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Review: Perfect Partners (Love Unexpected) by Carly Phillips

Perfect Partners

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A “Love Unexpected” Novel …

No sooner had lawyers Chelsie Russell and Griffin Stuart lost their siblings in a car crash than they find themselves fighting for custody of their two year old niece. Griff wins only to discover Chelsie is the only one who can sooth the child’s night terrors and fears. Chelsie and Griff bond over the little girl and their growing sexual desire is mutual. But Chelsie’s been hurt before and Griff isn’t sure he can trust the woman who once tried to take his niece away. What will it take for these two unexpected lovers to believe they can be perfect partners after all?

 

 
Perfect Partners was…a rather “meh” category romance. I have no strong feelings about the book, the characters or the plot. The plot was is rather formulaic: Plot moppet’s parents (the hero’s brother and the heroine’ sister) are killed in an accident, orphaning the plot moppet. The heroine and hero are forced together by their love of the plot moppet and their desire to keep her safe and happy.

Since Perfect Partners is not an actual HQN category romance – just written exactly like one – the hero doesn’t force the heroine to marry him in order to deal with the plot moppet (which might have made the story more interesting, TBH). Instead of marriage, the two MCs create a marriage-like environment for the plot moppet by spending almost every evening together (and first) and then combining their businesses (both MCs are attorneys) to work out of the hero’s home office.

There are a couple of other threads of plot which were both more and less interesting than the romance arc: the actions and reactions of the heroine’s parents (less interesting) and the heroine’s work with domestic violence. Neither plot point did much to make Perfect Partners more interesting for me.

Meh.

Review: How to Catch a Wild Viscount by Tessa Dare

How to Catch a Wild Viscount

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She’s on the hunt for a hero…

Luke Trenton, Viscount Merritt, returned from war a changed man. Battle stripped away his civility and brought out his inner beast. There is no charm or tenderness in him now; only dark passions and a hardened soul. He has nothing to offer the starry-eyed, innocent girl who pledged her heart to him four years ago.

But Cecily Hale isn’t a girl any longer. She’s grown into a woman—one who won’t be pushed away. She and Luke are guests at a house party when a local legend captures their friends’ imaginations. While the others plunge into the forest on a wild goose…er, stag chase, Cecily’s on the hunt for a man. She has only a few moonlit nights to reach the real Luke…the wounded heart she knows still beats inside the war-ravaged body…or she could lose him to the darkness forever.

This novella was previously published as The Legend of the Werestag

I’ve heard of Tessa Dare previously but How to Catch a Wild Viscount is the first book I’ve read by Ms Dare. Strangely enough, reading Lauren Dane’s The Best Kind of Trouble spurred me to read this short. The heroine, Natalie, in The Best Kind of Trouble is a librarian and Natalie recommended Tessa Dare to another character as a great historical romance read. I decided to read How to Catch a Wild Viscount next. So glad I did! It was a good read!

Tessa Dare’s author note for How to Catch a Wild Viscount states that this was her first published work. I don’t know if it was reworked any but this was a rather cute story – and if her first published work is this polished…I need to grab more! There are some parts that give a “dated” impression but on the whole this story is a very solid and very enjoyable read.
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Review: The Heat is On (Out of Uniform #6) by Elle Kennedy

The Heat is On

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As a Navy SEAL, Matt O’Connor specializes in Bad Boy. At least, that’s what he thinks…until he finds himself face down on the floor during a bank robbery, arguing with a sexy, bad-girl blonde who wields her sharp tongue with surgical precision.

Just like that, Matt begins to wonder if maybe the idea of settling down with one woman isn’t as crazy as he thought.

Savannah Harte is addicted to first kisses and whirlwind romances. Once the thrill is gone, though, she’s outta there. She’s eager to follow the adrenaline rush she feels with Matt into the nearest bed, but when tangled sheets begin to feel like tangled heartstrings, her first instinct is to cut him loose. There’s only one problem: Matt’s not going anywhere. And not even a steamy threesome seems to dull her growing feelings.

Which leaves Savannah having to decide what she wants more. The casual thrill of now…or the scary thrill of forever.

Product Warnings: This title features a hot threesome with explicit sex, a bad-girl heroine, and two Navy SEALs guaranteed to make you sweat.

Meh.

There was a lot to like about The Heat is On…but there was also a lot I didn’t like. And frankly, I’m going to chalk part of it up as a learning experience.

The Heat is On is one of those rare romance books where gender roles are slightly reversed. Savannah, the heroine, doesn’t like relationships – her drug of choice are relationship firsts: first kisses, first dates, first fucks, etc. As soon as a guy Savannah is dating starts getting serious, she starts packing her bags. This works for her until she meets the hero, Matt.
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Review: Gotcha! (Tall, Hot & Texan #1) by Christie Craig

Gotcha!

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Macy Tucker was five years old when her beloved grandfather dropped dead in his spaghetti. At twelve, her father left his family in the dust. At twenty-five, her husband gave his secretary a pre-Christmas bonus in bed, and Macy gave him the boot. To put things lightly, men have been undependable.

That’s why dating’s off the menu. Macy is focused on law school, and putting herself through—which means being the delivery girl for Papa’s Pizza. But cheesier than her job is her pie-eyed brother, who just recently escaped from prison to protect his new girlfriend. And hotter than Texas toast is the investigating detective. Proud, sexy…inflexible—he’s a man who would kiss her just to shut her up. But Jake Baldwin’s a protector as much as a dish. And when he gets his man—or his woman—Macy knows it’s for life.

Gotcha! is the second Christie Craig book that I’ve read, the first being Divorced, Desperate and Delicious. I enjoyed both Divorced, Desperate and Delicious and Gotcha! – but they are both rather similar books. Both books have a police officer hero and a divorced 30-40 something heroine. Both books have the hero being forced to stay with the heroine (almost 24/7) due to some type of police/murder case and both books have the heroine do something so incredibly stupid (in the name of plot humor?) that it made me want to rage.

I really liked the hero, Jake, in Gotcha! but I wasn’t that big a fan of the heroine Macy. Macy was…a little TSTL and a little too stubborn about her police protection. She almost gets killed several times but refuses to take the necessary precautions to keep herself safe. I’m never a fan of that.
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Review: Parlor Games Anthology – Palor Games by Leda Swann

Parlor Games

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Do you dare open the door and enter a place like no other?

In these three historical tales of sensual awakening, nothing that stimulates and titillates is taboo, ecstasy comes in many sizes, and pleasure is its own reward . . . a world of seduction and sensation, where inhibitions are unlaced and desires long corseted are gloriously freed. . . .

Parlor Games – Leda Swann

An innocent virgin enters a brothel to escape starvation and receives expert tutelage in the steamy Victorian parlor games that rakish gentlemen indulge in. . . .

 

 
Accck! This one, I really disliked.

Parlor Games was the third book I read using my Scribd trial. Scribd introduced me to Jess Michaels via the book Everything Forbidden – and suggested this title since I read Everything Forbidden. As of today this book is on sale at Kobo for $9.99. Since this story is part of an anthology I that already priced – I’m still counting this as book 3.

***Trigger Warning*** This story has an attempted rape including the restraint of the heroine by another character.
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Review: The Best Kind of Trouble (Hurley Brothers, #1) by Lauren Dane

The Best Kind of Trouble

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She has complete control…and he’s determined to take it away

A librarian in the small town of Hood River, Natalie Clayton’s world is very nearly perfect. After a turbulent childhood and her once-wild ways, life is now under control. But trouble has a way of turning up unexpectedly–especially in the tall, charismatically sexy form of Paddy Hurley….

And Paddy is the kind of trouble that Natalie has a taste for.

Even after years of the rock-and-roll lifestyle, Paddy never forgot the two wickedly hot weeks he once shared with Natalie. Now he wants more…even if it means tempting Natalie and her iron-grip control. But there’s a fine line between well-behaved and misbehaved–and the only compromise is between the sheets!

I loved this book. LOVED.

I can’t put my finger on exactly what touched me so much about The Best Kind of Trouble. Like Mary Poppins, it was practically perfect in every way. The Best Kind of Trouble is a reunited lovers story – the best kind, at that. Natalie and Paddy didn’t break up on a sour note and they shared great times together. The Best Kind of Trouble is a rockstar story – which I normally avoid – but the story takes place in a small town that shelters the group from the constant attention of the paparazzi. The Best Kind of Trouble (and the entire Hurley Boys series) follow a rock group…but the series seems to be more about family than about stardom. OMFG. LOVE.
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Review: The Marriage Bargain (Marriage to a Billionaire #1) by Jennifer Probst

The Marriage Bargain

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A marriage in name only…

To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend’s older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart.

Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he offers Alexa a bold proposition.

A marriage in name only with certain rules: avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right?

Except fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans…

 

The Marriage Bargain is the eleventh (11) book I’ve read using the Scribd service and the first book in the “Marriage to a Billionaire” series by Jennifer Probst. This book is currently on sale at Kobo for $7.99. Jennifer Probst is a new to me (NTM) author that I discovered using the Scribd recommendation engine.

I’m not really sure what made me read The Marriage Bargain. The book only came on my radar due to Scribd’s recommendation engine…and since Scribd really doesn’t carry the majority of the books I’m looking to read…I am substituting books I’d normally pass (or borrow) so that I get the most use of my Scribd trial. But the cover of The Marriage Bargain looks…sexy. 🙂
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Review: Kiss at Your Own Risk (Soulfire #1) by Stephanie Rowe *spoilers*

Kiss at Your Own Risk

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He needed a killer woman…
Blaine Underhill is one lucky man after having recently escaped a century and a half of imprisonment at the hands of an evil witch. Now he’s determined to save his still-enslaved friend, but in order to do so, he’ll need the help of one of the world’s most lethal women.

She was drop dead gorgeous, literally…
Trinity Harpswell is sick and tired of being a Black Widow. Having managed to go three years without accidentally killing anyone she loves, she’s one short week away from freeing herself from this killer curse forever.

When Blaine tracks her down and convinces her to help him, little does Trinity know that the next seven days are going to be murder!

 
Kiss at Your Own Risk is the tenth (10) book I’ve read using the Scribd service and the first book in the Soulfire series. This book is currently on sale at Kobo for $5.79. Stephanie Rowe is a new to me (NTM) author that I discovered using the Scribd recommendation engine.

I don’t know what to say…this wasn’t what I expected it to be. At all.

Let’s start with worldbuilding: it didn’t exist. That’s not completely fair – the world building existed but it was not explained to the reader in any way. You really just have to go with the flow for this one…and my extensive experience with reading paranormal romance (PNR) tells me that the author’s world in this series is one in which magic in all its PNR shapes and sizes are run of the mill, everyday activities. Ok. So let’s walk into the book with that assumption.
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DNF Review: Dangerous Secrets (Dangerous #2) by Lisa Marie Rice

Dangerous Secrets

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Small-town librarian Charity Prewitt never dreamed she’d meet and fall in love with a man like Nicholas Ames. The handsome, rich, charming, sexy-as-hell millionaire blew into tiny Parker’s Ridge, Vermont, and immediately rocked her world. Powerful, sensual, the perfect man, Nick knows all the right words—and all the right spots to touch, sending her soaring to dizzying new heights of ecstatic abandon. Never before has prim and proper Charity leapt into bed with a perfect stranger—and now that she’s there with him, nothing is going to drag her away!

But Nick Ames is not who he claims to be. In truth, he is Nicholas Ireland—the one they call “Iceman.” A former Delta Force operator, now a high-level undercover agent, he will do whatever his government asks of him—lie, seduce, betray . . . even kill, if necessary—for the sake of the mission. And this time his mission is Charity Prewitt.

Suddenly one woman has broken down his chilly restraint and ignited his passions completely. And before the erotic dream turns into a nightmare, will Charity be able to melt the Iceman’s cold, cold heart?

Dangerous Secrets is the ninth (9) book I’ve read using the Scribd service and the second book in the Dangerous series. This book is currently on sale at Kobo for $9.99. I was already aware of the author and the series prior to joining Scribd.

I had to stop around 25% and then I skimmed the rest. This one was really hard for me because it included a trope I despise and it had a bad guy with an extremely compelling and sad backstory.

The bad guy in Dangerous Secrets, Vassily, is a broken man. He was a young, famous and idealistic writer in Russia directly after the fall of the Soviet Union. He and his beloved, a beautiful poet named Katya, were at home in bed when they were arrested by the secret police for no reason and given no trial.
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Review: Goddess in the Middle (Forgotten Goddesses #3) by Stephanie Julian

Goddess in the Middle
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“Incredibly erotic, unconventional, romantic love story”

TOGETHER. THEY CREATE THE MOST POWERFUL MAGIC OF ALL …

Romulus and Remus are sexy werewolf cousins with an unbreakable bond. When they meet beautiful goddess Amity and save her from an encroaching demon, they discover that the three of them together are way more powerful than any of them could ever have imagined. And they’re going to need that power to overcome the forces that are determined to steal Amity’s magic and destroy the two men. As different as night and day, and each an amazing man in his own right, Rom and Remy make all of Amity’s deepest fantasies come true…

Goddess in the Middle is the eighth (8) book I’ve read using the Scribd service and the third (and final?) book in the Forgotten Goddesses series. This book is currently on sale at Kobo for $10.09. Stephanie Julian is a new to me (NTM) author that I discovered using the Scribd recommendation engine.

So. I’ve finally finished the Forgotten Goddesses series. I think. The reason I said “I think” is because the book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger regarding some events not related to the romance or the overarching plot of the series. I *think* the loose ends are related to events that are attached to other series by Julian set in this same world. I think.
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