Dueling Review, Recommended Read

Dueling Review: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie (2004)

Holly’s Take

Heat Factor: He eats donuts off her boobs

Character Chemistry: It’s fate

Plot: A comedy of errors ensues when Min and Cal (attempt to) resist the universe’s plan for them to be together

Overall: Couldn’t put it down

Ingrid’s Take

Heat Factor: Kissing while eating donuts has never been so steamy

Character Chemistry: It’s instantaneous and angry, then alllll the sexy tension

Plot: Min’s ex tries to get Cal to bet over her—but the more they try to avoid each other, the more they end up attached at the hip

Overall: I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this book

Erin’s Take

Heat Factor: It’s a very slow burn, but she does get tied to a couch

Character Chemistry: This is a push-you-pull-me that works marvelously

Plot: Min is about to approach Cal when she overhears that she’s the subject of one of his bets, so she accepts his invitation out of spite, and fate takes the wheel

Overall: I didn’t like all the stuff that happened in this book (and I wasn’t supposed to, either), but I really liked the book

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Dueling Review, March Smashness

March Smashness: Basketball Week

One Last Shot by Alexandra Warren (2019)

Heat Factor: Nonchalantly hot.

Character Chemistry: They have great banter and they push each other. It’s cute. 

Plot: Selena’s going for the championship. Dre’s going for a second chance. There are many factors that seem like they might get in the way. 

Overall: With all the opportunities for problems to arise, it’s pretty incredible that none of them really do.


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Love Becomes Her by Donna Hill (2006)

Heat Factor: Just the highlights.

Character Chemistry: Barbara has better chemistry with Elizabeth than with Michael.

Plot: Four friends have major life upheavals and decide to open a spa together. 

Overall: Two out of the three Smut Reporters DNFed.

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Dueling Review, March Smashness

March Smashness: Football Week

Scoring off the Field by Naima Simone (2018)

Heat Factor: Sex. But we have feelings about it.

Character Chemistry: Is it love or is it codependence?

Plot: Angst, horniness, confrontation, angst

Overall: Readers of this need to love a mess as much as Marie Kondo.


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On the Line by Liz Lincoln (2018)

Heat Factor: These kids are very horny.

Character Chemistry: Organic (good thing she’s a science teacher!)

Plot: Carrie is Seth’s nanny so they absolutely can’t act on their attraction. (Again.) (Oops, but okay for real this time.)

Overall: Cute and engaging but you have to like nanny books.

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Dueling Review, March Smashness

March Smashness: Baseball Week

Reading the Signs by Kiera Andrews (2019)

Heat Factor: Praise kink and ropes and spankings, OH MY!

Character Chemistry: Big D energy. And by that we mean Daddy. Plus serious daddy issues.

Plot: A veteran catcher uses his chill dom energy to tame a hot-headed rookie pitcher.

Overall: Now Holly understands why Erin is obsessed with M/M sports romance.


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The Changeup by Nicole Falls (2019)

Heat Factor: Disappointed that the teased phone sex didn’t actually happen, because the sex was fun and sexy.

Character Chemistry: She giggles so much. Enough said.

Plot: On the one hand, Geffri plays baseball. On the other hand, Geffri meets a man.

Overall: This was a weird book.

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Dueling Review

Dueling Review: Wish Out of Water by Holley Trent (2022)

Hooked, Book #1

Holly’s Take

Heat Factor: The two sex scenes are pretty detailed, but there are only two of them

Character Chemistry: Her magic doesn’t suck his happiness away. It’s fate!

Plot: Cooper doesn’t want to be king, so he asks Brook to do a marriage of convenience with him. Apparently marrying an American means he automatically abdicates. (???) Plot twist: Brook is a mermaid and discovers she’s the real heir to the throne.

Overall: The pacing was off…it was like: solid start, slow, slow, slow, INTRIGUE!, denouement.

Ingrid’s Take

Heat Factor: It had moments of heat but was largely pretty mild.

Character Chemistry: They’re fated mates and I guess fated rulers.

Plot: He’s supposed to be king. She’s supposed to be a human nobody. But actually she’s a mermaid with royal lineage and it’s enough to throw everything into chaos.

Overall: It feels like a very long start to something and that didn’t actually develop into its cohesive, finished result.

Erin’s Take

Heat Factor: There’s a bit of dissonance between the perfection of their coming together and, like, everything else about their relationship. 

Character Chemistry: They’re basically fated mates.

Plot: She’s a nobody, except she just has no idea that she’s not a nobody, and he’s a bastard prince who grew up outside the kingdom but is somehow inheriting the throne because of Reasons, which she is supposed to fix but doesn’t.

Overall: I was extremely confused. Also this relationship contains most of the “I’m leaving now” drama that I actively dislike.

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