Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne (Love Unexpectedly #4)

Publisher: Loveswept on April 18, 2017

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story. View Spoiler »

A hate-to-want-you story featuring a party girl with a heart of gold and the grumpy-cute lawyer who can’t stop thinking about her, WALK OF SHAME is a funny, low-drama romance that kept me smiling throughout. The banter is strong in this one folks, so if you love light-hearted teasing and sexual tension-laden bickering then you’re in for a treat.

Georgie and Andrew get off on the wrong foot when they first meet in the lobby of their apartment building, and their courtship (or should I say hateship?) grows from there. They have a Super Serious unspoken tradition of meeting in the lobby every day at 5 AM to tease and taunt one another, which is all kinds of adorable. Doughnuts also have a starring role in their weird brand of flirting, so what’s not to like? Of course, it’s not long before these two are spending all kinds of time together outside of the lobby and realizing that there’s more to one another than they first thought.

Unlike some enemies to lovers stories, neither protagonist in WALK OF SHAME crosses the line by saying something too cruel. Andrew definitely comes close, and I found his judgmental attitude grating at points, but his grovelling was pretty good. My only real complaint about this one is that the story wrapped up entirely too quickly and Georgie and Andrew’s HEA felt rushed. Overall though, I really liked this one and I’m excited to read more by Lauren Layne.

Wanted and Wired by Vivien Jackson (Tether #1)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca on April 4, 2017

Source: Publisher

DNF at 59%

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

A rip-roarin’ new snarky, sexy sci-fi paranormal romance series with the perfect balance of humor, heat, and heart. View Spoiler »

WANTED AND WIRED is a sci-fi romance set in 2059 in the wake of a conflict that devastated and restricted North America. Arts and culture have taken a backseat to science and technology, with the wealthy and powerful using mech-clones – human-looking robots – to complete all manner of tasks. But when mech-clones can’t get the job done, people like Mari and Heron are called in. A mercenary and her technologically altered handler, this duo is completing a by the books hit when things go sideways. Forced on the run, they’ll have to unravel a conspiracy and confront their feelings for one another.

By all accounts I should’ve loved this one, with its sci-fi meets romance premise and the Latinx heroine, but it left me cold. I couldn’t buy into the relationship between Mari and Heron, largely because their characterization felt forced. Jackson takes a tell not show approach to developing their respective characters, and both of them had the exaggerated “brokenness” that I associate with a poorly executed and overly dramatic romance. Add to that the fact that these two were constantly thinking about sex and I found myself rolling my eyes one too many times. Whether they’re escaping from government agents or literally assassinating someone, you can bet that Mari and Heron have sex on the brain. The sci-fi world building was also quite bare bones.

While this didn’t work for me, I think people who enjoy romances about “broken” people might enjoy WANTED AND WIRED.

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole (The Loyal League #1)

Publisher: Kensington on March 28, 2017

Source: Purchased

As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past…View Spoiler »

I don’t think I can do AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION justice in only 250 words, but suffice it to say that if you only read one historical romance novel this year, it should be this one.

Elle Burns is a spy for the Loyal League, a group of spies trying to influence Civil War in favour of the Union and abolish slavery. Placed in the home of a Virginia Senator as a house slave, Elle uses her eidetic memory to gather intelligence for the cause. All is going according to plan until she makes contact with her latest partner…a white man posing as a Confederate solider. Elle’s bravery, smarts, and beauty immediately strike Malcolm McCall, a Pinkerton detective also working for the abolitionists. He quickly finds himself falling for the tenacious and smart-mouthed Elle, but can he ever convince her that their love could thrive in such a divided world?

Alyssa Cole is a talented writer who doesn’t shy away from the atrocities and complexities of slavery, and she deftly combines swoon-worthy romance with incisive social commentary about the inherent power imbalance between a black woman and a white man during the American Civil War. Elle and Malcolm have many frank conversations about this and other hurdles in their way, and while they’re hardly solved in one fell swoop there’s a sense of hope that permeates the dark subject matter. There’s a lot to digest in AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION, and I can already tell that I’ll be rereading it later this year.