The Devil of Downtown Review

The Devil of Downtown by Joanna Shupe

Series: Uptown Girls #3

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

Jack Mulligan has one rule he lives by Qui n’avance pas, recule – who does not advance retreats. He is the Kingpin in New York – ruling over his territory ruthlessly. Jack has everyone he needs in his pocket and he doesn’t do anything without a favor in return.

When Justine Greene crosses paths with Mulligan – she is in dangerous territory. She knows how dangerous Mulligan can be, but still she is left with no choice but asking him for help in solving a case that she is working on on behalf of her charity. Mulligan is willing to help Justine, but he doesn’t offer his services freely and of course there will be a favor in return.

This favor is what starts the unusual relationship between “do-gooder” Justine and Kingpin Mulligan. When their dalliances with one another become more frequent and they begin to long for each other – will either of them stand a chance to be with one another?

I absolutely LOVED The Devil of Downtown. The chemistry between Mulligan and Justine was explosive from the moment they met with one another. The sexy times between the two were next level hot hot hot.

The way Justine was able to see underneath Jack’s tough exterior and not be judgmental about his upbringing said a lot about her character. But how long do they have with one another before they realize that their worlds do not align. How could a Kingpin possibly have a future with a woman who is set on doing good in the world.

There were quite a few times where this book brought me to tears. And I ached for both Jack and Justine. I wanted there to be a way that these two made it work and I was rooting for them until the very end.

I’ve read a quite a few historical romances and honestly this was one of the first ones that I have read that was set in America. I truly enjoyed learning about New York in the 1800’s and it was a refreshing change in scenery from typical historical romances that are set in London or Europe.

This was my first novel by Joanna Shupe, but most definitely won’t be my last! I can’t wait to go back and read the rest of the series!

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Take a Hint, Dani Brown ARC Review

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: The Brown Sisters #2

Release Date: June 23, 2020

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.

After reading Get a Life, Chloe Brown last year I knew that I had to read Take a Hint, Dani Brown!

Dani Brown doesn’t do emotional relationships. She’s been burned in the past and doesn’t want a repeat performance. Dani is also a practicing witch and asks the universe to send her the perfect no-string-attached partner.

Zafir Ansari and Dani work at the same place and Zaf has kind of had a crush on Dani for some time now. When Zaf ends up rescuing Dani from a stalled elevator (super cute scene), they go viral with the hashtag #DrRugbae!

I absolutely love a fake relationship trope and Dani and Zaf are faking it for the cameras constantly pointed at them – but how long will the faking last? The chemistry between Zaf and Dani was so great and I was rooting for them right from the beginning!

I love a strong heroine and Dani Brown was amazing! She was so sure of herself – from her sexuality (bi-sexual) to her work on intersectionality in feminist literature. And Zaf…swoon! Zaf was so perfect. Not only was he a rugby player, but he also teaches kids on how to work through their anxiety. He has dealt with loss and anxiety over the years and there’s no one better to teach young athletes on how to manage that. Zaf’s family was also from Pakistan and I loved the Hindi/Punjabi works sprinkled throughout the book. It definitely helped me to relate to his character. Oh … he also reads romance books!!!

As always, Talia’s writing was so beautiful. I have so many parts of the books highlighted that resonated with me. Whether it was the way Zaf felt about Dani or the way Dani was so passionate about her work and how was afraid of entering into a relationship.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown was the perfect follow up to Get a Life, Chloe Brown and I can’t wait for Eve’s book next!!!

Hello Stranger Review

Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

Genre: Historical Romance

Series:The Ravenels #4

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

This past month has been strange to say the least. I haven’t really had the emotional capacity to deal with life + keeping up my blog and I apologize for that. Between the news on social media, having to work and trying to help homeschool my daughter at home I truly felt very stretched thin. But as we are gradually getting used to our “new normal” I realize how therapeutic I find not only reading books, but blogging and talking about them in general. So thank you for listening to ramble on for a bit 💕.

As with a lot of other book bloggers/bookstagrammers I haven’t been able to pick up a lot of new books lately, but rather I have been reading and/or listening to favorites. One of my favorite books last year was Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas and I recently decided to listen to it on audiobook. I can honestly say that I loved this book even more the second time around!

Dr Garret Gibson – a female physician – has been featured throughout the Ravenel series before. As soon as detective Ethan Ransom came on the scene I knew that there was a story there between Garret and Ethan.

Both Ethan and Garret are so feisty and together their chemistry was just perfect! I LOVED the witty banter between the two and how Garret wouldn’t back down on anything she was so passionate about.

I also loved visiting with characters that we have seen throughout the series. The appearances by Winterborne, Devon, Helen and of course Weston (swoon) were ingrained so perfectly in this book.

The chemistry between Garret and Ethan was blazing hot!! The slow way that these two became acquainted with each other really paid off and I loved every second of it.

Hello Stranger had a really great suspenseful plot that kept me hooked throughout the book. I would say it was slightly more suspenseful than other Lisa Kleypas books I have read in the past, but it completely worked!

Audiobook:

Story: 5
Narration: 5
Overall: 5

This was the first time I had the opportunity to listen to Mary Jane Wells, but it most definitely will not be my last. Mary Jane Wells did such a wonderful job portraying Garret and Ethan.

I loved the way she was able to narrate Ethan and his Irish accent. The accent accentuated everything that Ethan said and I was completely charmed by it.

If you’re looking for a romantic, suspenseful historical romance then definitely listen to this audiobook. I have a feeling I will be listening to this again in the very near future.

Chasing Cassandra ARC Review

Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: The Ravenels #6

Release Date: February 18, 2020

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

I received a complimentary advance title of this book from the publisher.

I have been reading Lisa Kleypas for about a year now and my first book was Devil in Spring (Ravenels #3). I didn’t realize how witty, funny and sexy a historical romance could be. I was a fan and immediately read as many Lisa Kleypas books that I could get my hands on!

 The Ravenels series has been such a strong series and it has been so much fun watching the characters in this series develop and get their own stories. After reading Devil’s Daughter last year, I couldn’t wait to get to Cassandra and Tom’s story in Chasing Cassandra.

I will admit, I wasn’t sure what kind of hero Tom Severin was going to be. I kind of hated how arrogant he was in the previous books although I know his motives were always well intentioned and for the interest of his business. He still seemed cool and aloof and I just couldn’t see him pairing with Cassandra.

That’s where I was wrong, the relationship between these two was so wonderful. The chemistry between Cassandra and Tom was there right from the beginning of the book. But could Cassandra settle for anything less than love, when Tom wasn’t willing to even acknowledge the feeling?

I ended up adoring Tom and his unique quirks. He seems so cold hearted, until we find out what makes him the way that he is. The love these two had for one another was so sweet. Neither of them judging each others pasts or the mistakes/circumstances that they find themselves in.

I do feel that the ending was a bit rushed, but I still really enjoyed Chasing Cassandra. I am sad to see The Ravenel series come to an end, but can’t wait to see what book Lisa Kleypas will give us next!

You can find the order of the series on GoodReads.

The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean Book Review

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Scandal & Scoundrel Book #3

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I first was recommended Day of the Duchess while listening to the Read Me Romance podcast. Tessa Bailey was discussing married couples in romance novels and recommended this book. Over the past year, I have come to the realization that I love romances that deal with married couples. Marriage of convenience has always been one of my favorite tropes, but I am also loving romances that deal with couples who have been married and how they navigate through the highs of marriage and the lows of marriage.

Sarah MacLean is a fairly new author to me, but I like her style of writing. Over the past year I have read two Sarah MacLean books, Brazen and the Beast and Wicked and the Wallflower and I enjoyed both of them. I have quite a few of her backlist books still left to read, but decided to dive in to The Day of the Duchess

In The Day of the Duchess, our main character Seraphina has returned to England (from America) and plans on opening her own pub. Problem is, she’s still married and therefore anything that she owns is outright her husband’s. That’s right Seraphina is still married to the Duke of Haven, Malcolm Bevingstoke. Therefore, in order to achieve her dream of owning her own pub she must divorce the duke. I love a second chance romance and this story had the perfect elements of it. The flashbacks in the past intersecting with what was happening currently were so wonderfully placed.

Sarah MacLean has a wonderful way with words and I always feel the perfect amount of angst when reading her books. The Day of the Duchess was no exception. There were so many moments when tears were silently falling down my face because of the complicated relationship between Malcolm and Sera.

I loved seeing Sera with all of her sisters. I read this story out of order, but it can be read fine as a standalone. Now I can’t wait to go back and read the other Soiled S’s stories (especially Caleb & Sesily 😍)!

Overall I really enjoyed this book. There were parts of the book that didn’t exactly sit right with me, which had me knocking down a star.

Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey ARC Review

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Hot & Hammered Book #2

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: January 14, 2020

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

I received a complimentary advance title of this book from the publisher.

When I read Fix Her Up last year I knew that I had to immediately read more of Tessa Bailey. I loved her grumpy alpha heroes with hearts of gold and was looking forward to Love Her or Lose Her. But sadly I was left feeling a bit disappointed after reading this book. I hard a hart time finding the connection between Dominic and Rosie.

Rosie and Dominic have been married for a few years, but are struggling with their failing marriage. The only time the two of them seem to be on the same page is if they are getting intimate with one another. Rosie finally has enough and decides that she needs time apart from Dominic.

This couple had so much history shared between them. They met in middle school and have been together ever since. Sometimes it feels like when you’ve been with a person so long, you don’t know how to be “alone” anymore and I really felt for Rosie. She needs time and space alone to shine by herself and that was very hard for Dominic to give to her. I really appreciated the fact that this couple chose to go to marriage counseling. That’s something that’s not often discussed in romance books, and I liked that this couple had real struggles and had a professional help them through their troubles.

I did enjoy the girl gang between Bethany, Georgie and Rosie and the Just Us League! But at times I was more invested in their story line than the one between Dominic and Rosie. The set up for the final book in the series is laid down in Love Her or Lose Her and I’m interested in what that story line will be when it is released.