Review: Duchess By Design by Maya Rodale

Reviewed by Jen

If you’re looking for a historical with a somewhat different flair, look no further. Duchess by Design features the requisite duke the title suggests, but it takes us out of Regency England to New York’s Gilded Age, while he searches for his bride. It’s fresh and fun, and it’s filled with the kind of feminism and empowerment that made me want to cheer out loud.

Brandon is the stereotypical impoverished duke, in need of an heiress to help fill the coffers of his estate. The well of women who fit the bill in London is running dry, so he travels to America to take advantage of the surfeit families with new money. It’s when he first arrives that he lays eyes on Adeline. Since she is well dressed and appears to be staying in his high-class hotel, he believes her to be the kind of lady he’s searching for. But that would be too easy. Adeline is actually a seamstress visiting a client at the establishment. [Read more…]

Review: Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter

Reviewed by Sara

Several years ago I was a pretty huge fan of Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld (LOTU) series. I eventually fell away from the series and haven’t read anything from Showalter since. When I saw that she was beginning a new series unrelated to LOTU, I was excited to see what she was writing and how it would differ from her previous work.

Shadow and Ice, the debut novel in Showalter’s Gods of War series follows the adventures of Knox and Vale. On a disastrous trip abroad, Vale and her sister Nola come across what looks like a group of otherworldly warriors frozen in blocks of ice. Little do they know that the immortal warriors have been frozen for centuries and are part of an interstellar, winner takes all battle for the ownership of Earth. Believing that they’ve come across a movie set, they’re surprised when the warriors burst into life. Things soon spiral out of control and Vale is taken by Knox and Nola by the warrior Zion. Fearful for her sister who suffers from debilitating fibromyalgia, Vale makes a deal with Knox to help him in exchange for assistance getting her sister back. [Read more…]

Review: Dad Bod: Hammered by Jasinda Wilder

Reviewed by Caitlin

Jasinda Wilder is a new-to-me author. I was intrigued by the blurb – older MC’s (40 and 44), a nurse living in a fixer-upper needs help from a handyman who fixes more than just her window – and because it was only 99 cents, I figured I would give it a shot. The last two books I tried were both DNFs, so I was hopeful this would turn that around.

It did. This book is a warm hug on an off day when you really, really need it. I fell in love with Jesse O’Neill and I was totally rooting for Imogen Irving to get her groove back. [Read more…]

Review: Sterling by Dannika Dark

Reviewed by Jen

This is my first book from Dannika Dark, and I must be the very last person left on earth who had not read her. This author has 10,000 ratings on this book alone on Goodreads. Where have I been that I have never crossed paths with her work before?

In reading this first installment in the Mageri series, I see the spark that earned her such high regard. There is definitely something compelling in this book. Maybe it’s all of the sexy man or the strong emotions that the main character runs through. Whatever it is, I wanted to keep reading, despite a few things that bugged me. [Read more…]

Review: Runaway Girl by Tessa Bailey

Reviewed by Sara

In Runaway Girl, the follow-up to Tessa Bailey’s Getaway Girl, Naomi Clemons has an epiphany just before she’s about to walk down the aisle. She realizes she’s nothing more than a pretty face. She’s never done anything with her life, and if she goes through with her wedding she’ll be committing to a boring, passionless lifetime as a trophy wife and party hostess to a man who can’t even remember what she likes to drink. So, she hits the road, committed to living her life to the fullest only to discover that she lacks the skills to support herself on her adventure. It’s at a Florida truck stop, while a stranger helps her maneuver a bathroom stall in her wedding dress that she applies for the only job she has any training in, a pageant coach. Which is how she meets Jason Bristow. [Read more…]

Review: Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur

Reviewed by Elise

Full Moon Rising is the first in the Riley Jensen series by author Keri Arthur. Keri comes from my neck of the woods, good ol’ Down Under. She is Melbourne based and I’m a bit higher up the coast where the weather is a bit more stable. It’s nice to read a story from an Australian author, more about that later.

The book tells the story of Riley Jensen. Riley is a half werewolf, half vampire crossbreed working for the Guardians in a not too distant future Melbourne. She is a liaison and happy with her job.

The story starts simply. Riley’s guardian brother goes missing. Riley sets out to find him, only to uncover genetic experimentation, betrayal and, like every good urban fantasy novel, a little steamy action. [Read more…]

Review: Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh

Reviewed by Sara

Book 2 of Nalini Singh Hard Play series, Rebel Hard is a vibrant and lovely Contemporary Romance that follows the lives of Raj Sen and Nayna Sharma as they grow together in the midst of, or in spite of, cultural traditions and personal dreams.

Nayna Sharma, began the path to an arranged marriage as a way to heal the hurts in her family caused by her older sister’s less than traditional life choices, but while her motives are pure, she feels more and more like she’s caging herself and burying long held dreams. Raj, on the other hand, loves the steadfastness of Indian tradition and longs for the stability he believes it will bring to his life. After a disastrous first meeting, Nayna and and Raj attempt a more modern style of dating and find their hearts, and hormones, quickly involved. As the two face personal and familial trials, Nayna works to show Raj that she can be a safe place and strong tower for him to run to, and Raj, in turn, works to show Nayna that his embrace isn’t a cage meant to hem her in but a support for when times get tough. [Read more…]

Review: Lionheart by Thea Harrison

Reviewed by Jen

I can always count on Thea Harrison to satisfy my PNR itch. Lionheart is the third in her Moonshadow trilogy based on the world of the Elder Races. This story features Dr. Kathryn Shaw, trauma surgeon to Dragos Caluebre and his sentinels. Her hero is none other than Oberon, king of the dark fae.

Oberon has been in something like a magical coma for the past 15. Isabeau, Queen of the Light Court, orchestrated an attempt on his life along time ago and she used Morgan La Fae to do it. Oberon tried many things to slow down the effects of the poison that was used, but eventually he had to put himself in stasis to keep from dying. Unfortunately, his power is leaking out and wreaking havoc on his lands. His cousin, Annwyn, reaches out to Kathyrn, knowing if he is not healed, he may have to die to save everything he holds dear. [Read more…]

Review: Never Sweeter by Charlotte Stein

Reviewed by Caitlin

This is my first book by Charlotte Stein, and I’ve already read three novellas since reading this book. This was a genuine delight.

Letty Carmichael was bullied pretty badly in high school by three guys in particular. This bullying got so bad it culminated in them running her off a cliff. It took two years after high school for her to finally go to college because of the physical rehab required.

One of these tormentors (not the guy actually driving the truck that hit Letty, but perhaps the most aggressive of the bullies) is Tate Sullivan, who now goes to the same college Letty goes to. [Read more…]

Review: Old Dog, New Tricks by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Jen

I’ve been sitting here for a long time, trying to figure out exactly what it was about this book that left me a little lukewarm. It’s not the main character, because I really like Thierry. It’s definitely not her dad, because I find Mac fascinating and the relationship growing between him and his daughter is really something special. It’s not the world-building, because that was expertly done. And it wasn’t the ending, because it wraps up the series arc quite nicely.

So what is it? Two things, I think. One, the romance in this series has never quite connected for me. Yes, I get that Thierry has made her decision, and as of the end of book three, she’d committed entirely to Shaw. It’s not so much that I think Rook was a better choice for her, though a couple of books back, it seemed like he might have been. Maybe it’s because I never saw them fall in love. Maybe it’s because he hurt her so deeply. Maybe it’s the age difference. All of these or some combination, no matter how you slice it, I was just not invested, even if I could want Thierry to be with him just to get the HEA she earned. [Read more…]