Tuesday, January 31, 2017

seriously romantic: to tame a wild lady by ashlyn macnamara

a lot of the time the characters in historical romance novels don't necessarily behave in ways that are historically accurate. this is very true of the characters in to tame a wild lady. i was surprised to realize that this was a regency, because given the character's staunch feminism it at least felt mildly victorian, but this was not the case. letting go of the historical accuracy piece is usually not a problem for me, and i did enjoy the novel in spite of the fact that i didn't think the characters were behaving in line with the setting. 

lady caroline wilde is horse-mad. she wants to participate in the hunt, something no woman is allowed to do. she's raised and trained her horse all on her own. she's reserved fields of her father's land for her own pursuits, even at the estate's expense. when adrian crosby shows up to take over the estate agent position, caro is instantly attracted to him. he is the by-blown son of the marquess of wyvern, and has left that estate behind for personal reasons related to the second marchioness. 

becoming involved with the duke's daughter is not on adrian's agenda. but as their paths keep crossing, the chemistry that sparks between them cannot be denied. figuring out how a duke's daughter and the bastard son of a marquess can be together is a bit of a stretch but the author makes it work somehow. given that caro's sister already married down in a sense in the previous novel in the series, to lure a proper lady, it's clear that this particular duke (caro's father) has had to turn down his expectations of advantageous marriages for his girls.

**to tame a wild lady will publish on january 31, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/random house publishing (loveswept) in exchange for my honest review.

simply all about too wild to tame by tessa bailey

Title: Too Wild to Tame
Author: Tessa Bailey
Series: Romancing the Clarksons, #2
On Sale: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $5.99 USD
eBook: $2.99 USD


Sometimes you just can't resist playing with fire…

By day, Aaron Clarkson suits up, shakes hands, and acts the perfect gentleman. But at night, behind bedroom doors, the tie comes off and the real Aaron comes out to play. Mixing business with pleasure got him fired, so Aaron knows that if he wants to work for the country's most powerful senator, he'll have to keep his eye on the prize. That's easier said than done when he meets the senator's daughter, who's wild, gorgeous, and 100 percent trouble.

Grace Pendleton is the black sheep of her conservative family. Yet while Aaron's presence reminds her of a past she'd rather forget, something in his eyes keeps drawing her in. Maybe it's the way his voice turns her molten. Or maybe it's because deep down inside, the ultra-smooth, polished Aaron Clarkson might be more than even Grace can handle…





Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, and drove cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend, and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.



His progress toward the door halted when Grace shot to her feet, arms stiff at her sides, those green eyes like glowing jade moons. “I…that isn’t what I was asking for. I just meant, let me help you, in general. I—I didn’t think…”

Aaron’s neck heated. “If you don’t like the idea, we can change it—”

She jumped. She actually jumped straight up in the air, hands flying to her cheeks. “I love it. Oh, please don’t change anything. I was just so surprised.”

He inclined his head, mentally cursing the way his heart decided to make its presence known at such an inconvenient time, walloping his rib cage with thick booms, courtesy of Grace’s pleasure. How juvenile. “I’m kind of surprised myself,” he admitted, then wished he’d kept his mouth shut.

At least until Grace floated toward him. All shining eyes and rosy excitement, she spurred a lust storm in his stomach. “It’s so much better when you say what you’re thinking, Aaron.”

“You mentioned that.”

And of course, it made him want to say more. Say whatever it would take to get her legs wrapped around his hips. To rock between her thighs until her wetness drenched the fly of his pants. “Get away from me, Grace,” he rasped. “It would be just like me to take advantage of you after having to tell that story.”

Silence deepened around them. “How can you say that after you just found a way for me to rebuild the camp?” It seemed as if her entire body lifted and fell on a harsh sob. “Last night, you asked me if I still saw some good in you…and I didn’t answer. How could I not have answered you?” She shook her gorgeous head. “I didn’t mean to—”

Aaron shot forward, capturing her unspoken words with his own mouth. Guilt. There had been even more guilt in her eyes. Aaron’s response was pure denial. Not because of me. Not over me. But as soon as their lips joined, his mind wiped clean of anything but Grace’s one-of-a-kind taste. She was juicy, sweet, refreshing, intoxicating madness. He let it pull him down into its depths—her depths—gathering up her taste greedily so he could live with the effect as long as possible, even though surely a man couldn’t withstand this type of arousal for an extended length of time. He’d want to fuck her again as soon as he came. It was a certainty his body was all too eager to confirm. Yet protectiveness held him in a state of limbo. Wanting—needing—to mate with her delicious body while determined to protect her from himself.

Couldn’t she sense the past meaningless encounters he wore like gloves, cheapening everything he touched? Couldn’t she sense his inability to be meaningful to her? Grace should have someone with substance, not someone who couldn’t even garner the love of his own family. Someone who considered the ramifications of his actions and how they would serve as betrayal. This is how you repay me?

The voice from his not-so-distant past had Aaron tearing his mouth away with a guttural growl, clasping Grace by the shoulders. Too hard. Ease up. “Get away.”

“If you really want that, let me go,” she whispered.

God, he couldn’t do it. Not with her face tipped back, lips swollen and shined up, those eyelids halfway fallen. He’d never in his life had trouble resisting sex. It was always a logical decision based on his needs. This? There was nothing cut and dried about it. His attraction to Grace was messy and wild and untapped. Made his chest expand with the effort to contain the expanding of something unfamiliar. Crazy and blinding. His dick needed a good, rough handling from one woman only. Grace. And she wasn’t pushing him away. Seemed like she wanted the job, too, her tits sliding up and down his abs with every breath. Give her one more chance. Show her what she’s in for with a bastard like you. With a muttered epithet, Aaron raked his hand up the back of Grace’s thigh, sliding it down the back of her tights, and settling his middle finger in the valley of her ass. “Get away from me,” he managed, wedging his straying digit a little more securely, earning him a closed-lipped noise.

“No,” she gasped after a few seconds.

Aaron’s tether broke. Recapturing Grace’s mouth with an obscene amount of tongue, he backed them toward the bed, satisfaction rippling in his middle when she went down beneath him, her legs falling open in welcome. He draped his body over Grace’s slighter one, eager grunts leaving his mouth as he positioned himself over her pussy and bore down with his erection. Their groans were pain-filled, reaching every corner of the cabin, breaking off when Aaron got back to kissing that addictive mouth, yanking the oversized sweater up, up to her belly, so he could rock against her sex with only his pants and her tights as obstructions.


“You were warned,” he reminded her with a strangled shout, delivered into the space above her head. “Three times, Grace. That’s three times more than I’d give anyone else.” He slid up and back in the cradle of her legs, groaning over the rasping friction her tights delivered to his stiff, fuck-hungry dick. “Make it four times. I gave you an out back at the house. You should have taken it.”

When Grace should have been trembling or alarmed by the cut steel in his voice, she only stretched out beneath him like a cat, opening up for him. Almost preening beneath his rough ministrations. “Maybe I should have. But we’re here now, so stop trying to scare me.” Her fingertips moved down Aaron’s chest to the seat of his pants, where she smoothed her palm over the curve of his cock, which started him panting like a marathon runner. “You don’t really want to scare me, do you, Aaron?”
Christ, her soft words, the sight of her, were choking him up. Her hair was a haphazard display framing her face, those crooked front teeth somehow making him twice as eager to seal their mouths together again. He was a hunter who’d discovered a sprite dancing in the woods and dragged her home, intending to use her body for vigorous relief, but got forgiveness in return. “No, I don’t. I don’t want to scare you.”

“I know,” she breathed, unfastening his belt buckle. “I just know.”


Here's an excerpt of my original review of the ebook version of Too Wild to Tame:

aaron is kind of a jerk, but he's got this soft gooey core and you can't help but feel for him because he's the guy who everyone else shut out. so of course he has his guard up. of course he keeps people at arm's length. and then he meets grace pendelton. the daughter of the man who's acceptance is key for aaron's plans.

meeting grace in the unlikeliest of circumstances--her air of fragility draws aaron's attention, but her strength of spirit captivates him. once they meet, they can't keep away from each other. the chemistry between aaron and grace is so hot. [...] there is plenty of baggage these characters are carrying. but it felt less overwhelming in this story, i think because both aaron and grace had such a strong sense of self [...] it's pretty clear that aaron and grace are it for each other. and yes, there are obstacles, real and imagined. but for the most part they fall head over heels for each other and being together heals the holes in their souls.

[...] the deeper story this series is telling is about family and the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood. so yes, this is a sexy love story. but it's also an emotional story about how family can be the ones to break your heart and help you put it back together.


Monday, January 30, 2017

strictly literary: long way home by katie mcgarry

the latest installment of the thunder road series, long way home, gives us chevy and violet's story. both of them have grown up in the reign of terror motorcycle gang. their fathers were both members, but they both struggle with living in the gang and its culture and having a normal life.

i have to say, i've read each book in this series, and i struggle with the culture. i know we are supposed to see the gang as the heros, but the way being a member of the gang controls the life of everyone involved, even those who didn't choose the life, is so hard to swallow. i have rooted for every one of the guys in the previous novels to leave the gang behind, so i'm sure i'll be disappointed in chevy, even though out of all of them, he stands to gain the most from leaving the motorcycle life behind.

he's an all-american guy, the star running back on his football team, someone who has so much possibility if he dares leave the reign of terror behind. but his grandfather was the club's leader, now his uncle eli runs things, but he's on the track to run things too, if he wants it. he's not sure what he wants. his mother would love it if he took a step back. and then there's violet, whose father died on club business, and who is dying to leave the motorcycle club and their small kentucky town far behind.

they broke up when it became clear that chevy would choose the club over her, but will he keep making that choice as they face unspeakable danger? violet would do anything for chevy, chevy would do anything for violet, and being mixed up in dangerous club business could get either of them killed. so who knows where things will go?

i don't know, because i only got a sneak peek, and i'm dying to see what will happen on page 64. page 63 was kind of a cliffhanger!

as conflicted as i am about the motorcycle club, especially the misogynistic and paternalistic attitudes that guide them, the characters really make these books so readable. so i keep coming back for more regardless. and who knows, maybe this time things will end differently?

**long way home will publish on january 31, 2017. i received an advance sneak peek courtesy of netgalley/harlequin teen in exchange for my honest review. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

seriously romantic: her leading man by maggie dallen

caitlyn has a thing for cary grant. she wants a boyfriend who is silver screen worthy. her ex, she's come to realize was decidedly not cary grant. and her first date with ben is definitely not dreamy. though it's also probably more cary grant than she could have ever dreamed. i mean, in the philadelphia story or bringing up baby it's definitely not love at first sight in her leading man for either of the leads.

ben does his best to make a giant ass of himself on their date. and then as luck would have it, he ends up being her sublettor. the thing is, ben isn't as gigantic an ass as he first seems. and the time they spend together begins to mean something. slowly they become friends. but they are also friends who have incredible chemistry.

because that's the thing about cary grant. the man had incredible chemistry with his leading ladies. all that bickering was foreplay, and that's what cait and ben have going on. so when they do let go of their inhibitions and fall into bed together, it's pretty amazing.

and sure there's some silliness and a giant misunderstanding, but they figure that all out. caitlyn's friends are a fun crowd and are secondary characters begging for their own stories, and since this is the start of a series i'm sure we'll see more of them.

**her leading man will publish on february 14, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (lyrical shine) in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

seriously romantic: confession by calista fox

in this erotic novella, fallon carteris finally has a chance to be with bad boy billionaires devon mcmillan and morgan presley. she's known them her whole life. and she knows they like to share their ladies. after some time away from the bayfront area where they grew up, she's devoted some serious time into becoming the woman of their dreams.

what she doesn't know is that something has come between devon and morgan, something so taboo they can't bring themselves to spend any time together, retreating to opposite coasts and ignoring their original bayfront property. they're only in town because they've received an offer too hard to refuse, and they need to talk about it. but the name of this book is confession, and you know they need to reveal all their secrets before things get all better.

the short format makes quick work of explaining the back story, even though we don't get the full details of what happened that one night in seattle until after the midway point, the secret isn't too terribly surprising. fallon proves to be the balm in healing devon and morgan's friendship, as well as their mutual object of desire.

this is a quick, steamy read. the short format means that you don't get a whole lot of time with these character's and their back stories, but the author does what she can to fill in the gaps. there's barely enough plot here for a novella, and that's totally okay, and the sex scenes are really well done.

**confession will publish on february 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, January 27, 2017

seriously romantic: the feeling of forever by jamie howard

when felix donovan meets juliet st. clair it's over. he knows that she is all he wants in his life. she's the person he wants to be with always. and juliet feels the same way. they may not admit it to each other right then and there, but it's love. it's true and strong and forever.

so why is there a whole novel about these two lovebirds called the feeling of forever? well, it's complicated. juliet is a famous actress with a stalker problem. a stalker problem so bad that she had to testify and has extra security now that he's out of prison. and felix, well, we met felix before in all the ways you saved me. he's ian's bandmate who ended up paraplegic after a freak accident. it's been a year and he's still dealing with the emotional trauma of the incident.

like he still hasn't let it be known that he's in a wheelchair. physically he's strong, he's fit. he's doing pt, he's doing all the right things. but mentally he's still not ready to accept that people will see him differently. he's not ready to accept that he must see himself differently. and that makes his connection with juliet so extraordinary. because she simply accepts that he is in a wheelchair and never lets it define him. he doesn't feel less than in her eyes and that makes him feel strong enough to just be who he is in public.

but as their relationship grows and deepens and he becomes precious to juliet, she is compelled to cut him out of her life. the evil stalker not only attacks juliet in such a way to have staged a suicide attempt, but threatens felix and her family. and juliet cannot bear to think of her loved ones suffering on her behalf in any way. and so even though it shatters her, she cuts off all communication. felix doesn't understand and fights for her until he's just about ready to give up. and then when the stalker kidnaps juliet and juliet's sister convinces him that something is wrong, it's almost too late.

but it's not, because juliet and felix love each other. they always have. they always will. from the moment they met it was a forever kind of thing. and sometimes it's nice to read a story where you're not really worried about the if, and just enjoy the when. when it all comes together it is perfect and sweet and you just close the book, or shut down your kindle, totally blissed out. (ok, so maybe that's just me. but god, i love a happy ending.)

**the feeling of forever will publish on february 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

seriously romantic: the list by tawna fenske

when cassie michaels is forced to bring in her computer to computer tech simon traxel she is embarrassed beyond words. her computer has frozen on a rather incriminating document, the list. you see, she's been compiling a list of crazy sexy stories she's told her sisters, and that she might be expected to recount at her sister's upcoming bachelorette party.

cassie is a soil scientist, a girl who loves getting down and dirty with nature and who has always felt like she needed to prove something to her super girly older sisters. she's so mortified when she meets simon that he can't help being intrigued. she's so shy and the things on her list are so naughty that he wants to know more about her. he hasn't felt like that about anyone in a long time. simon has a bit of baggage. his younger sister has down syndrome and while he is wonderful with her, and she is portrayed beautifully by the author, he's found that the women he has chosen in the past don't respond well to meeting her. and since she is the only family he has left, that is definitely not the right response. simon is also super rich, an up-and-coming owner of a large chain of computer stores in the pacific northwest, who's been profiled by forbes and is a magnet for the gold-digger.

the gold-digger magnet thing makes him very wary of starting new relationships, but when cassie seems to have no idea who he is, he simply doesn't elaborate. instead he offers to help her out with really experiencing the items on her naughty list. the more items on the list they cross off, the deeper they find themselves in relationship territory, an area they both swore they didn't want to find themselves in. and when his secrets are accidentally revealed on a chance encounter, he handles things badly.

luckily, he gets his act together and gets over his weird hangups and goes after cassie. since it's pretty obvious from the get-go that they are perfect for one another. this is a fun, sexy contemporary romance, both cassie and simon are super likable, and it's really refreshing to see them get sorted out without a lot of drama.

**the list will publish on january 30, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (scorched) in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

seriously romantic: royal scandal by marquita valentine

in royal scandal, the fictitious exiled royals of the isle of man escaped their homeland as children, with only their eldest brother, colin,  of an age to care for them and honestly at nineteen he was a child himself. that's when he first meets della hughes, his seventeen year-old neighbor who has come to give him the what-for given that he's just evicted her stepmother.

colin never reveals the reasons why his family has fled to this hidden enclave in the carolinas. he doesn't share that the two baby boys he cares for are his brothers not his children. he never lets della in on his big secrets. but when parliament decides to offer him a deal to return, one that would make him king and also marry him off to a stranger he decides to take matters into his own hands. at the same time, his family is outed in the press as the exiled royal family and the secure enclave they'd retreated to all those years ago is under siege by the press.

so colin proposes to della. at first he proposes a marriage of convenience. but then he quickly changes his mind, because he's been in love with this woman for his entire adult life and she is already the de facto mother of his boys. so he seduces her into changing her mind. while colin has been busy keeping secrets from della, she's not innocent of being fully honest either. her big secret is that she is infertile. and actually it's the kind of infertile that there is no getting around with miracles. colin is remarkably blasé about this revelation. della takes the revelation that the boys she's always assumed to be his children are his brothers much harder.

and i think it's partly because there was so much other political drama involving these two as a couple that the additional bit of drama around della's lack of fertility felt underdeveloped. once she actually reveals her secret, it's kind of like an afterthought. which, i mean on the one hand, it's amazing that colin had no qualms about not being able to have biological children. on the other hand someone who was raised to believe in monarchy and lineage and preserving one's place in history would probably have a stronger reaction to the fact that their dna ends with them. a lot of colin's attitudes are actually remarkably progressive, but in a way that doesn't feel entirely earned. oh well.

**royal scandal will publish on january 24, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/random house publishing (loveswept) in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, January 23, 2017

seriously romantic: just once by addison fox

book 2 of the brooklyn brotherhood series pairs cop daphne rossi with tech wizard landon mcgee. landon at his cooperative office space. daphne believes that the theft has all the markings of a personal attack. and there are several people who could be targeting landon. one is gloria reynolds who has a longstanding grudge against landon's adoptive mother. the other is landon's biological mother, amber, who left landon behind when her addictions proved to be too much.
after a break-in that targets only

landon doesn't really want daphne to go poking around in his past. he's pretty sure the break-in can be laid at gloria's door, and the last thing he wants is to reconnect with the woman who neglected him for years and then abandoned him.

like the first book in the series, park heights, the brooklyn neighborhood these characters live in serves as a whole other character, and everyone has an opinion about the relationship and what the two characters need to do to make sure it lasts. and as much as i liked the two leads, part of me didn't love the way that daphne pushed herself into landon's relationship with his biological mother and how much pressure was put on him to deal with all those feelings. and listen, maybe those were issues and feelings he needed to deal with, it just felt like no one was respecting his timetable, and that didn't feel right. given his upbringing, he had a lot of deep personal trauma, it just felt like the way daphne pushed him, and then the way her mother pushed him was wrong, even if it all turned out all right.

though this is a standalone, and you don't need to have read the first book in the series to understand what is happening, having read the first book, at last, does give you a greater understanding of the relationships in just once

**just once will publish on february 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for your honest review.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

seriously romantic: the devil's submission by nicola davidson

the devil's submission is the second novella in the fallen series by nicola davidson, and picks up the story of grayson "devil" deveraux and his estranged wife, eliza. they had a whirlwind romance, and devil thought that he had finally found a woman who could satisfy his unique needs. when they first meet, eliza can't stop herself from seizing control during their sexual encounters. devil has a submissive streak, but he's also deeply ashamed of this, having been constantly humiliated and degraded for his preferences.

but eliza comes from a very proper english family. her parents run a finishing school that promises perfect brides and excellent marriages. and her mother keeps telling her that she needs to be a good english wife. so she starts holding back her need to control things. and the more meekly she behaves the more devil pulls back, and he believes`that he's made a terrible mistake. that he has fallen in love with a woman who cannot satisfy the deepest, darkest needs of his soul.

but this is a novella, and luckily the misunderstandings don't last too long. first eliza figures out that grayson is turned on by her domineering side, and eventually he confesses that he needs pain in order to reach total fulfillment. the fallen club provides a haven for all sorts of sexual interests and eliza is able to learn from charlotte, the dominatrix they keep on staff.

the whole story still reads as historically improbable, but the characters are engaging and the sexy bits are good, so for a quick, fun, steamy read, the devil's submission is a good pick.

**the devil's submission will publish on february 6, 2017. i received my advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (scorched) in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

strictly literary: wondering sight by melissa mcshane

i loved burning bright, the first book in melissa mcshane's extraordinaries series, so i was thrilled to see wondering sight was just released. i mean, literally thrilled, because just like with burning bright the cover is so pretty. at first i kept expecting to see elinor and miles or some of the characters from the first novel, and i spent a lot of time trying to identify connections that weren't there. so eventually i figured that these books weren't necessarily connected, but that they clearly occupied the same world.

and this is a fully fleshed out world, a paranormal version of our own regency england. sophia westlake has just come home from portugal, after years of service as an extraordinary seer. she leaves her government service in disgrace, having accused a peer of embezzlement that there is no evidence for. but sophia knows she is right. she is not just any extraordinary seer, she is among the best. and the doubt about her visions cuts her to the core of who she is. and the fact that lord endicott, the man she accused, her nemesis, is roaming freely about london society makes her blood boil. she is beyond all rationality when it comes to lord endicott. she wants him to suffer and pay for what he has done to her. it goes beyond justice and is simple revenge.

she begins tracking lord endicott's criminal activities, using her dreams to predict his criminal behavior. all her focus is on this one activity, even though she has been offered an alternative outlet for her powers. a mr. rutledge takes it upon himself to proposition her with a job offer, he miscalculates badly, thinking she'd be happy for the work, but sophia is too prideful, and there is no way she would work for someone who thinks she's made a mistake. mr. rutledge turns out to be involved in the search of a counterfeiting ring, one that lord endicott is leading, but sophia is not pleased when she realizes that mr. rutledge has been taking advantage of the overlap.

there are a lot of misunderstanding between sophia and poor mr. rutledge. there were two things i struggled with in this novel, one was sophia's pridefulness, she is so unyielding in her determination to prove everyone is wrong about her, that it becomes infuriating at times. people just want to help, they are on her side, and for a time she treats everyone like an enemy. to her own detriment, since her singular focus on her dreams and vision actually impact her health and mental well-being. and then the other thing is that there isn't a ton of action. after the first novel, with all the battles and warfare, hanging out in dreams and visions about counterfeit money is a little less thrilling. but this is still a wonderful tale, and getting to know more people in this world, and learning more about their abilities, makes for a great read. i'm hoping we see sophia's extraordinary bounder cousin, daphne, in the next book in the series. i, for one, will definitely be checking it out.

**wondering sight published on january 19, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/curiosity quills press in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, January 20, 2017

simply believing in the positive

the world is changed today. and i am not sure what to think about it. mostly i am going to hope for the best, because living in fear isn't the way i'm built. and i need to believe in the future.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 3

parts 1 and 2 set the stage at the links, but part 3 takes us back to what happens after the end of departure. we'll see where things go after their one night, but it will be a while before we get there.

we pick up the story one month earlier then, after the jump...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

seriously romantic: first comes desire by tina donahue

i'm always up for a romance novel that takes place in an exotic locale, because nine times out of ten they take place in america or the british isles. first comes desire takes place in madagascar, so interesting location is definitely a box it checks.

unfortunately, it also checks the ridiculous purple prose box--actual phrases include "meaty balls" and "beefy rod," which, um, are not sexy. i personally prefer not to think of raw meat when sex is happening. and even more unfortunate, the way this love story develops is totally schizophrenic.

diana has hunted tristan down because she thinks he kidnapped her brother--he didn't. when he gets the better of her, he locks himself in her bedroom, and tells her she wants him, kisses her when she says no, and informs her that the children she will bear him will not be bastards because they are getting married.

then when his crew demands a turn with her, he seemingly acquiesces without a fight, lets her think his quartermaster is going to rape her, only haha, it turns out he wasn't actually going to do that. it's all a ruse to allow them to escape to tristan's private island. during the boat ride over diana suffers some sort of thought transplant because instead of being pissed at him for all of the above actions, she wants him to commit to her for love and not desire. and doesn't fight marrying him on the beach when they land on the island.

the push and pull between the leads continues this way until they solve their main issue with the left behind crew and the evil canela, the token native girl in love/lust with our hero,  the original villian of the piece, benedict bishop earns barely a mention, which is super bizarre, but oh well. with diana spouting so many misogynistic ideas about being a wife that as a modern woman and a feminist it's all a bit hard to take. i don't mind an alpha hero, i don't mind a dominant either because usually behind the dominance and alpha-hole attitudes there is an underlying respect for women. but tristan wasn't written consistently for this to be true. and diana swings between badass and ninny too many times to count. and this is such a shame because i thought there was a good idea here. it just suffers terribly in the execution.

**first comes desire will publish on february 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (lyrical press) in exchange for my honest review. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

simply all about real good love by meghan march

A couple of weeks ago,  I talked up Real Good Man by Meghan March. The sequel, Real Good Love, is out today, so if you've been looking for some books to binge-read, have at it. see below for more information on both books, including places to order.

Real Good Love
Real Duet Book 2
Release Date: January 17

From USA Today bestselling author Meghan March comes a sexy new duet with a hero you won't want to miss.
I’ve had my fair share of bad boys, but nothing prepared me for what it was like to be with a real good man.

Logan Brantley changed everything.

Somewhere along the way, what started as a fling became the best part of my life.

He makes me want all the things I’ve never had, like forever and happily ever after, but nothing worth having comes easily.

Everyone is betting on us to fail, but I’m ready to fight for this real good love.

Real Good Love is the conclusion of the Real Duet and should be read following Real Good Man.

iBooks |  Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU |  Amazon CA | BN | Kobo

 And if you haven't caught up with where it all started here, again, is the info on 

Real Good Man
Real Duet Book 1
Release Date: January 3

From USA Today bestselling author Meghan March comes a sexy new duet. We've all had the bad boys, now it's time for a Real Good Man.

Fall for a woman over text messages? No way in hell.

Reality can never be as good at the fantasy, right?

Wrong. It’s better.

Banner Regent is smart, funny, and she’s so far out of my league, she might as well be royalty.

I’m a mechanic from Kentucky. She’s a New York City party girl.

We were never supposed to meet, but one text started something neither of us saw coming.

How do you seduce the woman who already has everything?

Show her what it’s like to be with a real good man.

About the Author:
Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She's also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she's ever had. She loves hearing from her readers at meghanmarchbooks@gmail.com. 
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Monday, January 16, 2017

superbly suspenseful: at close range by laura griffin

the tracers series by laura griffin revolves a specialized csi lab called the delphi center and the local austin, texas area. at close range follows daniele "dani" harper and scott black as they trace a serial killer in a connected series of murders that threatens them a little too directly.
precincts near the

when dani is first called into the double murder scene, she knows it's going to be a long night. and when she's made lead on the case because her senior partner is about to go out on paternity leave, her night gets longer. she's the only girl in a family of cops and lawmen, so she's psyched by the chance to prove herself and overwhelmed by the pressure. but she's tough and she sets things in motion in order to ensure that they get their guy.

except the evidence says that scott black, the delphi center's ballistics expert is their guy. dani has known scott her whole life, he's her brother's best friend. she's had a crush on him since she was fifteen, at least. as a cop she knows that sometimes you have to trust your gut instincts, and everything is telling her that scott has been framed. but rules and procedures exist to built airtight cases you can bring to court, so scott is placed on administrative leave and taken off the case.

this doesn't stop him from investigating on his own. he knows he's being framed. he knows dani knows this too. his pissed about the whole situation and doesn't trust anyone to get things right when it comes to the investigation. so he takes things into his own hands and goes rogue.

the whole case is going haywire because more and more dead bodies are piling up, and they all appear to be linked. and things between dani and scott are going haywire because the attraction that they've spent the last several months ignoring, ever since an ill-advised, drunken new year's kiss, has reached a boiling point.

at close range is fast-paced and keeps the twists coming and the tension between dani and scott at full throttle. i read untraceable ages ago and meant to keep up with the series, but hadn't. and i always enjoy a good romantic suspense novel, and this series is chock full of them.

**at close range will publish on january 31, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/gallery, threshold, pocket books (pocket books) in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

seriously romantic: ruthless by gina maxwell

in ruthless, the second book in gina maxwell's playboys in love series, we see roman and addison light up the boardroom and the dance floor with their explosive chemistry and crazy sexual tension.

addie has always been the girl who flouts the rules, she fights for what she wants, and works and plays hard. she wants roman as soon as she sees him, and even though he usually doesn't get tangled up with friends of friends sexually, she's going to make sure that he breaks that silly rule of his. there's a reason for this that addie isn't aware of. roman has certain needs that most girls he meets aren't up for. he enjoys sharing his partners, having another pair of hands on hand in order to increase his partner's pleasure.

addie is taken aback by these needs, but she's open-minded enough to try things. especially given how intense the connection is between roman and her. when she ends up working at roman's newly-launched law firm, at first they try to stay away from each other, but it's too late to stop their relationship, they are already too connected to keep things only professional. their relationship as it develops and grows is really lovely, and sweetly emotional.

but just when roman is ready to admit that he's ready to be intimate with only addison, and doesn't need the added buffer of a third, he's blindsided by a secret that addison has been keeping from him. now as you are reading, you totally know that this is coming, but at the same time, it's one of those things where the whole thing could have been avoided. i think the issue is that what causes the big blow up is such a stupid misunderstanding, and these characters are smarter than this. they should have been able to communicate better, we'd seen their relationship grow into something strong, even given their emotional baggage. so the level of obtuseness was a bit hard to swallow given that they had been behaving like normal human beings otherwise.

they figure themselves out, but i think i would have preferred something less dramatic happening to cause the drama or something with bigger stakes, because in the end, when they finally have the talk that resolves everything, they've been separated for three months, and a ten-minute conversation fixes things. and like of course i'm happy for a happily ever after, but at the same time, i struggled with the way everything ended up getting resolved.

**ruthless will publish on january 30, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (scorched) in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

seriously romantic: nine kinds of naughty by jeanette grey

lexie bellamy knows how to rule the boardroom. she's been at the top of her game since taking the reins at her family company and keeping the whole thing afloat while her brother figured himself out. in nine kinds of naughty now that he's back in charge, she has to fight even harder to stay on top, to lean in, because as a woman, no one is going to give her more than one chance to succeed.

and part of her success can be tracked back to her assistant, dane huntley. he knows what she wants before she even speaks the words. he's at her command, by her side every moment she needs him while he's on the clock. when he's not on the clock, well, she doesn't quite know what he does. his weekends are a mystery to her.

but dane isn't really that mysterious. he comes from a firefighting family, and his older brother died in a fire. and since then his mother has kept him in a bubble, and to please her, he's lived his life inside the lines. taking a temp job that becomes an assistant job. and keeping his weekends to be his true self, the dominant, risk-taker he is meant to be.

when lexie and dane are tasked with a work trip to spain to manage a merger negotiation, the sexual tension simmering between them hits a boiling point. dane knows that what lexie needs is for him to take control. he knows her like no one else, and he knows exactly what she needs. even if she isn't quite ready to accept it.

and once she does give in, she discovers exactly what she needs in dane's arms. but as they work through lexie's issues, dane is working through issues of his own. when lexie's brother is injured in a car accident and they spend time in the hospital with him, dane realizes that he can no longer take the stifling life inside the bubble. what he doesn't realize is that this is counter to lexie's plans of corporate domination with dane by her side. and so his need to be himself comes directly into conflict with lexie's fears of abandonment.

they get a little help from lexie's brother on figuring themselves out, but they do get there. and their story is sexy, emotional, and well-worth reading.

**nine kinds of naughty will publish on february 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/forever (grand central publishing) in exchange for my honest review. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

strictly literary: my (not so) perfect llfe by sophie kinsella

can you keep a secret? and i've got your number are two of my all-time favorite comfort reads--they are laugh out loud funny, romantic, and after i read them i can't stop smiling. my (not so) perfect life hits all the right notes and joins the other two in my re-read pile for when life gets stressful or depressing.

katie brenner is finally living the london life of her dreams. except her boss, demeter, is crazy demanding. and her flat is miles away from where she works and she's got terrible roommates. her salary barely covers her rent, and so mostly she pretends to herself and the world that her london life is perfect. doing so by instagramming picture-perfect moments that don't reflect the reality--filtering out imperfections and cropping out the reminders that, actually, if she sits down and takes stock, she's pretty miserable. 

so when she is unceremoniously fired, she retreats back to her family farm in somerset where her father and stepmother are setting up a glamping vacation business. still pretending that all things london are perfect and she's just on a sabbatical from the job in order to help them out, things go haywire when her ex-boss ends up in a yurt with her kids. at first katie is intent on revenge, especially since demeter doesn't even recognize her. 

but as demeter withstands the humiliating customized retreat that katie puts her through, and katie realizes that all is not necessarily golden in demeter's world, they begin to come to terms. when alex, katie's crush from london, and demeter's rumored boy-toy shows up to fire her too, demeter recruits katie in order to help her save her job.  

katie, demeter, and alex manage to untangle the very knotty web that has grouped them together, and they all grow as their relationships and understanding of one another deepen. katie is our delightful narrator, and her voice, her sense of the ridiculous, make the novel so charming while also ringing true about how we all have the moments of pretending life is perfect, when it is anything but.

**my (not so) perfect life will publish on february 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/random house publishing group (the dial press) in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 2

i need to figure out a way to let people jump to the next part easily because this story is so freaking long, but the problem is that i can't do that in advance because there is no next part to jump to until the next thursday. but i could do it after the fact. it just seems like a lot of editing i'm not all that interested in doing. we shall see. maybe in my mythical free time.

part 1 is at the link, while part 2 continues below. note that this part is pretty steamy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

seriously romantic: maybe it's you by candace calvert

the third book in candace calvert's crisis team series, maybe it's you, is a slow burn. a real slow burn. and it's not the christian romance angle that makes it so slow. i've accidentally picked up other christian romances before, and while i prefer things to be steamier, and less god talk in my romance novels, i still just love romance in any form, so those missing those two things is easy to get past.

it's just that at 40% of the novel i couldn't believe i still had 60% to go. and i think it's partly because there is so much going on here other than romance. this is a medical romance, so there is a lot of hospital scenes, and we get some extended patient care scenes. the author is a former trauma nurse, so clearly knows what happens in an e.r. and understands how hospitals work. but i wanted more interaction between the two leads and cared less about the different medical cases sloane, our heroine, would be handling.

unfortunately, it's not until about 40% in that micah, our hero, and sloane get any decent one-on-one time. once they finally start interacting, and having conversations that don't devolve into sloane ranting and raving at micah for things that aren't true, the novel gets less frustrating. sloane is kind of a mess of a human being: she was maybe sexually abused as a child (the book strongly insinuates this but refrains from spelling it out which is kind of frustrating), her mother was an alcoholic and addicted to prescription drugs and was "killed" by sloane's stepfather (though he claims he did not drown her, it was his negligence that caused her death), her ex-fiancé is connected to the russian mafia and they are after her in order to get to him and the money he stole from them, sloane herself is a recovering alcoholic. when she moves to los angeles from san diego to start over she changes her name from ronda sloane wilder to sloane ferrell.

it's no surprise that people eventually figure her out. but it takes so long for anything to get going on this. there's also a whole subplot about human trafficking perpetuated by the same russian mobsters out to get sloane's ex, and the two stories do eventually tie together. but when we start seeing things from the point of view of people in that story line, it's more intrusive than interesting.

the overall story is fine, i just wish we could have seen more of the characters interacting in a positive way earlier because by the time things really start to get going in the relationship department, you're almost halfway through the novel.

**maybe it's you will publish on february 3, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/tynedale house publishers in exchange for my honest review.