Friday, November 17, 2017

seriously romantic: wicked seduction by tina donahue

tor avana isn't looking for anything when his gaze catches on marnie cruz as she watches him tattoo in the window of the wicked brand tattoo parlor. he instinctively knows that she wants something from him. but is it just a tattoo or something more?

in wicked seduction, marnie is still recovering from an abusive relationship. actually, she's recovering from two abusive relationships. the first one with her father, who physically and emotionally abused her mother and then on one terrible night nearly killed marnie. that encounter left her with some horrific scars and what she wants is to cover them over with a tattoo, she needs to erase the ugliness on her skin with art. 

but spending time with tor has her feeling the very butterflies he intends to tattoo on her skin in her stomach. there is an awareness that crackles between them and when she realizes that tor is a man she can truet. a man unlike her father. a man unlike her ex, ethan. so giving into the attraction between them becomes an easy choice. 

tor and marnie slip into a relationship really easily, especially given everything marnie has been through. tor is the ideal partner. he's confident enough in the bedroom to let marnie take control. and his up-for-anything attitude only endears him to marnie further. the book feels somewhat rushed at the end, but everything resolves itself nicely.

**wicked seduction will publish on november 20, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (scorched) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: the big, bad billionaire by jackie ashenden

the big, bad billionaire continues the billionaire series with a retelling of little red riding hood. i would have never thought that there was so much romantic possibility to mine from this story, but this is the second time i've read a retelling and loved it. i think part of it is that little red riding hood may be little, may be young, but she is strong. she's fascinated by the wolf but isn't entirely taken in by him.

and that's true here. rafael de santis has been pushed away and neglected by his family for being wild and out of control. literally given over to an abusive grandfather and forgotten. and from the shadows he orchestrates his return and his revenge. but he's never forgotten ella hart. a small child when he was sent away, she'd always sought him out. and even then he loved and protected her.

time changes her feelings, but not his. hers are influenced by her parents' distrust of rafael. but when he sees her dance not long after his return to the family fold, he is entranced by her. even as she rejects him anytime he tries to draw her close. when he assumes her guardianship and makes it impossible for her to avoid him. she's afraid at first. but rafe isn't interested in a girl who cowers with fear, instead challenging her to stand up to him. he wants the fight. he needs the cut of anger laced with the pleasure of love.

and that is what ella and rafe's push-pull is all about. the intensity of emotion, of pain, of pleasure, that blossoms between them. oh, it is the stuff of fairy tales. except these are definitely R rated. i've enjoyed the installments in this series, and kind of hope there are more. maybe a take on rapunzel?

**the big, bad billionaire will publish on november 21, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

seriously romantic: lips close to mine by robin bielman

i really enjoyed talk british to me, which was the first book in this series. in lips close to mine we get to spend time with mateo and teague's best friends, levi and harper. and these two are the perfect mix of sweet and spicy. they have some pretty serious emotional baggage and their angst is real and understandable and just ups all the feels.

i loved, loved, loved these two together. levi is seriously a total sweetheart. the way he consistently puts harper, his family, the commitments he makes first is just so dreamy. this guy is so swoonworthy. like, even the whole bet thing with elliot, while stupid, did not detract from what a perfect guy he was. because from the moment he was goaded into taking the bet, he didn't actually want to win it. he only always wanted harper.

harper is prickly and her defense mechanisms make it hard for her to open up and trust others. seeing how levi draws her out of her shell, how he gives her the strength and power to face her demons and take ownership of them in a way that lets her control the narrative in a positive, constructive way.

i love that levi and harper have a shared past, one that deepens their connection as they reconnect in the present as adults. i think it helps them navigate between fun and flirty to deep and meaningful with such ease. and these two swing from one extreme to the other all the time. and i loved it.

i really liked this book. and i'm hoping we get to see elliot and madison next. because i swear there is something brewing between those two.

**lips close to mine will publish on november 20, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (embrace) in exchange for my honest review.

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 46

you can catch up from the beginning at the links:  123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930,  3132333435363738394041424344, and 45.

part 46 continues after the jump...

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

seriously romantic: enchanted by the highlander by lecia cornwall

gillian macleod is a quiet girl, surrounded by eleven opinionated sisters she's always let herself fade into the background in enchanted by the highlander. they are loud and boisterous and don't hesitate to talk over her opinions and for gillian the path of least resistance is easiest. at least that way life is comfortable. and when she's alone she does what she wants.

when she sets eyes on john erly she is enthralled by him. but everyone makes it clear that he is not for her. he's an englishman, a man who has been cast off from his family and has made his way with nothing. he's also a flirt. and gillian is warned that as a rogue he'd do nothing more than seduce her and break her heart.

but gillian sees who john really is. kind and generous. loyal and honorable. and unlike so many others, he sees her. he sees her beauty and knows what she likes. she isn't in the background in his eyes. and it's liberating to be seen for herself. and john is fascinated by this young woman who isn't meant for him. but who he realizes he has to fight for.

the strength of the love that gillian and john feel for each other just overflows on the pages of this book. they face long odds to get their happy ending. but john will stop at nothing to be the man who wins her hand in marriage. getting her father's blessing will be the hardest task he's ever had to conquer. but with gillian's heart and happiness at stake, he will ensure that at the end of the day he is the last man standing.

i really enjoyed this book, it took a little bit of time to get into, but once you are hooked into john and gillian's romance it's hard to put down.

**enchanted by the highlander published on november 14, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: romancing the scot by may mcgoldrick

the first book in mcgoldrick's pennington series, romancing the scot, finds hugh, viscount greysteil opening a box he expects to contain a new basket for his hot air balloon only to discover a young woman trapped and nearly dead at the bottom of it.

he takes her in and with the help of his sister and his staff nurses her back to health. when grace awakens and realizes where she is, she is afraid to reveal herself fully. her father was a supporter of napoleon. by all rights and purposes she is considered a traitor to the english crown, and as a high justice of the court, hugh would have no choice but to sentence her. so she feigns amnesia.

but as she learns more about him, and as the intrigue surrounding her draws near, she finds it more and more difficult to hide from hugh. she is drawn to him. his compassion, his kindness,  and his fair-mindedness are an incredible draw. and then there is the pull of his physical presence. a flame of attraction she's never felt for any other man before this one.

she's afraid of how her past will affect him. afraid that because she was a good and loyal daughter she'll never have the chance to live with love. because that is what hugh offers her. his love, his heart, and he does this wholly, with no reservations. and it's super dreamy. i loved this story.

i can't wait to see where the other penningtons will find true love.

**romancing the scot published on november 14, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.

slightly silly: riverdale, episode 18: when a stranger calls

well, i mean, riverdale has always been dark. but this is threat level midnight shit. it's not just how the black hood forces betty to isolate herself, sending her down a dark and lonely path. jughead is doing the same thing. they are both making choices for the greater good, but at a terrible personal cost.

betty is an eternal optimist, even in her darkest moments, so she still holds hope that once the threat is passed that there will be a way to walk things back. that somehow she and jughead can pick things up again. but she fails to take into account that when all is said and done, jughead and betty will both be irrevocably changed by the decisions they've taken.

jughead is a south side serpent. it's the family legacy he's shunned for so long, but one that was unavoidable. in this alice cooper is right, and as we find out in this episode, she knows better than anyone what it means to be a south sider. her militancy has more to do with the fear that her daughter will end up making the same poor choices she did. and she's always been a scorched earth kind of person.

but even if she's not a south sider, betty will have blood on her hands. the black hood is tying them together in ways that will be difficult for betty to deny. this person knows her. she knows this person. i still have no guesses as to who it is, but i expect to be shocked when it is finally revealed.

archie and veronica had their own roles to play in this episode. but after reaching peak intensity last week with all the red circle stuff, archie has shifted back to supportive friend mode. he was not the center of the piece, though his highly charged exchange with jughead was probably one of the best moments of the episode. meanwhile veronica's story is being pulled in too many directions. what the hell are her parents up to? i feel like until we know, veronica is left being manipulated in ways that don't fit her vixenish character. she's smarter than what the story has her playing.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

seriously romantic: seducing the defendant by chantal fernando

criminal attorney jaxon bentley sees something in scarlett reyes the moment she steps into his office. he just can't put his finger on it. his gut tells him one thing, that despite appearances she is innocent of the crime she's accused of. actually make that two things, because no matter how badly it looks for her, he's going to make sure she's cleared of all the charges.

he just has to make sure he crosses no line while doing any of this, because he's never been so tempted by a client before. in seducing the defendant, the case itself is actually resolved in the first third of the novel. it all happens pretty straightforwardly, and then jaxon and scarlett give into their crazy attraction to each other.

i enjoyed this novel, but it meanders for a while. you have a nice long view of the life that jaxon and scarlett are building together and you get to really know all their friends and connections. and it's really nice, but also it's possible that you could have cut 25%-40% of it and still ended up with a satisfying story, and one that had slightly higher stakes and better pacing.

also there is an entire subplot that intertwines with a motorcycle club, a trope we all know i have issues with, and my guess is that some of these characters are part of another series, so that there is some crossover here, but not being familiar with it or a fan of motorcycle club stories generally meant that it felt shoehorned in and somewhat unbelievable.

**seducing the defendant will publish on november 14, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/gallery, threshold, pocket books (gallery books) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: deal breaker by tara leigh

when nash rushes into a back allley to save nixie from two thugs in the opening pages of deal breaker he has no idea that his previously well-ordered life was about to change. sixteen years ago september 11th changed his life, and the life of every new yorker. it changed nixie's life too, her parents lost in the collapsing towers. while nash may not have actually lost his brother that day, it was the last time his family was whole. and when wyatt died overseas serving in the military he'd been inspired to enlist in when the twin towers collapsed, it was an extension of that tragedy.

saving nixie shatters nash's reserve. for the first time in a long time he can't stop thinking of someone or something other than his business. he sees someone vulnerable in nixie, and he wants to protect her, keep her whole. even at times keep her from him, because that will guarantee she doesn't get hurt. but the pull between them is more than that. yes, he wants to save her, but he also just wants her in his life. on whatever terms she'll let him in.

for a legendary deal maker, nash is kept on his toes by nixie, who doesn't cower, doesn't give in. she doesn't want saving. and yet this guy keeps knocking down the walls she puts up between them. and as he pops in and out of her life, she comes to realize that she much prefers having him in her life than not. the way he makes her feel, the way he cares for her is a heady thing. because sixteen years ago she lost her family, and now nash is having her think that she can have love and laughter and joy in her life again. and it all feels too good to be true.

the push and pull between nash and nixie is compelling. watching them spend time together and learn to open up their hearts to someone else is emotional and sweet. and the magnetic pull between them never lets up. it doesn't matter how hard they try to run from it, they end up back where they started, facing each other. the key is that they have to do it without walls around their hearts.

**deal breaker will publish on november 14, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: wish you were mine by tara sivec

a lifetime of wishes written on stars finally brings cameron and everett together in wish you were mine after years of misunderstandings and missed opportunities and holding back keeps them apart. they had been best friends, along with aiden, they were the three musketeers. but cameron and everett loved each other best, they just never got around to telling each other that.

when aiden tries to spark something by telling everett he's asking cameron out, he unintentionally sends everett away. where he spends years working with doctors without borders, avoiding cameron completely. she doesn't understand why he's cut her out of his life. she only knows that something is missing. but everett believes that aiden and cameron are happy together and knows that he couldn't stay in town and watch that.

it's a mess. they are so in love with each other they can't see that the other person is actually in love with them. it takes a long time for them to get their heads on straight and realize that what they've been wishing for has been there all along. they only needed to focus on the positive. this is the sort of sweet and angsty read i love. and watching cameron and everett finally figure things out is really satisfying.

**wish you were mine will publish on november 14, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: defiant queen by meghan march


omg. omg. omg.

if the cliffhanger at the end of ruthless king was something, the cliffhanger at the end of defiant queen is everything. i'm going to die waiting for the conclusion of this series. seriously. this is like season finale of lost and now i have to wait all summer type levels of cliffhanger angst. 

but it’s so good. it’s the cliffhanger i need even if it’s also one i dread.

defiant queen just took all the glorious angst and anger and passion and grit and joy and lust and feeling in ruthless king and multiplied it by a thousand percent. lachlan mount is complicated and bad to the bone and yet there’s this curious vulnerability that makes him so undeniably compelling. he does all these terrible, very bad, no good things and still you root for him. 

keira and mount are starting to let down their walls and the potential that bubbles up between them is almost too perfect to behold. you ache for them when they are in a room together, because what they feel and how they think they need to protect themselves keeps them at cross purposes. but it’s not frustrating at all. you just crave more time with them. because together they could be everything. 

the icing on the cake: there’s a cameo by one of meghan’s other alpha male characters that is utterly delicious. it’s the best little insider treat. and now i’m going back to dying for sinful empire


**defiant queen will publish on november 14, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of meghan march in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 13, 2017

superbly suspenseful: twisted truths by rebecca zanetti

twisted truths brings the blood brothers series to a thrilling conclusion. dr. madison and sheriff cobb continue their quest to hunt down the genetically blessed soldiers she created in a lab, and they combine the quest to save denver's ex's adopted child from a black market auction with tracking down madison and cobb and finally eliminating the threat they've lived with for far too long.

there's a lot going on. but the most important thing is probably the fact that noni has dropped back into denver's life. he gave her up in order to protect her. he gave her up for his brothers. but now that she's back, he's not sure he can let her go. but he's also not sure where the quest to destroy madison and cobb will take him.

there are twists and turns and revelations. and there's some really steamy make up sex for denver and noni. and where this ends may have been scripted in the stars, but it is entirely satisfying.

**twisted truths will publish on november 14, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review. keep reading for more information on the novel, including an excerpt and the author's playlist for the book.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

seriously romantic: the devil of dunakin castle by heather mccollum

grace ellington is on her way to help mairi mcneil deliver her baby when she is waylaid by wolves, a blizzard, and a highland warrior. the days she spends alone in a cabin with keir mackinnon has her half in love with the devil of dunakin castle before she even knows what that means.

keir is his clan's enforcer. and he uses legend and tall tales and fear to keep people in line. but he's mostly trying to avoid adding to the crosses he bears on his body that mark all the people he's killed. he remembers every single one. and so, even though he thinks his soul is black and there is nothing worth redeeming in him. grace sees things so very differently.

she sees a man she should have every reason to hate, given that he's abducted her, and there's so much beauty and kindness and gentleness in his soul. the way he cares for her. the way he goes out of his way to care for others no matter what they might think of him, shows that he is more than the devil people name him.

and grace might just be the angel that saves him.

**the devil of dunakin castle will publish on november 13, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (scandalous) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: once upon a maiden lane by elizabeth hoyt

in once upon a maiden lane miss mary whitsun nearly gets her fairy tale story. when she is thought to be the long-lost daughter of an earl she's transported from her life as a maidservant to a debutante with a ready-made fiancé.

it's hard to believe that any of this is happening to her, and even harder to believe how much she actually wants it to be true. especially because henry collins, viscount blackwell might just be the man of her dreams. but elizabeth hoyt doesn't tend to write straightfoward fairy tales, so while miss mary whitsun might just get the boy, it's not a certainty that he'll be the prince she expected.

mary whitsun figured heavily in the opening books in the maiden lane series, so it is nice to see her all grown up and getting her happily ever after, because in the end, even if it's not perfect, it might be exactly what she needs.

**once upon a maiden lane will publish on november 14, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: duchess by day, mistress by night by stacy ann reid

in duchess by day, mistress by night, georgiana rutherford, the duchess of hardcastle needs a lover. or at least that's what her friends and family (yes, family!) are telling her. but the only man who piques her interest is the one man who shouldn't.rhys tremayne lives on the edges of society, he's brokered information and traded secrets to attain extraordinary wealth and power but what he wants most eludes him.

here's what makes rhys so special, what he wants most isn't something selfish. he wants his sisters to find acceptance and love within society. when he first crosses paths with georgiana he sees an opportunity to trade something that might help him with his goal of helping his sisters, but what she needs from him is so easily solved that he doesn't charge her.

this is out of character for him, but he finds himself doing things out of character for the duchess. he is fascinated by her. and he can't hide it. and their chemistry sizzles on the page. these two are super hot for each other. even though it's all kinds of wrong and forbidden. there is no way society would let them live openly as a couple.

but maybe that's what trading favors are for. to make the impossible possible? lord knows they need all the leverage they can get.

**duchess by day, mistress by night will publish on november 13, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (scandalous) in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

seriously romantic: wrapped up in you by cyn d. blackburn

**update: i just noticed that the pub date on this one on amazon shows a 2018 publication date, which might mean that it's being reworked. it kind of needed it, so don't be surprised if when this publishes it's different from as described below**

when high school nemeses cross paths during a public relations christmas stunt in wrapped up in you, a lot of old wounds are revisited while spreading holiday cheer around town. officer justin weaver hasn't forgiven lilly maddox for what she did to him in high school.

it's actually pretty horrible, even if she didn't intend for things to get as out of control as they did. i think, actually, what she did was so horrible that it makes it hard to believe the romance. because here's the thing, the way justin's sister and mom treat lilly's treatment of justin as some misunderstanding doesn't seem to grasp the actual seriousness of the event.

so while watching justin and lilly forgive each other and work things out was nice, i just couldn't help thinking there is no way that these two people would have ever been able to come back from what happened in high school it was too much of a stretch.

i really liked justin. he's a good, upstanding guy. and pretty much every person in this book treats him kind of horribly. lilly videotaped and broadcast a vulnerable moment, and happens to still be doing it. his partner is a jerk who teases him unmercifully. his sister has no sense of family loyalty. his mother just thinks he should get over it. i don't know, the list goes on and on.

this is one of those stories that it's better to not overthink. if i don't dwell on what lilly did, it's like a solid romance. when i do, i am less convinced.

**wrapped up in you will publish on november 13, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (lovestruck) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: the attraction equation by kadie scott

the attraction equation is also an opposite attracts story with a splash of fake relationship to hit on all my favorite romance tropes. max carter is a buttoned up fbi agent we met previously in the wrong kind of compatible, and how he ends up hooking up with his temporary next door neighbor gina is basically the heart of this story.

gina is subletting from a friend, she's impulsive and messy and creative. when she buys her baby brother a pet dog even though it's against building regulations she doesn't dream that getting caught by max means that she'll need to agree to be his fake girlfriend. in truth it seems a little out of character for him.

and it is totally out of character. and being with gina pushes max's limits. he's managing an undiagnosed case of ocd and his need for control and order often come into conflict with gina's more spontaneous ways. but this is why she is good for him. she isn't trying to fix him. she actually accepts him for who he is, she just moves him out of his comfort zone.

the chemistry and spark and understanding between the two leads is very nicely done. i enjoyed watching their relationship grow and watching them reach a greater understanding of themselves—who they are and who they could be.

**the attraction equation will publish on november 13, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (lovestruck) in exchange for my honest review.

seriously romantic: trouble next door by stefanie london

trouble next door all starts when mckenna dreamed up operation self love in order to get over her latest breakup. accidentally sending the sex toys she ordered to the grumpy hot guy across the hall was a mistake. and when she googles him and realizes beckett has connections that could lead to a big break for her makeup business she decides to ask for help.

so they come to an agreement in which in exchange for beckett passing mckenna's name on as a potential makeup artist for his sister's high society wedding, she will help him get back together with his ex. who he's mainly trying to smooth things over with because her father now refuses to be an investor in his startup. that sentence makes beckett sound like more of a jerk than he really is.

he is actually a good guy. more comfortable with computers than people, but once he actually notices mckenna, it's like he can't stop noticing her. and the reasons why he needs to reconcile with his ex, which even more than money are about habit, start to fade away.

and it's a very sweet story about two totally opposite people coming together in an unexpected way.

**trouble next door will publish on november 13, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (lovestruck) in exchange for my honest review.