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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).

Review: The Lemon Sisters by Jill Shalvis

The Lemon Sisters - Jill Shalvis

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Love – romantic and familial – is the heart of The Lemon Sisters. Jill Shalvis returns to Wildstone with a book that shows love is messy, complicated, and rarely easy, but oh, so worth it.

Brooke Lemon was an adventurer who sprinted out of Wildstone at a breakneck pace before an accident grounded her and made her feel like she lost herself. It’s been seven years since she returned home and her relationship with her sister, Mindy, is strained. But when Mindy needs her, Brooke steps up. To give Mindy a break, Brooke takes her niece and nephews home to Wildstone, where she’ll have to face old ghosts. I adored Brooke from the start. She carries invisible wounds she’s told no one about and she’s a bit isolated from those she loves at the start of the story. But she doesn’t hesitate to give her sister a break and carry her load. Caring for three spirited children is a bit overwhelming, but it’s Mindy’s sexy neighbor who really throws Brooke off her stride. Garrett was Brooke’s first and only love, but the way their relationship ended means he wants to stay clear of her. Only the two of them can’t resist the pull and it’s not hard for a romance to rekindle when the sparks never died. Like Brooke, Garrett was easy to like. He’s a good man with a huge heart and he rolls with both Lemon sisters’ zaniness pretty easily. Brooke and Garrett are clearly meant to be, but they’re both guarded, wounded, and it’s not easy for either of them to take a risk again. I was rooting for them every step of the way and they broke my heart and put it back together more than once.

Mindy and her husband Linc are the book’s secondary romance and theirs was engaging as well. The two of them are still clearly in love, but love isn’t enough when one person is clearly drowning and the other is working too much to see it. I had a harder time connecting to Mindy, possibly because, like Brooke, I’m the younger sister and have had to handle some of the kinds of things Mindy threw at Brooke. But I could see why Mindy was so tightly-wound and desperately trying to control the chaos in her house. Linc is a good man, but he’s a bit clueless about how hard it is for Mindy to raise their energetic children, run a business, and keep their home perfectly organized while he works long hours. It was nice seeing Linc put in the effort to take his share of the load and to watch he and Mindy reconnect.

The bonds of sisterhood are as central to The Lemon Sisters as the romance. Brooke and Mindy have a strained relationship and Mindy definitely (unintentionally) hurts Brooke multiple times in a way that is realistic. I was as invested in watching them repair their relationship as I was in the romances because it’s clear the two Lemons do love one another, even if that love is sometimes messy and complicated.

The Lemon Sisters is energetic, fast-paced, and filled with all kinds of fun chaos. There are cute kids, cats with attitude, and good – if flawed – characters who will make you smile. Ms. Shalvis creates the best small towns and I cannot wait to see what happens next in Wildstone.


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/2019/06/review-lemon-sisters-by-jill-shalvis.html

Review: How to Lose a Fiancé by Stefanie London

How to Lose a Fiancé - Stefanie London

3.75 stars - Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

A Greek billionaire meets his match in How to Lose a Fiancé. I’m generally not one for billionaire romances, but how could I resist one where the heroine pulls a reverse Ugly Duckling and is armed with a taxidermy fox? Author Stefanie London does a good job of mixing humor and heart in this story.

All her life, Sophia Andreou has worked to keep her father happy. She’s so close to getting her freedom when the man pulls the rug out from under her and says he’s arranged a marriage for Sophia. Marriage to a Greek billionaire may sound like a dream to some, but Sophia has no desire to be controlled by anyone ever again. She can’t refuse for fear of what might happen to her mother, so she’s determined to drive Dion Kourakis away with eccentric outfits and a few unique interests (see aforementioned fox). Sophia is a kind, likeable heroine who’s been put in a hard spot and won’t let herself be walked over. I liked her spirit and found her easy to root for. As for Dion, the man has a great deal of patience. He has a heartbreaking past that drives his present and really made me feel for him. I enjoyed watching him roll with the punches and handle whatever Sophia threw at him. I won’t spoil his reasons for agreeing to the arranged marriage in the first place, but suffice it to say they make sense for his character. Dion is pretty much perfect book boyfriend material, so I was eager to see he and Sophia fall in love once he got to see the real her. The two of them are well-suited and there isn’t any false drama, which I greatly appreciated.

How to Lose a Fiancé is the second book in Ms. London’s Greek Billionaires series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. I really enjoyed Sophia and Dion together, but I will admit I didn’t find them or their romance very memorable, which is a bit of a downside for me. Baroness Sasha Foxington III was definitely the breakout star of this book, a fairly impressive feat considering she’s stuffed. But even with this quibble, I still recommend How to Lose a Fiancé to anyone looking for an entertaining contemporary romance that’s fast-paced, warm-hearted, and fun.


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/2019/06/review-how-to-lose-fiance-by-stefanie.html

Review: Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

Waiting for Tom Hanks - Kerry Winfrey

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Waiting for Tom Hanks is a light, fluffy read that’ll make you want to curl up and watch a ’90s rom-com after you finish it. Like our heroine, Annie Cassidy, I grew up watching rom-coms like Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail with my mother. These movies have always been joyful, brought hope, and made you want to find a Tom Hanks-like person of your own. Author Kerry Winfrey drew me in immediately with her buoyant tone and clear love of rom-com tropes.

Waiting for Tom Hanks is a bit of a difficult book for me to review. I wanted to love it; the nostalgia factor alone could easily sell me on this story. But I struggled a lot with Annie’s character and – try as I might to like her – she simply wasn’t the Meg Ryan/Sandra Bullock/Nora Ephron hybrid she envisioned herself as. Annie is a writer with dreams of becoming the next Nora Ephron and finding her very own Tom Hanks. Her obsession with rom-coms was endearing at first and Ms. Winfrey did show why these movies touched Annie so deeply. But Annie’s insistence on framing every event in her love life through the lens of a movie did start to grow tiresome as the story went on. She showed a distinct lack of growth and maturity, and nowhere was this more apparent than in her relationship with Drew. Drew Danforth is a Hollywood hottie filming a rom-com in Annie’s neighborhood. To Annie, Drew is no Tom Hanks and despite the fact that he’s never anything less than nice and patient, she’s pretty rude to him for a good portion of the book. Why Drew falls for her is beyond me and I really wanted to shake the man and tell him to run for it. He’s a funny, likeable hero who loves his family and is genuinely kind to the quirky characters of Annie’s hometown. So why he sticks around a person who runs hot-and-cold, believes every tabloid headline she reads, and alternates between trying to shove him in and push him out of her fantasy narrative is beyond me. The plot requires it, is all I can say.

Annie is the center of Waiting for Tom Hanks and I just couldn’t connect with her. But fortunately Drew and a strong supporting cast lifted the book back up. Annie’s sci-fi/fantasy-loving uncle charmed the heck out of me, her best friend, Chloe, was vibrant and endearing, grumpy coffee shop owner Nick made me smile, the even grumpier Dungeon Master Rick made me smile, and even the slightly odd duck Gary made me laugh (and want to get the details on his marriage because that guy has one crazy interesting story, I’m sure of it). So even though Waiting for Tom Hanks didn’t quite live up to the promise of its premise, I would still read more of Ms. Winfrey’s work.


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

 

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2019/06/review-waiting-for-tom-hanks-by-kerry.html
SPOILER ALERT!

His Whiskey Sour

His Whiskey Sour - Kim Loraine

I really liked the first part of His Whiskey Sour. It was fun, flirty, and fast-paced. Unfortunately, the second part was incredibly disappointing (reasons why at the bottom below the spoiler alert).

As for the audio book narration, I really liked the duet format where the male narrator voices all the male parts, even in the female POV and vice versa. As for the narrators themselves, Zachary Webber was a great Easton but I was kinda meh on Kylie C. Stewart's Ireland.

 

 

SPOILERS BELOW

Reasons I didn't love this book:

 

- The dreaded BIG MISUNDERSTANDING. Unless Ireland was tuning Easton out, she knew enough about his past to put two-and-two together and not assume he was a guy who abandoned his kid. Hell, even if she wasn't listening wouldn't you ASK the guy you're supposedly in love with about his life rather than make a cryptic comment because of a tabloid article you read? If your faith in someone can be shattered by one tabloid headline (people believe those?), then you're right - you shouldn't be with them. Easton should have cut his losses and ran.

- Unprotected sex after knowing each other for two days.

- Easton was a great hero, but Ireland really got on my nerves. She was burned by a musician in the past, so she holds Easton's profession against him. Plus she was just immature at times.

- Extreme insta-love. I'm a bit tired of insta-love, but it's not something I automatically dislike. But falling in love and getting married in less than a week is a bit much considering how little Ireland and Easton knew about each other.

Review: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Ayesha At Last - Uzma Jalaluddin

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Uzma Jalaluddin puts her own spin on Pride and Prejudice with Ayesha at Last. I cannot resist Jane Austen retellings, so I eagerly dove into this tale. What I found was not just a fresh new take on a classic, but an engaging story in its own right with memorable characters.

Ayesha Shamsi is a poet who has to put aside her dreams for practicality. She doesn’t have the privileges her flighty cousin does, nor she does she resent the younger woman her stream of potential matches, though many in her community arch their eyebrows that Ayesha is still unmarried at twenty-seven. Ayesha is a smart, likeable heroine who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She’s also just a little bit lonely, so of course I wanted her to find love with Khalid. Khalid Mirza grabbed my heart faster than you can say “Mr. Darcy.” He’s a conservative Muslim man and dresses as such, which means he’s often the target of quick judgments even among other Canadian Muslims like Ayesha (not to mention the venom from the Islamophobe at his office). People often judge Khalid by the way he dresses and his quiet reserve is mistaken for condescension. Khalid is shy, a bit awkward at times, and not without his flaws. But he’s also quick, loyal, and endearing once you get past the surface. Sparks strike immediately between Khalid and Ayesha, but they definitely don’t get along. It’s a clash between traditional and non-traditional views at first, with both characters certain they are right. It was fun to watch Ayesha and Khalid work past their misconceptions, to see what’s beneath the surface. Their romance develops organically over the course of the tale, in quiet moments as they find middle ground, and the two of them made me melt.

Ayesha at Last is filled with vibrant secondary characters who help bring the book to life. I can’t count the number of times Ayesha’s grandparents made me smile and oh, how I would love to read a book about Khalid’s sister, Zareena. The only downside to such an energetic supporting cast is that they sometimes pulled focus from Khalid and Ayesha. This is especially the case when it comes to Ayesha’s spoiled cousin, Hafsa, and Khalid’s mother, Farzana. If there’s one thing I never wanted from Pride and Prejudice, it was more page time devoted to Lydia and Lady Catherine de Bourgh. I did sometimes lose patience with the drama in this story, but by the end Ms. Jalaluddin brought all the characters to a satisfying conclusion.

In Ayesha at Last Uzma Jalaluddin blends many elements of Austen’s classic with contemporary romance and Muslim traditions and culture. So even though some of the drama was a bit much for me at times, it was balanced by sweet moments like watching a modern day Lizzie and Darcy fall in love during a paratha making lesson. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Ms. Jalaluddin writes 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/2019/06/review-ayesha-at-last-by-uzma-jalaluddin.html

Review: Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh

Wolf Rain - Nalini Singh

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Return to the beloved world of the SnowDancer pack in Wolf Rain. I love all of Nalini Singh’s pairings, no matter what the combination of human, Psy, or Changeling is, but I admittedly have a soft spot for Psy-Changeling pairings. Combine that with returning to an area in the Psy-Changeling world that already has a strong grip on my heart and it’s no surprise I was eager to dive into this book. Ms. Singh did not disappoint. Alexei and Memory are engaging, interesting, endearing protagonists and their romance is lovely to watch unfold.

Memory is a survivor, a fighter, and – quite simply – a wonderful heroine. She was kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, suffered mental violations that would break most, and still managed to keep her core self alive and vibrant. We first meet her after a heartbreaking loss, one that touched me deeply, and I was immediately drawn to her. I loved her spirit and strength, how even though she was physically weakened and led to believe she’s a monster she doesn’t break. When she’s introduced to the empaths, Arrows, and Changelings, Memory blossoms, quickly coming into her own when she has friendship and support. I loved her journey and was eager to see her find love with the Alexei. The gorgeous wolf is loving, a protector to the core, and bears invisible wounds that bleed daily. He’s lost so much, but he never stops giving. Alexei melted my heart and I was glad to see him start to heal over the course of the story. He and Memory fit one another like lock and key and their slide into love is seamless. I loved watching them challenge each other and their romance was fun, sexy, and heartwarming all at once.

Wolf Rain is the third book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series, but fans of the original Psy-Changeling books will be delighted to see many of their favorite heroes and heroines play supporting roles in this story. Whether you’re new to the series or are a longtime fan, it’s impossible not to be drawn to the supporting cast. The SnowDancer and DarkRiver packs are filled with wonderful, vibrant characters that bring warmth and energy to the page. They add depth to the world while never pulling focus from Memory or Alexei and I loved seeing all the various friendships intertwine and come into play. I recommend at least being familiar with the Psy-Changeling world before starting Wolf Rain, as the troubled state of the PsyNet is an important plotline. The PsyNet is barely holding together with the help of the empaths, and a new power has arrived that could mean the disintegration of large parts of the Net, killing thousands of Psy at a time. I found this storyline as compelling as the romance and I love how Ms. Singh keeps developing her world in new and fascinating ways. The only downside to this is that after I finished the book I desperately wanted to keep going and discover what happens next in the Psy-Changeling Trinity world.


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/2019/06/review-wolf-rain-by-nalini-singh.html

Review: Love at the Shore by Teri Wilson

Love at the Shore - Teri Wilson

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Love at the Shore is the perfect beach read. It’s a sweet story with endearing characters, a scene-stealing dog, and a romance that will make you smile.

Jenna is a single mom and an author with a hit debut under her belt. She’s taking her kids to the shore for the summer, hoping that while they’re at camp she can get over her writer’s block and finish the sequel she needs to submit in five weeks. It’s easy to like Jenna. She’s a loving parent, a good friend, and though she may come across as tightly-wound, the stress she’s under makes it understandable and her organizational bent made me smile. Her well-ordered world is knocked off its axis when she meets her neighbor, Lucas, and his energetic dog. Lucas may seem like a total beach bum at first glance, but I loved peeling the layers back to his character. Lucas is charming and easy-going, sure, but he has a good heart and the way he bonds with Jenna’s adorable kids is sure to make you melt.

Strikes spark between Lucas and Jenna at first meeting, but it was fun watching them initially try to deny the attraction. What follows is a slow-burn romance that is a joy to watch unfold. Teri Wilson’s writing always keeps me engaged and this story is no exception. The setting and the characters come to life on the page and I finished this book a well-satisfied reader. Love at the Shore is based on the Hallmark movie of the same name. Though I haven’t yet seen the movie, I hope it has the same energy and heart Ms. Wilson’s book does.


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/2019/05/review-love-at-shore-by-teri-wilson.html

Review: The Wicked Viscount by Heather McCollum

The Wicked Viscount - Heather McCollum

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Cat Campbell is a healer, a fighter, and a Highland Rose. She’s a plain-speaking woman who fights with bow and arrow or dagger rather than words. But when Queen Catherine needs the help of a Highland Rose in court, Cat is the best candidate to go to her aid. Whitehall is a world away from what Cat knows, filled with scheming, politics, and words that could be far more deadly than a knife. The only person she can trust is her escort, Viscount Nathaniel Worthington, whose sisters run the Highland Roses School. Nathaniel drives her mad, mostly due to the attraction that’s been simmering between the two of them for over a year. Close quarters make the pull between them harder to resist. But can their burgeoning relationship survive the danger that awaits them at court?

Two strong-willed characters with excellent chemistry find love in The Wicked Viscount. Heather McCollum has brought both the glamour and the seedy underbelly of seventeenth century court life to life in this book, but it’s the Nathaniel and Cat who grabbed my attention from the start and made the pages of the story fly by.

Cat is very much a rose with thorns; beautiful but deadly. She’s smart, honest, and even when out of her depth and under pressure she stands strong. Cat has survived tremendous loss and hardship and has vulnerabilities, yet she remains a fierce protector willing to stand up for anyone who needs it. I adored her from the start and I couldn’t wait to see her fall in love with Nathaniel. Nathaniel was raised in his father’s image, but he’s a far different man from his sire. He has a strong core of honor, a protective streak a mile wide, and a distaste for the machinations at court. I was excited to see Nathaniel and Cat get together, as they struck sparks off one another in previous Campbell books. The two of them did not disappoint. The energy between them crackles and their dialogue as they travel to London made me smile more than once. When they give into their desires, The Wicked Viscount gets deliciously – dare I say it? – wicked. While it’s clear they’re made for each other, the ghosts of Cat’s past and the bindings his father’s will have placed on Nathaniel mean that love may not be enough for them to get their happily ever after.

Queen Catherine did not call for a Highland Rose out of misplaced alarm, which means much of The Wicked Viscount deals with unearthing traitors, palace politics, and venomous mean girls. Much like Cat, I’m not one for court gossip, deception, or intrigue but I was still engaged in the story, especially when seeing things through Cat’s eyes. I cannot say much about what happens at court for fear of spoiling the story. Suffice it to say that Ms. McCollum kept things interesting and I enjoyed watching the action build to an exciting climax.

The Wicked Viscount is the third book in the Campbells series (previously known as the Highland Roses School series), but it can easily be read as a standalone. I’ve enjoyed every book in this series with its brave Highland Roses who defend themselves and others and the men who love them and do the same. I cannot wait to return to the Highlands and see what Ms. McCollum has in store for the next Campbell hero or heroine!


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/2019/05/review-wicked-viscount-by-heather.html

Review: Just Past Two by Elia Winters

Just Past Two (Comes in Threes #2) - Elia Winters

3.75 stars - Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Just Past Two is an interesting, engaging story about a married couple who are completely in love but perhaps their relationship isn’t all it could be. After college, Abby buried her wild past like it was a shameful secret, determined to become what she believes a successful, respectable person should be. When her secrets start to come out at her college reunion, she’s scared of what her straight-laced husband, Sam, will think of her. Abby is shocked to learn that not only does Sam not judge her, he’s intrigued and the two of them begin to explore their fantasies and reevaluate how they’ve defined their marriage.

Elia Winters always writes sex-positive books and Just Past Two is no exception. While Abby does judge herself, I loved watching her work through this and come to the understanding that there is nothing wrong or shameful about her desires, even if they don’t fit the conventional lines society has drawn. It helps that she has such a supportive partner in Sam. Sam has a vanilla past, but once he’s given the freedom to explore his desires, he isn’t afraid to communicate with Abby about what he wants and to listen to what she wants. It isn’t always easy for them, as neither wants the other to get hurt or feel like they don’t completely love them.

It’d be remiss of me to write about Just Past Two and not mention how hot the book is. As Sam and Abby explore their fantasies, things get wonderfully dirty pretty quickly and they stay that way. The one niggling issue I had with this is that I wish the book were a bit longer. Abby and Sam explore multiple kinks and since we don’t dive too deeply into Sam’s character I would have liked to spend more time in his head. Abby’s journey from beginning to end felt earned and at times I felt like Sam’s was glossed over. Still, I enjoyed Just Past Two overall. I loved the communication between Sam and Abby, the way they addressed their fears, expectations, and feelings honestly. And it doesn’t hurt that erotic moments were sexy as sin. I finished this book a well-satisfied reader and I cannot wait to see what the next Comes in Threes story brings.


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/2019/05/review-just-past-two-by-elia-winters.html

Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue - Casey McQuiston

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

You know those books that just make you happy you’ve read them? The kind with characters who grab your heart and a story that makes you smile days after you’ve finished reading it? Red, White & Royal Blue is one of those books for me. Casey McQuiston’s debut is bright, engaging, fun, sexy, and the deeper you fall into the story the more it touches your heart.

Alex is the son of the first female President of the United Sates and a California senator. He’s whip-smart, politically savvy, and can charm anyone. Anyone, that is, but the Prince of Wales. From the moment they met, Alex and Henry were oil and water. And when Alex’s irritation with the prince escalates into an altercation at a royal wedding, the two find themselves needing to do some transatlantic damage control. A fake friendship leads to a real one...that leads to something much more.

I’ll be honest: at first I wasn’t sure I’d like Alex. He was smart, charming, and I adored his relationship with his sister, June, and his best friend Nora, the granddaughter of the Vice President. But Alex was also a bit arrogant and had a beef with Henry, who I freely admit won me over from the start. However, by a third of the way in I was getting to know Alex and understand him better. Not only did I start to like him, but by the end of the book I completely loved him. He’s unbelievably funny, deeply loyal, caring, and his desire to fight for what’s right shines bright. He’s also the perfect match for Henry. Henry’s life has never been entirely his own and he’s been taught to guard his heart and hide a big part of who he is. The part of him that Alex originally sees isn’t the true man at all, but the polished, uncontroversial mask he wears as member of the royal family. I loved learning about Henry through Alex’s eyes and to see both young men come fully into their own over the course of their story.

As individuals, Alex and Henry are delightful heroes who are easy to become attached to. As a couple they are phenomenal. Their slide from dislike to friendship to lust to love is beautifully done and allows the love story to develop organically. Between the top-notch banter and Alex and Henry’s fantastic chemistry, I can’t count the number of times the two of them made me laugh or touched my heart. There are so many joyful, sweet, and sensual moments in Red, White & Royal Blue that I dare your heart not to melt.

It’s not an easy road to happily ever after; the reality of both Henry and Alex’s political situations means that love may not be enough to see them and their families through. A good portion of the romance is interwoven with Alex’s mother’s bid for reelection. I loved how Ms. McQuiston handled both and I found this storyline compelling. The America of Red, White & Royal Blue isn’t perfect (homophobia, racism, and sexism do still exist), but the chords of hope, optimism, and determination that run through this book were uplifting and made me tear up a time or two.

I truly loved Red, White & Royal Blue. Henry and Alex’s story was vibrant, emotional, and deeply compelling. The characters were quick on the draw and the banter alone could have made me enjoy this book. Add in a richly-drawn cast and a romance that made my heart sing and it’s clear why I could not help but fall in love with this story. I desperately hope we get books for Henry and Alex’s loved ones (Nora was a particular favorite of mine), but no matter what Casey McQuiston has in store for readers, I’ll be first in line to buy her work.


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

 

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2019/05/review-red-white-royal-blue-by-casey.html

Shelter in Place

Shelter in Place - Nora Roberts

4.25 stars

5+++ stars for the beginning - it's heartbreaking, intense, and tragically all-too-timely. Simone, Reed, and their friends' journeys, watching how they coped, grew, and changed over the years - all of it was top-notch

3.5 stars for the romance - I liked Reed and Simone as individuals (especially Reed) and together and their romance was solid, but it wasn't as engaging as the rest of the book nor was it memorable like many of NR's other couples. Perhaps it was that the instalove just didn't do it for me. I'm burnt out on instalove in general, so take that into account.

Planetary Submissives

Zall's Captain (Planetary Submissives Book 3) - Amber Kell

Every story in this trilogy (ChaliceOrlin's Fall, and Zall's Captain) is brain candy, which is all well and good - suspend disbelief and they're pretty fun.

The one bummer is that each story had a lot of potential and if they had been fleshed out into full-length books, they might have been something really interesting.

Review: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

The Bride Test - Helen Hoang

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

 

The Bride Test is a fast-paced, engaging romance. Helen Hoang writes such vibrant, emotionally honest characters that I can’t help but be sucked into her stories.

Esme broke my heart and put it back together more than once. Normally I have issues with characters who keep secrets, but I understood Esme’s actions and because Ms. Hoang writes her struggles so well, her keeping secrets didn’t frustrate me like it normally would. Esme is a hardworking, kind soul who has been repeatedly made to feel like she’s not good enough, not “classy” enough, not deserving, and so forth. Her mix of strength and vulnerability grabbed my heart and I loved watching her come into her own, to learn that she is worthy in every way. Her personal journey was one of my favorite parts of The Bride Test and I was rooting for her success every step of the way. Watching her find love was really a bonus and when the hero in question is Khai, it’s a big bonus. Khai is brilliant and kind, but he has ghosts in his past which make him feel like he has a heart of stone. Khai is autistic and – as with her last book, The Kiss Quotient – Ms. Hoang does an incredible job of writing a protagonist with autism. The fact that he’s autistic doesn’t define Khai, but it is a part of him and Ms. Hoang shows how this affects his internal and external reactions in a realistic way. I adored both Khai and Esme, so of course I wanted to see them get their happily ever after. The two of them fit well together, but there was an ineffable spark that just seemed to be missing from their romance. As invested as I was in the characters, their love story was a bit of a letdown because there was nothing pulling me in, no electric chemistry to make their falling in love a compelling journey.

The Bride Test is the second book in the Kiss Quotient series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. I did like the few appearances Michael (of The Kiss Quotient) made, though they did have the unfortunate side effect of reminding me how much more exciting his and Stella’s chemistry was. It would also be remiss of me to write about The Bride Test and not mention Quan. I desperately hope Quan gets a book soon because Khai’s sexy, loving, compassionate brother just about stole every scene he’s in. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Bride Test. While I had some issues with the romance, the characters were so interesting and richly drawn that I finished the story a satisfied reader, one who hopes for more Kiss Quotient books.


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/2019/05/review-bride-test-by-helen-hoang.html

Review: Tightrope by Amanda Quick

Tightrope - Amanda Quick

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

After a brush with death, former trapeze artist Amalie Vaughn has started fresh in Burning Cove. She and her aunt have purchased a mansion that was once owned by a famous psychic who came to an ill end and they’ve turned it into the Hidden Beach Inn. But when their first guest – Dr. Norman Pickwell – is murdered by his robot creation, the rumors start flying that perhaps the inn is cursed. Enter Matthias Jones, an investigator connected to Burning Cove’s most notorious mobster. Matthias is on the hunt for a prototype of a cipher machine Pickwell is rumored to have had. And he’s not the only one on the hunt for the machine, which means Amalie is now in danger. With her life and her business on the line, Amalie isn’t content to sit on the sidelines while Matthias investigates. Close quarters means the sizzling attraction between them is nearly impossible to resist. But if Matthias and Amalie want a chance to find out if that attraction could lead anywhere, they have to survive the dangerous figures closing in on them…

High glamour meets dark and dangerous secrets in Tightrope. I love the world of Burning Cove that Amanda Quick has created so I was eager to dive into this book. I’ve gone back and forth in the days since I read Amalie and Matthias’s story and while I did enjoy reading it, to me it simply wasn’t one of Ms. Quick’s more memorable stories. Amalie and Matthias are both likeable protagonists. Amalie has a strong spine, which I liked, and Matthias’s human lie-detector ability (a callback to Ms. Quick’s Arcane Society series) was intriguing. However, I never felt like I got to see too far beneath the surface, which was a pity. Their romance felt like a bit of an afterthought, though the bones of a good love story were there. The ineffable spark I’m used to from Ms. Quick’s characters seemed to be missing, so I wasn’t as invested as I would have liked to be. Don’t get me wrong – neither the characters nor the romance were bad, merely not as engaging as I would have liked.

The mystery and suspense elements are where the energy is at in Tightrope. There’s quite a bit going on that I can’t really talk about without spoiling the story. Murder and a missing cipher machine are only the beginning of the action. Ms. Quick deftly handles multiple plotlines and points of view, weaving things together so well that by the time everything comes to a head you won’t want to put the book down.

Tightrope is the third book in the Burning Cove series, but it can be read as a standalone. Characters from The Girl Who Knew Too Much and The Other Lady Vanishes do play supporting roles and fans of the series will delight in seeing some favorite faces again. Even though I was a bit let down by the romance part of this romantic suspense, the mystery elements and rich atmosphere were highly entertaining.


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/2019/05/review-tightrope-by-amanda-quick.html

Review: Lord Bredon and the Bachelor’s Bible by Mia Marlowe

Lord Bredon and the Bachelor’s Bible (The House of Lovell #2) - Mia Marlowe

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Lord Bredon and the Bachelor’s Bible is a charming second chance romance with likeable characters and a satisfying happily ever after. In the wake of his father’s death, Edward Lovell, Earl of Chatham, is in need of funds in order to save his estates. Edward is an honorable man who feels the weight of responsibility toward those who depend on him, which is why it’s easy to swallow his decision to marry for money. When he discovers a guide to the wealthiest debutantes of the season, it seems a sign. All Edward has to do is marry Martha Finch and his problems will be solved. It’s a practical decision and given his title and looks it shouldn’t be too difficult to secure the lady’s hand. There is just one problem: Martha’s sponsor is Lady Anne Howard, the woman Edward once loved and lost. Like Edward, Anne is a sympathetic protagonist. She has suffered heartbreaking loss and an unhappy marriage; widowhood is freedom and she isn’t looking to give that up.

The connection between Anne and Edward is positively electric and it’s clear they’re made for each other, which made it easy enough to root for their happily ever after. But Edward’s duty to his title and the financial strain that goes with it isn’t a simple obstacle to overcome. I enjoyed seeing the push-pull both feel between duty and desire. With Anne and Edward so often finding themselves at an impasse, the story did sometimes slow down, but I wasn’t overly bothered by this and read the book in one sitting. There was an interesting mystery thrown in near the end of the story and the bulk of the action in the book takes place in the last quarter. I do wish the intensity had been turned up on the suspense plotline and woven more through the book, but I did like the way multiple plotlines converged at the book’s climax. There was also an interesting reveal in the story (one I can’t reveal without spoiling the book), but nothing came of it, which was a pity because it would have been interesting to see Edward’s reaction.

Lord Bredon and the Bachelor’s Bible is the second book in Mia Marlowe’s House of Lovell series. You don’t have to have read The Singular Mr. Sinclair in order to follow along, so long as you don’t mind some minor spoilers. As a fan of the first book, I was delighted to revisit Caroline and Lawrence and I’m sure readers new to the Lovell family will enjoy their scenes as well. Overall I liked Lord Bredon and the Bachelor’s Bible quite a bit, but I will admit that two days after finishing the book neither the story nor the characters stand out in my mind. Still, it’s an enjoyable story to pass the hours with and I do hope Ms. Marlowe continues the House of Lovell series because I’d love to read Ben Lovell’s 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/2019/04/review-lord-bredon-and-bachelors-bible.html

Review: The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

The Wedding Party (The Wedding Date #3) - Jasmine Guillory

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

The moment Maddie Forest and Theo Stephens met sparks flew – and not in a good way. Yet though they rub each other the wrong way, they are both best friends with Alexa Monroe. So when she needs them, Maddie and Theo put aside their differences for the sake of their friend. Except one night something happens and the simmering sexual tension that’s been lying in wait beneath their barbs boils over and Maddie and Theo wind up in bed together. Once they give into passion, it’s harder for them to resist the pull between them – especially since being in Alexa’s wedding party throws them together. Neither of them wants Alexa to find out, get her hopes up, then be crushed when Theo and Maddie inevitably break up, so they agree to a secret affair. Only the longer they spend in each other’s company, the more the two of them find out that the person they love to hate might just be the one they’re meant to love…

The Wedding Party is an enemies-to-lovers story at its finest. In Maddie and Theo’s romance Jasmine Guillory has delivered a story that’s sexy, sweet, funny, and just plain charming.

Maddie is the kind of heroine you wish were real so you could be friends with her. She’s bright, kind, funny, and loyal. She’s also a talented stylist working on building her business and I loved the peeks we got into her career. On the surface, Maddie comes off as more relaxed which is part of the reason she and Theo – a man she at first believes to be condescending – don’t hit it off when they first meet. Theo is the mayor of Berkeley’s press secretary and on the surface he’s straight-laced and unflappable. But though he’s focused and dedicated to his job, there’s so much more to him. Yes, Theo is the kind of man who makes margaritas from scratch (down to the simple syrup), but I loved that about him. I adored watching Maddie and Theo peel back one another’s layers and see that they’re not so different after all. The two of them just click in bed and out. Their slide from lust to love is seamless and simply lovely to watch unfold.

The Wedding Party is set in the same world as The Wedding Date and parts of Alexa and Drew’s story are woven through this book. But if you don’t mind some minor spoilers then Theo and Maddie’s story can be read as a standalone. The Wedding Party has all the things I enjoy about Ms. Guillory’s books: it’s fast-paced, fun, and the happily ever after leaves you smiling. Another aspect of this story that also appeared in The Wedding Date and The Proposal is that it features protagonists who are both focused on furthering their careers and each respects and supports the other’s work – I cannot express how much I love this. Every book I’ve read of Ms. Guillory’s I enjoy more than the last and I cannot wait to see what she 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/2019/04/review-wedding-party-by-jasmine-guillory.html