Review: The Thing About Love by Julie James

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Thing About Love by Julie James
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance The Thing About Love Cover
ISBN: 9780425273777
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army Ranger clashed during their training at Quantico and gladly went their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to be assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.

For both of them, being paired with an old rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work together—a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a lot more complicated…

There’s simply nothing quite like a Julie James novel. The Thing About Love has everything I’ve come to love about Ms. James’s work: intelligent, interesting characters, crackling chemistry, an engaging romance, and sharp attention to detail. It’s a story that feels light on its feet but also has substance, and I loved every bit of it.

John and Jessica are irresistible characters who grabbed my attention from the first. Jessica is quite possibly my favorite of Ms. James’s heroines. Not only is she incredibly smart, she’s the best example I have ever seen in a contemporary romance of a woman working to build a successful career in a male-dominated field. From the moment she starts training at Quantico, Jessica is aware that her gender and height are working against her. Jessica doesn’t waste time feeling sorry for herself because she has a disadvantage. She works hard to overcome the obstacles in her path and I have an incredible amount of respect for her dedication, strength, and resourcefulness. Her nemesis at the Academy is John, a former Army Ranger for whom the more physical aspects of FBI training are a breeze. John is no slouch in the academic department, but there are areas where he has to work just as hard to succeed as Jessica does when it comes to the more athletic areas of their training. The two of them push each other constantly, their competitiveness bringing out the best agents in them – though they’d be loath to admit it.

The flashbacks to Quantico set the stage for John and Jessica’s reunion six years later when she transfers to the Chicago FBI office. When the two of them meet again, they pick up bickering right where they’d left off at the Academy. But having to work together undercover means they need to play nice, and I loved watching them work through their issues and come to understand one another. With that understanding comes increasingly strong sexual tension. Theirs is a slow-burn romance, and the payoff is worth it. John and Jessica have fantastic chemistry both as partners and as lovers. I honestly enjoyed watching them work together as much as I adored their romance. They complement one another perfectly, and there’s no false drama to detract from their story. The obstacles hampering John and Jessica’s romance feel realistic to the characters and their jobs and the resolution that gives these two their happily ever after left me with a huge smile on my face.

Every Julie James novel I’ve picked up features characters who feel whole and real, with fully developed personal and professional lives. The Thing About Love is no exception and it makes Jessica and John’s story all the better. When you combine Ms. James’s well-developed characters with her snappy dialogue and a romance that’s both spicy and sweet, it’s easy to see why I adored this book. I highly recommend The Thing About Love to any contemporary romance fan!


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: Come Sundown by Nora Roberts

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


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

If you've visited Wit and Sin a time or two, then you've probably noticed that Nora Roberts is one of my all-time favorite authors. Her books are the ultimate comfort reads for me, so it's no surprise that I cannot wait to read Come Sundown. I get lost in Ms. Roberts's books, and this one looks like it'll have all the passion and danger I love from her romantic suspense novels.

Come Sundown Cover Title: Come Sundown
Author: Nora Roberts
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: May 30, 2017

Book Description (from Amazon):

The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family business, an idyllic spot for vacationers. A little over thirty thousand acres and home to four generations, it’s kept running by Bodine Longbow with the help of a large staff, including new hire Callen Skinner. There was another member of the family once: Bodine’s aunt, Alice, who ran off before Bodine was born. She never returned, and the Longbows don’t talk about her much. The younger ones, who never met her, quietly presume she’s dead. But she isn’t. She is not far away, part of a new family, one she never chose―and her mind has been shattered…

When a bartender leaves the resort late one night, and Bo and Cal discover her battered body in the snow, it’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround them. The police suspect Cal, but Bo finds herself trusting him―and turning to him as another woman is murdered and the Longbows are stunned by Alice’s sudden reappearance. The twisted story she has to tell about the past―and the threat that follows in her wake―will test the bonds of this strong family, and thrust Bodine into a darkness she could never have imagined.

Review: A Moment of Madness by Brooklyn Skye

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Moment of Madness by Brooklyn Skye
Series: Boston Alibi, Book 2
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance Make Me Beg Cover
ISBN: 9781682814598
Release Date: March 20, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Sailor Carlson comes back to Boston to make amends with her dad, only to find he passed away, and his bar, the Alibi, now belongs to a bearded, grumpy hottie. Mr. Hottie liked her enough for a night of nameless sex on the kitchen counter, but he wants nothing to do with her now he knows who she is.

Ryan Edwards has been running the Alibi for seven years. Being in a bar night after night means he’s no stranger to one-night stands. But when the quirky, beautiful blonde he spent a hot night with shows up at his bar claiming it used to belong to her father, his guard goes right up.

Ryan’s desperate for a waitress, and Sailor wants a chance to work in the place that meant so much to her dad. If only the tenuous trust they establish were as strong as the pesky attraction simmering between them.

An awkward meet cute that involves a bar, a beard, a dying houseplant, and a drunk cousin is just the start of the fun in A Moment of Madness. Brooklyn Skye’s second Boston Alibi story is both hot and humorous, which made it a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Sailor is a former drug addict who has worked hard to get clean and put her life back together. As a teenager, she turned her back on her father, and now that he’s gone she’s looking for redemption by trying to make his bar a success. Sailor’s past made her a rather unique heroine and I liked and admired her for her strength and determination to make amends and be a better person. She’s a funny, caring woman who’s a bit goofy and a lot of fun to read about. When she walks into the Alibi, ready to make an offer on the bar, she’s stunned to learn that the current owner is her previous night’s one-night stand. She and Ryan hit it off from the start (even with the aforementioned pitiful plant and drunk cousin in the way), but Ryan doesn’t trust the woman who turned her back on the man who was like a father to him. Their mutual attraction (and the fact that the bar is short-staffed) means that Ryan can’t ignore her, no matter how much he may want to. Ryan is gruff, but he can also be sexy and interesting. He definitely has trust issues when it comes to Sailor, but when the two of them are on the same page they make an excellent pair, both in bed and out.

Where A Moment of Madness falters is the climax of the story. The dreaded “big misunderstanding” comes into play (a personal pet peeve which may not bother other readers) and it takes the shine off of Ryan. There was also a dropped thread, which was minor but bugged me a bit. Even with these quibbles, I thought Ryan and Sailor’s story was fun and I liked it enough that I will definitely pick up the first Boston Alibi book, A Moment of Weakness.


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: Make Me Beg by Rebecca Brooks

Monday, March 20, 2017

Make Me Beg by Rebecca Brooks
Series: Men of Gold Mountain, Book 2
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance Make Me Beg Cover
ISBN: 9781682814604
Release Date: March 20, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Bartender Mackenzie Ellinsworth has always gone it alone. So when she has a chance to open her own bar and restaurant, she's got a plan for how it should go. Not in that plan: a ripped and rugged playboy stepping in to take over. Mack doesn't do players, and she doesn't do one-night stands. If Connor wants to work with Mack, he's going to have to keep his strong, sexy hands to himself.

Connor Branding is determined to prove he's not the directionless playboy Mack thinks. But opening a place together causes more problems than it solves. The two of them can't agree on anything—except how scorching hot their chemistry is. Connor may be ready to indulge every desire Mack's been denying herself…but turning business into pleasure is likely to get him burned.

Rebecca Brooks proves that frenemies-to-lovers can be hot as hell in Make Me Beg. Connor and Mackenzie are two interesting, flawed characters with chemistry so appealing I devoured their story in one sitting.

Connor is a chef, a playboy, and a man who hasn’t ever committed to putting down roots. Gold Mountain was just supposed to be his stop onto bigger and better things, but there’s something about the town – and about Mack – that keeps him rooted to the spot. Connor is easy to like. Despite his love ’em and leave ’em ways and the way he frustrates Mack, he’s got a good heart and his character develops wonderfully. I loved watching him come into his own as he fell for Mack. And speaking of the woman who can bring Connor to his knees, Mack is equally stubborn and can be a bit combative, but she’s got a good heart, and a past that has scarred her and left her with mile-high walls to hide her vulnerability. It’s clear that she and Connor would make an excellent pair, but the way they make assumptions and don’t communicate threatens to derail them. Normally the lack of communication would be incredibly frustrating to me, but Ms. Brooks does an excellent job of making me see why Mack and Connor are the way they are. Sex both clarifies and complicates things for them, and the road to happily ever after definitely isn’t an easy one for these two. Surprisingly, what made Make Me Beg stand out for me was the downs rather than the ups. Mack in particular makes mistakes that hurt Connor, but he actually calls her on it – something that rarely happens in the books I’ve read lately – and I appreciated that both of them not only wholly accepted one another, but were willing to stand up for themselves when needed.

While it’s a rocky road for Mack and Connor, that doesn’t mean the story is missing out on red-hot moments. Make Me Beg is insanely sexy and when Mack and Connor are on the same page they make an incredible couple. I finished Make Me Beg wanting to explore the world of Gold Mountain more. While Mack and Connor’s story can be read as a standalone, I will definitely be picking up the first Men of Gold Mountain book, Make Me Stay!


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: Fair Chance by Josh Lanyon

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Fair Chance by Josh Lanyon
Series: All’s Fair, Book 3
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Male/Male Romantic Suspense Fair Chance Cover
ISBN: 9781459293618
Release Date: March 13, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Josh Lanyon Reading Order

One final game of cat and mouse…

Ex–FBI agent Elliot Mills thought he was done with the most brutal case of his career. The Sculptor, the serial killer he spent years hunting, is finally in jail. But Elliot’s hope dies when he learns the murderer wasn’t acting alone. Now everyone is at risk once again—thanks to a madman determined to finish his partner’s gruesome mission.

When the lead agent on the case, Special Agent Tucker Lance, goes missing, Elliot knows it's the killer at work. After all, abducting the love of his life is the quickest way to hurt him.

The chances of finding Tucker are all but impossible without the help of the Sculptor—but the Sculptor is in no position to talk. Critically injured in a prison fight, he lies comatose and dying while the clock ticks down. Elliot has no choice but to play this killer’s twisted game and hope he can find Tucker in time.

The stakes are high, the mystery arresting, and the romance fantastic in Fair Chance. Josh Lanyon hits all the right notes in the third All’s Fair book. Fair Chance was impossible for me to put down, and it was likely a terrible idea to start it late at night because I was up until almost dawn finishing it. But a book hangover is totally worth it when you have characters like Elliot Mills and Tucker Lance keeping you awake.

It’s almost impossible for me to describe how much I enjoy reading about Elliot and Tucker, so I’ll put it this way: they’re right up there with Adrien English and Jake Riordan (if you’re a Lanyon fan, you know that’s high praise). In Fair Chance Elliot and Tucker have more or less settled into their lives, but the Sculptor case is still infringing on their happiness. The Sculptor (the villain from the first All’s Fair book, Fair Game) is fixated on Elliot and being behind bars won’t stop him from exacting his revenge. What no one knew was that the Sculptor had an accomplice, and the clock is ticking for Elliot to find out who that is…because Tucker has gone missing.

Elliot’s been in danger and has had a personal stake in some form in each of the All’s Fair stories, but there’s an added tension in Fair Chance. Tucker’s abduction (not a spoiler since it’s in the book blurb) ups the intensity and had me glued to the book. While the mysteries are always engaging in this series, Tucker and Elliot themselves are what made me fall in love with the books, so it’s no surprise I was wholly invested in this story. Elliot is our eyes and ears for this series and he’s an interesting, complex, and flawed protagonist. I’ve loved that he isn’t perfect and have enjoyed watching him grow as a character. As for Tucker…I think he might just be my favorite of Lanyon’s characters. Tucker is dominant, protective, and emotionally open and vulnerable in a way that grabs my heart. He isn’t perfect either, but he’s a fantastic hero I could read about all day. I’ve loved watching he and Elliot grow as a couple – it’s part of what makes this series shine – and seeing how far they’ve come makes the story all the more rewarding.

Fair Chance is the third book in the All’s Fair series, and I highly recommend reading Fair Game and Fair Play before jumping into this book. The mystery and the romance are both far more fulfilling if you’ve read all the books in order. This book reads like the final in the series, but there’s just enough of an opening that I can hope Lanyon returns to Elliot and Tucker one day. I absolutely loved Fair Chance and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s an intense, exciting, and wholly rewarding romantic suspense tale.


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: Mummy Dearest by Josh Lanyon

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mummy Dearest by Josh Lanyon
Series: The XOXO Files, Book 1
Publisher: JustJoshin Publishing, Inc
Genre: Male/Male Contemporary Romance Mummy Dearest Cover
Source: Original Publisher
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Josh Lanyon Reading Order

In the world of academia, it’s publish or perish. But for Drew Lawson, his weekend is turning into a case of publish and perish. Drew’s out to write an article on the mummy of Princess Merneith, but he’s got to rush his trip to a small museum in Wyoming to do so, or his relationship with his boyfriend will be as dead as the mummy he’s studying. Drew is convinced he can make the whirlwind trip work...until Fraser Fortune puts a kibosh on his plans.

Fraser is the host of a reality TV show, and he’s set to film a documentary on the supposed Halloween curse of Princess Merneith. He won’t let a stuck up professor like Drew take up the time that he and his crew need to make their show work. However, he offers Drew a deal: he’ll give Drew the time he needs to examine the mummy if they can film it. What neither man takes into account is the attraction between them. As the day goes on, the pair finds that the real Halloween excitement is what’s happening off camera.

Mummies, legends and some Forties Hollywood schlock blend beautifully with a burgeoning relationship to deliver the fun romantic caper, Mummy Dearest. Josh Lanyon’s writing is delightfully energetic in this first installment of The XOXO Files.

Fraser may have irritated Drew in the beginning, but he’s sure to charm readers from the start. His sparkling personality and genuine niceness are compelling. And while Drew may – at first – seem like a bit of a stick-in-the-mud to Fraser, he’s actually an incredibly likeable protagonist. Each man has flaws, but they’re minor and serve to add dimensionality to their characters. Quite honestly, both Drew and Fraser are men I wish were real, if only so I could befriend them. They’re smart, funny and have an affinity for cheesy silver screen horror flicks that I appreciate.

Mummy Dearest was a joy to read all the way through. It’s fast-paced and fun, with snappy dialogue and endearing heroes. I couldn’t ask for more from Lanyon...except, perhaps, for the next XOXO Files story. Even though Mummy Dearest has a wonderfully satisfying conclusion, I can’t wait to see where Lanyon takes Drew and Fraser next!


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

FTC Disclosure: I received the e-book edition of Mummy Dearest for free from the original 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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