Review
Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, RomCom, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Crazy Apologetic Canadians by Cathryn Fox

Crazy Apologetic Canadians
(standalone)

Publication Date: March 6, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Grumpy-Sunshine/Small Town/Romantic Comedy

Author: Cathryn Fox

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Crazy Apologetic Canadians is the funniest book I’ve had the pleasure of reading.
It was exactly the book I needed for the reading slump I’d fallen into as it lifted my spirits, made my day feel brighter, and all of the fun inside spilled out to make my day feel soooo much better.

Colin Parker arrives in Canada a stuffy, grumpy Brit who is literally the complete opposite of the snarky, happy-go-lucky Canadian, Violet. Colin is there to complete a job for his family’s foundation, but the small town of Annapolis does everything they can to keep him from completing his task. Violet plays the peacekeeper, for the most part, between the town’s people and Colin, since she understands Colin is only there to do his job, even if she doesn’t particularly like it herself.

While Colin is stuck in a holding pattern and Violet plays hostess, Colin gets to know Canada a little better and it also seems to loosen the stick from his behind that he arrived with. It probably helps that his hostess is the vibrant Violet, even when Canadian phases throw him, but are delightfully funny. The time away from his stuffy life and his castle…that’s right Colin lives in a drafty castle, however, don’t call him a prince, he is anything but charming, it all seems a little crazy, but in the end it really does a man good.

The entire book is great fun, full of witty banter, quirky characters, and page turning plot. Colin and Violet made my cheeks hurt with all of the chuckling and giggling I did throughout the entire book. Reading their story was like watching my favorite sitcom, except it was a million times better! I chuckled from start to finish and my love for Colin and Violet only grew as the story progressed. This is one romcom not to be missed!!

Synopsis:
“If you liked Crazy Rich Asians, you’re going to LOVE Crazy Apologetic Canadians!”

I take one look at the grumpy Brit and know I’m in trouble. Not because he’s in Nova Scotia to tear down our beloved amusement park. Or because he wants to build an elite school on the lush property.

No, I’m in trouble because Colin Parker is superlicious – despite the stick up his British bum.

You see, I’m a free-spirited girl who knows her way around a lobster boat. He’s a rule follower who knows his way around a boardroom. Can you say polar opposites?

Oh, did I mention his mother is back in England planning his marriage? The sexy Brit with a debutante makes sense, right?

You know what doesn’t make sense? The two of us between the sheets and a montage of fun activities that finally put a smile on his face. But when the montage ends, and life turns messy and complicated—yet we still manage to find common ground—it leads me to believe we’re not so different after all.

Until he does the one thing that proves me wrong and I’m forced to make a decision I thought I’d never have to make

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Madden by Brooke O’Brien

Madden; A Rebels Havoc #4
(#4 within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: February 10, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Rockstar/Opposites Attract Romance

Author: Brooke O’Brien

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
The final book in A Rebels Havoc, Madden finally gets his turn at love.

It’s hard when you are the final man standing and everyone in your social circle has found their person. While Madden was never opposed to finding love, he just never found the right person and honestly the longer he’s in the industry he finds it hard to trust people. Trust is so easily broken and sold for headlines, so call him shocked when he begins to fall for a journalist, the very person who could turn on him in a heartbeat and burn down everything in a second.

Brielle Silvers has a secret, but it’s one that Madden would actually understand about her so she doesn’t know why she keeps it hidden as long as she does. Brielle doesn’t trust easily, just like Madden, so falling for man like him isn’t on the top of her to do list. The cons weigh higher than the pros, but the heart wants what the the heart wants and it doesn’t take long for Madden to work his way under her skin.

This story is somewhat light on angst and heavy on steam, overall it was a nice wrap up to the series. While Madden can be read as a standalone, there is a lot of time spent with his other band members and their significant others, so reading the other books in the series would make reading this book more enjoyable, but not necessary to follow Madden and Brielle’s plot.

Synopsis:
USA Today Bestselling author Brooke O’Brien brings all of the hate-to-love feels in this highly anticipated conclusion to the A Rebels Havoc series.

Madden Cole is considered a rock ‘n’ roll god, and all the women want him. Except for me.

After working my butt off as a journalist for years, I’ve heard the rumors about him and his band and have read all about their dirty scandals in the headlines.

When I land a job as a writer for Limelight magazine, I’ll stop at nothing to make a good impression. Even if it means agreeing to a sit-down interview with the bad boys of A Rebels Havoc.

They’re making a name for themselves by soaring to the top of the charts with multiplatinum records and sold-out tours.

Madden is cold and closed-off, but the more I get to know him, the more he starts to open up to me. As hard as I’ve tried to resist wanting him, when he turns on his sweet-talking charm, all the walls I’ve built around me crumble.

They say what goes up must come down, and the band is forced to face the downside of fame. Rumors, lies, and blackmail threaten Madden’s life and the career he and the guys have worked so hard to build.

He doesn’t know about the secret I’ve been keeping.

And I fear when he finds out the truth, it could destroy everything.

Author’s Note: Madden is a standalone and can be read without reading any other books in the A Rebels Havoc series. If you prefer to read in order, start with Brix as the stories do interconnect.

💚 BRIX ⤑ books2read.com/brix
💜 SINS OF A REBEL (Prequel to Tysin) ⤑ books2read.com/sinsofarebel
❤️ TYSIN ⤑ books2read.com/tysin
🧡 TREY ⤑ books2read.com/trey-arh
💙 MADDEN – RELEASING 2/10 ⤑ books2read.com/madden

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Rocked Bayou by Erin Nicholas

Rocked Bayou; Badges of the Bayou #3
(standalone within a series)

Publication Date: February 7, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Small Town/Rockstar/Bodyguard Romance

Author: Erin Nicholas

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Sweetness, steaminess, and that wonderful wrap me up in ooooieee gooooieee feelings. That is what reading Erin Nicholas brings everytime I open one of her books and I love it!!

This book kept hitting me in all the different feels and throwing me for a loop on which feeling it was going to wring out of me next. Oh my heart, it was sooooo good.

Colin Daly works in security and used to be the bodyguard to Saoirse, the daughter of Fiona and a real little princess, but with a change in circumstances Colin is looking for another long term security position and it might just be Hayden Ross, an up and coming singer who might be the next big thing. However, Colin’s desire for her could put a kink in that plan and not the kinky kind of kink.

Hayden Ross is the sweetest, kindest, and openly honest woman living on the planet. I adored her character and loved her not only with Colin but also with his entire crew. The brotherly bond between Colin, Henry, Jonah, and Cian was so sweet and fun, I loved how they all interacted with each other and more importantly with Hayden. It was the family bond she needed in her life.

There was some danger and mystery woven throughout this story…I mean Hayden does need a bodyguard to guard her body after all…but my favorite parts of the story always revolve around the deep emotions and the crying I constantly do right after fanning myself from the super steamy naked times.

Synopsis:
Ex-bodyguard Colin Daly needs three things:

To figure out how to have a real job after his longtime client no longer needs him.

To find some really good Irish whiskey in the land of homemade moonshine.

To stop having dirty dreams every time he hears young, beautiful, recently-discovered-thanks-to-social-media music sensation, Hayden Ross, sing. Which seems to be every time he freaking turns around lately.

But now the new-to-the-spotlight sweetheart has a stalker and needs 24/7 protection. And Colin will be damned if he’s going to let anyone else take this job. No matter how much being her temporary, very protective roommate is going to rock his world.

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Book Reviews, Dark Romance, LGBTQA+, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Silk Malice by Eve Dangerfield

Silk Malice; Snow White #2
(#2 within a series)

Publication Date: January 31, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Trilogy/Midnight Dynasty/Dark/Reverse Harem Romance

Author: Eve Dangerfield

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
This is book two in the dark, twisted Snow White trilogy and needs to be read in order. Silk Malice picks up in steam and progresses in character development for every single person.

While January shed a ton of her shyness throughout this story, it was actually Doc who shocked me the most and I loved watching him change from beginning to end. He was still his dominating, dirty self, but as his feelings grew stronger for January, his threats to her just shifted and it was great. We don’t get a ton of time with Adriano, since he was shot at the end of book one, but the giant of a man is there and very much a part of January’s life. Bobby probably changed the least, but he was always all in when it came to January and that was actually a comfort when it came to this over the top, dominating gang. His sweetness was needed when January needed it the most and it offset Doc’s crudeness or Eli’s harsh strictness.

Aside from the growing and shifting of how the relationship between all of five of them will work, the main focus is how to release January from her disgusting fiancé, Mr. Parker. He’s vile and I’m happy that Velvet House is there to help January escape his clutches.

This is book two and their story will conclude in the final book, Lace Vengeance.

Synopsis:
Book two in the SNOW WHITE trilogy. This is a scorching romance between a woman and four beautifully dangerous men in which she never has to choose.

Once upon a time I was left with nothing. Betrayed by my stepmother and stolen by my ex-fiancé. Now I’m battered but intact, just like my prized innocence.

My heart tells me I don’t want to belong to one man. I belong to four.

But the criminals I love are proud. Too proud.

Their brotherhood is in tatters.

They fight for me. And they possess me, even as the enemies close in. Even as the foundation of our twisted family crumbles. Even as the dark legacy threatens to consume us all.

WARNING: This book is intended for readers eighteen years old and over. It contains material that some readers could find disturbing. Enter at your own risk…

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Book Reviews, Forbidden/Taboo, LGBTQA+, Paranormal/Science Fi/Fantasy Romance, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Knot My Problem by Sinclair Kelly

Knot My Problem; Knot Yours Omegaverse #3
(#3 within a series)

Publication Date: January 31, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Omegaverse/Reverse Harem/Suspense/Age-Gap Romance

Author: Sinclair Kelly

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Reese was totally not what I expected and I loved it!!

Reese rolled into town covered in secrets and bruises and with all the mystery surrounding her I was super curious as to how her story would play out. On top of the mystery there was a ton of aggressive heat between her and the chief of police. Yummy!

Mac, the chief of police, already has a pack, but they never have had their own omega. Each alpha is drawn to Reese and really wants her to stay, but the friction between Mac is only one obstacle keeping her from staying. The other has to do with the way she originally came into town. Danger is on the horizon and she refuses to bring it to town, especially as feelings begin to grow for each alpha.

I loved that Reese spent time with each alpha getting to know them, but more than that, Jax who is a beta and not an original member of Mac’s pack, fits right into both Reese’s life and along with this strong alpha pack. I love Jax to death and Aaro, Jax and Reese together…whew!! Total hotness!!

Synopsis:
Secrets are my life.

But after so many years of living one lie after another, do I even really know who I am without them?

When work explodes—quite literally—in my face, I’m forced into hiding until the smoke clears. Now I’m living in a small town, with the one man who has the power to break down my carefully constructed identity. Ten years ago he walked away without so much as a goodbye and broke my fragile, barely legal heart. Looking back on it, there were so many obstacles in our way, but I would’ve been willing to risk his honor and integrity to have what I so desperately wanted—consequences be damned—if he hadn’t taken the choice out of my hands. Now here we are, older and wiser, or so I’d like to think. Could this time be different?

Except now he’s got a pack to consider and I have a very persistent Beta who refuses to give me any sort of space. For a woman used to handling things on her own, it’s all a little too much, too fast. Add in the threat that’s looming closer every day, and things are about to get messy.

If there’s one thing I need from the overprotective men in my life, it’s their trust. Yet they always underestimate me. It’s cool. I’m used to taking care of things on my own. This girl has everything under control. And when it comes to the men I love, I will do whatever is necessary to protect them.

What they choose to do next…well, it’s knot my problem.

For Trigger Warnings, please visit my website. Knot My Problem is book three in the Knot Yours Omegaverse, a series of fast-burn reverse harem romance standalones. Each book will end in an HEA and lead into the next book with a new reluctant omega and her own possessive, purring alphas.

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Book Reviews, New Adult, Sports Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Wild Ever After by Rebecca Jenshak

Wild Ever After; Wildcats #3
(Standalone within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: February 7, 2023

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Sports/Opposites Attract/Fake Marriage Romance

Author: Rebecca Jenshak

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Swooney Ever After should be the title of this book because Declan is Jenshak’s biggest heart-throbbingist (yes, it’s a word) hero to date.

Rebecca Jenshak has outdone herself when it comes to the Wildcats and each one just gets dreamier and dreamier. Declan not only steps up when Jade needs a groom, but his love language really shines in noticing all the small things. He’s the guy that makes sure that the fridge is stocked with your favorite food, or makes sure your car is full of gas, or would even build you an office in his home so that you have a place to work. He sees to your comfort and also never wants to take credit for it either. Declan has lived a life in the background, he’s even played his hockey career just in the shadows allowing others to take the light. How is he still single when he’s so humble and perfect?

Don’t worry, Jade asks him repeatedly and speaking of Jade…

While Declan is the perfect guy, Jade is sort of a hot mess. I did struggle a little bit with her hot and cold messy life, but luckily Declan made up for everything that Jade threw a wrench in. She’s a bit self centered and her job is her life, which is what gets her into the mess she’s in in the first place. However, there are a lot of people who place their jobs first, so I didn’t necessarily dislike her for that, but the longer she only seemed to care about it and not about the people in her life…that grated on me just a bit. Because hello…Declan…he’s amazing.

In the end…of course it all worked out and the Jade I got to know from previous books resurfaced, so not all was lost, plus…Declan!!

Synopsis:
An opposites attract, marriage of convenience, hockey romance from USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Jenshak.

I’m going to marry her.
Are we dating? No.
Was she engaged to someone else yesterday? Yes.
It’s not real. It’s to save her job after her fiancé dumped her days before their wedding.
But it’s good press for me, which my agent will love.
I just signed a seven-year contract with the Wildcats, maybe my final one, and I have to start thinking about life after hockey.
Did I mention she’s my coach’s daughter’s best friend?
She’s driven, fun, and the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.
Too bad I’m not supposed to fall for my wife.

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Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Bridges Burned by Marie James

Bridges Burned; Mission Mercenaries #3
(Interconnected standalone within a series)

Publication Date: February 2, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Mercenary/Dark/Mafia Romance

Author: Marie James

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Bridges Burned is the third book in this dark mercenary series. While this book revolves around the mafia, revenge, and has a slow burn between the main couple, there is also a familiar feel to parts of this story. It didn’t make me like it any less, but perhaps that will help sort out why I continue to return to the comfort of this familiar world.

There seems to be a recurring theme among these mercenaries; kidnap a woman and then experience remorse while trying to figure out their next move. Yes, Hollis fell into the classic blunder that his fellow co-workers previously did. Silly mercenary. On top of that he swore off ever falling for anyone given his family history and isn’t that like waving a red flag in front of a romantic hero. He was going down and going down hard.

Hollis’ one goal in life is to take out the man who ruined his family and when he gets the opportunity, regardless of his job, those around him, even his own life, he takes it. He never stopped to think about collateral damage along the way, collateral damage in the form of a beautiful woman named Madelene.

As for the heroine, Madelene may have grown up in the mafia world and known all about the brutality and darkness, but what broke her was that she was eventually sold to the Severino family like a piece of furniture. Engaged to a monster, she is suffocated with the thoughts of her future, but when she’s kidnapped by a stranger, it might actually be the escape she never knew she’d get.

Neither Hollis or Madelene know about a healthy relationship or what love really is, but together they understand darkness and that is what I liked about the two of them. They really understood one another and what could be taken away from you in the blink of an eye. Their time together may have built slow, but it was meaningful. Plus….the twist at the end…brilliant.

Synopsis:

BRIDGES BURNED by Marie James coming February 2!

I didn’t swear vengeance on the Severino Family after Ellie’s death. I was only a child after all.

I didn’t swear vengeance when my father, a coward who wasn’t man enough to seek justice for her, drank himself into a divorce.

Going after them would be a death sentence.

I chose to live my life in the shadows, seeking revenge for others.

That was until I ran into the very man that took Ellie’s life.

I can still smell the smoke clinging to my skin from all the bridges I burned because of that man.

Walking away was no longer an option.

Killing him would be easy, but taking the woman that was promised to him seemed like a better wager.

Exacting retribution through her was the gamble I made.

Surviving her now seems impossible.

#PreOrderHere: https://amzn.to/3DwhlJA

Add to your Goodreads TBR list: https://bit.ly/3TYp7TP

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Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Forbidden/Taboo, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Blood of My Monster by Rina Kent

Blood of My Monster (Monster Trilogy, #1)

Blood of My Monster; Monster Trilogy #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: January 26, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Trilogy/Mafia/Dark/Forbidden Romance

Author: Rina Kent

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Wow! Explosive! Addictive! Couldn’t put it down once I began!

Rina Kent is queen for a reason and her monsters are deliciously supreme!!

There is nothing I love better than digging into the backstory of one of Rina’s characters. The way she weaves her plot and stitches in every sinful description or small tidbit, I completely gobble it all up like the starving reader I am. Her worlds are rich and I love how she winds them together just enough to find easter eggs, but every new couple is unique and completely stands on their own. I never fail to fall deeply in love with each new book, making a new favorite couple every single time.

Blood of my Monster is the beginning of Kirill and Sasha’s story. A mix between Mulan and Anastasia, Sasha’s story was emotional, raw, and gripping. Her background is shrouded in mystery and yet from what we come to know she is one of the most determined and strong women Rina has ever written. Her identity needs to stay hidden and while Kirill doesn’t know why, he keeps her secret as a keeper of secrets himself.

While meeting Kirill through other’s eyes in the past I wasn’t sure what to think of him, but now that I’ve gotten the chance to know him I love the monster that hides behind his glasses. Kirill, the captain in the army is strategic and passionate about his men. Kirill, a leader within the Bratva is strategic and looking to rule the world.

GAH!! This story is phenomenal and just beginning!!

Synopsis:
From the USA Today bestselling author Rina Kent comes a new dark mafia romance.

I’m out for revenge. He’s out to rule the world.
Kirill and I are as different as day and night.
We shouldn’t have been in the same frame or universe.
But we meet under the strangest circumstances.
He’s my superior in the military and the man who’ll introduce me to carnage.
His charm and exterior perfection shouldn’t have tempted me.
Behind the smokescreen lurks a manipulative emotionless monster.
And that monster might find out all my secrets, including the reason why I’m pretending to be a man.
He might also lure me to the point of no return.

This book is part of a trilogy and is not a standalone.

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Book Reviews, Dark Romance, LGBTQA+, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, New Adult, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Soulless Saint by Elena Lawson

Soulless Saint (Kings of Kilborn University, #1)

Soulless Saint; Kings of Kilborn University #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: January 26, 2023

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Dark/Reverse Harem/Gang/Enemies-to-Lovers Romance

Author: Elena Lawson

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
I hate to call this a spinoff to the Thorn Valley Crows because Becca completely owned this book right along with the Kings of Kilborn. Soulless Saint has a totally different feel all the way around and I loved every second of it!

If you are coming into the Saint world blind, which you can jump into this book without having read The Crows, just know that Becca refers to her past from living in Thorn Valley and her friends do pop up a few times. Aside from that Becca Hart has pretty much shed everything from her time in Thorn Valley, leaving everything behind and starting over with a second chance at life in SoCal. Living life on her terms which also means no bad boys or bad decisions. However, bad boys and decisions seem to find her like a homing beacon.

Hardin and Kaleb St. Vincent are the Kings of Kilborn and everyone follows what they say, everyone but Becca Hart that is. Becca is used to being around lethal men and when Hardin and Kaleb walk in and think they can upset her new life…well, she refuses to bow down to the kings. Call them intrigued and instantly infatuated. Their back and forth is great. Becca is one fierce girl having learned quite a bit from her bada$$ best friend, Ava Jade. Becca has come a long way from the naive, rich girl we all met back in AJ’s first book and I am so here for it!

While this is still a dark, enemies-to-lovers, mafia book, it still had a brighter glow to it than the world Becca came from. I don’t really know how to put a pin on what I mean, except to say this; there is basically an opposite to everything or everyone within this book which seemed to balance the darkness. For instance, Kaleb and Hardin are total opposites. Kaleb is very outgoing, playful and almost tenacious in his extravertiness. If he wants you, he will get you and you will enjoy every second of it. Hardin barely says two words to anyone, even his own brother, but he’s loyal to almost a fault, hence his tenacity is focused inward. Spending time with him will be intense and you may make it out alive…but you also might be in a pleasure coma. Can you just imagine the reverse harem now!?! Fanning myself!!

The ending gave a great twist which totally left me panting for more. I can hardly wait for the next book!!

Synopsis:
I barely made it out of Thorn Valley alive.

My savage bestie and her lethal boyfriends are the only reason I have a second chance at life and I’m not going to waste it.

When I took the scholarship to CalArts, I didn’t know Daddy would cut me off, but it doesn’t matter. I’ll get a bus pass, a job, and an apartment. Easy, right?

Wrong. Enter my two shadows…

Kaleb. Hot as sin and he damn well knows it. Just ask the countless broken-hearted girls at Kilborn U.

Hardin. Kaleb’s quietly menacing older brother. He rarely says more than two words, but his watchful stare follows me everywhere I go, awakening a desire I thought I swore off for good.

They threaten to ruin everything I’ve built for myself. To break all my new rules. But even more dangerous than the Kings of Kilborn is their father, Damien St. Vincent, and the secret that could destroy us all.

Soulless Saint is a dark enemies to lovers romance where the main character will have more than one love interest and will not choose between them. It contains content that may be triggering to some readers.

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Book Reviews, RomCom, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Meet Hate Love by Stevie J. Cole

Meet Hate Love

Meet Hate Love
(standalone)

Publication Date: January 26, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Romantic Comedy/Enemies to Lovers/Office Romance

Author: Stevie J. Cole

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
This is a first Stevie J. Cole read for me and it was absolutely delightful!!
As a lover of vocabulary I ate up Blake’s logophile personality which inspired tons of verbal sparring between her and Vance. It was an aphrodisiac to my reading palate and I could have read it all day long!

Vance had a very interesting side hustle through Lonely Fans, a take on another popular fan site, that starred his oversized peen with famous sites in the background. Now how could Vance afford to travel the world taking pictures of his giant hotdog? His legitimate job was as a travel writer, but when his co-worker, the woman of his dreams, discovers about his second job she does what any self respecting woman would do…she finagles her way into his next trip. Okay, she actually blackmails him, but I did mention woman of his dreams, right?

Blake and Vance worked at the same employer, but while these two bickered everyday while sitting side by side in the office, that undercurrent of hate was just a slow simmer for something stronger. Boy do I love a good enemies to lovers romance and these two brought it!!

I realized at some point while reading this, that Vance and Blake totally reminded me of my husband and myself on vacation. Vance is a total over scheduler, his itinerary is listed out from dawn to dusk and he has alarms set all day long for literally everything.  Blake is much more of a go with the flow, takes a ton of pictures even if they seem random, and she continually tries to get the stiff man she’s vacationing with to loosen up. I could easily trade each of those statements out with me and my husband and it made me laugh through the entire book.

Meet Hate Love is full of great banter, witty peens, I mean puns, chemistry through the roof, and big vocabulary…which is super hot, I mean if that is your kink. Which it’s totally mine.

Synopsis:

An act of hysterical blackmail between two work enemies kicks off this flirty and utterly ridiculous laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from USA TODAY bestselling author Stevie J. Cole.

I hated Vance Morgan, my arrogant office mate, more than anyone in the world. And yet, there I was, on a Paris-bound flight, cramped in the small space by his six-foot-four, arrogant frame.

And why?

Because after the sexy, thieving bastard stole my dream assignment, I found out he had a Lonely Fans page. One dedicated to pictures of his man-meat stick in front of world monuments. So, I did what any rational woman in my situation would do.

I blackmailed his hot, article-swindling ass. The problem was, he blackmailed me right back. And thanks to him and his can’t- lose-attitude, we ended up stuck together, Traveling around Europe while coming up with tips and tricks on how to survive vacationing with someone you hate. Easy. Like I said, I despised the man. Or at least I thought I did…

After a few days of tiny hotel rooms and steamy tension, everything between us came to a head—a really big, massive, enticing head.

Now the only tip I’m desperately seeking is how to survive falling for my used-to-be enemy.

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Coercion by Amelia Wilde

Coercion (Controlling Interest, #3)

Coercion; Controlling Interest #3
(#3 within a series)

Publication Date: January 24, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Midnight Dynasty/Trilogy/Contemporary Romance

Author: Amelia Wilde

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Coercion picks right up where we left Will and Bristol after book two with her twin siblings, Mia and Ben, missing.

Coercion is full of outside emotional tension that only seems to solidify the foundation of who Will and Bristol have become together and also build on what a future looks like for them going forward. It’s really a great finish to their story.

There were so many great moments that touched my heart in this book, it’s really hard to pick just one. Touching on just a few…When Will talks Mia through a panic attack…be still my heart. The inside view Will has as he opens up his heart to Mia about how his brother Emerson experiences them requires tissues. Lots of tissues. Then when Emerson comforts Mia…and for anyone who has read his trilogy, this is not his area of expertise, so once again…be still my heart. Lord I could go on and on because this is a wonderful and emotional book.

Now I can’t wait for Sin’s story and what will he bring to the Leblanc fold. I can hardly wait.

Synopsis:
There’s a fight to the death… and a fight for his heart.

COERCION is book three in the Controlling Interest trilogy. Find out what happens in the explosive conclusion of Will Leblanc’s emotional story.

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Book Reviews, LGBTQA+, New Adult, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Reaching Reed by Cora Rose and Nicole Dykes

Reaching Reed (Behind the Camera #1)

Reaching Reed; Behind the Camera #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: February 2, 2023

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Bi-Awakening/MM Romance

Author: Cora Rose and Nicole Dykes

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Love this writing duo together if this is the kind of book we are going to get!!! Reaching Reed was fantastic!! Steamy goodness and also emotionally phenomenal. This book pushed all of my reading buttons and I loved it!!

I haven’t read one of Cora’s books yet, but I have read Nicole’s and I always love how she brings the heat along with the heart. It’s safe to say after reading this book that Cora does the same because their writing was flawless. Both Reed and Carter ended up near and dear to my heart and as much as I wanted to pick a favorite, it was just too hard by the end.

Reed is this blushing, sweet guy, struggling to make ends meet who shows up at Carter’s house, a known camboy, so Reed can earn some money. He isn’t doing it because he’s looking to get into Carter’s pants…initially anyway, Reed really didn’t realize he was attracted to men in the beginning. Or perhaps it’s just Carter…either way…Reed is so hotly adorable in his awakening I couldn’t help but fall in love with him.

Carter is the total opposite. He’s so comfortable in his skin, I wish I was Carter. He’s got a job he enjoys, friends he adores, great parents, seriously…who wouldn’t want to be Carter? Is his head a little big…maybe, but that is what Reed is for, he does help ground him which is also insanely sweet and this is why I couldn’t pick favs. Plus, the stick…I admit I love that idea. That is all I’m going to say about it because you have to experience the stick.

This book is heartwarming and heart pounding with all the steam…have fresh panties on hand you’ll need them!!

Synopsis:

Reed Ellis is absolutely gorgeous, but a total newbie to camming, a virtual nobody in my world.

I should have just deleted his message request for a steamy, on-camera collaboration. Not everyone is cut out to be a camboy. But there’s just something about him I couldn’t resist.

He’s timid and inexperienced, quiet and closed off, but his fumbling first-times play out scorching hot for the cameras, and our videos together are an instant success.

I know I should just ride this out, sit back and watch the money roll in, and then move on.

But I can’t. I’m intrigued by this brick wall of a man. I see glimpses of Reed hiding behind his silence and he is struggling. He has secrets, someone he cares about that he’s protecting. And I make it my mission to get him to open up and let me in. What will it take to reach the elusive Reed?

Reaching Reed is a very steamy and sweet M/M romance about camboys and first love. It is the first standalone book in the Behind the Camera series.

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Book Reviews, Forbidden/Taboo, Paranormal/Science Fi/Fantasy Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – When A Moth Loved A Bee by Pepper Winters

When a Moth Loved a Bee (Destini Chronicles, #1)

When a Moth Loved a Bee; Destini Chronicles #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: February 3, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Fantasy/Star-Crossed/Forbidden Romance

Author: Pepper Winters

Review Rating: 4 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
At almost 1000 pages, this is the first book I’ve read by Pepper Winters. I finished this giant saga with soooooo many feelings that I’m still trying to process them even now after sitting on them for few days, but here goes nothing.

When A Moth Loved A Bee is prettily summed up in that it’s a fantastical new world where two destined, but star-crossed souls struggle to regain what they’ve lost over and over and over again.

In the not so pretty context this saga begins with two people, a man and a woman, who are both on the brink of death and they both have no recollection of who they are, who they were, where they come from, literally nothing remains in their heads, not even clothes on their back. They are both separate as they’ve been walking alone and naked and both lead very different journey’s back to health.

The woman’s journey, who was known as Girl for quite some time until she learns that her name is Runa meaning Bee, is found by a clan known as the Nhil. They control fire, and among them is where some of the fantastical element comes into play. It also didn’t take long to feel like the world was at a stage that is very dawn of time like. No technology, larger animals, wearing animal hides, etc… From the moment Runa wakes up with the Nhil people she feels indebted to them. It’s total feminine toxicity that is bred into our culture where females are made to feel guilty when given something, whether it is a physical item or emotional comfort. Let me state: love is unconditional and as a society we need to learn the UN part of that word better. Love does not mean servitude and yet Runa feels the shackles tightening every time she returns, but she doesn’t know how to break free from the guilt. Yes, you read that right…she returns…because she does leave with her star-crossed soulmate, several times in fact, but those darn shackles….they only have so much give you know.

The man, who is known as Stranger until we learn his name is Darro which means Moth, is adopted by wolves.You didn’t read that wrong…I said wolves. His journey is very different from Runa’s, but his pull to her is strong through the entire book. From the very first moment Darro sets his eyes upon Runa he feels it in his heart that she is his home. That they belong together and he spends the rest of the 900 pages convincing her of this truth, but remember what I said above. Frankly, I was a bit exhausted of him trying to convince her, especially with Runa’s tenacity for running back to the Nhil clan that uses and abuses her. Darro should have been exhausted too, but his unconditional love for her was steadfast and his strength of character is honestly what kept me reading.

I can’t say I’ve read a story that was written quite so beautifully, because Pepper does hold a gift for great writing, but on the opposite spectrum it was a story that also frustrated me by the characters motivations that I almost stopped reading. That really never happens. I did finish this book, but I do not believe I will continue with the second. While I loved Darro and truly cared about him from the very beginning, as a reader, I felt I cared about him more than his precious Bee.

Synopsis:
New York Times Bestseller, Pepper Winters, delivers a brand new High Fantasy Romance.

“It’s taking everything I have not to touch you. Not because I want to make you mine but because every part of me screams that you already are.”

A pack of wolves hunt a girl who takes her last breath by a river’s edge.
She is found and nursed back to health by the kind-hearted Nhil people.
She has no memory.
No past.
And is given a choice that could change her forgotten life forever.

A pack of wolves adopt a man who begs for death in the grasslands.
Blood revives him. Flesh strengthens him. All while the alpha watches him as if he knows who he is.
He has no memory.
No past.
And yet…he’s drawn toward the smoke of a faraway clan.

And in that smoke, he finds a girl with the same mark on her thigh, the same empty mind, and the same forgotten language on her lips.

He’s convinced they know each other.
She’s certain they are strangers.
But the more time they spend together, the more tangled the truth becomes.
Their forgetfulness was deliberate.
To keep them apart.
To keep them lost.
To keep them from claiming their true power.
Because in that power exists a terrible choice.
A choice that could destroy the world…
…or each other.

When a Moth Loved a Bee is the first volume in the Epic Fantasy Romance Destini Chronicles.
A heavily romantic, spice-filled fantasy set in a world where life and death, shadows and stars watch over two forbidden lovers whose powers are best left forgotten.

Recommended for readers over R18 due to explicit scenes, content, and darker elements.

Author Note:
This Fantasy is 100% romance. It isn’t a quest where they spend most of the book apart. If you want a rich world, magic, intrigue, oodles and oodles of page time with the two characters together, all brimming with longing, forbiddenness, and butterfly-winging moments, then this is the book for you.

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Book Reviews, New Adult, Paranormal/Science Fi/Fantasy Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – To Reject a Mate by Poppy Ireland

To Reject a Mate: A Fated Mates Shifter Romance (Redwood University, #1)

To Reject a Mate; Redwood University #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: February 2, 2023

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Paranormal/Fated Mates/Shifter Romance

Author: Poppy Ireland

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
A great beginning to a new fantastical world! This trilogy brings all the feels and made my reading soul giddy with all of the paranormal factions that pop up. I am stuffed full with how freakishly fantastic this supernatural world is!!!

Redwood University is mixed with all the new adult hormones and finding yourself that college typically brings, along with the challenges that mixing vamps, shifters, witches, and humans might also bring. For instance; it’s a stew of hormonally charged young adults just trying to earn a degree, but with all the challenges of fitting in to sorortity life…oh by the way they are sectioned off by supernatural power, which none of the humans know about. OR, Do you actually like that guy or is it a spell? Is that guy attractive or could a vamp possibly enthralled you? Why are you constantly giving directions into town? LOL, the creation of this world is brilliant and I loved everything about it.

Nicole didn’t really want to attend Redwood, but her father got a job there which meant free tuition. That’s hard to pass up. However, she was going to make the most of it, until things went downhill…like gaining the attention of one of the most popular guy on campus. That wasn’t her intent, she wasn’t at school to date, but Alexei wouldn’t seem to stay away. He couldn’t help himself, Nicole was his mate, his human mate. He didn’t want the bond, but the fates chose her, but until he could figure it out, he had to stay away…somehow.

This book was filled with angst, fun – oh my goodness the secondary characters are hilarious, suspense, and an element of mystery. For a new duo of writers, this book is just brilliant, a truly great beginning and I can’t wait to return for more.

Synopsis:

Welcome to Redwood University, where the creatures that go bump in the night really do exist… and they’re hiding in plain sight.

Attending a small college in the middle of nowhere was never my plan, but when I was offered free tuition and the promise of an excellent education, that plan changed.

It would’ve been nice to know I would be one of the only humans on campus.

It’d be even better if a certain bossy shifter didn’t claim me as his fated mate.

Alexei is arrogant, acrimonious, and the worst A-word of them all: an alpha.

But I can’t deny the way my body responds to him. No matter how many warning flags are waving around in my head, we gravitate toward one another. It’s primal. Passionate.

Painful.

Because regardless of what the fates think, or the supposed destiny we share… Alexei and I could never be.

So, if Alexei won’t reject our bond… I’ll have to do it for him.

*To Reject a Mate is the first book in the Redwood University Trilogy. It cannot be read as a standalone and ends in a cliffhanger. If possessive heroes, who occasionally turn into wolves, and sassy, headstrong heroines are your jam, you’ve come to the right place. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride into this exciting new paranormal world.

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – 10 Signs You Need to Grovel by Kelly Siskind

10 Signs You Need to Grovel (Bower Boys #2)

10 Signs You Need to Grovel; Bower Boys #2
(Interconnected standalone within a series)

Publication Date: January 30, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Second Chance/Small Town Romance

Author: Kelly Siskind

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
I love these Bower boys and I totally love the concept of second chances at life after being hidden away by the witness protection program. Like the question of; do you keep living the new life you were given by the government or do you reclaim your old one? Then if you do take back your old life, how do you even begin to explain where you’ve been and how you left? This is the second book in this series and can be read as a standalone, but I think it was enjoyable knowing the background and Bower family from the first.

For Desmond Bower, he had a bright future ahead of him and the girl of his dreams on his arms. The night his life was turned upside down was originally the night he was going to ask Sadie to marry him, but he decided to wait…unfortunately he never got another chance or even got a chance to explain why he and his family disappeared. Desmond was gone for ten years and it isn’t until they are released from the program that he discovers that he has a son and once again Desmond’s life is turned upside down, but for entirely different reasons. This time he won’t leave her side, or at least his son’s and if there is a chance with his first love, he won’t wait to tell Sadie how he feels.

Desmond took a dive off the deep end when his life imploded. He made a lot of mistakes when he basically thought it was over, but I adored reading his personal growth from the Bower blacksheep to the sweet family man he was under all the badly done tattoos. He always put his son first, and I can’t tell you how many times I teared up during their father-son conversations, and Sadie was a very close second. He was a giant marshmallow under his tough looking exterior and I loved that duality about him.

This book is told entirely from Desmond’s POV which is fun getting completely into all of his thoughts and while I suppose it could be frustrating not knowing what exactly Sadie is thinking, I think Kelly did a great job through Sadie’s actions and emotions to let us know what Sadie was thinking.

I’m looking forward to the next brother as he takes back his life and what obstacles he will face stepping back into the life he left. This series is so good.

Synopsis:
A grumpy bartender learns he’s a dad in Kelly Siskind’s latest Bower Boys romance full of second chances, small-town charm, and steamy, slow-burn heat.

For the last ten years, I’ve been living a lie in witness protection. But the drug cartel that put me there isn’t a threat anymore, so I can have my life back. I should be thrilled, right?

Wrong.

The last thing I want to do is go back home and show everyone how far I’ve fallen. I’m not the high-powered lawyer they all expect me to be. I’m just a guy who slings drinks and scowls at the world.

But then I hear about Max, my ex’s ten-year-old son. My ten-year-old son.

I have to go back now. Figure out how to be a dad. Face the love of my life. Make things right with Sadie and earn her trust. Will she have me—or is it too late to reinvent myself as the man she once loved?

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Make a Wish by Helena Hunting

Make a Wish (Spark House, #3)

Make a Wish; Spark House #3
(standalone within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: January 24, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Age Gap/Single Dad/Second Chance at Love Romance

Author: Helen Hunting

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
The beginning of the book sucked me in. The single/widowed dad part of the story was instantly heartbreaking and I loved how caring Harper was, but as the story continued I struggled to continue my excitement, until the very end when the waterworks happened. All of the struggle was totally worthwhile.

Gavin’s MIL, frankly I wanted to strangle her and it wasn’t just her that was blindly awful, it was also how Gavin shut down and allowed his MIL to walk all over Harper. While I can understand how Gavin’s guilt and grief over losing his wife weighed on his shoulders, it was also stunting his ability to move forward and living his life. It was also keeping him from telling his MIL off when she was blatantly meddling in his personal life.

Gavin’s daughter, Peyton, is adorable and super sweet and most of the reason to read this wonderful tale. The relationship between father and daughter is special, but the relationship between Harper and Peyton is magical. Harper was attending school for an education degree when she was a nanny for Peyton and she just has that spark when it comes to engaging with children. However, it wasn’t long after Gavin left years ago that Harper was pulled into her family’s business and her degree was put on hold, but with the Spark House making big changes and Harper’s role in flux she isn’t exactly sure what her future will hold. Her uncertainty in her career and in her personal life seems to be tied together once again with Gavin’s reappearance in her life, but that is just a coincidence, but it does respark her desire to seek out more and I love that Harper begins to find her passion again.

Even if this book had its moments where I wanted to smack both Gavin and Harper into action, getting to the end where the tears fell, that made it all worthwhile.

Synopsis:
With her signature charm and sense of humor, bestselling author Helena Hunting creates a novel about love, family, and second chances in Make a Wish.

Ever have a defining life moment you wish you could do over? Harley Spark has one. The time she almost kissed the widowed father of the toddler she nannied for. It was so bad they moved across the state and she never saw them again.

Fast forward seven years and she’s totally over it. At least she thinks she is. Until Gavin Rhodes and his adorable now nine-year-old daughter, Peyton, reappear at a princess-themed birthday party hosted by Spark House, Harley’s family’s event hotel. Despite trying to avoid the awkwardness of the situation, she can’t help but notice how unbearably sexy he looks in a tutu. Add to that a spontaneous hives breakout, and it’s clear she’s not even remotely over the mortification of her egregious error all those years ago.

Except Gavin seems oblivious to her inner turmoil. So much so that he suggests they get together for lunch. For Peyton’s sake, of course. It’s the perfect opportunity to heal old wounds. Or it could just reopen them. This is one of those times Harley wishes she could see the future…

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Book Reviews, RomCom, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review -A Brooding Bodyguard by Angela Casella

A Brooding Bodyguard (Fairy Godmother Agency)

A Brooding Bodyguard; Fairy Godmother Agency #3
(Standalone within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: January 16, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Romcom/Opposites Attract Romance

Author: Angela Casella

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
A Brooding Bodyguard has antics, the fairy godmothers are back and they are hilarious, the main characters bring heat and steamy chemistry, and then we have mystery – so let’s talk about who is stalking Sinclair? Yes, I loved trying to piece the clues together right along side the Scooby-Doo like crew. This book brings it all!

On top of the mystery and hilarity of the story, Sinclair and Rafe also circle around their feelings for one another which is steamy, steamy good. Rafe is Sinclair’s bodyguard so it’s not completely cut and dry, since his attention is on his job – well guarding her body and part of his job duties are hiding in the backyard so they can catch her stalker not living in the spotlight where a relationship between them would put him. There is also the small hindrance of Sinclair’s fake relationship with Edgar James. While it make be fake to them, the world believes its very real. Rafe can’t exactly hold her hand in public while Edgar is still in the picture.

To say their problems compound as the story progresses is putting it mildly, but it never once dampens the heat between them. Whether it’s the thrill, the forbidden, or just the pure chemistry between the both of them something works and it works very well.

I loved this new addition to the fairy godmother series. It was a ton of fun to read while figuring out the mystery of who was behind everything.

Synopsis:
It’s not easy being famous. Okay, you already hate me…can we start over?

Sinclair
I’m Sinclair Jones, best known for playing a woman ten years younger than me on TV. Or at least I was until I quit my job and moved to Asheville.

I came here to find myself. Instead, I tried—and failed—at a bunch of hobbies before landing a gig I don’t suck at: being the fake girlfriend of a reality TV outdoorsman. Our arrangement is great for my image—and his—but there’s been an unwanted side-effect.

I have a stalker, and he’s escalating.

Luckily, the Fairy Godmother Agency, a husband and wife P.I. team, have signed on to help me find my stalker. Unluckily, everyone has insisted I hire a bodyguard.

Rafe is obnoxious and opinionated, and he calls me Clay because I once threw a clay phallus at him. (Yes, literally.) I don’t want his help, and I especially don’t want this compulsion to keep checking out his arms.

Rafe
The last thing I want to do is follow around a TV starlet, but I’m in between jobs, and I have my reasons for taking this one. Still, I’m in hell, sitting in on manicures and book club meetings, and watching romcoms with a spoiled screen princess who’s surprisingly naïve for a millionaire.

But the more time I spend with Clay, the more desperate I am to protect her, because I’m falling for her charm—just like millions of other people have before me.

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Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Forbidden/Taboo, LGBTQA+, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – No Such King by Coralee June

No Such King (Bloody Royals, #1)

No Such King; Bloody Royals #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: January 22, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Second Chance/Forbidden/Reverse Harem/Royal/Arranged Marriage Romance

Author: Coralee June

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
ALL THE STARS!!! I already want more because I can’t stop thinking about every little nugget in this book. I was swept away and totally lost while reading. I had no idea what time or practically what day it was when I had to pull my head back out of the book. Yes, I was that completely lost within the pages. Saying I loved it doesn’t seem worthy enough.

I’ve been dying to return to the Kingdom of Aldrich after I read the prequel and No Such King broke my expectations out of the water. Lady Christine Abernathy was sent away at the end of the prequel to protect her life, but now that the King is dead she’s been summoned back. However, she had no idea what the former Queen had in mind when she stepped back into Aldrich or she might never have returned. There is darkness in the halls and evil reminders she’d rather never think of again, but when she’s told she will marry Prince Augustus, the new King, Christine has little choice but to stay. I wasn’t sure whether to like Queen Isabella or hate her, perhaps a little of both.

Christine is quite different than when she left years ago and I loved how each new part of her molded to the three different men in her life. While the girl of the past intrigued August, Atticus, and Leo, the woman she is now knocks each of them to their knees and they honestly are thrown by it. Christine may have loved August and been his best friend when they were young, but they have both changed in the years she’s been gone. Christine is a phoenix and they were expecting a dove. It’s great.

August has great character growth and I love that he steps into the role he was born into, but he wishes that his fiancée was a sweet quiet girl, the girl from his youth…sorry, August, that girl is dead. The joyful girl that Christine once was now has darkness flowing through her veins and Atticus sees the woman behind the royal clothes. Everytime August gets hit with a new truth I could just imagine his huge anime eyes…and speaking of huge things on August….that opening…whew!!

Atticus is the devil’s advocate and I loved all of his wiley ways. Christine has a pull towards him for sure, but she also has a duty to uphold and I think she realizes that giving into Atticus will unleash all of her inner demons. Sort of a Hades and Persephone vibe I felt from them, truly delicious. I’m looking forward to getting even more of him and what he will bring to this story, I can’t wait.

Then there is her shadow, Leo. The man who seems to push her away at every turn, but also has a savior’s complex. Christine dreams of his strong arms the night her life changed, but a normal life with him is impossible, especially now that she lives in the light. Their push and pull is very angsty, but also wonderful to witness and I can’t wait for more.

This is not a reverse harem where there is an alpha among the men. This isn’t even a story where they all get along, it’s a story of angst, murder, and second chances. Where the princess doesn’t wait in the tower to be rescued, but instead she becomes the darkness and learns to save herself. No Such King is just the beginning and I’m salivating to return to the world once again.

Synopsis:
A puppet, a prince, and a playboy. One arranged marriage. Three men I must keep at arm’s length.

Atticus Dupont has been watching me from a distance, controlling my life like he controls the seedy criminal underground. He longs to own my mind, body, and soul.

Leo Winthrop is willing to do whatever it takes to protect me from the horrors of this castle, even if it means being cruel and pushing me away.

and Prince Augustus? He’s a reluctant royal that would rather sleep his way through court than be forced into an arranged marriage with me.

I fled the kingdom four years ago, planning to never return.

But the king is dead.The kingdom is in chaos.

My duty makes it impossible to walk away.

One thing I know for sure: I have to open my cracked heart, because this crown is too heavy for one lover to bear.A puppet, a prince, and a playboy. One arranged marriage. Three men I must keep at arm’s length.

This is a reverse harem romance.

The Bloody Royal series should be read in order for the greatest enjoyment.

No Such Fling #.05
No Such King #1
No Such Queen #2
No Such Ring #3

No Such Fling (Bloody Royals) No Such Queen (Bloody Royals, #2) No Such Ring (Bloody Royals, #3)

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Indecent Proposal by Erika Wilde

Indecent Proposal

Indecent Proposal; Indecent #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: January 19, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Intrigue/BDSM elements/Suspense Romance

Author: Erika Wilde

Review Rating: 4.5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Great suspense, mystery, and tension to begin this new series.

I loved how this series began, it caught and held my attention right from the start. The suspense was great and figuring out the mystery on who was after Claire held my attention all the way through, but it was the relationship between Claire and Vaughn that I could have just scrolled right past, to be honest. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, but it seemed to take center stage when Claire was literally in a life and death situation and at times it seemed out of place.

While Vaughn uses all of his skills, he works hard to figure out who is trying to kill Claire, while she is hidden away in a safe house. She’s not entirely alone, since Vaughn heads there often both debrief and to de-brief Claire – wink wink. Subtle I know, which is everything these two are not as Vaughn and Claire delve into light D/s and some other kinks, enjoy!

So, we really don’t get to meet the other members of Vaughn’s firm but for some very brief moments, but I am intrigued enough to jump back in and get to know more.

Synopsis:
It wasn’t every day that I was shot at by a sniper. But this was now my life, being hunted by someone my (dead) ex-fiancé had crossed. They thought I had something he’d taken, and they weren’t going to stop until they had what they wanted.

I went to the best security company around, but what I ended up with was a bodyguard who was as hot and tempting as he was grumpy and annoyingly bossy. Vaughn reluctantly took me on as a client, despite my inability to pay, and put me in his own personal safehouse with a set of rules to follow.

But a few of those rules? Yeah, I broke them just because I knew it would provoke him. What I didn’t anticipate was the kind of punishment he decided to dole out . . . and it wasn’t long before we went from enemies, to lovers, and an indecent proposal was struck between us.

We both swore it was all temporary, but the closer Vaughn gets to finding out who is after me and why, I realize walking away from this man might be much harder than I’d ever imagined.

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Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Erotic Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Villains Are Made by Alta Hensley

Villains Are Made

Villains Are Made
(standalone)

Publication Date: January 17, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Antihero/Dark/Erotica Romance

Author: Alta Hensley

Review Rating: 4 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Honestly, I went back and forth between loving this book and sort of not.

The blurb definitely drew me in and I love a good villain story. The first quarter of the story was engaging and drew me in, but then the plot sort of goes off script and I was left wondering what was happening as the storyline fazed in and out.

The book is dark, I will give it that. It’s super dark within the realm of BDSM and it fits those parts of the book when it needs that darkness. However, within the whole realm of the Daphne and Apollo plot or even just the Godwin family, there are a lot of unanswered questions for this book. I’m still scratching my head on things left unsaid.

Just when I felt like I was making a connection I’d fall into a plot hole and come out the otherside with even more questions. It just left me feeling like I attended a buffet, but I still left hungry. Even crazier, with the ending of this book, I still want to read more. I know, I’m still hungry what can I say?

I’ll leave with this; for the most part, I really liked Apollo, aside from a few moments, but even then he redeemed himself in his villainously, if that makes sense. Daphne…well, I had a really hard time liking much of anything about her and I’ll leave it at that. I’m a tad fascinated by the other Godwin’s so I’m crossing my fingers that future books fill in some of the current plot holes.

Synopsis:
I know how villains are made.
I’ve watched their secrets rise from the ashes and emerge from the shadows.
As part of a family tree with roots so twisted, I’m strangled by their vine.
Imprisoned in a world of decadence and sin, I’ve seen Gods among men.
And he is one of them.

He is the villain.
He is the enemy who demands to be the lover.
He is the monster who has shown me pleasure but gives so much pain.
But something has changed…
He’s different.
Darker.
Wildly possessive as his obsession with me grows to an inferno that can’t be controlled.

Yes… he is the villain.
And he is the end of my beginning.

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Book Reviews, RomCom, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Tasty Pickle by JJ Knight

Tasty Pickle

Tasty Pickle
(standalone within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: January 20, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Romantic Comedy

Author: JJ Knight

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Tasty Pickle was sweetly adorable with lots of laugh out loud moments. A standalone within the pickleverse, and a total hoot to read!

Axel Armstrong is a total cinnamon roll of a naked hero…that’s right you read that right. Na-ked. Okay, he’s only naked for hiking and well, nakey times, but beginning this book with not only Axel naked, but also Calypso is just downright hilarious and it’s totally not what you think when you think when you think of the two main characters being naked. Also, I don’t think I’ve used the word naked this much in one paragraph ever. LOL.

I won’t spoil the hilarity of this book, or why characters are unclothed…ha! take that naked…oops, oh well, but if you are familiar with the pickleverse this book is clever and just plain fun. If you are not, then welcome to the big, crazy family that runs a deli with the last name of Pickle. Tasty Pickle includes lots of cameos from other Pickle family members, a big hearted hero, and a heroine that is escaping from her own crazy family.

While there is a slow burn between Axel and Calypso, their flirt game is strong and so freaking adorable, especially once Calypso lets her walls drop a bit. I honestly loved how they basically reverted to teenagers, making out everywhere, and just getting to know one another before jumping into more nakey times. Let’s face it, they’d already seen the goods, but not what made them uniquely each other. So I liked that they worked backwards in a way. Tasty Pickle was a great, feel-good, kind of book and I’m still smiling as I’m thinking about it today.

Synopsis:
Surely nobody has ever met their great love while using duct tape to pull cactus needles out of their girl parts on a mountain trail.

Except I just did.

Let me tell you about Axel Pickle.

He’s a bronzed god.
Totally outdoorsy.
Worth half a billion after selling his nature app.
And he hikes naked.

He showed up in nothing but his hiking boots when I ran shrieking onto his private property after peeing on a prickly pear and being unable to put my pants back on.

We’ve been staring at each other’s private parts from the moment we first laid eyes on each other.

But I can’t date him.
I shouldn’t even talk to him.

And why he’s showing up at the hotel deli where I work, volunteering to slice the salami is a mystery to me.

I’m running from a terrible situation, and I need to keep my head down and avoid the world.

But something about the way Axel looks at me gets under my skin.

And this time, no duct tape in the world can yank the hooks he’s set in my wary, introverted soul.
__

Tasty Pickle is a full-length standalone rom com about the most charming, witty, completely useless hunk of man-meat ever to nature walk au naturel, a skeptical, purposefully underachieving deli worker, and the ghost pepper pickle relish that brings them together with a kiss so fiery that it ends up requiring medicated lip gloss.

It is part of the bestselling Pickleverse, but you do not need to read any other books before this one. You can start your outrageous adventure into the world of the Pickles right here.

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Wait for Always by K.A. Linde

Wait for Always (Coastal Chronicles, #4)

Wait for Always; Coastal Chronicles #4
(#4 within a series)

Publication Date: January 17, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Unrequited/Brother’s Best Friend/Contemporary Romance

Author: K.A. Linde

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
For fans, this is the sweet ending we’ve all been waiting for…it’s finally Ash and Amelia’s time to shine!! For every gap, every easter egg that was dropped in prior books, Wait for Always filled in those moments and it made my heart sing.

Ash and Amelia have grown up together, been there for each other for countless moments, good and bad, and while they’ve both had other relationships they never dated one another. It certainly didn’t mean that Amelia didn’t hold a flame for Ash for years, even when he was planning to marry someone else, it never extinguished her love for him, but this story…their story shows that sometimes timing is everything and love will eventually get it right.

I don’t know if it was already knowing the angsty, heart wrenching outcome of the love triangle between Ash, Cole and Lila, but this book felt less angsty. Personally, I liked knowing the outcome of that part of the story, but my heart still ached for Amelia knowing she loved Ash through the whole ordeal.

This was the perfect ending to tie up such an angsty beginning to this series and I loved it!

Synopsis:
A stand alone brother’s best friend romance about Ash Talmadge & Amelia Ballentine by USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde…

Ash Talmadge is everything I shouldn’t want.

My brother’s best friend. A too charismatic, too attractive Southern gentleman. And obsessed with someone else.

But she’s finally out of the picture. I put two years between their break up just to be sure. This is finally my chance.

His focus is all on me. Exactly where I wanted it to be since high school when he saved me from humiliation. And after college when he finally realized I was more than just his best friend’s little sister.

There’s only one person who could ruin this for me.

I’ve waited this long.

I’m willing to wait for always.

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Book Reviews, Bully Romance, Dark Romance, New Adult, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Filthy Jealous Heir #2 by Caitlyn Dare

Filthy Jealous Heir: Part Two: A brother's best friend dark bully romance (Heirs of All Hallows’ Book 2)

Filthy Jealous Heir Part 2; Heirs of All Hallows’ #2
(#2 within a series)

Publication Date: January 12, 2023

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Dark/Bully Romance

Author: Caitlyn Dare

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Fast paced, with great emotional ups and downs from both Olivia and Reese.

There is a lot to unpack in this book, but it never wavered in the intensity. While Olivia and Reese’s HEA was tied up, The Heirs still have more story to tell and I loved getting to know just a bit more about some of the secondary characters who will return in more books.

While Olivia and Reese circle around their feelings and what that could mean for a future, it also meant that Reese had to fess up to everything, but I loved how the story played out for Reese to make amends, which not only included Olivia, but also his friends.

Also, about that future, it involved part of this fantastic girl crew that Olivia surrounded herself with. One being Reese’s fiancé, Abigail, and another included a fierce girl that grates on every nerve of Olivia’s twin brother, Oakley. Everything about their whole dynamic is delicious. This girl group, aside from the relationship that brewed between Reese and Olivia, totally made the book worth reading.

Synopsis:
A brand new dark bully romance series from bestselling author Caitlyn Dare.

He’s filthy. He’s jealous… and he’s determined to make her his.

Reese Whitfield-Brown has been lied to his entire life. But he’s also been lying to himself.

What started as a game to ruin Olivia’s reputation quickly turned into obsession. And now he needs her in a way he doesn’t understand.

Kind. Compassionate. Strong. She sees past all his bullshit.

Reese wants her even though he knows he shouldn’t. Because he can’t be what Olivia needs and when she discovers his true reason for getting close to her, she’ll never look at him the same again.

But Olivia is determined to break down Reese’s defenses and be there for him no matter what.

Because some people deserve a second chance.

Especially, the boy she loves … even when she shouldn’t.

Filthy Jealous Heir: part two is a dark high school bully romance. If possessive, rugby playing alphaholes aren’t your thing, you probably won’t like this book! It should be read after part one.

Grab Part One here: https://mybook.to/AHFilthyJealousHeir1

Grab the FREE prequel Wicked Heinous Hearts here: https://mybook.to/WickedHeinousHeirs

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Book Reviews, New Adult, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – The Hatesick Diaries by Saffron A Kent

The Hatesick Diaries (St. Mary’s Rebels, #5)

The Hatesick Diaries; St. Mary’s Rebels #5
(Standalone within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: January 10, 2023

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Opposites Attract/Sports Romance

Author: Saffron A Kent

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Within the first few chapters I knew that Reign Davidson was going to come very close to kicking Arrow off the boyfriend pedestal that he’s been sitting on for quite awhile. Of course Reign would love every moment of kicking Arrow off that pedestal, but I’m letting them share it for now…because Arrow is still my first love, and Reign…he’s truly one of the best good-bad boys I’ve read. Good luck sharing space boys!!

Pretty much from the very beginning of the story I was deeply in love with the bad boy, bandit, Reign. While he’s not all bad, he’s not exactly all good either. I suppose it’s all on which side you find yourself, or what you think about is grey morals, but his heart is always in the right spot, especially when you dig more into his story.

Echo Adler is a good girl, for the most part, she is afterall at St. Mary’s for troubled teens. As she tries to do good deeds, sometimes it backfires, or she doesn’t exactly think things through…haven’t we all been there or done that. As with a lot of the girls who attend St. Mary’s, Echo is a bit naive, but it’s the boy who basically stalks her dreams that opens her up to worldly ways. Reign is possessive and over the top, but would we expect anything less of the men who fall for these Rebels of St. Mary’s…never.

Synopsis:
Echo Adler hates Reign Davidson. He’s the reason the love of her life left her all alone and broken hearted two years ago.

So it should be easy to stay away.

It should be easy to not dream about his dark and mean eyes, or his cruel but sexy smirks. It should be easy to not think about the guy who ruined her happily ever after.

Only it’s not.

Sometimes his intense stares make her heart race, and those smirks of his make her breathless.

But it needs to stop.

Because she has a mission: to get back together with her ex-boyfriend. And Echo will be damned if she keeps dreaming about Reign.

The guy who not only makes her sick with hate but who also happens to be her ex’s best friend.

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Forbidden/Taboo, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Forbidden by Tia Louise

Forbidden; Hamiltown Heat #4
(standalone within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: January 12, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Forbidden/Age-Gap/Student-Professor/Intrigue Romance

Author: Tia Louise

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Forbidden perfection!!

Dirk is one dirty talking dream that flew right into the deep recesses of my forbidden heart. Seriously, who knew that Hutch’s little brother was such a panty-dropping dreamboat? Fantasy fulfilled, thank you Tia!!

I never would have guessed the total plot perfection that Forbidden tied up with a beautiful- no stone left unturned- bow. It is reading magic and I love when that happens. Plus…the epilogue…oh, the epilogue, is pure gold!! So, with all of that being said, while this can be read as a standalone, for obvious reasons as you can see above and for the most reading enjoyment, I wouldn’t miss out on the rest of the series, why would you want to, but you can if you want to.

Dirk Winston begins teaching at a college about an hour away from Hamiltown. Putting his teaching degree to use he decided he needed a break from cybersecurity and all of the loving relationships that have sprung up around him. While he loves his brother and newly found family, he just needed to get away, but it seems that even when trying to get away from everything, he just can’t seem to escape his past.

When Rainey enrolls as a student under the false name of Reanna Lorak, changing her appearance from the last time Dirk would have seen her on any kind of surveillance camera, Rainey now looks like a typical college senior. She’s given a mission to retrieve a ledger that contains secrets only her organization would understand and that her new leader desperately wants. Rainey may take the mission under the pretences of handing it over to her boss, but she has own mission in mind, getting revenge for her father. It also doesn’t hurt that upon meeting Dirk that there is an instant attraction for the Professor and considering the life she’s led, she decides she wants him for herself. It’s forbidden on so many levels, but something this forbidden feels so right.

Forbidden is super high heat, with a wrap up to an ongoing storyline, but can also be followed along for any reader who has just jumped in. If that’s you, you will want to go back and read the rest, trust me!! You will fall in love with the rest of the cast by the end of this book and want to know everything.

I can’t decide who my favorite couple is, so I’m not going to…I love them all!!

Synopsis:
I have one job: Get close and take him out. The only problem is, I want him more.

I was barely five when I lost my brother; seven when my father was murdered.
Overnight, I was taken by my mysterious uncle, grafted into a world of crime I didn’t understand and couldn’t escape.

The first ten years, I did my best to blend in.
The next four, I reinvented myself, growing stronger, searching for answers.
Now I have one assignment—take down the man who knows our secrets.

Professor Dirk Winston is my target, and I’m expected to be a good soldier, disguised as a good student.
Only he’s not the passive bookworm I expect.
He’s ripped muscles, bedroom eyes, dirty mouth, and ready for a fight.

But I’ve got plans of my own, and this hot teacher is going to do more than give me grades and take my panties.
He’s going to help me get revenge.

(FORBIDDEN is a five-alarm-spicy age-gap, student-professor romance with secrets, lies, and answers to all your questions. No cheating. No cliffhanger.)

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Tempting the Neighbor by Ashley Muñoz

Tempting the Neighbor

Tempting the Neighbor; Mount Macon #2
(Standalone within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: January 13, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Contemporary/Close Proximity/Enemies-to-Lovers Romance

Author: Ashley Muñoz

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Muñoz writes books that pack such an emotional punch that at the very end it never fails that I want to go back and immediately reread the entire book so I can experience the build up all over again. I am an emotional mess now at the end of Tempting the Neighbor that it also rekindled how much of a mess I was after Resisting a Grump – Muñoz has struck again.

Ashley Muñoz leaves bread crumbs throughout every story she writes and it may seem insignificant at the time I’m reading it, but I’ve learned that her words, every single word, is an important ingredient to the final product. She’s a master at crafting her finished piece and it always requires a lot of tissues when I finish reading.

I won’t hesitate and say that I wondered if this book might be the first that wouldn’t end up giving me all the feels, but…yes, there is a but, so wait for it. Colson and Nora were very much on opposite sides of the fighting ring – a true enemies to lovers with brash outspoken feelings towards one another and they never hesitated to voice it. However, on the inside they smoldered and that is what kept the hope alive for me. I knew they actually wanted one another and they didn’t mean the hateful words they were slinging back and forth.

Their chemistry just boiled differently and let’s face it, as a reader, it can cause bangxiety to set in, but given the way I was crying at the end, I never should have doubted Muñoz in the first place. Colson and Nora do not have an easy road, nor do they fall into a cookie cutter formula of a lot of friends-to-lovers tropes I’ve read, I also know that is why all the feels hit just a little bit harder and this book was magic.

Tempting the Neighbor has all of the great things that make romance books great; best friends who discuss trashy novels – hello, that is always the best, a dirty talking hero and I’m talking five alarm, burn your panties right off, kind of dirty talking hero with cinnamon roll tendencies, especially for his best friends three little girls–instant ovary burst right there, and just enough information for the next book to leave me salivating. This book was a total win!

Synopsis:
This entire thing started because of a faulty tree.

Becoming a homeowner is not all it’s cracked up to be, let me tell you that right now. Especially in the dead of winter, when apparently trees can just fall in the middle of a suburban neighborhood.

Did my next-door neighbor help me remove said tree? No, he did not…

So, really…he left me no choice.

I broke into his house.

While I only intended to steal a little warmth and maybe a cup of coffee, I fell victim to his jacuzzi tub.

But he returned early and that’s really when things went south.

Instead of a cold glare or icy reply, all of which I fully expected from my disagreeable neighbor.

Colson Hanes offered to make me breakfast.

Then he asked me to stay…

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Book Reviews, LGBTQA+, New Adult, Sports Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Guarded by Nicole Dykes

Guarded; Kensley Panthers #2
(standalone within a series)

Publication Date: January 9, 2023

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/MM/Enemies-to-Lovers/Sports Romance

Author: Nicole Dykes

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Wow, I just love Nicole’s books! Consistently, they are filled with big emotional punches, steamy passion, and I could read them forever.

I love a good enemies to lovers story, but more than that, I totally melt for characters who were once enemies find that common ground on whatever subject matter they finally connect over and then the chemistry between them totally explodes!! I mean seriously, there is nothing like the bubbling and brewing build up to that explosion, but when it happens it’s always amazing. I need to say that both boys were strong, and different, but nevertheless strong in how they navigated their paths throughout this story. I loved it.

Jameson and Garrison are at odds, going all the way back to kindergarten. They have never really been friends, even though they live in a small town so there isn’t much room to escape one another, which is the bigger problem when it comes to their sexuality. Garrison stumbles upon Jameson kissing another boy and because Garrison is known to be loud and sort of obnoxious, it only infuriates Jameson more that it was Garrison who discovered him. However, for Garrison he was happy it was him since he’s holding his own secret and he would never out someone when it’s their own secret to share.

These two misunderstand one another for so long that when the walls finally come down – or that explosion finally happens – while it’s a moment of steaminess, it’s also a little heartbreaking. Nicole is so great at mixing passion with big emotional moments, you are really there inside the characters head, living that experience with them so it makes everything brand new for the reader as well.

This story is so much bigger than just two boys falling in love. It surrounds small town life, living up to parent expectations and everything surrounding your life upon graduation. I loved how she tackled this book and I can’t wait to see how the next one plays out.

Synopsis:
Jameson Bates
I have a secret. We all have secrets. I’m nothing special.
It just so happens, however, that my sworn enemy also knows my secret.
He’s the absolute worst person to know this, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
What he does with this information is totally out of my hands and completely in his.
This is why I’ve never let anyone in. I don’t trust easily. I keep to myself.
I’m closed off. Angry.
Guarded.

Garrison Dixon
I shouldn’t have seen what I did.
I shouldn’t know what I do.
But how Bates can think I would ever say anything is beyond me.
Everyone thinks I’m just a big, dumb football player with nothing more to him.
The truth is I’ll never say a word about what I witnessed. I don’t care about it the way he thinks I do. I wouldn’t hurt him.
And I’d let him know that—all of it—if he wasn’t so damn . . .
Guarded.

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Book Reviews, LGBTQA+, Paranormal/Science Fi/Fantasy Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Captivate by E.J. Lawson

Captivate; Knot Their Omega #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: January 10, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Paranormal/Omegaverse/Reverse Harem Romance

Author: E.J. Lawson

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
I love jumping into an omegaverse world, there is something about the idea of knots and alphas and just being claimed…total melt city…Lawson brought a new spin that I haven’t read before and I loved the entire concept!

This omegaverse is losing their omegas to a deadly disease. So while there are laws that protect omegas, the laws don’t necessarily keep them safe. You see, to most alphas, omegas are basically looked at as breeding vessels. A pack can obtain an omega, but it doesn’t mean love is involved, and Riley, the omega in this book, does not believe in this unjust and unfair treatment. Same girl—same!! While there were moments I wanted to push her into submitting because I wanted the romance to happen, I also respected her strength and determination to stand up for what is right.

When the book begins Riley is living among betas, hiding her scent with blockers and suppressants, but one mistake changes her life forever and puts her in the care of the Woods’ Pack, something she never wanted. However, with that pack; Miles, Levi, and Fox take an almost instant shining to her, and it’s the head alpha of the pack, Thane, who doesn’t approve. It’s really no skin off her back if she has to leave, but there are extenuating circumstances that do not allow the five of them to break tides quite so easily and until a new solution is made Riley stays.

It was hard to pick who my favorite of the group was, as it kept flipping with each interaction. Basically, I loved how the pack worked cohesively which is why it made it hard to pick a standout. I would love to return to this world and see what else Lawson will cook up next.

Synopsis:
I don’t need a pack. I’m doing just fine on my own.

Until one tiny mistake has me perfuming enough to draw every enforcement officer in a ten block radius.

I know what awaits me if I go into custody as an unclaimed Omega, so when a blazing hot and surprisingly kind Alpha throws me a life raft, I grab hold with both hands.

Only problem? He didn’t exactly clear his claim on me with his pack. They don’t want an Omega. Especially Thane, who seems to be calling the shots.

At least they’re letting me stay until they find another pack to take me. I should be grateful, but being trapped in a mansion with four unbonded Alphas that smell like heaven is pure torture.

Fox, Miles, Levi, and Thane are everything an Omega could ever want, but there’s a reason I was in hiding.

I have to remember… I’m Knot Their Omega.

CAPTIVATE is a standalone Omegaverse romance told in multiple points of view. It includes MM and MMFMM and a happily ever after is guaranteed.

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Book Reviews, New Adult, Sports Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – Ice Burn by L.A. Cotton

Ice Burn; Lakeshore U #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: January 10, 2023

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Sports/Opposites Attract Romance

Author: L.A. Cotton

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
I was not expecting this book to be as sweet as it was. I’m totally in love with the beginning to this new Lakeshore U series and I can hardly wait to see where the rest of the series goes.

Both Aiden and Dayna have been living in place where they are trying to escape their pasts. Dayna has been grieving her brother and Aiden has been trying to outrun his father’s history. On paper they shouldn’t work, but in person they bring out the best in each other. It was a great relationship to watch blossom.

Their relationship is certainly not one without hardship, but in the end they are the kind of couple that others strive to be. I love how sweet Aiden really is, given how Dayna is his first real relationship and while she did have a long term boyfriend before him, she wasn’t exactly in the right headspace until Aiden landed on her beach. I can’t wait to see them pop up as the series continues. I’m completely smitten by these two.

Synopsis:
From USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Rixon Raider series comes a brand new sports romance series. Lakeshore U, where hockey is religion, and the players are gods. Are you ready to fall in love with a Laker?

When Dayna Benson moves home, she doesn’t expect to feel so torn. On the one hand, she’s glad to be back in Dupont Beach. But it means parting ways with her boyfriend and facing ghosts she thought she’d left behind.

Enter Aiden Dumfries.

Arrogant. Angry. With enough attitude to freeze over Lake Erie, he’s determined not to let anyone help him.

When he finds himself exiled to the small coastal town after a scandal that could ruin his hockey career before it gets started, his plans for summer break are dashed.

He’s Lakeshore U’s bad boy on the ice. She’s sunshine, smiles, and something that feels a lot like hope.

But can Dayna melt Aiden’s heart?

Or will she end up burned?

* Ice Burn is a standalone introductory novel set in the Lakeshore U series.

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Review
Book Reviews, LGBTQA+, Paranormal/Science Fi/Fantasy Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – The Muse by Emma Scott

The Muse; Angels and Demons #2
(#2 within a series)

Publication Date: January 8, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Paranormal/MM/Antihero/Supernatural Romance

Author: Emma Scott

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Oh my heart…this story…how can the story of a demon and a human affect me so? This book is written with so much heartfelt emotion and deep felt love, the fact that the love story is not between two humans doesn’t even factor in. It’s beautiful.

I fell so hard for Cas and Lucy in the first book that Ambri and Cole had a tall order to fill with their story, but let me say that this book is true perfection for the two of them and I love Ambri and Cole in a completely separate way, but just as deeply as I do Cas and Lucy.

It’s been a few days since finishing The Muse and I seriously cannot stop thinking about this book. Every character is flawlessly crafted; every trait, every detail was absolutely perfect. Details infused into each character that brought them to life making them realistic to the point that they lept off the page.

I love delving into paranormal fiction and I love the spin that Emma took on demons in this book. The kind of “demons on my back” thought that takes place is a total emotional ride. Ambri a pleasure demon, one who insights lust and desire in others. It’s been his job for a couple hundred of years and he is the perfect specimen for his job. Cole is instantly drawn to him, where Ambri becomes his muse both in human and demon form and it’s exactly what Ambri wants. He needs a soul to take to his superior and Cole is his pick.

While Cole fights off the literal demons hanging around him, he’s also drawn to Ambri…the real Ambri under the dark creature. Cole is a bright light in Ambri’s world, a beacon of hope for a man who hasn’t had any in his entire existence. Cole is so easily likeable and has a huge heart and it’s that huge caring side that draws Ambri to have hope for the first time ever. Can Ambri follow through on his mission or will love prevail?

The Muse is a deeply emotional, touching book full of hope and love. I loved the every word.

Synopsis:
An emotional paranormal romance about sacrifice, redemption, and the power of true love.

Cole Matheson didn’t expect the road toward being a successful painter would be paved in gold, but he hoped there’d be a few less potholes. Insidious self-doubt that whispers that he’s no good, talentless, hopeless has him on the brink of despair. Maybe it would be better to just give up.

A midnight visit by a beautiful creature of darkness changes everything…

Ambrosius Edward Meade-Finch surrendered to the underworld centuries ago after knowing only pain and suffering during his short life. Now, Ambri makes humans dance on his strings, feeding on their desire for his own pleasure. But his liege lord questions his loyalty and commands him to bring a pure soul into their dark realm.

Cole Matheson seemed like an easy mark, but Ambri didn’t count on his goodness or the depth of his generous spirit that wants Ambri just as he is. And Cole never expected to find in Ambri a muse who unlocks his talent and who might also be what his lonely heart has been searching for. Something fragile yet powerful grows between them, and the possibility of soul-deep love hangs in the balance, if only they have the courage to reach for it.

But fairy tale endings don’t come without a price. The dark forces Ambri answers to have been promised a soul, and they’re coming to collect…

The Muse is book 2 in the Angels and Demons series but can be read as a standalone.

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