The Lie, by Karina Halle

the lie

Grade: A

Doing it at:  58%

Catnip: Second Chance Romance, Guilt, Cheating, Hot For Teacher, Scottish Brogue, International Romance, #assbiting, Desk Sex, Sexual Healing

Shame Scale: Less than Zero (who’s RDJ & who’s McCarthy?)

Fantasy Cast:  Michael Fassbender, Jenifer Lawrence

Book Description:


Their love led to a lie
Their truth led to the end

Brigs McGregor is crawling out from the ashes. After losing his wife and son in a car accident and his job from his subsequent downward spiral, he’s finally moving forward, getting a prestigious teaching position at the University of London and a new life in the city. Slowly, but surely, he’s pushing past the guilt and putting his tragic past behind him.

Until he sees her.

Natasha Trudeau once loved a man so much she thought she’d die without him. But their love was wrong, doomed from the start, and when their world crashed around them, Natasha was nearly buried in the rubble. It took years of moving on to forget him, and now that she’s in London, she’s ready to start again.

Until she sees him.

Because some loves are too dangerous to ever indulge.
And some loves are far too powerful to ignore.
Their love just might be the life and the death of them.


Cleone: Let’s kick this off by talking about how Karina Halle has the best book boyfriend muses, last time it was Tom Hardy, and this time we got Mr. Big Swinging Cock himself, Michael Fassbender. #swoon

Mary: I think the phrase is Mr. Big Swinging Dick? Googling Big Swinging Dick vs. Big Swinging Cock does not route you to any grammar pages, just FYI! Ugh. This is the only stuff we fight about. Either way, if you’re the kind of gal who has painstakingly looked up every dirty Fassbender gif that the internet has to offer, all that work is going to pay off for you when you read this book and have the perfect mental library to back it up. (#TeamPervert) (All of those are NSFW by the way)

Fassy

C: I mean any Halle book is going to be 100 shades of scorching, but picturing Fassy sure doesn’t hurt! We were singularly excited for this one.

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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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Loving Dallas, by Caisey Quinn

loving dallas

Grade: A-

Doing it at:  23%

Catnip: First Love, Second Chance Love, I’m With the Band, Guitar Players, Dual Narrative, Strong Female Lead

Shame Scale: Low shame, just mind how big your print is around virgin eyes

Fantasy Cast: Sam Hunt, Jane Levy

Book Description:

Every dream comes with a price…

Dallas

Sacrifice.

I’m familiar with it.

I’ve had to leave behind everyone I cared about—my sister, my best friend, my band, and my high school sweetheart—in order to chase my dream of making it in Nashville.

But when Robyn Breeland walks back into my life, it’s as if the universe has decided to give me a second chance.  I’m just not sure it’s one I’m willing to take.

Robyn

Heartbreak.

I practically majored in it.

Dallas Lark was the first boy I ever loved and the one who’d shattered my heart into pieces.  But I’ve moved on. Working in promotions at Midnight Bay Bourbon, I’m too busy to sit around moping over my ex. But when my company decides to sponsor his tour, I’ll have to face him whether I’m ready to or not. Dallas is determined to drive me to distraction, and my body begs me to let him.

Trouble is, my heart can’t tell the difference between a second chance and making the same mistake twice.


I read and loved the first book in Caisey Quinn’s Neon Dream’s series, its still holding strong in best nickname of all time, and was both excited and apprehensive about the follow up. Excited because Quinn is a fantastic writer. Apprehensive because I didn’t love Dallas as he was introduced to us in Dixie’s book. He was kind of an asshole and I didn’t want to suffer the devastation of book disappointment. Thankfully, Dallas as a leading man is a god damn delight.

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Overtime, by Toni Aleo

Overtime

Grade: B

Doing it at: 47%

Catnip: Hockey Players, Beards, Second Chance Love, Hate to Love You, Addiction, Serious Problems, Sports Stuff, Strong Female Lead, Brother’s Best Friend, Reformed Bad Boy

Shame Scale: Super low shame, the cover is obviously romance, but look at that guy.

Fantasy Cast: The glorious and sadly unknown to us man on the cover, Charlize Theron

Book Description:

Down and out with an injury keeping him away from the game, Assassins’ defenseman Jordie Thomas lives for the blades of his skates on the ice and the feeling of oblivion off it. With no choice but to heal, he’s forced away from the sport that runs through his veins. With everything at stake and darkness setting in, he quickly finds himself spiraling even further out of control. As his life begins to come crashing down around him and his contract with the Nashville Assassins on the line, he’s given an ultimatum. Ready or not, Jordie is forced to face his past, the fears that consume him, and the one woman he let walk away. 

Kacey King had her professional dreams come true, yet her heart was battered and broken. With an Olympic gold medal around her neck, she’s ready to look forward to the future but without the one man she wanted in it. She’s missing the key pieces of her heart she left months ago with the only person who was capable of destroying it, causing her to falter in all her plans to move on. 

In the game of life, there are winners and losers, and neither Jordie nor Kacey want to be on the losing bench. If only Jordie could convince Kacey he’s a changed man and that he wants her right by his side as his MVP for the biggest and best parts of a life they build together. With emotions running high and the game on the line, can two proud people find happiness with each other, or will their hearts and souls be left in the cold? Will they see that sometimes having someone by your side who knows the good, bad, and broken is better than going it alone and losing everything through the back of the net? They are out of time on the game clock and fighting for the win of their lives. 

But overtime was made for an Assassin like Jordie. 


Mary: Full disclosure. We bought this book for the cover model. 100%. Look at him:

Overtime

I don’t even want to admit to the lurid, depraved, bottomless depths of Tumblr I have explored, trying to find a dirty lookalike for this guy.

Dear Toni Aleo, *Slow Clap* Also, how about you HABO (Help A Bitch Out) and tell us who this model is so we can stalk him incessantly on Instagram.

Cleone: Seriously, this is maybe our best cover model of all time, if we didn’t want to avoid angering Jay Crownover we’d tweet this at her RE: this is how you do it (plus she redeemed herself with #HotCop).

Overtime 11

M: And also, hockey is kind of hot. I guess. I’m not really a sports person, but I think out of all of the sports, hockey has some of the better looking players (not counting the dental issues).

C: Hockey has Henrik Lundqvist. It is definitely hot. Plus I adore the Rachel Gibson Chinook series, so hockey has serious catnip for me.

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Manwhore +1, by Katy Evans

manwhore

Grade: A

Doing it at: 42%

Catnip: Billionaires; Second Chance Love; Yacht Sex; Swooning; Sequel

Shame Scale: Regular old medium shame.

Fantasy Cast: Matt Bomer; Carey Mulligan

What do we taste like?: Mint and chocolate and whipped cream

Book Description:

Malcolm Saint was an assignment. A story. A beautiful, difficult man I was supposed to uncover for a racy exposé.

I intended to reveal him, his secrets, his lifestyle—not let him reveal me. But my head was overtaken by my heart and suddenly nothing could stop me from falling. I fell for him, and I fell hard.

Malcolm Saint is absolute Sin, and I’ve become a hopeless Sinner.

Now that the assignment is over, Saint wants something from me–something unexpected–and I want this wicked playboy’s heart. But how can I prove to the man who trusts no one that I’m worthy of becoming his plus one?


Cleone: I was so glad that I only had to wait four days to get this book, the cliffhanger at the end of Manwhore made me so mad, authors can’t just do that to us! Stop playing games with our hearts, romance authors!

Mary: Agreed. Even though this is Romance Land where everyone gets a happily ever after, it’s still maddening to pause a story in the middle of a break-up.

C: Manwhore +1 picks up right where Manwhore left off, with Rachel being summoned to meet Saint after a month of crying and pining for him since her deception was revealed to the world. You can’t really blame him for cutting off contact with her, he had been pushing pretty hard for Rachel to be his girlfriend, to share his extravagant playboy life with him, and to let her walls down. Instead he finds out that she was investigating him for her magazine. Poor Saint, I’d help dry his tears.

M: With my body.

C: Saint isn’t trying to make up though, he’s offering Rachel a job with his company. For an exorbitent sum, with an HR talking head there to act as a buffer.

M: Ice cold. Poor Rachel just wanted to tell Saint how much she loves him, and to try and explain herself. Saint wasn’t having any of it though – he tells her that a job is all he can offer her. And Rachel remembers him stating that he never makes the sex with his employees, so she holds on to her last thread of hope and declines.

C: Rachel is crushed that he wasn’t just trying to win her back, but as her friend Gina (whom we adore) points out, Saint is obviously still trying to take care of her:

“Saint is too smart, Rachel. He wanted to make sure you showed up. He fucking wants you there. He is offering health insurance for your next of kin, Your mom. Do you realize what this means for you on the work front?”

C: Because she’s stubborn and can’t just submit to Saint wanting her for her brains, Rachel resists and tries to be happy working at Edge. Except her boss is trying to capitalize on Rachel’s newfound fame as the girl who landed and duped Malcom Saint and has her writing dating pieces. “You too could land your own billionaire in eight simple steps!” type articles. Which, is pretty not ok. Her friends are urging her strongly to just take the job. Plus they’re being hilarious in their supporting:

“Saint is  very physical. You know what would do you and Saint a world of good? Tyrannosaurus sex: mean, violent, delicious, painful, and cathartic.” Wynn adds, “That will lead you then to spooning. Emmett and I are still so new though, we can’t even spoon. It’s more like sporking.”

Let’s be honest in this sacred space, guys, spooning always leads to sporking.

M: You’re right there, it’s right there, everything is all lined up…

C: I was worried we would have to wait till the very end to get our HEA, and Mary was on a yacht of her own floating around the Caribbean so I was just texting all my frustrations into thin air.

M: This book was released while I was on vacation, but I insisted someone take me to land in a dingy so I could hook my kindle up to some Wi-fi and download it. I was not able to get the coveted midnight download, but c’est la vie. By the time I had my book in hand and some internet, Cleone had filled up my inbox with friendly texts like these:

manwhore text

C: Saint is still mad at Rachel but he can’t stay away and soon he’s agreeing to give her another chance on the condition that she stops saying no to him. He’s not going to be the only one all-in this time around.

M: Rachel’s deception genuinely HURT him, and I liked that Saint didn’t just jump back into a relationship with Rachel at the start of the book even though they obviously still have all the chemistry. He’s honest about how he felt before she wrote her article, how it made him feel to find out that she was pursuing him for a story, and how he’s feeling about her now. It was all terribly mature for a romance novel. She had to work for it, earn back some trust. Luckily we didn’t have to wait till the end of the book, thank god.

C: Of all our billionaire book boyfriends Saint is the very hottest. He’s not holding a grudge or being emotionally unavailable, he’s just fucking away all her reservations and saying all the best things.

Saint says nothing for a long time.

Then: “Do you miss me?”

He rolls to his side and the fabric of his shirt is about to tear open under the flex of his muscles as he searches my face. He leans close to my ear, and says, “Do you think of me sometimes when you don’t want to … do you need me … do you still feel me?”

“I feel you everywhere.”

C: Once Rachel and Saint have reunited we get lots and lots of hot sex, Evans must have known the readers were salty over being cliffhangered and threw us a bone. Several bones.

“Is that you want, little one?” he asks, pulling me up so I feel him between my legs. In a world where he can buy anything he wants, I’m his littlest thing. And he’s my biggest, grandest thing.

M: You just can’t resist a guy who gives a girl tiny nicknames, can you? #TallGirlFantasies

It was crazy hot though. It was the A+ doing it from Manwhore, with more sweet. As with life, it seems that sex in romance novels is better when there are feelings involved.

C: Rachel was annnoyingly stubborn about letting Saint buy things for her, maybe its my constant poverty, but I was eye rolling at her inability to just let the dude buy her a dress.

M: That was my only pet peeve as well. It seems like all the heroines in billionaire books have to go out of their way to prove that they ain’t in it for the money. It’s ok honey, you can enjoy the money a little bit. Billionaire means never having to budget.

C: It takes a while, but not so long that I got vexed, to get to our HEA. Evans wrote us a good one too. I was in no way disappointed. She wrote us an alpha billionaire hero with a soft heart and the ability to tie cherry stems in a knot. I’d be a picky bitch to quibble.

Check it out on Amazon:

Remem-bear Me, by Terry Bolryder

Remem-bear me

Grade: C-

Doing it at: 39% – but it’s an 89 page novella, so that works out to P in the V at roughly page 35.

Catnip: Amnesia; Second Chance Love; Hot Granddad; BBW; Shifters; But it was 99 cents…

Shame Scale: You decide how you feel about reading books about mature polar bear shifters.

Fantasy Cast: Robert Redford; Kathy Bates

Book Description:

The papa bear finally gets his mate…

Sam Weston is tired of his son’s clumsy attempts to set him up. They clearly didn’t inherit his talent for matchmaking, and besides, he’s still in love with his fated mate who has been gone for twenty years. But when his sons make an ad to promote their island resort and show off their sexy dad, it somehow draws in the one woman he still wants. Sam thinks he’s dreaming, until he realizes the love of his life has no memory of their lives together.

Joanne Weston knows from the moment she sees Sam that she made the right decision to come to the Caymans after seeing that cheesy ad. For twenty years, she’s been been trying to figure out who she is and recover the memory loss she sustained after a terrible accident. The moment she looks into Sam’s gorgeous blue eyes, she knows there’s something between them that transcends everything. She just needs him to help her remember.

Sparks quickly fly between the two reunited lovers, and Sam is overjoyed to have his mate back in his arms. But as memories from the past creep ever-closer, Sam and Joanne will be presented with the most difficult decision they have ever made. Remain happy but ignorant about the reasons they were separated, or face the truth, no matter how painful it may be?

I read this after Grey. There was really nowhere to go but up from that turd of a book. We picked this one up for the family library a few months back because it was only 99 cents and the punny title made us LOL. This was a short book, 89 pages, and while it wasn’t very good, I can’t bring myself to say anything bad about it because it was like reading Dickens after our last torturous read.

The Westons are a family of polar bear shifters who own a resort on a tropical island. This is the last book in the series (all of the sons are happily mated – that’s what they call it), featuring Sam, the patriarch of the family – a smoking hot grandpa. His sons have been trying to fix him up, but Sam is still pining over his wife who walked out on their family 20 years ago, leaving him to raise three rowdy polar bear-boys by himself.

One day, while Sam is babysitting the grandcubs, his wife Joanne shows up at his door, asking who he is. She has amnesia, of-fucking-course, and seeing him on an ad for the resort triggered memories for her. It’s a short book, and I’m just going to go ahead and give you the whole plot. If you want to remain unspoiled, scroll down from one hot grandpa and don’t stop till you hit the next.

Sexy old guy 4

Ok. So twenty years ago, Joanne was “fighting with the bear inside her,” who just wanted to be free, man. Before she met Sam, she was feral. I’m not joking. That’s how they describe her – she was a wild animal living free in the woods. She saw Sam in his hot bear body and they fell in love. They had three cubs together, but Joanne could always feel the bear inside her, fighting to get out so it could like, run away and eat wild salmon, or maybe just fuck other bears. I don’t even know.

So way back when, Jo and Sam got in a huge fight about her always wanting to run away, and then she ran away. And then she was SHOT, by poachers. When she woke up in the hospital, she had amnesia. Couldn’t remember her family, and couldn’t remember that she was a goddamn polar bear. I guess she was able to just suppress the supernatural side of her for twenty years give or take. Sam has been thinking that his wife abandoned them, when in reality, she was on her way back to them, finally ready to stop running when she was shot. (She doesn’t remember any of this yet though)

Joanne hasn’t had a clue about her life for twenty years, but seeing Sam triggered feelings in her. He awakened her long dormant sexual side. Seriously tho. Neither of them has had sex for twenty years. I feel like that’s the most unbelievable part of this book and not the fact that everyone is half polar bear.

When Sam tries to talk to Jo about shifter related things, she blacks out – so they decide to just picnic on his yacht and fuck like animals (see what I did there?), in case telling her the truth triggers memories that make her run again.

But he needed to help her come back to full-blooded life. He needed to help her remember her bear. Even if her bear tore her away from him.

Unfortunately, before they can have their revelatory talk, Jo sees her granddaughter shift into a polar bear cub, and all of her memories come rushing back to her. She’s so overwhelmed, and consumed with guilt for running away from her family all those years ago, that she shifts into her bear and takes off running through the woods. On a tropical island. As a polar bear. Sam eventually catches her and carries her back, and presumably they get over their issues and live happily ever after.

sexy old guy 5

Since this was a BBW book, there was all kinds of talk about curves – and lots of food talk. Sam was all about feeding Jo and hey, maybe we don’t need to stereotype like this? Skinny girls like to eat too, you know. And I loved this part where Sam makes her a plate of foods that pretty much everyone in the world loves – danishes, please – and she’s like, omg, look at all these foods – I somehow know that I like them, but I don’t know how I know that. Even though she’s been eating for 20 years and one would think she’d have an idea about the kinds of foods she preferred. It was fruit, not like, orca blubber or something exotic and arctic like that.

He opened the cooler and pulled out platters of fresh fruit and pastries and bottles of juice.

He made her a plate piled with strawberries, blueberries, fresh whipping cream, and several danishes in various flavors.

“I don’t know why I know this, but I love all this stuff,” she said, sitting back happily to dig in.

“I know,” he said.

She looked up at him in shock. She kept forgetting he knew more about her than she did.

The mating was not terribly thrilling. Lots of missionary, nothing memorable. Am I the only person who read this book and was hoping for some animalistic rear entry bear-style? Maybe just a little biting? I saw these grizzly bears doing it at the zoo in Minnesota once and it was fierce.

Overall, it was a quick read that helped me cleanse my palate after The Book We Won’t Talk About Again. It took itself a little too seriously for my tastes – I would have appreciated some humor in a book about a sexy grandfather who turns into a polar bear, but it was only two hours out of my life and now I can say I read the book with the second best title in our Family Library. The book title has a pun it in for fucksake. Give us at least a tiny bit of camp. Also, even though I like to think that I’ve read a little bit of everything, this book made me realize I had never actually read grandpa erotica. It popped my old man cherry.

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Stripped with the Vampire, by Jax Garren

Stripped with the Vampire

Grade: B-

Doing it at: 56%

Catnip: Ginger Men; Ass Biting; Vampires; Stripper with a Heart of Gold; All of the P None of the V; Second Chance Romance; #TeamAnal

Shame Scale: The cover is way more shameful than the actual story in this one. Could have used at least 30% more shame-y bits.

Fantasy Cast: Nick Bateman, Michael Fassbender

Book Description:

In a world of dark spells and blood ties where no one is safe, love is the most powerful magic of all. 

Shy vampire Charlie never intended to see Vince again after the bad boy human broke his heart. But when Vince turns up beaten and marked for sacrifice to an Aztec God, Charlie will do anything keep him safe. 

Vince has never forgiven himself for the lie that ended things with Charlie. The spark between them is as hot as ever, and Vince would risk body and soul to make it a fire again. But as they hide deeper in Austin’s supernatural society—a world of lies, dark magic, and warring immortals—he finds the path to reconciliation more twisted than he’s ever imagined.

We requested this ARC because we were looking for a good cheese book, and a closeted gay vampire book sounded perfect. It was actually much better than I expected. Which is good and bad. The cover makes this look like it will a Red Hot Burning Shame read, all P with no plot. And sometimes that’s what I have a hankering for. I like what I like, ok? The romance is a big part of the story in this one, but it ends up feeling comparable to a Sookie Stackhouse book, with lots of plot, less camp and 100% more anal sex. To skip the spoilers, scroll down from one extra hot guy to the other. You’re welcome.

Nick Bateman

Vince is a really hot stripper (human) who shows up for a job at a night club in a creepy old house. Also: he drives a Miata. I highlighted that part because I thought it might be relevant. (It wasn’t, but I still love it) Inside, he realizes that his best friend’s brother who booked him for the party, is actually a vampire now – and that everyone else is too. He knows all about vampires, because his ex boyfriend, the reserved ginger carpenter, Charlie, was one. Charlie was the love of his life, but when he found out that Vince was stripping, he broke up with him via paper note. He’s very old-fashioned that way: not a text, not a fax. Neither of them has really gotten over the other.

Vince realizes belatedly that these vampires are not like his rather normal/boring carpenter ex, rather, they’re more like the bloodthirsty Blade type vamps. There is a human woman directing everyone, and she tells Vince they are going to rip his heart out in a ritual sacrifice, but he needs to voluntarily give it up, or else her god won’t recognize it as a proper sacrifice. Vince is like, ok well that shouldn’t be a problem because I can’t imagine any situation in which I’d be cool with that! Unfortunately they drug him up with some type of Aztec drink and lots and lots of shots, and make him dance for hours while the vampires torture and feed on him. He ends up delirious, but still sane enough to Nope them when they ask for his heart.

He eventually escapes with the help of some friendly vampires. On the way out he is chased by some were-rats (no, not joking), but he manages to escape and run to his ex’s house. Charlie is shocked to see Vince and fights off the deadly were-rats. (I can’t stop laughing at that) Afterwards, Charlie takes Vince back to his place to bathe and rest, and they start bickering about their break up. Charlie never forgave Vince for lying about being a stripper – he is super jealous and possessive, and couldn’t stand the thought of other people seeing and touching him like that. Vince is still pretty pissed that Charlie dumped him with a Dear John letter, and never gave him a chance to explain himself. Vince feels like Charlie was the love of his life, but that he meant nothing to Charlie, who has lived hundreds of years, and will continue to live hundreds of years after he dies:

Soon he would be a memory to Charlie. But to Vince, Charlie would never be less than the universe compressed into human form.

Also, Charlie is very much in the closet, and Vince won’t put up with any of that. It made me lol a bit that vampire society in this universe is socially conservative. Aren’t vampires supposed to be inherently morally ambiguous?

That’s sort of how this book goes: There’s the overall storyline with vampire politics and mythology – in a nutshell, the two factions of vampire society are getting into a war, with the bad side being led by an evil mastermind Aztec witch with an apocalyptic plot. They team up with some other friendly vampires, who I hope show up in some other Vampires of Austin books. And then Jax weaves in the romance between Charlie and Vince. Going over their old hurts, the two of them trying to figure out if there’s a way they could ever work out.

Fassy

Garren does a good job building the mythology of this universe for us – witches came into play, shifters, even a god. The plot was engaging, and I really bought into the relationship between Vince and Charlie. Could have used a bit more sex though. That cover is selling something much more smutty than this is. Plus side though: there was some really great ass biting.

Amazon