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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).

Currently reading

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

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!

Review: Royally Wed by Teri Wilson

Royally Wed - Teri Wilson

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

You know those books that instantly make you happy when you read them? That’s exactly what Royally Wed is for me. I absolutely loved this sweet confection of a story; the characters charmed the hell out of me and Teri Wilson’s writing swept me away to a modern-day fairytale for a few hours.

For the first time in his life Asher Reed – considered by some to be the next Yo-Yo Ma – is having trouble playing. Considering he just agreed to fill in for the famed cellist for the wedding of Princess Amelia of Great Britain, this couldn’t come at a worse time. And that’s before you take into account that his ex and his former mentor who she cheated on him with will be there. Asher can’t afford distractions if he wants to pull himself together, and there’s no bigger distraction than the bride herself. Amelia is trying to shake her “Princess Naughty” image and save her family from being blackmailed by marrying a man she doesn’t love (and who clearly doesn’t love her). She can’t afford a scandal and falling for a handsome American cellist would be scandalous indeed…

I adored Amelia and Asher from the start. They’re lovely, charming, endearing characters who are easy to root for. They have fantastic chemistry and it’s easy to see why it’s impossible for them to stay away from one another. Sparks aside, I loved how they became friends as they fell in love; it added to their love story and gave it more depth. While they do fall in love quickly, it works in this case. I honestly had no idea how they’d get their happily ever after and I loved that Ms. Wilson kept me guessing.

Royally Wed is loosely based on the Fred Astaire classic, Royal Wedding. Of all the Royals books, this one is the least like its inspiration (save for one major plot point) but I really enjoyed the nods to the film that I spotted. As with all the Royals books, Ms. Wilson does an incredible job of updating a classic and giving it her own, fresh spin. I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you enjoy contemporary romances or simply want a pick-me-up. Royally Wed is the perfect mix of sweet and sensual, of real emotion and fairytale romance. In short, it’s simply superb.


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-royally-wed-by-teri-wilson.html

Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Next Year in Havana - Chanel Cleeton

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Next Year in Havana is a gorgeous book. Chanel Cleeton’s writing is lush and lyrical and her love of Cuba and its people shines through on every page.

Next Year in Havana travels back and forth between past and present, the story told through the eyes of Elisa and her granddaughter Marisol. In 1958 Elisa is part of the Havana elite, the daughter of a wealthy sugar baron. She’s kind, smart, and far stronger than many would give her credit for. Elisa isn’t flawless; she’s young, passionate, and makes mistakes, but she’s got a good heart. Through her eyes we see the multiple sides of a Cuba rapidly being torn apart. Not only is Elisa’s brother, Alejandro, part of a student revolutionary group working for a democratic Cuba, Elisa falls in love with Pablo, a revolutionary with close ties to Castro. As her world begins to crumble around her, Elisa’s eyes are opened and she begins to question everything. Her journey is beautiful and sad, but also hopeful. I admit I only have a passing knowledge of Cuban history and politics, and I really enjoyed learning more (and being lead to research more) as I read this story. Ms. Cleeton does a fantastic job of weaving fact and fiction.

In 2017, Elisa’s granddaughter Marisol travels to Cuba to spread her grandmother’s ashes. Marisol’s journey is both similar and different to Elisa’s and I was equally captivated by both. Marisol is a journalist who is eager to see the Cuba she’s heard of in her grandmother’s tales. Life in post-revolutionary Cuba is a culture shock for the Florida-raised Marisol. She learns what Cuban life is really like for everyday people and I enjoyed watching her start to question her own beliefs and become invested in the welfare of Cuban people as she never had been before. Marisol is a genuinely lovely heroine and a great stand-in for an American reader. The revolution, its aftermath, and the effects both positive and negative politics has had on the Cuban people is an important subject and it’s important to note that Ms. Cleeton treats these real-life matters with the weight and respect they deserve.

Internal and external conflicts abound in Next Year in Havana, but the book has a smooth, lovely flow to it. The characters are all well-developed and I cared about Elisa and Marisol’s friends and loved ones. It would be remiss of me not to mention the love stories, because the Elisa/Pablo and Marisol/Luis romances were captivating. All in all, I highly recommend this book. Chanel Cleeton’s writing is phenomenal and I cannot wait to read about Elisa’s sister, Beatriz, in When We Left Cuba.


FTC Disclosure: I received the ebook/paperback editions 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/2018/05/review-next-year-in-havana-by-chanel.html

Review: I Flipping Love You by Helena Hunting

I Flipping Love You - Helena Hunting

3.75 stars.  Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

I Flipping Love You is the perfect beach read. It’s light and fun with a cast of bold personalities and a sexy romance that’ll leave you with a smile.

I’ve heard a lot of great things about Helena Hunting’s books, so I came into I Flipping Love Youwith fairly high expectations. Confession time: I didn’t like this book when I started it. At first, I found Pierce to be shallow and arrogant, Rian to be a flat character, and the comedic moments weren’t funny to me at all. It wasn’t bad, but the advertised romantic comedy felt more like one of those forgettable romcoms you keep on in the background and forget two minutes after it ends. That being said, I’m so glad I stuck with this book because I ended up thoroughly enjoying it.

After the first third of the book, I grew to care about Pierce and Rian and I loved peeling back the layers of their characters. While he is cocky, Pierce shows himself to be a wonderfully sweet hero with a good heart and a sense of humor. He’s a patent lawyer who wants to get out of the family business but is worried about disappointing his father. It’s clear Pierce is more suited to doing renovations than he is filing patents and I could see why he was so determined to prove that he could make his new career choice work. As for Rian, she is a brilliant and fun heroine whose family history has made her wary of trusting anyone other than her twin, Marley. Her father conned people out of millions before he and her mother abandoned Rian and Marley, leaving them a pile of debt. The two of them have had to work their way up from nothing and now their dream of flipping houses is about to become a reality. Rian’s biggest dream is to buy back and renovate their grandmother’s mansion in the Hamptons and I was rooting for her all the way. Of course, her dream and Pierce’s lead them to be in competition over properties, which leads to some fun moments.

I Flipping Love You starts off with a lot of banter and sexual tension, but when things heat up, the book really hits it stride. Pierce and Rian fit each other perfectly in bed and out and I liked seeing them work together just as much as I enjoyed the romantic storyline. It isn’t always smooth sailing for these two; Rian has trouble letting herself trust in Pierce and there are a couple external obstacles in their way as well. But all in all, theirs is a fun, sexy romance that’s easy to become invested in once Pierce convinces Rian to give him a chance.

I Flipping Love You is the third book in Ms. Hunting’s Shacking Up series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. Pierce’s sister, Amalie (the heroine of Hooking Up), does play a small supporting role and I will definitely be reading her book because she was a ton of fun and captured my interest from the start. So if you’re looking for a book to sweep you away to the Hamptons for the summer, this sassy, sunny tale is for 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/2018/05/review-i-flipping-love-you-by-helena.html

Review: The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick

The Other Lady Vanishes - Amanda Quick

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Return to the dazzling world of Burning Cove, a place of fantasy and glamour…and also secrets and death. I fell in love with the world of Burning Cove in The Girl Who Knew Too Much and my enchantment with the town only deepened in The Other Lady Vanishes. The setting drew me in from the first; the flash of 1930s Hollywood stars meeting dirty secrets, blackmail, and murder is a potent combination. When you add in two engaging protagonists and an intriguing mystery then you know you’re in for a good time.

Heiress Adelaide Blake spent two months drugged and imprisoned in an insane asylum. When she’s finally able to escape, she makes her way to Burning Cove and finds work as a waitress. Though she’s careful, Adelaide’s true identity and knowledge of the experimental drugs that were being tested on her means she has to constantly be on her guard. She’s finally finding her feet in Burning Cove and her tea blends make her a success with locals and visiting celebrities alike. But when visiting “psychic to the stars” Madame Zolanda comes to town, Adelaide’s world is turned upside down. Madame Zolanda’s gruesome prediction sets off a chain of events that involve murder, blackmail, and drugs. Against her will, Adelaide is drawn into the mystery. And one of the few people she may be able to trust is Jake Truett, a former businessman with secrets of his own. The two of them will have to unravel a tangled web of secrets if they hope to live long enough to enjoy the new lives they’ve created for themselves.

Adelaide and Jake are two interesting, intelligent protagonists who are easy to root for. Adelaide has nerves of steel that I admired. She’s been through hell and has not only survived, but has built herself a new life from nothing. I adored her and was delighted to see her find happiness with Jake, a widower with more than a few secrets of his own. Jake is a clever, protective hero who fits Adelaide extremely well. They have solid chemistry and their romance was one you can cheer for.

There’s a lot going on in The Other Lady Vanishes, but Amanda Quick takes her time and sets the multiple stages and players up before drawing everybody in closer together. The story starts off with a bang, then slows down, building up the suspense again as the pieces of the puzzle are laid out then put together. I don’t want to say much about the mystery because that would truly ruin the fun, but I will say it’s well-crafted and engaging. By the book’s climax I definitely couldn’t put it down. My only complaint is that I finished the book wanting more Burning Cove stories. Ms. Quick has created an absolutely fascinating world and I have my fingers crossed in the hope she returns to this place and time again.


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-other-lady-vanishes-by-amanda.html

Review: A Duke Like No Other by Valerie Bowman

A Duke Like No Other - Valerie Bowman

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

General Mark Grimaldi, spymaster extraordinaire, has worked his way up the ranks and is now on the cusp of obtaining the promotion he has dedicated his life to achieving. There’s just one problem: his superiors want Britain’s new Home Secretary to be a family man. Given Mark’s many connections, securing a wife wouldn’t be a problem…if only he weren’t already married. It’s been ten years since his wife left him and by all accounts she’s been happily living in France. In order to convince her to come back to England and play the part of loving wife, he’ll have to give her something in return. But the bargain these two strike is more dangerous than either could know. For close quarters have a tendency to bring feelings long-buried to the surface, and neither of them wants to admit that perhaps the fairytale picture they’re painting for others is something they want to be real. Can two people used to guarding their secrets closely take a risk and open their hearts for a shot at happily ever after?

I adore a good reunion romance and A Duke Like No Other is an utterly delightful one! Valerie Bowman has a bright, effervescent writing style that never fails to charm me and I couldn’t help but fall in love with Mark and Nicole’s story.

Mark and Nicole’s whirlwind courtship and marriage crashed and burned within months after secrets came to light and old wounds tore them apart. Nearly ten years later they have both changed, but one thing remains the same: the pull between them cannot be denied. I loved the sparks that flew between Mark and Nicole from the very start. It’s clear they’re utterly perfect for one another and their back-and-forths had me grinning more than once. They’re not just smart, they’re clever, and it was so much fun to watch them dance around the attraction simmering just beneath the surface. That being said, they don’t simply fall back into one another’s arms and I enjoyed that too. They were young when they married and I liked that they got to know one another again, to build that solid foundation they didn’t have in the beginning. It isn’t easy for them to get to the “happily ever after” point. Mark has definite issues with the aristocracy due to his upbringing and family history. His feelings tend to color his judgement and it leads him to make mistakes with Nicole. And after having her heart broken once, Nicole is terrified of opening it up again, which contributes to their communication problems. But every bump in the road is worth it in the end and I was rooting for these two to make it.

The romance in A Duke Like No Other was fantastic but it’d be remiss of me not to mention the subplot involving the unexpected death of an aristocrat with close ties to Mark. I enjoy a good murder mystery and I had a great time putting together the pieces of the puzzle alongside Mark and Nicole. Mark’s career as a spy has been well-established over the course of the Playful Brides series (and his investigative skills are clear even if you’re new to the books), but this is the first time you see Nicole’s talent as an investigator. Watching them and their allies interview suspects was fun and the quest to unmask the killer added to the story without taking the focus off of Nicole and Mark. I do feel it important to note that some readers might have an issue with believability in regards to Nicole’s career that began with the Bow Street Runners and grew since then. There are certain aspects of the story that require suspension of disbelief and there are also some more modern attitudes in this book than one might expect to find in a historical romance. This didn’t bother me because Ms. Bowman’s writing style is so breezy that I was happy to go along for the ride and shrug off things that might bother me in another book, but that may not be true if you’re looking for more historical accuracy in your historical romance. Still, if you want a spirited romance with a cozy mystery on the side, you’re sure to enjoy A Duke Like No Other.


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.

Review: Dead Girl Running by Christina Dodd

Dead Girl Running - Christina Dodd

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Everyone has secrets and no one knows that better than Kellen Adams. To say that her life has been turned upside down more than once would be an understatement. But Kellen is a survivor. And for the first time in longer than she can remember, she has a shot at finding home when she takes the job of assistant manager at the Yearning Sands resort. Only on the very day that her bosses leave on vacation a dead body appears on resort property and it’s clear the victim had been murdered. Now everyone around her is a suspect – from the staff to the guests – and Kellen has to put the pieces of the puzzle together before her new home turns into something from a horror movie. And is it the stress of tracking a killer that’s bringing old nightmares to the forefront of her memory or are there more sinister elements at play? Kellen can’t be sure, especially when a potentially vital year of her life is missing from her memory…

Dead Girl Running is a fantastic thriller that kept me up way too late reading. Christina Dodd is in top form in her first Cape Charade novel. It’s an engrossing, evocative, pulse-pounding page-turner.

Kellen is a stellar heroine. She’s been through absolute hell, almost lost herself in the process, and survived horrors that would break most people. She’s not exactly superhuman, but she is an incredibly strong character. I admired the way she built her life back up from the ashes and fully came into her own over the course of the story. She’s got a spine of steel and the visible scars she carries are no match for the emotional ones, but she’s a kind, fascinating character. I loved uncovering the pieces of her past alongside Kellen and my only real problem with Dead Girl Running is that I have to wait for the second book because holy cow, the information Ms. Dodd reveals about Kellen only makes me want to know more.

Mystery and murder abound at what would otherwise be the idyllic Yearning Sands. I’d be doing a disservice to readers to reveal much of the plot because this is a thriller and the excitement comes from looking for clues and watching events unfold. Suffice it to say that there are a few mysteries and they’re well-crafted and interwoven without the book losing its focus. There are also multiple players in this game and Ms. Dodd does a great job of fleshing them out and bringing the world of Dead Girl Running to life. The story itself starts off with a bang and continues to move at a good pace, building intensity until you absolutely cannot put the book down.

Dead Girl Running is the first book in Ms. Dodd’s Cape Charade series and I absolutely cannot wait for more. While this book easily stands alone, fans of Ms. Dodd’s will enjoy the loose ties it has to her Bella Terra Deception and Virtue Falls series. Whether you’re an old fan of Ms. Dodd’s or are diving into her work for the first time, Dead Girl Running is a captivating suspense novel that will leaving you begging for more Cape Charade stories.


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/2018/04/review-dead-girl-running-by-christina.html

Review: Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon

Murder Takes the High Road - Josh Lanyon

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

For any book lover, a tour through Scotland where you get to meet one of your favorite authors sounds like a dream vacation. And so it would be for librarian Carter Matheson…if only his ex, Trevor, and Trevor’s new boyfriend weren’t on the same tour. Still, Carter is determined to enjoy the trip, even if it kills him. And it just might. Because this tour destined for the home of famed mystery author Vanessa Rayburn is taking a potentially deadly turn. A fellow tourist has died under mysterious circumstances and the whispers are flying. Suddenly Carter can’t help but put on his amateur sleuth hat. Everyone’s behavior is suspect, even Carter’s mysterious and attractive roommate, John…

Strangers brought together by chance, mysterious deaths, gossip, and a cast of quirky characters far away from home all come together to form a cozy mystery in Murder Takes the High Road. Strains of Agatha Christie float through this tale which was enjoyable, but was missing that ineffable Josh Lanyon spark.

Murder Takes the High Road is a bit difficult for me to review and I spent over a month mulling it over because I don’t really have much to say about the story, either positive or negative. Ms. Lanyon is an excellent writer so this isn’t a bad book by any means. But it unfolds slowly and the sizeable set of characters Carter either chooses to or is forced to interact with aren’t very interesting. They’re like pieces in a chess set, moving across the board that is the mystery and are only of interest when they serve the plot. Because most of them are expendable (in the classic murder mystery way), I didn’t care much about their actions and I was much more interested in scenes with just Carter and John. From strangers to lovers, their romance is one I loved watching unfold. Carter is still dealing with the fallout of his breakup with Trevor, but John is no rebound for him. They have excellent chemistry and I loved them together so much that I really hope there is a sequel to this book because I’d love to learn more about John.

Murder Takes the High Road features an interesting mystery, one that’s slow to build but the payoff is worth it. The mystery does take up more page time than the romance, which isn’t a problem per se, but it did leave me wanting more. I’m a big fan of Ms. Lanyon’s work, so I can’t help but compare this book to others of hers that had more energy and drew me into the story more. Still, Murder Takes the High Road is a solid story and if you’re craving a Christie-type tale this book will serve you well.


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/2018/04/review-murder-takes-high-road-by-josh.html

The Joy of Cookies

The Joy of Cookies: Cookie Monster's Guide to Life - Sesame Workshop

Joyful indeed. Do you love Cookie Monster? Of course you do (Who can resist the lovable blue monster?). Then you need this book.

 

And a cookie.

Review: Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston

Hot and Badgered - Shelly Laurenston

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Ever since her mother died, Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan’s biggest job has been to take care of her sisters. Easier said than done and that’s before you take into account the three sisters’ no-good father who is constantly screwing up their lives. Charlie has never been able to rely on anyone, but all that changes when she falls – literally – into Berg Dunn’s life. Berg is a grizzly with a heart of gold and it’s in his nature to protect. After their initial meeting, he can’t get the gorgeous woman with a gun out of his mind. Charlie doesn’t like accepting help, but to protect her sisters she’ll do anything and her father’s latest “scheme” has landed them in more danger than before. And though she believes her family is cursed and doesn’t want to bring that kind of disaster down on the seriously cute Berg, she’s about to learn that this determined grizzly will do anything to capture her heart.

Hot and Badgered is totally bonkers, and I mean that in the very best way. It’s bright, loud, and wholly unique with a ton of zany characters who practically jump off the page and a slow-burn romance that made me smile.

I absolutely loved Berg. He’s big, strong, and protective, but he’s also so damn gone over Charlie that he made me melt. As for Charlie, she’s equally strong and just a bit crazy (partly due to being half honey-badger, partly because…well, take a look at her family). I loved watching Charlie and Berg slowly fall in love. I sighed and smiled as Charlie learned she could lean on Berg, that he understood sibling love and loyalty (he’s a triplet), and that he and his family could take on the MacKilligan crazy and keep rolling. Charlie and Berg’s romance slowly built over the course of the story and it was lovely to watch unfold.

I loved every moment with Charlie and Berg, so for me the one downside of Hot and Badgered is that they did at times feel pushed out of their own story. Max and Stevie (Charlie’s sisters) are every bit as important to the story as Charlie. They’re wild, over the top, interesting characters and I can’t wait to read their books. Max and Stevie added a lot of humor to the story, but they were a whole lotta personality and they did sometimes seem to drown out Charlie and Berg, who were the relatively calm voices. And while Hot and Badgered is the first book in the Honey Badger Chronicles, this series is a spinoff of Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series. As I haven’t read that series, the sheer amount of Pride characters popping up pulled me out of the story a bit, especially when it felt like some cameos were shoehorned in. Perhaps if I had an emotional attachment to the characters I wouldn’t have felt that way, so if you’re a Pride fan you might feel differently than I.

The plot of Hot and Badgered is pretty much impossible to talk about because there are so many storylines and characters that there’s no real way to summarize it. Multiple storylines, at least one of which looks to be a series-long arc, action, danger, and a ton of colorful characters keep the book moving at a breakneck pace. In the hands of a lesser author, this book would have spun out of control, but Ms. Laurenston deftly juggles everything in a truly inspiring way. This was my first foray into Ms. Laurenston’s work and I will definitely be coming back for more. If you’re looking for a paranormal romance that’s unique, Hot and Badgered definitely fits the bill.


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/2018/04/review-hot-and-badgered-by-shelly.html

Review: The Earl in My Bed by Stacy Reid

The Earl in My Bed - Stacy Reid

3.75 stars - Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Sylvester and Daphne haven’t had an easy marriage. Six years ago they met and had an instant connection; one that was spoiled when Daphne’s father threatened to ruin Sylvester’s sister unless the earl came to heel. Since their fateful wedding, Sylvester has pretty much ignored Daphne, and the love she had for him has given way to a desperation to break free from the holding pattern she’s been in for years. Daphne is determined to court a scandal so big her husband will be forced to divorce her. There’s just one hitch in her plan: her husband doesn’t want a divorce.

Having recently escaped an assassination attempt, Sylvester believes it’s time to do his duty and beget an heir. Only Daphne isn’t exactly prepared to welcome him with open arms. For the first time, Sylvester is seeing past his own anger to truly look at Daphne. And he’ll have to do some heavy wooing if he wants to keep the wife he’s only just realizing is his perfect match.

I love good second chance romance and The Earl in My Bed fits that favored trope fairly well. Daphne and Sylvester have been in a strange freeze for the past six years – married, yet not. Sylvester is the only man Daphne has ever craved, but I loved that she didn’t just fall into his arms when he decided he wanted to be her husband in truth. Sylvester has his reasons for having been cold toward Daphne for years. Her father’s machinations nearly cost his sister her life and that’s not something a sibling can look past. Did I want to shake Sylvester for placing blame on Daphne? Of course. But Stacy Reid does a good job of balancing his flaws with strengths. Sylvester is fighting hard to abolish slavery in all British territories, risking his life in the process. He’s not a good husband at the beginning of this story, but he is a good man which means you want to see him succeed. I enjoyed the fact that Sylvester is self-aware enough to realize that he has royally screwed up with Daphne. She’s a kind, patient woman who has reached her breaking point because of him. Their romance in is slow to build, mostly because there’s so much distrust and hurt. I liked that the love story unfolded organically, that Daphne and Sylvester got to truly know one another before things heated up.

The Earl in My Bed is the second book in the Rebellious Desires series, but it can easily be read as a standalone (though it was lovely to get to see Georgiana and Rhys again). I always get caught up in Ms. Reid’s writing and this story was no exception. I finished this book looking forward to what scandals the next Rebellious Desires book has in store for readers.


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/2018/04/review-earl-in-my-bed-by-stacy-reid.html

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo - Marlon Bundo, Jill Twiss, Richard Parsons

"Because it doesn’t matter if you love a girl bunny or a boy bunny or eat your sandwich backward or forward. Stink bugs are temporary. Love is forever."

This is a sweet, wonderful, positive children's book.

Truly, this is the better Bundo book. And 100% of the proceeds go to The Trevor Project and AIDS United, which makes it even better.