Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Seduced By The Badge by Deborah Fletcher Mello

Rating: ★★★ | 288 pages | Harlequin | Romantic Suspense | 06/01/2018 | Pre-order 
or Purchase now at Fair warning, there are some mild depictions and mentions of child abuse and assault, so proceed with caution.

Detective Armstrong Black and the Chicago P.D. gest a dose of Southern hospitality when Danni Winstead, one of Atlanta's best, goes undercover to infiltrate a dangerous human trafficking ring (as you do in romance . . .seriously, why is it always trafficking ?) in the heart of The Windy City. The closer she gets to a break in the case the closer she is drawn to the indomitable Chicago detective.

This is a very plotty suspense novel which is exactly my thing, Armstrong and Danni's attraction takes a back seat to Danni's deep undercover work, which was enough to keep me flipping the pages. She quickly befriends a young girl caught on the fringes of the human trafficking ring and lets herself be lured into the dangerous lifestyle. With that being said I found it a little hard to believe that everyone just believes this 34-year-old detective is a teenager. She doesn't even initiate the lie... people just assume she's a teenager. . .all the time. Who is she, Bianca Lawson ?

Danni owns this story while Armstrong hangs out on the periphery doing his investigating thing. He comes from an influential law family; his mother is a judge, his father is retired superintendent of police and his siblings are basically sequel bait who are all named after famous jazz musicians which I thought was pretty creative.

This is book one in the To Serve and Seduce series. I'm glad Mello, who was previously only published in the soon to be defunct Kimani line, has found a place in Harlequin Suspense.

Hey, cover designers! How come the heroine doesn't have a badge? I know it's a stock photo but y'all couldn't photoshop one on?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ashes On The Moor by Sara M. Eden

Ever since I read The Wake Up  I've been interested in the inspirational fiction genre. It's this sort of "feel-good" fiction about characters on journeys of self-discovery and redemption.  I've never gone out of my way to check out inspirational romance or books described as "proper romance" because I'm always like--what does that mean? That all other romance is improper?  I know that's not what they are saying, but still.

Our heroine Evangeline Blake is an upper-class woman set adrift after losing her entire family--save one sister--to illness. She is taken from her family estate to the small town of  Smeatly by her indifferent aunt who installs her as the new school teacher. On her own for the first time with no teaching experience and still grieving the loss of her family; Evangeline soon forms an unlikely relationship with her neighbor Irishman Dermot McCormick and his young son. Both Evangeline and Dermot are outsiders trying to prove to a town entrenched in poverty and uncertainty that together they can change the town for the better.

Ashes on the Moor is a quaint small town tale that goes pretty much how you would expect. Dermot's son is presented as being neurodivergent, something that was also in The Wake Up. Is this a common feature in inspirational fiction?

While I was reading up on "proper" or "inspirational" romance, one of the things I learned is that proper romance features feminist elements.  The more I thought about Ashes on The Moor, I realized that female empowerment and independence presented in a very broad. The focus is on women going out their own and making lives for themselves in a society where women weren't leveraged to do that.

Ashes On The Moor is a warm and heartfelt story about found family and the resilience of a community.

Check out the audio review at AudioFile Magazine

Can I just say I like the unique way inspirational romance covers present themselves? Unlike traditional romance, they generally feature period-specific dresses that appear more accurate along with warm colors and detailed backgrounds.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

6 Hot Royal Romances We Want to Crown Queen

It’s Harry and Meghan’s wedding weekend and we’ve put together a list of royal romances because...well...everyone else is doing it!

Not only is this a royal romance it’s also a mature romance. The crown prince of a fictional Caribbean island has seen his children paired off and is now looking for a love of his own. 

                          The Prince by Katharine Ashe

An exiled prince and talented portrait artist falls  for a promising female surgeon masquerading as a man in Regency-era Scotland

                           The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert

After getting caught by the paparazzi in a compromising position, a prince and his one night stand have to play fake fiances for one year.

When Dahlia decided to live life to the fullest she didn’t think that would include carrying the baby of a prince. Which means it’s secret royal baby time.

The last thing this Baltic straight-laced modern day warrior prince expects is to fall for an intriguing American girl.

These aren’t technically princess or royalty books but each book in this humorous contemporary series about three friends reclaiming their love lives is based on fairytale princesses.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

 Rating: ★★★ +.5 | 320 pages  | Berkley | Contemporary Romance | 01/30/2018

The Wedding Date is one of the hottest romance novels of the year (although...not in the smexy times way because this book fades to black real quick) and I was excited to see it chosen for Fountain Flirt, the local romance book club I just joined so I could finally prioritize reading it.

After a banter-filled meet cute in a faulty hotel elevator pediatric surgeon, Drew Nichols asks Alexa Monroe to be his pretend date at a wedding for his ex. Alexa and Drew's pretend wedding dates shenanigans quickly turn into weekend rendezvous, but with hundreds of miles between them and demanding careers their not sure an HEA is in their future.

This book was a slow start for me, it's got pretty low stakes. Like they-could-solve-all-their-problems with-one-conversation low stakes. I had a hard time getting into it and it wasn't until the external conflict was brought in towards the end does it pick up. As I mentioned earlier this book is fade to black in a way that gave me whiplash because they go right up to the moment and then skip over it, which isn’t something I’ve never read before.

This is an interracial romance and unlike the other IR I’ve read, it does briefly address cultural differences. In an interview with Bitch Media Guillory said they added those conversations later. and while it was a little weird to see some of those moments in a romance it also feels timely.

For or a witty modern love story make a date with the Wedding Date. Although let's face it, it's probably already on your TBR.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

If I Should Ever Love You by Cathy Maxwell

 Rating: ★★★ +.5 | The Spinster Heiresses #1 | 368 pages  | Avon | Historical | 12/26/17

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

Leonie Charnock is one of the three notorious spinster heiress--three best friends of marriageable age who haven’t been able to find a husband for a variety of reasons. Leonie’s father wants to hold out for the highest title he can get for her, which is fine by her since she’s not that interested in marriage.

Enter Roman Gilchrist--the newly appointed Duke of Rochdale--who has not only just inherited his estranged Uncle’s title, but also his gambling debt and crumbling estate. Roman needs Leonie's dowry and she is the perfect match, especially since they share a dark secret from seven years ago that ruined Roman’s military career and left a man dead.

I don’t usually pick up ballroom historical romances but I enjoyed this book. It has everything I want in a romance; female friendships, sexy consent, and complex female characters. One of the issues this book tackled is alcoholism, and it was interesting to watch Leonie’s journey with this issue when there wasn’t a clear understanding of it, especially for women.

This is a charming opening to a new series that's not afraid to tackle the tough stuff.

Received as part of the Avon Addicts program!