The Hooker and the Hermit, L.H. Cosway & Penny Reid

HH

Grade: B+

Doing it at:  45%

Catnip: Opposites Attract; Rugby; Sexual Healing; Secret Identities; Fake it Till You Make It; Funny Girls; Strong Female Lead; Light Bondage; Paparazzi; Awful Ex Girlfriends

Shame Scale: I feel like we are almost never ashamed anymore, at least not by books that don’t feature BBW shifters or terrible writing. The cover on this one has a good touch of the humor that’s to be found inside, and you can read it anywhere.

Fantasy Cast:  Colin Farrell (in S.W.A.T.); Katie Holmes

Book Description:

New York’s Finest
Blogging as *The Socialmedialite*
April 22
LADIES AND GENTS! I have an announcement!
You know that guy I featured on my blog a few months ago? The really, really hot Irish rugby player who plays the position of ‘hooker’ in the RLI (Rugby League International)? The one with the anger management issues, the body of a gladiator and the face of a movie star? The one with the questionable fashion choices leading me to ask whether he was the lovechild of a leprechaun and a hobbit? Ronan Fitzpatrick? Yeah, that guy. Well, I have a confession to make…

THE HERMIT
Annie Catrel, social media expert extraordinaire at Davidson & Croft Media and clandestine celebrity blogger, can make anyone shine in the court of public opinion. She is the Socialmedialite, anonymous creator of New York’s Finest and the internet’s darling. Virtual reality is Annie’s forte, but actual reality? Not so much.

THE HOOKER
Ronan Fitzpatrick, aka the best hooker the world of rugby has seen in decades, despises the media—social or otherwise. The press has spun a web of lies depicting him as rugby’s wild and reckless bad boy. Suspended from his team, Ronan has come to Manhattan to escape the drama, lay low, fly under the radar. Only, Ronan isn’t easy to overlook, and he can’t escape the notice of the Socialmedialite…

THE PLAN
When Ronan is sent to Davidson & Croft Media to reshape his public image, he never expects to cross paths with shy but beautiful Annie, nor does he expect his fierce attraction to her. He couldn’t be happier when her boss suggests pairing them together.
What lengths will Annie take to keep her virtual identity concealed? And what happens when the hooker discovers who the hermit really is?


After having my heart destroyed by Missed Connection, I went in search of something funny with a guaranteed happy ending, and I was lucky enough to find The Hooker and the Hermit. It was exactly what my brain needed after the NYE cry-fest. Penny Reid is an automatic buy for me, and I’ve got L.H. Cosway’s Hearts of Blue queued up in my to-be-read pile now, the two authors created a near perfect romance with mature characters and crazy-steamy sex scenes.

Continue reading

Act Like It, by Lucy Parker

act like it

Grade: B

Doing it at: 66%

Catnip: Fake it Till You Make It; Actors; The Theater; Love to Hate You; London; Lords and Ladies; 99 cent Books; Dual Narrative

Shame Scale: Very low, this one barely even has any dirty parts

Fantasy Cast:  Renee Olstead; Ramin Karimloo

Book Description:

This just in: romance takes center stage as West End theatre’s Richard Troy steps out with none other than castmate Elaine Graham

Richard Troy used to be the hottest actor in London, but the only thing firing up lately is his temper. We all love to love a bad boy, but Richard’s antics have made him Enemy Number One, breaking the hearts of fans across the city.

Have the tides turned? Has English rose Lainie Graham made him into a new man?

Sources say the mismatched pair has been spotted at multiple events, arm in arm and hip to hip. From fits of jealousy to longing looks and heated whispers, onlookers are stunned by this blooming romance.

Could the rumors be right? Could this unlikely romance be the real thing? Or are these gifted stage actors playing us all?


I’m a big fan of the fake relationship trope, both in books and in Hallmark movies. Everyone goes in knowing that the couple is going to fall in love for real and end up all happily ever after, but it’s still uniquely satisfying. Since I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately (lets blame this endless bleak grey winter that is CRUSHING MY VERY SOUL), I was desperately in need of the perfect, toothsome, candy floss book. Act Like It, fulfilled all my needs.

Continue reading

Unwrapping Her Perfect Match, Kat Latham

unwrapping

Grade: A

Doing it at: 51%

Catnip: Rugby; Fake it Til You Make It; Tall Girls; Christmas; Novellas; Sexual Healing; They Might Be Giants

Shame Scale: Are you ashamed of the ninety-six Lifetime & Hallmark Holiday Romances you watch from November to January every year? If so, you might have some light shame about this book, but for me it was shame free.

Fantasy Cast: Chris Robshaw; Gwendolyn Christie

Book Description:

’Twas a week before Christmas, and at the auction house…

At six foot one, Gwen Chambers has felt like a giant her whole life. She’s a calm, capable nurse saving lives in a busy London hospital, but healthy men give her heart palpitations. When larger-than-life rugby player “Little” John Sheldon convinces her to bid on him in his team’s fundraising auction, she discovers how pleasurable heart palpitations can be.

A rugby player was stirring, with desire no one could douse…

John has wanted Gwen since he first saw her, but when he’s injured in a match just before Christmas he suddenly needs her too. Not only can the sexy nurse help him recover, but she might be able to help him look after his daughter—a shy ten-year-old who speaks only French.

But will it be a Happy Christmas for all, and for all a good night?

From decorating the Christmas tree to ice skating at the Tower of London, Gwen helps father and daughter open up and bond with each other—and she bonds right along with them. But when John’s agent calls with a life-changing offer, Gwen has to decide how far she’s willing to go for her perfect match. Will their first Noël also be their last?


Tis the holiday season, and we’ve been on an extended holiday break. We moved house (Cleone), visited out-of-town family (Mary), and were generally interrupted from our precious blog time by silly real life. Thankfully we’re back and ready to talk about this fantastic little holiday novella that hit all my catnip sweet spots, and is currently FREE.

Continue reading

Worth Any Price, Lisa Kleypas

worth any price

Grade: B+

Doing it at:  48%

Catnip: Historicals, Your First and Your Last, Shower Sex, Rescue Me, Fake it Till You Make It

Shame Scale: Kleypas is the creme de la creme of modern historical romance, low shame.

Fantasy Cast:  Aidan Turner, Mia Wasikowska

Book Description:

Nick Gentry, the most seductive and dangerous man in England, has been sent to find Charlotte Howard, a runaway bride who has disappeared without a trace. But when he finds her, Nick is stunned by the intensity of his attraction to the elusive young woman whose adventurous spirit matches his own.

Determined to escape a forced marriage to a man who will destroy her, Charlotte agrees to an audacious bargain . . . she will become Nick Gentry’s bride. But soon she discovers that Nick has secrets of his own, and it will take all her wits and stubborn will to tame his tormented soul.

In the desperate quest to protect Charlotte from the diabolical aristocrat who threatens her, one thing becomes clear:

To save the woman he loves, Nick will take any risk . . . and pay any price.


I’ve been buried neck deep in contemporary romance and realized that its been months since I dove into a historical. Having received an avalanche of Amazon gift cards for my birthday I got myself Worth Any Price, which has been on my wishlist for months. Lisa Kleypas is my favorite historical romance author. I consider her Wallflower series required reading for any romance fan, and credit the girls over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books with turning me on to her.

Worth Any Price is book three in the Bow Street Runner series, I haven’t read the other two (I Know I Know), but was able to follow the story just fine without it. Kleypas’ series books can usually be read as stand-alones that are enhanced by having read the previous books but it isn’t a do or die.

Continue reading

Better When He’s Brave, by Jay Crownover

Better When He's Brave

Grade: A

Doing it at: 47%

Catnip: Hot Cop, Cop and Criminal, Hot Cars, Dangerous Criminal Villain, Bathroom Sex, Hate to Love You, Fake it Till You Make It

Shame Scale: No shame, this is a good one, guys.

What Does He Taste Like?: Warm cleanness that was somehow simply Titus, he tasted like he looked, strong, sure, and potent.

Fantasy Cast: Henry Cavill, Adelaide Kane

Book Description:

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jay Crownover’s third novel in her sexy, thrilling Welcome to the Point series, a woman’s search for repentance leads her to the one man from her past she can’t forget as they join forces to save their city—and the explosive love neither can live without.

Titus King sees the world in black and white. Right and wrong. Which is why as a teenager he left behind the only family he’d ever known to make a better life for himself. Now a police detective in one of the worst cities in the country, he can’t deny his life has turned into a million different shades of gray. 

The new criminal element in The Point has brought vengeance and destruction right to Titus’s front door, and the difference between right and wrong is nothing compared to keeping those he loves alive. To add to his already strained moral compass, the beautiful and mysterious Reeve Black has made her way back to town, and she might be as dangerous to Titus as the guy trying to destroy the Point because he needs her—in more ways than one.

Reeve knows all about how ruthless this new threat to destroy The Point can be… and instead of running away, she wants to help. She has a lot to repent for and saving the city, plus the hot cop that she hasn’t been able to forget might just be the only way she can finally find some inner peace.

With an entire city poised on the brink of war, Titus and Reeve stand in the crossfire—and it will take two brave souls to fight for the ultimate love.


Cleone: We have been counting down to HOT COP for months, basically since the second we finished Better When He’s Bold. Mary and I are Crownover fan girls and we are of the opinion that she just gets better every book.

Mary: All of her books are great, but I think we fell hard when we hit Nash and they’ve only gotten better since then.

C: She especially got better on the cover for this one:

better 1

M: The Race cover model. Our favorite 80’s frat boy from Revenge of the Nerds. He was an outlier in an otherwise impeccable series of cover boys.

C: We met the main characters in this one, Reeve and Titus, in previous Point books. Reeve was a villianess in Bax’s story and Titus is Bax’s police officer brother. Titus might be the one genuinely good guy in all of the Point. Which is why Reeve goes to him when she rolls back into town with secrets and scores to settle.

M: Also, maybe because she has a teeny bit of a crush on him. As one would. Tall, dark, rough – I’m imagining a little bit of taco meat peeking out of the one-button-open collar of his shirt because I don’t think it was specified and this is my fantasy you guys – and a stickler for The Law. Did this book give me a temporary fixation on Hot Cops and have I spent an inordinate amount of time looking into the feasibility of getting a Hot Cop stripper for my next favorite ladies party? I’m not not saying that.

hot cop

“Open up. It’s the police.”

Back story: Reeve was the one who ratted out Dovie to the really bad guys (not the bad guy she was hitting the sheets with), leading to her kidnapping and torture. So we really didn’t like Reeve. But Crownover is great for a redemption story, and we got on #TeamReeve pretty quickly.

Continue reading

Beautiful Entourage, by C.L. Todd

beautiful cover

Grade: D-

Doing it at: 83%

Catnip: Male Escort; Strong Female Lead; Fake it till You Make It; Bad Writing

Shame Scale: Medium shame for wasting a whole day reading this not great book.

Fantasy Cast: Ryan Reynolds; Melissa Roxburgh

What do we taste like: like syrup and butter

Book Description:

Being a professional escort comes with its vices. To keep women from getting too clingy, stop them from dropping their panties, and silence them before they can blurt the L word, Rhett has made certain rules. He never breaks them.

Ever.

1. No Kissing.
2. No Feelings.
3. And definitely, absolutely, no sex.

But when Aspen, a beautiful brunette, hires him to help repair her image to her family, things get complicated. Rhett’s never had a problem separating work from pleasure. But now work and pleasure seem to be one and the same.


Lets talk about that cover, it’s a great cover right? Handsome cover model, holding up his hand like he’s about to take his watch off and show you what’s what. I was sure that a book about a male escort with a cover that invokes fisting was going to be trashy! Then, nope.

Beautiful Entourage is the first in a series about male escorts that Mary bought the first TWO of (sorry Shortcake #2 is all you), and which I thought would be just what the trash book Dr called for after my disappointing bar baby book. It’s the story of Rhett, male escort, and Aspen, rich man’s daughter, who get together for business and then fall in love. I love a great fake romance story, it’s the premise for 85% of Hallmark Holiday Romances and those are my fav, so I really tried to give this one the benefit of the doubt for the first 30% or so. Despite the writing being cold and un-evocative and the story line being preposterous in places. And not preposterous in the just go with it way, but really like this is no one’s real life.

Continue reading

Kilt Tease, by Melissa Blue

kilt tease

Grade: B

Doing it at: 48%

Catnip: Panty Sniffing; Kilts; Fake it Till You Make It; Rugby; Foreign Affair

Shame Scale: There’s some blush inducing sex in this one, and that cover isn’t family reunion friendly.

Fantasy Cast: Richard Madden; Gugu Mbatha-Raw

What do we taste like: Strawberries and champagne

Book Description:

Kate Campbell promised to have an affair with a Parisian, says yes more than she says no and sin so she can actually have something to repent on Sunday. As a way to honor her grandmother’s wishes, she takes a job as a traveling nurse so that she can see Europe–a trip they had once planned on taking together. She never bargained on meeting a sexy Scot who makes bad look so, so good, and he needs her help.

Quinton Baird, a retired, high-profile rugby player, has spent over a decade surrounded by people who all want something from him. From his former coaches to the groupies. He now has two rules for anyone he deals with: Don’t talk to the press. Don’t talk about him to anyone. Ever. His rules are the only way to protect himself from people wanting him to be their meal ticket. No matter how much he likes the sweet, sassy nurse, he can’t believe she’ll help him while asking for nothing in return.
The deal between them is simple. All Kate has to do is pose as Quinton’s girlfriend in public. In exchange for helping him salvage an important business deal, Kate gets many opportunities to say yes–in bed and out of it.

Then reality, and the press, threaten their fictional romance. Quinton will have to trust that Kate’s feelings for him are genuine or risk losing her for good.

Just look at that cover, how’s a girl not going to snap up Kilt Tease? As per usual, I didn’t care that this was the fourth in a series that I hadn’t read the first three of, I fly by the seat of my pants! The description was also hitting all my sweet spots: Scots, fake relationship, good girl looking to sow some oats. It was pretty much a guarantee that I would like this slim book.

Katherine has come across the pond from America to fulfill her grandma’s dying wish that she live a little, damnit. Since Kate isn’t an heiress she actually has to work in order to take her grand tour of Europe. This was immediately refreshing, nice to have a heroine that isn’t rich or just magically possessed of endless funds. Kate has a budget. In Scotland she has found work as the care worker for a stubborn older man who recently had a heart attack. He doesn’t want to accept her help, but she wears him down with charm and grit. Kate has a backbone and a smart mouth, she’s entirely likable. I rolled my eyes at her zero times the entire book. I can’t say for sure, but that may have never happened before (BINGO!).

Kate meets Quinton her first night on the job, in the pub her now employer owns, he’s suddenly sitting right next to her and Kate didn’t see him coming on several levels. Quinton, a recently retired pro rugby player, is hot. He’s heavily muscled, and has tousled auburn hair, and the Scottish accent and killer charm. Kate knows she’s a goner before they’re even properly introduced.

Quinton is similarly charmed by the lovely kitten with claws, Katherine, but is all “Oh, I better keep my distance, because I’m rich and secretive and trying to repair my image so I can buy this jewelry store and get on with my post-rugby life.” Lets all guess how long that lasted. Did you pick not bloody long? You’re so smart.

For reasons involving his reputation, the aforementioned jewelry store, and a nasty ex girlfriend; Quinton and Kate enter into a fake relationship deal. She’ll pretend to be his girlfriend for a few weeks for the paparazzi. They’ll pretend to ignore their serious chemistry for about two minutes.

Kilt Tease has some great banter, which is generally my favoritest part of romance novels (even trumping the doing it sometimes):

“Ditto, my lass.”….”I like that we have so much in common, since you’re my girlfriend and all.”

She smiled and his heart stuttered at the way it beat back in the shadows in her eyes. “I bet you say that to all the girls.”

“Kate, I can attest that you’re my first and I pray to the Virgin Mary my last, pretend girlfriend.”

Her smile went naughty. “I promise to be your best then.”

Aye, she probably would be. Daft. He was fucking daft.

I loved the dual narrative in Kilt Tease, because Quinton’s came with his Scottish brogue.

“You want to know if I’m the kind of man you think I am. Pushy when I want to be. Charming when I want to be.” His mouth tilted up. “Cocky, always.”

Since this is a relatively short book, the relationship, and inevitable third act break up happened at an accelerated speed. This was fine, no depth was lacking, all the characters felt flushed out and I found myself slowing down around the 85% mark to make the story last a bit longer. Katherine is black and Quinton is white, this is addressed only in physical descriptions of the characters and is in no way an impediment in their relationship. African Americans seem under represented in the romance book world, so it was lovely to get one where there was zero drama attached to our heroine’s color. Kilt Tease is sweet and hot, a charming little book that I can endorse wholeheartedly.

Check it out on Amazon: