Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Reviewed by Jen

Man, I really enjoyed this book. To be fair, Sarah McLean is an auto by author for me at this point. But that isn’t what made me love it… The story featured some of my favorite tropes, done to perfection, along with two main characters who I simply adored, both together and apart.

Felicity is a 27-year-old wallflower, who actually used to be a darling of the ton. I liked her in The Day of the Duchess, as one of the ladies who was “trying out” to be that hero’s new wife. Obviously, she was not meant to be the heroine of that tale. Still, her family is pushing hard for her to have a good match because they are in dire financial straits and they need a rich husband for her to solve their problems. Unfortunately, since she has fallen out of favor with those who were once her friends, it is a task that is growing increasingly difficult.

Those “friends” have actually grown quite cool. As the story begins they are teasing and pushing her too far, so far in fact that she declares that she is engaged to the duke who threw the ball they were attending. With that pronouncement, she unknowingly threw herself into a battle between two brothers with a deep grudge against each other. [Read more…]

Review: Vampire’s Faith by Rebecca Zanetti

Reviewed by Jen

I cannot tell you how excited I was to discover Rebecca Zanetti’s return to the Dark Protector series. Though she kept one toe in the pool with her Realm Enforcers spinoff, those books never quite had the same magic for me as the original series. This one absolutely does. It completely re-captured the magic of those early books and I felt like I never left.

I knew from the blurb that the hero would be a Karys, but what I didn’t know was how he would fit in with the family I knew and loved from the previous books. Would this be a prequel? Were we jumping forward in time? I knew I had never heard of a character named Ronan before. Turns out, it’s the best scenario of all. This book pics up about seven years after the last Dark Protectors book. Ronan is an ancestor of Dage– long dead to most of the world, his existence almost erased. [Read more…]

Review: Ocean Light by Nalini Singh

Reviewed by Jen

I have mixed feelings about this book, which I hate to say because I am such a huge fan of Nalini Singh. But the degree of Insta love here was just insurmountable. It colored my ability to enjoy the first half of this story to such a degree that it made it difficult to connect to the characters or the romance for a very long time. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that with shifters, a mating instinct requires acceptance of a quick connection. But the hero here is human and he was the biggest offender.

Let me back up. This is Bowen’s story. The leader of the Human Alliance has some serious issues to overcome. Not only was he shot up in a previous book, but his brain is in danger of shutting down because of the chip he had implanted. Bowen is deathly afraid of a Psy manipulating his mind and the chip prevented that. But now it is degrading and death is knocking on his door. [Read more…]

Review: Prisoner of the Crown by Jeffe Kennedy

Reviewed by Jen

Let me start by saying what a huge fan I have been of the 12 Kingdoms series. When I heard the next book would feature a Desnarian princess, I figured this was Jenna’s story and I was pretty excited. What I didn’t expect was a set-up for a trilogy on her story. (For fans of the series, remember, Jenna was the older sister who Harlan helped escape from an abusive husband. It was quite the mystery and now we are finally learning what happened.)

Here’s the thing, though. This is not a romance. This is the story of Jenna’s life leading up to the point in which her infamous escape took place. We have seen Desnarian culture before. It is highly unfavorable to women and that is in full force here. Jenna, just like every other woman, is a commodity. She has no rights. She is not allowed any knowledge or opinions of her own. And when faced with unimaginable cruelty, there is nothing she can do but take it. [Read more…]

Review: Being Green by Cynthia Sax

Reviewed by Jen

I flew through this short little story in about 30 minutes during my lunch break. Though it was published fifth in the Cyborg Sizzle series, I saw that it is designed it to be read after the first full length novel, so here I am.

It was… ok. The hero is Green, the cyborg with an attachment to his plant, Windy. His heroine, Shelby, is a botanist who is the only person who lives on a tiny planet dedicated to various flowers and plants. She has cut herself off because everyone she has ever loved has been killed and she is trying to protect herself from future pain.

To call this insta love would not do the speed in which these to find their way together justice. Green had decided Shelby was his female before he even laid eyes on her. And she was fantasizing about him based on email exchanges as well. You’ve Just got to go with it. [Read more…]

Review: Releasing Rage by Cynthia Sax

Reviewed by Jen

Where to start? I have some very mixed feelings about this book. It is super sexy for sure. This book knows what it wants to be and comes out of the gate swinging, getting down and dirty in the first few pages. It delivers on its promise of an angry, wounded cyborg who has never known kindness. And it made me want to see a happy ever after for each and every one of the cyborgs the author introduced me to.

But.

(*spoiler alert*) The heroine is gang-raped. The book didn’t need it. Even worse was the way that the hero had to heal her. With sex. After she is raped. While she is unconscious. And it’s gross. And if this part of the book was not there? If the heroine just managed to escape after being roughed up or something? We would’ve been pretty golden. But that’s not what happened. And I’m not over it. So trigger warning all over the place. [Read more…]

Review: Bone Driven by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Jen

One day I will learn how to savor a good book like a fine glass of wine. One day, but not today.

I inhaled this book with the fervor of one finding oxygen on a dying planet. It took me a few chapters to remember everything that was going on, but once I got my bearings, it was all systems go. And it was over far too quickly.

As the story begins, the clock is ticking on Luce’s days with the police force. At the end of the last book, she was forced into an agreement to go work for the demon task force of the National Security Branch of the FBI. She is a woman of her word, but it’s breaking her heart to walk away from her partner and the life she’s worked so hard to build. Before she turns in her badge, though, she’s got one more assignment–and it’s a tough one– a string of deadly arsons with no apparent common thread. She must work to figure out what’s behind them, all while juggling her sick father, her complicated relationship with her coterie, and her feelings for Cole. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the looming threat of an attack by her sisters War and Famine. [Read more…]

Review: Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James

Reviewed by Jen

Though I enjoyed the romance in the first book of this series, it was almost overshadowed by my interest in the secondary couple, the hero’s brother and his betrothed. So I was more than excited to start this book and read their full story.

North, heir to the Dukedom, and Diana were engaged in book one, but it seemed that she was far less enamored of the match than he was. In fact, she ran away and jilted him before that book was done. It ended with him finding her hidden away in a cottage with a crying baby. All signs pointed to her having given birth, but we learn quickly that the child actually was a bastard born of her deceased sister. Diana refuses to let the baby grow up in an orphanage, so she has taken responsibility for him.

Anyway, North disappears for a while and goes off to fight in the American revolution. When he returns, he discovers that she is now living in his family home, raising the baby and acting as a governess to his niece. Society believes the child she brought with her is his. But rather than lashing out, he is surprisingly magnanimous. It’s sets the stage for us to see his true character. [Read more…]

Review: How to Forget a Duke by Vivienne Lorret

Reviewed by Jen

I have read a few different books from Vivienne Lorret now, and I have enjoyed them enough that I did not hesitate to pick this one up. It follows the story of a professional matchmaker who inadvertently falls in love with the man who has hired her.

That premise could’ve made it very trite. So too could the second major trope thrown in. The heroine gets amnesia. Though that is an eye-roller for some folks, it did not bother me here. I did have a few issues, but that wasn’t one of them.

I guess, for me, my biggest complaint is that I was slow to warm up to these characters. Jacinda, our matchmaker, is hell-bent on proving Rydsrom, the titular Duke, is hiding something. She dresses up like a maid to invade his private space and she tries to sneak in to his country home as well. She comes across as immature and, well, like a bit of a wrecking ball. It was kind of a blessing when she forgot who she was. [Read more…]

Review: Planet Dragos by Thea Harrison

Reviewed by Jen

This last novella in the Dragos & Pia POV reminded me quickly of why I fell in love with the Elder Races in the first place. It’s been an age since the last time we had a full length book featuring these two, but Thea Harrison has given us a half dozen novellas over the years to keep us in the loop with their relationship and growing family. With this story, they are visiting Las Vegas to see Rune and Carling get married. Pia is very pregnant with baby number two –and everything goes to hell when someone with an axe to grind with Dragos kidnaps her to hurt him.

The book isn’t very long and I don’t want to spoil the particulars, but I will say that I really enjoyed returning to this world and these characters. Dragos is so fascinating to me. He’s the alpha among alphas, so much of a dragon, even when he’s wearing his human skin. Yet his love for Pia shapes him. He worships her; he would burn the world for her, and more to the point, he could. It’s awesome. I love Pia, too. She has her own brand of strength. Though her husband has been around for thousands of years, and she is less than 30, she has a lot to teach him about other ways to see life and the world. And the best part is that he listens. [Read more…]