Jen’s Favorites of 2017

For me, 2017 meant a lot of writing, moving (again!), and some new responsibilities at work. When you put all of that together, it equals less reading time for me than ever before. I came across a few stinkers (which I had to mark DNF despite my best efforts,) but I also added a few awesome books to my keeper-shelf.

Every year, Ilona Andrews tops my list. Part of me is embarrassed that I must be so predictable by now, but it’s not my fault. I swear if she ever writes something I don’t love, I’ll tell you the truth. In this case, it’s a two-fer in her Hidden Legacy series. White Hot and Wildfire came out really close together and that was a huge win for fans who had to wait an age after Burn For Me. These books feature such fantastic world building, awesome characters, and an exciting enemies-to-lovers romance that hit all my happy buttons. If you’re a Kate Daniels fan or heck, if you like UF/PNR at all… jump into this series with both feet. I promise you won’t regret it. [Read more…]

Review: The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

Reviewed by Jen

This book sucked me in right away with so many feels. It is a second chance at love story, which can be hit or miss for me. In this case it fired on all cylinders. The biggest reason? Artfully crafted flashback scenes which made me ache for this love lost.

We had the set up for this relationship in a previous book in the series. One of the Soiled Sisters pushed her brother-in-law Malcolm into a pond because he was unfaithful to her sister Sera. I am never OK with a cheater story, which made it very difficult for Mal to be a sympathetic hero. But I have to hand it to Sarah McLean, because she made me want these two to be able to work it out. [Read more…]

Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

scot in the darkReviewed by Jen

It can be fun to throw the rules of historical romance out the window every so often. Sometimes, the heroine doesn’t have to be a virgin or a widow. Sometimes, it’s a man’s sexual history that can cause shame. Sometimes, it’s not a title that can determine who is most worthy. Sarah MacLean knows this. And that’s a big part of what made me enjoy this story. It also helped that I love Beauty and the Beast stories and MacLean is one of my favorite historical authors. [Read more…]

Review: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

rogue not takenReviewed by Jen

Rakes and rogues are generally not my favorite types of heroes, but Sarah MacLean is one of those authors where I know I’m going to like the book without even having to read the blurb. And again here, she doesn’t disappoint. King didn’t make me fall in love at first sight, but there is more to him than meets the eye. He’s not simply the debaucher his reputation implies. But it takes a special woman to get to the truth of him. [Read more…]

Jen’s Favorite Books of 2014


Another great year of reading is drawing to a close and looking back on some of the awesome titles, I am tempted to go back and read some of them again.  Now that I have put this list together, I realize that just about every one is part of a series. Some of them can stand alone. Others are better read after enjoying earlier installments.  But either way, for me, they are the cream of the crop from the year 2014. [Read more…]

Review: Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover by Sarah MacLean

never judge a ladyReviewed by Jen

This book was absolutely worth the wait. Don’t get me wrong. I hated waiting for it. But I have to take my hat off to Sarah MacLean.  She has clearly been planning this book for a long time. There have been so many little clues, so many little pieces placed on the gameboard for this story to play out.  And as it all fell into place, I couldn’t help but be completely and totally impressed with how she did it. [Read more…]

Review: No Good Duke Goes Unpunished

no good dukeReviewed by Jen

Temple has lived the last 12 years of his life suspected of a murder he didn’t commit.  Not even he is sure of his own innocence.  He only knows that –shortly before his father’s wedding– he woke in a strange bed, covered in blood. The bed belonged to his would-be step-mother, and she was never seen or heard from again.  Since that day, he has lived in disgrace under the moniker “The Killer Duke.” He is part owner of a notorious gaming hell, and he fights night after night in the ring.  The only respect he has, he’s earned with his fists.

Mara is the woman he is accused of killing, and she most assuredly is not dead.  She wasn’t even trying to fake her death all those years ago, merely her ruin –so she could escape an arranged marriage to a man old enough to be her father.  [Read more…]

Review: One Good Earl Deserves a Lover

Reviewed by Jen

This is the best historical romance I have read in ages.  Unbelievable sexual tension. A fantastic love story.  Even better than her last book –and THAT is saying a lot.

Have I got your attention yet?

Phillipa is only a couple of weeks away to wedding a sweet, albeit slightly simple man.  And despite the wealth of knowledge floating around in her head, she is plagued by the fact that she has no idea what her wifely duties will entail. She certainly can’t ask her betrothed.  Her mother and sisters are no help. So she decides to take her questions to an expert.

Cross has a reputation of being both brilliant and a rake of the highest order.  Who else could be better to school her in the ways of the bedroom?  So Pippa corners him in his office at the gaming hell he helps run –and asks him to ruin her.  Not to bed her, of course, but to teach her everything there is to know about the carnal arts.

Cross is quite taken with Pippa.  She is an unusual woman. Very smart… honest and direct.  But he wants no part of the fairer sex.  He took a personal vow of celibacy years ago to atone for past sins.  He certainly won’t debauch someone as innocent as Pippa.  But, my, how she wears him down.  As their paths cross again and again she grows nearly impossible to resist.  Yet somehow he does it.

And there comes the sexual tension I was talking about earlier.  MacLean manages to burn up the pages without these two ever touching each other. Yes, they do touch each other eventually, but in the meantime, I found myself gripping the arms of my chair and leaning toward the computer screen in anticipation of a kiss… a touch… anything.  And when it finally happens –wow.

Cross is one of my favorite kinds of heroes, the kind that thinks he is nowhere near good enough for the heroine.  He sees her as a prize few others see the value of.  He pushes her away and pushes her away, but –this is where the awesomeness of Pippa comes in– she never gives up.  It’s such a great journey and it left me completely and utterly satisfied.

Rating: A-

*ARC Provide by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
by Sarah MacLean
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Publisher: Avon

5 for Friday – September 14

Another week has come and gone and I am just not getting enough quality reading time in lately.  As I write this, I am about 75% through with The Burning Bush by Kenya Wright. It’s reminding me of how much I enjoyed Fire Baptized! But I think it is only the second or third book I have read all week.  Life just keeps getting in the way!  Here’s hoping things slow down a bit next week… I’ve got a ton of great stuff in the queue.

5. Just a few more weeks until the release of Fury’s Kiss, book three in the Dorina Basarab series by Karen Chance. I really enjoy her Cassie Palmer books and I keep telling myself that I am going to get started on these spinoff books one of these days.  Anyway, the book trailer is out. Take a look.

Fury’s Kiss is out October 2nd.

4. Historical romance author Sara MacLean has revealed the cover for her next book, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover.

The second in the incredible new Rules of Scoundrels series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean. Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled, brilliant fourth daughter of the Marquess of Needham and Dolby cares more for books than balls, flora than fashion and science than the season. Nearly engaged to Lord Castleton, Pippa wants to explore the scandalous parts of London she’s never seen before marriage. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of The Fallen Angel, London’s most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross.

Like any good scientist, Pippa’s done her research and Cross’s reputation makes him perfect for her scheme. She wants science without emotion – the experience of ruination without the repercussions of ruination. And who better to provide her with the experience than this legendary man? But when this odd, unexpected female propositions Cross, it’s more than tempting . . . and it will take everything he has to resist following his instincts – and giving the lady precisely what she wants.

I liked the first book in this series, A Rogue by Any Other Name, so I am looking forward to this one.  One Good Earl Deserves a Lover is set to release on January 29th.

3. Another cover reveal… this one on Larissa Ione’s Rogue Rider.

How hot is Reseph, y’all? This book is really good! And I’m already excited for Reaver’s book in 2013!! Rogue Rider, book four in the Lords of Deliverance series, releases November 20th.

2. Sons of Anarchy returned this week, to kick off its fifth season.  This is such an amazing show!! Jax was not naked this week. He didn’t even take off his shirt. But I was surprised to discover just how much I enjoyed watching Jimmy Smits get busy.  He has either a really nice ass or a really good body double.  Who knew?

Of course, the real scene stealers this week were Tig and Harold Perrineau’s new character.  I sat on my sofa with my mouth hanging open when he threw that cigar! Holy shit! This show shies away from nothing.  It amazes and astounds me. It kicks me in the gut. And sometimes Jax is in the shower.  If you are not watching, you must hit up NetFlix right now!!

1. And finally… God, I love YouTube.  Seriously.  Jon Hamm.  Commando.  Wow.

There are no more words.


Review: A Rouge by Any Other Name

Reviewed by Jen

It’s been more than a decade since the last time Penelope saw her childhood friend Michael. They, along with a third boy named Tommy, had been an inseparable trio… until Tommy’s father Langford duped Michael into gambling away his family fortune. Left with nothing but his title, Michael disappeared from society to make his own way. Sometimes his means were not the most scrupulous. But he never lost sight of his mission to reclaim what was once his –and Penelope never forgot the young man she once held so dear.

Penny’s father now holds Michael’s lands –having won them from Langford, himself, in yet another card game. And he has attached the property to Penny’s dowry, in hopes of saving her from permanent spinsterhood. Once Michael finds out, he kidnaps Penny, threatening her with social ruin if she doesn’t marry him. She agrees under the condition that he will help her remaining sisters find good husbands. That means Michael must make himself respectable to the ton… No easy task in light of the gaming hell he now runs. But a bad match for Penny would alienate suitors for her sisters. He agrees to go the distance –not only to keep his word– but to fulfill a side deal with his new father-in-law.

In all the years they were apart, Penny never gave up on Michael. She wrote him letter after letter that went unanswered. And though she never realized it, she always loved him above all others. He grew into a hard man, however, and he is almost unrecognizable from the boy he once was. The physical relationship between them is on fire, but he cuts himself off emotionally from her completely. It’s clear from the outside that he cares for her, but he simply won’t allow himself to put anything before the dreams of revenge he has cultivated for so long. He puts on a great front in public to maintain the ruse of a love match for society. And there are times poor Penny even allows herself to hope that some of it’s real, but he shuts her down time and time again.

It’s hard to watch how Michael treats Penny. He isn’t out-and-out cruel, but his indifference, his bluntness, and often, his absence, cut deeply. Penny is a good person, though a little too much of a martyr at times. But in the moments the two of them connect, both sexually and emotionally, it’s impossible not to root for them to be together. There is alot of angst –and I wanted to shake Michael several times– but I really did enjoy the romance. It was very gratifying to see Michael finally realize what matters in his life.

This is the first in a series set to follow the four owners of the gaming hell where Michael made his fortune. And the author has done a great job setting up the great characters whose stories are to come. While this is my first book by Sarah MacLean, it won’t be my last. A little more than 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
A Rogue by Any Other Name
by Sarah MacLean
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Avon