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 Major’s Welcome Home by Tessa Bailey

Reviewed by Sara

Tessa Bailey’s new release, “The Major’s Welcome Home,” isn’t technically a new release. The short story of Major Beck Collier and Kenna Sutton was previously released in 2015 as part of an anthology with author Sophie Jordan called Off Base. With an additional epilogue, previously only released on Wattpad and half of all its release week sales going to fund research for Juvenile Diabetes, picking up this novella and becoming reacquainted with Beck and Kenna was a no-brainer.

Kenna Sutton was a wild child and has done her best as an adult to make up for that by making herself indispensable to her General father. Which is how she ends up as the pick up driver for Major Beck Collier as he returns from a six year deployment overseas. Considering Major Collier’s expertise is in engineering strategy, Kenna assumes she’ll be picking up a bespectacled, paunchy desk jockey. Instead she’s met with a hulking, military Adonis with a heart of gold. Determined to see that he’s welcomed home properly, Kenna gets particularly hands on with Beck and soon finds an attraction to the major that’s more than skin deep. [Read more…]

Review: Home by Jezz de Silva

Reviewed by Sara

Home, by new-to-me author Jezz de Silva, is a poignant and heart-wrenching romance that is perfect for readers who enjoy military themes, May/December romances and the friends to lovers tropes. It’s also great if you like your main characters on the mature-side.

There are a lot of surprises in this book and as a result it’s a bit difficult to write a detailed synopsis of the story without spoiling some plot points. As a result my synopsis here is pretty vague.

Home begins on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan with military specialists Mark and Jamie. Mark is Jamie’s best friend and mentor. The men are heroes, but Home isn’t about those kind of heroes and soon the setting of the novel changes and we meet Eve in Australia, Mark’s now widow. Eve is attempting to get answers from military higher ups about Mark’s death, bury her husband and grieve, when Jamie risks his career and freedom to shed light on what happened to Mark. What begins as two strangers meeting soon evolves into more as Eve provides Jamie with the home he’s never had and Jamie works to do right by his best friend’s wife by providing support and fixing her home. [Read more…]

Review: The Devil’s Daughter by Katee Robert

Reviewed by Sara

I’m a big fan of Katee Robert and her sexy romances, but I wasn’t so sure about The Devil’s Daughter when I saw its release. Published in 2017, it’s the first book of tmhe Hidden Sins series of novels and while it’s listed as a romance, it’s more of a romantic suspense or romantic ystery. While there is a romance between between Sheriff Zach Owens and FBI agent Eden Collins, it’s not the main element of the story. Needless to say, I am super happy that I gave this book a try.

After a career in the Marines, Zach Owens is happy with his life in quiet, small town Clear Springs, Montana, even if he does have a cult residing inside his jurisdiction. This all changes when girls start disappearing and then showing up dead. To make matters worse, the estranged daughter of the Elysia cult’s leader shows up to let him know there’s a leak on his force and that she has inside information on his case. Eden Collins doesn’t want to be back in Clear Springs, and she wants to be near her mother and the Elysia cult even less, but she’s dedicated her life to shutting down violent cults with the FBI, and the information she received from an unnamed source leads her to believe that something horrible is happening in Clear Springs. [Read more…]

Review: Loving the Wounded Warrior by Adriana Anders

Reviewed by Sara

Adriana Anders has a way of using her novels to discuss very real societal issues, while also providing the escape many readers look for in a romance novel. Loving the Wounded Warrior is an example of this particular skill.

Kurt is a man left broken by his military service and the loss of a friend and fellow marine to suicide. He is pushing this same friend’s empty wheelchair up a mountain when he is nearly run off the road by O’Neal. O’Neal isn’t just the baby sister of Kurt’s best friend, a girl he crushed on, but she was also the intrepid high school reporter whose article on a concussion Kurt received due to football, led to the derailment of his college football career.

O’Neal has always been curious. Looking for the story in others’ experiences has helped her to avoid her own issues. She has trouble processing physical affection, is emotionally blunt, and has a career that she loves in theory, but is failing at in reality. Once she discovers the man with the wheelchair is Kurt, she’s even more curious than she normally is and she can’t let him or his story get away. [Read more…]

Review: A Taste of Pleasure by Chloe Blake

Reviewed by Sara

Danica (Dani) Nilsson loses her boyfriend and her job as a chef in one day. With her reputation in tatters, she leaves to visit her aging supermodel mother in Italy where she runs into her one night stand from over a year ago. Antoni (Toni) Lorenzetti, Dani’s fling, is also the nephew of her mentor, Chef Marcello. Both Dani and Toni are present when a tragedy occurs in Marcello’s kitchen and Dani steps up to save the whole evening service.

Toni wants Dani in his bed, but he’s not sure about having her in his kitchen. Begrudgingly, he asks Dani to help at his secluded farm to table restaurant in the countryside outside of Milan. Throw in a conniving ex-wife, a distraught teenage daughter, a meddling mother and the idyllic Italian scenery and the recipe for a tumultuous romance is set. [Read more…]

Joint Review: Rogue Souls by Chelsea Meuller

Reviewed by Sara and Jen

Sara: Rogue Souls is fantastic!

Jen: Agreed! No sophomore slump here. I really enjoyed this second installment of the Soul Charmer series. It picks up right on the heels of the first book, so if you have not read Borrowed Souls yet, you should start there. But if you read and liked that book as much as I did, you are in for a treat as Callie’s story continues.

Sara: Chelsea Mueller uses this second book to methodically reveal the many layers of this rich story. Callie and Derek are still working repossessing rented souls from people of Gem City until a teenager shows up dead and mutilated on the Soul Charmer’s doorstep. The murder unveils the criminal element of Gem City’s underground’s not so subtle unhappiness about the Soul Charmer’s monopoly on rented souls and reveals a surprising alliance between the Church and the Soul Charmer. [Read more…]

Review: Captivated by Tessa Bailey and Eva Dangerfield

Reviewed by Sara

It would be really easy to classify authors’ Tessa Bailey and Eva Dangerfield’s novel Captivated as a quick and dirty Erotic Romance. The book isn’t particularly long and the events in it happen quickly and without preamble. It’s also incredibly sexual and deals with the more taboo fantasy of forced submission.

Autumn, an Aussie transplant, freshly broken up with her cheating, comedian boyfriend has a run in with her landlord, Blake. During this run in, her fantasies, that just happen to be with Blake, come to light. They’re dark and illicit and Blake, who is more or less a shut-in, is moved by them and agrees to some role play with Autumn if she’ll go on three dates with him. This leads to more than just sex and eventually the two are wrapped up in a whirlwind romance that has them questioning their pasts and futures as individuals and as a couple. [Read more…]

Review: The Varlet and the Voyeur by Penny Reid and L.H. Cosway

Reviewed by Sara

The Varlet and The Voyeur is book four in Penny Reid and L.H. Cosway’s Rugby Series. I really enjoyed the previous three books in the series and was stoked for this book to come out.

Will Moore is the strong silent member of the Irish Rugby team. He is seen as well-mannered and scandal free until a tabloid accuses Will of paying prostitutes to perform sex acts so that he can watch. The team is shocked and so are Will’s sponsors. Will is all about rules, ethics and preventing misunderstandings. He is also, definitely, a voyeur and, while never having paid prostitutes (he views this as unethical because prostitution can be exploitive), he has had a non-monetary arrangement with several married couples. So, to make things up to the team and regain his good name he hires Josey Kavanagh to be around him to keep him from finding another couple to watch. Will initially views, sweet, exuberant Josey as a little sister or a puppy. However, unexpected things can happen in close quarters and soon Will doesn’t see Josey as a little sister at all. To avoid misunderstandings he puts both rules and a deadline on their interactions, which (of course!) means misunderstandings abound. [Read more…]

Review: Breathless by Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan

Reviewed by Sara

In Breathless, Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan have taken two stories and woven them together into an epic love story that crosses centuries and continents.

The historical portion of the book centers on The Swan, London’s premiere courtesan. The Swan has worked her way up from the bowels of Newgate Prison to the height of the London ton. She is independently wealthy, dictates fashion, and can have any man she wants. A man, however, is how she finds herself shipwrecked with amnesia on the coast of Catalonia. Here, she is taken in by The Artist, an immensely private, British deserter of the Napoleonic Wars. As The Swan finds herself in The Artist’s humble, coastal cottage, as well as on The Artist’s canvas she also finds the greatest love of her life.

In the Contemporary portion of Breathless, we meet Brenna Anderson, an Art History professor who, like many in the art community, is obsessed with a series of painting of a woman known as The Siren. When she discovers that The Siren may in fact be The Swan, a courtesan of renown who disappeared out of history she believes she may have the key to a centuries old mystery. However, to prove her theory correct she’ll have to except the help of her rival, Fitch Wilder, a treasure hunter with no formal training who seems to always be two steps ahead of her professionally. Brenna knows men like Fitch and refuses to be swayed by his charm, but the closer they get to uncovering the mystery of The Siren, the harder it is for her to deny her feelings for the handsome adventurer. [Read more…]