Review: Defy by L.J. Shen

Reviewed by Joanna

This novella is the tale of Melody, a twenty-six-year-old teacher who falls for Jaime, her eighteen-year-old student. It’s unapologetically instalove on Jaime’s behalf (and instalust on Melody’s), and I was interested in whether I’d feel icked out by the abuse of power and age difference between the two. I’d met Jaime in book one – Vicious – and here I found myself warmed by just how dedicated a hero he is in his own story.

Melody hates her job. She was meant to be a ballerina but a bad leg break put paid to her career. Teaching literature is her alternative but she isn’t very good at it and her students don’t pay any attention to her. Apart from Jaime Followhill. The six-three blond man-bunned stud is all about the teacher. He stalks Ms Greene until he finds a way to blackmail her into seeing him. She puts up a feeble resistance – based mainly on the fact his mother is the school principal – but they end up in bed together (I say ‘bed’ but it is mostly other places). [Read more…]

Review: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata

Reviewed by Joanna

Another slow burn romance from the queen of the genre, in the theme of the meek gentling the angry beast. Not my favorite of the three I’ve read by this author, but a good yarn and a touch different to other motorcycle club stories I’ve picked up.

Iris has upped sticks and moved in with her half-brother Sonny, a guy she saw sporadically when they were kids, but who now offers her shelter following problems at her home. He gets her a job in a tattoo parlor, owned and managed by one of his MC club buddies – Dex. Dex is a mean SoB, tattooed, massive and cross with everyone, and meek little Iris is scared stiff of him. She’s a funny creature, timid and damaged by illness but loyal and funny too, and when faced with Dex, does all she can not to piss him off all the more. Including not actually learning how to do her job properly as she’s too afraid to ask twice. [Read more…]

Review: Nova by Rebecca Yarros

Reviewed by Joanna

A second chance romance with a backdrop of extreme sports on a giant floating university in the Pacific  – who couldn’t fall in love with that?

I was excited for this book for a long time before it came out. It’s the second story following the Renegades and the women (and I guess men at some point) who love them. The crew are extreme sports professionals, winners of X games medals and all round badasses, but in their early twenties, they’ve got to finish college alongside pursuing their sports dreams. [Read more…]

Review: Next to Never by Penelope Douglas

Reviewed by Joanna

This is a warm up book to get us ready for the next generation of the sexy stars of the Fall Away series. Quinn is the much younger sister of Jared, Madoc and Jax, and lives under a regime of stifling overprotectiveness (from these guys? Can you imagine them letting a guy near her?). This seventeen-year-old is just waiting to fledge, and she knows the direction she wants to fly. Three years ago, family friend Lucas left town, taking her heart with him. He was fond of her, but at twenty-six they were never a match. He went to work in Dubai, and they lost contact. [Read more…]

Review: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

Reviewed by Joanna

This is the second book I’ve read by this author, the master of slow burn romance, and she’s introduced me to another heroine I want to hug – and hero I want to throttle (before I kidnap him and run away with him forever). Vanessa is the personal assistant to the Wall of Winnipeg – aka Aiden, a huge quarterback for the Three Hundreds. She’s worked for him for 2 years and this big-hearted woman has had it. Aiden isn’t a bad boss, but he’s as warm as an ice block and barely grunts his replies when she asks him a question. Vanessa manages his social media, cooks his 7-10,000 calorie vegan meal plans, cleans, travels with him, and she’s the caring type, so she can’t get by on grunts alone. [Read more…]

Review: Vicious by L.J. Shen

Reviewed by Joanna

Baron Spencer Jr is a nasty piece of work. His family owns half the town of Todos Santos, including the mansion Emilia (Millie) LeBlanc’s parents are servants in. At age eighteen, Baron, known as Vicious, is a right handsome little terror. He’s a trust fund baby with zero respect for anyone, throwing wild parties at the mansion with his crew, the Four HotHoles (weirdest crew name I ever heard), and lusting after Millie whilst hating on her too. She hates him right back, but as the Help, won’t tell him where to go, else her parents lose their jobs. [Read more…]

Review: Egomaniac by Vi Keeland

Reviewed by Joanna

Enjoy sexy, swaggering rich guys who fall in love then can’t handle it? Plus a side of slightly hapless country girl blindsided by the big city? Even if you don’t, then hot damn, that cover has got to please you.

Drew Jagger is our man. He’s a high-end divorce lawyer who acts solely for men, helping them get back at the women who screwed them over (left them). Yeah, he’s a real charmer. One New Year’s Eve he returns from holiday, calling in to his renovated office on the way home to his penthouse. To his surprise, he finds a woman there, working away and burning the midnight oil. Emerie Rose thinks Drew is a burglar and threatens to attack him and call the cops. [Read more…]

Review: Pack of Lies by Annie Bellet

Reviewed by Joanna

Onto book three and I’m happy again. As if by magic, Annie Bellet solved my issues with the direction of this series, in refocusing locally with the town and people I’d got to like in book one, and also upping the romantic stakes in this urban fantasy series. Sorceress Jade and shifter Justice boyfriend Alek actually talk about their relationship. It’s a Big Deal.

We open the story to an unhappy Jade. The events of book two, involving her estranged family in the shifter cult, upset her badly, and she and Alek split. They’ve not had a break-up conversation, but have neither seen nor called one another in a month. Jade is blue and mopey, but makes no effort to resolve the issue as she’s emotionally stunted, choosing instead to continue to improve her magic abilities (in case her evil ex ever shows up) and play role-playing games with her friends (cos she’s chill like that). [Read more…]

Review: Reckless Hearts by Heather Van Fleet

Reviewed by Joanna

Three men and a baby is the core of this story, and who doesn’t want to read hapless guys juggling a cute kid? Great premise. But the love was a little harder to come by in this tale of a teacher and an ex-marine.

Addison is our unemployed teacher. She needs a job, and it just so happens Collin needs a nanny for his baby daughter. They meet in a bar where he’s pushy in offering help to her and her very drunk buddy, but Addie’s not having any of it and leaves him in her dust. They meet again when his sister, Lia, her sort-of friend, brings her to interview for the nanny post. But again our H&H don’t hit it off. [Read more…]

Review: Murder of Crows by Annie Bellet

Reviewed by Joanna

This is book two of the urban fantasy series I was excited to start. Am I still excited? Maybe, though this story wasn’t as good as the first.

Jade is stretching and practicing her sorceress magic, ready for when her evil ex-boyfriend comes. We’re three months on from book one when her cover was blown, and her friends now know she’s more than the hedge witch she was pretending to be. They stick by her, and she’s decided to stay in town at her store, Pwned Comics and Games, instead of running. [Read more…]