Review: Talk Dirty to Me

Review: Talk Dirty to MeTalk Dirty To Me (Temperance Falls: Selling Sin #3) by London Hale
Series: Temperance Falls #6
Published by London Hale on August 1, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 243
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: The integration of the story, characters, and sex was my favorite of the series so far. There is some gentle angst and drama but also characters who already care for one another as the book opens.

THE STORY: For a year, Kitten and Banner have been having phone sex. But Riley Nash, who is Banner on the phone, knows what Kitten really is — Mayor Kate Briscoe. Riley is a firefighter sixteen years younger than Kate. When Riley reveals his identity to Kate, she is shocked and also tempted.

OPINION: Kate and Riley are a great couple because their relationship is verbal as well as physical. The fact that the two have an existing relationship makes the emotional part of their relationship work better in this book. I liked the drama in this book that is age gap and also a professional woman worrying about how people view her. The story is very sexy and hot. Riley is adorable as he devotes himself to making Kate happy. This feels like a complete story.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a novella of about 90 pages.

CONNECTED BOOKS: TALK DIRTY TO ME is the sixth book in the Temperance Falls series. The books take place in the same town but are only loosely connected so this book works as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Sinner

Review: SinnerSinner (Temperance Falls: Selling Sin #1) by London Hale
Series: Temperance Falls #4
Published by London Hale on June 20, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 109
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: The one is hot. The story of the bad girl in town and the new pastor. The story doesn’t go the way I expected, and I wish the book had been longer because I think this could have been a great developed story.

THE STORY: Harper Davis was bequeathed a Christian bookstore and tea shop next to a church and decided to open an adult store named Sin. Harper’s distraction is the new pastor, Noah Reid, who she can’t stop thinking about. And Pastor Noah can’t stop thinking about the distraction next door.

OPINION: The setup of this story was really good. The trope and characters were just about perfect. Once the story had to go somewhere with the relationship, there just were not enough pages to fit what could have been a great story but ended up being just good. It was an enjoyable story, but it made me want more development. Being the short story it is, I think this is the best of the series so far.

Noah confounds expectations — especially what Harper expects. I really liked him as a character, as I thought he treated everyone with dignity and respect, even people who were jerks. I thought he was a good example of how a character can demand respect without treating people badly. I thought that his defense of Harper exceeded my expectations.

WORTH  MENTIONING: This is a short story of about 70 pages.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SINNER is the fourth book in the Temperance Falls series. The books take place in the same town but are only loosely connected so this book works as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Nanny with Benefits

Review: Nanny with BenefitsNanny with Benefits (Temperance Falls: Experience Counts, #3) by London Hale
Series: Temperance Falls #3
Published by London Hale on May 30, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 100
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: A short but very enjoyable story of two people acting on the attraction between them. The story is fun and sexy with likable characters.

THE STORY: Doctor Josh Hutton is a single dad who can’t stop thinking about his son’s nanny. Bailey has wanted Josh for two years. When a failed date of Baileys leads to an encounter, the two have to confront their feelings for one another.

OPINION: This is a very short story so there isn’t a great deal of complexity or character development, but as a quick story, it was enjoyable. I liked the characters and thought that the story did well in setting up the premise, giving some nice character quirks, and having some entertaining moments between them. It is a quick read, but I liked this one.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a short story, more of a quick vignette rather than a developed plot.

CONNECTED BOOKS: NANNY WITH BENEFITS is the third book in the Temperance Falls series. The books take place in the same town but are only loosely connected so this book works as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

three-half-stars

Review: The DILF

Review: The DILFThe DILF (Temperance Falls: Experience Counts, #2) by London Hale
Series: Temperance Falls #2
Published by London Hale on May 16, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 106
Goodreads

FINAL DECISION: I have to admit that I was disappointed. I was recommended these books, but this one didn’t interest me at all. Nothing was particularly good or exciting about the story.

THE STORY: Genesis is the best friend of Brandon’s eighteen-year-old daughter. When the two end up spending time together, the heat between them takes over, but a relationship between them, along with being complicated as Brandon is twice Genesis’s age, the potential scandal threatens Brandon’s career.

OPINION: This book just was boring. There didn’t seem to be any reason for these two to get together or (once they decided to get together) to stay apart. If the story intended to lean on sex, that was pretty boring as well. In fact, I liked this one even less than the first book in the series because it made no sense for Brandon to be concerned about his daughter’s reaction when she was in a relationship with Brandon’s best friend. I don’t mind a quickie book based on a trope that is hot and superficial, but this book didn’t have anything to distinguish it.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a short story of about 70 pages.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE DILF is the second book in the Temperance Falls series. The story can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 2 stars.

Review: Daddy’s Best Friend

Review: Daddy’s Best FriendDaddy's Best Friend (Temperance Falls: Experience Counts #1) by London Hale
Series: Temperance Falls #1
Published by London Hale on May 2, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 97
Goodreads
two-stars

FINAL DECISION: Average story. There wasn’t much relationship, and even the sex was pretty average.

THE STORY: Eve has wanted Nathan for a long time. Now on her eighteenth birthday, she is ready to make a play for him. Nathan has been attracted to Eve but has been suppressing his feelings because Eve is Nathan’s best friend’s daughter, and Nathan is twice Eve’s age.

OPINION: There are a bunch of these sexy vignette books, but this one didn’t really satisfy either the story or the sex. It wasn’t bad but just pretty average. There are hotter books like this and better and more angst or complex situations. Eve and Nathan didn’t really interest me. Just okay overall.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a very short story of about 60 pages.

CONNECTED BOOKS: DADDY’S BEST FRIEND is the first story in the Temperance Falls series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 2 stars.

two-stars

Review: Passion

Review: PassionPassion (Passion Quartet, #1) by Lisa Valdez
Series: Passion Quartet #1
Published by Berkley on July 5, 2005
Genres: Historical
Pages: 332
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: This book was a roller coaster for me. At times I almost laughed at the sex scenes, but by the end of the book, I loved this story. When written, this book was groundbreaking in the erotic historical arena.

THE STORY: in London’s Crystal Palace, Passion Elizabeth Dare meets a stranger, and the two engage in a sexual encounter. A widow, Passion finds her desires awakened after a loveless marriage. She agrees to continue to meet while she is in London, believing that no one will be hurt by these secret and anonymous encounters. Mark Randolph Hawkmore, Earl of Langley, cannot stop thinking about the mysterious woman he meets at Crystal Palace. At the same time, his “real” life is falling apart as he is being blackmailed into marriage. Mark is determined to free himself from those scheming against him. As Passion and Mark get closer emotionally in their secret relationship, their real lives are destined to collide and perhaps destroy everything.

OPINION: By the end of this book, I loved this story. I’m glad I persevered through the story because, at times in the beginning, I almost gave up on the book. But as the emotional connection between the characters grew, I began to love the story more. Mark and Passion first come together purely physically, but an emotional connection quickly grows between them.

As the reader knows more than either of the characters, the collision course they are on is quickly revealed, and thus there is tension in how the characters will become aware of the troubles that they are facing.

Passion is incredibly lovely as a person. I wanted her to be more selfish, but I understood her choices even if I had done something differently. Mark is damaged, and he is completely undone by Passion. By the end of the book, he has changed and is willing to do the right thing even if it would hurt him.

I’m so glad I gave this book a chance because I had heard it was bonkers. Yes, there are things that I had just to accept and move past, but on the whole, this book was emotionally engaging, and I really was surprised by many of the twists of this book in a good way.

WORTH MENTIONING: There is some bananas stuff in the sex scenes that I have questions about anatomically. Readers who are not able to put some implausible things aside to enjoy the story should probably pass on this one.

CONNECTED BOOKS: PASSION is the first book in the Passion Quartet. (Note that the author only wrote the first two books of the promised quartet).

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: One Hot December

Review: One Hot DecemberOne Hot December (Men at Work, #3) by Tiffany Reisz
Series: Men at Work #3
Published by Harlequin Blaze on November 22, 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 224
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: This book was enjoyable, but I wanted a little more of the “off-screen” conflict on the page. Overall, I enjoyed it, and while the beginning didn’t work as well for me, the story and characters were great in the last half.

THE STORY: Veronica “Flash” Redding is quitting her job working for Ian Asher’s family company. Six months ago, the two hooked up for one night, and Ian dumped her. Flash has decided to leave her job as a welder and lean into being an artist. Flash determines that leaving is the last part of her revenge for being dumped. Flash leaving actually benefits Ian, who couldn’t have a relationship with a woman who worked with him. Now that Flash is no longer an employee, Ian intends to win her.

OPINION: This book was mixed for me. The beginning, where the setup was done, was a bit tiresome, and I believed that I wasn’t going to like this book at first. But the story began to pick up about a quarter of the way in. This book had much more setup than the first two books in the series, as this couple had a history.

I really loved Flash. She was clearly drawn in this story, and I appreciated that she was standing up for herself and knew what she wanted. She has a complexity that I didn’t expect. Indeed, I especially loved her relationship with her neighbor and how Flash began to open up to Ian.

It took me longer to have any liking for Ian. He is pretty opaque in the beginning. But as the story progresses, his qualities are made clear, especially as he defends Flash and their relationship. I think that is why I had problems with this story in the beginning. He hides rather than openly defends as the story begins. He evolves, and I like him more as it is clear how much Flash means to him.

I also very much appreciated the positive representation of religion, especially the depiction of Hanukkah and Jewish and Catholic characters. This ends up being a great December holiday romance.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book is a category romance and thus is shorter, things happen much quicker, and a bunch of things happen “off-screen.”

CONNECTED BOOKS: ONE HOT DECEMBER is the third book in the Men at Work series. The series is only very loosely connected; thus, this book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

three-half-stars

Review: Her Naughty Holiday

Review: Her Naughty HolidayHer Naughty Holiday (Men at Work, #2) by Tiffany Reisz
Series: Men at Work #2
Published by Harlequin Blaze on October 18, 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 224
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: I loved this book. Clover and Erick are so incredibly sweet together, and yet, at the same time, the book is really hot. The story merges really hot with small-town sweet so well.

THE STORY: Clover Greene is tired of her family haranguing her about her lack of a romantic partner. This year she is hosting Thanksgiving and needs a fake boyfriend to attend with her. Her teenage assistant suggests her own father, Erick Fields. There is something between Clover and Erick, although neither has acted on it. Suddenly there is much more than a charade for the benefit of Clover’s family. Erick agrees to play the role but is certain that everything between them should not be pretend.

OPINION: This book took a completely different path than I expected. There is something wonderful between Clover and Erick from the first moments they are on the page together.

This story had real depth and complexity that I didn’t expect. Clover is a woman who owns her own successful business, and while she has family problems, Erick respects her, and the two talk. The adultness of the romance here was so special as I enjoyed the two getting to know one another.

I expected more gimmicks in this story, but it felt like a book that takes the trope and makes it more real rather than bananas. This is a small-town book but updated with really hot moments between Clover and Erick. At the same time, Clover finds out things about herself in the relationship, especially that she can

There is also quite a bit of humor in this book as Clover and Erick have witty conversations and funny moments together.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a category romance, and thus, it is shorter and much more direct than a long-form romance. Sometimes a book like this is exactly what I need. I can finish it in a few hours and the story has a great pace that keeps the pages turning.

CONNECTED BOOKS: HER NAUGHTY HOLIDAY is the second book in the Men at Work series. This book is only slightly connected with the first book in the series, as the couple there is mentioned here. This book can be read independently of that book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Her Halloween Treat

Review: Her Halloween TreatHer Halloween Treat (Men at Work, #1) by Tiffany Reisz
Series: Men at Work #1
Published by Harlequin Blaze on September 20, 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: Sexy and very hot, the romance here is really sweet, which makes an interesting contrast and definitely not what I was expecting. Very enjoyable and easy to read. I finished it quickly in a couple of hours.

THE STORY: Joey Silvia is back in Oregon after discovering that her boyfriend of two years was actually married. Joey is heartbroken and angry, and her best friend tells her to find a guy for fun to forget about the cheater. When Joey gets to her family’s cabin, she discovers Chris Steffensen at work. Chris and Joey went to high school together, and her brother’s best friend is now an incredibly hot handyman. Joey decides that the boy who gave her her first kiss is a great way to get over a broken heart. But Chris has had feelings for Joey for years and wants to be more than the rebound guy.

OPINION: This book begins with a bang in both ways. The story has great energy. What I really enjoyed about the book is how what is a sweet relationship between these two is punctuated by hot, hot scenes. The story of two people who knew one another in high school meeting again after ten years and having a hot “temporary” relationship just worked here.

The conflict here is best expressed by Joey’s brother, who gives her the advice that the good guys should not be used for rebound relationships but kept for relationships that matter. Ultimately, Chris and Joey are just so perfect together that it messes with what Joey feels she needs after her messy breakup.

I really enjoyed this book. It isn’t as deep or complex as a long romance, but this book is a great category romance. Fun and engaging, with great characters and a conflict that is resolved at the end.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a category romance, so it is on the shorter side, and everything happens quickly.

CONNECTED BOOKS: HER HALLOWEEN TREAT is the first book in the Men at Work trilogy.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Hana Khan Carries On

Review: Hana Khan Carries OnHana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin
Published by Berkley on April 13, 2021
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 348
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: I almost DNF’d this book at about 55% because the book seemed more interested in Hana’s family restaurant, her radio career, her visiting relatives, and just about everything except the romance. I continued reading, and it got somewhat better, but too much about her and not enough romance for me. The final quarter of the book was great the characters and story came together well. I might try it again with my expectations in check.

THE STORY: Hana Khan is balancing a lot is things. Her family restaurant is on a decline just as a new competitor is opening in the neighborhood. She has an anonymous podcast about her life and an online friendship/relationship with a follower. She is trying to establish a career in radio broadcasting but worries about the compromises she may be making. And the owner of that new restaurant is a man that she can’t seem to forget.

OPINION: I liked a lot about this book, but I expected a romance and got women’s fiction instead. Perhaps my mistake, but the book’s blurb emphasizes the romance, which is not true in the book itself. Enough about that.

I thought the book depicts well Hana’s life and community. I enjoyed learning about her as a character,¬† and I thought she and the other characters had integrity and real identity in the story.

Because I wasn’t interested in Hana so much as the romance, I almost gave up on this book about 50 percent in. The romantic interest is introduced by then, but they have almost no page time. The last third of the book is much more focused on the romance which I really enjoyed, but there was too much other stuff to get through to enjoy that part. The final 25 percent of the book was really good. The plot and the characters fell together so well. I wish the setup had been better, but I really enjoyed that final piece. Indeed, I was prepared to give the book three stars (others might enjoy it much more) but pushed it up once the final acts of the book were done.

Hana and Aydin’s relationship was really enjoyable in the last half of the book, as they are the focus, and I loved how respectful they are to one another, how Aydin listens to Hana and how things are resolved between them.

I remain ambivalent about his book. I might try this book again after understanding the balance between Hana’s journey and the romance. The ending was so good that I might like it better next time.

WORTH MENTIONING: For readers who are interested in Hana’s journey rather than romance, this book is well-written and explores many contemporary issues of race, religion, immigration, gender, and a woman establishing herself.

CONNECTED BOOKS: HANA KHAN CARRIES ON is a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars