Review: Man Hands by Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby

Reviewed by Joanna

As a long-term Sarina Bowen fan, I look forward to the author collaborations she does, and this story, co-written with Tanya Eby, featuring a sex tape, a TV Mr Fixit and a larger lady, is another winner. It’s heavy on the comedy to make you giggle-snort, alongside a sexy angst free romance that I’ve come to expect from this author. I needed the light relief this week, and it delivered.

Brynn is an unhappy divorcee. She’s glad to have left her passionless ex behind, but she lost her job in the process and feels like a failure. What better to do than go to a fancy party with your friends, and run and jump (literally) on the first handsome guy you see?

Tom is on a lady-hiatus after an unpleasant ending to his last relationship. He’s a big, tall, TV celebrity, with nine seasons of a house renovation show under his (tool) belt, and he’s very good with his sizeable hands. Helpful for when a woman flies through the air at him, and super useful for helping her take off her wrap dress when a kiss leads to explosive passion and a quickie in the boat house. [Read more…]

DNF Review: Christmas at Hope Cottage by Lily Graham

Reviewed by Joanna

Ah, my first Christmas read of the season. Do you like to get in the spirit with seasonal books? I do, though I’m not exactly feeling extra festive, having read this… how to categorize. Not romance, not quite. Women’s fiction, maybe?

Emma is a writer in London, producing a food blog and working a number of writing jobs to make ends meet. On the day she gets dumped by her bland, beige boyfriend, she also gets hit by a postal truck. To add insult to injury? The postie was delivering her family’s ancient recipe/spell book, sent by her grandmother who wants to tempt her back into the fold.

With broken bones and other injuries, there’s only one place for Emma, and the book, to go – back to Hope Cottage, her family’s Yorkshire Moors home in the village of Whistling.

Now, Emma is in a rough way. She’s also a little brain damaged by the accident, causing her to lose her sense of taste, smell and giving her weird vision and touch. It takes a fair amount of time in the bosom of Grannie’s home to aid her recovery. [Read more…]

Review: Start With Me by J. Saman

Reviewed by Joanna

I have a confession. I was given this book aaaages ago, and managed to somehow misplace it, even though I like this author a lot and really enjoyed the first in this series of standalones. And I’m sorry it took me so long to read, as this is a tension-filled sexy romance.

Claire is an overqualified PA, and has been working for the same tech firm since college. Ryan is her boss (book one hero) and his younger brother Kyle is her super-duper dose of eye candy and text buddy. They only met once—at Ryan’s wedding—but their chemistry was off the chart. Shame Claire friend-zoned Kyle from the off. She doesn’t have boyfriends and even if she did, he’d be a bad choice. She considers her boss and his wife Kate as family, and doesn’t want to mess it up by screwing around with his brother. [Read more…]

Review: The Gravity of Us by Brittainy C. Cherry

Reviewed by Joanna

Phew! Finally I made it to the fourth and most lauded book of this series of standalones. This story follows Lucy and Graham. A hippie florist who loves too much, and a famous writer who is so closed up he can’t feel anything at all.

We start with Lucy’s sister being gravely ill, and her douchebag husband walking out on her as he can’t handle watching her die–a theme in this book. Lucy cares for her sister, Mari, and thinks upset thoughts about their elder sister, Lyric, who doesn’t give a damn. [Read more…]

Review: Bad Princess by Julianna Keyes

Reviewed by Joanna

This novella was a surprise release for me, and the first I heard of it was via the author asking for opinions on the cover. I love her choice, what do you think?

The story is a new adult fairy-tale-style romance, between Princess Brinley Cantrella of Estau and Prince Finn, a sober and serious man from the neighboring Kingdom who Brinley has loved since the age of five. And who was, until a few months ago, engaged to be married to her sister. [Read more…]

Review: The Silent Waters by Brittainy C. Cherry

Reviewed by Joanna

Maggie May was a sweet little loudmouth who fell in love at aged ten with her stepbrother’s best friend. Brooks tolerated her chatter and her plans for their wedding, but the day he was late to their rehearsal, deep in the woods, little Maggie witnessed a murder, then was attacked herself by the murderer.

She escaped, but was traumatized and lost the use of her voice, unable to tell anyone what happened. The poor child became mute. For years. [Read more…]

Review: Ruin You by Molly O’Keefe

Reviewed by Joanna

A journalist tries to take revenge on a chef for the sins of her father, but falls for her instead in the middle of a beautiful countryside farm setting. City grit meets tranquil, carefully put together love. Where this story didn’t break me, as I’d expected, it gently settled around me, and I read it in one shot, thriving on the feel of it alone.

Simon Malik was a resident of St Judes—a foster home for young people who found themselves in trouble. In books 0.5, 1 and 2 (which follow a different couple) we see the same scene played out a number of times. The abusive foster parents attack the kids, the husband gets stabbed, and the children get offered a deal by the mysterious Bates who keeps them from jail. Then the debts get called in, which causes the protagonists to tussle with their loves. Like Bates is some sort of HEA fairy godfather. [Read more…]

Review: The Fire Between High and Lo by Brittainy C. Cherry

Reviewed by Joanna

Here’s another offering of big love from the author who charmed me with book one’s tale of love after spouse loss. And though I leapt on this with excitement, this is grittier, and not quite as enjoyable, despite many great ingredients.

Logan and Alyssa were best friends as kids. They did everything together despite coming from different backgrounds and having little in common besides unhappiness. She’s a musician, with wealthy parents, one of whom is a controlling nutcase and the other of whom runs off and abandons her. He’s got a drug addict mother and a violent drug dealer father, and lives hand to mouth with little by way of love. Together they create a pocket of happiness, constantly reassuring one another that they’re okay and they’re surviving, and they make each other’s lives better. [Read more…]

Review: The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. Cherry

Reviewed by Joanna

Fancy a good dose of angst today? This novel of love after loss comes souped-up to the gills with Big Emotion. I just so happened to be in the mood to see two people mangled so this was right up my street.

Lizzie lost her husband, and father of her five-year-old daughter, in a car crash, and for the past year since his death, she’s been away from home, mourning and generally trying to hold it together for her child. Disillusioned by her mother’s constant stream of boyfriends, she returns to her own house, where she and her husband lived together. On the way, she runs over a dog and takes the creature to the vet, it’s angry and wild-looking owner in tow. [Read more…]

Review: Hideaway by Penelope Douglas

Reviewed by Joanna

This book has been eagerly anticipated by yours truly for two years, since the first in the dark romantic suspense series—Corrupt—knocked my socks off. So first, I should start with my standard Penelope Douglas warning. This is not a sweet and kind lovely story. It’s mean and brutish, with guys being horrible to girls, physical threats, rape threats, slut shaming and worse. The theme of these books is around the psyche and its link to the inner animal, with pursuit and aggression a key part of the route to love (for both the hero and heroine). If you can handle that you’ll happily drown in the oodles of tension and sexy atmosphere.

Now buckle up and I’ll tell you all about Kai and Banks. [Read more…]