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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)
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Review: The Governess Was Wanton by Julia Kelly

The Governess Was Wanton (The Governess Series Book 2) - Julia Kelly



Mary Woodward is a highly sought-after governess with a talent for guiding her charges through the season and promoting good matches. Eric Bromford, the fourth Earl of Asten, is a father at his wit’s end and desperate for Mary’s services. Eric isn’t your typical lord. He’s widower and a doting father who cares very much for his daughter’s happiness, education, and general well-being. He simply cannot understand why Eleanora is suddenly unhappy and picking fights with him, which is when Mary enters the picture. Mary is quick to spot the problem – or rather the people causing the problem – in the earl’s life, but that isn’t what makes things complicated. Rather, it’s the attraction she and Eric feel toward one another that threatens to turn both their worlds upside down. A romance between an earl and his daughter’s governess is a dangerous proposition, but some passions burn too hot to be ignored…

The Governess Was Wanton is a delightful historical romance with a Cinderellatwist. This second book in Julia Kelly’s Governess series is fast-paced, sweet, and engaging, thanks mostly to the endearing lead characters.

It’s clear from the start that Mary and Eric make a great match. They’re both intelligent, hardworking, caring people and if it weren’t for the difference in their stations, no one would bat an eyelash at the two of them falling in love. But since this is 1850s London, the two of them are rocked by their initial physical attraction to one another. Eric is honorable to a fault and would never abuse his position of power by seducing Mary. For her part, Mary knows that to give into her desires would lead to her ruin. The sexual tension is electric, but it’s their growing emotional attachment and the way they come fully into their own in each other’s company that really sold me on their love story. Add in some fairytale villains and a lovely teenage fairy godmother and you have a solidly entertaining story. There may not be much that’s fresh or new about The Governess Was Wanton, but it is unquestionably entertaining. Ms. Kelly has a smooth writing style, the dialogue was excellent, and the characters made me smile more than once. I adored Mary and Eric’s romance from beginning to end and I’m looking forward to re-reading it in the near future.

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

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/10/review-governess-was-wanton-by-julia.html

Review: My Brown-Eyed Earl by Anna Bennett

My Brown-Eyed Earl (The Wayward Wallflowers) - Anna Bennett



My Brown-Eyed Earl is a cute historical romance with potential. Anna Bennett’s debut, and the first in the Wayward Wallflowers series, has some sweet and humorous moments, but ultimately it’s a story that I wanted to like a lot more than I actually did.

Will and Meg are both lovely characters with good dispositions and generally good hearts. They’re not perfect and they make mistakes, but they’re solidly likeable and endearingly vulnerable at times, as are Will’s two charges. Will is a man who needs more purpose in life than rebuilding the family fortune and Meg is a heroine who is determined to save her family from the poorhouse by getting a job as a governess. It’s easy to see right from the beginning that Will, Meg, and the two girls would make an adorable family, but pride, class difference, and social snobbery stand in their way. Still, Will is attracted to Meg from the start. He likes her strong will and sees beyond the ugly dresses she wears, and I liked him all the more for appreciating Meg for her modern outlook. The romance moves at a quick clip, in part due to Meg and Will’s history (though there is a continuity issue in the book that made me uncertain as to how much of a foundation their relationship had before the story began).

Ms. Bennett has a lively writing style that shows a lot of promise. However, I confess I had a hard time remembering either Meg, Will, or this story a couple of days after I finished the book because it felt like I’d seen everything in this story a hundred times before in other historical romances. I actually don’t mind formulaic romances as a rule – so long as it’s a good formula, which it is – but there needs to be something about the story that stands out. All that was unique and memorable to me was one funny (if unimportant) moment involving a ruined dress. What I did remember the most about My Brown-Eyed Earl was that I was routinely drawn out of the story by the numerous historical inaccuracies. I’m more than happy to suspend disbelief and ignore convention in historical romance, but if a story almost entirely ignores the social norms of the time and the consequences of flouting them for the sake of the plot, then it’s going to lose me. There’s also a dreadful villain and a Regency “mean girl” who were so two-dimensional it pained me. Yet even with all these issues, I liked Ms. Bennett’s style and I was intrigued by both Meg’s friend, Charlotte, and her sister Beth. So while My Brown-Eyed Earl wasn’t quite my cup of tea, I am interested in reading the next Wayward Wallflowers book, I Dared the Duke.

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/2016/10/review-my-brown-eyed-earl-by-anna.html

Review: A Fool for You by Katee Robert

A Fool For You (Foolproof Love) - Katee Robert



Is love enough to battle the demons of the past? The answer isn’t an easy one in A Fool for You. Katee Robert wraps up her fantastic Foolproof Love trilogy with the couple everyone has been waiting for: Hope and Daniel.

Hope is a heroine who has suffered devastating loss: the death of her brother, a severe injury that shattered her dreams, and the abandonment of the man she loved when she needed him the most. She has not only survived, but has become a strong, self-aware woman that I respected. Though she loves Daniel still, she doesn’t let him or the ghosts of his past trample over her, but stands up for herself and her unborn child. Ms. Robert made it easy to root for Hope; you want her to get that elusive happily ever after because she’s a great heroine. Daniel has always been the love of Hope’s life, and even after moving on in the intervening thirteen years since she’s seen him, within a few minutes of their reunion all those old feelings come rushing back. An unexpected pregnancy throws them back together and makes them face issues that are long overdue. And though Hope and Daniel have explosive sexual chemistry, passion and even love aren’t necessarily enough to win the day.

Daniel himself is the biggest obstacle in A Fool for You. He’s trapped in the past, in the accident thirteen years ago that killed his best friend and permanently injured Hope. He’s wedded to his guilt, and I questioned whether or not he’d ever make peace with his past well enough to live a full life, never mind be the man Hope deserves. I liked watching Daniel slowly come back to life, but unfortunately his journey didn’t feel quite as satisfying as it should. He’s been living in the past for so long that his fixation on it and the setbacks he suffers are understandable. But the format of the story simply wasn’t long enough for his character arc to be satisfactorily resolved. With so much of the story focused on the erotic pull between Hope and Daniel, it felt like the book should be a bit longer to deal with the weighty emotional issues because the story had the potential to be great. Added to that, the resolution to the book’s central conflict felt abrupt (to the point that I actually double-checked to make sure somehow there wasn’t a glitch that deleted a few pages) and I wish there had been a bit more either in the main story itself or even in an epilogue to make me feel like Hope and Daniel had a solid future.

Even though I had a few issues with Daniel, I cannot deny that I found A Fool for Youto be an addictive read. I couldn’t put it down and I loved getting to see past Foolproof Love heroes and heroines play strong supporting roles. So while I wasn’t crazy about A Fool for You like I was for the fantastic first two books, Foolproof Loveand Fool Me Once, I still enjoyed it, flaws and all.

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/2016/10/review-fool-for-you-by-katee-robert.html

Review: The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

The Trouble with Mistletoe: A Heartbreaker Bay Novel - Jill Shalvis



The Trouble with Mistletoe is like a great batch of Christmas cookies: sweet, satisfying, and impossible to resist. Jill Shalvis ups the charm by a thousand in this second Heartbreaker Bay novel. Keane and Willa’s romance is both naughty and nice, has scene-stealing animals, fantastic friendships, and, best of all, Ms. Shalvis’s signature blend of humor and heart.

Willa has a huge heart and loves animals, the troubled “kids” she watches over, and her friends with abandon. She also has been hurt in the past and is worried about letting a man – particularly a man like Keane – break her already bruised heart. It’s easy to adore Willa because she’s likeable, joyful, and exudes warmth. She’s the kind of character you wish were real so you could have her as a friend. As for Keane, he made me melt. He’s one hot builder, but at first glance he looks like a bad bet for Willa. He doesn’t form attachments and doesn’t look like the kind of guy who would ever settle down. But when you peel back the layers of his character, you’re in for a surprise. Keane’s heart is just as big (and bruised) as Willa’s and the more I learned about him the harder I fell. He and Willa are a great match, but their fears, beliefs about themselves, and their visions of how life and love should be threaten to get into their way. It’s easy to get caught up in their story because Willa and Keane are appealing characters with excellent chemistry. Their love story is fast-paced, vibrant, sensual, and fun, making The Trouble with Mistletoe an excellent story to curl up by the fire with.

The Trouble with Mistletoe is the second book in the Heartbreaker Bay series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. Elle, Archer, Finn, Pru, Spence, and Haley – Willa’s close-knit circle of friends – all play major supporting roles and add a wealth of humor to this book. They bring the world of the story to life and add a lot of spark to the book, but they never take the focus off Willa and Keane, which I appreciated. All in all, I absolutely adored The Trouble with Mistletoe. It’s a feel-good holiday romance that’s sure to entertain all year ’round.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author’s marketing team 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/2016/09/review-trouble-with-mistletoe-by-jill.html

Review: The Goal by Elle Kennedy

The Goal - Elle Kennedy



Tucker, a sexy-as-sin college hockey player with a heart of gold, meets his match in the brilliant, determined Sabrina in The Goal. Elle Kennedy is four-for-four in the Off-Campus series. Every single story has been fun, steamy, and utterly engrossing, and this book is no exception.

I defy you to read The Goal and not fall for Tucker. He’s a hero worthy of the name: warm, funny, protective, intelligent, and has a heart as big as Texas. I can’t count the number of times Tucker made me melt over the course of the story. He’s patient and kind and has gentlemanly manners plus a spectacularly dirty side. In other words, he’s the perfect hero, made even more so by the fact that Ms. Kennedy never made him seem like a cardboard picture of perfection. With a hero as endearing as Tucker, you have to have an excellent heroine to match him and Sabrina fits the bill perfectly. I absolutely adored Sabrina because she’s got a sharp mind, works so hard my heart broke for her, and has an unwavering focus on achieving her goals. She’s also flawed, deeply vulnerable, and only a man like Tucker could break down her walls.

Since it’s in the book blurb, it’s no spoiler to say that an unexpected pregnancy changes Tucker and Sabrina’s lives forever. Sabrina grew up in a horrible situation and is single-minded in her focus to reach her goals and find the security and success she craves. Finding herself pregnant threatens to bring everything crumbling down around her. What I loved about The Goal is – even though they’re both mature for their age – Sabrina and Tucker aren’t unrealistic and the choices they make and paths they take aren’t easy. I was cheering for them every step of the way, wanting them to beat the odds. This is a story of change, and it’s an exceptional one.

The Goal has a lot of heart and that’s what really drew me to the story. Of course, I also loved the sizzling heat between Sabrina and Tucker. Nobody writes a wicked hero quite like Elle Kennedy, and you can bet Tucker has a naughty side. He and Sabrina have explosive chemistry and the emotion and eroticism were perfectly balanced in this story.

The Goal is the fourth book in Ms. Kennedy’s Off-Campus series, and if you don’t mind major spoilers for the third book, The Score, you can read Tucker and Sabrina’s story as a standalone. That being said, you’re missing out if you skip The Deal, The Mistake, and The Score, because Tucker’s roommates and the women who love them are fantastic (and luckily for fans of the series, all play supporting roles in The Goal). I cannot say enough good things about Tucker and Sabrina’s book, and I fear spoiling the story if I go into any more detail. I will say that I was so captivated by this book that I was reading it late into the night until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, then finished it first thing when I woke up the next morning – Tucker and Sabrina are just that addictive. The Goal made me smile, sigh, and it definitely touched my heart. I highly recommend this story to any romance lover!

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/2016/09/review-goal-by-elle-kennedy.html

Review: Blood Red Kiss by Kresley Cole, Larissa Ione, and Gena Showalter

Blood Red Kiss - Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole, Larissa Ione



“The Warlord Wants Forever” (Immortals After Dark, Book 1) by Kresley Cole
Myst the Coveted is the most beautiful of all the Valkyries, the one her enemies have underestimated for centuries. Five years ago vampire warlord Nikolai Wroth made the mistake of doing the same and she left him in agony. Now he’s on the hunt to capture Myst and claim her. For she’s his Bride, and he won’t let the vicious woman who tempts him like no other get away from him again.

I fell in love with “The Warlord Wants Forever” a decade ago, and it remains a favorite of mine to this day! Myst and Wroth’s story is passionate, energetic, and captivating from start to finish. Not only is it the perfect introduction to Kresley Cole’s sizzling Immortals After Dark series, it’s an edgy, exciting paranormal romance all on its own. Myst and Wroth battle in bed and out and their chemistry is simply out of this world. Myst is sassy, fierce, and sometimes vulnerable, and it’s an appealing combination. Wroth is a hardened warrior who is her equal in every way, and he has his work cut out for him if he hopes to become the man – vampire – Myst deserves. Their romance is tumultuous and engaging and no matter how many times I read it, I fall in love all over again. Myst and Wroth are a dynamic pair and the world of the Loreans Ms. Cole has created is vibrant and wholly addictive.

Please note: This is a revised edition of “The Warlord Wants Forever,” but none of the changes to the story were substantive.

“Forsaken by Night” (MoonBound Clan Vampires, Book 2.5) by Larissa Ione
Vampire Lobo was exiled from the MoonBound Clan years ago for breaking the rules using his skinwalker abilities. He’s been a loner ever since, his only comfort being his wolf, Tehya, who he found twelve years ago. His not-quite-solitary existence is turned upside down when Tehya is injured. Lobo is willing to break every rule to save her, but what will he do when she transforms and the wolf he adores becomes a gorgeous, tempting vampire?

I can always count on Larissa Ione to deliver a unique story and “Forsaken by Night” definitely fits the bill. I absolutely adored this fantastic romance that has an unusual beginning. Watching Lobo and Tehya’s love go from platonic to romantic warmed my heart. Both of them have suffered and have been shaped by circumstance, but with each other they find love and acceptance. Their love story is one of risk and sacrifice, and when you add in the sizzling heat between the two vampires, a dash of humor, and the utterly fascinating world of Ms. Ione’s MoonBound Clan Vampires, and it’s easy to see why I found “Forsaken by Night” so appealing.

Readers new to the MoonBound Clan Vampires series can jump in with “Forsaken by Night” and not get lost. That being said, “Forsaken by Night” does contain spoilers for the first two books, Bound by Night and Chained by Night.

“Dark Swan” (Otherworld Assassin, Book 2.5) by Gena Showalter
Lilica was created and raised in a lab, and all that she has in life, all that she cares about, are her sisters. When she learns that Dallas Gutierrez, an Alien Investigation and Removal agent, is a threat to one of them, Lilica decides that she’ll stop him any way she can. Then something goes wrong – or incredibly right – and Lilica’s life is bonded to the tempting man who should be her enemy…

“Dark Swan” features two complex characters falling in love against their better judgment. Gena Showalter delivers an interesting pair in Lilica and Dallas. He’s an AIR agent who isn’t entirely human, and she’s a mix of numerous species with incredible abilities. Both of them have heartbreaking pasts and neither of them are quite what others believe them to be, so watching them come into their own was fantastic. Their bond is the catalyst for their change, but it also speeds up the process of them falling in love when all the odds are against them. It’s clear Dallas and Lilica are attracted to each other from the start, but throw in their sudden bonding and the sexual tension ratchets up a thousand percent. Add in some high stakes and tons of action with Lilica trying to save her sister and Dallas trying to save the world, and you have one exciting story.

“Dark Swan” is a novella from Ms. Showalter’s Otherworld Assassin series, but from my understanding Dallas is a supporting character who first appeared in her Alien Huntress series. Having not read either series, I can say you won’t feel lost jumping into “Dark Swan,” but at the same time it’s not as easy to become invested in the story when you aren’t really familiar with the world. There are also a couple of relationships outside the main romance that I felt I was missing out on the emotional impact because I wasn’t familiar with the characters. That being said, I did like the detail and was intrigued by what I saw in this story, so I’ll definitely go back to the beginning and start with Awaken Me Darkly, the first Alien Huntress book.

Blood Red Kiss features three passionate romances with wonderfully unique characters. Kresley Cole, Larissa Ione, and Gena Showalter are all powerhouse authors and their talents are on clear display in this anthology. Whether you’re a fan of Mses. Cole, Ione, and Showalter or are simply looking to read some dark, seductive paranormal and otherworldly romances, Blood Red Kiss is sure to please.

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/2016/09/review-blood-red-kiss-by-kresley-cole.html

Review: Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Magic Binds - Ilona Andrews



Battle and bloodshed are nothing new to Kate Daniels, but the stakes have never been as high – or as life-changing – as they are in Magic Binds. Kate and Curran are at their best when facing impossible odds, and that’s definitely the case in this fantastic, game-changing story.

All Kate wants to do is have a low-key wedding to the former Beast Lord she loves, gain control of her rapidly growing powers, and defeat her seemingly invincible father so that she and Curran can live happily ever after, only having to go after the average homicidal shifter or megalomaniac magical being. What she gets is a zealous wedding planner, a battle with her own dark side, and, worst of all, double-edged sword of a prophecy. Faced with two horrifying paths to take that will end in unspeakable losses, Kate does what she does best: aims to forge her own path, destiny be damned.

What I love about Magic Binds is how the story focuses both on the personal moments and the overarching storyline. Kate has to do battle not just with her father’s forces, but against herself and the temptation her growing power offers. Kate’s not perfect, and her flaws are what make her the perfect heroine. I love that it’s a struggle for her to stay herself when her own magic is what’s trying to push her in a different direction. If that wasn’t making her life hard enough, she’s got to change her fate and battle her father to do so. Roland – one of the most interesting, complex villains I’ve read about in a long time – throws a hell of a lot Kate’s way. Loyalties, friendships, and even Kate and Curran’s bond are tested and there’s no such thing as waving a magic wand to make everything better. The consequences of Kate and Roland’s actions are all too real, and I loved that the stakes were high and nothing was a guarantee. It’s difficult to talk much about Magic Binds without spoiling the surprises, because there are a number of fascinating twists in the story and each one is incredibly important to the tale. Suffice it to say that Kate Daniels fans are in for one hell of a ride.

Ilona Andrews really knocks it out of the park when combining action and emotion. But even with numerous heavy threats hanging over Kate’s head, the story never feels anything less than light on its feet. And fear not: Ilona Andrews’ signature brand of humor still gets its chance to shine. Kate’s highly unorthodox wedding planner still brings a smile to my face days after finishing the novel. In this story, the light moments and the dark are huge payoffs for readers invested in this series and I love seeing how everything comes together. My only complaint is that I now have to wait to see what happens next. I don’t know how many books are left in the series, but it’s clear that the countdown to the final battle is on and it promises to be one epic 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/2016/09/review-magic-binds-by-ilona-andrews_19.html

Review: Playing It Cool by Amy Andrews

Playing It Cool - Amy Andrews

4.25 stars



Amy Andrews turns the heat on high in Playing It Cool! This second Sydney Smoke Rugby book is sexy, heartwarming, and features a hero and heroine who grabbed my heart from the start and didn’t let go.

Dex is a smokin’ hot rugby player who has worked his butt off to make it to the big leagues. He grew up poor and is holding tight to his work so that he’ll never go back. His determination fuels him day and night, which is why he wants to focus solely on rugby. Women are a distraction, but Harper hits all the right buttons for him. She’s a curvaceous Amazon who makes him drool, and when he sees her stepbrother insulting her about her weight, he can’t help but put the jerk in his place by asking Harper out. Harper is the kind of girl who has “commitment” written all over her, but what harm could one date do? Then he learns one date could never be enough, not with his impossible-to-resist attraction to her. I absolutely loved how Dex was head-over-heels in lust with Harper from the start. He appreciates all of her (not just her looks) and loves that he can be a normal person around her, not a sports star. That doesn’t mean Dex is a perfect hero. He screws up – badly – with Harper and puts his foot in his mouth more than once. Even so, I was rooting for him to pull it together, embrace life fully, and be the hero Harper deserved.

And speaking of Harper, she is definitely my favorite thing about Playing It Cool. I have a soft spot for heroines with body images issues, and Ms. Andrews really did a great job of making this part of Harper’s character without it defining her or overwhelming the story. Harper is a strong, talented woman with a big heart and a bit of a nerdy side. She’s got an absolute [insert your preferred curse word here] of a stepbrother and he and his equally wicked mother have been beating Harper down for years. Harper has confidence, but it does take hits, which I found realistic and only had me cheering her on more. I loved watching her come fully into her own over the course of the story. Harper doesn’t let herself be walked on and she’ll never settle for less than she deserves and that made her an absolute kickass heroine to me. And an awesome heroine like Harper deserves an excellent love story, and she and Dex have a red-hot one. The two of them own their sexuality and their chemistry is palpable – truly an excellent combination.

Playing It Cool is the second story in the Sydney Smoke Rugby series, but it can easily be read as a standalone (though you’re missing out on the fun if you skip Playing By Her Rules). I loved seeing more of the team and I can’t wait to watch more of those Sydney Smoke rugby players fall in love. All in all, I absolutely adored Playing It Cool. It’s fast-paced, hot, fun, and touched my heart at unexpected moments.

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/2016/09/review-playing-it-cool-by-amy-andrews.html

Review: The Governess Was Wicked by Julia Kelly

The Governess Was Wicked (The Governess Series Book 1) - Julia Kelly



Elizabeth Porter is a governess to two young girls with indifferent parents. She adores her charges, even though they’ve been acting out and feigning illness ever since their brother, the heir, was born. Of course, their theatrics do bring the handsome Dr. Edward Fellows to their door, and Elizabeth cannot deny the pleasure his company brings. She knows the doctor can never marry someone like her, but that knowledge does nothing to halt her attraction to him. The longer they are around one another, the more Elizabeth wonders what harm there could be in a stolen moment or two…

The Governess Was Wicked is a bit of a difficult book to review. I wanted to like it a lot more than I actually did. Julia Kelly has a breezy writing style that made the story easy to enjoy, but unfortunately this is one of those tales that the longer I thought about it the less satisfying I found it. Elizabeth and Edward are perfectly likeable characters who have a lot of potential but are never truly fleshed out. They have an easy compatibility and it’s clear to see that they would suit each other well. So why doesn’t he ask her to marry him on page one? It’s honestly not too clear (aside from the fact that there would be no story). The difference in Elizabeth and Edward’s stations isn’t a big leap, and the other obstacles in their path are thrown up and knocked down with little rhyme or reason. They don’t always behave with logic or sense, and though that can work in a story, it has to feel organic and it never did. At the end of the day, The Governess Was Wicked wasn’t my cup of tea, but I did like Ms. Kelly’s writing enough that I’m looking forward to reading about Elizabeth’s friends in the next two Governess 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/2016/09/review-governess-was-wicked-by-julia.html

Review: Because I'm Watching by Christina Dodd

Because I'm Watching - Christina Dodd



Because I’m Watching is an evocative suspense that’ll have you turning the pages late into the night. Christina Dodd has truly outdone herself, because this latest Virtue Falls novel is rich, atmospheric, and just a bit twisted.

Maddie and Jacob have been through hell and neither has quite come out. Jacob was a POW who suffered unspeakable mental and physical torture and he’s suicidal at the beginning of the story. Maddie saves him by almost killing him when she crashes her car through his house. She’s the first person who has captured his interest in years, and watching her, getting to know her, slowly brings him back to the world of the living. Maddie too is broken, tormented. She survived a massacre in her dorm, and just as she was beginning to heal her fiancé was murdered. She can’t sleep, hallucinates, and is tortured by nightmares she can’t tell are real or not. It’s no spoiler to say that Maddie isn’t insane, but is being gaslighted. And while there really isn’t a mystery (to the reader) as to who is behind it or why, that doesn’t make Because I’m Watching any less suspenseful. Ms. Dodd makes you wonder how Jacob will come back to the edge and start to recover, how Maddie will survive her torment, and if these two will ever beat back the demons, both internal and external. Every step of the way danger lurks, and I was fascinated by the unfolding events. Even though there’s a love story in this book, it definitely isn’t like Ms. Dodd’s other work (which is not a criticism of this story, merely a note to readers familiar with Ms. Dodd’s older series but not Virtue Falls). Maddie and Jacob are truly interesting characters and I liked watching them come back to life and fall in love. My only small issue was that I wished the character development at the end hadn’t felt quite as rushed. At the same time, I can see that if it had been drawn out in a more realistic manner the climax wouldn’t have been as thrilling or the result as satisfying.

Because I’m Watching is the third full-length Virtue Falls book but it can be read as a standalone. The overarching world of Virtue Falls and the continuing story of Kateri Kwinault continues to be one of my favorite things about the series. Kateri stole the show for me more than once, and her story takes some interesting, unexpected turns, which left me incredibly excited to see what Ms. Dodd has in store for her. I was also left with a few questions about supporting cast members, but I’m hoping those will be answered in future books. All in all, I found Because I’m Watching to be dark, raw, and compelling and I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen next in Virtue Falls.

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/2016/09/review-because-im-watching-by-christina.html

Review: The Deeper He Hurts by Lynda Aicher

The Deeper He Hurts: A Kick Novel - Lynda Aicher



The Deeper He Hurts is a dark, emotional romance that captivated me from start to finish. There’s no sophomore slump to Lynda Aicher’s Kick series – Ash and Sawyer’s rocky road to a satisfyingly kinky happily ever after is completely addictive.

One of the things I liked best about the first Kick book, The Harder He Falls, was that the heroes weren’t perfect. Ms. Aicher delivers up two more fantastic, flawed heroes in Ash and Sawyer. Ash is an incredibly intelligent, confident man who comes across as almost icy, but actually has a warm and loving heart. Yet for all that Ash is comfortable with who he is, he’s terrified of coming out to his deeply religious family and has to live with the torment of not being himself around those he loves the most. Asher is also a sadist, one who is becoming less and less enamored with play partners who don’t satisfy or match his needs. Sawyer, in turn, is a man who can’t escape the ghosts of his past. He suffered a tragedy that marked him at an impressionable age and he’s never fully coped. He’s reckless with himself, a self-described “pain slut” who plays without limits. He and Ash click immediately, but even though Ash demands that their encounters have rules, Sawyer’s lack of concern for his own safety scares him.

What starts as a temporary arrangement where pain can be doled out and taken turns into something much more very quickly. Sawyer’s need for pain isn’t sexual, but the unexpected attraction between he and Ash makes him actively want something from a sadist other than pain for the first time. I absolutely loved the intensity mixed with the quiet moments as Ash and Sawyer grow close. Sawyer is quick to smirk and even quicker to run, so it’s not easy for he and Ash to fall in love. The angst of their internal battles was fantastic, and this is coming from a reader who can generally take or leave angst in her romance. It’s no simple matter for either man to find peace or to open themselves up to the possibility of the future they could have. That being said, there was a wealth of quiet, intimate moments and even a few spots of levity that balanced out the heavy emotion and kept The Deeper He Hurts from ever feeling weighed down.

The Deeper He Hurts isn’t for the faint of heart. Ash and Sawyer aren’t Dom and sub, but they are sadist and pain slut. There’s heavy, graphic pain play in this book that won’t appeal to everyone. As a trigger warning, there are also references to self-harm. All of this is part of Ash and Sawyer’s characters and I appreciated that Ms. Aicher showed sensitivity to the subjects and didn’t pay lip service to safety.

I highly recommend The Deeper He Hurts. It’s not an easy read by any means, but Sawyer and Ash’s love story is compelling, emotional, and memorable. I loved it and I can’t wait to read the next Kick book, The Farther He Runs.

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-deeper-he-hurts-by-lynda-aicher.html

Review: Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb

Apprentice in Death - J.D. Robb



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



“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 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



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



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