Honor, by Jay Crownover

honor-jc

Grade: A

Doing it at: 49%

Catnip: He’s Basically a Criminal, Stripper with a Heart of Gold, Mafia, Tattoos, Strong Female Lead, Dual Narrative, Car Sex, Slow Burn, Sexual Healing, Regular Ol’Sex Club

Shame Scale: Low Shame, I’m pretty into the cover, and it really just takes way more to make us blush than it used to, we’re so jaded.

Fantasy Cast:  Zayn Malik-plus-ten-years (Don’t judge us) & Amber Heard

Book Description:

Don’t be fooled.

Don’t make excuses for me.

I am not a good man.

I’ve seen things no one should, done things no one should talk about. Honor and conscience have no place in my life. But I’ve fought and I’ve survived. I’ve had to.

The first time I saw her dancing on that seedy stage in that second rate club, I felt my heart pulse for the first time. Keelyn Foster was too young, too vibrant for this place, and I knew in an instant that I would make her mine. But first I had to climb my way to the top. I had to have something more to offer her.

I’m here now, money is no object and I have no equal. Except for her. She’s disappeared. But don’t worry, I will find her and claim her. She will be mine.

Like I said, don’t be fooled. I am not the devil in disguise… I’m the one standing front and center. 


Cleone: We are always pretty excited for a new Jay Crownover book, we have read essentially every book she’s written, and I blame the Marked Men books for really ruining me completely for non-romance (thanks Jay!).

Mary: I recommend these books to everyone who’s interested in romance. They’re delightful and easy with just the right amount of drama, and the absolute hottest heroes around.

C: Her men are all alphas, with tattoos, and hearts of gold, and a lot of them have pierced dicks.

M: No joke, these books have me wondering if there’s any way I could tempt my mild mannered insurance broker husband to consider a dick piercing.  They’ve expanded my vocabulary of what a hot guy looks like, and my porn searches have been revolutionized.

C: If you have never read a Crownover book, we strongly urge you to take the plunge. Her series are standalone novels, within an interconnected universe. And here is where I say something that is going to make Mary really happy: You should probably read the other Point books before you start Honor.

M: Yes pretty please read these books in order? It’s so much better that way! You technically don’t have to, but I really can’t with that attitude. Don’t half ass it.

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Reaper’s Fall, by Joanna Wylde

Reaper's fall

Grade: A

Doing it at: 36%

Catnip: Bikers, He’s Basically A Criminal, MC Romance, Tattoos, Opposites Attract, Strong Female Lead, Accidental Pregnancy, Hate to Love You, Dual Narrative, Pen Pals, Johnny Castle Complex

Shame Scale: Lower than it maybe should be? The men in Joanna Wylde’s books are not particularly concerned with being politically correct with their women, or anything else. But they’re so damned hot. The plot might be a fun one to explain to your great aunt Helen when she asks if you’ve read any good books over Thanksgiving dinner.

Fantasy Cast: Josh Mario John, Sophie Turner

Book Description:

He never meant to hurt her.

Levi “Painter” Brooks was nothing before he joined the Reapers motorcycle club. The day he patched in, they became his brothers and his life. All they asked in return was a strong arm and unconditional loyalty—a loyalty that’s tested when he’s caught and sentenced to prison for a crime committed on their behalf.

Melanie Tucker may have had a rough start, but along the way she’s learned to fight for her future. She’s escaped from hell and started a new life, yet every night she dreams of a biker whose touch she can’t forget. It all started out so innocently—just a series of letters to a lonely man in prison. Friendly. Harmless. Safe.

Now Painter Brooks is coming home… and Melanie’s about to learn that there’s no room for innocence in the Reapers MC.


Cleone: In a genre cluttered with MC novels, Joanna Wylde is writing some of the best ones out there. She’s created a world filled with hot alpha men and strong women we’d actually want to be friends with. We talked a little about our stance on feminism, and how being ok with the things that you like sexually IS feminism in our review for Silver Bastard. These men take what they want and we like what we like and no one should be apologizing for that.

Mary: I discovered the Reapers MC series way back when I was still getting my feet wet in the romance waters. It was after I stopped pretending I wanted to read anything other than sex-filled romances, but before I stopped being a little bit embarrassed by it. I picked up Reaper’s Property on a whim, and I loved it so much you guys. It’s about a biker who kidnaps a woman and tells her she’s going to have to work off her brother’s debt on her back if she wants to live. It was one of the books that made me begin to embrace the fact that yeah, I’m a feminist, and sometimes it’s really hot to read about criminal, maybe-a-tiny-bit-rapey, biker studs. I’m also pretty sure it was one of the first “should we maybe be a little bit ashamed of ourselves for thinking this is sofuckinghot?” books that Cleone and I bonded over. But we’re so so so very past that now. Bring on the criminals and the grey area and the men who just need to own their women.

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Dirty Promises, by Karina Halle

dirty promises 2

Grade: A

Doing it at: 8%

Catnip: Once Upon A Time In Mexico, Marriage on the Rocks, Revenge, Mexican Drug Cartels, Hate To Love You, He’s Basically A Criminal, Dangerous Criminal Villain, A Lot Of Blood, Adultery

Shame Scale: I can’t even rate this.

Fantasy Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, young Penelope Cruise

Book Description:

Dirty Promises is the final book in The Dirty Angels Trilogy. While the first two books can be read as standalones, Dirty Promises can not. Reading Dirty Angels and Dirty Deeds beforehand is HIGHLY recommended.

Also, people sensitive to violence and immoral characters who make questionable decisions should refrain from reading this book. The real cartel life is not pretty, not easy and certainly NOT romantic and that is more than reflected in Dirty Promises.

Blood. Sex. Revenge.
It ain’t easy being king.
Drug lord Javier Bernal has sliced and diced his way to the top of the Mexican drug trade, presiding over the country’s largest cartel. But his rise to power comes at a brutal price: the death of his sister, Alana. Devastated and wracked with guilt, he turns away from his new wife, Luisa, forcing their marriage into a steady decline. But it isn’t until she’s pushed into the waiting arms of Esteban Mendoza, his right-hand man, that Javier realizes everything he’s lost.
And it isn’t until he learns the truth about Alana, that he realizes everything there is to gain.
Blood will spill.
Cities will burn.
Heads will roll.
Because Javier will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants.
And what he wants is raw, ruthless revenge.
The most dangerous man is the one with nothing left to lose.


Mary: We were having an important Blog Meeting.

drunk alec

drunk amy

drunk lucy

Cleone: We are a PROFESSIONAL blog, so of course our meetings have cocktails! And we were drinking Old Fashioned’s, like Don Draper.

M: We were watching Too Wong Foo and discussing Karina Halle’s upcoming release, Dirty Promises (the sequel to Dirty Angels and Dirty Deeds), and how we needed to get our hands on a copy of the ARC at any cost. So that’s when we decided to drunk message one of our very favorite authors. Cleone wrote a very appropriate and polite request for an ARC. But then I left the room, and she went rogue and closed it with:

 P.S. The original draft of this message was, “Whose dick do we have to suck to get an ARC?”

C: I can’t be trusted, but I’m funny, right? Right!

M: Karina Halle never responded, which, duh, means our hilarious message went to her spam folder, and not that she decided to ignore our way-too-informal-for-a-stranger, totally tasteless email. Please don’t try and convince us otherwise, we live in this place called Denial with #noregrets.

C: It’s pretty here, all of our bad decision bar hook-ups look like Tom Hardy in Denial.

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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.

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It Ain’t Me Babe, by Tillie Cole

it aint me babe

Grade: A

Doing it at: 64%

Catnip: Motorcycles, He’s Basically a Criminal, Opposites Attract, Cults, Sexual Healing, Bathtub Sex

Shame Scale: It’s a romance between a guy from an MC and a girl from a crazy religious cult, but it feels Real, so low shame. Plus that cover is kind of fetch, right?

Fantasy Cast: Jared Padalecki, Alexis Bledel

Book Description:

Sinning never felt so good…

A fortuitous encounter.

A meeting that should never have happened.

Many years ago, two children from completely different worlds forged a connection, a fateful connection, an unbreakable bond that would change their lives forever…

Salome knows only one way to live—under Prophet David’s rule. In the commune she calls home, Salome knows nothing of life beyond her strict faith, nor of life beyond the Fence—the fence that cages her, keeps her trapped in an endless cycle of misery. A life she believes she is destined to always lead, until a horrific event sets her free.

Fleeing the absolute safety of all she has ever known, Salome is thrust into the world outside, a frightening world full of uncertainty and sin; into the protective arms of a person she believed she would never see again.

River ‘Styx’ Nash knows one thing for certain in life—he was born and bred to wear a cut. Raised in a turbulent world of sex, Harleys, and drugs, Styx, unexpectedly has the heavy burden of the Hades Hangmen gavel thrust upon him, and all at the ripe old age of twenty-six—much to his rivals’ delight.

Haunted by a crushing speech impediment, Styx quickly learns to deal with his haters. Powerful fists, an iron jaw and the skillful use of his treasured German blade has earned him a fearsome reputation as a man not to be messed with in the shadowy world of outlaw MC’s. A reputation that successfully keeps most people far, far away.

Styx has one rule in life—never let anyone get too close. It’s a plan that he has stuck to for years, that is, until a young woman is found injured on his lot… a woman who looks uncannily familiar, a woman who clearly does not belong in his world, yet a woman he feels reluctant to let go…


Cleone: Wanna hear a super cat-nippy synopsis? Bad boy motorcycle club (MC) president, who is mostly mute because he has a stutter, falls hard for a girl who has escaped from a crazy polygamous religious sex cult and heals her with his cock. It’s got EVERYTHING.

Mary: Cleone was telling me about this great book she was reading, something like:

C: “The hero has a stutter but he’s super Alpha.”

M: “So he’s like, s-s-suck my c-c-c-cock?”

C: “Yeah basically, but it’s really doing it for me.”

I pretty much had to read it with her after that. Also, apparently I bought all these books without even realizing it. #Problems.

C: I was reading a book recs thread on Joanna Wylde’s facebook group page (my whole life is trash books), and Souls Unfractured was mentioned about thirty times. A quick search revealed it was already in our library and another search told me that Mary had one-clicked all three of these, so I (for once!) decided to do the whole series in order. I’m so glad I did.

M: I didn’t even realize these books were a series. They kept popping up all over and I thought it was the same book, and I kept thinking, “I could have sworn that I already bought that, but oh well, must not have.*Click*”

I did this three times.

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Dirty Deeds, by Karina Halle

dirty deeds

Grade: B+

Doing it at: 34%

Catnip: Mexican Drug Cartels, Dark Romance, Dangerous Criminal Villain, He’s Basically A Criminal, Deep Dark Secret, Gun For Hire

Shame Scale: This is essentially an espionage/action novel with detailed sex scenes, no shame. Maybe be careful that your kid isn’t reading over your shoulder though.

What Do We Taste Like?: Like licking raw coconut

Fantasy Cast: Channing Tatum, Ximena Navarrete

Book Description:

As a flight attendant, Alana Bernal has had her share of suitors. She’s also had more than her fair share of tragedy within her messed-up family. But what she hasn’t had is love. Real, rip-your-heart-out, tear-your-clothes-off, all-consuming love. 

At least that was the case until she met an American tourist, Derek Conway, a ripped ex-soldier with steely eyes and a commanding presence. 

What started as a chance encounter between the two in Puerto Vallarta, a weekend full of hot sex and mindless passion, has led to something more. 

Something deadly. 

Because Derek isn’t the type of man to fall in love. He’s not a man who sticks around. 

And he’s definitely not in Mexico on vacation. 

Derek is a mercenary, a killer-for-hire, a man who does the ugly jobs for the highest bidder. 

Unfortunately for Alana and Derek, the highest bidder has the power to destroy whatever worlds they have created for themselves. 

The highest bidder can destroy everything. 


Mary: This is book two in the Dirty Angels series. It’s a standalone, so you don’t need to have read Dirty Angels first, but we would definitely recommend that you do for backstory – and also because it has the hottest motherfucking drug cartel leader hero in book history.

Cleone: You should definitely read Dirty Angels. Or don’t and let Javier be all mine.

M: Dirty Deeds follows Alana Bernal, Javier from Dirty Angels’ sister, and Derek Conway, the ex-soldier turned assassin who was contracted to kill her.

C: Derek is known in the cartel circles as “The American.” He works for anyone who can afford to pay him and doesn’t ask any annoying like questions, like “Hey, why does this person have to actually DIE, like did he mess up your Netflix algorithm?”

Derek goes to take Alana out with a sniper rifle, but he hesitates seeing her in person. She’s beautiful and full of life, and for just a second he isn’t sure he can go through with it. During that moment of hesitation a car comes whizzing up and hits Alana square on, then whizzes off. Without thinking, Derek peels out after the car assailant, catches up to him, and shoots him in the head. He’s the only one who gets to kill her.

M: #Alpha

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Dirty Angels, by Karina Halle

Dirty Angels

Grade: A-

Doing it at: 68%

Catnip: Mexican Drug Cartels, Dark Romance, Dangerous Criminal Villain, He’s Basically A Criminal, Revenge, Hate To Love You, Stockholm Syndrome, Virgin

Shame Scale: I don’t even know why we’re still rating this. We’re hardly ashamed of anything anymore. No shame, even though the hero is a savage who literally enjoys sawing off people’s body parts.

What Do We Taste Like?: Seductive, more delicious than milk and honey. “I should drink you with my tea in the mornings.”

Fantasy Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, A young Penelope Cruz

Book Description:

For Luisa Chavez, a twenty-three year old former beauty queen, a better life has always been just out of her reach. Sure, she’s had men at her feet since she was a young teenager but she’s never had the one thing she’s craved – security. Having grown up in near poverty, her waitressing job in Cabo San Lucas can barely let her take care of herself, let alone her ailing parents. Every day is another unwanted advance, every day is a struggle to survive. 

When Salvador Reyes, the depraved leader of a major Mexican cartel, takes an interest in her, Luisa is presented with an opportunity she can’t afford to pass up. She’ll become Salvador’s wife and exchange her freedom and body for a life of riches – riches she can bestow upon her deserving parents. But Luisa quickly finds out that even the finest wines and jewels can’t undo the ugliness in her marriage, nor the never-ending violence that threatens her every move. 

Soon, Luisa is looking for an escape, a way out of the carefully controlled life she’s leading. She finally gets her wish in the worst way possible. 

As it is, being the wife of Salvador makes her an ideal target for rival cartels and there’s one particular man who needs Luisa as part of his cartel’s expansion. One particular man whose quest for power has destroyed lives, slit throats and gotten him out of an American prison. One particular man who will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants. 

That man is Javier Bernal. And he wants Luisa. He wants to take her, keep her, ruin her. 

Unless she ruins him first. 

Some men were born to create empires, some women were meant to be queen. 


Mary: This book was so much fun, you guys. It’s a dark romance, but it’s also really light, if that makes any sense? The hero is a ruthless savage who kidnaps the heroine and literally carves his name in her back, but it was also incredibly funny and sexy. And not in a torture pain sexy way, but in a legit that sex sounds real fun way.

Dirty a 8

M: We met Javier in The Artist Trilogy, and admittedly, Cleone and I were both strongly #Team Cam, but with sympathy for Javier – so I was looking forward to him getting his HEA.

C: Javier is a real bad man, he’s not like villain-lite or a guy who just made some bad choices, he’s damaged and dangerous. He’s everything Dylan McKay claims to be when he says he’s mad, bad, and dangerous to know.

M: This book picks up several years after we last saw Javier. He’s back in Mexico, and is now the leader of a medium sized drug cartel.

C: He has money and power, but not as much as he would like, Javier is looking to move up the ranks and control more of Mexico’s drug trade. Reading these books is making Mexico sound like a really scary place, googling cartel+violence is making it seem even scarier. You might want to safe-search your images if you decide to do that, I don’t know your level of comfort for pictures of corpses on pastoral roadsides.

M: Luisa Chavez is a ex-beauty queen, struggling to make ends meet while taking care of her parents. (Note – googling “Mexican beauty queen” is also a terribly depressing search) One day, Salvador Reyes, the leader of Mexico’s largest and most powerful drug cartel, walks into the bar where she works, asks her some really intrusive questions, and just generally scares the crap out of her.

When he asks her to marry him, she says yes, because it would allow her to give her parents a better life. And also because she’s no dummy. She knows that if she says no he’ll kill her.

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