Thursday, November 16, 2017

seriously romantic: lips close to mine by robin bielman

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

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

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

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

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

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

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 46

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

part 46 continues after the jump...

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

seriously romantic: enchanted by the highlander by lecia cornwall

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

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

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

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

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

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

seriously romantic: romancing the scot by may mcgoldrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

seriously romantic: seducing the defendant by chantal fernando

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

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

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

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

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

seriously romantic: deal breaker by tara leigh

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

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

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

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

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

seriously romantic: wish you were mine by tara sivec

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

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

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

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


seriously romantic: defiant queen by meghan march

omg. 

omg. omg. omg.

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

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

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

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

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

dying. 

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

Monday, November 13, 2017

superbly suspenseful: twisted truths by rebecca zanetti


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

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

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

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


Sunday, November 12, 2017

seriously romantic: the devil of dunakin castle by heather mccollum

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

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

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

and grace might just be the angel that saves him.

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

seriously romantic: once upon a maiden lane by elizabeth hoyt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 11, 2017

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

seriously romantic: the attraction equation by kadie scott

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

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

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

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

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

seriously romantic: trouble next door by stefanie london

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 10, 2017

seriously romantic: dirty games by samanthe beck

when actress quinn sheridan is forced to get back in shape in order to be ready for the role of a lifetime in dirty games she's less than thrilled. especially when her agent forces luke mclean, secret weapon personal trainer, to assist her with her transformation. luke has done the whole hollywood thing before and isn't really interested in dealing with another spoiled actress.

but as luke works with quinn he realizes that there are some hidden depths, quinn's issues stem from emotional trauma she hasn't fully faced and luke's philosophy is a whole mind and body wellness kind than just lift some weights. he does do that, but he also looks to solve the root cause of the behaviors that cause the issues behind the weight gain or lack of conditioning.

he's also clear on the fact that he's not going to sleep with his clients but the way quinn gets under his skin, he's not sure he's going to be able to avoid this. but he also refuses to allow any skewed power dynamics affect something that could run deeper and be more significant than any relationship he's had before.

both quinn and luke have stuff to sort out, but watching them get there is well worth the read.

**dirty games will publish on november 13, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (braze=n) in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

seriously romantic: just one taste by sami lee

when sarah harrington gets stood up in just one taste by the escort she hired for the evening, a man she only knows as david, she is beyond humiliated. she's just so sick of being alone. but the whole scheme makes her feel worse instead of better. the only highlight of the evening, was the wine she enjoyed at the bar.

that wine just so happens to be the product of david gennaro's winery. he wants a chance of the distribution lines sarah's company can provide, so when his bartender friend lets him know that sarah happens to be drinking his wine at the bar, he decides to take a chance and talk to her. he has no idea that she's expecting to meet someone else by the name of david.

this david is charming and hot and apologetic. so sarah gives him a chance. reading their exchanges during this scene is really entertaining, because sarah expects sex, because basically, she paid for it. and david is trying to be professional but realizes he's getting lucky. and he's incredibly turned on by the whole thing and so confused and overcome with lust and worried too, about the implications of sleeping with the woman he wants to do business with. and that night they share is amazing. so it's not a surprise that she feels betrayed when she realizes that the david she slept with is not the one she was expecting. and when she learns who he is, her past experience has taught her that she's just being taken advantage of.

but david is not that guy. he's sweet and kind and so giving.  he's not afraid of giving sarah power in their relationship and there is something so appealing about that. over and over again he lets her have the upper hand, because how he feels about her is more important than his pride. sarah's insecurities are also handled in a way that makes her sympathetic. she's is so conflicted in her uncertainty. she appreciates david's ability to open up, and she does her best to reciprocate. even though she can't help her caution.

this was a delightful, steamy, quick read. i highly recommend it if you need a quick escape into happy fiction.

**just one taste will publish on november 13, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (brazen) in exchange for my honest review.

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 45

you can catch up from the beginning at the links:  123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930,  31323334353637383940414243, and 44.

part 45 continues after the jump...


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

strictly literary: haven by mary lindsey

haven by mary lindsey finds rain ryland moving to a small texas town to live with an aunt he never knew existed and discovering a whole new world beyond normal.

most of his life he's bounced from town to town, honeless shelter to homeless shelter with his mother who was generally high on something. finding himself dropped into a proper home with a loving aunt and a small town where everyone knows everyone else is an adjustment.

but from the moment he arrives in new wurzburg it's obvious that things aren't what they seem. on the surface it appears to be a snall town in the middle of texas hill country. but there's something off about it. and there's this eerie spooky atmosphere that heightens the tension nicely. 

when rain first encounters friederike burkhart he's intrigued by her tough girl attitude and gorgeous, unique blue eyes. when he keeps running into freddie with no clothes on he's certain there's something crazy going on. but it takes some time for her to trust an outsider. the way the relationship between rain and freddie sparks and pulls them together is just perfect. 

i really just enjoyed everything about this book. the atmosphere, the characters, the actual plot. i tend to not seek out shifter romances, but i also just read haven by karen lynch and really liked it too. so maybe it's that i like young adult werewolves, or maybe i should just read more in a genre i clearly already like.

**haven will publish on november 7, 2017. i received a early hardcover edition of the novel courtesy of entangled publishing (entangled: teen) in exchange for my honest review.

slightly silly: riverdale, episode 17: the town that dreaded sundown


things get even darker in the latest episode of riverdale. with the north and south sides of the town ready to go to battle with each other. and everyone afraid of the things that go bump in the night.

archie's fear has shifted to anger. and now he wants revenge. and he's not afraid to push things as far as he can. he wants to be the black hood's next target. he wants to face the man in his nightmares and conquer him once and for all. archie is still not quite in his right mind, and one thing this town could probably use is a licenced psychiatrist. if you think about it, archie has been sexually abused, nearly killed more than once and his parents are separated but not actually divorced? there is no better candidate for therapy than archie andrews.

veronica stands by her man, even as her parents scheme and plot their way around her as they try to force a break up. whatever is going on in the lodge's marriage is nothing good. honestly, none of these kids have parents with a traditional relationship where there is a two parent household with minimal strife. betty and veronica's parents are the most traditional, but there are some messed up vibes between those parents, they tend to look at each other like they want to kill their partnet. it's crazy.

anyway. jughead and betty are starting to feel the north side and south side tension. any minute now i expect them to bust out into songs from west side story. it's stereotypical, but it's also highly stylized and the visuals and atmosphere on this show continues to be the best.

strictly literary: city of lies by victoria thompson

i am really enjoying these early twentieth-century historical fiction novels. city of lies takes place in new york and washington at the height of world war i and the protests by the suffragists. elizabeth miles is a con woman whose current mark has caught on to the scheme.

in order to escape oscar thornton's murderous thugs, elizabeth hides in plain sight with a group of women protesting the white house for the right to vote. sentenced to jail and then to a workhouse where conditions are outright horrifying, elizabeth connects with two other women, a mrs. bates and miss anna vanderslice. the three women form a bond and elizabeth finds it harder and harder to escape these friends. but not escaping puts her back in the sights of thornton and his thugs.

being a con artist, in order to save her skin, elizabeth designs another long con. hoping that this will get thornton off her back and give her a chance to escape. but the more she is drawn into life with the bates and vanderslices, the harder it is to think of life without them. especially as she finds herself attracted to gideon bates, the one person who can topple her scheme and the one person she really wants to keep the truth from.

there is romance and intrigue and feminism and lgbtq issues, and all these things resonate because the chaos and uncertainty and strong partisanship of those times reflect the ones we are living today. the world thompson weaves together for us in city of lies is based on historical fact, and feels like an accurate likeness of the world we live in today.

**city of lies published on november 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of penguin's first to read program in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

superbly suspenseful: trapped by rhonda pollero

declan kavanaugh finally gets a starring role in trapped, the third book in the finding justice series. when chasyn summers is targeted by an accused murderer she's almost killed for no reason. she didn't actually witness the crime. she only said she did to encourage her friend, kasey becker, who had witnessed the murder to come forward.

but even after the district attorney's office appears to drop the case, chasyn continues to be targeted. this is where declan comes in, as the owner of a private security firm he offers bodyguard protection and investigative work in order to get to the bottom of the mystery.

declan's always been a love 'em and leave 'em type, and he's never crossed the line with a client before. but there is something about chasyn that draws him like a moth to a flame. sure she's got good looks, but beyond that, she has a strength and a composure and a drive to solve the mystery that makes her the perfect woman. she also proves to be the perfect partner on the case, her ordered and methodical ways complementing his spontaneity just so.

the central mystery worked for me, and beyond that i simply enjoyed declan and chasyn together. this is another solid installment in this series, and i'm hoping that we'll finally meet the mysterious michael in book four.

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

superbly suspenseful: risky redemption by marissa garner

risky redemption is one of those books that plays with timelines in order to build suspense. by moving back and forth between the present and the past we are slowly piecing together the clues that the lead characters are gathering for themselves.

the problem is that i called the crucial piece of information early on, and i also suspected one of the key twists before they happened. i do like to be right about things, so while i wouldn't say i was in suspense, more like i wondered when jake would ever clue into this one piece of crucial information, i was still engaged enough by the story to read the whole of it.

jake is an interesting character, as a hired assassin he definitely has a skewed moral compass and how he interacts with angela at times varies between sweet and understanding and total jerk. it's no surprise angela isn't quite sure what to think of him at times because he totally blows hot and cold on her. he's also got a contract job that makes her his latest target, so there is that.

the jumping timelines made the romantic aspect of this thriller a challenge to portray. for significant parts of the book one of the characters is not present. and the relationship we see unfolding in the other timeline isn't going very well. and as the timelines converge, you see where everything is going, but you still feel like you somehow missed some very big moments between the characters.

**risky redemption will publish on november 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever yours) in exchange for my honest review. keep reading for more information on the novel...


Monday, November 6, 2017

seriously romantic: no other duke will do by grace burrowes


the third book in the windham brides series, no other duke will do, focusses on eldest sister, elizabeth. caught in a compromising position by a fortune hunter, her family has sent her to a house party with the sole objective of marrying her off. but she isn't looking for marriage. she wants her independence, at least she says she does. elizabeth is pretty much an ideal lady. polite, well-bred, intelligent, but mainly she is excellent at navigating social situations in a way that ensures that no one is offended. her cause celebre is lending libraries.

so it is kind of perfect that this house party is being held at the duke of haverford's welsh estate and he has a magnificent library. his forefathers actually spent their lifetimes bankrupting the estate for books and documents and curiosities. but in spite of his precarious financial situation his sister decides it's past time for him to marry so she invites the most eligible prospective wives of the season to the ducal estate for a three-week house party.

from the moment haverford and lady elizabeth meet they are drawn to each other. but julian doesn't have the budget to include a duchess in his life for another eight years. he has no intention of entangling himself the way he does with elizabeth, at least not until she reveals that she's given up her virtue already. this doesn't bother him in the least except for the fact that her experiences left her thinking that she really didn't understand what all the fuss about sex was about.

needless to say once julian and elizabeth get things on, her opinion about sex does a one-eighty. the real source of conflict between these two is the fact that julian is on the brink of penury. but since he also happens to be sitting on an immense library filled with valuable treasures it's only a matter of time before he figures things out. the villain of the piece, his neighbor lucas sherbourne is jerk, but it's pretty clear that he's already being rehabilitated to be the hero in the next book as he has an interesting connection with charlotte, elizabeth's younger sister and the one windham bride who has yet to find a husband.

**no other duke will do will publish on november 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review. read on for more information about the book, including an excerpt from the novel...


Sunday, November 5, 2017

seriously romantic: third son's a charm by shana galen

a group of men that society considered expendable all survived the war with napoleon in third son's a charm. each of them played a role on their squadron, but now, back in society, they have to adjust to being expendable again. ewan mostyn is known as the protector, his massive size and brute strength saved more than one of his comrade's lives out in the field. and now that he's returned home, as the unfavored third son of an earl he mainly guards the doors at a gaming club.

ewan prefers to do things with his hands, which isn't what society considers civilized. but that's not the only reason he doesn't fit in. as a child, he had a hard time learning, and even now he is unable to read without getting terrible headaches and mocked for his trouble. when the duke of ridlington offers him a job guarding his daughter in order to prevent her from eloping with ewan's wastrel cousin, francis, he takes the job expecting it to be easy.

but lady lorraine isn't easy. she's stubborn and curious and leaps into things without thinking. she says absolutely every thought that passes through her head. and at first she's terribly annoyed with her father and her relentless giant of a bodyguard. but the more she gets to know the viking, which is what she calls ewan, the more she wonders if she really does know what love is all about. and the more she learns about who ewan is as a person, the more she doubts that francis is telling her the truth. and then she starts to realize that perhaps the man for her is the man who would lay down his life for her in an instant. he's the man she can't stop thinking about. he's the man who she misses when they spend time apart.

ewan loves her. but he doesn't feel worthy. he's so big but his shortcomings have always made him feel small. lady lorraine she's a potential in him that not many others have. but how can the unwanted third son of an earl be the man for the daughter of a fabulously wealthy duke? i loved watching the relationship between ewan and lorrie grow, and i look forward to seeing more of lord draven's men in future series, perhaps a story for each of the remaining eleven survivors?

**third son's a charm will publish on november 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/sourcebooks casablanca in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

seriously romantic: hooking up by helena hunting

when amalie whitfield's new husband broadcasts a blowjob he's getting from someone who isn't his wife in the opening pages of hooking up, she is beyond humiliated. but when she keeps encountering the same guy, in the bridal suite as she's cutting herself out of her wedding dress, on the flight to bora-bora for her non-honeymoon the attraction that sparks between them makes her feel desirable in a way that she hasn't for a long time. even excluding the reception incident.

amie isn't expecting to fall in love. after all, she's technically married. and her relationship with the new guy will always be complicated by her relationship with her soon-to-be-ex.she tries to end things once she leaves bora-bora, but it doesn't matter how much time passes because when they re-encounter each in new york it's just as explosive between them.

but it's more than just sex. except amie has a hard trusting her judgment. after all she only married her soon-to-be-ex because he seemed to check the right boxes. and he turned out to be an even bigger headache than the previous guy she dated who got arrested after they came back from a mexican vacation.

but in order to really have a chance, amie needs to be free. and this proves to be a surprisingly difficult hurdle. because it's not just her marriage that is tying her up in knots. it's the doubts she has about herself. so she needs to find the strength to free herself in order to have a real chance with her hot hookup.

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

seriously romantic: saving it by monica murphy

josh and eden have been best friends forever, and only just friends. sure they can recognize that the other person is hot. but their friendship is too important for casual exploration. and so they've friend-zoned each other. and it works for them.

but as saving it opens josh asks eden for help losing his virginity and everything changes. even though he's only asking her for a list of potential girls for wooing, they suddenly both start seeing each other differently.

because of the losing virginity project, they are in each other's company constantly. and this new awareness seeps into all their interactions. i loved how their friendship evolved over the course of the novel. even as their feelings grow what they want is to make sure they still can count on one another. the strength of their friendship really enhances the strength of their romantic feelings in a way that feels believable and meaningful.

this isn't to say they don't have some misunderstandings, but i still liked how everything unfolded. and there are some great bachelor references that play into the grand gesture that are just perfect.

**saving it will publish november 6, 2017. i recieved an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (entangled: crush) in exchange for my honest review.


Friday, November 3, 2017

seriously romantic: wingman by emmy curtis

 
wingman picks up in the middle of the action for aces wild. eleanor's friend missy malden is accused of trying to kill her and is being framed for it. but her longtime pilot, francis conrad, the man she's been secretly in love with for years, will not let that stand. he knows missy is innocent. and he also knows that she is intent on making a change. having recently put in for a transfer that has him reeling.

she thinks he's reeling because he needs her as his weapons specialist and that it's all about his career, but she's wrong. it's about losing her. he's been so good at pretending to be a ladies' man, inventing these outrageous stories so that she wouldn't know how in love with her he was. and to keep her at a distance. it's possibly the dumbest, most arrogant reason to do something like that, but it's too late. because she thinks he's something he's not, and now he has to convince her that he's not just reacting like this because she's leaving, but that he's felt this way all along.

again the romance plays out against the backdrop of intrigue and suspense of the red flag exercise gone rogue. and even though missy and francis' story wraps up before the whole mystery is solved, the story continues to be intriguing for future books in the series, but is still an extremely enjoyable read.

**wingman will publish on november 3, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever yours) in exchange for my honest review. keep reading for more information on the book, including an excerpt...


seriously romantic: aces wild by emmy curtis

aces wild kicks off the elite ops series in thrilling style. the world's most elite military pilots are all in the nevada desert for a friendly, competition-style training mission. raf pilot dexter stone is just getting back into the swing of things after a horrific crash. he has to prove he is ready to fly into danger if he's going to reclaim his former role on his squad.

when he meets a mysterious and sexy stranger on the bus to the military base the red flag exercises are run out of, he realizes he may need to work on his game because he manages to be cocky and awkward and unintentionally amusing, which is kind of the opposite of what he was going for.

maj. eleanor daniels has plenty to prove at red flag, she's sick of living in her father's shadow and having to work twice as hard as her male peers. she knows that she has the skills to act as squad leader if given the chance. so the last thing she is looking for is a romantic connection, even with a sexy british pilot. they're on opposite sides for this training exercise and she doesn't need a cocky pilot distracting her.

but things get complicated quickly. for the first time, the private sector is involved in the training exercise and shady dealings seem to be happening on every corner. when eleanor overhears something she shouldn't have in her father's office she's suddenly targeted by goons that appear to be out to kill her.

while on a mission, her plane and dex's are sabotaged, and they are left out in the desert without water or supplies and must use all their training in order to keep going. even as dexter and eleanor's story comes to a close, there is so much going on at the base that you know there is more romance and suspense ahead in this series. i really enjoyed the chemistry between the leads and the mystery of what is happening on the base totally worked for me.

**aces wild published on april 30, 2017. i received a digital copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever yours) in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

seriously romantic: the first kiss hypothesis by christina mandelski

the first kiss hypothesis is simple. kiss a guy and if it's the right guy you'll know from the kiss.

nora is into science and facts and biology and controlling the outcomes in her life to minimize hurt and heartbreak. it's a noble goal. it's also incredibly naive and short-sighted. her big problem with her hypothesis is that she's had to endure a lot of bad kisses. but the worst one was the one she sprang on her best friend, eli, when they were in the eighth grade. she had a huge crush on him. and if he turned out to be the one it would have been perfect.

but this kiss was so poorly timed. and it was so terrible. and for nora it was clear, eli wasn't the one.

eli feels differently about the kiss. not about how terrible it was. but about its significance in determining whether or not they were right for each other. since that kiss he's had to endure nora kissing every other guy. and it's their senior year and it's looking like they won't even be going to the same school. and eli realizes it's his last chance to change nora's mind about this hypothesis and give him a second chance.

nora and eli's friendship is a beautiful thing. and i really enjoyed reading about them together. but between nora's hypothesis and eli's semi-terrible plan you kind of want to knock their heads together. literally everyone else in this book knows that nora and eli are meant for each other. even eli knows. nora for all her smarts is so dumb about this, it's maybe a little frustrating.

because she is so stubborn about this hypothesis.

luckily, eli is stubborn too.

there's also pie. pie that fixes everything. i've never had black-bottomed pie but it sounds intriguing.

**the first kiss hypothesis will publish on november 6, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (entangled: crush) in exchange for my honest review.



something from the archives: say goodbye - part 44

catch up with parts 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930,  313233343536373839404142, and 43 at the links.

part 44 dances on after the jump...


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

seriously romantic: offsetting penalties by ally matthews

so offsetting penalties is pretty much all my favorite things in one book that i wish was longer. because i would have read about isabelle and garret for as long as ally matthews wanted to write about them. i pretty much inhaled this book, so even though the actual timeline isn't fast, it felt like the story went by too quickly. but again, this is only because i loved it so.

isabelle is a ballet dancer who lacks a male dance partner for her audition to a dream ballet company and garret is a football player who needs ballet lessons to improve his agility and flexibility in order to impress college football scouts. it's pretty clear where this is going. isabelle does have to resort to minor blackmail in order to get garret to even consider her request. but over time he comes to understand how important this is to her, and it becomes important to him too, because he really does care. 

the chemistry between isabelle and garret is just perfect. they struggle with the same insecurities even as they come from completely different socioeconomic backgrounds. watching them figure out how to relate to each other and how to compromise is what makes this story so sweet. neither of them is perfect, but they might just be perfect together. and i love it.

**offsetting penalties will publish on november 6, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (entangled: crush) in exchange for my honest review.