Review

Review: Did Not Finish by Nicola Marsh (2022)

Heat Factor: fades to gray 

Character Chemistry: Not sure we get enough push-pull when he hates her (but really not) and they hop into bed by 35%

Plot: Mia is a professional reviewer and aspiring writer who wins a spot at Axel’s writing workshop. Axel is furious with Mia for writing a mean review about his alter ego’s book because he needs the extra income stream. They get snowed in.

Overall: Their fight seemed a bit ridiculous when they were so ethically messy from, like, page one

Continue reading “Review: Did Not Finish by Nicola Marsh (2022)”
Listicle

Saturday Smutty Six: Lies

SuperWendy’s TBR Challenge prompt this month is Lies (about which more on Wednesday), and a big lie is just such a great point of tension that we thought we’d highlight some more romances that hinge on a humdinger of a lie. Or maybe just a little lie that grows and grows until it’s a big problem. Either way, a lie between the protagonists is a great reason they can’t truly be together, so without further ado, here are some liars.

How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn

Holly is on record stating that this is the first romance novel she ever loved. Yes, there is some cringey Old School nonsense going on, but the banter is just delightful. This is a classic deception plot, complete with the heroine melting down because the revealed lie means that *everything* about their relationship was a lie. (Of course it wasn’t, but that’s the trope, right there.)

A Lady’s Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran

“I lied and said we were married even though you’re blackmailing me because I thought you were about to die, but then you woke up and now you have amnesia but we’re still married and I’m terrified but also starting to have pants feels.”

Hexbreaker by J.L. Hawk

Tragedy forced Tom to leave his old life and start fresh, but a murder on his beat puts him perilously close to his past. He can’t do nothing if it’ll save lives, though, so he does the best he can, transferring to the witch police HQ, and hoping that he won’t have to reveal his sordid history to the prickly but lovable Cicero as they work to solve the mystery.


Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Not all lies are enormous, earth-shattering, identity-threatening dealbreakers. In Bet Me, Cal initially asks Min out because of a bet (that he thinks is a joke); Min knows about the bet, and agrees to go out of spite. But because Cal doesn’t know that Min knows, the bet takes on a life of its own as it looms over their slowly deepening relationship.

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

“I think you’re wonderful and brilliant and so competent, and I shouldn’t date you, but I just can’t resist you, so it’s gonna be awkward when you find out that the only reason we’re working together is because I’m an undercover agent trying to figure out who in the office is breaking the law. (I’m pretty sure it’s not you…)”

Earl on the Run by Jane Ashford

This is a classic, low-stakes meet-cute deception. Harriet’s Grandfather has swooped in and made Harriet an heiress with a dowry. Jack is a Bostonian with traveler roots, so when he inherits the estate next to Harriet and is rudely snubbed by his grandmother, he joins a group of travelers and ends up sneaking around incognito. Harriet deceives Jack by cornering him into marriage, and Jack deceives Harriet by not telling her he’s the traveler she’s become enamored with.


Want more lies? Here are all our reviews of romances featuring lies and the lying liars who tell them.

Dueling Review, Recommended Read

Dueling Review: Big Bad Cowboy by Carly Bloom (2018)

Once Upon a Time in Texas, Book #1

Holly’s Take

Heat Factor: I found the sexting shockingly effective

Character Chemistry: Maggie is in lust with the Big Bad Wolf, and moving from animosity to friendship to love with Travis. Except they’re the same man—and she doesn’t know it.

Plot: Maggie and Travis have mindblowing, slightly kinky sex as anonymous strangers at a costume party. And then Travis discovers that they’re neighbors slash she thinks he’s destroying her business. Too bad the sexting is so fun.

Overall: There were a few rough patches at the beginning, but I ended up really enjoying it.

Ingrid’s Take

Heat Factor: I’d definitely say it borders on a slow burn IF you don’t take the sexting into consideration.

Character Chemistry: There are a lot of relationships going on and they all had pretty good chemistry. Maggie and Travis seemed to sync really well.

Plot: Maggie and Travis hook up in disguise at a costume party—Travis knows Maggie’s identity, but Maggie is in the dark. When they end up at odds as neighbors and work competitors, they end up finding a deeper connection.

Overall: It was a cute cowboy-to-be book that felt realistically small-town.

Erin’s Take

Heat Factor: It starts early and doesn’t really slow down if you count all the sexting, but I wanted the story to get on with it because all the character interactions were more fun

Character Chemistry: I was more invested in the all the dynamics of the small town characters than in the romantic relationship between Maggie and Travis

Plot: business competitors, antagonistic anonymous neighbors, anonymous hookup, forced to work the same contract, sexting deception, custody battles, and liens

Overall: If we hadn’t agreed to buddy read it, I probably would have DNFed by 25% simply for all the gender essentialism, BUT I think it was maybe Trying To Do Something, and, as Holly said, it turned out pretty cute in the end.

Continue reading “Dueling Review: Big Bad Cowboy by Carly Bloom (2018)”
Recommended Read, Review

Review: Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk (2016)

Hexworld, Book #1

Heat Factor: They have a very good time. A very good time. 

Character Chemistry: Tom is like, “Oh, I like him,” and Cicero is all hissing and spitting until he actually interacts with Tom a bit and is like, “Oh, he’s a sweet ogre! But also I can’t actually bond with him!”

Plot: A death on his beat looks eerily similar to the hex that destroyed Tom’s family, so against his self-preservation instincts, he gets himself transferred to the witch police HQ, where he meets his familiar, Cicero, who is looking into a similar mysterious death.

Overall: It took me a minute to get my head sorted with new worldbuilding, but once I did I couldn’t put it down

Continue reading “Review: Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk (2016)”
Recommended Read, Review

Review: The Fixer Upper by Lauren Forsythe (2022)

Heat Factor: There’s no whoopie and there’s actually very little overt sexual tension but somehow I am still TOTALLY invested in this book.

Character Chemistry: They’re meant to be, and it’s adorable. Think “13 Going on 30” meets “Failure to Launch” with a hint of “Bridget Jones’ Diary”

Plot: Dylan and Alyssa were BEST friends growing up, until Alyssa confesses her love for Dylan and ghosts him overnight in embarrassment. When she and her two friends create a side business for nudging reluctant partners in the “right” direction for their clients, Dylan ends up being the job…only Alyssa doesn’t think he needs any fixing. At all.

Overall: This one might be a tiny bit smut adjacent, but it’s AMAZING and I’m completely obsessed with it.

Continue reading “Review: The Fixer Upper by Lauren Forsythe (2022)”