Review

Review: His Christmas Guardian by Cindy Dees (2022)

Runaway Ranch, Book #4

Heat Factor: An extremely slow and unusually chaste burn

Character Chemistry: That “enemies” to “in love” switch flipped pretty fast

Plot: Government assassins put the Christ back in Christmas romance

Overall: Well…this was a thing I read

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Review

Review: Before Dawn by Laura F. Murphy (2022)

Heat Factor: It’s closed door, so although the subject matter is really gritty and juicy, you won’t find descriptions of heat here.

Character Chemistry: Max and Smith’s relationship is very steady and tender, which is good for Max considering how intense every other aspect of her life is.

Plot: Max is in a 6 year relationship with a married man who is 14 years her senior. Literally her entire life falls apart, and throughout the fall out and all the repair work, her friend Smith slowly turns into someone really special.

Overall: This is a really intense, smut-adjacent book about a woman going through just the absolute worst life has to offer, but at least she’s got a loving family and a hot boyfriend.

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Recommended Read, Review Revisited

Review Revisited: Erin’s Take on By a Thread by Lucy Score (2020)

In addition to her review, Ingrid has recommended this book in four other discussion posts or listicles. And also she tells us to read it in the group chat even more than that. And so, finally, I did. I actually listened to the audiobook, and Dominic’s POV is voiced by Sebastian York, who has what I consider this perfect, er, asshole voice (Sorry, Sebastian! You’re really fun to listen to!), so when Dominic is all up in his feelings but still going through with his, er, bad behavior anyway, it’s just perfection. Erin Mallon voices Ally’s chapters, and she’s also a great narrator. So easy to listen to. Great audio. 

Okay but the book.

My primary takeaway from this book is that it addresses the power dynamics of an employer/employee relationship better than any such romance I have ever read. And that is a trope I enjoy, even if it’s problematic. Fiction is great, right? Anyway, Ingrid definitely touches on this, too, in her review, but I think it should be said again. 

Because he’s lived through the repercussions of his father’s actions, Dominic is so fully against a workplace romance – for all the right reasons! – that he actually fails to see the difference between what his father did to the women in his employ and Dominic’s own relationship with Ally. There were actually times when I was frustrated with Ally, who got mad at Dominic for his refusal to engage with her even though she was very clearly consenting, because Dominic was so utterly clear that consent doesn’t work the same way when their workplace power dynamics were in play. And yet, because Score included the component of Dominic’s dad’s sexual assault and harassment, the reader is still able to see the difference between what Dominic’s going through and what his dad was doing. As the numerous harassment trainings I’ve attended have told me: sexual harassment is not about sex; it’s about power. And that’s exactly what Dominic’s dad very clearly illustrates, but what Dominic fails to see in his own feelings about Ally. 

(Also, once things pull together, they go straight to HR, which is great, although HR really shouldn’t have allowed Dominic in the room with Ally while they were discussing the relationship, because if she were being pressured, she couldn’t say so in front of Dominic – but hey, FICTION! There’s a beautiful hand-holding moment that we would have otherwise missed out on.)

The other thing I really liked was that Dominic knows he’s being so bad but just can’t help himself. I like a self-aware protagonist. Makes the naughty behavior less gross. But also Dominic is a big softie. He wants Ally to eat, but he knows it’s not appropriate to buy her food, so he buys food for the whole department. Still not entirely appropriate, and not very sustainable, but definitely shows his soft underbelly while he’s being a, um, little stinker. 

Anyway, it’s a long one, but very well thought out. Read on for Ingrid’s original glowing review.

Continue reading “Review Revisited: Erin’s Take on By a Thread by Lucy Score (2020)”
Review

Review: The Demon’s Secret Baby by Jeanne Oates Estridge (2022)

Touched by a Demon, Book #3

Reviews of Touched by a Demon Book #1 and Book #2

Heat Factor: Lots of hard nipples and clenching thighs, but there’s only one explicit sex scene at about the midway point. Then the morning sickness begins.

Character Chemistry: Lust, longing, and ten thousand years of hurt feelings.

Plot: Samael and Lilith plan a conference with the heavenly delegation.

Overall: Loved the first half, thought the second half was…ok.

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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

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