Romance Books Reviews & Treats

Former psychologist now obsessed with my fave hobby:  blogging my romance-book reviews...Only contemporary romance (including New Adult romance), historical romance, and romantic suspense...WARNING: honest reviews are all I do. It's all about the book. Pleasing authors & publishers is not on my radar.


Baking gluten-free treats goes hand in hand with my romance reading. So I'll post some of these as well.

BOOK REVIEW: For a Good Time Call by Jessica Gadziala

**Read my FULL SPOILER-y review here.



Phone-sex operator is saved from assault by her new neighbor Hero. Their sniping turns into more. Even when she reveals her secrets. But he suddenly moves out, when she's out of town.


For a Good Time, Call... - Jessica Gadziala 

REVIEW: Blackout by Rosalie Stanton

Former secretary gets caught at the elevator, after stealing an important file from the apartment of her former boss, lawyer Hero.

She was infatuated with him until he got her unexpectedly fired 3 weeks ago. Now, she just wants revenge & the money promised for the stolen file. Being stuck in an elevator with Hero was spoiling her plans. But it was also a chance to get answers from him. Including why he had the sex tape she made for her ex-boyfriend. Their honesty soon gave way to their long-held desires. But how does it resolve the bigger problem of why she stole his client's file?**


**For my full SPOILER-y review, click here.


Blackout - Rosalie Stanton 

REVIEW: For Love Alone by Lucy Gordon

**Click for my full SPOILER-y review here.


23y.o artist can't remember anything, including the husband she married the day of her car accident. 34y.o electronics manufacturer Hero, on the other hand, wants to give her space & time to remember on her own.

Heroine may not remember much but she does know that she married him for love.  She does her best to change his mind about waiting for their physical intimacy until she gets her memory back. Will she regret her decision to rush things? Will her memory change things between their growing romance?


For Love Alone ( Silhouette Desire, # 416) - Lucy Gordon 

REVIEW: P.S. You're Mine by Alexa Riley

24yo plus-sized teacher writes a pen-pal letter to stranger, 37yo Marine soldier Hero.

He uncharacteristically responds back as he's struck by her honesty & sweetnes & hoping she was single too. Thus begins their 1-year-long letter relationship. Each find themselves more intrigued & more in love with each other. However, he stops contacting her & her letters to him are returned. What happened to Hero?**

Lovely romance & steamy. Likable characters, with heroine showing some growth in her confidence & outlook in life. Hero is alpha-demanding & love his obsession with her, loving her curves & cookies and all. I'm not sure though if he was completely celibate during their whole correspondence. I assume so but I'd have liked it clearly expressed. I also didn't like the reveal of Hero's unfinished “P.S.” at the end of every letter.** Wish it wasn't spoiled from the get-go. Aside from that, it's a sigh-worthy romance. With some steamy sex scenes at the end.

**Click here for SPOILERS re: what Hero's unfinished “P.S.” meant & the book's ending.


PS... You're Mine - Alexa Riley 

REVIEW: Playing with Dynamite by Leanne Banks

30yo caterer tries to resist getting back with demolitions-expert Hero, who she just broke up with because he didn't want to  ever get married.

Hero still wants to be with her but he has an irrational fear of marriage. However, seeing heroine actively dating with the purpose of marriage causes him to rethink things drastically. But, no matter how much he lays things out on the table for her emotionally, he still can't muster thinking about marriage to heroine without majorly panicking.  How long will she wait for him to ask?

Average. Good pace as Banks' usual. But plot was predictable & conflict wasn't angsty.  Maybe because Hero and heroine were in love and knew they wanted to be together for the long haul. Although Hero's commitment fears got in the way, he still worked at trying to get her back as soon as she broke up with him.**  So, most of the book is heroine trying to resist Hero while trying to date other men for marriage & family. The resolution was as expected. No surprises really. Sex scenes were somewhat descriptive and sexy  per other Banks' books.

Moderately recommended.

**Click here for SPOILERS re: how Hero tried to get heroine back.


Playing with Dynamite - Leanne Banks 

REVIEW: A Savage Adoration by Penny Jordan

25yo heroine isn't happy to see 33yo doctor Hero, 8 years after he lambasted her for trying to seduce him.

His confusion at her cold attitude towards him turns into disdain, when he finds out that her married boss had given her special favors.  It makes working together on their village hospital committee & his frequent check-up on her recovering mother a trial. Their increasing tension blowup one night in uncontrollable passion. How much does that fix their misunderstandings?

Like this Jordan book for the most part. But didn't like the rushed ending.  Hero and heroine had lots of big misunderstandings that I don't think they resolved sufficiently at the end.**   Awesome sexual chemistry & 1 sex scene. Liked the unrequited love and second chance themes of 2 people who grew up together.  Issues of age and maturity were biggies.  An epilogue that should Hero and heroine a year or so later would've settled my questions about heroine's emotional maturity.


**SPOILERS re: what was lacking @ at the end are on my other review. Click here.


A Savage Adoration - Penny Jordan 

REVIEW: Security Binds Her by Jennifer Bene

Office temp employee heroine is abducted by their office building's security guard.

He forces her to be a sexual submissive for his & his brother's sex-slave business. However, he finds himself handling her gentler and more forgiving of her defiance. But his brother dislikes his personal involvement with her and advances her auction sooner,  despite his protests. How does he stop her from being auctioned off to another man?

Suspenseful writing. The mystery of the security guard's identity: whether he was the villain or the Hero or both...kept me riveted. It's definitely dark & disturbing. Yet, I'd see glimpses of a possible romance. There were those moments of caring & safety between heroine & the mysterious security guard that had me hoping for better things to come between these 2. It's a cliffhanger & the ending was not what I expected. Or hoped.**  I went on to read books 2 & 3 to see what their future will be.

**SPOILERS re: the security guard's identity are on my blog review. Click here.   


Security Binds Her (Thalia Book 1) (The Thalia Series) - Jennifer Bene          

REVIEW: Striking a Balance by Jennifer Bene

Office temp heroine now lives with the man who bought her from the sex-slave auction of her former trainer, the security guard who abducted her from work. She greatly appreciates the freedom her new Master gives her

but she's having a very difficult time enjoying it. In fact, she has major panic attacks, when they're out in public and  considering making social connections apart from her Master. It concerns him about their future together, since doesn't want a full-time submissive.  He also relays the messages of her former trainer's plea to buy her back from him and promises to take better care of her.  What will her Master decide about his future with heroine? How tempted is she to go back to her former trainer?

I could only manage to read 50% of the book before I started skimming the rest. There were some things in the book that turned me off.** The romance between heroine & her new Master was sweet & gentler than whatever she had going with her former trainer/Master.  But it couldn't overcome my disappointed expectations from book 1. Aside from their BDSM(bondage & discipline sadism & masochism)lifestyle, her panic attacks from her abduction trauma was also central. The unconventional treatment seemed to help her until she heard news of her Master's car accident. Cliffhanger ending.

**SPOILERS re: what turned me off this book are on my detailed blog review. Click here.


Striking a Balance (Thalia Book 2) (The Thalia Series) - Jennifer Bene 

REVIEW: Salvaged by Love by Jennifer Bene

Former office-temp heroine is working all the more to heal & find a balance with her BDSM (bondage & discipline sadism & masochism) lifestyle with Hero, 

ever since his car accident. She wants to be with him forever & knows he won't tolerate her over-dependence on him for much longer. But being kidnapped again by her former trainer/Master and forced to be his submissive again challenge her new progress. Being with her former trainer again also allows her to unravel her mixed reactions to him and solidify her feelings for Hero. How does she get away from her abductor? How does this 2nd abduction impact her in the long run and affect her relationship with Hero?

I had high hopes that book 2 & 3 would provide a redemptive love for the horrors that heroine went through with her former trainer/Master in book 1. But not so.  Not even close. He ended up being just a sick villain with zero redemptive value in this book.**  The plot was predictable & I wasn't really interested in heroine's romance with Hero, who was a patient & generous dominant. I skimmed this book & DNF(did not finish)'ed it, after reading a repeat of the abuse heroine underwent with former trainer. I was repelled by this whole book series at that point. I skimmed to find out what happened to her former trainer/Master & the ending.**  Nothing surprising.

**SPOILERS re: what happens to her former trainer/Master are on my detailed blog review. Click here.


Salvaged by Love (Thalia Book 3) (The Thalia Series) - Jennifer Bene 

REVIEW: Dangerous Lover by Lisa Marie Rice

28yo Washington state small town bookstore owner thinks 31yo

former Army officer Hero may be too good to be true. She agreed to let him board at her house on Christmas day, which has changed its meaning since the car accident that took away her beloved family 6 years ago. Hero becomes her lover soon, as well as a willing handyman and protector. Seeds of doubts about Hero creeps in, when he accidentally says something about her past that he should have no way of knowing and when an FB I agent shows her incriminating photos about Hero.

Loved the Hero but not the heroine. She was ok but didn't like her neediness. She's the kind of woman who needs a man to make her feel whole and good about herself. Their romance was good  because of Hero's obsessive love for her.**  Sex scenes were steamy. Four days worth of sex and romance and then the action-suspense becomes the centerpoint. Good chase scene & quick resolution. Heroine redeemed herself in my eyes, when she stood up for Hero even when the proof against him was huge.

Moderately recommended.

**SPOILERS re: extent of Hero's obsession with heroine is on my blog review. Click here.


Dangerous Lover - Lisa Marie Rice 

REVIEW: Impulsive Attraction by Diana Hamilton

Sensible 28yo bank manager agrees to the blackmail demands of rakish

35yo sculptor Hero, despite the disapproval of her fiance and mother. Heroine will pose for him in return for him telling her how the night ended that night they met, when she passed out drunk in his cottage.  She's curious why he thinks she's beautiful and desirable, when everyone else thinks she's a plain-looking plus-sized Amazon.  It sets a change in her.  Hero demands more from her but his secretiveness about himself makes her hesitate.

Poignant and funny. Emotionally pulling.  Not a true 5-star but more like a 4.5-star because of some weaknesses in the book.**  Although Hero and heroine's romance was central, heroine's character development paralleled the progress of their relationship. We see her transform from a stick-in-a-mud & stern woman to a more carefree, colorful, and insightful one. The book is told from her POV (point of view), which provided much of the angst. We knew how she felt and what she thought but not much about Hero. Lots of sexual and emotional tension.  However, no sex scene. We get a good resolution at the end with a likely HEA(happy ever after). I liked that it exposed Hero's vulnerabilities re: heroine.


**SPOILERS re: Hero's secret identity & the book's weaknesses are blog review. Click here.


Impulsive Attraction - Diana Hamilton 

REVIEW: One Night, Two Consequences by Joss Wood

27yo former firm CIO and current world traveler of the last 3 years finds herself pregnant from a 1-night-stand with 35yo hotel-restaurant-vineyard owner Hero.

She goes back to only inform him that she's pregnant and planned on going her own way. But a medical emergency makes her stay with him for the next few months. Hero wrestles with trying to convince her to stay & raise their kids with him as well as his devotion to his deceased wife of 5 years.

The writing bored me so I started skimming pages before I reached half of this Wood book. There were too many details about Hero, heroine, Hero's siblings, his business, and her career crammed in a HP (Harlequin Presents).  It lacked emotionality and left me indifferent to Hero and heroine and their future.  Hero's big secret re: his deceased wife didn't even  make me curious.** At least the sex scenes were not superfluous or as plentiful as the other more current HPs. In any case, the slow pace plus too much background info in this book lost me.

Minimally recommended.

**SPOILERS are on my detailed blog review. Click here.


One Night, Two Consequences - Joss Wood 

REVIEW: Anything, Any Time, Any Place by Lucy Gordon

25yo virgin heroine never expected to marry 37yo entrepeneur Hero

soon after he saves her from marrying another man whom her brother was indebted to. She knew that his marrying her wasn't based on love. But she couldn't go through their wedding night, after she found out why he married her. Hero and heroine try to be discreet about their marital troubles but their family members aren't fooled. How long does their standoff last? Was that enough to fix things?

Predictable start with what I thought was (oh no!) another doormat heroine. But heroine & the story got better after 60%. People-pleasing heroine actually developed a backbone & kicked every parasitic character out of their house! The romance also took some unexpected turns, which highlighted the fact that their marriage blocks were caused by both Hero & heroine.** Having both their POVS(point of views) gave us an inside perspective of their fears & hopes. The end was satisfying. And cute per the matchmaking antics of this dad & her grandfather.


**SPOILERS are on my detailed blog review. Click here.

Anything Any Time Any Place (Silhouette Special Edition, #1227) - Lucy Gordon 


REVIEW: Dangerous Passion by Lisa Marie Rice

27yo artist doesn't know what to think of 34y.o. Hero who just put himself on the line of fire for her.

Yet she now knows is her mysterious buyer ,who bought up all her paintings for the past year no matter the price. Reclusive international arms dealer Hero takes full responsibility for ruining heroine's simple life in NYC and getting her art-gallery friend killed.  Somebody finally found his weakness—his obsession with her. He tries to bind her to him sexually before he would unveil the full truth of his motives & his plans for her. How long will it work on her?

My 1st Rice book & it was good. I think I would've liked it much more, if I read this book when I bought it 6 years ago. But there's many books nowadays that seem to have emulated her writing style.  Regardless, I still enjoyed it. I liked the stalker Hero obsessed with heroine plot & the fact that this Hero is usually emotionally closed-off and doesn't attach to anybody.  I also liked that heroine was also reclusive like Hero as well as independent and focused. Their emotional connection was believable. Didn't pull me as intensely as I expected. Sex scenes were explicit but not plentiful. I appreciated the focus on their emotional connection and their plan on getting away from their persistent and unknown killer. Good characterization. Exciting action-suspense part.**


**SPOILERS for this book are on my more detailed review. Click here.

Dangerous Passion - Lisa Marie Rice 


REVIEW: Passion Flower by Diana Palmer

23yo interior decorator from New York City eagerly takes a temporary job as housekeeper & office assistant for 35yo an almost-broke

cattleman Hero in his Texas ranch. Their work relationship later changes when Hero begins seeing as a woman. But virgin heroine's unwillingness to sleep with him as well as his knowledge of her past create an impasse for them. Who will relent first?


This was a decent Palmer book. Hero wasn't as cruel as other Palmer Heroes. He wasn't as arrogant either. In fact, he was the one with the insecurity complex. Heroine started out quite meek but she became bolder, especially after she left him. She didn't make it so easy for him to get her back. I would go as far as to say that she made him grovel to get her back. But not the greatest of grovels.** She succumbed to his seductive maneuvers a little too easily. But at least she stopped him before they got too serious. They got hot & heavy but there's no full-on sex scene. Emotional tone was good & there were some poignant moments. Hero did show how much heroine meant to him in the end. Possible HEA(happy ever after).


Moderately recommended.


**Specifics on how Hero groveled & why I didn't think his grovel was the best is on my blog. Click here.

REVIEW: Once Upon a Billionaire by Jessica Clare

24y.o secretary new to New York City from small-town Arkansas agrees to travel to Europe as the temp assistant of her boss' viscount friend.

28y.o. archaeological-financier Hero is appalled at how inappropriate heroine is as his assistant while he fulfilling his social appearances as a royal family member in his European hometown, especially in the presence of his snobby and critical mother. He fights off his improper attraction to her but can't help caring when she feels hurt by his criticisms and appreciating her kindness to him and others. The discordance of his public versus private relationship with her doesn't settle well with her, especially when she finds out that he's keeping things from her. What future do they have together?

This is a progressive groveling book. There's no 1 big betrayal and no 1 big grovel. Instead we have Hero who unknowingly hurts heroine in little ways and tries to amend it throughout the book. Then, he does something again to hurt her in his cluelessly privileged way and is baffled at how he keeps doing this and how to show her that he cares for her. The groveling is progressive because he does learn and he ups his proof of affection/apology towards her.**  It's a funny and romantic book. Sexual chemisty is hot & so are the sex scenes. Good character development, especially Hero's. Liked that heroine wasn't a pushover and confronted him. She also didn't trust him easily just because he said he loved her and gave her orgasms.


**SPOILERS about Hero's grovel are on my blog. Click here.    
*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.