Book Review: Claiming Her Highwayman by Michelle Grotewohl

claimingherhighwaymanGenre: Historical

Words: 17,970

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.8/5 stars

My rating: 2/5 stars

Cass runs one of the greatest band of highwaymen around. Despite being a woman, she’s respected by her crew, and every night they return to camp richer than they were and she can enjoy being in the arms of her second-in-command, Will Carpenter. But that all changes when Will accepts a position in the King’s Guard. Cass knows Will wants more than what she can give him. He wants marriage and kids, as well as honest work instead of thieving. But Cass doesn’t know if she can ever give him up.

Claiming Her Highwayman is free on Smashwords.

I found myself underwhelmed by this story. When it starts, Will and Cass are already a couple, and the chemistry between them already feels forced, as well as the heist they’re about to go on. It’s like a bad first draft that hasn’t developed into something greater yet. Cass and Will feel more like paper dolls than people and unfortunately, I never get that attached to them. They just don’t have the chemistry.

It doesn’t help that my suspension of disbelief took a huge beating when Will’s offered a job with the King’s Guard, as the princess’s personal guard. He’s a highwayman! Since when do they let criminals guard princesses? Um, never. Not only that, but he’s still in contact with his old gang, and he’s not even in training to be a soldier! He just is. Apparently the standards for becoming a member of the King’s Guard is really low.

It would make a hell of a lot more sense to me if there was a scarcity of guards for some reason, like the country was at war, and that’s why they’re turning to criminals to keep up with the demand of soldiers. That would flesh out the plot, too. But nope. Apparently we’re supposed to accept that a robber can become a princess’s bodyguard easily after mugging her with his gang of bandits. Oh, and he almost becomes her husband. Because every king wants his little girl to marry a common criminal.

Despite everything wrong with the story, I like Will’s and Cass’s characters. Even though Will only exists to be Cass’s lover, he’s got some pretty charming lines in the story. His need to protect her is incredibly sexy.

Cass’s character is a little more complex. She’s strong and independent, and she knows what she wants in life. She’s the type of girl who would be bored to death in most respectable professions for a woman, instead enjoying being a bandit. But I hated her when Bryce, one of her men, attacked her in her tent. All she did to defend herself was bide her time until she could scream for help

What. The. Fuck.

She’s a damn gang leader and she doesn’t know how to defend herself against one man who gets too handsy? Please. That’s fucking ludicrous, and all of my respect for her is just gone because of that one scene. How the hell did she become a leader in the first place if she needs to scream like a damn damsel whenever she gets attacked? Not cool.

This book really didn’t do much for me. While it’s all right, it’s not that good. The characters aren’t good, and neither is the writing. I suggest you look elsewhere for your historical romance bad boy.

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Book Review: Same Time Next Year by Jenna Bennett

5162bhuo6pvlGenre: Contemporary

Word Count: 4,560

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.27/5 stars

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

It’s not often a book can surprise me. But Same Time Next Year totally took me off guard.

Every year, for the past either years, Regina White and Tyler Harrison meet at the same hotel, in two connecting rooms for one night.

The receptionist, Elizabeth, thinks she has the whole situation figured out. But she doesn’t know what this night means to the mysterious couple. And somehow she can’t stop thinking about them anyway. 

You can read Same Time Next Year for free on Smashwords.

At first I thought I wasn’t going to like this story. I thought it was about two people leaving their depressing and dull lives to have one night of infidelity and debauchery a year, like some sort of modern day fairy tale. On top of that, the “good” character, Elizabeth, is kind of a bitch who is quick to condemn and judge Regina, but smile and admire Tyler.

It’s one thing to disapprove of adultery, it’s another thing to have double standards about it.

But despite my misgivings at first, I got sucked into the very hot sex scene quickly.

“No, I don’t want champagne. I want you. Naked. And wet. And begging.”

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Gotta love good dirty talk. Unfortunately the scene ends abruptly and before the couple gets to the really good part, if you know what I mean. 😉

For such a short story there is actually a lot of character development. We learn that Tyler and Regina met at a conference years ago, when they had those two hotel rooms by coincidence. Tyler loves how Regina’s strong and confident in public, but a little submissive in the bedroom. Regina loves how Tyler still wants her, and how he’s always willing to please her. They have great chemistry together and I love how they’re still attracted to each other after all those years, and always come back to the same hotel.

My only complaint, aside from the abrupt end to the sex scene, is Elizabeth. I get why she’s necessary to the story, but she’s undeveloped and unlikeable, and I wish she was gone.

You can read Same Time Next Year for free on Smashwords and I highly recommend that you do.

Book Review: Note to Self by Belinda LaPage

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Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ

Goodreads rating: 3.73 out of 5 stars

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Anna never considered herself bisexual or a lesbian. She’s totally in love with her husband and happy with her life as a wife, mother, and cop. But that all changes when she meets Susan, a pretty, feminine doctor, who turns Anna’s world upside down. Confused and full of guilt from thinking erotic thoughts about Susan while married to Nick, Anna turns to her journal to sort it all out. 

Okay, once this story gets going, it’s great. But in the beginning it is so damn boring. Journal or not, Anna does not get to the frigging point for like four or five pages! I was tempted to go wash the dishes at least twice in the beginning of the book. When the dishes are pulling me away from a book, and not the other way around, something is very wrong.

However, it does read like a real diary, so kudos on that.

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Book Review: Hart Broken by Annie Arcane

31358357Genre: Contemporary

Goodreads Rating: 4.75/5 stars

My rating: 4/5 stars

Mickey Hart doesn’t do one-night stands. Until she wakes up in a luxury penthouse. With nothing but a t-shirt. And no idea who it belongs to.

Enter Cale Windermere. Driven. Ambitious. Successful. And so gorgeous he could’ve walked straight out of a romance novel…

Except he can’t walk. Not that it ever stops him from getting what he wants. And he wants Mickey. Even if she’s keeping secrets from him. 

 

 

This book…

Where do I even begin? It has a strong start and it stays strong. Mickey is awkward and funny. She starts out at the perfect chick lit character.

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Only He Knows by Hiranya Borah

Words, 3,330

Average Smashwords Rating: 5/5 stars

My rating: 2/5 stars

I’ve had such mixed feelings about Hiranya Borah’s stories and Only He Knows is no different. It’s about a married couple that seem perfect but not everything is as it seems. Himangshu cheated on his wife Seema for years, even when she’s dying of cancer. But as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Seema wronged her husband first.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Read War Bride

256062181. It’s more than just a romance

War Bride by Elise Marion is primarily a romance, but it’s so much more than a love story. The book covers a lot of social issues today, even though it’s a medieval fantasy romance. Lady Emery Calliot fights for equal rights as a woman in a misogynist world. Leofred grieves over his brother’s death. Both of them have PTSD from a recent, brutal conflict between their kingdoms that almost turned into a devastating war. Even though this is book is a lot of fun to read, nobody can ever call it a piece of fluff.

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Diversity in Romance With Brilliant Author Elise Marion

71xltwle9xl-_ux250_Elise Marion, author of the Chained series, was generous enough to do an interview with me in anticipation of our War Bride giveaway event. It’s a pleasure to be working with her and to have her on the blog. She has some great answers, including her opinion on the lack of diversity in books. I highly recommend you read her work, because she really is a fantastic writer.

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Book Review: War Bride by Elise Marion

25606218Genre: Medieval, Fantasy, Adult

Goodreads rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I’m going to earn your trust, Emery Toustain, he thought as he released her hand. Perhaps, if you let me, I’ll earn more than that. 

The first time I read War Bride was several months ago. It was so good I actually missed a call from my boss because I was so busy reading it. No, really. I didn’t even “ignore” the call. The fact that my phone was ringing didn’t even register because I was so absorbed in the book. I ended up finishing it in less than a day. 

I just finished it for the second time today, and it’s still incredible. 

Emery Calliot kicks ass.

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Giveaway: War Bride by Elise Marion

This October, I’m giving away one Smashwords copy of War Bride by Elise Marion. This is a fantastic book that I highly recommend. You’ll have more details about War Bride and the giveaway soon, including an interview with Elise Marion, my official book review on War Bride, and a link to giveaway page itself. Until then, enjoy this teaser.

Update: Here is the link to win a free copy of War Bride. Bookmark it so you can get your entries in as soon as possible. Next week you can read my official review of War Bride. 

Read my official review of War Bride

 

5 Teen Romance Novels to Read If You Like Jackie and Hyde from That 70’s Show

tumblr_lo3sjpglvz1qbtz74o1_500Okay, I have a huge confession: I’ve been watching a lot more of That 70’s Show than I should be. And I really like Jackie and Hyde together. They’re a hilarious and unlikely pair with great chemistry, which makes them one of the most popular pairs on the show.

For those of you who haven’t watched That 70’s Show, the show is about a group of teenagers growing up in rural Wisconsin in the 70’s. Jackie is a rich, spoiled, and shallow girl while Hyde is the group’s burnout bad boy. Orphaned, broke, and not at all interested in applying himself for a better life, he seems like a very poor match for the status-obsessed Jackie. But somehow they manage to keep from killing each other and bring out the best in each other. Here are 5 teen romances to read today if you like Jackie and Hyde together.

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