Archives for January 2019

Review: So Wild by Eve Dangerfield

Reviewed by Caitlin

I don’t think there’s a single book of Eve Dangerfield’s I’ve read that I didn’t find immensely re-readable. She writes romcoms that are funny without falling into some of the more frustrating pitfalls of the genre – playing it too glib, avoiding any real, serious, true-to-life issues in the name of keeping it light. She also has a great voice.

So it’s not surprising I loved So Wild. Dangerfield once again writes another book I’ll definitely be revisiting. She is an autobuy, no question.

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Review: Cape Storm by Rachel Caine

Reviewed by Jen

I’ve got to give props to Rachel Caine. She isn’t afraid to take this series to places it’s never gone. With the single exception of Bad Bob returning as a villain in the last book, each installment in the Weather Warden series manages to tread new ground as it takes Joanne on an ever changing journey at breakneck speeds.

The last book ended with really bad news for our heroine. She has been branded with a pseudo-demon mark which has left her vulnerable to Bob’s evil influence. And dealing with that takes up the brunt of this story. All hell is breaking loose on the world with Bob at the center of it all. The wardens have all come together to protect Miami from a monster hurricane he’s cooked up. And they board up on a cruise ship to lead the storm away from the population at large. Of course, it’s a trap, at least in part. Bob knows how the wardens work and he uses that knowledge against them. But even worse, he is slowly breaking Joanne down, and turning her into his agent.

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Review: Marriage Mistake by RS Lively

Reviewed by Debz

I’m always fascinated when I see books set in small town America. It’s has always been interesting to see the difference between them and how they always strive to keep the small town vibe going whilst still growing the economy. Also, the last couple years, it has been doubly fascinating to realize that most of these cutesy, nosy, southern charm small town people would have voted for Donald Trump….I digress guys.

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Review: Dare to Love a Duke by Eva Leigh

Reviewed by Caitlin

Eva Leigh is an auto buy for me, even if her most recent book — Counting on a Countess — wasn’t my favorite (I didn’t quite believe the romance). However, this pairing has been hinted at for quite some time, and I was very, very excited for it. I am pleased to say that I adored this novel, and it got me through a rough couple of days while I dealt with a loved one in the hospital.

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Review: Summoned to Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones

Reviewed by Jen

I almost didn’t read this book. Despite the love I had for the 12 books that came before it, the line in the blurb about 100 years passing was almost enough to make me skip this final book in the Charley Davidson series. And that would have been such a huge mistake. I don’t want to spoil the plot for you, but if this set-up is what’s holding you back, don’t let it.

Aw hell, I don’t know how I can talk about this book at all without at least a little bit of spoilage –at least on that front—so read at your own risk.

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Review: Fatal Invasion by Marie Force

Reviewed by Debz

I had to give myself a week to calm down after reading this book. Otherwise, all you would have gotten was the delusional ravings to an avid fan girl. After a week of introspection and rereading, I have to say I still love it. 

This might be the best Fatal book yet. It had everything I wanted; action, police procedural, witty banter, stable family life and it just felt very well rounded. You can tell the author is very comfortable in the story now. That does not mean that the story has become boring and repetitive, but on the other hand, the characters have become more well rounded and lovely. 

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Review: Allison and the Torrid Tea Party by CM Stunich

Reviewed by Ronelle

For Allison Liddell, falling down a rabbit hole was nothing like the books led her to expect. Instead of finding a fantastical realm filled with quirky and nonsensical—also harmless—inhabitants, she tumbled into Underland. It used to be Wonderland, but not anymore. The Riving left a once beautiful world mired in chaos, war, and darkness, steeped in sex and violence, and drowning in boosted tea.

And she’s supposed to save it all.

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Review: Gale Force by Rachel Caine

Reviewed by Jen

This book felt like a big departure from the first six installments in the series. Don’t give me wrong, I have been lamenting the fact that Joanne and David haven’t had a moment to even breathe, much less any quality time to enjoy each other. Here, that changes in a big way. The book begins with them happy and in love, so much so that he asks her to marry him.

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Review: Mouth to Mouth by Tessa Bailey

Reviewed by Caitlin

I’ve read a handful of Tessa Bailey books. They’re easy to read and mostly fun. I do believe if you think too hard about them, they can get problematic — and since there is so much fun, easy romance out there that isn’t problematic, there isn’t really an excuse for it — but the ones of hers I like manage to avoid my worst triggers. I especially enjoyed The Major’s Welcome Home and Getaway Girl. Her collaboration with Eve Dangerfield in Captivated is lovely (but then again, I love Eve Dangerfield).

Mouth to Mouth‘s blurb should have been a warning to me. It’s just that I’d had a tough day, and it was on Kindle Unlimited, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Rory Prince is 24 years old and from the wrong side of the tracks. He’s got tattoos. He has a motorcycle. He’s got an anger problem. He beat someone so bad once that the police had to pull him off, and he did time for that crime. He works at the bar his family owns and he lifeguards as well. He’s a townie in a beach town that is full of rich people in the summer. And he is a total ladies’ man. He is a walking bundle of Bad Boy Tropes.

Olive Cunningham is rich. She is 18, a virgin, and book smart. She was homeschooled and unbelievably sheltered. She is young and naive and vulnerably sexy and wears glasses and sundresses and white shorts. She likes milkshakes for breakfast. She came to Long Beach for the summer to take a class for her psychology major before the school year started.

When Olive almost gets hit by a bus because she’s too engrossed in the book she’s reading, Rory saves her life. And he saves her life again in the ocean. And again when she’s near where a fight breaks out. They each fall in love at first sight. He calls her sunbeam. She thinks he’s the most handsome man who doesn’t understand how good his own heart is.

Sunbeam. He calls her sunbeam. The whole book.

Sunbeam.

Sunbeam.

Fine, we’re leaning into tropes. Fine. I can work with that.

Rory has a brother named Jamie. Jamie is gay. We find out Jamie is gay because when Jamie cleans up a cut Olive sustains, they’re interrupted by Marcus, who decides that Jamie being alone with a woman means he “change[d his] mind about liking dudes.” I almost wish we had Jamie introduce himself to Olive as “Rory’s super gay brother,” because it would have been the same level of awkward expository clunk.

Some authors think the hero telling the heroine she’s wearing something too revealing is romantic. I’ve also seen over-the-top jealousy used as proof that this love is so real. I hate both of those tropes, but Bailey obviously does not share my disdain for them. Seriously, boyfriend wouldn’t care if I walked out the house naked as long as I came home to him, and I’d much prefer seeing heroes view women’s bodies and choices that way.

Bailey LOVES a possessive, jealous alphahole. Some books it works okay, like when the heroine is older and already sexually and romantically experienced. Olive literally just graduated high school. 

Oh! If you’re wondering whether Rory’s jail time and all-consuming guilt is warranted, well, it’s not. 

Jamie was being attacked by five men for being gay and Rory beat the shit out of one of them until the cops came.

This jail time was the reason he stayed away from his mother for years. He was ashamed for being a hothead. Look, if you’re going to have a hero being violent like that and trying to be a better man after the fact, at least make the reason he feels shame be somewhat ambiguous. Rory’s Big Mistake was so obviously justified that it makes all his worries about not being good enough for Olive seem like an eye-rollingly obvious plot contrivance.

At the end of the novel, after some silly obligatory made-up road block from Olive due to some very-quickly-overcome insecurities, Rory promises to never leave her again, even if she breaks up with him. Some light stalking is treated as very romantic, despite their love story taking place over the course of a month, and the fact that Rory is possessive and jealous and so full-on, and keeps making a big deal about how young and innocent Olive is, means that the only feeling I’m left with when I finish this novel is the idea that this relationship is toxic. Get out, Olive, he’s seriously bad news.

If you want something light, fluffy, and fun, there are some very cute romances out there that have a lot of fun with romance tropes. I would not recommend this one.

Rating: D+

Click to purchase: Amazon

Mouth to Mouth
by Tessa Bailey
Release Date: November 12, 2018

Review: Mechanic with Benefits by Mickey Miller

Reviewed by Ericka

This is the second book in the Blackwell stand alone series. It begins being steamy, hot, and a lot of adult sexy time.

Haley is on her way to her sister’s wedding and has to travel alone since she recently broke off her engagement. Her car breaks down in the small town of Blackwell where everything closes early and her options are limited. She is heart broken and desperate. She walks in the rain and stumbles upon a mechanic shop and there she meets the town’s all around jerk, Liam. He is extremely rude and is reluctant to help her. She also puts him in another predicament of being her fake boyfriend for the wedding. After much arguing he agrees but only with one condition. He gets to have her whenever and however he wants her.

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