Review: Bane by L.J. Shen

Reviewed by Joanna

One of my favorite tropes is the wounded hero who is self-aware, even as he repeatedly messes up his life. Roman ‘Bane’ Protsenko is one of those guys. A mixture of cocky and resigned to his choices, he’s a prostitute, hired by rich women to satisfy their needs, but he’s also a businessman, he runs a protection racket, and lastly, he surfs. Naked. There isn’t much this guy won’t do to make his mark on the world. You’re probably thinking what an unappealing chap he is, and to some extent, you’re right, but he becomes sympathetic. He’s funny, too, in a way, and ballsy despite his sad background.

His redemption comes when he happens across Jesse Carter. This woman has been through the most awful, traumatizing events (trigger warning for rape), and doesn’t go out anymore, except to her therapist’s. She’s anxious and scared, taunted, unsupported, and wounded beyond help. Her despairing step-father hires Bane to bring her out of her shell. [Read more…]

Review: The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert

Reviewed by Caitlin

Cherry Nieta works in HR for a very posh prep school in England. She’s charismatic and damn good at her job, even if she isn’t particularly passionate about it.

(Most romance novel heroines are charming, but Cherry is charismatic, and I would argue that the way Cherry’s brand of charm is described is almost always reserved for heroes. She can get someone to do whatever she wants with just a smile – and it’s a trait described in a positive way. I was immediately hooked.)

One day, her school has a very handsome visitor who runs a charity visit. He’s deciding if he’s going to give money to the school or not. Nobody knows anything about him (except that he is very dreamy), so Cherry is elected for the reconnaissance mission. [Read more…]

Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

Reviewed by Debz

This novella is set after the third book in Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Throne and Roses series and if you’ve read A Court of Wings and Ruin, you can jump right in. After the final battle against Hybren his armies and the three human queens, this books begins in the aftermath with Feyre, Rhysand and the crew picking up the pieces and rebuilding.

Especially after the attack on Vellaris, Rhysand and Feyre as the High Lord and Lady of the Night Court have their hands full, helping the people rebuild and restart their lives. They also have to make treaties with the other courts; and make sure none of the other Lords encroach on the human lands. All this to do, and it is almost time for the biggest celebration in the Night Court, Winter solstice.

The book is not just told from the POV of Feyre and Rhysand; there are chapters centered around the Morrigan, Cassian, Azriel, Elain and Nesta . All the painful memories and emotions about the horrors suffered during the battle are laid bare on the pages. Most prominent amongst them is guilt; guilt for the battle in Vellaris, a city which had previously been sheltered from the outside world for so long. Guilt for the number of Illyrian men who had to die to stop Hybren and mainly guilt that the lives of most children will never be the same. [Read more…]

Review: Coming Home to Crimson by Michelle Major

Reviewed by Sara

When Cole, the sheriff of small town Crimson, Colorado, pulls over a speeding Porsche, he’s more annoyed than curious about the car’s occupant. Inside is Sienna Crenshaw, the estranged sister of the beleaguered mayor of Crimson, Jase, and to say that she has issues is a huge understatement. Sienna hasn’t been back to Crimson since her parents split up and she and her mother left her father and brother. It’s been 20 years and she hasn’t heard from her father or brother. She is hurt and angry and, thanks to a cheating fiance and a mother who wants her to forgive him, very, very alone. Cole’s annoyance doesn’t last long and he soon finds himself drawn to the Crimson newcomer, but Cole has his own demons. Coming Home to Crimson follows Cole and Sienna as they battle the past towards a future together. [Read more…]

Review: Oath Forger (#2-#5) by Nia Mars

Reviewed by Ronelle

There’s a saying on Earth: “Fake it till you make it.” But Ava Smith isn’t on Earth anymore. In fact, she’s about as far from her old scavenger life in the Dallas Colony as she could possibly get. Still pretending to be the Oath Forger, her new motto is: “Fake it till you get caught.”

She’s doing the best she can, though. Honest.

And as if that wasn’t headache enough for one Earth-girl, she also finds herself falling hopelessly in love with the five hottest, most powerful rulers in the galaxy, all of whom want to be her first—and then some.

Who will she choose? Weeeell… [Read more…]

Review: The Duchess Diaries by Jillian Hunter

Reviewed by Debz

It’s a graduation ball in 1819 London and Lady Charlotte Boscastle, the headmistress of Scarfield Academy for young ladies has just spotted the man of her dreams. Of course, when he asks her to dance she has to say no. It’s one thing to fantasize about the Duke of Wynfield, it is another to know that he has been forced, eh…encouraged to dance with her by her cousin.

Gideon, Duke of Wynfield, accepts his friend’s manipulation into dancing with his cousin Lady Charlotte, but alas the cold schoolmarm refuses to engage in conversation or even accept his dance proposal. Her loss; he has better things to do anyway. She is out of sight and out of mind until he comes across her diary on the floor of his coach.

You see, Lady Charlotte doesn’t write about the mundane happenings at her school but her erotic exaggeration of events witnessed by her and her scandalous family. Not only is she explicit in her writing, in her musings, she and the Duke of Wynfield have been carrying out an illicit affair for a year. Gideon is amused, a little aroused and a lot pissed that Lady Charlotte has done this without even changing the names of the characters in her diary. [Read more…]

Review: Bone Driven by Hailey Edwards

Reviewed by Jen

One day I will learn how to savor a good book like a fine glass of wine. One day, but not today.

I inhaled this book with the fervor of one finding oxygen on a dying planet. It took me a few chapters to remember everything that was going on, but once I got my bearings, it was all systems go. And it was over far too quickly.

As the story begins, the clock is ticking on Luce’s days with the police force. At the end of the last book, she was forced into an agreement to go work for the demon task force of the National Security Branch of the FBI. She is a woman of her word, but it’s breaking her heart to walk away from her partner and the life she’s worked so hard to build. Before she turns in her badge, though, she’s got one more assignment–and it’s a tough one– a string of deadly arsons with no apparent common thread. She must work to figure out what’s behind them, all while juggling her sick father, her complicated relationship with her coterie, and her feelings for Cole. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the looming threat of an attack by her sisters War and Famine. [Read more…]

Review: The Greatest Risk by Kristen Ashley

Reviewed by Sara

The Greatest Risk is book three in Kristen Ashley’s erotic BDSM Romance series. The books center around a Phoenix, AZ sex club, The Bee’s Honey and the members within. I really enjoyed books one and two and was excited when book 3 released.

It follows characters Sixx (real name: Simone) and Stellan as they grapple with dark pasts on the way to love and happiness. Sixx is a private investigator that has no problem living dangerously and skirting the law. She’s the premiere Domme at The Honey, but due to a traumatic childhood she believes she’s unworthy and holds everyone, friends, lovers and Subs, at arm’s length. Sixx has desperately wanted Stellan since she first laid eyes on him, but because of her sense of unworthiness and his preference as a Dom, she refuses to go there, even if he is the thing most likely to make her happy. Stellan has also had an awful childhood too, but for whatever reason he’s risen above it to become a successful and endearingly arrogant businessman and Dom. He’s wanted Sixx as his for ages and has grown tired of waiting. Stellan pulls out all the stops to convince Sixx that they’d be perfect together, but it’s a fight against the ghosts of Sixx’s past. [Read more…]

Review: Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James

Reviewed by Jen

Though I enjoyed the romance in the first book of this series, it was almost overshadowed by my interest in the secondary couple, the hero’s brother and his betrothed. So I was more than excited to start this book and read their full story.

North, heir to the Dukedom, and Diana were engaged in book one, but it seemed that she was far less enamored of the match than he was. In fact, she ran away and jilted him before that book was done. It ended with him finding her hidden away in a cottage with a crying baby. All signs pointed to her having given birth, but we learn quickly that the child actually was a bastard born of her deceased sister. Diana refuses to let the baby grow up in an orphanage, so she has taken responsibility for him.

Anyway, North disappears for a while and goes off to fight in the American revolution. When he returns, he discovers that she is now living in his family home, raising the baby and acting as a governess to his niece. Society believes the child she brought with her is his. But rather than lashing out, he is surprisingly magnanimous. It’s sets the stage for us to see his true character. [Read more…]

Review: How to Forget a Duke by Vivienne Lorret

Reviewed by Jen

I have read a few different books from Vivienne Lorret now, and I have enjoyed them enough that I did not hesitate to pick this one up. It follows the story of a professional matchmaker who inadvertently falls in love with the man who has hired her.

That premise could’ve made it very trite. So too could the second major trope thrown in. The heroine gets amnesia. Though that is an eye-roller for some folks, it did not bother me here. I did have a few issues, but that wasn’t one of them.

I guess, for me, my biggest complaint is that I was slow to warm up to these characters. Jacinda, our matchmaker, is hell-bent on proving Rydsrom, the titular Duke, is hiding something. She dresses up like a maid to invade his private space and she tries to sneak in to his country home as well. She comes across as immature and, well, like a bit of a wrecking ball. It was kind of a blessing when she forgot who she was. [Read more…]