Review: Casualties of Love by Denise Riley

Reviewed by Shelly

This is a new to me author and I was a tad bit nervous before I read this – you just never know with new authors. It’s a theme that’s as old as time – friends then lovers with a little ‘I love you enough to save you from yourself’ thrown in for good measure.

Jessica and Tyson went to West Point together. Members in both of their families served and they both wanted to continue the tradition. During their time at USMA, they started as friends, good friends that had each other’s backs, and later moved on to something a bit more intimate.

Told primarily in flashback, there’s a simple goodness about Jessica and Tyson that I really enjoyed reading. The conflict is a bit underwhelming and stems around this secret that Jessica’s kept from Tyson but it gets the job done. [Read more…]

Review: An Unexpected Attraction by Diamond Delaney

Reviewed by Shelly

I’ve read book 1 and book 2 in Diamond Delaney’s ‘Love Unexpected’ series, and I enjoyed them enough to continue with this, book 3. Jay Santorini has known Brenda Morrison since their college days. During those days, Jay was seeing Brenda’s friend Jenna; they would later marry and have twin sons. But before the marriage, Jay and Brenda had an immediate mutual attraction after which they shared a very steamy kiss and some intimate touching. That’s all that happened because Brenda remembered her friend Jenna. Brenda was a very good friend to Jenna. I can’t say the same about Jenna.

After a mutual friend, Terrence, unexpectedly dies, the group of friends get together to celebrate his life. Nick, Sophie, Brenda, Jenna and Jay were fast friends but they’ve been lax in their get togethers and this one is bitter sweet. [Read more…]

Review: Dual Desires by Shyla Colt

Reviewed by Shelly

This is a new to me author, but not my first IR MC themed story. It’s part 1 of Shyla Holt’s ‘Dueling Devils’ series and tells of Ardy Larking and Demon’s (no idea of his real name) relationship. Because of the ending which was abrupt, not really HFN or HEA – like someone just stopped writing or chopped a longer story in two, I clicked on a few links and found out that Ardy and Demon’s story continues in book 2 – Payback.

Ardy’s and her siblings are from a caucasian Catholic father and an African-American Baptist mother. As the oldest, she’s been working in the family bar and taking care of her brothers and sisters for a long time. Somewhere along the line, the bar was in financial struggles and took a loan or some kind of assistance from Demon’s group. What I don’t know is if Demon caused the struggle so he could have the bar owner indebted or if it was for some other reason. There aren’t a lot of explanations in this story – circumstances just seem to be what they are. [Read more…]

Review: Crimson Debt by Evangeline Anderson

Reviewed by Shelly

I’ve been on the hunt for a good vampire story and I’ve read Evangeline Anderson’s work before. Perfect scenario.

The society that included otherworld elements that Anderson started to build in this book 1 of her ‘Born to Darkness’ series was really good. The vampire hierarchy made sense and the visual markings to tell how old vampires are was neat. But what I really delighted me was that the vampires and shifters were an everyday part of society. Supposedly they were bound by the same rules… well sorta kinda because the vampires were a sect all unto themselves with their own set rules and regulations. So the question comes down to – how do you keep the humans ‘safe’ from the shenanigans that the vampires have in their everyday world? Auditors that’s how. [Read more…]

Review: Due South by Tamsen Parker

Reviewed by Shelly

This is a tricky one for me. I liked the characters. I enjoyed the storyline. I even liked the idea that India, who I can’t stand, seems to be a bit more well-mannered. But something felt off and I don’t know if it was the plethora of sexual escapades for Lucy and Evans or if it was something else. I just can’t put my finger on the culprit.

I didn’t see anything suggesting that this can be, or not, read as a standalone. As I’m very familiar with the previous 4 books, I think it would be beneficial to have read them in light of India Burke’s almost harsh personality and how that might or might not have influenced Lucy and Evan’s decisions. The thing about it is that we all have choices, and both Lucy and Evans for whatever reason enjoy the experiences they have working with India’s company and have worked for her the past six years. [Read more…]

Review: Frostbitten by Charlotte Stein

Reviewed by Shelly

Both the author and publisher are new to me. I’ve not read a vampire themed story in many a moon and the blurb sounded promising. I mean who doesn’t like a shy heroine, compelling hero and oh my goodness another hero who’s brooding? This sounds like a recipe for success.

I don’t know if this is the typical style of writing for this author but I’m not a fan of it. This is a short story (110 pages if you’ve got the Kindle copy) so I expected things to start happening pretty quickly. No biggie. The first 80% of the story, it’s all about Cora and the way she perceives the situation she’s in. The dialogue is minimal – I’m talking maybe, if I’m lucky, there’s a line of dialogue in a chapter until that last 20%. [Read more…]

Review: The Luck of Love by Serena Akeroyd

Reviewed by Shelly

I’ve read this author before. Menage Material, the first book in her ‘La Belle sans la Bête’ series, is splendid. I’ve re-read it a few times it’s so good. A Menage Made on Madison, the first book in her ‘The Federation’ series was decent enough that I didn’t write off the series. I’ve had a few misses, but the hits have outnumbered them.

This is the 3rd, yes I’m keeping score, book I’ve read (not all by the same author) with the following content and no warning. If you’re going to put it in a story, I don’t care but warn me first, please. [Read more…]

Shelly’s Favorites of 2016

What an amazing year for romance. I read some really good ones this year including a couple historicals.

If you’re a fan of Lisa Kleypas’s historicals and haven’t read her Ravenels series, you’re missing out. This was a new to me author and I couldn’t have been more pleased with Marrying Winterborne, book 2 in the series. Rhys and Helen’s romance was a sweet, fun and well told story about choosing what’s good for you in spite of what society says.

Each of the past few years, M.Q. Barber’s put out a story that I’ve really liked and this year was no exception. Finding their Balance is book 5 in her Neighborly Affection series and continues the story of Henry, Jay and Alice. Well worth the read in you’ve followed that series but I wouldn’t recommend as a stand alone.

I waited for Grace Draven’s book 2 in the Wraith Kings series, Eidolon, patiently. I wasn’t sure it would be worth it because I’ve been disappointed before but this one was absolutely worth the wait. Jen loved it too.

If SEALs are your thing, Embattled Road should be right up your alley. It’s the prequel to JM Madden’s Lost and Found series and it’s good short but good.

I’ve read everything put out by Christine Wenrick and when Leaving Lily Behind came out I was never so happy. It’s book 3 of the Men of Brahm Hills series continuing the saga of good versus evil, Dhampirs, vampires, humans and all things that go bump in the night. It’s tightly woven with the series just in case you’re tempted to read as a standalone.

One of my favorite writers is Allyn Lesley. She’s one of these authors who can pen a tale about an anti-hero and make you fall in love with him. Deeper, book 2 in her Descent series is no exception to that. Noah is no saint and Avi knows it.

Happy reading folks!

Honorable mention goes to:

Angel 6.0 – Concubine by Travis Luedke
A Bad Bit Nice by Josie Kerr
Happily Ever All-Star by Sosie Frost
The Devil’s Bedpost by Lena Hart
Falling by Allyn Lesley
Sucker Punched by Kelley Martin

Review: Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Reviewed by Shelly

I recently finished Marrying Winterborne – Book 2 in Kleypas’s The Ravenels series and I loved it enough to go back and read book 1. So here am I with a gleam in my eye and a bit gobsmacked about the writing.

Devon Ravenel has just inherited a lot of land, property and responsibility. Yes, it’s all under the guise of an earldom, but considering Devon’s never worked a day in his life, his new responsibilities might prove be burdensome. Kathleen is recently widowed.

There’s a lot here for me to like. Kathleen is a very strong heroine. She’s taken on quite a bit in looking out for the well-being of the Ravenel’s daughters. The ladies have been basically left without a dowry. All they truly have is their title and limited choices, but that’s another story for another day. [Read more…]

Review: Hail Mary by Nicola Rendell

Reviewed by Shelly

I’ve not had great successes with romances that have a football theme, this might have been one of the exceptions. Jimmy Falconi is the QB for the Chicago Bears. He’s in a slump, a big slump and can’t seem to do what he needs to do to win a game. The fans are giving him heck and worse yet, his coach has given him a short window to turn it around or he’s not just back on the bench, he might not be on the roster at all. The thing about Jimmy is that when he was the back-up QB, he was fine and actually a good backup, but once he got the starting job, things started falling apart for him. He knows it’s time to turn things around. Mary Monahan is a physical therapist who thinks that it’s not always the physical that affects healing; the mind has a big part in it. [Read more…]