Category Archives: Contemporary Romance

Audiobook Review- The Matchmaker’s Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken

The Matchmaker's Playbook

Title: The Matchmaker’s Playbook
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Narration: Jeremy York (rating-4)
Source: Audible purchase
Publisher: Skyscape, Apr. 2016
Pages: 306
Rating: 2
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

Wingman rule number one: don’t fall for a client.
After a career-ending accident, former NFL recruit Ian Hunter is back on campus—and he’s ready to get his new game on. As one of the masterminds behind Wingmen, Inc., a successful and secretive word-of-mouth dating service, he’s putting his extensive skills with women to work for the lovelorn. But when Blake Olson requests the services of Wingmen, Inc., Ian may have landed his most hopeless client yet.
From her frumpy athletic gear to her unfortunate choice of footwear, Blake is going to need a miracle if she wants to land her crush. At least with a professional matchmaker by her side she has a fighting chance. Ian knows that his advice and a makeover can turn Blake into another successful match. But as Blake begins the transformation from hot mess to smokin’ hot, Ian realizes he’s in danger of breaking his cardinal rule…

**
This book has over 750 reviews on Amazon and 63% of them are 5 stars. This disturbs me because I wonder where I missed the whole “wonderful” of this book. As I see it this is a book about a dirtbag (Ian) and his sidekick dirtbag (Lex) running a matchmaking service between quickies. Ah, but the quickies are only with “stupid” girls, the matchmaking service is for the “sad” girls. There is a girl who is a long time friend to the hero but cooks for him and his sidekick (Lex). She and Lex have a violent relationship with frequent verbal altercations. You gotta know that this will be the romance in the next book. Now as to Blake, the girl who Ian falls in love with, well she would have been better off running for the hills.

Yes, I did finish listening to this entire book. Why? It was like a car accident along the highway where you can’t help but look and rubberneck. I kept longing for some kind of redemption for these poor excuses for men.

Since I am an Amazon Prime member I got to borrow this book for my Kindle with an option to get the audiobook for $1.99. I listened and did not read. The narration, by Jeremy York was well done especially considering the material he was working with.

 

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Advance Review- Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Still Me

Title: Still Me: A Novel
Genre: General Fiction
Author: Jojo Moyes
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books, Jan. 30, 2018
Pages: 400
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 4
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.

Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets–not all her own–that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

**

This is the third book in a series that started with Me Before You and then After You. Louisa is the heroine in all three books starting with her ill-fated romance with quadriplegic Will Treynor and then finding love with Sam the Ambulance man and in this book she throws herself into the NYC scene by taking a job as an assistant to a very wealthy NY socialite. She is finding it difficult to maintain her own identity when there are so many forces that seem to want her to reinvent herself. Through the ups and downs can her love affair with Sam survive?

Another page turner from Jojo Moyes. Louisa is every woman who has suffered tragedy and the determination to move forward. You will laugh and cry at the curves life throws at her but you will admire her fortitude. I highly recommend this standalone book but you will enjoy it more if you read the previous two books first.

 

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Heads Up- Audible limited time sale

Deal Audible

Go to http://audible.com  for a year’s worth of audio books on sale now and ending on the 28th of January.

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Filed under Audio books, Book review, Contemporary Romance, General Fiction & Literature, Gothic, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Best Books of 2017 in Romance Novels Compilied by Deet

I could not choose just ten “Best Books of 2017” so this is a very long list of fabulous reads of 2017. Most are Historical Romance/Regency but there are some other genres which I indicate. If you would like my reviews just plug in the title or author’s name in the search box to the left. (The book covers are at the bottom of the post, scroll down.)

Jan:
Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen

The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

On Second Thought by Kristin Higgins (Contemporary Romance)

Feb:
If The Duke demands by Anna Harrington

Mar:
Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn
Let me get this out of the way; I am in love with the Bridgerton Series. There, now you know so that is why I am totally biased about each of the books. Every time I read one I think “Oh, this is the best one.” And then I read another and think the same thing again. Start with the first and read through, even a re-read is so satisfying.

A Ladies Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran

May:
Shacking Up by Helena Hunting (Contemporary Romance)

Behind the Mask by Carolyn Crane (Romantic Suspense)

June:
Say Yes to the Scot (Anthology) by Cornwall, Harrington, York, McGoldrick
This Anthology is really a cut above the usual in that every novella was a winner. I’m used to finding stories in anthologies that are good and not so good and in this one they are all better than good. They are excellent. There is beautiful romance, suspense and sexy times. This is one for the keeper shelf.

Kato by d.B. Reynolds (Paranormal Romance)

A Fallen Lady by Elizabeth Kingston

July:
The Red by Tiffany Reisz (Fantasy Erotic Romance)

The Importance of Being Scandalous by Kimberly Bell

Aug:
Traitor In Her Arms by Shana Galen

Dec:
Temptations of a Wallflower by Eva Leigh

His Mistletoe Wager by Virgina Heath

The Christmas Stranger (Novella) by Anna Campbell

Deadly Engagement by Lucinda Brant (Kindle and Audio)

 

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Release Day Review- Completely by Ruthie Knox

Completly

Title: Completely (The New York Trilogy, book #3)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Ruthie Knox
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Loveswept
Pages: e-book
Rating: 3
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

Everest. If they can make it there, they can make it anywhere. Maybe even New York, where Ruthie Knox takes her charming rom-com style to new heights.

Beneath her whole “classic English beauty” appearance is an indomitable spirit that has turned Rosemary Chamberlain into something of a celebrity mountain climber. But after an Everest excursion takes a deadly turn, Rosemary is rescued by her quick-thinking guide, New York native Kal Beckett. Rosemary’s brush with death brings out a primal need to celebrate life—and inspires a night of steamy sex with the rather gorgeous man who saved her.

The son of a famous female climber with a scandalous past, Kal Beckett is still trying to find himself. In the Zen state of mind where Kal spends most of his time, anything can happen—like making love to a fascinating stranger and setting off across the world with her the next morning. But as their lives collide in the whirlwind of passion that is New York City, the real adventure is clearly just beginning. . . .

**
I’m a fan of Ruthie Knox and this series, but this offering is one I didn’t like as well as the others. Completely is more depressing than either book that went before. I didn’t really like Rosemary. I thought her selfish and self centered. Kal was a nice guy but really not hero material in the romance area. He seemed unfocused in his life and was in love with a woman who bounced from one focus to another. Of course this was well written and the characters drawn very well because Ruthie Knox is a terrific author. You will learn a lot about Sherpas in Nepal and New York City and some about Mt. Everest. I just never could get behind this romantic couple.

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Leave The Night On

Title: Leave The Night On (Cottonbloom Series #4)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Laura Trentham
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: St. Martin‘s Press, Aug. 2017
Pages: 331
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating:
Description from Amazon:
Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge—life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .
Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiancé’s classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton’s whole world goes up in flames. . .
Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton’s shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage—and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she’s got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along?
**
A most enjoyable contemporary romance. Right from the first pages we want Sutton and Wyatt to get together. Sutton’s former fiancé is a cad and we delight that she is getting rid of him. Sutton’s BFF is so double-crossing that we have trouble with Sutton wanting to forgive her. There are steamy moments and villainous doings.This is a well written page turner perfect for all contemporary romance fans. I do wonder about the title, still can’t figure how one leaves the night on.

 

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Advance Review- The Red by Tiffany Reisz

The Red

Title: The Red: An Erotic Fantasy
Genre: Contemporary Erotica Romance/Fantasy
Author: Tiffany Reiz
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: 8th Circle Press, July 11, 2017 (preorder available for Kindle)
Pages: 212
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5++
Violence rating: 4 (all sex is consensual but very often rough)
Description from Amazon:

** Paperback Not Available for Pre-Order, But Will Be For Sale on Release Day (July 11, 2017) **

The Red is a standalone novel of erotic fantasy from Tiffany Reisz, international bestselling author of The Bourbon Thief and the Original Sinners series.

Mona Lisa St. James made a deathbed promise that she would do anything to save her mother’s art gallery. Unfortunately, not only is The Red painted red, but it’s in the red. She soon realizes she has no choice but to sell it.

Just as she realizes she has no choice but to sell it, a mysterious man comes in after closing time and makes her an offer: He will save The Red if she agrees to submit to him for the period of one year.

The man is handsome, English, and terribly tempting…but surely her mother didn’t mean for Mona to sell herself to a stranger. Then again, she did promise to do anything to save The Red…

**
This is labeled a “Fantasy” but Mona isn’t sure if her involvement with Malcolm is reality or fantasy. She will do what it takes to save her mother’s art gallery and if that means submitting to Malcolm then how hard could it be when he is devastatingly handsome.

There is constant suspense and mystery that is intertwined with all of the extremely erotic encounters of Mona and Malcolm. I initially thought Malcolm was real, then a fantasy, then real and I kept going back and forth wondering. That kept me turning pages to find out what was the outcome of this mystery.

I am a fan of Tiffany Reisz’ books ever since I read the wonderful THE HEADMASTER. She is a wonderful storyteller and there is no one better at writing erotic sex scenes. This is a romance even if not the usual vanilla type. If you are at all squeamish about BDSM, then you will want to skip this one. However the story is compelling enough so that you will like it anyway.

 

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Review- The King of Bourbon Street by Thea de Salle

The King of Bourbon Street

Title: The King of Bourbon Street (NOLA Nights book #1)

Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Erotic

Author: Thea de Salle

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Pocket Star, Feb. 2017

Pages: 280

Rating: 4

Sexy rating: 5+

Violence rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Hotel chain mogul Sol DuMont is about to learn that some of life’s biggest surprises come in deceptively small packages, namely a petite heiress named Rain who is hell-bent on upsetting her family’s expectations in this first book in the all new series by Thea de Salle, set against the sultry backdrop of New Orleans.

Thirty-seven-year-old Sol DuMont is a divorcee and the owner of a mid-sized hotel chain in New Orleans. Since Hurricane Katrina, his fathers death, and the decision that he and his ex-wife Maddy are far better off friends than lovers, he’s lost interest in almost everything he held dear, parties, people, and pushing limits. All his limits.

Then Arianna Barrington checks into his hotel. Twenty-four-year-old Arianna (Rain) Barrington could have been society’s sweetheart. Her family is moneyed, connected press darlings, and make sweeping headlines from coast to coast for reasons both good and bad. But when her mother shoves her at Charles Harwood the obnoxious, entitled heir of Harwood Corp. to cement a billion-dollar business merger, Rain does the only thing she can think of to escape: she creates a scandal so big Harwood doesn’t want her anymore before fleeing to New Orleans for much-needed rest and relaxation. All she wants is jazz piano, beignets, and to sail the Mississippi. What she gets is Sol DuMont, a whirlwind affair, and a hands-on education in sex, power play, and pushing limits. All her limits.

**

This is a really good story peppered throughout with BDSM sex. I think it important that you know this upfront since there is little if any indication in the synopsis. Arianna (Rain) is trying to gain her independence from a controlling Mother so she flees to New Orleans with her brother Vaughan as chaperone.  Sol DuMont is the head of a family-owned chain of hotels, he is the CEO and manages The Seaside in New Orleans where he lives. He and Arianna have instant chemistry and embark on a torrid, erotic affair.  Arianna’s mother, Elise, is not having Arianna’s disobedience and insists on coming between Sol and Arianna.

This is very well written and I could probably have given it 5 stars if I was inclined to enjoy the BDSM sex in this story.  However, that erotica is not my cup of tea but it is well done in this book. There is romance and interesting side characters especially Sol’s ex-wife Maddy who introduced him to the erotic pleasures he now craves and who is featured in the next book in this series, The Queen of Dauphine Street.

 

 

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Review- Little White Lies by R.C.Matthews

Little White Lies

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Light

Author: RC Matthews

Source: Purchase for Kindle, $.99

Publisher: Crimson Romance, March 2014

Pages: 276

Rating: 3

Sexy rating: 5

Violence rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

When attorney Madalyn Russell dumps her fiancé at the altar, she temporarily escapes the scrutiny of her friends and family on her honeymoon cruise. Too bad she forgot she is assigned to dine at the “newlywed” table on the fully booked cruise. Goodbye exquisite cuisine, hello standard buffet fare. Nothing will tempt her to enter that lion’s den. Or so she thinks.

When the board of directors orders devilishly handsome Royce Spencer to seek rest alone on a cruise, he sets his sights on Madalyn and offers a deliciously indecent proposal to her dining room dilemma. He’ll pose as her husband in exchange for companionship during the cruise. Royce is a gifted liar with a great sense of humor that has everyone at the newlywed table laughing and no one suspecting the truth.

Is the opportunity to enjoy all the ship has to offer worth the little white lies they’ll have to tell? What is it about Royce that makes Madalyn want to engage in a fling at the age of thirty for the first time in her life and toss her tightly held beliefs overboard? The whirlwind love affair catches them both by surprise. Is it possible that in the midst of all the little white lies, they will each discover their soul mate? And when Royce is accused of white-collar crime with Madalyn as his key witness, will Madalyn finally learn that life is not always as black and white as it seems?

Sensuality Level: Sensual

**

If you want a light, humorous, sexy romance this is it.  But be prepared for some head scratching disbelief along the way.  It is rather predictable but that’s okay, once in awhile we can handle a book that we know where it is headed. If when you get to the end and the predictability becomes overwhelming then you should take my advice and read this only for the fun of what is transpiring on the page and set aside deep thoughts for some other reads.

 Yes the title is accurate for this book; there are lots of lies, some of them not so little. Royce seems adept at spinning yarns and Madelyn, when she’s not gasping with anxiety over those lies, goes along for the ride. They do have very hot compatibility in the stateroom, lots of chemistry between the H & h.

 

 

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Advance Review- Shacking Up by Helena Hunting

Shacking Up

Title: Shacking Up

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy

Author: Helena Hunting

Publisher: Swerve, May 30, 2017(pre-order available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: N/A (Kindle)

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.

Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick.

Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet. Filled with hilariously awkward encounters and enough sexual tension to heat a New York City block, Shacking Up, from NYT and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting, is sure to keep you laughing and swooning all night long.

***

You will turn pages and not put this book down until you can see how the author unravels the issues, the many issues that are hampering Bane & Ruby’s HEA. The sexual tension is off the charts but circumstances just keep ratcheting up the heat. Yes, this book kept me laughing and swooning all night long.  If you are a fan of movie romantic comedies, as I am, then I guarantee you will love this book.  The characters seemed like real people you might know.  We have Bancroft, Bane, who is a born protector/caregiver/caretaker/hot-as-hell former pro athlete and Ruby, an aspiring actress with a serious cash flow problem.  They meet in a rather awkward way but there is an instant attraction

This is my first reading of a book by Ms. Hunting and I am so impressed with her wit and character development.  This is going on my list of Best-of-2017. Terrific writing and dialog.

 

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