Dueling Review

Dueling Review: Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly (2013) vs Waking Up Married by Reese Ryan (2021)

My initial plan for this week was to read Waking Up Married by Reese Ryan, but when I searched the title on Libby, I discovered that my library owned *two different books* by the same name. So I decided to read both of them—especially since they were both published by Harlequin. 

Waking Up Married

Waking Up, Book #1

Heat Factor: Seduction, then sex

Character Chemistry: This is some grade-A playing house

Plot: Megan and Connor both want a family, so they agree to stay married in an emotionless match of convenience. You can guess how well that goes.

Overall: Liked it


Waking Up Married

The Bourbon Brothers, Book #5

Heat Factor: A smidge sexy

Character Chemistry: Best friends realize they’re also good together in the sack

Plot: Zora and Dallas agree to stay married for a year so they can make a baby together

Overall: Liked it, but a bit less than I liked the other one

Continue reading “Dueling Review: Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly (2013) vs Waking Up Married by Reese Ryan (2021)”

Review: Darke Passion by Rosanna Leo (2023)

Darke Paranormal Investigations, Book #1

Heat Factor: There’s some spice

Character Chemistry: They are very communicative about liking each other

Plot: Edwina is hunting for ghosts in Simon’s haunted B&B and finds more than she bargained for

Overall: This one didn’t really work for me

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Rant, Review

Review: Four Seconds to Lose by K.A. Tucker (2014)

Ten Tiny Breaths, Book 3

Heat Factor: Sex is frequent but not super detailed; we get only the cursory information of what bits are naked and in contact. 

Character Chemistry: Girl with daddy issues + older man with white knight syndrome

Plot: Charlie needs money to disappear so she gets a job as a stripper and starts a thing with her boss. Also she’s reluctantly running heroin.

Overall: The purity overtones were unreal.

Continue reading “Review: Four Seconds to Lose by K.A. Tucker (2014)”
Hot Takes by Holly

A Few Words on Anthology Etiquette

Picture this. I’m reading a romance anthology. It feels like a low-stakes way to try out new authors, and if I’ve got a big, meaty one, it keeps me busy for a while, as I read one novella after another. Yes, I’m a weirdo who reads anthologies front to back. (I did this even before e-books made it harder to flip around.) 

Anyways, I’m reading a romance anthology. This story seems promising! It’s a bodyguard romance, and there’s a suspense element involved. The heroine has a stalker—and the pictures the stalker sends get increasingly more chilling as the book progresses. The bodyguard establishes that the stalker is a member of the heroine’s close inner circle. The final picture arrives, of the heroine holding her best friend’s baby.

And then the book ends. 

And I discover that the follow-up hasn’t been published, even though the original was published in 2016 and the anthology was put together in 2021.

I am big mad.

Here’s my hot take: Don’t include a book with a cliffhanger in an anthology. I feel manipulated as a reader, like you’re using your inclusion as a sneaky way to get me to read more of your stuff, instead of resting on the strength of your writing to entice new readers.

Here’s my hotter take: I am not about to tell writers what to write. If you don’t want to finish your series—or can’t finish your series, for any reason—then don’t. If you end on a cliffhanger, that’s a bummer for readers, but authors are not wish-fulfillment robots. HOWEVER. Double don’t put your cliffhanger teaser in an anthology unless the resolution is actually available for people to read! (Or, in the case of readers who are petty like me, dig up spoilery reviews about.) That’s just bad marketing. 

This Hot Take by Holly is brought to you by the Romance for Roe anthology, which, except for the cliffhanger, has been pretty fun to read through.

Recommended Read, Review

Review: The Black Diamond by Bella Barnes (2022)

The Lost Boys of Hell’s Kitchen, Book #3

Heat Factor: It’s got everything! I-think-you’re-a-hooker sex, hate sex, building-trust sex, AND love sex

Character Chemistry: Forced proximity and some sass turns mistrust to love

Plot: Natalia and Connor are forced to marry, plus a bunch of mafia shenanigans

Overall: I’m not gonna lie—I was apprehensive about reading this book, but I loved it

Continue reading “Review: The Black Diamond by Bella Barnes (2022)”