Apparently once I am on kid-duty 24/7, my time to review books goes completely out the window. But luckily I am still able to get some reading done, so here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been reading lately.
By The Hour by Roni Loren
The second book in the Pleasure Principle series, I didn’t love it as much as the first one but still very much enjoyed it. Elle is a very complex character and it was interesting to see her arc from bitter and cold shrew into vulnerable woman in love. Many times, I see these “woman betrayed and now don’t believe in love” stories and think, really? Some time and distance from that would probably make it not that big of a deal – but Elle’s past makes her present seem wholly justified. Geez. Plus, Lane was sexy as hell.
Readers Advisory: You would think sex workers in romance fiction would be more common, but the only example that comes to mind is Thorny from Tiffany Reisz’s The Queen, which is excellent.
Fool Me Once by Katee Robert
I had high hopes going into this one because the story involves a heroine that is a gamer and has a crippling social anxiety disorder, but despite how hot and sexy the smut was, I felt like the writing was a little amateur. Part of it was that clearly some establishing plot had taken place in the previous book in the series and was not well integrated into this one. Second, the opening scenes were rough and it was hard to get a good reading on the characters until the story was well along. The hero was a bit of an enigma, and I didn’t really get his character except that he was apparently very muscled and cocky, and also hated his parents.
Readers Advisory: For more ladies that enjoy stereotypically male things that are on the geeky side, check out Forever Mine by Erin Nicholas.
Sugar Bowl 1-3 by Sawyer Bennett
I was blown away by the first book in the series, and I have to review them all at once because none of these works as a standalone. I will say, heavy content warnings apply for this series because it begins with a horrific rape flashback, includes suicide attempts, and there is a revenge murder plot. But holy hell, it was intriguing and I was hooked from the first page. The chemistry between the hero and heroine is also topnotch and their reluctant romance is well plotted. There are few times I’m rooting for the bad guy to be killed dead, but this time, I wanted that sucker to go down.
Readers Advisory: This is an unusual pairing, but I just finished listening to You Must Remember This podcast‘s series on Dead Blondes. Highly recommend, particularly for the last episode in the series, on Dorothy Stratten, where the commoditization of beauty is a theme of the series.
Under Her Skin by Adriana Anders
Continuing in my deep, dark romance reads, this book was incredible. Content warning for domestic abuse and rape, and very brutal at that. The thing that I most loved about this story was how the hero was physically large, but she was able to use their romance as a way to begin her own healing, as she took on a more sexually dominant role in order to take back her power. Yes, their encounters were sexy, but there was also a lot of both characters doing some personal discovery, about how they could overcome destructive cycles and move forward.
Readers Advisory: There are two other books in this series which may be a good place to start (the third comes out this summer and I have the advanced copy — EEE!)
Too Hard To Forget by Tessa Bailey
I’d had this book on hold for quite awhile after reading some early reviews that stated the sex starts off right at the beginning. That’s not exactly true, in that there is at least one chapter of set up, but while it takes awhile for the hero and heroine to move forward with their relationship, there are plenty of flashbacks to tide you over. It’s a bit of a May/December romance, with a bit of single dad thrown in. This book obviously builds from the previous 2 that came before it, but in a way that doesn’t detract from the story at all.
Readers Advisory: When it comes to a coach and a buxom blonde, is there anything else to recommend other than the classic Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel It Had To Be You?
The Undateable by Sarah Title
Is there a more perfect feminist heroine than a librarian? They have the smarts, and can be either fully comfortable in their sexuality or maybe need a little coaxing to bloom. Now, if you’re looking for hot sexy times, this book doesn’t have it, but it was a very sweet and funny story that I enjoyed. It has fake dating, librarians, and memes. What more can you ask for? I know, you can ask for more smut. Sorry. You can’t have it all.
Readers Advisory: For a sexier version of fake dating with librarians, check out Sweet Surrender by Nina Lane. Plus, the librarian is the guy and he also builds cars.
I also have a couple of full length reviews coming up for Netgalley and Author-provided reviews, so stayed tuned for those!