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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: A Taste of Sage by Yaffa S. Santos

A Taste of Sage - Yaffa S. Santos

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

I adore a good culinary romance and I couldn’t wait to read A Taste of Sage. I enjoyed Lumi and Julien’s love of cooking and the way author Yaffa S. Santos writes those scenes will make foodies and non-foodies alike salivate. Lumi’s gift for Dominican fusion creations and Julien’s traditional French cooking were the highlights of this book, but unfortunately there wasn’t much else that I loved.

Lumi Santana is a likeable heroine and she’s easy to care about, especially after the heartbreaking closure of her restaurant. I hated seeing her dream shattered and I was rooting for her to succeed professionally every step of the way. In the meantime, Lumi has to pay her bills and that means taking a job as a sous chef at a traditional French restaurant owned by mercurial chef Julien Dax. Julien is shown to be a hot-tempered snob in the beginning, but that kind of fades. Julien isn’t an easy character to pin down, mostly because he isn’t as well-drawn as Lumi. Julien is, in essence, whatever the plot needs him to be at any given moment. He’s temperamental, he’s rude, he’s smitten, he’s obsessed, he’s devoted… There are some hints at depth to his character, but because he’s so inconsistent nothing really sticks out. Their romance is rather shallow and seems based on lust and a shared love of food more than anything else. I wanted to like them as a couple, but I really couldn’t work up any enthusiasm and simply did not care about their romance.

A Taste of Sage starts off as a fairly straightforward opposites attract story and I was totally ready to enjoy this beloved trope. But partway through things seem to just fall apart. There’s an overreliance on Lumi’s gift of synesthesia to further the plot and there’s also a minor “bad guy” who may not be so bad after all…? I can’t be entirely certain because many of the characters simply change according to what the plot calls for. I did like Lumi’s friends and would like to explore their characters more. But aside from Rafelina and Jenny, the rest of the supporting cast is thinly-drawn and inconsistent in their behavior. I also didn’t like that Ms. Santos defined every single heavy character by their weight and in incredibly frustrating terms. I grew tired of hearing people referred to as “portly,” “fleshy,” and “Michelin Man.” For example, I would have liked to learn more about Julien’s sister and the family dynamics that are brought up and then dropped, but sadly all I know about her is that she works in HR and is – to use this book’s term – “portly.”

A Taste of Sage had potential, but ultimately missed the mark for me. I enjoyed the culinary aspects of the story and Lumi was an interesting heroine for much of the book, but I wasn’t sold on the romance, the inconsistent characters, or the dropped storylines.


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/2020/02/review-taste-of-sage-by-yaffa-s-santos.html

Review: The Demigod Complex by Abigail Owen

The Demigod Complex - Abigail Owen

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

The Demigod Complex is a fun spin on the Greek gods and nymphs. I so enjoyed Castor and Lyleia’s story that it was impossible for me to put it down.

Leia is a nymph who lost her spring and – by extension – her family centuries ago after angering a powerful entity. She’s never been fully happy since, but she’s come back to life working as Castor Dioskouri’s Executive Assistant. Though he’s the son of Zeus, his demigod status doesn’t prevent Castor from also knowing loss. He’s been living half a life since his wife died so long ago. He requested Brimstone, Inc. send him an assistant who wouldn’t fall for his charms, which is why they sent Leia, whose powers as a nymph provide her with a natural resistance to gods. What that natural resistance doesn’t cover is the attraction between the two that springs naturally. It’s clear from the start that Castor and Leia are made for each other. But both are afraid to open their hearts and take a risk; Leia especially since she fears an old enemy may be coming for her again. But when the two attend an alpha wolf shifter mating, the additional pheromones may be enough to get them to lose their inhibitions and take a chance on a happily ever after that would last for eternity.

There’s a crackling energy between Castor and Leia that makes it easy to fall into their romance. Author Abigail Owen knows how to pack a punch in a short space and sets the foundation for the romance quickly allowing readers to be swept up in a love story that’s both sexy and heartwarming. Leia and Castor are both powerful and protective in their own ways and I absolutely adored these two. Ms. Owen weaves mythology wonderfully into this modern day boss/secretary romance and the appearance of gods, nymphs, and shifters give familiar tropes a fresh new feel. All in all, The Demigod Complex is a fast-paced, sensual, action-packed read and I cannot wait to see what’s next in the Brimstone Inc. series!


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/2020/02/review-demigod-complex-by-abigail-owen.html

Review: Wild Nights by Katherine Garbera

Wild Nights - Katherine Garbera

3.75 stars - Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Magic and Sin City are simply made for each other, just like Nicholas and Zelda. The bright lights of Vegas and the spectacle of Nicholas’s illusions are a dazzling backdrop for a sleek and sexy romance in Wild Nights.

Nicholas and Zelda are both likeable characters with old wounds that their burgeoning romance brings to the surface. Zelda comes from a famous magic family, but after a trick went horribly wrong in her teens, she’s put the world of magic behind her. Mostly. Having changed her name and moved across the country, Zelda can’t quite resist the allure of magic and runs an antique shop that specializes in magic props. Zelda doesn’t want to get sucked back into the world she grew up in, mostly because of the painful memories it brings up. So when sexy magician Nicolas Pine comes to her shop looking for his stolen Houdini water cabinet, Zelda tries to resist her attraction to him. But the pull between them can’t be denied and the longer he and Zelda are together the harder it is for her to tell him the truth about her family.

Love and lies have gone hand-in-hand for Nicholas for so long that he’s always on the lookout for Zelda to betray his trust in some way. With this kind of setup, it’s easy to see the drama coming from a mile away. That being said, the way things played out actually worked pretty well. Both Nicholas and Zelda are self-aware enough to recognize their issues and what triggers them and though there is some expected drama, it still feels fairly organic. The romance between them takes a while to build, then goes full-speed halfway through. I do wish the pacing had been a bit faster in the first part of the book and that the emotional component had been slowed down and allowed to develop more naturally in the second.

Magic and illusions are like catnip for me, so I was very eager to dive into Wild Nights. Once the pacing picked up I enjoyed the story immensely. I haven’t read the first Jokers Wild book, One Night Gamble, but this book easily stands on its own. That being said, I liked Katherine Garbera’s writing enough that I’ll definitely be reading the rest of this series.


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/2020/02/review-wild-nights-by-katherine-garbera.html

Review: The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

The Worst Best Man - Mia Sosa

3.25 stars - Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

A wedding planner left at the altar who is forced to work with the best man who helped ruin her wedding-that-wasn’t? Sounds like a great recipe for an enemies-to-lovers romance to me. But to say I’m divided on how I feel about The Worst Best Man is pretty accurate. I didn’t enjoy the first half of the book and there are a few times I contemplated just not finishing it. I’m glad I resisted, for the second half is wonderful.

Let’s get the bad out of the way, shall we? Lina was left at the altar by Andrew, who hints that his brother and best man, Max, may have said something that spurred him to ditch his own wedding. Since he was drunk at the bachelor party, Max doesn’t remember what he said. Three years later, Max and Lina are paired together to present a pitch that could be a big deal for Lina’s business and help Max get out of his brother’s shadow at work. The problem is, Lina still holds Max responsible for what happened on her wedding day. Why, when it was Andrew who left her at the altar and didn’t even have the decency to tell her himself? I’m not really sure. It would have made sense if (1) Lina had been in love with Andrew and still brokenhearted three years later (she wasn’t, she isn’t, and she barely spares him a thought) or (2) Lina and Max had a friendship or some form of relationship before the wedding that made Max’s behavior feel like a betrayal (they barely knew each other). Since neither of these are the case, Lina’s attitude toward Max and the ways she tried to punish him came across as juvenile, even though I can see why Lina might have wanted a target for her anger and embarrassment (even if that target didn’t deserve it). I wanted to shout at Max to cut his losses and run for it. What made me stay with this book was Lina’s relationship with her loving family and author Mia Sosa’s infusion of Brazilian culture. Lina is a first generation Brazilian American and Ms. Sosa does an incredible job of weaving her heritage into this book. She also does a great job of showing why Lina tries so hard to control her emotions, confronting the bias and dismissiveness Afro-Latinx women face in the workplace when emotions get involved. Ms. Sosa does this so well that I stuck with the book even though I was incredibly frustrated by Lina and Max’s interactions. I’m so glad I did.

Once Lina and Max start to lean into their mutual attraction and the emotional pull between them, The Worst Best Man shines. The two of them start to grow, to confront their fears, wounds, and vulnerabilities. The second half of this book is fantastic; funny, heartwarming, charming…there’s so much to enjoy. I loved that Max was a safe space for Lina to let down her guard. He’s a genuinely good, thoughtful, dependable man who deserves to be seen for all that he is on his own. And I love that Max saw the real Lina and fell for all that she is. He doesn’t try to change her professional image, doesn’t suggest she become someone else to win a job, but supports her every step of the way. It’s not a smooth road to happily ever after for these two, but you understand the bumps in the road and it becomes easy to root for them. So while I’m torn on how to rate this because I had such differing views on the first versus the second half, I will say that I was very happy with how Lina and Max’s story ended and I’m looking forward to reading more of Ms. Sosa’s work.


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

 

Source: http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-worst-best-man-by-mia-sosa.html

Review: The Story of Us by Teri Wilson

The Story of Us - Teri Wilson

3.75 stars - Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

The Story of Us is a love letter to books, community, and – most importantly – love in all its forms. Teri Wilson manages to deliver a Valentine’s romance that is incredibly sweet without ever edging into saccharine territory.

Jamie may be on a romantic hiatus – the current love of her life is her cat, Eliot – but she believes in true love. More importantly, she believes in True Love Bookstore and Café, the bookstore she owns that has been her lifelong dream. Jamie also loves her picturesque Oregon town, but the business district is suffering and a retail development company is closing in, determined to crush the district and turn it into a generic retail space. Jamie is determined to save her bookstore and the business district, but she doesn’t count on the architect the developers send in: Sawyer, Jamie’s high school sweetheart.

Sawyer and Jamie are at loggerheads for much of The Story of Us. Both of them have opposing goals and have solid reasons for trying to swing the town council vote their way. How this storyline plays out is predictable, but any other outcome would have been unsatisfying given the circumstances. Being on opposing sides is no match for true love, especially when Jamie discovers old valentines and love letters in her bookstore. Both were an incredibly sweet touch; the letters especially as they have an important lesson for Jamie and Sawyer. The push-pull of love that never died versus opposing goals did start to drag a bit, I will admit. Still, I could not help but be charmed by the delicate sweetness of the story overall. The Story of Us is a lovely romance with nods to The Shop Around the Corner/You’ve Got Mail, which makes it a perfect Valentine’s Day 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/2020/02/review-story-of-us-by-teri-wilson.html

Review: Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne

Marriage on Madison Avenue (Central Park Pact, #3) - Lauren Layne

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Marriage on Madison Avenue is a sweet confection of a book. I’ve been excited to read Audrey and Clarke’s story ever since I first saw them together in Passion on Park Avenue and Lauren Layne did not disappoint. Marriage on Madison Avenue is the literary equivalent of sunshine and rainbows – it made me incredibly happy while I was reading it and I hated having to look away from the book for even a minute.

Audrey is simply one of the most loveable heroines you’ll ever meet. She may have grown up a pampered Upper East Side princess and her job as an Instagram influencer is not one many take seriously, but she works hard at her job and is so genuinely sweet and charming that you cannot help but love her. Her best friend since childhood, Clarke, has always been there for her and they seriously have the best friendship. I’ve adored their interactions all throughout the Central Park Pact series and I love how they’re always there for each other, no matter what. Clarke may look like a hunk and have a playboy image, but he also works hard at his father’s company and there’s far more to him than others see.

Clarke and Audrey have faked an engagement before to get out of a situation, but this time something’s different. This time the two of them are starting to see what is crystal clear to everyone they know: that Clarke and Audrey are made for each other. They know they love each other and that is never in question throughout the book (another thing I loved), but what they can’t see is that they’re also in love with one another. Both of them are wary of risking their hearts. For Audrey having found out that her boyfriend was married shook her to the core and Clarke has a past of his own that makes him want to guard his heart. A fake relationship with their best friend is easy for both of them. Until new and uncomfortable feelings start to arise. Feelings that make their fake engagement feel all-too-real. How things play out, I won’t reveal. Suffice it to say Ms. Layne takes readers on a wonderful journey in one of the best friends-to-lovers stories I’ve ever read. Everything about Audrey and Clarke’s journey worked for me and I think it’s in part because Ms. Layne make the core love and friendship at the base of the relationship so strong and that strength shines. It’s the little moments Ms. Layne includes throughout the story that just bring everything in Audrey and Clarke’s relationship together. Their slide into love feels fated and though it’s not a smooth path to happily ever after, I was cheering them on every step of the way.

Audrey and Clarke are the heart of Marriage on Madison Avenue but the friendship between Audrey, Claire, and Naomi is vital to the tale as well. Their friendship had had an unusual beginning, but these three strong, independent, very different women are a treat to read about. Their support, rapport, and genuine caring are what makes me love the Central Park Pact series. Though you don’t have to have read Passion on Park Avenue or Love on Lexington Avenue in order to enjoy this book, you’d be missing out on two charming stories of love and friendship. Marriage on Madison Avenue was the perfect ending to a wonderfully entertaining trilogy. It’s bright, endearing, and hits all the right notes.


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-marriage-on-madison-avenue-by.html

Review: Her Scandalous Pursuit by Candace Camp

Her Scandalous Pursuit - Candace Camp

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Two scientists from very different worlds come together in the delightful Her Scandalous Pursuit. Candace Camp returns to her Mad Morelands series with a prequel featuring the eldest Moreland, Thisbe.

Thisbe is a scientist who has the support of her family and the freedom provided by her station to attend lectures and meetings, even if the men there don’t take her seriously. I enjoyed her fearless nature and the way she wouldn’t let sexism stop her from pursuing her studies. When she meets Desmond at a lecture, she’s delighted to find a man who is willing to talk with her as an equal. Desmond was a total sweetheart. He’s patient, kind, and protective, though that last quality tends to get in his way at times. Desmond is very conscious of his “low birth” – especially when he finds out Thisbe is a duke’s daughter – but he cannot deny the pull between them. Thisbe comes from a very unconventional family and is unconcerned with their difference in stations. While some suspension of disbelief is required for how casual the Morelands are and how much freedom Thisbe has to be alone with Desmond, I was happy to go along for the ride. Thisbe and Desmond fit extremely well and were so easy to root for, even when misunderstandings or misplaced honor get in their way.

The romance between Desmond and Thisbe might have been better suited to a novella if it weren’t for the subplot filling out a good portion of the book. Desmond is working for a disgraced scientist who is obsessed with finding Annie Blue’s Eye, an ancient artifact rumored to possess supernatural powers. At the same time Thisbe begins to have nightmares connected to the Eye’s creator. When Desmond learns Thisbe has a connection to the Eye, it sets off a chain of events that lead the two of them on a dangerous pursuit. I can’t say much about this plotline for fear of spoiling the story. For me, this storyline slowed down the book at times and wasn’t as interesting as the romance, but that could just be personal preference.

Her Scandalous Pursuit is a prequel to the Mad Morelands series and having not read the other six books I can safely say it stands alone. Fans of the series will undoubtedly be thrilled to see their favorite characters before their happily ever afters. And I enjoyed this welcoming, loving, intellectual family so much that I cannot wait to read the rest of the series (Thisbe’s youngest brothers, the Greats, were especially charming). All in all, Her Scandalous Pursuit is a thoroughly entertaining 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/2020/01/review-her-scandalous-pursuit-by.html

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