Book Review: Steal Me by Lauren Layne

I’ve realized something about myself. I am a second-book girl, meaning that when I read a series, in most cases, I might like the first one, but I absolutely love the second one. This has proven true several times, and it was proven again with the second book in Lauren Layne’s New York’s Finest series. Frisk Me was good, but Steal Me gave me so many warm fuzzies.


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

One-Sentence Synopsis
A moody police captain who feels he can’t have a career and a relationship starts falling for the waitress who has a habit of spilling things on him. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Dark, Broody Type
Anthony Moretti. So moody, so sexy, so conflicted. Due to something that happened with an ex-girlfriend, he’s resigned himself to the fact that there’s no way he’s cut out to work for the police department and maintain a relationship. He also hates it when the waitress who has endeared herself to his whole family spills things on him. And it happens all the time. Totally a case of food as foreplay, right?


Miss Independent
Maggie is a waitress who’s trying to get on her feet and become her own person after growing up with a lazy brother and an alcoholic father and being married to a man who wanted her to give everything in the relationship while he gave nothing. She’s super sweet, but that was part of the problem. She was a pushover. Now she’s determined not to be that person anymore.

Love in the Time of Crime
Besides just being kind of a crab-ass, Anthony is also irritated that he can’t find the burglar known as Smiley, a criminal who seems to be trolling the police department with his shenanigans. So when Maggie turns out to be a huge help for the case, he finds himself in close proximity to her more than not. Then he realizes how lonely he is, but he also realizes it’s not that easy for him to separate his personal and professional lives.

The Romance Factor
I’m such a sucker for the “lonely” characters, the ones who just want someone to be with, even if they think they can’t have them. Considering both Anthony and Maggie fall into this trope, I was all sorts of in love with both of them. Also, there’s a scene where Maggie “realizes” that like all the other men in her life, Anthony just uses her when he needs her. Obviously, we know that’s not the case, but that angst! So well done and enough to give me those feels. 5/5


The Steam Factor
Though there are steamy moments, compared to some of the other things I’ve read, the sexy times in this one are relatively tame. However, Layne writes really good sensual scenes, and so while Maggie and Anthony might not get as down and dirty as some other couples, they still made me melt. 4/5

Final Thoughts
This is a strong book in the series and I love the Moretti family. There’s a lot of build-up to the third one in the series as well, which seems like a friends to lovers type thing or a co-worker love story…either way, I can’t wait to read it, and I hope it stands as strong as this one did.

Book Review: One Touch More by Mandy Baxter

Because I’ve done a fairly good job of scheduling ahead, it hasn’t been noticeable, but I haven’t written a blog post for about 2 weeks. There was a road trip, a visit from my mom, and some other things that kept me off the computer. However, with Nanowrimo getting ready to happen and my lack of self control when it comes to requesting books on NetGalley, I not only need to get some more posts up, but I also need to start reading more books. November’s theme? Book time management.

One Touch More

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

One Sentence Synopis
An undercover marshal trying to find a big name drug lord becomes involved with local drug dealers and the hotel assistant manager who helps them to keep her brother out of prison. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
Talk about a strong start. I was pulled in right away with this one, intrigued by Tabitha’s situation and excited for the interaction between her and Damien. Though I don’t read a lot of romantic suspense, I do like danger in a novel once in awhile, and this one brought it. I was on the edge of my seat through most of this book, especially towards the end when things got crazy.


Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
I didn’t get a clear picture of Tabitha until the end, and I’m not sure if that was due to lack of description or if I just had an image from the start that didn’t match up with the one later in the boom that described her as edgy.

I never agree with heroine’s who are attacked, but then don’t want their attacker to get hurt. Maybe I’m just a horrible person, but if I were on the verge of getting raped and someone saved me and started punching my attacker, the only reason I’d stop that would be to make sure I got a few kicks in.


The Romance Factor
Though not insta-love, Damien and Tabitha’s relationship seemed to move fast. Yet somehow, the author was able to add enough emotion for it to seem realistic. 4/5

The Steam Factor
The sexy times were not as frequent as I thought they’d be, but they were intense when they did happen. 4/5

Final Thoughts
The intensity kept up through the whole book and ended up being a very entertaining read. There were some gritty themes, but the romance still held its own.

Texas Summer by Leslie Hatchel

I finished this book during Gencon, which my husband and I go to every year. With as insane as the con gets, you’d think I wouldn’t have had time to read, but I needed at least one down night, and finishing this was how I spent it.

It’s rare that I come across a book that I have a hard time getting through, but sadly, they do happen. I wasn’t going to do a blog review on this book, but I decided that just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean that someone else won’t. So even though this wasn’t for me, I’m putting it out there for others who might want to pick it up.

Trigger warning: This book contains themes of sexual abuse and pedophilia.


I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A writer finds himself stranded in a small town where murders are happening and the town is blaming the waitress he’s fallen in love with. For a fully synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
I think the book had potential. I liked the set up of a hero getting stranded in a town where crazy things are happening. I like the idea of the outsider having an affair with a waitress who no one likes for various reasons. It was a good concept, I just wasn’t sold on the execution.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
The first thing that made this book hard to read were technical issues in the writing and the format. The dialogue ran together instead of being separated, and so at times it was hard to keep track of who was talking. There was also a lack of contractions which made the dialogue sound too formal.

I think the book was supposed to be a romantic suspense, but it lacked in both departments. The heroine is accused of murdering her half sister, but the reader isn’t given any mystery. You know from the start who’s behind it. The only thing you don’t know right away is who’s assisting the killer, and even that isn’t a big surprise. There are no major twists, and the point of view flips between the couple and the sociopath (I’m not going to tell you who it is, but you’ll find it out in the first few chapters if you read the book) several times.

Also, I don’t mind dark subjects in my romance novels, but blatant pedophilia bordering on incest doesn’t work for me in a book that’s supposed to be a love story, even if it’s coming from side characters. Then, it goes from dark subjects to a very trite “I hated you because you were the prettiest” scenario. Really? The cliche was too much.

Franco wut

The Romance Factor
Insta-love has to be done really well for me to enjoy it, because as a rule, it bugs me. In this case, I didn’t buy that the hero fell in love with the heroine after just meeting her. I really didn’t buy it when he asked her to marry him after just a couple days. It wasn’t believable and there was no angsty lead up. In fact, neither of the characters had any emotion or sensuality. Heck, neither of them really seemed that upset that they kept being accused of murder. No warm fuzzies at all, but there was at least an exposition of a romance, so 2/5.

The Steam Factor
There was actually quite a bit of sex in this story, but I didn’t feel any excitement or titillation from it. Like my romance, I like my sexy times to have some foreplay. And even in a story where the main characters jump into bed, there’s usually some sort of conflict afterwards. I didn’t get any of that here. Still, it was there, and I think if I had been invested in the characters, I would have liked the scenes in general, so I’ll give it a 3/5.

Final Thoughts
I really hate not liking a book, even though realistically I know that not every reader is going to like every book. I think readers who enjoy plot driven stories are going to enjoy this one more than I did, and I know that insta-love is some readers’ crack, even if it’s not mine.

Smoke in Mirrors by Jayne Ann Krentz

I managed to finish this one during some downtime on my recent vacation to Michigan to visit family. It was so good seeing people, but it seems that the older I get, the harder the drive gets. I might have to suck it up and take a plane next time.

I haven’t read a lot of contemporary romantic suspense, but I used to love the Amanda Quick novels which were historical romantic suspense, so I decided to give the author a try under her contemporary name. This wasn’t the first Krentz novel I read, but it’s been so long that it felt like I was coming into it new. This one was published in 2002.

Smoke in Mirrors

One-Sentence Synopsis
A handyman and an academic work together to solve a mystery that connects 3 different murders and a weird drug that causes hallucinations while also trying to figure out their growing attraction to each other. Full synopsis can be found on the book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
The book was enjoyable in kind of a straightforward, plot-driven way. I enjoyed the mystery for what it was, and I really enjoyed the side stories of other characters, like the hero’s brother and his yoga instructor, and the cop and one of the women in town. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say I liked the side romances a little better than I did the main romance. I also liked the hero’s dog.

The Romance Factor
I think it’s probably because I’m used to the angst level in the new adult romances I’ve been reading, but the Romance Factor for this book was low for me…a 2/5. I just didn’t feel the chemistry between the Thomas and Leonora to the degree I wanted to feel it, nor did I think there was enough foreplay.

House - Foreplay

The Steam Factor
The Steam Factor on this book gets a 3/5. While there were only a couple of sex scenes, they were pretty hot, and not in the all out dirty language way alot of newer books are, but in the more “use your imagination” way I find in a lot of older books. It was kind of refreshing and still enjoyable.

Charlie Sheen - Hot Collar

Final Thoughts
Though I think the suspense outdid the romance of this one, I still enjoyed it. Thomas wasn’t super alpha male, and Leonora was kind of a nerd. It was a fun read, it just didn’t give me any of those gushy heart feels I crave in a novel.

More Points of Interest
You can find out more about the author at her website. As far as buying this book, Amazon has it available in several different formats, including for the Kindle. Kobo also has it for $7.99. Those are the 2 outlets I use most, so if anyone knows where else to get it, please feel free to link in the comments.