Review: Heat

tl;dr: save yourself some pain and stay far away from this garbage fire

The Story:

I picked up this book because I got a publisher email. If you’ll recall, I also reviewed the author’s last release, A Fare To Remember. I didn’t think it could honestly get worse than that one. I figured it would be a quick read, a few laughs, and then I’d write a review that was essentially a rehashing of the last.

This book was so much worse than the one before it. I don’t even want to review it. First, the review copy that they sent me was barely readable. The formatting was awful and random words and numbers were inserted throughout the book. I had the worst time following it because of those things. And not only that, but the story itself was the most bored I’ve ever been while reading erotica. The prose was infantile and awful. The characters were worse than paper dolls.

Rikki is a shell of a human who apparently had one serious relationship about ten years before, and they were engaged and waiting for her to turn 18 so she wouldn’t be jailbait for the older guy, but instead he got killed in the line of duty before he could close the deal. Since he was a firefighter, she’s sworn off all firefighters as romantic partners. Somehow in the interim, all she does with her life is work in retail, selling clothing. But she’s also a photographer, because why not? Her friend Cassie, who I have no idea how they met, sets her up with a sexy firefighter calendar gig that doesn’t pay, but she gets full ownership of the negatives and can make money off romance authors for book covers. Fine.

She goes out with her new roommates, all of whom are described way too well for how little they feature into this story, and has a connection when she shares a glance with two men sitting at the bar. She evidently has mystical soulmate powers, because she just knows that she is meant to be with both men. The last time she had that connection, it was with her late fiancé.

She is hesitant to begin something with both, because she’s a virgin and also she doesn’t particularly want to be in a relationship with someone who works in such a dangerous profession, which seems understandable, but they are so drawn to each other that it’s inevitable that they hook up. And also she can’t choose so it has to be a threesome and there doesn’t seem to be any awkwardness at all with that idea. Even though none of them have had a threesome before. I think. Maybe the guys have, but their backstory is apparently not important.

The scene where they finally do it is all kinds of wrong and cringe-worthy. First, both firefighters are showering together, naked. Like you do. And Rikki walks in on them, and is captivated by their nakedness. They turn around and see her, and despite her protests, seduce her in the shower. (This whole time, they are at the fire station. Yes, their place of EMPLOYMENT.) Then they go back to the guys’ private sleeping quarters while the rest of their co-workers are sleeping in other rooms in the same building, and have kinky sex. It’s Rikki’s first time and she’s letting one guy have sex with her while going down on the other guy. And I don’t even know how they managed to situate themselves without one of the guys hanging from a light fixture.

Of course, there’s a guy from Rikki’s past that shows up so her two firefighters can be all jealous and have a misunderstanding, but it really, really doesn’t work. I haven’t even bothered to name the two guys because I couldn’t tell them apart. In the end, Rikki decides that love is worth the risk and the guys allow her to take the risk. Yes, allow her. They decide she isn’t too fragile for their love.

Ughhh don’t even no I can’t gaaaah.

Technical Elements:

I have for you a selection of quotations.

But she was intensely aware of his potent masculine aura.

He drew back and smiled at her, his mouth glistening with her arousal.

She moaned in his ear, probably deafening him, but he kept rocking. Filling her with that wonderful, thick column.

…she’s like a kid with a new toy as far as the adventurous sex goes.

Her voice sounded like hot silk.

Final Thoughts:

I don’t think I have it in me to review another one of this author’s books. This was a trial, summoning all of my strength to keep my gag reflex in check. I wanted to review it because I thought there should be some variety in the reviews on Goodreads, because a lot of people seem to enjoy this and I didn’t want some unsuspecting reader to end up sorely disappointed. But someone else is going to have to commit seppuku because another one of these and I’m going to be in line for a lobotomy.


Literally read anything else.  Anything.

But if you came here for a firefighter romance, I read Burn recently, which was fine. At least the hero was sexy.


free ebook provided by netgalley for honest review

Review: The Wedding Date Bargain

tl;dr: sweet and sexy chemistry overrides the few technical faults

The story:

When reading the title of a book, a reader generally has some expectations about what’s to follow. But when it comes to this book, toss them. I have no idea why the book is titled ‘The Wedding Date Bargain’. The wedding is a 3 page non-event, and I don’t even know where the bargain comes from.

This is the actual story: college friends Max and Sarah reconnect after 8 years, and then reconnect AGAIN one week later. Sarah has always had the hots for Max, and the feeling is mutual. She threw herself at him in college, but apparently he has a White Knight complex and refused to tarnish her virtue, so they spend 8 years mooning over the one that got away. When Sarah ends up working for his friend Sean’s chain of hotels, she AGAIN tries to seduce him and he AGAIN says he can’t be the guy to pop her cherry, because it would give her the wrong impression or something. But when Sarah agrees, and decides she’ll find someone else to fix her ‘problem’, Max goes 110% caveman and offers himself as tribute, because he can’t stand the idea of anyone else touching her.

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Review: While The Duke Was Sleeping

tl;dr: sexier than the movie it’s based on, but consent is iffy

The Story:

This book is literally the very first historical romance novel that I’ve ever read. I don’t enjoy historical anything. I don’t watch period dramas. I don’t get the appeal of Mr. Darcy. Fancy dresses with breeches or corsets or petticoats and layers of whatnot does not appeal to me. My preferred romances feature lots of angst, sex, and pain (with a HEA!). I like a romance that makes me feel deeply, where I get invested in the characters and their misery, and feel elated when everything turns out in the end. The harder the fight to the HEA, the better. And I don’t want any thees and thous and “I dare says” getting in the way.

And I probably chose the wrong book for my first historical, because  I can’t muster up more than an underwhelmed “meh” about this one. I was excited about the idea because it’s a play on one of my favorite romantic comedies, While You Were Sleeping. The story is not identical, and I think a lot of the changes were good choices for the genre, but in general, I wasn’t a huge fan of the setting.

Poppy Fairchurch has admired the Duke of Autenberry from afar for a very long time. She works as a shopgirl in a flower shop, one that the Duke frequents quite a bit. Poppy isn’t stupid, she knows that he’s sending flowers to loads of different women, and he still seems dashing and sentimental regardless. But when she sees him get into a street brawl with another man, she dashes out of the shop to try and protect him, which seems a little misguided and rash. Anyway, it turns out that the other man is his half-brother and they do not get along because Struan Mackenzie reminds the Duke that his father was actually a pretty horrible person. Punches are thrown and then Poppy shoves the Duke out of the way of an errant carriage, which ends up with a bump to his head that knocks him out cold.

As with the movie, someone overhears Poppy lamenting jokingly that she and the Duke were supposed to be married, and they all take it at face value, except Struan and Lord Strickland, who happens to be the Duke’s best friend. Poppy is about to tell everyone the truth, but Lord Strickland asks her to wait, to keep the family’s spirits up. Struan makes it his goal to seduce Poppy, and they get up to some very not-PG-like activities in the meantime that definitely were missing from the movie.

Technical Elements:

Overall, the writing was fine. I feel like I can’t judge this sub-genre very well since I don’t read historical. There didn’t appear to be any sort of time frame that this story landed in, and I’m not even sure I know what country they were in. Struan was Scottish or Irish or something other, and they were somewhere else, presumably England. I felt like the sexual tension was pretty well drawn out, and the smutty scenes were pretty hot, although I’m a little meh on the dubious consent. Contemporary romances have a lot more free reign to be sex-positive since that’s the culture that we live in. (At least, women losing their virginity isn’t publicly referred to as ruination, although that may still be the secret belief.)

I should probably explain the consent portion. I don’t know if that’s the way with historical romances, if it’s a given that the heroine will say no no no but mean yes yes yes (which is awful and makes me cringe), but that’s essentially what kept happening here. And the hero frequently thinks about how he just needs to ‘have her’ once, get this lust out of his system, so he can discard her and move on with his life. And any time they start to get sexy together, he pushes her beyond what she says she wants although her body ‘responds’ to him. I just really didn’t like that aspect. He does kind of pull back and doesn’t completely go through with ‘ruining’ her until she begs him to, but I can’t help feeling that if he’d listened to her before she was too aroused to think straight, she may have made another decision? Is this the type of romance people want to read?

Final Thoughts:

As far as romances go, this one was pretty light. There are several other stories in the series, and I believe the next book picks up with Lord Strickland and the Dowager Duchess (the Duke’s stepmother), but honestly, I don’t think I can read any more about comely maidens or carriages.


Find it at your local library! I can’t recommend another historical romance because I haven’t read any others, but I’ve got some enemies-to-lovers to recommend!

First, Act Like It was phenomenal, and one of the best of the trope in my opinion. I also highly enjoyed The Love Potion despite its silliness, or you can always go old school with Pride and Prejudice.

Review: Off The Clock

tl;dr: two sex therapists that have a lot to learn about love

The Story:

I don’t normally read back-of-the-book blurbs, but in this case, I did. It seemed interesting enough, and so I checked it out from the library, mostly because the blurb to the follow-up book, By The Hour, looked even more intriguing. Unfortunately, the library didn’t have that book, so, wary to purchase a book without knowing if I would like the author’s style, I borrowed this one first. And I’m so glad that I did, for a variety of reasons, least of which is that the most interesting part of the story was a complete surprise.

The first few chapters are a bit of an extended prologue where we get to know Marin and Donovan. Donovan is a doctoral student working on his thesis about aural methods of female arousal, by recording himself dictating fantasies that are supposed to be coming from the female gaze, or at least, more arousing for women than pornography, which tends to work better for men. After a week of working together on the scripts for the audio recordings, Marin and Donovan have passion sex on one of the desks in the lab. Marin doesn’t give him her real name, and she doesn’t even plan to see him again, ever. Due to a family crisis, she ends up dropping out of school and thinks that she’ll never see him again…

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Review: The F Word

tl;dr: formerly overweight woman is plagued by high school broken heart

The Story:

Finishing this book was a struggle.

I’m not totally sure if it’s because the ‘women’s fiction but not romance’ genre, otherwise known as chick lit, is just not for me anymore, or if the book is actually not that good. I didn’t connect with any of it, and not because the gist of the story wasn’t interesting. It’s because the actual story fell very flat for me, mostly because I kept getting pulled out of it by visceral disgust or general disagreement with some of the things that were plied off as truth.

The F Word is apparently a follow-up to Conversations with a Fat Girl, which I didn’t read. That story is about Olivia’s friend, and while Olivia is a character in that book, the friend at the center of the first book is barely even mentioned in this one, which is what it is. This book takes place ten years after the first one. Olivia has been living in her Hollywood life with her doctor husband and working in a PR firm for celebrities. We are supposed to be making parallels between Caroline Lang, Olivia’s actress client going through a divorce, and Olivia herself. They both maintain an icy I’m-better-than-you demeanor, although it’s hard to tell from Caroline whether she means it or if it’s just a coping mechanism left over from her lonely childhood. Olivia, on the other hand, is just mean. She’s mean to her socialite couple friends, and makes very little effort to have friends of her own. She seems closer to her mom and her mom’s friends, although she doesn’t bare herself to anyone. Literally. She’s been married ten years and her husband has never seen her naked.

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Review: Back In The Saddle

tl;dr: short book that zipped too fast on plot development, otherwise ‘fine’

I reviewed this book for the 2017 RITA reader challenge at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. You can read my review here. It was interesting to write a review that appears in a popular blog (one that I love, no less). So check it out over there!


Find a copy at the library!

Like Westerns? I reviewed Chase recently, although I don’t really recommend it.

Like single parents? Check out Love & Rockets by Maggie Wells.

Review: The Queen

tl;dr: a totally satisfying conclusion but i selfishly want more

The Story:

The final full-length novel in the Original Sinners series is just as haunting as all the ones that precede it. After engaging in an public display of affection, Nora wants to confess to Søren about two times that she nearly came back to him during the time they were separated, since she has realized from his behavior as of late that he is likely not going to be a priest much longer.

The Queen takes us through her training by Kingsley to be the city’s most notorious Dominatrix, and navigating her joy at freedom and her pain at being without Søren, whom she still loves deeply. Eleanor is reborn as Nora, and has to prove herself when their entire kink community knows her as being the submissive of the priest. There’s even a villain, another dominatrix that uses her knowledge of the kink community as a weapon, trying to keep everyone afraid of her.

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Review: Chase

tl;dr: mistaken identity story remains listless on the page

The Story:

Chase Garrett has rearranged his whole life for his fiancée, whom he catches cheating on him with his best friend in the opening pages of the book. With no property to go back to, he decides to be reckless and join the IBR, the International Bull Riding circuit, and doesn’t look back. On one of his rides, a little boy dashes across the arena, thinking that he is his late father. Riley Barrett doesn’t understand that this Chase is not the same man, due to some physical similarities and how similar his name is to his dad’s.

Madeline Barrett, on the other hand, feels overwhelmed at being a single mother. It’s been many months since her husband died while bull riding, and she is trying to plan for their financial security. She has a ton of brothers, all of whom want to help, but she won’t let them because of pride. When she sees Chase and the way that he connects with Riley, she begins to feel all those stirrings that she’d avoided in the months since her husband’s passing.

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Review: Forever Mine

tl;dr: bland romance about superhero-loving butt-kicking girl and doctor with a secret

The Story:

Sometimes you read books that are just…fine. There’s nothing particularly amazing about them, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why you aren’t fangirling over them because there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with it. It just…is. And that was this book.

I wanted to love it, I really did. Former cop Maya Goodwin runs a superhero fitness class that incorporates some weapons and martial arts to increase kids’ self-esteem. She loves comic books and superheroes and has a giant poster of Captain America in her bedroom.

Alex Nolan, pediatrician and hemophiliac, sees her mall demonstration and wants to incorporate some of her class stuff with his daughter, Charli, who he didn’t know existed until recently. She also has symptoms of hemophilia, and he needs to make adjustments for her. They have lust at first sight and start to fall for each other. Maya is messy and pushy and Alex is more reserved.

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Review: Sweet Surrender

tl;dr: romance lessons bring two people together in a lovely (and dirty) explosion

The Story:

Tyler Stone is the youngest of the Stone brothers, and apparently has always been the ‘screw up’. He dropped out of college, tinkers with cars on the weekends, and spends his time partying, playing video games, and boozing, all the while taking up with a variety of beautiful women who use him for his trust fund. By the time our story starts, approximately 6 months after Sweet Escape ended, Tyler’s ways have caught up to him and he’s in danger of having charges pressed against him for taking a girlfriend’s boat on a joyride and crashing it. His father has banished him to the corporate library at Sugar Rush, which turns out to be in chaos. He’s hating life when Kate Darling literally falls into his arms, startled by his voice when she’s on a ladder reaching for a book.

If you’ve read the previous two books, you know Kate already. She’s young, but she has a severe business-like manner. She’s extremely efficient and good at her job. She gets a bit of a backstory here, but it’s almost wholly unnecessary. Raised by a single dad, who is now remarried to a woman Kate seems to like just fine; but feeling like a third wheel, she decided to move clear across the country for the executive assistant job at Sugar Rush.

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