Waiting on Wednesday: Island of Glass by Nora Roberts

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


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

The first romance novel I ever read was by Nora Roberts and to this day she's still my favorite author. It should be no surprise, then, that I'm incredibly excited for the third Guardians book, Island of Glass. Even if I wasn't a huge fan, Riley and Doyle intrigued in the first two Guardians books, Stars of Fotune and Bay of Sighs, and I cannot wait to see these two strong personalities fall in love :)

Island of Glass Cover Title: Island of Glass
Series: The Guardians Trilogy, Book 3
Author: Nora Roberts
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: December 6, 2016

Book Description (from Amazon):

As the hunt for the Star of Ice leads the six guardians to Ireland, Doyle, the immortal, must face his tragic past. Three centuries ago, he closed off his heart, yet his warrior spirit is still drawn to the wild. And there’s no one more familiar with the wild than Riley—and the wolf within her...

An archaeologist, Riley is no stranger to the coast of Clare, but now she finds herself on unsure footing, targeted by the dark goddess who wants more than the stars, more than the blood of the guardians. While searching through Irish history for clues that will lead them to the final star and the mysterious Island of Glass, Riley must fight her practical nature and admit her sudden attraction to Doyle is more than just a fling. For it is his strength that will sustain her and give her the power to run towards love—and save them all...

Tuesday in Review

As summer winds down, it's time for an update. I had the pleasure of reviewing some great books this summer from the dark and emotional to the red-hot and fun.

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:
- The Deeper He Hurts (Kick, Book 2) by Lynda Aicher (available 9/6/16)
- Apprentice in Death (In Death, Book 43) by J.D. Robb (available 9/6/16)

All other new reviews:
- Playing By Her Rules (Sydney Smoke Rugby, Book 1) by Amy Andrews
- Worked Up (Made in Jersey, Book 3) by Tessa Bailey
- The Highlander (Victorian Rebels, Book 3) by Kerrigan Byrne
- Seducing the Boss (Pulse, Book 2) by Mari Carr
- Rock with You (Risking It All, Book 0.5) by Rachel Lacey
- One Week to Score (Tall, Dark, and Texan, Book 3) by Kate Meader
- Bayou Nights (Haunting Desire, Book 2) by Julie Mulhern
- Fool Me Once (Foolproof Love, Book 2) by Katee Robert
- Wild Embrace (Psy-Changeling, Book 15.5) by Nalini Singh
- Tied Score (Slices of Pi, Book 2) by Elia Winters

Upcoming reviews:
- The Conquering Dark (Crown & Key, Book 3) by Clay and Susan Griffith
- Playing It Cool (Sydney Smoke Rugby, Book 2) by Amy Andrews
- Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, Book 9) by Ilona Andrews
- 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
- Because I’m Watching (Virtue Falls, Book 3) by Christina Dodd
- 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
- His Game, Her Rules by Charlene Groome
- Captured (Fallen Siren, Book 0.5) by S.J. Harper
- Reckoning (Fallen Siren, Book 2) by S.J. Harper
- Kosher USA by Roger Horowitz
- 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
- 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
- Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, Book 1) by Bec McMaster
- Keeping Secrets in Seattle by Brooke Moss
- While You Were Writing (Watkins Pond, Book 2) by Virginia Nelson
- 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
- The Trouble with Mistletoe (Heartbreaker Bay, Book 2) by Jill Shalvis
- 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: The Deeper He Hurts by Lynda Aicher

The Deeper He Hurts by Lynda Aicher
Series: Kick, Book 2
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Male/Male Erotic Contemporary BDSM Romance The Deeper He Hurts Cover
ISBN: 9780425285138
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Asher Ruggiero, a partner at Adrenaline Kick Adventures, is living a lie. As a control freak whose big Italian family thinks he’s straight, Asher likes his encounters concise, dirty, and discreet—until his company’s new rafting guide walks into work, dripping with brooding, intense sexuality. Sawyer Stevens is a mystery man with secrets and rough edges, and he makes Asher want to get to know him inside and out.

Ever since the tragic death of his parents, Sawyer has dedicated himself to the rush of adrenaline that comes from pleasure and pain. Moving from one guy to another, hiding when life gets too complicated—that’s all he can handle. So why does Asher make him long for something lasting and honest, when the gorgeous geek can’t even be true to himself? Sawyer wants to give Asher his heart, but he just doesn’t know how. After all, a life without integrity is a life without passion—and that’s the one thing Sawyer craves.

The Deeper He Hurts is a dark, emotional romance that captivated me from start to finish. There’s no sophomore slump to Lynda Aicher’s Kick series – Ash and Sawyer’s rocky road to a satisfyingly kinky happily ever after is completely addictive.

One of the things I liked best about the first Kick book, The Harder He Falls, was that the heroes weren’t perfect. Ms. Aicher delivers up two more fantastic, flawed heroes in Ash and Sawyer. Ash is an incredibly intelligent, confident man who comes across as almost icy, but actually has a warm and loving heart. Yet for all that Ash is comfortable with who he is, he’s terrified of coming out to his deeply religious family and has to live with the torment of not being himself around those he loves the most. Asher is also a sadist, one who is becoming less and less enamored with play partners who don’t satisfy or match his needs. Sawyer, in turn, is a man who can’t escape the ghosts of his past. He suffered a tragedy that marked him at an impressionable age and he’s never fully coped. He’s reckless with himself, a self-described “pain slut” who plays without limits. He and Ash click immediately, but even though Ash demands that their encounters have rules, Sawyer’s lack of concern for his own safety scares him.

What starts as a temporary arrangement where pain can be doled out and taken turns into something much more very quickly. Sawyer’s need for pain isn’t sexual, but the unexpected attraction between he and Ash makes him actively want something from a sadist other than pain for the first time. I absolutely loved the intensity mixed with the quiet moments as Ash and Sawyer grow close. Sawyer is quick to smirk and even quicker to run, so it’s not easy for he and Ash to fall in love. The angst of their internal battles was fantastic, and this is coming from a reader who can generally take or leave angst in her romance. It’s no simple matter for either man to find peace or to open themselves up to the possibility of the future they could have. That being said, there was a wealth of quiet, intimate moments and even a few spots of levity that balanced out the heavy emotion and kept The Deeper He Hurts from ever feeling weighed down.

The Deeper He Hurts isn’t for the faint of heart. Ash and Sawyer aren’t Dom and sub, but they are sadist and pain slut. There’s heavy, graphic pain play in this book that won’t appeal to everyone. As a trigger warning, there are also references to self-harm. All of this is part of Ash and Sawyer’s characters and I appreciated that Ms. Aicher showed sensitivity to the subjects and didn’t pay lip service to safety.

I highly recommend The Deeper He Hurts. It’s not an easy read by any means, but Sawyer and Ash’s love story is compelling, emotional, and memorable. I loved it and I can’t wait to read the next Kick book, The Farther He Runs.


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: Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death, Book 43
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Futuristic/Mystery/Suspense Apprentice in Death Cover
ISBN: 9781101987971
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
J.D. Robb Reading Order

Nature versus nurture…

The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice-skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be.

Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD but never one like this. A review of the security videos reveals that the victims were killed with a tactical laser rifle fired by a sniper, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled. And though the list of locations where the shooter could have set up seems endless, the number of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer.

Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources—and genius—at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two—one older, one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up. And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil…

It’s a race against time as Eve and her team track down a long-distance serial killer in Apprentice in Death. With no ties between the victims, no clues as to when or where the master-apprentice duo will strike next, and a vast number of potential targets in a city like New York, the tension is on high and Eve, Roarke, and company are running themselves ragged to take down the killer.

The In Death series can be generally divided between character-centric stories and case-centric ones. Apprentice in Death is the latter, but even though my preference is for books with character growth, I ended up loving this case. It was fascinating to watch the pieces of the puzzle come together, and the more layers that were revealed about the stone-cold killer’s character the more my interested was piqued. The sheer number of potential victims weighs on Eve and her team heavily, and it also added a tenseness to the tale that kept me turning the pages of the book late into the night. It’s a twisted tale, though not in the usual sense; the apprentice is somewhat reminiscent of an earlier In Death killer (and I can’t reveal which character or the book they’re from without spoiling this story). Equally appealing is watching how Eve’s mind works as she makes the connections that will lead her to master and apprentice. While a number of faces old and new (Roarke in particular) are invaluable to solving this case, it’s Eve and the unique way she thinks that is the most fascinating to me.

The In Death books can largely be read as standalones, and Apprentice in Death is no exception. That being said, if this is your first foray into the series the mystery will still be appealing, but the small, personal moments in the book might not hold the appeal they do to readers more invested in the characters. And fans of the series, fear not: there are enough personal moments in this book to satisfy and perhaps even tug on your heartstrings a bit. The further into the series we get, the fewer opportunities for big personal drama there are, and that’s ok. The bonds of love and friendship still shine and added to my investment in the tale. All in all, I loved Apprentice in Death and I cannot wait to see what J.D. Robb has in store for Eve and Roarke!


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: Deceive Her With Desire by Nina Pierce

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Deceive Her With Desire by Nina Pierce
Series: Dangerous Affairs, Book 2
Publisher: Seaside Publications
Genre: Romantic Suspense Deceive Her With Desire Cover
Source: Publisher
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

After her latest girlfriend breaks her heart, landscaper Deirdre Tilling is ready to give up on finding either Mr. or Ms. Right. Deirdre is determined to find someone to simply have a good time with, and the gorgeous man she meets at a party fits the bill perfectly.

Undercover DEA Agent Ayden Scott can’t believe his luck. Not only is Deirdre gorgeous, likeable and great in bed, but she’s just been employed by the suspected drug lord he’s determined to bring down. Ayden thinks he can use his new connection to Deirdre to help him build his case, but he doesn’t count on her being caught in the cross-hairs. Nor does he count on his feelings for her going deeper than simple lust. What will happen when Deirdre learns his true identity? If the drug lord has his way, Ayden won’t live long enough to find out.

Passion and suspense go hand-in-hand in Deceive Her With Desire. Author Nina Pierce knows how to turn up the heat and keep it on high, which makes Deceive Her With Desire a deliciously erotic read. Couple that with the danger brought about by Ayden’s case and you’ll find that Deceive Her With Desire is definitely a high-octane thrill of a read.

Deceive Her With Desire is the second story in Ms. Pierce’s Dangerous Affairs series, but it can be read as a standalone. I haven’t read the other Dangerous Affairs books, but I enjoyed Deceive Her With Desire so much that I’ve already bought the first book in the series, Blind Her With Bliss. All in all, I enjoyed Deceive Her With Desire, and I’m looking forward to reading more about the endearing Tilling family.


Note: Deceive Her With Desire was previously published as Love's Bounty and the series was previously titled Tilling Passions.

Note 2: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.

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: Wild Embrace by Nalini Singh

Monday, August 22, 2016

Wild Embrace by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling, Book 15.5
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Paranormal Romance Wild Embrace Cover
ISBN: 9781101989715
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Nalini Singh Reading Order

“Echo of Silence”
In a deep-sea station, Tazia Nerif has found her life’s work as an engineer, keeping things running smoothly. But she wants nothing more than to break down the barrier of silence between her and her telekinetic Psy station commander…

“Dorian”
A changeling who can never shift lives a life of quiet frustration—until he learns how to let his leopard come out and play…

“Partners in Persuasion”
Still raw from being burned by a dominant female, wolf changeling Felix will never again risk being a plaything. But for dominant leopard Dezi, he’s the most fascinating man she’s ever met. She just has to convince this gun-shy wolf that he can trust the dangerous cat who wants to take a slow, sexy bite out of him…

“Flirtation of Fate”
Seven years ago, Kenji broke Garnet’s heart. Now the wolf packmates have to investigate the shocking murder of one of their own. And the more Kenji sees of the woman Garnet has become, the deeper he begins to fall once more. But even his primal instincts are no match for the dark secret he carries…

“Echo of Silence”
In the heart of the deep-sea station Alaris, a chance encounter with her Psy station commander has human engineer Tazia looking at the telekinetic Stefan in a whole new way. Psy are Silent. Emotionless. And Tazia’s sure her inexplicable attraction to Stefan will come to nothing… Until an unexpected trip lets her see the man beneath the calm façade.

“Echo of Silence” is sweet as can be. It’s a romance of discovery and joy and I absolutely adored it. Tazia is a brilliant engineer who is estranged from her family because she chose her dream job over marrying and living in the village she grew up in. I loved the attention and importance given to Tazia’s culture; it’s not something we see too often in romance. Stefan is also alone in the world. He’s Psy, but not the perfect vision of a Silent Psy. He comes alive with Tazia, and watching them come into their own and find happiness over the course of the story was simply beautiful. It’s not a simple matter of falling in love for them. Cultural mores and the threat of discovery over Stefan breaking Silence aren’t obstacles that are easy to overcome. You’ll be cheering them on, however, because the risk is worth it when you have two such smart, generous, endearing characters to root for.


“Dorian”
Dorian captured my heart from the very first in Slave to Sensation and he remains my favorite of the Psy-Changeling characters to this day. It’s no surprise, then, that “Dorian” made me melt. The story is a series of vignettes following Dorian from childhood – where he struggled with his inability to shift and the pain it caused him and his leopard – through adulthood and the events of his book, Hostage to Pleasure. This story is truly a treat for anyone who loves Dorian. It gives extra insight not only into his character, but into the bonds between pack members. “Dorian” is sweet, heartwarming, and definitely makes me go all squishy just thinking about it.


“Partners in Persuasion”
Submissive wolf Felix has been hurt before by a dominant female and he’s not about to risk his heart again on any dominant, even one as beautiful as Dezi. Yet there’s something about the leopard changeling Felix can’t seem to ignore and it’s not long before he begins to wonder if he can trust her enough to try a relationship. But it’s not only their human hearts Dezi and Felix will have to convince if they want to take things to their next level; the animals that are every bit as much of their nature may break them apart before they have a chance to discover all they could have together.

It’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite story in this anthology, but “Partners in Persuasion” may just be mine. A female dominant/male submissive pairing like Dezi and Felix have never taken center stage in the series and I loved this change. Dezi is strong, confident, and sexy, but she’s always tangled with other dominants. She’s attracted to Felix, but the quiet horticulturalist is incredibly wary. He’s smart and strong in his own right, but his submissive nature means that both he and Dezi have to be extremely careful when courting. The attraction between them is palpable and they are both such rich, interesting characters that it’s impossible not to root for them. But it isn’t easy for them to navigate the delicate balance between persuasion and unwitting coercion, and the struggles they faced made “Partners in Persuasion” one heck of a compelling read. Every obstacle they faced, every setback only made the story feel more real and I honestly could have read an entire book about Dezi and Felix. The way they are completely gone over one another, how Dezi appreciates Felix’s strength and nurturing and he sees the woman who should be treasured not just the fearsome leopard in her, just grabbed my heart. Theirs isn’t just a story of passion and love (though there’s plenty of that), but of trust earned and taking care of those you want to call your own. I loved everything about “Partners in Persuasion” and I hope to see Dezi and Felix as a couple pop up in future Psy-Changeling books.


“Flirtation of Fate”
On the night of her twenty-first birthday, Kenji broke Garnet’s heart. The two are now lieutenants and their flirtation/bickering is well known throughout the SnowDancer pack. Yet Kenji won’t ever let Garnet see that the two of them are meant to be, for he has a secret that means he will never ask her to give him a second chance. Then the two of them team up to investigate a packmate’s murder, and close quarters make it nearly impossible for Kenji to keep his feelings hidden from the too-perceptive wolf he’s always loved.

Sparks fly right, left, and center in “Flirtation of Fate.” Garnet and Kenji have great chemistry and the wealth of emotion between them had the pages of their story flying by. Kenji has loved Garnet for years, but he hides his feelings for her under the guise of teasing and flirtation. He wants her to be free, but he can’t bear to let her go, and though I won’t spoil his reasons why, I think his secret will be clear to readers from the start. Kenji has made mistakes with Garnet, but those mistakes were made with a good heart. Garnet, in turn, carries a wealth of hurt from his rejection of her all those years ago, but now that they’re forced to work together, she’s starting to see that Kenji’s attitude is hiding something. I loved watching Garnet go after him and was rooting for them to break down each other’s walls and grab the happiness that’s long overdue. A mystery involving a packmate’s murder adds another dimension to the story though, like Kenji’s secret, it seemed fairly clear how things were going to play out. Still, Kenji and Garnet made me smile and I thoroughly enjoyed watching these two dance.


Wild Embrace is a must read for any Psy-Changeling fan. Each of the four stories are so different, yet all feature strong, memorable characters who will grab your heart and not let go. Nalini Singh is a master of worldbuilding, but she’s also phenomenal at creating interesting, unique characters. “Echo of Silence,” “Dorian,” “Partners in Persuasion,” and “Flirtation of Fate” are all character-focused stories and the timelines are spread out through the course of the Psy-Changeling series. I loved getting to know more about relatively minor (with the exception of Dorian) players in the Psy-Changeling series and each of these stories makes the series as a whole feel richer. Wild Embrace is unique, gripping, and as wonderfully entertaining as I’ve come to expect any Nalini Singh story to be.


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: Tied Score by Elia Winters

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tied Score by Elia Winters
Series: Slices of Pi, Book 2
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Erotic BDSM Contemporary Romance Tied Score Cover
ISBN: 9781501140976
Release Date: August 15, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Iris Parker never planned on ending up in HR because, let’s face it: HR isn’t the most glamorous position in the world. She took a comfortable job and always planned on leaving when something better came along, but before she knows it, she’s thirty and the HR director for PI Games. Even though she likes her coworkers, there’s no excitement in the job for her, and Iris is worried that she’ll lose her spark. Luckily, Iris’s romantic life provides some thrills—living the confirmed bachelor life, when she wants her bed warm, she can find company, and in her sights at the moment is the cute pastry chef at her favorite bakery.

Owen Hobbs has noticed the gorgeous businesswoman making eyes at him when she comes in for coffee and sweets, but he’s not the type of guy who dates much anymore. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t take long in his sporadic dating history to learn that most women aren’t interested in taking charge in bed, which is what he really craves. Working early mornings at the bakery keeps him from the nightlife where he might meet someone who can fulfill his needs, so he’s resigned himself to fantasies and pretty much given up on the dating scene altogether. But when Iris’s advances become too much to resist, Owen finds himself revealing his desire to be sexually dominated…the only question is, is she the right woman for the job?

Tied Score is an outrageously sexy, incredibly addictive romance. Author Elia Winters doesn’t hold back in this red-hot story of two people who are clearly made for each other falling in love as they explore their kinky sides.

One of my favorite things about Tied Score was watching Iris come into her own. Iris is smart, organized, and focused, but while she’s found professional success, her life doesn’t feel complete. She doesn’t want commitment – she’s been burned badly in the past – but she would like a little excitement to chase away the moments of longing that seem to be popping up. She’s had her eye on Owen for a while, but when she makes her move and he accepts, what should be a temporary fling rocks both of their worlds. Owen is a sexy-as-hell baker and businessman who is dominant in the bakery and longs to be submissive in the bedroom. However, his lifestyle isn’t conducive to him finding a woman who meets his needs. When he and Iris first hit the sheets, they’re both shocked to learn Iris has a hidden dominant side. Intrigued, they agree to an arrangement where Owen’s needs as a sub can be fulfilled while Iris learns about and explores her desires to be a Domme. It’s not long before their casual arrangement has each of them craving more. The emphasis on open communication adds a level of intimacy beyond the sexual and made me really fall in love with Iris and Owen’s burgeoning romance.

Owen and Iris are extremely compatible as Domme/sub, and make no mistake, Ms. Winters knows how to turn the heat up high; this isn’t a story for the faint of heart. But equally important is the fact that they’re also a great fit outside their Domme/sub roles. They encourage each other to grow professionally, take chances, and risk their hearts for the possibility of something more. Fears and thinking they’re set in their ways threaten to derail this couple just as they’re about to start, but the obstacles they face are logical. I appreciated the lack of fake drama in the story and loved that I got to enjoy a sometimes sweet, frequently spicy journey to happily ever after.

Tied Score is the second book in Ms. Winters’s Slices of Pi series, but you don’t have to have read Even Odds in order to enjoy this story (though Isabel and Caleb do show up). PI Games and the cast of characters who work there help round out the book and make the world incredibly appealing. I loved everything about Tied Score and I’ll definitely be revisiting Owen and Iris over and over as I wait for the next Slices of Pi book, Single Player!


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 Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Victorian Rebels, Book 3
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Historical Romance The Highlander Cover
ISBN: 9781250076076
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

They call him the Demon Highlander. The fearsome Lieutenant Colonel Liam MacKenzie is known for his superhuman strength, towering presence, and fiery passion in the heat of battle. As Laird to the MacKenzie clan, the undefeated Marquess has vanquished his foes with all rage and wrath of his barbaric Highland ancestors. But when an English governess arrives to care for his children, the master of war finds himself up against his greatest opponent…in the game of love.

Defying all expectations, Miss Philomena is no plain-faced spinster but a ravishing beauty with voluptuous curves and haughty full lips that rattle the Laird to his core. Unintimidated by her master’s raw masculinity and savage ways, the headstrong lass manages to tame not only his wild children but the beast in his soul. With each passing day, Liam grows fonder of Miss Mena―and more suspicious. What secret is she hiding behind those emerald eyes? What darkness brought her to his keep? And how can he conquer this magnificent woman’s heart…without surrendering his own?

The Highlander is a rich, emotional story that will knock your socks off! Kerrigan Byrne has delivered yet another lush, addictive romance in this third Victorian Rebels book and I loved every bit of it.

Mena has been through hell. She’s been physically and emotionally tortured, terrorized, and institutionalized by her husband, and through all that she hasn’t broken. Mena has an inner strength that I admired greatly, and when you combine that with her generous heart, it’s easy to see why she’s a heroine to root for. She’s vulnerable and in hiding from her husband when she first arrives in the Highlands and you want to see her feel safe and cherished because it’s impossible for Mena not to grab your heart. She deserves happiness, freedom, and love, and she unexpectedly finds all that in the arms of the man they call the Demon Highlander.

Liam also knows evil – he was raised by it. His violent, abusive father tried to mold him in his image, and Liam fears he’ll turn into a monster like his sire one day. It’s clear to readers – if not Liam – that even though he has only known violence, he has a protective heart. He loves his children and will fight to the death for them and Mena. Liam and Mena help each other become who they’re meant to be, and the character growth in The Highlander is wonderful. Equally engaging is the romance. The desire between Mena and Liam is palpable and the two of them have incredible chemistry. But lust doesn’t overtake the romance; the two of them actually learn about each other as they fall in love, adding a level of realism to the story. Their romance isn’t perfect because neither Mena nor Liam are cardboard perfect characters, and I loved that about this story. Instead, they have to have the courage to overcome their pasts and face the obstacles in their present in order for them and their love to survive and thrive.

The Highlander is the third book in Ms. Byrne’s Victorian Rebels series and if you start with Mena and Liam’s book, be warned that there are spoilers for The Highwayman and The Hunter. You’re also missing out if you skip the first two books in the series, because they are flat-out phenomenal. Ms. Byrne’s writing is utterly fantastic and she draws you into each story so well that you might (as I did) have to shake yourself when you stop reading in order to rejoin the real world. The only quibble I had about The Highlander was the ending felt a bit rushed. Even so, I highly recommend this book. Mena and Liam’s story is deeply emotional, incredibly compelling, and, quite simply, a must read for fans of historical romance.


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: Worked Up by Tessa Bailey

Monday, August 1, 2016

Worked Up by Tessa Bailey
Series: Made in Jersey, Book 3
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance Worked Up Cover
ISBN: 9781633757080
Release Date: August 1, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Factory mechanic Duke Crawford just wants to watch SportsCenter in peace. Unfortunately, living with four divorcee sisters doesn’t provide much silence, nor does it change his stance on relationships. But when a fellow commitment-phobe stumbles into his life, getting him good and worked up, he can’t deny his protective instincts.

Samantha Waverly’s brother just put her in an impossible situation. The only way out? Marry huge, gruff, gladiator look-alike Duke—for show, of course. She doesn’t make promises—she knows too well how easily they can be broken—and this is no exception.

As the blistering attraction between them grows, the lines around the no-strings relationship blur. But Duke and Samantha’s marriage is only for show…or is it?

Worked Up is a sweet and spicy romance with endearing characters. Commitment-phobes and quickie marriages that become all-too-real aren’t new to romance, but author Tessa Bailey makes this story stand apart from the rest with her unique characters.

Sam is an artist with a big heart and a sunny disposition. She’s the queen of bad puns (which I adored) and is desperate to make her vision of Art on Wheels – a program that would benefit children – a reality. How could you not root for a heroine like her? Duke, in turn, is a giant pouty man bear who acts like all he wants to do with his free time is watch SportsCenter, when really he’s an incredibly generous, giving soul who worries about everyone. Both of them have hearts as big as Texas (or Jersey, as it were), so even though they may seem like an odd couple at first, Duke and Samantha work really well together. When Worked Up focuses on the characters, the humor, the romance, and the obstacles that threaten to derail Samantha and Duke’s burgeoning relationship, the story is really strong. For me, the story takes a bit of a hit when it comes to the erotic scenes. Duke’s a fan of dirty talk, and though I’m all for that in my romance, his brand of dirty talk felt awkward and pulled me out of the story. In general, there was something stilted about the sex scenes that took away from an otherwise solid (if lighting quick) romance. Chalk it up to personal preference, I suppose.

Worked Up is the third Made in Jersey book, and as I have not read Crashed Out or Thrown Down, I can safely say Duke and Samantha’s book can be read as a standalone. The world of Ms. Bailey’s Hook, New Jersey is appealing and its residents lively; the secondary characters added charm to the story. Yet for all the likeable characters there are in the story, it’s the one not-so-charming character – Samantha’s brother, Renner – who grabbed my attention. By the time I was finished with Worked Up, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Renner’s book. Even though there were a couple of elements to Samantha and Duke’s romance that didn’t appeal to me, I still enjoyed the story overall, so it’s safe to say I’ll be returning to Hook, New Jersey.


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: Fool Me Once by Katee Robert

Fool Me Once by Katee Robert
Series: Foolproof Love, Book 2
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance Fool Me Once Cover
ISBN: 9781633757059
Release Date: August 1, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Aubry Kaiser doesn’t like people—actually, that’s not right. She loathes people. With her crippling anxiety, there’s no way she can demo her favorite video game at a convention with five thousand other people. Maybe if she brings someone to act as a shield…

But the only person available is the sexy cowboy she can’t stand.

Quinn Baldwyn is in a mess of his own. He’s been dodging his wealthy family’s matchmaking attempts—and life advice—for years, but with his sister’s wedding on the horizon, he needs of a shield of his own.

He and Aubry can barely hold down a civil conversation, but in bed…fireworks. And the closer they get to Quinn’s sister’s wedding, the more he realizes that he might actually like Aubry.

Now it’s up to him to convince her she might actually like him, too.

Opposites attracting has never been as fun – or as hot – as it is in Fool Me Once. Aubry and Quinn have insanely good chemistry, which makes this enemies-to-lovers romance utterly irresistible.

I love imperfect heroines, and Aubry is wonderfully flawed in an incredibly relatable way. She’s smart, sexy, and has a good heart, but she also isn’t a people person, is snarky nine times out of ten, has a wealth of phobias, and suffers crippling anxiety. She isn’t an easy person, and I have a soft spot for characters like her, ones who are vulnerable and guarded, but have a lot to offer. The emotional walls Aubry has built around herself are a mile high and almost impenetrable, but Quinn gets under her skin.

Quinn is too hot, too confident, and pushes Aubry out of her comfort zone. He’s an outgoing cowboy to the bone, where she’s a serious gamer who doesn’t like to leave the house, and that’s only the beginning of their differences. They only tolerate each other because their best friends are in love. When he agrees to be her shield she can go to a gaming convention without having an anxiety attack in exchange for her being a human shield at his sister’s wedding where his family is sure to be a nightmare, neither is sure they’ll both make it through the week alive. But the attraction that blossoms between them is too potent for either to resist, and slowly they begin to open up to one another. It isn’t easy for them to admit they’re good together outside the bedroom, but I was rooting for them every step of the way. They challenge each other, make each other better, and man do they make the pages of Fool Me Once sizzle. But it isn’t the heat factor that makes them stand out (though that definitely doesn’t hurt). It’s the way Quinn helps Aubry through her anxiety attacks, the way she slowly lets down her guard, their banter, and the incredibly addictive writing of author Katee Robert that makes this book shine. I loved every bit of Fool Me Once, and I cannot wait to re-read Aubry and Quinn’s romance.


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