Review: Lost Rider by Harper Sloan

Reviewed by Shelly

This is my first read by this author and the first in her ‘Coming Home’ series. I really liked the blurb and that’s the only reason I chose to read this.

It took me several attempts to get through. I’d start reading and get bored with Maverick and his complete all compassing selfishness. His is the first point of view that we as the audience is introduced to and that first impression is a lasting one. Maverick is a completely unlikable hero. And remains that way throughout for this reader.

Leighton and Maverick grew up on adjacent farms and have known each other most of their lives. Since she was old enough to know Maverick, Leighton’s always had a crush on him; that crush would eventually turn to love as she grew into her teenaged years. During a could this get any worse encounter with Maverick when Maverick was sixteen, she overheard what he really thought of her. To say she was devastated is an understatement and of course, it was the end of the world in teenage years. [Read more…]

Review: A Scandalous Deal by Joanna Shupe

Reviewed by Jen

As much as I love the Regency romances that are the mainstay of my historicals, I am really enjoying the foray into New York’s Gilded Age I’m getting with this series. This is the second installment in Joanna Shupe’s The Four Hundred and–though I enjoyed the first one–if you want to jump in here, this holds up just fine as a standalone.

Lady Eva is a talented architect who learned her craft at the feet of her renowned father. Unfortunately, her dad has developed dementia and can no longer work. To make matters worse, he mismanaged their money and despite his success, she can’t pay the bills. So she decides to use her own skill to fix the situation. Of course, no one will hire a woman as an architect, so she takes a lucrative job in New York, pretending to serve in her father’s stead. After all, she’s been designing in his name for years. What could possibly go wrong? [Read more…]

Review: A Devil of a Duke by Madeline Hunter

Reviewed by Jen

Eh. I struggled with this book. It wasn’t bad necessarily, but it didn’t grab me. In fact, I had to push myself to get through it, largely because I didn’t connect with the characters or feel any real spark between them.

Amanda is a daughter of two thieves who is trying to make a respectable life for herself. She is serving as a lady’s secretary and is using her skills and her smarts to find success. Unfortunately, someone has kidnapped her mother and is now blackmailing Amanda into stealing stuff to keep her safe. First it was something in a museum… now it’s an object in a private collection. The owner of the house is out of town, but the only way she can access it is through the home next door… and she’ll seduce the man who lives there to get inside. [Read more…]

Review: Lady Rogue by Theresa Romain

Reviewed by Jen

I wanted to love this book. I mean, a romance between a lady and Bow Street Runner, one that would be forbidden in the eyes of society… that is right in my lane. I adore pairings where the hero is below the heroine in social station. But for a number of reasons, this book did not deliver in the ways I had hoped.

The biggest fail, for me, was that the first hook up for these two happened before the book ever began. Yes, it tells you that in the blurb, but reading this book gave the distinct feel that I was jumping into a series already in progress. The was disappointing for the romance to be sure, but it was downright overwhelming with the giant infodumps in the bigger story. No standalone book has a history for its characters so detailed and complex, so I did some research and sure enough, this book was born out of the events of The Royal Rewards series. (*This is clearly stated now on Amazon & Goodreads, but was not made obvious when I accepted the ARC.) There is a whole thing about a gold heist and a dead brother for the hero… all it did was bog me down and take away from the story at hand. Even worse, I couldn’t tell what stuff had actually happened on page in other books and how much was backstory for the characters that no one had read anywhere. [Read more…]

Review: Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas

Reviewed by Jen

In the books leading up to this one, I was deeply curious about how Lisa Kleypas would fashion a romance involving the youngest member of the Hathaway family. Beatrix was always painted as a strange bird, more interested in animals than people. I wondered what kind of hero would fit with her quirky personality. And I have to say, Kleypas didn’t disappoint. What better match for a woman who collects and cares for wounded animals than a man who so wounded, he needs her special blend of tender loving care?

It takes a while for the love story between Beatrix and Christopher to really get off the ground. That’s because for the first several months…years…of their relationship, Christopher was at war. They grew close through an exchange of letters over time. The thing was, he thought he was writing to someone else, a deception she perpetuated as a kindness, until she realized she was falling for him and he was was falling in love–with a lie. [Read more…]

Review: To Discover a Divine by Tessa McFionn

Reviewed by Ronelle

Imagine stepping out of your front door and into an entirely alien world. Literally. That’s what happens to Evainne Wagner on what was otherwise set to be a perfectly normal day. All she planned to do was go for a run, but instead, she finds herself in the middle of a firefight in an intergalactic maximum-security prison. Salvation arrives in the nick of time in the form of a mysterious leather-clad warrior, skidding in and whisking her away. Trusting her heart, she follows, hoping to find answers as well as a way home.

When Kahlym cal Jhuen, youngest son of a ruling house and the leader of the Chandar Stria, breaks into a prison ship, his only intention is to rescue his crewmembers. But when he discovers a terrified female during their escape, he doesn’t think twice about taking the exotic beauty with him. His good deed backfires when he learns he has stolen the Thrall Emperor’s prize. [Read more…]

Review: With This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Reviewed by Debz

This is the 4th book and conclusion to the This Man series by Jodi Ellen Malpas. Honestly, I thought this series had ended years ago and was very surprised to see it pop up in my Goodreads timeline.

If you’ve ever read any of the This Man books, you may remember that it was one of those series that came into the limelight after the shocking success of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. It ‘hard core’ sex scenes and was edgy at the time. This was just a more boring Fifty Shades of Grey, but with a different location…London.

Anyway, this book picks up about 10 years later. The twins are 11. Jesse and Ava have been married for a while and all is rosy. The husband is about to turn 50, though, and is going through a mini midlife crisis. All of a sudden, the wife is in a car accident and has amnesia. She can conveniently not remember the 16 or so years she has had with her husband, the birth of her children, etc. [Read more…]

Review: Naughty Phantasia by various authors

Reviewed by Ronelle

I’ll start this review by stating that I did not finish all the stories, either because they didn’t interest me (“Valentine”, “How the Alien Stole Christmas”) or because I found the plot/characters unappealing (“Alien Rights”, “The Ghosts of Substation #69”). Overall, though, I enjoyed the collection and appreciated the variety. Some of the stories put more focus on external plot, while some focused almost exclusively on romance/sex.

Rather than go over each story individually, here are some of my favorites/notables from the Naughty Phantasia anthology:

WEAPON OF CHOICE by Katherine Kingston

Selvya’s gift for controlling fire made her a weapon in the hands of unscrupulous men. The king’s commander offers a chance for revenge and redemption, but it’s a risk she’s not sure she can take. [Read more…]

Review: The Thief by JR Ward

Reviewed by Jen

With her Black Dagger Brotherhood books, JR Ward has excited me, enraged me, made me fall in love, and occasionally made me scratch my head. This is the first time she has left me completely cold. The installments in the main series (less so with the spinoffs) generally have so many subplots, there is at least one that I’m interested in. Not here.

I wasn’t terribly intrigued by Assail and Sola when they were first introduced. Here, they were downright anemic. Assail had been going crazy from his withdrawals from cocaine for a while now. We could hear him screaming in the background of the past few books. As this one begins, though, he is in a coma and on the verge of death. His cousins track down Sola to talk him back from the Fade. There is nothing sexy about a man clinging to life. This was equally true in the novella which directly preceded this. The best Ward could say was that the man’s boner was undiminished by his illness. No matter that he is skin and bones; he is bald; he can’t use the bathroom or bathe himself. But his junk works and is as big as ever. Hallelujah.  [Read more…]

Review: Small Change by Roan Parrish

Reviewed by Joanna

Ginger manages a tattoo parlor. She is a small woman with a huge personality, and is angry at just about everything and everyone. In her few hours of spare time, she paints, and that’s about it. She doesn’t cook, have delicate hobbies, nurture anyone, or make any concessions for the badass she is. I loved this woman.

Fortunately, someone else intends to, too. Enter Christopher. He owns the local sandwich shop, and he has a thing for the feisty woman he sees around his locale. This is where it’s interesting. Christopher is a super sweet red-headed nurturer. He cares about everyone, likes people, is genuinely interested in how they are, and doesn’t have an ounce of snark in his body. The polar opposite to Ginger, and a nice reversal from traditional gender role expectations. And the guy is hot. Smoking. [Read more…]