Review: A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai

Reviewed by Caitlin

When I first started reading romance, I noticed a lot of “enemies-to-lovers” stories involved the hero being shitty to the heroine for no reason, so she responded by standing up for herself. It’s too bad, because I typically love that set-up, but it was frustrating to watch the hero be so much shittier than the heroine and still have it play out like they were both equally at fault.

The reason for this, of course, is that we (me included! I’m working on it!) are much more willing to forgive our male characters and root for their redemption arcs than we are our female characters. A female character who is unapologetically sexual and selfish and abrasive is more difficult to root for than a male character with the same traits. [Read more…]

Review: Merrily Ever After by Jenny Holiday

Reviewed by Caitlin

Merrily Ever After is a novella in Jenny Holiday’s lovely Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series. It follows the story of Elise and Jay, who are the couple getting married in the first book One and Only and whose actual romance is told in the (free!) novella Once Upon a Bride (which I very much recommend).

Merrily Ever After might be a bit more women’s fiction than actual romance since it deals with overcoming an obstacle in a marriage rather than two people falling in love, but it does have a lovely HEA and is a great entry into a wonderful series, so I think it’s close enough. Any fan of Jenny Holiday should absolutely read this novella. [Read more…]

Review: Never Better by Charlotte Stein

Reviewed by Caitlin

Never Better is the third in the Dark Obsessions trilogy, a new adult romance series by Charlotte Stein. I didn’t like it quite as much as Never Sweeter, but I still thoroughly enjoyed myself reading it. It was darker and heavier with (*slight spoiler*) an ending that’s a little bit more ambiguous than most romance novels, but I still ate it up in about a day and a half.

Lydia, Letty from Never Sweeter‘s best friend, is dealing with the fallout of almost being raped when two men invaded the house where she was babysitting. One of the home invaders assaulted her and held her down when the other one shot him in the head and made sure she was okay before disappearing. [Read more…]

Review: Bound to be a Groom by Megan Mulry

Reviewed by Caitlin

“Bound to be a Groom” is a historical polyamorous romance novella by Megan Mulry. This is my first Mulry venture, and I can’t decide how I feel about it. I really liked seeing a love story with four people in it (I am very into polyamory stories, although this was my first time reading one with multiple women in it and not just multiple men), and I especially loved that it was historical, but I’m not sure I really connected to it. There was a factor that was just, frankly… missing for me.

The novella starts in Badajoz, Spain in 1808 with Anna Redondo trying to seduce Sebastian de Montizon at a wedding. Even though she’s a virgin, she clearly has a dominant personality that immediately asserts itself with the much more knowledgeable Sebastian, who appears to be a natural submissive. He is immediately entranced with her, and she feels guilty because she appears to genuinely like him too. [Read more…]

Review: Mating the Huntress by Talia Hibbert

Reviewed by Caitlin

A Talia Hibbert novella is the perfect antidote to a reading slump or a terrible week or anything bad ever in your life. The heroine is going to be tough and not particularly interesting in being likable. The hero is going to be big and strong and a total fucking cinnamon roll. And the romance is going to be sweet and sexy.

“Mating the Huntress” was Hibbert’s first paranormal story, but it was a typical Hibbert story in every other way. The heroine, Chastity Adofo, is a total badass who can handle herself in a fight. She comes from a line of werewolf hunters, but because of a prophecy that predicted “her first kill would rip out her own heart.” [Read more…]

DNF Review: Love Online by Penelope Ward

Reviewed by Caitlin

I absolutely loved Never Sweeter by Charlotte Stein and decided to check out books that were similar. Sexy contemporary romcoms sounded like just the thing, and I’d seen the name Penelope Ward a few times before so I decided to check her out. This book had hundreds of four- and five-star reviews, and I liked the idea of a relationship starting out online before turning physical.

If this is reflective of her work, I think I’ll pass.

She’s not a bad writer. I just hated her hero and was not particularly impressed with the chemistry. Or the casual racism. [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: 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: Sweatpants Season by Danielle Allen

Reviewed by Caitlin

Me: She’s an ardent feminist and a freelance writer. He’s a writer and an English teacher who also hosts a podcast that gives guys sexist The Game-like dating advice.

Boyfriend: *makes face like he smelled bad sushi*

Me: I mean, I’m pretty sure he’s gonna leave the show in the end. And he’s not actively giving the bad advice.

Boyfriend: Okay… I guess…

I’ve been in kind of a reading slump recently. I haven’t actively hated a book in a minute, but what I’ve been reading has been… fine. So in a way, this book broke the slump. [Read more…]

Review: Joy to the Earl by Nicola Davidson

Reviewed by Caitlin

I’m a sucker for a virgin hero, and this is Nicola Davidson’s SECOND virgin hero! I am usually not a sucker for a holiday romance, but I’ll make an exception for an author I like.

Jack Reynolds is a farmer in Yorkshire. He’s 6’5″ and muscled from labor, but he has a bad limp. He is socially awkward and painfully shy, which means he’s made it to the age of 28 without having had sex. A few days before Christmas, Jack finds out he was actually the son of the Earl of Lynthorpe, given away because of his “deformity.” Now he’s the next in line to inherit the title. He’s not sure he should – he knows nothing about being an earl – but the law is the law, and primogeniture insists he must be the next earl. [Read more…]