Review: Beautiful Bitch

Review: Beautiful BitchBeautiful Bitch (Beautiful Bastard, #1.5) by Christina Lauren
Series: Beautiful #1.5
Published by Gallery Books on July 9, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 160

FINAL DECISION: I love these extra moments with beloved characters. A year after the events of BEAUTIFUL BASTARD, we get to see that the HEA is something that has to be worked at but is real.

THE STORY: A year after BEAUTIFUL BASTARD, Bennett finds that Chloe’s burgeoning career and his own obligations can be difficult on a relationship. Planning a trip together tempts fate which has caused problems every time the two have tried to travel together.

OPINION: This novella is for fans of BEAUTIFUL BASTARD. It is about how Chloe and Bennett are challenged to fit their lives and careers together. Even so, it contains the same big sense of fun, sexy times and the big strong personalities of these characters. I enjoyed this as an add on to the original book. I don’t think it would stand up on its own, but I just didn’t care. For fans of BEAUTIFUL BASTARD, this is required reading.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a novella.

CONNECTED BOOKS: This book is book 1.5 in the Beautiful series. It really is an epilogue or continuing story from BEAUTIFUL BASTARD and should be read after that book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.


Review: Beautiful Bastard

Review: Beautiful BastardBeautiful Bastard (Beautiful Bastard, #1) by Christina Lauren
Series: Beautiful #1
Published by Gallery Books on February 12, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 305

FINAL DECISION: Funny, sexy and a joy to read. These characters kept me engrossed from the first page. I loved how their relationship began with angry and frustrated sex and ended up as something much more.

THE STORY: Chloe Mills is a hardworking intern working towards her MBA. Her boss, Bennett Ryan, happens to be tough, annoying, brilliant — and incredibly sexy. Bennett finds Chloe infuriating, but he can’t stop thinking about her. When the two cross the line between boss and intern, both want to deny what is between them, but can’t seem to stop. When angry and desperate attraction tempts both to want something more, the question is whether it is even possible for something more to exist between two demanding independent people.

OPINION: I absolutely loved this book. The characters, the sexy, hot interactions between these reluctant lovers. The bickering, two independent and fierce people finding out that they are perfect for one another.

This is the only the second Christina Lauren book that I have read (although my review of JOSH AND  HAZEL’S GUIDE TO NOT DATING is upcoming as of the date of this review). This book was so good that I immediately began reading the second book in the series.

I loved that these two characters are engaged in intense erotica type encounters, but that the book always remains rooted in the characters and not what body parts go where.

Bennett is kind of a jerk when the book starts, but by the end, I began to see him differently. These two are hot and fiery and I loved their battles.

Chloe is an independent business woman. And I really liked that the conflicts between her and Bennett respect her intelligence and her business acumen. The two have some serious bumps on the way to their HEA, but the story is never bogged down with stupid decisions or brainless encounters. These two are smart and hot and driven.

This book is just fun. The pages went incredibly fast and I devoured this book. I loved the turnaround of the normal story. Sex first and then the relationship. And yet, there is always something connecting these characters. Strong, vibrant people who have a deep passion for one another and fight their way to a happy ending.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book is told in alternating first person points of view.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BEAUTIFUL BASTARD is the first book in the Beautiful series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.


Release Day! The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo

Release Day! The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo

The latest entry in the Victorian Rebels series is out today.  This is another winner in the series. You can read our 5 star review here.

We also have an except available. Check it out.


The bravest of heroes. The brashest of rebels. The boldest of lovers. These are the men who risk their hearts and their souls—for the passionate women who dare to love them…

He is known only as The Rook. A man with no name, no past, no memories. He awakens in a mass grave, a magnificent dragon tattoo on his muscled forearm the sole clue to his mysterious origins. His only hope for survival—and salvation—lies in the deep, fiery eyes of the beautiful stranger who finds him. Who nurses him back to health. And who calms the restless demons in his soul…


Lorelei will never forget the night she rescued the broken dark angel in the woods, a devilishly handsome man who haunts her dreams to this day. Crippled as a child, she devoted herself to healing the poor tortured man. And when he left, he took a piece of her heart with him. Now, after all these years, The Rook has returned. Like a phantom, he sweeps back into her life and avenges those who wronged her. But can she trust a man who’s been branded a rebel, a thief, and a killer? And can she trust herself to resist him when he takes her in his arms?

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Kerrigan Byrne
Whether she’s writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, Kerrigan Byrne uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in every book. She lives at the base of the Rocky Mountains with her handsome husband and three lovely teenage girls, but dreams of settling on the Pacific Coast. Her Victorian Rebels novels include The Highwayman and The Highlander.


Social Links:

Author Website:

Twitter: @Kerrigan_Byrne

Facebook: @KerriganByrneAuthor

Instagram: @KerriganByrne


Review: The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Duke with the Dragon TattooThe Duke with the Dragon Tattoo (Victorian Rebels, #6) by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Victorian Rebels #6
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on August 28, 2018
Genres: Historical
Pages: 336


“There are only two indisputable facts in the world: The sun will rise in the west, and I’ll come for you. Always.”

FINAL DECISION: My favorite book since the first two in the series, this book took my breath away and I fell in love with the main characters. Passionate and dramatic with humor and underlying sweetness, the story fulfilled all the promises that began in the first book of the series.

THE STORY: The notorious pirate is known only as the Rook. A man without a past, without a name. Twenty years ago, he awoke in a mass grave and was pulled from death by Lorelei Weatherstoke. The Rook was once given the name of Ash by Lorelei who nursed the young man back to health and began to dream of a future with him. Until the moment that they were betrayed in an act which separated them for two decades. Now the Rook has returned for his revenge and to claim the woman who he has never forgotten. Lorelei, however, finds that the young man she once loved has now become someone that she should fear and flea at all costs.

OPINION: The first romance book I ever read was A Pirate’s Love by Johanna Lindsey in the 1980s. Since that first taste, I’ve always had a soft spot for pirate heroes and I have read a lot in the intervening years. But many of those pirate hero books are problematic bodice rippers. The book (whether intentional or not) is a re-imagining of the old trope.

Here, the Rook is a notorious, dangerous and murderous villain on the high seas. He has done horrible things, but we also get to see the events which sent him on the path he is on. Significantly, however, this is not excuse but understanding. Like the other heroes in this series, the Rook has been damaged by his past. Poverty, desperation, physical and mental torture, rape and constant violence has created a man with only one weakness — the sweet and innocent woman who cared for him and brought him back from the dead.

And this is why the power dynamic is so different in this story. The Rook can abduct Lorelei and keep her captive on a ship where his word alone rules, but he cannot impose his will upon her. Both because Lorelei is stronger than one might expect (after having survived her own trials) and the Rook cannot possess the woman he wants if he crushes everything about her that he desires. Lorelei, however, will also not be placed on a pedestal for the Rook to admire from afar. She is a woman who wants to make her own stand by the man she loves.

There were so many good moments in this book that had humor, drama, mystery, murder, betrayal and a deep and abiding romantic love between the main characters. There are significant appearances by characters from prior books. Although I had figured out some of the Rook’s secrets, the reveal was so well done that I had a great sense of relief in that something from the beginning of the series was finally fulfilled. (I have to add that I love that long time readers of the series get closure on some issues without impeding new readers enjoyment).

This book reminds me of how amazing the first two books in this series was. Indeed, although the last three books were good, this book feels like the completion of a trilogy that began with the first two books.

This book goes immediately on my keeper shelf.

WORTH MENTIONING:Sometimes I read these books with great despair because almost every book introduces characters for whom I would love to read their story, but as the author turns to a new series, I fear that some of these stories might go untold. .

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE DUKE WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is the sixth book in the Victorian Rebels series. This book can be read as a standalone, but is much more satisfying after reading the entire series. This book pays off stories that began in the first book in the series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to help in preparing this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.



Review: Face Off

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Face OffFace Off (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, #3) by Brenda Novak
Series: The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #3
Published by Headline on November 29, 2018
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416


“He’s put in the time, done the work. He was almost ready to make his move.”

FINAL DECISION: Simply fabulous! A book that pays off the suspense promises of the prior books in the series and adds character development and a complicated and delicious romance.

THE STORY: Dr. Evelyn Talbot finds that the stable life she is building in Alaska is crumbling as she is getting pressure from her family to return to the safety of Boston, her boyfriend wants her to make a commitment to him, and the demon from her past has apparently arrived in Alaska to finish what he started when he tried to murder her when she was sixteen. When the bodies of two women are discovered, both Evelyn and Amarok realize that the confrontation they have been expecting may have finally arrived.

OPINION: I’m so happy that this book didn’t disappoint. It’s always my fear when I read these books that build upon one another that I might find that the series does not live up to its potential or that it will squander all of the buildup. I’m happy that this book actually was better than I expected.

In approaching this book, I had two things that I wanted: (1) some resolution on the Jasper storyline (since he has been stalking Evelyn throughout the series); and (2) some development with the relationship between Evelyn and Amarok. Happily, this book satisfied these two and gave me more.

In a story that makes me jump at noises at night, the suspense is ratcheted up in this book. There are plenty of twists and turns and scares in this story. Readers of the series know that by the end of the prior book in the series, Evelyn’s high school boyfriend, attempted murderer, and serial killer, Jasper now is working at the serial killer prison that Evelyn spearheaded. Having undergone extensive plastic surgery and the passage of twenty years has allowed Jasper (now using an alias) to infiltrate Evelyn’s world without her being aware of who he actually is. The scenes with Evelyn and Jasper together were creepy and filled with tension.

There are dead ends and dead bodies and plenty of tension and enough fearful possibilities to make me want to put the book down to get an emotional break while at the same time wanting to turn page after page to find out what happens. This book was especially good because things happened that I did not expect and the lack of predictability kept me interested in every twist along the way.

And that is all I’m going to write on the suspense plot because I don’t want to give anything away.

On the romance front things are finally coming to a crisis point between Evelyn and Amarok. For the first time since the early days of their relationship, all the pressures are finally threatening their relationship. Jasper’s continual and looming threat, Evelyn’s family wanting her to return home, Evelyn’s relationship fears, Amarok’s ex-girlfriend, and the increasing number of murders that have occurred in relation to Hanover House are finally weighing down on the couple. This crisis point begins tearing at the fabric that has kept Evelyn and Amarok comfortable in recent months. Now they have to change and grow together or apart. I loved the examination of the fracturing of their relationship and this ended up being my favorite part of the book.

WORTH MENTIONING: I was concerned that this book might be the end of the series, but I was excited to see that there is more planned.

CONNECTED BOOKS: FACE OFF is the third book in the Evelyn Talbot Chronicles. This book focuses on the story between Evelyn and the serial killer who tried to kill her when she was sixteen. While that story has been a part of all the books to this point, this book brings that story to the forefront. While it is not necessary to have read the other book in the series to enjoy this one (the prior events are summarized for the reader), I think that reading the prior books makes this book much deeper and enjoyable.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.



The Wedding From Hell, Part I: The Rehearsal Dinner

The Wedding From Hell, Part I: The Rehearsal DinnerThe Rehearsal Dinner (The Wedding From Hell, #1; Firefighters, #0.5) by J.R. Ward
Published by Gallery Books on July 17, 2018
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 63

This is a short story (in several parts of which this is only one) which is a prequel to CONSUMED which is the first book in the Firefighters series.

This story introduces Anne Ashburn and Danny Maguire who are both firefighters. Danny has been attracted to Anne and the opportunity for some personal relationship exploration comes about as the two are involved in the wedding for one of their fellow firefighters.

I really enjoyed this part of the story. The characters are vivid and flawed and interesting. Anne is a woman trying to deal with a family legacy of firefighting and being a woman in a male dominated field.  She is attracted to Danny, but doesn’t intend to be just another bed partner for him. Danny, on the other hand, has real feelings for Anne.

This is only a small part of even the prequel. We get to see Anne and Danny in some various wedding related activities and get the chance to be introduced to their viewpoints.

Not a complete story, but a nice appetizer.


Review: Marry Me by Sundown

Review: Marry Me by SundownMarry Me by Sundown by Johanna Lindsey
Series: Callahan-Warren #3
Published by Gallery Books on July 10, 2018
Genres: Historical
Pages: 368

FINAL DECISION: Just okay for me. The characters were nice, but the story was really, really slow to get into. Things ended up nicely and I enjoyed it overall, but not a book I would look to read again.

THE STORY: Violet Mitchell traveled from London to her family’s home in Philadelphia to find that her father has gone west to try and solve the family’s looming money problems. Violet follows and find that her father is dead and needing to find his mine to save the family. Morgan Callahan doesn’t believe the woman who has come snooping around is his deceased partner’s daughter. So he kidnaps her to find out what she is really doing.

OPINION: There wasn’t anything in particular that I didn’t like about this book. It just felt a little flat to me and it took a long time for me to get into the story. By the time the story picked up in the last half of the book, it was too late for this to be a great book for me.

The characters were nice and I liked reading about the western setting, however, I didn’t find the characters compelling and vibrant such that I would want to read their story again. I especially had a problem with Morgan who remains a mystery in his thoughts and motivations for almost the entire book. It made him feel too distant and indistinct to be a fascinating character.

I also really didn’t feel the connection between these characters for most of the book. They didn’t clash, it just didn’t feel like a deep passionate connection either.

Overall, I liked the book, and I liked the story in a general way — meaning that when I finished it I didn’t feel that I had wasted my time reading it, but I don’t think I’d pick this book up again wanting to revisit these characters or their story.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book explores mining in the west. For me this was the most interesting part of the book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: MARRY ME BY SUNDOWN is the third book in the Callahan-Warren series. Although there are some appearances by overlapping characters, this book operates as a complete standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.



Review: Shelter in Place

Review: Shelter in PlaceShelter in Place by Nora Roberts
Published by St. Martin's Press on May 29, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 439

FINAL DECISION: A difficult and timely subject. A mass shooting alters the lives of everyone connected to the events. Simone and Reed alter and rebuild their lives and eventually find one another. A nice romance combined with the suspense of someone who wants to continue the body count.

THE STORY: On a summer’s evening, three young men execute a horrible crime in a mall and theater in Maine. Simone Knox, a teenager, ends up hiding in the bathroom at the theater calling 911. Reed Quartermaine, a college student, is in the mall when the shooting takes place. That event changes both of their lives. Their struggles eventually bring them in orbit of one another while someone else is eliminating survivors.

OPINION: I generally prefer my books heavy on the romance with some suspense thrown in. This book is much more a suspense and story of rebirth after a tragedy, but the story works so well in bringing Reed and Simone together that I really enjoyed this one.

I enjoyed seeing these characters build their lives and find one another. The story between them was sweet and sexy (even if they don’t meet until well into the story), and I was intrigued for every page and turn of their story.

The characters were well drawn. The varying reactions to the tragedy not only for Reed and Simone but also for their friends, family and even strangers kept the story grounded and compelling.

The suspense story worked well for me but I really appreciated that while it was important, it did not overshadow for me the relationships of the characters. The book ends up being about hope, about overcoming tragedy. The violence ends up being a part of the story, but not the most important part.

It’s been a long time since one of Roberts’ standalone books has interested me so much. This one will be on my keeper shelf.

WORTH MENTIONING: Although the book deals with a violent subject, I thought the depiction of violence was not gratuitous or overly graphic.


STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.



Review: When a Duke Loves a Woman

Review: When a Duke Loves a WomanWhen a Duke Loves a Woman (Sins for All Seasons, #2) by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #2
Published by Avon on August 21, 2018
Genres: Historical
Pages: 400

FINAL DECISION: I absolutely adored Thorne in this book. He is kind and a true gentleman. Gillie is fierce, strong and independent but caring. And I’ve lost track of the times that Heath has brought me to tears in one of her books — including this one.

THE STORY: Antony Coventry, Duke of Thornley had an extraordinarily bad day. Left at the altar by his bride, Thorne goes searching for her in Whitechapel and finds himself robbed and left for dead. Gillie Trewlove comes across the seriously injured stranger near her tavern and finds herself responsible for nursing him back to health. She also ends up agreeing to help Thorne search for his runaway bride. As the two search, the connection between Thorne and Gillie grows. But these are two people who cannot live in the other’s world no matter how much they may want to.

OPINION: I absolutely loved Thorne in this book. He is such a fine man. From the moment he meets Gillie, he finds his worldview changing, but he is always respectful and kind to those around him. I just love a guy who is willing to turn his world around for the woman he loves. At every stage in this book, Gillie is important to him. He respects her. He wants to understand her. And he puts her above his own wants and needs. Absolutely loved him.

Gillie is a strong and kind woman. Independent, she handles her dominant brothers and never accepts being thought of as inferior because of being female. She knows her mind and has managed to make a profession for herself as a tavern owner. Yet she has a shyness and a desire for quiet that may seem contradictory to the bright woman who manages a tavern and yet it seems completely in character.

I loved these two together. Their different stations seem destined to keep them apart even though they quickly find that they want to try and bridge that distance. What I really liked is that there is not some big external bad keeping them apart, but their own expectations and the world’s expectations.

Heath has a way of writing that rips my heart out. Even though I KNOW there will be a happy ending, I found myself openly weeping during the story. Beautiful and tragic and such an expression of love and hopelessness. The characters, the emotion of the story and the fact that I really cared about these two make this a wonderful read that I will definitely turn to again.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book sets up the next book in the series with Finn.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WHEN A DUKE LOVES A WOMAN is the second book in the Sins for All Seasons series. The romance in this book is self-contained. Although there are overlapping characters in the series, this book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.



Review: Garrett

Review: GarrettGarrett (Dragon Hearts #6) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Dragon Hearts #6
Published by Carole Mortimer on August 17, 2018
Genres: Paranormal

FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this one because Garrett was so focused on Billie as a person. The story is fun and like popcorn, but it kept my attention and advanced the story.

THE STORY: Garrett Pendragon is seen as the easy going dragon brother, but that hides a dominant man who will not allow the woman destined to be his mate to suffer for plotting to a woman — even if it was his brother’s mate. Billie Rider has a lot of secrets and when a dragon comes to rescue her, she can’t believe her eyes. And finding out that he intends to keep his fated mate is something that she cannot allow.

OPINION: This series is not particularly deep and the story from book to book follows essentially the exact same formula, but I enjoyed the characters in this book. There was a little more interaction before the inevitable insta-love, but that time was enjoyable.

This book isn’t a book that I would re-read, but I enjoyed the journey and it was worth my time. Garrett and Billie are an interesting couple and their interactions are fun. (Not fun in a lighthearted way, but fun in the I enjoyed the couple as they bantered and discussed and fought).

WORTH MENTIONING: We get some views of prior couples and a peak at what might be happening in the next book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: GARRETT is the sixth book in the Dragon Hearts series. This book is better read as part of the series although the romance is self-contained.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.