courting

Look to the Stars by Olivia Kelly Review

 Look to the Stars by Olivia Kelly 3 Stars! 

Leonato Blakeley, heir to the earldom of Pennyworth, has no intention of marrying any time soon. He’s not against marriage, unless the term is being paired with his name. His great-uncle, the matchmaking Duke of Danby, has arrived in town, and Leo needs A Plan.

Romance review site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books gives this novella an A rating and called it “exactly the book I needed to read at exactly the right moment I needed to read it”. Reviewer Elyse says “Look to the Stars was the perfect Regency novella to reset my mind.”

American heiress Miriam Rosenbaum has crossed an ocean to study the stars with the best scientists in the field. Well, perhaps her mother thinks they’re in London to find husbands for the scandalous Madcap Rosenbaum sisters. But Miriam is determined not only to visit the Royal Observatory, but participate in their groundbreaking research.

Together, they might have a chance at accomplishing their goals. But when the Season is over, walling away from each other might be their greatest challenge yet.

 

Review

A great little Regency romance with a Jewish heroine who just wants to study the stars and a hero who realizes he wants more from life and want he wants is a life with her.

Very nice banter!

This novel could have been more robust but every thing here is well done.

The Red Scot (A Curvy Girls Club Novel, #1) by Twyla Turner Review

The Red Scot (A Curvy Girls Club Novel Book 1) by Twyla Turner  2.5 Stars! 

She’ll be the greatest fight of his life…

Bradyn ‘The Red Scot’ MacTavish is the best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world, despite his humble beginnings as the fat kid growing up. A tragedy that befell his life changed him and made sure that he never felt helpless again. He spent years making a name for himself in the octagon as an alpha beast, but when it comes to the ladies he is a fumbling mess. Always feeling like the unpopular kid. The day that Payton Bailey walks into his gym changes everything.

When it comes to men, Payton is as clueless as she is with social cues. She prefers to stick with what she knows: Sci-Fi, comic books, video games and web design. After a heartbreaking incident her freshman year of college, she was never able to look at big muscular men the same way again. So imagine her surprise and absolute fright when she catches the eye of the massive, hulking MMA fighter, who she secretly nicknames The Red Giant.

The computer geek has done her best to avoid, ignore, and even maim Bradyn but the stubborn Scot has no intentions of letting the skittish lass slip through his fingers. And with the help of her three friends, he just might win the fight of his life.

Review

I enjoyed this book a lot but there are writing errors and almost all the tropes of the book are heavy handed.

What saved it was fun dialogue, a great circle of friends, a wonderful sweet hero, and a geeky heroine.

Our hero and heroine are both shy which is fun. The hero is very self aware and kind. The heroine has PTSD from a past attempted rape.

The hero’s lovely wooing of the heroine plus the fact that that he is a super hot Scot let me enjoy the book despite the telling passages, lack of complexity, and typos.

Trust Me (Paris Nights, #3) by Laura Florand Review

 Trust Me (Paris Nights Book 3) by Laura Florand 4 Stars!!

She’s nobody’s damsel in distress…
Top Parisian pastry chef Lina Farah is used to fighting for her success. But when a violent attack shatters her security, she needs a new tactic to battle her dragons. What better way to banish the monsters under her bed than by inviting a sexy SEAL to tangle the sheets?

He’s a professional dragon slayer…
Elite operative Jake Adams has never stayed in one place long enough to form a lasting relationship. Lina’s fire and beauty tempt him to give her the hot affair she craves. But her spirit and courage make him long for more. Can he convince a woman seeking forgetfulness to dream of ever after…with him?

 

Review

Our heroine Lina is recovering  from a terrorist attack which she foiled in the kitchen of her restaurant where she is an acclaimed pastry chef.

Our hero is an American on a black ops team working with the French to prevent such things from happening.

He fell in love with Lina when he witnessed her bravery and her deep caring for her friends oh and she is hot and fierce as well.

The wonderfulness of this book is all the little details like a flower opening that I don’t want to ruin. It is a quiet book that charts the coming to turns with a new reality, two career driven people falling and love, and emotionial healing.

There are moving and complex exploration of war, politics impact of each life, racism, sexism, gender relation all with a deft and gentle hand.

Lina just wants Jake for sex at first and he rightly resents it and I adore that start but I also adore how Lina knows mistakes can be corrected and we all can begin again.

A really lovely read!

PS Jake and his freckles are hella hot

I was given this book for my honest review. So there you have it!

Pansies (Spires Book 4) by Alexis Hall Review

 Pansies (Spires Book 4) by Alexis Hall 4 Stars!

Alfie Bell is . . . fine. He’s got a six-figure salary, a penthouse in Canary Wharf, the car he swore he’d buy when he was eighteen, and a bunch of fancy London friends.

It’s rough, though, going back to South Shields now that they all know he’s a fully paid-up pansy. It’s the last place he’s expecting to pull. But Fen’s gorgeous, with his pink-tipped hair and hipster glasses, full of the sort of courage Alfie’s never had. It should be a one-night thing, but Alfie hasn’t met anyone like Fen before.

Except he has. At school, when Alfie was everything he was supposed to be, and Fen was the stubborn little gay boy who wouldn’t keep his head down. And now it’s a proper mess: Fen might have slept with Alfie, but he’ll probably never forgive him, and Fen’s got all this other stuff going on anyway, with his mam and her flower shop and the life he left down south.

Alfie just wants to make it right. But how can he, when all they’ve got in common is the nowhere town they both ran away from.

Review

This is my first Alexis Hall book and I was impressed.

The writing is lyrical and such a pleasure to sink into. I love the detail of the North of England Contemporary setting geographically, historically, culturally and in the dialect.

The romance is compelling. I have a great discomfort with the falling in love with my former bully theme but Hall does a good job of dealing with all the layers though even more self reflection and therapy on both their parts would not have hurt.

The grief and depression of Fen’s character and yet solid internal adulthood paired with Alfie’s outward adulthood with the seeking of a full recognition of self and needs and wants make for a compelling love story.

They are both great wounded loving. people and the cast is wonderfully complex as well. They have friends and family and jobs. Those things all evolve as they fall in love and choose a life together.

The main thing that keeps this from being an smashing success of a romance for me is that Alfie’s character is given more light than Fen’s so that when Fen makes some decisions, we are left a little uncomfortable as to if that his best self because we need to see more of Fen’s healing than we do,

Overall, I highly recommend this book for a lush and engrossing romance.

To Woo A Warrior (Southern Sanctuary, #1) by Jane Cousins Review

   To Woo A Warrior (Southern Sanctuary Book 1)  by Jane Cousins  3.5 Stars!

t was common knowledge that Hadleigh Valhalla was a complete failure when it came to men. Too blood thirsty. Too tall at 6.6ft and without a coy bone in her too voluptuous body. If there had been a ‘fun, flirty and feminine’ test she would have failed it hands down.
Thankfully she was much more suited to her role as an Enforcer, protecting her magically enhanced eccentric extended family on a daily basis from all kinds of nasties. It was a job she loved, much preferring to be out there beheading the baddies than dating any day of the week … much less stressful.
Except now there’s a new threat in town. Great Aunt Alma, the family match maker has returned to the fold and set her sights squarely on all the singletons. Hadleigh will do anything she has to in order to avoid Alma’s matchmaking manoeuvres even if that means signing on as the newest member of the hit reality TV show ‘Paranormal Exterminators.’

Vaughn, Captain of the Goddess Maat’s elite warriors has a mission, to find and annihilate any and all magical beings that threaten to tilt the scales of justice into chaos.
A paranormal reality TV show provides the perfect cover. But there’s trouble on set. Their only female cast member has gone missing and they need a replacement fast. Enter Hadleigh Valhalla, the most luscious thing on two legs he’s seen in a century. From the moment he sets eyes on her he’s determined to make her his.
There’s only one problem, Hadleigh insists she has a strict no dating policy. Claiming she’d rather be fighting than flirting.
A series of mishaps means it’s a race against time for Vaughn and Hadleigh to discover just who is targeting the show and stop them before someone gets seriously hurt or dead. While doing so Vaughn intends to teach Hadleigh to break all the rules and prove to her she is just as much woman as she is warrior.
His warrior. His woman.

Review

I was promised a light hearted fun paranormal romp in an interesting magic system and that is exactly what I got.

I am looking forward to the frothy reading of this series with a matchmaking great aunt on the loose.

I loved the steadfast hero and the kickass warrior heroine. I wish her self esteem issues weren’t such and issue and we got more depth in the world and with each of their relationships.

However, I am sure each of these factor will build through out the series making each book more and more rich.

Dating-ish (Knitting in the City #6) by Penny Reid Review 4.5 Stars!

  Dating-ish (Knitting in the City Book 6) by Penny Reid  4.5 Stars!

There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris: 1) She’s fed up with online dating, 2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and 3) She knows how to knit.
After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of humankind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:
Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?
But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different–and crazier–solution to her dilemma . . .
As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

 

 

Review 

This is a charmer of a romance. It is at once a Romantic Comedy and a compelling exploration of the human need for connection.

Marie is a wonderful heroine who has intellectual curiosity, great friends and family, talent, hard work, and perfect for her job as a journalist to keep her company. Yet, she is lonely. She wants her person. Reid write a lovely romance about accepting that we long for intimacy and puts a lot of fun in taking a risk to get it.

Matt is a genius grump who would rather not want connection or something. He is funny and steadfast and really likes Marie. Oh, Matt is a whole bunch of sexy too. Big brains do it for me.

Each Reid book brings us a deep dive into a nerdom and in this one we get the twining of social psychology and artificial intelligence. I am here. Give me my popcorn.

I love the romance. I could have used a bit more back story (Matt’s friends/co workers and some other details) in places but this is a bright happy light of a book I read quickly and will read again soon!

I was given this book for my honest review. So there you have it!

Blonde Date (The Ivy Years #2.5) by Sarina Bowen Review

 

4 Stars!

As a sorority pledge, there are commandments that Katie Vickery must live by. One: thou shalt not show up for the party without a date. Two: the guy shall be an athlete, preferably an upperclassman.

Unfortunately, Katie just broke up with her jerkface football player boyfriend. Even worse, her last encounter with him resulted in utter humiliation. She’d rather hide under the bed than attend a party where he’ll be.

Yet staying home would mean letting him win.

Enjoying herself tonight was out of the question. She could only hope to get through the evening without her blind date noticing that he was spending the evening with a crazy person.

Andrew Baschnagel is living proof that nice guys don’t finish first. He’s had his eye on Katie since the moment her long legs waltzed into his art history class. So when her roommate sets Andy up to be Katie’s date, he’d be crazy to say no. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a lot of practice with either girls or parties. Yet.

Review 

Oh, I was charmed by this romance. I love a kind steadfast hero. He is sexy too. Because guess what? Being thoughtful and attentive is hot and so is really being into someone.

The heroine is grabbling with an awful thing that happened to her and trying to find her way through to herself and she does so in a lovely way.

The romance is super sexy. I feel like rereading it right now.

Hanging by a Thread (Riley O’Brien & Co., #3) by Jenna Sutton Review

4 Stars!

Thirty-year-old Bebe Banerjee is desperate to get rid of two things: her fiancé and her virginity. Escaping her arranged marriage might be impossible, but she refuses to give her firsts to an entitled jerk who lives on another continent. Instead, she devises a plan that guarantees another man will get her momentous firsts. But she never imagined that man would be Cal O’Brien, the gorgeous heir to the Riley O’Brien & Co. denim empire…

Although Cal has always been fascinated by Bebe’s brilliant mind and beautiful eyes, he’s never pursued her. She can’t stand the sight of him, and every time they’re in the same room, they end up trading insults. Yet when he finds out about Bebe’s bold plan, he makes his move, unaware of her upcoming nuptials. He promises to make her firsts unforgettable, but he doesn’t know how hard it will be to forget her when their arrangement ends.

Review

I knew I was going to love this book and I did.

I loved the Bebe the heroine who is a super smart overachiever. I loved watching her come into her own.

The hero is lovely. They are great together.

The conflicts come from parts of themselves they need to work through as well as some external issues. She has to learn to esteem herself and he needs to come to terms with how careless (emotionially) he has been sex at times and taking for granted the love of his family.

There are all sorts of great details like his car and the book is a bit of a love letter to the San Fransico setting.

They adore each other and the sexy times are hot and do a great job developing the romance.

They were a bit more self deluded than I would have liked in terms of their relationship but that is a minor quibble.

A very good book! I really love Jenna Sutton’s writing.

Blacksmith (A Real Man #10) by Jenika Snow Review

3 Stars!

 

MADDIE

Deacon was older than me, but I wanted him regardless. He had this raw edge to him, this primal aura surrounding him that made me feel wholly feminine. He was the epitome of a man…a real man. Even his profession was masculine: a blacksmith. I had no doubt he knew how to work his hands over a woman, how to use them to make her feel the soft and hard sides of him.

What I wanted was for him to be my first…my only.

DEACON

She thought I didn’t see her watching me, that I didn’t know she wanted me.

I knew, and I wanted her with a fierceness that rivaled anything else.

What Maddie didn’t know was I’d already claimed her. There was no other woman for me but her. I was a possessive bastard, territorial when it came to her. The time had finally come to make her mine. I’d show her how primal I really was, how rough I liked it, how much I wanted to make her scream my name. I’d show her how a man took care of his woman in all the ways that counted.

She’d be mine. Only mine.

Review

Well, then. The covers for this series are the best!

This addition feature a great alpha hero who is really sweet and steadfast. I love that the heroes of this series aren’t man whores. So, refreshing.

They are really into the heroines and this book is particular hot. There is a virgin fetish that I don’t like much but overall this is perfect bite of erotic romance with longing, dating, and a wonderful HEA in the epilogue. Yea, Epilogues!

Documenting Light by EE Ottoman Review

4.5 Stars!

If you look for yourself in the past and see nothing, how do you know who you are? How do you know that you’re supposed to be here?

When Wyatt brings an unidentified photograph to the local historical society, he hopes staff historian Grayson will tell him more about the people in the picture. The subjects in the mysterious photograph sit side by side, their hands close but not touching. One is dark, the other fair. Both wear men’s suits.

Were they friends? Lovers? Business partners? Curiosity drives Grayson and Wyatt to dig deep for information, and the more they learn, the more they begin to wonder — about the photograph, and about themselves.

Grayson has lost his way. He misses the family and friends who anchored him before his transition and the confidence that drove him as a high-achieving graduate student. Wyatt lives in a similar limbo, caring for an ill mother, worrying about money, unsure how and when he might be able to express his nonbinary gender publicly. The growing attraction between Wyatt and Grayson is terrifying — and incredibly exciting.

As Grayson and Wyatt discover the power of love to provide them with safety and comfort in the present, they find new ways to write the unwritten history of their own lives and the lives of people like them. With sympathy and cutting insight, Ottoman offers a tour de force exploration of contemporary trans identity.

Review

This is rich romance filled with nerdy historical details of Upstate New York, queer history, and reading the text of photographs.

It is moving looking at falling in love between two working class people–one a trans man and one gender queered person not yet out.

There is angst and the ties of family and work in the middle of this winter. The writing is lyrical and academic and tender.

The love story hopeful but realistic. Very good!

4.5!