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.

REVIEW: Come To Me Softly by A.L. Jackson

20y.o heroine takes back her 23y.o secret boyfriend Hero who left her without any contact the last 3 months.

Her pregnancy motivates him to be there for her even more and make a stable life with her. He, however, has to face her family, which stirs up the past he's trying so hard to push away.  What does he do when trouble comes? How much of his secrecy will she take?

In this sequel of Come To Me Quietly (my review), the main romance reached a point of stability, which was nice to see after all the angst of the first book. The poignancy was more in Hero's unresolved issues from his mother's death 7 years ago.   It was complicated by its connection to his and her family, who's reactions make it difficult for him to keep ignoring his past. Both Hero and heroine develop in this book, with heroine leading in the maturity progression. She was the backbone of their romance, which added this strength to her innate sweet and loving character.  I liked that heroine dared to confront him about hard things.**  The resolution was realistic and made for a believable HEA(happy ever after), which the epilogue gives us a good glimpse of.


**A pictorial review with SPOILERS is on my blog. Click here.


REVIEW: My Nights With Kate by M.T. Stone

22yo college senior didn't expect her internet request for a sugar daddy

to yield the famous fashion-merchandising guru she's had a crush on since childhood. 49yo CEO Hero not only wined her and dined her in luxury but also eagerly supported her career ambitions in the fashion industry. He also matched her sexual prowess and openness to sexual adventure. However, he seemed to be distancing himself away the more from her the more he made things happen for her career. Why is putting limits in their relationship?


This was a waste of time. And I felt fooled by the book synopses. It made it sound like it would be a good & sexy May-December romance, especially the part that described it as “A red hot affair (that) transforms into a beautiful love story”. It was neither good, sexy, or romantic. And, “love story”? Not even. The book description made it sound like the book was an erotic romance. It's NOT. It's purely erotica & it wasn't even good erotica. There was plenty of detailed sex scenes but it was too technical to evoke sensuality. It catalogued the life of about-to-retire 49yo Hero, which is now filling up with sexual adventure than ever before. His voice was the most real among all the other POVs (point of views). I'm actually convinced that the author of this book is an older male.** If the author is actually a female, then the author writes male gerontology better than female young adulthood. Except for the archaic endearments 49yo Hero used for heroine. It made him sound more like a 70-year-old than a 49-year-old American male. Emotional pull of this book was severely lacking. Pages were spent more on business & luxury items than on character and romance development. I got bored & didn't want to waste any more time so I skimmed the last half. Turned out it was the best idea.


Not recommended.


**My explanation of why I believe this author is an older man is here.


REVIEW: His Unlikely Lover by Natasha Anders

26 y.o auto-mechanic heroine agrees to a secret affair with her best friend, 31yo CEO Hero.

She's been in love with him for years but he is now just returning her attraction, after she drunkenly kissed him on the dance floor. She agreed to rules he set for their affair. When the affair goes on, she realizes that she's not happy being his dirty little secret. While Hero isn't happy that she's sticking to his ground rules. With their friends and families close by, time and opportunity force their affair to become public. What do they do?


I was enjoying this best-friends-to-lovers book a lot at first but I ended up being disappointed with it. What was exciting, funny, and angsty at first became predictable, sappy, and bland later on. The writing in the first 60% of the book seemed different than the last 40%. There was a change in the emotional and sexual tone of the book as well as the flow and quality of the writing, which started when Hero publicly did something towards heroine.** Both main characters were likable people who were blind and confused at different points in their secret affair. They struggled with their opposing needs and wants and balancing their friendship with their affair. Hero did hurt heroine but he did make it up to her to a degree. I'm still not sure about his resistance to falling in love with her. It wasn't consistent with his actions and it made me question its depth. I did believe that their love by the end was mutual and their HEA(happy ever after) was possible.


Moderately recommended.


**A pictorial review with SPOILERS is on my blog. Click here.



REVIEW: Perfect Kind of Trouble by Chelsea Fine

21y.o newly-unemployed heroine goes back to her hometown to attend her estranged father's funeral.

Her anger towards her father increased when she's made aware of his requirement that she be handcuffed to their former yard-boy & the town's “Woman Whisperer”, 21y.o. Hero, to find whatever inheritance he left her. Their enmity soon changes when they find out some truths about each other. After they finally get intimate, Hero does something to reject her. How can she trust him after that?


I liked the forced closeness due to being handcuffed plot device. The 4-5 days it took for their romance would've taken a lot longer or maybe even never, if it wasn't for that. Hero and heroine had nothing good to say about each other except for their physical attractiveness. Their judgments of each other were based on rumors of both of their scandalous families. I usually don't find a few days change from enemies to lovers believable but this 1 was. These 2 confronted and talked to each other and that paved the way for a realistic change in their views and feelings for each other. I also liked how they were written as seemingly very different but, when getting to know each other, they find themselves much more alike than not. The angst came from heroine finding out the truth about her father.** Sexual chemistry was good and their humor and honesty added to it. Sex scenes were detailed and it showed their emotional connection. The resolution to their romance problem was fairly quick yet sound. Likely HEA(happy ever after).




**A more detailed review with pictures & SPOILERS is on my blog. Click here.



REVIEW: Wednesday Nights with Jamie by Daisy Dexter Dobbs

34y.o heroine has the secret hots for her 30+y.o boss Hero and spends Wednesday nights elaborately fantasizing about him.

She doesn't even consider him returning her attraction because he's her boss, she's plus-sized, and she's only seen him with Black women. A chance opportunity has them spend some time alone and that started their secret romance. When they became public about their romance, trouble came more from their families than their co-workers. How do they deal with their opposition?


This Dobbs book may be erotic but it primarily highlighted the emotional connection of the main characters, especially in light of the opposition of their interracial romance. I liked how Hero and heroine openly dealt with the issues facing them with humor and practicality. They were honest about the newness of dating someone from another race and the excitement that comes from that. We see both of them become stronger from having to face their family's opposition during their 4 months together.** This story was sexy, serious, and had some funny and sappy moments.




**SPOILERS about how they faced their family's opposition are on my blog. Click here


REVIEW: Best Kind of Broken by Chelsea Fine

19y.o. college student settles for the hot-water sniping she and 20y.o. college-quarterback-turned-inn-handyman Hero have daily

than the awkward silence of avoiding what happened between them 13 months ago. She has to live next door to him at the inn since she's working there herself for the summer. As much as they avoid talking about the past, their sexual and emotional tension worsens. When they're confronted with the past, however, they both have to make a choice whether they continue running away from it or start facing it.


A good 1st read from Fine. I liked the nonverbal display of Hero and heroine's unspoken emotions. It went well with their alternating first-person POV(point of view). Heroine's POV about denying her responses to Hero were humorous at times. But there's also a lot of angst from their shared pain and shared avoidance of talking about their painful past.** Their dancing around their huge issue would've been frustrating if it weren't for their fairly young ages. At ages 20 and 19, Hero and heroine responded to their pain immaturely by pushing it away and not talking about it at all when they could. Their lack of social support helped explain their avoidance of dealing with the issue for a whole year. When they finally begin touching on the past, it took time to get to the point of talking openly about all of it and being able to heal together. The sexual tension was good and lenghty. I would've liked maybe 1 or 2 more sex scenes to satisfy more fully all that previous sexual tension.



**SPOILERS about their angsty past are on my blog. Click here.


Do or Die by Suzanne Brockmann

20-something lawyer resists being fired by ex-Navy-SEAL-turned-jewel-thief Hero who she's been sent to represent on her 1st week at the law firm.

30-something Hero has been waiting patiently in prison for 18 months for the completion of the deal he struck with a notorious mafia. He wasn't happy to be freed prematurely by a US government agency in exchange for his security knowledge of a Middle Eastern consulate, where 2 kids are currently being held hostage. His concern for the safety of his brother and his family makes him abduct heroine and her car. Heroine won't let Hero dissuade her from his plans to protect his brother and help save the hostaged kids. Their time together increases their intimacy but their priority is the immediate danger surrounding them. This, however, changes when their protect and rescue plans go awry and heroine's life is endangered.

This book was difficult to read. It was 400+ pages that read more like an action tv-series script. Multiple-pages worth of frame by frame description of the characters' actions and their POV(point of view) about everyday details that took away from the focus of the main romance and main action-suspense plot. The action-suspense plot by itself had lots of factors and people/groups involved. It would have been more exciting if it wasn't bogged down by so much. There were also multiple secondary characters, secondary romances, and two primary romances. When I wasn't bored by this long-winded book, I felt manipulated by how the main romance between Hero and heroine got switched with the romance of Hero's brother and his partner. By about 50% of the book, the main romance became that of Hero's brother. Hero and heroine played the supporting role and became 1 of the secondary romances. I didn't like this switch and how I felt manipulated by it. The book blurb doesn't even mention Hero's brother or another romance in it. But the book was truly centered on Hero's brother and his forbidden romance with his partner.**

Scarcely recommended.

**A more detailed review with pictures & SPOILERS is on my blog. Click here.

REVIEW: Cage of Shadows by Anne Mather

19y.o heroine reluctantly agrees to go to Florida to approach 39y.o medical researcher Hero

and relay information about what he's currently doing to a publisher. In exchange, she'll get £6,000 that she needs now that she's been kicked out of the house by her stepmother and left to fend for herself financially for the first time in her life. She didn't expect be so attracted to recluse Hero and wasn't deterred by his rejection since she knew he was as attracted to her. The unexpected arrival of her stepmother, though, put an end to their new secret romance. What does her stepmother have to do with their romance?


Titillating plot and characterization with a good romance and sexual chemistry. It gave some troubling leads without pushing the envelope too much. We have a heroine who's now very attracted to the man she used to call “Uncle”, her late father's friend. Hero's 3-year isolation is shrouded in secret.** Thus, people like the publisher is willing to spend money to find out his secrets. Then, we also have heroine's stepmother, Hero's sexy housekeeper, and a mysterious man living in Hero's estate to add to the excitement. In 3 weeks, their romance receded and progressed. But by the end, things were wrapped up soundly enough.




**SPOILERS regarding Hero's secret are on my blog. Click here.


REVIEW: I Want To Hold Your Hand by Marie Force

35y.o heroine feels finally ready to move on from grieving her beloved husband's death 7 years ago.

But she's unsure about it and especially the feelings her husband's close friend, 35yo. town-mechanic Hero, makes her feel. Hero has been waiting for her the last 5 years and grabs at the chance at romance with her. Their relationship is complicated by her tangled emotions about her husband and him and keeping their romance private from the people in their small Vermont town. Heroine realizes that Hero is keeping some things private from her. Is he willing to risk his fledgling but long-awaited romance with her to hold on to his secrets?


This was an odd romance book. I couldn't figure out who the real hero was of this book and what place the romance between Hero and heroine had in the overall story.** The issues of grief and loss and how it impacted a close-knit community were written well. I just thought it overwhelmed the book and superseded the main romance. The characters were flushed out quite well. I usually don't like when the book spends a lot of time on the secondary characters. But, since the main characters in this book were unusually presented, I was drawn in to the multiple secondary characters & the hints of romance between some of them. Overall, the romance between Hero and heroine was solid and mature. They went through quite a bit of emotional entanglements in the book together and had some sexy times on the side. It made for a sweet romance but it wasn't the main focus of the book.


Mildly recommended.


**SPOILERS about the real Hero of this book is on my blog. Click here.


REVIEW: The Spaniard's Defiant Virgin by Jennie Lucas

23y.o popular cosmetics heiress doesn't know if being abducted on her wedding day was good or bad.

She isn't looking forward to being the 2nd wife of the abusive nephew of a sheikh but she accepts it if it meant protecting her 10y.o half-sister. Outmaneuvering her abductor, 32y.o venture-capitalist Hero, isn't an easy feat, especially since she's becoming drawn to him. Hero thought to use heroine as an instrument for his revenge against her half-brother and fiance. But she's distracting him from his focus. When the time comes to choose, will he continue with his revenge plans or will he surrender it for heroine?


I had mixed feeling about this book. I liked Hero's characterization the most. His inner war between his past and his growing feelings for heroine gave this book some poignancy.** We got to know him well from his POV(point of view). We had our share of heroine's POV too but her character was inconsistent. She didn't really develop in the book, like Hero did. The romance was good. Their sexual chemistry and sex scenes were fast developing. A tad too fast. I wished the romance was a bit more drawn out for believability's sake. All in all, I think they'll have a HEA(happy ever after). Heroine was willingly in love and Hero eventually became open to it.


Moderately recommended.


**SPOILERS about what made this book poignant is on my blog. Click here.


REVIEW: This Time by Marie Hall

23y.o editor doesn't know what to do now that she finds herself pregnant from her 1-night-stand with 26y.o tattoo artist and drummer Hero.

She's been involved in the ongoing crisis of her ex-boyfriend life the last 5 years. Having a baby is the last thing she needed. Hero's presence and support in her life, however, changes her perspective on things. As her life progresses, she struggles with guilt over her ex. How long will Hero wait for her to completely move on with him? What kind of relationship can she have with her ex and his family?


This book was ok. The romance was good and Hero was perfect in his devotion, love, and openness with heroine. But the book spent a good bit on heroine's travails with her ex-boyfriend and her enmeshment with his family. I liked seeing heroine's transition from being tangled and stuck with her ex and his family to moving on to a life of her own with Hero and their child. I didn't like how she basically had to be pried away from her ex to be able to move on from him. Her ex had such a strong hold over her.** It concerned me how she'd choose Hero over him.


If you like love triangles, then this book may appeal to you. Moderately recommended.


**A pictorial review with SPOILERS is on my blog here.
*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


REVIEW: Since I Saw You by Beth Kery

28y.o personal assistant is surprised at how different her boss' brother Hero looked in real life. 

And how attracted she is to him, especially since she'd been holding a torch for her boss for 11 years.  She doesn't let it stop her from her work of helping him market his revolutionary invention to well-known companies. Early-30s' Hero doesn't let heroine's controlled manner and lifestyle stop him from pursuing her. Their secret affair develop but becomes restricting after awhile. When he finds out about her secret feelings for his own brother, their secret affair takes a turn. 


Concise, romantic, erotic, and touching.  We saw the character changes of both Hero and heroine in this Kery book.**  And, with it, the development of their romance. Sexual chemistry was electric and sex scenes were explicit and hot. There's some light BDSM and anal sex. Interestingly, the sex scenes accentuated the depth of emotional and character changes in Hero and heroine. The way they affected each other was apparent, making their love solid and their HEA(happy ever after) realistic.




**A more detailed review with SPOILERS is on my blog. Click here.


REVIEW: Beloved Ballerina by Roberta Leigh

23y.o ballerina didn't expect that her wedded bliss in Paris with 30y.o diplomat Hero would end when they moved to Hero's family estate.

Hero's mother ensures that her close relationship with Hero is unchanged as much as possible. And Hero does his part alloting his time between his mother and heroine. Heroine takes a stand but things occur that confirm to Hero that his mother is right. How much of his divided loyalty will heroine bear?


It may seemed over the top at times but this Leigh book had a realistic portrayal of how an enmeshed family relationship can interfere with a marriage. Hero's mother was subtly conniving so I could understand the big misunderstandings Hero and heroine had about his mother. In all of this, heroine's character was strengthened. She had to make some big sacrifices to fight for what she wanted but I had some problems with it.** Hero's character was slower to progress and it was pushed by a variety of factors. Overall, this was an interesting read and dealt with couples' issues not normally seen in Harlequin Presents. The ending was realistic and geared towards Hero and heroine's HEA(happy ever after).


Moderately recommended.


**A more detailed review with SPOILERS is on my blog. Click here.


REVIEW: Tasting Candy by Anne Rainey

25y.o secretary has been infatuated with her boss' construction-contractor brother Hero since they 1st met months ago.

Hero decides to finally do something about his insistent hot dreams about heroine and wants to know more about her now that he saw her have a panic attack at the gym. Her honest answers don't sway his decisions about her and that's enough for her to yield to him. But the morning after has her questioning their relationship. Did he push her too soon?


Overall, a sweet and sexy novella. The long-awaited romance between the main characters' mutual infatuation with each other was wrapped up too quickly to be utterly believable and healthy. Their relationship barriers were all resolved in 2 days. And heroine had major issues that made their 2 days together seemed dysfuctional.** This book would've been much better if their coming together was extended at least a week's time. There really was no reason why it had to be all done in only 2 days.


Moderately recommended.


**A more detailed review with SPOILERS is on my blog.....

REVIEW: It Happened One Wedding by Julie James

33y.o director of private-equity firm didn't expect to see 34y.o. FBI agent Hero so soon after he hit on her and she succinctly turned him down.

They both find out that they're going to be in each other's company quite often now that their respective siblings are getting married in the next 3 months. They hide how they initially met and their combative relationship from their family. They conduct a secret affair later, with clear guidelines of its temporary nature. However, when heroine meets the man that fulfills her dating-rule requirements, it makes Hero resent his and her dating rules. How does he convince her that he's the man for her?


I enjoyed this James' book like her other ones. This was an improvement of her previous writing style because the love scenes are more detailed and pulled together all that hot sexual and emotional chemistry built up by Hero and heorine's clever one-upmanship. It's a humorous, smart, and emotionally savvy book about 2 strong characters who know what they want and seem to have opposing goals. We see a progression of Hero's transformation from an unapologetic and cocky player to a man who's captivated by heroine. I liked the extended time it took for the change because it made it believable, although I had a bit of a problem with his lack of communicating with her in between.** Overall, it's a good read with witty dialogue, sexy chemistry, and fine romance.


**A more detailed review with SPOILERS is on my blog...


REVIEW: A Husband's Regret by Natasha Anders

28y.o heroine agrees to a marriage of convenience (MOC) with her 33y.o estranged husband Hero, after he finds her 2 years after she left him.

He wants his daughter with him and she's grateful that he does, especially since the whole reason she left him was because he told her to leave after she told him she was pregnant. His constant criticisms and blaming her for what went wrong his life makes her wonder how much she can take of their MOC. How far will he push her? What will she do if he does?


This Anders' book is like a super-sized HP (Harlequin Presents) like The Unwanted Wife. I loved the emotional wrangling of the main characters. It made their romance seem more realistic yet vastly dramatic at the same time. It was angsty and told in a non-sequential way that made it an unpredictable and nail-biting read. There's character growth and some groveling but not enough to satisfy me.** One of the best features about this book is the realistic timeline. Hero and heroine underwent changes in themselves and their romance for weeks and months. The epilogue 2 years later really helped give me a better sense of their HEA(happy ever after).


Moderately recommended.


**A more detailed review with SPOILERS is on my blog. Click here: