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March 2018

Her Perfect Affair by Priscilla Oliveras (Matched to Perfection 2)

Her Perfect AffairCoverReview:

 22. Her Perfect Affair by Priscilla Oliveras 3/27 Friends to Lovers with complications. Rosa & Jeremy’s night together was hot but AM awkwardness turns into regrets. Both have guilt/family issues to sort out before they get on the same page. Really lovely rom. #bkbrk #rombklove

— Ana Coqui (@anacoqui) March 8, 2018

Rosa is a school librarian at the suburban-Chicago-area Catholic high school she attended as teenager and she is the Fernandez sister most invested in being the "good-girl". As a teenager she made a bad decision that haunts her to this day and that mistake makes her hyper-cautious.  But at her older sister Yazmine's wedding, she lets loose a little. After all her planning and stress, the wedding has gone off without a hitch, so she lets Jeremy, her sister's good friend who she had developed a crush on, talk her into a dance & champagne.  Having more fun than she has had in ages, Rosa doesn't want the night to end and invites Jeremy up to her room.

Two months after an awkward morning after,and embarrassment fueled brush-off by Rosa, Jeremy is happy to hear from her again, hoping that they might recover and sort things out, and maybe give dating a try. He isn't however expecting to learn that is the reason Rosa has sought him out again is that she is pregnant.  He has lots of emotional baggage about his birth-father, his absence and presence in his life and his desire to never let his adoptive father down that Rosa's news rock him to core.

The conflict in this book was so wrenching.  Rosa is having a difficult pregnancy, facing the possibility that she might lose the job she loves, so it is just so tempting to not fight Jeremy, to accept his proposal and his help, but she just can't say yes, not for any reason other than love. She sometimes draws lines in the sand that seem harsh because she is worried about caving and Jeremy pushes too hard because he is just so scared.   

I really loved how Rosa isn't willing to let them skip steps just because it would make things simpler, especially when she doesn't understand why Jeremy is pushing so hard.  Oliveras does a fantastic job depicting Rosa's close-knit middle-class Puerto Rican family and how it contrasts with Jeremy's loving but much more formal and wealthy family.  The little details of how the sisters interact were familiar, especially with how they relate to their godmother, exasperation and appreciation of her fierce love for them, sharply felt in the absence of their parents.

As someone who has been a librarian in a private Christian school, I thought Oliveras depiction of Rosa's work environment believable and her tension about how things could play out, very realistic.

My favorite part of this romance is how Jeremy and Rosa have to resolve their own drama around their families and careers even as they sort out their feeling for each other. Oliveras doesn't divorce these conflicts from each other, but they are not conflicts that are resolved in one simple encounter or conversation rather it was organic and messy and incredibly charming. 

I am eager to read Lili's story and I hope that with Oliveras' RITA nomination and the special sale price, folks take the leap and try out His Perfect Partner too, although Her Perfect Affair stands alone perfectly.

I received a copy of Her Perfect Affair from the publisher, Kensington for review consideration. 

I don't usually participate in blog tours but I do occasionally make exceptions for a very small group for books that I feel strongly about. I had already read a copy Her Perfect Affair before I was approached to host and I was happy I could agree to do so wholeheartedly.  Below you will find links to a Rafflecopter Giveway hosted by Oliveras's blog tour company along with an excerpt from Her Perfect Affair and blurbs for the first two books of the Matched to Perfection series.


The official blurb:

About Her Perfect Affair: 

 The Fernandez sisters have always had big dreams, and the talent and drive to pursue them. And in this sunny, spicy new series, each one will discover that success is that much sweeter when love follows . . .

Rosa Fernandez doesn’t act on impulse—she’s the responsible one, planning her career with precision, finally landing a job as the librarian at conservative Queen of Peace Academy, confining her strongest emotions to her secret poetry journal. But she’s been harboring a secret crush on dreamy Jeremy Taylor, and after one dance with him at her sister’s wedding, Rosa longs to let loose for the first time. She deserves some fun, after all. So what if she doesn’t have a shot with Jeremy, not with his wealthy pedigree and high profile lifestyle. But one dance leads to one kiss, and soon Rosa is head-over-heels . . .

The adopted son of a prominent Chicago lawyer, Jeremy has a lot to live up to—especially with his birth father in prison—the perfect example of a bad example. With a big promotion and a move to Japan in the works, Jeremy is worlds away from settling down. But sweet, steady Rosa is a temptation he doesn’t want to deny himself, at least for now. Yet when their simple fling turns complicated, everything they’ve both worked for is threatened—except the red-hot intimacy they’ve found together. Can forever really grow from just-for-now?

Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes



Rafflecopter for Her Perfect Affair Blitz Giveaway:

Priscilla is offering one (1) lucky Grand Prize winner a prize pack containing a $50 Amazon Gift Card, an XL shirt featuring the book cover, a Spanish fan with Priscilla’s website, and a coffee mug and coaster with Priscilla’s logo. Two (2) Runner-Up winners will receive an eCopy of His Perfect Partner (Matched to Perfection #1)! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Hurts to Love You by Alisha Rai (Forbidden Hearts 3)


I had this book on my e-reader for a month before I let myself read it, not because I wasn't looking forward to it but because this series has been fantastic and I really wasn't ready to say goodbye to the Chandlers and Oka-Kanes.  I came to this book full of questions and theories and Rai surprised and pleased me at every turn.

"Have you ever wanted something you couldn't have? Her heart thudded. It was like he'd peeked inside her soul and found the one sentence that described her life.

 She has the money to buy everything, but the things she wanted couldn't be bought" 

Eve Chandler was just a girl when her look-alike mother died in a suspicious accident along with Robert Kane, Livy, Paul & Jackson's father, and the extended family she knew disintegrated under the weight of grief, suspicion and animosity. Trapped at home with an bully of a father, she closed herself emotionally, putting on her best face in public while starving emotionally inside. Inspired by her brother's reconciliation with his long-time love Livy against their father, Brendan's wishes, Eve finally starts making changes in her life, ones she has longed sought to make but feared to because it would make her father notice her, like leaving her cozy position at her mother's charity to strike out on her own.

One of those rebellious choices has her researching a possible business venture by secretly picking up passengers for a ride-sharing service. Unknowingly Gabe, her future's sister-in-law's boss and close friend, has become one of her most regular customers. She hides in her over-sized hoodies, muffles her voice and pretends to be a stranger while ferrying him home after nights at the bar.  She knows how incredibly fucked up it is that she lives for the nights she arranges to be there waiting to be his ride home, but she can't stop doing it.

Gabriel Hunter has lived with secrets all his life and the weight of them get heavier and heavier each year. The heaviest right now is how much he wants Eve, yet he knows he doesn't dare cross that line. He grew the adopted son of a cook in the Kane, home. He shared much growing up alongside the Kane kids, but Eve is a Chandler and there is just too much baggage and history tying together their families, never mind a dozen years of age difference to makes it all seem like an incredibly bad idea. But when one by one members of the Kane & Chandler wedding party end up ill or delayed and Gabriel and Eve end up alone in a isolated vacation house, all those very good reasons just seem a lot less important in the face of sly smiles, tempting bathing suits and her vulnerability . While the sex is scorching hot, what killed me was the longing, the furtive hand-grazing, and all the little touches of support and affection that they share before they are ready to let anyone know how they feel about each other, including themselves.

In this series Rai gave us a highly-emotional, piercing story of a family whose secrets, nearly tore them all apart and the courage it took to rebuild it.  

No one in these books made it all the right choices, they are not perfect and I rooted for them to find happiness despite family history & dark emotional shadows. Rai's characters are so rich and layered. I loved learning their secrets and seeing them reach for a brighter future, full of love and acceptance. They will have lives full or highs and lows, times of melancholy and anxiety but they will have people who love them, holding their hands each step of the way.

I am not quite ready to let go of this family,  but I am hopeful we will see some of these characters again, either in the form of a series following Sadia's little sisters to Gabe's tech-mogul sister. 

I received a copy of Hurts to Love You from the publisher for review consideration. It available at all the usual retailers, starting today.





Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston (Honey Badger Chronicles 1)

35534548I read Shelly Laurenston's books for the loud and obnoxious heroines who get caught up in the most bonkers of plots. On that score Hot and Badgered delivered. In the first couple chapters, there is a naked dash away from assassins, a bloody escape from a sanatorium and a car chase that ends with a helicopter being downed by portable rocket launcher. The action never lets up, as the story careens from one over-the-top encounter to another.

    Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan and her half-sisters, Max and Stevie have been an unit, protecting each other from a world out to get them since Charlie's mother was killed. They put each other first and don't tolerate anyone who would seek to hurt or divide them. They tease and taunt each other to distraction but no one should confuse that for a lack of love. Charlie's least favorite person in the world is their father, incompetent scoundrel extraordinaire, Fred MacKilligan, who hasn't yet discovered a con he can't screw up. As usual Fred's machinations send trouble Charlie, Max and Stevie's way.

    Berg Dunn is a big helpful bear. Lumbering, patient and utterly smitten with Charlie from the moment she stumbled into his balcony and expertly commandeered his best gun. When he unexpectedly runs into her again a few days later, he insists on helping her and her sister find a place to hide out for a while and bring them back to the bear-inhabited NYC-suburban neighborhood he lives in. While Charlie busies herself with figuring out what kind of mess their father has embroiled himself in, Berg, quietly and persistently inserts himself in Charlie's life and does his best to get her connected to people who will protect her. He has two siblings of his own and gets what Charlie needs to do, all while making sure someone is there to take care of her at the end of the day. Charlie is a tough nut to crack, devoted to her sister and unable to believe that anyone would want to stick with her after seeing how messed up her family is, but Berg has latched on and is not planning on letting go. He gives her a community she didn't know she wanted and needed.

     I am not sure how intelligible this book will be for new readers, Laurenston drops dozens of characters and organizations from her Pride series unceremoniously into this book, but I routinely read books out of order and my first Laurenston book was 11th Pride book, Bite Me, featuring Charlie, Max and Stevie's distant Honey-Badger cousin Livy and while I was completely lost at times, the voice and humor spoke to me and before long I had gone back to read all of the rest of the Pride books. If you need to know how everyone connects and understand every jokey reference, don't start with this book. Go back and read the Mane Event or at the very least Bite Me and then circle back around to the Honey Badger Chronicles, you will get a great deal more enjoyment from the book if you are intimately familiar with Laurenston's mad cap style and her characters. I am however greatly looking forward to more zany action in future books!


I received a review copy of Hot & Badgered from the publisher, Kensington. Hot and Badgered will be available at all the usual vendors, starting next week, March 27, ,2018

RT Book Reviews Round-up: Sidebar by Carsen Taite & On The Brink of Passion by Tamsen Parker

I took a big break from reviewing for RT because of the extra stress in my life in the immediate aftermath of Maria.  But over the last few months I have sporadically started reviewing for them again. A couple of those review are now available to all readers, not just subscribers.

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Sidebar by Carsen Taite: I really liked the beginning of this romance. The initial interactions between Camille and West were delightful but the story was quickly derailed for me by jarring editing issues, as repetitive passages and uneven pacing sapped the energy from the story. For my full review visit: RT Book Reviews

51YuxMmklULIn contrast I really enjoyed Tamsen Parker's On the Brink of Passion, the final book in her Snow and Ice Games series. Although I was initially skeptical by the premise, I was really won over by Parker's portrayal of Jubilee's grief & anxiety and Beckett's delightful sweetness. For my full review visit: RT Book Reviews

Whiskey Sharp: Unraveled by Lauren Dane

9780373799381_smp_FC-142x225In historic building in a trendy part of Seattle Maybe Dolan and Alexsei Petrov work side by side at Alexsei's Bar/Barber Shop, Whiskey Sharp.  Two years ago, Maybe talked herself into a job and has slowly been getting under Alexsei's skin. It has been 9 months since his engagement to a family friend, Rada, disintegrated, and he is finally talking himself into taking the risk and asking Maybe out when she asks him out instead, not willing for them to continue to ignore the sparks they have felt for years.

"Not his type, or what he'd always thought was his type until he met her."

Their courtship is sweet and romantic as Alexsei surprises Maybe every step of the way with his thoughtfulness and attentiveness. He might be gruff and grumpy but he has been paying attention to Maybe's chattering all along. While Maybe is thrilled to have Alexsei's big sexy body in her bed, and they enjoy easy rapport, full of teasing, due to their years of co-working friendship, deeper intimacy takes longer. Alexsei's sees Maybe in a way no one she has ever dated has before. This is both joyous and uncomfortable for Maybe, but through patience and persistence Alexsei is slowly able gain her full trust and learn the source of her secret hurts.

"He's like a grotesque villain from a Gothic novel" Vic said quietly. "I still can't believe he said all that to her. About her, I wanted to punch him at least ten times"

While I really enjoyed this book, the romance was nearly overshadowed by the conflict between 51ncktpnyvLMaybe and Rachel and their abusive father. There is very little interpersonal conflict between Maybe and Alexsei. They talked through most of their issues, and while there is tension around how Alexsei's ex Rada, tries to rile up and exclude Maybe, it was never something that threatened Maybe and Alexsei's relationship.  Alexsei's recognizes the seriousness of his feelings for Maybe from the start and never hesitates to show it.  The conflict that drives everything in the story is Maybe's Father's cruelty and unhinged fixation on his older daughter Rachel. While there is a mini-climax for that story it is left mostly unresolved to carry over into the next book, Whiskey Sharp: Jagged, which will feature Rachel and Alexsei's cousin Vic.

I plan to pick up the rest of the series because I really enjoyed getting to know Maybe and her sister Rachel and seeing them learn to set boundaries, and be there for each other and I enjoy all the family interactions with the rest of the Orlov clan, including Alexsei's meddling aunt, Vic's mother Irishka.





Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs and Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

A blonde blue-eye woman peeks face half-submerged in waterLake Silence by Anne Bishop:  Bishop returns to the broader world of her Others series with a self-contained story set in a small community deep in Wild Country on the edge of the Finger Lakes. 

In her divorce settlement with her gaslighting and emotionally abusive husband Vicky DeVine was granted ownership of run-down rambling inn on the edge of Lake Silence. She has spent the last six month working on restoring it and slowly regaining a healthier sense of self.  The peacefulness of her lakeside retreat is shattered when her sole lodger who she didn't realize is a Crow, attempts to microwave a human eye in the Inn's kitchen.

The story is one-part police procedural & one-part women's fiction in a dark fantasy package.  For readers of Bishop's previous Others novels the story will feel very familiar. A wounded woman finding sanctuary and protectors in a community run by supernatural beings, a honest and determined law-enforcement official seeks to solve crimes and protect humans from their own foolishness while walking a tight rope between human laws and powerful beings with their own rules and expectations.  There is even another strong, wounded bookseller with a deep interest in the heroine, although this time that role is filled by Intuit,humans who have a uncanny ability to sense the future.  

I very much enjoyed getting to know the new characters and community of Lake Silence, and I appreciated the faster, self-contained pacing.  I didn't expect the story to wrap up in such a satisfying manner after the leisurely pace of Bishop's previous books in this series.  I loved Julian Farrow's character, and the particular ways being an Intuit affected his relationships with non-Intuit humans.  The scene in which Julian ends up playing game of Murder (very similar to Clue) with several Others was particularly fantastic, both darkly humorous and suspenseful and I  loved how those scenes had ramifications that played out later in the of the story.

I'm now deeply curious where else in the World of the Others Bishops plans to write about next. 

P.S. For those familiar with the Finger Lakes area of NY, my guess is that Lake Silence is so supposed to be Honeoye Lake.


(An ARC of Lake Silence was provided by the Publisher for review consideration. Lake Silence is available through all the usual outlets, with a publication date of March 6th, 2018.)

A woman embraces a wolf while tangled up in flower vinesBurn Bright (Alpha & Omega #5) by Patricia Briggs: Bran, the Marrok is away and has left his son Charles in charge, when one of the Marrok's special pack of wolves is attacked.  Charles, Anna and the rest of the pack rush to to avert tragedy and track down a traitor among them.  

The story was intense, full of grief and powerful magics. It is a story about marriages and loss and it was simply beautiful.  The story was filled to the brim with little character moments, full of insight into long-standing relationships in the series. It was completely engrossing and I highly recommend it.  I love these characters and the ways Briggs has lets us grow to get to know them, sometimes transforming the way I thought about a character through small reveal.  

This story starts as Brigg's Mercy Thompson's Silence Falls ends and I had fallen behind in my Mercy Thompson series reading, and this made me eager to catch back up again, although like the previous Alpha and Omega books, its stands apart.  After going off and catching up, I found it particularly fascinating how Charles and Mercy revisit memories of the same time period, persons and relationships and see them so differently.

I understand two more Mercy Books and one more A&O book, with Moira and Tom are under contract and I am eager for more stories in this world.

(An ARC of Burn Bright was provided by the Publisher for review consideration. Burn Bright's expected publication date is March 6th, 2018 and it is available for at all the usual places).


(I had previously published slightly shorter versions of these reviews in my The Waning Days of 2017: Mini-Review Round-up)

#Rombklove Reads's New Theme for March and April: Town and Country

Collage, one a city skyline with a busy highway, another gold green hills, and the third a wall of paper pages with Red hearts.
Town and Country #Rombklove


        I grew up a suburban girl,my town one of many swallowed up by the San Juan Metroplex.  I grew up with city traffic, but a large yard, with fruit trees and hills to explore. Not quite the best of both worlds but it was my home.  However in Puerto Rico almost everyone who grows up in the San Juan Metroplex has family in El Campo.  For my family El Campo was Naranjito, the small mountain town one set of grandparents hailed from. We would go up on weekends, taking long curvy mountain roads up to the quiet town.  There  we would celebrate holidays, roast pigs, make pasteles and gather plantains from the hillside that was all that remained of the family's old tobacco farm.  We would breathe in the fresh air, and go to sleep in hammocks listening to unfamiliar birds singing in the trees. When I think of Town and Country, I think of this retreat, of taking a break from the hubbub of town for a brief respite in the country, of wandering along country lanes with my cousins, looking for adventure. 


What do you associate with the phrase Town and Country?