Beguiling The Beauty by Sherry Thomas

I attempted 5 books but other authors before relenting and reading another Sherry Thomas. I suspect I’m trapped in her web for the foreseeable future. And I’m okay with that.

This was sort of a romance in reverse. Christian falls in love-at-first-sight with a married woman – solely based on her looks. When he can’t have her he believes crap things about her to salve his busted ego. Eventually he starts spreading those mean things, and she finds out. Venetia decides to get revenge by making him fall in love with her so that she can break his heart. The premise feels awkward to explain but is a lot of fun when reading it.

Of course things go awry – everyone ends up with some busted feelings. And everyone is responsible for this mess they’ve gotten into. There are side characters (specifically Helena and Millie) who make the book more interesting bc they have love problems of their own. As always, Thomas’s writing sparkles. Her characters are well-thought-out and complex. Her plot lines are just a little different than anything I’ve read. And, in case I haven’t mentioned it enough, her writing is phenomenal.

Not Quite A Husband by Sherry Thomas

This sparkling, painful and sweet historical romance raked my heart over the coals – in just the right way. Leo and Bryony have this hopeful awkward little marriage that falls apart due to their separate issues. When they’re throw back together all of the bad comes to the surface. They’re awful to one another bc they’re still in love and deeply hurt. However, they’re also incredibly tender and romantic.

Set in England and India in the 1890s this book has unexpected adventure and danger. It moved quickly, and I was sucked in from the first page. Sherry Thomas has some of the best writing I’ve ever read – I wanted to post a dozen quotes as I read.

Bryony is smart and likable, but Leo had my heart. The man was romance personified. When I figured out why Leo was in Germany, America and then India I paused for minute to grin at my kindle. Steam is low – swoon is high. And there are some uncomfortable moments – Bryony and Leo are perfectly civilized and perfectly vicious several times. Their words are like rapiers – and they were fighting to the death. I loved every minute of it.

The One in My Heart by Sherry Thomas

Have you ever been at a wedding or an event – it’s night. Dark and cool. The trees are wrapped with twinkle lights. Everything is gorgeous and magical. You’ve had a fabulous evening, and you’re feeling melancholy and sweet and a little happy. That’s what it’s like to read this book. Exquisite.

The blurb doesn’t do it justice. The writing is flawless. The characters strong, nuanced, gorgeous and meaningful. I am head-over-heels in love with brilliant, layered, witty and vulnerable Evangeline. Bennett is her perfect foil – reflecting Evie’s struggles and triumphs to show her best light.

This is the front-runner for my 2017 Book of the Year. I was in love with the writing by page 5, and in love with the store by page 20. Ms Thomas hasn’t written contemporaries before so I’m off to check out her historicals. I cannot recommend this book enough.The

Vines by Brynne Asher

A solid 4 stars!

Ex-military(ish), edgy, broody and awesome Crew buys the property next to Addy’s vineyard. She’s a sassy-pants who isn’t about to take his alpha-he-man bullshit lying down. All kinda sparks fly as espionage and corruption and intrigue take over Addy’s world. She’s a chick in trouble but hardly a damsel in distress. Crew, a man of few words and many muscles, tries to steamroll Addy with his “I got this, babe” but she makes sure they’re a partnership – each holding their own.

This book felt A LOT like KA-lite. Crew had a lot of familiar mannerisms with extra charm thrown in for funsies. I fell for him hard, and I fell for him fast. Total badass with a charming side – his chapters were my favorite bc his devotion to Addy was deep. She was likable – a business owner, smart, capable and totally able to manage Crew and his overwhelming tendencies. I cannot wait for the next book in this series.

Way Off Plan by Alexa Land

This is one of the sugary-sweetest books I’ve ever read. Think tween girl insta-love with a lot of man sex.

Jamie is a cop unhappy with his job. Dmitri is a mobster. Sorta. They meet through Jamie’s work and literally instantly fall in love. And then a bazillion things happen to come btw them – bc, hello, cop and mobster. Through out it all they remain the human equivalent of a dump truck full of cotton candy.

When I wasn’t considering barfing over all that sugar the book was adorable. It had a ridiculous plot and fun side characters. The steam level was pretty high if you dig on M/M. And this book sets up a whole series (which I will be reading further – my dentist is gonna be thrilled when these books give me a cavity). I liked parts of Alexa Land’s writing. I liked how sweet and easy this all was. I’m way too dark of a reader for this kind of love all the time – but it’s not the worst thing in the world (in small doses).

Remember When by T Torrest

Wow! Here’s to a lack of expectations! I went into this without reading the blurb – just knowing that I’d seen some buzz. I had tried this once before and found it not edgy enough. But it turned out to be perfect this time around.

It’s the beginning of Layla’s senior year at a catholic high school in new jersey in the 90s. She’s a down-to-earth heroine, and the entire book verges on matter-of-fact. Trip moves to town – joining Layla’s popular group of friends. Slowly Layla and Trip develop a bond. And we move through the agonies and ecstasies of a group of friends on the cusp of adulthood.

Part romance/part coming of age – this book was just incredibly relatable. Friendship. Growing-up. Family issues. Falling in love. Being brave. This book laid a lot of groundwork for the rest of Layla’s life. It is lightly done – not hyper-emotional or intense. Mostly just a sweet naturalness. I suspect I’ll read the entire trilogy this weekend – I look forward to watching Layla grow up and grow into herself.

Enemies of the State by Tal Bauer

This was different than anything I’ve come across in the M/M genre. Ethan is former military and now in the Secret Service. Jack is the President and a widower. Jack is not gay. They become friends (totally against Ethan’s job rules) – and then feelings develop. This happens amongst political intrigue and an attempt to destabilize the world through bombings and assassination.

Ethan was fantastic. Jack too. Their relationship took a lot of work to build, and it was fun to be on the ride with them. Despite being a bad-ass Ethan has a great vulnerability. I found myself drawn to him. Jack ended up being cool too. The reader gets to watch how Jack’s role in their relationship unfurls and strengthens.

Total page turner once you realize there’s an inside man and things may end badly for Jack and Ethan. The sex scenes were low on schmaltz – it felt like watching a real relationship slowly weave itself together. The side characters were varied and interesting – with varying reactions to this relationship and then the burgeoning danger. A political thriller with a sweet M/M romance to boot. I’m gonna check out the next book in this series soon because I’m not ready to let Ethan go.Enemies