Joint Review: Dr. Strange Beard by Penny Reid

Reviewed by Caitlin & Sara

Caitlin: I’m a Penny Reid fan, and her last several books have been, in my opinion, her best. Marriage of Inconvenience and Dating-ish were the two best books in the Knitting in the City series by a mile (thanks to a complete lack of slut-shaming that plagued the earlier books), and I’m very much enjoying her Winston Brothers series.

Sara: I’m also a Penny Reid fan and I agree. It’s great when you can see an author grow. Gone is the problematic slut shaming and completely monochromatic cast of characters and in their place are thought provoking commentary on current events and more diversity. I’m really happy with the way Reid’s writing and this series in particular is going. [Read more…]

Review: The Tycoon by M O’Keefe

Reviewed by Caitlin

The King Family series is going to be four books long with three authors contributing. Molly O’Keefe wrote the first one – The Tycoon – and I believe she wrote the fourth one, which will be out in the fall and about which I am very excited.

The books so far revolve around the King family – a ridiculously rich family in a small town outside of Dallas, TX – and the death of the narcissistic, chauvinistic, selfish asshole of a father. The first book is Veronica’s book.

Veronica (Ronnie) King is the oldest legitimate child of Hank King. Five years ago, when Ronnie was twenty-two, she was engaged to Clayton Rorick, one of the most promising employees at King Industries. She was over-the-moon in love with the coolly confident man who gave her the best orgasms she’d ever had. She wasn’t the pretty one, as everyone seemed to delight in telling her, but she was smart and practical and Clayton sure seemed to think she was beautiful. [Read more…]

Review: Taunt by Eve Dangerfield

Reviewed by Caitlin

Taunt by Eve Dangerfield is an odd book for this author. It’s the only one that’s not strictly contemporary erotica romantic comedy (a very specific genre, but she’s excellent at it). It’s the only one that isn’t m/f. It’s the only one set in an alternative universe where the apocalypse is nigh. And it’s the only one that felt very much like it needed a “to be continued” and I have no idea when she’s going to come back to this.

This is a m/m/f/m story. So many of these are done poorly/awkwardly, but when they’re done right, there is so much angst and I am 100% there for it.

Daniel Schwartz is a New Zealand woman who likes to party and can’t feel pain – either emotional or physical. She is aware when she is sad, but in a distant sort of way. She and her friend Cynthia are on the run and hiding out in Paris after they’ve stumbled upon some very important information with very serious consequences. Her friend can’t handle whatever this information is and kills herself, leaving Daniel totally alone. [Read more…]

Review: My Lord, Lady, and Gentleman by Nicola Davidson

Reviewed by Caitlin

I first decided to check out Nicola Davidson on a recommendation by Sarah Maclean and burned through almost her entire backlist. Back then, this book hadn’t been released yet, but I couldn’t wait for it to come out. The first two novellas in the series – “My Lady’s Lover” (f/f romance) and “To Tame A Wicked Widow” (BDSM with experienced widow submissive and virgin dominant) – were excellent, and I was very much anticipating this entry into the series.

It did not disappoint.

Clayton Irving is a third son of a lord whose parents expected him to be a vicar. Clayton, however, is not really cut out for the cloth. He drinks, he gambles, and he has plenty of sex – with both men and women. His parents have disowned him, so he supports himself as an artist of a… sensual nature. He’s very talented. [Read more…]

Review: Disciplined by the Duke by Alyson Chase

Reviewed by Caitlin

Disciplined by the Duke is the first in the Lords of Discipline series. So far there are three books out, and so far all three are very good. I might like this first one best because the build up is so incredibly hot, but the other two are definitely worthy follow-ups.

The year is 1813. Elizabeth Wilcox is being blackmailed by the Earl of Westmore. Her sister, Amanda, is in Newgate for murdering their father – sticking a knife in his ribs after years of sexual abuse when it became clear he was about to move on to Elizabeth. Westmore is corrupt and has the ear of the judge in Amanda’s trial. He will release Amanda if Elizabeth does what he asks.

It’s been a year of living under his awful thumb, doing unpleasant tasks that aren’t always quite legal. Now, though, he has given her the final task that will ensure her freedom. If she gets a certain letter currently in the Duke of Montague’s possession and brings it back to him, Westmore will free Amanda. Westmore has even gotten Elizabeth a job as a chambermaid at Montague’s country estate. [Read more…]

Review: A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian

Reviewed by Caitlin

A Gentleman Never Keeps Score is the second installment of Cat Sebastian’s “Seducing the Sedgwicks” series. Sebastian has been an autobuy for me since I read The Soldier’s Scoundrel (book 1 of “The Turner Series”), but this book is far and away my favorite since that series.

It’s 1817. Hartley Sedgwick is a 23-year-old gentleman and a social outcast. He inherited a house in Mayfair from his godfather, Sir Humphrey Easterbrook, with whom he carried on a sexual affair. Hartley has told himself he did it to get his brother Will a commission in the Navy and to make sure his other brothers had food on the table because the truth – that he was too young to make such a choice and was taken advantage of by someone who was supposed to care for him – makes him feel even weaker. At least this way, he was an active participant, rather than a victim. [Read more…]

Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Reviewed by Caitlin

Stella Lane is 30 years old and a very successful econometrician (economics meets math – sounds like a badass job). She works everyday because she’s passionate about what she does. She hates dating just as she hates most social interactions in which she has to meet new people, but her mother is worried about her daughter’s biological clock and so continues to pressure her to go out on dates.

Also, Stella has Asperger’s. In the first chapter, it appears as if this is something to conquer in her mother’s eyes, while her father dotes on her. Mom suggests she date Philip James. They come from the same neighborhood, and they work in the same firm. It makes sense.

What is our introduction to Philip James? He’s in his 30s and agrees to date an intern in his office who is over a decade younger than he is. He sneers at Stella and casts aspersions about what she must be like in bed, then suggests that she practice sex until she’s good at it. At the workplace he says all this. AT THE OFFICE. [Read more…]

Review: Making Up by Lucy Parker

Reviewed by Caitlin

I’ve been putting off this review because I couldn’t figure out what to write about it. This is the third book in Lucy Parker’s London Celebrities series and it has my two favorite leads so far. The book was funny and endearing, and I really enjoyed getting to know Trix and Leo. I’m a sucker for the strong, silent type who isn’t also a dick, and Leo fills that role nicely.

Trix Lane is a performer in The Festival of Masks, a Cirque-du-Soleil type show enjoying a good run in London. She is incredibly talented, but her verbally abusive and controlling ex-boyfriend Dan has done a number on her, and her confidence is in the gutter. When the lead injures herself bad enough that she won’t be able to perform anymore, Trix is next in line to fill in. [Read more…]

Review: It Takes Two by Jenny Holiday

Reviewed by Caitlin

It Takes Two is the second book in Jenny Holiday’s “Bridesmaids Behaving Badly” series. I absolutely loved the first one – One and Only – and highly recommend it. It Takes Two tells Wendy Liu and Noah Denning’s story.

Wendy’s best friend, Jane Denning, is getting married and Wendy is trying as hard as she can to be happy for her. Whereas the bride in book 1 was a straight-up bridezilla in the traditional sense, Jane is almost more difficult to deal with. Every time Jane mentions how “low-key” she wants her wedding to be, I laughed. Girl, just be high-maintenance. It’s not any worse than high-maintenance-pretending-to-be-low-maintenance. [Read more…]

Review: Pretending He’s Mine by Mia Sosa

Reviewed by Caitlin

Pretending He’s Mine is a standalone contemporary romantic comedy with one of my all-time favorite tropes: the fake relationship. This is my first Mia Sosa book, and even though it’s the second in this series (the first one is about the heroine’s movie star brother), I had no trouble following along.

Julian Hart is a bigshot Hollywood agent whose biggest client is superstar Carter Stone – his best friend from high school. Julian is tightly wound and constantly working or working out (Lord do I love when a book details a hero’s workout regimen). He is worried that he might lose his job because he is outspoken on the matter of representation in Hollywood and his asshole boss doesn’t want him to alienate anyone from his “soapbox.” He also religiously works to keep his personal and professional life separate, which means sometimes he’s Carter’s friend and sometimes he’s Carter’s agent, but never at the same time. [Read more…]