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


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…

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.

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…

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.

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Missed Connection, by K. Larson & Mara White

missed connection

Grade: A+

Doing it at: 42%

Catnip: Second Chance Romance, Dual Narrative, Opposites Attract, Grownups in Love, Tearjerker, Ugly Cry, Sadistic Authors, Tattoos, Beta Hero, Sexual Healing

Shame Scale: Super low shame; this well written, engrossing book is only guilty of the sin of making you cry till your face hurts.

Fantasy Cast:  Rosamund Pike, Victor Ross

Book Description: 

Twenty years weren’t enough for either of them to forget.

A chance encounter, a missed connection.

Two wayward stars that collided in a turbulent sky, at the right place, but at the wrong time in both of their lives.

What happens when they meet again? Do the same unforgettable sparks still fly?

Titan Jennings and Jesenia Van Buren may come from two different worlds but their hearts are open to second chances. No matter who or what may stand against them, love is what anchors their lives together.

Love may be infinite but time is not, Missed Connection is a novel about making the very best you can with what little you’ve got.

Cleone: Regular readers might know that we are Mara White super fans here at My Book Shame, our love affair starting after we read Maldeamores, and Ms. White received more than one Golden Boner in our year end round-up. What you might not know is that we super fan-d her so hard that we made her be our friend and our Facebook friend on our real life pages (the pages where we share things that are 85% non boner related). And at some point I shared this viral craigslist posting: and this might be all my fault.

Mary: Even if it wasn’t your fault, I like imagining that it was. Gives me someone tangible to blame.

Cleone: This was our first outing reading anything by K. Larsen, and we dumbly didn’t realize that she is also a sadist, and that this book was probably going to make us sleep on salt-encrusted pillows.

Mary: This book made me cry so hard my face hurt. I loved it so much you guys.

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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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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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The Hurricane, by R.J. Prescott

the hurricane

Grade: B-

Doing it at: 59%

Catnip: Opposites Attract; Deep Dark Secrets; Sexual Healing; Boxers; Alpha Hero

Shame Scale: Medium shame, that cover is all about them abs, and my brain kept wandering to My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding casting

Fantasy Cast: Kate Hudson circa Almost Famous; young Gerard Butler

  Book Description:

Emily McCarthy is living in fear of a dark and dangerous past. A gifted mathematician, she is little more than a hollow, broken shell, trying desperately to make ends meet long enough to finish her degree. Through an unlikely friendship with the aging, cantankerous owner of an old boxing gym, Em is thrown into the path of the most dangerous man that she has ever met. Cormac “the Hurricane” O’Connell is cut, tattooed and dangerous. He is a lethal weapon with no safety and everyone is waiting for the mis-fire. He’s never been knocked out before, but when he meet Em he falls, HARD. Unlike any other girl he’s ever met, she doesn’t want anything from him. Just being around her makes him want to be a better person. They are polar opposites who were never meant to find each other, but some things are just worth the fight. ***Warning*** This book contains adult language and subject matter, including some flashback scenes of abuse and rape, that may be disturbing for some readers. This book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

I have some serious mixed feelings about The Hurricane, on one hand the story had some really strong elements and some great, clean writing. On the other hand, it dragged a bit and made my brain drift off towards My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (I don’t think we can blame the author for that one, my brain is a well-known scumbag). I would recommend Em and O’Connell’s story to people looking for main characters with some serious demons and an incredibly devoted hero.

Cormack “The Hurricane” O’Connell spots Emily working at a local greasy spoon close to the gym where he does boxing training and is instantly smitten with her. He bided his time to introducing himself because even from afar he can tell she’s a skittish little* bird. And he’s a rough neck boy, well over six-foot, with tattoos, and what I imagine is not a particularly refined accent (my apologies to the author, my brain she does what she wants); who hangs out with Danny her favorite customer. Danny is the closest thing Em has to a friend because she’s hiding a dark past and is incredibly slow to trust. Especially men.

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Gage, by Tess Oliver


Grade: B-

Doing it at: 65%

Catnip: Lumberjack; Opposites Attract; Cowboys; Reformed Bad Boy; Trouser Snake

Shame Scale: Medium shame, Tess Oliver’s books are addictive New Adult that you probably aren’t advertising to strangers and elderly relatives that you’re reading

Fantasy Cast: Henry Cavill; Taylor Swift

Book Description:

After nearly losing his friend in a logging accident, Gage Barringer is convinced now more than ever that he needs to find a different job. But his side business of breaking colts at the small Montana ranch he inherited from his grandfather doesn’t earn him enough money. He has his mind set on running The Raven’s Nest, a popular bar and restaurant near his ranch. The original owner has died and Gage is waiting for it to be put up for sale. But there is a five-foot-four, brown eyed, obstacle in his way, an obstacle with lips made for sin and a voice made for breaking hearts. And Summer Donovan is one road block Gage Barringer won’t be able to find a way around.

The hero in this one is LITERALLY a lumberjack and a cowboy. So, no way was I not reading Gage. Have you google image searched Hot + Lumberjack lately? If the answer is no, change that. I have read a bunch of Tess Oliver’s other books, she was one of the first new adult authors I discovered when I started to devour trash, and since her first novel I think her writing has really improved. If I had to compare her books I would say they’re comparable to Jamie McGuire’s or Abbi Glines, we aren’t sure WHAT makes them so addictive but the stories are eminently readable.

Summer lives in L.A. with her boyfriend who is also her band mate, and is on the verge of a really big recording contract. It’s something she’s been working towards since she was a teen. Everything is looking like sunshine and rainbows, until the sleazy record label guy propositions her and she finds out that her boyfriend has been giving it to her best friend for who knows how long. So, Summer does what any reasonable young lady whose life is in flux would do, she moves to Montana to take over her dead grandpa’s restaurant in a tiny logging town.

Gage, our lumberjack, cowboy, manwhore hero wanted to buy the restaurant so he could stop working on the logging crew since it’s dangerous, exhausting work. Now, Summer has thwarted his plans and he doesn’t intend to be impressed by her. But of course he is, because what the fuck kind of depressing book would this be if he wasn’t?

Our protagonists don’t spend too long pretending to hate each other, Gage is a gentleman and helps Summer out with her car when it runs out of gas, keeps local rough neck douches from molesting her, and generally makes her feel safer and more welcome in the little town. Plus he’s a mountain of a mountain man and his charm isn’t lost on Summer. I’d describe Gage as an Alpha, but like a gentle non-asshole Alpha. An Alpha who likes baby kittens. Oliver’s character building is getting better book by book and I found myself rooting hard for these two.

The bedroom rodeo picks up right at our not at all arbitrary 65% mark cut off, and much is made of how much heat Gage is packing:

He was massive everywhere. His erection glistened with the dew of sex.

She released a throaty groan as she impaled herself lower and lower over my erection. “god, when does it end,”

They *almost* have sex in the hay loft of his barn, but sadly he teases her about rats and carries her naked across the property to ravish her in the house instead. I mean, it was still hot, but hayloft sex would have been a marker on my imaginary smut book bingo card. Just because it’s not real doesn’t mean I don’t like yelling bingo.

The drama in Gage is light, and resolved pretty tidily. This book was a quick read that didn’t require much thinking (a Compliment, I swear) and put a smile on my face. If you haven’t read any of Oliver’s books, this might be a good one to start with, and we get his dare-devil, smart-mouth brother next book. Nothing not to like about that. Plus, I reiterate, hot lumberjacks.

lumber sexual

About Last Night, by Ruthie Knox

about last night

Grade: A

Doing it at: 17%

Catnip: Opposites Attract; A Foreign Affair; Beta Hero; Fake Relationship; Deep Dark Secret; Dual Narrative

Shame Scale: I loved this book a million, it had character development and excellent dialog, I have the lowest shame and it’s only related to that cover, it’s not a public transportation cover.

Fantasy Cast: Michael Fassbender; Nora Zehetner

What do we taste like: Deliciously of bacon (new favorite)

Book Description:

Cath Talarico knows a mistake when she makes it, and God knows she’s made her share. So many, in fact, that this Chicago girl knows London is her last, best shot at starting over. But bad habits are hard to break, and soon Cath finds herself back where she has vowed never to go . . . in the bed of a man who is all kinds of wrong: too rich, too classy, too uptight for a free-spirited troublemaker like her.

Nev Chamberlain feels trapped and miserable in his family’s banking empire. But beneath his pinstripes is an artist and bohemian struggling to break free and lose control. Mary Catherine–even her name turns him on–with her tattoos, her secrets, and her gamine, sex-starved body, unleashes all kinds of fantasies.

When blue blood mixes with bad blood, can a couple that is definitely wrong for each other ever be perfectly right? And with a little luck and a lot of love, can they make last night last a lifetime?

I liked About Last Night so much that I probably can’t be impartial or feel like I’m doing it justice. This is the fourth of Ruthie Knox’s books that I have read (surprise surprise I haven’t read them in publication order), and I’ve been charmed by all four. Do you suddenly want to think that beekeeping is sexy? Please go read Truly! Have you always kind of wanted to travel cross-country with a hot guy you hardly know? Seek out Ride With Me! Want to read about a bad girl making good? Here’s About Last Night.

Cath is a transplant to England from Chicago, following a whole mess of shit going down in the states that has made her seek a completely fresh start. Everything in her life is boring and predictable, right down to the commuters she sees taking the train every morning. She knows Emo Boy, and Bus Purse, and Old Guy in Fedora by sight and by schedule. And City, the cute, suited up, straight-laced banker; she knows him by site and by schedule, too. She’s got a strict set of rules for herself that basically boil down to “if you really want something it’s probably wrong, and you can’t have it.” Which means no dating, she’s got a two-year long dry spell and no intention of breaking it any time soon. Until a frenemy has a piece that Cath desperately wants for an upcoming exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum where Cath works in curatorial (the piece is a hand knit straitjacket which sounds very freaking cool); and she’s only sharing it IF Cath agrees to go on a blind date with her cousin. She’s not thrilled about the idea, but decides it’s just ONE date and logically what can actually go wrong?

Well, obviously, everything. Cath wakes up in a strange bed, with no initial recollection of how she got there. She’s mostly dressed, appears unmolested, and the previous evening starts to come back to her in bits and pieces. The boring date, the one drink too many…running into City on the wharf and being so drunk that he brought her home. Home to his home, into his big wooden bed. Cath is embarrassed but feels safe, because anyone could tell that City is one of the good guys, he’s boring and nice, and would never take advantage of her.

City has left her a towel, a toothbrush, and has an apartment that smells tantalizingly of bacon. This is kind of the ideal situation to wake up in when you’ve woken up in a strange bed, as we all have (unless you haven’t- good for you- lets not gloat).  Cath cleans up, goes in search of him (and her clothes which have gone missing), and finds him painting. Not exactly what she was expecting. She isn’t expecting the perfect body to look so good in a t-shirt either, or his shark smile to make her feel all tingly in her bits.

Smiling, City didn’t appear altogether safe.

To her dismay, he lit her up like a pinball machine.

It doesn’t take much time or convincing for City to roll Cath into his bed and show her how spectacularly good he is in there. Cath has Very hot sex with a man whose name she still doesn’t know, and is feeling not too awful about it (hard to feel awful after multiple orgasms with a delicious gent), when his brother shows up and manages to make her feel tarty and unwelcome so Cath scampers out before City can put up a fight.

Only City really likes her, and he thinks he’ll like her out of bed just as much as he likes her in bed. So, Nev (that’s his actual name, Neville Chamberlain, very proper) pursues Cath. He waits for her at the train station, and when she won’t agree to a real date he woos her on the commute itself with chocolate bars and bags of crisps.

Nev’s mouth curled up at the corners, and he lowered his voice, leaning closer. “Of course I’m trying to get you back in bed with me. I loved having you in my bed. I’d like to chain you to my bed.” He trailed a finger down her bare arm, leaving a trail of sighing nerve endings. “But I’d also like to have lunch with you.”

Cath tries to be strong in the face of his charms. She has rules and walls and goals. But Nev is her Kryptonite and she agrees to hooking up with him;  ONLY hooking up mind you. Lovely hooking up with take away dinners, and hot sex, and cuddling, and laughing. Hooking up that very soon involves real feelings.

Knox does a bang up job of making their growing affection for each other seem real. There’s not insta-love over a two-day sex-cation. Cath is prickly and City is sweet and steady and nice (but not too nice dammit) and thinks Cath is worth an effort. He’s treading carefully around the minefields of her hidden past and slowly insinuating himself into her life. Even with all of her self erected barriers Cath can’t stop herself falling for him, though letting him in is a different story, she hasn’t even told him where she lives. I found myself  wrapped up in the characters, waiting for the house of cards to fall, and for someone to get their heart wrecked. And when everything did go wrong I actually felt myself tearing up; all the feels in my cold dead heart.

I gave About Last Night a solid A, Knox’ dialog is leagues above many romance authors, and her sex scenes are hot without veering in to gratuitous.The secrets that Cath has been keeping are actually bad enough to make you think “well, I might want a new life, too.” Which was a delight because deep dark secrets in books usually elicit eye rolling over how very lame they are.  There is just enough sex, just enough humor, all the happy ending a girl could want. I loved this and really want you to read it so you can join me on the City “squeeeeeee” train.

Check it out on Amazon: