Review: Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Reviewed by Joanna

Ah, books with families of brothers really are my downfall. I can’t remember why, but I was put off reading this series last year, despite the excellence of the co-authors (Erin Watt is Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick). I think I read that it was Young Adult, but I wouldn’t recommend this for teens. Although the protagonists are high school students, it has detailed scenes of stripping, drugs, sexual assault, non-consensual and consensual and sex, so I’d shelve it in the New Adult category.

The story is told from the point of view of Ella Harper, an orphan who is struggling to get by and supporting herself by the trade her mother excelled at – stripping. Her mum died and Ella is forging her signature in order to continue going to school. She’s pragmatic, street wise and sassy. Imagine her fear when a strange, well-dressed man arrives at her school claiming to be her guardian, and when she runs, he finds her and kidnaps her. [Read more…]

Review: Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

Reviewed by Joanna

A friend recommended this to me as a lighthearted and fun romance, and just occasionally I like to put down the angst and enjoy a little sweetness. Georgiana Watkins is a party girl and socialite. Her family is moneyed so she wants for nothing and has never worked, unless you consider the tiring strain of bringing home doughnuts for the concierge at her building at 5am every day when she’s done with clubbing.

There’s little to her life apart from having fun, dressing up prettily and being good natured. You’d think the author would be setting her up to be despised, wouldn’t you? Well, she isn’t. And what’s more, I liked Georgie. She’s friend to everyone and though she doesn’t add much value to the world otherwise, she’s happy with her lot. [Read more…]

Review: Level Up by Cathy Yardley

Reviewed by Joanna

This novella tells the tale of Tessa, an audio programmer working for a games company in Southern California, and Adam, a colleague who also happens to be her housemate. Tessa wants two things in life – promotion to a fully-fledged game engineer – a job she is well qualified to do, and to get laid to help her reduce her stress levels. Problem is she ain’t exactly the most social person in the world. A dedicated introvert, Tessa needs to put herself out there to achieve both objectives.

Adam (think Ben from Parks and Rec) has been single a year and is still hung up over his ex. He’s comfortable in his job, in his home, and hasn’t really looked twice at his housemate. He’s got Casey’s (the ex) stuff still scattered around his house, but wants to get laid just as much as Tessa does. His work buddies bet him he can’t get a girlfriend before they fill the engineering spot in the team. And dating his housemate is cheating. [Read more…]

Review: Wicked Intentions by JT Geissinger

Reviewed by Joanna

This book is just so slick, it slid into my hands when I wanted to read it, and so heartfelt I didn’t let it go. The Wicked Games series is hot stuff. Alpha heroes and seriously skilled heroines abound.

In this standalone tale, Mariana is an internationally renowned thief. She’s on a tropical island in the Caribbean to steal a valuable necklace, and needs access to a hotel guest’s bedroom in order to get the job done. Easy – she just needs to seduce and dope the mark and get on her way. The problem is, she doesn’t expect the all-American blond to have quite such a devastating effect on her. [Read more…]

Review: The Baby by S. Doyle

Reviewed by Joanna

This novella is the fourth in The Bride series, and Ellie and Jake are still going strong. You can guess from the title what this latest insight into their lives and relationship tackles. So if you like seeing the HEA from your romance novels turn into babies and happy families, this will be a treat for you. But it isn’t an easy journey for Ellie and Jake, which is par for the course for them.

Our young couple, living on their ranch in Montana, grew up together, with their fathers owning neighboring land. Events left them both parentless, and sixteen-year-old Ellie was about to lose her ranch and be taken into care. Older Jake stepped in and they married – in name only – to enable her to keep her home. If you want to know how an arranged marriage turned into a real one, go and start this series here. [Read more…]

Review: Tyed by LJ Shen

Reviewed by Joanna

This is the tale of Blaire and Tyler. She’s an unhappy and directionless college student, and he’s the super hot Mixed Martial Arts fighter she is assigned to interview. Except Tyler never gives interviews, and they don’t get off to a good start.

Blaire does not enjoy college. She failed the first year of her communications degree, and even though she’s now closing in on graduation, she spends much of her time zoning out in class and smoking joints with her best friend, Shane. [Read more…]

Review: Hello Forever by Sarina Bowen

Reviewed by Joanna

Axel and Caxton were best friends from the age of eight, when they met at church camp. At age sixteen, their friendship took a turn, and they were caught kissing by a pastor.

Theirs was not a progressive church.

The boys’ parents were called, and Cax’s father came down on him like a ton of bricks. The man is a nasty ‘phobe, and it was the last time Cax got to see his friend. For the sake of staying with his family, he gave up all contact with Axel, leaving them both heartbroken. [Read more…]

Review: Ruckus by L.J. Shen

Reviewed by Joanna

Ooh, I’ve been looking forward to this book. This author writes the best alpha a-holes, who I love to hate before I learn to love.

We’ve worked our way to the third of the Hotholes, and Ruckus, or Dean Cole is the a-hole in the frame. In book one, Vicious, he was dating Millie, who ends up with Vicious, the psychotic leader of the rich-boy gang. Yet even as Dean and Millie were an item, he loved someone else. Her younger sister, Rosie LeBlanc.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about inter-family dating, but my concerns went by the by pretty quickly, with some great background building to their romance, and also the time that passes in the tale. Add to that the fact Dean slept with pretty much everything that moved in the eleven years since he and Millie broke up, and the sister connection is pretty weak. [Read more…]

Review: Where I Belong by M O’Keefe

Reviewed by Joanna

This is the second part of The Debt series, and is not standalone. If you like your love awash with all the feels, go read my review of book one Lost Without You. Better still, go grab the prologue (review here) for free and see if you like the writing.

We good? Okay, so we left off with Tommy and Beth on the run. They’ve stopped for gas and food, but in the café Beth realizes the news channels are running an appeal from her evil mother, saying Beth needed to be brought back to psychiatric care. Everyone is looking her—Tommy too—so she flees back to the car. In the meantime Tommy is set upon by two gangsters lurking in the men’s room. Bates sent them as Tommy hadn’t delivered on his debt repayment, which was Beth’s delivery to her evil mother. [Read more…]

Review: Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros

Reviewed by Joanna

This is a military-flavored romance, with the college-age protagonists putting it firmly in the NA category. Ember Howard is our heroine, and we open the story to the death of her father, an army doctor. She answers the door from the knock of death, and her and her family are devastated by the loss. It’s what every military family dreads, and it’s happened to them.

It’s smack bang in the holiday season, and it’s Ember’s birthday too. Dashing out in a mad panic to the store to pick up a cake to distract her younger brother, she bumps into Josh Walker, a guy she had a crush on as a teenager in high school. Josh was a bad boy, but is now her younger brother’s hockey coach, his own hockey career ended by injury. He’s upset by the news about her dad too. [Read more…]