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WitandSin

Wit and Sin

My name is Kimberly and I'm the reader/reviewer behind Wit and Sin. Wit and Sin is a website that provides honest reviews and publicity. I primarily read and review Romance titles, but I also review Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult, Mystery, and Non-Fiction titles. In addition to Wit and Sin, I am a reviewer for Joyfully Reviewed (pen name: Shayna) and Romance Junkies (pen name: Lily).

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Down for the Count (Dare Me Series, #1)
Christine Bell

Review: Three-Way Split by Elia Winters

Three-Way Split - Elia Winters

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Three-Way Split is a sexy as hell polyam romance with a lot of heart. Elia Winters’s first Comes in Threes book is positively scorching, but it’s the characters and the way they approach their relationships that really makes this story stand out.

Hannah is a fiercely independent owner of an adult store. She’s smart, knowledgeable, flirty and fun, but she also has very realistic struggles, insecurities, and fears. At the beginning of the story, she has the hots for both Ben and Mitchell, but she doesn’t want things to be any deeper than some very hot fun and friendship for the three of them because she’s afraid of having her heart broken. Like Hannah, Ben guards his heart closely. He’s been burned badly by an ex and though he and Mitchell have been friends with benefits for a couple of years, he won’t let things go any farther. Ben is brilliant and so charming that I couldn’t help but smile whenever he was on the page. As with Hannah, I was really rooting for Ben to open up because it’s clear he, Hannah, and Mitchell could have something special. Which brings me to the third member of the triad: Mitchell. If I had to pick a favorite character in this book it would definitely be the quietly dominant chef. Mitchell is perhaps the most openly vulnerable of the three of them; he clearly wants a relationship but is careful not to ask for more than Ben or Hannah think they can give. Mitchell isn’t perfect, but he’s pretty much everything a person could ask for in a partner, only he doesn’t quite see how special he is which just grabbed my heart.

As individuals, Mitchell, Ben, and Hannah are compelling characters. When they get together, either in twos or threes, Three-Way Split is seriously hot. A fun, sex-positive m/m/f erotic romance would be enough, but what took this book to the next level was the way it discussed polyamory. It’s not just hot times in the bedroom (among other places) and I loved the realism woven into the fantasy. As Hannah, Ben, and Mitchell become more serious, they take the time to learn more about polyamory, what it means, and how to communicate with your partners, especially when it comes to your wants, fears, expectations, and feelings. This gives the book and the love stories such wonderful depth and works perfectly with the kinky good times. The only downside of Three-Way Split is that I finished it wanting the next Comes in Threes book because I loved the characters and romances in this one so much.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/08/review-three-way-split-by-elia-winters.html

Review: A Duchess in the Dark by Kate McKinley

A Duchess in the Dark - Kate McKinley

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Daphne Hayward is determined to marry a man her brother-in-law doesn’t approve of, so she sets out to secure her future by sliding into bed with the man she wants to wed. Only she unknowingly winds up in the bed of Ashton Fitzgerald, Duke of Claymore. Their night together is phenomenal, but when each discovers who their mysterious bed partner is, they’re in for one heck of a surprise. Though she’s attracted to Ashton, Daphne has no interest in wedding a man every woman swoons over. Only Ashton isn’t about to give Daphne up so easily…

A case of mixed-up bedrooms can either lead to ruin or utter happiness in A Duchess in the Dark. Kate McKinley’s first By Invitation Only book is fast-paced, fun, and sexy, making for a perfect afternoon escape from reality. While Daphne and Ashton’s romance is definitely spicy, it’s also incredibly sweet and that’s what makes the book stand out for me. Ashton’s good looks are the least important part of his character. He’s kind, caring, protective, and non-judgmental, which makes him a really appealing hero. I was rooting for him to win Daphne over because they clearly fit. A Duchess in the Dark is a fairly short novella, so it’s a bit of a whirlwind love story, but that was fine by me. The dialogue was sprightly, the characters likeable, and the romance an excellent mix of sensual and sweet. I was charmed by Daphne and Ashton’s story and I look forward to reading the rest of the By Invitation Only series.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/08/review-duchess-in-dark-by-kate-mckinley.html

Review: The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart Turton

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Evelyn Hardcastle is going to die; that much has been foretold. But who did it? That is the question Aiden Bishop must answer if he ever hopes to be free of Blackheath. He has eight hosts – each a player on a deadly chessboard he can’t fully see. Eight different points of view, eight chances to solve a mystery before time runs out…

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is an intense, evocative, intricately-plotted tale that will keep you on your toes. From the start, I was drawn into the rich imagery of the decaying world of Blackheath, its inhabitants unique and vividly drawn. There are so many secrets in this complex mystery, so many puzzle pieces and point of view jumps that it’s no wonder our protagonist needs eight hosts to even have a glimmer of a chance at solving Evelyn’s murder.

The more you know about a mystery going in, the less enjoyable it is, so I’m loathe to say much about what happens in the story. I will say that I loved watching Aiden put the pieces of this sizeable puzzle together. It’s no easy feat, as he’s hindered as well as aided by the hosts chosen for him. In the hands of another author, this story might have been a tangled mess. But Stuart Turton has done an exceptional job of weaving together a massive number of threads to form one solid mystery. The worldbuilding in this book is fantastic and I loved that I couldn’t tell what would happen next. With so many personalities swirling about, no one can be entirely predictable. There’s also a sinister presence dogging Aiden’s steps that adds a slightly chilling quality to the story, which I enjoyed. The only thing that kept me from absolutely loving this book was the ending. When it comes to stories like these, you really have to stick the landing or it’s a bit of a letdown and while the ending was satisfying enough, it did leave me wanting a bit more. That being said, I still highly recommend The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle to anyone looking for an original, engaging mystery and I’m looking forward to seeing what Mr. Turton comes up with next.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/08/review-7-deaths-of-evelyn-hardcastle-by.html

Review: Born to be Wilde by Eloisa James

Born to be Wilde - Eloisa James

Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed

 

All of society knows that Lavinia Gray is bright, beautiful, and wealthy.  Only the last is a lie, as Lavinia herself recently found out.  Convention dictates Lavinia needs to marry a rich man as quickly as possible, which is why she lets her cousin talk her into proposing to Parth Sterling.  Not only is Parth one of the richest men in England, he’s a man who knows how to get things done.  The only problem is, the man she loved to tease in better times turned her down flat, which is devastating in more ways than one.

 

Parth Sterling has the perfect bride in mind, and it is definitely not the luscious Lavinia Gray.  He can’t help but feel for her, which is why he offers to find her a wealthy husband.  Except that the longer Parth spends around Lavinia, the less he can bear the thought of anyone but himself being her husband.  Parth doesn’t know it yet, but the woman who is the opposite of everything he thinks he should want may just turn out to be everything he needs.

 

Born to be Wilde snaps and sparkles all the way through.  I adore a good frenemies-to-lovers romance, and Eloisa James has delivered a truly delightful one in Parth and Lavinia’s story.

 

Lavinia has been brought up to be the wife of a wealthy man and not much more.  Despite this, she’s quite bright and incredibly charming.  She’s also in dire straits at the beginning of this story.  I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say that Lavinia is hit with a lot of responsibility all at once and she doesn’t let it break her even though the life she has lived hasn’t prepared her to shoulder the burden she takes on.  What I loved best about Lavinia was her eye for fashion.  It’s so much more than the frivolous fancy people assume it is and what she does with her knowledge, skills, and talents had me cheering for her all the way through the book.  The one person who has the ability to knock Lavinia off her stride is Parth.  Parth is intelligent, clever, and handsome, but man does he get it wrong with Lavinia.  He’s attracted to her, but he sees her as shallow and he couldn’t be more wrong.  I loved watching them bicker and struggle against their mutual attraction even as they managed to peel back the layers of each other’s characters.  It’s a rocky road to happily ever after for these two, but they have such undeniable chemistry and their romance is so engaging that I was happy to go along for the ride.

 

Born to be Wilde is the third book in Ms. James’s Wildes of Lindow Castle series and though it can be read as a standalone, if you start here be prepared for major spoilers from Wilde in Love and Too Wilde to Wed.  The Wildes adopted Parth at five years old and they happily bring Lavinia into their fold, so it’s no surprise that most members of the Wilde family play supporting roles in this book.  The Wildes as a whole are warm, welcoming, funny, supportive, and endearing and they’ve made every book in the series shine.  I can’t count the number of times Born to be Wilde made me grin.  It’s a truly delightful story and I highly recommend it to any historical romance fan.

Review: The Singular Mr. Sinclair by Mia Marlowe

The Singular Mr. Sinclair - Mia Marlowe

4.25 Stars - Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

The Singular Mr. Sinclair is a true delight to read! Reformed rakes and silver-tongued rogues make for fine heroes, but there’s something about a slightly awkward hero that just grabs my heart. Lawrence charmed me from the start and made me smile. He isn’t a dashing duke, but rather a self-made man whose position as heir to an earldom is tenuous at best. He’s not someone most ladies would fawn over because he’s not suave or witty, but they’d be missing out because he’s a smart, honorable, kind, loyal, and strong man. He’s also unabashedly head-over-heels for Caroline from the very start and that just made me melt.

Caroline may have grown up in the heart of the ton, but she longs for a life much different than the one laid out for her. She’s determined to see the world and she’ll even flirt with an unsuitable gentleman if it undermines her parents’ plans to marry her off before she comes into her inheritance and can take off on her own. The one thing Caroline never planned for was Lawrence. He needs her help if he’s to fit into society, but there’s something about her brother’s friend that knocks her just slightly off-kilter and she senses that there’s more to him than meets the eye.

The Singular Mr. Sinclair has a slightly slow pace, but I was charmed enough by the characters that I didn’t mind. Caroline and Lawrence’s romance develops organically and there are just enough obstacles that I was curious to see how they would ultimately end up together. Caroline and Lawrence would be enough to make this a satisfying read, but the addition of Caroline’s brothers filled out this story nicely and made me look forward to more House of Lovell books.The Singular Mr. Sinclair was a joy to read and by the time I finished the book I was excited to read more of Mia Marlowe’s work.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/07/review-singular-mr-sinclair-by-mia.html

Review: Playing Dirty by Amy Andrews

Playing Dirty - Amy Andrews

4.25 stars - Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

The first rule any player for the Sydney Smoke learns is this: Stay away from the coach’s daughter. That’s all well and good for newly-traded hotshot Kyle Leighton. He’s come to be coached by Griffin King and no woman would ever take precedence over rugby. Only when Kyle goes to a bar and has a blazing hot one-night stand with the mysterious Val, he has no idea that she’s the one woman in all of Sydney he’s supposed to stay away from. One mistake like that could jeopardize his career – not to mention Val’s already strained relationship with her father. It’s clear to both Val and Kyle that they should stay away from one another. Except some passions burn too hot to ignore…

Playing Dirty is smoking hot and a whole lot of fun. Where can I put an order in for one of Amy Andrews’s Sydney Smoke players? Ms. Andrews has a gift for penning insanely hot athletes who are seriously sexy, incredibly talented on the pitch and in the bedroom, and yet they’re never full of themselves. In other words, the whole team is made up of perfect book boyfriend material and Kyle Leighton is no exception. Kyle is talented, fun, and has a big heart. He isn’t flawless and it drove me nuts when he made decisions in Val’s interest without talking to her, but when he makes mistakes they’re made with good intentions and a kind heart. Val is a blast to read about and I’ve been looking forward to her story from the very first book in the series. Like Kyle, she’s a funny and kind protagonist and it’s easy to adore her. She and Kyle have a red hot romance that made the pages of Playing Dirty fly by and I was rooting for them every step of the way.

Kyle and Val’s romance shines, but there’s an equally important secondary plot in Playing Dirtythat will just tug on your heartstrings. Val carries a lot of hurt buried not-so-deep beneath the surface and it’s due to her relationship with her father. She desperately wants her father’s love, but there’s so much grief and guilt in their past that Griff can’t see past to give it to her. Kyle, the outsider in this situation, gets involved because he can’t bear to see Val hurting. The result is a messy, emotional journey that’s intertwined with the romance and I loved it.

Playing Dirty is the sixth book in the Sydney Smoke Rugby series but it can easily be read as a standalone. Every book in this series is a great mix of humor, heat, and heart and Kyle and Val’s story is no exception. I adored Playing Dirty and by the time I finished it I was grinning like a loon (it doesn’t hurt that Ms. Andrews’s heroes excel at incredibly fun, over-the-top displays of affection). I can’t wait to see what Ms. Andrews has in store for readers in the next Sydney Smoke book!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/07/review-playing-dirty-by-amy-andrews.html

Review: Off the Grid by Monica McCarty

Off the Grid - Monica McCarty

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

When a top secret mission goes wrong in Russia and more than half of SEAL Team Nine is killed, the survivors are ordered to scatter and go dark. Only not everyone is willing to let them stay off the grid. Reporter Brittany Blake can smell a government cover up a mile away and since this one involves her missing – possibly dead – brother, she’s not about to let it rest until she discovers the truth.

John Donovan hates being stuck in Finland, doing nothing, while he waits for orders from his lieutenant commander. And while he would like to pretend otherwise, John also can’t move past the death of his best friend and teammate, Brandon Blake. When he’s ordered to shut Brittany up – for her safety as well as the rest of his surviving teammates – it throws him for a loop. Years ago, Brandon made it clear Brittany was off-limits. But with the adrenaline rush of danger and the pull neither John nor Brittany can deny, it’s clear that some promises are meant to be broken…

I really struggled with rating Off the Grid. On the one hand, Monica McCarty’s writing is engaging, drawing me into the book and keeping the story moving at a quick clip. The action is cinematic and the overarching series question of who betrayed SEAL Team Nine and why was interesting. That being said, I struggled with the characters which kept me from liking this book as much as I wanted to.

Brittany Blake gave me flashbacks to Lois Lane (always a good thing). She’s a reporter with a sharp mind and dogged determination to get her story. She has been wronged more than once by a government cover up and her brother is one of the missing SEALs, so I did understand why she was so determined to find out what happened to the group of men she dubbed “The Lost Platoon.” That being said, Brittany’s strengths were also her weaknesses. She can get tunnel vision, which is frustrating when she doesn’t seem to fully understand – or more importantly care – that she’s putting other lives in danger besides her own. One of those lives belongs to John Donovan, the man who broke her heart five years ago. John is known for his laid-back ways, but he’s mostly intense and frustrated in this book. He definitely has reason to be, but at times it felt like his personality had melted away and we were left with a generic military hero, which was a pity. John and Brittany do have chemistry, but their romance paled in comparison to the sexual tension between two supporting characters. Added to that, Brittany and John suffer from the same problem that a lot of characters in this book do: a lack of honest communication. It’s a common enough plot device, but it’s one that I find a bit frustrating, so people who aren’t bothered by this may like their romance more than I did.

Off the Grid isn’t just John and Brittany’s story. Former SEAL Colt and his ex-wife, CIA analyst Kate are working to discover who betrayed Colt’s former team. Colt and Kate are the reason I am so invested in this series. Their chemistry is off-the-charts explosive and the pure drama keeps me coming back for more. The pain, anger, distrust, and lust practically jump off the page and I cannot wait to see if/how Ms. McCarty makes things work for these two. She definitely has her work cut out for her, because even though I got a fair sense of Colt’s history and why he acts the way he does, he definitely is cruel to Kate; so much so that I’m honestly not sure if I should be rooting for him to win her back. Whether or not he does, he and Kate livened up the book and their storyline ensures that I’ll be back for Out of Time, the next Lost Platoon book.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/07/review-off-grid-by-monica-mccarty.html

Review: Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine

Smoke and Iron - Rachel Caine

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

The fight for the freedom and future of the Library is on and the stakes have never been higher than in Smoke and Iron. I didn’t think I could love the Great Library series any more than I already did, but Rachel Caine’s writing had me so engrossed in the story that I stayed up way too late reading and practically zombie-walked my way through work the next day, my biggest goal to get home and finish this book. It’s just that good.

Jess, Khalila, Morgan, Thomas, Glain, Dario, Santi, and Wolfe are locked in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the Archivist. And as certain members of the group are completely on their own as of the end of Ash and Quill, even just surviving is harder than ever. I’m not going to talk about the plot of Smoke and Iron because doing so even a little could spoil readers’ enjoyment of the story. I will say that we get more points of view in this story as everyone is spread out and I loved getting inside the heads of more characters. The first three Great Library books made me care about them all, but the more time I spend with each member of our main band of heroes, the more they grow, the more I adore them. Khalila in particular was the breakout star for me in this book and it was fantastic to see her fully come into her own. Her brilliant mind is matched only by her quiet strength and compassionate heart and, quite simply, she rocks.

In Smoke and Iron Ms. Caine weaves together multiple intricate plots, each with dire consequences. I absolutely loved that Ms. Caine constantly kept me guessing as to what would happen next and who would come out alive. I haven’t been this tense and uncertain about beloved characters’ fates since A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones. Alliances are forged and broken, trust betrayed, love questioned, and more, and I am so there for all of it. The result is a pulse-pounding read that finishes in a spectacular climax.

If you haven’t read the first three Great Library books (Ink and BonePaper and Fire, and Ash and Quill), then you definitely want to get caught up before jumping into this story. Smoke and Iron is an utterly enthralling read. The world of the Great Library is fascinating, the characters unique, and the action intense. The only downside of this book is that I finished it desperately wanting to know what happens next!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/07/review-smoke-and-iron-by-rachel-caine.html

Review: Heroine’s Journey by Sarah Kuhn

Heroine's Journey - Sarah Kuhn

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Heroine’s Journey is a blast to read. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed adventure coupled with a journey of growth. Add in a vibrant cast of characters, a steamy romance, wonderful friendships, a scene-stealing dog, and a to-die-for bookstore and it’s easy to see why I didn’t want to put this book down.

It’s been four years since readers last visited Jupiter/Tanaka, Inc. and the superhero duo of Aveda Jupiter and Evie Tanaka is a well-oiled machine that works for everyone. Everyone except Beatrice Tanaka, that is. Bea is desperate to convince her sister to let her become a superhero, but she’s blocked at every turn. Until Bea finds herself at the center of a new wave of demonic activity, one far different and more personal than anything she and her loved ones have ever seen.

Bea is easy to adore. She’s brilliant, bold, and a butt-kicking heroine in her own right. I loved how fast her mind moved and could understand how her brain jumped from one thing to another. But beneath her lively exterior is a young woman still feeling the pain of her mother’s death. There’s a hole in Bea she cannot seem to fill and that just broke my heart. Heroine’s Journey is an apt title because a lot of the book is Bea struggling to come into her own and defining what exactly that means. Bea is a wonderfully flawed heroine and I loved that she made mistakes because her imperfections were relatable. I was rooting for her every step of the way which is part of the reason I was glued to the book. Another reason was Bea’s friendships with Leah and Sam. Leah is an amazing best friend, a smart, creative, kind person who supports Bea but doesn’t hesitate to warn her when she’s going down a potentially dangerous path. And Sam… How best to describe Sam? He’s a sexy-as-hell mechanic with charm to spare, but there’s so much more beneath the surface. He’s as quick-minded as Bea and I absolutely adored their ongoing competition. But few people besides Bea see beneath the surface of Sam and I really enjoyed watching the layers being peeled back and exposing his vulnerabilities. He and Bea have some deliciously hot sexual tension brewing, but whether or not anything comes of it I’ll leave readers to discover.

Heroine’s Journey is the third book in the Heroine Complex series and if you’re new to the series (and don’t mind spoilers) you can dive in here. Returning fans of the Tanaka/Jupiter crowd will be delighted to revisit favorite characters and see how their lives have grown over the past four years. I loved seeing more of my favorite characters from Heroine Complex and Heroine Worship and I really enjoyed seeing a different side of the dynamics between our three superhero leads. Bea’s relationship with Evie is central to the story and the love and frustration on both sisters’ sides gave emotional heft to the book. And for some fun, Aveda’s self-appointed role as Bea’s mentor made me grin (I have a huge soft spot for Aveda).

I focused a lot on the characters of Heroine’s Journey because Sarah Kuhn’s talent for creating such amazing characters is what sticks with me the most. But it’d be remiss of me not to mention the action, danger, and mystery in the story. As with the first two Heroine Complex books, the fight scenes and the mystery of the demonic attacks are quirky, interesting, and exciting. Ms. Kuhn is brilliant at balancing popcorn thrills with more weighty storylines and I loved every bit of it. Heroine’s Journey is an engrossing story that blends the real and the fantastical perfectly. I loved every bit of it and I hope to see lots more of Bea, Sam, Leah, Evie, Nate, Aveda, Scott, Lucy, Rose, and Shruti in the future!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/07/review-heroines-journey-by-sarah-kuhn.html

Review: Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

Scandal Above Stairs -  Jennifer Ashley

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

There’s no rest for Kat Holloway, the most talented cook in Mayfair. Not only has her kitchen assistant quit to be married and thus left her shorthanded, Lady Cynthia has a request: she wants Kat’s help to solve a mystery and clear her friend Clemmie’s name. Valuable paintings have gone missing from her household and Clemmie’s husband is blaming her for it. One mystery begets another and another as first Kat learns that antiquities are being stolen from multiple residences, then she finds out that her friend Daniel McAdam is undercover in in a seedy pawnshop. With her curiosity piqued, Kat will have to use all her detective skills above stairs and below to uncover a mastermind willing to kill to protect his secrets.

I love falling into Kat Holloway’s world. In Scandal Above Stairs Jennifer Ashley drew me in from the start with a seemingly simple mystery that leads to something far more complex and I did not want to put the book down.

Kat is the heart and soul of the story and she’s a fantastic heroine. She’s clever, observant, loyal, talented, and kind, but Ms. Ashley keeps her from feeling too good to be real. Kat has a no-nonsense attitude, but she also draws people to her, which is how she finds herself in the middle of this latest mystery. Cynthia trusts and respects Kat, which is why she asks for her help in the first place and I love the unlikely friendship between a rather unconventional lady and an equally unique cook. The characters are what makes Scandal Above Stairs shine. Familiar characters and those newly introduced are all incredibly well-crafted and are like puzzle pieces who fit together perfectly. My favorite relationship is definitely the one between Kat and Daniel. This time around, we learn more about Daniel and the past he keeps secret. I was thrilled to learn more about him and I was excited that he opened up to Kat when he doesn’t trust most people. The romantic tension between Kat and Daniel continues to build and I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationship progresses.

Scandal Above Stairs is the second full-length book in the Kat Holloway series and it can be read as a standalone. However, for a more complete reading experience I recommend first reading the prequel novella, A Soupçon of Poison, and the first novel, Death Below Stairs, in order to get a better understanding of the characters and their relationships (Daniel and Kat’s in particular). I hesitate to say any more about this book because mysteries lose their excitement when you talk too much about them. Suffice it to say that Ms. Ashley never fails to entertain and her blend of fact and fiction, of murder and mystery is wonderful. Kat and her friends are endearing, the story moves at a quick pace, I was thoroughly entertained, and I cannot wait to read the next Kat Holloway book!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/06/review-scandal-above-stairs-by-jennifer.html

Review: One for the Rogue by Manda Collins

One for the Rogue - Manda Collins

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

One for the Rogue is a bit difficult for me to review. There are some things I liked about this book. Gemma’s passion for geology and the struggles she faces to be taken seriously are what drew me into the book at the start. And I also really enjoyed the fact that Cam shared her passion and respected her intelligence. At the start of the story, it seemed like this might be an enemies-to-lovers book, but it really isn’t. Yes, Cam and Gemma are at loggerheads in the beginning over something that could have been resolved if Cam had communicated a bit better and Gemma had been a bit more willing to listen. However, a potentially huge fossil find and the threat of a bitter, sexist rival throws our bickering hero and heroine together. Add in some sexual tension and it’s clear that Gemma and Cam are going to be headed down the aisle soon. I liked Gemma and Cam together and it’s clear they fit, but still I thought their romance fell a bit flat. Part of this is due to the lack of character growth; Gemma and Cam begin and end pretty much the same and we don’t really delve deep into their characters. If this were a novella, I might have liked it more because the perceived obstacles to Gemma and Cam’s eventual happily ever after seemed orchestrated to draw out the story rather than organic problems they had to overcome.

Woven through the romance in One for the Rogue is a mystery involving a fossil Gemma discovers. I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoiling the fun, but I thought this plotline was the stronger one. Not only does Gemma have to face a jerk of a rival, there’s mystery, murder, and a tiny bit of mayhem. This is where author Manda Collins brings life to the story and keeps the pages moving.

One for the Rogue isn’t a bad book, but for me it was just an OK read. I realized after finishing this book that I had the same issues with it as I did with a previous Manda Collins book I read: the characters were likeable and the story had potential, but it dragged in places and was littered with tropes that didn’t have a fresh spin on them. I think Ms. Collins’s writing style simply isn’t for me, so others might find this story more engaging than I did.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/06/review-one-for-rogue-by-manda-collins.html

Review: Ocean Light by Nalini Singh

Ocean Light  - Nalini Singh

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Ocean Light is pure delight! Life under the sea has not been this much fun since The Little Mermaid. Every time Nalini Singh invites readers into a new part of the Psy-Changeling world, I fall in love all over again.

Bowen Knight – the champion and effective leader of the Human Alliance – is living on borrowed time. The chip implanted in his brain to stop Psy attacks on his mind is failing and will more than likely take his brain down with it. His only shot at survival comes when he is taken to a clinic on Ryūjin, a BlackSea installation deep under the sea. Bo was an intriguing secondary character in the Psy-Changeling series and I’m thrilled that I finally got to read his story. Bo is incredibly smart, deeply caring, and protective. He also carries scars from his past that have made him all-too-aware of human vulnerability to psychic assault. His determination to protect humanity and put them on equal footing with Psy and Changelings may cost him his life, but Bo is the kind of man who will always put himself in the line of danger to protect others from harm. For so many years Bo’s focus has been on learning to defend himself and others, leaving no time for fun. That’s why I found myself smiling over and over as Bo found the playful, fun side of himself with Kaia.

Humans have long been positioned as the weakest race, but Kaia Luna knows that they can be just as deadly. The BlackSea Changelings’ history is filled with harm done to them by humans and Kaia herself has experienced trauma at human hands. Upon first meeting Bo, she’s suspicious of him, but her cousin needs her assistance treating the far-too-attractive male. Kaia’s wariness doesn’t last long and I loved watching her open up to Bo. Kaia is an absolutely wonderful heroine. She’s a chef who shows her love through food and her warm, caring nature simply sprung off the page. She’s the kind of heroine you wish were real just so you could be friends with her (and not just because she makes fantastic cookies). She and Bo are a perfect fit and their romance made me smile and sigh. The proverbial ticking time bomb in Bo’s head isn’t the only obstacle they face. Bo’s a creature of land and Kaia of the sea; finding a happy medium given their lives, obligations, and deep-seated fears isn’t easy. I was rooting for them every step of the way because I liked them both so much.

Ocean Light takes readers deep into the heart of BlackSea territory and I couldn’t be happier. What I wouldn’t give to live on the Ryūjin installation with its friendly, unique characters and fascinating feats of engineering. BlackSea is different from many of the Changeling groups we’ve seen so far not only because of the variety of species, but because they’re spread out across the world. It made for a different dynamic that was fascinating and fun to see. How often would you expect to see a conversation with a whale or shark or a fight with a walrus, all in human form? Every character Ms. Singh introduces us to is intriguing and when you add in a plotline involving the missing members of BlackSea, it’s easy to see why I didn’t want Ocean Light to end.

Romance, action, and a bright, vivid world all make Ocean Light a captivating read. I read Kaia and Bo’s book late into the night until I couldn’t possibly keep my eyes open any longer, only to finish it as soon as I woke up the next morning. Ms. Singh’s writing continues to be incredibly addictive her characters never fail to grab my heart. I loved Ocean Light and I hope to see more of BlackSea soon!


FTC Disclosure: I received the e-book edition of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/06/review-ocean-light-by-nalini-singh.html

Review: Rainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis

Rainy Day Friends: A Novel (Wildstone) - Jill Shalvis

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Rainy Day Friends is one of those books that makes me indescribably happy. It’s romantic, funny, and heartwarming all at once and the characters are sure to capture your heart from the start.

Lanie Jacobs lost her husband…and in losing him found that she was only the first of a number of wives. Anxious and off-kilter, Lanie takes a temporary job at the Capriotti Winery and is immediately embraced by the lively Capriotti family. The Capriottis don’t let Lanie hold herself apart or retreat from the world and their love, acceptance, and pure zaniness help Lanie come out of her shell and find herself again. I absolutely adored Lanie. She’s got a bigger heart than even she knows, and though she’s not perfect she’s a perfectly endearing heroine. She’s also readers’ entry into the wonderful world of the Capriottis, a family unlike any other. The Capriottis are bold and boisterous and oh-so-wonderful. They made the pages of Rainy Day Friends fly by. I loved how they tend to adopt people, welcoming them in from the start and seeing the best in them even when they make mistakes. My favorite Capriotti is, of course, Mark. The handsome single father of utterly adorable twins is a hero who will make you sigh. Mark is sexy and strong, to be sure, but it’s his love for his daughters, the way he puts them first, and the love he has for his crazy family that just pushed him over the edge and into book boyfriend material. Mark has also been burned by love and he doesn’t want to even think about getting seriously involved with someone until his girls are grown. Fate, however, has other plans and it’s easy to see that the attraction between Lanie and Mark is more than mere lust. Their romance is both sweet and sensual and I was rooting for both of them to overcome their fears and risk their hearts on a chance at happily ever after with one another.

Lanie’s life at the Capriotti Winery isn’t all smooth sailing. The arrival of the mysterious River Green leads to complications and the secrets she carries have the power to hurt Lanie. I won’t say more because that would spoil the story, but River was as intriguing to me as Lanie and Mark were. She’s also lost in many ways when she arrives at the Capriottis’ home and her journey was just as engaging as Lanie’s was. River and Lanie’s relationship was every bit as important to the story as the Lanie/Mark romance and I loved that.

Jill Shalvis is a master at mixing humor and heart and Rainy Day Friends showcases her talents perfectly. If you take just the romance or just the friendships in this book, the story is a cut above. But the Capriottis take the book to the next level, making it a vibrant, memorable tale that will warm your heart and leave you smiling.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

 

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/06/review-rainy-day-friends-by-jill-shalvis.html

Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient - Helen Hoang

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

The Kiss Quotient is a lovely romance that is by turns sexy and sweet. Helen Hoang’s imaginative spin on Pretty Woman charmed me thanks to its wonderfully unique characters. Stella captured my interest from the first. She’s a brilliant econometrician and her honest love and joy for her work was endearing. But Stella is also deeply vulnerable in ways that broke my heart. She feels her Asperger’s impedes her love life and she worries that she will never be good at relationships. Thus Stella embarks on a quest to become better at sex and relationships by hiring an escort to teach her what she wants to know. Michael is the perfect mix of sweetness and sensuality; definitely a swoon-worthy hero. He’s kind, loving, patient, and he sees Stella for the wonderful woman that she is. I really liked that Michael had his own vulnerabilities as well, though I feel like it’d spoil the story a bit to give away his background and his reasons for becoming an escort.

The attraction between Michael and Stella is instantaneous and the sexual tension was fun to watch build. But the best part of the story (for me) was watching Stella and Michael learn more about one another. Ms. Hoang isn’t afraid to let her characters be flawed and their lives messy and that’s what truly makes The Kiss Quotient special. There’s a level of emotional honesty and realism mixed into the fantasy that really captured my attention and had me rooting for Stella and Michael.

Stella and Michael are the heart of The Kiss Quotient, but it’d be shameful if I didn’t mention Michael’s wonderful family. His sisters and cousins are all vibrant characters and the only downside of meeting them is I desperately want their stories (especially Quan’s). I finished The Kiss Quotient a well-satisfied reader, but I cannot wait to see what Ms. Hoang has in store for Michael’s cousin Khai in The Bride Test.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/06/review-kiss-quotient-by-helen-hoang.html

Review: The Chateau by Tiffany Reisz

The Chateau - Tiffany Reisz

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Working for a secret branch of the French military by day and seducing a number of women by night may be enough to occupy some men, but not Kingsley Boissonneault. No assignment, no assignation can fill his mind enough to rid him of the dreams of Søren, the love he can never get over. Until, that is, he’s tasked with going undercover and rescuing his commanding officer’s nephew from a sex cult run by the mysterious Madame. Madame’s world is like nothing Kingsley has ever seen. In the château, the women rule and the men serve. And as Madame’s brand of sadism feeds Kingsley’s soul, he’s faced with a choice: he can have everything he’s ever wanted, but the price is giving up forever the beautiful monster who haunt his dreams.

The Chateau is an interesting, evocative read that’s a fantastic mix of dark and light. Kingsley’s journey through the looking glass and into Madame’s world is filled with surprises, erotic adventures, and masochism. The château is a sort of reverse Story of O where the women rule and the men serve them in every way. In many ways it’s a lovely world, with warmth, humor, and sensuality. Madame is a sadist and a master at mind games, and she’s an interesting, well-developed character. It’s easy to see why Kingsley is fascinated by her and why he’s taken with the other women in the house. Whether or not the world Madame has created is what it seems or if there are darker elements at play, I’ll leave readers to discover. I will say that nothing is ever simple and straightforward when you’re playing with characters this clever and I loved the twists and turns Kingsley encounters over the course of the story.

At the center of The Chateau is the story of Kingsley finding himself again. Kingsley is a delightful protagonist. He’s young, arrogant, charming, protective, and funny as hell. He’s strong and deadly, to be sure, but he’s also incredibly vulnerable and I found the contrast appealing. Life in the château holds great appeal for him: beautiful women, the chance of a family, and a masterful sadist who can give him almost everything he needs. The almost part comes in because of Kingsley’s dreams about Søren, the former lover whose hold on him is still strong. I loved watching Kingsley learn more about himself and about his relationship with Søren over the course of the book.

The Chateau is a standalone book set in the world of Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series. I haven’t yet read the rest of the books, but if I wasn’t already planning to I definitely would now because I was so intrigued by Kingsley and Søren’s relationship. Ms. Reisz is a master of pushing boundaries and mixing eroticism with emotion and charm. Her writing is always engaging, so much so that I started The Chateau late and night and read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, only to finish the book when I woke up the next morning. So whether you’re a fan of the Original Sinners series or are new to the world, this is an exceptional ride.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/05/review-chateau-by-tiffany-reisz.html

Review: Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James

Too Wilde to Wed - Eloisa James

Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed

 

It has been two years since Miss Diana Belgrave jilted Lord Roland Northbridge Wilde, and those two years have changed everything.  North went off to fight in the Colonies and has returned whole in body, though not in spirit.  And after being tossed out by her mother for breaking her engagement in favor of raising her orphaned nephew, Diana has taken a position as governess to North’s sister in Wilde family household.  When North returns to England, the two come face-to-face and the sparks immediately begin to fly.  Even though she broke his heart and damaged his reputation, North still wants Diana.  And Diana is just realizing she never truly knew the man beneath the elegant mask North had put on to impress her during their engagement.  Is it possible for two outcasts who both want different things in life to find their way to a happily ever after together?

 

Too Wilde to Wed is such a fun book!  It’s fun, sensual, and in the Wilde family Eloisa James has created a host of bright, endearing characters who grab your heart and don’t let go.

 

Unlike most of the young women she knows, Diana has never wanted to be raised to the ranks of the upper aristocracy.  In fact, she positively panics at the thought.  I liked that Diana was unconventional, that she didn’t quite fit into the mold her mother tried to forcibly stuff her in.  After falling from society’s good graces, she finally finds her true self.  It’s a self that North has never seen.  He fell for her when he first heard her laugh (cue me melting when reading this), but he proposed to an elegant creation he only later realizes was not the true Diana.  My heart broke for North in the first Wildes of Lindow Castle book, Wilde in Love, as he tried to turn himself into a veritable peacock to attract Diana’s notice.  The North in Too Wilde to Wed is a hardened warrior with no patience for fripperies.  This North, the real North, is the man who ultimately captures Diana’s heart and one of my favorite things about this story was watching them talk openly and truly learn one another.  Diana and North are clearly made for one another, but it isn’t easy for North to win over Diana.   But being in Lindow Castle, away from society’s judgmental eyes, frees them to be honest.  The resulting romance is by turns sweet and sexy and I was rooting for these two to find a way to get that perfectly happily ever after.

 

Too Wilde to Wed is the second book in Ms. James’s Wildes of Lindow Castle series and if you don’t mind some spoilers from the first book it can be read on its own.  My favorite thing about this series is the Wilde family as a unit.  They’re welcoming, loving, and incredibly funny.  I’m so glad North has a bunch of siblings because I don’t think I’ll ever tire of reading about their wild (pun intended) antics.  I finished Too Wilde to Wed a well-satisfied reader and I cannot wait to see what adventures Ms. James has in store for the Wilde family next!