Mini Reviews and Reading Recap #12


Tinsel in a Tangle by Ainslie Paton

This is a sweet low-heat holiday novella. Nice but I expected more. I liked the cinnamon roll kind of hero – a geek with a bit of rough exterior but with the most caring heart. A lively, bubbly sort of heroine who tries to please everyone and needs help going after what she wants for herself. One office Christmas party gone wrong. It’s perfectly nice story but too low on conflict, too tame and just skimming the surface of a potential love connection.

I really enjoy this author’s voice and writing style but this was not one of my favourite books of hers. 3 stars

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Sin and Ink by Naima Simone

I had great expectations but this story didn’t quite work for me. I’m here for all the angst and they can’t be together because heroine was married to hero’s brother who died but wanted more depth of the story and more character development. There were lots and lots and lots intense erotic scenes, a bit much for me, and not enough other things. I understood the lust and pining but wasn’t on board with the animalistic comparisons all the time. It really bothered me the way her love/sex life with her dead husband was presented as lacking in comparison with her time with the hero. Why make her discover her wild side when she was happy and satisfied with her first lover/romantic partner/husband? 

I didn't like his family for their lack of support, his mother came off a caricature image of evil and hate and I didn’t appreciate that at all.

There was little character/plot development for most of the story – just lust and lots of regrets and guilt. Things picked up in the last quarter of the story but it was not enough to save the story for me. They got their HEA but I wanted to see how their relationship will affect those around them. 2 stars

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Never Sweeter by Charlotte Stein

I was reluctant to pick this up despite all my friends really loving because it’s a former bully redemption story and I wasn’t sure the author can pull it off. And she did in a spectacular way! I don’t think I have seen another male character do so much, including emotional labour, to make amends and redemption.

The story is very emotionally intense, the physical violence the heroine suffered from the bullies in her past is truly horrific. The story worked for me because I saw the former bully is a cinnamon roll hero at heart who truly regrets his behaviour and wants to be and do better. The author managed to convince me of the sincerity of his regret and I could understand the heroine forgiving him.e

Emotionally charged, painful, story but ultimately hopeful which what I value the most in romance. High heat level. Multidimensional characters. The hero’s vulnerability, his insecurity about his body, her own view of herself being fat really stood out for me. It was all about building trust and both characters moving from their past selves and getting to feel comfortable about who they are now and about the happiness and satisfaction they feel when they are together. 

The dark moment was terribly dark, for a moment I was worried they won’t be able to come back from it but the HFN was perfectly fitting for their relationship. 5 stars
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I also finished Fireworks, next book in the True North series by Sarina Bowen. I quite liked it despite some minor issues. And we got to catch up on the rest of the Shipleys and Rossis siblings, so that was fun too. I will review it closer to release in November.

Currently reading A Summer for Scandal by Lydia san Andres, historical m/f romance set on a fictional Caribbean island. Heroine writes naughty serial under a pen name, hero is a writer too. I'm only a couple of chapters in and it grabbed me from the start.

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