Weekly Wrap-Up

This week at Smex…

A+ review – The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan (historical)
A review – Black Arts by Faith Hunter (urban fantasy)
A review – Iron Night by ML Brennan (urban fantasy)
B+ review – Live by Mary Ann Rivers (contemporary)
B+ review – The Spider by Jennifer Estep (urban fantasy)
B+ review – Fury of the Demon by Diana Rowland (urban fantasy)
B review – The Dom Project by Heloise Belleau and Solace Ames (bdsm)
C review – Still so Hot! by Serena Bell (contemporary)
C review – The Devil Wears Kilt by Suzanne Enoch (historical)
C review – Believe by Erin McCarthy (new adult)
C- review – Knockout by Michele Mannon (contemporary)
DNF review – My Heartache Cowboy by ZA Maxfield (m/m)

Looking Ahead to February

News from Mandi: Running the Red Light by Kelsey Browning did not impress me. I liked the first book in this series a lot but this one was too over the top. The plot was too much and the characters just didn’t appeal to me.

The Wolf Within by MJ Scott is the first in a new urban fantasy series. This one has a stronger first half but by the second half I was really sick of the heroine. She is whiney and complains and puts blame on everyone but herself. If I had been a werewolf in this story, I would have eaten her by the end of the book.

In too Deep by Tracey Alavarez pleasantly surprised me. Set in New Zealand, the heroine is a police diver and she goes back to her hometown to help her family and then sees her old flame. A little slow in places but overall I liked this one. Review coming later today.

Edges by Darien Cox is a fun, sexy novella – don’t pay attention to the cover, it takes place at a ski resort so no idea where that cover came from. It needed to be about 50 pages longer – things with one of the hero’s family does not get resolved – and the HEA is pretty rushed – but I like this author’s voice and it’s verra hot.

Up From the Grave by Jeaniene Frost – the final book! I liked it overall, but there is one twist towards the end that made me frustrated. It probably won’t bother most people, but I felt it was forced and rushed. But overall I liked this one – lots of action and I giggled.

Tori’s News:

Bonds Of Denial by Lydia Archer. A sexy romantic MM contemporary about a man who has had to hide his sexual orientation for years; first from his father, then from the military. His attraction to a male escort begins to erode the ties that silence him. Some angst and drama adds tension to the story. This is part of a series.

Game Changer by Paula Marinaro. A pixar like MC romance that brings a woman and man together whose pasts cause issues between them. Significant grammar and editing issues bring the enjoyment of the story down. I did enjoy the heroine and her strength though the “I’m so beautiful and nice-everyone loves me” characterization was coy and slightly nauseating. Violence and harsh language (women are all bitches) but the sexual warning was not needed. Beginning of a series.

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop. A stunning sequel to the first in this epic fantasy series- Written In Red. Action packed with a deeper indepth look at the world and characters she has built and a plot that blows you away. Review to come.

Four Years Later by Monica Murphy. Fans of Drew and Fable will enjoy this sweet and heartfelt romance centering around her little brother Owen and the girl who captures his heart. Review to come.

Playing For Love at Deep Haven by Katy Regnery. A second chance romance contemp that addresses fear and change when a couple find themselves stranded together and are forced to discuss the hows and whys of their breakup nine years prior. An engaging novel that entertained but I felt the heroine spent too much time on the what ifs and her fear of being hurt again was trying. Review to come.

Hot Shots Anthology by Anne Marsh, Lynn LaFleur, and Stacey Kennedy. A sexy erotic three story anthology centering around a small town and fire fighters. YUM. All in all I enjoyed the anthology though I had issues with the second and third story. They felt rushed romance wise. Review to come.

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs. The eighth installment in Brigg’s beloved Mercy Thompson series shows us changes are a coming. Review to come.

Fall For Me by Ann Lister. A gay for you MM romance contemporary about a rock star in the closet and a journalist whose attraction for said rock star causes him to rethink his sexual orientation. An engaging contemp that I think does well in addressing the attraction and the strain it causes on both men. Plenty of heat and some external drama made the story even more enjoyable.

This weekend I have so much to read. *THUD* Bound by Lorelei James, Teach Me A Lesson by Jasmine Haynes, and Melting the Ice by Jaci Burton.

News from Helyce: Not too much to report this week, so here we go!

I finished Marked by Lauren Dane, Kit Rocha and Vivian Arend.  I really enjoyed this erotic anthology that introduces us to a new series by Lauren Dane; All That Remains takes us many years into the future where men outnumber women so much so that multiple partner relationships are common place.  I’m not big on menage in my romance, but this m/m/f was well done.  Kit Rocha’s story, Beyond Temptation, gives us the story of Noah and Emma.  This one felt like a second chance/friends to lovers story without losing any of Ms. Rocha’s trademark grit and grime that we’ve come to love in Sector Four.  Lastly, Vivian Arend gives us Rocky Ride.  In here we get a bit of a two-fer as we return to Rocky Mountain House and watch Anna Coleman and Mitch Thompson get all hot and sexy as they take their hidden relationship and bring it out in public.  We meet Mitch’s little sister, Katy, as well and get a little background on Ms. Arend’s new contemporary, Baby, Be Mine due out in late February.  Full review coming near release date.

I also read for review, Forsaken by Jacquelyn Frank. I’m a fan of Ms. Frank’s Nightwalker series and have been reading this spinoff since it came out.  In the end I enjoyed this installment, but IMO it had really inconsistent pacing and did not keep my attention.  Things would be moving along and then it would stutter a bit and then pick up again.  I’ll try to expand on that in my review. A new breed of Nightwalker is introduced and we learn a bit more about the coming war and the curse on the Nightwalker breeds.

Currently, I am reading Slide by Garrett Leigh.  I love a highly emotional, angsty m/m love story. I’d seen reviews for this come through my newsfeed on Goodreads.  They were so all over the place.  Readers either loved it or hated it.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pulled in from the very beginning. Ash and Pete meet each other when Ash moves in to rent a room in Pete’s apartment.  Pete is a Paramedic and Ash is going to art school and working at a tattoo parlor.  It’s clear that Ash has issues but every conclusion I’ve drawn is circumstantial. I’m thinking the obvious reason may turn out not to be the case. I’m at about 60% and I haven’t really experienced that angst that I expected which tells me it’s still to come and I admit, I’m worried.  I think it’s going to be harsh.

Depending how Slide affects me, I may just jump into the next book Rare which came out on January 17.  If I find I need to take some time, away from all the angst, I’ll probably pick up something on the lighter side like Four Friends by Robyn Carr.  I also hope to continue on with Written in Red by Anne Bishop which I had to put down in order to catch up on some review books.  Have a great weekend everyone!


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