Sunday, July 31, 2016

Review: Seducing the Boss by Mari Carr

Seducing the Boss by Mari Carr
Series: Pulse, Book 2
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance Seducing the Boss Cover
ISBN: 9781633756915
Release Date: August 1, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Kellan James is unwinding at Score when he spots the last person he’d ever expect to find in his favorite bar. Sara Connelly--ER nurse, do-gooder, charitable crusader, and frequent pain in his ass. Both grew up privileged in swanky Southampton, but that’s where the similarities end. Kellan's made it his mission to seek out life’s pleasures; Sara gains pleasure from lecturing him on his lifestyle. Kellan would never date someone like her. Ever.

But when Kellan discovers Sara's been stood-up by an online date, something fierce and protective awakens inside of him. Typically, Kellan would enjoy teasing the jilted Sara, but something in her face sends him over to her table with a plan. He encourages her to take a walk on the wild side, one weekend of sin, no holds barred.

She accepts, but it quickly becomes apparent that one night isn’t enough. As the pull between them grows stronger, Kellan discovers it’s a very dangerous thing to say never.

Sara and Kellan have been friends since childhood and that friendship has withstood becoming boss-employee, as Kellan is the CEO of the hospital where Sara is an ER nurse. They’ve always had a comfortable relationship, each knowing that they aren’t what the other is looking for. Kellan never does relationships, while Sara is ready for commitment and all that goes with it. But when Sara is stood up on a blind date, Kellan starts to look at her in a whole new light. The attraction between them is immediate, unexpected, and so potent that neither can resist giving into the temptation of one weekend of no-holds-barred sex. But what happens when one weekend isn’t enough?

Seducing the Boss is a sizzling friends-to-lovers romance I devoured in one sitting. Kellan and Sara are a couple with plenty of heat and heart to keep this addictive story moving at a fast pace.

Sara and Kellan are both incredibly likeable characters who charmed me from the first. Yes, Kellan is a playboy with commitment issues stemming from his past, and yes, Sara is the good girl who wants to take a walk on the wild side, but though those types of characters are common in romance, author Mari Carr made these two protagonists feel fresh and new. There’s an energy to them that makes Seducing the Boss feel vibrant, whether Kellan and Sara are hitting the sheets or squaring off in the hospital. Both of them work hard, and even though they find themselves on opposite sides at the hospital a lot of the time, they respect each other. They also have years of shared history, common interests, and an easy compatibility that gives this story its heart. And it’d be remiss of me not to mention the way these two can turn up the heat. The innate trust between Kellan and Sara means they can really let go and steam up the page.

There’s a lot to enjoy about Seducing the Boss, but what really made the story stand out for me was the simple connection between Sara and Kellan. The solid foundation they have from the start and the way it shows on the page makes the fast slide from friendship to sex to happily ever after believable. I absolutely adored this story and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the multi-author Pulse series.

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.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Review: Bayou Nights by Julie Mulhern

Bayou Nights by Julie Mulhern
Series: Haunting Desire, Book 2
Publisher: Entangled: Select Historical
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 9781633757189
Release Date: July 25, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

New Orleans, 1903.
Before he died, Christine Lambert’s father won a piece of eight in a poker game. How was he to know the coin was part of a puzzle that when solved revealed the location of Jean Laffite’s treasure? Now Christine must find the treasure before a killer beats her to it.

Mattias Drake is as out of place in New Orleans as a raven in a flock of hummingbirds. He has serious work to do and Christine is a distraction he doesn't need. But how can he resist a lady in distress--even if that lady can win a fight armed with a hat pin?

Together they must overcome their pasts and defeat dark forces sent by a shadowy evil. In the process, they just might find the greatest treasure of all…

When a zombie attacks milliner Christine Lambert in her own store, it’s only the beginning of her troubles. Her father gave her a piece of eight to guard, and the coin in question just happens to be the first clue in uncovering a priceless treasure that once belonged to a famed pirate. The problem is, every thief, murderer, ghost, and voodoo priestess in New Orleans seems to know she has the coin. On top of that, Christine’s father has gone missing and for all her knowledge of the supernatural, she doesn’t know how to find a missing ghost. It’s time to ask for help. But the help her friend sends – stuffy Yankee investigator Mattias Drake – isn’t exactly who she expected. Now, Christine will have to work with an undeniably compelling stranger if she hopes to rescue her father, locate a pirate’s treasure, and live long enough to tell the tale.

Bayou Nights is an intriguing blend of mystery, romance, and the supernatural, all set against the sultry backdrop of early twentieth century New Orleans. I absolutely love how Julie Mulhern brings the richly atmospheric world of 1903 New Orleans to life in this tale. The world draws you in from the start and you feel like you’re walking alongside Christine and Drake as they encounter the most incredibly vibrant spirits, both living and dead.

As for Christine and Drake themselves, they are compelling leads with solid chemistry. Christine is a strong, clever woman who has made a name for herself as a milliner. New Orleans is in her blood and spirit, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching her charm all those around her, ghosts and the living alike. Christine is no wilting flower, but a woman used to protecting herself, both physically and emotionally. It’s not easy for her to trust Drake, and her family history has given her good reason not to. But Drake, for all that he’s a fish out of water in the South, is an excellent match for Christine. He’s reliable, honest, and willing to do whatever it takes to protect her, while respecting her own strength and talents. Drake is also our eyes for this world, and watching events unfold from his point of view was delightful. It’s interesting to watch both he and Christine grow over the course of the story. Their romance isn’t a case of insta-love; the two of them come to know and respect one another as they fall in love, which I really liked.

The romance in Bayou Nights takes a back seat to the treasure hunt and the mystery of who is behind the attacks on Christine and the kidnapping of her father. There’s danger around every corner in this story, and somehow the almost languid pace of the book pairs well with the intensity of the action. Ms. Mulhern packs a lot of history, characters, and paranormal encounters into Bayou Nights, and it serves this unique story well.

Bayou Nights is the second book in Ms. Mulhern’s Haunting Desire series. As I have not yet read the first book, Bayou Moon (formerly titled A Haunting Desire), I can safely say that Drake and Christine’s story can be read as a standalone. That being said, by the time I was done with Bayou Nights I definitely wanted to go back and read Bayou Moon. I absolutely love the unique world Ms. Mulhern has created in the Haunting Desire series and I’m looking forward to revisiting it.

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

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Lilah Pace Book Order

Click on series title to jump to a particular reading order:

Asking for It
His Royal Secret

Asking for It

Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance

1. Asking for It
My Review

2. Begging for It
My Review

2.5. Asking for More
My Review


His Royal Secret

Genre: Erotic Contemporary Male/Male Romance

1. His Royal Secret

2. His Royal Favorite


Please note: This page was written by me, so as always, please visit the author’s website for up-to-date, author-verified information as well as for information books that have not yet been included to this list.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review: Rock with You by Rachel Lacey

Rock with You by Rachel Lacey
Series: Risking It All, Book 0.5
Publisher: Forever Yours
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781455567959
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Carly Taylor is pretty sure she’s dreaming. It's not possible that Sam Weiss - rock star god and sexy hotness personified - is actually in her bakery. This sort of thing never happens in the too-small town of Haven. Or to her. And being stranded in a secluded mountain cabin with the deliciously decadent Sam during an ice storm? This is definitely not Carly’s real life…

Now there’s just the two of them, a roaring fire, lots of food and drink, and a sizzling attraction - one that just might make Carly do the unexpected. For one night, she’ll live the fantasy. For one night, nothing else matters…not her struggling business, not her lonely life, not Sam’s bad-boy reputation. But sometimes one night can turn one crazy, beautiful dream into something real.

Rock with You is as sweet as one of Carly’s famous cinnamon buns. It’s a fluffy fantasy with a lot of sugar and a dash of spice, which makes it a good summer beach read.

Who wouldn’t love a chance meeting with the insanely handsome rock star of their dreams? Especially if it turns out he is practically perfect in every way. Sam is talented musician who’s struggling to write his new album, which is why he’s taking a break from the spotlight in Carly’s small hometown, Haven. Carly is a fantastic baker whose business is struggling, but fate – in the form of an ice storm – gives her a break from reality when she finds herself stranded with Sam in his cabin. It’s not long before the two of them are giving into their mutual attraction and taking advantage of their situation by having a good ol’ fashioned fling.

It’s pretty easy to like Carly and Sam, because both of them are pretty perfect characters. Yet I never felt like the love story went deeper than simple attraction, and perhaps this is due in part to the short length of the tale. I’m not opposed to insta-love plots, but when combined with obstacles being presented and immediately toppled, the lack of depth to the characters, and the missing emotional weight to the story, it was difficult to actually become invested in the romance. Still, as a lightweight fantasy Rock with You has charm and I liked Rachel Lacey’s writing well enough that I’ll definitely read a full-length novel of hers. Rock with You is a prequel novella to Ms. Lacey’s Risking It All series and I’m looking forward to reading the first book, Run to You.

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.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Review: One Week to Score by Kate Meader

One Week to Score by Kate Meader
Series: Tall, Dark, and Texan, Book 3
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781633757066
Release Date: July 11, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

He’s the man she loves to hate…
Olivia Kane’s wedding day has just imploded spectacularly. Shots lined up at the bar? Bring it. Hot stranger on the hook? Come on down. What this party does not need is six feet and change of home-grown Texas cockiness in the form of her brother’s best friend, the man who broke her heart seven years ago.

She’s the woman he has to have…
Flynn Cross won’t stand by while Liv finds sensual solace in the arms of a stranger, not when his own hard-for-her body is more than up for the task. For one week, he’ll make her honeymoon-for-one a sizzling party for two.

Breaking the rules, one steamy night at a time…
But the taboo they’re breaking is only the beginning…and Flynn’s part in Liv’s wedding debacle could bring about their end.

When Olivia’s wedding day crashes and burns spectacularly – finding your groom doing the maid of honor minutes before the wedding will do that – the bride that wasn’t decides to take a solo honeymoon and enjoy a string of hot hookups. The only problem? One tall, dark, and sexy Texan in her way. Flynn is her brother’s best friend, but he’s also the man who broke her heart years ago. No one could be more shocked than she when Flynn offers to scratch all her itches for the next week. But can Liv enjoy a red-hot secret fling with the one man she’s always wanted without losing her heart?

One Week to Score is a smokin’ hot romance I loved from beginning to end! Flynn and Oliva are flawed, wonderful characters who endeared themselves to me from the start and their rocky, passionate romance is enthralling.

Liv is a smart, capable woman who has spent her entire life being forced into certain roles by those who should have loved her for who she is. Only Flynn has ever seen the true her, and he broke her heart by cutting her out of his life seven years ago. Liv has spirit and charm, and she’s also a bit vulnerable; it’s easy to adore her. As for Flynn… Man, is he one sexy Texan. But beneath that rock-hard bod and cocky charm is a man who has never felt good enough for Liv. It’s easy to see these two love one another, but it’s not easy for Flynn to trust in himself and what he and Liv could have, and that’s before he adds on the guilt of breaking the bro code by sleeping with his best friend’s sister. It’s equally difficult for Liv to risk her heart, especially since Flynn has hurt her in the past. Flynn isn’t a bad guy – not in the slightest – but he sometimes does the wrong thing for misguided (if mostly well-intentioned) reasons. As I said before, both of them are flawed, and it’s their flaws that gave them depth.

It’s a rocky road to true love conquering all in One Week to Score, but author Kate Meader makes every bump in the road worth it. The sexual innuendo Flynn flings, Liv’s ready quips, the scorching love scenes, and the surprisingly sweet moments in between all combine to make this one seriously addictive story. I hated it whenever I had to put my Kindle down because the off-the-charts hot chemistry Liv and Flynn have is simply fantastic. If you like down and dirty heroes and strong-willed, sensual heroines, you won’t want to miss One Week to Score!

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, July 10, 2016

Review: Playing By Her Rules by Amy Andrews

Playing By Her Rules by Amy Andrews
Series: Sydney Smoke Rugby, Book 1
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781633757073
Release Date: July 11, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

In this grudge match, the first to score…
When style columnist Matilda Kent accidentally lets slip that she was once involved with the captain of the Sydney Smoke rugby team, she suddenly finds herself elevated to the position she’s always wanted – feature writer. The catch? She’s stuck doing a six-part series on her ex. Still, there’s no way she can turn down a promotion…or the chance to dish the dirt on the guy who so callously broke her heart.

…could win it all!
Tanner Stone wants to be involved in a feature series about as much as he wants to snap an Achilles. But the thought of seeing Tilly again is a bonus—and has him more worked up than he wants to admit. Only he’s not prepared for how different she is – all cool and professional. His Tilly is still in there, though…and he still wants her, now more than ever. All he has to do is charm her into giving him a rematch. And this time, winner takes all!

Playing By Her Rules is sexy, sassy good fun! I love rugby player heroes and second chance romances, so when you combine the two – and throw in author Amy Andrews’s signature humor – it’s easy to see why this first Sydney Smoke Rugby book was impossible for me to resist.

Tanner is an utterly delicious hero. With his killer body, sense of humor, skills on the rugby pitch (and other kinds of skills elsewhere ;)), and, most importantly, genuinely good heart, Tanner is exactly the kind of hero who’ll make you swoon. He’s worked hard to get where he is today, but he doesn’t take himself seriously and he gives back as much as he can. One of the things I loved most about Tanner was how openly head-over-heels he is for Matilda. He knows he screwed up when they were younger, breaking her heart on purpose even though he loved her, but now that he has his chance, he’s determined to win her back and get her to loosen up. And there’s no way you can resist rooting for him. Matilda is a sharp, guarded woman who is determined to move up the ladder at the paper, even if it means doing a six-part feature on her ex. She’s afraid to let Tanner in, and she uses wit and sass to try to keep her feelings for him hidden. There’s a lot of back-and-forth in Playing By Her Rules, but with the Twitter banter, Kryptonite panties, and other funny moments, the story sails along at a great pace.

Matilda and Tanner’s story is the first installment of the Sydney Smoke Rugby series and I am already hungry for more. The relationship between Tanner and his teammates made me incredibly eager to read their stories. Ms. Andrews writes some seriously hot rugby players. Whether you’re a fan of sports romances, second chance romances, or simply enjoy a sexy contemporary romance with a sense of humor, you’re in for a treat with Playing By Her Rules.

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

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Blog Tour: Once upon a Moonlit Night by Elizabeth Hoyt

Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series is one of my absolute favorite historical romance series, so it's I'm thrilled Wit and Sin is a part of the Once upon a Moonlit Night release day blitz! Once upon a Moonlit Night releases today (you can read my review here) and fans of the Maiden Lane series will undoubtedly be delighted, as I was, to see what's in store for Hippolyta Royale after the events of Duke of Sin. You can learn more about Once upon a Moonlit Night by scrolling down on this post, and don't forget to enter the giveaway from Ms. Hoyt's publisher, Forever - a signed copy of Duke of Sin (which you can see I loved) is up for grabs!

About Once upon a Moonlit Night:

Hippolyta Royle is running for her life. Pursued by hounds on a cold rainy night, the heiress flags down a passing carriage and throws herself at the mercy of the coach's occupant. Whoever this handsome traveler may be, he is her only hope to escape a terrible fate. But should he agree to escort her to safety, he's in for much more than he bargained for...

At first Matthew Mortimer doesn't believe Hippolyta's story, that she's a fabulously wealthy heiress who's been kidnapped. He assumes she's a beggar, an actress, or worse. But once his new travel companion washes the mud from her surprisingly lovely face, and they share a breathtaking kiss, there is no turning back...

My Review | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | BAM! | iTunes | Google Play | Add Once upon a Moonlit Night to Goodreads

About Elizabeth Hoyt:

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing "mesmerizing." She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

Find Elizabeth Hoyt on the Web: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Enter here to win a signed copy of Duke of Sin!:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 4, 2016

Monday in Review

Happy Fourth of July!

There have been some seriously hot books recently released and there are some fantastic reads due out this month. Whether you like to hit the beach with a book in hand or avoid the sun and curl up inside with your Kindle, there are a ton of great books to enjoy this summer. Below are the newest reviews I’ve written for Wit and Sin and Joyfully Reviewed. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- Into the Blue (Wild Aces, Book 2) by Chanel Cleeton (available 7/5/16)
- Once upon a Moonlit Night (Maiden Lane, Book 10.5) by Elizabeth Hoyt (available 7/5/16)
- A Gift for Guile (The Thief-takers, Book 2) by Alissa Johnson (available 7/5/16)
- Heroine Complex (Heroine Complex, Book 1) by Sarah Kuhn (available 7/5/16)

All other new reviews:
- The Harder He Falls (Kick, Book 1) by Lynda Aicher
- Body Rocks (Off Beat, Book 1) by A.M. Arthur
- Forevermore (Darkest London, Book 7) by Kristen Callihan
- Beauty and the Highland Beast (Highland Fairy Tale, Book 1) by Lecia Cornwall
- Stormswept (Wales, Book 1) by Sabrina Jeffries
- Addicted (Outlaws, Book 2) by Elle Kennedy
- Heat it Up (Off the Ice, Book 1) by Stina Lindenblatt
- Hitched (Promise Harbor Wedding, Book 4) by Erin Nicholas
- Foolproof Love (Foolproof Love, Book 1) by Katee Robert
- Bay of Sighs (The Guardians Trilogy, Book 2) by Nora Roberts
- Sweet Little Lies (Heartbreaker Bay, Book 1) by Jill Shalvis
- Hanging by a Thread (Riley O’Brien & Co., Book 3) by Jenna Sutton
- The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings, Book 1) by J.R. Ward

Upcoming reviews:
- The Conquering Dark (Crown & Key, Book 3) by Clay and Susan Griffith
- Playing by Her Rules (Sydney Smoke Rugby, Book 1) by Amy 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
- Down for the Count (Dare Me, Book 1) by Christine Bell
- Down and Dirty (Dare Me, Book 2) by Christine Bell
- Paper and Fire (The Great Library, Book 2) by Rachel Caine
- The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library, Book 1) by Genevieve Cogman
- The Professional: Part 2 by Kresley Cole
- The Professional: Part 3 by Kresley Cole
- Wicked Ever After (Blud, Book 4) by Delilah S. Dawson
- Filthy Rich by Virna DePaul
- How to Ravish a Rake (How to Series, Book 3) by Vicky Dreiling
- Finding Fraser by kc dyer
- Soul Weaver by Hailey Edwards
- Air Bound (Sea Haven, Book 3) by Christine Feehan
- Earth Bound (Sea Haven, Book 4) by Christine Feehan
- 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
- Caught Up in You (Loving on the Edge, Book 4) by Roni Loren
- 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
- One Week to Score (Tall, Dark, and Texan, Book 3) by Kate Meader
- 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
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Soul Sucker by Kate Pearce
- The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed
- Laugh (Burnside, Book 2) by Mary Ann Rivers
- Beauty’s Kingdom (Sleeping Beauty, Book 4) by A. N. Roquelaure
- Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, Book 1) by Nalini Singh
- Wild Embrace (Psy-Changelings, Book 15.5) 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
- Takeover by Anna Zabo

Review: Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn
Series: Heroine Complex, Book 1
Publisher: DAW
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9780756410841
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Being a superheroine is hard. Working for one is even harder.

Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine. She’s great at her job—blending into the background, handling her boss’s epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants.

Unfortunately, she’s not nearly as together when it comes to running her own life, standing up for herself, or raising her tempestuous teenage sister, Bea.

But everything changes when Evie’s forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest secret comes out: she has powers, too. Now it’s up to her to contend with murderous cupcakes, nosy gossip bloggers, and supernatural karaoke battles—all while juggling unexpected romance and Aveda’s increasingly outrageous demands. And when a larger threat emerges, Evie must finally take charge and become a superheroine in her own right...or see her city fall to a full-on demonic invasion.

Heroine Complex is action-packed, geeky good fun. Sarah Kuhn has delivered a new kind of superhero story that’s fresh, fun, and surprisingly relatable. We may not face demon cupcakes on a daily basis, but most of us have had an unreasonably demanding boss at some point.

A very unreasonable, sometimes-petulant boss is exactly what Evie Tanaka, personal assistant to superhero Aveda Jupiter, deals with every day. Evie is a master at calming her diva boss and allowing her to focus on saving San Francisco from regular demon invasions. She puts up with it because Aveda is her childhood friend and, for as much as Aveda can be self-centered, she has been there for Evie when she needed it the most. Added to that, Evie needs the stability Aveda provides. She’s got powers of her own, dangerous ones that are more supervillain than superhero, and she’ll do anything to maintain control. When Aveda is injured and Evie is forced to take her place, her life is turned upside down. Not only is Evie thrust into the spotlight, her power is flaring up, there’s a new demonic invasion in town, bitchy bloggers are on her case, her teenage sister is out of control, Aveda doesn’t like sharing the limelight, and – to make matters worse – Evie might just have a thing for the stuffy, data-obsessed demonologist she works with. There aren’t enough Lucky Charms or spam musubi in the world to make her world right again.

Heroine Complex zips along at a fast pace, thanks in no small part to Evie. She’s an unwilling superhero who’s realistically overwhelmed by all that’s thrust on her. Evie’s funny, snarky, guarded – a far cry from her kick-butt, image-obsessed superhero best friend. Evie is imperfect and very willing to admit it, which makes her an endearing heroine. That she doesn’t handle everything thrown her way with cool aplomb makes it all the more appealing when she becomes a kickass heroine in her own right. I was rooting for Evie to come into her own over the course of the story, and watching her grow as a character was a delight. Self-realization in the face of decomposing new demons and gossip bloggers ain’t easy.

Evie is the heart and soul of Heroine Complex, but there are plenty of supporting characters who help make the book come alive. Aveda isn’t the best of friends, but I loved how Ms. Kuhn brought three-dimensionality to her character. Nate, a personal favorite of mine, is gruff, says the wrong things, and is so obviously attracted to Evie that I just melted. Throw in another butt-kicking female in Lucy, a rebellious sister in Bea, and a hot best friend with magic in Scott, and you’ve got a well-rounded, endearing-in-their-own-unique-ways cast. Heroine Complex is a lively, exciting read and I can’t wait to see what Evie & co. get up to next!

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

Review: A Gift for Guile by Alissa Johnson

A Gift for Guile by Alissa Johnson
Series: The Thief-takers, Book 2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781492620532
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Never Trust a Thief

Once a famous officer of Scotland Yard and now a renowned private detective, Sir Samuel Brass has better things to do than shadow a reckless hellion in her misguided quest for atonement. But when the daughter of a notorious criminal–and a former thief herself–returns to London to right an old wrong, Samuel is drawn back into the dangerously exciting world of Esther Walker-Bales.

Beautiful and conniving, maddening and brilliant, Esther is everything he shouldn’t want. She’s a liar. She’s a con. She’s a thief. And God help him, but he’d do anything to keep her safe.

Esther knows she’s put herself in terrible danger, but nothing will stop her from making amends that are long past due–not her family’s enemies, not old fears, and certainly not the domineering, interfering and undeniably handsome Sir Samuel Brass. Yet whenever he’s near, Samuel makes her long for a life that can never be hers...and wish she were worthy of being saved.

A former thief steals the heart of a famous private detective in A Gift for Guile. I’m not an easy sell when it comes to opposites attracting, but Alissa Johnson won me over with this enchanting second installment of the Thief-takers series.

Esther is a former thief determined to make amends. She was used as an accomplice by her father when she was younger, manipulated by him because she was so desperate for his love. Her past brings her shame and she’s desperate to be a better person, but at the same time doesn’t believe she can be one. No one has ever put her first, has ever seen her as anything more than a filler until someone better comes along. She’s used to playing roles, slips into them so easily in order to win others over, but it broke my heart how badly Esther simply wanted to be seen and loved for her true self, though she doesn’t wholly know who that is. It’s delightful that Samuel, a somewhat-staid former police officer turned private investigator, is the person who sees Esther the most clearly.

Samuel is an honorable man with a soul-deep need to protect others. It drives him mad that the woman he falls for isn’t one who will sit quietly and let him guard her when she’s in trouble. Of course, that’s what makes A Gift for Guile so much fun. Esther is perfectly capable of taking care of herself, but she’s not superhuman and can see that Samuel has talents that complement her own. Whether they’re investigating a mysterious potential threat to Esther’s family or falling head over heels in love with one another, Samuel and Esther are great together. The energy between them crackles and I can’t count the number of times they made me smile. Of course, being perfect for each other doesn’t make things easy. Esther is quick to take offense because she’s scared of opening herself up to more hurt, and Samuel is adorably terrible with words. Esther has to accept her past in order to risk her heart for a chance at love, and Samuel has to be patient and temper his need to protect by acknowledging Esther’s abilities. They banter, they bicker, and they fall in love in the most charming, romantic way. I absolutely adored these two together, simple as that.

Ms. Johnson weaves in a mystery involving Esther’s past and a potential new threat into the story of Samuel and Esther’s burgeoning romance. The added element of danger enhances the story and keeps A Gift for Guile moving at a quick clip. There’s simply nothing I didn’t enjoy about Esther, Samuel, and their lovely romance. Like the first Thief-takers book, A Talent for Trickery, A Gift for Guile is engaging and the sparks that fly between the leads make the pages of the story fly by. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Johnson has in store for readers with the next Thief-takers book!

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

Review: Into the Blue by Chanel Cleeton

Into the Blue by Chanel Cleeton
Series: Wild Aces, Book 2
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781101986981
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Eric Jansen—call sign Thor—loves nothing more than pushing his F-16 to the limit. Returning home to South Carolina after a tragic loss, he hopes to fix the mistake he made long ago, when he chose the Air Force over his fiancée.

Becca Madison isn’t quick to welcome Thor back. She can’t forget how he shattered her heart. But Thor won’t give up once he’s set his sights on what he wants—and he wants Becca.

Thor shows Becca that he’s no longer the impulsive boy he used to be, and Becca finds herself irresistibly drawn to him. But will Thor be able to walk away from his dream of flying the F-16 for their love or does his heart belong to the sky?

Becca Madison and Eric Jansen fell in love as teenagers, and broke up in their early twenties when he chose the Air Force over her. It’s been ten years, and Eric has finally returned home, on leave after a tragedy shakes him so badly he doesn’t feel right up in the air. The only thing that makes sense, feels right, is the love he has for Becca, which ten years apart has done nothing do dim. He wants to prove to her that he can be the man she needs, but Becca was burned badly and knows that she can’t trust her heart to Eric when the problems between them are still there. Their attraction is undeniable, however, and it’s not long before they’re falling into old patterns. But what do you do when love isn’t enough to make things last?

Into the Blue rocked my world! I absolutely loved Fly with Me, Chanel Cleeton’s first Wild Aces book, and there is definitely no sophomore slump for this series. If possible, I loved Into the Blue even more.

Second chance romances are a favorite of mine, and Becca and Eric’s is wonderful. The two of them have been in love since they were teenagers, and time and heartbreak has done nothing to dampen their mutual attraction or love. Each of them has tried to move on, but it’s clear from the start that they’re meant to be. They were both achingly young when they first fell in love, and even though it was painful, the time apart really helped both Becca and Eric grow into the people they were meant to be. When they see each other again, old pain mixes with familiar desire, and both Becca and Eric are so genuinely likeable that you want to see them make things work. Falling into bed and into old patterns is easy, but what I absolutely loved about this story is that they both are fully aware that love isn’t always enough to make a relationship. Ms. Cleeton kept me guessing as to how they’d make things work. And you really want to see Becca and Eric get their happily ever after. As a couple they are hot, sweet, and their chemistry is off-the-charts fantastic. I hated it whenever I had to put Into the Blue down because they both grabbed my heart and I wanted to see them beat the odds.

As with Fly with Me, there is no fake drama in Into the Blue, but rather realistic challenges a couple will face. Becca wants stability, roots, and a family; her past has made that a soul-deep need. As an F-16 pilot with a specific set of skills, Eric really can’t see himself doing anything else, and his life doesn’t offer what Becca wants. Neither is being selfish in their choices or desires, and it’s heartbreaking to watch their internal struggles because there is no easy answer for them. Ms. Cleeton’s knowledge of the military, of the risks, rewards, and hardship of day-to-day life sets the Wild Aces series apart from other romances. Falling for a fighter pilot isn’t all admiring a hot man in a flight suit, but Ms. Cleeton had me avidly turning the pages of Into the Blue because the hard work is worth it when it’s a love like Eric and Becca’s.

Into the Blue is the second book in the phenomenal Wild Aces series, and it can be read as a standalone if you don’t mind reading significant spoilers from Fly with Me. I loved seeing Eric’s fellow F-16 pilots again and the only downside to this story is that I finished it dying to get my hands on the Easy’s book, On Broken Wings. The fighter pilots of Ms. Cleeton’s Wild Aces are strong, sexy-as-sin heroes and the women who love them are equally strong, dynamite heroines. It’s impossible not to fall in love with Becca and Eric and I cannot wait to re-read their 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: Once upon a Moonlit Night by Elizabeth Hoyt

Once upon a Moonlit Night by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane, Book 10.5
Publisher: Forever Yours
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781455539178
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Elizabeth Hoyt Reading Order

Hippolyta Royle is running for her life. Pursued by hounds on a cold rainy night, the heiress flags down a passing carriage and throws herself at the mercy of the coach's occupant. Whoever this handsome traveler may be, he is her only hope to escape a terrible fate. But should he agree to escort her to safety, he's in for much more than he bargained for…

At first Matthew Mortimer doesn't believe Hippolyta's story, that she's a fabulously wealthy heiress who's been kidnapped. He assumes she's a beggar, an actress, or worse. But once his new travel companion washes the mud from her surprisingly lovely face, and they share a breathtaking kiss, there is no turning back…

After escaping from imprisonment – and the machinations of a man who wanted to marry her, whether or not she was willing – Hippolyta Royale is on the run. It’s a dark and rainy night, she doesn’t know the area, and hounds are hunting for her. Pure luck lands the beautiful heiress in the path of Matthew Mortimer, an explorer who has just returned to England after finding out he’s inherited an earldom. She’s wet and bedraggled, he thinks she’s an actress rather than the heiress she claims to be, and the situation is altogether improper. But on the road, apart from society’s prying eyes, these two unlikely travelling companions are about to find an unexpected connection that could last a lifetime.

Once upon a Moonlit Night is an incredibly fun, fast-paced romance that made me smile more than once. Elizabeth Hoyt charmed the heck out of me with Hippolyta and Matthew’s romance (though the addition of an adorable mongoose didn’t hurt).

Hippolyta has been a background character in the Maiden Lane series for the past few books, and I was excited to learn more about her. As this was a novella, we didn’t actually learn quite as much about her as I’d hoped. Her biggest problem (aside from the kidnapping) is she’s forced to hide a part of herself from society. Her mother was Indian, and having to hide that, cut herself off from her heritage so that she can make a good match, breaks her heart (and mine). How Hippolyta comes into her own is something I’ll leave for readers to discover. As for Matthew, we don’t learn too much about him either, due to the short format of the story, but he’s an endearing hero. He’s a bit gruff and cynical to start, but the way he falls for Hippolyta melted my heart. They fall in love at a quick pace and the story is lively, sexy, and thoroughly enjoyable. However, I really wish Once upon a Moonlit Night had been a full-length novel, because all the time jumps made me feel like I was missing out a bit on their love story. I absolutely adored what I read and Maiden Lane fans won’t want to miss Once upon a Moonlit Night. That being said, I know how unique and well-rounded Ms. Hoyt’s characters and stories usually are and with a bit more rounding out, Hippolyta, Matthew, and their romance could match that.

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.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Review: Full Circle by Avery Beck

Full Circle by Avery Beck
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance Full Circle Cover
ISBN: 9781609285852
Source: Publisher
Blue Ribbon Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link

Elisa Haley once dreamed of being a veterinarian. But when she came home from college, pregnant and abandoned, it seemed as if she’d given up her dream. Nine years later, Elisa’s almost done with a degree in Public Relations, and she’s determined to show her gossipy hometown that she’ll leave them all in the dust and make a success of herself somewhere else. Elisa is sure nothing can deter her from her plans. That is, until Dr. Liam Barton walks into her brother’s vet clinic.

In college, Liam was in love with his roommate’s girlfriend, but he was forced to watch Elisa suffer with the jerk. Liam was always Elisa’s friend…save for one night when he was more. Now, Liam is determined to make the small town of Windy Flats his home. He’s shocked to meet Elisa again and discover that she’s changed in a lot of ways from the woman he once loved. Still, Liam is drawn to Elisa, and the passion that ignites between them is too hot for either to resist. But Liam wants a family, and Elisa wants to hightail it out of Windy Flats. A relationship between them would be impossible – especially once Liam discovers a secret that Elisa has been keeping from him.

Both good things and bad tend to come full circle as author Avery Beck deftly shows in this aptly-titled romance. Ms. Beck takes mistakes, pain and loss and balances them with passion, hope and second chances. FULL CIRCLE broke my heart at times, as Elisa and Liam both had to deal with painful obstacles that blocked their path to happily ever after. But FULL CIRCLE isn’t all “storm and stress,” so to speak; as Elisa and Liam break through the barriers that separate them, there’s love, lust and happiness to be found.

Ms. Beck’s signature knack for meltingly sensual love scenes and relatable, delightfully imperfect protagonists are showcased in FULL CIRCLE. FULL CIRCLE is a wonderfully satisfying read that I could not put down until I’d finished. I adored Elisa and Liam’s story, and I can’t wait to read Ms. Beck’s next book!

Note: 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.