Heat Wave, by Karina Halle

hw-kh

 Grade: A

Doing it at: 57%

Catnip: May-December Romance, Older Man, Aussies, Calgon Take Me Away, Dead Ex, Mild Hardship Porn, Forbidden Romance, Food Porn, The Other Sister, My Dead Sister’s Husband, Ocean Sex, #DISP

Shame Scale: Why are we even rating this anymore? You know we’re completely shameless. Plus this one has a gorgeous cover.

Fantasy Cast:  Hugh Jackman, Brie Larson

What does he feel like?: Like velvet steel, and silky to touch

Book Description:


They say when life closes one door, another one opens.
This door happens to lead to paradise.
And a man I can never, ever have.

Still grieving the loss of her sister who died two years ago, the last thing Veronica “Ronnie” Locke needed was to lose her job at one of Chicago’s finest restaurants and have to move back in with her parents. So when a window of opportunity opens for her – running a kitchen at a small Hawaiian hotel – she’d be crazy not to take it.

The only problem is, the man running the hotel drives her crazy:
Logan Shephard.
It doesn’t matter that he’s got dark brown eyes, a tall, muscular build that’s sculpted from daily surfing sessions, and a deep Australian accent that makes your toes curl.
What does matter is that he’s a grump.
Kind of an asshole, too.
And gets under Ronnie’s skin like no one else.

But the more time Ronnie spends on the island of Kauai, falling in love with the lush land and its carefree lifestyle, the closer she gets to Logan. And the closer she gets to Logan, the more she realizes she may have pegged him all wrong. Maybe it’s the hot, steamy jungles or the invigorating ocean air, but soon their relationship becomes utterly intoxicating.

There’s just one major catch.

The two of them together would incite a scandal neither Ronnie, nor her family, would ever recover from.


Mary: Hey there! How’s your 2016 going? Anything like ours?

dumpster-fire

We wrote a little ditty about it. Just hum ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’:

Prince died, Mrs. Brady, Phife Dawg, David Bowie
Alan Rickman, Leonard Cohen, Muhammad Ali
George Michael, George Martin, Nancy Reagan, Gene Wilder
Miss Cleo, and my dad, Leia and Harper Lee
Donald Trump and Mike Pence, Gary Johnson, Conservatives
Endless wars, Police shootings, Brexit, Misogyny
Diarrhea, Raging Periods, Alzheimers, Christmas Plagues
Gawker’s Gone, Rats in cars, Fuck off 2016
 
We didn’t light this dumpster
It was always burning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t light this dumpster
No, we didn’t light it, but we tried to fight it

 

M: What a fucking shitty year this has been, amiright?

C: My 2016 has actually not been as bad as my 2010-2015, but I feel physically scared to say that out loud-like the 2016 boogey man is lurking for me.

M: If ever there was a year to lose yourself in some romance books, 2016 would be it. So let us tell you all about this dreamy book set in Hawaii, inspired by paradise and Hugh Jackman at his hottest. And to those who have tried to tell me that Hugh Jackman isn’t hot, I counter with Australia.
australia-1

australia-2

M: I would do terrible things for some of that fresh creamery butter.

Continue reading

Mr. President, by Katy Evans

mr-president

Grade: A

Doing it at:  50%

Catnip: Powerful men, Politics, Secret Lovers, Nobody Needs to Know, Forbidden Romance, Office Romance, Dual Narrative

Shame Scale: Low shame, it’s the week before super Tuesday, it’s topical!

Fantasy Cast:  Justin Trudeau and Sophie Turner

Book Description:

He’s won the hearts of millions. But is he willing to lose his?

I met the president’s son when we were both young. Matthew Hamilton was handsome, polished, and intelligent. I’d never met a guy like him.

He promised me that he’d never run for president. I promised that if he did, I’d be by his side.

Three terms later, an invitation to join Matthew Hamilton’s campaign is the most exhilarating opportunity I’ve ever experienced. I’m determined to make a difference; he is determined to win.

Focused on his goal, Matt is steadfast, ruthless, and disarming. All eyes are on him and his popularity is surging. But soon, the next possible president of the United States is possessing me in more ways than one—and despite the risks, I’m helpless to resist.

We’re stealing touches, stealing moments, and stealing away at night. But our chemical connection is quickly becoming dangerously combustive, putting not only my heart, but Matt’s chance at the presidency on the line.

Winning will take everything. Walking away will be the hardest thing of all.


Can I be real a second, for just a millisecond? Its an election year here in the U.S., and its has been just awful. I LOVE voting, I love dissecting debates, and reading rhetoric; but this year it has all been a tough pill to swallow. Mr. President was exactly what I needed to make me feel warm and fuzzy about the road to the White House again. Thank you Katy Evans and thank you Mr. Hamilton. We love Katy Evans here (looking at you with all the licking Remy), and we had a strong inkling this book was going to be fire.

Mr. President is the story of Matthew Hamilton — son of a beloved former president, star of a million sexual fantasies, and bearer of my favorite surname — and Charlotte, a senator’s daughter who has had a crush on him since she was eleven. Matt grew up in the White House, he watched the toll the presidency took on his parent’s marriage, he watched how it consumed his father. He never wanted that for himself, he wanted to have a real life, outside of the unrelenting spotlight that comes with being in high level politics. History has its eyes on him, and he has never been thrilled about it.

Continue reading

Collared, by Nicole Williams

collared

Grade: D for no D

Doing it at: There’s some implied N/A

Catnip: Boy Next Door, Man of the Cloth, Forbidden Romance, Nonsexual Healing, Lovers to Best Friends

Shame Scale: Yawn, no shame.

Fantasy Cast: Sam Palladio and I don’t care

Book Description:

When a seventeen-year-old girl vanishes,
A community is shaken. 
Parents turn desperate. 
Friends hold vigils. 
And the boy who loves her searches.

When a year goes by,
The community is recovering. 
Parents feel hopeless.
Friends feel helpless. 
And the boy who loves her continues his search. 

When ten years go by, 
The community has forgotten. 
Parents cling to the past. 
Friends move toward the future. 
And the boy who loves her . . . 

Brings her home. 

Jade Childs spent ten years in captivity, but now that she’s back, the real battle for survival begins. The media shadows her. Flashbacks haunt her. Her old life evades her. Her so-called new life rejects her. She spent too many years in the dark to recognize the light. She spent too long repressing her feelings to remember how to express them. She spent a decade abandoning hope and cannot dare letting it back into her life. Jade’s not just defined by what happened to her—she’s collared to it. 

When the twenty-seven-year-old woman is found, 
A community wants to know the story,
Parents want to forget the story,
Friends want to be a part of the story,
And the man who still loves her faces the greatest challenge yet: letting her go. 


Ok so maybe my mind just goes there, but when I saw this new book called “Collared,” I was thinking like…

bondage-collar-and-leash

And the book description is all Cleveland Abduction meets Boy-Next-Door-Second-Chance-Romance. Basically the 1-Click Train to Catnip City. I moved it to the top of my TBR pile and dove right in.

Spoiler filled review to follow. Seriously, don’t read any part of this if you plant to read the book. I’m just going to tell you the whole plot and all the twists and ruin it completely for you.

The book jumps in right after Torrin and Jade have finished saving themselves for marriage like Britney and Justin. They’re high school sweethearts, he’s the boy next door. Her dad is the chief of police and she’s late for curfew, so after a bit of plot about his family that ultimately means nothing because it’s never brought up again, he walks her home. There’s a sweet bit here where he asks her to marry him and aww teen love. Then Torrin watches her walk to her door (so her dad won’t see him), and heads back to his house.

This is when a creepy van pulls up, she goes over like an idiot to give some directions, and is promptly abducted. (Don’t be mad. I’m not victim blaming, this is just a book.)

Continue reading

Reap, by Tillie Cole

reap

Grade: B+

Doing it at: 52%

Catnip: Forbidden Romance, Russian Mobsters, Killing Machines, Family Ties, Dual Narrative, Strong Female Lead, The Hamptons, Tame Me, Beauty and the Beast

Shame Scale: It’s a romance novel about a man who has been turned into a literal killing machine and the daughter of his family’s sworn enemies. They’re all Russian Mobsters, and the cover has amazing back porn. Whatever, low shame. We are owning this now.

Fantasy Cast:  Kellan Lutz, Clare Bowen

Book Description:

 

Raised as a prototype for the Georgian Bratva’s obedience drug, 221 fails to think, act, or live for himself; he’s his master’s perfectly-crafted killing puppet. Standing at six-foot-six, weighing two-hundred-and-fifty pounds, and unrivaled in to-the-death combat, 221 successfully secures business for the Georgian Mafiya Boss of NYC, who rules the dark world of the criminal underground. Until his enemies capture him.

Talia Tolstaia dreams to break from the heavy clutches of Bratva life. She dreams of another life–away from the stifling leash of her Russian Bratva Boss father and from the brutality of her work at The Dungeon, her criminal family’s underground death-match enterprise. But when she stumbles upon her family’s captive who is more monster than man, she starts to see the man underneath. A powerful, beautiful, damaged man whose heart calls to hers. But sacrifices must be made–blood for blood…life for life…souls for scarred souls…

 


The Shame Girls are Tillie Cole fan-girls. Over the past three months Mary and I have sped through the Hades Hangmen series, and now both books of her new Scarred Souls series. Cole writes for-real anti heroes. Her men are dark, brooding, and have no problem getting blood on their hands. Her writing is good enough to make the violence not only bearable, but almost enjoyable. Plus we kind of have a thing for Russians here at My Book Shame. Can we count ability to handle your vodka as a catnip?

Continue reading

Cold-Hearted Rake, Lisa Kleypas

cold hearted

Grade: B

Doing it at: 73%

Catnip: Historical, Forbidden Romance; Bareback Riding; Strong Female Lead; Dual Narrative; Reformed Rake; Lords and Ladies; CoHo Exception

Shame Scale: I dare anyone to try to make me feel bad about reading a book whose title is a play on a Paula Abdul Song, come at me bro.

Fantasy Cast:  Yael Grobglas; Joseph Fiennes (Circa Shakespeare in Love)

Book Description:

A twist of fate . . .

Devon Ravenel, London’s most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl’s three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon’s own.

A clash of wills . . .

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she’s ever known?


I’ve spoken more than once on the blog about how historicals were my first romance book-love; I had a summer job watching kids whose mom inhaled paperback romances. She always had a giant bag of them in the living room that I would dip into, for an “education.” She was very into Sandra Brown historical’s, mostly set in the old west, and I still vividly remember a scene where the virginal heroine was titillated by watching the hero wash himself in just his britches from her bedroom window. And also Iris Johansen whose books I rediscovered last year, and loved all over again. The Johansen reread was a big part of my nosedive into full time romance. Anyway, this rambling introduction is just to lament how few historical romances I’ve been reading lately and to tell you I was really excited for Cold Hearted Rake, because Kleypas is pretty much the best historical fiction author working today.

Continue reading

Slammer, by Tabatha Vargo

Slammer

Grade: B-

Doing it at: 60%

Catnip: Prisoner (Of Your Love), He’s Basically a Criminal, Forbidden Romance, Prison Sex, Naughty Nurse, #FelonCrushFriday, But it was 99 cents…

Shame Scale: Low shame. Despite the cover , it’s not terribly racy and there’s some plot that will make your jaw drop.

Fantasy Cast: Jay Ryan, Bryce Dallas Howard

Book Description:

The last place Christopher Jacobs, aka X, thought he’d find himself was behind bars. Ten years later, the boy he used to be is gone. In his place is the shell of a man with murder under his belt. Any emotion he once had was left under the gavel when he was given life in prison. That is until the new nurse in the infirmary joins the block.
Putting your hands on a prison employee will get you the hole, but some things are worth their punishment, and something tells him Lyla will be worth more than he bargained for.

Lyla Evans isn’t sure about her new job at a maximum security prison, but showing uncertainty and weakness isn’t an option. Taking care of murders and rapist isn’t ideal, but survival is key. She’s warned ahead of time about a prisoner named X, but when she’s attacked, it’s the dangerous X that saves her. Fraternizing with the prisoners is forbidden, but sometimes the most forbidden things are the sweetest.


This one is on sale for 99 cents right now, you guys. The whole cover/title package was very reminiscent of a stepbrother novel, and if you’re a regular reader you’ll know that we consider ourselves the internet’s Preeminent Step Sibling Romance Review Blog (We can nickname ourselves, that does not make us nerds). This book does not actually have any characters who are related by marriage, but it does however feature a forbidden romance between a murderous prisoner and his nurse, and if that’s not worth a buck, I don’t know what is.

Continue reading

Priest, by Sierra Simone

Priest

Grade: B-

Doing it at: 47%

Catnip: Man of the Cloth, Stripper With A Heart Of Gold, Forbidden Romance, Outercourse, Just The Tip, Creative Lube, #TeamAnal, #DISP

Shame Scale: All the shame. Ridiculously sexy erotica about a priest and a stripper, with every religious sexual metaphor you could possibly dream up.

What Do We Taste Like?: Sweeter than salvation and communion wine.

Fantasy Cast: James McAvoy, Sophia Bush

Book Description:

There are many rules a priest can’t break. A priest cannot marry. A priest cannot abandon his flock. A priest cannot forsake his God.

I’ve always been good at following rules.

Until she came. Then I learned new rules.

My name is Tyler Anselm Bell. I’m twenty-nine years old. Six months ago, I broke my vow of celibacy on the altar of my own church, and God help me, I would do it again. 

I am a priest and this is my confession.

This was actually my third foray into the world of priest romance. The first was The Thornbirds, when I was approximately 12, and it taught me everything I know about sex that I hadn’t already learned in Clan of the Cave Bear. The second was A Little Too Far, by Lisa Desrochers, and it was extremely disappointing because it was billed as the double trash whammy of a stepbrother/girl/priest love triangle, but there ended up not even being any priest sex. This book though? Had copious, gratuitous, ridiculous priest sex, plus the hottest game of Just The Tip I’ve ever read (and a sweet little romance to boot)

Father Bell is the priest in a rural town outside of St.Louis that reminded me of Tree Hill or Stars Hollow – a nice little community where people go to church and everyone knows everyone. He’s manning the confessional one morning, counting down till get out of there and do things that priest like to do on their afternoons off, like watch The Walking Dead and go jogging while listening to vintage Britney, when Poppy slips into the booth.

She confesses that she’s not Catholic and has never been to confession, but she has been doing Bad Things, and feels like maybe this would help. She doesn’t go into details, but implies that the Bad Things are sexual in nature, and Father Bell immediately gets a boner. He steps out of the booth at the end of her confession to explain penance to Poppy face to face, and he’s all:

mistake 2

Because Poppy is stacked, with big red harlot’s lips, and Father Bell feels tempted for the first time since he took his vows. Father Bell starts thinking about all the Bad Things he wants to do to Poppy, specifically involving his steeple and those big, red lips of hers. He wants to know her. He wants to know her real hard.

Continue reading