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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: Wife After Wife by Olivia Hayfield

Wife After Wife - Olivia Hayfield

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Wife After Wife is a fresh and imaginative retelling of the story of Henry VIII and his wives. I wasn’t sure how such an expansive story would work when whittled down to one book, but Olivia Hayfield manages it wonderfully, getting the spirit of the real life inspiration and events right while modernizing the story. Spanning from the 1980s to 2018, Wife After Wife is by turns entertaining and tragic.

Whether you know Tudor history or not, this book stands on its own, which is a mark of a good reimagining. Harry Rose’s journey from wealthy playboy to aging mogul facing the music in the modern area is as breezy and frustrating as the man himself. Harry has charm and self-esteem to spare, but he also has this irritating ability to absolve himself of any wrongdoing. Whether it’s cheating on a wife or something even worse, Harry always manages to make himself the victim or the hero, depending on the situation. He’s not a likeable character, but he’s a compelling one and you can see why each of his wives are drawn to him. Ms. Hayfield does a fantastic job with Katie (Catherine of Aragon), Harry’s first wife. She’s an honest-to-goodness kind and generous woman. She’s not saintly, nor is she perfect, and her battles with loss and depression broke my heart. She’s a well-drawn, complex character who is easy to adore and she has a core of strength and kindness which make her shine. Equally well-drawn is Ana (Anne Boleyn). She’s talented, whip-smart, and ambitious. I have a huge soft spot for Anne Boleyn, so it was incredibly easy for me to love Ana. As with her real-life counterpart, I loved and hated her trajectory, watching Harry pursue her and know she was going to give in. I pretty much hated Harry than during Ana’s time in the spotlight, but I did enjoy their tumultuous relationship until its tragic end.

Wife After Wife loses some steam after Ana is out of the picture, which is a pity. But I did love how Ms. Hayfield brought to life the rest of Harry’s wives, with the notable exception of Janette (Jane Seymour), who I found unbearably obnoxious. Anki was a fun and creative spin on Anne of Cleves and Clare (Catherine Parr) rounded out the wives perfectly. The most compelling of the latter four wives was Caitlyn (Catherine Howard). She was the most interestingly crafted alongside Katie and Ana; everything about her storyline broke my heart and once again I found myself loathing Harry. To say he’s an imperfect character would be an understatement, but Ms. Hayfield does an incredible job of blending the loathsome with the charming, creative, and sometimes loving man.

Wife After Wife is a delightfully creative retelling of history. The life and times of each decade really blend well with the story – more so than I ever could have imagined. All in all, the larger-than-life characters made this an entertaining read and I definitely would love to read more about Harry and Ana’s daughter, Eliza.


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/2020/01/review-wife-after-wife-by-olivia.html

Review: Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis

Almost Just Friends - Jill Shalvis

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

After the death of her parents Piper Manning was charged with raising her siblings when she was still a child herself. Now her siblings are grown and Piper is an EMT. She has struggled and works herself nearly to the ground, but there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. If she can fix up the lake house and the cabins her grandparents left Piper and her siblings, she’ll finally be able to sell and go to school to become a physician’s assistant. Then her siblings return to Wildstone, each carrying secrets that will knock Piper off her stride. If she wasn’t already reeling, the arrival of Camden Reid would do so. After meeting on a dark and stormy night, the super sexy DEA agent and Coast Guard reservist becomes the first person Piper has been able to lean on in forever and that scares the heck out of her. Piper can’t afford to lose her heart, not when she’s finally going to leave Wildstone. But sometimes fate – and family – have other plans…

Love, loss, and finding your way home are at the heart of Almost Just Friends. Jill Shalvis is a master at blending the light and the dark, at finding humor in the everyday even as her characters struggle to heal and find their place in the town they call home.

Piper is the kind of heroine who is easy to root for. She has spent her whole life taking care of others and the weight of the responsibility she carries is nearly crushing her. I loved her strength, her resilience, and the fact that she wasn’t perfect, even though she sacrifices so much for others. She can be cranky, she can sometimes try to put her siblings on the path she thinks they should be on rather than listen to what they want, but given what she’s been through it’s absolutely understandable. She’s carried a heavy load her whole life and I loved watching others step up to help her, especially Cam. He’s hot, protective, caring, and is dealing with the grief of losing his brother when he meets Piper. Cam also knew responsibility from far too young an age, so he gets Piper. He doesn’t critique or try to change her eccentricities, but appreciates her for all that she is and steps up to the plate to help, which I loved.

While Piper and Cam are the heart of Almost Just Friends, Piper’s siblings are every bit as important to the story. Winnie, Piper’s youngest sibling, has always been kind of a wild child. But life has lately thrown her a curveball and she’s determined to grow up and become the person she’s meant to be. Her path isn’t what her sister would have chosen for her, but I enjoyed seeing Winnie step up and work to shape her own destiny. And Gavin, Piper’s troubled brother, probably had my favorite storyline of the whole book. Gavin is a recovering addict who has come home to make amends and forge a new life. A life that – if he has his way – will include the first and only man he’s ever loved. Gavin owns his mistakes, faces his demons head-on, and is determined to prove he has matured and is in control of his life. I loved watching Gavin come into his own and his story made me melt at times.

Almost Just Friends is the fourth book in the Wildstone series but it can easily be read as a standalone. Family is front and center in every book in the series and is as important as the romance. I loved watching the Manning siblings come together, was invested in Cam and his father healing from their losses and becoming a unit with Piper, Winnie, and Gavin. No relationship in this story is perfect, but that’s what makes this book a perfectly entertaining read. It’s a messy, heartwarming, engaging story of growing up, moving on, and love in all its forms and I couldn’t have been more entertained.


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/2020/01/review-almost-just-friends-by-jill.html

Review: Scot Under the Covers by Suzanne Enoch

Scot Under the Covers - Suzanne Enoch

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Scot Under the Covers is a true delight! It’s fast-paced and fun with characters who are easy to adore and a romance that will leave you smiling.

Aden is known as the “elusive MacTaggert brother.” He’s got a quick mind and skilled fingers that serve him well both in the cardroom and the bedroom, and he’s not unwilling to let the English’s dim views of Scotsmen work to his advantage. His mother’s decree that he marry an Englishwoman suddenly becomes a very appealing prospect when he meets Miranda Harris. Miranda’s brother is engaged to Aden’s sister, but that’s not why the beautiful lass seeks him out. Her brother has gotten into a massive debt he cannot repay and the villain is demanding Miranda’s hand in marriage as payment. To outwit a gambler Miranda needs the help of one. It’s not just her plight but her fiery spirit that captures Aden’s interest. When the two join forces the banter flies and the pages of Scot Under the Covers fairly crackle with energy.

Aden and Miranda are both incredibly easy to like. They’ve got good hearts, quick wits, and spines of steel. They’re a perfect match in every way, but with the proverbial noose quickly tightening around Miranda’s neck, the two of them have to work fast to free her. Miranda enjoys maneuvering through society and knows how to play the game, but it’s fun to watch her start to break the rules with Aden. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating that Aden and Miranda are simply a lot of fun together. Though Aden knows she’s the one for him pretty quickly, Miranda’s unwilling attraction develops into love as she learns Aden is a man she can trust and rely on. I’ve read the book twice now and both times I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every step of their journey.

Romance, passion, and a very crafty villain make the pages of Scot Under the Covers fly by. Aden and Miranda are at the heart of the story, but their families play strong supporting roles and bring warmth and humor to the tale. Aden’s mother is particularly fascinating as she continues to try to regain her sons’ trust and affection. And surprisingly (because I didn’t like him very much in the first Wild Wicked Highlanders book), I’m very much looking forward to Coll MacTaggert’s book. I cannot wait to see what Suzanne Enoch has in store for the brash and bold MacTaggert brother. Until then, I’m happy to revisit both It’s Getting Scot in Here and Scot Under the Covers. Both are vibrant, charming romantic romps full of heart.


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/2020/01/review-scot-under-covers-by-suzanne.html

Review: The Little Library by Kim Fielding

The Little Library - Kim Fielding

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

The Little Library is a slow burn romance charms me every time I read it. Simon and Elliott are interesting, refreshingly imperfect characters and I loved watching them go from strangers to friends to lovers to something much more.

Elliott is a college professor whose fast track to tenure was derailed when he was embroiled in his boyfriend’s scandal. Wounded professionally and personally, he has moved back to his California hometown where he teaches online classes and is mostly a hermit. When his brother points out that his love of books has turned into a borderline hoarding problem, Elliott builds a small neighborhood library in his front yard. I absolutely loved watching Elliott come out of his shell and start to interact with people again. The library is a wonderful way to do it and I adored seeing how it brought people together. It’s the kind of thing that would make any bibliophile’s heart happy (although Elliott’s book buying addiction was totally relatable).

The most important person Elliott meets in his neighborhood is Simon Odisho. The former cop is recovering from a shattered knee and is in the process of reevaluating what he wants to do with his life. Both men are at a crossroads when they meet and they start to come out of their shells together. Attraction simmers between them, but Simon is in the closet and Elliott has no desire to be anyone’s secret ever again. Still, there’s no denying how perfectly they fit and I absolutely loved watching their relationship develop. Simon has hidden vulnerabilities and Elliott has been hurt badly, so it’s not easy for them to take the risk of opening their hearts. Their story isn’t perfect, but flaws and all I was rooting for the two men every step of the way.

The Little Library moves at a somewhat leisurely pace but it never feels slow. I live in California and I’m familiar with a lot of the places Simon and Elliott go in this book, so it was an extra bit of fun for me to see where they went as they slowly fell in love. Author Kim Fielding balances romance, personal growth, and community perfectly in this story and it couldn’t have made me happier. I’ve read this book twice and I honestly can’t wait to re-read it again.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the previous 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/2020/01/review-little-library-by-kim-fielding.html

Review: Mismatched in Mayhem by L.E. Rico

Mismatched In Mayhem - L. E. Rico

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Mismatched in Mayhem is a sweet romance with just enough quirk to keep fans of small town romances entertained without going over the top. Mayhem, Minnesota is a charming town with a semi-famous cat sweater store and a psychic who makes delicious pie, so for me it was impossible not to be drawn into the world L.E. Rico has created immediately – it was just too cute.

At the heart of Mismatched in Mayhem is the romance between bartender and pub manager Johnny Walker Black O’Halloran and grad student Mason Stevens. Mason grabbed my heart from the first and didn’t let go. He’s a total sweetheart and all-around good guy, so it was insanely easy to fall for him. The budding mineralogist has a huge heart, does his best to take care of the people he loves, and just wants someone who loves him for him. It’s not easy for him to find that because his mother is an incredibly famous actress. That’s why he’s immediately taken with Walker when she has no idea who he is. For me, Walker was the weak point in the book. She was once a wild child who now has gone to a totally different extreme since her father’s death. She has closed off a lot of her world, which I understood to an extent. It feels like I might be missing some information because I haven’t read the previous Whiskey Sisters books, so I didn’t totally understand why Walker tries so hard to push Mason away. I did like Walker’s relationship with her family and her friendship with Mason’s brother. It’s just her romance with Mason that didn’t always work for me. Mason is prom king level of perfect in looks and attitude, which is so not her type. But his charm and persistence make her want to give the guy a chance. There’s a lot of push-pull and I didn’t wholly understand why Mason was so determined to win over Walker, aside from the fact that she didn’t know his famous parents and the more important fact that the plot calls for it.

The romance between Walker and Mason has some fun and sweet moments, but the push-pull and manufactured drama you could see coming from a mile away wore on me at times. The dreaded “big misunderstanding” comes into play in this story and I freely admit that’s something I tend to loathe in stories unless it’s exceptionally well done, so those who aren’t so bothered by it may not be as turned off by this twist. I had an overall feeling best conveyed as “meh” toward the romance. It was fine, but there was just something missing that made me feel like Walker and Mason didn’t “click” as a couple. Opposites attracting is fun in theory, but the author really has to sell it for it to work and for me it didn’t in this case. Still, I enjoyed Walker’s personal journey and Mason was such a sweetheart that I still liked the book well enough. And Mayhem itself was so charming that I would definitely read another Whiskey Sisters 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/2020/01/review-mismatched-in-mayhem-by-le-rico.html

Review: Plant-Based Meal Prep by Stephanie Tornatore and Adam Bannon

Plant-Based Meal Prep: Simple, Make-ahead Recipes for Vegan, Gluten-free, Comfort Food - Stephanie Tornatore, Adam Bannon

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Plant-Based Meal Prep is a simple, easy to use cookbook with good tips and information for people new to eating vegan and/or plant-based meals. The tags were great and they make it easy for people to find stuff that fits their diet. As someone who is admittedly terrible at meal prepping, I really enjoyed Stephanie Tornatore and Adam Bannon’s tips on how to make meal prepping quicker and easier. The recipes I’ve tried so far (flexible fried tofu, sautéed broccoli with garlic, veggie stir fry, and mango salsa) have turned out well and all of the ingredients are easy to find. For me personally, the biggest downside is the book is heavier on grains, potatoes, and pasta than I would like (though I do appreciate that everything was gluten-free). Even taking that into consideration, I think this is a helpful, practical book that is useful to have on-hand.


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/2020/01/review-plant-based-meal-prep-by.html

Review: Walk Me Home by Liza Kendall

Walk Me Home - Liza Kendall

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Walk Me Home is a heartwarming story that will delight fans of second chance and small town romances. Author duo Liza Kendall made me fall in love with the Braddock family and the town of Silverlake, so much so that when I finished this book I was disappointed I have to wait to read the next one.

Charlie Nash and Jake Braddock fell in love as teenagers, but after a fire claimed the life of Charlie’s grandmother and her family home, the Nash family left town and cut almost all ties with Silverlake. Now Charlie’s back and she and Jake have both been conscripted into the wedding party from hell. Old wounds and even older attraction don’t stand a chance of staying buried when Charlie and Jake are thrown together. It’s easy to fall into their romance as Jake and Charlie just simply click. They’re both good, kind people and you could feel the pull between them. It’s not easy for them to deal with the past, especially when there are people like Charlie’s grandfather who won’t let it go. Both Jake and Charlie have lessons to learn in order for them to get their happily ever after and I enjoyed every step of their journeys.

Walk Me Home is funny, romantic, and sweet. The only thing that took this from a five star read to a four star is the drama that felt slightly forced at the end. Jake is a firefighter and I will admit that I am completely baffled and more than a bit irritated by how Jake and his fellow firefighters are treated. Perhaps it’s because I’m a Californian and fires are a near-constant threat where I live, but I was aghast reading about the campaign Charlie’s grandfather goes on against the fire department. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that I found this storyline to be unsatisfying from beginning to end. That one issue aside, I really enjoyed Walk Me Home and I cannot wait to read about the rest of the Braddock siblings, especially the eldest, Declan, whose hard work and loneliness grabbed at my heart and didn’t let go.


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/2020/01/review-walk-me-home-by-liza-kendall.html

Review: The Vanishing by Jayne Ann Krentz

The Vanishing - Jayne Ann Krentz

3.25 stars - Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Murder, mystery, psychics, auras, and a hint of romance make for a great combination in The Vanishing. Jayne Ann Krentz has kicked off her Fogg Lake series with a fast-paced, engaging story.

Decades ago, “The Incident” happened in Fogg Lake; an explosion in the caves that released gases and gave the residents and their decedents certain paranormal abilities. Catalina Lark grew up in Fogg Lake, but she and her best friend, Olivia, make their living as investigators in Seattle. When Olivia goes missing, Catalina learns that it’s due to a murder both witnessed in Fogg Lake when they were teenagers. The only person Catalina can trust to help her find her friend is Slater Arganbright, an agent from the secretive Foundation. Catalina and Slater have an instant connection and it doesn’t just come from them both having supernatural skills. They clicked perfectly, making it easy to fall into the rhythm of the story as they hunt kidnappers, killers, and unraveled a mystery that began before they were born.

The Vanishing moves at a quick clip and because it’s the first book in the series, Ms. Krentz throws out a lot of information. I won’t spoil the story by revealing anything, but there are mysterious organizations, multiple players with competing agendas, and quite a few point of view shifts, some of which will likely be important down the line in the series. Because of this, there’s a lot of exposition and I wish there had been more show than tell, especially near the end so the developments felt more organic. The world building and mystery are enough to keep the story going strong and Catalina and Slater are great central characters, so it also would have been nice to see their relationship develop over the course of the series. Instead the romance felt almost shoehorned in and was so rushed that it wasn’t quite believable at the end. This isn’t to say I didn’t like the book – I actually really enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to what happens next – but it was missing much-needed depth in some areas that would have made the story shine.


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/2020/01/review-vanishing-by-jayne-ann-krentz.html

Wit and Sin's Best Books of 2019

2020 is here and I cannot wait to see what the next decade brings! Before I dive into the new year and all the books it has to offer, it’s time to take a look back at my favorite books of 2019. I read 127 books last year, including a few re-reads that I fell in love with all over again. I tried 32 new (to me) authors and discovered some wonderful authors whose backlists I cannot wait to dive into. And finally, I participated in my tenth A to Z Reading Challenge, a fun challenge that usually leads me to at least a couple of books I might not have moved to the top of my TBR pile otherwise.

I read a number of excellent books last year, but below are my top ten reads of 2019. All of the books on this list were first time reads because re-reads are generally books that are already favorites of mine. I decided not to include my top re-reads of this year because it was a lot of the same (it’s safe to assume re-reads of at least two Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb titles would make the list every year).

 

My Top Ten Books of 2019

Note: My picks weren’t all published in 2019, but all were new-to-me reads for the year.
Also note: The books are alphabetized by author as I love them all equally.


1. Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, Book 3.5) by Ilona Andrews
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2. Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
My Review

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3. The Engagement Gift (The Gift, Book 1) by Lauren Blakely
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4. Getting Schooled (Getting Some, Book 1) by Emma Chase
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5. Say No to the Duke (The Wildes of Lindow Castle, Book 4) by Eloisa James
My Review

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6. The Harp of Kings (Warrior Bards, Book 1) by Juliet Marillier
My Review

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7. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
My Review

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8. The Right Swipe (Modern Love, Book 1) by Alisha Rai
My Review

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9. The Last Wish (The Witcher, Book 0.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski
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10. Three For All (Comes in Threes, Book 3) by Elia Winters
My Review

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Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2020/01/best-books-of-2019.html

Review: My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid

My Darling Duke - Stacy Reid

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Beauty and the Beast gets a fresh new retelling in the wonderful My Darling Duke. Stacy Reid has kicked off her Sinful Wallflowers series with a tale that’s both heartbreaking and heartwarming.

Kitty Danvers is desperate. At twenty-three, she is both unmarried and the head of a family with almost no money. With three younger sisters she wants to see happily settled, Kitty makes a bold move to capture society’s interest: she claims to be engaged to the reclusive Duke of Thornton. I loved Kitty’s spirit and determination. She’s got a good heart and is doing what she can for her family. Kitty is lively, unique, and a very easy to root for heroine.

Alexander Masters, Duke of Thornton, keeps his hand in politics but has otherwise withdrawn from society. He was horribly injured in a fire that also claimed the lives of his parents. I really liked that Ms. Reid didn’t simply wave off his devastating injuries, but rather shows the strength and determination Alexander has had to go through to be able to walk. He’s a man almost always in pain and is still healing, but much like the literary beast we all know and love, he’s locked himself away in his castle. When news reaches him that he’s supposedly engaged, he finds himself intrigued by the daring woman who is using his name. He’s even more captivated when he meets Kitty, and soon he strikes a deal with her that has Kitty in his clutches.

The romance between Kitty and Alexander is slow to burn and it works really well in this case, as Alexander and Kitty fall in love as they learn more and more about one another. They are both intelligent, stubborn, warm-hearted characters who fit one another like lock and key. But Alexander is determined never to marry because of the complications from his accident. However, the longer he and Kitty are around one another, the more she is determined to show them they can have the happiness he secretly longs for. Alexander was so lonely it broke my heart at times and I loved watching him come back to life around Kitty. As for Kitty, she’s got such spirit and inner strength it was impossible not to adore her. She deserves to find love with someone like Alexander, someone who wholly accepts her and sees how wonderful she is.

Whenever I pick up a Stacy Reid book I know I’m in for a good time and My Darling Duke is no exception. Ms. Reid perfectly balances the dark and the light, emotional turbulence with fun banter. I cannot wait to see what she has in store for Kitty’s fellow Sinful Wallflowers!


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/2019/12/review-my-darling-duke-by-stacy-reid.html

Maybe for You

Maybe For You - Nicole Perkins McLaughlin

I really enjoyed the first half of this book, but the second half was not my cup of tea and I had some issues with it on top of that.

Review: Healthy as F*ck by Oonagh Duncan

Healthy as F*ck: The Habits You Need to Get Lean, Stay Healthy, and Kick Ass at Life - Oonagh Duncan

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Healthy as F*ck is hands-down the best health and wellness book I’ve ever read. Author Oonagh Duncan is funny, relatable, and smart in her approach to wellness. The secret to weight loss isn’t a magic pill or a quick fix or an extreme diet. It’s all about the habits you form, the small changes that will ultimately shape your behavior and help you lose weight. Ms. Duncan provides simple guidelines that are easy to follow, but before you get to those I highly recommend doing the very few exercises she asks you to do on finding your why. Trust me, it’s something I would normally roll my eyes at but it was a far more powerful motivator than I could have imagined.

Ms. Duncan’s approach is the most commonsense one I’ve seen in a long time. Her conversational writing style is also incredibly appealing – she talks like my friends and I do. I’ve read Healthy as F*ck twice already and her voice is what draws me in from the start, making me more at ease and open to her ideas. That being said, if cussing bothers you then you may have a hard time with this book. As for me, I loved everything about this book. It has been the most helpful book on getting healthy I’ve ever read and Ms. Duncan’s writing is a joy to read. So if you’re looking for an approachable, motivational, commonsense approach on how to meet your long-term health goals, you cannot go wrong with Healthy as F*ck.


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

 

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2019/12/review-healthy-as-fck-by-oonagh-duncan.html

Review: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

A Madness of Sunshine - Nalini Singh

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Prepare to be swept away to a small New Zealand town that’s as beautiful as it is treacherous in A Madness of Sunshine. Nalini Singh’s thriller debut is as engaging and evocative as I would expect from a writer of her caliber.

Golden Cove is an isolated community where everyone knows everyone. But do they really? For even in a place like this, people have their secrets. Anahera Rawiri, a gifted, renowned pianist, has returned home after years away. Anahera is strong, kind, and recovering from pain and betrayal. Everything and nothing has changed about Golden Cove when Anahera returns; many of the people she once knew as well as herself are familiar strangers. The most interesting new addition? Detective Will Gallagher, Golden Cove’s one-man police force. Will is as strong and focused as Anahera. He also has demons of his own he’s facing, ones that are the reason he was sent out to the bush. Sparks fly immediately between Will and Anahera, but it’s their “otherness” – Anahera’s from her time away and Will from his newness to Golden Cove – that draws them together when tragedy strikes and a young woman goes missing. Her disappearance stirs up old ghosts and hidden shame from one summer years ago when three other women vanished.

Ms. Singh serves up an interesting double mystery in A Madness of Sunshine. The present day search for a missing young woman intertwines with the disappearance of three hikers back when Anahera was a teenager and each mystery is engaging in its own right. I loved watching the pieces unfold, loved how the lush landscape Ms. Singh details plays into the story itself. I also enjoyed uncovering the layers of the town and its residents. The sordid secrets were all interesting as they were unearthed and I liked feeling like I was digging deeper into many of the characters with each passing page. Though it is set a world away, in many ways A Madness of Sunshine reminded me of Nora Roberts’s romantic suspense titles from fifteen – twenty years ago (think Carolina Moon). It’s not the plots themselves, but rather the cadence of the story and the patterns of the characters that felt familiar (not a bad thing). The only downside is that I felt the mysteries weren’t too…well…mysterious.

A Madness of Sunshine is beautiful and dark, just like the world of Golden Cove. Even though I would have wished for a few more surprising moments, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ms. Singh’s writing sucked me in each time I picked up the book and I loved watching Anahera and Will put the pieces together over the course of the story. Though my first love will always be Ms. Singh’s paranormal romances, I would dive into another thriller by her in a heartbeat.


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/2019/12/review-madness-of-sunshine-by-nalini.html
SPOILER ALERT!

I Buried a Witch

I Buried a Witch - Josh Lanyon

As with Mainly by Moonlight, I wrestled with rating this book. I may do a full review later on, but for now here's a quick and dirty list of what worked for me and what didn't.  Some spoilers below.

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Likes:
- Cosmo - he's a kindhearted witch with a bright personality and an interesting voice. I adored him and want to see him get the happily ever after he deserves.
- When Cosmo acknowledges that his marriage to John isn't one of equals. I loved when he finally stands up for himself instead of letting John steamroll him (more on that below).
- Josh Lanyon's writing, which sucked me in. I read I Buried a Witch in one sitting and can't believe how fast the pages flew by.

 

Dislikes:
- John. He's judgmental, unyielding, domineering, and occasionally condescending toward Cosmo.
- Cosmo ceding all the power in their relationship because he's afraid of losing John.
- The foundations of the romance were shaky to begin with and the more I saw of John the more the fine cracks in the romance developed into dangerous faults. A non-spoiler example: John decides they're going to put a pool in the backyard. Cosmo objects because he's terrified of water. Rather than asking him why or showing any interest in his feelings at all, John dismisses Cosmo and declares they're getting a pool and he wants Cosmo to deal with the contractor.
- I hated that - since this is a romance - it seemed to me like Cosmo would be better off without John. The fact that in one scene he's actually physically afraid of him? No matter that the fear is short-lived, this is a huge red flag for me.
- I loved that Cosmo acknowledges the faults in their relationship and starts to stand up for himself, but it felt like he forgave John quickly with so little give on John's part.
- John's version of compromise at the end made me feel even more unsettled about their future; I feel like he hasn't really changed and he still doesn't accept who Cosmo is.

 

Neutral:
- The mystery involving who was murdering Wiccans was interesting, if understated
- The ongoing mystery plus some witch politics are also interesting (I know I keep using that word, but it really fits this story and it's part of why I rated it as high as I did), but there are a lot of threads to be tied up in the third book. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.

 

 

All in all, I Buried a Witch is an engaging second installment to the Bedknobs and Broomsticks series. Josh Lanyon's writing is as addictive as ever (which bumped this rating up one star for me), but as this really feels like part 2 of 3 of a larger book, I'm waiting to see what happens in Bell, Book and Scandal before I can decide how I feel about Cosmo's journey as a whole. The fact that the romance is so deeply flawed is interesting, so long as the love story is ultimately resolved in a satisfying manner. I'm optimistic and I hope Cosmo comes into his own and John becomes a husband worthy of him.

Review: The Boss Who Stole Christmas by Jana Aston

The Boss Who Stole Christmas - Jana Aston

4.25 stars - Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Holly Winter loves Christmas, her hometown of Reindeer Falls, and her dream job at Flying Reindeer Toy Company. What she doesn’t love is her new boss, Nick Saint-Croix, the Grinch of Reindeer Falls. She has no idea why Nick took over the toy company after his uncle retired; the man has “big city” written all over him. But perhaps there is more to Nick than Holly sees…

The Boss Who Stole Christmas is capital “A” Adorable. It’s bright, cheerful, sexy, and just plain fun to read. I adored Jana Aston’s world of Reindeer Falls and cannot wait to see more of it.

Poor Nick. He’s pretty much the perfect hero and Holly’s assumptions about him have to hurt. Nick is far more caring, considerate, and kind than Holly gives him credit for and it’s clear from the start he and Holly are a perfect match in every way. On the one hand, if Holly hadn’t been convinced Nick was a Grinch then there would be no story. On the other, her image of him didn’t have much of a basis so I wanted to shake her a few times and it kept this story from being a solid five star read. In any other story Holly’s dogged determination to cast Nick in a bad light might have soured me and made me want to yell at Nick that he deserved more. But aside from her bias against Nick, Holly was a charming and fun heroine. She’s bright and full of passion and great ideas for the Flying Reindeer Toy Company. Her bright-eyed love of Christmas made me smile and Ms. Aston makes this story so bright and charming that I was willing to go along and wait for Holly to see the real Nick. I loved watching her come to see the man beneath the suit – and what a deliciously sexy man he was.

The Boss Who Stole Christmas is supremely sweet with a kick of spice. It’s never cloying but genuinely warm-hearted in its holiday cheer. I can’t wait to read more about Reindeer Falls and I really liked Holly’s sister Ginger, so I’m eager to dive into her story, If You Give a Jerk a Gingerbread.


FTC Disclosure: This book was purchased by me. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2019/11/review-boss-who-stole-christmas-by-jana.html

Review: Three For All by Elia Winters

Three For All - Elia Winters

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

You’re not going to need to turn the heater on this winter because Three For All is hot as hell. Elia Winters’s third Comes in Threes story is a deliciously dirty polyam romance with a core of emotional honesty that makes it stand out.

Geoff and Patrick have been married almost seven years and their love and marriage is as solid as can be. They don’t talk much about Patrick’s polyamorous past anymore and Geoff has no doubt that Patrick is completely faithful. That doesn’t stop him from wondering if perhaps Patrick might want more…and if maybe he does as well. The chief reason for Geoff’s unquiet? His co-worker, Lori, who is not only intelligent and gorgeous, but shares a lot of common interests with both Geoff and Patrick. One of the things I love most about Three For All is Patrick and Geoff’s marriage. They have their bumps, uncertainties, and vulnerabilities, but they always talk to one another and there’s never any judgment. They are so solid they know they can be open and vulnerable to one another and it makes their love story that much stronger and more interesting.

With the ink still drying on her PhD, Lori has her eye on the prize. She’s going to leave Mapleton and move to New York City to pursue her dream of working as a relationship therapist, hopefully with an organization that supports people of color, LGBTQ people, and nontraditional relationships. She did her dissertation on polyamory and is intrigued when she realizes Goeff and Patrick are interested in inviting her to bed. What none of them count on is how quickly they start to fall for each other and fall into a triad relationship. Lori fears being the third wheel, but it’s clear she’s made for Patrick and Geoff. She’s also a fantastic heroine who is funny, interesting, and refreshingly self-aware.

Whether they get together in twos or threes, Patrick, Geoff, and Lori are insanely hot. Sweetly submissive Patrick just about melted my heart, Geoff – who can be uncertain in some areas of his changing feelings – is confidently dominant, and Lori isn’t afraid to go for what she wants in the bedroom. Put them all together and you’re in for one hell of a ride. And while I cannot overstate how sexy Three For All is, it’s the characters themselves who make this story shine. They talk about polyamory, they learn, the guys become friends with Lori even as they fall for her and she for them. There’s no false drama, only honest emotion and very human fears and needs. There’s so much to love about this book and the way it discusses polyamorous relationships that I’ve barely touched on what readers will find.

Elia Winters writes polyam romance better than anyone else I’ve ever read and Three For All shows why. It’s erotic, sex-positive, funny, heartwarming, engaging, and just plain fun to read. Patrick, Lori, and Geoff are all unique, well-drawn characters who fit each other perfectly and I loved watching them become a family. So if you’re looking for a kinky good time that also has emotional depth, Three For All is the perfect book for you.


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/2019/11/review-three-for-all-by-elia-winters.html