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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).

Currently reading

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

Review: The Good Luck Sister by Jill Shalvis

The Good Luck Sister - Jill Shalvis

Reviewed for Wit and Sin


The Good Luck Sister is a great pick-me-up read. I adored Tilly and Dylan as teenagers in Lost and Found Sisters, so I dove into their story, eager to see what they’d be like as adults.

It’s been ten years since Dylan left Wildstone, breaking not only Tilly’s heart but his own. Now he has returned and the pull between them is as strong as ever. Tilly is understandably wary of letting Dylan in again, but he’s patient and determined to win her trust back. Both of them are a wonderful mixture of strength and vulnerability. They’re also incredibly fun and have great chemistry. The result is a romance that draws you in and I defy you not to root for these two to get their happily ever after.

The Good Luck Sister moves back and forth between Dylan and Tilly’s past and present and the flashbacks might just be my favorite part of the story. Tilly and Dylan were best friends as teenagers and the way that they supported one another grabbed my heart. Dylan grew up with an abusive father and Tilly suffered the devastating loss of her mother. Both of them carry scars that broke my heart, but I absolutely loved how they cared for and encouraged one another. Even though Dylan eventually leaves to make his way in the world and to push Tilly to seize her own chance, it’s clear that these two were always destined to find their way back to each other.

Dylan and Tilly are the heart and soul of The Good Luck Sister, but the supporting cast adds a wealth of humor to the story. Dylan’s friends Penn and Ric are delightful (and I’d love to read stories about them) and fans of Lost and Found Sisters are sure to enjoy an update on Quinn (now pregnant and absolutely zany) and Mick. And of course Tilly has a kooky dog who threatens to steal the show more than once. Jill Shalvis writes some of the funniest four-legged friends out there, so how could I not fall in love with Leo, aka Napoleon (as in complex)? All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed The Good Luck Sister. It’s a fast-paced, charming read with entertaining characters and a romance that will leave you smiling.

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


Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/03/review-good-luck-sister-by-jill-shalvis.html

Review: Baking Lessons by Katie Allen

Baking Lessons - Katie Allen

Reviewed for Wit and Sin


Baking Lessons is fricking adorable! It’s sweet and fun and sexy all rolled into one.

Leah is a talented baker who is as sweet as the treats she makes. She may tweak Hamilton’s nose as often as she can in the beginning of the story when he’s merely her uptight landlord, but she also can’t resist feeding him. She’s a friendly, funny heroine with boatloads of charm and a good heart. Not to mention her baking skills will make you wish her shop was real. As for Hamilton… Katie Allen made me sigh over him. He’s sexy, intelligent, protective, and incredibly sweet (I know I keep using that word, but it fits this book and its characters perfectly). He’s also so precise in every way and I adored it, even though I could see why Leah wanted to good-naturedly mess with him. But beneath his formal and Thor-like exterior is a socially awkward man who truly has difficulty with things being messy. Leah is the first person he’s ever wanted to “get messy” with, and I loved that she (1) worked to understand him instead of trying to change him and (2) helped him feel safe enough to move out of his comfort zone with her.

The first half of Baking Lessons flies by as Leah and Hamilton tease, flirt, and get to know one another. I can’t count the number of times the two of them made me smile and the way they fell for one another felt organic. There’s no false drama, no game-playing and it was incredibly easy to root for Leah and Hamilton to get together. Once the sexual tension boils over and they hit the sheets (and the shower, the stairwell, etc.) Baking Lessons gets seriously steamy. When Ms. Allen turns the heat on high the book is still fun, but I felt like some of the momentum of the first part was lost. I also kept hoping we’d see more of Hamilton’s background and that we don’t is a missed opportunity. Even with these few quibbles, I adored Hamilton and Leah and their romance was a delight. I’ve never read Ms. Allen’s books before, but now I will definitely keep an eye out for her work.

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


Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/03/review-baking-lessons-by-katie-allen.html

Review: Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs

Burn Bright - Patricia Briggs

Reviewed for Wit and Sin


Charles Cornick is less than thrilled to be left in charge of his father’s pack while Bran is away, but when the wildlings – the werewolves too broken to live safely even among the Aspen Creek pack – are attacked, the Marrok’s absence becomes an even bigger problem. For Charles and Anna are about to discover that the attack on the wildlings isn’t random, isn’t a crime of opportunity. There’s dark magic at play and the clock is ticking. Charles and Anna must use all their power to unravel a plot that could tear the heart of those they hold dear.

Burn Bright is part mystery, part fairytale, part action-packed adventure. It’s imaginative and interesting, as one would expect a Patricia Briggs story to be. I adore Charles and Anna and they are as solid as ever, so any time spent with them is time well spent.

Burn Bright keeps Charles and Anna closer to home and I loved getting to see more of their pack, the interactions among members, and the internal politics. Also, the fact that the newest attack against werewolves is in the heart of the Marrok’s territory gives the threat an added intensity. Characters we know and care about are in danger and it made me incredibly eager to jump into this book’s mystery. The one downside of this story is that – after the initial attack – it does take a while for momentum to build. At times the book seems to meander into side stories, but keep with it because Ms. Briggs makes sure the climax packs a punch. I likely had a death-grip on my book for the last quarter of the story – it was just that exciting. I wish I could say more, but I want to avoid spoilers since every detail plays into the resolution of the mystery.

Burn Bright is the fifth full-length book in the Alpha & Omega series, and you should at least be familiar with the world before diving into this story. As I mentioned before, the relationships and politics of the pack play an important part in this book and that was one of my favorite aspects of it. I really enjoyed getting to see more of characters we normally wouldn’t, like Leah, Charles’s stepmother. She’s not a beloved character, but I liked getting to see a different side of her. Burn Bright is also part of the larger world of Mercy Thompson and fans of that series will likely be excited that this book is woven closely with concurrent Mercy Thompson storylines. As I have not yet read Mercy’s books, I felt like I was missing something; not enough to detract from my enjoyment of this story, but enough to be noticeable. Burn Bright did definitely make me move Mercy’s books up in my proverbial to-be-read pile so that I can go back and more fully enjoy the little things in the Alpha & Omega series I missed the nuances of.

If you’re a fan of Patricia Briggs, you definitely don’t want to miss Burn Bright. Charles and Anna are strong, engaging characters and the world Ms. Briggs has developed is – to put it mildly – seriously awesome.

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

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/03/review-burn-bright-by-patricia-briggs.html

Review: The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman

The Burning Page - Genevieve Cogman

Reviewed for Wit and Sin


The Invisible Library series has been hit-or-miss for me, and The Burning Page falls into the “miss” category. After enjoying The Masked City as much as I did, I eagerly dove into Irene and Kai’s latest adventure, only to find myself bored for the majority of the book.

The biggest issue I have is that neither the main characters nor the Library itself feel fully developed. I’ve been waiting to learn more about the Library and with the institution under attack by the series’ big bad, Alberich, it felt like the perfect opportunity for insight. Alas, the threat of the destruction of the Library didn’t actually add tension to the story (not once did I actually feel like Irene wouldn’t pull something out of her hat and save the day), nor did it allow readers to go below the surface of the Library’s workings. Alberich throws out some interesting tidbits and there seems to be some internal grumblings among the Librarians, but apparently any new information will have to wait to be explored in future books. As for the characters, both Kai and Vale have grown sort of stale. Kai, who charmed me in previous books, was borderline unlikeable at times and though I allow a lot of leeway considering he’s a dragon (and thus aligned with order), his stubbornness felt like he hadn’t learned anything so far. As for Vale, he still hasn’t risen above a pale imitation of Sherlock Holmes, and when you throw in the painfully awkward forced intimacy between him and Irene, I was just left wanting more. Which brings me to Irene herself. She’s the heart and soul of this series and she falls flat as a character. I don’t need my protagonists to be likeable (she is neither likeable nor unlikeable), but I do want them to be interesting. Irene has unfortunately become a rather generic sort of hero with a possible interesting backstory (presumably to be revealed in future books) who rushes headlong into danger and relies heavily on the Language.

What captured my interest about the first book in the series, The Invisible Library, was the potential in the world. Genevieve Cogman set up a world of infinite possibilities and I was so excited to see what she would do. But the possibilities are largely squandered due to a heavy reliance on the Language, which now seems to be without limits. That’s largely why the stakes feel fairly low in The Burning Page – Irene’s use of the Language seems to fix pretty much everything.

I struggled with rating The Burning Page because it isn’t altogether bad. The beginning and the end are highly entertaining and when Ms. Cogman’s writing is focused she can deliver exciting scenes. But on the whole, The Burning Page felt like it could have been a novella and nothing would have been lost. The story was treading water for most of its length and that just doesn’t make for interesting reading. Even though this ultimately wasn’t the book for me, there’s so much potential in this series that I’ll be giving the next book a shot.

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

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/03/review-burning-page-by-genevieve-cogman.html

Review: Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely

Wanderlust - Lauren Blakely, Grace Grant, Richard Armitage

Reviewed for Wit and Sin


I am completely in love with Wanderlust. It’s beautiful, romantic, sensual, and fun, with a whole lot of heart. Joy is, well, joyful. She’s immediately endearing and is so lively that she practically pops off the page. She’s the kind of heroine you want to be friends with and she just plain charmed the heck out of me with her attitude, big smile, intelligence, and her love of things like pink doors, hidden angels, and red umbrellas. It’s easy to see why Griffin fell for her and she for him. Griffin isn’t just a sexy hero (though that doesn’t hurt). He’s also playful, interesting, smart, and as likeable as Joy. Like Joy, Griffin is in Paris to start fresh; only he doesn’t plan to stay. He made a promise to his dying brother and fulfilling it means his time in Paris is almost up.

Griffin and Joy hit it off from the start and their interactions made me grin. Because they’re working together (she’s a chemist and he’s her interpreter), they try to resist the pull between them, which made the sexual tension all the more delicious. Their love story is absolutely wonderful because you see them become friends first and the fall from lust and friendship to something more is seamless. When they do give in to their mutual attraction, Wanderlust gets incredibly sexy. In bed and out, Griffin and Joy are a perfect match. Their love story is bright and exciting, but that doesn’t mean it or they lack depth. Both of them are fully developed, well-rounded characters. I feel like there’s no way to do them justice in this review because I cannot adequately express how happy these two made me. Their journey is one best experienced for yourself and I defy you not to fall in love with them.

Joy and Griffin are the heart of this book, but Paris itself is every bit as important to the story. Lauren Blakely does an incredible job of transporting readers to the City of Light – not to the famous sites we all know, but to the smaller shops, alleys, and hidden treasures. Griffin is British and Joy is from Texas, and the fact that neither of them are native Parisians added to the story. I was able to fall in love with Paris alongside Joy and the sheer romance of the setting had me sighing thanks to Ms. Blakely’s writing.

I listened to Wanderlust on audio and I highly recommend enjoying the book this way. Good narrators enhance already wonderful stories and I don’t think you can get much better than Grace Grant and Richard Armitage. Grace Grant perfectly captures Joy’s spirit, but it’s Richard Armitage (also known as John Thornton, Thorin Oakenshield, etc.) whose narration is to-die-for. He not only brings Griffin to life, but his voice is like melted chocolate and makes Wanderlust an aural delight.

I cannot recommend Wanderlust highly enough. It’s an utterly enchanting story with characters you care about and a romance that makes you laugh, swoon, and sigh. This is the first book of Ms. Blakely’s I’ve read/listened to and I cannot wait to glom up her backlist!

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/2018/02/review-wanderlust-by-lauren-blakely.html

Review: Playing House by Amy Andrews

Playing House (Sydney Smoke Rugby Series Book 5) - Amy Andrews

4.25 stars - Reviewed for Wit and Sin


A shy, quirky heroine who prefers books to parties. A sexy-as-hell hero with a sweet side. A scorching one night stand that becomes so much more. Put those three ingredients together and you’ve got a recipe for a highly entertaining romance. And when you add in Amy Andrews’s fast-paced style and signature humor then it’s clear to see why I couldn’t resist Playing House.

Eleanor is such a fun heroine. She grew up on a steady diet of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer and is in love with the fashion, manners, and romantic ideals of the nineteenth century. She’s also turned her love of Victorian fashion into a profitable business, which I found to be a delight to read about. Eleanor feels like the ugly duckling of her family, but she’s so much more than the kooky wallflower she sees herself as. Bodie is immediately captivated by Eleanor and I loved that he wasn’t just taken with her looks, but showed interest in what she was passionate about. Bodie grew up with a shark of a father and between that and his cheating ex-fiancée, he’s wary of falling for someone who will turn out to simply want him for his trust fund or his status a rugby star. Eleanor is a breath of fresh air to him in many ways and it’s clear from the outset that one night with her will never be enough. I could melt with how sweet Bodie could be. He may have wealth, privilege, and good looks, but he has worked hard to become successful and he’s got a heart of gold. I was rooting for him and Eleanor to become more than simply lovers because they were such likeable characters.

Eleanor and Bodie’s story is filled with erotic moments, and it’d be remiss of me not to at least mention how hot Playing House is. But what stood out to me were the quieter moments and if I had one (minor) niggle it’d be I wish there were more of them. Bodie and Eleanor are very different, but they complement one another perfectly. I liked watching them learn about each other. And when the two of them are handed a major surprise, I really liked that they handled life’s curveball fairly well. Their road to happily ever after isn’t smooth sailing. Insecurities, pain, and heartbreak made the story feel more real and may have even had me sniffling at one point. But I knew Ms. Andrews wouldn’t let readers down and the ending of Playing House left me with a smile on my face.

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

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/02/review-playing-house-by-amy-andrews.html

Review: Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Wildfire -  Ilona Andrews

Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed


Nevada Baylor spent years keeping her truthseeker abilities under wraps.  Now that that her secret has been revealed, she must hone her powers and learn to navigate the world of a Prime.  Power and politics are something Nevada has long avoided, but she’s in the game now, so to speak. At her side is billionaire Prime Connor “Mad” Rogan, but Nevada’s emerging status as a power player means that their relationship will be tested as others flock to court and manipulate her.  And that isn’t the only strain on their burgeoning relationship – Connor’s ex-fiancée’s husband is missing and she has come to Nevada for help.  Between damsels-in-distress, a new threat to the Baylor family, and a conspiracy that threatens all she holds dear, Nevada may start wishing for the days where her biggest problem was that all of Houston might burn.


Wildfire is an intense, electric read.  Passion, danger, love, and magic are all woven together to form an intelligent, incredibly engaging story.


Nevada and Rogan are fascinating protagonists and one heck of a couple.  They are both strong, intelligent characters who butt heads but also respect one another’s abilities.  Falling in love has given them new sets of vulnerabilities, and I loved watching them navigate their new relationship.  Their love story is by turns sexy, romantic, and intense and I was rooting for them to overcome every obstacle.


Speaking of obstacles, there are a lot thrown in Nevada and Rogan’s way.  I hesitate to say too much for fear of spoiling the book.  Nevada has to decide how best to protect her family now that she’s a known truthseeker her terrifying paternal grandmother has found out about her.  She also a new case where Rogan’s needy ex-fiancée is wearing on her nerves and putting a strain on her relationship with Rogan.  Both of these storylines are compelling because they cause internal turmoil, which contrasts nicely with the external threat of the Caesar conspiracy.  This overarching series storyline is where the action ramps up to epic proportions in Wildfire.  Author duo Ilona Andrews brilliantly blends magic and mayhem for maximum thrills and I was so into this book that I hated it whenever real life intruded and I had to put it down.


Wildfire is the third book in the Hidden Legacy series and you definitely should read Burn for Me and White Hot before diving into this tale.  Rogan, Nevada, the entire Baylor family, and their friends have all grown over the course of the series and I loved watching each of them come into their own.  I really hope this isn’t the end of the Hidden Legacy series, because there is so much left to explore in this world.  The magic is phenomenally detailed and the way it’s used can be interesting, funny, frightening, and sometimes even sexy.  So while I finished Wildfire well-satisfied, I definitely don’t want to leave Nevada and Rogan’s world.  And trust me, you won’t either.

Source: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.net/reviewparent/wildfire-ilona-andrews

Review: The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband: A Bridgertons Prequel - Julia Quinn

Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed


When she receives word that her brother has injured on the battlefield in the Colonies, newly orphaned Cecilia Harcourt does the only thing she can do: pack her bags, flee her oily cousin trying to coerce her into marriage, and spend her savings coming to America to take care of her brother.  But when she arrives in New York, it’s not her brother she finds in the hospital, but his best friend, Edward Rokesby.  Edward is injured and unconscious and Cecilia is determined to help him.  To do so, she has to tell one little lie: that she’s his wife.  She doesn’t expect Edward to awaken with no knowledge of the last three months of his life.  He knows who she is and believes it when he’s told they’re married.  With no leads on her brother and an injured, kind man who needs her, Cecilia decides to temporarily carry on her charade.  But the longer she’s around Edward, the harder it is not to slip into the fantasy that she’s his wife.  She knows she can’t lie to him forever, but what will happen when the truth comes out?


The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband is a bit of a difficult book for me to review.  Julia Quinn is one of my favorite authors and though this is a solidly-written book, it lacks Ms. Quinn’s signature vibrancy.  Part of this is due to the setting – Revolutionary War America, even away from the battlefront, doesn’t lend itself to witty banter or cheerful antics – but part of the problem is that nothing much happens in this story.  It’s the story of a good woman in a hard situation who is forced to lie, and the good man who is tricked as a result.


I won’t say The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband is a bad book, for it isn’t.  Cecilia and Edward are caring, likeable people who clearly make a good match.  But the most engaging part of their romance comes from the excerpts of letters they started to exchange through Cecilia’s brother months before our hero and heroine ever met.  Those tiny bits at the beginning of each chapter were, for me, the liveliest bits of the book.  The rest of the story was fairly slow and uneventful and this is the first time ever that I had no problem putting a book of Ms. Quinn’s down.  As I said before, it’s not a bad book; it’s a sweet, if slightly muted romance, and perhaps it would have worked better for me in a novella format.  Even though The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband wasn’t my particular cup of tea, the ending left me satisfied with Edward and Cecilia’s happily ever after and I’m incredibly anxious to read Andrew Rokesby’s book.



First thoughts:

2.5 stars. I'm struggling with the rating because this isn't a bad book and the characters are perfectly likeable. But as a JQ book, it's sadly lacking. There's no spark, it's slow, and not much happens for 2/3 of the book. It pains me to give a low rating to a JQ book, but this one was missing her regular magic. It's also the first time ever that I had no problem putting a book of hers down. I'm chalking it up to be an anomaly and I'm still really looking forward to Andrew's book.

Source: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.net/reviewparent/girl-make-believe-husband-julia-quinn

Review: The Art of Sinning by Sabrina Jeffries

The Art of Sinning - Sabrina Jeffries

Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed


American artist Jeremy Keane is far more interested in completing his next masterpiece than running the family textile mills.  He’s also far more interested in rakish pursuits than settling down.  It would take someone out of the ordinary to capture his interest, and Lady Yvette Barlow is exactly that person.  Jeremy is captivated by her from the first and is desperate to paint her.  Now if only he can convince her…


Yvette can spot a scoundrel a mile away, and having been burned once by a rake she is in no hurry to repeat the experience.  But Jeremy catches her off-guard, tempts her and challenges her in ways she’s never known.  And the more time they spend together, the harder it is for either of them to resist the passion brewing between them.  But both Jeremy and Yvette have ghosts that haunt them.  Ghosts that might keep them from ever risking their hearts for a chance at love.


Sabrina Jeffries kicks off her Sinful Suitors series with the utterly charming The Art of Sinning.  Yvette and Jeremy are winning characters and their romance was lovely to watch unfold.  Yvette is outspoken, bright, and a truly fun heroine.  It’s easy to see why Jeremy is taken with her.  She’s no ordinary woman but a veritable Juno (to borrow Jeremy’s favorite description of her).  Not to mention her unusual interests – her work to build a slang dictionary had me grinning.  Yvette has a lot of love to give, but she was badly betrayed in the past and thus is wary of rakes.  And boy is Jeremy a rake in the beginning.  He’s a bold artist, one who wears the mask of rogue rather well.  But beneath the surface is a man with scars caused by the death of his wife and child – scars that have never truly healed.  I loved watching both Yvette and Jeremy come into their own as they worked to leave the past behind, though taking leaps of faith comes more easily to Yvette than Jeremy.


As individuals, Yvette and Jeremy are great characters. But as a couple, they shine.  Their banter made me grin more than once over the course of the story.  They’re so well-matched in every way that it’s easy to root for them.  Their love story develops organically; I liked that they fit as both friends and lovers.  It isn’t easy for them to get their happily ever after, but Ms. Jeffries makes every bump in the road worth it.  The result is a romance that’s emotional as well as sensual and I couldn’t have been more pleased.  I finished The Art of Sinning one well-satisfied reader and I cannot wait to see what Ms. Jeffries has in store for Yvette’s brother, Edwin.

Source: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.net/reviewparent/art-sinning-sabrina-jeffries

Review: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

The Wedding Date - Jasmine Guillory

My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin


An elevator glitch + two charming characters + cheese and crackers = one of the most delightful meet-cutes I’ve read in a long time. Jasmine Guillory sets the stage for an effervescent romance from the very first page of The Wedding Date. Alexa and Drew have instant chemistry and they’re a whole lot of fun to read about.

Alexa is a heroine who’s easy to root for and adore. She’s successful, intelligent, and kind. She’s confident in her job as chief of staff to the mayor of Berkeley, but she’s plagued by some very relatable insecurities in her personal life. When she agrees to Drew’s spontaneous request to be his date to an ex’s wedding, Alexa lets go of her inhibitions for a whirlwind weekend of fun. I was so eager to see her find happiness with Drew, a pediatric surgeon who made me smile right alongside Alexa when they first meet. Drew is a sexy, fun hero to start with, but he loses some of his shine over the course of the story. He’s not a bad hero, but because his character isn’t explored as deeply as Alexa’s is, his commitment phobia and moodiness stand out in an unappealing way a few times. I do wish we’d gotten to know his character better because it would have made the romance stronger.

The Wedding Date is a book I have a hard time rating, because there are some things I really love about the book and some things I struggled with. I loved that Alexa opened Drew’s eyes to some of the everyday struggles a person of color faces and that she, a black woman, faces in particular. Alexa’s candor adds depth and realism to what would otherwise be a fairly breezy story. I also loved that both Alexa and Drew are successful thirty-somethings with high-power, demanding careers. That they understand and support one another in their work really had me rooting for them. What kept me from falling in love with this story like I wanted to was the middle of the book. It’s disappointingly repetitive. Either Alexa or Drew flies to meet the other, they eat, have sex, and don’t talk about their relationship or what their expectations are. The same thing keeps occurring with very little change, and I wish I’d seen more of their conversations or activities outside eating, sex, and the occasional party so that I could feel more of a connection to their romance. I also had a hard time with the fact that a lot of the conflict stemmed from miscommunication or simply an unwillingness to talk to one another about a problem. I did understand why Alexa was reticent to do so (to a certain extent), but when the same patterns kept emerging, it dragged the book down. That being said, the end of the book was so sweet, so lovely that I circled back around to falling for Alexa and Drew.

The Wedding Date is Jasmine Guillory’s debut novel and I cannot wait to read more from her. Alexa and Drew have quite a few wonderful friends whose books I’m dying to read. In fact, it’d be remiss of me to talk about this book and not mention Carlos, Drew’s awesome best friend and my new book crush. Carlos is friendly, incredibly patient, and caring and I absolutely cannot wait for his book. Until then, I will definitely revisit my favorite moments from The Wedding Datebecause when Alexa and Drew work, their book shines.

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


Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/01/review-wedding-date-by-jasmine-guillory.html

Review: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman

My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin


Enter the world of the Library, an interdimensional organization that collects important books from as many alternate dimensions as possible. Genevieve Cogman’s debut has an exciting premise and there’s a ton of possibilities to this world, but I struggled a bit with the execution.

The Invisible Library follows the journey of Irene, a junior Librarian, as she takes on Kai, a new apprentice, and is sent to an alternate version of Victorian-era London to steal an important book of fairytales. What should be a routine mission is anything but. The world is chaos-infested, one of the side effects of that being supernatural creatures exist, including the Fae. Things go wrong for Irene almost from the start, and she catches the attention of Vale, an alternate version of Sherlock Holmes, the powerful Fae Lord Silver, and an enemy of the Library who threatens to destroy not just Irene, but the whole world.

There are quite a few things that I liked about The Invisible Library. The premise is fantastic and of course a bibliophile like myself is ready and eager to enjoy a book about people who love books. The seemingly infinite number of alternate worlds means there’s a host of possibilities to explore, and I liked how Ms. Cogman set up the powerful forces of Fae and dragons and their respective representations of chaos and order. In short (so as to avoid spoilers), all the elements of a great story are there. That being said, the story did not live up to its parts. The world building was a case of tell, rather than show. There were seemingly endless amounts of exposition that slowed the book’s pace to a crawl. The characters aren’t very well developed (not even our principals, Irene and Kai, though Kai did charm me), most likely because there was no time to do so. Everything but the kitchen sink seemed to be thrown into this story, and quite a bit of it could have been cut without impacting the narrative. Less might have been more for a first book, as I’d have liked to have delved more into the characters and the different kinds of magic.

The Invisible Library is the kind of book I struggle with rating. While I did have a number of issues with this book, I can’t say I didn’t like it. The second half of the story found its footing and the pacing did pick up. More importantly (to me, anyway), I think Ms. Cogman has a great imagination and I’m excited to learn more about the world of the Library. There’s a lot of interesting information exposited in The Invisible Library that I didn’t unpack because it’d spoil the story. Suffice it to say that – while I struggled with the writing overall – the premise has me hooked and I look forward to seeing what Irene and Kai get up to in The Masked City.

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

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/01/review-invisible-library-by-genevieve.html

Review: About That Kiss by Jill Shalvis

About That Kiss - Jill Shalvis

My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin


About That Kiss is a warm, funny read that’s classic Jill Shalvis. Kylie and Joe are endearing, vibrant characters and their love story charmed my socks off. Like all the Heartbreaker Bay books, About That Kiss draws you into a wonderful world of welcoming characters, making you want to pull up a comfy chair and get lost in their stories.

Ms. Shalvis knows how to write sigh-worthy heroes, and Joe definitely fits the bill. He’s strong, protective, and his love for his family shines on the page. He had to grow up fast at a young age; his father is a Gulf War vet with severe PTSD, so as a child Joe had to be the one to ensure his family was safe and fed. Hid childhood left its mark on him, and Joe is reticent to get involved with someone long-term, which is why he tries to resist Kylie. She gets under his skin like no one else, and I loved that she knocked Joe off balance a bit. Kylie also carries some scars from her childhood, which makes her wary of opening her heart. She has hidden vulnerabilities, but I was rooting for her to take a risk and open her heart to Joe. Kylie is the kind of heroine you want to have for a friend. She’s quick, funny, kind, and an incredibly talented woodworker. She also has an utterly adorable dog who threatens to steal the show more than once. It’s clear from the start that Kylie and Joe are simply meant to be. They’ve got buckets of chemistry and their banter made me grin more than once. So while they might resist the “L” word, Joe and Kylie don’t stand a chance. Their romance is bright, sexy, and sweet – the perfect combination.

About That Kiss is the fifth full-length book in the Heartbreaker Bay series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. Kylie and Joe’s friends – all part of the Pacific Pier Building crowd – add even more humor and warmth to this story. The friendships are as important to the story as the romance, which is part of the book’s charm. Everyone is perfectly imperfect and easy to adore. I finished About That Kiss a well-satisfied reader, but I cannot wait to see what Ms. Shalvis has in store for Joe’s sister, Molly.

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

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/01/review-about-that-kiss-by-jill-shalvis.html

Review: Headmaster by Tara Sue Me

Headmaster (Lessons from the Rack) - Tara Sue Me

My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin


After the death of his submissive, Winnie, Lennox MacLure turned his back on the Dominant part of himself while at the same time opening the RACK Academy as a sort of penance. He’s been living a half-life since then, but emotionally shutting himself down is getting more and more difficult when faced with his desire for the academy’s dance instructor – and Winnie’s best friend – Mariela. Mariela has wanted Lennox for years, but he’s never seen her as more than Winnie’s friend. Frustrated and determined not to lose him to despair, Mariela makes one last desperate bid to unleash Lennox’s Dom side, and the risk she takes could make or break their chance at happiness.

Since I first ventured into the world of the RACK Academy in Master Professor, I’ve been dying to read Lennox and Mariela’s story. Headmaster is filled with emotional turmoil, but there’s also quite a bit of hope to balance that out.

Lennox has been closed off for years, unable to move past his misplaced guilt over Winnie’s death. I liked that it wasn’t easy for him to come back to his whole self; the work he had to put in made his journey feel “earned,” for lack of a better word. And Lennox definitely needed to start finding himself before he was a good fit for Mariela. Though she’s loved him for years, Mariela was always stuck in the role of “Winnie’s best friend.” And though Mariela is kind, she’s no doormat that will let Lennox put in her in a sort of box. She and Lennox clash more than once over the course of the story, and their happily ever after is well earned. There are a lot of ups and downs, and sometimes I might have been frustrated with Lennox’s one-step-forward-two-steps-back, but the fast pace of the story kept it from ever dragging. And while it has plenty of angst, Headmaster isn’t all loss and discovery. There are also plenty of smoking hot scenes. Mariela and Lennox have fantastic chemistry, and things get hot.

I really enjoyed Headmaster – so much so that I read it in one sitting. And even though I had some issues with the story (namely problems popping up which are then quickly resolved off-page), I was still quite happy with how Lennox and Mariela’s romance turned out. These two had a rough journey, but the result is a strong, believable love story that was a pleasure to read.

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

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/01/review-headmaster-by-tara-sue-me.html

Review: Down by Contact by Santino Hassell

Down By Contact (The Barons) - Santino Hassell

My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin


Down by Contact is insanely addictive! Like the first Barons book, Illegal Contact, Simeon and Adrián’s story is so compelling that you’ll want to be sure you have plenty of time to devour it in one sitting. Santino Hassell’s writing has power and passion and his characters are so vibrant that there’s no way this story won’t stick with you.

I dare readers not to fall in love with Simeon from the start. He’s so charming that he lights up the page and it’s easy to see why almost every one he meets is instantly at ease with him. In the previous Barons book, Illegal Contact, Simeon came out as gay in solidarity with his best friend and teammate, Gavin. Coming out hasn’t harmed Simeon’s reputation in any visible way, but the invasiveness of the media and the online taunting from his former teammate now rival, Adrián, is wearing on even the generally positive Simeon. Simeon isn’t perfect, but he’s a pretty perfect hero. He’s kind, generous, and has a spine of steel. He doesn’t let anyone walk over him, but he’s also willing to forgive. I absolutely loved him and couldn’t wait for him to fall for someone who’s his match.

While Simeon made me swoon, Adrián isn’t immediately endearing. And though it might sound weird to say it, I enjoyed the fact that Adrián is deeply flawed at the start, because he grew into a hero worth rooting for. Adrián is aggressive and doesn’t think before he speaks, throwing out comments he doesn’t even realize are homophobic and deeply hurtful. He also carries deep resentment toward Simeon for leaving the Predators to play for the Barons. Part of Adrián’s animosity also stems from the fact that he’s bisexual and doesn’t realize it. I really liked that Simeon was able to open Adrián’s eyes about his behavior. Adrián isn’t a bad person, which is why his change over the course of the story is organic. It was great to see him realize just what he had been saying and the impact it had. He not only starts to think before he speaks, but becomes a better, more aware person, one who is happier and more at peace with himself.

Adrián and Simeon may hate each other at the start of Down by Contact, but the former friends turned enemies have one hell of a love story. When the tension simmering between them explodes into a fistfight on the field, they’re both suspended and forced to teach teenagers how to play football. Having to put the kids first means they have to put aside their animosity, which of course leads to the barriers between them coming down. It’s clear from the start that these two have incredible chemistry and I couldn’t wait for Adrián to realize that his feelings for Simeon run far deeper than he ever could have imagined. The sexual tension between them is incredible, and when it boils over Down by Contact gets insanely hot. In bed and out, Adrián and Simeon make a fantastic couple. That doesn’t mean the road to happily ever after is an easy one. Adrián not only has to come to terms with the fact that he’s bisexual, he and Simeon have to make hard decisions about their burgeoning relationship that could impact the careers they love (and those are only the non-spoiler obstacles). Mr. Hassell makes every bump in the road worth it, because the ending of the story left me grinning.

Down by Contact is the second book in Mr. Hassell’s Barons series, but it can easily be read as a standalone (though you’d be missing out on a great story if you skip Illegal Contact). I absolutely loved Simeon and Adrián’s romance. It’s sexy and sweet, but also interesting and layered. I cannot wait to re-read it!

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

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/01/review-down-by-contact-by-santino.html

Best Books of 2017

2018 is here and with it comes a batch of highly anticipated reads. But before I fully dive into the new year looking for some new favorite books, it’s time to take a look back at the best books of 2017. I read 138 books last year, including quite a few re-reads that I fell in love with all over again. I tried 31 new (to me) authors and discovered some wonderful authors (like Rebecca Brooks, Santino Hassell, Stefanie London, and Heather McCollum) whose backlists I cannot wait to dive into. And finally, I participated in my eighth 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 in 2017, but I did manage to narrow the list down so I could spotlight my 17 favorites of '17 – the ten best new reads and the seven best re-reads.

Top Ten Books of 2017
Top Re-Reads of 2017

My Top Ten Books of 2017

Note: My picks weren’t all published in 2017 (one is even a 1930s classic), 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. White Hot (Hidden Legacy, Book 2) by Ilona Andrews
My Review | Purchase Link

2. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Purchase Link

3. On Broken Wings (Wild Aces, Book 3) by Chanel Cleeton
My Review | Purchase Link

4. Illegal Contact (The Barons, Book 1) by Santino Hassell
My Review | Purchase Link

5. Fair Game (All’s Fair, Book 1) by Josh Lanyon
Purchase Link

6. Fair Play (All’s Fair, Book 2) by Josh Lanyon
Purchase Link

7. Fair Chance (All’s Fair, Book 3) by Josh Lanyon
My Review | Purchase Link

8. Trouble Next Door by Stefanie London
My Review | Purchase Link

9. The Wolf of Kisimul Castle (Highland Isles, Book 3) by Heather McCollum
My Review | Purchase Link

10. Silver Silence (Psy-Changeling Trinity, Book 1) by Nalini Singh
My Review | Purchase Link

My Top Re-Reads of 2017


1. Rock Chick (Rock Chick, Book 1) by Kristen Ashley
Purchase Link

2. Quinn’s Hart by Cassandra Gold
My Review

3. Azagoth (Demonica Underworld, Book 1) by Larissa Ione
Purchase Link

4. Accidentally Compromising the Duke (Wedded by Scandal, Book 1) by Stacy Reid
My Review | Purchase Link

5. One Hot December (Men at Work, Book 3) by Tiffany Reisz
My Review | Purchase Link

6. Angels Fall by Nora Roberts
Purchase Link

7. High Noon by Nora Roberts
Purchase Link

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/01/best-books-of-2017.html

Review: Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

Death Below Stairs -  Jennifer Ashley

My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin



Murder, secrets, and seedcake all come together to form one highly entertaining mystery in Death Below Stairs. Jennifer Ashley’s first Kat Holloway novel is a delight, thanks in large part to the wonderful cast of characters.

Kat Holloway is a talented cook and I loved seeing how a Victorian-era household chef works. Yet while that’s interesting in its own right, that’s not what endeared her to me. Kat is smart, no-nonsense, and stands up for what is right, even when it might get her in trouble. She’s a clever sleuth, and when her assistant is murdered in the middle of the night, she becomes determined to find out who killed the girl and why. But a cook – no matter how quick – cannot solve crime alone, which is why she needs the help of Daniel McAdam. Daniel is a mysterious figure who puts on and sheds personas at the drop of a hat. He seems to be able to find anything at any time and I’m desperate to know more about him. What I do know so far, I absolutely adore. Even though this isn’t a romance (though it does have romantic elements), I still have to say that Daniel is a pretty swoon-worthy hero. His charm radiates off the page and the way he interacts with Kat makes me sigh more often than not. The two of them have seriously fantastic chemistry that I’m hoping will continue to develop over the course of the series.

Daniel and Kat are at the heart of Death Below Stairs, but they’re not the only interesting characters. Daniel’s son James is as charming as his father and Kat’s daughter Grace is as sweet as can be. Lord Rankin’s household staff are a bunch of colorful characters that add life and depth to the story. Every single supporting character in this book is well-drawn and adds to the tale. But though the characters are what stood out most to me in Death Below Stairs, that doesn’t mean the mystery is lacking. A not-so-simple case of murder leads to clues about a Fenian plot, one with dire implications that leads to an exciting race against the clock. Ms. Ashley seamlessly blends historical details in with fiction and the result is a marvelous mystery that’s filled with action.

Death Below Stairs is the first full-length Kat Holloway novel and readers can easily dive right in here. However, there is a prequel novella, A Soupçon of Poison, that I highly recommend reading first. It gave me a better sense going into the novel of Kat’s character, background, professional situation, and her relationships with Daniel, James, and Grace.

Death Below Stairs is an engaging murder mystery overall. Jennifer Ashley’s writing always draws me in and this story is no exception. And while I finished this book a well-satisfied reader, I cannot wait to see what Kat and Daniel take on next in Scandal Above Stairs!

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


Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/01/review-death-below-stairs-by-jennifer.html