Monday, November 27, 2023

REVIEW: Knockout: A Hell's Belles Novel by Sarah MacLean



Oh how I adore the Hell's Belles. They're nothing but a delight to read and even though I want to stretch out the reading, I know that I'm going to speed through because I just can't help myself. I've been waiting and waiting for Imogen and Tommy's story for a long time and it was just as fun as I hoped it would be. She's sleuthing and exploding and he's sleuthing and brooding at how she seems to beat him to every case he's investigating, which means that there's lots of banter and fun happening between these two. While they're both racing to figure out who is destroying businesses, Imogen is secretly pining for Tommy and Tommy is busy denying that they could ever be a thing. When will the men get with the program and capitulate? Probably never, which makes all of these love stories so much fun to read. The push and pull, the insecurities, the falling in love....all of it makes for an entertaining 5 out of 5 stars read. 

Sarah MacLean being the queen of my historical romance heart has me dying for the next book in this series and once you read the last few pages of this novel, you'll see why. 



New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean returns with the next Hell’s Belles novel about a chaotic bluestocking and the buttoned-up detective enlisted to keep her out of trouble (spoiler: She is the trouble).

With her headful of wild curls and wilder ideas and an unabashed love of experiments and explosives, society has labeled Lady Imogen Loveless peculiar…and doesn’t know she’s one of the Hell’s Belles—a group of vigilantes operating outside the notice of most of London.

Thomas Peck is not most of London. The brilliant detective fought his way off the streets and into a promising career through sheer force of will and a keen ability to see things others miss, like the fact that Imogen isn’t peculiar…she’s pandemonium. If you ask him, she requires a keeper. When her powerful family discovers her late-night activities, they couldn’t agree more…and they know just the man for the task.

Thomas wants nothing to do with guarding Imogen. He is a grown man with a proper job and no time for the lady’s incendiary chaos, no matter how lushly it is packaged. But some assignments are too explosive to pass up, and the gruff detective is soon caught up in Imogen’s world, full of her bold smiles and burning secrets…and a fiery passion that threatens to consume them both.

Monday, November 20, 2023

REVIEW: Icebreaker by Hannah Grace


I was hesitant, at first, about this novel. I don't know why I was, I just was. Boy was I wrong. I checked it out of the library and as soon as I started it, I knew I would be zooming through it. It's such a fun read. It has that fun frienemy feel, filled with lots of sarcasm and banter, especially with Anastasia and Nate (but let's not discount their friends--their friends and their shenanigans made this novel that much more fun to read). Once Anastasia and Nate get beyond their initial conflicts and get to know each other, their descent into love and friendship is perfect--it's not without its bumps in the road (some trust issues, impulsive reactions)--and fairly healthy. We see a young couple learn to communicate in healthy ways and push through some of their insecurities. I adore how much they both adore each other, stand up for each other, push each other's buttons, and give in to the love they feel. I also really appreciate Hannah Grace having sex positive characters and also shows a character who has consistent therapy sessions. Overall this is a 5 out 5 stars for me.


Anastasia Allen has worked her entire life for a shot at Team USA. It looks like everything is going according to plan when she gets a full scholarship to the University of California, Maple Hills and lands a place on their competitive figure skating team.

Nothing will stand in her way, not even the captain of the hockey team, Nate Hawkins.

Nate’s focus as team captain is on keeping his team on the ice. Which is tricky when a facilities mishap means they are forced to share a rink with the figure skating team—including Anastasia, who clearly can’t stand him.

But when Anastasia’s skating partner faces an uncertain future, she may have to look to Nate to take her shot.

Sparks fly, but Anastasia isn’t worried…because she could never like a hockey player, right?


Tuesday, November 14, 2023

REVIEW: Next-Door Nemesis by Alexa Martin



I've read everything by Alexa Martin and I know I can always count on smart and funny romance. In Next-Door Nemesis, we meet Collins, recently relocated to her parent's house due to an unfortunate viral video, and Nathaniel, her former best friend and now someone she thinks she detests. From the very first chapter, Collins and Nathaniel's run ins are hilarious and full of snarky vitriol and they keep running into each other because Nathaniel is living right down the street and part of the board of the HOA. As things escalate between them, they find themselves running against each other for HOA president. Interestingly, this is the turning point. They begin to rediscover their friendship, heal past hurts, and start to actually enjoy each other and even though they're running against each other, the friendship turns into love that the entire neighborhood delightedly follows--you can practically see the neighbors in lawn chairs and popcorn, watching them fall in love.

As always, both the primary and secondary character provide a lot of hilarious moments, a lot of heartfelt moments, and they make it hard to want to put the book down. Another excellent read from Alexa Martin.


After years of hustling, Collins Carter has finally made it...back to her parents’ house. Between tending to the compost with her newly retired dad and running into her high school nemesis at the only decent coffee shop in town, Collins realizes this subdivision from hell she swore she’d never return to is her rock bottom.

Then the homeowner’s association complaint arrived.

Nathaniel Adams always dreamed of a nice, quiet life in his suburban hometown. Or at least that’s what he thought until Collins moved back and sent his quaint, organized life into a tailspin. He thought Collins was infuriating ten years ago, but when she announces she’s running against him for HOA president, all bets are off.

From secret board meetings to vicious smear campaigns whispered over backyard fences, Collins and Nate sink to levels their sleepy suburb has never seen before. But as hate turns into lust, these two enemies are forced to reckon with the feelings they’ve ignored for years. If only there were bylaws for real life.

Monday, November 13, 2023

REVIEW: Heated Rivals by Katee Robert



We all knew after Dark Succession that it was only a matter of time before Carrigan and James had another run in and we all knew it would be fireworks. They did and it was. In Heated Rivals, we follow along as they try deny their attraction because of how problematic it would be for their pride and their family rivalry. The more they try to deny it though, the more attractive they become to each other. Unfortunately, Carrigan is being forced into a marriage that will benefit her family and James is absolutely not on that list. So even though all she can think about his him and all he can do is think about her, she feels like she has no choice but to select someone her father approves of. ....and that is the first three fourths of the novel....they're push and pull to want each other and deny each other. The last fourth is where it gets juicy. Loyalties are tested, family decisions are huge and on the line, and the end leaves you just waiting for what will happen with next. 

I'm digging the weaving of the narrative of the other siblings into each of these novels and wonder where they'll end up and with whom.


Carrigan O'Malley has always known her arranged marriage would be more about power and prestige than passion. But after one taste of the hard-bodied, whiskey-voiced James Halloran, she's ruined for anyone else. Too bad James and his family are enemy number 1.

Hallorans vs. O'Malleys-that's how it's always been. James should be thinking more about how to expand his family's empire instead of how silky Carrigan's skin is against his and how he can next get her into his bed. Those are dangerous thoughts. But not nearly as dangerous as he'll be if he can't get what he wants: Carrigan by his side for the rest of their lives.

Monday, November 6, 2023

REVIEW: Crowne Jewel by C.D. Reiss


Our Mini Review:

I bought Crowne Jewel because it's the next in the series and I was curious about which sibling would be taken down by love. Turns out it was Lyric falling in love with an ex, Anton, who broke her heart, now works for her dad, and ends up being her body guard when she starts being threatened. As you'd expect, they both still care for each other and while they try to deny it, and then try to treat their 'new' thing as a casual sex thing, there's no way that that's going to be the end of it. So, while Anton is trying to figure out who is behind the stalking, and Lyric is doing her best to ignore Anton's demands for her safety, the constant undercurrent is how much they don't want to, but can't help caring for each other. The start of this one was a little confusing for me but once I found my bearings, I flew through the pages, as I typically do with any C.D. Reiss novel and while it's probably not my favorite, it was still entertaining. 



Protect me at all costs.

That’s the mission my father placed on Anton Markov—my new bodyguard. Shield me from a ruthless, faceless stalker. The menace hijacked my online presence, levied chilling threats my way, and promised to unleash a barrage of damage to me personally and professionally.

There’s one problem with Anton.

It’s simple. I despise him.

He stole everything years ago—my heart, dreams, and dignity. With a four-line farewell note stuck to my kitchen table, he broke my heart and almost my spirit.

But it seems Anton has his own collection of grievances over what happened in New York, and he’s not willing to let them go.

It’s complicated. He hates me.

As my stalker escalates his threats, Anton and I are thrust closer together. His smoldering good looks, irresistible charm, and unwavering dedication to my safety blur the line between lovers and enemies.

He claims that he can't protect me if he falls in love with me. With the danger closing in, we’re about to put that theory to the test.

Crowne Jewel is a standalone with a hot protector, wounded soldier, an ex you never thought you'd get over.
The story includes non-binary besties, a past abortion that no one feels guilty about, and a hundred right ways to act with an independent woman.
The danger to Lyric is real and manifests in stalking, ugly threats, and descriptions of violence that may take some readers out of the story.
Oh, also role-play shenanigans, a guy who stands up for her when she's speaking, and two people who bring each other sandwiches in case they're hungry.

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