Review, TBR Challenge

TBR Challenge: Getaway

February’s theme prompt for Super Wendy’s #TBRChallenge 2023 was “Getaway.” Here are the books we chose to tackle our TBRs this month.

Erin Read: Sand to the Beach by Shae Sanders

Why was this book on your TBR? 

I think I saw a release promo from the author on Insta? And it looked like fun. 

Why did you choose this book for this month’s challenge?

Going to the beach is a getaway, right? Though, as it happens, the parents are the ones on a getaway and the MCs are grudgingly along for the ride. 

What are your thoughts on the book?

As I was trying to decide what to read for this month, I worked off my TBR on Goodreads (it’s the most comprehensive), so I ended up reading a few reviews as I looked at blurbs. This is to say: a lot of readers think that Jenarra is an unlikeable heroine. She is…but I actually didn’t think she was so much unlikeable as she was emotionally closed off with extra spiky walls. Which, okay, might read to some as unlikeable, but to me I’d reserve that label for someone who is a jerk or hardass with seemingly no reason, and I didn’t think Jenarra quite fit that bill. All of her behavior is rooted in deep-seated trust issues that have a clear source (even if we don’t know details) pretty much from the word go. 

Anyway, Jenarra, with her deep-seated trust issues, invites herself along on her mother’s romantic getaway when she learns that her mother’s new lover is a man she met online. Something bad happened in the past, and Jenarra is going to be a guard-dragon for her mother because she doesn’t trust…anybody. Her mother’s lover does not appreciate Jenarra being a wet blanket, so he wheedles his son Maceo into coming to run interference for the week. At first Maceo is like, “Why on earth am I putting up with this BS?” But after a day or so both his curiosity about her and his physical attraction to her win out. 

This book is not long, so there’s not a ton of space to create a lot of depth in the narrative, but also there aren’t dangling storylines that warrant a significantly longer story. I enjoyed the read, and the only reason I’m not over the moon about it is probably because it’s really, really, sexy, and instead of keeping me engaged in the middle I got bored with all the sex. That’s a me thing; other readers who like a really sexy book—especially with an “unlikeable heroine”—would probably like this one, especially with that twist coming out of right field at the end.

Buy Now: Amazon

Holly Read: Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie

Why was this book on your TBR? 

Ever since we read Bet Me together, I’ve been working my way through Crusie’s backlist, and multiple people have told me that Welcome to Temptation is the best one.

Why did you choose this book for this month’s challenge? 

It’s about Sophie arriving in the town of Temptation. That seemed appropriate for a getaway. (And it turns out, many of the characters are trying to escape from one thing or another.)

What are your thoughts on the book?

This book is fucking awesome. 

It’s got messy characters going through messy emotions and it’s hilarious but not slapstick. It’s got the weirdest sex scene I’ve ever read—and we once spent a whole month reading books with literal monster dongs. It’s got a cute kid and a cute dog, but not too much of either. It’s got small town politics and porn. It’s got murder, both successful and attempted. It’s got really ugly wallpaper and an even uglier shower curtain.

I will say that, so far in my reading of Crusie’s books, her heroes all kind of suck (at least initially), and Phin is no exception…but he learns. And the scenes where Sophie tells him off are just pitch perfect.

I was smiling so hard when I finished it.

Buy Now: Amazon | Bookshop

Ingrid Read: The Raider by Jude Deveraux

Montgomery/Taggert, Book #4

Why was this book on your TBR?

It’s one of the few old timers I remembered—and once I thought about it, I wanted to see how it held up after a few decades.

Why did you choose this book for this month’s challenge?

Well, The Raider in this one spends the entire book in one getaway caper after the next. Plus, after he starts up with the dangerous escapades the rest of the townspeople get involved and then EVERYONE is making speedy getaways.

What are your thoughts on the book?

Well, first and foremost this book could simply not have been published now. The entire premise rests on how the MMC is “The Raider” in the darkness of night and stuffs his clothes and pants so he looks like an overweight fop during the daytime. A lot of the humor is based on the MMC’s presumed weight and it clearly links his masculinity to his figure. I think it goes without saying that fat bodies are not a result of a lack of character, nor are people who are fat in any way less feminine/masculine as a result? But since this is a book (not a person) and can’t have its mind changed, I just read it as it was.

However, I will say that the premise and execution were still as original as I remembered. The relationship that builds is twofold—with The Raider, Jessica’s passions are inflamed and her fearlessness and determination are given space to grow. With Alexander Montgomery, Jessicas’s rash choices and temper are balanced and soothed. Plus, the capers and shenanigans are hilarious and pretty darn satisfying.

I think it’s funny that I’m pretty sure I haven’t read any of the other books in this series. I don’t really feel like it’s necessary, but maybe I’m wrong and one of the other Montgomery books is even better! I just got a huge stack of old romances from the used book store, so perhaps I’ll keep an eye out…

Buy Now: Amazon | Bookshop

Want to join us in tackling your TBR? March’s theme is “Baggage.”


Saturday Smutty Six: Sexy Xmas Novellas to Put You in the Mood

Christmastime’s a-comin’ and sometimes you just need a little pick-me-up to get you through that visit with your in-laws.

Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered, with six sexy Christmas novellas. These quick reads deliver on the sexytimes and the romance joy. (And half of them also deliver on sexy Santas.) What are you waiting for?

Santa Claus is Going to Town on Me by ML Eliza

Holly hates Christmas—until she meets Claus. And his magical Christmas sex toys. Is this book chock full of sexy Santa rumpus? Yes, yes it is. But it also includes surprisingly thoughtful bits about grief and joy and desire.

Mistletoe Madness by Rebecca Norinne

Previously published as The Roommate Situation

That awkward moment when you hear some weird sounds coming from your hot roommate’s room so you go check on him and walk in on him masturbating. Especially awkward: Mikayla has a huge crush on Nick, but is terrified of making the living situation weird. What’s a girl to do? (Masturbate as quietly as possible, that’s what.) Nick and Mikayla have a really sweet and supportive dynamic outside of the bedroom—and once they get over the pining, the physical chemistry is off the charts.

Sleigh Bells Ring by Jodie Griffin

Erin: Hahahahahaha OMG this story takes every famous little phrase from Santa holiday mythology and makes it filthy. Sugar plums. Rudolph’s nose. I’m dead.

Holly: Look, do you want to read reindeer shifter BDSM erotica, or don’t you? 

PS: Blame Erin for this one.

Santa’s Helper by Shae Sanders

A divorced mom takes her kids extra far to see the only Black Santa in the area, only to discover his son—her ex flame—has taken over the role. It’s playful and then it’s hot. *fans self* I liked that this book features a mom who is not the custodial parent of her children and has a generally positive co-parenting agreement with her ex.

The Naughty List by Ellie Mae MacGregor

This is a really short, hot book with a sexy, gray-haired Santa with tree-trunk thighs. It’s totally entertaining. If you’re looking to check boxes for older protagonists, lube use, sexy consent, and other excellent sex-partner things, this is your book. See also:

A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas by Jackie Lau

You know, I just really appreciate that Jackie Lau gets all the tropes right out there in the title. Greg Wong agrees to drive his high school sweetheart, Tasha Edwards, home for Christmas. Of course they end up snowed in in a hotel room with no heat and only one bed. I wonder how that could possibly turn out? (Hot. It turns out hot.) Bonus points for a buttoned-up hero who gets fabulously unbuttoned for sex.