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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: Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb

Apprentice in Death - J.D. Robb

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/08/review-apprentice-in-death-by-jd-robb.html

 

It’s a race against time as Eve and her team track down a long-distance serial killer in Apprentice in Death. With no ties between the victims, no clues as to when or where the master-apprentice duo will strike next, and a vast number of potential targets in a city like New York, the tension is on high and Eve, Roarke, and company are running themselves ragged to take down the killer.

The In Death series can be generally divided between character-centric stories and case-centric ones. Apprentice in Death is the latter, but even though my preference is for books with character growth, I ended up loving this case. It was fascinating to watch the pieces of the puzzle come together, and the more layers that were revealed about the stone-cold killer’s character the more my interested was piqued. The sheer number of potential victims weighs on Eve and her team heavily, and it also added a tenseness to the tale that kept me turning the pages of the book late into the night. It’s a twisted tale, though not in the usual sense; the apprentice is somewhat reminiscent of an earlier In Death killer (and I can’t reveal which character or the book they’re from without spoiling this story). Equally appealing is watching how Eve’s mind works as she makes the connections that will lead her to master and apprentice. While a number of faces old and new (Roarke in particular) are invaluable to solving this case, it’s Eve and the unique way she thinks that is the most fascinating to me.

The In Death books can largely be read as standalones, and Apprentice in Death is no exception. That being said, if this is your first foray into the series the mystery will still be appealing, but the small, personal moments in the book might not hold the appeal they do to readers more invested in the characters. And fans of the series, fear not: there are enough personal moments in this book to satisfy and perhaps even tug on your heartstrings a bit. The further into the series we get, the fewer opportunities for big personal drama there are, and that’s ok. The bonds of love and friendship still shine and added to my investment in the tale. All in all, I loved Apprentice in Death and I cannot wait to see what J.D. Robb has in store for Eve and Roarke!


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/2016/08/review-apprentice-in-death-by-jd-robb.html

Review: Wild Embrace by Nalini Singh

Wild Embrace: A Psy-Changeling (A Psy/Changeling Novel) - Nalini Singh

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/08/review-wild-embrace-by-nalini-singh.html

 

“Echo of Silence”
In the heart of the deep-sea station Alaris, a chance encounter with her Psy station commander has human engineer Tazia looking at the telekinetic Stefan in a whole new way. Psy are Silent. Emotionless. And Tazia’s sure her inexplicable attraction to Stefan will come to nothing… Until an unexpected trip lets her see the man beneath the calm façade.

“Echo of Silence” is sweet as can be. It’s a romance of discovery and joy and I absolutely adored it. Tazia is a brilliant engineer who is estranged from her family because she chose her dream job over marrying and living in the village she grew up in. I loved the attention and importance given to Tazia’s culture; it’s not something we see too often in romance. Stefan is also alone in the world. He’s Psy, but not the perfect vision of a Silent Psy. He comes alive with Tazia, and watching them come into their own and find happiness over the course of the story was simply beautiful. It’s not a simple matter of falling in love for them. Cultural mores and the threat of discovery over Stefan breaking Silence aren’t obstacles that are easy to overcome. You’ll be cheering them on, however, because the risk is worth it when you have two such smart, generous, endearing characters to root for.


“Dorian”
Dorian captured my heart from the very first in Slave to Sensation and he remains my favorite of the Psy-Changeling characters to this day. It’s no surprise, then, that “Dorian” made me melt. The story is a series of vignettes following Dorian from childhood – where he struggled with his inability to shift and the pain it caused him and his leopard – through adulthood and the events of his book, Hostage to Pleasure. This story is truly a treat for anyone who loves Dorian. It gives extra insight not only into his character, but into the bonds between pack members. “Dorian” is sweet, heartwarming, and definitely makes me go all squishy just thinking about it.


“Partners in Persuasion”
Submissive wolf Felix has been hurt before by a dominant female and he’s not about to risk his heart again on any dominant, even one as beautiful as Dezi. Yet there’s something about the leopard changeling Felix can’t seem to ignore and it’s not long before he begins to wonder if he can trust her enough to try a relationship. But it’s not only their human hearts Dezi and Felix will have to convince if they want to take things to their next level; the animals that are every bit as much of their nature may break them apart before they have a chance to discover all they could have together.

It’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite story in this anthology, but “Partners in Persuasion” may just be mine. A female dominant/male submissive pairing like Dezi and Felix have never taken center stage in the series and I loved this change. Dezi is strong, confident, and sexy, but she’s always tangled with other dominants. She’s attracted to Felix, but the quiet horticulturalist is incredibly wary. He’s smart and strong in his own right, but his submissive nature means that both he and Dezi have to be extremely careful when courting. The attraction between them is palpable and they are both such rich, interesting characters that it’s impossible not to root for them. But it isn’t easy for them to navigate the delicate balance between persuasion and unwitting coercion, and the struggles they faced made “Partners in Persuasion” one heck of a compelling read. Every obstacle they faced, every setback only made the story feel more real and I honestly could have read an entire book about Dezi and Felix. The way they are completely gone over one another, how Dezi appreciates Felix’s strength and nurturing and he sees the woman who should be treasured not just the fearsome leopard in her, just grabbed my heart. Theirs isn’t just a story of passion and love (though there’s plenty of that), but of trust earned and taking care of those you want to call your own. I loved everything about “Partners in Persuasion” and I hope to see Dezi and Felix as a couple pop up in future Psy-Changeling books.


“Flirtation of Fate”
On the night of her twenty-first birthday, Kenji broke Garnet’s heart. The two are now lieutenants and their flirtation/bickering is well known throughout the SnowDancer pack. Yet Kenji won’t ever let Garnet see that the two of them are meant to be, for he has a secret that means he will never ask her to give him a second chance. Then the two of them team up to investigate a packmate’s murder, and close quarters make it nearly impossible for Kenji to keep his feelings hidden from the too-perceptive wolf he’s always loved.

Sparks fly right, left, and center in “Flirtation of Fate.” Garnet and Kenji have great chemistry and the wealth of emotion between them had the pages of their story flying by. Kenji has loved Garnet for years, but he hides his feelings for her under the guise of teasing and flirtation. He wants her to be free, but he can’t bear to let her go, and though I won’t spoil his reasons why, I think his secret will be clear to readers from the start. Kenji has made mistakes with Garnet, but those mistakes were made with a good heart. Garnet, in turn, carries a wealth of hurt from his rejection of her all those years ago, but now that they’re forced to work together, she’s starting to see that Kenji’s attitude is hiding something. I loved watching Garnet go after him and was rooting for them to break down each other’s walls and grab the happiness that’s long overdue. A mystery involving a packmate’s murder adds another dimension to the story though, like Kenji’s secret, it seemed fairly clear how things were going to play out. Still, Kenji and Garnet made me smile and I thoroughly enjoyed watching these two dance.


Wild Embrace is a must read for any Psy-Changeling fan. Each of the four stories are so different, yet all feature strong, memorable characters who will grab your heart and not let go. Nalini Singh is a master of worldbuilding, but she’s also phenomenal at creating interesting, unique characters. “Echo of Silence,” “Dorian,” “Partners in Persuasion,” and “Flirtation of Fate” are all character-focused stories and the timelines are spread out through the course of the Psy-Changeling series. I loved getting to know more about relatively minor (with the exception of Dorian) players in the Psy-Changeling series and each of these stories makes the series as a whole feel richer. Wild Embrace is unique, gripping, and as wonderfully entertaining as I’ve come to expect any Nalini Singh story to be.


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/2016/08/review-wild-embrace-by-nalini-singh.html

Review: Tied Score by Elia Winters

Tied Score (Slices of Pi Book 2) - Elia Winters

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/08/review-tied-score-by-elia-winters.html

 

Tied Score is an outrageously sexy, incredibly addictive romance. Author Elia Winters doesn’t hold back in this red-hot story of two people who are clearly made for each other falling in love as they explore their kinky sides.

One of my favorite things about Tied Score was watching Iris come into her own. Iris is smart, organized, and focused, but while she’s found professional success, her life doesn’t feel complete. She doesn’t want commitment – she’s been burned badly in the past – but she would like a little excitement to chase away the moments of longing that seem to be popping up. She’s had her eye on Owen for a while, but when she makes her move and he accepts, what should be a temporary fling rocks both of their worlds. Owen is a sexy-as-hell baker and businessman who is dominant in the bakery and longs to be submissive in the bedroom. However, his lifestyle isn’t conducive to him finding a woman who meets his needs. When he and Iris first hit the sheets, they’re both shocked to learn Iris has a hidden dominant side. Intrigued, they agree to an arrangement where Owen’s needs as a sub can be fulfilled while Iris learns about and explores her desires to be a Domme. It’s not long before their casual arrangement has each of them craving more. The emphasis on open communication adds a level of intimacy beyond the sexual and made me really fall in love with Iris and Owen’s burgeoning romance.

Owen and Iris are extremely compatible as Domme/sub, and make no mistake, Ms. Winters knows how to turn the heat up high; this isn’t a story for the faint of heart. But equally important is the fact that they’re also a great fit outside their Domme/sub roles. They encourage each other to grow professionally, take chances, and risk their hearts for the possibility of something more. Fears and thinking they’re set in their ways threaten to derail this couple just as they’re about to start, but the obstacles they face are logical. I appreciated the lack of fake drama in the story and loved that I got to enjoy a sometimes sweet, frequently spicy journey to happily ever after.

Tied Score is the second book in Ms. Winters’s Slices of Pi series, but you don’t have to have read Even Odds in order to enjoy this story (though Isabel and Caleb do show up). PI Games and the cast of characters who work there help round out the book and make the world incredibly appealing. I loved everything about Tied Score and I’ll definitely be revisiting Owen and Iris over and over as I wait for the next Slices of Pi book, Single Player!


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/2016/08/review-tied-score-by-elia-winters.html

Review: The Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne

The Highlander - Kerrigan Byrne

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/08/review-highlander-by-kerrigan-byrne.html

 

The Highlander is a rich, emotional story that will knock your socks off! Kerrigan Byrne has delivered yet another lush, addictive romance in this third Victorian Rebels book and I loved every bit of it.

Mena has been through hell. She’s been physically and emotionally tortured, terrorized, and institutionalized by her husband, and through all that she hasn’t broken. Mena has an inner strength that I admired greatly, and when you combine that with her generous heart, it’s easy to see why she’s a heroine to root for. She’s vulnerable and in hiding from her husband when she first arrives in the Highlands and you want to see her feel safe and cherished because it’s impossible for Mena not to grab your heart. She deserves happiness, freedom, and love, and she unexpectedly finds all that in the arms of the man they call the Demon Highlander.

Liam also knows evil – he was raised by it. His violent, abusive father tried to mold him in his image, and Liam fears he’ll turn into a monster like his sire one day. It’s clear to readers – if not Liam – that even though he has only known violence, he has a protective heart. He loves his children and will fight to the death for them and Mena. Liam and Mena help each other become who they’re meant to be, and the character growth in The Highlander is wonderful. Equally engaging is the romance. The desire between Mena and Liam is palpable and the two of them have incredible chemistry. But lust doesn’t overtake the romance; the two of them actually learn about each other as they fall in love, adding a level of realism to the story. Their romance isn’t perfect because neither Mena nor Liam are cardboard perfect characters, and I loved that about this story. Instead, they have to have the courage to overcome their pasts and face the obstacles in their present in order for them and their love to survive and thrive.

The Highlander is the third book in Ms. Byrne’s Victorian Rebels series and if you start with Mena and Liam’s book, be warned that there are spoilers for The Highwayman and The Hunter. You’re also missing out if you skip the first two books in the series, because they are flat-out phenomenal. Ms. Byrne’s writing is utterly fantastic and she draws you into each story so well that you might (as I did) have to shake yourself when you stop reading in order to rejoin the real world. The only quibble I had about The Highlander was the ending felt a bit rushed. Even so, Ihighly recommend this book. Mena and Liam’s story is deeply emotional, incredibly compelling, and, quite simply, a must read for fans of historical romance.


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/2016/08/review-highlander-by-kerrigan-byrne.html

Review: Worked Up by Tessa Bailey

Worked Up (Made in Jersey) - Tessa Bailey

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/08/review-worked-up-by-tessa-bailey.html

 

Worked Up is a sweet and spicy romance with endearing characters. Commitment-phobes and quickie marriages that become all-too-real aren’t new to romance, but author Tessa Bailey makes this story stand apart from the rest with her unique characters.

Sam is an artist with a big heart and a sunny disposition. She’s the queen of bad puns (which I adored) and is desperate to make her vision of Art on Wheels – a program that would benefit children – a reality. How could you not root for a heroine like her? Duke, in turn, is a giant pouty man bear who acts like all he wants to do with his free time is watch SportsCenter, when really he’s an incredibly generous, giving soul who worries about everyone. Both of them have hearts as big as Texas (or Jersey, as it were), so even though they may seem like an odd couple at first, Duke and Samantha work really well together. When Worked Up focuses on the characters, the humor, the romance, and the obstacles that threaten to derail Samantha and Duke’s burgeoning relationship, the story is really strong. For me, the story takes a bit of a hit when it comes to the erotic scenes. Duke’s a fan of dirty talk, and though I’m all for that in my romance, his brand of dirty talk felt awkward and pulled me out of the story. In general, there was something stilted about the sex scenes that took away from an otherwise solid (if lighting quick) romance. Chalk it up to personal preference, I suppose.

Worked Up is the third Made in Jersey book, and as I have not read Crashed Out or Thrown Down, I can safely say Duke and Samantha’s book can be read as a standalone. The world of Ms. Bailey’s Hook, New Jersey is appealing and its residents lively; the secondary characters added charm to the story. Yet for all the likeable characters there are in the story, it’s the one not-so-charming character – Samantha’s brother, Renner – who grabbed my attention. By the time I was finished with Worked Up, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Renner’s book. Even though there were a couple of elements to Samantha and Duke’s romance that didn’t appeal to me, I still enjoyed the story overall, so it’s safe to say I’ll be returning to Hook, New Jersey.


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/2016/08/review-worked-up-by-tessa-bailey.html

Review: Fool Me Once by Katee Robert

Fool Me Once (Foolproof Love) - Katee Robert

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/08/review-fool-me-once-by-katee-robert.html

 

Opposites attracting has never been as fun – or as hot – as it is in Fool Me Once. Aubry and Quinn have insanely good chemistry, which makes this enemies-to-lovers romance utterly irresistible.

I love imperfect heroines, and Aubry is wonderfully flawed in an incredibly relatable way. She’s smart, sexy, and has a good heart, but she also isn’t a people person, is snarky nine times out of ten, has a wealth of phobias, and suffers crippling anxiety. She isn’t an easy person, and I have a soft spot for characters like her, ones who are vulnerable and guarded, but have a lot to offer. The emotional walls Aubry has built around herself are a mile high and almost impenetrable, but Quinn gets under her skin.

Quinn is too hot, too confident, and pushes Aubry out of her comfort zone. He’s an outgoing cowboy to the bone, where she’s a serious gamer who doesn’t like to leave the house, and that’s only the beginning of their differences. They only tolerate each other because their best friends are in love. When he agrees to be her shield she can go to a gaming convention without having an anxiety attack in exchange for her being a human shield at his sister’s wedding where his family is sure to be a nightmare, neither is sure they’ll both make it through the week alive. But the attraction that blossoms between them is too potent for either to resist, and slowly they begin to open up to one another. It isn’t easy for them to admit they’re good together outside the bedroom, but I was rooting for them every step of the way. They challenge each other, make each other better, and man do they make the pages of Fool Me Once sizzle. But it isn’t the heat factor that makes them stand out (though that definitely doesn’t hurt). It’s the way Quinn helps Aubry through her anxiety attacks, the way she slowly lets down her guard, their banter, and the incredibly addictive writing of author Katee Robert that makes this book shine. I loved every bit of Fool Me Once, and I cannot wait to re-read Aubry and Quinn’s romance.


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/2016/08/review-fool-me-once-by-katee-robert.html

Review: Seducing the Boss by Mari Carr

Seducing the Boss (The Pulse Series) - Mari Carr

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/07/review-seducing-boss-by-mari-carr.html

 

Sara and Kellan have been friends since childhood and that friendship has withstood becoming boss-employee, as Kellan is the CEO of the hospital where Sara is an ER nurse. They’ve always had a comfortable relationship, each knowing that they aren’t what the other is looking for. Kellan never does relationships, while Sara is ready for commitment and all that goes with it. But when Sara is stood up on a blind date, Kellan starts to look at her in a whole new light. The attraction between them is immediate, unexpected, and so potent that neither can resist giving into the temptation of one weekend of no-holds-barred sex. But what happens when one weekend isn’t enough?

Seducing the Boss is a sizzling friends-to-lovers romance I devoured in one sitting. Kellan and Sara are a couple with plenty of heat and heart to keep this addictive story moving at a fast pace.

Sara and Kellan are both incredibly likeable characters who charmed me from the first. Yes, Kellan is a playboy with commitment issues stemming from his past, and yes, Sara is the good girl who wants to take a walk on the wild side, but though those types of characters are common in romance, author Mari Carr made these two protagonists feel fresh and new. There’s an energy to them that makes Seducing the Boss feel vibrant, whether Kellan and Sara are hitting the sheets or squaring off in the hospital. Both of them work hard, and even though they find themselves on opposite sides at the hospital a lot of the time, they respect each other. They also have years of shared history, common interests, and an easy compatibility that gives this story its heart. And it’d be remiss of me not to mention the way these two can turn up the heat. The innate trust between Kellan and Sara means they can really let go and steam up the page.

There’s a lot to enjoy about Seducing the Boss, but what really made the story stand out for me was the simple connection between Sara and Kellan. The solid foundation they have from the start and the way it shows on the page makes the fast slide from friendship to sex to happily ever after believable. I absolutely adored this story and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the multi-author Pulse 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/2016/07/review-seducing-boss-by-mari-carr.html

Review: Bayou Nights by Julie Mulhern

Bayou Nights - Julie Mulhern

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/07/review-bayou-nights-by-julie-mulhern.html

 

When a zombie attacks milliner Christine Lambert in her own store, it’s only the beginning of her troubles. Her father gave her a piece of eight to guard, and the coin in question just happens to be the first clue in uncovering a priceless treasure that once belonged to a famed pirate. The problem is, every thief, murderer, ghost, and voodoo priestess in New Orleans seems to know she has the coin. On top of that, Christine’s father has gone missing and for all her knowledge of the supernatural, she doesn’t know how to find a missing ghost. It’s time to ask for help. But the help her friend sends – stuffy Yankee investigator Mattias Drake – isn’t exactly who she expected. Now, Christine will have to work with an undeniably compelling stranger if she hopes to rescue her father, locate a pirate’s treasure, and live long enough to tell the tale.

Bayou Nights is an intriguing blend of mystery, romance, and the supernatural, all set against the sultry backdrop of early twentieth century New Orleans. I absolutely love how Julie Mulhern brings the richly atmospheric world of 1903 New Orleans to life in this tale. The world draws you in from the start and you feel like you’re walking alongside Christine and Drake as they encounter the most incredibly vibrant spirits, both living and dead.

As for Christine and Drake themselves, they are compelling leads with solid chemistry. Christine is a strong, clever woman who has made a name for herself as a milliner. New Orleans is in her blood and spirit, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching her charm all those around her, ghosts and the living alike. Christine is no wilting flower, but a woman used to protecting herself, both physically and emotionally. It’s not easy for her to trust Drake, and her family history has given her good reason not to. But Drake, for all that he’s a fish out of water in the South, is an excellent match for Christine. He’s reliable, honest, and willing to do whatever it takes to protect her, while respecting her own strength and talents. Drake is also our eyes for this world, and watching events unfold from his point of view was delightful. It’s interesting to watch both he and Christine grow over the course of the story. Their romance isn’t a case of insta-love; the two of them come to know and respect one another as they fall in love, which I really liked.

The romance in Bayou Nights takes a back seat to the treasure hunt and the mystery of who is behind the attacks on Christine and the kidnapping of her father. There’s danger around every corner in this story, and somehow the almost languid pace of the book pairs well with the intensity of the action. Ms. Mulhern packs a lot of history, characters, and paranormal encounters into Bayou Nights, and it serves this unique story well.

Bayou Nights is the second book in Ms. Mulhern’s Haunting Desire series. As I have not yet read the first book, Bayou Moon (formerly titled A Haunting Desire), I can safely say that Drake and Christine’s story can be read as a standalone. That being said, by the time I was done with Bayou Nights I definitely wanted to go back and read Bayou Moon. I absolutely love the unique world Ms. Mulhern has created in the Haunting Desire series and I’m looking forward to revisiting it.


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/2016/07/review-bayou-nights-by-julie-mulhern.html

Review: Rock with You by Rachel Lacey

Rock with You (Risking It All) - Rachel Lacey

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/07/review-rock-with-you-by-rachel-lacey.html

 

Rock with You is as sweet as one of Carly’s famous cinnamon buns. It’s a fluffy fantasy with a lot of sugar and a dash of spice, which makes it a good summer beach read.

Who wouldn’t love a chance meeting with the insanely handsome rock star of their dreams? Especially if it turns out he is practically perfect in every way. Sam is talented musician who’s struggling to write his new album, which is why he’s taking a break from the spotlight in Carly’s small hometown, Haven. Carly is a fantastic baker whose business is struggling, but fate – in the form of an ice storm – gives her a break from reality when she finds herself stranded with Sam in his cabin. It’s not long before the two of them are giving into their mutual attraction and taking advantage of their situation by having a good ol’ fashioned fling.

It’s pretty easy to like Carly and Sam, because both of them are pretty perfect characters. Yet I never felt like the love story went deeper than simple attraction, and perhaps this is due in part to the short length of the tale. I’m not opposed to insta-love plots, but when combined with obstacles being presented and immediately toppled, the lack of depth to the characters, and the missing emotional weight to the story, it was difficult to actually become invested in the romance. Still, as a lightweight fantasy Rock with You has charm and I liked Rachel Lacey’s writing well enough that I’ll definitely read a full-length novel of hers. Rock with You is a prequel novella to Ms. Lacey’s Risking It All series and I’m looking forward to reading the first book, Run to You.


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/2016/07/review-rock-with-you-by-rachel-lacey.html

Review: One Week to Score by Kate Meader

One Week to Score (Tall, Dark, and Texan) - Kate Meader

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/07/review-one-week-to-score-by-kate-meader.html

 

When Olivia’s wedding day crashes and burns spectacularly – finding your groom doing the maid of honor minutes before the wedding will do that – the bride that wasn’t decides to take a solo honeymoon and enjoy a string of hot hookups. The only problem? One tall, dark, and sexy Texan in her way. Flynn is her brother’s best friend, but he’s also the man who broke her heart years ago. No one could be more shocked than she when Flynn offers to scratch all her itches for the next week. But can Liv enjoy a red-hot secret fling with the one man she’s always wanted without losing her heart?

One Week to Score is a smokin’ hot romance I loved from beginning to end! Flynn and Oliva are flawed, wonderful characters who endeared themselves to me from the start and their rocky, passionate romance is enthralling.

Liv is a smart, capable woman who has spent her entire life being forced into certain roles by those who should have loved her for who she is. Only Flynn has ever seen the true her, and he broke her heart by cutting her out of his life seven years ago. Liv has spirit and charm, and she’s also a bit vulnerable; it’s easy to adore her. As for Flynn… Man, is he one sexy Texan. But beneath that rock-hard bod and cocky charm is a man who has never felt good enough for Liv. It’s easy to see these two love one another, but it’s not easy for Flynn to trust in himself and what he and Liv could have, and that’s before he adds on the guilt of breaking the bro code by sleeping with his best friend’s sister. It’s equally difficult for Liv to risk her heart, especially since Flynn has hurt her in the past. Flynn isn’t a bad guy – not in the slightest – but he sometimes does the wrong thing for misguided (if mostly well-intentioned) reasons. As I said before, both of them are flawed, and it’s their flaws that gave them depth.

It’s a rocky road to true love conquering all in One Week to Score, but author Kate Meader makes every bump in the road worth it. The sexual innuendo Flynn flings, Liv’s ready quips, the scorching love scenes, and the surprisingly sweet moments in between all combine to make this one seriously addictive story. I hated it whenever I had to put my Kindle down because the off-the-charts hot chemistry Liv and Flynn have is simply fantastic. If you like down and dirty heroes and strong-willed, sensual heroines, you won’t want to miss One Week to Score!


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/2016/07/review-one-week-to-score-by-kate-meader.html

Review: Playing By Her Rules by Amy Andrews

Playing By Her Rules (Sydney Smoke Rugby Series) - Amy Andrews

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/07/review-playing-by-her-rules-by-amy.html

 

Playing By Her Rules is sexy, sassy good fun! I love rugby player heroes and second chance romances, so when you combine the two – and throw in author Amy Andrews’s signature humor – it’s easy to see why this first Sydney Smoke Rugby book was impossible for me to resist.

Tanner is an utterly delicious hero. With his killer body, sense of humor, skills on the rugby pitch (and other kinds of skills elsewhere ;)), and, most importantly, genuinely good heart, Tanner is exactly the kind of hero who’ll make you swoon. He’s worked hard to get where he is today, but he doesn’t take himself seriously and he gives back as much as he can. One of the things I loved most about Tanner was how openly head-over-heels he is for Matilda. He knows he screwed up when they were younger, breaking her heart on purpose even though he loved her, but now that he has his chance, he’s determined to win her back and get her to loosen up. And there’s no way you can resist rooting for him. Matilda is a sharp, guarded woman who is determined to move up the ladder at the paper, even if it means doing a six-part feature on her ex. She’s afraid to let Tanner in, and she uses wit and sass to try to keep her feelings for him hidden. There’s a lot of back-and-forth in Playing By Her Rules, but with the Twitter banter, Kryptonite panties, and other funny moments, the story sails along at a great pace.

Matilda and Tanner’s story is the first installment of the Sydney Smoke Rugby series and I am already hungry for more. The relationship between Tanner and his teammates made me incredibly eager to read their stories. Ms. Andrews writes someseriously hot rugby players. Whether you’re a fan of sports romances, second chance romances, or simply enjoy a sexy contemporary romance with a sense of humor, you’re in for a treat with Playing By Her Rules.


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/2016/07/review-playing-by-her-rules-by-amy.html

Review: Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

Heroine Complex - Sarah Kuhn

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/07/review-heroine-complex-by-sarah-kuhn.html

 

Heroine Complex is action-packed, geeky good fun. Sarah Kuhn has delivered a new kind of superhero story that’s fresh, fun, and surprisingly relatable. We may not face demon cupcakes on a daily basis, but most of us have had an unreasonably demanding boss at some point.

A very unreasonable, sometimes-petulant boss is exactly what Evie Tanaka, personal assistant to superhero Aveda Jupiter, deals with every day. Evie is a master at calming her diva boss and allowing her to focus on saving San Francisco from regular demon invasions. She puts up with it because Aveda is her childhood friend and, for as much as Aveda can be self-centered, she has been there for Evie when she needed it the most. Added to that, Evie needs the stability Aveda provides. She’s got powers of her own, dangerous ones that are more supervillain than superhero, and she’ll do anything to maintain control. When Aveda is injured and Evie is forced to take her place, her life is turned upside down. Not only is Evie thrust into the spotlight, her power is flaring up, there’s a new demonic invasion in town, bitchy bloggers are on her case, her teenage sister is out of control, Aveda doesn’t like sharing the limelight, and – to make matters worse – Evie might just have a thing for the stuffy, data-obsessed demonologist she works with. There aren’t enough Lucky Charms or spam musubi in the world to make her world right again.

Heroine Complex zips along at a fast pace, thanks in no small part to Evie. She’s an unwilling superhero who’s realistically overwhelmed by all that’s thrust on her. Evie’s funny, snarky, guarded – a far cry from her kick-butt, image-obsessed superhero best friend. Evie is imperfect and very willing to admit it, which makes her an endearing heroine. That she doesn’t handle everything thrown her way with cool aplomb makes it all the more appealing when she becomes a kickass heroine in her own right. I was rooting for Evie to come into her own over the course of the story, and watching her grow as a character was a delight. Self-realization in the face of decomposing new demons and gossip bloggers ain’t easy.

Evie is the heart and soul of Heroine Complex, but there are plenty of supporting characters who help make the book come alive. Aveda isn’t the best of friends, but I loved how Ms. Kuhn brought three-dimensionality to her character. Nate, a personal favorite of mine, is gruff, says the wrong things, and is so obviously attracted to Evie that I just melted. Throw in another butt-kicking female in Lucy, a rebellious sister in Bea, and a hot best friend with magic in Scott, and you’ve got a well-rounded, endearing-in-their-own-unique-ways cast. Heroine Complex is a lively, exciting read and I can’t wait to see what Evie & co. get up to 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/2016/07/review-heroine-complex-by-sarah-kuhn.html

Review: A Gift for Guile by Alissa Johnson

A Gift for Guile (The Thief-takers) - Alissa Johnson

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/07/review-gift-for-guile-by-alissa-johnson.html

 

A former thief steals the heart of a famous private detective in A Gift for Guile. I’m not an easy sell when it comes to opposites attracting, but Alissa Johnson won me over with this enchanting second installment of the Thief-takers series.

Esther is a former thief determined to make amends. She was used as an accomplice by her father when she was younger, manipulated by him because she was so desperate for his love. Her past brings her shame and she’s desperate to be a better person, but at the same time doesn’t believe she can be one. No one has ever put her first, has ever seen her as anything more than a filler until someone better comes along. She’s used to playing roles, slips into them so easily in order to win others over, but it broke my heart how badly Esther simply wanted to be seen and loved for her true self, though she doesn’t wholly know who that is. It’s delightful that Samuel, a somewhat-staid former police officer turned private investigator, is the person who sees Esther the most clearly.

Samuel is an honorable man with a soul-deep need to protect others. It drives him mad that the woman he falls for isn’t one who will sit quietly and let him guard her when she’s in trouble. Of course, that’s what makes A Gift for Guile so much fun. Esther is perfectly capable of taking care of herself, but she’s not superhuman and can see that Samuel has talents that complement her own. Whether they’re investigating a mysterious potential threat to Esther’s family or falling head over heels in love with one another, Samuel and Esther are great together. The energy between them crackles and I can’t count the number of times they made me smile. Of course, being perfect for each other doesn’t make things easy. Esther is quick to take offense because she’s scared of opening herself up to more hurt, and Samuel is adorably terrible with words. Esther has to accept her past in order to risk her heart for a chance at love, and Samuel has to be patient and temper his need to protect by acknowledging Esther’s abilities. They banter, they bicker, and they fall in love in the most charming, romantic way. I absolutely adored these two together, simple as that.

Ms. Johnson weaves in a mystery involving Esther’s past and a potential new threat into the story of Samuel and Esther’s burgeoning romance. The added element of danger enhances the story and keeps A Gift for Guile moving at a quick clip. There’s simply nothing I didn’t enjoy about Esther, Samuel, and their lovely romance. Like the first Thief-takers book, A Talent for Trickery, A Gift for Guile is engaging and the sparks that fly between the leads make the pages of the story fly by. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Johnson has in store for readers with the next Thief-takers 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/2016/07/review-gift-for-guile-by-alissa-johnson.html

Review: Into the Blue by Chanel Cleeton

Into the Blue: A Wild Aces Romance - Chanel Cleeton

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/07/review-into-blue-by-chanel-cleeton.html

 

Becca Madison and Eric Jansen fell in love as teenagers, and broke up in their early twenties when he chose the Air Force over her. It’s been ten years, and Eric has finally returned home, on leave after a tragedy shakes him so badly he doesn’t feel right up in the air. The only thing that makes sense, feels right, is the love he has for Becca, which ten years apart has done nothing do dim. He wants to prove to her that he can be the man she needs, but Becca was burned badly and knows that she can’t trust her heart to Eric when the problems between them are still there. Their attraction is undeniable, however, and it’s not long before they’re falling into old patterns. But what do you do when love isn’t enough to make things last?

Into the Blue rocked my world! I absolutely loved Fly with Me, Chanel Cleeton’s first Wild Aces book, and there is definitely no sophomore slump for this series. If possible, I loved Into the Blue even more.

Second chance romances are a favorite of mine, and Becca and Eric’s is wonderful. The two of them have been in love since they were teenagers, and time and heartbreak has done nothing to dampen their mutual attraction or love. Each of them has tried to move on, but it’s clear from the start that they’re meant to be. They were both achingly young when they first fell in love, and even though it was painful, the time apart really helped both Becca and Eric grow into the people they were meant to be. When they see each other again, old pain mixes with familiar desire, and both Becca and Eric are so genuinely likeable that you want to see them make things work. Falling into bed and into old patterns is easy, but what I absolutely loved about this story is that they both are fully aware that love isn’t always enough to make a relationship. Ms. Cleeton kept me guessing as to how they’d make things work. And you really want to see Becca and Eric get their happily ever after. As a couple they are hot, sweet, and their chemistry is off-the-charts fantastic. I hated it whenever I had to put Into the Blue down because they both grabbed my heart and I wanted to see them beat the odds.

As with Fly with Me, there is no fake drama in Into the Blue, but rather realistic challenges a couple will face. Becca wants stability, roots, and a family; her past has made that a soul-deep need. As an F-16 pilot with a specific set of skills, Eric really can’t see himself doing anything else, and his life doesn’t offer what Becca wants. Neither is being selfish in their choices or desires, and it’s heartbreaking to watch their internal struggles because there is no easy answer for them. Ms. Cleeton’s knowledge of the military, of the risks, rewards, and hardship of day-to-day life sets the Wild Aces series apart from other romances. Falling for a fighter pilot isn’t all admiring a hot man in a flight suit, but Ms. Cleeton had me avidly turning the pages of Into the Blue because the hard work is worth it when it’s a love like Eric and Becca’s.

Into the Blue is the second book in the phenomenal Wild Aces series, and it can be read as a standalone if you don’t mind reading significant spoilers from Fly with Me. I loved seeing Eric’s fellow F-16 pilots again and the only downside to this story is that I finished it dying to get my hands on the Easy’s book, On Broken Wings. The fighter pilots of Ms. Cleeton’s Wild Aces are strong, sexy-as-sin heroes and the women who love them are equally strong, dynamite heroines. It’s impossible not to fall in love with Becca and Eric and I cannot wait to re-read their romance!


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/2016/07/review-into-blue-by-chanel-cleeton.html

Review: Once upon a Moonlit Night by Elizabeth Hoyt

Once Upon a Moonlit Night: A Maiden Lane Novella - Elizabeth Hoyt

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/07/review-once-upon-moonlit-night-by.html

 

After escaping from imprisonment – and the machinations of a man who wanted to marry her, whether or not she was willing – Hippolyta Royale is on the run. It’s a dark and rainy night, she doesn’t know the area, and hounds are hunting for her. Pure luck lands the beautiful heiress in the path of Matthew Mortimer, an explorer who has just returned to England after finding out he’s inherited an earldom. She’s wet and bedraggled, he thinks she’s an actress rather than the heiress she claims to be, and the situation is altogether improper. But on the road, apart from society’s prying eyes, these two unlikely travelling companions are about to find an unexpected connection that could last a lifetime.

Once upon a Moonlit Night is an incredibly fun, fast-paced romance that made me smile more than once. Elizabeth Hoyt charmed the heck out of me with Hippolyta and Matthew’s romance (though the addition of an adorable mongoose didn’t hurt).

Hippolyta has been a background character in the Maiden Lane series for the past few books, and I was excited to learn more about her. As this was a novella, we didn’t actually learn quite as much about her as I’d hoped. Her biggest problem (aside from the kidnapping) is she’s forced to hide a part of herself from society. Her mother was Indian, and having to hide that, cut herself off from her heritage so that she can make a good match, breaks her heart (and mine). How Hippolyta comes into her own is something I’ll leave for readers to discover. As for Matthew, we don’t learn too much about him either, due to the short format of the story, but he’s an endearing hero. He’s a bit gruff and cynical to start, but the way he falls for Hippolyta melted my heart. They fall in love at a quick pace and the story is lively, sexy, and thoroughly enjoyable. However, I really wish Once upon a Moonlit Night had been a full-length novel, because all the time jumps made me feel like I was missing out a bit on their love story. I absolutely adored what I read and Maiden Lane fans won’t want to miss Once upon a Moonlit Night. That being said, I know how unique and well-rounded Ms. Hoyt’s characters and stories usually are and with a bit more rounding out, Hippolyta, Matthew, and their romance could match that.


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/2016/07/review-once-upon-moonlit-night-by.html

Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

The Bourbon Kings - J.R. Ward

My review cross-posted from Joyfully Reviewed

The Bradford family is Kentucky royalty, as famous for their top-of-the line bourbon as they are for the glamour of their estate, Easterly. But behind the glittering façade lies a poison that threatens to taint the entire Bradford-Baldwine clan.

Lizzie King, the Easterly’s horticulturist, makes sure the grounds are a masterpiece. But after having been burned by Lane Baldwine two years ago, she does her best to avoid the family she works for. Then Lane returns home, bringing with him all the hurt, longing, and love Lizzie would like to forget.

After two years of living in New York, Lane is back at Easterly and can no longer hide from his problems. Both the wife he hates and the woman he loves are still there, and if that wasn’t bad enough, his siblings are a mess and his evil father is up to something. Lane has always been the playboy, never wanting to take responsibility for anything. But if he hopes to free himself of his dangerously manipulative wife, convince Lizzie that she’s the only one for him, and stop his family from crumbling, Lane will have to step up and become the man he was always meant to be.

J.R. Ward brings the DRAMA in The Bourbon Kings . The first book in The Bourbon Kings series is a lush Southern soap opera with a cast of characters who are as compelling as they are over-the-top. Even after finishing the book and thinking on it for a while, I can’t say if this is a story I liked, but damn if Ms. Ward’s writing didn’t keep me turning the pages.

The Baldwine siblings are an interesting lot. Lane, the hero of the story, is generally a good person but has never wanted to step up and claim responsibility and is now forced to. His eldest brother, Edward, was the best of the lot but is now a scarred, alcoholic, broken version of himself. Max, the other brother, is off somewhere doing heaven knows what. And Gin, the youngest, is one of my favorite characters in the book. She’s not likeable – not by a long shot – but she’s a complex, interesting character. She plays games, is shallow, and looks out for her own best interests. She’s also deeply hurt, guarded, and is trapped in a toxic push-pull relationship with the man she loves. Even though I have a feeling things are only going to get worse, Gin alone could keep me reading the Bourbon Kings series because I find her so intriguing. All the siblings have grown up in a life of luxury, but that life may come to a crashing halt when secrets are uncovered. Each of them deals with the impending destruction of their family in different ways, and Ms. Ward keeps the twists and turns coming all throughout the story.

The Bourbon Kings is a family saga with a hint of mystery, but there is an element of romance to the tale. Lizzie and Lane fell in love two years before the start of the story, but that all came crashing down when he had to leave Lizzie to marry his former lover, who was pregnant with (supposedly) his child. It isn’t easy for Lane to win Lizzie back, especially since his horrible wife is determined not to lose her place. It should be a simple matter to root for Lizzie and Lane, especially since Lizzie is one of the few likeable people in the book (though she’s sadly underdeveloped as a character and is overshadowed by the story’s more dominant personalities). But for me, the romance fell flat and felt underdeveloped. We’re told Lane is in love with Lizzie, and I believed him because Ms. Ward said it was so. Yet I never felt the passion and emotion between them. Their love for one another was built on a foundation that readers only get a bare glimpse of. To believe they could reunite so quickly, putting aside all that hurt and longing, I needed something more. Perhaps if we were shown more of their shared past, I would have been more satisfied by the romance.

The Bourbon Kings is a mix of melodrama, mystery, abuse, love, loyalty, and Southern roots. Endearing and likeable characters are few and far between, but there’s something about the entire cast that gives even the horrible characters a reality television level of appeal. It’s set in a world where tradition reigns supreme, appearances are everything, and casual sexism and traditional gender roles are a way of life. It’s a world more alien to me than the vampire and lesser-filled world of Ms. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. At the end of the day, I still can’t decide if I actually like the book or not. I definitely loved Lane’s smart, funny best friend, Jeff, along with Sutton, who is kind, sharp, and hopelessly in love with Edward. I was also caught up in the drama between Gin and Samuel T, and am desperately hoping those two find their way to one another. I didn’t love the world, a number of the characters, the fact that it took me a while to get into the story, and I’m not sure how long my patience will last with either the many push-pull relationships or the general toxicity of the Bradford-Baldwine family. But even with my mixed feelings, I cannot deny that Ms. Ward writes a memorable book. By the end ofThe Bourbon Kings , I wanted to know what would happen next, so I’ll definitely be picking up the next book, The Angels’ Share.