Major Misconduct by Kelly Jamieson

Netgalley seems to understand my love for hockey novels, so it’s hard to resist when they suggest ones they think I’ll like. This one by Kelly Jamieson is the first in the Aces Hockey series. I spent most of the book being conflicted between the things I loved and the things I didn’t care for, and it’s rare for a book to do that to me.

Major Misconduct

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A young woman moves in with her hockey player brother and his teammate and starts a fling with the teammate, despite her brother’s warnings. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
Overall, I liked this book. I thought the writing itself flowed well, and there were parts about the characters that I really adored. I thought at the beginning that I was going to hate Lovey, but she ended up being fairly charming, though some of her decisions were questionable. Sex in her brother’s bathroom? Has the girl never read a book or seen a romantic comedy?


The fact that the fling between Lovey and Marc is supposed to be a secret actually gave me, as the reader, a great sense of tension and danger every time they were hooking up because of the chance that her brother was going to come home early and catch them. It was way more fun than I expected.

I really like that Lovey is the commitment-phobe who wants a fling and maintains that through most of the book. I was also a fan of her character’s bitchy moments that didn’t just end with her feeling bad about treating someone else poorly. There’s a scene where she’s in a bad mood and snaps at her brother (who deserves it), and even though he chastises her, she doesn’t back down. It’s rare to find a heroine have a complete unapologetic bitch moment.


Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
One of the things I didn’t care for was the minor details that didn’t add anything for me. There’s extraneous information about the clients she’s trying to get for her business and way too much about the groceries she buys. These things slowed the story down for me. However, this is a reader preference, as I know other readers who love that level of detail.

I also thought the ending stretched a bit too long. There were parts of this story that were really boring for me, but then there were other parts that I was really invested in.

Another thing I question in general is the use of popular music and references in a novel. Even though it’s a contemporary novel, pop culture doesn’t always stay pop culture, and I’m not sure how long music references last before they’re no longer relevant to the reader. As opposed to my feelings on the first issue, I really enjoy the popular references. It gives me a better background for the scenes I picture in my mind.

The Romance Factor
I definitely enjoyed the fling-to-relationship aspect of this book and how the relationship developed without any insta-love. It was solid and believable, and the angst was almost perfect. 4/5.

The Steam Factor
That whole not wanting to get caught factor really added something to the sexy times, which were already pretty steamy. Because it was so fun, I’m giving the SF a 5/5.

Final Thoughts
The things I disliked were all reader preference items. I thought the writing was good and the story and characters felt realistic. Also…hockey. I definitely plan on reading more books in this series.

Romancing the Billionaire by Jessica Clare

I’ve loved this series so much, but I wasn’t as excited to read this one as I have been the others. It follows a second chances trope, and for some reason, that trope just doesn’t grab me. That wasn’t going to deter me from reading it though, especially because I have one more book to go before I move on to the Billionaires and Bridesmaids spinoff trilogy.


One-Sentence Synopsis
After a decade of regret about losing the woman he loved, a billionaire reunites with her to set off on a treasure hunt left by her dead father, desperate to win her back despite the fact that she hates him. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
I ended up really enjoying this one. Violet is hardcore about carrying a grudge, as she’s maintained one against Jonathan for a decade. To be fair, it’s a pretty deep one and borne of both heartache and tragedy. Of course there’s a major misunderstanding, but even with that, Jonathan isn’t held faultless for the fact that he lost her. I liked that they both made mistakes and that it caused them both pain. I’m apparently a character sadist.


I may have mentioned it before, but when written well, a hero who gets sappy over a woman is seriously the best thing ever. Jonathan is still so completely in love with Violet and he’s tormented by the fact that she doesn’t want anything to do with him. My heart seriously broke for the poor guy. Yet at the same time, I was also saying, “You go, Violet. Make him work for it.”

The Romance Factor
Nothing says romance like a man who cries over the woman he wants. I’m also somewhat of a fan of miscommunication when done in the name of angst, and there is a nice chunk of that in this story. Oh the drama. The delicious drama. 5/5

The Steam Factor
I covet Jessica Clare’s ability to write hot sex scenes. The detail and the intensity are always amazing, and though there wasn’t as many sexy times in this one as there have been in others, it was still highly blush inducing. 5/5


Final Thoughts
While not my favorite, I think this book held up well to the series, and even though second chance love isn’t my thing, it definitely gave it originality among the other stories. It’s going on the shelf for when I want to re-read the whole series.

Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt

Not only do I like to read romance novels, but I like to write them as well. No, I’m not published. Maybe I could be, but I’ve procrastinated the editing and submission process on several novels. The writing part is the fun part for me. I bring this up because National Novel Writing Month is only a little over a month away, and I’m already getting stoked. Not only am I a co-Municipal Liaison for my region, but I have two story ideas waiting to get out. Last year I wrote three novels. Things are busier this year, so I’m aiming for one, but I can’t wait to immerse myself in this story that’s poking around inside my head.

Also, possible spoilers ahead and more Ghost of St. Giles shenanigans.


One-Sentence Synopsis
Though originally married for convenience, a lady decides to seduce her husband in order to have a baby, not realizing that he’s also the very man she’s promised to kill to avenge her first love. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
The second Ghost is revealed, and it’s a character we only met briefly in the first book of the series. Godric St. John is a studious fellow who comes across as older than he is (at least to his wife), but obviously has the constitution to patrol St. Giles at night. Like Winter, Godric is fun, trading his daytime persona for a braver one as the Ghost.


Megs wants her revenge for the man she was supposed to marry, and so the Ghost sets out to find the murderer before she does and puts herself in danger. He’s also continuing his search for children being kidnapped and made to labor making stockings, a carry over from the previous, even though two years have passed between the two stories.

By the time Megs realizes Godric is the Ghost, their relationship has already started to evolve and blossom, which makes for a very different dynamic than was expected, considering all she could think about was killing the Ghost, who she blames for the murder of her first love.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
I realize it was part of the conflict, but it didn’t take me long to get annoyed with Megs and her constant “must think of Roger” attitude when Godric was all up in her business. I was sick of hearing about Roger.


There is a major continuation from the previous one, and though I would say most of these can be read as stand-alones, I feel something might be lost by not having read Thief of Shadows.

The Romance Factor
The romance in this one felt like a slower burn, and Megs constant thoughts about Roger kind of made it stutter a bit. But the moments that pulled at the feels were highly effective. 4/5

The Steam Factor
Once again, Roger was a problem when it came to the sexy times, at least at the beginning. But once Megs got over thinking of him, things got hot. I’ve probably said it before, but deserves repeating: Hoyt writes some killer sex scenes. 5/5

Final Thoughts
One more to go in the Ghost arc, and considering it’s a character I didn’t like in the past, it should be interesting to see what type of Ghost he makes.

Irresistibly Yours by Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne is on point this year with two new series: her New York’s Finest series and the Oxford series, which is a spinoff of the Stilleto stories and features characters from the same world. I said in an earlier post that I had a hard time getting into the glam of the world, but Stiletto must have prepared me well, because I loved this book.


I received a free ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
Two competing sports writers are thrown together as co-workers, but the close proximity leads them to take their relationship beyond professional boundaries. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
The guy banter in this book is hilarious and witty without getting sexist or douchey. There are a few scenes that definitely push the boundaries of what’s appropriate in the workplace, but there are never any scenes where the guys are threatening or disrespectful to Penelope, and I liked that. I want to hang out with these guys.


Penelope is adorable and nice, but not in an annoying way. She makes a great tomboy, and I loved her quirky ability to remember sports stats.

The Romance Factor
Penelope and Cole teach a very important lesson: if you make a pact not to fall in love in a romance novel, you know there’s going to be angst. Okay, so that’s a bit meta, but that one scene spoke volumes and just heightened the rest of their foreplay and (lack of) communication. 4/5


The Steam Factor
Again with the foreplay. Cole and Penelope trying to stick to a weekends only agreement only made it steamier, and the sex scenes were blush inducing. 4/5

Final Thoughts
Maybe it’s because the Stiletto series warmed me up, but I loved spending time in the Oxford world and can’t wait to see what happens to the rest of the guys. Layne keeps getting better and I can’t wait to see what she brings to 2016.

Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt

I’m drawn by spoilers. Having read the synopses for all the Maiden Lane books, I knew that the Ghost of St. Giles plots were coming up, and I was stoked. I loved his quick appearances in the early books, especially when I found out who the Ghost was. So if you haven’t spoiled yourself already and don’t want to know, then you may want to step way from this review now.


One-Sentence Synopsis
A man who maintains the utmost propriety during the day becomes a defender of the innocent at night, but when he falls for a beautiful lady above his station, he finds himself struggling with the rigid lifestyle he’s promised himself to maintain. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
Can we talk about how much I adore the Ghost of St. Giles? First of all, I love the whole “secret life” thing, where the hero has to keep a secret but you know the heroine is going to find out. And it’s so fun when she does, because then she plays coy, and in this case, she kind of messes with his head in a very steamy moment (which I’ll bring up later).

In this case, the double life is highly pronounced. By day, Winter is a good man, running an orphanage and trying to do right by those on the dangerous streets of St. Giles. He’s also very somber. But when he’s the Ghost, he’s flirty and brave and delightful. When Isabel figures it out, it’s a seriously fun ride of ” Does she know?” and “Does he know that I know?” And somehow, that dynamic brings about those feels that I love.


There is also a character swap in the traditional roles that heroes and heroines usually take in historical romance. Many of the traits prominent in heroines make up Winter’s character, while Isabel definitely has more of a male view on sex and romance.

This book also introduces us to some upcoming characters, like Artemis Greaves, her cousin Penelope (blech), and…let me give a girly sigh here…Captain James Trevillion…who’s actually kind of a pain in the ass when it comes to the Ghost, as he decides to try to hunt him down with his dragoons. Still love him.

The Romance Factor
Two words that work for both the romance and steam levels in this book: virgin hero. The fact that Winter is a man of morals and won’t sleep with a woman he doesn’t care for just makes it that more awesome when starts his relationship with Isabel. There’s also the moment when he kisses her as the Ghost and the fear she feels for him when he’s injured. And that moment when he realizes he can’t go back to his celibate lifestyle because love. Seriously, just mop me up off the floor already. 5/5


The Steam Factor
You know those scenes that are a perfect blend of romance and eroticism? They don’t come along often, but when they do, they’re worth nothing. Isabel and Winter’s first sexual encounter is one for the books in my opinion. She knows he’s the Ghost, he doesn’t know she knows, and they’re stuck in a hiding space together. Close proximity sexy things happen, but beyond that, both characters have this huge show of emotion, and the whole thing is just awesome. 6/5

Final Thoughts
This book sets things up for the rest of the Ghost story arc. I’m so glad there are more Ghost books because the character is a blast, but this one set the bar high.

Breaking a Legend by Sarah Robinson

I’m coming out of a pretty intense bout of reading, which means I have quite a bit of updating on the blog to do. Luckily, I’ve had the chance to read some great books, including this one, and I’m ahead on posts. This is good, because I have some commitments coming up that might derail both for a short time (oh the horror).


I received an ARC of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A famous MMA fighter finds himself using drugs and alcohol to soothe an injury that ended his career, but when he meets a newcomer to the area, he finds she’s all the excuse he needs to turn things around. For a fully synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
One of the first things I said to my husband about this book was that I hoped it was going to be good because the main family, the Kavanaghs, charmed me from the beginning. This Irish family who owns a gym dedicated to MMA fighting was great: close knit, traditional in some ways, yet quirky. Each member had something interesting about them. It’s not often a family in a book series pulls me in, but I kind of loved them right away.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
I was a little torn on Clare’s character. She was trying to build her life after an abusive relationship, so I wasn’t sure how realistic it felt that she was so willing to trust Rory when she hadn’t known him that long. At the same time, she was aware of this, and the fact that she was doing what she could to not be afraid added to the likability of her character.

One of the things I notice right away in contemporary fiction is when characters don’t use condoms. Most times I figure it’s just part of the fantasy and the author wanted to write a world where that stuff doesn’t figure in. Usually, I can accept it. However, after they have sex twice, Rory asks if she’s on the pill. So not only do two strangers assume the other has no STDs, but accidental pregnancy is only a concern after the second horizontal mambo.

confused jack

The Romance Factor
I was a little nervous about this couple at first. With Clare’s quick trust of Rory and Rory’s addictions, I wasn’t sure how romantic they were actually going to be. By the end, I was pleasantly surprised. Rory knows from the beginning that he wants more with Clare, and her influence helps him recover. Clare has a bit of a damsel in distress thing going on, and though he has a rough persona, Rory is one of those guys who’s bad ass on the outside and squishy on the inside. 4/5

The Steam Factor
For the most part, the sexy times were really sexy. I especially enjoyed the sleepover in one of the fighting rings. The only thing that was a little weird for me was that when Clare and Rory first started getting close, she talked about how he smelled like alcohol because he’d drank so much, and even when he was detoxing, she could smell it. This was a little gross to me, but in all honesty, that’s probably for personal reasons and not so much the story. 4/5


Final Thoughts
Despite the gifs, I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and kept me engaged. I can’t wait to read the next one in this series.

The Name of the Game by Jennifer Dawson

The “enemies to lovers” trope is so good when it’s done right. In this case, I think Jennifer Dawson not only does the trope right, but she gets some of the more genuine aspects of the couple’s relationship right as well.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A baker and a professor used to fighting with and insulting each other start to realize that beneath the animosity, there’s a mutual attraction…even if they know they’re wrong for each other. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
I enjoyed the fact that the story highlighted the different ways men and women communicate and played on the cliche that they don’t understand each other. While miscommunication in a book can be annoying if not handled well, I could relate to it in the context of this story and completely understood the thought processes behind it.

I liked the change in dynamic between Gracie and her friends who are newly in relationships. Once her best friends are in committed relationships, Gracie gets jealous, as she’s the single one who doesn’t have that in common with the attached ones. I think it’s a situation most women can relate to, so it feels real, and the reader doesn’t have to stretch the imagination to empathize.


There is a subtle submissive/dominant vibe through the story, and when it culminates, there is a lot of emotion that goes with it. I’ve read books that had this dynamic, and the emotion is either downplayed or doesn’t feel genuine. I loved that this felt real, that the repercussions of an encounter had both sexual and emotional effects that the author explored through James and Gracie.

Also, a nerdy hero who convinces the heroine to watch Doctor Who? Winning!

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
There’s a part where Gracie says that James has always used a condom. But previous to that, there was a scene in which I noticed he didn’t. I guess the condom use doesn’t have to be stated implicitly, but because it usually is, I sort of expect it. And the scene in question was detailed and intense, so unless he wrapped it earlier, I’m not even sure when he had the chance.


The Romance Factor
Even though the characters are trying to convince themselves that they’d never work together, the things they do for each other are sweet. While it starts out as sex, it evolves into much more, and the progression was well paced, angsty, and gave me some of those awww moments I love so much. 4/5

The Steam Factor
The sexy times are hot and frequent, but my favorite part was that role play was introduced in a way that made it feel natural and normal. Also, the roleplay scenes were so fun, especially the cheerleader/horror movie one, which had a sweet element to it as well. 5/5

Final Thoughts
At the beginning of the book, I thought there was potential for it to drag on, especially because the first quarter of the book is really a lot of James and Gracie looking at each other from across various rooms. But those scenes really just built the anticipation until they finally got their groove on, and the story moved well and felt real. I have to go back and read the first two books in this series, but I’m  already looking forward to the next in this series.