t look like the kind of guy who would ever settle down. But when you peel back the layers of his character, you’re in for a surprise. Keane’s heart is just as big (and bruised) as Willa’s and the more I learned about him the harder I fell. He and Willa are a great match, but their fears, beliefs about themselves, and their visions of how life and love should be threaten to get into their way. It’s easy to get caught up in their story because Willa and Keane are appealing characters with excellent chemistry. Their love story is fast-paced, vibrant, sensual, and fun, making The Trouble with Mistletoe an excellent story to curl up by the fire with.

The Trouble with Mistletoe is the second book in the Heartbreaker Bay series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. Elle, Archer, Finn, Pru, Spence, and Haley – Willa’s close-knit circle of friends – all play major supporting roles and add a wealth of humor to this book. They bring the world of the story to life and add a lot of spark to the book, but they never take the focus off Willa and Keane, which I appreciated. All in all, I absolutely adored The Trouble with Mistletoe. It’s a feel-good holiday romance that’s sure to entertain all year ’round.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author’s marketing team 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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