Contemporary Romance

Review: Bad Bachelor by Stephanie London


Title: Bad Bachelor (Bad Bachelor #1)
Author: Stephanie London
Date of publication: 6 March 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author's links: 

My rating: 4 stars


Everybody’s talking about the hot new app reviewing New York’s most eligible bachelors. But why focus on prince charming when you can read the latest dirt on the lowest-ranked “Bad Bachelors”—NYC’s most notorious bad boys.

If one more person mentions Bad Bachelors to Reed McMahon, someone’s gonna get hurt. A PR whiz, Reed is known as an ‘image fixer’ but his womanizing ways have caught up with him. What he needs is a PR miracle of his own.

When Reed strolls into Darcy Greer’s workplace offering to help save the struggling library, she isn’t buying it. The prickly Brooklynite knows Reed is exactly the kind of guy she should avoid. But the library does need his help. As she reluctantly works with Reed, she realizes there’s more to a man than his reputation. Maybe, just maybe, Bad Bachelor #1 is THE one for her.


This is my first book by Stephanie London and I decided to read it following a recommendation from a friend. I found the premise really interesting - how would an application for rating bachelors/single men work and affect the dating in the internet age. 

I end up enjoying this story a lot both in terms of plot and in terms of hero and heroine who I found to be interesting, complex and easy to relate to.

Darcy was a wonderful mix of a good girl with a bit of wild side - breaking the conventional with colourful tattoos and a personal style which favours comfort over fashion. At the same time she was shy, hesitant when it came to feelings and relationships, still recovering from her one and only disastrous long term relationship. 

Reed was the perfect bad bachelor on the surface - confident, successful, good at his job (image making), cold and distanced in his personal life. He guards his private life really tight but his softer side showed when he was with Darcy despite his continuous efforts to hide it. 

I loved their banter, sort of enemies-to-lovers element in their romance. Most of all I enjoyed about Darcy and Reed because they felt like real people with their weaknesses and vulnerabilities. We seen them both struggling with some complicated family dynamics which were handle rather well in my opinion. There was this moment for both of them when getting to know the other person and family gave them insight into their own family issues and how to deal with them. 

As a minor quibble I'd say I wish the website thing was handled better. It was in fact a site where women rated the men they have gone out/had relations with. It was done anonymously and with the consent of the men rated which violated all ethical norms for me. I see this as dangerous approach to people as inanimate objects and also as an easy tool to smear someone's reputation. Even though it was called out and it got transformed into a kind of a dating site, I felt it was too serious an issue which needed a firmer condemnation. 

Overall, I liked the easy flow of the story and writing was engaging and fun. I'm very much looking forward the next book in the series. 

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iBooks / Book Depository

Contemporary Romance

Review: Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid


Title: Marriage of Inconvenience (Knitting in the City #7)
Author: Penny Reid
Date of publication: 6 March 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, romcom

Author's links:

My rating: 3 stars


There are three things you need to know about Kat Tanner (aka Kathleen Tyson. . . and yes, she is *that* Kathleen Tyson): 1) She’s determined to make good decisions, 2) She must get married ASAP, and 3) She knows how to knit.
Being a billionaire heiress isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it sucks. Determined to live a quiet life, Kat Tanner changed her identity years ago and eschewed her family’s legacy. But now, Kat’s silver spoon past has finally caught up with her, and so have her youthful mistakes. To avoid imminent disaster, she must marry immediately; it is essential that the person she chooses have no romantic feelings for her whatsoever and be completely trustworthy.
Fortunately, she knows exactly who to ask. Dan O’Malley checks all the boxes: single, romantically indifferent to her, completely trustworthy. Sure, she might have a wee little crush on Dan the Security Man, but with clear rules, expectations, and a legally binding contract, Kat is certain she can make it through this debacle with her sanity—and heart—all in one piece.
Except, what happens when Dan O’Malley isn’t as indifferent—or as trustworthy—as she thought?


This is the final book in the Knitting in the City series and I have been waiting for Kat and Dan's story for a few books now. There was some sadness saying goodbye to so many beloved characters but this book has the loveliest epilogue that left me teary-eyed. There are a lot of tender and touching moments in the story and Ms Reid's trademark humour which made for a nice read but it's not my favourite in the series

I was curious about Kat who turned out to be an even more interesting and unusual heroine than I expected initially. Dan, well Dan was just Dan, tough and strong and loyal and reliable, foul-mouthed but with a heart of gold. It was his supportive and caring side that I loved so much.

The marriage of convenience romance is not really a favourtie trope of mine but I think it worked OK here. There was also friends-to-lovers vibe, combined with a second chance romance. It's weird mix but it did allow for a lot of character growth and interesting interactions.

I have come to notice and have mentioned it in other reviews of Penny Reid's books that the plots of her stories are really over-the-top, often too improbable for me to fully enjoy/appreciate the romance. I love the sense of humour and weird antics of the characters but they do feel too much at times, taking away the focus of the story away from the characters. I really prefer my contemporary romances to be a bit more grounded in reality.

There isn't a single major issue I had with this book but rather an array of minor ones here and there that add up and in the end make the story just an OK read for me.

The story went in too many directions, the author tried to bring too many issues in the romance relationships and some of them felt not fully developed.

As a conclusion to the series and with an epilogue that brings together all the other couples (and their children) it is all worth reading despite not being as brilliant as some of the previous books.

Purchase links: Amazon US /Amazon Universal / iBooks / Nook / Kobo

Author Interview

New and Debut: Nem Rowan


My guest in today's New and Debut is Nem Rowan, author of Witcheskin, trans m/m fantasy with a bit of horror thrown in, which was just released by LT3 press. Come meet the author and learn what books he likes to read and write.

Meet Nem

1. Tell us about yourself and why did you decide to become a romance writer?
My name’s Nem Rowan and I’m originally from Bristol in England, but I’ve lived in South Wales for nearly 6 years now, so my friends count me as an honorary Welshman! I was assigned female at birth and began to transition to male at the age of 23 after years of knowing something wasn’t right about my identity. I started writing romance when I was about 10 – 11 years old; I invented a whole host of fictional alien characters (largely because I watched a lot of anime, like Tenchi Muyo and Dragonball Z) and developed an enormous crush on the shape-sifting space-man who was the love interest in my stories. After that, the romance genre was the staple for all of my somewhat embarrassing early works, and I began to explore LGBT+ themes in my mid-teens after meeting my wife-to-be at school. My work now is a celebration of what it feels like to be in love and an acknowledgment of the fact that even the odd-balls and black sheep deserve love too.

2. Can you share some of your favourite books and authors?
I’m a really slow reader so my choice of favourites is quite small, but I am a huge fan of James Herbert and J.V. Jones. Although usually depicted in a negative capacity because of the era they were written, I always liked that James Herbert included gay and lesbian characters in his novels. My favourite book by him is The Ghosts of Sleath because I simply adore his character, David Ash. J.V. Jones’s currently incomplete book series, the Sword of Shadows, is my all-time most loved collection of novels, ones that I keep going back to time and time again because I find Jones’s writing style so accessible and so vivid. I also enjoy work by Dan Simmons, Juliet Marillier and Diana Wynne Jones.

3. Who/what do you consider your writing influence/inspiration?
My biggest influence is my wife, April-Jane Rowan, as we have been writing together since we met, almost 15 years ago now. Co-writing with her changed the way I wrote in quite a big way, and perhaps vice versa. Her work is highly descriptive, darkly sinister and flows like poetry, and I often feel quite plain when I compare my work to hers, but she always keeps me striving to be a better writer. My greatest inspiration is the sensation of falling in love, which may sound rather cheesy, but it’s a feeling that is like no other and that is very important to me. Writing enables me to fall in love over and over again and I think that’s what has kept the relationship with my wife so alive for all this time because that feeling never goes away.

4. What kind of stories can the readers expect from you (contemporary/historical/sci-fi, adult/NA/YA, etc)?
Adult romantic urban fantasy with a side order of horror, although I would like to branch out into high fantasy and other speculative fiction genres. Currently I am in the process of writing a contemporary romance, but it’s not something I’m used to so I’ve made it as unusual as I can, to keep myself interested!

5. Please, introduce your latest/upcoming release.
My upcoming release is called Witcheskin, and it is the first novel in an urban fantasy trilogy. It follows a young transgender man named Owen, who has been documenting a series of brutal cattle mutilations surrounding a tiny village on the South Wales coastline. He meets an older man named Maredudd, who is originally from Iran, and Maredudd gradually introduces him to the secret world of witchcraft, which eventually enables them to solve the mystery. Along the way, they fall madly in love with each other. It is a dark urban fantasy coupled with a sweet, fluffy M/M romance, and will be released on the 28th of February, published by Less Than Three Press.

Story blurb:

Following the disappearance of his father, Owen returns to the Welsh village where his parents grew up to live with his mother and her boyfriend. While pursuing the mystery of cattle mutilations in the area, he meets Maredudd, an old friend of his mother's, and learns something about his parents that they've never told him...

Purchase links: Publisher / Amazon

Author bio and links

Nem Rowan lives in Wales with his wife of 13 years and his two German Shepherds. He enjoys studying mythology, the occult and British folklore, and is an avid bird-watcher. He is also fascinated by psychology and the dynamics of diverse romantic relationships. Nem’s characters are facets of his own personality and he uses writing as a means of exploring his own psyche, sexuality and persona. However, he believes that a story with a sad ending isn’t worth writing!


Review: Virgin Territory by Lia Riley


Title: Virgin Territory (Hellions Angels #3)
Author: Lia Riley
Genre: Sports romance, hockey, virgin hero
Release Date: 6 March 2018

Author's links:
Add to Goodreads

My rating: 2 Stars


Practice Makes Perfect

Patrick “Patch” Donnelly has what it takes to be the best goalie in the NHL…if only he could learn to control his temper. When Coach orders him to get his head in the game with private yoga classes, Patch isn’t having it. There’s no way this tough Boston guy would be caught dead downward dog-ing his way to inner peace. But if he refuses, he risks his starting position and the dream he sacrificed everything for, including joining the priesthood.

Yoga instructor Margot Kowalski is over men. After yet another toxic relationship, she’s eager to forget love and focus on growing her business. Doing the Hellions head coach a favor by helping out a troubled player can't hurt, and it might give her career a high-profile boost. But free-spirited Margot is soon charming the pants off Patch. Literally. Her sassy combination of sweet and sexy proves irresistible to the goalie. Before Patch can give into temptation though, he’ll have to confess his biggest secret:

He’s a virgin.

But Patch is hiding more than sexual inexperience, and his dark past soon threatens to destroy his shot at true love.


This was my first time reading Lia Riley and I was drawn to the premise of a virgin hockey player getting together with a more experience woman. The story had a few laughs and while I liked bits of it, in the end this turned out to be a big disappointment.

Things started promising with a funny, smart heroine being all sex positive and taking no slut shaming from anyone. The hero was also rather intriguing from the start - a troubled hockey star goalie with anger management issues, too easily resorting to physical violence when challenged. And he was a virgin with no experience of intimacy with women, not even holding hands or kissing. Early on we get the reasons for this - a difficult childhood and family issues that were still haunting him.

It was after they met that things went downhill for me. She was a yoga instructor and he was referred to her as a way to get his anger under control. He went to her home for a yoga session for the first time and boom, insta-lust. Within minutes of meeting her, he was so smitten that he was ready to get intimate with her right away, after years of avoiding any physical contact with women. I just didn't buy it. They didn't really get to know each other, there was no courtship, no dealing with his issues with intimacy and anger, just instalust.

Then as can be expected our virgin hero turned out to be a natural at sex, giving her the best orgasms of her life. He was perfect in everything and his tendency towards violence was quickly resolved with the sheer power of true love.

It was a short read, too superficial and neither the characters, nor the conflict seemed fleshed out enough. It was all cliche after cliche - her evil ex (who couldn't get over the fact he wasn't her first lover, was bad in bed, never cared about her pleasure and turned aggressive and stalkerish after their break up and to top it all off, he turned to be involved in tax fraud).

I found the suspense plot too thin and far too easily resolved in the end. I felt all the good characters were too good to be true and all the bad ones were just comically bad. The characters lacked nuance which made it all too unrealistic for me to enjoy their story. I want my contemporary romances more rooted in reality. While I don't mind the dream/fantasy type of romance hero, I can't accept when serious issues are brought up and then brushed off to a quick resolution without giving them any depth.

I ended angry and disappointed in this story because I felt it had to potential to be something good but it was hastily written, predictable, lacking any depth and nuance. The few good jokes here and there and my overall appreciation of the hero was not enough to save it.

Purchase link: Amazon

Rebecca Crowley

Review: Saving Hearts by Rebecca Crowley


Title: Saving Hearts (Atlanta Skyline #3)
Author: Rebecca Crowley
Genre: Sports romance, soccer, gambling, anxiety
Release Date: 20 March 2018

Author's links:
Add to Goodreads

My rating: 4 Stars



Atlanta Skyline’s benched goalkeeper Brendan Young would have been happy to ride out the end of his contract after his gambling addiction was splashed all over the news media. Instead, his teammates’ injuries have unexpectedly put him back in the game. A new face in his weekly Gamblers Anonymous meeting provides another surprise spike — of pure attraction. Why is Erin Bailey, former world champion women’s soccer player, at this meeting? And why can’t he stop thinking about their red-hot one-night stand? 

Six months ago, one reckless night in Vegas ended with Erin in Brendan’s bed. She’s sworn off dating athletes, especially those whose reputations could destroy her new career as the Championship Soccer League’s Director of Ethics and Advocacy. But the secret they share — and the crazy heat they generate — makes it impossible to keep her distance.

Both have choices to make about the future, but no matter how steeply the odds are stacked against them, walking away could be the riskiest move of all.


This was such an interesting, engrossing story and I absolutely loved it.

It's the third in the series and my second by this author and I have come to love her complex characters and the unusual take on sports romance. In this case we have a goalkeeper at the end of his career, his reputation ruined by a gambling scandal. And the heroine is a former pro footballer player herself, trying to further her career in the Championship soccer League but also boost women's soccer as much as she can. The cicumstances put them in opposite ends, turning them into enemies but ones with burning memories of a hot one-night stand between them and a shared secret (they both love gambling). 

Brendan was an amazing character and loved him so much. He is a bit of a loner, hiding so much from everyone - teammates and family, so lonely despite his success. I found the way he dealt with his anxiety and compulsive thoughts through focusing on sports statistics and placing bets on games really fascinating. 

He was on his way out of the soccer world and and his focus was fully on the post-sports future, new life, different goals. All this made him reluctant to start anything with Erin despite the chemistry between them. I read him as on the ace spectrum, the one-night stand they had was an exception for him rather than the rule and he was really not comfortable with a friends-with-benefits arrangement. I felt he was not interested in sex unless there were some romantic feelings involved and they were they on his part from the start and he just wanted to avoid the hurt the inevitable break-up would cause him.

Erin, oh Erin was fabulous. She was the opposite of Brendan - outgoing, outspoken, more sexually adventurous than him, definitely the one doing the chase rather than being wooed. She came off as pushy at times which I didn't like very much but she did try to come up with a solution that would work for both of them and in the end she did in a way. 

Like Brendan she is a gambler, though of a different kind. For him this was a way to deal with his anxiety and hyperactive mind, while for her it was a way to decompress and deal with stress. In different ways they both needed gambling to survive teh current turmoil in their lives, it was an escape which while financially profitable for him was otherwise disastrous for both of them.

Brendan's outlook on his gambling was something I have not read before. I felt he got better hold of his anxiety issues and found some calm after getting together with Erin. In my reading it was finding the partner he had been looking for and generally moving towards a situation that caused him less stress that helped Brendan cut down on his obsession with soccer statistics and betting. At the same time I have this tiny bit of worry that it might be interpreted as a love-cures-all solution and would have liked a stronger statement to the opposite in the text. On the other hand, Erin starts therapy for her gambling addiction which brings some balance to the story and treats addiction as a serious issue which requires professional help to deal with.

On the plus side I liked how Brandon and Erin made things work between them, neither giving up their dream but finding a compromise - more travel, some adjustments to his and her plans for the future in order to make room for their plans.

There was a plot twist towards the end which I found unnecessary and annoying. The journalist threatening them and the sudden change in the attitude of her boss and the way he came through as a saviour for them both in the end didn't sit well with me. I felt it took away the agency from Brendan and Erin to solve their issues/determine their future on their own. 

Overall, I enjoyed this romance a lot. We get two complex characters working through their differences in order to be together, making compromises and finding common ground for their future which is one of my favourite things in romance. 

Purchase Link: Amazon

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